Thursday, January 28, 2016

Are your prayers in the morning just squeals of delight?


This scarf was with me for a long time. It started in August 2014, on the trip to Melbourne to see Queen.

Just beginning - I think I ripped and restarted at Canberra airport before leaving. Later I made some good progress with a quiet solo beer before the momentous life event that was QUEEN. (That's the same link, sorry, just had to throw it in again).

If you've been here a while you may remember that once upon a time, I started a red merino Orenburg lace shawl. Although it looks quite simple on paper, I found it quite a tricky pattern to keep straight and to 'read' which row I was up to. There were many bouts of tinking back over the years I was working on it (on and off - mostly off). The last time I mentioned it here, I said "it will be beautiful if I ever finish it". Hmm, ominous. At that time I had finally decided it wasn't going to he intended recipient, and knit something else for her, a shawl that came together much more easily, in the end, and was actually probably more fancy-looking.

honeycomb almost-rainbow

Meanwhile I had this Schoppel-Wolle Lace Ball that I had bought as a souvenir one trip to Melbourne. I had been thinking of it as a rainbow colourway, but it's only almost a rainbow: violet.  It's called tropical fish, and I love it anyway.

So I thought with all these colours it could do with a simple lace pattern. And I kept thinking that I could probably find an easier honeycomb stitch than the Orenburg one. I didn't save the link, but I'm pretty sure it was this or one very similar to it.

P1080187 (2)

The new stitch proved much easier to keep on the straight and narrow. Then it was just a matter of knitting until it was long enough - and until the colours were nice and symmetrical, with red at both ends and in the middle. I finally finished it a couple of months ago when it was already far too warm to wear it. So now I have a new jumper and a new scarf ready for next winter.

almost-rainbow scarf

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Moondust will cover you

IMAG2362 first two mandalas

In addition to the plant hanger, I've done a few other bits of crochet lately. I had had the pattern for the Little Spring Mandala printed out and ready to go for months, waiting for the right moment to concentrate on something unfamiliar.

I decided to try it in 8ply cotton (Mostly Lincraft, some others from the stash and from a generous donor), in the hope that it might end up big enough to serve as a wash cloth/face washer. I had to google instructions for just about every round, even a video for the magic loop to start. Watching the video lead to the strange experience of somehow forgetting that I am decidedly left-handed when it comes to crochet. This is crazy, but not quite as crazy as it sounds, as I and do some things with my left (writing, eating with a fork or spoon, cartwheels) and some with my right (throwing or kicking a ball, handling scissors and other tools). Nothing ambidextrously, though.

IMAG2364 first two

After a few rounds of slow, clumsy frustration, I started again with the left hand and it mostly went smoothly from there. Once I'd made one (on the left above, with the orange centre) I concluded they probably weren't going to be suitable as washers. But I went ahead and made a second one anyway. I wanted to try a more planned-out and harmonious colour scheme. And also there is just a lot of satisfaction in making the second one of anything new - it's so much faster and easier the next time around.

I was showing them to my grandmother (a wonderful knitter who only crochets edgings when she really has to) and she came up with a use for a pair of them - basically as doileys/mats, as a gift. So I had an excuse to go one more time, this time a matching colour scheme, but swapping the yellow and the blue.

coordinated pair of mandalas

I was still looking for a nice crochet washcloth pattern. There was another one I tried, and I struggled with it for a while, unable to figure out what I was doing wrong. There seemed to be too many stitches as the rounds increased - it was so ruffly I couldn't see how it would ever lie flat. I realised that I was treating it as an American pattern when it might actually be using the British definitions of the terms. Or was it the other way around? This was all before Christmas, I can't remember now. In any case, when I tried the other option, it had the same problem.

This is an annoying thing about crochet, especially if you like to source patterns online. The terms are different, but only just. Actually some are the same or similar terms but they mean different things! A US single crochet is a UK double crochet. Double crochet in the US is treble in the UK. Triple in the US is double treble in the UK. I still have to look up almost every stitch to be sure I'm doing the right one.

P1080175 ed

Anyway I couldn't get that annoying pattern to work either way, so I gave up and moved to another one I had stashed and ready: the 'Starfish Washcloth' by Deta Jetmir. This one was well written and the designer has made videos (both left and right handed!) which are very helpful.

P1080175 ed

I made a set of three for a baby who will be joining my extended family in a few months. The two pastel ones are in 4ply baby cotton and I added a few extra rounds of the pattern to get a good size. As it's written for worsted, I think I also needed at least one extra round when using 8ply. The purplish colour is an 8ply from the Bendigo Woollen Mills back room. (I finally got there for the first time, late last year!) It is delightfully soft and seemed to be too fine to really be an 8ply. No regrets though, it's lovely stuff.

Below, the blue one with yellow edging is all Lincraft 8ply. And the yellow-green might be my favourite, in Katia Degradé Sun.


Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Pot plant hanger

plant hanger for D

This was a gift I had planned for a little while but actually put together the night before Christmas. Isn't it good to have a stash, and Ravelry available for a last minute pattern!

I modified a free pattern from Craft Disasters and other Atrocities, using the same waxed cotton I've used before for various jewellery projects. The one I used here is actually purple, not that you can tell easily in these photos. I was a bit worried about the slightly weak jump rings I used, but I closed them slightly overlapped, and I guess they won't ALL fail at once!

purple plant hanger