I recently visited a new yarn shop The Wool Inn and purchased yet another skein of Noro Tokonatsu as well as some other items.
Shade 8 is a like a jade / deep turquoise colour. It is a very rich colour. As soon as I got home I started valiant cowl number 4 and knitted all afternoon until I got to about repeat 7 or 8 and then all of a sudden I stopped enjoying it. I don’t know if I just got tired or what but it just stopped being fun so I put it down for a week. The following Saturday I picked it back up and finished it off. I am not going to knit or do any craft if it isn’t fun so that is why I put it down. If I am going to wear something I need to enjoy the process of making it otherwise it will always have a negative vibe about it and never get worn. I think it also time to retire this pattern for the year at least.
Something interesting I did notice with this cowl is that I didn’t as many pattern repeats from it as I did with my other 3 cowls. This cowls feels thicker than the others so I am wondering if the ply is more dense and therefore I got less length in my 50g ball. It is still very much wearable just not as long as the others.
I haven’t worn this one yet but I am hoping to next week.
Earlier this year Bendigo Woollen Mills released a limited edition range Cotton Crush and it was love at first sight for me.
9 limited editions colours were in the range
- Bubble Gum
Within minutes of seeing them online I was ringing the store to place an order of every colour. Thinking about it a day later I went online to order another ball of each just so I would have enough for a blanket. These colours were very popular and sold out within days and from memory I think they did another dye lot. The colours are more brighter than the regular shades of cottons Bendigo normally has and I think that is why they were so popular. I’m hoping that this year they decide to add these colours to their regular range.
As soon I saw them I thought of a cotton blanket for summer. In my mind I kept tossing up the idea between crocheted and knitted. Maybe it just the way my washing machine works and the fact I don’t hang things outside on a washing line to dry and get softened in the breeze but cotton has a tendency to become stiff once I wash it and I didn’t want an oversized dishcloth after the first wash.
In the end I thought about the knitted cotton shawl I made back in 2013. It still lovely and soft and has been washed several times. It was made using the same 8ply cotton as these cotton crush cottons. So a knitted blanket was my final decision. After my success with knitting the beanies continental style I decided I would knit the blanket that way. I did a test piece on some other Bendigo 8ply cotton I had in my stash to see what my tension would be using 4mm needles. I was happy with how it was knitting up. It is isn’t super loose or super tight. I am using circular needles on a 150cm cable.
I couldn’t really find how many stitches to cast on for a basic rectangle blanket so I went with 222 just because I like the number 2. I roughly laid it across the bed and it seems wide enough but I will be totally honest and say I don’t know. I have a feeling it won’t be wide enough but I don’t care I will still use it in some capacity. I selected an order to do the stripes, I was fussy and didn’t want some colours next to each other (my blanket I make the rules) It is all knitted in garter stitch and I am slipping the first stitch of ever row perl wise. Each stripe is 10 rows wide. I am keep the rows an even width so it doesn’t look like a scrap blanket. I have no idea how large it will be, at this stage I am just knitting colour band after colour band until I use up both balls of each colour. I do have an extra 2 balls of the blue which may or may not get used on this, I will decide later on. At the time I wasn’t sure if I was going to do a crochet blanket so brought an extra ball of blue both times to be sure I had enough.
So why the name Bubble Bum? When Bendigo first put these for sale on their website there was a typo in Bubble Gum and it was written as Bubble Bum. When I rang and placed my order I read the name off the computer screen and ordered 2 balls of Bubble Bum as I honestly thought that was the colour name. The name has stuck and no matter what blanket I ended up making I was going to always call it Bubble Bum Crush.
After learning continental knitting at Knitting Camp I wanted a simple project to start on. I needed to make a couple more basic beanies for someone so it was the perfect project to start on.
For my beanies I use the Custard Beanie pattern from Better Homes and Garden 2014 Knitting and Crochet Collection magazine. In Australia each year Better Homes and Garden’s releases a special Knitting and Crochet magazine and it is worth getting your hands on as they always have some great patterns in them. This beanie pattern is so simple – essentially you knit a garter stitch rectangle, seam up the side then gather the top. In continental knitting it is recommended that you use smaller needles then the pattern indicates as your knitting if often looser so I used 4mm on these. I have made this pattern previously for the person and they asked if I could make it smaller this time so I only knitted my rectangle to a length of 43cm. I measured the piece around their head and it fitted so I knew it would be ok. To seam it the pattern has you join it one way then turn it and continue the join on the other side of the fabric of the brim so the seam is hidden behind the turned up section, I think you are also meant to stitch the brim up to hold it too. I didn’t do that on these I just seamed it all one way. The seam isn’t very noticeable and this allows the person to turn up the brim as much as they want too.
I used Lincraft Esther yarn which is an 8ply acrylic, easy to care for throw it in the wash. It took me a row or two to get into the continental knitting motion but once I got it again it became like second nature. My tension was pretty consistent all the way through. I can tell it much looser than when I knit English or throwing style. Even on the smaller needles the finished beanie is still stretchy so I am glad I went with the smaller needles. This was fast to knit up, a great tv or kids birthday party knit as it is pretty mindless. The first beanie took me a couple of weeks as I was also crocheting my shawl at the same time. The second beanie took me only a matter of days. I have tried to find this pattern online and this is the one I think it is based on although I haven’t downloaded the pattern to read it. This is my go to beanie pattern particularly if I want to make something for charity.
I’m still trying to decide on a blanket pattern for my next blanket so I decided to try it out on a doll’s blanket first. Doll’s blankets and dishcloths are great ways to test out new pattern designs or new stitches, they are like oversized swatches that you can see the pattern in or get a feel for the stitch. If I make a dolls blanket I get a bonus gift I can add to other presents I have made because all softies like a blanket even if they are not a doll.
This blanket measures 22.5″ x 13″ using a 4.5mm hook. This was the item I made with the first clover amour hook I brought. It was so easy to work with. I have used this yarn before (a cheaper acrylic) and it split on me but I had no trouble this time. I didn’t follow a pattern I just did a chain until it looked long enough making sure it was an even number of chains. The first and last rows are the same as the border so it blends in more. For the border I just did a row double crochet edge and the final row is crab stitch.
One thing I did for the first time on this blanket was carry the yarn between stripes on the side instead of cutting it each row. It was a time saver! Now I wish I had known this technique when making the Pamuke blanket. It might sound simple to some but I didn’t realise you could, I have done it with knitted stripes but never crochet. It was really easy to twist it between rows and not have it tangle.
I really like this stitch. It is very easy to do and creates a really effective pattern. I don’t know if I am going to use it for next blanket as it is a little bit more open then I was thinking. I need to make washcloths for Christmas so I might do it on those.
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!
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!
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.