Hooked

Soooooo I haven’t really been doing much on the crafty front. At least, nothing finished to share or things that aren’t Morsbags, so this is a double project show off post because I’ve been crocheting like a loon of late. Two crocheted octopi

These little octopuses were made for a friend on account of it was her birthday and she likes octopuses. They’re both made from stash yarns, and I did two strands on the tentacles of the purple one for a bit of visual interest (spell check just suggested “testicles” but they’re not that detailed). They work up nicely and I like how the tentacles curl up all tidy. The pattern is by LadyLilliput on Etsy. Mine are not as tidy as hers…

12 Point Star blanket

I recently joined a crochet group on Facebook and everyone was making these 12 point star blankets. Not being a super confident crocheter, I gazed at them for ages before deciding to use up some of the cake yarn I’d bought in a frenzy of cake yarn buying. This one is just the width of a single bed, and took about 2 2/3 cakes. I could have done another couple of rounds, but I wanted to end with the purple as the border because I plan these things. Stop looking at me like that. I sometimes plan. The pattern is the Rainbow Ripple Baby Blanket by Celeste Young.  It’s a free one. You can stop at baby blanket size, or you can just go on for weeks if you like as long as you follow the increases/no increase rounds pattern. Easy peasy. I know a lot of cake yarns have this colourway, but this one is by Heirloom and it’s so much softer than the Lincraft ones I’ve used.

Anyway that’s what I’ve been up to. There’s a package of yarn and a loom on the way to my house for some more projects, I might even remember to update when I do them. Perhaps…

See You Round Like A Rainbow

Rainbows are definitely becoming a theme for me this year. A couple of months ago the Spotlight store (craft supplies and whatnots, for those who aren’t Australian) posted a photo on their instagram of rainbow yarn.

“Aww, that’s a shame” I thought, “I’m on a no yarn buy at the moment until I’ve cleared down the stash a bit”. I said this as I grabbed my handbag and flung myself out the door to the nearest Spotlight. Look, I tried to resist. I tried.

View of the back of the rainbow slouch hat

It took a fair bit of pattern hunting to find one I both liked and could do. I’m no great crocheter so I like a basic pattern. This one is the Autumn Slouch Hat by Swellamy on Etsy. This was a really good buy, the pattern is written beautifully and it’s a nice straight-forward project. I mostly worked it as stated, but I did add a couple more increase rounds because I have a big head. Also I tend to work a very tight stitch, which is a habit I can’t seem to break. I think it comes from starting to learn to crochet with Amigurumi, those little crochet toys. They need to be worked very tightly so they can be stuffed properly.

Front view of the hat

I actually finished this thing a week ago, I’ve been waiting until I’d dyed my hair to post it. You’re welcome. You may have spotted that while the yarn is gorgeous and bright and many coloured, it’s not actually a proper spectrum. It’s very heavy on the green, not so much on the red.  It’s not hugely apparent in this hat, but it’s showing in the scarf I’m making. However, that’s going to be an infinity scarf, so it doesn’t matter. Apart from the fact there’s not enough red, that always matters.

Two half hats, to compare

On the right in the above picture is the first hat I tried. It was okay, but the pattern was worked in joined rounds. This meant the join was super obvious because of the colour changes. You can also see where it’s gone a bit hexagonal, which seems to happen with joined rounds. The sizing was weird too. I even worked to gauge on that (sorta) and it just didn’t work. I’m much happier with the spiral. The colour changes are smooth and lovely like a marble bench made of crochet.

The yarn I used was Moda Vera Fayette in Frenzy. It’s quite nice to work with, but varies in thickness a little bit. There’s a bit on the scarf that’s like laceweight. I suppose you could cut around those bits if they bothered you.

Temperature Scarf: August (and bonus unicorn)

Temperature Scarf for August

BAM! There it is! I actually finished the month this morning, so perhaps a little cheaty but you won’t know if I don’t tell.. you.. ah. Damn. Anyway! One more day under 10 and as you can see at the end there, Spring is starting to Spring upon us so I can relegate the lavender to the Granny Squares bucket now as I don’t think I’ll be needing it again this year.

Scarf until the end of August

So long now! I mean the scarf is long, not that I want you to leave. I’d like to think my stitches are more even and all that, but I think they’re probably not. The edges are a lot less wonky for August though.

Now, it’s been almost a month since my last post and you’re probably all “Is that all you’ve been up to Lyn? Slack much?” to which I say “Mean.” I’ve been working on a few bits and bobs, some of which will end up here when they’re finished, and also making two more Unicorns.

Two Unicorns

Twinsies! These are off to their new homes tomorrow. As before, the pattern is by Woolhalla and the felt is from Winterwood Toys.

Last, but not least, here’s my 1 Second Everyday video for August which (like July’s video) is included here because it’s got a lot of crafting in it. Because that’s what I do that’s interesting.

I will hopefully be back with stuff to talk about before the September installment of the scarf, but I make no promises.

Temperature Scarf: July

Hey you guys! I finally got to break out my lavender yarn because we’ve had a day under 10 degrees. I know, exciting!
Temperature Scarf JulyWe also had the warmest July day ever, or in 40 years, or something. That’s the green there, it was 24 degrees. Overall though, much like June – pretty blue from day one. And also the random row lengths are becoming a genuine feature.

Scarf January to July

July however is less flabby than June, so that’s something. I’m still happy with the colours, they’ve matched the temperatures well. I maybe should have used the darker blue for 10-14, but if you think I’m frogging it now you can.. go away. Insane person you are!

The other thing I’ve been doing this month is beta testing the 1 Second Everyday app on Android. Not technically crafty as such, but there’s a bit of crafting in it, so here’s July, one second per day.

I’ve also made a pincushion, but I’m not showing it to you because my blanket stitch is terrible.

Temperature Scarf: Blue June

June Temperature Scarf

Oh hey Random Increases, welcome back! Sure is nice to see you again. Makes me feel at home. Anyway! June. Blue June. It stayed between 11 and 19 degrees for the whole month. This is maximum temperatures, of course. It surely did get under 10 a few times. Surely did (no idea where that came from, I’m just going to run with it). I’ll weave the ends in at some point maybe.

Scarf up until June

And the whole thing. Since we’re halfway through the year it’s about a half as long as it will be. Quite, quite long. I should be able to wear nothing but this scarf and still not violate any decency laws. It does look a bit … flabby at the June end. I don’t know how many increases ended up being done, but apparently it’s a few.

Now, if you’ve been here before you’ll  know that not terribly long ago I conquered The Granny Square (dun dun dunnnn). Since then I’ve pretty much not stopped, hauling out all the balls of yarn I had stashed away to throw them all together into a shawl. It’s not done yet, but here’s how it’s looking at the moment.

Granny Square ShawlThat row at the bottom needs sewing on, and I’ve a pile of grannies waiting to be sewn into rows. Although this was “designed” as a stash busting project, I have bought some more yarn in solid colours. Variegated yarn looks grand for a round, but two different kinds doesn’t look so hot to me – the form of the granny is lost in the random colours. So I’ve been limiting the variegated to one type per square. Of course, being me, I mostly only had variegated so I picked up some cheap solid colours at a discount shop. Also some more black. You can see in the photo the blacks are not entirely the same.

So that’s where I’m at at the moment – up to my eyeballs in yarn most of the time.

Our Heroine Conquers An Actual Pattern

As it’s the first of June (yes, already. I know – zoomy old year isn’t it?) it’s clearly time for me to show you the completed May section of the temperature scarf. Which I will now do.

Temperature Scarf for MayWith the exception of some pleasingly patterned days in the low to high 20s, May has been almost entirely between 15 and 19 degrees. The stitch marker I’m using to hold the last stitch is black, which despite knowing full well I’m using a black stitch marker does tend to make me say “millipede!” as they are all over the house at the moment. As much as I do love and adore insects, millipedes are not my favoured house guests. Quite apart from the smell of them, there’s the horrible moment of wandering barefoot through the house and feeling the squish of them underfoot. Blech.

Temperature Scarf up to the end of May

And here’s the whole thing. I was quite right when I said it’d be wider again by the end of May, so go me. Practically a psychic, as it happens. I was planning to lay it out on the bench again, but today was damp and misty and I couldn’t be bothered going outside with a camera and endless scarf. Lazy, true, but at least I’d done all the weaving in of ends before I took the photo this time. Half a gold star?

Now, on to my terribly exciting crochet related news. One fundamental thing about my crochet is this: I cannot read patterns with any amount of ease. I can read them eventually and can just about manage an amigurumi doll as long as there’s nothing too fancy happening in the pattern, but overall I can stare at the pattern for an hour and be no closer to understanding what it is I’m supposed to be doing. Logically, I know “tr” means treble and “ch” means chain – logically, the pattern should be clear as a bell, but for whatever reason I just stare at these abbreviations and think “Why can’t anyone use their words??” (I have been known to write out entire patterns long hand just to get something done).

This brings us neatly to something which has baffled and confused me since I first picked up a crochet hook: The Granny Square. “The Granny Square?” you may be saying, “That most simple of crochet constructions, done in their dozens by people who aren’t even really paying attention because there’s something good on the telly?” to which I can only reply “Yes” because despite many many attempts, I always ended up with a sort of interesting knot rather than a nice granny square.

This was a source of annoyance for me. Well not really annoyance. Botheration? I mean it wasn’t ruining my life in any way, but every now and then I’d drag out a pattern and a hook and try try try again, adding to my Interesting Knot collection as I went. You see, there’s something solid and good about a granny square. Something sturdy, and maybe a little bit old fashioned. They put me in mind of many things, all of them comfortable and warm. We had for many years an afghan made of two giant granny squares. Obviously, they also remind me of my grandmother though that may be entirely due to the name of the things as I don’t recall her making any in my presence.

So with Winter leaping about the place and a yearning for something warm and snuggly, I discovered that I really, really wanted a granny square shawl. Something to throw around myself for walking the dogs or popping down to the shops, something old fashioned and a little bit daggy. And this, ladies and gents, is where we come to the triumph of my week. Are you ready? You might like to make a little drumroll sort of sound with your mouth.

Granny Square

Would you look at that thing? Those of you who’ve done 9 million of them will be saying “That’s nice dear” but it took me not one but two “How to crochet” books, each of which had a different pattern. The granny you see before you is a hodge podge of both patterns. Extensive editing of the book I’m more likely to keep (with a biro, thank you) has left me with a pattern I understand and which produces grannies with the minimum of brain ache. Okay so it’s a little bit wonky, but everything I do is really.

So now I can make that shawl for the Winter, and possibly even finish it during Winter, which is exciting. Apart from this square, which I think I’ll frame. With a little down light shining on it. In a humidity controlled room. Oh, and I’ll get one of those motion activated sound effect thingies so that every time I walk by, I get a small round of applause.

A Squishy Basket of Delight

A few years ago, I was in a skirt making phase (which I never quite left to be honest) and the lure of an “Empty the bolt” sale got to me. This is a sale my local fabric chain store holds where they give you a discount if you buy the entire rest of the bolt of fabric. I bought some sunshiny yellow flowery fabric. I say “some”, it was about 6 meters. Which I used entirely in a double-circle skirt. The skirt was… terrible. The fabric was too stiff to really be happy in a double-circle skirt. I wore it once and then put it away to “fix” later. By the time I got around to fixing it, I’d gone right off the fabric. The colours I still loved, but the design did look like toilet curtains. It’s been hanging around for ages, so this weekend I decided to use up the fabric and make a basket.

This is going to be a long post with lots of pictures, so I’ll show you the finished item first. The rest is a tutorial of sorts – these baskets are really easy to make and I’d love for you to have a go. You only need to know 2 crochet stitches – chain and single crochet. Finished Basket

It’s deliciously squishy, you should know this right up front. Mine is quite roomy, but this “pattern” (I really do use that term loosely) is completely adaptable to whatever size or depth you want. It’s one of those nifty things where you can follow the tutorial and end up with something utterly different and totally yours.

Ready? Then let us away.
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Temperature Scarf: April

Good news everyone! I’ve completely solved the “Random increases” problem I have. I’ve replaced it with random decreases.  Let’s pretend it was deliberate, to mark the shorter days of Autumn…

April Scarf

The photo makes the decreases look more drastic than they really are, but they’re still pretty obvious. Oh well, I tend to be a bit of a wonky person anyway so it’s no skin off my nose. Look in the middle! Our first “under 15” day of the year – exciting!

I’m running out of surfaces to stretch the whole thing out on for a photo. Today’s picture comes to you from the garden bench. By December I may need a basketball court.

Scarf To April I’m sure by the end of May it will be wide again. It’s just how I roll.

In other news, the Bottle Gardens are doing quite well – the Baby’s Tears are both growing cheerfully. One of the maiden hair ferns needed a repot as the string wasn’t touching the potting mix and the whole thing was drying out. It’s happier now I’ve added more string.

WIP: Temperature Scarf, March

I’m a little late to show you this, which is mean of me because I am fully aware you’ve been laying awake for the past couple of days, staring at the ceiling and wondering when, oh when would this update ever come?? Well, you can sleep soundly tonight because it’s very much here. Behold! March!
Temperature Scarf March

I was going to proudly exclaim that I had not done any random increases again this month, but looking at this photo I’m not entirely sure I didn’t. Also didn’t finish weaving in the ends, so once more I beg your forgiveness thank you kindly. Another record broken this month for most days over 30 or something. I’m not entirely sure as I was sitting under a wet towel, whimpering. It’s lovely and Autumny now though, cool nights and generally nice days. Well worth the wait.

2013 Scarf So FarHere it is in all it’s glory. I’ve just measured it, and it’s a scrap under 94cm, so if you average that over the year with complicated maths all over the place (multiplication!) it should end up approaching 3.75 meters, if not slightly longer (since months have different numbers of days and I can’t be bothered doing quite so much mathing).

I’m also working on a cross stitch cushion cover, which is not destined to cover a cushion at all. I bought one with a frog on it not long ago and it turns out to be the perfect size to re-cover a small stool in the loungeroom that needs some TLC. Rather than giving up my lovely frog, I ordered a sort of floral thingy in earthy tones, and once it’s done I might even show it to you.

 

WIP: Temperature Scarf, February

This is not the highest volume blog on the internet now is it? Oh well, I might make 20 posts by Christmas. I did intend to post during February, but as it turns out the heat was constant and unrelenting, so most of my spare time was spent laying in bed thinking “I hate this”. I did do some cross stitch, which is a WIP post for another day. I also managed to keep up with the Temperature Scarf, hooray! I just finished the last row for February a little while ago, so here it is hot off the hook:
February Section of the Temperature ScarfI seem to have overcome my random increases problem (not that it was a problem, it was a feature). I also got most of the ends tidied away this time before I took the photo. The month started promisingly cold, but the over 30 degree days won out in the end (that’s orange). Apparently Melbourne broke some kind of “Days Over 30 Degrees In February” this year, so yay. You can’t see it, but I typed that yay in an extremely deadpan way.

I’m very happy that my month divider rows came out exactly as I hoped they would, breaking the months with a neat little line of cream. Now for the scarf in full, which you will need to click on to see in all it’s glory (but you don’t have to, I won’t know if you don’t and I wouldn’t judge you even if I did know).

Scarf for Jan and FebLook at that row of blue in there being a big old weather tease.  And look how much neater February looks compared to January, crochet wise. The intended border at the end of the year should hide those wibbly bits, but if not no worries. I’m the one who’s wearing it and I don’t mind a bit of a wibble.