crocheted north winds & african flowers

Happy Friday! Have you been zenning out on top of the Mountain? Neither have I! I’ve spotted Mount Zen in the distance but not managed a visit longer than a nanosecond this week. Ah yes, best of intentions and all…. I had a busy week at work and am now feeling oh so grateful that Friday is here. Thought I’d squeeze in a quickie update to share a couple of finished projects that I haven’t had a chance to show you.

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North Winds Shawl
50% Silk / 50% Wool – main colour. 100% Silk – duck egg blue.

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I finished this a little while ago and really enjoyed crocheting it. The pattern is called Eve’s Shawl and it’s a freebie and it’s super easy! That’s a double winner in my books. I’m yet to wear it but when I tried it on it felt like a big feather! So light and soft yet I could feel its gentle warmth immediately. I’m thinking a mild Autumn evening might encourage its first outing.

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A colourful little bookmark that I made up as I went. I originally wanted to make a pansie flower but the pattern I started ended up looking really weird and lopsided so I gave up and just played around until this little sweetie emerged.

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The flower itself is layered and worked in quite a few rounds. It’s mostly made from cotton with a cotton blend and a bamboo yarn for the green.

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My first pincushion! I’ve seen so many different crocheted pincushions on pinterest! But this one using the African Flower on Sandra’s Cherry Heart blog really caught my eye. Sandra has also written a great little tutorial that’s easy to follow and makes life easier for a reluctant pattern follower like myself.

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I deviated from the pattern only slightly in that I changed colours more often as I wanted this pincushion to have a really strong pop of colour. I love the combination of these bright colours together and find myself branching out into new combinations and shades more often these days. And let’s face it, when isn’t Aqua appropriate? Exactly!

I must say what a lovely change it was to make a few little projects rather than the blankies. I do so love to make blankies and they will always be my favourite thing to make, but a couple of faster projects in between were thoroughly enjoyable. Having said that, I am so looking forward to getting back to crocheting my Milky Way Dreams Blankie, it’s like I’ve missed the comfort of an old friend. Do you feel like that when you haven’t worked on your crafty project for a while? Or is that just me? Am sure there’s a help group out there for me… somewhere…

Must dash and do what I’m supposed to be doing now, I think I’ve procrastinated long enough… productive procrastination though, so totally excusable… wouldn’t you say?

Wishing you the comfort of old friends and days filled with pretty flowers.

crafting blues and eating greens

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Hello, are you well? How’s 2015 panning out so far? I hope it’s been kind to you… it’s been rather blue for me… in a crafty way… I’m so boring consistent with my colours.

Woven Ocean Blankie
100% pure baby alpaca, crochet.

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This is the finished blankie that I started back here. It’s a big feathery pile of squishy soft blue, aqua, teal and mint. My favourite wedge of the colour wheel.

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And this stitch is absolutely my favourite crochet stitch at the moment. I’ve seen it referred to as moss stitch, seed stitch, woven stitch and others, but I call it woven stitch and used this fab little tutorial here to get me started. It’s such an easy stitch to remember and I love the way it produces a look somewhere between weaving and knitting.

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This is going to be a shawl… eventually… I hope… There’s some yarn chicken going on with this project so it could be a different colour by the time I finish it too. I found this easy free pattern here and I’ve had this gorgeous yarn for ages. The pattern is a simple 3 row repeat producing a lacey type look as it’s a big fat hook (4mm) with fingerling weight yarn.

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This yarn is 50% silk 50% wool, hand painted and the colourway is called ‘North Wind’… cute huh?! It’s beautifully luxurious, I especially adore the colour variation and the gentle sheen that the silk adds. Way back I made a scarf with this yarn which I’ve since sold in my Etsy Shop. I think I’ll be keeping this shawl though… says she who has never worn a shawl in her life and happens to have to another half finished shawl stashed away waiting to be finished!

I just loved this post from the lovely Kate at Foxs Lane about exactly that – half finished crafty projects. My ‘excuse’ for the other half finished one is this… Black Knight, the black alpaca, had to grow more of his luscious black fibre, this has to be then be spun before I can purchase it, and hopefully finish the unfinished shawl.

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If you follow me on instagram you’ll know how much I’ve been spamming my feed with our Dove Cottage Harvest. Our humble little veggie patch is going great guns and we’ve been enjoying so many healthy fresh organic greens like this silver beet. And if you just went eewwwww, then please hear me out. Purchased silver beet from the shops may as well be a different vegetable altogether. Fresh picked baby silver beet is sweet, not bitter, and almost dissolves in your mouth – so not chewy like the shop stuff can be. It’s truly delish! And of course one the easiest things to grow ever!

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I just came inside from taking these two photos, and to my delight spotted the first of our butter beans. Crunchy juicy sweetness… I had to test one! We have been eating heaps of the regular green beans though, I’m thrilled with how much a couple of seeds have produced. As well as the beans and silver beet, lately we’ve been enjoying lettuce, zucchini, (monster) squash, and fresh new potatoes. Seriously my mouth is watering just typing that! I know it’s cliché and all that, but growing your own veg is so rewarding and delicious! If you’ve ever thought about doing so… but just not got there… find a teeny little corner in your garden, or get a big pot on the verandah, and plant something easy like silver beet, radish or lettuce. I swear you’ll be hooked in no time!

Wishing you blue skies and delicious greens to eat… see you soon for dear monday.

turquoise baby alpaca cardy

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I finished a piece of clothing! A real deal wearable cardy… that I love! It’s a bit amazing… you see I’ve started a few over the years but never quite finished them. And by started, I don’t mean a lame go at the band or something… I mean made the front, back, and one sleeve on one of them! But then something always happens… bored, yarn issues, get distracted with multiple other projects, make a HUGE mistake… and I don’t finish them. It used to be the cycle of a lot of my crafty endeavours… start stuff but not finish. Now I’m hellbent on finishing what I start… to the point where I’ll sit up knitting until 2 am to finish it because I’m so damn excited that I’m about to finish something! #crazycrafter!

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I first spotted this cardy on IG via the lovely Corrie from Retro Mummy. It’s called a Kina cardy and Corrie was knitting a gorgeous kiddie version, but you can find the free pattern for the adult version on Ravelry here. It’s a very easy simple pattern to follow, great for a beginner pattern follower (moi!), as it’s knitted from the top down in one piece. I made a couple of tweaks … of course… I extended the sleeves a smidge… I also made it a little bit longer overall and of course I popped some Pom Poms on it. I’ve yet to add the button at the top as the Pom Poms are more decorative than functional.

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This is the first thing I’ve knitted with my stash of pure baby alpaca yarn I stuffed into my carry on suitcase, sat on it to close it, and carried it back all the way from Cusco! Man that suitcase was stuffed full, and there were more bags (of 10 x 50gm balls!!!) stuffed in our regular big suitcases too. I was only slightly embarrassed when they had to open my luggage at one of the many airport security checks, and sheepishly mumbled ‘yes I like to knit and crochet a bit’. All I can say is it was so worth it. The yarn is exceptional quality and so soft and light and fluffy and warm.

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As you can see by the different colours in the photos, it was really difficult to capture the true colour of this yarn. Turquoise just wants to break my camera for some reason. It looks blue in the photos but it’s true colour is closer to this last photo.

I think knitting yourself a piece of clothing is a huge leap of faith. What if you get to the end of it and it looks crap on? And what do you do when you make a mistake? Unpicking Knitting is hard, unlike the forgiveness of Crochet. But I’ve got to say, the satisfaction of making something that I can actually wear is huge. So give it a go… if you haven’t already… you don’t have to be an expert. Take that leap of faith… cross your fingers it will fit… and look ok… and if you do have to unpick, my best advice is to do it slowly… whilst eating chocolate.

Wishing you proud I made it moments and coolish summer days so you can wear your knitted goodies!

PS: Yes I probably should have dead-headed the rose bush behind me for a prettier backdrop… but you know… I like my gardens wild and rambling (reads: ‘slightly’ unkempt).

hexy make up wipes

bear loves dove Hexy Make Up Wipes

Do you use those little disposable cotton pads to remove your make up? I do… Or I did, until I made some re-usable ones! They are pretty ace and I thought you might want to make some too? I made up this pattern for my hexy make up wipes and thought I’d pop a little tutorial here in case you are a beginner crocheter and would like to have a go.

Hexy Make Up Wipes by bear loves dove

I can totally recommend them as a great learning project, not too big or tricky. And hey, I’m sure you wouldn’t mind wiping your mascara off with a slightly wonky hexy if they don’t turn out perfect first go would you? And just think, every time you do, it’s like you are kissing the earth a smidge as you’re not piffing the disposable cotton ones in the bin. Oh and these guys survive the washing machine no probs, so don’t be thinking it means heaps more work, just pop them in with the next hot or cold load.

1. Supplies

Ok let’s get started. This is what you will need.

8 ply cotton (this is parchment colour by Bendigo Woollen Mills)

3mm Crochet Hook

Darning Needle

Pretty Scissors (ok, they don’t have to be pretty!)

I use American Crochet terminology and you’ll be making the following stitches:

Chain (ch), Slip Stitch (ss), Double Crochet (dc), Half Double Crochet (hdc).

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Start:

Chain 4 then join with a slip stitch into the 1st chain to create a loop OR make a ‘magic loop’

I made a magic loop in the picture above and there’s some great you tube videos around if you’d like to learn how to do one, they are really very easy once you know how.

2. Round 1

3. Round 1 Join

Round One:

Chain 3 (this becomes your first Double Crochet), then Double Crochet another 11 times into the middle of your loop. Join with a Slip Stitch into the top of the first Chain 3 you did. (12 stitches all up)

4. Round 2 & Join

Round Two:

Chain 3 then Double Crochet again into the same spot. (This spot is the place between your Round One Chain 3, and the Round One first Double Crochet).

Double Crochet 2 times into each space between your stitches. Join with a Slip Stitch into the top of the Chain 3 from this round. (24 stitches all up)

5. Round 3 1st point

Round Three:

Chain 2 then do a Half Double Crochet into the same spot. Chain 2, then do 2 more Half Double Crochet stitches into the very same spot.

6. Round 3 2nd point

Make a Half Double Crochet into the next 3 spaces.

Now into the 4th space do this: Make 2 Half Double Crochet stitches, Chain 2, make another 2 Half Double Crochet stitches ALL into the same space. This makes your little hexy corner.

7. Round 3 Join

Now make a Half Double Crochet into the next 3 spaces, **then do your Hexy Corner (make 2 Half Double Crochet stitches, Chain 2, make another 2 Half Double Crochet stitches ALL into the same space), then Half Double Crochet into the next 3 spaces**.

Repeat from ** to ** until you end up back at the start next to your first Chain 2. Slip Stitch into the top of the Chain 2.

8. Round 3 finish

Cut your yarn with a generous tail to make darning the ends a bit easier, and pull the loop right out through the last Chain.

9. Darn those ends

Now darn your end through the top of those first stitches, then work on the wrong side of your hexy whilst you darn that sucker in good and proper so your beautiful work doesn’t unravel.

10. Add a pop of colour

And that’s it! You can even add a pop of colour to the last round if you fancy. I hope you found the pattern easy. I’ve written it in a very long winded way, so if you want the short and very pinterest friendly version, tis here;

hexymake up wipes free pattern

Will you pop back and tell me if you make some? And please do let me know if you find a glitch in the pattern, I’m a beginner pattern maker / tutorial writer so forgive me if there is one!

Happy earth kissing and may your waterproof mascara hold steadfast during the sad movies.

edgy blanket pattern

This post comes with a warning… it’s the first time I’ve actually had a go at writing down a pattern. Well not a whole pattern, just for the edge of a blanket. And I’m doing it from my memory (not very reliable!) and from looking at the blanket and the photos. So… consider yourself warned!

The blanket in question is my Cool Rainbow Blanket.

Do you remember it? I received some lovely comments (you know who you are Becky), and was asked ever so kindly if I could share the pattern for the edge. So here goes…

The blanket is all granny stitch and the edge consists of 3 rows. And I’m going to explain the first row in a bit of detail first, with the help of some pictures then go on to the whole edge pattern.

The first row is a double crochet, chain one.
Now where you put your double crochet is the important bit. It needs to be spaced out in a way that gives you a flat edge. Not one that ends up with too many stitches… which is what I seem to do. Often.
I find when following a granny stitch blanket, along the top and the bottom edge of the blanket, it’s simply into every second stitch. But do note that I finish my granny blankets with a row of single crochet as that’s how they start out… so we’re all nice and balanced…. top and bottom wise. It should look like the picture above.

Along the sides of the blanket I find it best to do the double crochet in each granny stitch row. Like this picture above.
The chain stitch after the double crochet works as a nice spacer and seems to fill the space nicely without creating too many stitches.

For the corners I do a ‘double crochet and chain one’ x 3 times. Like my corner above. It’s a slightly rounded corner which I tend to favour.

Making sense so far?
Now for the whole edge pattern. Ready?

Row 1
Starting anywhere around your blanket chain 4, *double crochet, chain one. Repeat from * all the way around the blanket, then slip stitch into the 3rd chain at the beginning of the 1st row.
Row 2
Chain 1, *single crochet into each stitch. Repeat from * all the way around the blanket, then slip stitch into the 1st single crochet of the 2nd row.
Row 3
Chain 1, *single crochet into the next 4 stitches, chain 2 then do a single crochet into the 1st chain. Repeat from * all the way around the blanket then slip stitch into the 1st single crochet of the 3rd row. The chain 2 & single crochet into the 1st chain forms the cute little picot/bump/bobble along the edge.

Hope that makes sense and I haven’t confused you. It is a simple little edge that gives an effective finish and I hope I haven’t complicated it in my ‘pattern writing’. Seems almost a bit ironic that I find myself writing a pattern when I don’t use them much myself, although I have started to a lot more lately. Well that’s my excuse anyway and I’m sticking to it. Oh and I almost forgot, my terminology is US crochet so you’ll need to convert to UK if that’s your lingo.

Do let me know how you go with it if you try it out wont you?

May your days be ‘edgy’ in the best possible way!

bees and a beanie

Time for another 1st – I knitted my first beanie and I used circular needles for the first time!

Charlie’s Farmer Boy Hat
100% Pure Baby Alpaca, Knit.

This was such a fabulous beginners pattern I came across a little while back on the gorgeous blog ‘Foxs Lane’. The lovely Kate kindly wrote up a free little beanie pattern to make your farmer boy a hat, and although my hubby isn’t a farmer boy anymore… he will be… again… one day… when our dream of having our own little farm comes true.
In the meantime he does work outdoors gardening, so a warm beanie is definitely a must for the cold mornings.


This beanie is so so so soft! Pure chunky baby Alpaca yarn is definitely one of my top 3 yarns as it soft and fluffy and feather light and super warm. I think it feels like what you would imagine a cloud would feel like if you could touch it… one of those really big fluffy puffy clouds. Delicious!
And it must be comfy as Charlie is still wearing it from the ‘photo shoot’ even though it’s actually quite sunny outside!

Now… onto the bee part of this post… have you ever heard a swarm of bees… before you even saw a single bee?

This is what a small section from a small (according to the apiarist!) swarm of bees looks like.
I thought the swarm was HUGE! Believe me, it was LOUD!
I was weeding the garden when I heard what I thought was a car engine pulling up… but I looked around and I couldn’t see a car… so head down, weeding some more… then… the humming got louder… and louder… and louder…
This time I stood up and had a good look around, over the fence and up the road… and that’s when I saw the swarm… this huge swirling humming cloud… heading past the tree on the corner… and over the fence… into my front yard!


Within about half an hour they had made themselves quite at home… seems the big ol’ gum tree in the front yard of Dove Cottage was the new address… and a few thousand bees couldn’t be wrong… right?
In no time, two huge busy buzzing hives appeared amongst the gumnuts.


A quick google… and a call to the local apiarist…. and 20 minutes later… we had gentle Gavin… in the yard… up a very tall ladder… with a box… full of bees!


After a fiesty shake of the branch most of the bees droped right into the well positioned box.
Then after a minute or so… one flap of the box was opened… and the straggler bees buzzing about gently buzzed into the box… like they were being quietly summoned… by muma queen… it was amazing… almost a bit magical… and made me want to learn more about bees.
Apparently, Gavin said the bees in the box released pheromones which ‘called’ the other bees in. Clever hey?
I also found out that any bee can be a queen bee, the queen bee is just the bee that gets fed royal jelly for all of her life, instead of the first few days of her life like the rest of the bees. That made me curious about Royal Jelly too.

Fascinating hey? At least I thought I was… Do you already know lots about bees? Sorry if I’ve bored your to tears with my bee post. I’ll buzz off now…

Hope your day is full of magical suprises… and maybe even a hand knitted gift… made with love.