Crochet, Lace Making

My Spiderweb Is Finished!

My Spiderweb Is Finished!I am pleased to be able to report that my Spiderweb is finished. (See “Going Back To The Beginning”.)It has taken a couple of weeks longer than originally planned, but I am really happy with the result.

There were several reasons for the delay in completion. The obvious one is that life has been quite busy. I have been trying to get back on track with publishing at least one post a week, but that has been derailed a bit lately too. I don’t know about you but I often wonder just where the time goes these days.

My Spiderweb Is Finished!The second, slightly more challenging reason the project took longer to complete is that several rows ended up being done twice. I am a bit of a perfectionist (quite a lot actually!) and I am almost always unable to leave a mistake in my work if I find one. In this case the mistakes I found affected the pattern in the next row to varying degrees as well, so it was definitely better to sort them out.

I usually found these mistakes when I picked up my work the next day and got part way around a new row. The result of this was that on at least three occasions I ended up nearly one row further back a few minutes after starting a new day’s work. Very frustrating!

Never mind, it is really good to have it finished now. The next thing I have to do is unearth my shamefully neglected Needle Lace Sampler and try to get some more done on that. (See “Lace Sampler” and “Update On Lace Sampler”.) Of course there are also the ongoing knitting and crochet projects as well, just to make sure I don’t get bored!

Crochet, Lace Making

Going Back To The Beginning

Going Back To The Beginning

I was going through pattern books recently looking for baby knitting patterns when I came across a cotton crochet book. The temptation of going back to the beginning of my crochet journey was very strong, but I diligently resisted while I finished a few projects that were on the go.

Going Back To The BeginningProgress has been quite good over the last month or so, so I unearthed a ball of cotton I had bought on special a while ago “just in case”, got out my set of crochet hooks, and allowed myself the treat of starting one of the so-called “Easy One-Day Doilies”. To be fair, the pattern I have chosen is relatively straight forward and, if I gave in to temptation and just sat with it until it was finished, it would probably only take a day to do. The unfortunate reality is that there are a lot of other things that need to be fitted into my days as well, minor details like work for instance, so it has taken me over a week to get halfway through so far.

Going Back To The BeginningIt has been really enjoyable to do some cotton crochet again. I taught myself to crochet doing fine cotton pieces. These were inspired by the beautiful things my grandmother made. The book I am using has some lovely projects in it and I am sure I will be able to make time to do some more. I now enjoy crocheting with yarn, which is obviously a bit quicker, but there is something very special about the delicate lacework of fine cotton crochet.

Crochet

Stripe It Your Way Crochet For Home And Fashion

crochet for home & fashion
What a great book! “STRIPE IT YOUR WAY for Home & Fashion” is the kind of “go to” book that is so handy to have. The nine projects range from accessories like a scarf, a wrap, a shawl, a slouchy hat and a tote, to home items like a pillow, a lap robe, a bed runner and a star blanket. Whether you are crafting a treat for yourself, or a personalised gift for someone special, you are sure to find a useful idea in this book.

Stripe It Your Way Crochet For Home And FashionSo far I have finished a scarf and started on a bed runner. The instructions for both have been clear and easy to follow. The “Simple Scarf” was very enjoyable. It was definitely simple to do, and grew quickly, while still having enough pattern in it to keep it interesting. I am really happy with the end result.

Stripe It Your Way Crochet For Home And FashionThe bed runner is now also growing fairly quickly. Again, the stitches used are fairly straight forward but keep the work interesting. The yarn information in the book was very useful when I was trying to work out what I needed for this project. I couldn’t use the yarn recommended for either project so was able to use the yarn details given to work out suitable equivalents.

I have enjoyed using several new stitches in these projects. I like learning new things and the diagrams given here are very clear and easy to follow. The photographs of each of the projects throughout the book also give a really good idea of what the stitches as well as the garments/items should look like. To see photographs of the rest of the projects please follow this link to the Leisure Arts website.

I am looking forward to trying out other projects in this book and highly recommend it as a “must have” book for anyone who enjoys doing crochet.

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

Crochet, Karen's Korner, Knitting

My Yarn Shop Detour

My Yarn Shop DetourI made my “Yarn Shop Detour” last month. My husband and I drove from our home in Tawa (near Wellington) to his work conference in Hamilton. He kindly agreed to detour through Napier so that I could visit a yarn shop I really wanted to see. For those of you who don’t know New Zealand, that meant an extra 1½ hours driving time, with an overall extension of about 4 hours to the total trip time.

I don’t regret one minute of it, however, and my husband didn’t seem to mind the extended trip either. He was actually quite interested in the shop and its story as well. The shop I’m referring to is called “Skeinz”. It is quite a small shop, but I now regard it as something of a New Zealand yarn treasure. Please check out their website (Skeinz, The Natural Yarn Store) to find out more about them, their yarns, and Design Spun Ltd – it is well worth it.

I have been aware of Skeinz for nearly a year now, and have looked at their yarns online. I have also joined their Facebook page, Skeinz – Speak Easy. The descriptions of their yarns online are very tempting, but I really like to “meet yarn in person” before I commit to buying it. I have to say that I was blown away by the quality of the yarn I found there. They don’t have a huge range, but what they have is absolutely beautiful, both in texture and colour.

My Yarn Shop Detour My Yarn Shop DetourOne of the advantages of visiting the shop was the opportunity to pick up a couple of really good bargains that I wouldn’t have been able to get online. They are both wonderfully soft 4ply merino wool. One was the last ball of a lovely mottled grey shade of Orb Fine. The other was a 475g bag of “Threadwaste” in a rich red colour. Threadwaste is yarn that is cut off the machine when it tangles during the balling process. It has taken many hours, but I have nearly finished untangling and winding my yarn, and it has been well worth it. I will have the equivalent of 9½ 50g balls of luxurious 4ply merino wool.

My Yarn Shop DetourI thoroughly recommend that you check out Skeinz online or, if you are lucky enough to be in Napier, call in to see them.

Crochet, Lace Making

Homespun Comfort Shawls

crochet shawls

This review has been a bit delayed, but that has turned out to be a good thing. I like to be able to include my own photos when I am doing a review and the delay has allowed me to use much better ones than I had originally intended.

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

This book of “Comfort Shawls”, made using Lion Brand Homespun yarn, is very relevant for me at the moment as we are in the middle of winter here in New Zealand. As with previous Leisure Arts books I have reviewed, I was again very impressed with the range of different styles included in this book. There should be something to appeal to everyone.

Homespun Comfort Shawls

The pattern I was drawn to when I first looked at the book was the “Broomstick Lace Shawl” (the third photo above). I had heard of this technique before but had never had the opportunity to try it out. Fortunately one of our local yarn suppliers had the Lion Brand Homespun yarn on sale just when I needed it, this being the reason that the delay was a good thing for me.

IHomespun Comfort Shawls had originally planned on getting a light colour for my shawl, but was really taken with the wonderful rich colours in this darker one. While I still love the colours, I have found this yarn a bit of a challenge to work with. The dark colours and the boucle effect of the yarn make it difficult to see and count the stitches, particularly the setting up chain stitches, so it required a lot of concentration at the beginning. Having said that, I really like the way the garment is turning out, and the lovely soft, warm feel of it.

The instructions in the pattern I am using are very clear. I have found a bit of discrepancy between the instructions and some of the diagrams given, but I have found that sticking to the instructions has produced a good result. The book contains clear instructions and diagrams for all the patterns as well as a number of stitches and techniques, for example fringes.

This yarn and these patterns are a lot different to my usual projects, but I have enjoyed the challenges and learning some new techniques. For more pictures of these lovely shawls please check out the Leisure Arts website.

 

Crochet, Karen's Korner, Knitting

What Is The Best Yarn To Use?

What Is The Best Yarn To Use?
Image courtesy of Flickr

How many times have you been stuck wondering what is the best yarn to use for your next project? There is such a wide variety of yarns available now that it can be a bit overwhelming trying to make a choice. My personal preference tends to be for wool, especially for babies, because it is a natural fibre that “breathes” and is very warm. The modern range of yarns, however, contains an ever expanding number of different fibre types, and also blends of different fibres.

What Is The Best Yarn To Use?
Image courtesy of Flickr

One of the first things to look at on your pattern is whether or not it is written for a particular unique yarn, or is suitable for one of the more general types of yarn like 4ply, 8 ply, 12 ply etc. If the pattern is very yarn specific then you are best to stick with that yarn for your project.

A lot of patterns are still designed for more standard yarn types. Obviously it is safest to use the yarn(s) recommended in the pattern, but if you want to use something different there are several really important things to consider.

Yarn Ply and Needle Size

Always make sure that you get the same ply/weight yarn as that used in the pattern. It is also essential to do a test square to check that your gauge is correct, and alter your needle size accordingly if it is a bit off.

Yarn Length

The composition of yarn can make a huge difference to how far it goes. A ball of acrylic yarn can be up to 30% longer than a ball of wool of the same weight. Cotton can be similar to, or slightly shorter than wool, and blends of acrylic and natural fibres will be different again. Always check the band on a ball or hank of yarn for the length and for the batch number. Make sure you know what the length of a ball is for the yarn used in your pattern and work out from that what you will need in the yarn you are choosing. If you are in any doubt err on the side of caution and get extra.

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.