Weekly Photo – Traffic

One of the things I would like to work on in 2017 is my photography. I am joining in for my fifth week with Nana Cathy and Wild Daffodil‘s weekly photo challenge.

This week’s one word prompt is Traffic.

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I have taken each of my other weekly photos so far without leaving the village but there is not much in the way of traffic around here and so I took a short trip into Tadcaster.

This solitary car and pair of pedestrians may not look like a lot of traffic but it is very exciting traffic.

Due to damage caused by flooding and high river levels in December 2015 the bridge in the foreground, across the River Wharfe, collapsed and has been closed for the last year.  The bridge reconstruction work is now complete and the bridge reopened to traffic just 2 weeks ago.

So on Saturday I drove to Tadcaster, and across the bridge, and set out to photograph the traffic, all the while thinking how lovely it is to see people able to drive from one side to the other of a town which has been divided by a river for over a year.

Swaledale Sheep Pattern

So things got a little crazy around here after Lucy shared my Moorland Wreath on her blog Attic24 as part of her Moorland CAL.  And a large proportion of the visitors here have been asking how to make their own sheep like the one sitting proudly in my wreath.  Here I will attempt to help you with this!

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This lovely Swaledale sheep is part of a a friend’s flock and posed beautifully for me when I asked if I could take her photo.

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This is what my sheep looks like.  She is roughly 10cm long and 8cm tall giving her plenty of room to sit inside a 23cm wreath but gauge isn’t hugely important when making a decorative item of this nature and I am sure that small size variations will have very little impact on her fabulousness!

To make my sheep I used four shades of DK weight yarn.  I used Stylecraft Special DK as it is affordable, comes in a huge range of colours and doesn’t squeak like some acrylic yarn does.  I used Cream for her main body, Black for her head, Granite for her horns and Walnut for the embroidered details on her face.  I didn’t calculate yardage but it is small.  Really small.  If you could use stash yarn for this project that would be perfect, if you buy especially to make this expect to have the majority of the ball left over.

I also used

  • A 4mm crochet hook
  • Double Pointed Needles – mine are 2.5mm but size isn’t vitally important here I think anywhere between a 2mm and 3.5mm would work well.
  • A needle to sew it together
  • Scissors
  • A stitch marker – this isn’t an essential item but the head is made in a continuous spiral and without a marker to show you the beginning of the round there will be a lot of precise counting. You could also use a piece of scrap yarn in a contrasting colour.
  • Something to stuff your sheep with. You could use toy stuffing, bits of an old pillow, ugly yarn, whatever you have to hand.  Mine used around a hand full.

These are the stitches you will need

  • chain (ch)
  • single crochet (sc) known as double crochet in UK terms.  Hook through stitch, yarn over, pull through stitch (2 loops on hook), yarn over, pull through both loops
  • 2sc – make 2 single crochet into the same stitch
  • invisible single crochet two together (invsc2tog). Insert hook in to front loop only of first stitch, insert into front loop only of next stitch (3 loops on hook), yarn over, pull through first 2 loops (2 loops on hook), yarn over, pull through both loops
  • half double crochet (hdc) – yarn over, hook through stitch, yarn over, pull through (3 loops on hook), yarn over, pull through all 3 loops

The pattern is made of 3 distinct parts.  The body, head and horns.

The Body

The pattern for the body is very heavily influenced by Attic24‘s sheep pattern.  It isn’t the same but the concept for this flat shape turning into a 3D body is most definitely borrowed and so rather than replicate Lucy’s work of step by step photos if you find yourself in need of clarification it would be well worth a trip over to her pattern here.

So to begin, using your cream coloured yarn, chain 36

Row 1. Starting in the second chain from the hook make one single crochet in each stitch. Chain 1. Turn. (35 stitches)

Rows 2. – 5. Single crochet in each stitch across. Chain 1. Turn (35 stitches)

Row 6. Single crochet in the first 30 stitches leaving the last 5 unworked. Chain 1. Turn (30 stitches)

Row 7. Single crochet in the next 25 stitches leaving the last 5 unworked. Chain 1. Turn (25 stitches)

Rows 8. – 19. Single crochet in each stitch.  Chain 1. Turn (25 stitches)

Row 20. Single crochet in each stitch across. Chain 6

Row 21. Starting in the second chain from the hook make 1 single crochet in each of the 5 chains and then single crochet in each stitch across. Chain 6

Row 22. Starting in the second chain from the hook make 1 single crochet in each of the 5 chains and then single crochet in each stitch across. Chain 1. Turn.

Rows 23. – 25. Single crochet in each stitch across.  Chain 1. Turn. (35 stitches)

Row 26. Single crochet in each stitch across.  Fasten off leaving a long tail for sewing up (35 stitches)

You should have this shape.  The large bit in the middle will be the body and the little sticking out bits will be the legs. At this point you don’t have a right side and a wrong side but you will once you start sewing the legs so lay it down flat and the side facing you will be the wrong side.

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Start on the leg with your most recent yarn tail and fold it up so that the two long edges come together. Sew these two edges together securely. Then repeat for the other three legs making sure that you are folding them each the same way so that once they are done you will have 4 seams facing you with the body laid flat.

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Fold the body in half with the right sides together, that is with your leg seams facing outwards.  Then sew the short edges together as shown in this photo

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It should now be starting to look a lot like a sheep with a body and 4 legs.  Turn it inside out so that the sewing you’ve just done is not visible and lightly stuff. It will now need one more row of stitches as you sew up along the belly. It is probably worth putting a couple of stitches in between the legs just to strengthen then close up the gap sealing the stuffing inside.  It won’t be especially stable but your sheep body should stand up on her legs if you arrange them to distribute the weight.

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The Head

The head of the sheep is made amigurumi style, that is in one continuous spiral.  I put a stitch marker in the first stitch of a round to show me when I have completed the circle without having to rely on keeping count.

In this section wherever there are instructions *enclosed by asterisks* repeat those stitches until you reach the end of the round.

In black yarn Start by making 6 single crochet (sc) in a magic loop. (I like this tutorial if this is new to you)

Round 1. Make 2 single crochet into each stitch (12 stitches)

Round 2. *Single crochet into the first stitch, 2 single crochet into the next stitch*  (18 stitches)

Rounds 3. – 6. Single crochet in each stitch (18 stitches)

Switch to cream yarn

Round 7. Single crochet in each stitch (18 stitches)

Round 8. *sc, invsc2tog* (12 stitches)

This is the point to put the stuffing in the head before you totally close up the hole.  Loosely stuff.  You are aiming for a squashy ovoid rather than a sphere so make sure not to fill it too full.

Round 9. invsc2tog all the way round (6 stitches)

Now break off your yarn leaving a long tail and thread onto a needle.  Use this to weave in and out of the 6 reminding stitches and then pull tight to drawstring the hole closed.  If it’s not as tidy as you would like make another stitch or so and then push the needle in through the base of the head where you have just finished off and out roughly in the middle of the back of the head.

The place where you changed colour will be noticeable as a step change, as shown in my photograph.  If you make this the back of the head not will not be visible when the sheep is sewn together.

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Next you need to make 2 little ears in cream yarn.

Chain 3.  In the second chain from your hook make a single crochet. In the last chain make a half double crochet (hdc), Fasten off leaving a long tail for sewing in.  Weave in your end from your starting chain and use the other tail to stitch the ears on to each side of the head just below the halfway point.

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The Horns

The horns are knitted as I find working tubes of crochet this small to be headache inducingly fiddly but they are very simple to make. This technique is known as I-cord and apparently the I stands for idiot because it is an idiot proof technique! You will need to make two of these and I made them in dark grey.

On your double pointed needle (dpn) cast on 3 stitches. Then knit these 3 stitches to the other needle. This is where things change from usual knitting. Do not turn your needle! You will have 3 stitches on your needle with the working yarn at the left hand side. Slide these stitches down towards the point on the right end of your needle

Now knit these stitches from right to left as normal pulling the working yarn behind your work to get it to the righthand side to use it. Your stitches will then be on your second needle, slide them down to the right and bringing the working yarn from the left behind the work to use knit again. Keep knitting these 3 stitches until you have an i-cord measuring 6cm long. Then cast off and make another one. If I haven’t explained this clearly enough then youtube has lots of good tutorials if you search “knit an i-cord”

These little tubes should have enough rigidity to stay where you want them when you curl them round. Your cast off end should be the pointier of the two so thread the end of your yarn onto a needle and push it down inside the tube to weave in the end. If it is long enough to bring out of the side of the i-cord then cut it close to your knitting and the end should spring inside and be hidden. You can use your tail end from cast on to sew the horn to the head above the ears.

The horns will need to you to tightly curl them into the distinctive shape of sheep horns and will spring back slightly when released but should stay curled.

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Once you have added the ears and horns your sheep needs a face embroidering. I used a brown coloured yarn for this.  Put the eyes in the black area of the head and a nose an mouse on the cream area.

Assembly

All you need to do now is sew the head on to one end of the body of your sheep and add in the long hair.  You may find the details on my Woolly Bully Pattern useful when it comes to making your sheep hairy.  There are photos of how I add hair there.

Then she will be ready to put in a wreath, gift to a sheep loving friend or display on a shelf!

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I only make creatures as decorative items to brighten my home. If you wanted to make this sheep as a toy for a child then you will need to take full responsibility for the safety of your creation as this pattern was not designed to be played with.

I will be happy to answer any questions about the pattern.

You are welcome to use this pattern to make items for your personal use but please do not reproduce it anywhere or claim it as your design. This applies to my photographs as well as the written pattern.

Copyright ©2017 I Am Branching Out.

Moorland Wreath

If you’ve ever visited here before then you’ll know I love wreaths very much!

You may also know that I haven’t yet finished the Attic24 crochet a long (CAL) blanket from 2015

So when Lucy announced the Moorland Blanket CAL as tempted as I was by another blanket my mind immediately went to wreaths.  I could easily visualise the colours which she had chosen wrapping around in a circle and representing the landscape of the moors.  It seemed an obvious next step to put the most recognisable resident of the the North Yorkshire Moors nestling inside. So I made a Swaledale Sheep!

I had made a sheep wearing a rainbow jumper for the charity fundraising flock at Yarndale and you can see her here and so I used that pattern as a basis for the body adding rows here and there and using aran weight yarn to make a sheep the right size.  I made up  carefully designed the head myself to add the white nose and get a bigger size and used knitted icords to make the distinctive horns. Oh and instead of a colourful jumper this sheep got long shaggy hair!

*** 16th FEBRUARY EDITED TO ADD – the sheep pattern is now available here – Swaledale Sheep Pattern ***

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Then it was a case of the wreath base.  Lucy has a stunning photo on her blog here of Yorkshire moorland with narrow stripes of crochet in the colours she selected for her blanket in her perfect words “tell[ing] a visual story of the landscape that inspired them” and this was the strip of colour I saw wrapping around my polystyrene base.  I started with all good intentions of waiting for her to reveal the colour order on her blog. Until I crocheted the first 20 stripes and then sat impatiently considering waiting a week for the next colours!

Everyone else is making blankets and that obviously takes a lot longer than an 18cm wide piece of single crochet! I studied the photo and took my best guess at the colours and went it alone.  Often when I make a wreath base cover I am so keen to get it stretched out in place and see how it looks that I forgot to take a photo but I remembered to snap a quick shot last night. By fire and lamp light so its not brilliant but it does give an idea of how I put these things together.

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Thats 73 stripes of single crochet (you can see where I realised it had got a bit narrow and increased the width a bit, wreath base covers are far from an exact science).  73 stripes is 146 rows and more distressingly 146 ends to deal with!

But I valiantly tackled the ends and to ensure that the colours didn’t skew or twist and to help the back to be as lovely as the front I used the tail end to sew up the corresponding stripe as seen in this photo.  Oh so very fiddly but absolutely worth it.

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Which leaves only one thing left to show you.  The finished wreath.  Ready?  Ta-da!

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Turns out there was one last thing left to say, Lucy likes it!! I posted a photo on her Facebook page and she said that she loves it.

Yarndale!

So as you may know I’ve been a bit excited about visiting Yarndale!  Today was the day and I took a lot of photos of all of the yarny goodness which I would love to share with you here.

I had such a lovely day.  On arrival I went straight to the Knit and Natter lounge to see if I could find my yarn heroes.  And I did!  I had a great chat with Winwick Mum, Christine about how easy to understand her sock pattern is and about the community of sock knitters she has created who have contributed to the sock line.

Then I talked to Lucy from Attic24 and told her all about my Wreaths for Every Season and she gave me a huge cuddle and got excited spotting all of the little details on the photos I showed her of the wreaths together.  Her favourite is the Winter wreath!

Now on to the photos!

Where to start?  How about with the setting?  Yarndale is held at an auction mart in the town of Skipton in the Yorkshire Dales.  The Dales for me perfectly sum up the image of Englands green rolling hills.  The venue is under those green roofs nestled in the hills.

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And because its usually used for the auctioning of livestock rather than the selling of yarny loveliness there are always some animals at the festival.  Here are some I snapped.

I think I’m getting ahead of myself here though showing you the inside while there is still the outside to talk about.  The auction mart is a short walk, through a park, from the town’s train station. There are a pair of decorated buses that shuttle between the two all day.

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I arrived a bit early by design to check out the local pokemon situation and was thrilled to discover a gym at this lovely sheep tucked away in a hidden square, left over from when le Tour de France came through Yorkshire in 2014.

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Then I walked up through the park to the auction mart.  These are just a few of the wonderful yarny decorations that line the route so that you can be sure you are on the right track.

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I think I might have let out a little squeal of delight on arriving as the outside looked amazing.  There were giant mandalas made by Lucy from Attic24, pom poms made by local school children lined the path, there was a totally yarn covered van selling finger puppets and the Thirsk Yarnbombers had covered all of the posts.

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All that before you even get through the door!  I was quite disappointed to find that on arrival on the second day of the festival my sheep and the rest of the flock were nowhere to be seen having all been sold on the first day!  This is fabulous news for the wonderful Martin House who were receiving all of the funds raised by the sheep but it was a shame not to see them all together.

The community projects from previous years were all there and looking great though. The bunting from 2013, mandalas from 2014 and flowers from last year.  Details of all of these projects are on the Yarndale website.

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And I did find my socks amongst around 100 pairs on the sock line!  Read more about them here.  Can you see my pair?

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These were some of the exhibitors displays that caught my eye.

img_5641img_5642Stunningly beautiful batts from Spin City

img_5617Animal heads by Sincerely Louise

fullsizeoutput_599Birds from Sue Stratford.  I backed Sue’s kickstarter campaign to print a book with these patterns in and have my name in the book!  I saw a copy today and am very excited about it arriving in the post this week.

img_5620This is made from lace by the Craven Guild of Lacemakers.  One of their members was kind enough to chat with me for a while about non-traditional lace making.  Maybe one for me to try in the future.

img_5624cuddlebums rainbows!

fullsizeoutput_59aDon’t you just want to squish it!  This is from Five Moons

img_5632Not sure about the practicalities but I would LOVE to wear a skirt like this! Wooly Knit

img_5634I love these colours on these loose skeins In The Wool Shed

img_5639And these ones from Baa Ram Ewe

And a massive 8kg ball of yarn from Woolly Mahoosive and my reaction to it being considerably bigger than my head!

To counteract the gurning a nicer photo of me wearing my shawl made from Cuddlebums yarn.  I had a lovely chat with Jodi who recognised my shawl immediately and several other people who also made shawls in our make-along.

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And finally my purchases!

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Phew, what a day!  I can’t wait to do it again next year!