crochet

November WIP Progress…

It’s getting very chilly here in Cheshire, and to keep myself warm, I’m surrounding myself by woolen bits and bobs! The last few months I have used lists as an exercise of productivity and motivation; and November is no different… In fact, I have a new notebook to tick off crochet goals.

I have only one thing left to tick off for my November goals, and I’ll have to crochet like mad tonight to finish… I have 6 stripes left! I best get cracking (or should I say hooking?)

Here is what I’ve been up to…

#BWPhotoChallenge

Firstly, I took part in the #bwphotochallenge on Instagram. This challenge consisted of uploading a black and white photo everyday with no description or explanation. I found this quite difficult as I didn’t crochet everyday; but I hope I am glad in a way because it was an opportunity to show my followers a side that I don’t always want to photograph and upload. Some days were literally a photo of my lunch… or the box of Strepsils I was nursing through a cold.

 

Butterfly Stitch Prayer Shawl

I managed to start and finish a complete Butterfly Stitch Prayer Shawl in November. This is a free pattern on Ravelry by NJ Sharon & Debi Adams, and this one was commission for a work colleague. They liked the grey colour in the King Cole Galaxy DK from the  Mars colourway (which is grey & cream) I managed to find 3 balls f the Mercury colourway, which is sadly discontinued now, but is all grey. This is my second Butterfly Stitch shawl and I can’t recommend the pattern enough – it works up beautifully!

#Backtoschoolsweatercal – Movie Night Cocoon Cardigan

Although I made most of the progress on this Cardigan in October, I finished it in November. I love this cardigan! It is the first garment I’ve ever made, and I am very thankful to Tamara and Helen for hosting the #backtoschoolsweatercal as it encouraged me to finally get this from my library to finished objects on Ravelry. I used just over 5 balls of acrylic yarn I bought in Aldi earlier this year… if not last year… and it worked up lovely. It’s burgundy which is my favourite colour, and I have barely taken it off. It is a free pattern on Ravelry by Alexandra Tavel – Click here for the pattern.

 

 

School of Wizardry Scarf for Katie.

After the #AutumnWAL17, I changed my target for this scarf. Now I want to get it finished for Christmas. My goal for November was to get half way (An easy thing to measure as I’m using two balls of Caron simply soft) and I have done it and joined on the second ball. I am loving this scarf and the stitch I’ve used. I will publish the pattern when I have finished the scarf. I love that it is easily recognised as Harry Potter themed. I was inspired by the Gryffindor House colours, and am thinking this will be a great pattern for those that love Harry Potter like Katie (Who is currently on the last book… after re-reading the entire collection for the third time).

Fruit Salad TV Blanket

My goal was to edge 20 squares, and I have edged 25. I am going to set the same target for December… and next year I want to get this finished ASAP. This has been an ongoing WIP for a long time, and I think it will be nice to finally have this finished so I can snuggle under it. I also want to make a charity blanket in the same way – and I don’t really want 2 granny square blankets on the go at the same time.

 

 

#Fridayisdyeday – 24th November

Last #Fridayisdyeday, I used Avacado dye to susccessfully dye some cotton. This month, I dyed some wool (That didn’t take the Avacado dye) with Wilton Icing Colourants (that Fay of the Crochet Circle Podcast kindly lent me). WOW! I had so much fun! I am definitely going to be doing this again… I used two techniques to dye two different skeins of wool. Both from Laxtons, one BFL Sock yarn and the other 50% Merino 50% Silk DK Blend. For the sock yarn, I laid the soaked (in water & white vinegar) yarn out on a cling film wrapped table and used paint brushes to paint sections of the yarn in different colours which I’d mixed in an artist’s paint palette before hand. The second yarn (the silk/merino blend) I pooled different coloured dyes into the lid of a large palette… (Although any tray would work) then I laid the yarn across it. I then used a paint brush and used more concentrated dye mixes to add a few stronger patches of colour.

The first technique worked well and I am happy with the result, although because I painted only one side of the yarn, there are a lot of undyed patches. I like this effect, and I was aiming for this in some respects – although if you don’t like this look then maybe this technique wouldn’t work for you.

The second technique was a lot quicker and due to the larger quantity of liquid, and there are less undyed patches (if any at all?) Although there isn’t as much control with this method.

Overall I am very happy with my Icing colourant-dyed yarn. My next adventure is going to be a sock blank… I think 🙂

 

Amigurumi Baby Sloth & Ragdoll Sloth

These two were both commissions for a colleague. I loved making these pair! They were great stash busters, easy to make, free patterns from ravelry. Both designers had written up the patterns very well and the instructions were easy to follow. I recommend both patterns. The Amigurumi Baby Sloth is a pattern by The Twisted Crocheter, and the Ragdoll Sloth is by Spin a Yarn Crochet. Go and check them out – they are adorable.

Cotton Coaster

Things have been crazy at work over the last month. We seem to have been busier and more hectic; and a lot have things have changed. (Although I have a new desk now which is great 🙂 One thing that happened was the employment of a few more members of staff. All of the girls in the office have a crocheted coaster so when the new receptionist started I of course had to make her one. I made a pink coaster using DMC Natura Just cotton in the colour way Rose Layette. Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo before taking this into work… but it was very pretty. I used this free pattern by Bella Coco.

I have had a busy month and I’m really happy with the number of FO’s I have.

I’ve also worked on a couple of other things through November which weren’t on my goal list.

  1. A hat for Katie’s Nan (pattern will be published in the next few weeks)
  2. A hat for my sister-in-law to put on the dog – let me know if you want the pattern…
  3. A knitted scarf to develop my knit & purl skills
  4. Stitch Markers

 

 

Love Charlie, Xx

 

crochet

My fave Winter Warmers…

Autumn has gone, and Winter is officially here, and so I’d like to share with you some of my favourite Winter Crochet Patterns. Who doesn’t love crocheting hats and scarfs, shawls and Christmas gifts this time of year?

Smaller projects are great for last minute Christmas gifts to keep your friends and family warm through the colder season. So, in case you are struggling for ideas, here are my 10 favourite patterns for Winter Warmers and quick Christmas makes…

  1. MyBoshi Beanie (Simply Crochet issue 14)

Neon Lights Beanie Hat

This is such an easy and quick make. Who knows how many of these I have made since I started crocheting! It’s my go-to hat pattern because it is so simple. I love this pattern and it is very easy to adjust to different head sizes and lengths. It is also an absolutely fantastic last minute Christmas present… using only one skein of chunky yarn and it takes less than an hour to make.

2. Virus Shawl Scarf by Julia Marquardt.

This pattern had been in my Ravelry library for a long time before I finally got around to making it. The repeated pattern is very effective and easy to repeat after you understand the pattern. This is not ideal for those that don’t read chart patterns as I’ve not seen this as a written pattern anywhere. There may be on out there though!

3. Chunky Seashell Scarf by Nicki Trench

This pattern is in Nicki’s book Cute & Easy Crochet. It is a lovely, quick to work-up scarf. Although, from what I can remember it used quite a lot of yarn. I think I used 4+ balls of 100g chunky to make mine.

(Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of my Scarf as I made it a long time ago for my Auntie… The pattern is in Nicki Trench’s book Cute and Easy Crochet)

Image result for cute and easy crochet

4. Butterfly Stitch Prayer Shawl by NJ Sharon and Debi Adams

Butterfly Stitch Prayer Shawl on Ravelry

I recently made one of these for a work colleague for her birthday using King Cole Galaxy DK which has tiny sequins wound with the acrylic/wool mix. It is a lovely pattern that is easy to read and make, with both written instructions and hand-drawn charts. I am now in the middle of making a second butterfly stitch prayer shawl for a Christmas commission.

5. Boutique Weave Scarf by Nirmal Khalsa

This pattern features in the book, One Skein Wonders. It is soooo easy but so effective. It is a very clever way of making a scarf – and I definitely recommend you looking into this pattern. (P.S Maybe buy the book for the Christmas Eve cast on 100g challenge that myself and Fay from the Crochet Circle Podcast are co-hosting this December) Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of this one either, but I do recommend the book.

Image result for crochet one skein wonders

6. Cosy Stripes Blalnket by Lucy @Attic24

Cosy Stripe Blanket Pattern

I’ve not even finished mine yet – but in the process of making this one, I’ve made 2 baby blankets using the same stitch. It is super simple, and very pretty and quick to work up. It looks beautiful in stripes or in a block colour.

7. Victorian Lattice Blanket by Destany Wymore

Victorian Lattice Square on Ravelry

I’m not going to lie to you… this blanket took a long time, and I had to concentrate on the pattern. But it looked so good when it was done! The squares are much bigger than your average Granny square blanket, and a lot more intricate. I was very proud of this blanket which I made for my in-laws. If you’re looking for a blanket that’s extra special, then I think this counts!

8. Cherry Sundae Shawl by Elizabeth de Herraiz (Issue 53 Simply Crochet)

I started making this shawl on new years eve. Whilst everyone else was drinking and singing, I was sat on the floor with a Jack Daniels Honey and crocheting – generally being very happy with my activities, surrounded by family, food, drink and yarn… My new year’s resolution was to get a photo into the magazine… and I did. This shawl made it into the magazine and I won a prize. I was so happy. The pattern is extremely well written and easy to make, and it looks beautiful when it’s done.

9. Sunburst Blanket by Marie Williams Johnstone

I made this blanket last year for a Christmas present and it was beautiful. It used a lot of wool, and there was a lot of ends, but the end product was stunning. This pattern is very well written and easy to follow. I recommend this blanket and I think it would be a great stash buster! Click here to see the pattern. 

10. Crossbill Cowl by Blue Ammonite Designs

Crossbill Cowl on Ravelry

I pattern tested this lovely cowl for Emma of Blue Ammonite designs this Summer when I was off work after my appendectomy. It is a really quick-to-work-up pattern using the lovely crossbill stitch. I think this would make a lovely Christmas gift for friends and family. Check out Emma’s Etsy for lots of other beautiful patterns.

Patterns that are on my ‘I want to make this one day’ list…

  1. Doppio Colloseum Shawl by Fay Dashper Hughes
  2. Triangle Infinity Scarf by the Friendly Nettle
  3. Easy Victorian Shell Mitts by Bron Green
  4. Custard Cream Shawl by Lisa Cook
  5. Victoria Shawl by Sandra Paul
  6. Blurre Shawl by Addydae Designs
  7. Hotel of Bees Shawl by Christina Hadderingh
  8. Urban Stripes Shawl by Zeens and Roger
  9. Holey Smokes Shawl by Zeens and Roger
  10. Sunday Shawl by Alia Bland

I would love to know what your favourite Winter Warmers are! Please leave a comment and share what you like to make in this chilly season.

Love Charlie,

Xx

#AutumnWAL17 · crochet

#Autumnwal17 Round-up…

Wow… I can’t believe how quickly October has flown by. It has been an incredibly hectic month with lots of crochet progress and several other unexpected (some un-wanted) distractions. The autumnwal17 is now over and it has been an amazing experience. Laura of @goslingandplumb has been a great co-host and her attentiveness towards everyone on Instagram has been outstanding. I tried to keep up, but still missed lots. Life has been crazy busy and it’s been hard to manage my time to make sure I’m keeping up with crochet targets. The saying ‘life gets in the way’ has been more than true for myself and Katie this month; with both of us putting extra hours into work, and both of our offices are being re-structured in one way or another, organising/booking things for the wedding, the house falling apart, and a couple other things that aren’t to be shared online. Tired is an understatement… and we’re officially seeing wintery weather here in Cheshire; dark nights and cold air are affecting my energy levels. That being said, I have a lot to say about October; firstly I’m going to share with you my original WIP list for the #AutumnWAL17; then I’m going to let you know how I got on…

autumnwal17 list

 

  1. Horse Blanket.

My target was to wash, block and weave, and that I did. I added a few more rounds to the edging then washed it, blocked it, weaved in the edges and steamed/ironed it again for good luck. I actually impressed myself with the finished object. I think the whole way through making this one, I was worried that the ‘customer’ wouldn’t like it… in the end they loved it. I powered through my loss of crochet-mojo and it payed off. Although the blanket wasn’t to my personal taste; I am proud of picking a difficult pattern for my first tapestry crochet.

horse finished

  1. School of Wizardry Scarf

Katie’s scarf didn’t go to plan. I wanted to finish this in October, but I made progress then decided it was too wide; so, I frogged it and started again – hence no FO. I am happy with the stitch that I’m using, and I plan on writing up the pattern when I’ve done; so, I want to be happy with the dimensions. The stitch I’m using is particularly yarn-hungry so having a wide scarf wasn’t working well. I’m OK with having to frog this though… it will be worth it in the end. My new goal is to have this finished by Christmas. Hopefully it will work up quicker now it isn’t so wide 😉

HP Scarf

  1. Fruit Salad TV Blanket.

My #autumnwal17 goal was to finish making the squares, and start edging them. I did this… even if I only edged 3 (it still counts, right?) This has been on on-going project so there is really no rush. My November goal is to have 20 edged in total. I think this is going to be a nice project to go into the new year with. Originally, I thought I could finish this for Christmas, but I think that is un-achievable. It’s more realistic for me to aim to finish my cosy stripe blanket for Christmas. The TV Blanket could be my first big FO of the new year. An easy project that I can work on over the Christmas holidays.

squares fruit salad

  1. Cosy Stripe Blanket.

I achieved my target of completing one colour repeat (13 stripes) in October; and realised it won’t take too many more colour repeats before I run out of yarn. I’m going to aim to finish another colour repeat in November and see how much yarn I have left. I think it is well within my bounds to say I can finish this for Christmas. This blanket won’t be as big as the Moorland blanket because I chose a Stylecraft colour pack with fewer skeins than what Lucy called for on her Cosy Stripe pattern. It doesn’t bother me though. I am in love with the colours and the way I arranged them in this blanket!cosy stripes

  1. Beanie Hat.

I bought this skein impulsively at Black Sheep Wools. I wanted to make a Beanie using the Neon Lights pattern by myboshi. However this yarn is way too thick for that pattern; and because I only picked up one skein I didn’t want to risk going up a hook size and playing yarn chicken. I used a size 6mm hook, and made up my own pattern to create a beanie that fits my head perfectly. (I may publish a Charlie-sized beanie pattern on Ravelry soon – * when I have a chance to write the pattern up.) I then sewed on a removable bobble and tadaaaa, I’m ready for winter. I’m actually excited to be able to wear it. The alpaca mixed with acrylic gives it a lovely fussy feel and it is incredibly soft and warm.

beanie hat finished

  1. Movie Night Cocoon Cardi.

I have made great progress on this cardi throughout the #autumnwal17, and I joined my 5th skein of yarn last night. It’s the first garment I’ve ever worked on and now I’m just continuing to add rounds until it is the right size; I don’t have far to go now. This is my WIP for the #backtoschoolsweatercal, and even though I think it’s the easiest pattern out there, if it wasn’t for Helen and Tamara’s CAL I would never have started this. They encouraged me to pull this pattern from my Ravelry Library and start my first garment. I’m excited that I’ll actually be able to wear something I’ve crocheted; I think it’s going to lead to a whole new area of pride. The CAL runs till the 17th November, so I best get cracking and finish it off. Even though the pattern is easy and simple, and I love the effect; it’s starting to get boring now and takes a longer each row to complete the round as it’s quite big now.

Cocoon cardigan

  1. Socks…

My goal for the #autumnwal17 was to divide my sock yarn into two and wind into cakes; and make a start on the Spring Fling socks by Vicki Brown. I changed my mind and started the Winter Wonder Socks as they were toe up and I figured it would be easier to see if they fit me as I made progress. I started making both at the same time… but they’re huge! I reached gage but I think I only need a medium. (I started making large.) So even though I achieved my target for October, it’s all going to be frogged and started again. That’s ok though – I’d rather make socks that fit me.

sock progress

  1. The Super Simple Tunisian CAL #SSTCAL

Claudia and Hannah ran a lovely little Tunisian CAL through October, and even though I only made one out of four of the dish cloth patterns, I’m very grateful that they put this together. I have been put off learning Tunisian crochet because I didn’t have the time to sit and make something big. Claudia and Hannah pulled together some great resources and YouTube tutorials to help us grasp Tunisian crochet without having to spend hours and hours learning. I made a Tunisian simple stitch dish cloth for the #autumnwal17 – but I will most certainly go back to these resources at a later date to learn some other Tunisian stitches. Thank you, Hannah and Claudia!

tunisian

  1. #FridayisDyeDay

Fay from the Crochet Circle Podcast has been experimenting with home dying; and has introduced a monthly Dye-along to encourage us all to give hand-dying a go. Friday the 27th October was the first #fridayisfyeday, and I had been collecting Avocado pits and skins especially for this. I planned on dying a skein of sock yarn and a silk/merino blend dk. I decided to try and dye some white cotton and an acrylic/wool blend as well. I was very surprised by the results I got. The acrylic/wool blend didn’t take any dye at all – I wasn’t surprised by this. The sock yarn and silk/merino didn’t take any dye either… as soon as I rinsed the dye, it all washed out. This surprised me but it isn’t the end of the world. It just means I have two un-dyed skeins for the next #fridayisdyeday and I can try out different techniques such as food colourants or acid dyes. The cotton however took nicely; I dyed 1 skein of white cotton and 1 skein of mercerized white cotton in the avocado dye and dyed 1 skein of mercerized cotton with blackcurrant liqueur. I now have 3 skeins of cotton in a lovely gradient effect of soft, gentle, pastel pinks… and I think this technique is going to be perfect for making wedding decorations.

dyed

  1. Hand sewn Project bag.

This WIP wasn’t on my list for #autumnwal17, but I made it anyway. I gave sewing a go (even though I’m terrible at it and have no idea what I’m doing) I didn’t follow a pattern, but I’m impressed that I achieved a FO. I’m not in love with this bag but proud for trying… and I now have a little bag to keep my knitting in.

Overall, I don’t think I did badly on my #autumnwal17 goals. There has been a bit of frogging and  several distractions but I still managed to get 4 FOs, and some hand dyed cotton. I also made lots of progress on WIPS that had previously been collecting dust; so al in all I’m pretty happy.

New Techniques…

  • Challenging myself to work to targets and goals has given me ambition and motivation; and as you can see above… I have set myself a new list of goals for November. Not only have I made progress during October, I also learnt a handful of new techniques. I learnt how to knit, Tunisian crochet, sew, make foundation double crochet, and how to dye yarn using avocado pits. 5 new skills that I can now develop. Maybe in the new you will see more sewn and knitted projects on the blog.

Exciting Ventures…

  • Another reason October has been more chaotic than planned is because I finally emailed crochet magazines and asked for their seasonal call outs. I say finally, because this has been my goal since July… I just kept putting it off because of the old ‘imposter syndrome’ and not thinking I’m good enough. Eventually, with the encouragement from Katie and Fay I thought ‘what have I got to lose?’ This last month, I have designed, made swatches and put together 6 proposals which I have now sent in for deadlines. Fingers crossed in the next few weeks I get some good news. I’m not holding my breath, but even if I’m not successful; I’ve learnt how to put a proposal together for a magazine submission – so next time it will be easier. And, if I don’t get published; I have 6 designs ready to write up to publish myself. What’s to lose? I’m super excited and proud of myself. I’ve worked so hard for this and I’ve finally made the first step in the right direction.

If you made it to the end of this post then well done! That’s dedication and thank you for sticking with me… I’m hoping to carry on with this newly found productivity and keep making progress throughout November. Here’s a photo of my November WIP List…

November List

See you next week…

Love Charlie, Xx