On Crochet Hooks

[advertisement: unpaid links]

Crochet never was a friend of mine. It took me years to understand the concept of one needle only to realise that my hands tire extremely fast even after I had acquired the basic skills.

Well, it seems like the problem was pretty easy to solve. The way I hold the hook just did not match the shape of the handle. While my hands tire and cramp using crochet hooks with thin or cylindrical handles, they do not when I use flattened handles like the Chiaogoo ones.

I deliberately chose bamboo handles as I had one other crochet hook that worked well for me, but whose handle was treated with a soft touch finish. Initially, this was not a problem at all, but the coating interacted with my natural hand cream and became sticky over time.

To test my new hooks and to improve my crochet skills, I decided to challenge myself with a doily. I chose the free Mathilde pattern by Grace Fearon and some cheap, red crochet thread. The pattern is well-written and easy to follow. I had to look up about half of the required skills, but there are tons of good tutorials on YouTube, some are even linked in the pattern. I’m pretty amazed by the result. Maybe, I’ll give crochet another chance.

Reusable Cotton Wool Pads

I actually had planned to abandon store-bought, single-use cotton pads for a while, but I just could not find the motivation to finally start making my own washable ones from cotton leftovers. However, sorting my stash recently made me aware of the huge amount of cotton leftovers waiting to be made into something. You can find quite a few (free) patterns for this crocheted version on Ravelry which are actually pretty similar. I chose one from 2013, DIY: Reusable Cotton Wool Pads by Lyndsey Haskell. The pattern is easy to follow and the pads are fast and fun to make. My first bunch comprises 15 ones which used up 58g of DK weight cotton yarn in sum. I have not tested them yet as I need about 50 of them to start the using/washing cycle in a relaxed way. So, there will be more of them, soon.

Potholders

[advertisement: unpaid links]

I do not like crocheted potholders. Most of them look extremely old-fashioned to me and I surely did not plan to crochet any. Then a dear friend of mine asked me for handmade potholders.

As I did not want to decline his request, I started to look for inspiration on Ravelry. I found some projects that actually used a tiny version of the Wool Eater Blanket as potholders. With quite a lot of leftovers of Tahki’s Cotton Classic in my stash, I decided to give it a try. And here they are, still some sort of retro potholders, but not overly ugly. I could even think of using a black based version in my own kitchen.

The pattern is easy and comes with a lot of photos. I appreciate this a lot as I do not crochet very often. It is written in UK terms, so think of it when you have to work the dtr’s (of course, I did not). The yarn is wonderful to work with, slightly glossy, yet still cottony. Well done, Tahki! So maybe, these were not my last crocheted potholders. There still remain some Cotton Classic leftovers.

Good-Bye, 2016 – Welcome, 2017

[advertisement: unpaid links]

I want to summarise my knitting activities in 2016 and give a short overview of my knitting plans for 2017.

I have knit a lot in 2016, namely 12302m of yarn. More than 12km. Wow. I would not have expected that. I wanted to destash fingering weight sock yarn, which more or less worked as I started to knit up 10 skeins more than I bought. I also planned to knit more adult garments, but I am not happy with only two cardigans and one crocheted sweater. I tried not to buy more yarn than I knit, but on top of the 14212m I bought, I was gifted another 3566m of yarn. Well, destash overall epically failed.

Some WIPs I have started in 2016 will remain unfinished, namely:

  • a scarf with a boring pattern in a yarn that is difficult to knit. I will finish it because the result looks pretty good.
  • a silken summer top with a complex lace pattern, which I actually love. I did not finish it due to major mistakes in the pattern and because it requires a lot of attention which disqualifies the project to work on it in public transportation.
  • the Boo MKAL as it requires a fucking lot of attention which is extra hard as I knit it in black.
  • a beautiful sweater from a French knitting magazine I have just started (see featured image)

I am happy to have published my first complex knitting pattern, the Katinka Mitts. I hope I can find the time for new designs in 2017.

 

Now to my plans for 2017:

I am fully aware of this list being too long for one year. But I am happy to have so many ideas to follow. Have a Happy New Year 2017!

Last Minute Christmas Gifts

[advertisement: unpaid links]

For the first time, I finished all my handmade Christmas gifts on time! The last ones to be finished were a knitted hat and a crocheted collar.

The collar is a super-easy pattern whose result depends heavily on the yarn used. This is why I chose Rowan’s Fine Silk in cream, a fingering weight, single-ply silk/ wool/ viscose yarn with a light halo. The yarn was easy to crochet and the result is just stunning. A lightweight (12g), yet warming collar you can wear over almost any top or pullover. I will definitely crochet another one for myself!

The hat is, as announced previously, a Double Crossed hat. The pattern is easy to follow and not difficult at all as long as you are not afraid of cabling. I used 53 g of some leftover Rowan Kid Classic in smoke. As usually when I use this yarn, I am very happy with the result. To obtain a tam shape, I have blocked the hat using a huge dinner plate. Sadly, I did not have time to take a proper picture of the finished hat, but it turned out beautifully.

img_20161222_081119_309.jpg

Crocheted Leis

[advertisement: unpaid links]

I am not entirely sure how it happened, but my boyfriend and me were invited to a Hawaii themed party and accepted the invitation. Of course, we would wear black as we usually do, but how to incorporate those horrible fake plastic leis the host would hang around our necks upon our arrival?

As I felt the urgent need to avoid this, I decided to bring our own leis in acceptable colours. With less than one week preparation time, the idea to crochet 80 flowers and make them into two leis seemed ambitious but feasible. In the end, I succeeded and am very happy with the result!

The yarn used is Schachenmayr Bravo, a 100% acrylic yarn that excels only by its low price. I followed Corina’s tutorial on how to crochet a Hawaiian lei. The tutorial is well written and easy to follow. Nonetheless, it takes a lot of time to crochet so many flowers. Each one took me a minimum of 8 minutes. And please do not ask why I know…