Back to Basics – Granny Squares

Like many other people, after I learnt the basic crochet stitches I progressed to ‘granny squares’ so when I finished my last baby blanket  and, feeling rather nostalgic, I fancied returning to the old, faithful motif. I wanted to make another blanket/throw. With warmer weather approaching (haha!), I figured it would be cooler to work with smaller pieces rather than having a cosy blanket on my lap.

In my mind’s eye I saw the classic square and so, after some research, I was rather taken aback to discover just how many variations there are. Using some odds and ends of yarn, I tried out some of the designs. My thanks to the bloggers who posted these patterns – I have included links to their blogs.

I liked this one, plain and simple – ‘Walled Garden’.

Granny square - walled garden

Walled Garden

Getting more adventurous with 2 colours – the ‘Squircle’

Squircle- granny square


Then 3 colours – ‘Sunburst’.

Sunburst - granny square


3d effect on ‘4 hearts square’.

4 hearts - granny square

4 hearts

I could have gone on and on, it’s just unbelievable how many exciting designs I found. Eventually I made a decision and plumped for ‘Walled Garden’. Look how the effect changed when I added colour to the design.

Walled garden 3 colours

Walled Garden in 3 colours

It’s been fascinating playing around with the arrangement of colours – I have opted for greens and pinks with a cream border. Fellow blogger Lundygirl has a super idea for displaying granny squares as a piece of art. Check out her blog.

Progress on my throw has been slow – when I laid my stack of squares out the other day I was disappointed to find it was only about 1 metre square. What’s my excuse? Well, longer, lighter evenings means I haven’t been sitting down in the evening for so long and the allotment has been keeping me busy.

Now I’m afraid to say, I am becoming a bit bored with it – so it’s time to put it to one side and work on something else for a while – I need a few quicker projects to keep me motivated. However, I’ll keep you posted and hopefully you’ll eventually get to see my retro throw.



Summer’s in the bag!

I had finished my baby ripple blanket and my fingers were itching to start a new project (just something quick because I knew I was going to be starting a granny square blanket). Looking through Attic24 , which is one of my favourite sources of inspiration, I found just the thing! A crocheted bag – reasonably quick to do and would also use up lots of my odds and ends of yarn.

Crocheted sunflower bag

Crocheted sunflower bag

I have slightly altered the pattern because I wanted to make it for a child. So the base is a little smaller than in the pattern and was completed in one colour (which is not visible in the photo). As suggested, I used Stylecraft DK doubled up with a 4 mm hook as an alternative to aran weight wool. Doubling the yarn was a bit tough on the fingers but nevertheless resulted in a firm bag which stood up on its own.

Crochet with DK yarn doubled

Doubling the yarn made a firm bag

I decided to do a scallop edging along the top edge of the bag which, when I looked back at the pattern, was exactly what was written anyway! A couple of handles and the basic bag was done. I loved the sunny colours I was using and thought sunflowers would complement the bright summery theme. Sunflowers always make me smile and remind me of family holidays in France. I found a pattern for a sunflower, which was actually part of a granny square, so I just did the central flower section.

Crocheted sunflower

Crocheted sunflower

Then it was just a case of sewing it all together. This is a fantastic way of using up all your end bits of wool and you can choose any colour theme you like. I was really pleased with the end result which has been given to a friend’s little girl. The only problem is that now I want to do one for myself!

Another baby, another blanket!

Earlier this year I made a baby blanket using the ripple pattern, following the excellent tutorial on Attic24. I was so pleased with the overall effect of the pattern; I love the gentle, wavy look. So when I realised another baby was about to arrive, I set to work on yet another baby blanket.

Ripple pattern crotchet baby blanket

Baby blanket #2

This time I wanted to have a change of colour. ‘It’ is going to be a ‘she’, but I wanted to stay away from the traditional pastel pink. So I opted for yellow – for a Spring baby. I used Sirdar Snuggly yarn in three shades; cream, a very pale yellow and a slightly brighter yellow which created a very muted effect.

Crochet ripple pattern

Ripple effect

I changed the edging on this blanket, because I wanted the edging to reflect the ripples of the pattern whilst still remaining clean and ‘unfussy’ The pattern was 3dc, 2htr, 2 tr, 1 dtr, 2tr, 2htr (UK terms) and I fiddled it round the corners to fit.

Edging pattern for ripple pattern

Edging pattern

So blanket is finished and just waiting for the baby to arrive!

Ripple pattern crocheted baby blanket

Ripple pattern baby blanket

I’m definitely ‘hooked’ on blanket making now. Once you have memorised the pattern, it’s just so relaxing, your fingers almost working on auto pilot as the rows go by. Then you have the satisfaction of seeing your blanket gradually growing until you have to make the decision to call a halt and add your edging.

With this project finished I have nothing ‘big’ on the go and my fingers are getting twitchy. I would love to do another blanket. However, as far as I know, there are no more babies on the way! So perhaps it might be a throw?  I have been having fun experimenting with different granny squares – I never realised there were so many patterns. Ah. I feel a trip to the wool shop coming on!



Easter Eggstravaganza!

Happy Easter!

When I saw this pack of beautiful felt squares, I immediately thought ‘spring’ and, in my imagination, saw Easter decorations!

Felt squares

Spring colours

That was in February. Well, nothing like leaving it to the last minute, I started my decorations on Thursday and hung them up today, Good Friday. Just in time to write this post.

So, Thursday afternoon saw me searching through my cupboard looking for some bits and bobs to go with the stash of felt.

Ribbons felt material

My spring hoard

I had real fun fiddling around and eventually decorated six eggs. As I was so short of time I had to cheat and use a glue gun to fix everything on and then spent the evening stuffing and stitching them together.

Felt egg decorations

My egg collection!

This afternoon I strung them up on ribbon and hung over the fireplace. Voila!

Felt Easter egg decorations

Easter Eggstravaganza!

Hope you have a good Easter and enjoy your yummy chocolate Easter eggs!


Crocheted Spring Flower Garland

At last I’ve finished my crocheted spring flower garland, I seem to have been working on it for ages. The idea came into my head in February. I had just put up my Valentine heart garland when The Husband remarked that he rather liked it on the mirror and that perhaps I could do one for every season. So that sounded like a challenge. I started by fiddling around with crocheting different daffodils. I looked up various patterns and adapted them to suit. I ended up with a rather pretty stash.

Crocheted spring flowers

Crocheted daffodils

Next I crocheted a long string, making it slightly wider than the one in the heart version to prevent it twisting so much. I decided to have 2 clusters of flowers either end and a smaller group in the middle.

Group of spring daffodils

End cluster

Spring daffodils

Central cluster of daffodils

Cluster of Spring flowers

End cluster








The finished product!

Crochet daffodil garland

My spring flower garland


The flowers go rather well with the green of the walls to give that ‘spring’ feel! Now I need to start thinking about a garland for the summer!

Afternoon tea revisited

Afternoon teas are very popular at the moment – as can be seen by the number of venues offering them on their menus. Afternoon tea actually began in 19th century when dinner might have been eaten quite late in the evening, so a light meal, a ‘tea’, was served in the afternoon to keep the ladies and gentleman going until the main meal.

The classic afternoon tea is as follows:

  • sandwiches with a selection of fillings
  • scones, jam and cream
  • large cake and/or fancies (small cakes)

Other options include savoury scones, tea cakes, crumpets, muffins, fruit tarts.

I thought I would like to host an afternoon tea as an alternative to a dinner party and so invited some friends round for Sunday tea.  It gave me the opportunity to do some baking, get out some of my mother’s tea service (which is barely used as it isn’t dishwasher safe) and set the table with a white embroidered  tablecloth. I was aiming for the refined, dainty look!

Best China for afternoon tea

To start off the afternoon tea, I began with a selection of sandwiches. I used a mixture of white and brown bread, crusts cut off, of course! I kept the fillings simple; egg, prawn mayonnaise, smoked salmon, beef and tomato.

Sandwiches for afternoon tea

Hot sausage rolls were also on offer. (I confess that I didn’t actually make these – but I did put them in the oven to warm up!)

Afternoon tea savoury

Hot sausage rolls

Followed by homemade scones, clotted cream and strawberry jam – the jam was also homemade, courtesy of last year’s strawberry crop.

Afternoon tea scones

Scones, clotted cream and jam

Then the cakes! This is a family favourite – chocolate cake.

Cake for afternoon tea

Family favourite

Also a fruit cake.

Fruit cake

Fruit cake

And finally some cakes my friend brought, as well as my own blackcurrant cup cakes, again using some of the blackcurrants still in the freezer from last year’s harvest. I loved using my mum’s cake stand – I’ve no idea how old it is, but so pleased it’s back in fashion.

Afternoon tea fancies

Afternoon tea fancies

There’s the table ready for guests to sit down and enjoy a good old-fashioned afternoon tea! The essential component is missing from the photo – the pot of tea! I made gallons of this!

Table set for afternoon tea

Table set for afternoon tea

Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and it was a very relaxed tea party. I have to admit that I originally thought that preparing afternoon tea would be easier than cooking for a dinner party, but I’m not so sure that I was correct. However it might not have been less ‘work’ but it did seem less stressful as there was not so much last minute cooking to be done or worrying about timings. Certainly it’s a good way to entertain families as it’s much more informal and even ‘picky’ guests will find something they would like to eat! Plus there’s always left overs to eat up!

Inspired? Have a go at hosting your own afternoon tea, it’s a great opportunity to show off your baking skills and use your best china!




Valentine Card

Here is a really great idea to make your very own Valentine’s card. I had been looking for some origami ideas and came across this heart, which inspired me to create a card for February 14th.

Origami heart


The instructions are fairly straightforwards. It looks complicated, but once you get the hang of it, it only takes a couple of minutes to make one. After I made one, I experimented with different sizes. The largest heart in this photo was made from a rectangle 21cm by 10.5cm and became a heart approx 9cm wide and 8cm high . A word of caution – the smaller they are, the trickier they are to fold.

Different sized origami hearts

Then I tried out different papers.

Origami hearts in different papers

Before long I ended up with quite a pile!

Collection of origami heartsNext step was to make a card out of this lovely selection. I decided to go for something plain and simple. I arranged 3 different sized hearts on a black background.

Valentine's card Then finished by using a gold pen to write a message.

Valentine's card with message


Well, that’s my card! There’s lots of other things you could do; try using one big heart and perhaps add a ribbon or lots of small hearts in rainbow colours. I hope this gives you the inspiration to have a go yourself as there’s nothing better than giving a unique card to someone on a special occasion.

In my last post I showed you my heart napkin rings. These are very quick to make and will give your table a personal touch. Look here for the instructions.

I’m afraid we ‘cheat’ when it come to a Valentine’s meal. The Husband and I went out for a meal last weekend at a local restaurant when there was a special deal available! We enjoyed a delicious meal and avoided the crowds and overpriced Valentine’s meal which will be on offer on 14th Feb. On Saturday we shall sit down to a 3 course meal with wine and chocolates, courtesy of Waitrose’s dine in deal. Of course, we will dine by candlelight, our heart garland on the mirror and our napkins in our special napkin rings. Who says romance is dead?

Valentine's napkin ring

Heart napkin ring