Monday, August 20, 2012

New Shawl - Maya

I am making a shawl from Kristin Omdahl's Wrapped in Crochet for my sister in law.

I am making this using Sublime Tussah silk yarn in Mulberry - I have no idea why it is called mulberry, its not purple at all, at a push it has a slightly blueish tint.


The yarn is a 50% Tussah silk/50% viscose blend.  I hope you can see from this photograph how wonderfully shiny the tussah is.

I'm not that far through making it, I've got the medallion band at the bottom done so far.


Its difficult to see the effect of the yarn in the wider shot, so I took a close-up as well.  I think it was a good yarn choice.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Crochet Instruction Guide 1

This will hopefully be the first in a sequence of instruction guides for some basic, and some not so basic, crochet stitches.

Firstly the apologies .... I'm not that proficient with my videoing yet, so sorry for disappearing out of frame occasionally, hopefully that doesn't detract too much.  Also, I'm still working up to narration - so I have subtitled :)

I use US terms for stitches, since I think they make more sense - even though I am from the UK!!

I start off with single crochet (known as double crochet in the UK), then half-double & double stitches.  I also show front post and back post crochet stitches - in this video they are double stitches.  Then to finish I have shown a popcorn stitch.

I hope this video is useful, feel free to comment on this video or request further stitch instruction.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

New pattern - will need a stitch guide

I am finally getting round to putting together the pattern for my kindle cover ..

Crochet Kindle Cover

I have used some "aran" style crochet to make this. When I started to crochet I never knew that you could do this sort of thing with  hook - I thought aran was the preserve of knitters.

For my cover I use  a sort of roaming cable, that drifts back and to across the front ....
Crochet Kindle Cover

And a sort of vines & berries pattern on the back

Crochet Kindle Cover

I've started writing out the pattern, but without photographs of what I mean by a "front post double crochet worked in front of the previously  missed stitch" its going to be almost unintelligible !

I think that this is providing me with the perfect opportunity to create a proper stitch guide that I can add to all my patterns & also include here.

Hopefully next update will be to say the pattern is finished & I have a full (or at least the start of) my stitch guide.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Finished the Crocodile shawl

Crocodile stitch crochet shawl

I finally finished it !  It has taken more than 1300m (1.3 km) of yarn to finish the main body of the shawl and 130m of yarn for the tassels.  It measures 160cm across the top and 100cm along the sides.

I hand spun all of the yarn for this.  It has been made with 3ply Blueface Leicester for the shawl and 2ply kid mohair for the tassels.

Crocodile stitch crochet shawl

Friday, May 25, 2012

Crocodile stitch

I ran out of yarn again, so I thought I'd make myself useful and show you how I am making the shawl and update progress.

I've captured a few stills from my video below to explain what I am doing - I'm not confident enough to speak on my videos yet ... I'm working up to that, you can just enjoy the birdsong and not have to listen to me droning on.

A crocodile stitch is created over two rows, a row of triangles (created by  DC, CH, DC in a single chain space) and then the second row creates the crocodile scales by working into these triangles.  The image below shows the triangles row.  To get to the overlapping scales look you skip one triangle and work into the next.

The stitches are worked around the posts of the DC stitches of the triangle.  Each half of the scale is 6 DC stitches.

Once the 6 DC are worked, then you need to work 6 more DC round the second DC of the triangle. 

I find that if I fold the rest of the work under so that I am just holding the stitch I am working around it is easier.

When you have done the second 6 DC you have created your crocodile stitch scale - ta da!

And here it is as a video, you get a great view of my chubby hands .... enjoy (I don't think Stephen Spielberg has anything to worry about)

This is how far I have got with my shawl so far ... I think another 10 or so rows should do it once I have spun up enough yarn.
Crocodile Stitch Shawl Crocodile Stitch Shawl Crocodile Stitch Shawl

Monday, May 21, 2012

Crocodile Stitch Shawl

Since spring has failed to arrive in the UK, and I hold out very little hope of having a summer I decided that I would crochet myself a warm shawl.  This is the one I decided on, its a crocodile stitch shawl from Annies Attic 

Its lovely, isn't it?  The pattern calls for fingering weight yarn and a large hook to get the drape.  So I, in my wisdom, have ignored that :)

I decided I would spin my own yarn for this one.  I am using blueface Leicester and making my usual 3 ply yarn - so definitely not fingering weight! It is turning into a labour of love.  So far I've had to spin up 8 batches of yarn !! and I'm not done yet. 

I think mainly because I am using much thicker yarn the shawl is crocheting up smaller than the picture.  I so far have 5 additional crocodile rows compared with the pattern and I am thinking I will need another 5 extra on top to get to the length I want.

Once I finish I'm going to have to weigh the shawl, it is already quite weighty.  I think perhaps this will end up being a winter shawl rather than a spring/autumn one ....

Friday, May 11, 2012

Handspun kid mohair

So I finished that kid mohair, if I'm going to be honest I finished it a while ago .... but I've been cracking on with spinning more yarn - for the socks, and for a shawl I'm making (seemed like a good idea when I started!)

Anyway, back to the mohair.  If I say so myself I am really pleased with it.  It was lovely to spin, even with the fluff getting everywhere.

Mohair handspun

I decided to 3 ply it, 3 ply is rapidly becoming my standard.  I know that it takes a bit more time and a lot more spinning, but I really like the results.

Mohair handspun

I didn't make very much yarn, I only really had a small amount of fibre (100g).  I think that this is destined to be tassels on my new shawl ... but we'll see.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Almost 100% handmade socks

I say almost because I didn't dye the yarn, rear the sheep or cultivate the silk worms ... but otherwise they are 100% handmade.

Handmade socks

I handspun the yarn, which is a merino and silk blend.  Then made a 3ply yarn from it .... and had to spin up some more when I didn't quite have enough to finish the job!

If you look at the close up you can see the little shiny silk threads in the yarn.
Handmade socks
And I then hand crochet the socks. They are from an Annies Attic pattern that I had to adjust slightly as I made these for my husband and the pattern is not really "man size". It took a few goes with different size hooks to get the size right.  The yarn I made is 12wip and the hook size I eventually settled on was 5mm.

Handmade socks

Friday, February 10, 2012

Handspun Kid Mohair

I got some new fibres to spin, Mohair, more silk (because I want to do better at spinning silk) and some Alpaca.

I've started to try to spin the Mohair, its difficult to know how to spin it "right".  I have been doing a bit of research and there doesn't seem to be a definitive answer to should it be spun worsted or woolen.  I decided to spin it worsted, for these reasons.  The staple length is pretty long, its between 4" and 5", so its definitely long enough for worsted, the preparation is combed top.

Here's what I've got ...

mohair spinning
I've just started really, but you can see how fluffy it is already. It really has a lovely feel, although the fluff does get EVERYWHERE! 
Mohair handspun single
I wanted to see what a plyed yarn would look like so I just pulled back some of the yarn I had spun off the bobbin and let it ply back on itself (with a little help from my threading hook).   It doesn't look too bad really, I think I'll make a 3 ply in the end though.
Mohair spinning - two ply

Monday, January 30, 2012

Getting to grips with handspun

I've been spending quite a bit of time peddling away on my spinning wheel (Ashford Traveller), trying out various fibres and trying to get the hang of it.  I'm pretty sure I've not got a classic style or indeed spin "properly" but to be honest as long as I create something I'd be able to make something with then surely thats OK?
Here's some of my efforts, some more successful than others as you can see.  The big blue ball sitting on top is Merino/Silk blend and was lovely to spin - this is done 3 ply (as is the brown ball that its sitting on).
Selection of handspun yarns

At the other end of the scale is the ball of silk (over on the left), that was really tricky to spin - if you have rough hands (as I do all winter!) the fibre sticks to your hands and the fluff gets everywhere.  Also I didn't realise just how much twist you need to put into silk.  For a first attempt I'm not too disappointed, its a little inconsistent and there are a fair few fluffy bits in the yarn - but overall its OK, and good enough for me to try making a little lacy scarf with it.  I'll post the results of that adventure when I get closer to finishing.

The others are camel - right at the front, merino in the middle, generic "wool" at the back and the black one at the right side is black shetland.

I'll post again with close up photos of the yarns when I get a moment.