End of November Crafty Catch up.

my-felt-decorations-for-christmasSince November started it feels like I’ve hardly had any time for making things but looking at my photos, it turns out that isn’t true. I actually appear to have been quite busy. I’ve been sewing instead of doing my crochet.

my-felt-decs felt-christmas-decsI’ve got the school’s PTA Craft Fayre on Saturday so these decorations will hopefully be sold to lots of jolly holly people. I’ve mostly used designs from previous years. There are a few new ones too. This year I designed a bunch of mistletoe, a bell, some stars and a Christmas pudding. There are three or four other designs I came up with that haven’t made the cut and some old ones that  I didn’t bother with either. They’re more complex in their construction and they’d end up costing more. One day I’ll make the whole collection, I’ve got quite a few now. I really really want to turn them into sellable patterns but first I need to work out how to transfer rough, scribbly templates into professional printable patterns.

crochet-christmas-baubles crochet-baublesI’ve made these baubles too. Get yourself to Wilko’s to grab the naked set. £2.50 for 12. I’ve used various cotton DK’s. I’ve used mostly used Drops Muskat, Stylecraft Classique and Paintbox Yarns. My favourite is the Drops. It’s hands down, the best of the bunch (although there’s nothing wrong with the others either). The pattern is a mix of existing ones. I’ve got the book Boho Crochet which has a bauble pattern for giants. I used that as a base and took out lots of rows. I saw on Kaleidoscope City a pattern which slip stitched the two halves to the bauble and that created a lovely finish.

new-crochet-booksI went into Exeter a couple of weeks ago (and actually did some Christmas shopping!). Whilst there I popped into The Works because they now have an awesome selection of craft things. A lot of it isn’t my cup of tea but if you’re into all things crafty then there’s a shed load of treasure waiting for you. I always head for the books. I bought four because when the most expensive is four quid, why the blazes would you leave any behind? I’ve since discovered that these are new publications. New! Why are they being sold in a cheapy shop for £3 or £4??! Does it get sales figures up or something? Whatevs, I’m well pleased.

my-new-autumn-scarfThis has been one of my only crochet projects over the last few weeks. I’m making myself a scarf out of some Paintbox aran. It’s the stuff that Emma from Potter & Bloom sent me for when I tested her Geoffrey scarf. I caved and bought more colours (here, that’s the blue and green).

crochet-mohair-hatOk, I made this too. Since doing the Take Care Mohair review I’ve been on a mission to find a cheaper alternative. I feel quite guilty actually (not that I’m under any obligation) but I cannot afford to buy the Wool and the Gang stuff for experiments and pattern workings. I’m using Drops Melody instead, which is nice but not super fancy. Now that I think I have a pattern sorted I might get some of the real deal. Comparatively, it is much silkier and has a thicker halo on it. I really like the designs I’ve come up with, however, I’ve been looking at and working with mohair for two months. Do I want to buy the posh stuff when the excitement is waning? Hmm.

differencesThis picture is not a good representation as the one on the left has more stitches. But it is the Take Care Mohair and you can see that it does come out thicker and it’s a nicer pink too. Not that I have any reason to favour it other than personal preference.

mohair-yarnLaying side by side there is not much difference in yarn thickness. I think it must be the halo that adds body to the yarn. I’m trying to decide if I can recommend both yarns in the pattern I write. There might be a considerable difference in the finished product. Gah, it’s mini stumbling blocks like this that make things so much trickier than they need to be. Things I didn’t think would be important but actually are if you want to be a designer.  Boo. Anyway, it is my hope that I can write a pattern for a hat and scarf combo that I can sell. I’m miles off because the Paintbox scarf has taken my attention (I think I want to write up the pattern for that too). Maybe have some wrist warmers to go with? I say this all the time yet I still only have one pattern for sale! I’m easily distracted by new pretties, that’s my problem!

crafty-secret-santaLastly, there’s this jumble of crazy. Funny that the thing I should have finished first is the thing that I’ve left until last! Must do this today. I must also remember to take pictures of it complete!

Oky doky, I must go. Got lots to do and time is not on my side. xx

 

 

 

The Usual Crochet Catchup.

granny-makingThis week I haven’t been making my giant crochet granny blanket but here is what I’ve done so far. It is a pick up, put down type thing. I’m using up any reject colours and leftovers. I’m determined to go as big as possible. I’m itching to pick it up right now but I’ll be sewing for the next few weeks.

stitchy-xmasI’m making loads of Christmas decorations for the school fayre (fair?) in about 3 weeks. The living room is scattered with lost sequins and discarded threads. The hoover objects.

paintbox-yarnsLast weekend I got a delightful parcel in the form of some Paintbox yarns. A present from Emma of Potter and Bloom. I was lucky to be one of the first to finish pattern testing for Emma’s Geoffrey Scarf and this was my prize! It’s aran and I haven’t decided what it’ll be. Do I focus on the colours I’ve got or do I get silly and buy loads more to go with? For some reason these colours are telling me poncho but I fear it might turn out Ugly Betty. Or I could do another scarf…?

drops-melodyI met in the middle with mohair, that was tempting me recently.  I wouldn’t have given this a second look a few weeks ago but after playing with Wool and the Gang’s Take Care Mohair I went on the prowl for cheaper alternatives. I really couldn’t afford to buy the lovely stuff they gave me so I thought I’d try Drops Melody. It is a lot cheaper but it isn’t real mohair. I’ll be tinkering with it in between Christmas decorations. I also got some silk stuff to compare. I think it was on offer.

cottonI also got a mixture of cotton double knits to experiment with. These ones have been stored with the fluffy Melody and are covered in yarny short n curlies. There are worse kinds. I have a design to work on that I think will look good in cotton. I wish I had more time! I need more time.

Over on Instagram I try my best to comment on things I like. Last week, maybe the week before, I casually joined in a conversation about naming some patterns for The Crochet Project. They are releasing a gorgeous quartet of wintery patterns this weekend. I didn’t really think my comments would be considered. I’ve only been fortunate enough to name two of the four projects!! And I got the patterns for free!! I am so chuffed. I had no clue that there would be a gift or even that they’d like my suggestions. I’m very happy indeed. If you see the Kelpie hat or the Selkie cowl, I named those! (I do like my fairy lore). However, now I need to get some yarn so that I can make the patterns. It’ll need to be a little bit special too. I also have The Crochet Project shawl books on my Christmas list. I want to make it everything!

On that note, I’m off. I’m hoping that my next blog post will be about this weekend’s Tar Barrels. If I survive.

 

Take Care Mohair. A Review!!

wool-and-the-gang

Last week I got a message from Wool and The Gang asking if I’d like to have a go at playing with their new yarn, Take Care Mohair.  In return for free wool they asked if I’d be interested in writing a review.  Would I also like to host an Instagram Giveaway!!? (more on that in a minute). It’d be rude to refuse, wouldn’t it? My first thought was that they’d asked the wrong person. Maybe they actually meant to ask Blah from that other blog (I dunno, Zones & Podger or something). Then I realised I should get in quick and say “yes, please!” before they twigged they’d got the wrong person. So, I politely did my “yes, please” and hastily added “can I have the pink and more pink thank you please?”

Today I’m here to report my findings!

get-your-knit-onThere was a couple of days chatting via email, a couple of days waiting for the postman and just a handful more days immersing myself in little fluffy clouds.

share-your-knitsI loved how it arrived. The packaging is super cool. The bag was utilised as the project bag while I made my things. The box was claimed by the cat (she fits, so she sits).

all-the-pinkWhilst I waited for my yarn to arrive I started to wonder about what I could make. I did a cursory check of Pinterest and Ravelry but nothing jumped out. I’ve not noticed mohair in any shops in the last few years. I think this could be it making a come back. Looking on the WATG website, it certainly made me want the jumpers. It could even spur me on to start knitting. Hmm.

I decided that I really wanted to come up with something of my own. Seeing as we’re headed for winter and seeing as though I’m not practised in jumper designing, I went with a hat and scarf combo.

take-care-mohair-bubblegum-pinkThis was the beginning of a scarf that will sadly never be….

crochet-mohair-hat…because I ended up making two hats. They look like boobs! blancmange boobs. I don’t think I’ll name them that. I was thinking along puddingy lines though. Maybe something candyfloss related because this stuff truly does look like candyfloss. Especially when it’s slowly unfurling from the ball. I can imagine it getting twiddled round a stick.

The reason I made two hats is because I realllly didn’t like the stitch of the first one. What works for an acrylic DK swatch truly does not translate to luxury mohair! I should know this, I really should but I didn’t want to waste any of the delightful mohair on swatches. With hindsight, a couple of swatches would have been nothing compared to a whole hat’s worth of yarn. Hey ho, I played the game and kind of lost. In other circumstances a bit of unravelling would be the answer but I’m well aware that you do not frog mohair (thankfully, I knew not to even try- what a test of patience that would be!). My scarf, by the way, is about 12 inches long. And 3 inches too wide.

first-design-for-crochet-mohair-hatFirst hat. See? Ugh. Not good enough. And not what I’d pictured in my head. This was made with UK trebles. Having used a 10mm hook, the stitches were too large.

a-good-stitch-for-mohairUK doubles. Much better! I wish I’d been less hasty. I would love a matching scarf. I wanted it to have bright fluffy pompoms.

tiddly-om-pompomI made the pompoms! I’ll keep these to one side. If I cave and buy extra, I’ll at least have my pompoms waiting. To be honest, I would start from scratch; I want to try new colours!! All the colours!  I’m thinking Space black and Dusty grey, or the blues together would look good. Black and Hot Punk Pink! Black and Bubblegum! I bet they know this sort of things happens. I bet they know that I’ll just go and order loads more. I’m broke, I’m not allowed!

hat-wearing-faceAnyway, here is my daft face with the hat I don’t like much. Despite it being perched on top of my head, it does fit properly. Look at my glorious pompom!

meHere is my daft face in the one I do like. The stitch work is so much more suited to the yarn. Much better. If only I’d tried this one first, I’d have a lovely scarf too.

I’ve got a few pages of pattern scribbles and I’d like to write them up at some point. But, er, I think I need to order more yarn to see if I can get the proper scarf as well as the hat. I’m fairly certain I can. And then I’ll have a fabulous pattern to publish!

Anyway, I did mention at the beginning about a Giveway! It’s very exciting! Wool and The Gang are offering to send three balls of Take Care Mohair to one lucky individual over on Instagram (a winner will be picked at random). If you don’t have an IG account you won’t be able to enter. Very sorry about that. The details are on my account. Pop over and have a look.

Is that a review? I feel like all I’ve done is describe what happened.

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