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.
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 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.
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.
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.