Lots of Nice Crochet in Swansea Library

Swansea Mum's Crochet and Knitting Group

Swansea Mum’s Crochet and Knitting Group

When I moved to Wales I decided I wanted to join a Stitch and Bitch Group, but found that ones running locally were either held in the evening, or didn’t run all year round.

While I was pregnant, I’d been crocheting like mad (as you will see from my early posts!). I made hats, blankets, jackets, booties and cloths… and this didn’t stop once I’d given birth!

The first hats I made were soon too small, so when Iolo was 3 months old, I made him a new multi-coloured crochet hat. After lots of mums complimenting it and asking how I made it, I decided to start my own crochet and knitting group – for mums – to show them how.

Several months later, we have over a dozen members, who gather in Central Library in Swansea, every Wednesday at 3pm. I teach crochet, we drink coffee, eat cake and play with the babies. There’s no pressure to learn, some mums just come for a chat and to socialise. The babies enjoy each others company, sitting in the middle on blankets!

I’m really proud to say lots of the group are now getting pretty good at crochet and are even helping me crochet flowers for my wedding in May!

New members welcome.

For more information, email lotsofnicethingsblog@gmail.com.



How to make a knitting pattern your own: Baby Rasta Jacket

Baby Rasta Jacket

Baby Rasta Jacket

With my collection of crochet and knitted flowers, baby hats and booties getting out of control, I decided to embark on a larger, more time-consuming knitting project for a couple of weeks.

This little baby, who is due to arrive sometime in the next month, already has a rather large wardrobe, 80% of which has been kindly donated by family and friends. The collection includes several knitted and crocheted newborn cardigans – which I can see him fitting into for all of a week at this rate! So, I decided to knit a jacket/cardigan for when he is slightly older.

I also wanted to make something that was a bit more in line with his parent’s slightly quirky style – like my love of colours and his dad’s rather substantial dreadlocks!

Yellow and green crochet edging

Yellow and green crochet edging

I chose a cardigan pattern from First Steps, Learn to Knit, by Sirdar. I welcome knitting patterns to follow, as I’m still nowhere near as accomplished at knitting as I am at crochet – but I do like to break the rules a bit! I’m not a fan of bland pastel colours for instance – so with most of the baby patterns I’ve used I’ve always picked my own colours. This cardigan was no exception. I opted for a bright red instead of cream and decided to customise it with yellow and red crochet edging, instead of the blue crosses the pattern suggested.

The pattern was easy to follow and great if you just want to relax with your knitting without having to consult it every two minutes. All I would say is that despite following the smallest sizing options, the cardigan came out rather large… at least post six months I’d say. I apologise for the slightly poor quality of the photographs; I’m currently mourning the loss of the use of a Nikon D50 since I’ve been on maternity leave and haven’t been able to get my own digital SLR as yet.

Sleeves and bottom edge

Sleeves and bottom edge

Things to make on a rainy Bank Holiday

Being pregnant allows you some luxuries. My favourite of these is sitting with my feet up, drinking endless cups of Redbush tea, listening to music and deciding what to make next out of yarn or food!

A rainy Bank Holiday provides an excellent setting for this. Looking out my bedroom window, I feel no compulsion to venture outside. The cat hasn’t moved off the bed all day, which is a sure sign.

While out shopping yesterday, I realised I needed a couple of newborn baby hats. I’ve already knitted one, but it’s too big for a newborn. So I decided this was a perfect project for today, coupled with a pair of booties.

I spent quite a while looking at all the lovely patterns on Ravelry, before I picked this one from Kelley’s Yarns Blog Spot. I teamed it up with a separate pattern for newborn booties I’d downloaded ages ago, by Judith Prindle.

I picked up a pretty pale turquoise DK acrylic in Hobbycraft yesterday, which I thought would be the perfect yarn to use to make a matching set (Baby Bonus, DK, shade 0853).

A couple of hours later, these were the finished products. I’m also going to make another set in a different colour to take to the hospital.

Crochet Newborn Hat and Booties

Crochet Newborn Hat and Booties

I thought I’d also share some hooking handywork with you from earlier on in the week. At the moment, most nights I’m writing a new recipe and crocheting/knitting something, so it’s sometimes hard to decide what to blog about next!

After completing Colin the Baby Dragon, I brought a copy of Nicki Trench’s Super-Cute Crochet and decided to start by making one of her Sugar Mice on Thursday. The previous two evenings had been spent getting to grips with double-pointed knitting needles, while making a carnation and a tulip from 100 Flowers to Knit and Crochet, by Lesley Stanfield.

So I decided to sit them all together for a picture. The mouse is called Milly and I’ve given her to my mum.

Milly the Sugar Mouse with flowers

Milly the Sugar Mouse (crochet) with flowers (knitted)

Things for a baby…

I’m six months pregnant and during this time have spent lots of my relaxing time covered in balls of wool (well acrylic in my case), working on one baby project to the next, trying to develop my skills!

Here’s my first attempt at a crocheted cardigan. I love how it grew so quickly. The pattern was given to me third hand and appears to be quite old.

Before I knew I was having a boy – I made this dress! it’s from a crochet pattern for a christening dress, but I thought making it in white would be just too boring!

Baby booties, inspired by Cute and Easy Crochet, by Nicki Trench.

Baby’s first hat (knitted)

Remembering how to knit

Years ago, my little sister and I had a very lovely lady as a neighbour. She was our Aunty Gill. I remember her fondly; hours spent sitting on her living room floor by the fire, watching childrens’ television, drinking tea, dipping in digestive biscuits… and learning how to knit.

I can’t even remember what she taught me to make. But I can recall the thrill at laying my eyes on her bursting bag of wool remnants, playing with the different size knitting needles and watching the yarn run through her fingers at an incredible speed. Aunty Gill was so good at knitting, all you could hear was the ‘click, click’ of the needles and she ran the magic through her fingers without even looking down at them.

Twenty years later, I’m expecting my first baby. I’ve been crocheting on and off for about 12 years, but had not picked up a pair of needles since my after-school days. I’ve been studying various items which have been knitted or crocheted. Several people had admired my crochet, but said I should take up knitting again as it opened the doors for even more possibilities.

I brought a pair of needles; picked up a random ball of wool and decided to see if I could jog my memory. I cast on… knitted a small line of stitches, then turned. Triumph! I could plain and pearl. But that was about it. I couldn’t recall how to cast off, or anything else!

There’s a lovely little haberdashery in St Nicholas Market, which stocks a small amount of wool and patterns. So I picked up a book of basic knitting patterns: First Steps, Learn to Knit and a selection of Sirdar Snuggly Wool to start a baby blanket.

It took me a while to get going, but soon it came flowing back to me and a month of evenings later, we had the finished product.