End of year review…Bring on 2018

2017 has certainly had it’s ups and it’s downs.  I am pleased  to report that it is ending on an up.  I have really enjoyed perusing back through my posts and have picked out my favourite from each month in way of  reviewing 2017 here at the nest.  Before we begin I just wanted to say a huge thank you to all of my seasoned readers, to those of you that have recently discovered this little corner of yarniness and to you if you have  just stumbled across this post by accident.

Without all of you, I would just be here, hooking and writing and hooking some more; annoying my family by taking photo’s every 2 minutes and whilst that would be ok, it is so much more fun with you dropping by and saying hi every once in a while.  You encourage me and inspire me to keep blogging about all things yarny and for that I am very grateful. 

So grab a glass of prosecco or the bottle!  or maybe a cuppa if you prefer and lets look back at 2017 here at the nest.

January 2017 

shawl crochet ayarnyrobin
crochet in bed.

2017 began with shawls, having completed x2 virus shawls I had the bug for more.  This‘ is the ‘pink shawl’ by Cecile Balladino,  and it is still one of my favourites although I still can’t call it the ‘pink shawl!’

February 2017

#yarnlove challenge 2017

I had so much fun doing the yarn love challenge during February.  A post a day was a challenge, but I relished the daily prods to share. 

I’d love to do this again in 2018. 

Here is a little link to my favourite #yarnlovechallenge post and another favourite… well I couldn’t just pick one!

March 2017

Sunday Shawl by Alia Bland
Sunday Shawl hooking

Another month another shawl…This time the beautiful Sunday Shawl by Alia Bland.  This project proved to be the perfect way to jump into spring, maybe it was those delicious pastels against the warmth of the grey.

April2017

Alpaca cake…

A milestone birthday, an alpaca birthday cake, and a graduation. I couldn’t have imagined a happier set of celebrations. I was so  blissfully unaware of the catastrophe about to beset us.

May 2017

Interlocking stitch

At least I got some crochet in whilst juggling hospital trips and the absence of a critically ill Mr R…crochet is not only my joy it’s my default when things get tough…my sanity. 

This Baby Wilmer blanket, filled me with hope, a new life just entering this world, whilst life at the nest  felt as if it had paused in some horrific nightmare.

June 2017 

yarnbomb, ayarnyrobin gate installation
yarnbomb

Mr R had prayerfully turned a corner  and our healing had begun, it was time for some fun and this yarny gate installation celebrated that!

July 2017

free dog collar crochet pattern...simple free pattern which you can crochet in under an hour
Jess… with her new crochet collar.

Still healing, but healing well! 

Small projects worked best and this ‘Oh so cute’ free dog collar pattern went down a treat with little Jess.

August 2017

C2C crochet baby blanket, crochet heart squares in paintbox cotton yarn
crochet and coffee

I fell so in love with these adorable C2C (corner to corner)hearts that I just couldn’t stop hooking them!  I couldn’t!! 

They fell off my hook so quickly that before I knew where I was I had enough for a blanket of hearts. 

I have to confess that I still need to border this lovely…yes it is still a PHD (project half done).  In my defense I just can’t decide what colour to border it in!

September 2017

crochet barefoot sandals - Corfu designed by ayarnyrobin.wordpress.com, summer feet
Corfu – Barefoot sandals

September felt much more ‘normal’ although I don’t know why…I spent a large majority of it bobbing around on a lazy river being drenched in golden sunshine on the amazing island of Corfu.  I didn’t forget about you though…look I made these barefoot sandals  by the pool… here’s the link to the free pattern just in case you fancy a pretty 20 minute hook up!

October 2017

Autumn woodland walks a plenty, a suprising wildlife sighting and family…I am so blessed.

November 2017

The Grandma Dot Tea Cosy, crochet tea cosy, The Grandma Collection by ayarnyrobin
Grandma Dot Tea Cosy

Finally, the release of my newest tea cosy in the Grandma Collection…the Grandma Dot tea cosy.  I don’t know why this took me so long to publish but it did.  Anyway, thank you for your frankly very kind feedback about this free pattern…there will be another one coming very shortly in the new year.

December 2017

loom knitted hat, ayarnyrobin
loom knitted beanie…

I told you 2017 ended on an up…the hat fit!

Enough said. 

Thank you 2017 for the joy, for the triumphs, for the challenge and even for the heartbreak…for all the folk that have stood alongside me whether that has been for a few minutes, a few days or for those lifers that are always cheering me on… you know who you are.  

Finally, thank you once again to you, for riding this journey with me… I think you are amazing and want to wish you all a very blessed and  extremely yarny 2018…

wherever it may take you.

xxxxx

 

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Just in time for Christmas…

I just wanted to bob in and out quickly to let you know I did it…I got the hat done and this time it fits!

What do you think?

loom knitted hat, ayarnyrobin
loom knitted beanie…

I am really pleased with it! 

I used Stylecraft Special Chunky in Midnight and King Cole Tonal Chunky in Misty Teal this time and this seems to have made all the difference in terms of size and stretch.  It still needs to stretch a bit…it is an only just fit, but I am hoping it will stretch a little more as it gets worn.  The hats I have made previously have always stretched a bit when worn. 

If you are interested in the pattern details the links to such can be found in this post. I modified the brim slightly by adding a row of double crochet to the bottom of the brim once I had taken it off the loom.  I found the edge curled outwards otherwise and didn’t lie flat.  I think this may have something to do with my cast on technique and being a novice loom knitter!

So there it is… just in time for Christmas! 

I would recommend this pattern if you are still outstanding a hand made gift for Christmas…4 hours and I had this knocked out, so there is still time!

Talking of which if you do celebrate this festive season then I wish you a peaceful and very happy Christmas.    If you are not celebrating then I wish you a happy and crafty weekend.  I will try and pop by before the new year, I’m sure I will feel the need to escape the madness at some point.

xxxxx

Picture Perfect…

A picture perfect weekend…

With all this snow, I have started another hat…let’s see if I can make this one to fit Mr R’s head this time!!! 

Yes, the countdown to Christmas has begun at the nest. 

xxxxx

Hats life!

Thank you so much for your hat suggestions, I have really enjoyed looking at them and reading your thoughts about them. In the end I went with a loom knitted hat, inspired in part by a post I read by Kagibari ami unravelled and a forgotten find in the back of a wardrobe. 

Do you remember this?

No! 

Well if I am honest, I had forgotten about it too and seemingly abandoned it in the back of a wardrobe. 

This was my first dabble with loom knitting and on closer inspection, it was a bit holey and I could not remember what pattern I was using or where I had got up to.  So after  falling into the abyss of you tube and loosing myself for almost a whole day, I set my beating heart  upon this pattern

bicolour brioche stitch hat  by Tuteate.

loom knitted beanie hat

I unravelled the yarn from my loom, and began again… only this time I was making a beanie hat for Mr. R. 

loom knitting beanie hat

 

Oh! how I loved knitting and purling, even if I did have to rip it back 3 times…yes 3 times!!!! to start over and make an emergency dash to the habadashery shop when I snapped my loom pick as my tension was too tight! 

loom knitting beanie hat

When I saw those knitted stripes in perfect formation I didn’t care that my fingers hurt a little or that I had ceased all work on my Charming Harbour Blanket for my new love.

loom knitted beanie hat

I soldiered on until the end, enjoying every knit stitch and every purl stitch until I cast off and realised…

loom knitted beanie hatthis beautiful beanie would not be gracing the fair head of Mr R at all because it was just too small…

but it did fit my little birthday Robin and doesn’t he look dandy in it?

birthday robin

and just in time for the snow!

snow

xxxxx

 

Grandma Mary Tea Cosy Pattern

captureThis is a very pretty tea cosy, perfect for keeping your teapot dressed in style and your tea hot.  It is the first of a series of tea cosies which make up the Grandma collection.

 

Grandma Mary Tea Cosy

Dedicated to the inspiration that was ‘Mary’ the pattern has flowers made on a small flower loom, which are inexpensive to buy and relatively easy to use.  I purchased mine for about £3.

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  The pattern makes a tea cosy that fits a standard 4 cup teapot

I used just under  50g of Rico baby classic dk yarn in colourway (026)

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and scraps of yarn.

  I used scraps of stylecraft special dk in the following colourway (nb/the mint is Stylecraft life dk)

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Stitches used in this pattern refer to English terminology, however a conversion to US terminology is provided in brackets.

Ch – chain stitch 

slst – slip stitch

dc – double crochet ( single crochet)

dc tog – double crochet together (single crochet together)

You will also need:

a small flower loom

a 4mm hook

a darning needle

scraps of yarn to use as temporary tie markers 

scraps of yarn to make flowers 

a string of beads 50cms long

50cms of lace 0.5cms broad

a stitch marker

Top Tip: safety pins make excellent stitch markers! 

Ok, here we go…

Ch 80 and join with a slst to form a circle (before completing the slst make sure chain is not twisted).

WP_20160829_13_15_50_ProIt is a good idea to check at this point that the circle of chains fits around your teapot. (see end of pattern for instructions about adjusting pattern).

Row 1: Ch1 (mark with a stitch marker, does not count as a dc), dc in each ch around

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finish with a slst in ch marked with a stitch marker taking care that work is not twisted when completing the slst. (80dc).

Row 2: Ch1 (remove stitch marker from previous row and place in this ch, does not count as a dc)

WP_20160829_15_08_41_ProDc in each st around, finishing with a slst in ch marked with a stitch marker. (80 dc).

Rows 3 – 5: repeat row 2

WP_20160829_15_45_36_ProRow 6: Ch 1 (remove st marker from previous row and place in this ch, does not count as a dc), 1dc in next 14sts, mark next st with a tie marker (different colour yarn which will be removed later – I just tied a bow in red yarn!) see picture below.

WP_20160831_11_11_30_Proslst in same st as tie marker and in next 6 sts  and mark last slst with a second tie marker as shown in the picture above.  This is where the spout hole starts!

 

1dc in next 33sts, mark next st with a third tie marker, slst in same st as tie marker and in next 4 sts, mark the last slst with a fourth tie marker. This is where the hole for the handle starts!

1dc in next 21 sts, slst in ch marked with a stitch marker. (35dc, 7slst, 33dc, 5slst). Fasten off.

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This next part of the pattern is worked in rows as side (a) and side (b) and forms the sides of the cosy.

So let’s do side (a) first…

Row 7a: Join yarn in st next to the 4th tie marker and to the right hand side of the stitch markerWP_20160831_11_30_09_Pro

ch1 (does not count as a dc), 1dc in next 35 sts to next tie marker, turn.

Row 8a: ch1 (does not count as a dc), 1dc in next 35sts to tie marker, turn.

Rows 9a – 25a: repeat row 8a, fasten off.

WP_20160831_13_15_48_ProOK, now let’s do side (b).  Turn over work and join yarn in st next to  second tie marker on the right as shown.

WP_20160831_13_16_27_ProRow 7b: ch1 (does not count as a dc), 1dc in next 33 sts to next tie marker, turn.

Row 8b: ch1 (does not count as a dc), 1dc in next 33 sts to next tie marker, turn. Rows 9b – 24b: repeat row 8b.

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Row 25b: ch1 (does not count as a dc), 1dc in next 33sts to next tie marker, ch5,

slst into 1st st on row 25a as shown.

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WP_20160902_12_43_31_ProAgain, this is a good point to check the cosies fit on your tea pot.  We return to working in the round again now.

So Row 26: Ch1 (mark with a stitch marker…NB/ this ch does count as a dc), dc in next 34sts, ch7,

WP_20160902_12_50_01_Prodc in next 33sts,

WP_20160902_13_13_20_Prodc in next ch5, slst into ch marked by stitch marker. (80dc).

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Row 27: ch1 (remove stitch marker from previous row and place stitch marker in this ch, counts as a dc), dc in next 34sts, dc in next 7chs

wp_20160906_15_14_56_prodc in next 38sts, slst in ch marked with the stitch marker. (80dc)

wp_20160906_15_39_50_prowp_20160906_15_39_34_proIt is now time to start decreasing the number of stitches to form the top of the cosy.  To do this a dc tog stitch is introduced.  Top Tip: each row that uses dc tog stitches finishes on a dc tog before slst in to ch marked with st marker!  Here we go…

Row 29: ch1 (remove stitch marker from previous row and place in this ch, counts as a dc), dc in next 5sts, dc tog in next st, *dc in next 6sts, dc tog in next st*

repeat * -* around,

finish with a slst in ch marked with stitch marker. (72dc). 

wp_20160909_13_18_43_proRow 30: ch1 (remove stitch marker from previous row and place in this ch, counts as a dc), dc in each st around, finishing with a slst in ch marked with stitch marker. (72dc).

Row 31: ch1 (remove stitch marker from previous row and place in this ch, counts as a dc), dc in next 3 sts, dc tog in next st,  

* dc in next 4 sts, dc tog in next st *, repeat *-* around,

finishing with a slst in ch marked with stitch marker. (60dc).

  Row 32: ch1 (remove stitch marker from previous row and place in this ch, counts as a dc), dc in each st around,

finishing with a slst in ch marked with stitch marker. (60dc).

Row 33: ch1 (remove stitch marker from previous row and place in this ch, counts as a dc), dc in next 2sts, dc tog in next st, * dc in next 3sts, dc tog in next st *, repeat *-* around,

finishing with a slst in ch marked with stitch marker. (48dc).

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Row 34: ch1 (remove stitch marker from previous row and place in this ch, counts as dc),

dc in each st around, finishing with a slst in ch marked with stitch marker. (48dc).

Row 35: ch1 (remove stitch marker from previous row and place in this ch, counts as dc), dc in next st, dc tog in next st,

* dc in next 2 sts, dc tog in next st *, repeat *-* around, finishing with a slst in ch marked with stitch marker. (36dc). 

Row 36: ch1 (remove stitch marker from previous row and place in this ch, counts as dc), dc in each stitch around, finishing with a slst in ch marked with stitch marker. (36dc). 

Row 37: ch1 (remove stitch marker from previous row and place in this ch, counts as dc), dc tog in next st,

* dc in next st, dc tog in next st *

repeat *-* around, finishing with slst in ch marked with stitch marker. (24dc).

wp_20160909_14_58_12_proRow 38: ch1 (remove stitch marker from previous row and place in this ch, counts as dc), dc in each st around, finish by slst into ch marked with stitch marker. (24dc). 

Row 39:ch1 (remove stitch marker from previous row and place in this ch, counts as dc), dc tog in next st,

* dc tog in next st * repeat *-* around, finish with a slst in ch marked by stitch marker. (12dc).

Row 40:repeat row 39 (6dc).

Row 41: repeat row 39 (3dc). Fasten off.

wp_20160909_15_17_19_proYou should have something that resembles the above …now its time to make the flowers!!!

If you don’t know how to make loom flowers they are simple to make.  I highly recommend you watch a tutorial…I found this one excellent…

loom bloom video tutorial

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Make

x8 white / violet flowers

x10 raspberry flowers

x9 pale rose / plum flowers

all flowers to have the same colour centre…I used mint.  Leave long tails on each flower to make attaching them easier.

Keep back x1 raspberry, x1 white, x1 pale rose and x1 plum flower.

Begin to attach the rest of the flowers to the top of the tea cosy using the long tails and  darning needle.

wp_20160918_19_54_15_proContinue around

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 Evenly attaching the flowers…

wp_20160918_20_32_27_proOnce attached turn tea cosy inside out and tie of all loose ends

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Snipping to make tidy.

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 Next, take the lace. Turning the tea cosy inside out tack the lace around the edge of the opening for the spout and the handle.

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Turn, the cosy back to the right side; you should now have a cosy that is beginning to look very pretty indeed…

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Taking the string of beads, thread a darning needle with some raspberry coloured yarn and tie a large knot.

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 Starting at the bottom side of the handle hole pull the needle through from the inside of the cosy to the outside so that the knot cannot be seen.

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Begin to tack between each bead, fixing them in a line around the cosy towards the spout hole.wp_20160924_13_13_06_prowp_20160924_13_15_29_proOnce at the spout hole, snip the beads, turn cosy over and repeat on side b.

wp_20160925_16_57_02_proFinally, attach raspberry coloured flower at the bottom of the handle hole in the space between the beads.

wp_20160925_17_05_30_prowp_20160925_17_08_50_proAttach remaining white, pale rose and plum flower in space between the beads at the bottom of the spout hole. Weave in any remaining loose ends.

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Just one last thing left to do now.  Boil the kettle and make a brew…enjoy and admire.

NB/ TIPS FOR ALTERING THE SIZE OF THE cosy…regularly check the size of the cosy on your teapot.  The body of the cosy has the same amount of stitches as row 1, if yours is more or less than 80sts then keep the number of sts you have up to row 28  in order to create the handle and spout holes, place around your teapot and mark with tie markers as described then count your sts between each marker and substitute your numbers into the pattern.

xxxxx

Grandma Mary Tea Cosy part of the Grandma Collection ©2016 designed by Nicola Florence @ayarnyrobin

The Grandma Mary Tea Cosy

captureIntroducing the ‘Grandma Mary’ tea cosy…the first in the Grandma Collection

Grandma Mary Tea Cosy

Dedicated to my Grandma Mary who was a truly inspirational woman.  Born in October 1916 and christened Vera Mary, she grew up in England in the West Midlands and trained as a primary school teacher.  I was privileged to have had her in my life for 34 years before she left this world at the grand old age of 94.  Granny Mary played a huge part in nurturing my creativity as a little girl, teaching me how to make pompoms and to French knit  using a wooden cotton reel and some nails that my Grandad would have made.  She was a gentle and patient woman, who always had a smile and a piece of chocolate.  I once asked her what the best invention of her life time had been and without hesitation she quipped…’washing up liquid!’ 

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Granny Mary worked hard, but always took time to make things pretty… whether that was pansies in the garden, geraniums in the porch, sugar on a peeled apple, a pretty apron whilst doing the housework or a tea cosy for the teapot.   

Prettiness was important because it was the way she cared for people  and her care was a true blessing. 

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So this cosy had to be pretty, in colours that evoke memories of her and of course had to be covered in flowers.

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  The beads at the bottom of the cosy actually belonged to her.  I  have a bag of broken plastic beads that she gave me – she never threw anything away! 

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I am honoured to put them to good use…I think she would be really very pleased with their new use.

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So that is the Grandma Mary tea cosy in all of its glory, here is the pattern linky thing.

xxxxx

A looming bouquet

You may remember back in April I had to open my birthday present a whole week early to prevent insanity prevailing…you can read about it just here if you feel the urge to do so!

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Well despite my many Phd’s I began another…I really couldn’t help it.  In my defence this project won’t ever become a phd as it only takes ten little minutes to make each one…

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Aren’t these little loom blooms the sweetest yarny flowers ever?

They have made me extremely happy.  So happy infact that I found it quite difficult to leave my current yarny nirvana to come and share with you this delight. 

So, if you will excuse me I’m off to finish a looming bouquet.

xxxxx

 

 

 

My PHD!

I thought it about time I returned, I know its been a while and it has been far longer than I had planned.  So I return with a familiar confession. 

I have come to realise that I am actually not as clever as I like to think and so this post is about my PHD….Projects Half Done!  I much prefer this to the acronym WIP (works in progress) as PHD sounds so much more positive and well….lets be frank; what I am about to show you is not in progress.  Not even by any stretch of the imagination!  Abandoned may be a better description.

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 So, first out of the box is the baby blanket awaiting  the hooking of one final square and then construction.  So close to a finish, but I need some more cotton.

InstagramCapture_b1e1474d-aadc-4596-9ef3-9d5bcd71e7d0Then there is this linen stitch blanket…I abandoned hooking because I felt my design may be a bit to fussy…I’m undecided.  Do I continue or rip it back and reclaim the wool?….I’ve done that before.

WP_20160403_19_24_13_ProThen there is my knitting loom project, a sumptuous alpaca cowl…I really must restart this…if I can remember how to that is!

WP_20160522_00_14_07_ProThe rainbow V stitch blanket is still on the go, not abandoned at all but most definitely a PHD!

And it is with this in mind I need you all to do me a small favour…if you don’t mind that is.  If you ever read my words that might even hint I am going to study again then I would like you to hit me over the head with something very heavy!!!

xxxxx

Where did that week go!

Well where did that last week go to?  

With only about 8 waking hours left of the spring break, to cram in as much  fun as possible…I will leave you with some photo’s which capture my week.

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Hope you a  had a good week

xxxxx

Take a little look at this…

I couldn’t help it, I know I shouldn’t have: but I have been feeling very overwhelmed with this…

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For the most part I can convince myself with the romantic notion of  setting my boys a good example of being a hard working Momma at University, with striving ambition and an avid determination to follow your dreams.  But, (huge sigh and just a little teardrop!)…right now it sucks!  So you see I couldn’t help but open my birthday present a whole week early.

wp_20160403_19_25_09_proIt is helping me with my mental health as I am so busy concentrating on learning a new skill, that there is no room for anxious thoughts about essays.

WP_20160403_19_24_13_ProSeed stitch…oh yeah!

xxxxx