Crocheting with beads

Just finished a beautiful but simple crochet project, crochet wise a very simple repetitive pattern but incorporating beads which gives it that extra special twist. The pattern is by Kirsten Hoogerwerf- Ballering from the Haakmaarraak blog and has been run as a make a long recently in the Scheepjes Facebook international crochet group, the pattern is available via Kirsten’s blog or via her Etsy shop of the same name as her blog. The yarn from Scheepjes is not one I have used before, like most Scheepjes yarns the Alpaca rhythm laceweight yarn is gorgeously soft and comes in an excellent range of shades, the yarn has to be used double so 2 balls at a time using 8 x 25g balls in total so it is not a cheap project. However the design produces an heirloom type shawl for bridal or evening wear with the addition of seed beads so is a reasonable investment if you want to make that type of garment. I’m experimenting with a cheaper Scheepjes yarn for a second shawl, Stardust which also has  mohair content and tiny amounts of sparkly fibre throughout which makes it ideal for this project, when I have completed the alternative project I will let you know how the cheaper non alpaca yarn works out.

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The pattern although simple does require patience in the preparation however as the seed beads need to be strung onto the yarn every 10 rows or so, stringing about 200 beads allows you to complete 10 rows without any tarn bead tangles before needing to cut the yarn and re-string the next lot of beads. The beads required are 6/0 seed beads to fit the yarn size, any make is suitable in the correct size, (a big eye beading needle is recommended for stringing the beads) Toho beads are suggested due to the pretty variety available, this is the type I used, again there are a number of websites that sell beads, I can the recommend the one I use for price and speed of delivery, I also sometimes use these type of beads for embroidery I- Beads.

For my evening shawl I used the deep bluey purple shade of vogue in the Alpaca rhythm yarn and I combined it with 3 different colour Toho beads: transparent rainbow sugar-plum, gold lined rainbow light sapphire, and aqua/ purple lined.

The second version in progress is Scheepjes Stardust Pegasus 652 with Toho beads 6/0 silver lined crystal and gold lined rainbow crystal, see the photo below, I will update you about whether it works out as well as the first shawl when I finish it.

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Optical Illusions

My latest crochet project is a very clever patten ‘Crochet between the lines’ from Canadutch using Scheepjes Whirl, and not just one gorgeous whirl but two! Through a very simple double crochet stich it creates a lovely soft fluid fabric with a clever striped optical illusion. It is a long project for a shawl but the final result makes up for the amount of work it requires using both complete whirls, each whirl provides a 1000 metres of gorgeously soft magical colour changing smooth 4 ply cotton yarn, it is a delicious yarn to work with due to both the smooth texture and the simply huge range of mouth watering colour choices available to choose from. This shawl/ wrap project gives you the opportunity to choose two of the available colour streams or you can combine two of the same starting at opposite ends and create a personal colour fusion from your favourites, there are literally upteen possibilities. On the Scheepjes make a long page on Facebook there are many photos of all sorts of tantilising variations that crocheters have embarked on, also for those who prefer two needles to one there is knitting pattern version called ‘Read between the lines’.

My own attempt combined two whirls I had in my ever growing yarn stash – ‘Sherbet Rainbow’ whose bright effervescent colours conjure up exactly that premise and the slightly more sombre but deeply rich colours of ‘Dark Grape Squish’ which appeal to my own very bad crush or squish on the colour purple. I now have a gorgeous big wrap that I can use during the summer to jazz up my summer dresses and T-shirts during those enevitable cooler moments in this country, it will also accompany on my much awaited summer hoilday cruise this year as well as cover up from that sometimes too intense sun of the mediterrean on my shoulders ( being of slightly fair skin ). A cruise is of course the perfect excuse for many types of shawls and my current new project is a beaded evening shawl to accompany me as well, but more of that on my next post!

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And onto the Autumn

Well unfortunately another long gap before writing again due to so much going on, wondering what I would have done if I had not retired 🙂 so many things happening, including moving house and unfortunately my husband lost his mother at the beginning of July after caring for her duing her illness. However we are now more settled in our new home now after moving 10 miles down the road to the outskirts of Wareham in Dorset and hopefully I shall be able to get down to some serious crafting again includling reopening my Etsy shop.

I have managed to complete some projects in between though despite all the upheaval – however I hope to get back to creating some designs of my own now life is more settled.

I managed to try out a few of the many new scheepjes yarns that have come out- though still a few more to try ! I already showed you my Scheepjes secret garden shawl last time, this time I tried the new wanderlust line ( which I have to confess to buying more than one shade of)- but so far I have only tried one of the three the gorgeous Rio de janerio shade to make a virus shawl, such vibrant colours and lovely smooth silky yarn to work with:

I also sucumbed to the purchase of one of the new Scheepjes whirls, I will just have to try the other colour combinations – they are all so gorgeous, I made the the lovely textured stormy day shawl pattern by Scheejes blogger haakmaarraak.nl   Kirsten Ballering.IMG_3448

I did manage to turn out a couple of amigurumi animals as presents too, another little elephant cutie made with Scheepjes cotton catona  and Lisa the mouse from another Scheepjes blogger pattern by lillabjorncrochet.com and made with Scheepjes soft fun denim yarn which is so lovely to work with.

Well hopefully this time I will be back sooner- I will just leave you with a little taster of my next project on the go whilst trying to create some ideas of my own, a nice relaxing granny  square style blanket from the Midnight Garden edition of the Scheepjes Yarn bookazine using yet another new yarn from them – Scheepjes spirit which has elements of scheepjes stonewashed and scheepjes colour crafter I would say, the Lapghan as it is described has a very rustic feel but includes some gorgeous colours. These are the red squares:

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Finishing last year and onto 2017

I haven’t been on my blog for a while- December was very busy craft wise as this year I made all my own cards and Christmas presents as I had a lot more time than previous years now I’m retired from midwifery, and then its been the usual post Christmas rush catching up with all sorts of projects, however hopefully now things are back to a more steady pace and I can share my projects during the year which will include a few for my eldest daughters wedding . She got engaged at the end of the summer and will be getting married on August 18th this year in Christchurch Dorset. Currently i am making some hopefully very nice “rustic” themed wedding invitation cards which hopefully I can share with you soon including the details of how I made them. A couple of photos below of some of the crochet Christmas  presents made for my daughter and son in law to be and my youngest son.

I made a a lovely chunky mermaid tail for my daughter at her request – using 12 balls of Sirdar “Chunky” yarn

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mermaid tail in Sirdar chunky

I made some warm bobble hats for my sons and son in law to be, scarves and mittens, the basket weave stitch hat and scarf were made with Scheepjes stonewashed yarn in the lovely shades of blue apatite and smokey quartz which go very well together, another hat in some left over schweppes merino soft from my last dance under the stars blanket, and some bright blue creations for my youngest son in the Pokemon team mystic colours using the new love crochet Paintbox aran yarn, which I must say is a nice budget acrylic yarn to work with with- practically no splittings  and a nice soft finish

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Blue, white and grey team mystic set with Paintbox yarn aran and Scheepjes stonewashed basketweave hat and scarf.

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New projects for this year include one of my favourite things to crochets – shawls, the first I have started is the Scheepjes melting snowflakes shawl which I have chosen to make in the “crystal” colour way, this uses Scheepjes gorgeous merino soft yarn again with crystal bead decoration in the flowers and for the tassels at each end- this is my work so far and when I finish it I will share some photos and review the kit provided by scheepjes.

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Scheepjes melting snowflake shawl in merino soft

Just finished on the shawl front is Joanne Scrace’s Northmoor lock shawl, I would class this as a shawl type scarf, from the The Crochet Project– The Shawl project Book 1, I previously made her Acer  shawl (Love Crochet CAL Acer Shawl) which you can see below also, Joanne is definitely the Queen of shawls as far as I can see and I will be treating my self to the Shawl project book 2 in the future. For the Northmoor lock I used the new Scheepjes secret garden cotton and silk mix yarn, I chose the shade lily pond as the shawl/ scarf was for myself and the pattern used 3 50gram balls, the pattern is suitable for any silk mix yarn, the scheepjes secret garden works up beautifully and makes a lovely draped fabric. I used a 3.5mm clover hook with the yarn, I blocked the the shawl afterwards as Joanne suggests and washed it in my favourite jasmine Eucalan for blocking 🙂 This an ideal project for a crochet beginner I would say.

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Northmoor Lock pattern by Joanne Scrace The Shawl project book 1

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Acer Shawl pattern by Joanne Scrace – Love Crochet CAL

I plan on completing some more of Joannes shawl patterns this year which i will share and also i am going to to do the new Scheepjes  CAL the “Hygge” wrap, I will review the kit provided by Scheepjes when I receive it and share my Cal journey – this CAL is slightly unique in that it includes decorating the crochet with cross stitch and lining the wrap, the project has been designed by Kirsten Ballering. So hopefully see you during the year for ongoing projects- what do you have planned for 2017?

Happy hooking and crafting 🙂
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