Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

Christ is Risen, Indeed He Is Risen!  I want to wish each of you a Happy Easter.  If you have celebrated this joyous occasion of our Lord's Resurrection, I hope it has been a happy time for you and your family.

It has been fun for me to gather together goodies for my grandson, Oliver, Easter basket.  He loves stuffed animals and this year I decided to make one for him.  It was a challenging pattern since it was written poorly.  But, I forged ahead and this is what I came up with:

I'm going to call him "Peter Cottontail" since my little grandson loves the story of Peter Cottontail.  Here's a link to the bunny pattern.  I used some leftover yarns that I had in my stash and made a little carrot which is in his pocket.

This year the Western Easter falls way earlier than the Eastern Orthodox Easter.  So, we will be celebrating two Easters.  My husband and I are members of the Eastern Orthodox Church and our Pascha falls on May 5.  We follow the Julian calendar thus the difference in the dates for Easter.  Either way, it's a beautiful time of year to contemplate and be thankful for our blessings.

Please take time to hop over to Handmade Harbour  and check out some wonderful crafty blogs.  I wish each of you have a joyous holiday and blessings for the weeks ahead.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Bavarian Crochet Handbag

Greetings from sunny California.  I hope that each of you have had a fun, productive week.  It's been busy around here.  My husband and I recently discovered the community center.  It's a lovely facility and the grounds are like a beautiful park.  I've been going there to exercise a couple of times a week and each Wednesday there's a knitting/crocheting group that meets there. The knitting/crocheting group creates beautiful handmade items and donates them to charity.  There are so many creative ladies in the group and each time I attend, I come home with new ideas.

Speaking of new ideas, a couple of week ago, I was watching a PBS knitting/crochet show and I saw this crochet pattern called Bavarian Crochet.  So, I googled "Bavarian crochet" and came up with a book that I could order.  I found the book online and ordered it.

I guess you could say I'm thrifty because I normally don't buy any patterns.  I was excited for the arrival of the book but when it came, needless to say, I was quite disappointed.  I was expecting to find a written tutorial on how the Bavarian  crochet stitch is made.  This was not the case.  You have to put together different rows of stitches to make the pattern stitch.

Basically here is how the stitch is made:

1.  With color A, Make a number or chain stitches (dependent upon how many "shells" you want)
2.  sc in each chain across (I made a sc bottom  approximately 4" x 10"for the handbag I made)
3.  The foundation shell is as follows:  sc in first sc, *sk next 3 sc, SHELL in next sc, sk next 3 sc, sc in next sc, repeat from * ending sc in last sc.
4.  Join color B with sc in ch-1 sp of any shell, ch 5, 8-bptr dec, ch 5, [sc in ch-1 sp of next shell, ch 5, 8 bptr dec, ch 5] repeat according to how many shells you have made, join in first sc
5.  ch 1, sc in same sc as beg ch-1, shell in top of next 8 bptr dec [sc in nect sc, shell in top of next 8 bptr dec] repeat according to how many shells you have made, join in first sc

To make the pattern, with one color repeat row 4 and 5, change color and repeat for 4 and 5, etc.

Here are the stitch abbreviations:
4 tr, ch 1, 4 tr (in stitch indicated)

8 bptr dec = 8 back post treble descrease :
HOLDING back last lp of each st on hook,  y/o twice, insert hook from right to left around post of stitch of previous row, pull through st, [yo, pull through 2 lps] 2 times. Repeat this around each of the next 4 sts, sk sc between shells and working on next shell, y/o twice, insert hook from right to left around post of sts of next 4 sts, yo and draw through all loops (you should have 9 loops) on hook.

This is the bottom of my handbag showing the single crochet foundation.  After I completed the bottom of the bag, I began the Bavarian crochet stitch, crocheting in the round so that there wouldn't be any seams.

I do suggest that you  find tutorials online for this stitch.  But for me, I am from the old school and need to see the pattern written on paper to get it into my head!!  I know there are some great tutorials online but they go so fast, that I usually can't understand them........

There was a pattern for a bag listed in the book above, but the dimensions of it were very small.  So, I took the stitch pattern listed above and made my own bag, crocheting in the round.  At the top of the bag, I did a single crochet stitch, decreasing equally as I went, so that the bag would be smaller at the top.

 You can see the top border in single crochet.  After I completed crocheting the bag, I double lined the bag.   Since the stitch pattern is very open, I didn't want lining seams to show from the outside.  So, I took two pieces of fabric, sewed each into a lining and put the two linings together. (note:  one lining was smaller than the other so that it would fit inside the first one)

Here's a link to a great website I found on how to make a lining to fit your bag.  I bought some plastic reinforcement and placed in the bottom of the first lining so that the bottom of the bag has a fixed structure.  I bought the bamboo handles at my local craft store and single crocheted the tabs to fit over the bamboo handles.

It was a fun project to complete although I didn't enjoy making the lining.  You can create so many projects using the Bavarian crochet stitch.  I've seen some lovely baby blankets in gorgeous colors using this stitch.  I might add, that the yarn I used for this project is from  planet penny cotton club .

That's about all I have for this post.  Don't forget to hop over to  Handmade Harbour and check out some more creative ideas.  Until next time, I wish each of you a wonderful week ahead!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Texas Longhorns and Tea at the Adolphus Hotel

Hi y'all.  I just returned from a trip to Texas.  I had a great time and so I thought I would share a little with you.

Last summer we toured the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas.  The hotel was built by Adolphus Busch, a German immigrant, of the Anheuser-Busch Company (think beer).  In 1912 it was the tallest building in Texas.  It's a lovely, grand hotel that serves afternoon tea on the weekends.

They set up the tables in the hotel's lobby for the tea service.  Needless to say, the ambiance it wonderful!

So, this time I made sure we made reservations for the tea.  It was a lovely afternoon.

My husband, Fouad,  and son, Andrew, of course joined me.  They acted like they enjoyed the experience.

The hotel has an exquisite room called The French Room.  They serve a special dinner there during specific days of the week.  The decor is unbelievable with chandeliers and hand painted ceilings.

This photo is really poor since the room was closed off to visitors while I was there. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip visited the Adolphus back in 1991 on one of their visits to the US.

This is a picture of that visit with their signatures at the bottom.  There's also a large cabinet display with vintage photos and memorabilia.  Here's a photo of the Queen from that display:

On Monday we ventured west of Ft. Worth to an area called Possum Kingdom Lake.  My son is building some homes on the lake and the scenery is quite natural and pretty.  Along the way we found this awesome Texas Longhorn grazing.

Last summer while we were in Texas we stayed at a resort and got to go out each morning and feed the longhorns.  They are quite gentle animals and a must to see if you ever have the chance.

The weather this time was great in Ft. Worth.  Last summer it was in the 90's (day and night) - too hot for me!  Anyway, we visited Ft. Worth Botanic Garden.  It's a large preserve right near the heart of the city.

I think if we would have been a couple of weeks later, we would have seen all the beautiful spring flowers in bloom.

On Wednesday we visited the United States Bureau of Engraving and Printing.  (The place that prints 65% of all US currency).  Years ago, I visited the facility in Washington, DC.  In 1991 they opened the Ft. Worth facility.  It's huge, like 800,000 square feet.  Due to security, I was unable to take any photos.  The tour is free and if you are ever in the area, I highly recommend this tour.  You walk along a raised, glassed in walkway, above the facility.  So, you can look down and see the money being printed.  We had the pleasure to meet one of the official engravers who has worked for the BEP since 1967.  It was a fun tour.

That's about all I  have to share in regard to the big state of Texas.  While I was there, I finished this knitted, rolled brim baby hat from my Planet Penny yarn.  I now have to knit the booties to match.

Which reminds me, don't forget to visit Handmade Harbour. There are so many great ideas and wonderful blogs that you will want to subscribe to.

I wish each of you a wonderful week and remember, I would love to hear from you if you have the time.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Missing my Blog Friends

Hello everyone.  I missed posting a proper post this week to my blog since I was away visiting my wonderful son, Andrew, in the big state of Texas.  I missed hearing from those who visit this blog.

So, here I am writing down some random thoughts.  Sorry I don't have pictures since I forgot my camera cord to transfer the pictures (I don't know what the proper name is).  But, next week, I will have some pictures to share with you.

It's been so much fun meeting people via this blog.  My lovely daughter, Heidi, will be taking me to England this fall to celebrate my 60th birthday.  We will be spending 4 days in the West Midlands before heading south to Southampton for a short cruise and then back to London for a 4 day stay.  I can hardly wait.

My daughter spent two years in England; one year working for the Church of England and another year at the University of Bath where she obtained her Master's degree.  So, it will be my 4th trip to the England.

I am so envious of all the wonderful craft publications the UK offers.  Recently there was a Knit and Stitch magazine that had a free gift of knitting needles and yarn.  Unfortunately, they do not offer subscriptions to the US.

But, thanks to the age of internet shopping, I found it on ebay!  This originally sold for like $1.50 but if I win the bid, I will have to pay $10.00 shipping!!  But, that's OK since it will be fun to see what it's about.  I think this publication plans on like 50 issues, each with yarn so that at the end of the campaign, you will have completed a full size afghan with different squares each made with a different yarn.

But, back to my England trip, I'm planning on going yarn shopping while I am there.  We will be staying with some dear family friends who live in Rubery.  We are fortunate that they will be able to guide us around their lovely country.

I hope each of you have had a good start to the week.  I look forward to hearing from you when you have the time.

take care,
Pat (Lilly's Mom)

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Mayfield Afghan and Fun at Laguna Beach

It has been a good week here at Lilly My Cat.  I'm almost finished with my income tax preparation (too many forms to send to the accountant), I finished my afghan and I received my order from The Planet Penny Cotton Club!

It was 80 degrees here on Friday and the family headed off to the beach.  Laguna Beach is about 14 miles from my home.  It was a perfect day to relax and soak up the sun and the sounds of the ocean.

It was such a clear day that we could see Catalina Island across the water.  My little grandson enjoyed playing in the sand.

We brought our favorite lunch food from Trader Joe's along with water and chips and had a perfect lunch sitting in our beach chairs.  And it's always fun to see the seagulls who love to scavenge for any food you may have...

As I mentioned, I am celebrating today since I finally (after two months) finished the afghan I made for my little grandson.  The pattern is called Mayfield and you can find the pattern here.

I tweaked the pattern a bit - it calls for thick yarn and size 11 needles.  I used an Aran type yarn and size 8 needles.  I casted on 167 stitches so because of the difference in needle size and yarn, it took me a long time to finish this pattern.  The stitch pattern is a 12 stitch repeat +1 and 10 stitches for the  border.

As a safeguard to my forgetfulness, I placed markers for each 12 stitch repeat and counted each 12 stitch section along the way to make sure I didn't forget any yarn overs.  It worked great.  There is just one glitch:  when you come to row 19 you will have to remove the markers as this row makes the markers 1 stitch off.  You can replace the markers when you do row 20.

Also this week my order arrived from Planet Penny Cotton Club.  Here's a sample of what I created with my new cotton yarn.  I couldn't find a pattern that I liked so I kind of made this up as I went along.


I hope you each have a wonderful week and don't forget to check out Handmade Harbour  where you will find great links to lots of crafty ideas.

P.S.  My daughter will be taking me to London in November.  If you have any recommendations for good hotels in London, I would love to hear from you.