Random hooky – crochet dishcloths

Thanks so much for the lovely comments about my little elephant! I am always so pleased to hear from you and thank you for taking the time to write :)

It was The Bert’s birthday on Friday – a low key affair, that was rounded off with a delicious meal in the evening. I couldn’t be bothered to cook, so instead bought a couple of the Charlie Bigham steak and ale pies from Waitrose. Ooh they were so scrumptious, served up with chips and green veg. I don’t know if it’s because our bellies were still digesting but we didn’t feel up to doing much on Saturday so had a very leisurely sort of day: a pootle around town in the morning, quite a lot of sitting, reading etc while Little Bert (everyone says our son is the spitting image of his dad!) had his nap, then a mooch around a village fete and then while The Bert did Little Bert’s dinner, a spot of hooky.

I have a LOT of projects on the go, some started recently and some that have been waiting an age to get finished up. I really should be working on the pink and grey blanket, but I just fancied doing a quick and easy something that required little thought. So I rummaged through my basket and fished out the dishcloth I started a couple of months ago.

It was my mum’s fault that I started the dishcloth. She had been in town during one of her visits to see me and popped into my local wool shop and got talking to the lovely ladies in there and came home with some handicraft cotton and instructions for knitting a dishcloth. Well, of course I wanted to crochet one so went and bought my own yarn supplies.

  
After a bit of looking on the internet, I found some lovely dishcloth patterns from Petals to Picot, and made a start on the Crunchy Stitch dishcloth pattern. The pattern is really easy to follow and my final cloth measures 8.5″ square. I seem to remember I did a few more chains for the first row to make it this size.

   
I really enjoyed making something that required little thought and was nice and repetitive, and didn’t take too long to complete. So I thought I’d try one of the other patterns: the textured crochet dishcloth. For some reason I found this one very hard to master. I wanted my cloths to be the same size and I must have unravelled and re-done the first couple of rows at least five times before it worked out ok and I was into a good rhythm. And then I ran out of yarn! Grrrrr! So, despite buying more cotton, the cloth has remained untouched in my basket for several months. But luckily I found it easy to pick up where I left off, joining in the new ball of yarn. 

  
There, did it. Although not sure what happened as it’s not exactly square. Looks a bit like a slice of toast. Anyway, really pleased with them both and now just have to bring myself to use them! I reckon with a different pattern you’d get two cloths out of one ball of cotton, so they’d work out £1 each, which isn’t too bad and I’m sure they’ll last a lot longer than bought cloths. Plus I had the enjoyment of making them.

  
Today has been Father’s Day here in the UK, and we’ve had a nice family day. Little Bert and I were doing stickers and colouring in a card for The Bert at 7am this morning. LB is an early riser and usually up for the day at 5.15am… It’s exhausting but at least we were able to do something constructive with our early start today! 

  
We enjoyed a Sunday lunch at a local pub and then this afternoon The Bert took Little Bert to the park to feed the ducks.

   
 He absolutely loves being outside and spotting things in nature and has a very keen eye, pointing out birds that I’d struggle to notice without his help. And he’s a brilliant mimic for animal sounds, copying with scary accuracy the sound of ducks, crows, dogs etc. I think that’s why he’s doing so well with his talking – he’s saying about 50 words now and able to join words together (e.g. Daddy’s shoes, big bubbles) – again, something I’d never expected from a 15month old! I can’t believe how quickly he is growing up.

Anyway, I hope that you’ve had a great weekend. And do make some dishcloths if you fancy a mindless make… (If you have any other patterns for me to try, please share!).

Jones x

Posted in crochet, family, General chit chat | 1 Comment

Edward’s Menagerie :: Elephant

I mentioned in my last post that I had a few projects to share with you and this is the first.

Crochet elephantWhen I was at Yarndale last year I passed a gorgeous stall full of wool in natural tones and at the front of it all a display of lots of crochet animals hanging up. If you were there, did you see it too? The animals were from the pattern book Edward’s Menagerie.Edward's Menagerie pattern book

 

I didn’t actually buy a book from the show but I couldn’t stop thinking about it afterwards and how perfect it would be as present for my friend Emma who is very talented with her crochet hook at creating lovely toys. She made a beautiful cat for our Little Man when he was born::

Crochet catIsn’t it gorgeous?

So anyway, I found a copy of the book and ordered it for her Christmas present. When it arrived I realised how lovely all the patterns were and how brilliant the book was as all of the animals follow the same basic pattern of standard body and legs and then there are few changes for ears or to the faces and tails… I obviously dropped a lot of hints about this book as it turned up under the tree as one of my Christmas presents too!

I decided that I wanted to make one of the animals as a new baby present for my friend. The elephant. It seemed like a good starting point as the book said it was one of the more straightforward patterns.  As it turned out, Emma was also making an elephant as a new baby present for one of her friends too!

I started the pattern on the Easter weekend while we were away at The Bert’s mums and spent the following weeks finishing off and sewing together. I’d chosen a colour-changing ball of wool to make him from as I really liked the effect on a knitted monkey Little Man had been given by my father-in-law’s wife. What a smashing little chap, so dapper in his scarf::

Knitted monkey Knitted monkeyI soon realised that my wool wasn’t changing quickly enough to achieve the same effect as the monkey. I have to say on more than one occasion I considered starting again with less garish wool, especially when Emma sent me photos of her finished elephant – here he is, I told you she was a clever bean!

Grey crochet elephant

What an inquisitive little fellow!

I kept going though and mine turned out pretty well (if a little bright!)::

Crochet elephant Crochet elephant sitting side on Back of crochet elephant
The perfect size for little hands. I hope my friend’s new baby daughter thinks so!

The crochet was quite straightforward to make the elephant. The main thing is the counting to check you’ve got the right number of stitches in each round. However, the thought of sewing it together was quite daunting – I was pleased to be able to ask Emma for advice and to find this helpful video on YouTube.

I’m definitely going to make some of the other patterns in the book. But I’m not sure I would use such colourful wool again. It was a bit mental! I don’t think I’d use completely natural tones, but maybe something more harmonious. The project I’m working on at the moment is giving me the opportunity for that – I’m doing a blanket in these colours::

Balls of Stylecraft Special DK Balls of Stylecraft Special DK

It’s Stylecraft Special DK in cream, pale rose, grape, raspberry, silver, grey and graphite.

Ooh I just love them together. I’ll show you more of that project another day! Actually, I really have to get cracking on that blanket. There’s been way too much procrastination lately…

In the meantime, I hope you’re all well and life is good.

Jones x

Posted in amigurumi, crochet, General chit chat | 4 Comments

A blanket for bunny

Isn’t it funny how you can have a new project list as long as your arm, a handful of projects that need finishing off but then another project comes along out of the blue and gets finished in no time at all? This is exactly what happened to me the weekend before Easter (I’m behind on the blogging, aren’t I! – actually I found most of this written in my drafts, so I thought I may as well finish it off before I share any more recent news with you…).

I went home for the weekend with our Little Man to my parents as my sister and nieces were over from Amsterdam and it was a good excuse to all get together. The Bert was in Madagascar and was only getting back on the Friday, so he didn’t join us, but instead could recover from his trip and crack on with some DIY that he wanted to do.

Anyway, we had a really lovely time just being together – we spent a lot of time sitting around, watching the littlies playing – my eldest niece will be 3 this summer, my little niece is 1 at the end of May and our near-toddler was 1 in Feb, so everyone was busy and on the move and trying to get involved. It was very sweet to see!

My parents still live in the house I came home from hospital to and I really love going back to visit and the familiarity of it all. In fact my bedroom still has lots of my things in it (sorry mum and dad!) and looks like the teenage me just popped out for a bit.

Back to the impromptu project… On the Friday night, I spotted a little bag of knitted squares in the kitchen and asked my mum what she was making. It turned out that the squares had been made by her Aunt, who sadly passed away last month, at the ripe age of 90-something. There were 11 squares in total, all knitted in this pale blue wool… They were a bit wobbly but definitely useable and pretty impressive given that her eyesight wasn’t that good towards the end. Mum said she wasn’t sure what to do with the squares, so I suggested we could make a little blanket for my eldest niece to play with. My sister said that sounded like a great idea as every night at bedtime she lines up all her bunnies next to her in her bed and they might like a little blanket to sleep under!

So we set to work. My sister chose the best of the squares, 9 in total, and mum sewed in all the ends while I crocheted them together. Dad oversaw proceedings in between dozing in the chair!

By the Saturday they were all joined and had a simple white border edging. Mum got out her wool stash and we asked little O what colour she’d like to see next on the blanket. ‘Purple. Purple for today and green for tomorrow.’ We weren’t entirely sure what that would entail(!), so stuck with a simple scallop border in the purple.

Crochet and knitted blanket for bunny ©The House of JonesBorder of bunny's blanket ©The House of JonesThe little blanket for bunny was finished!

Crochet blanket and bunny ©The House of JonesHe seemed quite happy with it!

Crochet blanket and bunny ©The House of JonesMy niece was quite excited when we showed her on the Sunday and we tucked bunny up for a little sleep on the floor and then on the sofa. So cute! And then, after a bit of persuasion, she lay down next to bunny for a pretend sleep under the blanket too!

Pretending to sleep ©The House of Jones

Although it was only a small and quick thing, it was lovely to be able to make it. I was glad mum had a big bag of wool and that I travel with my crochet hooks on me… I bet her Aunt would be really pleased to see her squares turned into something new. I wonder what she had planned for them?

Since that weekend, I’ve been busy on the crochet and have completed a present for my friend’s new baby that is due in the next couple of weeks, and I’ve made a lot of progress on a blanket for another friend that is expecting in May. I’m hoping to update you on these, and the project I’ve been making our son, soon!

Until then, have a happy week and hope the sun is shining with you,

Jones x

Posted in Being an Auntie, crochet, family, General chit chat | 1 Comment

The end of a wonderful year

The Friday before last our Little Man turned one. I’m finding it hard to believe that my baby has reached this milestone already. In some ways it feels like we’ve arrived at this point far too quickly and yet at the same time it seems like an age ago that I was holding my little boy for the very first time. I remember them passing him to me and me asking The Bert if our baby was a boy or a girl. ‘It’s a boy’ he said. ‘Are you sure?’ I replied. I’m not sure why I thought this was the time for jokes!

And here we are 12 months later and our Little Man is a proper little boy. Not quite walking, but extremely active – he can crawl at quite a pace, climb the stairs and happily cruises round holding onto the furniture or his brick trolley.

He’s a happy, chatty chap and already knows quite a few words, and signs too (we’ve done baby signing with him since he was 4 months old). It’s quite amazing really that he can already communicate so effectively with us. He can say ‘there’, ‘up’, ‘down’, ‘mama’, ‘dada’ as well as animal noises for duck, bird, snake, lion, monkey, sheep and rabbit. He loves making car noises and zooming his cars around on the floor. And he can sign lots of words too: more, drink, light, car, aeroplane, helicopter, duck, snake, dog, bird, crocodile, home… and this week he’s shown that he also knows giraffe and bee! Wow, that’s the first time I’ve sat down and listed it all! And the amount he understands is quite astounding. He has quite a sense of humour already too – sometimes he’ll offer you something and then just as you go to take it, he snatches it back with a big grin, giggling and shaking his head! I don’t think I’d really comprehended that he’d be doing so much by his first birthday.

We had a little party at home on the day itself for family – my parents and The Bert’s mum came to help us celebrate which was lovely. And then we had a little joint party on the Sunday with some other little ones that were also turning one in February. There was quite a feast:

Party table ©The House of Jones

Mealtime started early for one of his little pals!

Now, everyone knows that birthdays mean cake and I’d been planning what to do for quite a few months. A lion cake! A roar was the first animal noise he mastered and it remains his best and most convincing. I typed into Google image search ‘Lion cake’ and it came up with a wonderful selection of pictures. One really caught my eye and I thought maybe if I tried really hard I would be able to make something similar, which is what I did! Ta dah!

Finished lion cake ©The House of JonesYessss! So chuffed with it!

Here it is during the final assembly:

Lion cake cupcakes ©The House of Jones

Lion cake cupcakes ©The House of Jones

I found it quite hard to fill the piping bag with the three colours. There must be an easy way to do it but I muddled through and they turned out well in the end. I thought the main cake was going to be the part I struggled with but that went reasonably well. I did a buttercream crumb coat and then another layer of buttercream before the final yellow fondant. The Bert was in charge of the eyes, aren’t they good!

Lion cake face ©The House of JonesLion cake in the making ©The House of JonesLion cake almost done ©The House of JonesLion cake ©The House of JonesFinished lion cake ©The House of Jones1st birthday lion cake ©The House of Jones
I just loved the profile of the cake! In hindsight I probably should have trimmed the spaghetti whiskers even more than I did, but pfffff we won’t worry about that!

Slicing into the lion cake ©The House of Jones

The design of the cake worked well for our guests as I was able to make the cupcakes gluten free for my mum and mother-in-law, keeping the main cake full of gluten for the rest of us! However, it wasn’t baby friendly at all so I’m afraid the birthday boy didn’t sample any – he seemed happy enough with some raisins though and I did a sugar free banana cake for the little people party on the Sunday which was a big hit, and meant his birthday wasn’t completely devoid of cake!

And now the birthday is over, a new year in his life has begun and it’s all change for both of us as my maternity leave comes to an end. I’m starting back at work tomorrow and my little boy will be going to nursery. I feel mixed emotions about going back but I think it will be good for both of us, even if I feel apprehensive about it at the moment. I know I am very lucky to have been able to take a full year off and enjoy so many special moments every day with my son. It’s been a really wonderful year.

Jones x

Posted in baking, Birthday, cupcakes, General chit chat, Home | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Collecting happies

Hiya lovelies, how are you? Do you have snow? It is cold here, but the sun is out and that is making me happy! In fact, it seems like the perfect day to share a little thing I’m doing this year. I was inspired by a picture I saw shared on Facebook and I immediately loved the idea of it – a Happy Jar!

My Happy Jar ©The House of Jones

If you’ve been visiting me for a while, you’ll know that two years ago I attempted to join in with Little Birdie‘s 52 weeks of happy – documenting four small (or big!) things that had made me happy each week. It was a series of posts that I really enjoyed writing and part of me was quite sad that I fell behind and ultimately never made it to the end. Although 35/52 wasn’t a bad effort! You can read all of my happy posts here.

I’m hoping that this Happy Jar will be much easier and allow for more flexibility. I’m sure I’m a bit late to the Happy Jar/Good Things Jar party, but in case you’re not familiar the idea is that you jot down on a piece of paper a happy little something, fold it up and pop it in the jar. Then at the end of the year you sit down and dip into the jar or read them all and look back over the memories of the last 12 months.

I’ve decided to try and record one happy a day. I’m sure there’ll be times when I forget but I’m not going to let that stop me like it did with the 52 weeks of happy. So far though I’m doing well, in fact I’ve had a couple of days when I’ve written several as I couldn’t choose just one happy moment! Mostly it is just little things, memories, funny things that have been said, nice things that made me smile… yesterday’s was that my daffodils were opening and bringing some cheer to the place. I’m trying to keep it broad rather than just the new and exciting things our little boy is doing (as I have another place where I record that kind of thing) – although I am constantly amazed by how much he is learning at the moment. It’s a new thing every day!

Daffodils opening, on the dresser ©The House of Jones

I’m encouraging The Bert to add to the jar if and when he wants to as well (I don’t think he has just yet, he usually leaves these sorts of activities to me!), and when my parents were visiting last week I showed them the Happy Jar and said if they fancied popping something in from their stay then that would be lovely too – which they did! (probably because I was less breezy with my invitation and more ‘have you added something to my jar yet?’ about it!).

Fancy joining in? I don’t think it’s too late if you’d like to create your own Happy Jar, and you could make it as simple or fancy as you like. For mine I used:

  • an old large Kilner jar that I had lying around – we had used it to make sloe gin but bottled it up just before Christmas for gifts (not realising that it actually wasn’t that nice, oops). This seemed like a great next use for the jar, although judging by how full it is after one month maybe I should have gone bigger!
  • a lovely label – a few weeks in, I stumbled across the perfect label for my jar from Vicky Barone. How lovely to find a free download – that made me Happy! But if you like drawing or are good with computer graphics then you could make your own.
  • bright, coloured paper – I started just using some plain paper to record my memories but when I saw Vicky’s jar I knew I wanted something a bit more fun too, so I picked up a stash of coloured paper and used my new paper cutter which I got for Christmas (sooo thrilled!) to make 7x7cm squares. And then, because I am quite particular about these sorts of things, I copied out the ones I’d already written onto my new jolly squares, folded them up and dropped them in. Luckily there were only about 10 to re-do.

Cutting paper ©The House of Jones

And that’s it! I reckon this will be lovely to keep long-term too. Imagine looking back through all your notes in 10 years time!

Do let me know if you decide to start one too, or if you do this already, or if you have another way of remembering the little things as I’d love to get ideas for next year.

My happy for today?

Feb 4th little happy ©The House of Jones

Jones x

Posted in Craft, Flowers, General chit chat, Home | 7 Comments

Time to blog

Hello lovelies!

Wow, it has been an absolute age since I was last here writing on my little blog. I’m sorry to those of you that have kindly followed me, I’m sure you’ll have given up on me by now.

The thing is, I so desperately WANT to write, but I’m really struggling on finding the time. I’ve always thought that you find time to do the things you want, and if I reaLLY wanted to do it then somehow a moment in the day would be found. So maybe I have just been content enjoying life and not really too fussed about blogging about it? But I have missed it. And I very much hope that I will be able to make time to tell you about oh so many things that I’ve been wanting to share…

Like, the crochet blanket I made for my brand new niece (last May)… The gingerbread men that I was addicted to hooking around Christmas time… And the mobile that I’m making for my son’s nursery (I started it when I was pregnant, the plan was to finish it before the baby arrived but I got distracted as usual! So now I’m doing the final few things to have it all done in time for his 1st birthday in 3 weeks time, eek where did that year go?!).
But for now, I just wanted to share this lovely drawing that I received in a Christmas card… It’s just started snowing here (don’t think it will settle) and I instantly thought of the lovely house that been drawn for us…

IMG_1115

You might recognise the style of the drawing – black pen lines neatly outlining the sweet little picture of my little family at home in the snow? Yes, this wonderful drawing was in a card from Bunny Mummy and I will treasure it always! The Bert and I would love to live in a double-fronted house, maybe one day! Thank you, so much, Jacquie. I also loved the little picture on the back of the envelope, it made me smile so much…

IMG_1116

And the card itself reminded me of ‘Tom Tit’ that usually finds a hiding place somewhere in Jacquie’s drawings!

IMG_1117

Anyway, as predicted the snow hasn’t settled and it’s stopped again now. Short-lived excitement! And I’m afraid the rest of the news and updates will have to wait as I fear that my little one will wake any moment! But a very happy 2015 (belated) to everyone and I hope to be back again soon.
Jones x

Posted in General chit chat, Home | 3 Comments

Mandala for Yarndale

You know that bandwagon that’s been storming around blog land and craft groups? Yes, the Mandala band wagon? Well, I’ve hopped on!! Whuuu whuuu!

I’ve been stealing moments while our Little Man has been napping or content playing on his own. Moments which probably should have been spent tidying or cleaning but hey ho!!
Little Man is napping a bit more in the day now and usually in bed (and most importantly, asleep!) by 8.30pm, so I’ve found some time in the evenings too to craft. It’s felt good!

I’ve not made a Mandala before, ooh but I can see that this won’t be my first and last – bit addictive this colour play, isn’t it!

I followed the Spring Mandala pattern on Made in K-town to begin with, until I realised that I’d overlooked the sizing… hmmm that wasn’t going to be big enough for Lucy.

And so I freestyled the following rounds til I hit the right size. So happy with the result!!!

Mandala for Yarndale ©The House of JonesI used Stylecraft Special DK in white, fondant, pomegranate, sherbert, aster and demin. I used a 4mm hook, and the final Mandala measures 20cm across.

I really love it! the colours just look so fresh and inviting.

I’m going to attempt now to write out the pattern for the rows – not in detail, just hopefully enough information in case you fancy a go yourself. You’ll find detailed information for the first 7 rounds on the Made in K-town pattern.

**Just to save confusion, I’ve written out those initial rounds in UK terms, which is how I’ve written my final rounds for the Mandala – if you hop over to Made in K-town, the pattern is written in US terms**

  • Round 1: Magic ring, *1 tr, ch1* x 12
  • Round 2: *1dc, ch2* in each space from R1
  • Round 3: *tr3tog, ch3* in each ch2 space from R2
  • Round 4: work 4tr in each ch3 space from R3
  • Round 5: work surface stitches between the tr of R4
  • Round 6: a double round worked into the stitches of R5
  • 6a: work *1tr, ch2, skip one stitch* around, join with slst to first tr, finish off
  • 6b: (new colour!) fold the stitches you’ve just made a little bit to the front and repeat round 6a, working into the stitches you’ve skipped before, finish off
  • Round 7: work 3dc into the ch2-spaces of the previous round, finish off. Make sure you insert your hook into both spaces of round 6a and b!

Just a reminder – the First 7 rounds are NOT my pattern, but were the beginnings of my final Mandala. The original pattern by Made in K-town for the Spring Mandala is here.

So, if you’re carrying on to make a bigger Mandala, here are the rounds I worked:

  • Round 8: work *dc, ch1, skip one stitch* around, join with slst and finish off
  • Round 9: work *dc, ch2, skip one stitch* in the ch spaces of R8
  • Round 10: work 3tr in the ch2 spaces from R9
  • Round 11: work surface stitches in between the tr of R10
  • Round 12: another double round – same as R6
  • 12a: work *1tr, ch2, skip one stitch* around, join with slst to first tr, finish off
  • 12b: (new colour!) fold the stitches you’ve just made a little bit to the front and repeat round 6a, working into the stitches you’ve skipped before, finish off
  • Round 13: work 1htr in between each stitch from R12a and R12b (making sure you pick up work over both colours!)
  • Round 14: work *1dc, ch3, skip 2 stitches* all round the edge. My final one was skip 3 stitches, but I don’t think you can notice!

Ta dah! Here’s a close up of all the rounds if it helps::

Mandala Wheel for Yarndal close up ©The House of JonesI really enjoyed making this! It’s the second project I’ve completed since our Little Man was born – I can’t wait to show you the other one, a bright striped blanket for my new niece!

Anyway, was pleased to complete my Yarndale Mandala and get it sent off to Lucy. Wow, can’t believe so many have been sent in already – almost 1,000! I’ve enjoyed looking at them all on the Yarndale pinterest boards. Amazing how they are all so different! I can’t wait to see how they are displayed in September… YES! I AM GOING TO YARNDALE!!!

I wasn’t sure if it was going to be possible this year what with our Little Man and it being a very  l o n g  way from The House of Jones. Not ideal for a weekend dash like I did last year. But then I came up with a cunning plan! The Bert and I had been talking about taking a little holiday, so I suggested maybe we could go to Yorkshire, and maybe it could be at the end of September, and maybe I could take Little Man to Yarndale, and The Bert could go fishing (hoping there is some good fishing near Skipton?) and then we’ll enjoy the rest of the week exploring Yorkshire and having a Jolly Nice Time… Well, to my delight The Bert thought this was a great idea, and so last week we booked ourselves a little cottage and yippppeeeee, my plan is going to happen!! So I’m hoping there will be an opportunity for a bloggers meet or something. We’ll have to arrange something nearer the time. Let me know if you are hoping to go!

In the meantime, happy Mandala making… let me know if you spot any errors with my pattern, I’d love to know how you get on.

Jones x

 

Posted in Craft, crochet, pattern | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments