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!

Knitting

The Needles Have Been Flying

The Needles Have Been FlyingThe Needles Have Been FlyingOver the last few months my knitting needles have been flying, literally at one point as I took my knitting with me when I flew down south. In my post “How Much Yarn Will You Need?” I mentioned a vest I had just knitted. The first time I wore it to church a friend of mine was really taken with it and said she would love to have one. She chose some lovely navy wool (unfortunately it looks grey in this photo) and I managed to finish it for her before she went overseas at the beginning of June.

The Needles Have Been Flying The Needles Have Been FlyingIn the meantime I had also been busy with my “Winter Birthday Presents”, and had finished a red child’s cardigan. The cardigan went to a young friend of mine for her little girl to wear. It was a nice change of colour from the pinks of several other garments I had made for her.

Not long after finishing the birthday presents, I found out at the last minute that I would be able to make a trip south that I had really wanted to do but thought I would have to miss out on. I went down for the wedding of one of my nieces, and was able to spend a few days with my daughter and her family.

The Needles Have Been Flying The Needles Have Been FlyingI hastily started a couple of jumpers for the two children as soon as I had confirmation that I could go, and was mildly hopeful I might be able to finish them before I went home. Unfortunately, but predictably, this didn’t happen. I made the most of my bonus time with my two grandchildren and ended up posting the jumpers down to them earlier this week.

The project I have started on now is woollen singlets and cardigans for the neonatal unit of the local hospital. I will be posting more on this once a bit more progress has been made.

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.

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

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.

 

Cross Stitch

How to Wash Cross Stitch Once Finished

How to Wash Cross Stitch Once Finished
Having spent some time completing your cross stitch project, it is now the time to begin the process of preserving this piece of work. Before you can frame your cross stitch pattern or picture, it must, of course, be spotlessly clean. Although the piece probably does look clean, it is important to remember that, as it is hand worked and your hands contain natural oils, the material will require washing to ensure that it is completely stain free. As you have put a lot of time and effort into completing the piece, it is vital that any potential stains are removed at this stage because anything left on the cross stitching might, in the long term, cause long term damage. Any cross stitched article that is not extremely clean and washed prior to framing may also loose its colour in the future.

Cross stitched pieces must be washed separately by hand and should never be allowed to mix with other garments. If you know there is a stain on the piece, treat it with either lemon juice or white vinegar before you wash it. Do not be tempted to soak the stain in bleach as this will probably remove the colour of the sewing threads used to complete your cross stitch. You need to place the piece of work in luke warm water containing either a very mild washing up liquid or gentle soap flakes. You should not use harsh detergents and, although it is possible to buy products designed for hand washing, these are not suitable for needle-worked items. Let the cross stitched piece soak for about a quarter of an hour, moving it very carefully around in the water. If you spot any further stains, these may be rubbed with a soft toothbrush but it is imperative not to scrub the article.

When you have finished washing the cross stitch, rinse it in several changes of luke warm water until the final rinse is completely soap free and the water remains clear. Place the work carefully face down on a clean white towel, smooth out any creases and then place a further clean white towel on top of it. Roll the towels gently squeezing the water out but do not wring the towels as this will cause creases which may be difficult to remove. Obviously, if you have cross stitched a table cloth or other large piece of work, it would be extremely difficult to towel dry and it is, therefore, better to carefully place larger items on a washing line and allow them to drip but do not let them dry completely. Please do not fold wet cross stitch pieces.

The piece should now be placed face down on another clean dry white towel and pressed on the reverse side using a pressing cloth and an iron set at a medium heat. Continue pressing the piece until it is completely dry. If you have cross stitched a heavy material, you may need to use the steam setting on your iron to remove the creases but as long as you use a pressing cloth, the heat from the steam will not damage the cross stitch or any beading you have worked into your pattern. You are now ready to frame your work.

You have created a beautiful piece of cross stitch work just using a piece of cloth, some thread and a tapestry needle but it will last for some considerable time if it is properly washed and pressed prior to framing. It will become a family heirloom, uniquely hand made by you and is a piece which could last for generations. Friends and family members will greatly appreciate a cross stitched gift and when you look at a finished piece or see the pleasure your cross stitching gives others, you realise the care taken to sew, wash and frame it are extremely worthwhile.

For more free tips about stitching go to Stitchtastic. We also have loads of new cross stitch designs.