crochet

Lotus Bolero for Stella

Finally, the small girl gets something!  My commuter crochet over the past few months has been this little bolero for Stella.

Lotus Shrug by Doris Chan

How could something so small take so long, I hear you ask? Mostly because I had to unpull it when it was only a few rows away from being finished because I realised that I’d made a mistake. Back in row 5. WAY back in row 5.

Lotus Shrug by Doris Chan

This pretty bolero is actually quite straightforward to crochet. The pattern is by Doris Chan, and she really spells everything out in her patterns. If you’ve crocheted any of her patterns before then you’ll find this one super easy. I made the smallest pattern size for Stella, size 24/S. The yarn is from Spotlight but from quite a few seasons ago. It’s called Gardenia, pretty much translates to an 8ply or DK weight, and is 75% acrylic and 25% viscose derived from bamboo. It’s a lovely soft yarn to work with and both my girls like the feel of it to wear. It’s a cable construction rather than a twist, and really very good quality for a predominantly synthetic yarn. I used a 4.5mm hook.

Lotus Shrug by Doris Chan

The pattern is a four row repeat. The whole bolero is worked in one piece from the neck down, a technique that I particularly like. Just make sure that you count as you go and use markers where suggested so that you don’t have to do what I did and unpull back to row 5!

Lotus Shrug by Doris Chan

Sizes from 24/S – Stella’s size – right up to 53/3XL adult are included in this pattern. I think that it would be quite easy to lengthen the body to make a longer cardigan, or to extend the cap sleeves to make them whatever length that you like. I considered putting a tie or button closure on the front of Stella’s bolero, but she wanted it left the way that it was.

Lotus Shrug by Doris Chan

Now I am about to start another in the next size up for Clare. Over the last year I haven’t been crocheting as much as I used to. Partly this has been because my work-related arm/neck/shoulder pain is also aggravated by the motion of the crochet hook. Partly it is because I am using commuting time to check on blogs and instagram. Partly it is because I am prioritising sewing. And partly it is because I am trying to read more novels. Whatever the reasons, it was very satisfying to finally complete another crochet project, even it was a fairly small one. I have a top for me that is almost finished, and there are still a whole lot of crochet squares that I hooked back in 2012 that need to be joined into a blanket. Plenty to do, as always!

The ones that never made it to the blog….

Yes, there were items that had a quick and often blurry photo taken, but were never photographed properly and consequently were never blogged.  I am going to include them all in this post, blurry/awkward photos and all, just in order to have a record of them.  But there won’t be many details, I’m afraid!

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First up, the Closet Case Files Bombshell Swimsuit. This was completed just before we went to Thailand, and it did get a bit of wear when we were there. The fabric is from Rathdowne Fabrics. I think that I made a size 14, but straightened it out to remove the waist shaping. Oh, it was so long ago, I really am having trouble remembering! I do remember that this pattern uses a lot of fabric, with lining underneath and the ruched overlays. It was also quite a slow sew. When it got wet it felt like there was a LOT of web fabric on me. I like the bottom coverage, but actually think that I sewed it one size too large. Mind you by the end of the holiday and the associated food/cocktail consumption, the size was probably fine.

IMG_1790

I’d quite like to give the other version in the pattern a try, or else try this one without the ruching. But it’s not as though I don’t have plenty of bathers now – and I don’t really swim all that often. No need for more (for me) until the next overseas holiday…ah well, a girl can dream.

Katniss cross-body cowl

I crocheted the Katniss Cross-Body Cowl, in Patons Inca yarn. I gave this one to my cousin, who lives on the edge of Melbourne where it is that bit colder than it is here. I reckon that this garment was a fail for me and for her (not the fault of the pattern). You’d really have to know what outfit it goes with – probably something similar to that worn by its namesake in the movies.

Katniss cross-body cowl

However, it was fun to crochet, and the texture is rather wonderful. Chalk that one down more to the process than the product.

Nessie Top for Clare

A Nessie top for Clare, in fabric left over from her Perri Pullover. She wears the Perri top a lot, and this one never. Hmmm.

Nessie Top for Clare

This pattern has been used for a top and a dress for Stella and both of those get wear, so it might move into Stella’s wardrobe sooner rather than later. The deer printed fabric is from Spotlight, and it’s a sweatshirt type of fabric that is brushed on the inside and smooth on the outside, so it’s quite thick. Probably a little too thick for this more fitted style.  The contrasting yoke fabric was in stash, and was used out of fabric restriction necessity.

Nessie Top for Clare

I added the strip of navy piping both to be a feature and to distract from the slight mis-match of cream between the yoke and the print.

McCalls 6841 in stripe knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Here we have McCalls 6841. I’ve sewn this pattern twice before, and making it in the stripes was a bit of an experiment. The fabric was from the Darn Cheap Fabrics $2 table, and was a poly/lycra knit but one with a very soft, smooth and cool hand, along with excellent drape.

McCalls 6841 in stripe knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

There is actually quite a lot to like about this pattern. The neckline and shoulder gathers are terrific, and would you believe there are only two main pattern pieces? It’s actually rather straightforward to make, but looks quite complicated. But I never wore it. It went in the Christmas free-for-all – my not-yet-30 niece has claimed it.

teacher gifts - Thai cotton double gauze scarf

And last but definitely not least we have the double cotton gauze scarves that I made as teacher gifts this year. A long length of fabric with the ends sewn together into a circle and the edges hemmed. Done.

teacher gifts - Thai cotton double gauze scarf

A huge shout out to Gaye of Notionally Better who I bought the fabric from – it is the loveliest Thai cotton double faced gauze, different on each side, and incredibly soft. You can get some from her Etsy shop here. I have more that will become garments.

Thai cotton double gauze for scarves

Phew, what a long blog post! But guess what – that’s not quite everything from 2014. But I’m nearly there, so surely I’ll be closer to caught up by the end of January!

chunky crocheted handspun scarf

Handspun by Pauline

One of my friends has a clever mother-in-law who is rather addicted to spinning.  Her spinning guild took part in a “group spin” where they all shared bits of different coloured wool tops and spun them with another thin yarn to create some stunning skeins of  handspun with highly varied colours and textures.  I couldn’t resist buying a couple of Pauline’s skeins, and have finally turned them into a crocheted scarf.

Scarf crocheted from Paulines handspun

Oh, the texture! Those lovely knobbly lumps of colour! I started with a crocheted chain of 15 stitches, and worked single crochet into the front loop only. Back and forth, back and forth, until there was no yarn left. I used a 12mm hook.

crocheted scarf in Paulines handspun

Pauline’s daughter-in-law, Jane, has already knitted a scarf in the same yarn. Hers has stretched and lengthened substantially during wear, and I can already see that mine will do the same. After one day of wear it was quite a bit narrower through the middle, with the ends still being fairly wide. I’ll enjoy watching this scarf develop as it is used. And I really enjoyed wielding the crochet hook again – this only took a couple of hours to make!

Scarf crocheted from Paulines handspun

Pretty Popcorn vest

After the success of the last garment that I made Clare from Crocheting Clothes Kids Love, it wasn’t long before I started on another.  This time it was the Pretty Popcorn Vest.

Pretty Popcorn Vest

The yarn is Patons Australia Glacier, a now discontinued yarn that made its way from a friend’s stash into mine recently. According to the Ravelry database it is an 8ply, so I was fairly happy to substitute it in this pattern. I was a little concerned that a 3.5mm hook would be too stiff with this weight of yarn, but after blocking it has softened up beautifully and keeps it shape just as it ought to.

Pretty Popcorn Vest

I crocheted size 8 for Clare, and it’s still a little large across her back. However, it does up nicely at the front, and the rest of the proportions look good. The back is worked first, then each front with lace edging. Once the fronts and back are joined, the lacy sleeve edging is worked, and the ties and popcorn tassels come last.

Pretty Popcorn Vest

This was finished in ten days – but actually, it was finished in about four days, then sat waiting for me to do the tassels for almost another week! I wonder why we sometimes put off the little finishing details that don’t take very long to do. Clare likes her vest and has worn it a couple of times already.

Pretty Popcorn Vest

It must be time for me to pull out the book again and decide what to start hooking next!  There are more details on Ravelry here and more photos in a set on Flickr here.

Crystal Anniversary Clapochet

The Clapochet is a crocheted scarf/wrap that currently has over 500 projects on Ravelry.  It is a free pattern, and can be pretty much worked up in any yarn, as long as you match it to an appropriate hook.  I started crocheting this one on my Crystal Wedding Anniversary back in February, and it was finished a week later.

Clapochet in BWM Murano

I used a full 200g ball of Bendigo Woollen Mills Murano, and actually ran out a little bit before the end. This has resulted in one end of the scarf being a little chopped off – the scarf is worked on the diagonal – instead of pointed, but I don’t think that it matters drastically.

Clapochet in BWM Murano

This is one of those situations where the yarn does all of the colour changing work. And the increases and decreases needed to work it diagonally kept everything interesting without being super taxing. It was a great commuting project.  And it is super warm and cosy.

Clapochet in BWM Murano

More details of my scarf are ravelled here.

Muirlands Cowl

Oh my, where did that last week go!  There have been lots of sewing related things taking place, but no blog posts to show for them.  All in good time (which means, all when I find the time).  This time next Friday I’ll be sewing up a storm at Sewjourn, having spent the last few weeks on a huge cutting out frenzy.  So if you do follow me on instagram, be warned – I’ll be posting photos as each garment is completed!

In the meantime, my last few crochet projects.  This Muirlands Cowl was crocheted over the Easter break.

Muirlands Cowl in BWM Highlands

Cowls and scarves are really difficult to photograph effectively, so I enlisted Ada to help me. I crocheted this in Bendigo Woollen Mills Highlands. It used most of the 200g ball. I enjoyed the stitch pattern, which was repetitive but not boring. The two row repeat gives the cowl a great deal of texture, with the post stitches creating ridges on one side of the scarf.

Muirlands Cowl in BWM Highlands

To wear it you simply double it over (unless you like it left in a long loop, that is).

Muirlands Cowl in BWM Highlands

The great thing about cowls is that they stay in place, and don’t fall off in the way that a long scarf can. This is a great free pattern – highly recommended! My cowl is ravelled here.

Chelsea “capelet” for Clare

When the book Crocheting Clothes Kids Love was published I snapped up a copy quite quickly.  There is much in the book that appeals to me, and luckily there is much that appeals to both of my kids!  They spent quite a lot of time looking through it selecting projects for me to work on.  I started off with the Chelsea Capelet, for Clare.

Chelsea Capelet - from Crocheting Clothes Kids Love

I’m not sure why the publishers called this a capelet – as far as I am concerned, it is a vest. Front joined to back, with armholes. Either way, I love it on Clare!

Chelsea Capelet - from Crocheting Clothes Kids Love

As written, this vest is cropped, and flared a little at the bottom. Clare wanted it longer, so after working the flared rows, I added quite a few inches until it was the length that she wanted. It is worked from the bottom up in two pieces, front and back, then they are seamed together before working the collar and edgings. I measured the length from the underarm, and it has worked well.

Chelsea Capelet - from Crocheting Clothes Kids Love

I checked Clare’s measurements and ended up crocheting the size 8 for her. The yarn was from stash, and you may have noticed that the body of the vest is a slightly paler cream than the trims. That’s what happens when you stash bust! I had just enough of the Cleckheaton Country 8 ply for the body of the vest, then switched to the Country Yarn Collection Pure Wool 8 ply crepe for the cowl and edgings. And for the decorative flowers on the front!

Chelsea Capelet - from Crocheting Clothes Kids Love

The combination of yarns has worked out fine, and it has removed them both from stash. Around 200 grams of yarn can be an awkward number – enough for a scarf, but not usually for a garment. Combining the two lots of cream yarn gave me enough for the vest.

Chelsea Capelet - from Crocheting Clothes Kids Love

I really like the cowl neckline. It was worked after the front and back were joined, and is essentially lots of chains with single crochet stitches to give structure. It gradually grows in size, which is why it rolls over itself so nicely.

Chelsea Capelet - from Crocheting Clothes Kids Love

I’ll definitely be crocheting more from this book. Actually, I might even check out what else is in my stash right now! More details and photos on Ravelry  here.  And a Flickr set of all the photos I took of the vest here.