Wednesday, 24 June 2015

The Paisley Granny Cushion and Mini Construction Tutorial

Hello there, it's finally finished, the Paisley Granny Cushion had it's first outing in the garden yesterday. I am very pleased with this cushion, the colours look so good in the the sunshine, especially the turquoise, the bright light really brings it out.

The schools here break up earlier than other parts of the UK, finishing up today for the summer holidays, so yesterday I took my finished cushion, a magazine and my ereader and had some quiet me time. This is my favourite shady spot in garden, I love to see the sunshine but don't like sitting in it as I'm fair skinned and burn too easily so while everyone else soaks up the sun on the patio I'm to be found enjoying the dappled shade under the tree. Both N and I like to have a scented, bee friendly garden and I was really pleased to see buds yesterday on the Graham Thomas honeysuckle I planted a couple of years ago to grow up through the tree.

Once I had joined the motifs for the cushion front it wasn't quite tall enough so I worked two stripes at the top and bottom of the cushion first with pink then orange. I knew I didn't want to make the back the same as the front so decided to crochet it in one piece which I wanted to make in blocks of colour. To break up the turquoise, I chose orange and pink for the colour blocks, making a pink central block which I decided to make slightly bigger than the two orange blocks at either end. I like this, it would make a nice summer cushion even without the paisley squares.

As I will be using this cushion outdoors I wanted to be able to easily slip off the cover for washing so using the orange I made a chain long enough for a 50cm cushion, then worked a foundation row of double crochet before continuing in treble crochet. I worked an extra three rows on the bottom section so I would be able to fold it over the cushion inner and tuck in when finished before changing to the pink yarn.

Constructing the Cushion


To make up, I double crocheted with wrong sides together starting at the bottom right corner with the granny front facing and worked around the sides with three dc in each corner.

When I reached the bottom of the third side, I double crocheted the two sides together until I reached the join of the first two motifs, then marking the join for the last motif on the other side, I continued to dc along the front edge only.

When I reached the stitch marker, I again double crocheted the two sides together to the end of the row then all I had to do was tie off the yarn, weave in the ends and lightly press the fold. You could add poppers at this point but I was too impatient to get into the garden with mine.


I popped in the cushion inner, tucked the flap inside and headed into the garden. I love that this cushion is a one-off and as all our garden furniture and camping chairs are different blues, it goes with them all.

As N will now be on holiday until August I hope the rainy weather we have mostly been having will ease off  and we will get some lazy, sunny holiday days to chill out in the garden, with some crochet for me of course. I hope the mini cushion construction tutorial is helpful if you also want to make a summer outdoor cushion.

Til next time,


Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Exploring new places

Hello there, have you been busy enjoying the long, light evenings and doing some crafting?

While I finished the front of my simple Paisley Granny cushion and started working on the back I took some time out for a spot of unexpected retail therapy at a newly opened craft shop in our town before getting back to nature at the the National Museum of Rural Life at East Kilbride in Lanarkshire.

Craft Shopping

First was the visit to the craft shop. As I live on the edge of the town I often find out about changes from friends and neighbours before I see them myself and this was again the case when I discovered the lovely little craft shop which has opened in the town. On my next walk down that way I popped in to have a look and found the friendly Allison who owns it and is following a long held dream. Allison crochets too and I was so pleased to find she had some crochet cotton in stock, just the thing for the lace book which I wrote about recently.

Allison sews, her shop is full of the most gorgeous fat quarters and projects she has made herself with fabrics she sources from America. With ribbons, buttons and embellishments it is a craft heaven and so easy to just pop down the hill. As the shop is quite small she doesn't plan to stock a lot of yarn (she is also a crocheter) but did have a big basket of yarn packs, well how could I resist? I fell in love with the colours of this yarn, they made me think of autumn so I ended up coming home with three balls earmarked for a cosy project later in the year and of course the crochet cottons.

With so many beautiful fabrics in her shop I will be going back to visit Allison again soon.

Down on the Farm
My second new place was the National Museum of Rural Life at Wester Kittochside which isn't far from us being about a half hour drive away and last weekend they had a Woolly Weekend event. As NTS members we get entry to this museum even though it is run by NMS. It's a little space of tranquillity amidst the bustle of the outskirts of south Glasgow and the new town of East Kilbride. The museum is actually just off a busy road but once the car was parked and we walked down the path to the farm we could have been miles away. The museum building is a lovely place to visit but as we've been there before we headed down to the courtyard to meet the Westyett Alpacas and their friendly and knowledgeable owners, Pauline and John. I should point out that I don't know Westyett Alpacas and this post isn't sponsored, I just enjoyed meeting the alpacas so much I thought I'd share it with you all.

We spent quite a while finding out all about these cute little guys who are actually quite shy with humans making it difficult to get photos of them....

 however patience and perseverance paid off.

Whilst they may be shy with humans, they are not slow to react to dogs, the appearance of a cute little dog belonging to another visitor had them down the ramp and over at the edge of the pen in no time. Pauline's husband explained as we were watching that alpacas don't like dogs or foxes and will actually chase them off. This little brown chap was a little braver and more inquisitive than the rest, he definitely seemed to be the leader of this herd,

and keeping an eye on his owner's sales too!

There was a bucket of alpaca clippings for people to feel (the alpacas are a bit shy for petting though I did see the brown one above allowing a little girl to stroke him), they were so beautifully soft, the type of fibre which is impossible to resist. The alpacas are lovely, they talk quietly to each other all the time and I could (and did) watch them for quite a while. We discovered that they are herd animals who won't do well on their own and though very hardy, they can't cope with driving rain as unlike sheep they don't have any lanolin in their coats so must have a shelter.

I also found out why I often find wool uncomfortable as John explained the difference in structure between sheeps' wool and alpaca fibre, basically alpaca is smoother and warmer due to the hollow fibre giving an insulating effect where as sheep wool is heavier and has scales with little "barbs" which cause the itching people sometimes experience from wool. As well as breeding and showing Alpacas, Pauline also sells products made from alpacas fibre, if you would like to know more about Pauline's Alpacas or where you can see them check out their Westyett Alpacas website to find out where they will be.

I've mostly crocheted with merino mixes before such as Sirdar Flirt which is merino and bamboo or Debbie Bliss Cashmerino however I have used alpaca fibre once before when I used Drops Lace which is an alpaca and silk mix to make a pink shawl. Now I've met these animals up close and seeing how gorgeous both they and their fibre are I think I'll be using Alpaca yarn more in future. Regretfully, we left the alpacas behind and made our way along the path to the farmhouse. This was a lovely peaceful walk and I really enjoyed getting close to the wildflowers in the hedgerow.

Aren't these Hawthorn blossoms beautiful?

We saw some very pale, delicate bluebells under the trees as we made our way through the garden to the house. I haven't seen bluebells like this before, they were almost a pale lilac colour.

We hadn't been to the farmhouse before and it was like stepping back into a scene from my childhood as I used to visit my friend's grandparents' farm in the late seventies/early eighties which though smaller had a similar feel. Wester Kittochside hasn't been updated since the 1950s, with the previous owners leaving it to the NTS in the 1980s. It is still a working farm retaining the old ways of earlier times, including using horses which we saw turned out in the field.

We made our way back down the path to the Museum building for a late lunch as it has a good cafe, spotting this piece of yarn bombing at the entrance. I'm sorry the photo isn't very clear, the light inside the museum is very poor for photography and this was the only piece of yarn bombing I was able to photograph.

The yarn bombing was a trail throughout the museum for kids to follow (as we are big kids we did it too) and there were yarny, woolly craft activities for children as well so families were having a fun day out.

I am still working on my cushion, being half-way through the back, I hope to be able to show the finished item to you later this week.

Til next time,


Friday, 5 June 2015

Simple Paisley Granny Cushion

Hello there,

It's taken me a bit longer than I expected to reach the next stage of my Paisley cushion. It would have been easier to go looking on the Internet for a pattern but I really wanted to do this myself so I beavered away in spare moments turning my Paisley motifs into granny squares. There has been ripping out, a lot of ripping out, then more working up again until it looked passable.

First I had to make my mind up which colour to choose for my first cushion, despite thinking I would choose yellow and pink, in the end I plumped for orange and pink.

I've mentioned before that I am rather too good at procrastination, I'm also not very good at making up projects right away but this time I decided to weave in the ends and make up as I go, otherwise I'll never get the cushions made in time to use this summer. There were quite a few ends.

Next decision was what colour to use for the background and I went for the turquoise. This is the bit which has taken me a while to work out as I'm not one of those talented people who can sit down and put it on paper, I just play with the yarn until it looks right to me. So I played and played, it still didn't look right, so I played a bit more and finally got a rectangle.

A few more rectangles and I had enough to play about to see how they looked. I haven't decided yet whether to make all the blocks the same or not.

I'm joining the sections one at a time as I finish them so I can see the cushion cover grow. This is the bottom section already made up.

 I'm looking forward to finishing this and being able to use it in the garden, when summer eventually arrives. This week has been cold and miserable here and very un-summer like, the perfect excuse to snuggle indoors with some crochet and the colours have helped keep me happy. On the down-side, it has made taking photos difficult as the light has been so poor, thankfully the weather has brightened up this afternoon so I can finally share my latest make with you.

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Til next time,