Archive for the “crochet” Category
Although summer did its best to hang on long past its usual farewell, autumn is finally beginning to take hold. We had our first frost warning of the season this week. I gave in and turned the heat on (just at night, though) and put the electric blanket back on the bed… then I remembered that I’d been crocheting an afghan, and brought it out of hibernation. Here are the first four squares I made… three years ago. Ooops.
I’ve been working in strips that are 12 squares long, and I have three of those completed already. The finished blanket will have 14 to 16 strips in total, depending on how long it gets once I put it all together. The slowest part of the process is making the chain for each new square, so I thought I’d try making a strip or two of six double-sized squares. The last few rows are satisfyingly quick, with so few stitches to work.
Some of my friends are gently encouraging me to sign up for National Novel Writing Month, but I think I might dedicate November to this blanket instead. There’s little chance of actually finishing in only 30 days (not with 140 squares left to go, no way!) but if I focus, I could make some significant progress. Maybe I could even have it done before next summer…?
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The pattern for Sheep Etu suggests first pinning the stuffed feet to the body of the sheep to get the right balance before sewing them on. I didn’t bother doing that, since Wee Sheepie is going to ride in the car and won’t need to stand up on its own – and I saved myself the effort, as none of the feet ended up exactly where I thought they would go, anyway. Perhaps my sewing-together skills could use some improvement, but the feet were so tiny and awkward, and moved around a bit as I worked.
Anyway, once I’d crocheted the fluff on, it didn’t much matter…
I started at the top of Wee Sheepie’s back with just single crochet, but it wasn’t fluffy enough, so I soon switched to mostly double crochet – “mostly” because I added in some extra stitches here and there, as needed, to round out the sheep’s shape. The Buttercup yarn is really tricky to work with! I dropped the hook a few times and had a hard time picking up a loop, as the floofy fibres completely obscure the stitches. But without too much cursing, I worked my way around and around until Wee Sheepie was no longer naked.
There’s enough Buttercup left over for a second sheep. The first one is so cute, I’m more than a little tempted to make another!
Taking a good picture of a fluffy white sheep is another challenge altogether. It’s much cuter in person than most of my photos showed! So instead of more sheep shots, here’s a picture of Sparkplug, the cargoyle I mentioned on Monday, which inspired my brother to request a sheep in the first place.
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In my car I have a small stuffed gargoyle – a CARgoyle – named Sparkplug, who comes along on all my drives. Sparky was given to me as a good-luck companion when I got my very first car, and he’s ridden along with me in every car I’ve owned since then. My brother asked me if I could knit or crochet a companion for his drives, but not a cargoyle – no, he wanted a sheep.
I was reminded of the scene from the beginning of Le Petit Prince:
“If you please–draw me a sheep!”
“Draw me a sheep!”
I found the Sheep Etu pattern on Ravelry and bought some Red Heart Buttercup, which practically looked like a fluffy sheep already. But when I tried to start crocheting the little sheep, I was quickly frustrated – the fluff of the yarn made it impossible to do a magic ring, never mind being able to see the stitches.
What to do, what to do… a-ha! Another Raveler suggested using a smoother yarn to make the body of the sheep, and then surface-crocheting the fluff onto it. The smoother yarn turned out to be some of the leftover Jacob I’d spun for the Winterlude Hat a few years ago. What’s more fitting than making a sheep out of sheep’s wool? The face and feet are also made from a small amount of leftover KnitPicks Andean Treasure.
In an afternoon of watching football (how ’bout dem Cowboys?), I made the components of a sheep:
Crocheting the sheep parts took a surprisingly long time. The dark face and feet were particularly challenging, as I was working with a smaller hook than the yarn called for so that the stuffing won’t peek out. But now the sheep is ready for me to sew on its little feet… and then, the floofifying can begin.
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The spinning project proceeds (but all the pictures look the same, so…) Meanwhile, Michael’s birthday was last week, and he’d mentioned that one of his washcloths was starting to look a little thin. I can get two cloths from one supersize ball of yarn, so I made one for Michael and gave the second to my brother. Goodness knows I have enough of my own at the moment.
The washcloths are made of Sugar ‘n Cream in the Hippi colourway (with white for a border on one of them), and I went down one hook size from my usual (from 5.5 mm to 5.0 mm) to try to get a tighter fabric. The pattern is my favourite, Woven Stitch Dishcloth. With the larger hook I know that if I start with a chain of 38, I’m likely to get argyle – but with the slightly smaller hook, that didn’t work out as well. I’ll have to figure out the numbers when I make the next cloth, because I do like the smaller stitches.
I drove up to Connecticut so that I could bring my bike (no pictures from the ride, unfortunately, but it was fun) and on the way I stopped at Palisades Interstate Park to stretch and take in the scenery. The Tappan Zee bridge is just barely visible at the turn of the river; I drove over it shortly after taking this picture.
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Well, I didn’t get to go to Rhinebeck after all – but the house is on the market, and the shawl is complete! I’m so pleased with how it came out. The border is just a simple repeat of (sc, ch1), with two sc/ch1 pairs in the gaps between scallops, to keep it from ruffling up too much. Stretching the shawl out dry seemed to flatten out the fabric reasonably well, but I think it would look even better after a bath and firm blocking.
It didn’t take long to memorize the pattern, though I do still have to pay more attention to crochet than to knitting. The shawl was done in just a month of crocheting in my spare time, of which I had less than usual thanks to working on the house. I’d say that’s a pretty quick project! Here’s a closeup of the stitch pattern:
Noro being Noro, I’d expected a few knots. I wasn’t disappointed; there was one in each of the two balls. That led to some interesting colour-swapping and lots of ends to weave in, but the rows were so long by the end that I don’t think it’s noticeable. On the last row, I measured out how much yarn it took to work one of the fan shapes, and then the rest of the yarn, because I wasn’t sure I was going to make it – but there was just enough.
The next question is, how and when do I even wear the thing? I really enjoyed making it, but will I actually wear it? We shall see!
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Although I’m still not sure if I’ll be able to go to Rhinebeck this year, I’m working on the shawl anyway! The rows are getting longer, but as I’m starting to memorize the pattern, I can put on a football game and crochet away. Well, sort of – crochet does seem to take more of my attention than knitting does, since the next stitch could literally go anywhere.
The pattern is easy to get the hang of, though obviously the finished shawl is going to need some firm blocking to really show it off. All lace is wrinkly, but the thick-and-thin Noro is exacerbating the rumpled look here. I love how the colours are playing out, though!
My to-do list for the upcoming three-day weekend is very long, mostly pertaining to getting the house ready for sale, but I’m hoping to get some solid crocheting time in as well. Part of what will determine if I can run off to New York for a weekend is getting through that to-do list…
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The two-colour hat is coming along; I’ve re-knit everything that I had to rip out and then some. This coming weekend I’m going to get my 16″ size 6/4mm circulars back from Mom, and transfer the project over. That should help make it go even faster. I still need to figure out how I’m going to do the decreases, but I’ll worry about that when I get there.
Meanwhile, there’s a possibility that I will make it up to Rhinebeck this year! It’s not that I plan to buy anything, or that I really need new yarn or fibre, but I love going anyway. Being around all the knitters, yarn, and beautiful projects helps replenish my motivation and inspiration!
At MSDW in 2013, I bought two skeins of Noro Silk Garden Sock with the intention of crocheting a shawl that I could wear to events like these. After much deliberation, I settled on Schultertuch/Dreiekstuch, a free pattern from a German Raveler. Noro being Noro, the first colour off the ball was a rather icky shade of yellowish brown. Since this is the centre/top of the shawl and will be up by the nape of my neck, I decided to just work with it and see what happens, rather than lose any yardage by skipping ahead to the nicer black and teal.
It’s been a quick start, so I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to get it all finished and blocked before heading northwards. I can’t imagine using this yarn for actual socks; even though it’s called “Silk Garden Sock” it’s a rough single with slubby spots, generally unsuitable for anything like socks. But for a shawl, I think it will be just perfect!
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Boy, things have been busy around here! Lots of good stuff going on. Unfortunately, that’s meant less time to play with yarn – but I found a couple of hours to crochet a new washcloth from a ball of Sugar ‘n Cream that’s been staring at me from the shelf for several months. The pink and gray combination is one of my favourites, and I know that if I use the Woven Stitch Dishcloth pattern and begin by chaining 38, I’ll get argyle.
Somewhere in the middle my tension changed, and I had to rip back a few times so that I could adjust to get the argyle pooling right. So this wasn’t quite *instant* gratification, but still, I went from a ball of yarn to having a new washcloth in only a few hours. Close enough!
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I had the bright idea to crochet a snowflake as a Christmas gift for Michael’s mom, who is a crocheter herself and appreciates these things. So I pulled out the #10 thread and a wee steel hook, and set to work on the Savannah Snowflake, which is a free pattern available on the Snowcatcher website.
It was not an easy project. The thread was slippery, I wasn’t sure about where to place some of the stitches, and the original plan to wrap the flake around a colourful ornament was scuttled when it didn’t turn out to be large enough. But the more rounds I did, the better I felt about how it looked, especially as I worked my way around the final round to create the points of the flake.
The snowflake then took a starch bath. I mixed a quarter-cup of cornstarch into a cup and a half of cold water, and brought it up to heat on the stovetop. It didn’t take long for the mixture to become thick and translucent. When it had cooled down enough to touch, I got the flake thoroughly saturated with the goop, and then patted off the excess with paper towels before pinning it out on cardboard to dry. The next morning, it was completely solid and only a little bit stuck to the cardboard, but it came right off with some help from a kitchen spatula.
Then I completely forgot to take a photo of it before wrapping it up and giving it away. But here it is in its place of honour on the tree:
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My friend Teresa, Ship’s Cook of HCPS Tygershark, loves black and silver. I’ve only ever seen her wear black and silver – maybe a little bit of white, sometimes, when silver can’t be found.
About a year and a half ago, she mentioned something about armwarmers, and I filed the thought away in my head with a note that I had to find black and silver yarn for the project. Not long afterwards, I bought a skein of Kraemer Sterling Silk & Silver. It just seemed fitting to use real silver in something I was making for Teri!
I was going to give these to her last year at Pennsic, but I didn’t end up going – so unfortunately, they were set aside for other projects. But I finished them during the Olympics (hooray! a WIP completed!) and mailed them off, and just heard from her that she’s received them, so now I can post about the project!
The pattern is Lacy Fingerless Gloves, available for free on Ravelry. It was and easy and quick project which took less than half a skein to make. The armwarmers are worked flat in rows of alternating fan-shapes, edged with a round of single crochet, then seamed up the side with a hole for the thumb. I like the construction and would use it again with another stitch pattern!
Kipling tries to be in all the pictures (look at those adorable paws!) but it’s a good closeup of the shape of the fan stitches. The silver strands are even more obvious in real life; the camera didn’t really capture how they shine.
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