Friday, 5 May 2017

Garden Flowers

Friday has come round more quickly this week with May Bank Holiday Monday. I seem to have been a day behind all week. It has been chilly here, as we have been mostly under cloudy skies with a brisk easterly wind, so time spent in the garden has been shorter than usual at this time of year. There is still much to do, but the ground is so dry it is impossible to get on with some jobs. It is remarkable how most things are flourishing despite the lack of rain.  When the sun has been out I have taken the opportunity to snap some of the growth and early blooms.

The flower beds are filling out.

The climbers are reaching for the sky and the fence that was repaired last year is beginning to be clothed in plants again.

The shady area at the top of the garden is springing into life

Even in the darkest corner the ferns are beginning to unfurl.

The Ranunculus are simply beautiful in colour and in form.

It may not have been as warm as I would have liked and certainly not warm enough to sit out but every trip into the garden has brought pleasure so that cannot be all bad can it?

I hope you have had a good week. 
Joining with Tricky and Carly at FAST blog for Five on Friday.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Hotel of Bees CAL

While looking through Instagram recently I came across the Hotel of Bees CAL which was being organised by Sandra at Cherryheart and Sam at Betsy Makes. The Hotel of Bees Shawl was designed by Christina Hadderingh, A Spoonful of Yarn, and as I love bees the pattern really appealed to me. Despite having several projects already 'on the go', adding another project to the list was not entirely sensible, but I was unable to resist temptation. My excuse was that if I chose the right colours the shawl would be very useful for a wedding I am attending in June. 

Image and copyright Christina Hadderingh - A Spoonful of Yarn

After downloading the pattern I decided to use the recommended yarn Scheepjes  Stone Washed 4ply in Corundum Ruby, Pink Quartzite and Rose Quartz. 

Here they are with the Honey Bee bag I made to keep the project in.
I am often very lazy about making tension squares but Christina states that she has quite loose tension and my own tension tends to be tight so this prompted me to check. It is a good job I did as I would have had a much smaller shawl as I needed to go up to 4.00mm hook from a 3.5mm in the pattern.

The shawl is Asymmetrical and begins at the long edge with a 145 chain and 144 dc's (UK), which is lovely as the rows get shorted (and quicker) as the shawl grows.

It did not start well as the first Wings Pattern section was not correct on my first attempt and had to be frogged. As you can probably see above my wings were more like donkey's hind legs.

Once corrected, it was onto the Open Honeycomb section and then the Bees themselves.

The bees are made with two bobbles and chain stitches for legs, which are really effective.

The Honeycomb Filet section came next and is my favourite section. I love how the hexegons are clearly marked with the treble (UK) chain spaces. It would make a great overall pattern for a shawl/scarf in a light cobwebby yarn.

The Wing Pattern is repeated in the reverse colourway with the Corundum Ruby over the Pink Quartzite.

The patterns repeat using the new colour with Open Honeycomb, Bees and Honeycomb Filet sections.

The Pink Quartzite is more cream than pink and the bees stand out really well.

The final colour was Rose Quartz and I had been unsure about this colour all along. It looked TOO pink and reminded me of pink bubblegum. The Corundum Ruby had a marl tone to it but the marl was not as obvious in the Rose. Progress stopped at this point while I debated what to do and sent off for the Lilac Quartz to see if that looked any better.

More umming and ahhing ensued and test sections worked but I finally came back to the Rose Quartz.

It looked better once the section developed. You can see how the shawl is really narrowing now and the rows were quick to complete.

Instead of a final Honeycomb filet section the pattern changes to a Flower filet pattern, which is worked to the end of the shawl.

The long side where the colour changes occur are finished with a three row edging. 

The tricky part was working 222 dc (UK) evenly along the length but with stitch markers at regular intervals and a lot of counting out loud this was achieved.

Blocking came next with only just enough mat space.
It always amazes me what a difference blocking makes to knitting and crochet. It really enables the patterns to be shown off to their best advantage.

Finally Taaa Dahhh

Casually tossed over the climbing hydrangea. 
Sadly there has been no sun today so the photo is not as bright as I would have liked.

The shawl works well with the dress I plan to wear to the wedding too, which was my whole excuse for making it. 

I love the pattern of this shawl and will definitely make it again but I shall use a different yarn next time. Personally, I find the Scheepjes Stone Washed quite thick for 4 ply. This may be because I am more used to 4 ply sock yarn which is much lighter. Also my tension may be affecting the finish. Whatever, it has been a great experience taking part in this Crochet Along and I am happy with the result. Thank you very much to Christina for the pattern and Sandra and Sam for organising the CAL.

If you use Instagram there are many lovely pictures of other peoples shawls at #hobcal or on the Ravelry Cherry Heart's Cozy Corner HOBCAL chatter thread. There are so many lovely colour combinations and yarn choices, they are really worth a look.