Crochet socks – a sort of challenge!

Finished socksLast June when I posted about my latest knitted socks an interchange with Sharon of Creativity and Family about her desire to knit some socks and the fact that I had never crochetted any led to her saying “If you crochet some I’ll give knitting socks a go !! 😉 ”

We were relaxed about time scale and I fitted in crochetting a pair over the summer and Sharon knitted some in the Autumn.

Sharon wrote a blog about her socks here – https://creativityandfamily.wordpress.com/2015/10/27/yes-yes-yes-ive-done-it/ – Aren’t they lovely!

This is how I made mine.

I had a few balls of sock wool, some bought and some given to me that had been taken to a charity shop. I decided to chose this ball. Sock woolNo label but I think it might be Regia sock yarn.

I looked at patterns for crochet socks but in the end, in my normal impatient and self-opinionated way, I decided to work up my own, based on my normal toe-up method of making socks. (I kept notes so I can make the same again if I want to!) .

However I did learn a lot from here – http://quiltfixer.blogspot.co.uk/2009/03/step-by-step-crocheted-socks-crochet.html (I didn’t agree with the way she increased for the toe but I did copy the heel method fairly closely.)

I decided to do the toes and heel of the sock in simple dcs (US – scs) and started at the centre of the toe and I used a piece of red wool to keep track of where to make the increases. Sock toe increases I decided that making the whole sock in dcs would be just too boring! so I decided to use trebles (US – dcs) and after a bit of experimenting decided to use this for the main body of the sock. Sock patternI used plain trebles on the underside of the sock to keep the rows level and the bottom of the sock smoother.

For the heel I decreased until the width wanted, then increased joining in at the end of the row. This was the trickiest bit.Sock heel And then for the final row I decided to make more of a scalloped edge by using three treble instead of two.Top of sockSo here they are worn by me! Socks seen from aboveand Wearing socks

What do I think of Crochet socks compared to knitted?

  • Making them with the trebles meant they worked up more quickly maybe even twice as fast.
  • They are definitely thicker than knitted ones, that is really no surprise, so tighter in the shoes.
  • The basic fabric is stiffer than knitted ones so they are slightly less comfortable but are less likely to slip down or wrinkle. (Again, no surprise really.)
  • I really like the way they look and creating a patterned sock is much easier than knitting.

So will I make any more?

The jury is out on this one, as they say. Maybe one day, but the next pair of socks I make will be knitted.

I did start a pair in some wool I had that I had found impossible to knit with because it was such a dark colour and fluffy. Other sockI got this far, didn’t like the plain dcs (the difference between the blue and purple seems to show much less in real life (or my eyes)). I then tried a slight texture on the top but it didn’t gel with plains dcs on the bottom and so I have given up for now.

A New Challenge!

We (as listed below) are proud, happy and excited to present our spanking new weekly Photo Challenge all ready for 2016

Here are all our photo prompts. Set out for you to join in as and when you are able. Photo Challenge Four, fab, photo fiends have joined together to create this

52 week photo challenge

Let us introduce ourselves:

Cathy from Nana Cathy

Jane from Rainbow Junkie corner

Melissa from The Aran Artisan

Sandra from Wild Daffodil

Sandra, Cathy and Melissa so enjoyed Jamie’s (Bluedaisy) photo challenge that they just did not want to stop (and I was invited to join in this time) – many thanks to Jamie for starting this off and for her great list of prompts – we hope we have created an equally inspiring list.

The ‘rules’ such as they are, are very relaxed. It is up to you to take those prompts and run with them:

1. You could make it your own challenge to post a photo each week for 52 weeks.

or

2. See each week as a fresh challenge and enter as many weeks or as few as you like. You will be very welcome whenever you want to join us.

3.We intend to enter just one photo as the ‘challenge’ photo, but feel free to enter as many as you like.

4. Whether you like to take a new photo each week according to the subject, or search your archives to find a photo that fits – all are welcome.

5. Join in at any time during the year, the more the merrier.

6. Each week the PROMPT goes live from 9am GMT on Monday to 9am GMT the following Sunday. We start on Monday 4th January, 2016.

7. Anytime during the week post a photo inspired by the prompt on your blog. Once Cathy has posted her photo that week (usually on a Tuesday) you can add your link in the Comments section of her post.

You are welcome to download and keep the list or display it on your blog.

Sandra and Melissa like to combine the Photo Challenge with Ronovan’s Haiku Challenge. Sometimes it is an extra brain-tease but on the whole one often seems to support the other – it really is fun – have a go!

Or maybe the photo will inspire a poem or short story – oooh – some fun possibilities!

But of course there is absolutely NO need to combine them if that does not appeal – this is primarily a photo prompt.

Primary Aim: FUN!

The topic for next week is:-

GAME

Why not join in!

Cafetière Cosy

0112-caf-square

Here it is as promised.

Cafetiere cosiesMy earlier cafetière cosies were made very quickly just to try out basic  ripple, granny stripe and adding beads. This time I took more time and more care with the making. I decided to use buttons to join at the back as I thought that would be neater.

Here are some more photos.

Front
Front
0113-caf-buttons
Right side
Left side
Left side

No tutorial but just a recap from the previous post:-

I used this pattern

0112-ripplepattern

From Jan Eaton’s “200 Ripple Stitch Patterns”

Using colours I had available that might fit with a sea and sand colour scheme.

Making this.

0112-ripple

I thought that I had measured the height correctly but in fact when I held it against the cafetière, I realised it was too tall and undid the top double ripple and used the yarn to work a double crochet (UK) border to join it, fit over the handle and contain buttonholes for the three buttons.

I am very pleased with it. I like the colours, it is thicker than the previous one thus better for insulation (and better, in my opinion, for a blanket).

I am pleased with the photos too. With low winter light I generally have problems but the pictures of the finished cosy were taken at 1/13 and they still came out nicely in focus without shake and good colour. I was quite amazed. 🙂

Crochet Christmas cards


These are really easy to make.

First you make the stars.

I always think six-pointed stars for Christmas cards as a reference to the six-pointed ‘Star of David’ as Jesus was a Jew and was born in the ‘City of David’.

(Pattern at the end in UK and US versions.)

I used Twilley’s Goldfingering in silver and gold and a 2mm hook.

I also bought folded A5 sheets of card and matching envelopes from ‘Paperchase’ in dark blue.

I cut myself a piece of white card A6 size and marked out a hexagon where I wanted the star to go and then placed it on top of the front of the unfolded card. Underneath I placed an odd piece of polystyrene that I had so I could stick the end of my compass through the points of the hexagon.

Originally I was going to cut a hole and fit the star in it, which is why I have the extra lines. All you need is a hexagon.

(Mine was marked out using a vertical central line to locate the centre of the circle and top and bottom points then the normal straight edge and compass way of drawing a hexagon using a radius of 1.5 inches, which seemed about right).

You need to pull the points on the star well to work out the correct diameter. The holes should be where the points are when stretched.

You then push a sharp pin, needle or compass point through the corners of the hexagon and remove the white card.

Then take a piece of sewing cotton; I found about 18 inches (45cm)  was a good length; and make a good knot on the end and thread through one of the holes.

You then make a small stitch into the back of one of the 3 chain points and thread the needle back through the same hole being careful not to go into the thread coming out of the hole.

Repeat this procedure for each hole in turn going round the hexagon. You then need to gently pull the cotton on the back and the points on the front till the points of the star hide the holes and the cotton at the back is taut.

Then turn over

and finish off the thread by doing several stitches as illustrated: first into the starting length by the knot to make the loop tight and then to the final length to secure the end.

If I had beautiful handwriting I might have done the words below the star with my gold and silver pens but as my handwriting is very uneven I bought peel off words at a craft shop.

I would have preferred two sheets the same as the silver one but there was not a lot of choice. The silver letters came off so easily but the gold ones were very tricky.

Finally I stuck a label on the back of the front of the card with instructions on removing the star after Christmas is over.

The card and the envelope together cost me 75p. The Goldfingering was £3.50 a ball and I think one ball will make about a dozen stars so say 30p a star. The lettering sheets were 89p each. So I think the cards should cost me a bit less than £1.20 each to make. I haven’t made them all yet but expect to do about two dozen.

Christmas Star patterns

UK version

Using Twilleys goldfingering in silver or gold and a 2.00mm hook.

Start: 6 ch loop.

Row 1: Working into the loop: 7ch (= 1dtr + 3ch), dc, 3ch, then repeat {dtr, 3ch, dc, 3ch} 5 times. Slst into 7ch loop at start.

Row 2: Repeat {6ch, slst into top of dtr) six times. Last slst is into slst of previous row.

Row 3: Repeat {4ch, tr into 6ch loop of previous row, 4ch, slst into slst of previous row.} six times.

Row 4: Repeat {6ch, dtr into top of tr on row below, 6ch, slst into slst of row below} six times.

Row 5: Repeat {dc under loops of rows 3 & 4, 5dc under loop of row 4 only, 3ch, 5dc under loop of row 4 only, dc under loops of row 3 & 4.} six times. Slst to fix final dc.

Pinch the 3ch at the tips of the points and pull hard. Sew in the ends

US version

Using Twilleys goldfingering in silver or gold and a 1/B hook.

Start: 6 ch loop.

Row 1: Working into the loop: 7ch (= 1trc + 3ch), sc, 3ch, then repeat {trc, 3ch, sc, 3ch} 5 times. Slst into 7ch loop at start.

Row 2: Repeat {6ch, slst into top of trc) six times. Last slst is into slst of previous row.

Row 3: Repeat {4ch, dc into 6ch loop of previous row, 4ch, slst into slst of previous row.} six times.

Row 4: Repeat {6ch, trc into top of dc on row below, 6ch, slst into slst of row below} six times.

Row 5: Repeat {sc under loops of rows 3 & 4, 5sc under loop of row 4 only, 3ch, 5sc under loop of row 4 only, sc under loops of row 3 & 4.} six times. Slst to fix final sc.

Pinch the 3ch at the tips of the points and pull hard. Sew in the ends.

*  *  *  *  *

As always please let me know if you find any mistakes.

Monthly Challenge – Peg Bag

The pattern and a chart for the hexagons used in this project are now available HERE


I decided to make this as the Monthly Challenge as I thought that was probably the only way I would get it done as I have been planning it for a few months now and am getting fed up of managing with plastic carrier bags. However it has taken rather longer than I anticipated and I’ve had to rush it a bit.

Back story

Years and years ago – maybe 25 – my son made me a ‘Knight Rider’ peg bag in school.

It was made from hessian and had the words ‘KNIGHT RIDER PEG BAG’ embroidered on it as well as a picture of a car.

It was especially useful as it could be worn round the neck and had two separate compartments for pegs thus allowing me to separate the strong pegs from the weaker ones.

About eight to ten years ago it was beginning to fall to bits so I bought some hessian and made a similar bag as a replacement. This hessian however must be an inferior fabric as it started to split a few months ago and became unuseable.

Ever since then it has been my intention to make a replacement and since I am now into crochet, I had the bright idea of making the outside from crochet hexagons and the inside from some old cotton polo necks that I can no longer wear except under jumpers.

And now, at last, I have got around to making it.

I am using some of the wool that was left over from my hexagon blanket but have decided to use my own hexagon pattern that is based on the one I used for the three colour 12-fold flower squares for my flower cloth.

The original hexagon pattern makes more of a lay-flat stay-flat hexagon but mine have the advantage of being quicker to make as they only have the four visible rows instead of having an extra row like the original ones. They also only use trebles (US dcs) worked into gaps not stitches.

I also like them because the rows work out pointier so they look more like flowers.

Original blanket hexagons ————— My more pointy ones

I had made a bag with hexagons for my daughter as practice for the blanket.

But I found a plan on the internet for a bag that used the hexagons the other way round which gave square corners and so was more suitable for this project. By printing two copies and cutting and sticking with sellotape I was able to make a plan for the peg bag in order to know how many hexagons to make and where to join them.

I was using up the oddments left from the blanket so this governed my colour choices for the hexagons to a certain extent. Also, as I was trying to make it quickly, I did not plan the colours as much as I had before but I did try to make them vaguely random and all different.

When the hexagons were joined together the pegbag looked like this:-

Front and back

and the reverse.

Underside

I then found my old cotton polo neck that is surplus to requirements and cut out two pieces to make a lining, utilising the hems in my design.

Got out my old sewing machine my mother passed on to me.

Sewed the two pieces together and then sewed side seams

(the seams came out surprisingly straight for me)

and created a lining.

I fitted the lining inside the crochet part and joined it along the edges, tucking the top hexagons inside to make access to the pegs easy.

I have suspended my previous peg bags round my neck by using a cut down wire hanger to hold the middle flat and adding a piece of string or tape. This time I decided to go for something that would hopefully prove both more elegant and more satisfactory.

So I found a piece of thin dowel from my collection of bits of wood left from earlier projects, cut a suitable length and crocheted a circular band.

I attached a length of tape I had used for the last peg bag to the dowel so as to stop the strap stretching.

I wrapped the dowel and tape in the crochet band finished the band and stitched it closed, suspended the peg bag on the dowel and sewed in place.


Here it is all ready to go!

Obsession

Ever since I made these

for my Giveaway I have been obsessed with making more snowflakes and this time instead of Really Easy snowflakes I offer you some Easy Real snowflakes or at least as close to the real things as I can get.

I think maybe I must be a bit crazy, not only have I spent much of the last few days working out how to create patterns for these snowflakes when I could have been knitting my socks but today I so concentrated on putting together a page for these patterns on the blog that I forgot I’d put the washing on, didn’t have any lunch and didn’t notice it was raining. (So maybe it’s just as well I didn’t hang out the washing! :-))

To me snowflakes are these six sided things made of ice that fall from the sky but I have noticed over the years that some people draw or otherwise create snowflakes with eight sides. I have always imagined that his was either a lack of observation on their part or a rather cavalier attitude due to the fact that eight sides are easier to reproduce than six.

However having found this picture of a five sided snowflake in a book on crochet I borrowed from the library, I have decided that in crochet, snowflake just means a multi-pointed motif.

But just as I wanted to draw my inspiration for my Flower Cloth from real flowers, so I have been determined to base my crochet snowflakes on real snowflakes.

So I returned to this website http://www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/snowcrystals/

and put together these photos as ones I should use as inspiration.

All except the top left looked as if they might be possible. And I am still searching for an easy way to do even that one.

I had some white bamboo yarn that I had bought cheaply when it was being sold off by Hobby Craft for only 50p a 50g ball and decided to use it for these new snowflakes. I can’t decide if I like it better than the acrylic or not. It is not such a snowy white but as it is absorbent could be stiffened if I so wished.

So far this is what I have managed to make with this yarn.

I have decided to leave the one that is in the middle of the bottom row, in the picture of snowflakes, at the moment as it has a totally different character to the rest: much more ornate in texture.

And I have yet to work out how to do the one that is top left.

But this gives me seven.

I have now also completed them in acrylic, which gave me a chance to check out the accuracy of the patterns I had written. Acrylic is much easier to work with and I would definitely recommend it or something similar rather than cotton or bamboo for a first attempt.

The Patterns should be available on Ravelry in a few weeks time. (Edited 9th June 2017)

******************************

My first snowflake patterns created snowflakes of different sizes. This time I tried to make them all a similar size.

These snowflakes probably take about 20-30mins each to make.

******************************

Snowflake 1.

 

Snowflake 2.

 

Snowflake 3.

 

Snowflake 4.

 

Snowflake 5.

 

Snowflake 6.

 

Snowflake 7.

 

Hat and Scarf revealed

I have now finished my hat and scarf for the “Made It” Challenge and here I am wearing them.  If you’ve been here before this is the corrected picture my son did for me. The colour is really more blue but it ‘s the best we can do.

Here is another picture of the Hat and Scarf

The camera does seem to have a problem photographing this yarn!


The reflective nature of the yarn seems to make it harder than normal to take a decent picture.

I think maybe it took me more time to work out what I was doing and the pattern than to make the final hat and scarf.

I showed you the sample hat that I made in the earlier post. Well I made the hat to that pattern and tacked together the seam only to realise that it was not deep enough for comfort and  so I increased the garter stitch turnover slightly and double the number of rows of moss stitch. At least I only had to undo as far as the end of the garter stitch. 😀

The scarf was less problematic once I had decided the number of stitches to cast on.  But I kept doing sums in my head and on the calculator trying to check how long it would be with different numbers of stitches.

But all came right in the end and so I will share the pattern with you here and add it to the top menu as well.

Hat

This took just over the two balls so I have amended the pattern slightly so that it should be able to be made with just two balls. The one I made had an extra row of garter stitch at the start and an extra row of moss stitch for the body.

The tension for the yarn used is 9 stitches and 12 rows to give a 10 x 10cm (4 x 4 ins) square.

Using 2 balls of Sirdar ‘Big Softie’ Super Chunky yarn and 10mm (UK 000, US 15) needles

Cast on 54 sts

Knit for the first 11 rows.

Then Rib (this is to help the hat fit).

Repeat (K1, P1) to end – for 4 rows

Then

Moss stitch

Row 1: Repeat (P1, K1) to end
Row 2: Repeat (K1, P1) to end
Repeat Rows 1 & 2 – 6 times more

Then Row 1 once.

Next Row: Repeat (P9, K9) three times.
Next Row: Repeat (K9, P9) three times.

Shape the top

Next Row: Repeat (K2tog, K7, K2tog, P7) three times
Next Row: Repeat (K6, P2tog, P6, P2tog) three times.
Next Row: Repeat (K2tog, K5, K2tog, P5) three times.
Next Row: Repeat (K4, P2tog, P4, P2tog) three times.
Next Row: Repeat (K2tog, K3, K2tog, P3) three times.
Next Row: Repeat (K2, P2tog, P2, P2tog) three times.
Next Row: Repeat (K2tog, K1, K2tog, P1) three times.
Next Row: P2tog to end.

Draw yarn through remaining 6sts and pull tight.

Join the seam remembering to reverse it for the first 11 rows as they form the turnover.

(Added later:- Having worn the hat for a few month it became a bit looser. If this hapens to you, you can correct it like I did by threading some elastic (I used what I know as bead elastic but shiring elastic would probably work too.) through at least the top and bottom rows of rib from the inside. It shouldn’t show on the right side and even if it did the turn up will hide it.)

Scarf

This used almost all of what was left of the three balls to complete with the fourteen repeats less one row of the pattern which gave a scarf about 57 inches (145 cm) long. So with three whole balls you should be able to make a scarf this length without having to worry, like I did, that you might run out of yarn before you finished the last repeat and have to undo some.

[Of course if you bought six balls you could have as roomy a hat as you wished and a scarf over 6ft long!]

The tension for the yarn used is 9 stitches and 12 rows to give a 10 x 10cm (4 x 4 ins) square.

Using 3 balls of Sirdar ‘Big Softie’ Super Chunky yarn and 10mm (UK 000, US 15) needles

Cast on 16sts

Knit 2 rows

Then start pattern

Row 1: K2, K6, P6, K2.
Row 2: as Row 1.
Row 3: K2, P1, K4, P1, K1, P4, K1, K2.
Row 4: K2, P2, K2, (P1, K1) (P1, K1) P2, K2, K2.
Row 5: K2, P3,  (P1, K1) (P1, K1) (P1, K1) K3, K2.
Row 6: K2, P3, (K1, P1) (K1, P1) (K1, P1) K3, K2.
Row 7: as Row 5
Row 8: as Row 6.
Row 9: as Row 5.
Row 10: as Row 4.
Roow 11: as Row 3.
Row 12: as Row 1.
Row 13: as Row 1.
Row 14: as Row 1.

Repeat this pattern as often as you wish omitting the last row for the last repeat and ending with 2 knit rows to mirror the start.

For those who like such things (and I do) I have included a knitting chart for the scarf.

If you are unfamiliar with such charts there are two things to note

  1. You start at the bottom right with the first right side row, working from right to left and proceed to the row above (a wrong side row) working from left to right and continue in this upward zigzag fashion throughout. You can see the rows are numbered where you start.
  2. That an empty square represents a knit stitch and a dot in a square a purl stitch on right side rows and on wrong side rows it is reversed so that a dot means a knit stitch and an empty square a purl stitch.

The above may seem a bit crazy when you start (it did to me) but as you can see the resulting chart actually represents the appearance of the knitting.

I think that the above patterns are accurate but if anyone notices a mistake, please let me know.

Rising to the Challenge

I decided that I would take up Maryanne of WoolHogs’  suggestion that I should make something for the “Made It” monthly challenge with the yarn and knitting needles my daughter bought me for my birthday; the only question was what?

I couldn’t find any patterns I liked on the internet but I decided it was about the right amount for a hat and scarf. (Though I later realised I might have been better to just aim at making a scarf but I do like the hat so much :-)).

I have never ever knitted with yarn of this weight before so I asked a couple of people what sort of patterns would work well with this sort of yarn. They both suggested some sort of cable pattern but I have never done cable and (as you will realise, if you have read my previous posts about knitting scarves) I have a preference for scarves that are reversible so I decided to look for something else.

Then I remembered this book:-

I wasn’t especially inspired by the couple of patterns that they declared to be reversible but I found a chart I had put together for a hexagon textured pattern.


Some time ago when I saw this pattern in the book I realised that it ought to be possible to create a textured design of hexagons even though they didn’t include one. (Because of course I am crazy about hexagons).

So not wishing to experiment too much with the yarn itself. I knitted a couple of samples in some DK yarn I had using the number of stitches I thought might be appropriate and came up with these

The one on the left seemed to show off the hexagons to better effect so it became first choice.

But what about a hat?

I decided to take my favourite hat (one I think suits me as I am not really a ‘hat person’) and a tape measure and the stated tension on the yarn band and work up a pattern for a hat that would go with my hexagon scarf

and came up with this –


I am now into making the hat and scarf but everything has not been plain sailing and in fact I decided to make another couple of scarf samples as I realised that with the earlier ones I would run out of yarn or have a very short scarf!

However I think it will come right in the end and when they are finished I will do a follow up post and submit them for the “Made It” challenge.

Watch this space!

Oh! and the jigsaw is definitely of a duck because I have got this far.