Monday, January 31, 2011

Lining up the projects again ....

I've been almost obsessively lining up the projects again.  I'm in the process of making a babies stacking toy right now.  I have the pole and base made and one of the rings (which is a bee) and I'm half way through the second ring (which will be a ladybird (ladybug)).  But not satisfied with that I am already lining up the next "few" projects.

We were in our local town and I was lured into the little haberdashery shop we have there, usually they have a reasonable selection of average yarns and maybe the odd interesting one - but this time they had some brand new ones it.  Katia yarns, I'd never heard of them before.

I got a couple of different yarns to try out. Rizos and Zenith. 

The Rizos yarn is a tape like yarn
The difference here is that at the top of the tape there is a loopy band, and its this loopy band that you use to work with.

I tried and tried to work out a way to crochet with this, following the Knitting instructions, but it was just too difficult to see the stitches - so I had to admit defeat and get out my dusty old knitting needles and give it a go with that.  I need to finish the stacking toy first - but at least I've proved to myself I can make something with this yarn.

The Zenith yarn is a fluffy, sparkly, lumpy yarn 

The Knitting Instructions say to knit it up with large needles, so I thought I'd give it a go with a large (12mm) crochet hook - I think this will work :) 

Mind you, this is a "make no mistakes" yarn, it is impossible to frog it!

Clearly, this is not enough to be going on with !!!  I've also bought a patterns book Crochet So Fine by Kristin Omdahl.  There are quite a few of the patterns that I really fancy the idea of creating.  There is a shawl made with No10 Crochet thread that I'm planning on making (already have the thread on order), its great to see a garment pattern for No10 crochet thread rather than just doilies or motifs.  Also, I've just got a sample of really fine, lace weight yarn to see if its the right gauge for little cardigan I fancy making from the book.

Oh, yes ... I also have yarn waiting for me to re-make my cable fingerless gloves because I made a half-arsed attempt at writing the pattern the first time and I need to do them again to get all the details down properly!  Will I ever learn?

I think that's it for the lined up projects, those and a couple of patterns to write up :) 

Should keep me out of mischief for a little while anyway don't you think?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Finished my Crochet Shawl

After much frantic crocheting I managed to finish my shawl in time for my evening out.

Here it is modeled by my faithful "head". 

Black Crochet Shawl

I am really pleased with how it turned out, the yarn choice was perfect.  A little bit of shine from the silk fibres and so warm too.  Exactly what I was hoping for.

Black Crochet Shawl

I finished the whole shawl off with a ruffle edge, just so that it wasn't too plain - but also not too fussy.

Black Crochet Shawl

Next thing will be to write up the pattern for this and hope someone likes it enough to try to make it for themselves.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

New born baby high tops

I blogged yesterday about making some high top booties from an Annies Attic pattern.  Well I finished them :)

New born crochet High tops

I changed things just a little to make them into a left and right, the way the pattern is written the colours would have been green outside on one and green inside on the other - just didn't look right to me !
New born crochet High tops

I think they turned out really cute.  I crochet them using Sirdar Snuggly yarn, the colours are a bit more muted than they are in the pattern but I like them like this.

Monday, January 17, 2011

When will I learn ...

I made an attempt to write up the pattern for my cable fingerless gloves, and its not going well - I always think that I'm making enough notes when I am making up a new pattern, but from time to time I skip some bits that I think are obvious or that I'll be able to work out later.

It seems that I've been a bit over zealous with my skipping with this one, I have more gaps than information ... the only thing for it will be to rip back the gloves and make them again - do you think I'll learn my lesson this time?  Probably not :)

I have a couple more patterns to write up, for my hooded scarf and the shawl that I made for myself.  I've also got a pattern for the peaked cap I made my DH (photos to follow) - I'm laying bets now that I discover some detail I forgot to note down before I'm finished these too.

In the mean time I'm making some new-born booties from an Annies Attic pattern. 

I'm changing things a little because these look like 2 left feet to me, I think the colours should match with Blue on the outside of each bootie & green on the inside.  I'll post again when I've finished them.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Just never enough time in the day ....

I have so many projects on the go right now and just not enough time for them all.  I work full time, I leave the house at 7am to get to work and generally don't get home until 7pm so during the week I really don't have much time for crafting.

Right now I need to get my shawl finished, I only have 3 days and there is still a lot to do... I have to crochet at least 1 ball of yarn every day to get it finished in time!!!  and I don't know about you but the faster I try to work the more likely I am to make mistakes and have to frog-it.  In an effort to try to catch up some time I used a few minutes of my lunch hour today to ball-up my yarn.  I  can't find a way to work with this yarn with out it ending in knots without unravelling it and balling it up myself. 

So the aim this evening is to finish the ball I'm currently working on and also the one I just balled up this afternoon - maybe I can get a bit ahead that way.

I've also got a cap on the go that I'm making for my DH.  He wants a crochet peaked cap.  The cap is made but not the peak ... I think I have worked out what I need to do now, having tried crocheting the peak without an insert I think it definately needs one -  now I have a plastic insert so that the peak will hold its shape, I just need to find the time to finish it.  If it works I'll write up the pattern.

Speaking of patterns, I also have to write up patterns for a pair of fingerless gloves I made
Crochet wrist warmers

And also a hooded scarf I made myself.

Crochet hooded scarf

Crochet hooded scarf

I hate wearing hats - they make my head itch!! so I decided to make this hooded scarf to keep my head warm with all this freezing weather we've been having ...  It turned out quite well so I'll have to get the pattern written up - just in case anyone else wants to make themselves one :)
Then I have a few other projects waiting in the wings ..... Just never enough time in the day !! 

Monday, January 10, 2011

... I'll just make one ...

Its our office "Christmas" party this week.  I got a dress .....

But its winter & cold ... so I need something to cover up without having to wear a great big overcoat. 

I had a look around in the shops and everything that they have is either really flimsy or ridiculously over priced. So I decided I could make one myself.

First thing is first, what yarn to use.  I thought of getting some fine mohair yarn but decided against it because it wouldn't be warm enough.  Then I thought of getting silk yarn, but couldn't find one that I liked.  So I settled for some Debbie Bliss Andes - which is an alpaca/Silk blend and absolutely lovely to work with.
Debbie Bliss Andes Yarn

Then the next thing was to make my shawl.  I had a look through my pattern books but couldn't see anything I liked - I didn't want it to be too lacy, but then again I didn't want it to be too solid either.  There was nothing in my patterns that was quite right.

So the only thing for it was to make one up myself.  This is what I have come up with.

Crochet black shawl

Its offset fans with blocks of treble crochet between.

Crochet black shawl

I think I've managed to get the balance between lacy and solid I was hoping for. 

Only thing I need to do now is work very quickly to finish it on time ... I have more yarn on order, fingers crossed it arrives today or tomorrow or I'll have no chance !!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Needle tatting - My first try.

I get quite curious about different crafts from time to time.  I've always liked the look of tatting - it reminds me of some of the more delicate Irish crochet.  Quite a while ago I tried out shuttle tatting and just couldn't get on with it.  I found it very unforgiving, its tremendously difficult to recover from mistakes and I found joining threads almost impossible.

I persisted with it for a while but in the end gave it up as one of those things I just couldn't really get the hang of properly. 

Then I found out about needle tatting, the first challenge was getting a needle - they are almost impossible to come by in the UK.  Not that they are expensive or anything, just no-one stocks them .... shuttles I could find everywhere, but not needles.  I managed to find them through an online shop ( and they were delivered yesterday.

So last night I thought I'd give it a go ... and its much easier to get the hang of (so far!).  With the help of some videos on You-Tube by TotusMel and Agasunset I managed to make a little flower - what do you think of it?

Needle tatting flower

I know its not the neatest thing in the world, but I don't think its TOO bad for a first attempt.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Yarn weights & hook sizes

I don't know about you but I get royally frustrated with yarn weights quoted on patterns, I make an "educated guess" as to the correct weight and quite often end up getting it very wrong - which can be costly.  The patterns state to check the gauge first (which I highly recommend) but to check the gauge you need to have already purchased your yarn and given that a  lot of patterns simply refer to a yarn category rather than a particular yarn you need some information so you can make the best choice.

There are 7 categories of yarn, I've listed them below with their closest UK type and also the hook size that is usually used with the yarn category.

To add to the confusion the hook size and the knitting needle size are often different for a yarn ... and usually the yarn band only states the knitting needle size (what is this crocheter discrimination ???!!!)

I have tried to put all the information that you would need to "calculate" the correct yarn in the table below.

Here is a handy PDF file containing all of these conversions and more Conversions

SymbolUS Type PlyUK typehook size (mm)Needle Size (mm)Wraps Per Inch

1 -3 Ply10 count thread1.4 - 1.6 1.5 -2.25 18 +

3 - 4 Ply3-4 Ply2.25 - 3.5 2.25 - 3.25 14

Sport5 PlyLight DK3.5 - 4.5 3.25 - 3.7512
Light Worsted
8 PlyDK4.5 - 5.5 3.75 - 4.511

10 PlyAran5.5 - 6.5 4.5 - 5.58 or 9

Bulky12 PlyChunky6.5 - 9 5.5 - 87

Super Bulky,
Super Chunky9  and larger8 and larger5 or 6

I've included the wraps per inch (WPI) measurement, you can use this where you don't have the yarn band anymore or if you are recycling old jumpers etc.

To measure the WPI you need a pencil or pen and a ruler or measuring tape.   I find it easier if you cut a nick into the top of the pencil to hold the yarn tight, then just wrap the yarn around the pencil until you have covered 1 inch - using your ruler or measuring tape to measure.

When you have covered exactly 1 inch count the wraps (in the image below 13) and that is your WPI.  You may find that the WPI doesn't match a yarn type exactly but you will get a reasonable understanding of the yarn type you have.

Then comes the question of hook sizes, clearly it would be too simple to have a standard :)

There are metric, US and old UK sizes.  Rather confusingly there is a cross over between the steel (or thread) hooks and the plastic hooks in sizes.  I've split them out to (hopefully) aid clarity.

Here are the conversions;

Steel/Thread Hooks
Metric (mm)USUK
0.6014 6
0.7512 5

Plastic Hooks
Metric (mm)USUK
2.00- 14
2.25B/1 13
2.50- 12
2.75C/2 -
3.00- 11
3.25D/3 10
3.50E/4 9
3.75F/5 -
4.00G/6 8
4.507 7
5.00H/8 6
5.50I/9 5
6.00J/10 4
6.50K/10.5 3
7.00- 2
8.00L/11 0
9.00M/N-13 00
10.00N/P-15 000
12.00O-16 000
15.00P/Q -
16.00Q -
19.00S -

Another link to that conversions file.