Subjectively Necessary Yarn-Accumulation Procedure

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There’s a segment on Andrew Denton’s new show ‘Randling’ called ‘Double Speak’. Contestants have to come up with euphemisms for unfortunate occurrences. For example, a more innocuous term for bombing would be ‘high-altitude aerial persuasion’ or ‘gravity-assisted terrain reshaping device’.

Inspired by this display of witty wordplay, I’ve begun referring to my stash as my subjectively necessary yarn-accumulation procedure. And by those means of justification, here is my haul from my work’s winter sale.

These balls of Country 8ply will probably go towards making a seamless top-down jumper. I’ve been wanting to try that out for a while now. Something like this, but maybe with a bit more shaping.

I also bought some Totem DK to make crochet blankets for 107.

The blankets will just be a single colour. I’ve decided that for the green blanket I will make one square per ball, in total 20 squares to make a 4X5 square blanket. Obviously with all of the projects I already have going, and then the ones in my queue, I won’t get around to making those for a while. I did let myself do some experimenting though.
This is the kind of square I’m thinking of using. Its dimensions are roughly 25X25cm.

I got the pattern for this lovely square from the Japanese crochet book I bought from Kinokuniya a few weeks ago. I absolutely love this pattern.

I decided to work on it while catching the train home from work last week. The train was packed and everyone was off in their own little world. But as soon as I put hook to yarn, the woman next to me started asking me all these great questions about crochet and knitting. Once we started talking, all the other people around us joined in. It really made my day. They were all such nice people. None of them were crafters, but it was really awesome that they were interested in what I was doing.
This sort of thing keeps happening to me actually. For example, a woman on the train yesterday was watching me knit using the magic loop method and wanted to know how it worked. She was sick of not being able to knit socks on public transport for fear of someone bumping her and dislodging a DPN from her work. The conversation was cut short because I was only on for one more stop, but she was a genuinely lovely person and I only wish we could have chatted for longer…

I mentioned last time that I bought some cashmere-merino blend to dye naturally. Here it is in all its undyed, soft and abundant glory! Isn’t it grand?

Oh, the effort exerted by carrying all of these on the peak-hour bus home! Mind you, for every sale pack of wool, I received a free pattern book. Eight free pattern books! I felt like one of those insane Boxing Day Sale shoppers who carries home their own weight in post-Christmas bargains. And in my own very special way, I suppose I was.

In other news, I finished the contrast socks! Woo hoo! They were so much fun to make. I’m decidedly a toe-up convert. I’ll definitely be stocking up on Greystone before the sale is over so I can keep making these little beauties.

Today, I’ll leave you with this: While I was snapping away with my camera, Timmy became entranced by the carry bags I’d used to get the wool home. I managed to quickly catch a couple of blurry, but still adorable, photos of him investigating before he decided they weren’t as entertaining as first anticipated.

Until next time.

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Blogger Awards: Installment #1

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It occurred to me that I don’t follow nearly enough blogs. I mean, I follow a few. But when I was nominated for the Liebster and the Versatile Blogger Awards recently, I realised that I couldn’t possibly drum up the required list of blogs I wanted to nominate.
So I figured I could take the easy route and nominate the list for both awards at the same time. But the problem arose when I realised that I only follow a handful of blogs that I could nominate that have fewer than 200 followers (a requirement for the Liebster Award).

So began trawling the internet for blogs that caught my eye and went on a following spree. This was great because I’ve been really quite sick for the last week and haven’t been able to do very much at all. I’ve hardly even had the energy to knit or crochet, shock horror! So it was nice to go around and find some new and inspiring crafty people.

I’m going to split this into two posts. The first will be about the Liebster Award. The second one will be about the Versatile Award which will give me a bit more time to find 15 blogs and decide on the seven fun facts I want to disclose which might take me a little while to compose.

Dara from Coffee & Lilacs nominated me for the Liebster Blogger Award.
She’s rad. She’s reconstructed an old, well-loved Babar toy using the miraculous art of crochet. (That’s close to my heart; my eyes still well up with tears whenever I hear the Babar tv show theme.) She’s made the loveliest collection of crafty Easter goodies. And she leaves the nicest comments. Aaaagh! If only I could renominate her, but I suppose this little spiel is as close as I can get to that.

She explained in her post that I needed to post the award badge and some flowers. So, here’s the badge.

Unfortunately I don’t have any photos of flowers that are my own (except for some ridiculous ones of myself in a head-wreath at a Mexican Day of the Dead/Frida Kahlo themed party). Just imagine the flowers. Some really lovely, pretty scented flowers. Your favourite kind. Better than any other bouquet you’ve ever set eyes upon. Yes. That’s it.

My 3 lovely nominees are…

Emma from Gingerknitters! What a beautiful blog, my dear crafty friends. Selected highlights include these knitted mochimochi cascarones for Easter, those knitted herringbone fingerless gloves, and the envy I felt when reading this. Go, go, go! Read this blog.

‘Craftlyn’ from Craftaceous Period! She’s genuinely doing a granny a day. And these are some of the most visually delicious grannys I’ve ever visually feasted upon. Now I want to do a granny a day, but I’m fairly sure I don’t have the patience. Also because I get so easily distracted and have so many projects going on. I really, really admire her focus. Oh, and  her wit. She makes very honest and often very funny comments with each of her granny posts. Excuse me, friends. I’m gushing and I shall move on now.

Crochetlatte! So many gorgeous, delectable free patterns! So many gorgeous, delectable photos! So much gorgeousness and delectability all ’round. The blog’s subtitle states that the patterns are ‘quality’. I can verify this remark. (If you’re interested, Crochetlatte, I don’t mind doing some kind of endorsement.)

I’m not sure how many followers each of these blogs has and whether that makes them ineligible, but who cares! They all deserve a heap of praise and I hope you’ll take the time to check them out.

Completed cardigan and incomplete everything else…

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I finished the chevron cardigan! It’s taken me a while to actually upload the photos, but here it is in all its glory paired up with the dress it’s going to de-funeralise. It’s virtually unblocked here, as I have to take it on a long car journey before I have to wear it so I figure I’ll iron out all the wrinkles and uneveness when I get there.

After finishing it I had a little ‘well, what next?’ moment, which was totally uncalled for considering what I found in my project bag…

This is the basque, or beginnings of a basque, to a vest from the new Patons Classics book. There are so many great designs in the book, particularly a cabled aran-style cardigan that has a lovely silhouette… No! I mustn’t tempt myself!!

My grandmother has been teaching me how to dye yarns and this was my first effort. It was a bit of a crazy experiment but I’m really happy with the results. We used white Bluebell 5ply crepe and powder dyes. Unfortunately I don’t have any photos of how it looks in the skein, but here is what it looks like in the ball…

With all that to do I surely don’t need another project, but that’s not the haphazard, prolific way I go about things!

So here’s a cabled scarf I’m making using Schoppel Wolle’s Cashmere Queen. It’s a cashmere, silk and merino blend. When I first felt it in the ball I thought it was nothing special, and certainly not worth the price, but when I felt a knitted sample I just knew I had to make something with it! The friction of knitting it causes it to fluff up and become incredibly downy and soft. This will probably be the most expensive scarf I’ll ever make, but it’s so worth it.

I have an 8 hour car journey tomorrow so I’m planning to finish it on the way as my destination it’s going to be brutally cold and windy! During the 8 hour return journey I’m hoping to finish the border of the ’70s hexagon blanket. I’m sure it’ll have the bonus of keeping me cosy on the way.

I’ve also started working on the Woodley-inspired granny square jumper, but I can’t for the life of me decide how I should join them. Here is an experiment where I’ve joined them as I’ve gone. It leaves a bit of a ridge which could be a design feature, but I’m afraid it’s just a tad too ridge-y for that. I may just whip stitch the whole thing together if I come to a conclusion that it is too ridge-y, although that will use up a lot more wool (and time!) I think some more experimenting; I need to find a way that joins as you go, lies flatter and uses up less yarn than whip stitching.

And that’s all not to mention the still in-progress blankets and a newly begun Kaffe Fassett-inspired fair-isle scarf for 107. Phew! I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me. Lucky I have this car journey tomorrow to get some done…

I wish I could resolve to not start anything new until I finish all of these projects, but I know I’ll just break the promise to myself and feel bad, and so I’ll buy wool to make me feel better and that will cause me to start a new project only fulfilling the cycle. So yeah, we’ll see how the car journey goes…

Crocheted Collar-related experimentation

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I hope you all had/are having (depending on where you are in the world!) a lovely Good Friday. I spent mine experimenting with crocheted detachable collars…

The first one I made using a pattern from Mel P Designs. I used Morris’ Empire 4ply superwash merino (the same as what my Plumage gloves are made from). It’s so very soft and shouldn’t irritate the skin as it has almost no halo to it. It almost looks cottony.

I was really happy with the way it turned out, although I did do some tweaking. The original doesn’t have the scalloped edge. I got the idea for that particular edging from this crochet collar pattern by iro iro. I thought it was an adorable addition and that it was a bit more my cousin’s style as this collar is for her.

I also made one of iro iro’s crochet collars in some Morris’ Estate 8ply. It’s a little scratchier than the merino, but this collar sits lower and so will make less contact with one’s neck. I decided to use a hook and eye closure at the back instead of a snap closure. I’m much more a fan of peter pan collars, but I still love this round collar to bits.

Here’s a close-up of the edging. It’s very sweet and I’m certain I’ll use it on many projects to come.

This collar is to be gifted to a friend first thing tomorrow.

Because neither of these collars are my own design, they’re not something I could sell at 107. However, I was thinking that the chevron cardigan that inspired this whole crocheted collar idea could be augmented and downsized and crocheted in white to make a kind of yoke/collar too. I love the peter pan collar too much to do away with the idea of making them for 107, so I’ll probably do some more fiddling around until I come up with my own pattern.

So with a bit more experimenting, I’m sure I’ll have a few different collars that I can sell. Maybe I could make a few basic collars, similar to Mel P Designs’, and use different edgings on each…? Scallops? Picots? Miniature flowers? Beading? I’ll get back to you on that one.

But for now, I just wanted to leave you with some photos I quickly took of a granny square blanket I recently inherited.

It was made either by my grandmother, or my great-grandmother (we’re not entirely sure) and it’s quite incredible. It’s 16 by 21 squares, plus each square is bordered by two rows of single crochet. I’m guessing it’s done in 4 ply with a 3.5mm hook though the squares on the edge are all done with a smaller hook and have an extra row. Imagine all that work! Imagine weaving in all those ends! No, I can’t imagine it either; it’s just too incredible.

Unfortunately the blanket needs a little repair. Some of the holes are quite superficial – for example, where the slip stitch join at the end of a round has come undone and needs rejoining.

But some of the holes are quite big.

I’m hoping I’ll find the time to give it a once over and fix up any holes. The really big ones will need a bit of planning before I attempt any drastic surgery.

In the next few days I’ll take some photos to show you how immense and glorious the blanket really is. Oh, and I just have the front bands left to do of the chevron cardigan. So excited to finish!

Surprise delivery!

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This morning I was hoping for a decent sleep in, but to no avail. I was raised from my slumber by an irritatingly loud knock at my front door, and the subsequent over-enthusiastic barking of my dog. I prepared myself to unleash my wrath upon the perpetrator, but there was no one there. Then I looked at the front step. Yes, friends. I couldn’t believe it, but there lay the most beautiful cardboard box I’ve ever had the privilege to lay eyes upon.

I couldn’t believe it had arrived so quickly, but there it was; my order from Abundant Yarn. Dare I open it? Today was my last full day to finish off my little bits and bobs for the 107 opening and I knew that if I did open it I would succumb to the temptation of starting a new project and thus forget about what I was supposed to be doing.

So I opened it.

And there lay a handwritten note and the sweetest little stitch markers I ever did saw! Oh gosh! How my heart sang. That was just to kind of the nice people at Abundant Yarn. And how did they know that I was running low on stitch markers, hmm? It must be some kind of crafty telepathy…

Underneath that lovely surprise was this:

Noro Retro. I must admit, this was an impulse buy. I was going through their stash sale yarn and I couldn’t resist. It’s an angora, wool and silk blend, and the colours were just so dazzling! I’m not sure what I’ll make with it, but I just knew that I had to have it.

Then, underneath that was this:

Another two balls of Noro Retro, and a couple of balls of Cascade 220. Less visually exciting, I know, but that was just preparing me for what I knew was coming…

Because underneath that was this:

Ahhhhhhh!! So much colour! Oh, Cascade 220, you do not disappoint! I was unsure as I’ve heard mixed reviews about you, but I don’t care anymore! Why? Because you’re mine!

I’d planning to make a granny square jumper not dissimilar to Olivia’s from the ABC1 TV show ‘Woodley’. The only thing stopping me was not having the wool for it.

(The gorgeous images above belong to the ABC, and no harm is meant by my using them here. If anything, I’m just singing the praises of the costume department!)

I was taken by this jumper a few weeks ago when I first saw the episode. Promptly afterward, a number of people asked me if I’d a. seen the episode, and b. was planning on making something similar. As you can guess, my answers were both resounding yeses.

Determined not to be swept away with the joyful prospect of making a jumper like dear little Olivia’s, I forced myself to finish the granny handbag I’ve mentioned before. It was a struggle to stay focused (granny square jumper, ahhh!!!), but I somehow managed it.

And the reverse side…

I’ve also finished the crocheted scarf. It’s not the 16 squares I had planned, but after blocking it at 12 squares long it gained a fair bit of length so I decided to stop. It’s long enough to wrap around twice with plenty of scarf left, which is probably the most you’d need from a scarf. I couldn’t find anywhere appropriate to drape it, so I artfully shaped it into an ‘m’ to photograph it. (Subtle, shameless self-promotion.) I’ll have to find someone to model it for me because it looks ten-fold better when it’s on.

And that’s about all I have to show for today’s efforts. I’ll admit, I did procrastinate finishing the bag and scarf. I wouldn’t be a true crazy yarn-lady if I didn’t as least frolick a little with my new additions to my stash…

A visual feast to tide you over

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Here are some things I’ve been working on over the last few weeks…

This is soon to be a handbag! I’m just in the process of joining all the squares together so that I can add handles. Each square is roughly 12x12cm and there are two by two squares on each side of the bag making it about 24x24cm in size all up. I used an extra small hook to crochet this to avoid the possibility of any important things escaping the bag during use. Perhaps I will have to line it, but vigorous testing so far has shown that not even 5c pieces are able to escape the clutches of this bag. However, pens might be another problem… I’ll investigate this further once it has assumed a more baggish shape…

This is the beginnings of a scarf using one of my favourite crocheted square patterns from an old Mon Tricot stitch guide that was given to me by my grandmother. There are some pretty interesting fibres in this project. Aside from lambs wool, the burgundy and navy squares contain cashmere and silk, while the grey variegated squares contain soybean silk fibre! It’s really interesting to work with the soybean wool. It not only variegates, but goes thick and thin, thick and thin, thick and even thinner… But the results are gorgeous, so I’ll definitely be using it again. The finished scarf will consist of 16 squares and measure about 10cm x 2m.

Coasters! Yay! Here are two sets of four coasters made from 100% US grown cotton. The ’70s was a good decade for crocheted homewares, so I wanted to provide 107 with something reminiscent of that era but with a more updated colour scheme. So here are the coasters at work, protecting wooden surfaces in a stylish fashion:

Plans are to make another few sets, but I have yet to decide on colour schemes and shapes for these.

Again, returning to the fabulous and inspirational decade of the ’70s, I’m nearing the end of a rather mammoth crochet project; a hexagon blanket. (The pattern I’ve used is ‘Juggling Hexes’ by Wendy Harbaugh.)

This time the ’70s inspiration manifests in the colours which tread a fine line between gaudy and tasteful. The blanket is pure Australian wool and is lovely and warm. It’s got to the stage where I can work on it and use it at the same time which is incredibly satisfying. I’ve been crocheting the inside circles for 9 hexes at a time and then joining them as I crochet the outside row.

Sadly, this one’s not for 107. I’m far too attached to it. But never fear, for I’ve just begun another blanket that will be available in the coming months!

I’m using Fibranatura’s 100% organic cotton to make a lovely, soft and sustainable blanket. At the moment, the blanket is just a pile of un-joined circles, but in the end the plan is to border them with a cream coloured edging and turn them into squares. Every square is going to have a completely different colour combination to every other square in the blanket.

Don’t the cottons look gorgeous all together in their perfect little balls?! Guh! I hate to spoil them, but I have faith that the blanket will look equally, if not just as gorgeous in the end… fingers crossed! What I find really adorable is that Fibranatura gives each of its colours a woman’s name. The six colours I’m using are affectionately known as Sally, Gena, Susan, Lorna, Janene and Monica. Oh, and Cream. So Cream’s not a woman’s name, but still, it’s cute. Way cute.

Anyway, I’ll just cap this post off by showing you one last little tidbit for 107…

This miniature knitting brooch measures about 3x5cm and will be available in several delightful colours. Show your love of crafting by donning one of these on your lapel!

Anyway, so on and so forth, and so long. I hope you enjoyed this taster of some of the creations for morganhausen.