It was time to go petsitting in Wales again. I went back to the house of my darling Ben and Lola and got into a serious crochet project. I had only just discovered the granny square which is so gratifying to crochet. Reason for this of course is that it is easy and you have a very quick result. If you have read my other posts on crochet you may well understand by now that I am an experimenter rather than a conventionalist, and that I like to just fiddle my way around projects which end up nicely if not perfect.
So I just started doing granny squares and at first I did not really know what I was going to do with them. But since I had bought loads of wool in the charity shops in and around Hay on Wye, I did not mind not yet knowing what this project was developing into. I like to go with the flow. I needed de-stressing and so an easy project of loads of granny’s was just the thing. I was able to watch tv in the evenings with one eye, while sitting in front of the blazing fire with Lola on the sofa next to me and Ben at my feet keeping a frantic eye on Lola, since this sheep dog is not into hoarding sheep but into hoarding Lola which was actually hilarious to watch.
He would not get any rest, fascinated as he was with Lola, and the next time I came petsitting he showed the same behaviour to new arrival Malcolm. As the pictures clearly show the cats ignored Ben with disdain.
Getting back to the granny square blanket project. Here’s the making of:
Mum admiring end result on her settee:
After the feet came the head. My sons girlfriend had a crochet hat which she liked but asked me if I could make a similar one in a different colour. I tried:
As the pro crocheter will notice my changing of colour without evident marking-skill is not yet well developed but I figured that could be worn as back. Note the edging which I added and which gives the beanie a nice girlish touch. Bob’s girlfriend liked the hat.
I made some more.
Then I went on holiday to the USA, we were driving a camper van and soon during stops I missed my crochet which I had not taken with me. I was happy to discover that in America there are also charity shops which I think are called thrift shops rather and so I soon procured wool and crochet hooks. I did not have a pattern and so I made this rather ridiculous hat which on my head looks even more weird, but just to show you that all projects do not have happy endings:
Anxiously my friend asked: you are not going to wear that are you? And I definitely wasn’t going to…
To make those slippers and moccasins I simply set up a string of chains which I held at my foot sole. It was all very approximative because I did not yet know how wool would behave. So I experimented a little, which resulted in some very loose fitting moccasins but they were comfy at the same time.
It also depends on the type of wool you use of course. I chose thick wool so as to create nice warm slippers which can be used either barefoot or with a pair of socks on. It was a pleasure to see how quickly I got some sort of hang of it and to be able to fit them on. Right from the start what I did was: first create one sole, and then immediately the next, instead of finishing one slipper and then make the second one. Reason for this was that I did not write anything down and had to remember how I went about it in order to create a similar pair.
Also I experimented with another type of sole, which gave the slipper a moccasin look. Judge for yourself please:
For this sole I got chamois leather or wash-leather (don’t know which of the word is best. There are different types of these, even fake ones which are quite sturdy. However not as strong as the leather soles I put on the first pair of slippers I crocheted, see the result:
Should have taken a pic after I just done them of the bottom as well. But as you can see I wear them lots and I just got some new chamois to replace these. I won’t bother taking this off but simply sew it on top.
Then a couple of weeks ago I could not sleep and was staying at my friends in Devon. At the time I was working on a big shawl. Using expensive wool and carefully crocheting it. So as it was 3 in the morning, I wanted an easier task and since I had forgotten to bring my slippers I decided to make a new pair. See next post please.
After having done some more little projects like a cat with a kitten, some birds and so on which I made into little cushions, I felt the need to make something useful rather than decorative. Although the potholders are of use. But I mean what are you going to do with ten potholders? So I thought it would be a good idea to start experimenting with slippers.
Now I had looked for patterns and there were a few books on crochet which I found – since this crochet virus had not just struck me, but as far as I could see went global – but the books had little drawings with lots of dots and stripes and hooky thingys which I could not decipher. Rather like sheet music. You need to learn to read it. Anyway I had no time to learn to decipher because I just had to crochet. So I just fiddled and made these:
Thing is I don’t like walking on socks in my house. I want some sort of soles underneath because I have 3 cats and so one gets lots of hairs on the slippers. Therefore I needed to add soles. I went to one of those shops where you can have put new soles under your shoes, they usually also duplicate keys. I bought leather inlay soles the biggest size which I cut to fit. Then I hand sewed them on with the strongest thread I could buy on the market. In Holland its called fish thread. Result is maybe a little amateurish, but does the trick:
Of course this started a period of slipper virus. So I made some for me, for mum, for hubby and another pair for me. See next post.
Petsitting is one of my joys. The first time we petsit Billy, Barney and Betsy was glorious. The weather was fine and those dogs are just such a joy to be with. So my time was basically divided into dog walking, playing with the tireless dogs, dog petting, and crochet.
During that petsit I made the cat potholders, but I also wanted to leave a special gift to the lovely homeowners, so I crocheted their dog Billy. Well, let’s say it was an attempt to depict him in crochet:
This is Billy:
This is the crocheted result:
I realise the colour scheme is not quite Billy, but I had to make do with the available wool. All in all I thought it was a nice result, because I was doing it by heart.
So the first inspiration to get crocheting was when I saw the cat potholders. Then a second boost was injected one day as I walked into a shop called Flying Tiger. I think it’s a Danish shop and I was told about it by my sister who had happened upon it. The Tiger is a feel good shop. It’s a very clever concept. They sell cheerful things and the incentive to buy lots of cheerful things is enhanced by the feel good music they are playing. When I went for the first time they were playing songs from the sixties and seventies which had me singing along while browsing all the bits and pieces which were colourful, useful and affordable.
Anyway, that day I found a little cardboard box which contained a crochet kit for making a little owl. I paid 3 euros and was chuffed to be able to get started and learn crochet anew. To make the owl was easy. It was very basic as you can see. In fact it did not have a bill, I added those myself. From my first inner push to start doing crochet onwards I had made it a sport to go into any charity shop both in the UK and in Holland which I happened upon and get left over wool balls so I already had lots of little balls of different colours. That first owl got lots of mates:
How does one get struck by a virus? Usually it creeps up on you unawares, does it not. And just like with a virus, you don’t realise that other people also seem to have been struck by it. To me it happened while visiting my brother in law in Wales. He bought a place there and my husband and I came over from Holland to put down laminate in his house. During a tea break we were sitting in his improvised lounge – a bedroom upstairs with a couple of easy chairs and a small table – and on the table were three potholders scattered on the little table which he seemed to use as larger coasters to place plates on. I’m not interested in coasters usually but these ones were special: they were cats, three different ones, and they were crocheted and they were made by my late mother in law. So they must have been made in the sixties or seventies of last century and I really liked them. My brother in law for sentimental reasons did not want to part with them, but he was fine with lending them to me so I could try to copy them. My first step was to visit a couple of charity shops to get some wool. I found plenty and got crochet hooks there as well. Then I sat down to work.The result of which you can admire here:
The ones with the brown stripes are Mother in laws’ the ones with blue are mine. I must confess I felt quite pleased with the result because the only thing I remembered of crochet which I learned 40 years ago at school was making a string of chains. So the rest I found out via tutorials. Therefore I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to all those who put tutorials on YouTube because they simply are great! After the cats I felt much inspired and went on to other projects.