Sunday, September 1, 2013

New Project

Apart from the coasters that I need to make my grandma, I'm in need of a new project. (Oh, I forgot about the hand warmers. I'm still working on those.) I don't particularly go looking for a new project, but something will catch up eye sometimes and I'll just start working on it before I think it through.

Take this beautiful project:

How beautiful is this blanket! I would *never* usually consider doing something quite so ... well ... modern, in it's appearance. But my life has changed quite a bit this year, and this has really taken my fancy.

(You can see the blanket in full at Lutter Idyl)

So, now I have to figure out the yarn I'll be using. Since I made my pact earlier this year, I'll be sticking with the beautiful wool I can get from Bendigo Woollen Mills, which is a little harder for me to visit now but I'll get there :) And I'll probably be going with their Luxury yarn as well. It's always so soft. I happen to have a ball of their 4ply Luxury wool yarn in my box in a "denim" colour, which is almost right for that darkest colour in the blanket. I'm wondering if it's a bit thin though, because I'm working it up and I'm not sure it's thick enough. Anyway, I've made a square with a 4mm hook and am working on a 3.5mm hook as well.

The only problem with the yarn I'll be using is that they *don't* have the hot pink or rich bright orange in their yarns. In fact, in the luxury blend they don't have an orange at all. They do have a colour that might work for the bright pink, but I might have to do a bit of a switcheroo to be honest. 

I'll keep you updated with what I decide on. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Finished set of coasters

I've quietly been taking orders for my crochet, mostly from friends. Ever since I posted up a baby blanket on my personal Facebook page a few months ago, to mostly show someone who I was making a blanket for, and someone asked if I could make one of those for their sister, who was having a baby.

This is my most recent order.

I like finishing them for presentation to the client in a pretty way: who doesn't. It's the mark of a personally made project.

These were a challenging project, because the client wanted soft neutral colours, with a mustard yellow to pop. Great colour choices, but out of the five colours, I could only get my hands on 2. I make my coasters these days out of cotton and only cotton. I can only buy the colours in cotton that I can source in Australia, and let me tell you these do not include mustard yellow OR grey. (Grey, possibly, but in a different brand of cotton (Bendigo Woollen Mills perhaps), and these are made up in 8ply Panda.)

This simply meant that I had to dye the yarn to suit the colours I wanted.

My issue: I had never dyed yarn myself before. Hell, I'd only ever dyed one piece of clothing!

So. This project not only took 2 months (I've gone from working one job 2 days a week, to 3 jobs, over 5-7 days a week.), but I went through a trial set, and three sets of dyeing. OMG.

Did you know that Panda White cotton DOES NOT LIKE TURNING GREY? In fact, it turns a beautiful shade of lavender. Which is honestly lovely, and I'm using it in a personal project, but HELLO I NEEDED TWO TYPES OF GREY. This led to me looking at the bowl of black dye that I had, and then at what other yarn I had. I tried Panda's off-white/ecru colour next. Perfect. I guess because it's more like a natural shade, which possibly got a fixative in it to make sure it stays white. I used THOSE greys on the trial coasters, which I made on the plane travelling across country to attend a funeral. (You can just get So Much Crochet Done on the plane!)

Of course, the next time I tried to dye some yarn grey for the final set, it wanted to go more lavender than grey. But, hey - it turned out well. (See greys above.)

Then I decided to offer the client the option to have a backing on the coasters, something else I hadn't done before. And of course, it was a yes! *laugh* So I went with felt, and I went to a craft fair the week I finished the coasters of, and picked up a really lovely soft bamboo/synthetic felt, which I just loved. I whip-stitched the backing to the coasters, and I think they worked SUPER WELL.

And the client was super pleased, which was the only point in the end :) 

Monday, July 15, 2013

My ball of Noro yarn

A few months ago, my Mum found a beautiful yarn store in Hobart, down in Tasmania. She bought me this lovely ball of Noro:

Isn't it pretty? I don't have the label anymore (I'm sure it's around here somewhere in a box, but I moved since I got given the ball and I have NO idea where it is!) but it's a ball of Noro with silk and cotton. It feels sturdy but a little silky.

And I have no idea what to do with it.

I thought I'd make a pair of gloves, since it's quite a fine ply (4ply). But I've been working on that other pair of gloves. Then I saw this post:

Japanese flowers and tutorial by Claire from My Craft Little Moments.

She points out how she loves the work by Sophie Digard:

And saw scarves like these in Selfridges:

Lovely, huh.

Anyway, Claire has written (and photographed) out a little tutorial for us to make our own Japanese Flowers and that's what I'm currently doing with my Noro. Making Japanese Flowers that I'll join together and make into a nice little scarf. I'll throw you an update later in the week after I've completed some of the flowers and have something to show you :)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

A wrist warmer...

Apologies for being missing from the blog for a while. Been quite disrupted in my life, what with a few events, so let's see how we go from now, yes?

Thanks for your patience and sticking around :)

* * *

A few weeks ago, I saw this awesome looking baby blanket posted on one of my feeds. Now, I usually make my baby blankets in what I call the "granny square" pattern: basically 3tr,/3dc, ch, 3tr/3dc, ch etc. I like my baby blankets that way, but I do worry about little fingers getting caught. I do also figure that the weave will be close enough to keep bub warm, but open enough to drape in a hotter season. But this baby blanket was made with more a shell stitch, in a deep purple, and it looked amazing. So, I followed a link to the basic stitch that she'd used:

Blanket stitch! I'd never heard of it! So, I grabbed a ball of Schoppenwolfe sock yarn that I'd found pretty cheap (yes, Schoppenwolfe! I think it was because it was the last ball of the colour lot - I only saw one of this lovely cheery pink - and it was in the mid-year sale anyway) and had a bit of a go at this stitch:

(picture from

Isn't it nice looking?

Well, my first experiment went along quite well, and I suddenly thought I should actually *make* something instead of just trialing out the stitch.

So, I made up a hand warmer. It's been rather cold of a morning here in Melbourne-town (where I live now - part of the disruption!) with about a solid week of frosts (something I was used to up in the country, but which I thought I should have mostly left behind!), and I found I was sitting on the tram in my gloves, unable to pick up my tablet/phone and read a book! Darn it all! So, I thought I should make some fingerless gloves, or hand/wrist warmers. 

Ta da! Whaddya think! I didn't follow a pattern, and realised about 12 rows up that it was coming along nicely for my wrist, but gee my hand attaches to my wrist and it's a fair bit wider :D So I started increasing the pattern, which was a bit tricky since it's a fan/shell sort of pattern, but I got it going. 

Then I tried it on after I sewed it together, and realised that I should have really fastened the bottom of the warmer with a button since the starting row is RATHER SNUG! For a moment there I was thinking I'd be wearing the glove for a while since I couldn't get it off! And it's still pretty snug to get on, but it works. I added in a whole little thumb section too (my first "separate thumb" for a glove/warmer!!) and added a bit more to the main part of the hand as well. I edged the top parts in a dc/sc just to make the top snug around my thumb/hand. 

Now, just to make a matching one! 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Quick little baby hat to make up

So... your friend/cousin/sister/distant relative just had a baby! Congratulations! But STOP! Have you got a new baby present? NO!! Oh my gosh you completely forgot to organise that baby gift! And you're going into the hospital to see them later! What will you do!?!?

Well worry no more, I have the perfect solution!

Yep, a baby hat.

You see, this was (sort of) what happened to me last week! Except it was my step-father's niece and we were seeing her at a party on Saturday night, and my Mum started panic shopping for a gift. I stopped her and said "why don't we go find some yarn and I'll make a baby hat". Problem solved!!

I found this terrific pattern: HookedOnNeedles: Crocheted Baby Hat The blog post even says the same thing :) Can be whipped up in around 2 hours (OK mine takes a bit longer because my attention wanders, but still it's completely done in an afternoon!) and is perfect for a new born present.

The first version I made was a bit bigger.

Probably twice the size.

The first green hat is made of 4ply baby yarn with a 3.5mm hook, and I would say it's a good size for a newborn-3 month old (although I'd say the bub will outgrow it by 3 months to be honest). The baby yarn is 100% acrylic, so easy to wash & will dry quickly. The second blue (and it is actually blue! It looks rather grey...) hat is for more a 3-6 month old (again, I predict a bub would grow out of it by 6 months) and was made with a 80% cotton-bamboo, 20% acrylic yarn with a 4mm hook. It would have easily been around 25% bigger than the little green hat.

I can't recommend the pattern enough. So simple, enough for a beginner to follow along easily.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Out and About in Melbourne-Town

Went into Melbourne yesterday to have lunch with my step-dad since he was over from Perth.

After I demonstrated that the awesome phone he bought me could take great pictures, he couldn't quite get the camera on my phone working (don't judge, it's SUPER tricky - half of my photos turn out blurry (see below!) as well!), so I showed him how to take a selfie :) Also - look! it's me... :)

We had a lovely day ;)

On my way back to the train station (a 7-block journey I had already tried to make, but I was 4 blocks away and 2 mins away from missing the train, so I got off the tram and went window shopping!) I was walking up a street I don't usually go down to walk to the train station, and I saw these in a window!

How cute are they! Crocheted pillows in a STORE DISPLAY that is not a craft store!

I just about fell over. Crochet really is "popular" these days :)

Anyway, I thought the pillows were tops. They're not a "traditional" granny square, and I adore how they are closed-up with buttons!

I've finally finished my studying. YAY! Handed in the last piece of homework for my course and barring no revisions, I wont have to do any more work. I shall just get my Certificate IV in the mail. I'm VERY PLEASED. Also, after 15 months of straight studying, I shall be able to get back into my crafting. This makes me VERY HAPPY.

Monday, February 18, 2013


I think we tend to forget how things used to be made. You can walk into any craft store and pick up a piece of lace for decoration, and it's not expensive. Some of it is, some of it is dirt cheap. Most of it is machine made: I don't know if any lace you can buy in a store is handmade anymore.

Lace is one of those things that you can crochet: not fine "Irish" lace, but a lot of cotton lace (doileys, fine bedspreads) is crochet, if it's handmade. I've always looked at the beautiful pieces that some people have made and gone "Gosh, I'm not sure I could do that". I worked with some heavy cotton last year and made the little fan bookmark:

Which I was super proud of. But I haven't tried any more lace/fine work again.

So when I picked up some 2/3ply remnants from Bendigo Woollen Mills, I ... I have no idea why I picked them up! *laugh* They're beautiful and very very fine.

Beautiful soft colours, very soft yarn. You can see why I got some :)

I decided that I'd try to make up a pattern in a book that I'd gotten out of my local library. Foundation row: 338ch. Did not help that I had to completely unravel two rows on my 2nd attempt at the piece.


It's got two side pieces and a centre piece that 'joins' the two edgings together. I'm partway through the centre piece, but I had to just put it aside for a bit. The yarn is so fine that I was having a hard time working it up.

Not exactly the kind of lacework I was talking about earlier, but you can see the similarity. It's very fine work that's going to take a bit of time to get done. I hope the recipient likes it ;)

Thursday, January 31, 2013

A little project...

I've picked up a little project.

I love the Willow square. As evidenced by how many I made last year. I wanted to make it into a cushion, so I'm doing a front panel of 9 Willow squares, and then I have to figure out the back. I'm thinking maybe just a plain TR in the light colour (which is actually a very light grey and works better than the white that I was thinking), but now I'm thinking a little ripple in the grey with thin strips of the two different colours between them.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Different coasters & different ways to start a row

I'm on a coaster bender at the moment. (Probably has something to do with the small business I've started - LizzieBee: Handmade

Nice, huh :) 

Kinda my own pattern as well. Started using a pattern from a book, but it had a funny second row, so I kept making new coasters to see how it worked versus a different way to hook the coaster up. They're all made with the Morris & Sons Avalon 100% cotton. The pink & purple ones are using the 4ply and the green was made with a bit of leftover 8ply. 

You can see the different the ply makes to the coaster. The 4ply coasters were worked with a 3.5m hook and the 8ply coaster was worked with a 4mm hook. They are all the same diameter, however the green 8ply coaster has an entire round less. I've also worked a round of dc around the entire coaster to give it a defined edge, something I think that the coasters need. 

One of the other things I wanted to trial out was a different way to start of a new row in the round.  

If you have a look at the above picture, you can see that the two circles look a bit different. There's a pronounced downwards line in the coaster on the left, but the coaster on the right fails to have this.

Traditionally, you start a new row with ch stitches. I worked this coaster in treble crochet, so my new starting row was 3-ch. But I'm not particularly happy with it, since you can visibly see where the new rows start. So, I asked a few of the girls on the Krista group that I'm a member of, and the majority who answered said they started with a dc+ch. Some of them started with a dc+1ch, and some of them started with a dc+2ch. 

You can see with the right coaster that the starting row is more camouflaged than the coaster on the right. I was much happier with the way this looks, so I'm going to continue working a dc+2ch with a new row from now on. I have to do a bit of experimenting to see how it works on a piece with rows, rather than in a round.  

Thursday, January 17, 2013


The best part of being able to create lovely things is creating them for people, specifically friends. 

I hooked up these coasters for one of my best friends as a christmas present, and they were received with joy, which made me so happy.

I decided to make them up in two kinds of yarn, so there was a nice difference in the set, even though they were all purple. The darker eggplant colour is Panda 8ply DK acrylic, and the lighter mauve is from Bendigo Woolleen mills, and is their 8ply luxury wool in 'plum'. I just love the Bendigo yarn.

This year I've decided to only buy good quality yarn ( I have a bad habit of wandering into Spotlight and grabbing some acrylic because it's cheap... ) and I think I might end up buying only yarn from Bendigo. I just love their Luxury wool & their cotton yarn as well and it's such a high quality. And not only that, I've decided to donate a whole heap of yarn off to a project that's always happy to have donated yarn. So today, I sorted out two little boxes of yarn (the Ikea box I keep by the sofa with all my current bits & bobs in, and a bigger woven basket that has older yarn in it) and ended up with an entire square shopping bag of yarn, ready to go! I feel better already :) 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Block #72: Seville

Today's block, from Jan Eaton's 200 Crochet Blocks...

Is block #74: Seville.

This block let me learn a new skill: the lace features you can see that are in a cross shape, are in fact lengths of chain from each round and gathered together with a dc in a higher row. I quite like how it works. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Errors in Patterns

I was working up a new square from "200 Crochet Blocks..." on Monday when I realised it was happening again. The pattern was misleading me.

I'd just finished working up #2: Tiny Textures, and had moved onto #10: Openwork Square. Straight away, there was something different. #10 starts with ch 34. #2? ch 32. That might not be too bad, I can hear you thinking. #10 might begin with a row 1 of TR & #2 might have begun with DC. Except it didn't. Both squares started off with a foundation row of double crochet. Which meant that by the end of it, #2 Tiny Textures had a base row of 31 and #10 Openwork Square had a base row of 33.

In any given world, if you work up these squares with the SAME yarn and the SAME hook, the square that has a base width of 33 stitches is GOING to be bigger than the square with a base width of 31.


The completed square is the one I featured on Monday: #2: Tiny Textures. The beginning-as-yet-unmade-square strip featured is the beginning of #10: Openwork Square. It's only up to row2, which means I've worked the 34 ch, turned, worked dc's along & ended up with 33dc. Then I worked row 1 (the treble lacey row) & row 2, which is where I really ran into the ... trouble.

Row 2 reads thus: 1ch, 1dc into first tr, 2dc into each 1ch sp along row, ending with 2dc into 1ch sp formed by turning ch, turn (33dc).

Which would work, if row 1 hadn't read like this: 4ch (counts as 1tr, 1ch), miss 1dc, tr into next dc *1ch, missing 1dc, 1tr into next dc; rep from * to end, turn.

The little pattern repeats itself along and works itself over 2dc's of the previous row. (1tr, ch1 missing a dc.) Row 2 has you working 3 (THREE) stitches into each of the 2dc space of that foundation row. This means you end up with a count that looks like this:

See how much LONGER the 33dc wide strip became with row 2? It ended up being 44dc wide with those extra dc's added in.

This is WHY, when you work up a new pattern or square, you do a quick trial run first. Does the square work up correctly? Is it the same size as the other one? I've talked about this before, last year when I posted about "blocks that should match, but don't" funnily enough about a few other blocks from 200 Crochet Blocks. It's not that this block is incorrect - in fact it's perfectly fine. It's just that it's size in relation to other blocks is different. If you make it up before hand and notice this sort of size error, it's then relatively easy to adjust the pattern to fit your other squares.

This book is terrific. I can't recommend it enough to people who like to crochet, and especially to learners. But don't open the book and expect to be able to work up every block to the same size. It's not going to happen. The best of intentions can sometime backfire, and even experts like Jan Eaton can sometimes end up with errors in their work.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Block #71: Tiny Textures

How 'bout this: starting off the new year with a new block :)

From Jan Eaton's "200 Crochet Blocks..." Block #2: Tiny Textures.

I kind of feel like I want to work this up again, in a plain cream yarn. I love this yarn. It's the same one I did my other block last week in: the 100% variegated cotton from Morris & Sons. But because it's beautifully variegated, you almost can't see the texture of the block. Almost.

Should be a good dishcloth!!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Year Resolutions & a free pattern for a jar cover!

New Year Resolutions. I think it might be fair to say that we all make them. Whether it's the resolution you make when you wake up after a BIG NYE party ("I'm never drinking again!"), or you look inside your fridge at the remnants of the silly season ("Time to shape up!"),  or something like I did last year ("I'm blogging something new Every Day!"), we all state something around this time of the year.

Last year's got me right on my blogging track again, and even though I didn't end up blogging Something New Every Day, I did manage to keep it right into August, which is a pretty good result. I'm happy with that :)

This year it's a little more reasonable. I'm going to have a schedule! Shock! Horror! Expect a blog post every (and I mean EVERY) Monday & Thursday. So this week, we've already seen that! Today is Thursday, here's the post, and we had my 2012 round up on Monday. I want to maintain that schedule all year, and if I want to post something extra, then I will do. Perhaps a weekend project? Or a link-heavy post mid week. I'm also eager to keep working on Eaton's 200 Crochet Blocks.. book, which a few of us over on the Krista Crochet Group on FB have stated intention of doing. Good for us :) 

Personally, I decided to improve my fitness (the best of intentions, and one that is hardly ever kept, but we all mean it in early January), keep trying new recipes, and keeping a money jar.

A money jar? Like a piggy bank, but not something gross and plasticy from some branch of a bank, but simply a jar with a hole in the top, that I can put a dollar a day into, or when I'm feeling wealthier, all my change :) But look at it - it looks so ugly. So, I decided to make it prettier :)
I made a cover for it :) 

It was easy enough, although getting it to curve around the base AND the curve at the top was a little tricker. See how it curves around the base?

Here you can see how it's bell shaped. Just a little, just enough that it bulges slightly around the middle and comes in at the top and the bottom. I also decided to try out the idea of putting a line of white in-between the changing colours, since it seems a little popular and gosh darn it I LIKE it. It does indeed make each colour individually pop. I originally started off with the four colours, and after the line of green thought I could add an extra one, or two. But I ended up unravelling the extra colour and sticking with my original idea, and it worked a treat. 

So, how did I make it? Well, I had to measure out my jar to see how round it was. The way I did that was simply crocheting up a chain row first, and wrapping it around the jar. Then, when I decided to use a tr stitch to work up the colours in (the white rows are a simple dc), I had to figure in the fact that trebles tend to be a bit stretchier when made up that double crochet's. I ended up with a row of 43trs. 

So first of all, get a nice clean jar (I used an old mayo jar I'd used up over xmas). Work up a chain and wrap it around your jar. If you pull it tight around the biggest part of the jar and it just meets, that should work well. Even better if it's just a little too small, because you'll be working your increases in during your third row. My pattern is just a GUIDE because your jar will be a different size from mine, so this is a good exercise in adjusting a pattern to fit as you go. The other thing I must note is that I worked my entire cover from the SAME SIDE. So from left to right (end of the ch being left) for every row. I never turned it. It was an experiment, feel free to turn each side if you like, but I wanted the white dc row to look like it does, and not in reverse. 

Base row: chain 46 (43 + turn of 3ch)
Row 1: Work a tr into the 3rd chain back, and tr into every chain. (I ended up with 43.) Fasten off if you're changing colours.
Row 2: Grab your white yarn and join into the first tr: ch, dc into same space, then dc along your whole row of tr. Fasten off.
Row 3: Time to change colour. Grab your next bright colour, and join into that first dc. ch3 (creates first tr.), 3tr. (time to increase) Work two tr's into the next stitch, 4tr, 2tr into next stitch. (As you can see, I increased at every 5th stitch). Continue until you approach the end of your row. (My last increase finished 3dc before the end of my row.) Fasten off.
Row 4: White yarn, join, ch, 1dc into same space, dc along the row. fasten off.
Row 5: New colour, join, 3ch (first tr) & tr into each dc. fasten off.

Continue this way until, holding your work up to your jar, you can see that the top is approaching where it curves in again. If your jar is more straight up and down, just keep going. If it's more bevelled like mine, I ended up decreasing for two rows. 

I did the top orange row with a decrease every 5th tr, and I didn't decrease in my white rows. To Decrease, you 2trtog (2 tr together, into the same stitch). Start to work a tr, but instead of pulling the yarn through the second time to finish the stitch, leave the two loops on, and start another tr in the next stitch. You end up with four loops on, and then yarn over, pull the loop through all four loops. Work a plain dc row in white next, and then for your final row, I decreased at every 10th stitch. This just helps to bring in the cover at the top of the jar.

I joined my two pieces together on the inside using a slip stitch, and when I approached that top orange row, I slid the cover onto the jar and joined on the outside. I don't recommend you do that - I was an idiot. *laugh* Just join it together, turn it inside out and slip it onto the jar. It might be a bit of a pull & tug, but it should fit :) 


PATTERN (please adapt the size for your jar!):

For a jar that is 26.5cm around it's widest point and 11cm from bottom to just-under-lid,

Foundation Chain: Using yarn A, ch 46
Row 1: 1tr into 3rd ch from hook, 1tr into each ch to end. Fasten off.
Row 2: Join white. 1ch, 1dc into each tr of the previous row. Fasten off.
Row 3: Join Yarn B. 3ch into first dc. 1tr into next 3dc, 2tr into next dc. 1tr into next 4dc, 2tr into next dc. Continue until you reach the end of the row. Fasten off. (inc into every 5th dc)
Row 4: Join white. 1ch, 1dc into each tr of previous row. Fasten off.
Row 5: Join Yarn C. 3ch into first dc. 1tr into each dc of previous row. Fasten off.
Row 6: Join white. 1ch, 1dc into each tr of previous row. Fasten off.
Row 7: Join Yarn D. 3ch into first dc. 1tr into each dc of previous row. Fasten off.
Row 8: Join white. 1ch, 1dc into each tr of previous row. Fasten off.
Row 9: Join Yarn A. 3ch into first dc. 1tr into each dc of previous row. Fasten off.
Row 10: Join white. 1ch, 1dc into each tr of previous row. Fasten off.
Row 11: Join Yarn B. 3ch into first dc. 1tr into each dc of previous row. Fasten off.
Row 12: Join white. 1ch, 1dc into each tr of previous row. Fasten off.
Row 13: Join Yarn C. 3ch into first dc. 1tr into next 3dc, tr2tog (decrease), 1tr into next 4dc, tr2tog. Continue until you reach the end of the row. Fasten off. (Decrease every 5th tr.)
Row 14: Join white. 1ch, 1dc into each tr of previous row. Fasten off.
Row 15: Join Yarn D. 3ch into first dc. 1tr into next 8dc, tr2tog (decrease), 1tr into next 9dc, tr2tog. Continue until you reach the end of the row. Fasten off. (Decrease every 10th tr.)

Join edges together, keeping watch that the rows match up. Slide onto your jar. Put a dollar into the jar every day :)