Monthly Archives: September 2015

Stylecraft Giveaway Winner! And………… More Cauliflowers!

…And not for the first time recently, here is a post about both yarn and cauliflowers. This blog shall henceforth be renamed ‘Brassicas and Bobble-Stitch’ to better reflect its subject matter. Glad we’ve got that sorted.

Before we get on to the weighty matter of cauliflowers, let’s discuss the yarn, because that’s the exciting part of this post. Whilst the Stylecraft Blog-Tour-Bus rumbles on to another venue (it’s currently parked right outside the Patchwork Heart blog), the entries have been counted and a winner chosen randomly from yesterday’s yarn giveaway here at Brassicas and Bobble-Stitch. You should see the size and grandeur of this tour bus: it really is something to behold. It fair dwarfed our cottage when it pulled noisily into the village first thing yesterday morning, struggling to negotiate the tiny lane that leads to our home, and somewhat alarming our poor rural neighbours. Never let it be said that those Stylecraft folks slum it when they’re out on the road. And like all things Stylecraft, this vehicle is very very colourful.*

Actually, y’know, maybe I’ll stick to The Twisted Yarn as a name. I’ve become quite attached to it.


Well… out of the 850 entries that were received, would you please stand up, SHIRLEY ELPRAMA from Belgium. Hurrah! Congratulations, Shirley. 🙂 This pack of colourful loveliness is just for you:-


As we speak, the Stylecraft sheep is being saddled up and this pack of heavenly hues attached to its back, so that it can begin its long, long journey south from Yorkshire, through the Channel Tunnel, across a small portion of France and into Belgium. It certainly has stamina, that sheep. Do please let us know when it arrives. Oh, and would you mind feeding it? Thanks awfully. By the way, it answers to the name of Monty.

And readers, if you do decide to knit the Carnival Bag, give me a shout, either here or on Ravelry. Of course I’m happy to answer questions and mop your fevered brow if the thing drives you nuts. (It’s not that hard, honest.)

But enough of that: we have significant cauliflowers to discuss. For when one has a new cauliflower experience, one of course wishes to share it with the entire internet. I really thought I was a cauliflower veteran: someone who knew a thing or two about brassicas. But then this evening I popped out with the Tyrannical Twinnage to one of our local farm shops in search of dinner ingredients. And I came home with two rather fabulous specimens, grown locally. (No I’m not talking about the twins.):-


I promise that I haven’t Photoshopped this image. And that your eyes haven’t taken leave of their sanity. This cauliflower really is purple.

Who knew that purple cauliflower was even a thing? What, you all knew? Well why on earth didn’t you tell me?

As for the specimen on the left, I think this is the Romanesque cauliflower that my mum, Mother Twisted, was referring to. Isn’t it exquisite in its fractalitious fabulousness? Mum, look! (Yes, I am indeed using my blog to communicate with my own family. Thank heavens we’re on happy, harmonious terms or this post could’ve got really awkward.)


I was curious about the interior of the purple cauliflower, though. Because a tiny cynical part of me wondered whether it had been spray-painted by the chaps at the farm shop. Are you interested too? Well here y’are:-


Properly purple, you see? And the strangest thing is that the normally-food-averse twinnage devoured most of the purple cauliflower, raw, within minutes. Weird.

*Um, I trust you’re not taking me too seriously. You do realize that there is no tour bus really? And that any stories I recount about drunken after-show parties with Stylecraft folk on the bus are entirely fiction?


Filed under Yarn

The Carnival Bag, And The Stylecraft Giveaway!

Welcome to day five of the Stylecraft Blog Tour! Fancy a free pattern and a chance to win a whole caboodle of yarn, regardless of where in the world you are? Read on, Macduff…

FI bag 1

So, just for the benefit of anyone who is new round these ‘ere parts, (hello at the back, there), a few months ago I co-judged Stylecraft yarn’s competition to find a new shade for their range of Special DK. With me were the editor of Let’s Knit magazine (who waited very patiently in the car park before we went in, whilst I finished knitting the skirt I’d designed and knitted for the occasion), plus Annabelle from Stylecraft and Lucy from Attic24.

Phil (TheTwistedYarn), Sarah Neal (editor, Let's Knit), Annabelle Hill (sales director at Stylecraft), Lucy (Attic24).

Phil (TheTwistedYarn), Sarah Neal (editor, Let’s Knit), Annabelle Hill (sales director at Stylecraft), Lucy (Attic24).

And Stylecraft, being wise, decided to produce a limited edition pack of all ten of the shades that we shortlisted. Hurrah! The duck egg (top right) was the ultimate winner, by the way. The pack will be on sale from 13th October.

Win me! Win me! Win me!

Win me! Win me! Win me!

So… you want to win a pack of all the yarn pictured above? ‘Tis easy! All you need to do is enter here. The link will be live today (29.09.15) from 10.15am until midnight GMT. The competition is open worldwide.

And if you’re new here, welcome! Do have a mooch around, click the button you’ll see beside/below this page to follow the blog, and come and ‘Like’ on Facebook, too. Thank you!

But you’ll need something to make with all that lovely yarn, too, regardless of whether you buy it or win it, won’t you? Hmmm…. Let me think for a minute… How about… THIS SHOULDER-BAG?!!! shoulder bag

It has a neat flap and a little magnetic clasp to keep it closed:- shoulder bag

It was a lot of fun to design:- shoulder bag

Want to knit one? No, don’t look at me like that: it’s actually pretty quick and easy to make, as long as you’ve tried fairisle/stranded knitting before. The front and back panels are worked in the round, starting from the outside and working in with decreases on every round, so there’s no yucky purling fairisle. (Can you tell that I hate purling fairisle?) The strap, sides, and underneath are worked in one big round, too. Only the reverse of the strap and also the flap are knitted flat: but let’s not think about that.

The panels are joined with single crochet stitches (that’s double crochet in UK terms), but if you’re not a hooker, you can always use blanket stitch to attach the pieces.

FI bag 7

I’ve put together a free pattern in case you’d like to make the bag. CLICK HERE TO ACCESS IT! And you’ll find a Ravelry link HERE. And I realize that most people don’t want more than about a million photos in their patterns, so I’m going to put a few photos of the making process here, just to give you a bit of a visual aid. Do comment below with any questions or – horrors! – errata. Here we go:-

FI bag 15

And again. See this lovely mitred corner forming?

FI bag 16

And when things get too tight, we swap from a circular needle on to DPNs:-

FI bag 10

The reverse side looks like this:-

FI bag 11

Beginning the second side:-

FI bag 12

(If you want to crochet your jeans like that, see here.)

And here are all the components, ready for joining:-

FI bag 8

I used single crochet stitches for joining and for edges, all in Duck Egg:-

FI bag 9

Edging the strap makes it neat:-

FI bag 2

It’s worth the effort of lining the bag:-

FI bag 5

And then suddenly, you’re DONE!


And the blog tour? Well next it’s The Patchwork Heart, so do scurry over there tomorrow morning to look at her design and have another chance at the giveaway.


Filed under Knitting

You Know That Thing I Said? It Might Not QUITE Be True…

The Stylecraft Blog Tour seems to have got off to a decent start, with plenty of colourful patterns and daily chances to win a whole hairy heap of yarn. For those who asked a few posts ago, may I just say YES, the competition is indeed open worldwide. Hurrah! Today, it’s the turn of Crafternoon Treats.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) it’s the turn of this very blog, so there’ll be another free pattern and another chance to win a limited edition pack of yarn right here. So set your alarm clock for not-especially-early, lay out your best knitting needles, pull on your luckiest socks, and get ready to download the free pattern and enter the competition. Best o’luck, m’hearties!

Win This!

Win This! (Tomorrow.)

Meanwhile, back to the business of Monday, and I hope you’ll be kind enough to indulge me in something that’s not knitting/crochet-related, other than that it keeps me away from knitting and crochet.

Here’s the thing: the problem with saying stuff publically online is that you can never unsay it. The internet doesn’t forget. Ever. Not even if you offer to bribe it with home-baked cookies and remind it that you possess incriminating photo-evidence of it clinging to a chimney on the town hall roof whilst drunkenly singing ‘I Will Survive’ at 3am on its birthday. (Yes internet, I do still have those pictures.)

So. When I said, ‘I don’t like running’, I said it in good faith, albeit with extra disgruntlement borne of how lardy I was feeling after all that IVF shenanigans. And, whilst I haven’t changed that much, I have to confess… it’s been getting easier. Weirdly easier. And I can keep going. Like a machine. Even uphill. In the rain.

(WHAT?! Did you think I was about to confess something properly, excitingly shameful? Nah, I’m not telling you about that: it’s between me and my well-remunerated legal team, and that’s the way it’s staying for as long as I can continue selling off the family silver in order to afford their fees.)

At Least You Get Pretty Autumn Views When You Run

At Least You Get Pretty Autumn Views When You Run

I think the key difference with the running this time round is that I’m going almost every day unless I’m at work, and so my poor idle limbs have been forced to accept their fate. This is different from times past when my muscles just had to give a little twinge for me to say ‘OK chaps, best not overdo it: let’s go home and lie on the sofa for a month.’ But not any more.

I tried that pursued-by-zombies app that one of you recommended in the comments section weeks ago (thank you), but it wouldn’t work through my headphones, so I faced the surreal embarrassment of running past Colin The Postman whilst a voice from near my left hip yelled out YOU HAVE PICKED UP UNDERPANTS! Colin looked perplexed. So I gave that up. Now I just run, urged on only by the knowledge that the faster I run, the sooner I can stop running and start knitting.

And I Run Past Some Ancient Thatched Walls: A Concept That Never Really Seemed To Catch On In The Wider World.

And I Run Past Some Ancient Thatched Walls: A Concept That Never Really Seemed To Catch On In The Wider World.

Don’t worry, this isn’t about to morph into a running blog. Not even slightly. I guarantee never to mention it unless it’s to share tales of my humiliation and incompetence. And no lycra-clad selfies will ever be forced on you because (i) I don’t wear lycra, and (ii) you’re decent folks who don’t deserve that kind of abuse.

And I Run Past Pretty Cottages, Although They Selfishly Aren't Facing The Right Way For The Sun At The Moment I Pass

And I Run Past Pretty Cottages That Are Many Hundreds Of Years Old, Although They Selfishly Aren’t Facing The Right Way For The Sun At The Moment I Pass

The Twisted Yarn: definitely NOT sponsored by Nike.

See you tomorrow, folks. 🙂


Filed under Yarn

The Stylecraft Giveaway: It’s Coming!

Would you like a free pattern and the chance to win a whole sack of joyfully colourful yarn? You would?? Oh my friend, you’ve come to the right place: you won’t be disappointed.

I’ve mentioned this on the ‘Yarn’s Facebook page (do please ‘like’ for updates) but I hear a faint rumour that not quite everyone is accounted for on The Book Of Faces, so it’s only fair that I also mention it on Ye Olde WordPress(e).

Y’see, it’s like this. Cast your almost perfectly photographic memory back to Stylecraft’s competition to select a new shade of yarn, which I co-judged along with the editor of Let’s Knit magazine and Lucy from Attic24. So gorgeous were the ten shades that we shortlisted that the fine fibrous folks at Stylecraft briefly put down their knitting/crochet to announce that a limited edition pack of all of these colours would be made available. Hurrah!

stylecraft special dk

(That’s the ultimate winner bottom right: duck egg.)

And it gets better. Stylecraft has organised a ten-day blog tour beginning on the 25th September. Each day at 10.15am GMT from that date, a different well-known blog will post both a free original pattern and a chance to win a pack of all ten of the beautiful shades shown above in Special DK. Obviously the day to triple-underline in your diary is Tuesday 29th September, when this very blog will feature a chance to win AND a slightly splendidly colourful knitting pattern. Other participants include Emma Varnam, Sue Pinner, and The Patchwork Heart. I don’t know about you, but I’ll be fascinated to see what other designers come up with. Stylecraft gave us complete freedom to design whatever our hearts desired in knitting or crochet, as long as it featured these ten shades, so I’m guessing that there’s going to be a splendidly fabulous range of creativity. I’m very, very curious.

Meanwhile, I’ve been busy working on my own design (hence the slight pause in my other projects). It’s so tempting to get over-excited and show you what I’ve done so far but that would probably be naughty. I will say that I’m very, very excited about it. And I will show you a little sneak preview as I crochet together some knitted panels. But this picture doesn’t really do it justice. I can’t wait until the 29th.

Do enter the giveaway. And do give the pattern a go. 🙂 So I’d better go and write it up then, hadn’t I?


Filed under Yarn

How To De-Pill Your Knits

Do your knits ever pill? Would you like a quick tip for getting rid of those annoying, tiny balls of yuck? Yes I know you can buy de-pilling gadgets, but you really don’t need to. Just fetch a razor and give ’em a shave. Seriously. And be a little brutal about it, too. I wish I’d thought to take a ‘before’ picture to show you how pilly my camera strap had become, but here’s some of the fluff that I shaved from its surface:-

knitted camera strap

I also gave it a wash in Eucalan, and it’s now once again a much happier camera strap. Look! Pattern here, should you so desire.

knitted camera strap.

Anyway, just as I thought summer had disappeared off to the southern hemisphere, we had a day of beautiful warmth and sunshine here today. T’was a day for sitting on the lawn knitting, as the twinnage pretended to be a herd of cows beside me.

mitred corners

We went into Oxford, too, mostly to meet a dear friend and have lunch in a cafĂ©-cum-children’s-bookshop. No photos from that I’m afraid because I was too busy chatting to my friend and the twinnage, but afterwards we headed into the centre of Oxford to visit the Natural History Museum, because the twinnage wanted to revisit the dinosaurs. It’s a beautiful Victorian Gothic building. Look!

Oxford Natural History Museum

I used to hang around in there as a student when I felt in need of some serenity and, well, because I love geology. Even the twinnage was impressed by this ammonite:-

ammonite fossil

But mostly, they loved the tyrannosaurus. The museum building is stunning, and full of light:-


Afterwards we wandered around a little. The university has thrown up so many new structures amongst the ancient buildings in recent years. Sometimes, you can see the old reflected in the new:-

keble college oxford

If I weren’t a country girl at heart, I’d be yearning to be back living in Oxford again.

Anyway, I digress. On with the knitting.


Filed under Knitting

Squinting At Sartorial Oddities

Being a knitter/crocheter affects how you look at garments in shops, right? Do you find yourself frowning and pondering at other people’s knitwear?

No?? Oh, OK, it’s just me, then.

There are some beautiful clothes out there. Look at this crocheted loveliness I saw in the window of a local charity shop.

crochet sweater

How gorgeous? I don’t wear pale colours because they really don’t suit me (even my wedding dress was dark teal), but if I could just get hold of the pattern, I’d begin crocheting this jumper in a heartbeat. Possibly in purple. I wonder how this one was made, though. Proper crochet can’t be mass-produced by machine (which always gives me pause for thought in clothes shops when I see racks of crochet-looking jumpers). So who made this beauty? And how? Not sure about the scarf, though.

There are some oddities, too. In Marks and Spencer (that bastion of middle-class, middle-aged, middle-England underwear clothes-selling, I saw jumpers that made my knitty fingers twitch! Because, look!

reverse stockinette jumper

I know they did this on purpose for effect, but I guarantee that very few knitters will be buying that top. Am I alone in my urge to unravel this jumper and re-knit it the other way round so that those stripes lose their extra micro-stripes of purl bumps? Or I guess I could just, y’know, wear it inside out. The wrongness of this jumper makes my eyeballs itch. At least, as knitters and crocheters, we’re entirely free to make our clothes in any design we choose.

Anyway, down to serious business. The log-fire is lit, the wine is poured, and I’m knitting:-

This Knitter Is On Fire

This Knitter Is On Fire

I owe you an explanation of where the various promised projects are up to. The crochet house bag pattern is nearly done, although the visual charts might take a little longer to produce. It’ll be here soon, and it’ll be free for any of you crazy enough to make it. I’ve been briefly diverted from finishing it by the need to produce a new pattern in time for a STYLECRAFT YARN GIVEAWAY at the end of this month. Stay tuned, folks! And the utterly insane giant furniture-related crochet house project is plodding along and nearly done. Meanwhile I’m slightly distracted by the deadline at the end of this month for the final final final submission for my novel-writing MPhil degree. So what with that, and supporting the newly-schooling twinnage (yes they’re coping, thank you very much for asking) and treating my patients in the hospital, and keeping us all supplied with home-baked chocolate cake, and trying not to forget the allotment, and attempting to prevent our brewery home from descending into total squalor, I’m a tad busy.

And yes, some quirky vloggy podcasts are still on the horizon.

Oh, and there’s just one more thing that I should mention. For anyone able to contribute a little knitted kindness for a neonatal unit, have a look at this:


Filed under Knitting

Knowing Your Limits

Everyone has their limits.

For example, some folks swear that they can’t knit drunk, whereas I’ll happily plod away at colourwork whilst sipping Chablis. However I do know from bitter experience that I can’t work complex lace whilst angry. (I was debating with a member of my extended family about a subject that was dear to my feminist principles. Afterwards, precisely nobody was converted to the other’s viewpoint and the entire collar of my jumper needed frogging and re-knitting. Sigh. Lesson learned.) And as of a few nights ago, I do also know that I can’t take decent photos of knitting in darkened pubs after drinking half a bottle of wine. So, what was – in my inebriated imagination – going to be a sophisticated gallery of works-in-progress at Knit Night, is actually a wobbly assemblage of drunken blur. Sorry.

So yes, it was Knitting-And-Crochet-Night, and once the twinnage were in bed, I hurried over the road to the pub (because I still haven’t discovered the entrance to the ancient tunnel that allegedly joins the cellar of our ex-brewery home to the pub’s basement). Sometimes the group is largish, sometimes it’s smallish, and sometimes we don’t meet at all. On this occasion, there were only two of us, but that was fine. Would you like to see the gorgeous entrelac hat my friend was working on? Don’t worry, I got her permission to do this:-

My friend's entrelac

My friend’s entrelac

Isn’t it beautiful, especially in those shimmery jewel-like tones?

Anyway, on this particular occasion, there was also… another knitting group in the pub, seated around a table on the opposite side of the room. We tried not to look as though we were looking at them. We’d heard rumours of this other group, you see, and so we knew they’d pitch up some time. (Why is writing these words giving me images of a stand-off in the Wild West?)

We were surrounded and outnumbered, and we knew it. Sources had informed us that they were members of the Women’s Institute. (I realize that most people reading this aren’t in the UK, so I should explain that members of the WI do good works for charity and also take their clothes off.) On this occasion, they were all knitting Twiddlemuffs.


We saw them. They saw us. We knitted. They knitted. We drank. They drank.

And d’you know what the most blimmin’ irksome thing was??!

The most frustrating thing was that when the enormous yarn-gulf across the room was eventually breached and the two groups began to talk to each other, the WI posse turned out to be thoroughly lovely, fun people. DO YOU REALIZE HOW HARD IT’S GOING TO BE TO MAKE A DECENTLY AMUSING ANECDOTE OUT OF THAT?! So I can’t even tell you any stories about knitting needles being brandished in a menacing manner. And nobody tipped Eucalan in anyone else’s drink. Not a single clothes-moth was sneakily concealed in anyone’s project bag, and not a soul haughtily denounced a rival’s yarn as ‘uncommonly scratchy’. There were not even any snide mutterings about how people who use straights/circulars (delete as appropriate) are mad/bad/dangerous-to-know (delete as appropriate), despite the fact that the WI posse were all on straights, and we were both on circulars.

See? Very pleasant evening. TOTAL FRICKIN’ DISASTER on the anecdote front. We came, we saw, we chatted. And whilst we didn’t quite get as far as merging, I hope we’ll run into them again.

Oh, and in case you want to see what I was knitting, it’s here. I couldn’t bring the crochet cauliflowers to the pub, so I got on with some work on designing this bag. Fairisle mitred corners in-the-round, I’ll have you know:-



Filed under Knitting

Crochet Crocodile Stitch Photo Tutorial

One of the crochet stitches that’s important for the house bag is the crocodile stitch. Look, here it is, used for the roof of the house, which forms the flap for the bag:-

Crocodile Stitch For The Roof Of The House

Crocodile Stitch For The Roof Of The House

It’s not difficult but it looks fancy, and it’s a stitch that works well for scarves. Since you work the scales one-at-a-time, it can carry a variegated yarn quite well, more so than – say – a granny square, which can get weirdly splodgy in a variegated yarn.

Crocodile Stitch

Crocodile Stitch

Just don’t make an entire cardigan in this stitch, especially not in green, or you will look like an actual crocodile – which is not a good look (except on crocodiles, of course).

Whilst I finish off writing up the bag pattern, I thought I’d put together these instructions, because although there are a lot of crocodile stitch tutorials out there, they really do vary in quality. (I found this out the hard way when I was first learning the technique.) Here’s a version that most definitely works. And it really is easy. So without further ado, permit me to present… the crochet crocodile stitch photo-tutorial:-

(Actually there is a bit of further ado.) PLEASE NOTE: NORTH AMERICAN CROCHET TERMS USED THROUGHOUT.


ch = chain

ss = slip stitch

dc = double crochet (which would be a treble in UK crochet terms)

sk = skip

st/sts = stitch/stitches

1. Chain multiples of 6+1. Just to orientate you, you’re beginning at the bottom of your work and progressing upwards. In the little sample I’m making below, I’ve chained 19, i.e. (3×6)+1. This will give me a piece with rows alternating between 4 scales and 3 scales wide, like this:-



2. Pinch your last chain and ch3 (to act as your first dc). 1dc into the st you’ve pinched. (Ch1. Sk2 links of chain and work 2dc into next stitch) until the end of the row. (You should find yourself working 2dc into the final stitch.) You will have made something that looks rather like a ladder. There will be an odd number of pairs of dcs:-

crochet crocodile stitch tutorial

3. Turn your work clockwise through 90◦ so that your ladder is hanging downwards. To make the crocodile scale, you’re going to work stitches into the gap between the pair of dc posts, initially from right to left down the first dc, and then back up the other side via the other dc in this first pair. So, ch3 (counts as your first dc), then, working from right to left along the first dc, make 4dc. Ch1.



Turn your work through 180◦ so that the rung of the ladder you’re working on is now at the bottom. Working from right to left, make 5dc in the second of the pair of dc stitches from row 2.

Working The First Stitch Of The Second Side Of The Scale.

Working The First Stitch Of The Second Side Of The Scale.

Now ch1. You’ve made a scale.

easy crocodile stitch tutorial


4. Turn your ladder through 180â—¦ again, so that it’s hanging downwards. Skip the next pair of dc sts from row 2 and instead work 5dc from right to left into the first dc of the following pair. Ch1, then turn your work through 180â—¦ and work another 5dc back up the other dc of the pair. Ch1.

5. Continue in this way, working down and then up every alternate pair of the dcs that you made in row 2. You should finish on the final pair of dcs and should now have 4 scales. Instead of your final ch1, work a ss into the top of the middle of the last scale, so that its right hand side curves nicely at the top. Your scales won’t look very neat at the moment but don’t worry, as you work the next (set-up) row, you’ll anchor them in place and make them behave.


6. Hold your work horizontally with the scales facing you and pointing downwards, and with your initial chain at the bottom. You’ll now make a new row of pairs of dcs, each pair separated by a ch1, with each pair worked into the gap between one of the pairs of dcs below. Where this coincides with the edges of two scales (ie alternate occasions), you work your dcs into the ch1 between scales as well as into the gap between dcs, thus anchoring these together. The first dc of the very first pair only should be replaced by a ch3. You should have the same number of pairs of dcs as in row 2, i.e. 7 pairs in this example.

Much Neater. Second Set-Up Row Added, Which Also Anchors Your First Row Of Scales

Much Neater. Second Set-Up Row Added, Which Also Anchors Your First Row Of Scales

7. You’re now going to work across again with another set of scales. However, on this row you will make one fewer scales than before – 3 in this case – because they’re slightly offset from the previous row. So, no need to begin with a ch3 this time. Instead, work 5dcs from top to bottom into the first post of the second pair of dcs. Ch1. Work 5dcs up the other side. Ch1. Continue working scales across the row until you have 3. This time, you’ll finish the final scale with a ss into the last pair of dcs, and your scale will not protrude any further than this pair of posts.

8. Make the next set-up row, as in row 6. Ch3 (to act as your first dc). 1dc into the base of this ch3. (Ch1. Sk2 stitches and work 2dc into next stitch) until the end of the row.



9. Repeat 3-8.

Have fun!

An Actual Crocodile

An Actual Crocodile


Filed under Crochet

Mostly Crocheting The Vegetable Patch

September. The season is on the swing, towards autumn here in the UK, but towards spring if you’re in the southern hemisphere. There’s a hint of chill early in the day, regardless of whether or not the later hours become warm.

It's hip to be rose

It’s hip to be rose

The logs are stacked beside the fireplace and the kindling bucket is full. It’s so tantalisingly nearly time to light a fire. There are blackberries to be gathered from the hedgerows for crumble-making:-


As the temperature falls, it’s spider season, and those of us with an – ahem – aversion to the hairy little critters must go to extreme measures to survive the month. Fortunately my father-in-law, the Gregarious Grandfather, is visiting, so I can use his fancy camera device that’s for studying the inside of engines to examine my wellies for interlopers.

Photo is rubbish due to the trauma of discovering an ACTUAL MEGA-SPIDER in my boot!

Photo is rubbish due to the trauma of discovering an ACTUAL MEGA-SPIDER in my boot!

I assumed I’d be writing some dull caption like ‘All seems OK here’ to that photo, but…. then we saw the actual live freakin’ wriggly mega-spider on the screen! Let’s just gloss over what ensued, and instead talk about crochet. Yes?

Right, crochet. Well now that the twinnage are a’school, I have a wee smidgeon of time in which to write up the pattern for the crochet house bag. And… it’s very nearly done, but the charts will take a wee while longer to conjure. But it’s coming, and it’ll be free of charge forever.

crochet house bag at

Meanwhile, I’ve been starting to add flowers, shrubs and vegetables to the house-related, nearly-finished, mega-project. The one I’ve been drip-feeding you with glimpses of for months. I’m sorry, I don’t do quick, simple projects. This is the nature of the beast.

It’s been two steps forward, one step back, as some attempts at vegetation just don’t work. For example, this attempt at a bush does rather resemble a slime mould:-


But the biggest triumph of the day has been the cauliflowers in the vegetable patch. Because I was inspired by the veg patch in the Jan Messent book I found in a second-hand shop:-

jan messent.

I had an urge to make a row of cauliflowers. As you do.

Fortunately, we happened to be visiting my parents, the Twisted Seniors (newly re-located from Herefordshire to Oxfordshire) today. And they had a cauliflower in the fridge so I could compare shades of yarn and scratch my chin thoughtfully.


…And in the end decide to just go for it. I wanted to catch the lumpy-bumpy nature of an ordinary cauli (much as Mother Twisted wanted me to perfectly represent one of those fractal-like fancy Romanesco specimens). So I chained in cream-coloured yarn for a while, then wrapped the chain into a ball whilst sewing it in place. The green outer leaves were made by making a 4-chain loop around the cauliflower stem, from which I made 5-chain loops that became leaves which I sewed tight against the white ball of cauliflower.

crochet cauliflower

Can you tell the difference from the real thing?

So far, I’ve sewn a row of them into the garden:-

crochet cauliflowers.

Now, what next? (Can you perhaps understand why this is taking a while?)


Filed under Crochet

The Challenges Of Pattern-Writing

Gosh, this is complicated.

Whilst I dither about the garden of the big crochet house project, I’m writing up the pattern for the crochet house bag, because I want to offer it (free) to those of you who are crazy enough to want to make one yourselves. And hey folks, guess what? Insanely complicated fiddly piece of crochet translates into insanely complicated fiddly pattern. Who’d’ve guessed?! One of the things I love about knitting/crochet is that a relatively short list of instructions on a page is often all you need to create a complex and beautiful finished three-dimensional object. Not so in this case. Imagine so very many lines of detailed instructions that if you try to download them, your laptop will sink deep into the sofa under the weight of it all, and if you attempt to print it out, your printer will go bang and set the smoke alarm off, thus irritating absolutely anyone and everyone who lives with you, especially the cat.

crochet house bag at

For the front of the house, it’s really not a pattern where you can just write, “Repeat rows 1-2 30 times,” or, “Continue in pattern until your work measures…” because every single row is a brand new minefield of insanity that needs some hefty explanation.

What also doesn’t help is my detail-monkey tendencies, that mean that I’m leaving nothing to chance, which will no doubt annoy the more experienced hookers who would attempt this pattern, because they don’t need to be told Every Single Thing Yet Again For Every Single Row. Silly I know, because this is definitely not a first-ever-crochet-project sort of pattern. Do you think I should remove the instructions about when to refill your wine-glass/tea-cup, and what colour socks to wear for this endeavour? pattern

More seriously, I do realize that there’s a delicate balance to be had between spoon-feeding your pattern-readers so much that they’re pretty much told when to breathe, or conversely leaving so much to their experience and wisdom that your pattern merely says, “Pick up your hook. Make this thing.” And however you write your pattern, somebody is going to be annoyed. Do you see the dilemma?

So I’m erring on the side of detailed, and if anyone wants to sue me for damage to their desk/sofa by the weight of the instructions that they’ve had to download/print, then so be it. (If you win your case, may I please pay you in home-baked cookies rather than in actual hard cash?)

crochet house bag

Personally, I’m very much a spatial thinker (for goodness sake give me a map, not a list of directions… and a diagram rather than a description), so I’ve drawn a rough chart of this pattern, but it’s going to take a wee bit of effort and an extension of my paltry technological skills to translate this into a smart online version with the proper symbols. I’m doing my best, though, and now that the Tyrannical Twinnage have started school, I stand some chance of succeeding.

bag pattern chart at

Right, I’d better get back to the pattern grindstone. See how effectively I’m avoiding the task by writing a blog post about it?


Filed under Crochet