Mulberry Virus Shawl

The Virus shawl pattern has been around for many years and isn’t one of those Covid inspired patterns. The pattern was given the name virus as just like a virus it grows and grows. I have made the pattern twice before, once for myself and once for a friend.

For many years in my stash I had a skein of 2ply mulberry silk yarn. I tried knitting with it once before but it was so fine that I struggled with it. It sat in my stash waiting for the perfect project. After starting another project in similar weight yarn I remembered this yarn in my stash and decided a virus shawl was the perfect project for it.

The virus shawl pattern can be a little tricky as there is some counting and you need to get your crochet hook into the right spot in certain rows. Online I have read that a lot of people have struggled with it. It is one of those patterns you either take to easily or you don’t. Bella Coco has a great Youtube tutorial which I re-watched upon starting this and I do recommend the printed chart of the pattern which you can find online. Once I was familiar again with the pattern I didn’t have to refer to the chart. The pattern just repeats over and over so you can make it as large as you want. I have only used the one colour but you could change colours as much as you like. For the edge I just did a single row of trebles with a single crochet (UK terms) between each cluster section.

Crocheting with 2ply wasn’t as tricky as I thought. It was actually easier to crochet than knit with it. Initially I started this as a project whilst Mr StitchNSew underwent a procedure in hospital as I wanted an easy project to work on which I could pull back if I made a mistake. Working on this took my mind off watching the clock waiting for the nursing staff to call me when it was over. The downside to my job is that I make a terrible family member when I’m on the opposite side of the operating table as I think of every horror situation, I get nervous waiting even for routine procedures. Not long after the procedure we had a trip to the emergency department resulting in a long day sitting in a waiting room and again this shawl got me through it. Once you understand the pattern you can easily put it down and pick it up again. I was counting the stitches after I finished each cluster and of course the times I didn’t count were the times I missed stitches and only found out a row or 2 later when the stitches didn’t add up to the pattern repeat. Crochet is so simple to frog back (rip back) I just placed a removable stitch marker at the point where I made the error and pulled the yarn back to there.

I’m not going to wear this shawl spread out so I didn’t actually bother blocking this but had I it would have become even larger. I’m going to wear it wrapped around my neck. The reason for using this yarn in this project was so I could wear it close around my neck and it wouldn’t bother me. Sadly the reason I haven’t worn my original virus shawl much is that even though it is soft due to my yarn sensitive it still irritates my skin if I get hot under it. I crocheted this as a replacement for my original one which I will now pass on.

Cassiy

2018 Temperature Blanket Finished

This was one of my 2020 projects, I’m still getting my way through blogging about them all.

On the eve of 2018 I had a sudden urge to make a temperature blanket in 2018. If you’re not familiar with the concept of temperature blankets they are blanket in which the colour combination is is based on the weather temperature. Each row represents a daily temperature reading for each day of the year. At the time Mr StitchNSew was recording the daily temperature and I thought it was fun project that we could do together.

December 31st I decided we would do it. I went to my stash of Stylecraft Special DK yarn grabbing all the colours I had and told Mr StitchNSew to work out his colour chart from that. He chose 11 colours with each colour representing 3 degrees of tempreature. For example if it was 25 one day and 27 the next day I would use the same colour for 2 rows but if it was 25 and 28 I would swap colours each row. I used a bit of scrap cardboard to hold my colour key chart.

For each month I printed a chart that he would write the temperature each day. I went all guns blazing on the blanket for a few weeks but I then kind of came to a sudden halt. I got a little bit overwhelmed by it and from memory work was getting busy so I stopped. I think I had too many yarns coming off it at once as I was trying not to cut the yarn between rows. At the time my craft area was a mess and I had no room to really work on this. I think it lived on the lounge chair for a while before getting moved to a wardrobe and finally packed for the move. During packing I came across the rest of printed blank charts and put them aside knowing I would finish it one day.

Roll forward to September 2020. I unpacked all my yarn and came across this WIP and the yarn for it. At that stage I had started my Apple Core blanket which I am making with my leftover Stylecraft Special DK yarn. It was motivation to finish this blanket so that I could mix the leftovers in my Apple Core evenly, I didn’t want a heap of blue/green pieces. By chance Mr StitchNSew still had the temperatures recorded on the computer so filled out the remaining charts for me. This is crocheted using the V stitch. I did have to YouTube how to do the stitch again as I couldn’t remember from 2 years earlier. Once I started this again it flew off my hook and I finished it in a matter of weeks. Space wise I had a better set up. I had my bag of yarn on the chair next to me so I could easily reach for my colours. I had space on the lounge next to me to place my colour chart. I was looking 2 rows ahead to sew what colours were coming up. I didn’t make this in the traditional way in that I didn’t start each row from where I ended the previous row. If I was going to use the same colour in 2 rows time I cheated and started the next row from the opposite end so I could pick up my original colour for the 2nd row. It just made some of the side stitches look a bit un neat but overall it didn’t really make that much of an impact.

To separate each month we decided on a row of white. From the start I didn’t know how much of each colour I would need or even if I had enough yarn. Back then in my mind the solution was to buy more yarn if I ran out. I did run out of one colour at the end of October so in my stash I found another colour which hadn’t been used in the blanket and substituted that for the final 2 months. I didn’t know anywhere local that sold this yarn as I normally get it from the UK. I had so much momentum going on I didn’t really want to stop it to source it from somewhere local or wait for it to be posted over. I also considered the cost factor of having 1 ball flown over, I’m trying to reduce my yarn stash so couldn’t buy other items to justify my order like I would do in the past. The substitution made no difference and really it isn’t noticeable. You can see all the colours I used on my Ravelry page.

I hadn’t even thought of the border until I was nearing the end. Using white as I had heaps left I opted just for a single row of UK double crochet and then a row of trebles. I wanted the focus to be on the blanket and not the border. I am really happy with how it turned out. Yes it took a lot longer than originally planned but that doesn’t matter. It has been washed and put away to use this winter. The finished size was 78″ x 38″ which is a nice size for the lounge or for Mr StitchNSew to have on the bed as he gets cold.

I am unlikely to make another one as Mr StitchNSew no longers records the daily temps. This was fun when I had the time to actually work on it. Seeing the stripes was really interesting. I enjoyed working from my “pattern” charts ticking each day off as I went. It was worth it in the end.

Cassiy

2021 Charity Face Washers

 

Last month in the lead up to Christmas Bendigo Woollen Mills released a couple of their face washer patterns as free patterns. You had the choice of either a knitted or crocheted version, I download both but decided on the crocheted version PT 8419 to use for the face washers for this years charity bags. The pattern has 4 patterns within it. Each pattern looks a little different but they are all roughly the same size. The patterns are still available on the website if you click the above link.

Originally I thought I might try doing 3 of the 4 patterns. Urchin was the first I tried. It is really simple to remember and really mindless crochet. I tried a couple of the others but I didn’t feel the same rhythm as I was making them. My tension didn’t feel right so I decided to just stick the Urchin pattern for all 3. They are each made in the recommended 8ply cotton from Bendigo Woollen Mills that I had in my stash. I still have some of the pink but I have now used nearly all of the blue and lilac in various projects over the years.

These took no time to make. As I mentioned the patterns are easy to follow, even the others that I didn’t try this time. Each pattern only has 2 rows, a set up row then the row which you continue on for the rest of the face washer. These are really good waiting time patterns, patterns you can make whilst you’re waiting at the doctors or waiting for a train. You can just put them down when you need to and pick them up again to do a few stitches. I’m always thinking ahead so I might make these again next year or even to add to gifts this year. I know how quickly I can make them so they are good last minutes gifts.

Cassiy

Blue Crocheted Poncho

It seems it just isn’t summer unless I start making a large yarn project. It is a habit I have and it was certainly the case last summer when I started this poncho.

Ok for the technical details as I always forget to add this information in. The pattern is Emelyn Cowl Neck Poncho which is available on Ravelry in the size Adult. The yarn used is Stylecraft Special Aran in Empire and Graphite. I used a 6.0mm hook.

Wait a minute cowl neck poncho where is the cowl? The cowl is last section of the poncho. It is crocheted as a flat rectangle in rows which you join to the neckline each row as you go along until you come full circle back to the start. I originally started making the cowl section but my stitch count was off and I ended up with a rather massive odd shape that kept growing as I crocheted it. I was the issue not the pattern instructions. That was back in April. I ripped back the cowl and left it until I was in a better headspace after the move. I picked it up this month and had an honest think about it. Even though the yarn is a really soft acrylic with my yarn sensitive I knew it would end up irritating me if I got hot underneath it so I opted to leave it off. I actually like it without the cowl. The neck isn’t too wide and I’ll wear it with a cowl around my neck anyway so I will still get the coverage.

As soon as I saw this pattern I instantly knew I wanted to make it. A lot of ponchos are joined at the side. This one isn’t which was a big drawcard. I walk with a crutch and I need my arms fully free so that I can swing the crutch without restrictions. I find ponchos that are joined at the side restrict me. This poncho gives me the coverage over my shoulders but allows me to move my arm as wide as I need to.

My contrasting colour blocks are a little different to the pattern. I under estimated how much contrasting colour I needed. This is crocheted as one piece with the shoulder section done in the contrasting colour as one block of colour. As I was doing the colour block near the top of the front I realised I wouldn’t have enough yarn so I only did a small section (counting how many rows I did) then repeated the same colour combinations on the back. If I hadn’t said anything you would never have known. I kind of like just the small contrasting colour blocks.

It isn’t 100% to the pattern but I’m really happy with it. Without the cowl I know I will get a lot of wear from it next winter. It is very soft and squishy. I’ll wear it to work with my work jumper under it and a cowl or shawl. This poncho will give me the coverage over my shoulders and lower back without restricting my movements so is a winner. I have plans to make this again in a cotton (yarn fairies are posting it as we speak) The cowl in the cotton will be more wearable for me.

Cassiy

Yarn Hits And Misses 2019

So I have done a recap of my sewing year for 2019 so here is my knitting year. I think I spent more time knitting and crocheting this year than I did sewing. Knitting and crocheting is something I can just pick up and do when I have a minute here or there.

My favourite item for the year was Daybreak. It was the first West Knits pattern I’ve ever done and I loved it. I wore it most of winter. The yarn feels so delicious and the colours went well together.

If I had to pick a least favourite which is bad to say but it would be my Groovy shawl. There is nothing wrong with this pattern I just got bored knitting it. It is really easy and mindless knitting but there was just something about it that lost me. It seem to feel very slow knitting it and maybe that is why it lost my attention.

My favourite pattern for the year was Knitted Bangles. Super easy and quick to do. You can make them with any yarn that you have. They make a perfect gift or can be made to go with different outfits. I am doing more of those next year.

I have enjoyed knitting and crocheting for others this year. The beanies that I made for B were relaxing knits. I am really proud of the virus shawl I made as a gift. I have also done a lot of knitting and crocheting for charity this year which is something I enjoy doing.

 

This year seems have been a year of knitting failures which I did blog about.  Some patterns were a little complicated some I don’t know what happened they just weren’t working for me. I’m hoping to restart them next year.

My day trip to Bendigo is my yarn highlight for the year. It was so much fun that day. After using their yarn for so many years it was fun to go and visit the actual shop. I haven’t made anything yet from the yarn I purchased but I will.

My yarn plans for 2020 really are just to start using the yarn I have in my stash which is a lot. I have decluttered some yarn I’m not going to use but I still have heaps. At this point I have one project that I know which is crocheted poncho. As mentioned I want to attempt a couple of the patterns I failed this year but I don’t really have a list or deadline for yarn projects. I will just go with what I feel like.

Cassiy

Cat Toy Footballs

I’m not crazy cat lady but I have made toys for cats for Christmas!

I used the same football pattern that I had made previously. These are just basic stuffed amigurumi toys or in simpler terms just crocheted toys. I didn’t put any catnip in them as I didn’t have any. If I decide to make more cat toys I might get some catnip to put in with the stuffing. The yarn I used was Stylecraft Special DK. It is an acrylic yarn but I like working with it as it so soft.

These never actually started out as cat toys. I started the first ball in November last year when I went up north to my friends place for a couple of days with the intention of them being a kids gift this year  I came home put the project bag down and never got around to finishing them. Whilst clearing up my spare room I came across the project bag and guess what was in the bag my missing 3mm crochet hook! Instead of wasting the half finished ball I decided to finish it. Just like human kids no one likes to share their toys so I had to make a 2nd one.

 

These toys are for my knitting helpers that I had when I was working on B’s Birthday socks in January. For cats that aren’t used to being around yarn (my friend isn’t crafty) they were really well behaved both times I was up there working with my yarn around them.

Feeling good after making these. It is a fun pattern and I’m glad my original toy didn’t go to waste.

Cassiy

Culling Me Made Clothing And Accessories

So my decluttering journey continues. This time it was opening my drawers and culling items of clothing and accessories that I have made that I just don’t wear.

So what did I cull and why?

Basket Weave Skirt and Scarf

 

I don’t think I have even really worn this skirt since I made it even though the fabric was so soft. I thought I would wear it in Winter but I never did. When I made it the sizing was a little bit big and I know since I have made it I have lost weight so it would be falling off me now so out it went. There is no point in keeping the matching scarf which I made from the leftover fabric so that went too.

Roewood Skirt


As much as I love the colour and the fabric was really funky in texture I have only worn this a couple of times. The fit was a nice fit and I was really happy with that but the main thing for not wearing it I think was the fabric. It is a nylon spandex and I just don’t wear synthetic fabrics. I enjoyed making this skirt. The texture of the fabric was fun as it felt like fish scales but I have so many skirts and I don’t wear it. I would make the pattern again but this time in a cotton spandex not nylon.

A+ Skirts Green And Blue

I have made several of this skirt pattern but these 2 versions I just don’t wear. There is nothing wrong with them. As mentioned I have lost weight and the version I wear the most is currently taken in at the waist by a safety pin (needs permanent alteration) Before I had more skirts in my wardrobe I was wearing these a lot but now I have so many skirts I can’t remember the last time I wore each one

Longshaw Skirt

I nicknamed this my origami skirt due to how it freaked out my brain trying to fold it all together.   wore this skirt a few times last summer. The pockets are fantastic! I don’t know if it is the colour or the print but I always felt this skirt made me look too hippy. Not in the free spirted way more in the hips are huge way (which I know they are not) I want to make a black version of this pattern to see if the shape of this skirt really works for me but I know this version isn’t crash hot on me.

PJ Top

This was my first attempt at making clothing for myself back in 2014 although I never finished this until 2015. I have worn this top a couple of times but it way too big for me. I’m not comfortable in it as the neckline is too big. I am “Miss Paranoid” who is always concerned about getting a chill in my shoulders. This top does not give me the shoulder coverage. I think I even gave the pattern during my purge earlier this month. I don’t wear long sleeve shirts to bed so I won’t be making this again. It was a good learning experience so not a total waste.

PJ Pants

These pants were made from an old poly satin sheet. It was only reading my blog post back I remembered thinking they looked like scrub pants. Not just the style of them but more the classic operating theatre scrub colour. I wore them a few times but I stopped wearing them. From memory they were a bit big and were a trip hazard. Last year I took a tumble when my foot got caught in a pair of store brought pj pants and I stopped wearing anything really long baggy. I still have this pattern and would like to make more of them but this pair I don’t wear.

Pink Beanie

I am not a pink person. I made this when I was volunteering at a charity event with a pink theme. Sadly I don’t volunteer anymore at it. I could save it as a spare beanie for Mr StitchNSew but he has enough beanies in colours he actually wears so this one can go.

Tunisian Scarf

This scarf is now a felted scarf after I accidently washed it on the wrong setting in the washing machine. Even though it is felted there is nothing wrong with it. It is still lovely and soft but I just never get around to wearing it. I’d rather pass it on for someone else to get use out of it.

For me it wasn’t hard to cull my me made items. I know some people struggle to part with things that they have made and I can understand their reasoning for finding it hard. Whatever you make there is a lot of time, costs and hard work that goes into making each item. I don’t know if I find it easier as I have been making gifts for years so I’m used to items I’ve made leaving my house or if it is because I am detaching myself from the emotional side of things when as I am decluttering. I don’t want to get all Marie Kondo and say I have picked up each item and asked myself “does it spark joy in my life?” That wasn’t how I looked at my clothing and all the items I’m in the process of decluttering. I look at it purely from a practicality side.

Do I wear it or use it?
Do I have another item that forms the same purpose?
Do I have the space for it?

If the answer is no then out it goes. I am not short of any clothing so there is no chance of me going naked anytime soon – the world breaths a sigh of relief 😉  I have more clothing than I actually need if I am to be honest. It isn’t just me made items I’m culling there are a lot of store brought items too that have gone and will continue to go from my wardrobe. I’m happy to take them to the charity bin. I would rather someone else get use out of them than them just sitting in my drawers and wardrobe. Every item I make is a chance to practice my skills on or try a new pattern or work with a new fabric. It wasn’t a wasted time making it. In a couple of years I will go through my wardrobe including my me made items again and cull items I’m no longer wearing. By then my style might have changed or maybe the colours I like might change – there will always be lots of blue Maybe I will go crazy and make 20 of the same pattern to find out I’m only wearing the same 3 each time, who knows what will be in my wardrobe.

Cassiy

 

 

Crochet Hook Pouch

At the February Frocktails in our goodie bag we were given a panel from Next State to make a simple zipper purse. I had it sitting around on my desk waiting to be made up. I decided ahead of Spring Frocktails I wanted to get it made so I felt like I had used things from my goodie bag from last time (I had used the vouchers and other things we had received) Thinking about things I needed, if I was going to make it up I wanted to use it. My crochet hooks were living in a zip lock bag so they needed a proper home.

The panel comes with simple printed instructions on how to make a purse. If you have never made a purse or a bag before it gave you excellent guidance on where to start to transform the flat panel into a 3 dimensional object. Crochet hooks obviously have a hook on one end which can snag on exposed zig zag stitching so I decided I would make a lined pouch. I raided my stash finding some leftover white calico scraps and a zipper that matched. They were only a few small items but a great way to use them up. For the thread I just looked through some half bobbins and spools of thread I had near my machine and used them, again using up stash items.

If you have never made a line purse or pouch before just google or YouTube as there a heap of free tutorials out there. I used a zipper that was shorter than the panel which meant I didn’t have to cut down my zipper and then cover it with zipper tabs. I don’t mind the small open gap at the end. My crochet hooks generally live on top a cart I have so they don’t get moved around a heck of a lot where they may fall out through the end. Eye love the finished pouch!

This was a pretty quick project to do. We received another purse panel in our Spring goodie bag. Instead of making another zipper pouch I’m going to make an easy drawstring pouch for my knitting. The size will be perfect to hold one ball of yarn, needles and a folded pattern. I have one already this size that I’m forever switching projects in and out of when I’m knitting on my travels so I need more this size.

Cassiy

 

Farewell Kath

A work colleague who was very special to me as I have worked with her all the years I have been at my work was retiring and I wanted to make her something special to show how much she meant to me and how much I appreciated all the chats we’ve had over the years. We work in a health institution and what better thing to make her than a Virus shawl… We all have a twisted sense of humour but you need it where we work.

I remembered that my stash I had 2 skeins of sock yarn by Revive Designs NZ. One was a darker green, the other a lighter blue/green. From memory I think they were called Taupo and Fox Glacier which are towns in New Zealand if you are not familiar with them. I have been to both places and loved them so really wanted to use this special yarn in a special project. They do have a nice contrast and I thought they would look good together in the shawl.

As it was some time since I made my Virus shawl I had to watch the Coco Bella tutorials again on YouTube to get my head back into the pattern. This pattern can be a little confusing but once it clicks in your head it is really fairly simple to do. I used a 3mm hook which I had to buy another one online as I couldn’t find my original one. I was counting each section as I was doing it but naturally the one time I didn’t count my stitches were off by 1 so I had to frog back to the missed stitch and continue. Crochet is so easy to frog back so it wasn’t that much of an issue. I kept going until I ran of out yarn before doing a simple treble boarder on the last row.

To block this I opted not to pin block it but instead just stretched it out flat on my blocking mats on my craft table. I left it for a almost a week to dry as I wasn’t using my table but really it only took a few days. I didn’t mind that the ends curved up a bit, it gives it a more organic feel. I left all my ends to weave in until the end but they didn’t take long to do.

I love the contrast of the 2 colours in this and am really happy the way it turned out. It was a special gift for a special person.

Cassiy

Lucy Bag

Last week I finished a tote bag which according to Ravelry I started in December last year. The pattern is based on the bag Lucy (Attic 24) has on her blog. I say based as me being me did things slightly different in some areas. That is the great thing about making your own things you can improvise and make things as you wish.

The yarn I used was 2 Lincraft cakes. Lincraft, if you are not familiar with it is a chain craft store in Australia. When Caron cakes became really popular a few years ago Lincraft brought out there own generic version. The yarn is dyed to allow colour changes within your project without the need for you to physically cut yarn and change colours. Fibre content is an acrylic / wool mix. I was given a Lincraft gift voucher by a friend so I purchased 2 cakes of Clear Sky and they sat in my stash for ages before I finally decided to crochet this bag. I love the colours, it looks great.

The bag holds a lot. This size bag would make a great beach bag, project bag, shopping bag. It doesn’t look big when it is hanging but it is kind of like the TARDIS, much bigger on the inside. The pattern was really easy to follow and didn’t require a lot of thinking. I made my handles different to the pattern Lucy has. My handles are directly part of the bag and not joined on afterwards like Lucy has done. Also I haven’t done any flowers. The majority of the bag is done in UK trebles and from the part where I started making the handles upwards I have done in UK double crochet. Once the bag was the height I wanted I started doing a row of double crochet until I reached the area I wanted my handles to start then I chained a length of the stitches I wanted for the handles then joined them to the bag with a slip stitch. I then kept doing double crochet until I reached the other side of the bag and then repeated the set up for the other handle. Once I joined it to the bag I just double crocheted backwards and forward over the handle until it was the width I wanted. I then double crocheted back around until I got back the other handle and repeated the same steps. Once I was happy with the width I just kept doing row after row of double crochet going up and over the handles as if they were part of the regular row, The bit underneath the handles you never go over again. You can see it better in the picture below. I just kept doing row after row of double crochet until I rang out of yarn.

Ok confession as much as I love this bag I am probably never going to use it. I just don’t like the feel of the yarn, I am really sensitive to yarn and for me the wool in this is too scratchy. I am glad I used it in a bag pattern and not a poncho like I first considered. I could use it as a project bag but to be honest I already have enough large ones. This will most likely be used as one of my charity bags next year. I’m not upset by that, I have so many memories of this bag making it. I started it the day I attended a medical appointment with Mr StitchNSew. I worked on it Christmas day whilst spending time with my nieces. In January I did a 4 day work training course where I had to stay in a hotel and this was one of the projects I took with me to work on in my downtime. When Mr StitchNSew had a medical procedure done and I had to sit in a hospital for 8 hours I worked on this, his nurse actually gave me the idea of how to do the handles. As crocheters do she came up to see what I was working on and told me how she does her handles. There are a lot of memories in the making of this bag but I don’t need to actually have the bag itself to keep those memories. For me it wasn’t a waste of time making this bag – I tried out a new yarn, I made a pattern that I had been wanting to make for along time, working on this calmed me in stressful situations because I was doing something I was comfortable with and could focus on. If I can pass on this bag on to someone who needs it then it was worth every stitch.

Cassiy