Archive for the “crochet” Category

I had the bright idea to crochet a snowflake as a Christmas gift for Michael's mom, who is a crocheter herself and appreciates these things. So I pulled out the #10 thread and a wee steel hook, and set to work on the Savannah Snowflake, which is a free pattern available on the Snowcatcher website.

It was not an easy project. The thread was slippery, I wasn't sure about where to place some of the stitches, and the original plan to wrap the flake around a colourful ornament was scuttled when it didn't turn out to be large enough. But the more rounds I did, the better I felt about how it looked, especially as I worked my way around the final round to create the points of the flake.

The snowflake then took a starch bath. I mixed a quarter-cup of cornstarch into a cup and a half of cold water, and brought it up to heat on the stovetop. It didn't take long for the mixture to become thick and translucent. When it had cooled down enough to touch, I got the flake thoroughly saturated with the goop, and then patted off the excess with paper towels before pinning it out on cardboard to dry. The next morning, it was completely solid and only a little bit stuck to the cardboard, but it came right off with some help from a kitchen spatula.

Then I completely forgot to take a photo of it before wrapping it up and giving it away. But here it is in its place of honour on the tree:



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My friend Teresa, Ship's Cook of HCPS Tygershark, loves black and silver. I've only ever seen her wear black and silver - maybe a little bit of white, sometimes, when silver can't be found.


About a year and a half ago, she mentioned something about armwarmers, and I filed the thought away in my head with a note that I had to find black and silver yarn for the project. Not long afterwards, I bought a skein of Kraemer Sterling Silk & Silver. It just seemed fitting to use real silver in something I was making for Teri!

I was going to give these to her last year at Pennsic, but I didn't end up going - so unfortunately, they were set aside for other projects. But I finished them during the Olympics (hooray! a WIP completed!) and mailed them off, and just heard from her that she's received them, so now I can post about the project!


The pattern is Lacy Fingerless Gloves, available for free on Ravelry. It was and easy and quick project which took less than half a skein to make. The armwarmers are worked flat in rows of alternating fan-shapes, edged with a round of single crochet, then seamed up the side with a hole for the thumb. I like the construction and would use it again with another stitch pattern!

Kipling tries to be in all the pictures (look at those adorable paws!) but it's a good closeup of the shape of the fan stitches. The silver strands are even more obvious in real life; the camera didn't really capture how they shine.


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Back in June, I started crocheting a replacement couch-blanket for the cats. I began with one ball of Loops & Threads Impeccable in the "Tropical Storm" colourway and added eight more skeins in July when I found a 40% off coupon, but I knew I still didn't have enough to finish the blanket.

On Friday I was right near the artsy-crafts store, so I stopped in - just to look, of course. And that's when I saw it: an entire bin of "Tropical Storm" on clearance. But wait. There was another bin of the same colourway at the regular price. I found an employee and asked which was right, and after much consideration she said that while the colourway I wanted wasn't the one on clearance, it was obviously their stocking error and she would honour the lower price.

I bought eleven more balls of the stuff.

First Four Squares

I'm working in strips of twelve squares, and I'm going to make at least sixteen strips. Each square is approximately 4", so I'll have a 48" x 64" blanket - that should be a good size for two people and two cats to snoogle under!

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After much deliberation, I picked out the yarn I'm going to use for the new cat-blanket. It's Loops & Threads Impeccable, a soft acrylic that doesn't seem like it will be too awful to use, in the "Tropical Storm" colourway. Then I picked a pattern, Bernat's Mitered Squares Baby Blanket. Of course, I'm going to make it bigger than a baby blanket! It needs to be big enough for two people to snoogle under on cold winter nights, plus one cat. I'd measure the current blanket, but Kipling is snoozing on it at the moment.

I bought just one ball to test out the yarn and pattern, and after working up the first few squares, decided that I really, really like it. The stitches are worked in the back loop to create the ridged effect, and each square is begun directly from the square before it without having to break the yarn - always a bonus!

First Four Squares

I found a 40% off an entire purchase coupon and bought eight more balls of the yarn with it, everything the store had in stock. That may or may not be enough for the whole blanket, but I figure I can just keep buying more until it's big enough. While Loops & Threads does have dye lots, I'm really not worried about it for this project.

Hopefully I can get this thing finished by the time it's cold enough to need it!

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Back in December, inspired by this project and how much I enjoyed making the Rook for Grandma, I started a Rainbow Rook while on a train ride. I had two balls of Knitpicks Chroma Worsted, one in grey and one in "Prism", the most rainbow of their colourways. ("Lollipop" and "Rollerskate" were close contenders for this one, but I went with the rainbow after much consideration.)

Rainbow Rook

I love the yarn (even if it doesn't seem very durable - it's a 70/30 wool/nylon blend, but a very soft single, and I think it will pill) and I love the spike stitch. I love that the pattern is completely reversible. I actually love this pattern enough that I could see making a third scarf, one with offset spikes. And, obviously, I love the long gradient stripes. That reminds me to work on my Stripey Striped Socks! Those need to be finished.

Rainbow Rook

Yesterday I had another train ride, another 4.5 hours to while away with yarn, and I was able to almost finish the scarf before I got to Washington. "You did that all on the train?" the conductor asked me. "You're good, I'm impressed!"

This afternoon, after my first day on the new job, I came home and crocheted the last few stripes. And now, though it's the middle of June and I've no need of it whatsoever, I have a new scarf! It needs to be blocked, still, and I'll try to get a better picture after it's come off the blocking wires. I would have arranged it artistically on the rocks, but it's been raining and so that seemed like a bad idea.

Finished Rainbow Rook

P.S. Yes! New job! I'll be doing web design sorts of things, which will severely cut into my knitting and spinning time. Obviously I'll just have to be more dedicated to it (and blogging) in the evenings.

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Crocheted washcloths might be my new favourite project. They're quick, they're easy, they hold up to repeated washing and drying, and they're amazingly useful! I always have one in the shower for washing my face now; it's got just the right amount of scrubbiness without being too rough.

Every crocheter (crochet-ist?) has to learn the ripple at some point, right? How else can we make those iconic 1970s afghans? There's one on my couch, of course, and Kipling has claimed it for his own. The thing is, it actually belongs to Pirate-Ex... so I figured I'd practice the ripple stitch with a washcloth, in preparation for making the replacement blanket.


Then I thought I'd try some hyperbolic crochet (aka a bath foofy) with the green leftovers. I used up the variegated yarn first, then the solid green, then wanted to do one more round for extra foofiness, so broke into a ball of yellow for the last round. This was really, really fun to make!


I had about half of the yellow yarn left and didn't know how far it would go, so I decided to work this Shell Point washcloth from the inside out.


Next I took a random stitch pattern and made a washcloth of it. I like how it waves! I think this would look good in a solid or semi-solid colour as a baby blanket. Not that I plan to make one any time soon, but still.


One needs something to do with one's hands whilst watching F1 races, even exciting ones like this year's Monaco GP. I just did a simple thing with some more leftovers, alternating single and double crochet until I ran out of yarn. The zigzags are nifty!


I think it's official, I'm a washcloth addict. I'm almost out of the Sugar 'n Cream yarn, though - I have a ball of white and a ball of denim blue left, and that's it. How many washcloths does one girl need, anyway? Even if they are really fast and fun to make...

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Last week we had a spectacular snowstorm here in the mountainous DC suburbs. The whole city shut down, as it does at the mere mention of the word "snowflake," but everyone east of here seems to agree that the storm itself was anticlimactic. After two days of being told "A foot or more of snow! It's the snow we haven't gotten for two years, all at once!" people were hyped up for it.

Well, perhaps closer to the city the storm was insignificant, but up here on the mountain we got a foot of snow in the low spots, and 18" in the high spots... and we lost power for six hours or so when a snow-laden tree gave up and fell down across the lines.

Snowed In

What's a yarn addict to do, snowed into the house with two cats and no power? That's right, dose the cats up with catnip and crochet for a few hours.

Rainbow Rook

I'm really enjoying this project. It goes fast, the colours are simply beautiful, the spike stitch is showing up perfectly on the stripes, and for some reason the cats leave crochet alone more than knitting.


This last picture is also available in giant 4000x3000 (3.8 MB) if anyone wants to use it as their desktop background. Enjoy!

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I enjoyed making the Rook Scarf for Grandma so much that I immediately wanted to make one for myself, but I wanted the spike stitch pattern to be a little more noticeable. In looking through the pattern's other projects, I was drawn to this awesome rainbow version. I ordered two skeins of Knitpicks Chroma, one in Prism and one in Grey. I started the scarf on the train between Washington and Connecticut, and beg your forgiveness for the washed-out colours of the photo - between the phone's camera and the poor lighting on the train, it was hard to get it accurate.

Rainbow Rook

The yarn itself is pretty nice. It's a loosely spun worsted weight singles, and it's very, very soft. Unfortunately I get the feeling that it's going to want to catch on everything and will probably end up pilling after only one or two seasons, but I'll enjoy it until then!

Meanwhile, in the colourful department, I found myself in need of new suitcases and could not resist the pink polka dots. There is something about having a matched set of suitcases that makes me a little bit giddy. I feel so coordinated!

Matched Luggage

Also in the colourful department, a new car! My little Mazda wasn't really capable of handling the mountain roads in wintertime, so with some wistfulness but no regrets I traded her in for this orange beauty. We've already been on our first road trip together, and she's a delight. Even if I'm still getting used to her clutch.

Subaru XV Crosstrek

Here at the tail end of winter things are seeming pretty grey, so it's nice to have a few shots of colour to liven things up a little bit.

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Well! I am back, after a completely unplanned and unexpected hiatus. I haven't been doing very much knitting (or spinning or crocheting) lately, to be honest... and I think that's a rotten thing. So I'm getting back into it! There's something finished to show off:

Rook Scarf

Way back in 2008 I bought three skeins of Noro Silk Garden at WEBS. For the longest time I didn't know what to do with them. I thought of making an entrelac scarf, I thought of making something with stripes. I thought of lots of things, but none of them seemed right. And every time I looked at the yarn, I thought "These really are Grandma's colours, aren't they."

So I went looking for a suitable pattern and found the Rook Scarf. Then I had to run out and get a set of larger crochet hooks, and there was no waiting - I was so excited that I made a special trip to the artsy-crafts store for them.

The scarf took under a week to crochet, and then it lived on my mantel (where no cats could shed on it) for a while, waiting for its ends to be woven in. Pirate-Ex came by the house for one reason or another and I showed him the scarf without any more comment than, "Look what I made!" His first response was, "That's nice, but... those are really much more your grandma's colours than they are yours."

And so they are.

Grandma's Scarf

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Last night I went down the mountain to my neighbour Sarah's house to have a beer and conversation. I knew she'd be working on crocheting snowflakes and wanted to bring something with me to keep my hands busy - but my sock was still out of commission. I decided that a quick and easy washcloth would be the way to go. This morning I finished the last few rows and folded the new washcloth beside my laptop, planning to bring it upstairs with me and weave in the end the next time I got up. Floyd claimed it as his own before I had the chance.

Then I tried to spread it out on the table to take a picture. That didn't go so well. Floyd was torn; he hates having his picture taken but he didn't want to abandon his new washcloth, either.

Attempting to relocate him was less than successful.

Finally I pulled the cloth out from under him, put it on my keyboard, and got a reasonably good picture of it.

This yarn. Oh, this yarn. I love crocheting Sugar 'n Cream, but this colourway was difficult. I must have tried five different patterns, different starting chain numbers, starting at different sections of the colour repeat. Nothing worked. It came out blotchy, stripy, ugly... anything but attractive.

Finally I gave up trying new patterns and went back to the Bumpy, Not Lumpy pattern that I've made a few times before. It's easy to do and gives a nice fabric for a washcloth. Besides, I barely need to look at it while I work!

I'm still not really fond of the way the colour played out, but I decided that I didn't care - it's only a washcloth, after all. Maybe I'll give this

Because Floyd seemed to like the washcloth so much, and because I still had a handful of yarn left over, and because I hadn't yet decided what to work on for the rest of the afternoon, I made a quick cat toy using the free Tiny Crochet Ball pattern and the size I (5.5mm) hook that I was still holding from the washcloth, and leftovers from two other washcloths as well. I probably should have used a smaller hook for a tighter fabric, but I think it will be all right.

It's stuffed with cotton balls and catnip. Floyd did play with it for a little bit, got high as a kitten, ran around meowing for ten minutes, and is now napping on the couch beside me. Time will tell if it turns into one of the favourites, or if it ends up ignored in the cats' toybox along with so many others. (I don't mind either way; I used up scraps and learned the invisible crochet decrease!)

I kinda want to make a hackysack for myself now...

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