Saturday, April 12, 2014

Round Ripple Afghan

It's good to be home again.  I was away last weekend attending my brother's 70th birthday party.  It was a fun time to see family and friends.  But, it's always good to get home :)

I finished my round ripple afghan.  I had run out of yarn and the yarn finally arrived and I finished it in a couple of hours.  Here's a photo of my round ripple afghan:

It was a fun project and it was very fast to make.  I used Red Heart Super Saver yarn which I ordered from Herrschners.  This is the same company that my Grandma used to order yarn from way back in the early 1960's!  Your local craft store probably carries Red Heart but Herrschners has an amazing range of colors to choose from.

Here's the pattern link which I found online from a very talented fiber arts artist named Doris.  Her designs on truly amazing.  As you can see, I changed the schemetics of the colors.  I did two rows of each color, followed by three rows of each color, followed by four rows of each color and ending with three rows of dark green (the white was added as needed for highlight). 

I made a rose motif for the center of the pattern.  It is a six petal rose motif. After making the motif, I started with row three of the pattern.  

I also made 12 smaller rose motifs (five petals) and attached them to the points as I was crocheting the last three rows.

The final design turned out fine but I wish my yarn colors were more subdued.  They look a little too bright (and old style).  I used the following Red Heart Super Saver skeins: 1 skein light raspberry, 1 skein baby pink, 1 skein light sage, 2 skeins dark sage, 2 skeins soft white.

As to to the "two" skeins of dark sage and soft white, I had to buy these extra skeins although I needed only a little bit of each of the second skein.

Anyway, I would love to hear your comments.  And, I would love to hear what you have been working on.  I will leave you with this picture of Lilly (who sends her love to each of you), sitting next to my stripey blanket I am currently working on.

Have a wonderful week and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Happy crafting,

P.S.  If you have time, stop by Handmade Harbour where you will finds lots of lovely things!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Meet Peter and Pauline Bunny

It's been a fun week here at Lilly My Cat.  Peter and Pauline Bunny have come over to say "hello" since it's that time of year again when they make their annual appearance.

Peter is on the left with his sporty striped sweater.  Little Pauline is on the right decked out in a spring green dress with flowers.
Bunnies wouldn't be bunnies without their fluffy white tails:
Pauline's dress was so much fun to make.  I knitted her dress without a pattern, making up the shape as I went along.  I crocheted some tiny flowers for embellishment:
Here they are decked out in their finest Easter outfits in their respective Easter baskets:
I had such a fun time making these little knitted bunnies.  When I was in London last fall I picked up this book from Hatchards bookship in Piccadilly.  It's filled with these bunnies and wonderful Easter eggs you can knit.

I bought one skein of Dale of Norway yarn for Peter but I used some leftover DK weight yarn for Pauline and it worked great.  Their ears are lined with pink, fuzzy angora wool and their tales are white angora.  Who knows, maybe they will make another apperance next year dressed in a different outfit!

On another note, yesterday my mailman delivered my colorful yarn for the stripey blanket I am going to make.  
I received 17 100 gram skeins at less than $2.50 each.  And, the shipping from the UK to California was just over $6.00!  I can't believe the bargain I found.

For those of you in the UK, I wish you a Happy Mother's Day.  Please try to stop by Handmade Harbour
where you will find lots of creative ideas.

My best to each of you until next time,

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Crochet Easter Basket

Hello.  I've been absent from this post for a couple of weeks and I have missed everyone.  I thought I would be able to share with you my new afghan I have been crocheting.  But, unfortunately, I ran out of yarn and had to buy more :(

So, instead, here's what I created this week out of leftover yarns.  It's an Easter basket.  I used worsted weight yarn and made up (most) of the pattern myself.  I used a plastic container I found in my kitchen as the basket liner.

 I started crocheting a pinwheel doily pattern for the bottom.  You can find the pattern here.
**Note** I crocheted a "two chain" space instead of "four chain" in pinwheel pattern.

I followed the doily pattern through round 7 and then did a row of single crochet all around.  I then began building the basket using double crochet stitches.

After doing a few rows around, I put in the plastic container to make sure it will fit snug.  I decreased a few stitches so that it would fit properly.  

I finished off the edge with a popcorn stitch which made as follows: 1) work 4 double crochets in same stitch. 2) drop current stitch from hook. 3) insert hook into 1st double crochet you made. 4) put dropped stitch back onto needle and pull through double crochet stitch you have on needle.  I did a single crochet between each popcorn stitch.

I've had so much fun knitting bunnies and eggs so this basket will be filled with lots of goodies.

As usual, I'm a little behind times but recently I discovered this wonderful pattern for a beautiful crocheted blanket.  It originally was a "crochet along" and I discovered the idea over at  Love, Lucie.

It was the brainchild of Hannah Davis over at Not Your Average Crochet.  Here's a photo of her blanket:

Doesn't it look like a fun project?  Every row is a different pattern.  Thank you Hannah for sharing this fun, exciting pattern.  

And for the yarn selection, the yarns are already pre-packaged  at Deramores.  The pattern calls for 11 skeins but you can use more depending upon the size you want.  This pre-pack at Deramores consists of 17 skeins of yarn and it's a great bargain.  (Search for coupon codes and it will discount your order so that it's an even better bargain!)

I can hardly wait until my yarn arrives from the UK!  Talking about yarn, the afghan I ran out of yarn on, is crocheted with Red Heart Super Saver Yarn.  This was the yarn that my Grandma always used and it's still a standard out there.  I haven't knitted or crocheted with this yarn for many, many years.  I know my local craft stores carry it but they don't have the full range of colors that are available.  When I ran out this week I went to my local craft store thinking I could easily pick up one skein and guess what?  None in that color was available!  So, I turned to my other favorite site, Amazon and found what I needed there.  I love Amazon.  They have great prices, too!

That's about all I have to share this week.  I'm excited to hear what each of you have been up to.  Please feel free to say "hello".  I love hearing from you guys!

take care,
 P.S.  Lilly sends her greetings! And, says" don't forget to stop by Handmade Monday to see some great craft ideas"!

Friday, March 7, 2014

A Visit to Coughton Court, a National Trust Property

It's been a couple of weeks since I posted anything, so today I will share with you my visit to Coughton Court in Alcester, Warwickshire, England.  I visited this lovely National Trust property last fall. 

This historic property has been home to the Throckmorton family for over 600 years.  The entry to the grounds is through the original stables area which now is a bookshop and gift shop.

The Throckmorton family faced persection for their Catholic faith.  This occurred following King Henry VIII's reformation.  They were branded as traitors in their own country because of their Catholic faith.

Above is a wing of the estate where the current Throckmorton family lives.  I thought it was fascinating that the family still occupies this property after these hundreds of years. 

This is the main entry to the home.  It was so much fun to tour the home on a self-guided tour with docents in every room to answer any questions you may have.  The furnishings are all original.  My favorite display was a cape embroidered by Queen Catherine of Aragon (Henry VIII's first wife).

Coughton Court was the setting for the Gunpowder Plot which took place in 1604.  The main players in the plot rejected the Church of England and were kinsmen of the Throckmortons of Coughton Court and other old Catholic families.  They had to practice their Catholic faith in secret.   Guy Fawkes was one of these people who took part in this plot.  The picture above is taken from the turret on the roof of the building. 

Here you can see the lovely English countryside from the roof of the building. Isn't that green landscape beautiful?  (Maybe because they are blessed with all that rain!)

The grounds of Coughton Court have lovely gardens that you can stroll through.  In the background of this picture you can see the spire of one of two churches that are on the estate.

The Throckmorton family have restored the gardens and here is a lovely tree lined walkway.

It was a lovely way to spent an afternoon.  I have visited many old homes but this home in unique in that it not only has beautiful old furnishings but also holds a place in the history of England.  I forgot to mention that there is a wonderful little cafe on the grounds where you can enjoy a lovely lunch and tea.  

Too bad I don't live in England because if I did, I think I would spend all my time visiting National Trust properties.  I hope you have enjoyed this little slice of history.  Please remember to stop by Handmade Harbour where you will meet some wonderful craft people and get lots of great ideas!

Until next time, blessings,


P.S.  I want to add a little tidbit in regard to the name of Throckmorton.  I visited Ft. Worth, Texas numerous times these past couple of years and Throckmorton is a prominent name in that city.  From what I read, it seems that the Texas Throckmortons descended from these Coughton Court Throckmortons!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

S. S. Stavangerfjord ".....a little bit of Scandinavian history...."

Hello everyone.  I hope you are enjoying your weekend.  It's been a busy weekend around here.  Yesterday, I attended my monthly meeting of the Daughters of Norway.  Our lodge meets once a month and since I'm the secretary, I attend each meeting.  It's a lovely group of ladies that enjoy hearing about our Scandinavian culture besides eating and drinking coffee!  On a more serious note, we do raise funds for numerous scholarships and give back to the community where it is needed most.

Our guest speaker yesterday was our longtime member Astrid.  She shared with us her family's journey from Norway to America.  It was so interesting and when she said that her family had sailed across the Atlantic on the Norwegian American Line ship the  S. S. Stavangerfjord I jumped in my seat.  My family too had sailed on the Stavangerfjord back in 1955.  Although I was under two years old and can't remember anything, my family has always told me the stories associated with this voyage.

Astrid told us a story of celebrating her birthday on the ship and having a ribbon on her hat that read: S.S. Stavangerfjord.  Well, here's a photo of those same ribbons from the voyage my family took:

 Above is an old postcard photo of the Stavangerfjord.  We boarded this ship in New York City.  Back then they still had different classes of passage; first, cabin and tourist.   Below is some technical information about this grand old ship.

And, here's the front page of the Passenger list from the sailing that my family took:

I can't forget about the great food the Scandinavians enjoy, so here is a copy of one of the dinner menus on the sailing:

Above is a photo of the egg cups from the Norwegian America Line ships.  They were made in Norway by Porsgrund, a Norwegian porcelain company.

My beloved Danish grandparents immigrated to Washington state from Denmark in the 1900's.  Here's a photo of them taken around the same time as this trip:

When I decided to write this post I knew I had all the keepsakes put away some where.  I looked high and low for these items and finally found them tucked away with my cookbooks.  While looking for them, I came across this knife of my father's:

If you look real close, you will see the words Stavangerfjord on the bow of the ship.  During these past few years, I have met two people who have sailed on the Stavangerfjord; Astrid and another Norwegian lady who was a musician on the ship back in the 1950's. 

This ship and many like her sailed many miles across the sea, carrying its passengers back to the homeland or to their new home.  From what I have read, the S. S. Stavangerfjord was retired in 1963 and I believe sold for scrap metal.  I'm sure there are many many passengers who have fond memories of sailing on this grand old ship. 

If you are of Scandinavian descent, please click on the link above for Daughters of Norway and see if there's a lodge near you.  It's a wonderful way to meet new friends and learn about your Scandinavian heritage.

I wish each of you a wonderful fun filled week.


Lilly reminded me (between her cap naps) that you should pop over to Handmade Monday to see some great ideas!

Saturday, February 8, 2014


Hello.  I missed posting last week since I had out of town guests.  They were here for Super Bowl and it was great to see the Seahawks win.  I'm not a big football fan (I really don't understand the game) but since I'm from Washington, I had to cheer on the Seahawks.  Last time they went to the Super Bowl, I was living in Gig Harbor right next to the Narrows Bridge.  They hung blue and green lights on the bridge span and it was so fun.

I have been busy with lots of projects but I will share with you what I have finished.  Last year I bought some lovely cotton yarn from Planet Penny.  I crocheted a few items and finished them.  But, then I came up with a pattern of hexagon granny squares; you put them together to make a bag.  Well, after numerous times of trying of put them together, I gave up.  Last week I came up with a new idea of using spray starch to block the finished item.  It worked!!  But, as you can see, I didn't make a bag but a large doily/runner for my table.

I felt so good getting this project finished.  I think I have two unfinished projects now to work on......

Here's another item that I made this past month:

As you can see, it's a Valentine heart bunting.  I found the crocheted heart pattern here.  I added one extra row around each heart by starting with a single crochet and doing a half double crochet on either side of the top of the heart.  I then crocheted a cord, adding the hearts as I went along.  I threaded red ribbon through the cord.

As for blocking, I used my spray starch.  I placed a towel on my ironing board, put the hearts on the towel and sprayed each one. Use plenty of spray and use your hands to smooth out the heart.  There's no need to pin it since it will keep its shape.  I let one side almost try and then turned the hearts over and sprayed the other side.  I love using spray starch for blocking!!

That's about all I have to share with you this week.  I hope you have a wonderful weekend and keep warm if you are in wintry weather!


Lilly just reminded me that you should check out Handmade Monday to see some wonderful craft ideas!!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Night Aboard the RMS Queen Mary

I am so excited to share this post with you.  Last week I was on a mini vacation with my family.  We took a three night cruise from Long Beach, California down to Ensenada, Mexico.  We decided to spent the night before the cruise aboard the stately Queen Mary which is permanently docked in Long Beach.

If traffic is good, we are less than an hour away from this beautiful ship.  The cruise terminal is right next door to the Queen Mary and a very short walk away.  I had heard a few stories about this ship which is now a floating hotel.  Some people said it was like an old outdated hotel, but to me it was an evening being transported back in time (obviously, they didn't appreciate history).

The Queen Mary was built in Scotland for the Cunard White Star Line and christened in 1936.  When the ship was retired in 1967, she was purchased by the City of Long Beach.  Since then she has been permanently docked at Long Beach.

We stayed on Deck B of the ship.  According to the historian on board, Deck B (and Deck M) would have been first class cabins.  These cabins had a steward and housekeeper and the picture above shows the buttons outside your cabin door that would light up when you called your steward/housekeeper.

Here one of the original fans in our cabin.  It's not in operable condition but I thought it was so neat that they kept it as part of the original decor.  Talking about original decor, here's a picture of the corner desk in our cabin, still intact with the original leather writing surface!

Can't you just image the stately ladies and gentlemen sitting at this desk and writing their correspondence on a long sea voyage?

Our cabin was almost in original condition.  My daughter and her family stayed in a cabin that had been modernized.  I was so happy that I got to stay in cabin that was still intact.  Talking about intact, here's some some photos of the bathroom's modern plumbing (just kidding):

And here's the toilet lever that is attached to the wall:

I'm surprised that this still works.  It sure isn't in code with California's water conservation but it was so much fun to see this contraption. After doing some research, I found out that Shanks company was based in Scotland.  The sink was also from Shanks.

The picture above is for the heating and cooling in the cabin. There were three of these units in our cabin.  From what I read, during the sea voyage if you turned the unit to "warmer" you would get air piped in from the boiler room. If you turned it to "cooler" you would get sea air.  Unfortunately, we only got tepid air from these units.  Luckily, we were able to open the two port hole windows in our cabin to allow some fresh air into our cabin.

Here's a photo of the "electric heater" original to the cabin.  The Cunard White Line incorporated these heaters into the plan of the ship to accommodate the North American passengers who were used to warm homes.

Above is a view of the hallway of Deck M on the ship.  The walls throughout the ship are lined with birds eye maple; beautiful wood that is still intact and in beautiful condition.  It was quite amazing at how large this ship was for it's time.  In fact, our cabin was larger than the balcony cabins we sail on now. (See paragraph at end of post for dimensions of the Queen Mary)

Here's a photo of the closet doors in our cabin.  The handles are original and are made of bakelite.  The hand railings in the hallways are also made of bakelite.  I understand that when the Queen Mary was sailing she was known for rocking about two and fro.  Hence, the need for hand railings.

We took a tour of the ship and saw some of the rooms not open to the public.  One of these was the First Class pool.  It's in the middle of the ship, below deck.  It was eerie to go in there at night and see the lights shining on an empty pool.  The pool today is not usable since the depth of the pool starts at six feet and goes to 12 feet.

One of my favorites was to walk along the promenade deck.  Sorry that I don't have a picture of the teak flooring that's still intact.  I could just see in my mind those ladies and gentlemen sitting on the lounge chairs breathing in the salty sea air.  

I forgot to say that my first impression of walking into the Queen Mary is literally like going back in time.  The beautiful woods and the art deco design really stands out.  There is a lovely observation bar that serves a great happy hour too.  If you are a fan of Mystery on PBS and watch Poirot, then you will love visiting the Queen Mary.  It's right in the same period of time.  The ship carried many famous people and royalty across the long ocean voyage.  It was so nostalgic and I thoroughly enjoyed my short time on board ship.

As I have mentioned, today the Queen Mary is a hotel.  To rate it as a hotel, then I would say it's good.  Our room had high quality hotel bedding and since no smoking is allowed, the room smelled fresh.  But, if you don't like old plumbing fixtures, fans that don't work and no air conditioning, then maybe it's not the hotel for you.  (My husband thought we were a bit nuts to want to stay here!)  But, I thoroughly enjoyed my time and would go back again in a flash.

Just to get an idea of how large a ship the Queen Mary is, here are some measurements of the Queen Mary vs. the Carnival Inspiration:
Length: Queen Mary 965 ft. LBP  - Carnival Inspiration 855 ft
Beam:   Queen Mary 118 ft - Carnival Inspiration 103.4 ft
Tonnage:  Queen Mary 81,237 GRT - Carnival Inspiration 70,367 GT
Passengers: Queen Mary 2,139 - Carnival Inspiration 2,054
Crew: Queen Mary 1,101 - Carnival Inspiration 920

I look at these numbers and I am amazed at the size of this ship for it's day.  And, the Queen Mary did a tremendous job of transporting the troops during World War II.  She was known as "The Grey Ghost" and carried more than 800,000 troops!

That's about all  I have to share today.  Sorry that I don't have anything "crafty" to share with you this week.  I did knit two different toddler sweaters that I can share in the next weeks.  They are a fun and fast pattern.  Which reminds me, do stop by Handmade Monday and check out some great ideas.

Have a wonderful week,