Crochet

Super Simple Summer Tops

Crochet Summer Tops

I have been putting off doing this review because I really wanted to at least get started on one of these tops before writing it. Unfortunately I have not been able to get the yarn I need yet so can’t add in any photos of personal projects.

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

I really enjoyed looking through this book. If you would like to see more photos please check out this link to the title on Leisure Arts website. We are well into autumn in New Zealand, but I plan to have a go at several of these tops for next summer. I think the lovely variety in this book will mean that most people should be able to find at least one garment which really appeals to them.

The project I was hoping to get started on is the “Ombre Tee” pictured on page 10 in the book and on the right hand side above. I really like the idea of using two strands of fine yarn so that you can use three colours to get a range going through five different colours. This increases the versatility of the pattern and encourages experimentation with different colour combinations.

As with previous Leisure Arts books I have reviewed, this book includes very useful information on abbreviations, hook sizes and yarn weights, and on some of the stitches used. There are some general tips, and some specific information on the yarns used in the project photographs. It was also interesting to have a bit of information about the designer, Melissa Leapman.

I am very happy to recommend this book. With projects ranging from the “Chic Tank” tank top to the elegant long-sleeved “Belle Tunic”, you can find a top for most summer occasions.

Crochet, Cross Stitch, Karen's Korner, Lace Making

A Little Bit Of Everything Over Easter

A Little Bit Of Everything Over Easter

I was lucky enough to find time to dabble in a little bit of everything over Easter this year. I managed to get a few small crochet novelty items made for my grandchildren in plenty of time to accompany their Easter Sunday chocolate treats. Unfortunately the yarn I had available for the beaks of the chickens resulted in them looking more like ducks, but the grandchildren still seemed happy enough to receive them.

A Little Bit Of Everything Over Easter A Little Bit Of Everything Over EasterI have finally managed to make a bit more progress with my needle lace sampler (see “Update On Lace Sampler”). The next box is now about half-filled with “cloth stitch”. The lower third will have some variation worked in as part of the stitching and, once the background stitch is completed, the middle third will have some extra details stitched on top. It has been a lot slower than I had originally planned, but I am enjoying learning new things when I am able to spend some time on it.

A Little Bit Of Everything Over EasterThe third project I was able to get to was the fine cross stitch birth sampler that I also started last year (see “Two Extremes Of Cross Stitch”). It is a little easier to do now that I have upgraded my glasses, but I still struggle with it a bit. I can only do it during the afternoon in good lighting conditions which is quite a disadvantage when I am working. I will continue to persevere though as I think it will be well worth the effort once it is finished.

As if those three weren’t enough to keep me occupied, I also picked up a knitting project that I started early in the year. It is a sleeveless vest for me which I will post photos of once it is finished. I find it relaxing to knit in the evenings as it is something I don’t have to concentrate so hard on.

Easter is a very special and significant season for me and, although I was able to get quite a bit of craft work done, the most special times were spent attending church services and catching up with family. I hope you all had a very special Easter season too.

Crochet

Yarn Pooling Made Easy

Crochet Yarn Pooling **This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

The second Leisure Arts book I am reviewing is called “Yarn Pooling Made Easy” by Marly Bird. The second page of this book has several really good tips, the first of which is:

“It is highly recommended that you watch Marly Bird’s tutorial videos on planned color pooling to better understand how the body is made: http://bit.ly/2hoslgr_CrochetPlannedPoolingPlaylist

I would like to reinforce this recommendation and here’s why. I was really intrigued by this technique right from the start. I had a quick look through the book, including the tips on the second page, and then fell into the trap of picking up some wool and a hook and “having a quick play”. After several rather frustrating experiments I concluded two things:

  1. I suspected the yarn I was experimenting with was not quite suitable.
  2. There was probably a good reason for the strong recommendation to watch the video(s).

Consequently, I sat myself down at my computer and watched the “10 Secrets to Perfect Planned Pooling” video. Well! Suddenly everything made a lot more sense and I was able to follow the instructions a lot more easily – who would have thought it! (One day I might learn – see “I Should Know Better By Now!“) The video also confirmed my suspicion that I needed to use a different yarn.

Yarn Pooling Made Easy
Before
Yarn Pooling Made Easy
After

I have included a photo of my best effort at experimenting before watching the video and another of the sample I made after watching it. While the second sample is still not perfect, it is definitely a big improvement on my first efforts.

This pattern book contains a number of lovely designs with great photos and good instructions. Click on the link in the title of the book above to see more photos on the web site.

I am now hooked on this fascinating technique and would recommend this book as a great tool for getting started. Just remember to make life easier for yourself by watching at least one of the videos before you start experimenting. I also found the general instructions and yarn information at the back of the book very helpful.

Crochet

Mirror Image Scarves

Crochet Scarves

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

The first Leisure Arts book I am going to review is called “Mirror Image Scarves”. I am not generally a scarf person, but I found the patterns in this book really interesting. I was intrigued by the way the scarves were made and by the finished effect, especially when two colours were used.

Some of the scarves feature in the picture at the top, and you can see more photos if you use the link on the book title to click through to the Leisure Arts website. I chose to make a sample using the “Scallops” pattern.

Mirror Image Scarves I took some photos throughout the project to show how the scarf is made. The example in the book used gold and rust, but I used colours I had on hand and was very pleased with the result. I found the pattern straight forward and scarf was relatively quick and easy to make.

The pattern book gives clear, easy to follow instructions. It has good diagrams to explain a number of stitches, as well as a list of abbreviations, symbols and terms. I liked that they included tables for crochet terminology (US/International), yarn weight symbols and names, and crochet hook sizes (US/Metric – mm). I also found the Yarn Information on the inside of the back page very helpful, especially when combined with the information given at the start of the pattern.

The photographs in the book are colourful and give a clear view of the patterns in each scarf. Overall I was very impressed with this book and look forward to using it for other projects.

Crochet, Karen's Korner, Knitting

I’ve Fallen A Bit Behind

I've Fallen A Bit Behind
Image courtesy of Flickr

I’m afraid I’ve fallen a bit behind with my website lately. I’m not quite sure where February went, but we are now into the second week of March!

During February I had several projects on the go which I have now finished. Unfortunately I forgot to take photos of any of them and they have now been given to the people I was making them for. The wool I referred to in “Working With Hanks Of Yarn” was knitted into a lovely hooded jacket for a little girl who will be turning two in a couple of weeks. Her Mum wanted it as a birthday present for her.

The second project I have just finished was slippers for my son and his partner who live in Melbourne. Obviously they were not needed in a hurry as it is still very warm over there, but I wanted to include them in a parcel I was sending which was already a bit late. I had fun “playing around” with several patterns (see “Using Patterns As A Guide”) and came up with two unique pairs of slippers which have now been sent on their way.

My main priority now is to catch up with posts for this site. I have been fortunate enough to get hold of copies of several crochet pattern books from Leisure Arts to review. I have really enjoyed looking at some different ideas, and will be posting reviews on them very soon.

Happy handcrafting everyone!

Crochet, Karen's Korner, Knitting

Working With Hanks Of Yarn

Working With Hanks Of YarnI have previously not had much experience working with hanks of yarn, but was recently asked to knit a jacket for a friend’s little girl. I suggested she check out the range available at The Wool Company. I really love their yarns and the fact that they are high quality and locally made. The wool she chose comes in 200g hanks.

Working With Hanks Of Yarn Working With Hanks Of YarnMy original plan for winding the wool into balls was to use one of the dining room chairs but then I decided to try something else. The back of the chair was not quite the right width and was a bit high for me to work with. It occurred to me that one of the back cushions off my sofa might be more suitable and it was. The cushion was just the right size and it was easy to move around too.

Working With Hanks Of Yarn Working With Hanks Of YarnAs I started winding the wool I started wondering about how I was going to get an idea of how much I was using as I was knitting the garment. I came up with the idea of using the kitchen scales. I wound the wool until I got to 25g then turned the ball 90 degrees and wound on another 25g, making a total of 50g. I repeated this procedure, turning after every 25g, and it has worked really well.

I have a tendency to change patterns a bit as I go (see “Using Patterns as a Guide”) so it has been very useful to know my yarn usage. I have made the garment significantly longer than the pattern and have been able to be confident that I will have enough wool to complete the garment.

I hope these tips can be useful to others of you who are working with hanks. I would love to hear any stories and tips that you might like to share.

Crochet

Christmas Crochet Ideas

Christmas Crochet Ideas

I mentioned in my post “Are You On Track For Christmas?” that I have rediscovered some books with Christmas patterns in them that I had forgotten I had. They contain a number of fun ideas for a range of projects which I thought I would share with you. I have taken photos of some of the projects and hope they will provide you with some inspiration.

Christmas Crochet IdeasOne book that had a number of crochet ideas in it was the Patons book 304 “Traditional Christmas”. It contained knitting projects as well, but I am going to focus on crochet in this post. (This photo is of the back cover.)

Christmas Crochet IdeasThere is a lovely pattern for a Christmas afghan in this book. As we are now well into November it would be a big ask to get the afghan finished for this Christmas, but the pattern is done in squares which would be well suited to being adapted to a smaller project. It might be a nice idea to make cushions instead using different combinations of the square patterns.

Christmas Crochet IdeasOne pattern which really caught my eye was for a wall hanging Advent Calendar. This is probably not a possibility for this year either (unless you are a much quicker crocheter than I am), but I am definitely filing this away as an idea for next year. I will have a look around to see if I can find any patterns for similar projects too.

Some other ideas which might appeal to you are things like crocheted wreaths, table centres, or even a complete table setting. The possibilities are endless, you just need to look around a bit for inspiration. I suggest that you check out some of my affiliate sites listed below by just entering “Christmas” in their site search bar. Enjoy your browsing!

Affiliate sites:

Leisure Arts, Craftsy, Annie’s, Knit Picks, LoveKnitting, Creative BugConnecting Threads

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.