Sunday, May 28, 2006

Crazy about crochet !

This weekend I have really been getting into crochet and the knitting has been a bit neglected. I ran out of Rowan Cotton Tape and so had to track down a skein on the internet as it is now discontinued. I managed to find some and am looking forward to being able to finish the Eternal top. Meanwhile , I decided to have a go at the crochet cap and ruffle cravat from One Skein. These were both very enjoyable to make and I am pleased with the finished result. The ruffle cravat took a bit more than one skein of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Superchunky which was a shame as this stuff is very expensive. Anyway, I enjoyed the crochet so much that I dug out my copy of Happy Hooker and started on the One Skein Scarf straight away. I used a ball of Cygnet Aran, which is 75% wool and 25% polyamide, in a lovely bright red. A couple of hours later I had this -

This is such a great little scarf and I think I will be making a few more of these. I'd like to try it in some space dyed yarns and see how it looks. Still in the mood for crochet, I purchased three balls ofPatons 100% cotton DK and started on the cute Cupcake top from Happy Hooker. This will be my first crochet garment if it works out ok. So far it is going well....

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Crochet flowers

This week there has been lots of crochet going on -I'm really growing to like it. This is the Garden Scarf from Debbie Stoller's Happy Hooker book. I have completed one already and it is currently blocking in the attic - should be ready by tomorrow if the weather warms up a bit. I still seem to have problems acheiving gauge with crochet and the scarf was a little narrow. Not really a problem with this scarf as it still looks great but I started another with a much larger hook and am happier with this. For scarf pictured above I have used an 8mm hook and it looks more like the one pictured in the book. For the first effort I used a 5.5mm hook as recommended in the pattern and just can't see how the flowers could possibly turn out as large as described.

Anyway, the finished item is very attractive. A really funky looking scarf ! This could be a great way of using up leftover scraps of yarn. Meanwhile, the Indonesian Teak Scarf (which is really more of a stole ) is almost finished. I've sewn in all the ends and only need to attach the beads now. It's looking pretty spectacular - far better than it looks in the pictures . The contrasting textures are amazing. This was a really fun project and there is enough yarn left to make another

Also on the needles this week has been the Soft Cables Mobius scarf in Alpaca Silk. It seems to have taken ages for the six row pattern to stick in my mind but I think that I've got it now and, hopefully, progress will be quicker. The pattern is designed to look the same on both sides of the fabric which is pretty neat. The plan for next week is to finish my Cotton Tape top and make at least one more project from One Skein. This will probably be the washmitt and bath puff in the aloo yarn. Now that my afghan crochet hook has arrived I am keen to have a go with it

Monday, May 15, 2006

Crochet bag and Secret Pals

This is the square accessory bag from One Skein that I made on Saturday - it's quite cute but I think I should have used a stronger colour. The yarn is RYC Natural Silk Aran. At almost 2 balls for this bag it wasn't exactly cheap to make. The rectangular accessory bag could get made soon to complete the trio as I have purchased some Rowan All Seasons Cotton and a 7" zip. I did feel the need to cast on for a scarf at work today. Its a moebus design in Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk which is just supersoft and lovely. Pictures later !

I got the details of my One Skein Secret Pal on Saturday and have been checking out her blog
. I have lots of good ideas for yarns and finished objects that I think she will love. Then today my Pal contacted me. I have emailed her back but thought I'd post my answers to the questionaire here :

1. Which yarn is most like your personality (you can be specific or general with your answer- brand, type, color, fiber, whatever)?
Hmmm.... This is a tricky question ! I suppose I would see myself as some handspun hand-dyed wool. Reliable yet interesting.
2. What is your favorite color yarn to knit/crochet with?
I am distinctly fond of purple - any shade ! I also love green.
3. Have you ever used variegated, or magic, yarns?
Oh yes, they are my favourites. I love variegated yarn and have enjoyed making socks far more since I discovered magic yarns.
4. Do you tend to favor certain fibers when choosing yarns?
I prefer natural fibres and particularly enjoy trying unusual fibre. For example, I recently acquired some banana fibre yarn and some nettle fibre yarn and am looking forward to using them.
5. Do you prefer to work with center-pull or traditionally wound balls of yarn?
I really don't mind.
6. Have you ever worked with organic yarns or are you interested in trying them?
I would love to try some and like the projects using organic cotton in One Skein.
7. How many and what projects have you made in the last year?
I have completed a jacket in Rowan Cork,a Rogue pullover, a cardi in Colinette Giotto and a Noro Kureyon Hourglass Sweater. Also loads of smaller projects, including seven of the items from the One Skein book.
8. Will you be knitting any gifts this year?
Definitely. Last year I made all of my Christmas presents and several birthday gifts and plan to do the same this year.
9. What is your favorite one skein project?
Hard to pick one, but I adore the silk sleeves. I made some for a friend and plan to start a pair for myself soon.

10. How much yarn do you have in your stash and how do you store it?
Tons ! It is stored in a large cupboard in my spare room and I can barely remember what is there. But I really need it all !
11. Do you have a yarn in your stash that you love so much you can never use it or part with it?
I do intend to use all of it and am not too precious about giving finished objects away. I am really flattered if other people think my work is lovely.
12. Do you knit less or differently in the summer?
Certainly not less, but I think cotton yarns tend to feature more than they do in winter.

13. Do you belong to any knitting groups (online or offline)?
I am in several Knitalongs - including the One Skein KAL, Green Gable KAL and the Handknit Holidays KAL. I'd love to find a local knitting group to join.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

One Skein Legwarmers and a Summer Top

The legwarmers from One Skein got finished today. They took 100g of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino and are very soft and warm - probably too warm to be needed until Autumn. They will be ready and waiting ! This is a good simple pattern and I will be making more of these for gifts, I'm sure. I cast on a top in Rowan Cotton Tape at work today and reached the armholes by the time I went home. How lucky am I to be able to knit at work ! The pattern is Eternal by Kim Hargreaves from the It's A Tape Thing booklet by Rowan.

The Cotton Tape knits up very quickly and looks pretty good. I got this at half price in the sales at John Lewis a few months ago, so this will be a bargain top.

Only a few more rows got added to the Indonesian Teak Scarf today. It grows fast and is interesting to knit so I still hope to get finished by Saturday. I am trying to sort out some yarn to start the Watergarden Shrug. Jane Thornley, the designer, is running a Knitalong and offers loads of support and encouragement. Colinette offers packs of mixed yarn types in different colour pallettes, so I have ordered a purple pack in the hope that it might give me most of the yarn that I need for a really interesting shrug. Can't wait to start this pattern.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

A finished scarf and some new beginnings

The gorgeous Kidsilk Haze scarf is finished and is lovely. It is really long considering it took only one skein of this wonderful yarn. Definitely a pattern that I will be using again. As soon as this was cast off I had to cast on for a new One Skein project. This time it is the leg warmers and I am using Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK in a lovely burgundy. After the brief burst of hot weather this week I am wondering if this is really the thing to be making right now but at least they will be ready and waiting for Autumn.

I also cast on today for a scarf that I am planning to give as a gift next week - just hope that I can get it finished on time. It is the Indonesian Teak Scarf designed by Jane Thornley and the pattern is available free on her website, . I really love Jane's work and have purchased another couple of patterns for a shrug and a wrap. I think that this kind of knitting is something that I will get better at with practise - blending colours and textures is fun and she makes it look so easy. The scarf is growing fairly fast and I quite like the effect so far, although I think that I may need to balance out the lighter yarns with more black and dark brown. The finished scarf then gets to be embellished with beads which will be interesting.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

A finished Green Gable and some crochet

Green Gable got finished last night and worn to work today. I love this top so much - it is simple, stylish and very comfortable. Hope the Cotton Fleece washes well as I plan to wear this one a lot. I only just started the third skein so there may be enough yarn left to make something from One Skein. There were a lot of comments on the Knitalong about the sizing being a problem with this pattern but I was lucky enough to have my top turn out just about the perfect size for me. I usually have some trouble with achieving correct gauge so am well pleased with my efforts. Having finished this one so quickly, I couldn't wait to start on something new and got out my crochet hook and a ball of Rowan All Seasons Cotton. The Circle Bag from One Skein is now half done.

I didn't check gauge ( yes, I know !) and seem to be way off. As it is really just a circle made up of single crochet I have decided to stick with it and just do a couple less rounds to end up roughly the same size. The fabric seems to be fairly sturdy and I can't see that I could have made it much tighter so it should work out ok. We'll see....
On the subject of crochet, my beautiful wood size 11.5mm hook arrived in the mail this morning. I haven't tried it yet but it looks so great that I want to throw out all my boring metal hooks and replace them with these. Isn't it lovely...
Actually, this isn't the greatest picture because this hook is a real beauty in reality. I may just start on the hat and cravat tomorrow. Although I really do want to start on the White Lies wrap jacket. Decisions, decisions.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Green Gable and some new yarn

Green Gable has been coming along at a good pace - just about 2 inches left to knit if the body and then the sleeves to finish. This is a really enjoyable knit and I think that I am going to love the finished top. So much so that I am thinking of ordering the yarn to make another one. The Cotton Fleece feels really soft and lovely.

I couldn't resist buying yet more yarn. This Debbie Bliss Superchunky is destined to become the crochet hat and cravat from One Skein as soon as the 11.5 mm crochet hook that I ordered arrives. I couldn't find a hook this large in local stores but saw this really beautiful wooden one on Ebay. I also purchased a skein of Debbie Bliss Pure Silk in a very nice shade of pink. Not sure what to make with it yet but am thinking of one of the accessory bags from One Skein.