Monday, 31 May 2010


Last week I shared with you my collection of UFO's and WIP's.

Well, today I thought I should show you some of the F.O.'s that I have actually managed to complete in the eight months since I learnt to crochet. I plan to explain them in more detail in blog posts in the future:

I recently dabbled in baby hats (I have a couple of friends whose babies are due very soon!):

I found a hilarious pattern for Granny Square slippers! Yes, the former-granny-square-hater has not only made granny squares, but turned them into slippers! I kind of think they are soooo daggy/uncool/retro that they are almost groovy:

And I've done it not once, but twice!

I even tried some clothing! Here's a sneak peak of something I've just finished... this was taken half-way through:

I plan to blog about this one in my very next post, as it's all finished!

So, yes: in my defence! :-) sometimes I actually do finish something!

I really do like starting new things, though... :-)

Have a happy, hooky day,
Caz :)

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Positives and Negatives

Hello again,

So lovely to be back typing on my blog again! Such a Positive feeling!

I have had a horrible week at my work: it's one of the busiest times of the year for me, and although I technically only work 3 days a week, I've been working around the clock for the past week or so. So now I am emerging from a cloud of over-work and lack-of-sleep to a beautiful Autumn day and I'm making the most of it to relax and recover.

So, all that extra work - definitely a Negative. :-(

This beautiful day for rest and recovery - definitely a Positive. :-)

This is the view from my back deck this afternoon as I type on my laptop. :-)

Another Negative: NO CROCHET! That's right, I have been working day and night, and my crochet - ALL the current WIPs - have been left untouched! :-( What a Negative!

That's another thing to add to my Never Knew List: I Never Knew a lack of crochet time would ever bother me! But it did! Knowing it was sitting there, untouched, made me feel really down. :-(

BUT there IS a Positive: I have been working hard to catch up this weekend! :-) I am seven stripes (fourteen rows) behind in my goal of a stripe-a-day for my son's blanket. Seven stripes! But today, I have TIME. Well, I suppose, I
could be cleaning, or washing clothes, or a dozen other jobs, but they can wait until tomorrow. Today is crochet catch-up day - yay, yay, yay, yay, YAY. :-)

And another, wonderful, Positive thing happened this weekend: I saw my name and blog linked on someone else's blog! :-)

Karin, from Karin aan de Haak, has decided to try the pattern that I'm using for Oliver's Rainsong Blanket. She explains on her post that she saw my work and loved the pattern, so now she's giving it a go! What a Positive, to see that my crochet has inspired someone else. It really made my day! I can't wait to see her finished blanket. Karin is one speedy crocheter, so the odds are on her finishing before me, even though I started months ago! :-) She's going for a really multi-coloured look; check it out here.

As for my Rainsong Blanket, despite the set-back this week, it IS coming along nicely:

It's getting longer!

I have a couple of concerns: 1) I'm not sure the remaining yarn is enough for the length I want (!) and 2) I need to decide how to edge the finished work, and also how much yarn I will need for that. Hmmmm.... tricky, tricky... Any advice regarding this from clever-crochet-people would be most welcome!

Well, I'm off to do another stripe.
Enjoy your day, wherever you are in the world,
Caz :)

Sunday, 23 May 2010

WIPs and UFOs

UFOs... Unidentified Flying Objects...

When I first saw Crochet-Lovers using this term online, I had no idea what they were talking about.

They were usually talking about an item that was incomplete. They were also - usually - feeling unhappy about the project: it wasn't going well, it didn't look like it should, the pattern wasn't working, etc, etc.

Hmmmm... I thought to myself, well, maybe this is why it's "Unidentified" - the project has gone so skewwy that they can no long even identify what it was they'd started to make! An Unidentified Object.

And as for the Flying... well, that seemed obvious. If a crochet project was now so off-kilter that no one could even identify it, well, then, you'd throw it across the room in frustration! Wouldn't you?

An Unidentified, Flying Object.

Made sense to me, anyway. ;-)

I've since found out that UFO does NOT stand for Unidentified Flying-across-the-room Object, but does in fact stand for Un-Finished Object, a term that makes a LOT more sense. :-)

I Never Knew how many UFOs I could accumulate.

But now I'm starting to understand why the term exists.

However, I prefer to call them WIPs - a Work In Progress. Because, even if I haven't touched them for months, I like to think of them as somehow, in some way, still being
In Progress. If in no other way, then in my mind. They are progressing in my mind, and my thoughts and wishes to finish them keeps them alive and IN PROGRESS. :-)

So with that philosophy in mind, I'd like to share with you some of my WIPs (or UFOs if you prefer):

I have 50-odd tiny squares...

That I would love to turn into something like this:

And then I've made 4 of these so far:

in a lovely linen-cotton. I found the pattern online, but was first inspired by Lisette at HandMaid Liset. I'm planning to make a sort-of summery blanket, inspired by this beautiful one Lisette made:
"Dutch Glory" by HandMaid Liset

And then, ages ago, I started
this blanket. As you can see, it's not even cushion-sized yet, and hasn't been touched for months (doesn't mean I've forgotten it, though!):

This is from a pattern in Our Best Baby Afghans by Leisure Arts. In fact, it made the cover:

(That's also the book that has the pattern for Oliver's Rainsong Blanket.)

then there's lots of little projects, like the African Flowers bag that I'm trying to make. I have joined one of the six sides, trying to copy Susanne's bag. It's not the same (*sigh*) but I think it's might be okay...

This is the bag that I'm trying to replicate (I've shown you this before, but I just love it, so I want to show you again):
From Susanne Albertsson on Flickr.

I will explain each one in more detail in future blog posts; I don't really feel I should bother you with details until after they have progressed a little further!

But if you simply can't wait until I've finished them to find out more about them, please just leave a comment or send me an email. I'm more than happy to help if you have any questions about any of them. And, let's face it, it could be quite a while before I will have them all completed! :-)

So, as you can see, I am keeping myself rather busy! Shame I only have time for about 1 hour of crochet a day - if I'm lucky!

But keep on popping by and I promise I'll update you as each one eventuates into a

I'm off now to do another stripe on Oliver's Rainsong Blanket. Out of all my WIPs, it's the one that is the
most In Progress at the moment... :-)

Til next time,
Have a wonderful, busy, hooky day,
Caz :)

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Oliver's "Rainsong" Blanket

This is the other major project that I'm working on at the moment - a blanket for my little boy, Oliver. Yes, two blankets at once - I know how silly that is - now. (And that's not even counting the other couple of blankets I've experimented with, and "sort-of" started!)

So, how did this all begin?

Well, one day, not long after I'd started on Rosie's Rainbow Ripple, I was quite surprised to hear my son say "Mum, what are you going to make
me?". I hadn't thought he'd be the slightest bit interested in my crochet or in blankets. But he actually, genuinely wanted his Mummy to make him a blankie. Which I thought was really sweet.

(You see, this is yet another thing I Never Knew, Never Expected: not only do my children tolerate me crocheting, they find it curious and interesting, they actually even like it!)

I had borrowed a book from our local library: "Best Baby Afghans" by Leisure Arts. I had been looking through it just out of curiosity, just to learn a little more and get new ideas. I showed it to Oliver and said "pick one from here if you like". He had a quick browse and chose one within a minute. "That one" he said. He liked the name.

I was of course a little cautious about starting a big project on a 6-year-old's whim, so I checked and double-checked for a couple of days. There was no changing his mind - this was the one. Okay, I said, and I started investigating yarn options online. I found something on ebay that I have been very happy with. It's been discontinued but you can still get it online here and there (more about it below).

I started this blanket while we were on holidays in Tasmania in January, 2010. Actually, you can see me working on it in my profile pic on the side bar; here's a bigger picture of me working on it:
This was taken when we were taking a break while bush-walking in Cradle Mountain National Park. Yes, I took crochet with me on a bush-walk. Hey, I have little kids, I knew we'd be having lots of rests! :-)

It's a beautiful part of the world. Have a look at some pics if you're curious: here and here.

(That's why I am wearing such warm clothes in this photo. Normally I only wear clothes like this for about 2 or 3 months of the year - in June and July, and sometimes August. Summer in Tasmania is MUCH colder than our winters in the Whitsundays!)

Anyway, I digress - sorry - back to the blanket ...

The pattern is actually quite simple: double crochets (that's a UK treble) and chain spaces, and the longer stitch is created by looping into the chain-spaces and creating a "long double crochet".

It's really quite easy once you try it. The basic repeating pattern can be found online in various places. At this link a helpful lady called Teresa shows the stitch using those pattern diagrams and also explains it in words, and over here she shows a video tutorial. Teresa calls it the "larksfoot"; Leisure Arts call their pattern "Rock-a-bye Rainsong", because the repeated pattern kind-of looks like falling rain...

This is much narrower than Rosie's Rainbow Ripple (I learned my lesson!) so I find it easier going. Also this heavier yarn makes a big difference. That said, I did put it aside for a while during summer as it was just unbearable to have it across me as I worked on it (gee, it's a hard life up here in North Queensland, all this sunny weather!) But now I am back into it. My goal is to find time to do one stripe (ie two rows) every day for the month of May. It's about 30 stripes already so that would double it and maybe almost finish it. Then I'll have to decide on an edge - the one in the pattern (which is a little bit lacy-looking) or something simpler?

Now, about the yarn. It's by Patons: Washed Haze Aran. It is 60% cotton, 40% acrylic. I think it's worsted weight, that is, it's heavier than 8ply (DK weight), and they suggest 4.5mm needles for it (I'm using a 5mm hook). It feels kinda weird while working with it, not wooly in the slightest - but also not acrylic-y - just sort-of
strange. But when the yarn is made up into the blanket, it feels really lovely: smooth and soft and warm and not at all fluffy or itchy. It think it's a great yarn and I wish it was still easily available.

And what I really like about this blanket is that Oliver still loves it! He curls up under it in front of the telly or while we're reading a bedtime story. He loves the feel of it and seems to find it so ... comforting... which is just so nice for me to see.

It seems that my kids are building up an association here: crochet = mum. And since they still think I'm awesome (they are not teenagers yet!), this appears to be leading to: crochet = mum = wonderful. :-) So nice. :-)

Hmmmm... "A stripe day in the month of May"... can I stick to my goal? At the moment I think so!

I promise to keep you posted. And, may I say, thank you
so very much for all the lovely comments people have been leaving on my blog. They cheer me up and really keep me motivated to keep going with both this blog and my crochet. I really love reading them and hearing from you all, so please keep 'em coming. :-)

Until next time,

P.S. I'll leave you with a pic of my two big projects hanging around together...

P.P.S. If you want to see other examples of this blanket, I have only found two in the general online world: here and here. Members of Ravelry can see 18 versions of it under the name "Rock-a-bye Rainsong".

Have a great day! :)

Monday, 10 May 2010

New Projects!

I seem to enjoy starting projects more than finishing them. I'm also easily distracted and it's even easier when there's wonderful inspiration out there on Flickr and in Blogland.

Am I unique in this way? It's not really very efficient, is it? :-) And it's certainly not economical. Unless you're using up left-over "stash" (which, for this project, I am, except for that one ball I've used up half-way through, so I'll have to replace
that, but otherwise it was all in the house already...).

Anyway, this weekend just gone I decided to take a quick break from some of my bigger projects and amuse myself with something smaller:

I wanted to try all-white African flowers:
I was thinking of doing a 7-flower cushion. A couple of weeks ago I found a second-hand jumper that I could use for the backing.

I wanted the colours to be simple, but bold. And... Ta-DAH!

all joined up on Sunday night! From start to (sort of) finished in one weekend! I am getting faster at crochet! Yay! Hooray for me. :-)

So, now to finish the edging and make that cushion...


Now I'm getting side-tracked again...

I have
another idea...

I love, love,
love this bag. It's on the African Flowers pool on Flickr:

Bag, originally uploaded by Frualbertssons.

It's creator said she invented the pattern herself. Last night I stared and stared and stared at this picture. The longer I looked at it the more I understood how it all came together. I started to figure it out.

But could I
really replicate this design? Would I dare to try?

The cushion idea wasn't so interesting anymore. That jumper could sit in the cupboard, waiting for another time.

I really want to figure this out!

So, by my thinking, I'm going to need another 6 flowers...


Should I give it a go? What do you all think?

I think I'm going to. Give it a go, that is.

Stay tuned for updates. :-)

And in other news, another item distracted me this weekend:

I am so, so happy that I found these!

Footstools! Also known in Australia as Poufs! (Really!)

I have been admiring these ideas on Flicker. Aren't they great? What a great idea - to brighten up a dull old poof with some colourful crochet!

originally uploaded by zuglói lány.

Cat Sofa Ta-daa!, originally uploaded by Elizabeth Cat.

Hmmm... but I didn't have any dull old poufs to decorate.

That's why I was so happy to find these in Dollars and Cents (a discount warehouse/$2 shop) on the weekend. They were only $10 each. The lid comes off so they are also storage boxes, and they collapse so they can also be folded away if/when you don't need them. Cool, hey?

But, yes, rather cheap and ugly. At. The. Moment!

Can't wait to cover their lids! It's going to be fun! :-)

But for now, back to this bag idea... oh, yeah, and those blankets...

Til next time, have a bright and colourful day,
Caz :-)

Friday, 7 May 2010

Rosie's Rainbow Ripple

No, this isn't mine (I wish!). This is Lucy's wonderful ripple blanket that she made a while back over at Attic24. You can read the post about it here.

Isn't it beautiful? As I Never Knew there was crochet beyond doillies and granny squares, I was quite taken aback when I saw it. So colourful! So pretty! And to think that could be done with simple crochet stitches... and could, maybe, even, be done by... me?

I have since found out that ripples and chevrons and zig-zags are actually old hat in the crochet world, everyone's been there, done that, it seems, but
I Never Knew about them, so they don't seem old-style, un-cool, or daggy, to me. Especially not with beautiful colours like that!

And, thankfully, Lucy provided yet another free, step-by-step, photo-by-photo pattern that I could follow. Not for the exact pattern above (that one she found in a book), but for a similar one that she devised herself (how clever). Here are some pics of Lucy's work following her own Neat Ripple pattern:

Nice, hey? Gosh, she gets some lovely yarns and in lovely bright colours.

I knew right away that I wanted to make one. I thought a rainbow-coloured ripple would look so, so lovely on my daughter's bed. Rosie's favourite colour, when asked, is not actually a colour; instead she simply replies: "rainbow". :-) It would be called "Rosie's Rainbow Ripple".

So, sitting at the computer, hook-and-yarn in hand, I decided to give it a go.

And what a great pattern! Lucy made it so EASY. She explains things so well and her photos are amazing. The starting chain was so hard for me - but Lucy warned me that this was probably going to happen, so I persevered. :-) And then it all started to come together.

Here's how it looked after a couple of rows:

I was sooooo worried about it being too narrow for her bed, so I made sure my starting chain was nice and LONG.

Very, very, long.

In fact, far too long:

It's wide enough to cover a double bed, in fact:

Oh dear, oh dear. Oh well, I thought, too late to go back now. It will just be extra wonderful when it's finished.

One day.

Hmmmmm. Yes. One day.

I have put this one aside from time to time.

Each row really is so, so, very long. But slowly, slowly, it's getting there.

Here's how it's looking these days:

It is actually long enough to cover Rosie's bed the other way. So hopefully by this winter (June/July) it might be wide enough to be a
vertical ripple, if you get what I mean.

I love that at the end of each stripe you can tie off the ends. At that point I throw it over to Rosie and she happily plays with it for a while, wrapping it around herself, making it into a shawl and wearing it about the house, etc. It's nice to see her enjoying it. Another thing I Never Knew would happen: my kids actually like that I crochet; they think it's kinda cool. :-)

Here is Rosie's Rainbow Ripple with my Lucy Bag.

So a few details of this WIP:

Name: Rosie's Rainbow Ripple
Pattern: Neat Ripple from Attic24
Yarn: Cheap stuff - I didn't dare risk spending big bucks on my first ever blanket. It's called Carnival 8ply; it's acrylic and it's thin and ... well... it's okay. Not wonderful, but not completely awful, either. Carnival is made by Panda, and Panda also makes something called Magnum 8ply which is very similar but a bit nicer. So I have ended up with some Magnum shades as well. FYI Aussie readers: Carnival is available at Big W stores; Magnum is available at Spotlight and other craft stores.
Hook size: 4mm
Size: starting row was something like 240 stitches! (Crazy, I know!) It's about 165 cm wide. At the moment only about 40 cm long - 18 stripes (2 rows per stripe, so 36 rows).
Date commenced: October 2009

If you've never tried a ripple, this is a great, easy-to-follow pattern - give it a go. :-) If you have any questions about it, please leave a comment or send me an email. I'm only too happy to help.

And now that I've told you about it, it'll be quick 'n' easy for me to update you on its progress from time to time.

Thanks for looking. I hope your day "ripples" along nicely. :-)
Caz :)

Monday, 3 May 2010

... and then I found the Lucy Bag - my second completed project

After attempting the string bag in this post, I felt a little discouraged by the final size, and decided I needed to return to Google to find other patterns and ideas. And then I found Attic24. As I mentioned in this post, Lucy's blog was a wonderful surprise and showed me a side of crochet I hadn't know existed: crochet that was full of colour, of rainbows, of soft yarns, and ... my favourite patterns of hers were free of granny squares! (As you may have read in my blog below, I was trying to avoid what I saw as "old style" crochet such as granny squares!)
Anyway, this beautiful bag by Lucy (above) fitted my criteria: a nice, big bag, colourful, bright, not a granny square in sight. And a free, step-by-step, photo-by-photo pattern. How could I go wrong? I couldn't - and I didn't - I was able to follow her instructions to the letter and only a month after learning the basic stitches, was able to make this bag! All by myself - with Lucy guiding me all the way! :-)

My apologies for these next few photos. They were taken with my mobile phone but they are the only ones I have of these stages:

First I managed the circle...

I was a little unsure about joining at the end of each round, but I decided to be brave and just try it; it worked out in the end...

Then I stopped the increases and it magically started creating the sides...

It started to look "bag-ish":

And then the straps. I was worried they'd be too short so of course they ended up way too long! Oh well, I sewed them on further down the bag to try and fix that problem.

Then I tried the flowers Lucy suggested: another free, step-by-step tutorial, so patiently explained so that even a beginner like me could work it out...

And then, finally, it was all put together!
Thank you, Lucy, thank you! Lucy's clear explanation and excellent photos really did tutor, guide, and mentor to me and I am so very grateful - and happy! - because I now can do so much with my hook and yarn. :-)

So here are the details:

Pattern: Crochet Bag on Attic24, aka the "Lucy Bag" :-)
Pattern source: Crochet Bag Pattern
on Attic24
Carnival Soft 8ply (DK weight?) acrylic - 80g balls
Hook: 4mm
Dimensions: bigger than I expected - about 36cm diameter across the base and 36cm up the sides- but it's big and floppy so it looks a lot bigger than that when it's stuffed with yarn! :-)
Date commenced: October, 2009
Date completed: actual bag - November, 2009; straps and flowers - December, 2009
My reflection: A great pattern for beginners and the tutorial makes it fool-proof. I'd like to try this again one day in a cotton and see if that keeps it more compact - less baggy and floppy. But it serves its purpose beautifully and it was a very pleasurable experience making it. If you're looking for a bag to try - this one is great!

I use this bag for all the shades of yarn I'm using for another project - and it's another Lucy pattern, of course! Her patterns/tutorials are the perfect place for a beginner to start when trying to teach oneself using internet links. :-)

So more about that WIP next time.

I hope you find these details helpful if you've been looking into doing this project. Please feel free to leave questions or comments below - I love hearing from you. :-)

Hope you are all having a happy, wonderful, rainbow-coloured day.
Until next time,
Caz :)