Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Hatchlands Park

Recently, it was my great pleasure to meet up with Sara from Sara's Crafts.  We have been blogging friends for some time and then became e-mail friends and after 18 months of e-mailing, several phone calls and one abandoned plan to meet each other, we finally met up!

It was so lovely to actually meet Sara in person.  I knew that she would be lovely because we had got to know each other pretty well, but it was still good to actually see her in "real life actual".  Of course Sara was just as lovely as I knew she would be, and we talked a lot and it was just like our e-mails and telephone calls had been.  Anyone seeing us would have assumed that we were old friends - which we were of course!

You can read Sara's account of our meeting here - she was far more organised than me and posted soon after we met! - her photos are wonderful!

I suggested to Sara that we meet at a National Trust property called Hatchlands Park.  It is part way between the two of us.  I didn't tell Sara, but I had an ulterior motive for meeting there.  The house is let out to a tenant called Alec Cobbe, and he is married to a family member of the family that owned Basildon Park, so I was curious for many reasons to see the house.

After a drink and cake Sara and I went for a wander around and of course, being the very good bloggers that we are, we had our cameras at the ready and took lots of photos.  Only of the outside, no pictures in the house, and in any case it was far to busy to get any shots.

The grounds are beautiful. The alliums were spectacular.

The room on the far left of this photo is the music room.  Concerts are held here.

The lantern which stands over the music room and fills it with light.

Alec Cobbe is a musician and the house is filled with pianos and musical instruments.  There are as many as seven or eight pianos in some rooms - yes, seven or eight in one room!!!!!

The house is furnished with pieces from Mr Cobbe's and his wife's family homes.  He is married to one of the daughters of the 20th Viscount Dillon.


There are not extensive formal gardens at Hatchlands.  The grounds are all very naturalistic in style.

I was very intrigued by this tree which is being held up with the branch or trunk of another tree.  Isn't it amazing.

Some years ago Alec Cobbe painted three panels for the Dining Room ceiling at Basildon Park.  He has been repainting the Dining Room at Hatchlands Park for about 25 years now by my estimate.  It isn't finished!  One of the staff asked me if I could get him to finish it.  I said that I didn't have that kind of influence!!

I had a play around with some of the effects that my computer can apply to pictures and turned this one from colour - above - to black and white.

Another closer up view of that branch holding up the tree.

I was surprised what a difference making the pictures black and white had.  You really see the texture and the form far more in the black and white pictures than in the colour ones.

Only the ground floor of the house is open.  It is very full of interesting things, and had it not been so busy I am sure that we would have enjoyed more time looking around.

It really was a wonderful day.  We had a great finishing touch too as these beautiful peonies were pointed out to us as we left to go to the car park.  Aren't they wonderful!

The best part of the day was of course meeting Sara!  We hope to do it again very soon and not in another 18 months time!

Thank you for a lovely day Sara and for your friendship too!


Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Crochet Sunflowers - Tutorial and Pattern

I showed you my crochet wreath updated with some sunflowers at the start of the month, and now we are at the end of the month I have finally finished my pattern and tutorial and my sunflower garland.  The garland will not be revealed just yet, I will show it to you in my July Mantel post with a bit of a ta dah!

Today though I have the sunflowers to share with you. 

You can find the post about the wreath here and you can see how to make the cover for the wreath form and my original idea here.

The pattern and all the technical details are at the end of the post.  You can see that I made them in different colours.  The two sunflowers above and the one below show the different shades of yellow that I used.  The middles are raised, just as the middles of sunflowers really are.

I hope that you enjoy making lots of sunflowers!  As always, please feel free to make some, but please credit me with the pattern.  I worked this out for myself so it is my work!

Start off by making a CH (chain) of four stitches and then SL (slip stitch) into the first CH to make a ring.

Then CH two stitches and from there you will be working into the middle of the ring - where the silver needle is pointing.

You then make a TR (treble) stitch into the ring.

Keep making TR into the ring.  When you have the right number you need to SL into the second chain that you made after forming the ring.  Where the silver needle is pointing.

You will then have a small flat circle that looks like this.

Now, for the next round of stitches my pattern writing experience lets me down a little, but you need to CH two stitches first of all.  Then you will be working into the space between the TR in the previous round.  You are not working into the stitch, but the space between them.  As shown by the silver needle.

Make TR into the first gap between the TR of the previous round.

After that chain one and then work TR2tog (two trebles together) into the space between the stitches of the previous round.

Continue doing this, working your way around the circle.  You can see a little better in this picture how it should look.

To finish the ring SL into the second CH that you made at the start of this round.  Again, shown by the needle.

Voila, one sunflower middle.  You will see how it curves round naturally.  You don't need to do anything else to it.

You will then start to work on the petals.  You cannot have a sunflower without petals can you!  Again, you will be working into the space between the TR2tog in the previous round.

Start by putting the hook through the space.

Yarn round hook and pull through the loop on the hook.  You are then joined on and in effect have a DC.  You can see what I mean in the next two pictures.

CH two and then DC into the next space between the TR two together from the previous round.  As you work you will see that it starts to look like this.

When you get back to the start you need to SL into the first stitch - where the needle points.

Then CH 6 stiches.  Work into the second stitch from the hook.  Continue working into the CH stitches back towards the middle of the flower.

You will work a DC, a HTR (half treble), a TR a DTR (double treble) and then two TR into the last chain - they are two separate TR stitches, not TR2tog.

You can see how the petal is formed.

Then skip the two CH stitches and DC into the DC.

The first petal is completed.

Continue around the middle working petals as you go.

Then when you get all the way around SL into the base of the CH of the first petal.

Voila, one finished flower!!  You then need to sew in the ends and you can use your flowers as you wish.

I will update this in a few days with a picture of the garland and other details so that you can follow those along.

OK, on with the details and the pattern!


Sunflower Pattern - by Amy of Love Made My Home

You may use, but please credit me with this pattern as it is my own.

All instructions are following UK Terms.
4mm Hook
Yarn in two colours, brown for the centres and your choice(s) of yellow for the petals.
I used Rico Creative Cotton Aran


CH - chain
SL - slip stitch
DC - double crochet
HTR - half treble crochet
TR - treble crochet
DTR - double treble crochet
TR2tog - treble two stitches together

The pattern.

Centres of flowers - use brown yarn

Round One
CH4, SL into first stitch in CH
CH2 (counts as first TR), work 9 more TR into ring, SL into second stitch of CH that is counting as TR

Round Two
CH2 (counts as first TR), TR into space between next two TR of previous round.  Work into space between stitches.  CH 1
*TR2tog into next space between two TR of previous round.  CH1.*  Repeat from * to * 8 times, SL into second stitch of CH that is counting as TR.  Tie off work

Petals of flowers - use yellow yarn

Round One
*DC into a CH space between TR2tog of round two of centre.
CH 2.*  Repeat from * to * 9 times, SL into first DC.  Do not tie off work.

Working back towards centre of flower, DC into second CH from hook
HTR into next CH
TR into next CH
DTR into next CH
TR into next CH twice - separate TR's, not TR2tog
Skip 2 chains of previous round, DC into next DC.*  Repeat from * to * 9 times.  Tie off work.

Sew in all ends.

Wreath - make as many as you wish and pin to wreath.  Hang and enjoy!

Garland - make 9 flowers, three each in three different shades of yellow.  To join into garland, use green yarn, CH20, DC into top of one petal.  CH15.  DC into top of next petal and so on.  After joining last flower CH20.  You can make starting or ending CH longer as you need.  Hang and enjoy!

I hope that you enjoy making lots of lovely flowers!