Friday, 25 September 2015

Warm winter woollies

Continuing on my quest to use up more of the part balls in my stash, I have been mixing and matching to combine some thinner yarns to make chunky thicknesses.  The largest crochet hook that I possess is a size 8.00, and it has been working overtime this week making scarves.

I enjoyed myself putting together different combinations of yarn. The red scarf consists of two strands of pink 2 ply, one strand of lilac 4 ply, one of red 4 ply and one of white dk.   The blue one has two strands of blue 4 ply, one of white 4 ply and one of a grey variegated sock yarn.  In some cases it is not the same yarn throughout; as long as I had enough of the same ply in a similar colour, I used up smaller balls where possible.  The blue scarf is softer and has a better drape; I think that really the red one should have either used one strand fewer or been made on a larger hook.  However, it is large and very warm and wraps twice around my neck, so will hopefully help someone keep warm.  Perhaps this is my excuse to go hook shopping!

Friday, 11 September 2015

Converted hoodie

I have lots and lots and LOTS of part balls of yarn in my stash.  I need to use them up, but the trouble is, I often find it hard to judge just how much yarn is left in each of them.  My kitchen scales, while fine for measuring flour and fat, are not terribly accurate beyond 50g.  One of these days I will invest in electronic scales which can weigh to individual grammes.

I had bookmarked a pattern for an aran weight hoodie from the Tricksy Knitter website, because I liked the jagged edge to the stripe.  The pattern is knitted all in one from the neck down, and no-sew patterns are my favourite, particularly when I am knitting small sizes.  I chose two substantial part-balls from my Aran stash, and started to knit.  The main ball was a very warm oatmeal yarn, and I picked a bluey-green to put in the contrast stripe as in the pattern.  However, as I got on with the cardigan, I realised that I had overestimated the amount of oatmeal yarn that I had.  An extra green stripe in the body and contrasting ribs still did not leave me enough to knit the hood in the main colour.  I thought about knitting the hood in the contrast, but decided that it wouldn't look right.  So I went for a contrast collar instead.  Using an old pattern of my mum's to get an idea of the increases that would be needed to let it lie properly, I knitted a 2x2 rib collar.

Thankfully, the end result looks as though it was intended to be that way!  The cardigan should fit a 3 year old, and will be going into the box I'm preparing for Knit for Peace.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Lifelong learning!

As I used to teach in the Further Education or Lifelong Learning Sector, I feel really pleased when I learn a new skill myself.

A few months ago I bought some yarn for 50p in a charity shop.  There was a full skein and a part skein of bottle green with this label:

Normally bulky is the US equivalent of our UK chunky, but this was much thicker than chunky.  I don't know how old this yarn is, but there was no meterage or suggested needle size on the label, so I selected a size 7.00 crochet hook, although I could have used a larger one. I had a little chuckle at the Shrink Resistant and Mothproof selling points too, which suggests that acrylic was not as common when this was made as it is now.  Interestingly, there is a Nortex Mill in Bolton, Lancs, but it specialises in fabrics (Lancashire cotton trade) and doesn't sell yarn.

On to the learning.  I decided that this would make a lovely warm crocheted scarf  for Knit for Peace. I looked at a few patterns on Ravelry, and realised that most crochet scarves are made lengthways rather than widthways.  A lot of them start with foundation double crochet (fdc) too. This s a technique where the starting chain and the first row of double crochet (or single crochet in US terms) are worked simultaneously.   In almost 50 years of crocheting,  I have never attempted this technique; truth to tell, I only heard of it about 5 years ago.

So, I googled some YouTube videos, chose one that was easy to follow, and off I went.  My technique was a bit uneven to start with, and I found it hard to establish a rhythm, but for a first attempt, I did manage as reasonably neat edge.  I will definitely use this technique again.

I followed the fdc row with 2 rows of double crochet, then for the middle of the scarf I did  9 rows of one dc one chain.  I finished it off with a further 2 rows of dc.  And I ended up with a very thick and cosy scarf that is 62 inches long, so should keep a child's neck nice and warm this winter.