Friday, 29 April 2011

Ummm... that doesn't look right...

My crochet cardigan is coming along nicely... generally speaking... but I have hit a little hiccup.

Here it is with a little bit of the bodice... looking good (if I do say so myself!) and fitting quite well...

I then continued to work on the sleeves.  There was one tricky bit - where the sleeves meet at the end of each round.  I really didn't get it but I just sort-a fudged it and the stitches there look a little different (it's like there are 2 "valleys" (decrease stitches) side by side) but no matter as it's on the underside of the sleeve... no one should see it... and, anyway, this cardi is for me, and if I don't care, why would anyone else?

It started out okay...

But... something strange started to happen, and I suspect it's related to my "fudging".  The sleeve was slowly getting wider all the way along my arm.  I wondered if maybe this happens in the pattern to everyone.  I decided I would press on regardless ... maybe a flared sleeve would look nice anyway.

Right sleeve (flared)

BUT... when I worked on the second sleeve... hmmmm... this is MOST odd.  I think (I believe) that I am joining this sleeve exactly as I did the other one, in my strange, slightly-made-up method, but this time the sleeve is NOT growing.  Not getting wider.  In fact, it looks quite nice, all fitted and snug.

Left sleeve (fitted)


So, what now?

I guess I will have to rip out the first sleeve, and try again?  I will have a very, very close look.  Try and see where the sleeves look different to each other.

I hope I can work out where I went wrong - because if I can't... I'll have 2 very different sleeves!!  :-P

Will let you know how I get on.

Thanks so much, by the way, for all the wonderful comments I have been receiving of late.  So glad you like my crochet cardigans.  Some readers mentioned that they were thinking of looking up the pattern I am using for this cardigan.  I thoroughly recommend it!  (Pattern can be found - for free! - here, and info on Ravelry here.)  It is very easy to follow and very well explained and there are lots of pictures to help you along the way.

Also check out this link on Ravelry (if you are registered on Ravelry, if not, you should join - it's great!) - there was a CAL (crochet-a-long) for this cardigan back in 2009.  Although it was a while back, there is still heaps of info on that forum and you can search through the posts to find discussions on the areas in which you are confused/interested.  And a more recent CAL discussion can be found on Ravelry here.  Actually, now that I mention it, I might pop over there again now and see if anyone else had this problem with the sleeves!  :-)

Until next time,
Have a happy, hooky day,
Caz :)

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

For Wills and Kate

In my head I am a republican but in my heart I am a monarchist.  :-)  Especially when there is a royal wedding on the way.  I am a sucker for all things grand and royal, especially when they involve handsome princes and beautiful soon-to-be princesses.

I remember when Prince William was born - I was about 8 years old at the time - and there was (almost) as much fuss and excitement here in Oz as there was in the UK.  I remember thinking that I might be a little bit old for him, but, still, I could marry him one day.  It was possible.  :-)

Well, now, 29 years on, it turns out that it was not to be for me and Will.  But he did, indeed, choose a "common" girl*, and a lovely one at that.  And another Catherine, to boot!  (See, it really could have been me!)  I thoroughly approve, Will.  (I'm sure he's pleased to know that.)

And the fact that Kate is an ordinary girl, that it could have been you or me, makes the royal wedding seem all the more exciting to me.  A little bit of fairytale fantasy still (oddly!) exists in this very practical, modern world.

So my romantic, monarchist leanings got the better or me and I was even taken over by some granny goodness (Michelle must be having an influence on me!) and I have started creating this cushion cover.  The pattern was cleverly created by Michelle over at the Royal Sisters and can be purchased at her shop.  I actually won my copy of the pattern in one of Michelle's wonderful give-aways and now is the perfect time to pull it out and give it a go.

The pattern is created using tapestry crochet, where you work with multiple colours at once, crocheting over the colours you don't need (so they are hidden behind the work) and then changing over to the next colour that you want as you go.  This means there are very few ends to weave in, but the balls of wool can get a little twisted as you go along!

It is a great pattern and Michelle has explained everything clearly and in meticulous detail, so it is not at all difficult to follow.

I plan to finish my cushion cover while watching the live coverage of the wedding on Friday night (my local time).  I will be camped out in front of the telly with crochet, wine, and nibbles, and will be soaking up every grand, historic moment while hooking away.
So, do you think my finished cushion will look good on Wills and Kate's sofa?  Anyone know exactly what address I should send it to?  I want to make sure they get it.  I'm sure they would love it and I must be the only person who has thought to send them such a thing.  ;-)

Happy Royal Wedding, everyone!
Caz :)

*common girl - being a girl whose family could afford to send her to posh schools and universities.  But common, all the same.  :-)

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Crochet Clothing Projects Part 4 - A New Cardigan for ME! :-)

First of all, I would like to say a huge THANK YOU to all those who commented on my last post.  It was so great to read all your messages and I'm just thrilled that you love my daughter's cardigan!

Some of you liked it so much that you said you wished it came in adult sizes... well, some people have managed to do that... let me explain more...

It was only after finishing Rosie's cardigan that I realised the pattern was on Ravelry.  (Duh!  I should know to check there by now!)  I found out that a few other people had made the baby top kid-sized as well.  AND a few had even pushed it to adult-sized (like this one), simply by using bulky yarn and large hooks.  It looked really groovy, so that got me thinking...

Could I make one for ME?  I had enjoyed making Rosie's so much, and it looked so gorgeous on her... could the pattern be modified enough, easily?

Well, in the end, I found something even BETTER!
I had a browse on Ravelry at zig-zag/chevron cardigans and I found an AMAZING pattern that is FREE.  More than ONE THOUSAND projects using this pattern have been posted on Ravelry - and almost all of them RAVED about how easy and great this pattern is.  Pattern is found on this blog (check the side bar) and can be downloaded as a PDF.

So I got all excited and decided to give it a try.

I bought an enormous amount of yarn from a discount store (Crazy Clark's) at the end of winter last year.  The discount store yarn was discounted even more than usual!  In fact, I think I scooped up this collection because it was a ridiculous 70% off their normal discount price or something like that.  I think it worked out at less than $1 per 50g ball.  The yarn is 50% cotton, 50% acrylic and is lovely and soft - I am surprised by how nice it is considering the bargain price.

Anyway, amongst that stash I have about 10 balls of black.  I had no plans for this light-worsted weight, black yarn as yet, so I decided to try it with this pattern.  I hope I have enough!

So, as you can see, I have started!  Feeling very excited about this one!  The pattern works from the top down, and can be tried on as you go.  I LOVE working with this system - you can see if it's going to work out or not.  But I am still having trouble deciding when to create the arm holes.  How loose/tight they should be.  Thankfully, there is OODLES of advice out there on Ravelry (thanks, everyone!), so I'm going to take a deep breath, give it a go, and see how it pans out.

I ended up ripping out my work back a couple of rows to row 13 and attempting the join there.  Hope it's not too tight... but I also don't want it too loose... I guess it's a Goldilocks cardigan... :-)

So now I'm working my way down the body... will let you know how it goes!

(By the way, yes, I have noticed it has holes in it, so, yes, it may have similar problems to my "Shroat" in that it will be really warm but also cool (from the holes) but I am willing to take the risk based on the wonderful-ness of this pattern.  Anyway, the holes are less... hole-y... so I'm hoping it doesn't matter so much...)

Happy Easter, everyone!
Caz :)

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Carried away by inspiration... (Clothing Projects Part 3)

Here is a more recent clothing story, one that I am really excited about.

Since my shracket and shroat projects back in February and March 2010, I haven't dabbled in the clothing side of crochet at all (unless you count scarves and hats?). It all seemed a little too tricky, a bit daunting, really.

But a couple of weeks ago that changed - when I saw something that inspired me so much I just knew I had to give it a go.

I was following links on blogs and came across this beautiful clothing item - a sweet top for a little girl. Please follow the link and check out all the photos and details of this lovely top.

When I discovered that it was actually a pattern for a baby, I became most intrigued. The blog post provided a link to the original, free pattern (in English, which was great, because the blog is in French). It was first published in 1950 and is designed for ages newborn to 6 months. But, with a bigger hook and heavier yarn - no other alterations needed - this clever French blogger had managed to convert it to 6-year-old size!

I have been thinking about making my own daughter (also 6 years old) a poncho. But the whole arm-less thing about ponchos always bugged me. This pattern, I think, still has that lovely swing-look of a poncho, but with sleeves. Perfect!

So I decided to give it a go. I was so excited I couldn't wait. I put all other WIPs aside, and dug into stash that had been reserved for a blanket (not yet started), thinking that can be replaced eventually (if need be). My daughter, Rosie, is currently crazy about blue, so I chose blue shades and white. And I just got stuck into it. Followed the pattern exactly, but with the thicker yarn (Moda Vera Cupcake - I love it, it's so soft!) and a 5mm hook. It's basically a ripple, so it was all pretty easy to work out...

That was on a Saturday morning, a couple of weekends ago. By Sunday night, I had done everything except the sleeves. I couldn't believe it - a top in one weekend. I did crochet like a woman obsessed, almost all weekend, but (for me) this was still very speedy work.

So, as you can see, here is the top without sleeves. I love it like this, but in our climate it is just way too impractical. Maybe I will make another some time using cotton thread, and then I could go the sleeveless idea. But not in this thicker, warm yarn.

Over the week I added the sleeves. Then there was the endless end-weaving. (I hate that part!) And an edging - I just did sc (UK dc) around the neckline and fronts. And also the buttons. My daughter chose them herself (of course) and she does love everything "fancy" - glitz, sparkle, shine, frills, lace, ruffles. So, after much consideration, she chose these pretty purple crystals.
And then we were finished! From idea to complete in a week. I am feeling rather amazed, to be honest. And very chuffed indeed. :-)

I'm not sure that the stripes were a good idea. It makes the top look very, very retro, which isn't, personally, my thing - I'm not trying to deliberately create a retro look. Of course, it's hard not to with crochet, but a single colour may have reduced the granny-factor. Then, again, maybe the stripes are okay ... I do look at my work with a very critical eye. I also think wool would work better in this design (but wool is waaaay too hot for us up here in the north!) and I could have probably gotten away with a bigger hook - it might have ended up in a looser drape.

So, while I love my creation, I think the original inspiration is better and I am already thinking of making another in a single colour.

Miss Rosie wore it for the first time tonight - to a local restaurant and I found that I couldn't stop looking at her in it. Maybe I am being too critical about the stripes. The top looked so beautiful on her - and I kept thinking: I can't believe I made that. It doesn't look so retro to me now... Or maybe I'm losing perspective... but in a good way?

So, what do you think of it? - I would love to know! And if anyone wants to try it, please don't hesitate to give it a go. The pattern is dead easy, and can be found here. Please contact me (comments below or email) if you have any questions at all - I'm only too happy to help you out if I can.

Until next time,
Have a happy hooky day,
Caz :)

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Crochet Clothing Projects Part 2 - My "Shroat"

Okay, so as I mentioned in my last post, I took the plunge last year and attempted some crochet clothing. It was this pattern on Ravelry that made me decide to give it a go.

Making a "shroat" (shrug/coat) for me was going to be a bigger investment in time and money than the little one I had made for my daughter. I finally decided to get some Paton's Washed Haze Aran (since I was enjoying using it for Oliver’s Rainsong Blanket – which wasn’t finished at the time, by the way!) and, I'm not sure how, but I worked out that I’d need 10 x 50g balls. I got a great deal on ebay for $30. I finally settled on a 10mm hook. I tried with my 16mm one (the pattern calls for 15mm) but the stitches it produced were just ridiculous. Too loose, too hard for me to manage. (In hindsight, though, looser stitches may have been better in the end...)

Okay - so this is how you make it:

The idea is that you start with a shrug. That was really easy - just a rectangle that you fold in half, stitch up the sleeves, and slide in your arms.

Hard to take photos of myself wearing it!

Then you run stitches in a circle around the back-of-the-neck and around and down to the bottom at the back, and back again. This adds a collar and a ruffle on the bottom - a "shracket" - a shrug/jacket.

Okay, you with me so far?

THEN (if you still want to keep going!) you can add more to the back (and a little at the front - that was the confusing part for me!) and you end up with a "shroat" (a shrug/coat).

AND/OR you can add more length and add ties and make your "shracket" into a "shrap" (a shrug/wrap).

For mine I went with the shroat idea and decided to keep going until I'd used up every ball. I really like the length.

These next few photos were taken a couple of days ago - more than a year after the photos above!

I was having trouble taking photos of myself... ha ha... not my best photo...

So Miss Rosie took this one for me...

And this one...

I hope this gives you and idea of the finished item!

The pattern is okay but a little confusing in places. An ol’ crochet pro would probably have no problems following it, but not me. More than one time I wasn’t sure what they meant, and so I panicked and just... stopped making it for a while! I ended up sending messages to a couple of fellow Ravelers asking for help, and they kindly replied. (If they are reading this – thank you!)

In the end I just had a go, and it worked out. And the other Ravelry-ers were right - it IS very quick. And it is VERY easy.

Only problem is... Rosie was right! It doesn't keep you warm because of all the holes in it - unless I wear it with something long-sleeved underneath! And with the yarn I used it is actually quite a warm coat so it ends up all a bit hot-cold if you wear it just with a cami underneath.

I know, this is such a terrible problem! ;-) It is too WARM up here for me to wear it very much! Oh, how awful to live in a place where the average maximum temperature in winter is 25 degrees! :-) The evenings can be cool, but, like I said, not cool enough for the long-sleeve top and shroat combo, and too cool for the shroat on its own. :-P

So, a bit of a silly project then? Not necessarily. It was still a really great learning experience. I never, ever thought I'd make my own crochet clothing. And now I have. So, it's all good. :-)

Now about the pattern... Ravelry provided a link to the pattern, but the link no longer worked. I then googled and searched and googled some more and eventually found a link that sort-of worked. The website is a bit dodgy - sometimes it will load up for you, other times it says it can't access the webpage. If you want to try the website, follow this link here. Let me know if it doesn't work and I will try to track it down for you.

I have also just found out that the pattern can be purchased here.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this post today. My first two crochet clothing items have now been shared on this blog - only a year after I made them! :-P

Till next time, have a happy, hooky day,
Caz :)

Monday, 11 April 2011

Crochet Clothing Projects Part 1 - A "Shracket"

Okay, this is long overdue. I have wanted to write about my attempts at crocheting clothing for AGES. In fact, this post has been in draft for so long, it has been hard to put it all together today. (So my apologies if it's all a bit ... bitsy.)

But I really do want to document what I've done so far... and try and keep it into some sort of chronological order.

So here goes, with the very first crochet garment I ever tried - way back in February 2010 (yes, more than a year ago!).

So, this is a “shracket” – a shrug crossed with a jacket – that I made for my daughter. I found the pattern while browsing on Ravelry and was most intrigued – mainly because everyone kept saying they found it amazingly quick and easy. That’s my kind of clothing project – quick and easy. :-)

So I dabbled with it and modified the size and I came up with this one for my daughter. By using 8ply yarn and a 10mm hook, it worked out to be just the right size for her. I was particularly chuffed because I made it in just 2 days and with one ball (100g) of yarn, and the yarn was from a discount shop and cost only $2.50. A jacket for $2.50 – how cool is that. And my first ever crochet garment to boot.

My daughter liked it but her first comment was, "Mum, it won't keep me warm, there are holes all over it!" She is, in fact, correct, and it only really works with a long-sleeved top underneath. (And where we live it is rarely cold enough to need more than a long-sleeve t-shirt!) :-) I really liked the pattern and enjoyed making Rosie's, so I decided to take the plunge and make a grown-up one for myself.

I'll tell you more about that one next time - stay tuned for "part 2"!! :-)

Caz :)

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Happy Bloggiversary To Me!

It occurred to me the other day that my blog is a year old. What a quick year that has been!

Me aged 1. Seems appropriate!

My personal, non-blogging life has been busy and eventful over the past year (generally, it's all been good, but it has been busy!) and this has made regular blogging quite difficult for me. I really do enjoy writing on my blog, though, so I try and find time whenever I can.

I Never Knew how much I would enjoy it! It feels great to have a place where I can record and document my crochet projects and my crochet journey. I enjoy writing it and I love hearing back from people. I Never Knew and Never Expected that so people would comment on my posts or follow my blog. I am amazed, flattered and thrilled by the response I have received over the past year. I'm quite stunned to see today that I now have over 150 followers! Amazing, and wonderful, and all I can say is thank you so much for showing such an interest in the crochet that I have shared.

And I Never Knew that I would "meet" so many amazing people in Blogland! I honestly didn't realise that people "follow" blogs and that through regular reading and comments, people can actually build up connections and relationships with each other. I really didn't expect that. I thought my blog would be this simple little web-page, floating all alone in cyberspace, unconnected to anyone or anything else. I thought people might just stumble across it through a google search, and that's it. is so much more than I realised - I had no idea that it would help me find other crochet-lovers and how our blogs keep us all connected.

Basically what I'm saying is I Never Knew there was a Blogging Crochet Community out there - but I'm so glad I've found it and that I'm connected to it. I love visiting and reading all the great blogs I have found (I read blogs far more often than I post on my own). And I have met some really wonderful people. We may not be "real-life" or "face-to-face" friends, but I feel a real connection with many of you. I don't know ANYONE else in "real life" that is my age and loves crochet. It makes me feel very lonely at times, so I have come to feel that I don't know what I'd do without you, my blogging/internet friends. You live far away, and are busy living your own lives (as am I!) but you are still very "real" to me. :-)

Awwwwwww! That's getting a bit sentimental! LOL But it's true. :-)

I guess what I really want to say is THANK YOU so much for visiting this little blog, whether it's only been the once or if you visit regularly, you are all welcome and I love having you here. Please never hesitate to leave a comment, ask a question, or send me an email. I love to hear from you!

So, here's to my next year of blogging!

See you around in blogland!

And again THANK YOU for making this so fun. I really Never Knew.

Caz :)