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, Knitting, Lace Making

So What Is Lace Anyway?

So What Is Lace Anyway?
What do you think of when you hear the term “Lace”? If you are anything like me you will probably think of something white, intricate and delicate, possibly even frilly. We usually associate lace with things like wedding dresses, christening gowns and ball dresses. Lace fabric and trims are often used for special occasions like these.

A fairly generic definition of lace is “a fine open fabric of cotton or silk, made by looping, twisting, or knitting thread in patterns and used especially for trimming garments.” As you can see, this includes a lot more than the traditional idea of lace. I would like to share with you some personal examples I have at home.

So What Is Lace Anyway? The more traditional items I have are crocheted and tatted. These items were all made by my grandmother, and I inherited them from her. The small round table cloth is crocheted. It was made using a small hook and fine cotton.

So What Is Lace Anyway? So What Is Lace Anyway?The tatted items are a bit older. These items used to be more common when lace was a lot more expensive and less readily available than it is today. People made collars, cuffs, and neck trims which could be transferred from one garment to another. This set is two collar points and a central trim a bit like a cravat.

So What Is Lace Anyway?I have also included a rather basic example of bobbin lace. This is one of the test book marks I made when I started to learn to make bobbin lace. It was made using coloured crochet cotton. You may also remember the needle lace sampler that I started earlier in the year. Unfortunately I have not made much more progress on it as yet, but hope to do some more in our upcoming school holidays.

So What Is Lace Anyway? So What Is Lace Anyway?The last photos are of a shawl I knitted for one of my grandchildren. This is a bit heavier than the other examples, but the border of this shawl still qualifies as lace. I have made a lighter, lacier baby shawl but, unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of it.

I plan to follow up with some more examples of different types of lace soon.

Crochet, Karen's Korner

My Crocheted Knockers

My Crocheted KnockersMy recent post about “Knitted Knockers” mentioned that there was a crochet pattern available as well as the knitting patterns. A couple of weeks ago I went away for a few days, and I decided to trial the crocheted knockers pattern. The materials required for crochet are slightly more portable than those required for knitting.

This turned out to be a very good decision. I ended up spending eleven hours at the airport as a result of cancelled and then delayed flights. The crochet pattern was in US terms, rather than the UK terms I prefer, so I had plenty of time to work my way through it. (See “The Minefield of Crochet Terminology”.) Once I had my head around how the pattern worked, I managed to start moving ahead quite quickly.

I decided I would try to make several different sizes of the pattern. During my five days away I made one each of a size A, B and C cup knocker. I did find a couple of things in the pattern that I had to be a bit careful with, but by the time I was doing the third one it was becoming more straight forward.

My Crocheted KnockersThe photos I have included show the difference in size between the three unfilled knockers: A is dark pink, B is light pink, C is white. Unfortunately I only had enough filling for one knocker, so I have filled the middle one, the size B. You can see how the stuffing fills out the shape of the knocker. I have also taken photos of the back of them as well to show how the back is left open a bit so the amount of filling can be adjusted as required.

My Crocheted Knockers My Crocheted KnockersI am even more convinced now of the importance of this programme and I will definitely be making more. My next project will be to trial several of the different knitted knocker patterns.