Five-Shell Bavarian Rectangle Rug

I’ve added this pattern to the Ravelry database, here.

Our front bathroom needed a rug in front of the sink. Since I’ve been feeling frugal, I decided to just make something, rather than buying one. Please excuse the bad phone photos.

I tried an existing pattern to make a Bavarian rectangle, but it was too long and narrow – more like a runner.

I could find no instructions for making a 5-shell Bavarian rectangle, so I made my own.

Each shell needs a foundation of 7 chains (3 for each side and 1 in the middle that you work the shell into). In between each shell, there is 1 chain for a single crochet.

Because the beginning shell uses part of the foundation chain, that bit of chain is counted as a triple crochet in the shell. At the opposite end, you work into the last chain stitch.

Foundation chain – 41.

7 tc in 5th ch from hook. Skip 3. (Sc next ch. Skip 3. 8 tc next stitch.) In the last chain you will be making 16 tc (wrapping around so you can begin working in the opposite side of the chain).

Single crochet in all the single crochets and put 8 tc in all the places where there’s already 8 tc (including the last shell).

Fasten off and weave in ends.

Now, you’re ready to begin doing your regular Bavarian work with the Cluny groups.

I used a chain of 4 in my Cluny groups, rather than a chain of 5. This worked better for me, as the chain 5 seems to be a little too tall.

I used Red Heart Super Saver in the colors Baby Blue, Soft Navy and White. I used a 5.5mm hook.

It is nice and squishy to stand on, in front of the sink. As I’d hoped, it isn’t too terribly slippery. I figured that if it was, I could just use some of that rubber mat stuff underneath, if necessary. Thankfully, it has been fine.

This took me a few weeks to make, because I kept putting it down. This stitch kind of aggravates my arthritis.

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Phone Pillows

I go through spurts where I read a lot. Most of the books that I read, I read on either my phone or a tablet. My tablet cover has a built-in stand, but my phone does not. Since I’m lazy, I needed a way to hold my phone on my desk when I’m at work. The hunt was on for a way to make a stand. There are some great ideas out there. I stumbled across one that was crochet and I thought it was perfect. Because, you know, I have a lot of yarn…

On March 7th I made a phone pillow using this pattern.

It’s a super-simple design and took me about 4 or 5 hours to complete, with several breaks. I crocheted this in Red Heart Super Saver in the colorway Black Light. I used a 4.0mm hook. I stuffed the pillow with some yarn that I don’t like. I don’t think I stuffed the back quite enough, but it works perfectly.

I liked this pattern so much that I made a second one, in Red Heart Super Saver – Pink Camo. The Black Light one I took out to my dark office and I use the Pink Camo one in the house (on my lap). Interestingly, I stuffed the camo one a bit more and I think I really like it better the way I made the first.

The pattern is so easy and works up so quickly, you could make one for everyone!

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River Fire Hat

So, there still hasn’t been a whole lot going on around here. My life has been fairly quiet – which is the way I like it. But, I do realize that I’ve completed a few projects since my last post. I will create a new post for each project.

The hat that I mentioned that I was making, I finished on February 18th. It is the River Fire hat by Varian Brandon. It took me almost two months to finish.

I used Red Heart Yarn’s Anne Geddes Baby Solids in the colors Bluebell and Daffodil. I was wanting to use the blue and a white color, but when I went back to the store they had no more white in that brand – just the yellow.

I used my 3.5mm knook to knit this hat, using the stranded technique. I used the first method described – making the ear flaps first.

I knew that I didn’t want to make i-cord for the ties. So, I used this video to learn how to make the braids for the hat.

This was my first time using the i-cord bind off and I really like it a lot. I can see why it’s such a popular bind off for sweaters.

I added this photo so that you could (hopefully) see the pattern a little better. I made a mistake on the first row of the scroll pattern, at the bottom. I was quite a ways in before realizing the mistake happened – I didn’t feel like ripping it all back to redo it.

The hat is a bit big, but that’s okay because I don’t like tight things around my head. The fact that it’s a long hat means that it’s slouchy. The fold-over helps keep it where it should be on my head. The ear flaps are a little too big and come quite far down my neck, but I really prefer that to them being too small.

Because it’s a stranded-knit hat, it is double thick. Nice and warm. I wore it several times during the winter.

There was an error in chart 7. Row 3, stitches 18 and 19 should be filled in squares.

I really enjoyed making this hat. It is a beautiful pattern. Naturally, when working in the round there is a jog. But, the tassel hangs down to the bottom of the hat and hides this feature nicely.

If you are looking for a fun, unique hat to wear yourself or make as a gift, do make this hat.

Cowl for James

I’ve been on a colorwork kick, again. It really is fun to do. I love watching the pattern emerge, row by row.

I decided that my sweetie needed a new cowl. And, since it needed to be thick, I decided to make it a Fair Isle thing. I used Red Heart Super saver for the decorative portion of the cowl.

I used the colorwork chart from the A carreaux pattern. I re-wrote the chart to make it repeatable and made it 80-stitches wide. Using the Alba cowl as a guide, I made the charted portion of the cowl 31 stitches and did 5 rounds of 2×2 rib on the top and bottom.

a-carreaux-1

I wish that I would’ve put a couple of rows of garter stitch between the ribbing and the pattern. Because I didn’t, it looks like the ribbing is infiltrating the Fair Isle. Bah!

In order to make sure that the cowl was super-thick and warm, I decided to make a liner. For this, I used Red Heart Soft yarn. I made the liner 41 rows of gray. It was not tall enough. So, I added a few rounds of black Soft yarn to the top and bottom. I’m not sure what the bind off I did was, but I sewed the liner to the main cowl at the same time.

WordPress is being difficult and won’t let me upload a photo of the liner. That’s okay, it’s just plain stockinette in gray yarn with a little bit of black on the top and bottom. I’m sure your imagination can show you what it looks like.

I cast on a foundation chain of 80 stitches with a 6mm hook. I knit the body of the cowl with a 5mm knook. I also bound off with a 6mm hook.

Because I seem to very much enjoy color knitting, I decided to get a Norwegian Knitting Thimble. I have high hopes that this will make colorwork much easier.

 

Baby Blankets!

I made a few baby blankets for an auction.

The first is the Textured Grid baby blanket. You can get the pattern at Bernat. I used TLC Baby in the colorway “Lovey”. I used approximately 3.75 skeins of yarn. This blanket took me an astounding 11 days to finish. Granted, I wasn’t working on it for several hours a day, but it still took a lot longer than I expected. It is 28″x36″.

textured-grid-baby-blanket-1

The next blanket that I made was from the same pattern as my Mist Stole Curtains. The stitch pattern is a free Ravelry download. Get it here. This blanket took me 8 days to make. I used TLC Baby in the colorway “Girly Girl”. I used approximately 3.25 skeins of yarn. It is 25″x35″. I used these directions for the ruffle.

mist-stole-baby-blanket-1

The third blanket was the FanTail Baby Blanket. This blanket took me 5 days to finish. I used Red Heart Soft in the “Off White” colorway. It is 28-inches square. It took almost 3 skeins of yarn. Because I wanted this blanket to be gender-neutral, I didn’t opt for the fancy border. You can get the pattern here. I didn’t notice that the bottom right corner was stretched out in the photo, until after I had delivered the blanket to the auctioneer. Doh!

fantail-baby-blanket-1

Now I’m on a mission to make a cowl for my sweetheart…

Spirit Cat

I just realized that I never shared this project and it’s one that I’m very fond of!

I completed this wall-hanging last September.

I used a 5.5mm knook and Red Heart Super Saver in Macaw and black. I stranded the colors.

This is a chart that I’ve had for quite some time. I actually, initially, intended to do it in filet crochet. I never did that, but after getting started in colorwork, I decided to give this a try. You can get the chart here.

Spirit Cat 1

Spirit Cat 2

Entrelac Cowl

Followed this tutorial to make a swatch and then decided to make a cowl.

I couldn’t figure out how to make it in the round, so I made it flat and then sewed it together.

I followed the instruction from the tutorial, however, I started with 10 triangles. CO 80.

I don’t know what I was expecting, but I didn’t expect this yarn to be so stripey. It is very nearly a self-striping yarn. It looks good in entrelac, I do believe. It reminds me of the Brach’s Neapolitan candy.

I used Red Heart Super Saver in Pink Camo and a 4.5mm knook.

My foundation chain is a bit tight. Next time I’ll cast on with a bigger hook.

It took me about 3 days to finish this, but I wasn’t working on it constantly.

Entrelac Cowl

Delta Blossom Wrap

Sorry friends, I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything. I really haven’t been up to much, so I didn’t have much to post.

My nephew got married last month. Being that my sweetie and I are simple folk, we don’t often attend such important events. Naturally, we had to dress up! Yes, we were woefully overdressed (we usually are). But, we don’t get to get gussied up very often and we take advantage of it, whenever we can.

I’ve found a wonderfully-affordable place online to buy formal wear. The things are made in China, which I’m not too happy about, but they do a great job and dresses are very inexpensive. Inexpensive and quality are things that I need – if it has to come from China, so be it. For an extra $20 I can have the dresses custom made to my measurements. Big plus!

I had asked the bride about color restrictions and preferences, she had none. So, I was left to my own devices. After much consideration, I decided to go with a sage-green chiffon affair. It has a lovely black lace band at the hem and a pleated skirt. The bodice is simple, plain and sleeveless. I thought that would be fine for an end-of-May wedding in the high desert.

The dress arrived and I made a couple of observations… First, the color was not what I expected. I knew I was taking a chance (because computer monitors don’t always show colors accurately) but this was bad. And I waited too long to order, so I didn’t have time to have another dress made (and I really couldn’t afford it, regardless).

The dress turned out to be a very-bright spring green. This is soooo not my color! In the color analysis world, I’m a Cool Summer. This dress screamed Soft Summer – fairly opposite of colors that look good on me. Well, nothing to be done for it, I had to live with it.

The second observation that I made about the dress was that I made a big mistake when I sent them my measurements. The company doesn’t automatically factor in ease. They will make the dress in whatever measurements you send them. Last time I ordered from them (for my son’s wedding) I gave them the perfect measurements (unfortunately, I couldn’t remember much ease I added in). This time, I factored in too much ease. The measurements I gave them were 2-inches bigger than my actual measurements, all over. Bad, bad idea. I was swimming in the thing.

So, I had a chartreuse tent to wear to the wedding. My sweetie was going to look sharp (he really cleans up nice and looks great in his suit) and I was going to look awful. What to do?

I decided that I needed to make a wrap. A wrap could be made in a cool color, to help balance out the poor color choice against my face and it would cover me up a bit. Hopefully this would detract from the ill fit of the dress.

I took a look at my handy-dandy color wheel and decided that an aquamarine wrap would be lovely. I love the Red Heart Soft Baby Steps Aquamarine yarn. Unfortunately, I can’t find it in my local stores. At this point, I have three weeks before the wedding day. Definitely not enough time to order the yarn online and then get it crocheted up. Ugh.

I went with my second choice, which is Red Heart Super Saver in the color Soft White. For you crafters who are also into color analysis, RHSS Soft White is a match for our Cool Summer white.

I went to Ravelry and looked at hundreds of different shawl patterns. It needed to be crochet (for the sake of speed), it needed to be rectangle (again, for the sake of speed) and it needed to be lacy. Nothing struck my fancy. After searching the internet, I ran across something called “delta crochet”. I thought it looked really neat. I had an idea percolating…

I’m not really a good designer. I’ve designed a few simple things, but nothing fancy. But, I had this idea for the wrap… I found a delta crochet group on Ravelry and bounced my ideas off of them. They were enormously helpful and supportive.

I did some swatching to learn the technique. I changed the way that delta blossoms are made, to make them look the way I wanted them to. I designed my chart and started crocheting.

Three weeks after I created my initial chart, I was finished. Unfortunately, the wrap wasn’t growing in length as fast as the chart implied that it would and I had to add to it.

Delta Blossom Wrap 4

Delta crochet is done in a series of up-pointing and down-pointing triangles. It looks similar to v-stitch crochet, but v-stitches are stacked v upon v. With delta stitches, you make a triangle going in one direction on the first pass and then on the second pass, you make the triangle go in the opposite direction.

Delta Blossom Wrap 3

This alternating triangle pattern produces a hexagonal mesh. Like filet, you can also fill in the triangles with stitches, to make solid triangles – I didn’t do this with my shawl. The blossoms are a little tricky. I will admit, it took much hair pulling and bad word saying before I finally got it. And then I went and changed the way they’re done, because I didn’t like the final look. I much prefer my way of doing it.

Delta Blossom Wrap 2

I wanted the mesh field to look like it had flowers scattered across it. Because my brain is attuned to symmetry, I have a hard time coming up with randomness. I did a google search for a random scatter generator. I used that as the basis for the pattern and then added blossoms here and there, as I wanted.

I found the edging here. It turned out to be a bit more ruffly than I wanted, but I could live with it.

Delta Blossom Wrap 1

After blocking (by way of the washer and dryer) the piece measures 28-inches wide and 72-inches long. I used just over three skeins of yarn. It took me nine days to crochet, though the entire process took about three weeks.

In my opinion, the chains are a bit long. My next delta project will utilize 3-stitch chains, rather than the 4-stitch chains that I used this time.

It turned out that the weather went bad on us. The outdoor wedding was held on a day that was quite cold and raining. And though I felt like I was wrapped in a blanket, I was still freezing. Thankfully, I was smart enough to wear pantyhose.

I threw away the chart that I created for this project, so I can’t share the pattern with you. However, if you would like to try to reverse-engineer it, I would be happy to help.

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.

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.