The Class of 2022: crochet, school days & the end of an era

Today is a bit of a milestone in our home. It marks the end of a 14 year-long period of time when at least one of the Postcard children was at primary school. Today, Youngest says goodbye to his primary years and looks ahead to secondary education. It’s going to be an emotional one for everyone involved – the Leaver’s Assembly will be awash with parental tears I’m sure.

Photo borrowed from my ‘Back to School’ post in September 2015 – eek time flies!

For some of Youngest’s classmates it’s the end of 8 years at the school – those who began in Nursery and then Reception before moving up the school to Year 6. For him though, it marks the end of a very happy 2 years settling into a new life in the UK after starting out in Gibraltar. My three boys have in total been educated in 7 different primary schools between the three of them – starting out in West Yorkshire, then to Gibraltar and now in Manchester. For someone who spent the entirety of her childhood in the same house and went to three schools in total, my boys have had a rather ‘interesting’ time of it. I hope that the new people and experiences they have encountered along the way have enhanced rather than detracted from their learning and life experiences.

I felt that I had to do something to thank the school for all their help settling Youngest into life here and so, last month when they were able to hold their first summer fair in three years, I contributed something for their fundraising effort….

This cheeky pair are inspired by a couple of young people I know and helped raise more than £50 towards the sum raised by the parents association for school equipment. We asked people to guess the number of stitches used to make each school child. The guesses ranged from 60 to tens of thousands!

Once I’d stared crocheting though, I couldn’t stop, so made a load of crocheted friendship bracelets and hair clips to add to the stall as well. The hair clips are decorated with Lucy from Attic24’s Teeny Tiny Flowers you can find the link to that pattern here.

The bracelets I made up myself – they are super easy. Just chain 31, then make 1 double crochet (Dc) in the 2nd chain from the hook and along the remaining 29 Chains. Then chain 15, slip stitch into the 2nd chain from the hook, and back along the remaining 13 chains. 1Dc into the first of the original chains and make 1Dc into every chain along to the other end of the row. Then chain 15 again and slip stitch into the 2nd chain from the hook, and back along the remaining 13 chains. Make 1Dc into the first of the original double crochet stitches, and every other one along the row before finishing off at the end of the row and weaving in the ends.

By the time you have made a few, they rattle off your hook in no time. There is no end to the possible colour combinations. I bought some variegated yarn in a couple of colourways to prevent the need to change colours, but for the Manchester United (red & black or white) and Manchester City (pale blue & white) themed ones I made the original chain and first row of double crochet in one colour before changing to make the edging and ties in the main colour.

I have no idea how much these other items raised in the fair, but the ones which were left over were kept by the school to sell at lunchtimes in the playground, so they didn’t go to waste.

All laid out and ready for the fair opening…

Once I had made my little crocheted school children, I suddenly thought, someone else might like to make a little school person for a child or a school in their lives too, so I wrote a pattern for it. Meet the School Days Class of 22…

School Days Class of 22

If you would like to have a go at making one of my ‘School Days’ dolls, you can find the pattern over in my Etsy shop (the link to the pattern listing is here). The pattern is written in such a way that you can make a doll who wears a skirt, trousers or shorts, a long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt or polo shirt and with a jumper or cardigan. In fact the cardigan could also work as a blazer if you add a lapel to the edge too. The colour combinations are entirely down to you to match your own school uniform colours, so every one will be unique just like our young people themselves.

I’m off now to lie down in a darkened room to prepare for the emotional day ahead and the long summer break….. did I hear someone say Summer Craft Challenge??

Thanks for stopping by, and happy crafting!

Lindsay x

Introducing Daisy…..

Up the Garden Path Daisy - a new amigurumi crochet pattern from Making Stitches Shop on Etsy
Daisy

Hello there! Please allow me to introduce the newest member of the Up the Garden Path gang – Daisy.

Did you make daisy chains as a child? It’s something I always liked to do during the summertime – if I could find any…. you see my Dad was very proud of his garden (he still is to be fair) and rarely did he allow the grass to get long enough to allow daisies to appear in the lawn. Most of my daisy chain making was reserved for playtime on the school field or the occasional trip to a field or meadow.

But despite that, daisies always mean summer to me. Way back in the very early days of Postcard from Gibraltar, in July 2015 on one of our family trips back home to Manchester from Gibraltar during the school summer holidays I blogged about a lovely family outing we made into the Cheshire countryside. Amongst the delights on offer that day were a woodland walk, a picnic, creamy Cheshire ice cream and, you guessed it, a daisy chain. Living in Gibraltar at the time, there was very little access to ‘real’ grass due to the climate, and certainly no daisies, so they were a bit of a novelty.

You can find that blog post about Daisies and Damselflies here .

Fast forward to last year and we were enjoying our first summer in our new home in Manchester and what should pop up through the blades of grass in our new back garden lawn than a small but very welcome crop of daisies? As I was already in the mindset to try and turn any floral inspiration I found in my garden into something yarny and specifically amigurumi, there was absolutely no question that I had to make a daisy inspired doll.

Fortunately I had some yarn in my stash which fitted the bill perfectly for the job – a couple of balls left over from making Hope the Snowdrop and some yellow which had been bought with daffodils in mind (do you remember them?) and I was able to crack on pretty much immediately. Before long Daisy was beginning to take shape.

Hope the Snowdrop and Cariad & Dave the Daffodils

I actually had another inspiration for my Daisy too, she was a lovely lady who was full of fun and involved in everything going – my Great Aunt Daisy. Although not her actual name, she was known as Daisy from being young and was always Aunt Daisy to me.

She lived on the west coast of Scotland in a tiny little village, which although small, made up it for with a sense of community and boy did she squeeze every ounce of fun out of that community. She was involved with so many groups and events from country dancing to women’s groups. Sadly no longer with us (she would have been well over 100 if she was still around today) I initially set out on my Daisy crochet adventure with Aunt Daisy in mind.

I had thought to give her white hair and glasses befitting of a village elder, but this Daisy is youthful and no less great for it. I imagine she is never one to say no to turn around the dance floor and ready to squeeze every last ounce of fun out of life.

Yet again, my pattern is based on the amigurumi technique of crocheting in the round and is in UK crochet terms. It comes in a beautifully produced and illustrated version (thanks to my wonderfully talented childhood friend Emma from Emma Jackson Art) and a text-only printer friendly version too for those who prefer to work from paper patterns and perhaps scribble notes in the margins (like me). The Daisy pattern has been launched on my Etsy shop today and is available for immediate download.

Emma’s beautiful illustration of Daisy

I hope this inspires many Daisies to be made and that they all bring that same sense of fun with them out into the world. If you fancy capturing a bit of summer meadow or lawn which will last all year long you know what to do.

She’s a perfect project for stash busting – just four colours are required and she’s made using simple stitches which would be great for beginners.

You can find the pattern for sale in my Etsy shop which you can get to via this link.

Thank you so much for stopping by, and if you do make a Daisy of your own, please do let me know by either tagging me in on social media, use the hashtags #upthegardenpathdaisy or #upthegardenpathcrochet , or just send me a message to tell me – I would love to see where any Daisies start springing up!

Have a lovely day!

Lindsay x

Dave the Daffodil – Free Crochet Pattern

Presenting Dave the Daffodil

Hello there and happy St David’s Day! March 1st seems like the perfect day to share with you my latest crochet pattern; for Dave the Daffodil. Dave is one half of a daffodil couple – Cariad & Dave – a beautiful illustrated pattern for them both will be available in my Etsy shop very soon, but a basic version of Dave can be found for free below.

When I first started creating my ‘Up the Garden Path’ amigurumi people last year, I was very much guided by the seasons, beginning with Hope the Snowdrop (who’s also available in my Etsy Shop) and Saffron the Crocus and then Dave and Cariad made an appearance.

Cariad & Dave

If you would would like to have a go at making your own Dave, here’s how to do it:

Dave is made using the Amigurumi technique of crocheting in the round, so a stitch marker is a must for marking the first stitch of every round, so you can follow where you are up to in the pattern. I also made him using a 2.5mm hook which makes the fabric nice and tight and there’s no chance that you will see the stuffing poking through between the stitches and rows.

Materials I used:

Face, hands, feet and hair – I used a dark beige to pick up on the colours of the papery cases around the buds of daffodil blooms a similar yarn is Ricorumi Shade 56 – Nougat

Body – Sirdar Cotton DK 550 Olive Grove

Inner & outer Daffodil petals – Ricorumi Shade 006 – Yellow

Soft toy stuffing

7mm Black safety eyes

Stitches and abbreviations:

This pattern is written in UK terms.

Ch = Chain

Dc = Double Crochet

Dc2tog = Double Crochet 2 together*

Htr = Half Treble

Tr = Treble

MC = Magic Circle

Slst = Slip Stitch

St(s) = Stitch(es)

YO = Yarn Over

Rs = Right Side

FLO = Front Loop Only

BLO = Back Loop Only

YRH = Yarn Round Hook

*I prefer a neater finish for my decreases in amigurumi which can be achieved using an invisible decrease rather than Dc2Tog. To make an invisible decrease, you put your hook through the front loop only of the next two stitches, yrh  and pull it back through.

The Pattern:

As Dave is crocheted together as you go, you will need to make his head, arms and legs first before attempting the body. His hair, cloak and crown and can be made later. The figure in brackets at the end of each row/round indicates how many stitches there are in that round e.g. (6). Please remember to use a stitch marker in the first stitch of every round so that you can keep track of where you are.

Head (Begin Dave’s head with Yellow yarn and work the first 8 Rounds in Yellow before changing to Nougat /dark beige in the final YO of Round 8) :

Round 1 With yellow yarn, work 6 Dc into a MC and pull tight (6)

Round 2 2Dc into every stitch around (12)

Round 3 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next st) repeat around (18)

Round 4 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next 2 sts) repeat around (24)

Round 5 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next 3 sts) repeat around (30)

Round 6 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next 4 sts) repeat around (36)

Round 7 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next 5 sts) repeat around (42)

Round 8 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next 6 sts) repeat around . Change to Nougat yarn in final YO of round 8 (48)

Rounds 9-16 1Dc into every stitch around (48)

Round 17 (Dc2tog [or invisible decrease as detailed previously], 1Dc into next 6 sts) repeat around (42)

Round 18 (Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 5 sts) repeat around (36)

Round 19 (Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 4 sts) repeat around (30)

Round 20 (Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 3 sts) repeat around (24)

Round 21 (Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 2 sts) repeat around (18)

Fasten off and break yarn leaving a long tail to sew the head onto the body later on. Place the safety eyes between Rounds 11 & 12 and 4 stitches apart. Stuff head firmly.

Arms (make 2): (Note: Change to green yarn on the final YO of round 6 and work the rest of the sleeve in green.)

Round 1 With Nougat/dark beige yarn, work 6Dc into a MC and pull tight (6)

Round 2 2Dc into every stitch around (12)

Rounds 3-25 1 Dc into every st around, ensuring you change to green yarn in the appropriate round as detailed above. (12)

Fasten off and break yarn. Darn in the yarn tail and stuff lightly.

Legs (make 2): (Note: Change to green coloured yarn in final YO of round 10.)

Round 1 With Nougat/dark beige yarn, work 6Dc into a MC and pull tight (6)

Round 2 2Dc into every stitch around (12)

Round 3 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next st) repeat around (18)

Round 4 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next 2 sts) repeat around (24)

Rounds 5-8 1Dc into every st around (24)

Round 9 (Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 2 sts) repeat around (18)

Rounds 10-14 1Dc into evert st (18)

Round 15 (Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 4 sts) repeat around (15)

Rounds 16-42 1Dc into every st around (15)

Fasten off and break yarn. Darn in the yarn tails and stuff the legs firmly.

Dave’s Body

Round 1 With Olive Grove Green yarn, join yarn in the first stitch after fastening off on the first leg. Ch1 and 1Dc into the same st, then 1Dc into next 9 sts. Ch1 and join 2nd leg by making 1Dc into 1st st after fastening off on the 2nd leg. 1Dc into all remaining sts on 2nd leg, 1Dc into the front loop of the connecting chain, 1Dc into the remaining sts of the first leg. (32)

Round 2 1Dc into every st around including both sides of the connecting chain. (32)

Round 3 1Dc into next 2 sts, 2Dc into next 2 sts, 1Dc into next 14 sts, 2Dc into next 2 sts, 1Dc into next 12 sts. (36)

Rounds 4-24 1Dc into every st around. (36)

At this point flatten out the top of the body so you can clearly see the 2 sides where the arms should go. Mark the sides with stitch markers to see the midpoint of each arm position. We will be attaching the arms in Round 25.

Round 25 work out the point which is 3 sts away from the nearest stitch marker, this is where you need to begin joining the first arm. 1Dc into every st until this point. Taking the first arm, put your hook through both the front and back sts on the right hand side of the top edge and then work 1Dc into the next st on the body. Continue to attach the arm in this manner until all 6 sts across the top of the arm are attached to the body. 1Dc into the next 12 sts across the front of the body, then attach the second arm in the same manner into the next 6 sts, 1Dc into the remaining st of round 19. (36)

Round 26 1Dc into every st until the st above the beginning of the 1st arm join in Round 27, Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 2 sts, Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 12 sts, Dc2tog, Dc into next 2 sts, Dc2tog, 1Dc into the remaining unworked sts of Round 25. (32)

Round 27 1Dc into every st until the st above the first decrease of the previous row, Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 2 sts, Dc2tog, 1Dc into the next 10 sts, Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 2 sts, Dc2tog, 1Dc into the remaining unworked sts of Round 26. (28)

Round 28 1Dc into every st until the st above the first decrease of the previous row, Dc2tog, Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 10 sts, Dc2tog, Dc2tog, 1Dc into remaining unworked sts of Round 27. (24)

Round 29 1Dc into every st until the st above the first decrease of the previous row, Dc2tog, Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 8 sts, Dc2tog, Dc2tog, 1Dc into remaining unworked sts of Round 26. (20)

Fasten off and break yarn leaving a long enough tail to sew the head on.

Firmly stuff the body. At this point, position the head with eyes facing forwards on top of the body, pin in place and sew the head onto the body securely.

Dave’s outer daffodil petals (Make 6)

Round 1 With Yellow yarn, 6Dc into a MC and pull tight (6)

Round 2 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next 2 sts) repeat (8)

Round 3 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next 3 sts) repeat (10)

Round 4 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next 4 sts) repeat (12)

Round 5 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next 5 sts) repeat (14)

Round 6 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next 6 sts) repeat (16)

Round 7 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next 7 sts) repeat (18)

Round 8 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next 8 sts) repeat (20)

Round 9 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next 9 sts) repeat (22)

Rounds 10 – 13 1Dc into every st around (22)

Round 14 (Dc2tog, Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 7 sts) repeat (18)

Round 15 (Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 7 sts) repeat (16)

Fasten off and weave in ends.

Dave’s Crown

Round 1 Once all 6 petals are complete, they need to be joined together to make Dave’s Crown. Take the first petal and put the hook through both the front and back sts on the right hand side of the top edge and pull a loop of Yellow yarn through, Ch1 then 1Dc into this same st, 1Dc across the remaining 7 stitches (both front and back sts) of the first petal. Then take the 2nd petal and work 1Dc across all 8 sts (both front and back sts) and continue in this manner until all 6 petals are joined with a row of Dc sts then slst. (48)

Round 2 We want Dave’s crown to be worked in the round, so the first st of Round 2 is worked into the 1st st of Round 1 which will connect the whole row of petals into a circle – remember to make this first stitch of the next Round with a stitch marker. 1Dc into every st around (48)

Round 3 (Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 6 sts) repeat around (42)

Round 4 Working into the FLO (Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 5 sts) repeat around (36)

Rounds 5-12 1Dc into every st around (36)

Round 13 (Htr, Tr, Htr, Slst) repeat around to form frill on top of the inner trumpet of Dave’s Daffodil Crown. Finish off and break yarn. Weave in the end so that it’s invisible on both the inside and outside of the trumpet.

Then with yellow yarn, stitch the outer petals to each other at their widest part so that they stand up around the trumpet.

Place the daffodil crown onto Dave’s head positioning it along the edge of the yellow circle on the top of Dave’s head. Pin in place and then sew it to the head using the rim of back loops formed in Round 4 which should marry up with the edge of the yellow circle.

Dave’s Hair

Row 1 With Nougat yarn, Ch 40. (1Dc into 2nd ch from hook and the next 4 chains. Stst into next ch & ch6) repeat along to the end of the chain until you have 35 strands of hair. Once you rech the end of the row, ch1 and turn.

Row 2 1Dc into every st along, Ch1 and turn (33)

Row 3 Slst into the next 3 sts, Dc2tog, Dc2tog, Dc2tog, 1Dc into the next 3 sts, Htr into next 2 sts, Tr into next 5 sts, Htr into next 2 sts, 1Dc into next 3 sts, Dc2tog, Dc2tog, Dc2tog, slst into next st and finish off leaving a log tail to attach hair to Dave’s head. Sew the hair in place just below the crown.

Dave’s cloak

Row 1 With Olive Grove green yarn ch 52. 1Tr in 3rd chain from hook and each subsequent chain. Ch1 and turn. (50)

Row 2 Slst into next 36 sts. Ch 18 and turn.

Row 3 1Tr into 3rd ch from hook and 15 remaining chains. 1Tr into the next 36 sts. Ch1 and turn (52)

Rows 4 Repeat Row 2

Row 5 Repeat Row 3

Row 6 Repeat Row 2

Row 7 Repeat Row 3

Row 8 Repeat Row 2

Row 9 Repeat Row 3

Row 10 Repeat Row 2

Row 11 Repeat Row 3

Row 12 Repeat Row 2

Row 13 Repeat Row 3

Row 14 Slst into next 36 sts. Chain 16 and turn.

Row 15 1Tr into 3rd ch from hook and 13 remaining chains. 1Tr into the next 36 sts. Ch1 and turn the cloak at right angles to begin working along the top edge.

Row 16 begin the first row of the cloak collar by working 1Dc into the end of the first row and 2Dc around the 1st Tr of the first row. Repeat this along the top edge of the of the cloak. Ch2 and turn (25)

Row 17 Work 1Tr into each of the stitches of row 16. Fasten off and weave in the ends.

Now take the yellow yarn and join it in one side of the cloak where the collar joins the main cloak and ch12 to bring a fastening across the front of the cloak and then secure it into place on the other side of the cloak once it is around Dave’s neck.

Cariad & Dave

If you make a Dave of your own, I’d love to see him! Please tag him on your social media posts with #upthegardenpathdave so I can see him.

Happy hooking!

Lindsay x

Some of my ‘Up the Garden Path’ creations

Introducing…. ‘Up the Garden Path’

Hello there, thanks so much for stopping by on what’s a really special day for me. Today I have launched the first of my crochet patterns for sale on my Etsy shop. It has been a long journey of many months (perhaps even years) to get to this point and I would never have achieved it without certain events happening or some special people helping me along the way. Here’s the story of how ‘Up the garden path’ came about…

The Rock of Gibraltar

Many moons ago (well about 18 months ago to be precise) we moved back to the UK after spending more than a decade living in Gibraltar. Before we moved there we lived in a house with a garden and I loved my garden. I loved the huge oak tree in our neighbours garden which made a really pretty backdrop to our own small patch, I loved the really old hedgerow which bordered the side of the lawn and was a throwback to the old days when the land the house was on was farmland. I also loved the apple tree we planted expecting to spend years there and watch it grow. 

Life had other plans for us though and we found ourselves packing everything up into boxes and moving thousands of miles away to a tiny place call Gibraltar at the very southern tip of the Iberian peninsular. In Gibraltar land is scarce and gardens are scarcer. We ended up in a lovely apartment with a beautiful balcony filled with pots of geraniums and other mediterranean plants, we were also lucky enough to have a sun scorched patio which we put potted citrus trees in too. I missed my green English garden though (the grass truly is always greener!).

Our old ‘front garden’

When life brought us back to the UK to live last year, it opened up the possibility that we would be able to enjoy the delights of a proper garden again. I was like a coiled spring…. I had spent years watching Monty Don and co. on Gardener’s World from afar wondering if and when I would have my own garden again and what it would look like.

Then, one year ago (almost to the day) we moved into our new family home, it doesn’t have the biggest garden but it’s ours and it’s allowed my imagination to run wild with possibilities of what I could plant and grow.

My first batch of seedlings this spring
Some of my sweet peas from this summer

Meanwhile, I have long admired many talented people who design the most wonderful crochet creations like Lucy at Attic 24, Eleonora at Coastal Crochet, Rosina at Zeens & Roger, the lovely ladies at The Crochet Sanctuary and many, many more and wondered whether one day, I could have a go at designing something myself which other people might like to make. I knew I couldn’t attempt to design clothing – sizing would be sooo hard. I also didn’t want to attempt a blanket – there are already so many beautiful ones in the world to choose from. But, I could have a go at amigurumi – there’s no end of possibilities when it comes to making little people and creatures out of yarn and a hook.

I guess I took a fantasy trip back to my childhood, where I remember so many of the books and stories I loved were based in gardens and adventures in nature. What if I could combine my fascination with gardens and plants and trees with crochet? I had hit on an idea.

Hooking in front of Hootenanny

So, after finishing the Christmas crochet blanket I’d been working on in the run up to and over Christmas last year, I found myself on New Year’s Eve with a burning idea, some yarn and a hook and I set to work with some of my stash making the first prototype of an amigurumi doll. It took a bit of frogging and lots of note taking, and then another couple of prototypes before I bought the yarn I needed to have a go at my first little person…. Hope the Snowdrop.

Hope the Snowdrop

She was my New Year project and loads of fun to make. I called her Hope because snowdrops are pretty much the first plants to flower in the year and offer such hope of the better weather still to come, and the promise of Spring.

Next I decided to have a go at my alter ego, Flora the Gardener. Flora (in my imagination) has just acquired a garden of her own (remind you of anyone?) and is filled with expectation for what her new garden will offer her. The peace and quiet, the anticipation of what would sprout up from the soil and how successful her seedlings would be. I imagine that in the seasons and the years to come, she will make lots of new friends.

Flora the Gardener

So that was Hope and Flora. But then, a very good friend of my mine, Emma, saw Flora and asked if she could illustrate her. I didn’t need asking twice. Here’s the beautiful illustration she came up with:

Flora the Gardener
Copyright: Emma Jackson

Isn’t she marvelous? Hot on the heels of Flora came Hope….

Hope the Snowdrop
Copyright: Emma Jackson

Then…. Emma, being the wonderful friend she is, offered to design my patterns for me too. I wanted them to be as clear and simple as possible and with lots of photos (pretty much like a blog post) and that’s just what she’s done. I’m so thrilled with what she’s done for me!

And so, after 10 months of experimenting and absolutely bursting with ideas of what to do next (I have a list of about 30 future projects!!) and lots of to-ing and fro-ing between Emma and I, the big day has arrived – it’s launch day of the first of my patterns. Flora and Hope are available to buy from my new Etsy shop – Making Stitches Shop. [The proceeds of which are going to cover the costs of my podcast – Making Stitches].

The patterns are quite photo heavy so in addition to every illustrated pattern, you will also receive a text-only printer friendly version so you don’t run out of ink!

I couldn’t have reached this point without the help of Emma, and so many other wonderful people who have listened to me go on, and on, and on about my little ‘Up the Garden Path’ people. Sharing my successes and failures and not telling me to be quiet!! My sincere thanks also to my pattern testers and everyone who has offered me help and advice along the way.

If you would like to see some of Emma’s other work, you can find her Emma Jackson Art website here.

So, that’s the story of Up the Garden Path so far…. I can’t wait to share a couple of seasonal friends with you very soon as well!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Lindsay x

PS: The super logo for my shop was designed by Neil Warburton at iamunknown.com

Introducing: Flora my crochet gardening alter-ego

Please excuse this flight of fancy, it may be lockdown isolation which is getting to me, or perhaps the home-schooling but my mind has wandered off into a fantasy land where my alter-ego Flora lives.

Flora lives for her plants and adores her garden…

She has all the gear (and no idea) and can’t wait for the spring flowers to fully appear once the snow and frosts have passed. Flora is like a tightly coiled spring ready to burst into action once winter loosens its grip on her new garden.

After years spent living abroad without a proper garden to call her own and all that time spent watching Gardeners World from afar and dreaming of having a huge garden like Monty’s she now finds herself living in the suburbs with a rather smaller plot than ‘Long Meadow’ but it’s hers nonetheless.

What will this year have in store for her as she sees shoots of new life appear in her new plot?

Watch this space…

A Catalan Bay Blanket Story

Once upon a time (about a year ago) a lovely crochet designer called Eleonora published a crochet-along (or CAL) pattern for a new blanket called ‘Changing Tides’. The previous year, Eleonora had published another seaside themed blanket on her Coastal Crochet blog called the ‘Seaside Stash Buster’ which I joined in with and created my Sandy Bay Blanket.

Even though I had approximately 7,248 other crochet projects on the go at the time (well not quite, but it felt like it), I couldn’t resist having a go at Eleonora’s new project, and so it began…

Just like the previous year, Eleonora posted helpful You Tube videos along the way to help with tricky stitches and rows and soon had us all crocheting like pros!

I set off like a bull at a gate and didn’t take the time to plan what my colour choices would be, and decided (resonably early on) that I didn’t like what I had done so started again…

My project came with me on holiday…

…and before I knew it, I had a rather nice ‘changing tides’ sea developing in front of me. The name ‘changing tides’ is very appropriate because at the end of each row you turn your work and travel back the way you came in much the same way the waves do as they land on the beach.

It even made it down to the beach…

…those bobbles are rather time consuming, so I did a spot of bobbling on the bus…

…and still the tide came in.

And look … it even featured on Eleonora’s Instagram feed on one of her weekly round-ups! That made my day I can tell you.

By this point I felt that perhaps it was time to think about something other than just sea and waves…

And inspiration hit me. Last year’s blanket was based on Sandy Bay.

My Sandy Bay blanket from last year

Why not make a blanket based on another of Gibraltar’s lovely beaches…. Catalan Bay?

The brightly coloured houses gave me lots of excuses to use some different vibrant colours.

But what colour should I opt for first? What about the aptly named ‘shrimp’?

Shrimp was just the ticket for another row of bobbles and they could represent the buoys which hold up the nets in the family swimming area.

It felt good to see a pop of colour against all that blue. The buoys were finished during a short break in Spain while sitting under the cool of some trees.

And again, my blanket made it into one of Eleonora’s weekly round ups! What a thrill.

Time for more waves, and then finally dry land and a beach!

Then came the sandy bobbles, a terracotta coloured sea wall, and those brightly coloured houses which populate Catalan Bay. Behind the houses came the green vegetation which then gave way to the grey of the upper Rock and finally the sky and wispy Levanter clouds forming on the crest of the Rock.

I tell you what, those different colours were a bit fiddly and you do not want to see the loose ends that were on the back!

It’s taken an inordinately long amount of time to get to the end, but get to the end I have! It’s time for the big unveiling!

Last year, I was able to do my big ta-dah moment on Sandy Bay beach itself. This year, because of our current situation in lockdown because of the Coronavirus, my big ta-dah is just having to happen on my balcony… at least the sun’s shining!

Thank you very much Eleonora for yet another fabulous crochet-along pattern. Thank goodness I managed to get this one finished before you launch this year’s blanket (just a week before I believe!). The online community which was formed because of these blankets is truly wonderful. It’s so important to feel like you are part of a community, especially at times like this.

Until we meet again, Catalan Bay, thank you for your inspiration!

Friday photo challenge (week 25) Summer

Nothing says ‘summer’ more to me than alfresco crochet by the sea for my annual Summer Craft Challenge! Here are a few photos from last year when I made this crochet shawl from Little Box of Crochet which was designed by Eleonora from Coastal Crochet and was finished during our holiday in Suffolk.

I’ve already done a spot of alfresco crochet for this year….

… on Monday (which was a Bank Holiday here) – also another Coastal Crochet design; this year’s Coastal Crochet CAL.

A Sandy Bay Blanket story

Way back in January, when I already had several different crochet projects on the go, I spotted that one of my favourite bloggers was starting a new CAL (Crochet-Along). That blogger was Eleonora at Coastal Crochet. In my experience up to this point CALs usually involve purchasing a wool pack to accompany the project (which is absolutely fine) but the thing that made me want to join was that this was completely open to interpretation. You could use any coloured yarn from your stash, which meant I could start right away! So I did.

Another great attraction for me was that Eleonora released the pattern for just a couple of rows twice a week, so it was really easy to keep up with, and if I fell a few weeks behind, I soon caught up! At no point did I feel overwhelmed.

I decided early on that as the name was ‘seaside’ related it had to have marine inspired colours to begin with;

But I also wanted it somehow to have a connection to Gibraltar. But how? The western side of the Rock is its best known angle but that’s a bit complicated, so I opted for the eastern side. But Catalan Bay has so many colours that I couldn’t envisage how to include them all.

Then it hit me, Sandy Bay! It has one long developement across the whole of the Bay, with white apartments, terracotta roofing and yellow sun canopies!

The blanket became my companion and came away with us on holiday…

I soon found myself chosing colours to reflect the surroundings in Sandy Bay; beach umbrellas and paddle boards, the houses and the spring flowers growing on the Rock behind.

Above the houses are the old water catchments, which in spring are green and covered with wild flowers…

I chose yarn colours to reflect the yellow and pink flowers, then the greys and dark greens of the rocky face and shrubs above.

Last of all, it was time for the sky, and well, Gibraltar can often be found wearing its cloudy Levanter hat, so that had to feature too!

Before I knew it, I was completing the last few rows and it was almost time for the border. But first, there was the messy/boring job of weaving in all my endy bits… this was about a third of them!!

Then time for the border…

So, are you ready for the big reveal?

Can you see it? That’s my Dad humouring my silliness and holding it up for me on Sandy Bay beach!

Thanks Dad!

For the border I used grey (for the Rock), dark green for the shrubs on the Rock and blue with white wiggles which could represent the cloudy sky or the waves.

I’m really happy with it now it’s all finished and a bit sorry this lovely project has come to an end. A lovely community of crocheters from around the globe came together on Instagram and in Blogland, all united by this project – thank you Eleonora for taking us all along for the Seaside Stashbusting Blanket ride!

Friday photo challenge (week 34) Stitch

Only 24 hours late for my Friday (ahem Saturday) photo challenge for this week. Stitch is the theme. Stitches have been with me ever since I was a child. I first learned to sew, knit and crochet when I was probably younger than 10. Taught by my Mum and Grandma.

It brings me lots of pleasure and I always have several projects on the go at any one time. The first photo of crewel wool honeysuckle has been a work-in-progress for at least 8 years (whoops – I really should get it finished).

Then there’s a pile of some of my crochet blanket creations (the bottom two using lots & patterns from Attic 24).

And as I am currently at my parents’ house on holiday, here’s a couple of my previous projects from years gone by which hang on their walls….

International Yarnbombing Day 2018

Those of you who have been following my blog for a while may remember that 2 years ago, I undertook some guerrilla crochet and yarnbombed the Alameda Gardens for it’s 200th anniversary. You can read all about in this post from International Yarnbombing Day 2016.

Alameda Botanical Gardens Yarnbombs June 2016

Well it turns out, today is International Yarnbombing Day 2018 and I fancied getting my yarnbombs out of storage to see the light of day again. This time though, it was a bit less guerrilla (I actually had permission this time – must be getting old and more responsible!).

I dusted off my original yarnbombs and added a few new ones including this handful of butterflies…

Want to see them in situ? Here goes…

Molly Bloom’s got her necklace back on…

Giuseppe Codali’s got his scarf back on too…

He’s looking rather dapper as he stands guard overlooking his bridge:

My mini blanket is now hanging up alongside the fundraising plaques for the Alameda BioDome.

This time it has some little crocheted butterflies holding it in place.

More of those little butterflies are fluttering about nearby…

And last of all, vines of little crocheted flowers have wound themselves around the railings too.

If you would like to go and see them for yourself, they should hopefully be there until Wednesday.

Happy International Yarnbombing Day!

For more information about the Alameda BioDome Project, why not check out their blog?