Monday, August 27, 2007

Punks and flowers

The blue and brown Punk's Not Dead hats are now felted and with their new owners. I am quite proud of these - they are magnificent hats and so much fun to make and wear. The brown hat has gone to my friend Fiona, who loves it and looks quite striking in it. The blue one is my lovely nephew Brian's new favourite hat.
I made these two slightly larger than the previous two and the general opinion is that bigger is better. The earflaps come down lower and the whole hat looks quite cosy as opposed to just decorative. I have ordered some black and some lime green wool to make another of these for Brian.
Sometimes when I find a pattern that I really like I get a bit obsessed with making multiple versions of it. So when I saw these amazing flower scarflettes on Craftster I knew that there were several of them destined to get made in this house. You can see the original designs and get a free pattern on I really love this girl's designs, she is very talented. She also sells her work on Etsy so you can actually purchase one for yourself.

I used some green Debbie Bliss aran wool for the base, stems and leaves and some of my handspun for the flowers. This is a great way to use up small amounts of yarn and I really love the colours and texture of this particular yarn. I have the base and another set of handspun flowers ready to sew up and another set of flowers in Debbie Bliss Rialto aran. The Rialto is a very soft yarn and I enjoy working with it.I also rediscovered the best part of a Magnolia Scarflette that I started months ago and blocked it. I just have to dig out the pattern and make the magnolia.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Long time no blog !

It has been ages since I updated this blog and there have been several reasons for this. My trusty laptop has required some serious attention over the last month having had a few problems after a liquid spill over the keyboard and problems with the power supply cable. My access has also been limited by Miss Millie, who is on school holidays and reqquiring lots of attention. We also went to Madrid for a week. Rest assured that my lack of blog entries doesn't reflect a lack of knitting and crochet. I am as obsessed as ever. Most of the July/August output has consisted of hats. Having recently bought the wonderful Get Your Crochet On by Afya Ibomu I have been trying out some of the patterns in a cheap cotton that I had in my stash. I shall be revisiting many of them with better yarn in the future. I just love this fun, stylish collection of hat patterns.My first attempt was the Lively Up design in Brown Sheep Cotton F
leece. It came out a little on the small side for me but fits Millie perfectly. I have found that I need to go up at least one size hook to get gauge for these patterns.
Next up, I tried the O.G. using some acrylic camouflage yarn that I had in my stash. This still needs a couple of rows to finish it but I ran out of yarn in Madrid and haven't located the small ball that I know I have somewhere yet. This is quite good and the colours didn't pool too badly - a problem that I had with some of the cotton variegated yarn. I love the way that Afya shows you how to thread elastic around the hat and then crochet over it. It is a technique that I will certainly use when making hats in future. The shape stays in and the hat stays on ! The book also encourages you to experiment with colours and textures to achieve the look that you want. All the patterns are fairly simple and yet still interesting to crochet . I could really rave on about these patterns for ages. My next hat was the Soldier cap in the cheap cotton yarn. This is a nice style to wear. You crochet a wide band for the main part of the hat and join it at the ends before closing the top. The you add the elastic at the bottom edge and add a peak/bill.
The next FO is the Queen which is a sort of scarf with ties that you wrap around your head. It is really intended to be worn by someone with big hair but it kind of still works on those of us who only have a few tresses. This one was claimed by Karen who took a liking to it. After this came the MC, a really nice baseball cap design that I look forward to making again in wool. I think it would be great in some Noro Kureyon. Meanwhile, I was pretty pleased with the cheapo cotton version which crocheted up in no time. There was no stopping me at this point and I moved straight on to the Tam - a fuller design which would look great in stripes. The Tam pattern shows it with or without a peak. In a cotton yarn I felt that it looked better with one.

The last effort so far from this fabulous book is Mellow Moods. I really don't much like the colour of this cotton and can't see myself wearing this hat. However, I am convinced by the shape and will probably try again in a nice, dark, solid coloured wool.

After all these crochet hats, I started on a solid colour version of the Two Tone Shrug from Stephanie Japel's Fitted Knits. I'm using Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece. Everything was going really well until I noticed that i'd made a mistake with the ribbing increases. I'm not sure what happened but I need to frog about 6 rounds and start the increases again. I couldn't face frogging it so I started on the Spiderweb Cardi from Interweave Crochet that a colleague at work had asked me to make for her. I picked up some Jaeger cotton yarn in the John Lewis sale at a really bargain price. Pale blue was the requested colour and luckily there was plenty of it in the sale bin. I don't much like it myself - would have prefered this design in a much stronger colour like black. This one was crocheted entirely at work during spare moments. I had to modify the pattern slightly by adding extra pattern repeats to the width and the sleeve length. I Googled this one and found that other crocheters had the same problem with the sizing. It was easy to make and I enjoyed the pattern. The finished cardi looks much better on than it does off. Unfortunately, I didn't manage to get a modelled shot of it before it went to it's new owner.

After this little diversion, it was back to hats ! I bought Pretty in Punk by Alyce Benevides and Jaqueline Milles purely for the fantastic Punk's Not Dead hat. It is an amazing felted mohawk hat. I had loads of Lopi yarn that I had picked up for next to nothing in a charity shop and thought this would be ideal for the project. Lopi felts amazingly well. The body of the hat takes almost exactly one 100g ball of Lopi, so I had to use other toning colours in the fringing. This hat was so much fun to make. It looks enormous before felting but I still love it at this stage. After felting you need to rip the clumps of fringing apart back down to the knots which is really hard work - but worth the effort. I'm not sure that I would actually wear this hat out but I love to see it sitting on a hat stand. I do, however , know a girl that would wear it ! Clare the Bear set eyes on it and it was love at first sight. She has worn it to town and been showered with shouts of "cool hat" and "love that hat" all the way. She wears it well. I so loved making this (and it does use up those odd balls of Lopi ) that I immediately made another . Clare the Bear and Fiona kindly modelled them for me. Fiona really liked it and asked for one in brown. It took just one evening to comply with this request and one more to make up a rather fine blue one. They are going to get felted today. What canI say, they are just so much fun.

There are a few interesting patterns in Pretty in Punk. I like the arm warmers and the mohair striped sweater. There are also a lot that I can't imagine anyone wearing. It was worth it though, just for these brilliant hats.