Thursday, 26 July 2007

Crochet Hats

I have become obsessed by crochet hats ever since I took delivery of two books from Amazon. Get your crochet on - Hip Hats and Crochet Caps by Afya Ibomu and Vogue Knitting - Crocheted Hats a book with various designer caps.

I have made 4 hats from Afya's book and have improved with every hat I have done. The only trouble with modern crochet books is that they all come from the US (where are all the good British crochet designers?) and it is usually a lesson in math to find a suitable yarn and hook to get the appropriate tension. My first couple of hats were a bit dodgy technique and size wise as I had used up some oddments rather than invest in new yarn and make a mess of it. Afya has a very interesting technique of covering elastic which is really good as hats do tend to bag out a lot with wear and wash. Previously I had threaded elastic through with a needle and been disappointed with the results. I now feel more confident as to what I am aiming at and will buy some new (more exciting) yarn when I am next in town and use the hats I have already made for when I am walking the dog.

The Vogue book arrived yesterday and I can for see another foray into tension swatches and approximations of yarn thicknesses. I find the guide lines they give of yarn thicknesses in the books to be very iffy. One hat is supposed to use Rowan 4ply and yet the book gives it a US 4 thickness which in their view is Worsted, Afghan and Aran but as the hook for the hat is 2.50 I am rather thinking a UK 4ply is more suitable as the recommended hook size for US 4 yarn is 5.50 - 6.50 so working it on a 2.50 would be very stiff going indeed. I never thought crocheting hats would be such a lesson in maths!

I am now knitting the Elizabeth Zimmerman Surprise Baby Jacket. A very strange garment and again as it is my first attempt I am knitting it in an oddment of white double knitting but I have a feeling that it coming out far chunkier than it is supposed to. Again another US pattern with very vague guidelines as to thickness. I am sure someone out there could make a fortune making an accurate list of thicknesses of yarns with regard to US patterns as each pattern gives such widely differing opinions as to thickness and not one of them says it is equivalent roughly to a UK double knit, chunky, aran or 4ply. Come on you UK yarn manufacturers wake up to the fact that we knitters and crocheters use US knitting books and give us a clue which of your UK yarns we can use in substitution.

Friday, 13 July 2007

Crochet granny square shawl with flower motif centre

I can post a heading to my blog today - yeah! I have not been doing a lot of crocheting or knitting for a couple of weeks due to the house renovations. The indoor ones are almost finished with the exception of re-painting the bathroom door and putting up the towel rail and hooks. I also do not have a handle on the said door so visitors have to sing loudly if they want to use the bathroom as the door won't stay closed. For the last few days I have been putting stuff into storage bags and boxes, putting them into the loft area and cleaning up the bedrooms. The dust got everywhere even with the doors closed. I guess the next projects indoors will be painting and decorating the bedrooms but not until later in the year when I can perhaps get a little assistance with that.

I have been sorting through finished projects as a young lady on my street that my son grew up with is having another baby ( a girl Tilly due in August) so I thought I would see what girly baby things I had already made up. I found this shawl. I made the crochet flowers first and then worked a row of trebles (UK terms) with 3ch spaces for each corner behind and under the flower. I then turned it into a traditional large granny square, crocheted 12 squares together and did a shell edge border. I am undecided whether to give her this shawl or a pram blanket made in white granny squares with a rosebud sewn into the centre of each square and a pink and white twisted cord threaded through the edges and tied with bows at each corner. I also have a small crochet matinee in white with a pale green edging and several bonnets. I will photograph each one and put it on Flikr before giving them away as I have started to keep a record of finished articles. Many friends kept saying they wished they had seen things before I gave them away so I made up a site on Flikr in case anyone else wanted to view them as well.

I have got a new crochet hat book from Amazon Hip Hats and Cool Caps by Afya Ibomu and a crochet garment book called Fabulous Flirty Crochet by Katherine Lee. (I had won an Amazon voucher) I keep looking through the books trying to decide which project to start when I have finished off my knitted tie fronted shrug and crochet short n sweet shrug for myself. So many nice things I don't know where to start. I will have to use some more of my yarn stash. The last 2 projects I am making didn't make much of a dent in the store! It is all stacked neatly now in underbed storage and catalogued on my pc so at least I can see at a glance if I have enough yarn already purchased for projects I have in mind. I must use some more stash before I can justify buying any more yarn.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

I seem to be unable to type a title to the blog today so I hope it will save anyway.

I finished off the 2 baby crochet jackets in time for Emily's (my youngest step great grand daughter's christening) on Sunday. These jackets were my own design loosely based on a jacket I had seen in a Candi Jensen book. She had used chenille with a fabric border and purchased frog fasteners. I like the style but not the use of chenille for a baby and I am not much of a sewer so the fabric border was not to my liking.

I just used double knit and crocheted a stitch I had used in a previous garment. It is 1 relief treble around a treble post and then one normal treble. The next row is double crochet all across. Followed by a row similar to the first but alternating the relief treble and the treble again followed by a row of double crochet. The 4 rows form the pattern and it makes quite a chunky fabric so I used a 5mm hook with the double knit so the jackets would not be too stiff to wear. I used one of my previously finished baby jackets for size and just crocheted these jackets to the same measurements. Unfortunately as per usual I didn't write anything down so if I get asked to make any more jackets then I will have to wing it once again. I made one for each baby but the photo is of the smaller one.

The frog type fastenings were my own design. I made a centre ring and then put 3 petal shapes into the ring and then put a chain loop where the 4th petal would have been. I then went around the chain loop with double crochet. I made another the same for the other side and crocheted a ball in double crochet stuffed with a minute amount of wadding to form the button.

I have now sort of mastered my digital camera that my son bought for me last Christmas so maybe in the future my photos on here will be crisper on the details but as I haven't yet mastered the flash it may be a while!

Today the rain seems to be holding off for a little while so I may be able to get into the garden and sort out my veggie plants in the grow houses. They have been sadly neglected of late what with the rain and all of the buidling projects in the house. I still have to put the storage stuff back into the loft. I purchased some storage boxes and bags so my stash of buttons, ribbons and yarn will be nice and dry as well as clean when it goes back into the loft space.

I had a little drama on Saturday evening. I had just got into the shower when my smoke detector started screaming at me. I checked (dripping wet from my shower) but there was no fire. I had to ring the fire station as they had fitted the detectors with the warning "do not touch them yourself no matter what" It got quite exciting after that as they sent a fire engine ( they had to in case they got called to a fire whilst at my house) and I had the pleasure of 2 extremely handsome firemen who removed the faulty detector and replaced it with a new one. They said that dust had gone into the detector. It must have happened when I had the loft re-lagged and boarded but didn't trigger the detector until a few days later. My neighbours were all concerned as it was 11.15pm and they thought I had a house fire!

Monday, 2 July 2007

Babies crochet mini waistcoats

I have finished the baby crochet waistcoats for my 2 step great grand daughters. They are sort of from the Candy Babies book by Candi Jenson. The reason I say sort of is that on the pattern the waistcoats are actually the top of a dress and I was supposed to sew some fabric on to the bottom to form the dress skirt, I decided that they would be more useful as a body warming shrugs over the outfits they already have. They are usually wear trousers anyway. I also improvised with the fasteners. The pattern shows 2 purchased frog fasteners on each waistcoat but I made my own out of crochet chain and so one was enough on each.

I have got back to my crochet this week courtesy of the weather. I have a lot of plants that need re-potting but the constant rain over the last week or so means that not much of that has been done. Plus it is the younger baby's christening on Sunday and I wanted to finish off the garments I had planned. I am now making white wrap over cardigans using one pattern but customising by using the stitch of another. I have also made some pink flower frog type fasteners with covered buttons for them but am unsure if they will look too "heavy" on the finished jackets. I guess I will make that decision once the first jacket is completed.

I have had 2 very wet walks with the dog today. He doesn't mind the rain at all but it's me who has to dry him off (and myself) when we get home. Surprisingly we met 4 other people also trudging through the heavy rain with dogs. He is a bit clingy today as on saturday my son and his wife came to visit ( he used to be their dog) with their new pup and he thought he should have gone home with them but unfortunately he has taken a big dislike to the elder baby so that is no longer possible as we cannot take the risk of him biting her.