Sick House and Fair Isle Crochet

I have been doing my best to do some crafty bits and pieces over the last wee while but we have been hit by two consecutive bouts of chickenpox. The boy got it first and just as he was over it the babby got hit. Just as she was getting over it I was hit by a horrible virus that has left me with no energy and finding it hard to breathe. Now just as I’m getting over it the kids are getting it.  Poor babby is having a hard time sleeping because she’s so bunged up.

In the mean time I have been a bit inspired by my very crafty friend Emma.  You can check out some of the bits and pieces she makes on her Facebook page and on Instagram. She’s such a good knitter and has been perfecting her fair isle. Unfortunately I have no talent in that direction so I’ve been having a go at fair isle crochet!  I didn’t even know such a thing existed until I Googled it on the off chance that someone somewhere had been doing the same thing.

I found some amazing video tutorials on Crochet Ever After and scoured the internet for some nice ideas.  I managed to come up with this.  It was going to be a beanie for the babby but it worked out to be just a little too tight, plus I wasn’t 100% happy with it so I left it as a sample piece and decided to play about.

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It popped into my head that crocheting in the third loop of a half treble crochet stitch looks a bit like a sideways knit stitch so I reckoned I would have a little go at trying fair isle with this stitch instead of double crochet. It made everything a little neater but it works up really thick, even using DK so it’s definitely for winter things or possibly a nice snuggly cushion cover!

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I still have to play around for a bit with these techniques but it’s loads of fun trying to figure out how the different stitches work up!  It makes me terribly unproductive though so I might have to get back to regular crochet so I can get some of my planned Christmas presents started and hopefully finished before December 25th!

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Yummy Scrummy Mulled Porridge

Now Halloween is over I’m starting to feel a little festive. I’m thinking ahead to the end of December already, although I won’t mention the dreaded “C” word just yet! Dark nights and cold days need a little something to help you through so I’m a big fan of rich and spicy flavors to help warm me up. I do love a mince pie and a glass of mulled wine or cider but it’s hardly what you want first thing in the morning! Mulled porridge on the other hand is just the ticket!

I’m not really a fan of unadulterated porridge. There’s something a bit off putting about the texture so I like porridge with bits in. A bit of added flavour doesn’t go amiss either!

To save time in the morning I prepare this the night before. I’m sure you could pop it in the slow cooker so it would be ready for the morning but since my slow cooker is massive and I’m the only one that eats this it wouldn’t work too well for me.

Into a saucepan I grate one apple, I add a handful of raisins, a pinch of cinnamon and a teeny bit of nutmeg. I add a half cup measure of regular porridge oats and some water. I usually use twice the amount of water to the amount of oats. Then I give everything a stir, pop the lid on and leave it until the morning.

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It doesn’t take long to cook because the oats get a chance to soak up the water, or milk if you prefer to use that. I’m not a huge fan of milk, never really liked the taste but I do like a bit of extra creaminess in my porridge so I stir in some yogurt before I serve. The raisins get all plump and juicy from the overnight soaking and the oats get a chance to soak up juice from the apples and the spice so all the the flavours blend into a scrummy, yummy bowl of deliciousness!

If you’re looking for something a bit spicy and totally seasonal you can’t go wrong with this. It’s the perfect way to warm yourself up in the morning and set yourself up for the day ahead. Maybe if I don’t eat it too quickly in the morning I’ll remember to take a photo of the cooked porridge for you all to drool over!

My Super Stripey Slouchy… Hat

I wish I could have found a word for hat beginning with S for my title! Alliteration makes me happy so this past had been set back some time while I thought if descriptive words beginning with H seeing as there are no words for hat beginning with S! I reckoned this hat is cool enough to deserve a cool post title!

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Anyway, after my last hat disaster I thought I would have another go. Kids decided on stripes this time from a purely pragmatic approach. Aesthetics aside I wasn’t sure if I had enough to make a large slouchy beanie from one ball of yarn but the stripes have totally won me over now!

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I loved the ribbed band I tried out for the last hat attempt made with rows of double crochet made only in the back loops so that was how I started. I began with a foundation row of double crochet and worked my way back and forth up until it was big enough to go round my head (This wasn’t the most precise job, can you tell?!). I joined it with a slip stitch to the first row and continued in the round. Using the same yarn I worked my way around by making one double crochet in the end of each row and ended up with approximately 70 stitches. I forgot to photograph it before I moved on as I thought I was only really playing around!

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I hate weaving in ends and I wasn’t sure about how successful this hat attempt would be so instead of fastening the yarn and starting the next colour I pulled a loop of the new colour through my final slip stitch of the round and just started to use the new colour. When it was time for the next round of a certain colour I carried the yarn up the back and worked the same way. This hat therefore definitely has a right side and a wrong side but I neatened it up as best as I could as I worked so it’s liveable with. Next time I might take the time to weave in the ends but maybe not! It would certainty be a bit of a neater job.

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I played about with the stitches as I worked my way up and used a mixture of double, half treble, treble, back post treble and double treble stitches. I made no increases and when I thought the hat was long enough I started to decrease. I started with one decrease every nine stitches, then every eight stitches in the next round until my final round ended with eight stitches.

As if it wasn’t silly enough I topped it off with a huge stripy pompom made with my very excellent Clover Pompom Maker.  I have had mine for a while and I love putting pompoms on whatever I can manage!  (I’ll be posting more about pompoms soon!)

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I’ve ended up with a wonderfully stripey and textured hat. It was brilliant practice to see how all the different stitches I used end up. I’ll definitely be making more of these hats! This one is such a fun piece of headgear, I hope you love it as much as I do!