Crochethook's Blog

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The woes of well grown woman August 28, 2012

Filed under: Completed projects,Knitting,Round Up — crochethook @ 9:32 am
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I was shocked when I finally sat down to blog this morning and saw my last post was in April.  I am a very poor blogger!

Once again I have been busy knitting but I have been slightly disappointed in the final results and therefore less inclined to swank over what I have created.  I think this is mainly due to my lack of experience in knitting. That, and the fact I am far slower at knitting than I am at crocheting, all adds up to a lack of posts.

Anyhow, here follows the fruits of my labours:

As I said at the end of my last post, I knitted some Sirdar’s Raffaella into Rowan’s Meadow tank top.   The pattern was a good one but the yarn didn’t really work for this project.  It looks great –

Meadow tank top

but the yarn is a rick-rack. (There is probably a technical term for that but I have no idea what it is.) It seem to lie flat but as soon as the fabric is slightly stretched the knitting becomes very gappy where the rick-rack has left loose stitches.  It is particularly noticeable on the bust.  This was frustrating as the top fits me but it still manages to look like I have squeezed myself into it.  I am tempted to have another go in the future with a better yarn.

Next up was a little shoulder shawl.  I found the pattern on Ravelry but cannot find the link to it now for the life of me.  I used some lovely green sock yarn I got in my local wool emporium.  I didn’t really need another scarf but it was a great traveling project.

Holding onto this until the colder weather

While I was working on the shawl I was also in the middle of the most complicated knitting pattern I have tried to date.  This was also another Ravelry find.  I used Patons Smoothie which is a cheaper acrylic yarn as I wasn’t sure the pattern wouldn’t be beyond me.  It took me a couple of months to complete – including some serious frogging at times.  All in all, it came out well:

Quite lovely

My gauge was correct but I have since discovered that ladies were obviously far less well developed in the 1950s.  I ended up omitting the buttons up the band when it became clear that there was no hope of the two sides ever meeting across the expanse of my busty substances.  It makes a lovely shrug without the buttons but I really have to work harder on taking my chest measurements into account!

Taking these lessons on board, I have started work on a little waistcoat which features on the front page of the July issue of Let’s Knit. This time I have gone up a size in the hope that I will create something that really fits me.  The pattern involves knitting in two colours which is a new experience for me but I seem to managing it so far.  I will endeavour to post the completed results in a few weeks (but don’t hold your breath.)

Next week I begin a new job which involves some commuting.  I was thinking of portable projects when I felt granny square madness settle into my soul.  It seems I am starting another granny square blanket then…

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4 months of work in one small post March 29, 2012

I cannot believe I’ve let this blog sit silent for over 4 months.  I somehow got out of the habit of blogging and the weeks just ticked on by alarmingly quickly.  I thought the best thing to kick-start me posting again is to do one big round up of work and start again from there.

While my blog has been idle, I have completed a number of projects over the last 16 weeks.  As I mentioned last time, I got a little obsessed with knitting for a while and, generally, the results have been quite good.  To pick up where I left off, with true beginner’s bravado my third project was a cardigan.  The King Cole pattern was great and, at the time, I thought the King Cole Riot wool was brilliant. By the time I finished, I had sort of changed my mind about the yarn and I haven’t actually worn this outside the house nor do I think I will.

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I just don't think this is ever going to be a good look

Colour aside, the knitting practise itself was good and I managed to complete the whole project without any glaring errors. After that I went a bit scarf and cowl crazy. (It was winter after all).

Blue Cowl

Black and White Cowl

Short scarf from 101 One Skein Wonders

For Christmas I was given Vintage Knitwear For Modern Knitters by Lise-Lotte Lystrup.  I made another cardigan from this collection but I am still trying to track down the proper fasteners so will hold off posting a photo of that one now. I also made some simple stocking stitch socks on dpns but I forgot to take a photo before giving them as a gift.

After all that, I beginning to miss my crochet hooks so I went back to amigurumi for a quick satisfaction.  First came Mr Slug.

Sluggish but sweet

And then 5 hippos.  (I was only supposed to be making 2 for my niece and nephew but it turned into 5 after I tweeted a photo and started getting requests.)

I love how happy these hippos look. Pattern from Super Super Cute Crochet by Brigitte Read

In and amongst all this, I have started on a Wooleater blanket to try and reduce my stash to more reasonable levels.  I worked on it for a couple of weeks but, with the unseasonably warm weather, sitting with a blanket on my knee isn’t too appealing.

Quite garish again. I think I might be part magpie...

And finally, I am half way through a waistcoat which is in danger of bring frogged.  I like the pattern but am just not sure about the yarn.

Less tweedy and more stripy than I imagined.

So that is it.  4 months of work in one photo-heavy post.  I am still trying to get used to the idea of being a knitter as well a crocheter.  I can see that for clothes two sticks is really the best choice as the yarn drapes so much better.  For all other things I think I still prefer the hook.

 

Two sticks November 10, 2011

Filed under: Completed projects,Knitting,Work in Progress — crochethook @ 9:28 am
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I don’t know if it was a reaction to the epic amount of crocheting that the TARDIS blanket called for or just a desire to try something new but I haven’t been crocheting for the past month or so.  I have been knitting instead.

I learnt to knit when I was little and have made the odd scarf over the years but I was never terribly good at it.  I got the urge to have another go when I was admiring some lovely socks someone was making at my stitch and bitch group.  Knowing that there was no way I could stitch a sock without some practise, I started with this keyhole scarf in Sirdar Tweedie.

Not faultless but not a bad start

It was a better effort than I had ever managed before which I can only put down to being a bit more skilled with my hands after crocheting for a few years. Flushed with success, I got uppish and tried a simple waistcoat next.  (Sorry, no link to this one as I found it in this book.)  It was very basic with the back worked first, split at the shoulders and then continuing down the front on each side.  I had some problems keeping the rib neat so it’s not something I will swanking about it in but, overall, I was pleased with it.

Not sure about the toggle now...

So what am I doing next?  It’s a big project and possibly above my skill level.  Here is a close-up just because I love the colours.

Lovely, lovely colours

I’ll be back to post the final results when I am finished.  If this goes well I’ll be trying the socks next – hurrah!

 

Aqueduct Scarf Pattern September 25, 2011

Filed under: Completed projects,Free pattern,Yarn Stash — crochethook @ 9:49 am
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As promised, I have written up the Aqueduct Scarf pattern for anyone who would like a copy. And then corrected the pattern on 30/10/11 when I noticed I had missed out a couple of instructions. 

I used 3 balls of Artesano Merino DK which I’ve had knocking about for a while and a 4.5mm hook. This gave me a scarf that was 12cm wide by 164 cm long.  Gauge isn’t important so I think this would work in whatever wool you have to hand and with whatever hook you feel works for you.  The pattern is straight forward enough that, once you have done a few repeats, you can do it on auto-pilot.  I have added a fringe to mine in a contrasting colour as I have a hat in mind to go with it and not enough of the yellow wool to do both.

Close-up

As a side note, this was the first time I had ever used a bamboo hook.  When I first started to crochet I had some small plastic hooks which I really didn’t like and I put this down to the weight.  I was far happier with the heavier metal hooks I had also bought. For some reason, I was convinced that I would have the same problem with bamboo.  I only finally got Pony bamboo hook when I had the vague idea of crocheting on a flight.  As it turns out, I LOVE the hook and so I didn’t risk trying to take it in my hand luggage in case I had to dump it at security.  I am seriously tempted to add to my hook collection with a few more of these lovely, lovely things.

Anyhow, here’s the pattern.  I *think* it’s right but please do let me know if you spot any typos.

1) Chain 28, treble in 4th chain from the hook (3 chain counts as first treble in every row) and in each stitch across. (25 treble) Turn.

2) Chain 3, treble in next stitch and in each stich across.

3) Chain 5 (counts as first treble plus 2 chain), skip next 2 stitches, treble into next stitch,* chain 2, skip next 2 stitches, treble into next stitch** Repeat *-** to the end of the row.

4) Chain 3, *2 treble into next chain space, treble into next treble.** Repeat *-** to the end of the row.

5) Chain 4 (counts as first treble and 1 chain), skip one stitch, treble in next stitch, *chain 1, skip one stitch, treble in next stitch**  Repeat *-** to the end of the row.

6) Chain 3, *treble into chain space, treble into next treble.**  Repeat *-** to the end of the row.

7) Repeat rows 3-6 until scarf is as long as you desire.  Add fringe if required.

 

Small things amuse small minds August 30, 2011

Filed under: Quick Projects,Work in Progress — crochethook @ 12:09 pm
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It’s a post-blanket world and I am enjoying myself running two little projects which I know won’t take long to finish.

Number one was a direct result of my obsession with the Habitat closing down sale.  I couldn’t stop dropping in and buying things I needed but was too tight to purchase at full price.  I ended up playing reduction chicken –  I lost on a wok as they sold out before they had gone as low as I hoped but I did come away with some genuine bargains.  My favourite is a sizeable teapot and, as all roads lead to crocheting, it was one small step from buying that to deciding I needed a tea cosy to go with it.  As it shaped more like a coffee-pot than a traditional teapot, finding a pattern to fit was a bit of a mission but I came across the Checkmate Tea Cosy in Issue 17 of Inside Crochet which was adaptable enough to do the job.  I am about halfway through after a week and, some initial wonkiness aside, it seems to be coming on a treat.

It will make more sense when it's done, honest. At least that's what the pattern says.

Second quick project is the aqueduct scarf.  When I was in Edinburgh I had a trip to Armstrongs on Grassmarket. (I heartily recommend a visit if you are in Edinburgh.  It is an amazing shop.) I came out with a pristine red leather jacket for the bargain price of £25.  I swear, it looks like it has never been worn.  I genuinely didn’t have a scarf that would go with it so I started one last night with some merino wool that has been sitting in my stash for months.  I improvised the pattern to give me something quite narrow and a suitable weight for Autumn.  Mr Grasshead said it reminded him of an aqueduct in structure which suggested the name.  I will write up the pattern as a freebie when I am done but the more experienced amongst you can probably work it  out from the photo.

One hour's work including the improvisation. I do like a project that grows quickly.

During the long weekend I had my first snooze under the TARDIS blanket and I can report it was as cosy as I hoped it would be. It was a bit of a slog toward the end but I am quite delighted with it.

 

Unseasonal crochet March 26, 2011

Filed under: Completed projects,Review — crochethook @ 11:53 am
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I was away last week at a conference but there was an hour spare on the first day which gave me chance to rootle around in a new wool shop.  I ended up coming away with three balls of King Cole Riot in three different shades. For once, this wasn’t a knee-jerk reaction to wool lust as I actually had a project in mind when I handed my money over at the till.  (OK.  There was a bit of wool lust as well but it’s a step forward for me.)

Issue 16 of Inside Crochet featured the Rapunzel scarf by Hilda Panagary which she had made in Noro yarn.

As there is still no proper website for the magazine, you will have to make do with my quick snapshot

The pattern is essentially three granny row strips made in three different shades and plaited together.  A really simple idea but not one that had occurred to me or one that I have seen anyone else use.  As much as I liked it, I wasn’t prepared to use Noro yarn for the project as, although it is lovely, it is rather pricey for something as ephemeral as a scarf.  I had been keeping an eye out for a cheaper alternative and was delighted when I found the King Cole yarn.  It was cheap enough and, more importantly, attractive enough for me to feel justified in making another scarf.

It took me exactly a week to complete the strips using a 5mm hook.  I love working with variegated yarn because I find the colour changes keep me interested so I put in some long sessions last weekend.  It was a quick job to plait them and crochet the extreme ends together.  The method is so easy that it would make a great project for a beginner.

The completed project

I did make a few changes to the pattern as I went along.  I made the strips much longer as I don’t like a scarf that leaves short ends when wrapped around my neck.  It’s not Tom Baker length but it is roomy.  I also added a row of double crochet to the ends when I has sewn them together just to make it look tidy.

The extra row doesn't really show but does give it a more finished look.

This addition wouldn’t have been needed if my rows into the starting chains has been a neater but I have never really managed to crack the technique.  As my strips were so much longer, I also plaited tighter them tighter than the original to make the structure a bit firmer.  Too loose and I think they would have kept catching on things.

The King Cole colours were delightful so I thought I would finish with a couple more close up shots to illustrate them. It’s an easy yarn to work with feels very soft despite being an acrylic/wool mix.  I would definitely use it again.

I even like the pink and I don't do pink as a rule.

It is the greens and blues that really make it for me. Such lovely, lovely shades.

This is a lovely, easy pattern to complete and I am delighted with the results.  It’s just a shame that I have finished it during the first sunny spell of the year when people are starting to put their scarves away.  I want to wear it – Can we hold back Spring a couple of weeks, please?

 

Martha’s Hat February 14, 2010

Filed under: Completed projects — crochethook @ 12:19 pm
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Despite having crocheted for a few years now, I have always had a problem with hats.  I don’t know what I do wrong but, despite gauging a swatch, paying close attention to hook size, tension and yarn, my hats always seemed to be doomed to failure.  They came out too big or too small or just a really strange shape no matter how hard I concentrated.  *I would get so far in, realise that the whole thing had gone horribly wrong again, unravel like a maniac and sulk.** I repeated this sequence from * to ** on a semi-regular basis whenever I ran into a pattern that I thought would look great on my head.

This winter I decided that I had to break the cycle.  Hats are recommended to newbies as a step up from scarves for heaven’s sake!  I could follow any number of more complex patterns so I was determined that I had to crack the headwear problem.  This determination, however, then coincided with a dearth of patterns that I actually liked.  I has already made a shell scarf from a pattern in Inside Crochet so my choice of colour and wool was already set and that made finding the right hat even harder.

Eventually my inspiration came from the brilliant Crafty Tardis – I lurk here a lot, enviously eyeing people’s Doctor Who creations.  Someone had posted a plea for a pattern for the crocheted tam-o-shanter that Martha wore during Family of the Blood.  She only wore it in a small number of scenes so you will have to excuse the screen-cap below but it gives you the general idea.

That was the hat I wanted – only not in pink and not quite so big and without the pom-pom which adorned the top of it.  A couple of people on the web had had a stab at patterns but I hit the same problems with hats that I had always had.  One hexagonal version I tried came out looking like a crocheted crown.  This time, however, I really wanted the hat in question so I threw the patterns aside and decided to free-hand one in treble crochet rounds… and added a tassel because I had only recently learnt to make them… and made it in green not pink… and so I ended up with

In my head it’s a Martha Jones hat and it makes me very happy.  In reality I think it’s akin to the philosopher’s axe. I might look back in a few years and shudder to think I ever wore it out in public but the joy of having created my own hat hasn’t worn off just yet.  Now, if only I could learn to follow a pattern.