Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Crazy for Crochet


I have been really keen on crochet lately and have started , but not necessarily finished, quite a few projects. I haven't updated the blog for a while due to camera problems - now sorted! So here are a few of my latest creations...


I found this design when searching Japanese crochet sites for free patterns and general inspiration.  It is just a simple mesh shawl with a pretty border which includes dangling leaves and little balls.  A lot of the Japanese shawl and scarf designs feature really interesting borders and I am a big fan of these designs.  I love the way they can make the simplest piece of fabric into a spectacular masterpiece. I wouldn't call this one a masterpiece but it was enjoyable and quick to crochet.  I used most of a skein of Madeleine Tosh Merino Light that I purchased at Loop last year.  It is a beautiful soft yarn and the colours are slightly tonal, which I absolutely love.
Drops have had a truly amazing sale this Summer with 35% off their cotton yarns, so obviously I had to take advantage of that. I love Drops! The yarns are amazing quality, come in a huge range of gorgeous colours and are incredibly reasonably priced. Their massive collection of free patterns is pretty good too. I found this cute little bag pattern in Issue 55 of Inside Crochet -  it is the Boogie Bag by Jane Crow.

  In the magazine it was hooked from Rowan Cotton Glace which can cost around £5 for a ball but I made it from Drops Cotton Light which cost me 90p a ball. I have enough yarn left over from this project to make another bag, so that is a real bargain.
The piece of crochet with which I am most pleased is the Arianna cardigan wrap. It is a brilliant pattern by Vicky Chan - available, of course, through Ravelry. The genius of this design is in it's very simple shape that when worn drapes beautifully and looks far more complicated than it is. The garment is incredibly versatile and can be worn either way up for different looks.


I used a cone of cotton/acrylic 4 ply from Yeoman Yarns for this version.  It is a very economical but good quality yarn which I greatly recommend. The 2000m cone easily completed the garment with some to spare and had the added advantage of no joins or ends to sew in. I like the finished item so very much that I have started another in gorgeous green Araucania sock yarn (another sale purchase) and can't wait to see how it turns out. The wool should be a little lighter than the cotton.

I have been doing a little knitting too.  Here is the proof...

Sirdar Click Chunky at 49p a ball is hard to resist - so I didn't.  Kemps Wools often come up with incredible bargains on discontinued yarns and colourways and it is well worth checking out their discount section on a regular basis.  The pattern was a Sirdar design from a recent edition of Knitting magazine. It knitted up in a few days and is very warm and wearable.
Acrylic yarn seems to be much softer and better quality these days and I am almost won over by it.  The colours of this Stylecraft Merry-go-Round were enough to tempt me. This simple , fun, rainbow shawl is incredibly quick to crochet and the pattern is easy to memorise.  I have worked up most of this on recent train journeys and at concerts where I don't want to concentrate on a complicated pattern. 

Lastly, a quick fun project that I made from Poundland acrylic dk doubled up to make chunky weight.  I used the Mama Capybara pattern from "Huge and Huggable Mochimochi" by Anna Hrachovec.  It is a wonderful book packed with fun toy and accessory designs which easy to knit and definitely live up to the promise of being huggable.  I made this giant guinea pig (ok, so he is really a capybara) for a friend at work who fosters a lot of the little guys for an animal welfare organisation as it tries to find permanent homes for them.  Hope she has room for this little one!

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Bloomsbury Top and other projects

I have been having another crochet phase lately and am particularly proud of this creation.  The Bloomsbury Top from Interweave Crochet has been on my list of things to make ever since I saw it last year. I finally decided to give it a go after reading on Ravelry that it looks a lot more complicated than it actually is. I would entirely agree with that assessment of the pattern now that I have made it.  It only took about 5 days to crochet the top and I really enjoyed it. The trickiest part was joining the motifs together at the correct points. I have used Noro Silk Garden Sock yarn from my stash which I purchased in a sale a while ago. It would have been far too expensive at full price but has actually turned out to be quite a bargain.  The problem with sales is usually the choice of colours is limited to the ones that no-one else wants.  On this occasion I really like the colours that were available.






Another recent crochet success...


 
 This one is from Yumiko Alexander's lovely book "Rustic Crochet". I used the 100% linen that I got from Ice Yarns.  It was a quick and easy project and overall I am quite pleased with the result.  I do love linen but am wondering whether this stuff is perhaps a bit more suited to accessories rather than garments.  It has a bit of a string effect and is not very soft. This thought inspired the next project.  A cute bag embellished with flowers.

I like this a lot - it took very little time to make and looks pretty good. I plan to make another of these in a cotton yarn with more colourful flowers.
Still on the crochet theme, I made this blanket from cheap acrylic yarn inspired by a pattern I saw in a magazine. This was a project that I could make with my eyes closed and so ideal for knitting club and telly watching. I really love the fringed edging which makes it look quite special. I loved making this and am sure that I will be making more throws in the future.


I have finally returned to my knitting needles for a while and have been working for most of this week on a second version of the Central Park Hoodie.  My first attempt at this jumper was a big success and is probably my most worn piece of knitwear ever.  I still love it and have often thought to make another one in a different colour.  The recent Drops Yarn wool sale provided just the incentive to start on a lovely green hoodie. The yarn is a lot springier than the Donegal Tweed I used first time around.  I think this means the hoodie will turn out a bit more fitted than the first version.
Hope to finish this very soon - maybe by the weekend so I can show it off at Knit Club!



Thursday, April 03, 2014

Little Mermaid - a crochet tail


I finished the Mermaid Tail baby snuggle really quickly - it was a joy to crochet. The shell stitch pattern gives it an interesting scaley look which seems particularly fitting.

 
 The pattern is by Kat Goldin and is available free on the Guardian website.  It is the best mermaid tail pattern that I have come across and I can't wait to see it modelled by the baby.  She is going to look so cute.  The yarn is James C Brett Marble Chunky and I used just under one ball in the green colourway. It was very reasonably priced and feels lovely and soft. I am tempted to make another one. 



 





Meanwhile, I have dug out the pure linen that I bought from Yarn Paradise and have started another project from Yumiko Alexander's Rustic Crochet.  This time it is the Pearls shrug.  The yarn looks a bit like string and I am wondering if I should have got it in a different colour. Hopefully it will soften up a bit when I wash it.

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Quite Contrary Wrap

 I totally fell in love with this pattern the moment I saw it.  It is Sandra Paul's Quite Contrary Wrap - found on Ravelry of course. The pattern is very well written and an absolute joy to crochet.  The stitch pattern changes enough to keep it interesting and the end result is stunning.  I particularly like the flower picot edging. It is quite an easy project which looks far more complicated than it is. I may well make this again.
 I used Ice Yarns Premium Angora which was a mega bargain - what's not to love about this whole project!
























I love that you can wear it as a stole...



















...or scrunch it up like a scarf.

 At the moment I am working on a small Mermaid Tail.  It is actually a snuggly cocoon wrap for a newborn baby.


Saturday, March 08, 2014

Sand and Shells

Just finished Yumiko Alexander's "Sand and Shells" and really love it.
I used a cone of Yeoman Yarns' Cotton Club No. 8 Linen which was a total bargain at just £10 including postage. The cotton /linen mix is lovely but not the softest. The slubby yarn gives it a natural rustic look, which is what I wanted.  The garment shape is very unusual being a cross between a jumper and a poncho.
I have started an easy shawl which is ideal to crochet whilst watching subtitled foreign dramas on the telly. I have 2 balls of Autumn wind from lotus Yarns to use up.  It is a cotton and cashmere blend and is beautifully soft.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Victory Wrap

I just finished this little shawl yesterday and am quite pleased with it. It is maybe a little more crescent shaped than I had expected but is otherwise rather sweet.  The pattern is from Ravelry of course and is The Victory Wrap by Erika Flory. The pattern suggests worsted weight yarn but I used a dk. 2 balls of Wendy Merino dk for the body of the shawl and a single ball of the same in cream for the lace edging. I could perhaps have blocked the points a little more sharply but was very keen to wear it and cut a few corners.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Back to blog

A few months ago I managed to shut myself out of my blog and try as I might it seemed that I would never be able to post here again.  However , my clever husband has just managed to sort it all out for me.  I am really happy to be back in my blog!
Since I last posted there has been a whole lot of crochet and knitting going on.  It would take ages to update on everything I have made so I am just going to concentrate on some recent favourites for now.
At Christmas I made an army of gingerbread men for my workmates. They were a lot of fun to make and I was very pleased with them. I used mainly acrylic yarns as I wanted to make quite a few and wasn't sure whether or not people would want to keep them after the festive season. Everyone seemed to really like the little guys and wore them around the shop for several days. Customers kept asking where we got them - I was quite pleased.


I promised the husband a jumper ages ago and even got as far as purchasing the yarn - some gorgeous soft Alpaca Boucle from Drops Yarns. A friend suggested that I might feel more inclined to finish the jumper quickly if I doubled up the yarn and knit it on big needles. Good idea! I managed to knit up a superchunky v-necked pullover in less than a week. It is a plain design but is very warm and has been worn quite a few times.

Lately I have gone headband crazy.  A friend asked me to make one inspired by a design that her daughter had seen in a shop.  I ended up making about a dozen.  These little projects are ideal for trying out new yarns, stitch patterns and techniques and can easily be finished in an evening. I used up odd balls of yarn that I had in my stash from acrylic to silk. I followed patterns for some and improvised the design for others. This is a few of them...
Alpaca headband


King Cole Galaxy - sequinned yarn
Rowan Wool Cotton

Super cheap sequinned chunky yarn from Tiger

Knitted turban style headband in James Brett Marble Chunky

Poundland acrylic

More Poundland acrylic

Yet more Poundland acrylic!

Louisa Harding Grace - silk and wool




After the success of the gingerbread brooches at Christmas, I decided that it would be fun to make hearts for Valentines day.  I enjoyed making the little stuffed brooches and decorating them with cute flowers.  Over a week I managed to produce a large jar of hearts...

This is now becoming something of a tradition. What can I make for Easter?