29 Flowers, 29 Days: Day 26

On Day 26 I re-attempted my Dad’s flower choice, the snowdrop! This is beginner knitting pattern no. 9. I initially tried it last week using embroidery cotton but that was just a nightmare of yarn splitting and it was impossible to keep an even tension, so at the weekend I acquired some No. 3 crochet cotton (DMC Petra) and 3mm double pointed needles and tried again. The DMC Petra is at least one hundred times easier to use, so much nicer than the embroidery cotton! Anyway, I digress. The first step is to knit three petals:

DSCF4437

Then you combine them into the one (flat) flower by knitting the four stitches from each petal as one row of twelve, starting with white cotton and switching to green after a few rows. Finally, I made a stem. I could have sworn I took a photo at this stage, but it seems I was too tired and went straight to bed afterwards. :( Anyway, the following day I used the ends to tidy up the petal edges (not the neatest knitted things I’ve ever made), seam the flower piece into a tube and attach the stem, and then it was finished!

DSCF4461

DSCF4463

You can see a bit of an end in the above photo. I didn’t cut them flush with the fabric as I normally do as the cotton was a bit slippery and therefore felt like it was likely to work loose.

Later on, the snowdrop spotted unitled‘s zombie army shuffling around in the background and, Triffid-like, advanced on the attack…

DSCF4462

I’m well chuffed with this. I did have a lot of doubtful moments during the manufacturing process as the petals looked incredibly scrappy, but a few judiciously placed stitches whilst darning closed up all the gaping holes and tacked down the flailing loops. As a result, it does actually look like a snowdrop! But you can judge for yourself – instead of linking to Google images, I’ve got some of my own reference photos to post up today! The following was taken in my parents’ front garden:

DSCF4374

In Rob’s parents’ front garden:

DSCF4413

Some frillier ones in Rob’s Gran’s front garden:

DSCF4433

And finally, one from my front garden! Look, the bulbs I planted last October actually grew!!! :D :D :D

DSCF4388

I’m so happy that I have snowdrops in my garden. Everything I read said that they often like to settle in somewhere for a year or two before flowering, and here they are flowering a mere 4 months after planting! :) Also, it seems front gardens are the fashionable place to plant your snowdrops. I hope you enjoyed the pictures of real flowers for a change. I have at least three gardening posts to go up just as soon as this challenge finishes, charting my latest successes and dismal failures. But before then I have to get through days 27-29, and speaking of which there’s a special guest post in store for the next flower…

29 Flowers, 29 Days: Day 24 & 25

Apologies for the radio silence, I was down south for Rob’s Mum’s birthday. Flower making did continue though, promise!

Day 24: Camellia, advanced crochet pattern no. 92:

DSCF4443

The resemblance is fairly accurate to the single camellia, and certainly the resulting flower is quite attractive. I did mess up the placing of the inner petals but I didn’t have enough time to undo them and start again, so I’m calling it my slightly mutated camellia. With hindsight, I should have done an easier pattern on Friday as although this one wasn’t that hard to crochet, it took ages. Long story short, I finished it on Sunday afternoon. However, this late on in the month I’m running out of quick patterns so beggars and choosers etc. Also, the excuse this time is that I spent most of Friday evening packing and being driven down south with not much chance for crochet (now if we’d taken the train…).

Day 25: Scottish Thistle, intermediate crochet pattern no. 61.

Ever since I saw this pattern I knew I had to do it. I still found it a bit intimidating though, which is why it’s quite late on. It’s done in an almost amigurumi style which was a nice change from 2D flowers, and was actually fairly quick and easy to do (silly me for not trying it earlier!). So you make a head and stem:

DSCF4438

The head was constructed in a basic bowl shape and then stuffed with the purple yarn ends (ok, pink in this case, but I had no purple in the right shade). The book’s instruction for the purple bits was to cut a load of short lengths of yarn and tie them in a tassel. I decided that this would result in bits of yarn everywhere so instead I folded a long length of yarn into a concertina, tied it round the middle and cut through the loops at one end. I then wrapped it loosely with some spare red yarn (from a failed camellia petal) to add to the stuffing.

DSCF4439

Then all that’s left to do is sew the stem onto the head! I made my stitches radiating out from the stem in all directions so that it would stick out perpendicular to the head and I reckon it’s worked rather well.

DSCF4441

Looking good! Definitely one of my favourite patterns so far, with a great effect / effort score. Also, fortunately a lot less spiky than it’s natural inspiration. I think I’m going to have fun chasing people down to tickle them with the soft, brush-like petals over the next few days. Rob, beware!

Anyway, Day 26 will follow in its own post – it is made, but I reckoned 3 flowers in one post was pushing it ever so slightly.

29 Flowers, 29 Days: Day 23

Today we have a Narcissus (please note this is the flower that looks like a daffodil, not the Greek dude who loved his reflection). It’s an intermediate crochet pattern, no. 71 in the book, and constructed in one piece unlike the daffodil I did a while back. Anyway, it looks like this:

DSCF4410

If you turn it on its front, it looks like a six legged spider, or maybe a small crawling robot:

DSCF4409

*crawly crawly crawly* across the desk…

I don’t know if you can tell, but the photos are slightly better lit today. That’s because my Rob is an awesome Rob who bought me a bright halogen lightbulb for my little study. Yay for being able to see! :D

Also, pelargonium, what pelargonium? <.< (I decided that flower was best attempted on a non-work night).

I’m still wanting suggestions for what to do with the 29 flowers at the end of the month. I’ve decided the person with the best suggestion gets to choose up to 5 flowers out of the book, which I’ll then make and send over. So far, the winner is NOT my Dad with his suggestion of a hideous Easter bonnet (bringing back horrific memories of the Easter bonnet parades at school, just as he intended). Shudder. Mind you, I’ve no idea what he’d do with the flowers if he won. Maybe make them into soup… Anyway, the other suggestions so far include:

  • Pinning them all on to a cushion (James at work)
  • Putting them on straws and turning them into a bouquet (Rob’s Mum)
  • Making a blanket and putting one flower on each square (Amanda)
  • Putting them all on a hat (My Mum)

I’d definitely like to do SOMETHING with them, I just have no idea what!

29 Flowers, 29 Days: Day 21 & 22

Day 21: Cornflower, advanced crochet pattern no. 100. I may have chosen this one just so I can say I’ve done the first and last patterns in the book…

DSCF4400

DSCF4401

That one bit of green yarn represents a thin stem, not an end I forgot to darn. Obviously, it is lacking somewhat in the structures department.

DSCF4402

The above photo shows the centre a bit closer – this was done with a loop stitch, quite a fun stitch once I got the hang of it and stopped trying to garotte my finger.

All in all, I’d say that this design is pretty triumphant and well deserving of the coveted “last pattern in the book” spot. It definitely looks like a cornflower to me. It took a while to complete though, I had to finish the last two florets in my lunchbreak on day 22. :( I did spend the evening of Day 21 trying to be social in a dimly lit pub though, so as always I have my excuses. ;)

Day 22: Apple Blossom, intermediate crochet pattern no. 67. This was an instant gratification flower after yesterday’s long slog, although I had intended to do pattern 68 (pelargonium) instead. Alas, the time available did not allow for it, so that will be tomorrow’s flower.

DSCF4404

It’s not quite obvious in that photo, but the petals curl forwards like with true apple blossom. If it was a bit later in the year I might have been able to post up some home grown blossom to compare (unfortunately I can’t find an equivalent photo from last year).

Only a week’s worth of flowers remain! I’m still open to suggestions as to what to do with all the flowers. I might give out a prize for the best one – anyone fancy a flower or two?

29 Flowers, 29 Days: Day 20

Today’s flower was going to be the one Dad chose (knitted pattern), then when that failed it morphed into a similar crochet pattern, then when that also failed, it became a santolina, intermediate crochet pattern no. 72.

First make a puffy ball and a stem.

DSCF4390

Ah, the stem. My old nemesis, crocheting into a chain, we meet yet again. Anyway, these are then combined into a flower (admittedly it would be strange if they weren’t). I decided to stick the end of the stem into the puffy ball and tighten the drawstring, thus making a pompom on a stick rather than a flattened dish with the stem emerging from behind it (what the book flower looks like).

DSCF4391

DSCF4393

DSCF4394

Ok, maybe real santolinas are a bit less puffy (I also stuffed the flower head with one of the yarn ends) and a bit flatter, but I think this is much more fun. ;) 3D flowers for the win! I’m not sure when I’ll re-attempt the flower Dad chose. I might have to abandon trying to match the suggested yarn and just go with the best of what I have available instead. 9 flowers left now, it’s a proper countdown…

29 Flowers, 29 Days: Day 19

Today my Mum chose the flower, and she went for a flared rose, beginner crochet pattern no. 45.

This is possibly the most tedious flower to make so far. It involves doing the same stitch nearly 200 times with very little variance. In the ruffled rose (flower for day 18), you also do the same stitch hundreds of times, but at least you change direction every few stitches. Anyway, first, make a long strip that has one side longer than the other, and therefore forms a spring shape:

DSCF4378

Then you iron it flat and coil it up, securing it as you go. That is to say, you don’t “roll” it up as I did on my first go (and got something like a flared pink carpet roll) but you make it into a flattened coiled spring, decreasing the diameter towards the end. After that first disastrous attempt, I decided to coil it loosely first, make sure I was happy with the shape, and THEN AND ONLY THEN secure it. And I ended up with this:

DSCF4382

If anyone’s at all interested, the back looks like this:

DSCF4379

I had a look on ravelry for inspiration after the first failed attempt, and I can safely say that I’m not the only one that was confused by the making up instructions. Anyway, tedious flower was tedious, but was slain in the end. While it does look mildly appealing, I think I will avoid it in the future unless specifically requested to make one. Dad’s flower choice is lined up for day 20, only 10 flowers left to make!

29 Flowers, 29 Days: Day 17 & 18

Ok, so I was a little busy the past two days. I did make the flowers, but it’s taken a while to assemble flowers, computer, internet and camera with enough time and energy to post.

Day 17: Irish Rose, intermediate crochet pattern no. 62, done in embroidery cotton with a 2mm hook.

This one wasn’t too bad to crochet. The only difficulty lay in making the structural bars for the later petals. I found it hard to force the (fairly blunt) hook through the post loops of the previous round but fortunately my trusty cocktail stick saved the day:

DSCF4354

Finished rose:

DSCF4357

Yay! Finally did it! I’m really happy with this, not least because I managed it around the beer festival, despite misreading the pattern and doing an entire round with the wrong stitch (idiot!).

Yesterday’s flower (Day 18) was a ruffled rose, advanced crochet pattern no. 94, done in DK acrylic with a 4mm hook.

This flower was constructed in a completely different manner to all the other ones I’ve done so far, and it made a refreshing change from the usual. I won’t go into too much detail, but you work vertically off a base structure. Anyway, after doing what seemed like thousands of stitches, I completed it late last night. Back first:

DSCF4359

Then the front:

DSCF4375

My Dad’s comment when he saw it was that it’s really a jellyfish, and I think on this one he’s probably right:

DSCF4377

DSCF4376

If I ever need to make a jellyfish, I now know how I’ll go about it! :D It’s a massive flower as well, easily fills my palm. Most of it was done on trains between Doncaster and Leeds as it was my friend’s birthday yesterday and my presence was requested at Jamie Oliver’s restaurant (in Leeds obviously, the day he opens one in Doncaster is the day I start liking Michael Buble). I could hardly say no, could I? OM NOM NOM.