Pollux Virus Shawl Part 1

I think it was last year the virus shawl craze started, well it may have started before that but it is when I first saw the pattern anyhow I put it on my to crochet list and finally I have started it.

The virus shawl pattern looks a little complicated but once you get your head around it the pattern is very repetitive and easy to follow. The day I started this I was reading comments in a Facebook crochet group how so many people just couldn’t get this pattern to work for them and I thought oh no what I am I about to start, I am not a complex crocheter I will struggle. The night before I watched this very extensive video by Bella Coco which gave me the urge to make one. When I did actually start my shawl I sat down with the video again and went through it step by step, pausing when she said to and began my shawl that way. I also printed off a chart as well which helped me both during the video and afterwards. Once the pattern became ingrained into my brain I stopped looking at the chart but it is still there just in case I have a brain snap and can’t think.

The yarn I’m using is Pollux by Wren and Ollie which I purchased from Skein Sisters at Knitting Camp. It is a 4ply sock yarn. I love the name of this yarn, yes I know Pollux was a Greek god (thanks Google) but pollux just sounds like it would be the name of a virus “oh dear the doctor says I have Pollux”

So far I have used one skein and I will continue to crochet until I use up the second skein. After one skein it was measuring approximately 41.5″ wide and 17.5″ long. I think with the second skein it will be a nice size to wrap around my shoulders, it is light enough to wrap around your neck too.  This shawl is really addictive and I haven’t stopped working on it. I did have one major rip back towards the beginning where I added an extra 4 chain space in that I didn’t need, I had to frog it back about 1 row. I now double check all my chain spaces and count the trebles in my shells every time. This is a really easy project to work on whilst travelling on public transport too as you can put it down without loosing track of where you are up to. During a recent weekend away it kept me entertained on a train, the light rail, a ferry, in the hotel.

The virus is growing!


Bloom Scarf

I decided to use up the remaining half ball of bloom yarn I had leftover from my one skein scarf.

This is probably the most simple of crochet scarves you can make. Originally I thought I might make another one skein scarf but I wasn’t sure if I had enough yarn left so instead I decided to do just trebles (US Double Crochet) I personally love doing trebles and think a scarf made from the looks great. If you have a variegated yarn like the bloom is it lets the yarn do the talking and take centre stage. You don’t need to do patterns as they yarn is creating interest. The colour tones run from blue to aqua to purple.

This scarf measures approximately 74″ x 4. I can’t remember what my starting chain was but I know it was less than in the one skein scarf. I just chained until it looked about long enough and then did row after row of trebles until I ran out of yarn. This project was one of those super easy in front of the tv makes where you can just do it on autopilot, it didn’t take long to make. There is about 100g of yarn in it (half a ball) I’m glad it is only about 4″ wide as I like that width in a scarf. It is wide enough that you can do it as a wrap around your neck and shoulders (top picture) or you can fold it in half and loop the ends through (above picture) You are getting warmth without smothering yourself in something huge.

More yarn used up and out of the stash!


Quilt NSW Membership

I was so inspired by all the wonderful quilts at the recent Sydney Craft and Quilt fair that I joined Quilt NSW.

Quilt NSW is like the state guild of quilters for NSW, similar to the Australian Sewing Guild and Knitters Guild NSW. Like all craft guilds its main focus is to promote quilting and continue on this beautiful craft for years to come. Members can attend workshops or meetings with other quilters. They have quilt shows and challenges that members can participate in. Quilting is something that I want to do more of but never find the time so what motivation to make the time than to join the state guild.

Over the years I have done a little bit of quilting, most on things like mug rugs or minis. I would like to one day enter a piece in the Sydney Craft and Quilt fair. Due to my workload I know I won’t get one done for next years show so my aim is to get a piece in the following year. I have no idea how big or small my quilt will be but I have the ambition to get something in. I have a quilt in mind that I wish to do but I don’t know how long that one will take to do, I guess it depends on how big I make it and if I can get the combination of fabrics I want. With everything else I wish to make (toys, clothing) I will have to really plan quilt making into my schedule, it sounds awful having to schedule in time to craft but I think it will be the only way to juggle all the bits and pieces I wish to do. I of course have more than one idea for a quilt floating in my brain, just like my clothing to sew list my to quilt list is long too.


Valiant Cowl Shade 18

Sadly I have now knitted up all the balls of Noro Tokonatsu I had brought earlier this year.

This colour is shade 18 and is purple, amethyst would be the best way to describe it. Once again I have turned it into another Valiant cowl by Doris and Wilfred Designs, this pattern is extremely easy to do and is just perfect for one ball of this yarn. Like the other 2 that I made I added the extra length to it. I was a bit worried when I first saw this pattern that it may sit to high and choke me but adding the extra length allows it to sit nicely away from the throat. It fits under layers too without adding bulk too. The extra stitches also uses up more of this precious yarn so you only have a tiny amount leftover.

I love all the 3 cowls I have now made, I am wearing them to work most days and have had a lot of compliments about them. This yarn is so soft and comfortable to wear, it really was love at first touch when I patted it in Morris and Sons and fell in love with it.


Yarn Swift

At the Sydney craft show last month I picked up a yarn swift. If you are not familiar with the term a yarn swift is a nifty little device that holds a stretched out skein of yarn allowing you to wind it into a ball or yarn cake. They come in a plastic or wood version. Since I brought a lot of un balled skeins of yarn for me I decided to invest in a yarn swift when I saw a shop selling them at the show.

I set it up for the first time watching youtube how to do it. It clamps on the side of a table and spins around when you pull the yarn, if you have ever heard of an Aussie clothes line “the hills hoist” it is a bit like that. I placed my yarn on my swift, cut the knot tying the yarn ends together and threaded it onto my electronic ball winder. Now I am not too sure if there is a rule as to which way you need to yarn swift to spin (I had it going anti clockwise) but I will be honest my first attempt at balling the yarn didn’t run so smoothly as I hoped. My yarn kept getting caught and I had to help move the yarn swift around. I’m not sure if I didn’t have the arms of the yarn swift open wide enough (you can adjust it as to how wide it is) or if it was my ball winder giving issues as it hates too much tension on the yarn. Towards the end I noticed the cut end was starting to wrap around the base of the yarn swift too. It was only the last few rounds that the yarn swift spun independently.

The first time you do something is always awkward. My first attempt wasn’t a total disaster, my yarn never fell off the swift and I wasn’t left with a completed birds nest of a mess I just had to help turn the swift which is very easy. In the end I was able to wind up my first skein of this beautiful Wren & Ollie yarn.

A little later that same day I still had the swift set up so I decided to wind up the second skein of yarn I had. This time I adjusted the position of my ball winder a little, I tried it in several spots around the table. It has a small slot that you secure the yarn for tension so I was trying to find which was the best spot to place it in relation to where the yarn was coming off the swift. In the end I don’t think it made much difference. I decided to have the swift going clockwise this time and pushed open the arms wider, this I think did make a difference. I did still have to help it along but not nearly as much, it was more just a flick to get it spinning every minute or so which seems a lot but not as much as my first attempt. It also began spinning independently earlier than on my first attempt too and the yarn tail never got caught as I threaded it up through one of the arms. I stood there and became mesmerised watching the pretty blue yarn spin around!

I now have 2 gorgeous balls of yarn that I have started to use. I’m proud of myself that I pulled this swift out straight away and tried it out, I have a habit of getting a new craft gadget and because I don’t know how to use it properly it sits there gathering dust and eventually most times I end up giving it away.  With more practice I will get better using the swift, I just have to remember to extend the arms of it as much as I can. The ball winder was also the issue I think too, it can be temperamental when different tension is placed on the yarn or it there is just the slightest snag. When I first brought my winder (on sale) I wasn’t sure how much I would use it but once I finally pulled it out of the box I have started to use it a bit some maybe I might need to invest in a better one.



One Skein Scarf

I actually made this scarf back in February and had completed forgotten to put it up in here. When Knitting Camp was first announced they mentioned a competition they were running at camp to make an item with one skein of yarn, I decided to take up the challenge and this is what I made.

The pattern is One Skein Crochet Scarf by Denise Cozzitorto. The pattern is US terms (crochet terms are different in the US and the UK) and is really easy to follow. It works up really quickly as the only stitches you are doing are US double crochets (UK trebles) The border is just a row of shell stitch all around to form the curves. This was my first time doing shell stitch and it was so easy. I love how it creates interest to the edging and has the sleek curve on top, I tend to like smooth edges.

I used Bendigo Woolen Mills Bloom yarn in shade blue. It is 100% wool, hand washable and is really soft. The yarn is a variegated yarn as well as blue there is lots of greens and purples in it too. I had never used any of their variegated yarn so brought this wool to try it out. The colour change is really nice and the colours all blend together. This only used about 100g of yarn so I still have about half a ball left which means I should have enough to make another scarf I might just make it smaller to be sure. I think I used a size K hook, it was larger than my normal size hooks which are usually G or H.

I enjoyed the challenge of trying to make something with only one skein of yarn. With this scarf I got to try out a new pattern, learn a new crochet stitch and work with a new yarn, I may not have won the challenge at camp but I did win craft wise as I got new experiences.


Sunny Log Cabin Blanket Completed

Well it took a bit longer than expected but I am happy to announce that I have finished my Sunny Log Cabin blanket. Actually I finished it last week but I had been waiting for the right time to photograph it outside.

I made a last minute decision to take the blanket to Knitting Camp with me and I am really glad that I did because firstly it was a little cold and having this draped over me at night gave me extra warm over my shoulders which I like and secondly it was an easy project to work on when I woke up early and everyone else was still asleep. I’m an exceptionally early riser and I was a little worried how that would work out with sharing a room with others at camp. Just outside my room I was lucky enough to find an area that had a light on and a chair so I sat there and worked on my blanket each morning. I had started part of the border before camp and had a vague idea of what order the colours were due to go but on the first morning I had left the pattern in my bag in the room with the colour way written down so I had to think from memory the order so it may or may not be the same as Lucy’s I haven’t gone back to check.

Ok so not to criticise ones own work but I know the edging isn’t lying flat. It isn’t to do with not blocking the individual 16 squares it is to do with the stitches in the border. I think on some edges I have to many and some I have to few. I wasn’t sure on some of the side edges where exactly to place my stitches. I also couldn’t remember what size crochet hook I used too so that may of distorted it a bit. I’m not worried about it as the blanket isn’t designed to lay flat against something, it is designed to be used.

I am really pleased to have this blanket finished. This is now my favourite blanket I have ever made. I have always really liked the log cabin block pattern in quilting and I love that I have created it in crochet. This is a great pattern by Lucy (Attic 24)  It is a really easy pattern with only the centre medallions requiring a little more concentration than the rest of the blanket. It is visually brilliant, I love the centre diamond in the greens and blues. I used the Sunny yarn pack from the Wool Warehouse which is Stylecraft Special DK. I have lots leftover so that has gone into my stash to become a scrap blanket one day.

So now to start my next blanket. Even thought I have lots more Stylecraft yarn that I had brought previously for blankets I’m thinking I will start a cotton blanket using the limited edition Bendigo Woolen Mills Cotton Crush cottons I purchased earlier this year. My thoughts are if I start it now and it is simple enough I might get if finished for this summer. So hopefully I start that in the next week or so.