Pollux Virus Shawl Finished

It seems like ages ago I finished my shawl but I only started wearing it to work last week. In total this was on my hook for about 2 weeks. I didn’t do any other projects during that time so I think this is how I finished it so quickly.

I blocked it using the wet blocking method. I’m not sure how long you are meant to let things dry but I left it for a week. It took up my entire craft table plus had the center piece half hanging over the edge. I actually had the mats slightly off the edge so that the center section could balance more on the table. I will have to check if a week is too long or ok for sock yarn to dry.

I used metal T pins specially designed for blocking. They are very long and very sharp. I couldn’t find a suggested way to block it so I just placed pins at regular intervals along the straight edge and then evenly along the curves. I may of accidently pinned some of my curves wrong so they were a bit angular but in the final product you can’t really notice.

Although I am really happy with this I couldn’t use it as a shawl to cover my back. I’m a little bit on the wider side and although I have length on my back I don’t have the width. To wear it on my back I would need to need to increase the size so that my lower back had more coverage. This is just personal preference as I like my lower back covered.

The way I have been wearing it is wrapped around my neck. It is nice and comfortable. I was a little worried that it would look like a bib particularly as I have large surface area in front but it sits really nicely.  Most days I was wearing another coat over the top of this but I could have the zipper open as my front was kept warm under the shawl.

To recap the pattern is the Virus Shawl. Bella Coco has a great tutorial on how to make it. I watched the tutorial twice. The first time without anything in my hands, the second time with yarn and hook doing each step along the tutorial. She also has a great additional clip which is very useful. From what I have read online this is a pattern you either love or hate just by the design, some people struggle to follow the pattern. You are only doing UK trebles and chains but you do have to do a little counting. You can also get print out charts of this pattern. After a few rounds I memorised the pattern and it was easy for me to build and grown my shawl. I hate keeping count but this wasn’t hard. I even worked on this over lunch in a crowded food court whilst chatting with friends. I only had to frog it back once for about a row and a half earlier on but after that I never had a problem. The yarn I used is Wren & Ollie sock yarn from Skein Sisters. This was the first time ever of buying fancy yarn and actually using it. Years ago I brought some alpaca yarn and ended up giving it to a friend as I knew I would never make anything with it but this yarn was special. It I am being brutally honest if I was to do this pattern again I wouldn’t use this colour yarn. It is maybe a little bit busy in the darker colours to see the pattern. Virus shawls in lighter colours show the pattern more.  I love this shawl. I mastered a pattern that is difficult to some, I worked with sock yarn for the first time, I made something that was blue, I worked with a smaller crochet hook than I normally do. All these things make this shawl really special. It is my shawl.

Cassiy

 

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Clover Amour Crochet Hooks

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.

Cassiy

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!

Cassiy

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!

Cassiy

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.

Cassiy

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.

Cassiy

Knitting Camp 17

Not this past weekend but the weekend before that I went to my first ever NSW Knitter’s Guild camp. Camp is held every 2 years. Knitters and crocheters from across the state come together for a weekend of fun and relaxation. It is not what some would think “Granny Camp” as we had members age from 17 – 90 with a lot I would say in their mid 30’s – 40’s.  This year we had a guest knitting artist (yes I would consider her an artist as what she produces is amazing) Norah Gaughan who joined us for the weekend. Norah is a really nice person and I have been told was an amazing speaker.

So what happens at knitting camp? Over the weekend a series of free workshops and talks are held that members can participate in if they wish. If you don’t want to attend any of the organised events you can just sit and knit and enjoy the company of others who all share the same interest as you. Oh and you can always shop.. Who wouldn’t want to shop for yarn supplies. On the first day we had yarn retailers set up shop in a room for the day and members could shop as they pleased throughout the day. I brought a few extra knitting needles that day to continue making WIRES pouches. On the second day Guild members who owned shops or a business set up and sold their items. I may have gone a little crazy that day. After saying no no I don’t buy more special yarn as I never do anything with it I managed to come home with some yarn. The 2 plain blue skeins are called Smurfette, how could you not fall in love with them. For some random reason the magenta yarn also appealed to me and I am not a pink person but it felt so soft (it is silk) Each of these will become some sort of shawl I think.

I attended 2 workshops over the weekend. The first was on continental knitting. Continental knitting is a style where you hold your working yarn with your left hand to make your stitches. You form your stitches in a slightly different way to regular knitting as your working yarn is coming from a different direction. Once you get used to it this style is a faster way to knit. As I crochet holding the yarn in my left hand wasn’t an issue but working it around the needles felt all foreign. It is one of those things the more you practice it the more natural it will feel. I will do a dishcloth or something simple to get myself started on it I think.

The second workshop I did was with Wendy McDougall  a professional photographer who has snapped many great Australian bands as well as Australian identities. I really want to improve my photography skills so that I can take better photos of the items I make so it was an awesome experience to do a workshop with an industry professional. Wendy went through ways to take great shots and gave us heaps of tips. We went outside and practiced what she taught us, it was fun putting theory into practice. Inside she set up some lights and a backdrop and we got to take photos in a professional type photo shoot. You would never think a photography workshop would be at knitting camp but it was perfect for us who want to take photos of our work for Instagram or our blogs or those who just want to capture for their own private memories items they have made. You work so hard in making nice things it is lovely to have photos to remember them by as most of us give away a lot of things we make.

One member Kris Howard gave a talk “Knit One Compute One” . It was a really interesting talk and I do urge you to go and watch it, this is the shorter version but there are longer ones if you google it. She went through the similarities between knitting and computer coding. In my day job I do some code writing and it had never occurred to me that it was like a knitting pattern, every time I write a code a work now I shall have a slight grin on my face and think of knitting. Kris talked about how different people across the world are combing codes into knitting patterns, I really want to do something with a code in it now.

We played games at camp including knitting blind folded which I just had to have a go of because it sounded fun, you can see an Instagram photo here. We were allowed to see our needles to cast on and do the first row then the blindfolds went on and for 3 minutes we knitted. If you are used to not looking at your work all the time but feel the stitches on the needle like a lot of us do it was pretty easy to do, the hard part was working with such large needles I am used to 4mm not 12mm which felt like broom handles in my fingers.

Our sleeping quarters had bunk beds. The last time I slept on bunk beds was over 10 years ago on Contiki, I had forgotten how small they are. We were basically only using the rooms for sleeping so it didn’t matter. I do apologise again to my roommates for my snoring though…

Camp was a lot of fun. I can’t wait for the next one in 2 years time. It was great to have a weekend where you just sat around eating, knitting and crocheting. You have a chance to indulge in yarn porn, that is correct I had a lovely sweet old lady who would be in her 70’s tell me she told her friend there is yarn porn at camp, you look at the yarn, you stroke the yarn and then decide to keep it or not….. I want to be like that lady when I am in my 70’s.

Cassiy