Birthday Presents!

The Birthday Girl has now seen photos of her presents, so I can finally share them with you! She loves them, thankfully. I’m always a little worried when I make things for people…

I bought 4 skeins of Malabrigo Worsted in the Amor Intenso colorway, in a destash on ravelry. I got a great deal for some gorgeous yarn. Unfortunately, it is pure Merino wool and subject to felting. Since I’m not a hand wash, lay flat to dry kind of person, I knew this lovely yarn wouldn’t be used to make things for myself.

My sister is probably the most knitworthy person that I know. She takes such good care of things. She doesn’t mind hand washing stuff. And she’s also a yarn lover, herself. So, she appreciates the effort that goes into hand knitting or crocheting things. I knew that the yarn would be made into things for her.

Because she and I have differing tastes, I had to show her the yarn (to make sure she liked it). I also had to ask her what she wanted me to make and I asked for some pattern suggestions. I know, I know, it takes all the surprise out of the gifts… But, I wanted her to have things that she would like and enjoy using.

She suggested that I make her a hat, or some fingerless mitts, or a hooded scarf. She sent me two pattern suggestions: one for a crocheted hat and one for a crocheted hooded scarf. Unfortunately, both patterns were poorly written – so, I had to scratch those off the list. But, I did have a good idea of the style that she was looking for, which was helpful.

She enjoys crocheting, but she really isn’t into knitting. She knows how to knit, but she really doesn’t enjoy it. So, I wanted to make her at least one thing that was hand knit. After much research and several false starts (going through patterns that weren’t well written – many that I paid for!), I finally settled on three patterns – one for a crocheted hat, one for knit fingerless mitts and one for a knit scarf.

The first thing I made was the Combination Summer Hat. It is mostly crocheted and free. I modified the pattern to make it a little bit longer than the pattern called for. My sister has dreadlocks and I wanted to be sure that this would cover them well. As you can see, it has a k1p1 rib band. The stretchy ribbing helps keep it securely on the head.

Combination Summer Hat 1 Combination Summer Hat 2

The body of this hat was crocheted with a 6.5mm (K) hook. I then knit 9 rounds of k1p1 rib with a 5.5mm knook. I intended to do 10+ rounds of rib. But, by the time I got to the 9th round, I had lost my will to live and decided to quit while I was ahead. This hat took less than a skein of yarn. The color in this photo is wrong. There really isn’t any purple in this yarn – it’s more of a burgundy. Very difficult yarn to photograph. This hat took me a few hours to make. I finished it in an evening.

The next thing I made was a pair of fingerless mitts. Again, I went through a few patterns before I found one that was both simple and well-written. I settled on the Doppelbock Mitts pattern. This pattern set me back 5 bucks, but it was totally worth it to me. The pattern is very easy to memorize and I think it would be easy to customize. I made them to pattern, but it’s so simple, if you want to make them larger (or smaller) that would be easily accomplished. As an aside, I absolutely LOVE the texture of this fabric. It is a slip-stitch pattern that reminds me of the eye-of-partridge. And I’m not sure if it’s just the yarn, or the pattern, or a combination of the two, but these mitts are very thick and squishy.

Dopplebock Mitts 1 Dopplebock Mitts 4

The color is a little better in these pictures, but not much… Still too purple. Anyhoo… These are made bottom-up, so you’re starting from the cuff. I used a 4.5mm knook for the cuff and body and the ribbing at the fingers was made with a 4mm knook. In hindsight, I wish that I had used the 4mm knook for the bottom cuff, too. Lesson learned. I used less than a skein of yarn for the pair. Again, these didn’t take long to make. It took me a day to make one, so two days for the pair. But it was a fun knit, not boring at all.

Again, much research went into the scarf pattern. The pattern that she sent me was pretty holey and I just didn’t think that would be very good. We get pretty cold here and I thought that a solid fabric would be best. I took away about half the mesh from her hat (the pattern she chose was pretty much all mesh) and figured I could probably get away with taking the mesh from her scarf, as well. I wanted a solid fabric, but it needed to have some texture… Plain stockinette, or garter, or ribbing, wasn’t going to do.

I finally settled on the Surco Scarf pattern. Here’s the pattern page on ravelry, if you’re interested. This pattern was free and with – essentially – only two rows, it’s super easy. I really like the texture and the fact that it lays completely flat.

Surco Scarf 2 Resized Surco Scarf 4 Resized

The color in these photos are the closest yet. Again, this was really easy to do. But, it’s more-or-less k2p1 rib. Which, after a while, becomes emotionally painful for me to make. After making the hat and the mitts, I had two full skeins and two partial skeins of yarn leftover. I had initially intended to use it all up on the scarf. After I got the first full skein knit up, I had some slight inklings of doubt. I then finished one of the partial skeins and realized that there was no way it was going to happen. I was so bored that I actually started crocheting a sweater. I decided that I would finish up the other partial skein of yarn and call it good. That’s what I did. It’s long enough to wrap twice around the neck. And I left the final yarn tail long, just in case she decides that she wants to make it a long cowl and sew the ends together. I made this using a 4.5mm knook. It took me a bit over 16 hours to make.

I decided that I would also gift to her the final full skein of yarn that I have left. I really have no use for it, myself, and I think she will enjoy using it to make herself something. I am going to go see her this weekend and give them to her then.

Works in Progress

I realize that it has been a while since I’ve written.

As soon as I was finished with my friend’s hooded scarf, in January, I cast on for some gifts for my sister. She has a birthday coming up soon.

I won’t post photos, because I don’t know whether or not she looks at this blog. I will say, however, that I have made her a pair of knit fingerless mitts, a crocheted hat and I am currently working on a knit scarf. I love them all and I hope that she does, too.

To break up the monotony of the scarf, I’ve started a crocheted sweater for myself. The instructions (not really a pattern, per se) can be found here: The Laughing Willow and the Ravelry pattern page can be found by clicking here.

Santa was good to me, Christmas last, and I got a lot of Red Heart Super Saver yarn in the Pink Camo colorway. I love the color of that yarn… It’s pretty, feminine and has a bit of a romantic feel to me. And it matches my summer bedspread, perfectly. So, this is what I’m using for the sweater.

I have plans for another crocheted sweater, as well, but I don’t have the yarn I want for that. I’ll have to acquire some.

I’m not sure why I’ve been having such an urge to make sweaters… I think it may have something to do with the fact that I think that, as a yarn crafter, I really shouldn’t be running around in ratty sweatshirts all the time.

So, watch this space! I should be posting some photos in the next few weeks!

Lacy Hooded Scarf

Another dear friend of mine just celebrated her birthday. She is one of the kindest, sweetest, women I know. She has done so much for us.

In her younger years, she collected goats. She moved a very large herd (at least 150 head) from San Clemente Island (off the coast of California) to Central Oregon. I didn’t know her then, but I know for a fact that she loved her goats very much.

Whenever something causes us to have to leave the farm for a few days, she always steps right up and offers to take care of our critters and our crops. Of course, she absolutely loves my goats. But, really, who doesn’t???

At any rate… She is getting older – I believe she is on the upside of 70 now. Years of hard work have taken its toll on her. She lives a mountain-woman lifestyle and it has been very physically demanding. It’s beginning to show. A stubborn woman (well, she is a Capricorn!) she refuses to let us help her with any of the things she needs to get done around her homestead.

I had to try to think of something for her birthday… Something that really showed how much I care for her. It had to be something that she couldn’t refuse and she couldn’t give back. Therefore, I knew it had to be handmade.

My friend has the most beautiful eyes. They are large, round, and a lovely, dove grey. I’ve never known anyone with grey eyes before. Time has given her lovely silver hair, which one can tell was once very dark.

I found some lovely grey yarn, at Knit Picks. It is part of their Swish line, which is 100% superwash Merino wool. The color I chose matches her eyes. It’s called Dove Heather. Once I decided on the yarn, I started hunting for a pattern.

Dove Heather

It took me a few months to find the right pattern for her. I knew that I wanted to make something for her to wear. It needed to be something to help her stay warm. I thought about hats and scarves and gloves and cowls. I just had a heck of a time settling on something!

Finally, while perusing Ravelry, I found it. The perfect pattern! The Lacy Hooded Scarf seemed like the perfect thing! It had enough solid parts to keep her hair dry and enough lace to keep it feminine. Despite her rough lifestyle, she is very much, 100% feminine.

I ordered the yarn and ordered the pattern.

Judy Scarf 3

I really thought that it would only take me about a week to make this scarf. The pattern was simple enough. I really thought it was going to be a breeze. I thought wrong! I gave myself one month of lead time, before her birthday. Working on this, day and night, it took me 24 days. There were a few days that I seriously didn’t think I would get it finished in time.

Judy Scarf 2

The pattern is a 16-row repeat. As such, it was too long for me to memorize. Also, it’s worked from the bottom up – so it gets wider, the further along you go. You work the two halves separately and then sew them together.

Judy Scarf 4

I knit this using a 4.5mm knook. The yarn is a DK weight yarn. It took a scant few yards shy of 5 balls of yarn for this project. I was terrified that I would run out of yarn. I didn’t have enough time to order, receive and knit another ball before the big day arrived.

Judy Scarf 1

In addition to this being the most complicated lace pattern that I’ve ever knit, I had another first with this pattern. I learned the Russian join, for joining yarn ends. I must say, I really like that join! It takes a bit more yarn than I care for; but it is a nice, secure join and there are no ends to weave in! In the future, when I am joining ends without changing colors, I am definitely going to use that join.

For the most part, I’m very happy with how this scarf turned out. There are a few things that I’m not entirely happy with though…

I wish that I had added a few more garter stitches on the sides than was called for in the pattern. There aren’t enough and because it’s stockinette, it curls. Though, in retrospect, if I had done that, I would have surely run out of yarn.

Also, I’ve never worked with superwash Merino before. When researching how to block it, I learned that it should be machine washed and dried. I did this and it pilled significantly. Thankfully, it didn’t felt.

The pattern calls for using a visible seam, on the outside of the scarf. So, I did a crochet slip stitch seam. It’s a heavier seam than I like.

Lastly, I hit a snag near the end of the pattern itself. Thankfully, I was able to wing it and finish up.

Even with all the (minor) things that I’m not happy with… The recipient cried when she received it.

And to me, that makes it all worth it.

DK Boot Socks

It’s not very often that my sweetheart requests that I make something for him. So, when he does, I jump to it.

A few years ago, I bought him a pair of snow boots. He wasn’t with me at the time, so he couldn’t try them on. As it turns out, they were a bit too big. But, he desperately needed the boots, so I didn’t exchange them. He has been wearing them, uncomfortably, with heavy socks. This has not been ideal.

He requested that I make him some boot socks. These were to be worn over the top of another pair of heavy socks (to help take up some of the slack inside the boots). He wanted them to be made from yarn that was a combination of wool and cotton (another reason they would be worn over other socks, is because he is sensitive to wool and can’t have it against his skin). He also said he wanted them to be made from “fluffier” yarn; he meant thick yarn, rather than sock yarn.

I had been looking for some yarn that met those characteristics and I found some. It was going to be rather expensive, but he’s worth it. Then, I was on Ravelry one day and I saw that a gal in one of my groups was destashing several balls of yarn that would be perfect (and for a great price). I swooped in, quickly!

The yarn is Rowan Amy Butler Belle Organic Aran. It is a DK weight yarn in the colorway Peacock (a lovely teal-ish color). The yarn is soft and squishy. It would be very comfy made into a sweater or something like that. If you can wear wool, I would suggest you get some of that yarn. The only bad thing about it is that it’s hand wash/lay flat to dry. I did a test to see how easily it felts… It felts very easily. But, these socks won’t really get dirty, so hand washing is fine.

The pattern that I used to make the socks is the Mash-Up Magic Toe-Up Socks (Recipe). You can download the pattern on Ravelry or click here to go to her personal website.

Before I had made this pair of socks, I had only ever made two other socks (not a pair). The first one was a baby sock and the second one was made using the above pattern/recipe. It made a perfectly-fitting sock and I decided that it would likely be my go-to pattern for sock making.

My knitting tool of choice is a knook, so that’s what I used to make these. The yarn calls for a size 7 needle, but I wanted it to be a bit firmer of a fabric, so I went with a size 6 (4mm). It did make a firmer fabric, as I’d hoped, but it’s still not terribly stiff or anything. The squishiness of this yarn makes it very forgiving.

Each sock took one-yard shy of one ball of yarn. The socks are a bit shorter than he wanted, but they do the job that they were intended to do. They keep his feet much warmer and they take up quite a bit of slack inside his boots.

I did a crochet cast on. Primary stitch count was 40. The heel flap is a columnar slip stitch heel. I did 19 rounds of a K2, P2 rib for the cuff. And I did a Russian bind off. They fit perfectly. He says that he’s never had, in his whole life, a pair of socks that fit so well.

It took me a day to make one sock, but I’m a slow knitter.

Boot Socks 1

Boot Socks 2

I’ve started a pair of regular socks (using sock yarn) for myself. I’ll write a post about those, once they’re finished.

Knooking Entrelac

I did a google search for knooking entrelac and I got no hits. So, I decided to try to figure it out for myself.

Essentially, knitting entrelac is just making a series of rectangles, one at a time. One row of rectangles leans to the left and the next row leans to the right. It looks like a diagonal basket weave. It’s quite simple and fun to do.

When making it with two needles, you make your rectangles and slide them over onto one of the needles to wait, while you make the next one. I couldn’t figure out how to do this with the knook, because one is left with live stitches that need to be held until the next row of rectangles is made. And since our second “needle” is already in use, I didn’t know how to get it to work while still being able to work back and forth.

What I decided to do was use little pieces of ribbon to hold the live stitches on the waiting rectangles. This frees up my knooking cord for making the next row of rectangles.

Following this wonderful entrelac tutorial I made this:

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Initial triangles:

23153103405_cf025a3471_z

First rectangle:

22785136959_d5206d7632_z

First row of rectangles done:

23189016231_a3d5813f6e_z

Working on the second row of rectangles:

22785153279_fae7b4d655_z

22857344860_2d84b63b60_z

I completed three rows of rectangles and then finished off.

This was an 8-stitch entrelac pattern, so it didn’t take very long cords to do. I found that I was cutting my small “holding” strips of ribbon (for the stitches that were waiting) a bit too short. As I was working those stitches, the ribbon would sometimes slip out of the stitches. Thankfully, this was Red Heart Super Saver yarn, so it was fairly grabby and I was able to get a locking stitch marker into them to keep them from laddering down.

When I finished a rectangle, I would take the little piece of ribbon out of the one below (that I just finished picking up the stitches on) and reuse the ribbon. So, it didn’t take very many pieces of ribbon.

Also, because you are working back and forth (almost like short rows) the knook cord doesn’t have to be very long either.

And that’s it!

I know this post is brief, but I just wanted to let you know that, YES! Knooking entrelac really is possible! And hopefully this little bit of instruction will help you be able to do this fun stitch, too!

As always, if you have any questions or need some clarification, please feel free to contact me. I’m happy to help.

Yarn Clouds Blanket

Well, I finally finished and photographed the afghan! I haven’t yet blocked it, though.

I used the pattern for the Yarn Clouds Square (find it here), however I only went through 11 rounds.

I made 8 full squares and 6 half squares. I had intended to make 4 quarter squares for the corners, but I ran out of the purple yarn. Therefore, my corners aren’t pointed.

I turned the squares on point (with a column of 3 diamonds on the right and left and a column of 2 diamonds in the middle) and used the half squares around the outside to make the edges straight.

I used the Flat Braid Join (instructions here). For instruction on how to join the squares, halves and quarters, refer to this page at the same site (it’s a different afghan and a more elaborate join, but you’ll be able to see what order to do things). Also, at that site, you will see a placement diagram, my blanket basically consists of squares 1-8. My chain length for the braid was 7. For the corners, I put the join in between dc 4 and 5. On the sides, I put the joins in the 3rd dc of each cluster.

I finished with a simple single-crochet border. Again, this was practical, as I was almost out of the white yarn.

Unblocked, the blanket measures 3-feet wide and 5-feet, 1-inch long. Each square measures a little over 16 inches, point to point.

I used Red Heart Super Saver yarn in the colorways: Soft White and Wildflowers. My hook size was K-6.5mm.Half-square and quarter-square guidelines can be found below the photos.I couldn’t get the whole thing in the picture. The felines were bristling at the thought of being displaced. At the very bottom is a half square:Yarn Clouds 1Half-square:Yarn Clouds Half Square55mm lens cap for perspective:Yarn Clouds Lens CapThis one was taken at my desk, in horrible lighting, with my phone. The colors are absolutely not correct. But, it gives you an idea of the construction for the quarter square.Yarn Clouds Quarter Square

Since I have not obtained permission to recreate the Yarn Clouds pattern, I am just going to post my notes on how to alter the pattern to make half and quarter squares. You will need to refer to the original pattern to know how to work the stitches.

Half Square:

You will be changing colors with each row and you will not turn your work – keep the right side facing.

With purple, chain 5 and join to form a loop. Chain 4. In loop: 3dc, ch3, 3dc, ch1, dc. Fasten off. What you have here are two groups of 3dc, flanked by a ch1 space and 1dc on each end.

Join white, working into the ch1 space on the end, ch4 and then work 3dc into the same ch1 space. Chain 2 and skip the next 3dc. Working into the chain-3 space, 3dc, ch3, 3dc. Chain 2 and skip the next 3dc. In final ch1 space, 3dc, ch1, 1dc. Fasten off.

For the next 9 rows, you will be working the same way you do for the squares. The purple shells will be worked into the chain spaces (with the center ch3 space being treated as a corner). And the white will be worked as bpdc, with the same spacing as the original pattern. Again, as in the original pattern, you will work the apex the same as you would the corner.

The only difference, is in how you will handle each end.

At the beginning of each purple row, you will ch3 (1st dc) and then 3dc into the ch1 space left by the white. At the end of the purple row, you will work 4dc in that chain space.

At the beginning of each white row, you will join the yarn between the 1st and 2nd dc and then ch4 (this counts as dc and ch1 space). You will then work across the next purple 3dc, as in the pattern. To end the white row, you will work through the purples like you did at the beginning, ch1 and then dc between the last two dc.

Quarter Square:

Things are done much the same way. Working in rows, change color after each row, do not turn your work – right sides facing all the time.

With white: Chain 38, dc in 6th ch from hook and in the next 2ch. Chain 2, skip 2 chains, dc in the next 3 chains. Chain 2, skip 2 chains, dc in the next 3 chains. Continue this until you have 6 groups of dc. Join to end. The end loops constitute your dc and ch1 space.

Again, really, the only deviation from the original pattern is that you have ends that you are working (just like with the half square).

The purple ends consist of 4dc (ch3 and 3dc at the beginning) in each of the white ch1 spaces.

At the beginning of the white rows, you will join with back post stitch to the 3rd dc and ch4 (counts as dc and ch1). At the end of the white row, chain 1 and join with a bpdc to the 2nd dc.

You will do this until you have 5 rows of white and 5 rows of purple. One exception: on the top row of purple, you will work 8 dc into that center “corner” space, still putting 4 on each end. I did not make that white chain space bigger, you can if you’d like.

Now, you’re going to turn the whole thing 180-degrees. You will now be working over the original foundation chain. Keep it right side facing!

Join purple. You will be working similarly to the pattern, again. The only difference being the ends. Work 8dc into each end. Treat the rest of the row as you would any other in this pattern.

You will end up with a triangle with 8dc at each point. You should now have a total of 11 rows, 6 purples and 5 whites.

I’m really not a pattern writer, I’m afraid. And I hated having to be so vague. Hopefully these instructions make sense. If you have any questions, I’m happy to help.

Yarn Clouds Work In Progress

I found a really cute square on ravelry awhile back: pattern here. I decided to work it up, because it looked fun. Well, it was so pretty, I decided that I wanted to make a blanket out of it (incidentally, I’m not making all 12 rounds of the square). Autumn has definitely arrived in our neck of the woods and I really could use a small throw.

You may have noticed my last post, which was regarding half- and quarter-granny triangles. This blanket was the reason for that post.

For this blanket, I’ve decided that I want to turn the squares on point and orient them as diamonds. When one does this, if one wishes to have non-jagged sides, one needs to make half and quarter triangles to fill in the gaps between the squares.

This particular square pattern that I’ve chosen has a sort of nap, if you will. The back-post stitches give it a definite direction. Working the half squares was going to be straightforward. They are worked from the point out, just like the squares are worked from the center out. No worries there.

The problem was going to be for the quarter squares. These are the pieces that will go on each of the four corners. The orientation on these is that the points are actually going away from the center of the blanket. Therefore, working the pattern from the point, would orient the nap of the fabric in the opposite direction of the rest of the blanket. Cue facepalm.

Unfortunately, the tutorial that I linked to in my last post will not work.

But, alas, with some experimentation, I was able to figure it out! I wrote down my pattern for the properly-oriented quarter granny and I will share it with you when I post my tah-dah.

I have two more full squares to finish, six half-square triangles and three quarter-square triangles. I plan on using the flat braid join.

To be continued…

Crochet Quarter- and Half-Granny Triangles

I was having a lot of problems finding information on how to make a quarter- and half-granny triangle. The one and only place that the instructions were posted, was now defunct. I’ve been wracking my brain for days!

I was about to start experimenting. Sadly, I’m not very clever and those sorts of things never seem to work out for me.

A few minutes ago, I remembered the Wayback Machine! That was the answer!

So, if you’re interested in how to make a quarter- or half-granny triangle, click here. The link will take you to the archived post in the Wayback Machine.

I hope this helps!

Meow

Well, there’s not much news from around here.

My middle son (the one whose baby passed away) got married in August. I don’t yet have any pictures to share, at this point. It was a fun wedding and reception.

Also in August, my friend, P., had a birthday. I didn’t have her birthday written on my calendar, so I didn’t realize that it was her birthday until I logged on to facebook.

I had to scramble to find a pattern and make her a gift – quickly. I found the pattern for the Karmic Kitty and I thought it was very cute.

I used stash yarn to make it; he’s even stuffed with stash yarn! It took me about 7 hours to make the whole thing.

P. absolutely loves him and said that he will accompany her on all of her road trips, as he’s the perfect size for sleeping in the car.

Karmic Kitty

The OCD part of me does not like that the mandala isn’t lined up symmetrically. But, that’s just how the pattern worked out. But, my friend loves him and really that’s all that counts. Both sides are the same.

Another friend, B., wanted me to make her a pair of kitties, but she didn’t want them to be sewn together. She wants to use them as appliques. I made the first one, just like the guy you see above, but I used yellow for the eyes instead.

This little guy was made because B. loved a crochet afghan square that I made. Please excuse the poor photo, I took the picture at night – with my phone. Yeah, not the best conditions…

Karmic Kitty White Pink Black Gray

I had tried to fiddle with the pattern to make the circles line up with the ears better, but it didn’t work. There’s some math involved, I’m sure, and I just wasn’t up to the task.

Here is the afghan square that I based the above kitty on (the colors are much more accurate in this photo):

See How They Run 1

I believe I posted this photo in my last entry Hungry for Color.

We have a little elderly gal, J., that we help out. She doesn’t drive, so we take her to do her shopping. My sweetie and I both call her our mother in law. She is the sweetest little thing.

J.’s birthday is coming up in a few weeks and it occurred to me that I’ve made gifts for so many people, but I haven’t made anything for her! That oversight breaks my heart.

So, I decided to make her a hat and scarf set. I chose the Stonehill Cable hat and scarf pattern. They can be found here and here In the photo on the etsy page, it is the bottom left hat. I’m seriously considering buying her Mountain Range scarf patterns, too. There are no matching hat patterns though. Hopefully she’ll write some soon.

The Stonehill hat is finished, but not yet blocked and photographed. I’m working on the scarf now and have roughly a foot to go. I’m not going to make it the full 6-feet long, as the pattern calls for. She’s petite and won’t need something that long. I’m thinking 5 feet should be fine.

This is my first crochet cables (actual crossed cables) project. I’ve done some things with post stitches, but nothing like this and not a whole project. It’s been a fun experience for me. They eat a LOT of yarn.

I’ll post pictures once those items are finished.