Friday, 31 October 2014

Granny Circle Christmas Tree Skirt

Last year when I took down our Christmas tree, I discovered our cat had thrown up on my cute felt Teddy Bear Christmas tree skirt . It was something I had cherished because a friend made it for me over 30 years ago. I tried washing it in a net bag on gentle but it fell apart.

I resolved to make a new Christmas tree skirt for 2014, something washable. What do you think of this Granny Circle Christmas Tree Skirt? I think it's perfect.
I've used a little pedestal table to show how it will fit around the base of our Christmas tree. I considered pulling out our tree for photos but realized that was way too much effort. Christmas decorating can wait until December which is only a month away.

I love the way my Granny Circle Christmas tree skirt turned out. I love the granny stitch, I love circles and I even love the colours. Who says traditional Christmas colours must be used? I was especially happy to find inexpensive yarn on sale. This tree skirt is both pretty and practical. If you decide to make one too, use whatever yarns and colours make YOU happy. 
I am very excited to share this pattern. It's especially exciting as it is my first original pattern. 

The granny stitch and a granny circle are not original but this granny circle is unique. It has a hole in the middle to accommodate the Christmas tree post and is split down the side for wrapping around the tree stand. It's the hole and the split that make this pattern original.

When this Granny Circle Christmas Tree Skirt is spread out on the floor, you can see how it forms a neat circle with a hole in the centre. 
Our poodle approves and loves to get in on photo sessions. Isn't she pretty with her Halloween kerchief? It's Halloween and I'm featuring Christmas crochet. I'm sure fellow crafters understand the rush. 
 You can clearly see the granny stitch and shell edge in this photo.
Folded and ready for Christmas. I know it's early but I wanted to have it done in time to share in case any of you might like to make one too. The pattern is listed below. I hope it's clear and easy to follow. 
If you decide to make a Granny Circle Christmas Tree Skirt using my pattern, please do send me a photo. I'd love to see your version. 


PDF Version


Any worsted weight yarn in colours you like but these are the yarns and colours I used:
  • Peaches and Crème cotton yarn (Panorama) – part of a cone (14 oz)
  • Bargain Bin 1 pound of worsted weight acrylic yarn (sage)
  • Bernat Handicrafter cotton yarn (black currant and off-white) for border
5.00 mm crochet hook
Yarn needle for weaving in ends

Stitches Used:

Chain (ch)
Slip Stitch (ss)
Single Crochet (sc)
Half Double Crochet (hdc)
Double Crochet (dc)
Granny = (3 dc + ch 1) in ch-1 space
Granny Increase = (3 dc + ch 1 + 3 dc + ch 1) in ch-1 space

Note: starting chain 3 counts as beginning double crochet


Starting with Peaches and Crème cotton yarn (or any worsted weight yarn you choose)

Chain 26

Note: Crochet into back ‘bump’ of the starting chain, it leaves a nice finish along the edge.

Row 1: dc in 4th ch from hook, 2 dc in same space, ch 1, *skip ch, 3 dc in next ch, ch 1**, repeat * to ** around, dc in last ch, ch 3 and turn (there should be 11 ch-1 spaces)
Row 2: 2 dc + ch 1 in beginning ch space (first Granny completed), Granny in each ch-1 space across, dc in top of ch 3 at end of row, ch 3, turn
Row 3: 2 dc + ch 1 + 3 dc + ch 1 in beginning ch space (first Granny Increase completed), Granny Increase in each ch-1 space across, ending with dc at top of ch 3 at end of row, ch 3 and turn
Rows 4, 5: Repeat Row 2 (no increases)
Row 6: Granny in 1st ch-1 space, Granny Increase in next ch-1 space (increasing every other ch-1 space, ending with dc at top of ch 3 at end of row, ch 3 and turn
Rows 7, 8, 9: repeat Row 2 (no increases)
Row 10: Granny in 1st ch-1 space, Granny in 2nd ch-1 space, Granny Increase in 3rd ch-1 space (increase every 3rd ch-1 space across), ending with dc at top of ch 3 at end of row, ch 3 and turn
Rows 11, 12, 13: Repeat Row 2 (no increases)
Row 14: Granny in 1st ch-1 space, Granny in 2nd ch-1 space, Granny Increase in 3rd ch-1 space (increase every 3rd ch-1 space across), ending with 1 Granny in each of the last 2 ch-1 spaces and dc at top of ch 3 at end of row, ch 3 and turn
Rows 15, 16, 17: Repeat Row 2 (no increases)
Row 18: Granny in 1st ch-1 space, Granny in 2nd ch-1 space, Granny in 3rd ch-1 space, Granny Increase in 4th ch-1 space (increase every 4th ch-1 space across), ending with 1 Granny in each of the last 2 ch-1 spaces and dc at top of ch 3 at end of row, ch 3 and turn
Rows 19, 20, 21, 22: Repeat Row 2 (no increases)

Note: I finished off at end of row 21 and switched to sage acrylic yarn for row 22

Row 23: Granny in 1st ch-1 space, Granny in 2nd ch-1 space, Granny in 3rd ch-1 space, Granny Increase in 4th ch-1 space (increase every 4th ch-1 space across), ending with dc at top of ch 3 at end of row, ch 3 and turn
Rows 24, 25, 26, 27: Repeat Row 2 (no increases)
Row 28: Granny in 1st ch-1 space, Granny in 2nd ch-1 space, Granny in 3rd ch-1 space, Granny Increase in 4th ch-1 space (increase every 4th ch-1 space across), ending with 1 Granny in each of the last 2 ch-1 spaces and dc at top of ch 3 at end of row, ch 3 and turn
Rows 29, 30, 31, 32: Repeat Row 2 (no increases)
Row 33: Granny in 1st ch-1 space, Granny in 2nd ch-1 space, Granny in 3rd ch-1 space, Granny Increase in 4th ch-1 space (increase every 4th ch-1 space across), ending with 1 Granny in last 2 ch-1 space and dc at top of ch 3 at end of row, ch 3 and turn
Rows 34, 35, 36, 37: Repeat Row 2 (no increases)
Row 38: Granny in 1st ch-1 space, Granny in 2nd ch-1 space, Granny in 3rd ch-1 space, Granny in 4th ch-1 space, Granny in 5th ch-1 space, Granny Increase in 4th ch-1 space (increase every 6th ch-1 space across), ending with 1 Granny in last 2 ch-1 space and dc at top of ch 3 at end of row, ch 3 and turn
Row 39: Repeat Row 2 (no increases) – Finish off at end of row


2 rows – For each row, join yarn at far right side with right side facing (working counter clockwise). Again use any colour combination you like.

Note: The right side is when the odd # row is facing up, go back to the beginning of row 39 to join your yarn. Start with black currant (purple).

Row 1: Join with ss at top of ch 3, sc in same stitch, *ch 3, sc in next dc**, repeat * to ** across, finish off at end of row. Switch to new colour (off-white).
Row 2: Shell Edge starting at far right with right side facing. Join with ss in 1st sc *(1 sc, 1 hdc, 1 dc, 1 hdc, 1 sc) in ch-3 space, ss in sc**, repeat * to ** across ending with ss in last sc and finish off


Weave in loose ends using yarn needle then sit back and admire your work. You’re done. You've made a beautiful new Granny Circle Christmas Tree Skirt that will last for years and look amazing covering the not-so-nice Christmas tree stand. 

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Saturday, 25 October 2014

Doilies Can Be Delightful

I love making crochet doilies but I prefer using worsted weight yarn instead of traditional lace weight crochet cotton. 

Last weekend, I made a doily using a free pattern posted by Crochet Galore called November Doily of the Month. If you would like to make one too, you can find it here

This doily was made using Peaches and Creme worsted weight cotton yarn in Panorama (off-white with coloured flecks). I think it's perfect for displaying my special stones collected on various coastal hikes, crystals and candles. I love this doily in my meditation and crochet corner. It looks amazing from every angle.
My doily done in worsted weight yarn looks delightful. Don't you agree?
The orange crochet flowers adorning the rocks add a nice touch as well. 
I also made one using Bernat Handicrafter cotton in off-white. I wanted to cover a stool that doubles as a side table when I ride my trainer. I think it looks delightful draped over a stool beside my bike. 
I plan to be spending a lot more time on the bike this winter as we have signed up for a two-week bike tour in Cuba with Canbicuba called A Tribute to Celia Sanchez. We did this tour 5 years ago and loved it. You can read all about it in this postWe are very excited to be going again. With just three months to get in shape, wish us luck with our training.
I'm hoping it helps to be surrounded by pretty things to take my mind off the boredom of riding indoors. TV definitely helps so the stool will be put to good use holding the remote control and maybe an extra water bottle or two.

I should also mention I'm currently working on a crochet Christmas Tree Skirt using the same Peaches and Creme yarn in Panorama. Not traditional Christmas colours, but then I like to do things a little differently and I think it will look perfect with our tree. Once I finish I will be sure to share pictures and a pattern. 

I'm very excited about this project because I've come up with the pattern on my own. My very first original pattern. I can't wait to share it with you. 

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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Fabulous Family Visit

Our son returned from University of Guelph for Thanksgiving weekend and our daughter and her family visited from Boulder for the whole week. It was wonderful seeing everybody together and we enjoyed a Fabulous Family Visit. 

Friday featured barbecue steak as requested by our son followed by a movie. After the movie, we went to bed while our son joined his friends at Western University. My husband responded to his call for a ride home at 1:30 a.m. so we slept in Saturday before heading off to the London Farmer's Market to stock up on food for the week. 

Our daughter's flight was due to land in Detroit by mid afternoon. We planned a late dinner of lasagna (a family favourite), garlic bread and Caesar salad with homemade apple crisp for dessert. My Dad generously offered to make the lasagna if I supplied the pan and noodles. I did, he did and it was delicious. Thanks Dad.

I'm guessing you might like to see some photos from our week. We took a lot to commemorate our Fabulous Family Visit. Let's get started.

Thanksgiving Sunday was a beautiful sunny fall day for our 2nd annual trip to Kusterman's Berry Farm near Mount Brydges. This year they have added even more activities for even more family fun. Our grandson had a blast on the bouncy mountain.
My husband spent quality time with our granddaughter on the pedal cars while our grandson continued to bounce nearby. 
After about an hour of bouncing, we managed to convince our grandson to move on to some of the other fun activities. He loved the rope bridge and play houses with multiple climbing walls and slides.
Even big kids like climbing. Our son had fun too. Actually we all enjoyed trying to keep up with our grandson in this large busy play area with multiple access points. 
Our grandson especially loved the long tube slides on the hill near the corn maze. 
Kustermans Berry Farm has two corn mazes - a mini maze and a much bigger maze. We stuck to the mini maze which is perfect for kids. It was challenging but not too difficult.
After bouncing, after climbing, after checking out the rabbits, goats, emus, pigs, cows and ponies, after sliding, after zip-lining, after shooting the corn canon, after completing the mini corn maze, after riding a pony; we decided to take a little train ride. It was so much fun. 
We made one more stop to buy a couple pies at the farm store and take a family photo before heading over to my parents' house for dinner. 
Our granddaughter dressed up for the occasion. She loves her new crochet ripple blanket and crochet Betty Bear. Aren't they both adorable in their cute dresses?
My parents prepared a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner with all our favourite dishes. Doesn't it look amazing? They were very generous to send us home with leftovers which we thoroughly enjoyed for both lunch and dinner the next day. 
On the holiday Monday our niece joined us for a trip to the London Children's Museum. A perfect place to entertain the whole family for a couple hours on a rainy morning. We started with the dinosaur bones and caves. 
The old school classroom was a big hit with the girls.
I enjoyed some quiet time with Ronald McDonald. Our grandchildren have no idea who he is but found him fascinating all the same. After a couple hours at the Children's Museum, it was time to head home for lunch and naps for the kids followed by a nice long hike to the Sifton Bog Boardwalk. Another excellent family day.
On Tuesday, we headed out early for the Brazilian Consulate office in Toronto to initiate paperwork required for our granddaughter's Brazilian passport. I like to say our grandchildren are A-B-C kids as they have or will have American, Brazilian and Canadian passports. How cool is that?

Toronto and back to London in a day with young children is challenging. Thank goodness for tablets with Curious George and Baby Signing Time
Our Brazilian Consulate business done for the day, we stopped for lunch then headed to Riverdale Farm for a trip down memory lane. When we lived in Toronto, Riverdale Farm was a favourite place to visit with our kids.
They still have pigs. Our daughter remembers watching a pig giving birth when she visited the farm with her grandparents years ago. It made a lasting impression on her.
We enjoy a walk down the path to the ponds. It's a wee bit wet but very warm for October.
Despite overcast skies, the fall colours look amazing. Fall is probably my favourite season. I just love the mix of colours and cooler days.
We stopped at Buffalo Wild Wings in Guelph for dinner before dropping our son back at University. To unwind my daughter and I shared our first drink together, a tasty Mango Margarita.
I think our granddaughter is the cutest little Wing Nut around.
After dinner our son gave us a tour of campus and his residence. He has mid-terms this week but we'll stop by for dinner again on Friday. Did I mention we have to visit the Brazilian Consulate again to sign the papers? It means another long day in the car for the kids. They're such good little travelers.
When we got home from Toronto, we stopped at the house long enough to pack and head to my parents' house. The kids wanted to spend a couple nights with them so I planned to work on Wednesday. My husband worked both Tuesday and Wednesday but was able to get off Thursday and Friday. It takes a bit of coordinating to fit in all the activities planned for our Fabulous Family Visit.

Fast forward to Thursday afternoon. We finally fit in some serious shopping for our grandchildren. Shopping for little girls is fun with so many cute little outfits available. Choices for our grandson are less abundant but we offer to buy him a winter coat when they find one they like. Our day flies by and we turn in early as Friday will be another early morning on the road to Toronto.
A slightly earlier start with a different co-pilot at the front this time. Our grandchildren are happy for most of the trip. They must be getting used to spending lots of time on the road by now.
A Timmie's pit stop on route to Toronto helps keep us fueled for the road. We made good time arriving at the Brazilian Consulate office by 10:30 a.m. Unfortunately, there was a problem with the paperwork which resulted in a bit of gut churning drama. Some error on the part of the Houston office resulted in an initiated file which needed to be deleted before Toronto could do anything. My daughter's husband had to call the Houston office to sort it out. It took a couple hours but our granddaughter now has a valid Brazilian birth certificate so can get her passport and travel to Brazil in December. What a relief!
With our mission accomplished in time for lunch we decided to visit the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) which was just down the street and ate at Druxy's on the lower level to save time. It was fun seeing the museum with our grandchildren as it reminded us of our visits many years ago when our children were little.
Our daughter loves taking her children to museums to explore. She also mentioned it might be nice to see a museum someday without children so she can read all the information and really appreciate the exhibits.
I've toured museums without children and I can honestly say I prefer seeing museums through the eyes of a child. I like crawling into small spaces to check out the dome. I like touching all the animals and visiting the bat cave. I even got to touch a big cockroach with sticky feet in the children's area. I think that's more fun than reading all the nitty gritty details for each exhibit.
Who doesn't like digging for fossils. Our grandson had a great time.
The dinosaur exhibit is even bigger and better than it used to be.
Our daughter was showing how she used to be terrified of the T-Rex.
Our granddaughter wasn't bothered at all by dinosaurs and it was our grandson's favourite exhibit at the museum.  
After a couple hours at the museum, we got back on the road and headed to Guelph to take our son for dinner. He chose Montana's Cookhouse this time. Our granddaughter is quite happy sitting in a high chair at the table.
I think our son recommended Montana's because they have crayons and he likes to draw. Dinner was yummy but it was soon over and time to hit the road for home. Another long day in the car. We were all exhausted and ready for bed by the time we got home.
It's Saturday and time to pack up. Saturday morning coffee and a few more cuddles before it's time to say Good-Bye. 
The week was gone in a flash yet we managed to fit in most of what we planned. It truly was a Fabulous Family Visit. 

Our daughter tells us they plan to visit twice next year which is very exciting news. I expect 2015 will be a great year for more Fabulous Family Visits. 

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Thursday, 9 October 2014

Sweet Summer Ripple Blanket

I am so pleased I was able to finish my first ripple blanket last night. It is perfectly soft and cuddly to keep our grandchildren warm. I imagine them snuggling under it in the car, double stroller, wagon or even just on the sofa to read, watch tv or take a nap. I used 100% acrylic yarn that is durable enough to stand up to multiple washings; always an important consideration for baby blankets.

The mix of pastel colours with bright rose pink and aqua have prompted me to call this my Sweet Summer Ripple Blanket. I finished this blanket with two days to spare. Can you believe it? Our daughter and her family will be visiting in just two days. I can hardly wait to see them again as it's been 6 long months since our last visit.

I bet you would like to see a photo of my Sweet Summer Ripple blanket. I love this combination of colours. Isn't it gorgeous? 
Do you think of summer when you look at these ripples? Do you see soft, sweet, summery images? I sure do and I hope our grandchildren do too. 
I like it draped over a chair. It matches the little clown sitting on our lamp. Do you see that pile of yarn beside the chair? I think I will use it to make my next ripple blanket. A perfect winter project incorporating brighter, bolder colours.
Neatly folded so it's easy to pack and take back to Boulder.
I think there is even enough yarn left over to make a big, colourful doily. That sounds like a fun project too. So many choices. It will be tough to decide what to start next. I'll take a break while our grandchildren visit but it is still fun to plan.
To make this blanket, I followed free instructions covering Ripple Blanket Know How posted by blogger Lucy at Attic24. I was inspired to make a ripple blanket when I read Lucy's description of her Coastal Ripple Blanket. I always enjoy reading her posts and I especially loved the look of her Coastal Ripple Blanket.  

Technical details for my Sweet Summer Ripple Blanket are listed below for the crocheters out there who might like to make one too. 

Starting Chain - 171 (14x12+3)
Finished Size - 43"x60"
2 rows per stripe 
53 stripes
10 colours
Time to Complete - Approximately 29 hours (30 mins per stripe + border)

Yarn Used (10 colours):
Bernat Softee Baby - Soft Peach
Bernat Softee Baby - White
Bernat Softee Baby - Antique White
Bernat Softee Baby - Flannel
Bernat Softee Baby - Aqua
Bernat Softee Baby - Pale Blue
Patons Beehive Baby Sport - Violet Mist
Patons Beehive Baby Sport - Spring Clover
Patons Beehive Baby Sport - Rose Bud
Baby Marble - Shade (blues, pinks, purples)

Hook size - 4 mm

Stripe Colours in this Sweet Summer Ripple Blanket:
  1. Flannel
  2. Spring Clover
  3. Aqua
  4. Violet Mist
  5. Shade
  6. Soft Peach
  7. Rose Bud
  8. Shade
  9. White
  10. Aqua
  11. Flannel
  12. Violet Mist
  13. Rose Bud
  14. Spring Clover
  15. Pale Blue
  16. Antique White
  17. Soft Peach
  18. Flannel
  19. Shade
  20. White
  21. Violet Mist
  22. Antique White
  23. Rose Bud
  24. White
  25. Aqua
  26. Pale Blue
  27. Shade
  28. Soft Peach
  29. Violet Mist
  30. Spring Clover
  31. Flannel
  32. Antique White
  33. White
  34. Shade
  35. Pale Blue
  36. Violet Mist
  37. Soft Peach
  38. Rose Bud
  39. Spring Clover
  40. Aqua
  41. Spring Clover
  42. Rose Bud
  43. Soft Peach
  44. Violet Mist
  45. Pale Blue
  46. Shade
  47. Antique White
  48. Aqua
  49. White
  50. Spring Clover
  51. Antique White
  52. Soft Peach
  53. Flannel
Border Colours:
Round 1: Flannel
Round 2: Antique White
Round 3: Aqua

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