Tuesday, 26 March 2013

I Learned 3 basic Stitches of Tunisian Crochet

My friend Sue came to see me yesterday and we spent a couple of hours watching the DVD that came with one of my Tunisian books. I am happy to say that we both mastered  the first 3 basic stitches. We decided to stick at those for the time being and just practise until we feel more confident before moving onto other stitches. I haven't measured my tension so have no idea whether it is right or not.  I will also not fret about that until I am more proficient. I don't think that you will be seeing a garment yet (unless it is a scarf) My friend Bev has been trying to persuade me to try Tunisian for a long time. If you click on the link she is reviewing a Tunisian crochet book on her blog.

This video will give you neck ache for the first couple of minutes as I forgot that i can't rotate a video like I can rotate a still photo. Sorry if I give you vertigo.

This is a still photo of the Doris Chan Out Of Sight waistcoat from the Everyday Crochet book that I have just finished in aran cotton that I bought from EBay

 The back view

I am really pleased with the way that this pattern and the cotton yarn have worked up. I have got 5 more colours, on it's way in the post, in the same brand of cotton so am looking forward to using them.

This is the yarn haul that I bought from Kemps online store. The Patons Morocco was only 59p a ball and if you hurry they still have about 4 colours left. The Patons cotton aran works up beautifully and they have a couple of colours left at 99p a ball. You will have to be quick as things don't linger long in Kemps sales.

Sometimes I am lucky and get a really good bargain in cashmere from China. I was very lucky to get these 3 colours that no-one else had bid on and all 3 x 100 gram balls cost me just over £6 postage free. It even came with it's own red paper bag. It is beautifully soft but they only sell it in 1 balls or 3 balls of the same colour that start bidding about £16. The only snag is the longish wait for it to arrive from China.

This is a close up of the multi coloured wool that I am using to make the jacket shown in the video. I did pay a lot (for me) for this wool so the jacket will be staying with me as I doubt anyone would pay the cost of the wool plus my labour if  I was to try to sell it. I like bright things so I really want to keep this for myself.

We have been let off quite lightly with the snow in Manchester. Just a few miles either way of me has deep snowdrifts and blocked roads whilst all we had was a light dusting that didn't last longer than a day. It is very cold though and the wind chill factor makes it feel really icy cold. I have stayed in nice and warm apart from going to the dustbin. That was enough to chill me to the bone as I didn't put my coat on. Thank goodness for freezers of food.

I will have to venture out tomorrow as I need to pick up a prescription for my painkillers from the Pharmacy. I can live without a of of things but not these. I ran out yesterday but managed to find some old ones left over from a year or so ago. These confirmed my opinion that the tablets that I am on now are not half as strong as they used to be. I have had a relatively pain free day using these older pills. I have mentioned this many times to the pharmacist and the GP and they both tell me that it's ridiculous and there is no difference between the brands. I am the one taking them and these generic tablets do not work half as well as the branded ones that they used to prescribe for me. It's all about cost cutting. They probably save a fraction of a penny prescribing me these pseudo tablets.. In my opinion cheaper tablets mean weaker drugs. I can't believe that companies can produce drugs so much cheaper than the original manufacturers without some compromise.

Enjoy your crochet. Bye for now.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

I Will Learn Tunisian Crochet

It has been an ongoing thing. me and Tunisian Crochet. I have learnt to do a couple of stitches but so far my tension is all over the place. I am not one to be defeated in matters of crochet so I have bought a selection of books and am determined to master it. This video shows some of the books that I have bought lately. I was scratching my nose on this still - honestly!

As I mentioned in the video I have sent up a lot of my crochet to Tre La Creativity. This link is to the Facebook page but they do have a web page of the same name.

I made this jacket to be sent to Scotland. I used some gorgeous soft baby yarn from Ice. The pattern is a mix of Doris Chan and me. The basic pattern that I used is Haru by Doris Chan from the Everyday Crochet book but I added long sleeves and a picot edging.

This is an Elegant Sweater that I made using a pattern bought from Jenny King designs. The yarn that I used is Ice Magic. I have made this sweater before in a plain shade but this is the first one that I have made using a random yarn. I do have other colours in the same yarn so I may make another one as this has gone to hopefully be sold in Scotland.

A closer look at the aran thickness cotton that I bid for and won on EBay. I am using the blue on the left to make the long waistcoat from the Everyday Crochet book by Doris Chan that is shown on the video. I have only used one ball so far but it is crocheting up quite thickly and easily. Over the years I have made nearly every design from this book. I could say that it has been my best buy and most used book of all time.

I bought the pink and white yarn from Ice. The bright plain pink and the Patons Morocco I bought from Kemp's. The Morocco is on sale (this colour only) for 59p a ball. It's lovely and silky and I wish that they had more colours left. The bright pink I used for a Double Stitch twins top shown in the video and later on this blog .

This is a closer view of the Patons Morocco showing the different shades of pinks and orange.

This top isn't quite finished as it still needs a crochet flower brooch and a tie threaded around the bottom. It is a smaller version of the one that I made for myself.

The weather continues to be cold which affects my joints. The sun shone this morning and I got quite excited thinking that Spring was finally on it's way but the sun was short lived. It is now bitterly cold and snow is forecast for later this week.

Happy crocheting and I wish you all a very good weekend what ever you have planned.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

New Magazines, Wool, CDs and Crochet Books

I have been progressing on the Elegant sweater and finished off the back and crocheted more than half of the front. No photos of it today as all I have to show is still pieces of crochet.

Instead I thought I would share with you the things that the postman has brought over the last few days. Today it was my delivery of Ice Yarns from Turkey.

You are not seeing double. I ordered another pack of each of the packs on the left hand side last week. I decided that for what I wanted to crochet I would not have enough with one pack. I am so sorry that I didn't order 2 packs of each of the Colorway wool last week as two colours that I bought are now sold out so I will have to make something with those colours that only uses 8 x 50 gram balls. I forgot to take into consideration the high wool content and that has an effect on the yardage. I usually read all the info given on the Ice site before ordering but my brain must have been having a day off when I ordered the other order. They still have some colours left in the Colorway but not colours that I want except for the one on the right of the photo which is quite pretty. .

I don't often buy CD's as I tend to watch the TV whilst I crochet but I decided that it was time to buy some easy listening. I like the one on the left better as it contains show tunes and I am a lover of musicals although I don't have the cash to splash to see any of them live.

These are 3 books that I bought recently. The middle one is very new and I had to send to the US for it but I picked up the other two from Amazon UK. There are lots of designs in them that I like and I am sure that I will be crocheting something soon. The first one that I want to make is the waterfall front cardigan on the far left. Is is done in a bulky yarn so shouldn't take long to crochet.

These are the latest copies of my subscrioption magazines. Not being able to get out to the larger newsagesnts means that I have to subscribe.My local small newsagents doesn't have it in stock. Often that means that I would not have bought some of the magazines had I browsed it first but that is the penalty that I pay for subscribing. Usually there is at least one pattern that I like.

I am determined to get to grips with Tunisian crochet when I have some spare time to dedicate to it. I am ever hopeful that I will master the different stitches and have even been optimistic enough to buy a Tunisian crochet cable booklet! Yes, Beverooni, I will succeed in this Tunisian crochet one day. If you are interested in learning Bev is doing a crochet a long on her blog One Yarn After Another . I didn't have the time to crochet along with her at the moment but it will be there on her blog for me to refer to once I start.

I have also bought a book on learning Hairpin crochet and bought a hairpin tool from Purplelinda. Very reasonably priced and half the price of one that I saw advertised on EBay. I did try many years ago  but in those days hairpin was done on tiny prongs and I never got the hang of it. The hairpin prongs of today are adjustable and much wider. The other two books are secondhand ones bought through Amazon. I always browse to see the secondhand cheapest offers. Often it is still Amazon new ones that are the  best bargains as they offer postage free if I choose the Super Saver version. They make take a bit longer to arrive but it saves £££'s on the postage.

This is a better photo of the Susan Bates hooks that I have fallen in love with . For those of you living in the US there is nothing new about these hooks but for the rest of us living in the UK they are a style of hook that I have not had access to until I ordered these sets from the US. I just love working with them and find that I can crochet faster when using one of these. The hook end has a deeper cut so the yarn doesn't slip off the hook as easily. I thought at first that they looked flat and wide but once I got used to them I prefer them now.
In order to try the different US types of hooks I also ordered a set of Boye hooks as some peoople swear by these hooks. These have the more bulbous hook end that is more akin to the UK hooks. I can use them but I do prefer the Susan Bates hooks. The only thing about the US hooks is that they have some sizes that don't exist in the UK which are great for when I am using US patterns that call for these in between (to us in the UK that is) sizes.
  • Buster has fallen out with me as I promised to take him a walk today but I had to wait in for the delivery man and he didn't call until 3.30pm and by then the weather had gone really cold. I don't like going out in the cold as it stiffens up my joints.I also need to do some food shopping. I am not expecting any deliveries tomorrow except the normal post so I must try to get out then.
Happy crocheting. I am really enjoying my crochet at the moment. If I am making something that I am really happy with then I can race along.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Crocheted Peter Pan Collars

A while ago I was asked by A dressmaking friend of mine if I would make her some Peter Pan collars to be attached to dresses that she was going to sew. I was caught up with lots of other projects that had to be finished first so I have eventually made three sample sets of collars. I found some free patterns on the net. One of them is from Garnstudio Drops and another I found on Ravelry. I am sure that I have some more collar patterns in my crochet books and magazines. I will have a browse one day. If I look now then I get sidetracked and start looking at lots of other things that I want to crochet.

I managed to make all of these from 100 grams of Patons Cotton 4ply. I have a feeling though that one set is a bit narrower than she wants so if she wants any more collars  then I will probably only get two sets out of the one ball.

I have started another of the Elegant Sweaters from Jenny King designs. This time I am using a variegated yarn from Ice yarns. I am loving the hook that I am using. A while ago I ordered a Double Stitch Twins pattern box and it came with a couple of hooks from Susan Bates attached to the pattern booklet

I had read about Susan Bates hooks but hadn't realised that they had a different hook end to what I am used to. Once I tried them I was hooked (sorry I just had to say that) and I ordered myself a set of hooks from the US through EBay. I have been using them ever since but they didn't go up to large enough sizes for some of my projects. I saw another set advertised through Red Heart that were called Crystalites. They are a posh kind of acrylic but with the same hook end that I like.

Sorry that this photo is very blurred. I think that you can see better from the shadow the shape of the hook end. Looking at it face on it looks flat and wide but from the side it h as a much deeper hook that the UK ones that I have used in the past. I do find though that it depends on which yarn I am using which style of hook end that I use. For some yarns I prefer to go back to my old Aero metal hooks that I have used for many years. Unfortunately they don't make them any more. I have tried the Clover hooks but the hook part is too short and the end too bulbous. I must crochet further down the hook that a lot of people do, I have tried the fancy expensive wooden hooks with the carved ends but they just dig into my palms and the bamboo hooks are too  light unless I am using a large size. I also tried the multi coloured wooden hooks that are supposed to be the bees knees but I didn't get on with them either and gave them away. It's funny how we all have our preferences for which hooks we prefer. I am now a convert to Susan Bates hooks.

I have bought a couple of new booklets for ladies crochet patterns and will take photos and show you the ones that I like in my next blog.

It was lovely and sunny this morning. The sun is still there but very weak now and it's starting to go quite cold out of the sunshine. I am thoroughly enjoying crocheting this new version of the Elegant sweater so I think that the sunshine and nice Yarn is helping me to recover my Crojo.

Bye for now x

Monday, 4 March 2013

My Weekend With Three Dogs

No I am not being rude about any of my friends. I was looking after my Son and Daughter in law's two dogs as they went to a friend's special Birthday party and would not be home on the Saturday night. They are beautiful dogs and so well behaved but their size made my house seem very small along with Buster too,

They took Buster's throw from the sofa and had a tug of war with it. I am not sure who was winning or whether it mattered who won. If one let go them the other would torment until the game began again.

In the end I had to take the throw off them as it was in danger of being torn as they got more boisterous. After that they found my plastic cheap version of crocs sandals and had a game with those. I had taken a ball off them. I am not one to spoil their fun but they were just ripping the ball up and eating the pieces.

Eventually the game got too much for them and they fell asleep. Don't let this photo fool you as this was only a cat nap in between the game of tug of war. I think that this part of their sleep lasted about ten minutes.

They are very well behaved it's just their size and general clumsiness that is the problem. My house is full of tempting nick nacks. At one time I had to rescue a cone of machine wool off them as they were having a great time trying to pull all the wool off the cone.

Where was Buster during all this time?

He was trying his hardest to stay out of the way. Wanting my attention as if to say This is my Mum not yours. The girls dwarf Buster. Luckily for me they are the gentlest dogs and haven't got a nasty bone  in them. Other people are frightened of them because of their size but they are both so loving.

Too loving in fact. I didn't get any crochet done whilst they were here but that doesn't matter as I enjoyed my Saturday night in with the girls and my boy.

Back to normal today and some housework. I have to get rid of half eaten sticks that they bought in and chewed to shreds. I am still finding shreds all over the carpet.

Ah well it was a lovely change for me having company on a Saturday night.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

My February Challenge from Abakhan

I haven't done an Abakhan challenge for a couple of months. Mainly because I was either making Christmas presents or I had lost my crochet mojo. In the end my project wasn't finished until the 1st March so not sure if I can call it my February Challenge. I chose Sirdar Filigree in the colour Gemstone. yarn but I must admit that I didn't research the yarn first and so was a bit shocked to find out that it was eyelash instead of the silky look that I was expecting.

I was set a double challenge this month. Not only was I crocheting with yarn that I had never used for crochet before but I was making a sweater without a pattern. I have made sweaters without a pattern before but not something that was a complex shape, This is the sweater that I was challenged to make something a similar shape to.

This shows the sweater front with the start of my crochet pinned to it. It doesn't look that is is unusually shaped until you see another view.

I don't know if you can see the fishtail sides. The back was made in two pieces with the long shaped sides.

I used some newspaper to draft up a similar shape to the bought sweater. This next photo shows what the back panel looked like. The centre back is on the bottom of the photo.I used this method when I was a teenager and crochet patterns were scarce. I used to draft up patterns using my sweaters as templates. There were very few patterns for garments when I first leaned. Crochet patterns were mostly all mats and pillowcase trimming. When the trend for crochet dresses and hot pants hit the catwalk the wool industry was woefully lagging behind with their patterns.Everything is much easier for today's crocheters. There are so many crochet patterns and books to choose from.

The only snag with crocheting to this paper pattern was that the eyelash yarn that I was using was quite stretchy and the piece came out longer than I really wanted. In crochet though the yarn does weld itself together somewhat I should have factored in the fact that this eyelash yarn would stretch in wear. If you are trying to work out the shape then the straight edge at the bottom of the photo is the centre back.

I had to work around any mistakes as that yarn was difficult to unpick if I made a  mistake. I took these photos before the finished sweater went to be modelled at my friends. After she had taken it home I discovered  that I had placed the sweater on the mannequin crooked and so it doesn't look level it looks rather lop sided.

This is the front view. Essentially it is a short sweater with longer sides.

This is a view of one of the sides. Because of the yarn that I used dropped in length whilst hanging on the mannequin I should have made the sides a bit shorter. That is something that I should have taken into consideration when I was crocheting the sweater.

This is the back view. My friend Sarah has taken the sweater and will hopefully send me a photo soon of her modelling the sweater so that you will be able to see it properly, She was red eyed and full of a cold when she visited so didn't want her photo taken wearing the sweater.

This weekend I have been looking after my Son's 2 dogs as well as my own dog so not much crochet has been done. I have now started to make some Peter Pan collars to be attached to fabric dresses made by a dressmaker friend of mine.