Thursday, 29 May 2008

Completed Baby Starghan

Well, I've decided to not keep the baby starghan - it is soft and snuggly and warm but I should do to the right thing and give it to a baby as intended :) When it comes to making one for us I'll use some thicker yarn so I can make it bigger, faster.

I'm quite happy with how it's come out - unfortunately some of my points are curling slightly to the right because my tension was a bit wonky - but the border has helped that a bit. I also did the hdc on the border a bit too tightly and so it doesn't lay completely flat straight away but give it a stretch and it's fine :)

Here are some finished pictures:

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I started to crochet another Skater Beanie on the bus home today - it will be black with red stripes.

And I also treated myself to a new book today which I'm waiting to have shipped:
Amazing Crochet Lace by Doris Chan. There's loads of things in here I like the look of - will be lovely to have a look at the book and try and find a few new things to try.

So much that I want to work on now. And loads of people seem to be really keen on my Skater Beanie pattern. It's been favourited by 31 people, queued by 16 and I've had 2 pattern testers start on projects - one of whom has finished. Her hats look wicked :) And I now have 6 pattern testers!

Can't wait to get it fully loaded onto Ravelry :)

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Skater Beanie Pattern Being Tested!

Hurrah - my pattern went out to the testers yesterday. Got 4 lovely ladies from Ravelry testing it for me and one of them has already come back to me saying she's done one hat and it's worked out well! Pics etc will hopefully be taken of them tomorrow.

Really chuffed that the pattern seems to work so far - and judging by the response I've had from putting it up on Ravelry so far, people seem to like it! I've created the pattern entry online but haven't uploaded the pdf pattern yet - I'll wait for any suggestions and amends to come back from my testers before I finalise the pattern. I also want to be able to include pictures of my testers projects - so people can see a whole range of FOs.

Then it will be up on Ravelry for downloading free of charge - and there of course be links here on my blog :)

I've decided, that next up, I want to work on making a pattern for Pikmin plush toys! I'm going to start with the yellow one because I think it's the cutest - and he'll have a little flower on top :) I'll work my way around all of the colours, and the whole leaf/bud/flower thing. What do you think?

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I'd love to do a Yoshi pattern, but I think someone else is working on one of those.

Watch this space :)

P.S. As an aside, I wore my Oatmeal Beanie to work today as it was chucking down with rain when I left the house. Was snuggly and warm and looked wicked!

Monday, 26 May 2008

Oatmeal Skater Beanie

My new pattern has a name! Because I think the hat bears looks quite similar in both style and thickness to a lot of the urban, skater beanies, that's what I've decided to call it: Skater Beanie :) Does what it says on the tin, doesn't it?

So yesterday I started work on another beanie as I wrote down the pattern, to ensure I got it all noted down correctly and that all of my sizing instructions work.

It's just as well I did because there are a few tweaks I need to make to it to ensure a comfy fit. The one I made yesterday does fit Trev, but it's a little bit too tight for him to wear comfortably - but it fits me like a dream :) He also asked me to make it 2 rows shorter for him, but now says it's too short - grrr.

So, I shall be keeping this one (don't know if I want to put it on Etsy), and the pattern will be written up today! The hardest part is getting the diameter and therefore the circumference of the hat right. May involve a little bit of jiggery-pokery to get exactly right as the instructions I've written will work, but there's no middle ground to ensure a perfect fit. Hmmmm. Thinking caps on.

Here are some piccies of the new beanie:

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I do think hats in a thinner yarn do look far more professsional when they're finished than those make from thicker yarn. Don't know why that is. Very odd! Once again used Sirdar Country Style DK - the hat is basically a negative of the chocolate coloured one in my previous post.

Here is a random picture of Kooks taken earlier today - she was very interested in something that was happening "over there".

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Thursday, 22 May 2008

New Beanie Hat pattern in the works

With the same yarn that I made the amigurumi monkey with, Trev wanted me to make him another couple of beanies: one in chocolate brown with oatmeal stripes and one in oatmeal with chocolate stripes. He wanted the chocolate one first :)

So, because I couldn't find a pattern for a beanie using DK yarn that I liked (I saw one pattern but I wasn't keen - and it was mainly single crochet instead of the double I wanted to use) I've decided to design one myself.

The nice thing with a hat made from double knit is that it's still warm, but cool enough to wear on warmer days. Should be suitable for all but the hottest and coldest of weather.

You can see in the below pics how it's turned out - I'm really happy with it - but unfortunately it doesn't fit Trev's head as it's a bit too big. So, it's up for sale on Etsy. If anyone would like to purchase it, please click on the link to my Etsy store over there: ->

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It's 23.5 inches wide - so it's perfect for anyone with a large noggin of 24 or so inches or wider. Used Sirdar Country Style DK - which is an acrylic/nylon/wool mix - so it's machine washable.

The pattern I'm designing will allow you to make a hat to fit any head - you just need to be able to take a few measurements and try it on as you go. A few lovely people have volunteered to test it for me on Ravelry - so the pattern will be available once I've had and incorporated their feedback. And of course once I've written it - which will be this weekend :)

Once finished you'll be able to download the pattern from Ravelry or here on my blog. It will be available for free :) Any suggestions for pattern names are welcome!

Saturday, 17 May 2008

(Now Not For) Baby Starghan

Ummm yeah... we've decided that we really like the snuggliness of the starghan as I've been working on it. And since I wasn't making it for an particular munchkin, we've decided to keep it for ourselves :)

I am currently on round 26 - I have it on my lap keeping my legs warm as I type this blog post :) It about 23" wide right now - the pattern called for a width of 33". Some of the points are starting to curl towards the right - I think this is to do with my tension and stitches. Still looks good though.

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I've used up one ball of each colour (the white ball was already half gone anyway) and we want to make it as big as we can - so we can both snuggle with it on the sofa whilst watching a film or something. If I only use another ball of lilac and blue to make it bigger for us, I may have enough yarn left to make another small baby one - but we'll see. I may have other purposes for the yarn!

How so? Well I know a lot of people on Ravelry make items to go to their local hospital - for premature babies and sick babies on the maternity wards. These items are great because in the case of things like blankets the parents can bring them home with the baby, and often small things like this can help at what may be a difficult time. Can also make things like little baby hats and booties - all to be used to help keep baby warm.

A lovely lady at the Peterborough District Hospital is enquiring for me whether the maternity ward will accept such donations - hopefully I'll get an answer soon and it will be postive :) I already have someone else on Ravelry who wants to help make items.

I've also been bookmarking a whole host of stuff from Everyday Crochet. This book has arrived and I love soooo much stuff in it. The instructions are really clear - hopefully the stuff I make will fit beautifully - and I'll be able to get my gauge right! At the moment I want to make:

  • Cameo - a cute camisole top
  • Somnambulista - the Cameo top turned into a short dress/nightdress
  • Jewel - a very flattering, easy to wear jumper
  • Tall Latte - a gorgeous V-neck jumper with ribbed neck edging and cuffs
  • Cinnabar - a nice cardigan-type top layer
  • Eve's Rib Tunic - a lovely short-sleeved cowl neck jumper
  • Insight - another lovely floaty top layer
  • Outta Sight - this is a nice warm jacket/top layer - I plan to skip 2 colour blocks from this, and make it more of a tunic rather than a full length jacket. Will be perfect for cooler days.
Gonna be busy :) And will probably spend a small fortune in yarn!

The other book I ordered was Donna Kooler's Encyclopedia of Crochet. This is great for reference on techniques and stitch patterns etc. Some of the ideas in here are brilliant - I'll have to see if I can incorporate some of this into a design. Need to get round to designing something of course ;)

To close, here's a pic of Kooky that I've entered for the May Pretty Kitty contest. Weirded me out slightly as she seemed to almost be stood up on the back of the sofa... Plus her fur and eyes looked a gorgeous colour :)

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Sunday, 11 May 2008

It's getting bigger!

I am absolutely loving working on this starghan. It grows so quickly and looks absolutely gorgeous. Uses less yarn than I thought it would as well which is great.

I can see this becoming my favourite FO once it's finished - I'm never going to want to have to give it away :)

Here are some updated piccies - I've just finished round 16 - another 12 more rounds to go! It's not going to be as massive as the pattern calls for because I've used DK instead of thicker yarn, but it should be 20-something across. I can always add an extra round or two if I need to - especially as I want to end with a blue round, rather than a lilac one which is currently what will happen.

Here it is after round 13:

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And now after round 16:

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Don't know if I'm going to get it all finished today - in fact I doubt it, but it's a fun one to work on. Prefer it so much more to all the other star patterns I've seen.

Ooh ooh I forgot to mention that I've ordered myself some additions to my crochet library! I have ordered (and am still waiting for):

* Everyday Crochet by Doris Chan
* Encyclopedia of Crochet by Donner Kooler

I also ordered and now have in my possession, the Winter 2007 and Spring 2008 issues of Interweave Crochet! Really glad I ordered the Spring one as there are several patterns I've liked in there (e.g. China Doll top and Babydoll dress) and in the case of some of them, it saves me having to buy a whole separate book :) I just hope I can get over my issues with gauge and garments first! Not that there's wrong with making just hats and scarves and blankets, but I want to make something for me dammit!

Friday, 9 May 2008

Baby Starghan

Yet another baby item! If I didn't know better I'd say there was something strange going on, but definitely no baby Azzys (or Trevs) on the way. It's just that everyone we know keeps having babies! So instead of having to crochet something on demand, I though I'd try and crochet something to get ahead of the game.

Unfortunately my Cupcake top has gone into temporary hibernation (boo hiss) because my issues with gauge were driving me nuts and I've had enough of swatching. So I've put it to one side and will come back to it once I've de-stashed a bit. But I have to get it done before I dare attempt anything more difficult (heaven forbid if I can't even manage that!) so it will be done. Soon. At some point!

But look at this - isn't it just adorable (if I do say so myself and sorry for crappy mobile phone pic!):

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This is a Chromium Star Blanket - yes Laura aka thekidneybean I'm looking at you :) I've only done 6 rounds on it but it works up nice and quick! Eventually it will have 3 rounds lilac/1 round white/3 rounds blue/1 row white and so on.

Laura's lovely starghan pattern is the best pattern for this sort of blanket I've managed to find so far and you can find it here or on Ravelry. I love that it leaves no holey bits like other blankets and the instructions are super easy and clear. She uses a couple of modified stitches to eliminate the holes and it works brilliantly.

Love how the colours are working together - it could perhaps be suitable for either a boy or girl by the time it's finished - and because it's done in DK weight and in washable yarn, it's very baby friendly. Could be either a blanket, or playmat or anything.

Now I know last week I didn't succumb to the urge of Posh Yarns, but today the preview for Sunday has been posted and I have my beady little eye on a couple of things. I won't share what I'm after because I have a mildly competitive streak :) Not that I think for a minute that enough people read this blog to care, but meh :) Watch this space for either happiness or sadness on Sunday (although I will definitely be sad because on Monday I have to go back to work after a week off :( )

Let's hope I get the Starghan finished before I have to go back :)

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Yay more hooks and some cute pics

Have been cheered up today by the arrival of my remaining Hamanaka hooks :) So I now have the complete set of 16 hooks! Yay for hookage and pics:

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These hooks are the super tiny hooks for working with thread and cobweb weight yarn - with hooks ranging from 1.75mm down to 0.75mm. To see how genuinely tiny these hooks are, have a look here:

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The first pic is of the tiniest hook (0.75mm) and the second one shows the 1.75mm and the 0.75mm next to each other - I now have all hooks ranging from tiny to super tiny! Will definitely be great for when I get some thread and the confidence to try some more intricate projects.

Here's the complete set (and I must say thank you to my wonderful hubby for spoiling me with them):

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Unfortunately not very high on confidence at the moment - I started on my Cupcake top this week and have some REAL problems with gauge. I can NEVER ever meet gauge for a project but often it's not that much of a problem as long as I can hit stitch gauge because all of the baby garments I have made give you the height of the garment in inches, rather than rows - so you just keep working until you get to the right height. So my optimism about it being my hooks rather than ME that was causing the problem, wasn't entirely accurate :(

Alas, my row gauge for the project is way off. I can fudge things by making 2 pattern sizes larger which means my row gauge will come out ok, but I'm getting 10.5 hdc in 3 inches instead of the 4 it should be, so things will be massively small.

Thankfully I've had some great advice from people on Ravelry (particularly CrochetWithDee ) so I'm hoping that I can improve on my technique and move forwards. For the time being, the best interim solution seems to be to bump waaay up to an 8.0mm hooks (from the 6.0mm I was using and the 5.5mm the pattern calls for) which does unfortunately mean using one of my old aluminium hooks. But as long as it works that's the main thing :)

Now I've depressed you all, I'll cheer you up with some cute kitty pictures. Kooky loves having her picture taken - she has a certain expression that she always poses with:

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Her eye bless her looks quite bad in these photos - she has an issue with one of her eyes tearing quite badly but it's no reason for concern. Just needs a wipe with a tissue occasionally.

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She is a cutie - she absolutely loves it when I comb her - she goes mental - need to try and get some video footage of that if I can. Never had a cat that actually enjoyed being combed! But she is a bit of a fruitcake. But we love her.

She's been making a few tentative steps outside recently - she's always been an indoor cat but we have a fairly secure garden and are happy for her to go out if we're keeping an eye on her. She has progressed from sniffing the air outside, to standing on the back step, to making one step outside then running back in, to now walking around on the patio and eating a few bits of long grass. She's yet to venture off the patio but we'll see what happens :)

And to finish, a picture of my hubby Trev playing his guitar and amp that I bought him:

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We love Ernie Ball guitars - Trev's guitar is an Albert Lee and I play a Sterling Bass. There's a get together for all of the UK EB forumites in June at the London Guitar Show - can't wait to go!

Right - off to make some more swatches for my Cupcake top... grrr... I would vent my frustration by whooping some people online on Mario Kart Wii, but I've had enough of that after earlier - the same 2 people kept choosing the same track OVER and OVER again - we ended up playing the GC DK Mountain track about 4 times. I had enough when it was selected again and just switched the damn thing off!

Monday, 5 May 2008

Busy Crochet Weekend!

We in the UK are very lucky to be having a Bank Holiday this weekend (well, not as lucky as the rest of Europe - they get more of them than we do, but anyway...) so most of us get today (Monday) off. Not only that, but I have booked the rest of this week off so I have oodles of time at home with my Trev and crazy Kooky (who just leapt on the table I typed this and nibbled my husband on the arm. She will nibble him now on command (I told him teaching her this was a BAD idea) however she sometimes gets a bit overexcited and properly bites him. Anyway.)

This means lots of crochet-related goodness this week and hopefully a new garment for me to wear - once I get my finger out and get started :)

It was lovely to see my Nan today - she lives much closer to London and we don't drive, so we often only tend to see her when one of my more mobile family members picks her up for a day out. And today was one of those days :) As mentioned in my earlier post, my Nan is an avid knitter and used to knit all the time for us when we were little. She had 8 grandchildren within a relatively short time so was completely overworked for years, but we never ran out of handknits :) Yay for Nans!

She taught me to knit a loooong time ago - when what I wanted most in the world was to make a Peter Rabbit stuffed toy. Needless to say it turned out awfully because I was so small, and I've been somewhat put off the pointy sticks since. However at some point I would like to learn again and she has said she will teach me :) She can crochet a bit, but has never gotten truly into it because she can't understand crochet patterns. I'll have to see if I can fix that :) She was very impressed by some of my finished items that I showed her - especially pictures of the amigurumi monkey I made for Adam. She found it hard to believe that it was crocheted. She loves crochet for all the lacy things you can make with it - at some point I'd love to make her a nice lacy shawl - need to find a pattern first and some tasty yarn.

Yarn. That brings me onto a point that could have cost me a lot of money this weekend!

If you look at the linkypoos to my right, you'll see Posh Yarns listed. Now Posh Yarns list a load of new stock every week and it only goes for sale every Sunday at 6pm GMT. Cue made stampede buying and everything selling out within 10 minutes. The problem is, it's all GORGEOUS and I wanted some. One of the next patterns I want to make is the Go For Baroque top from the Happy Hooker crochet book. Unfortunately I couldn't see enough yarn in a colour and weight I liked on Posh Yarns to be able to think about making it. Plus it would have cost me a fortune as I'm a fairly big girl and would need more yarn than the average lady!

Cue shooting over to Ravelry to see what patterns I could find in yarns and colourways I liked that WERE available. And I stumbled on this:

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Hopefully Lily won't mind me showing this picture here - Lily's site is also on a link to the right (Lily Go) and you can browse some of her patterns that she makes for both knit and crochet (some of her stuff really makes me wish I could knit). Go and have a look, because it is gorgeous!

I saw the Dahlia top, and I fell in love. Promptly bought the pattern, and unfortunately I do think it's a little out of my league at the moment but in my queue for a few month's time once my skills have improved.

The upside of this, is that I have been saved from expensive yarn purchase :) I was online at Posh Yarns at 6, but deliberated until about 10 past as to whether I wanted to buy some sock yarn or not, by which point it had all gone. Oh well :( Hopefully in the next few weeks they'll get some Aran yarn in stock and I can make myself another One Skein Scarf in some tasty colours :)

So now the baby hoody is finished, I am making a (Kitty Cuddle Mat for a charity CAL (crochet-along) on Ravelry to try and use up some yarn.

Once that's done, I'm going to start on my Cupcake top! Yay! I shall be using the wonderfully luscious (but heinously expensive) Rowan Calmer yarn:

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Can't wait! My new Hamanaka hooks should also arrive this week - as they were shipped on Wednesday from Japan - then I shall have the whole set. More pics to bore you with once they turn up.

Right, now I've bored you all half to death, I need to go and finish some work. Unfortunately I've had to do a little bit of working from home this weekend to finish something off - as an almight and all-powerful company who shall not be mentioned managed to screw something up royally and I have to do something manually bit by bit, rather than have it all done super quick and automatically. Not fun. But that's life. I shall reward myself with crochet when I'm done - although I'm not sure I deserve any after procrastinating by:

1) Finishing off the baby hoody
2) Taking loads of pictures of it
3) Writing 2 blog posts
4) Surfing Ravelry

But we'll see. And Trev has just cracked open a particularly lovely bottle of Jacob's Creek Three Vines red, so chances are much work won't get done. Oh well :)

Another Finished Baby Hoody - in record time!

I have finished my second baby hoody! Hurrah! This one was started last Saturday, so it has taken me just over a week - not bad at all. I actually had all of it done on Friday - but I put off finishing the seaming until today. I've learned that I hate sewing seams and I'm no good at it. Oh well. (Pattern is here on Ravelry or here on the Bernat site.)

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But it doesn't look too bad eh? :) Unfortunately you can't really see the colour in the photos - it's actually a lovely soft lilac - very feminine and pretty and girly.

I made the 12 month's size again - and followed the pattern except for one small detail (well, perhaps two!) Instead of putting the shells all the way around the garment, I thought this would look too fussy and so I stuck with the reverse sc all the way around the edge, similar to the boy's hoody. The shells I only did on the cuffs, and here I amended how I did them, compared to the pattern. I thought the pattern made the shells too large and not very well defined - so I changed them to be smaller and a bit "prettier", I think :)

I managed to forget to add the first row of sc that you're meant to do on the cuffs first (I am a blonde AND a dope - there is truly no hope for me) but worked the shells this way: started with one sc, {sk 1, dc 5 in same st, sk 1, sc} - and repeat whats in the { }. This has given me 7 smaller shells round the edge and I think this looks much neater.

Not too sure when this will be packaged up and sent to it's tiny recipient, but I'll be sure to let you know when.

You'll see from my pics that the left arm (right in the picture) seam is awful around the sleeve - really don't know what went wrong. My Nan (who is an avid knitter but doesn't crochet much because she can't understand the patterns) recommends that next time I attempt backstitch on my side seams - to make them a bit studier - because once again I mangled these and it BUGS me that my inner seams looks neater than my outside seam. Grrr. I tell myself that a baby won't care. It doesn't help, but that's what I'm telling myself!

I've been up to lots this Bank Holiday weekend, but I'll put the rest of that in another post (although chances are I'll forget it before I write it down).

Here are more cutie baby hoody pics :)

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