I need a bag at work to keep some supplies in so I can store them neatly in a cupboard and not have to carry them everywhere each day. No problem I can sew I’ll just whip up a bag that closes up and I can use it as a project bag after I finish needing it for work. Friday afternoon I came home, prepped some fabric, found a pattern I was going to have to modify but was still larger than I was wanting but would do the job. This morning I was ready to cut the fabric and thought STOP!!! Think about it can you use a different pattern or.. even use an existing bag to do the same job.
By chance I found this Bendigo Woollen Mills tote bag in my stash this morning which came as part of a kit I brought earlier this year. When I found it I thought ‘this sitting in bag in plastic is just a waste you should use it some time’ The sides expand so I thought I might even use it to form a pattern to make some reusable shopping bags which I am planning on making. When I went to cut my fabric I remembered this tote bag and thought it is a great size but it doesn’t stay closed.
Brainwave by adding a couple of kam snaps to the top of the bag instantly the bag had closures. In my stash I found some black snaps which matched the print on the front of the bag so you can’t tell that I added them myself (not that it matters) 5 minutes later I had a bag that would stay closed, would fit an A4 notebook in it plus a few other goodies (coffee cup, glasses, teabags) Next year when I don’t need it for work it will be a yarn bag again.
As crafters I think we tend to over think things sometimes and create more work for ourselves then we need to just because we have the skills to do so. If I had made the bag I originally had thought of doing it would’ve taken me hours, it would’ve been a good bag but there were other more simple solutions that I didn’t think of because my immediate first thought was make one. I never even considered modifying an existing bag. This is also a reason why it pays to know what you have and if you get something like a useful tote bag don’t stash it away use it or why bother getting it in the first place. At times we need to Keep It Simple and think outside the square for solutions. We are all time poor as crafters so why create more work for yourself when your time can be better spent on other projects.
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.
At the Sydney Craft and Quilt Fair I spoilt myself and invested in a set of Clover Amour Crochet Hooks.
The clover hooks have a rubber grip and have are a slightly different shape handle to a regular hook. They are designed to be easier on the hand. I purchased one hook a few months ago to try and it was brilliant so I invested in the set. I purchased mine from a shop at the show (sorry I can’t remember which one) Whilst I was looking at them someone told me you can get them cheaper online which may be true but by the time you factor in postage online shopping is not always the cheapest. Also by purchasing them in shop you have them in your possession right then you don’t have to wait for them to arrive in the mail.
I used the 3mm to make my Virus shawl and it was heaven. I spent nearly 2 weeks crocheting every chance I could yet my hands and fingers never got sore like they would using regular hooks. I have never used such a small hook either but I have no trouble. I did have a minor panic one day when I was travelling on a ferry that I would drop it on the ground and it roll over the side through a gap into the harbour!
I will be honest and say yes the clover hooks cost a little more than regular hooks but if you are doing a lot of crochet they are worth investing in. You can buy them individually or in sets. Mine are a set of 9 (one was missed from the photo) The biggest size is a 6mm so at some point I will look at getting the larger sizes. Most likely I will keep onto my set of metal hooks that are in a carry case for easy light projects like dishcloths on the go but I will give away all the other random hooks I have.
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!
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.
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.