March Montage

In March I showed you how far I had got with my new ripple blanket, my latest loaf of bread and the tulips glowing in the sunshine.

I shared with you the five hexagons that I was contributing to Patch (of Made by Patch) ‘s Collaborative Crochet Blanket project and the gifts for my Two Year blogging Giveaway.

I also shared with you the cat that had come to my home. Unfortunately I became severely allergic to this cat within a few days of having her and have had to make alternative arrangements. I am at present struggling to reduce the allergens in my house.

montage1403

Happy hexagons!

0238-hexagons

Patch of Made by Patch has written a post about the hexagons I sent her for her Collaborative Crochet Blanket project but, as not all of you may be her followers, I thought that I would write a post of my own.

You can see her post here:- http://madebypatch.wordpress.com/2014/03/16/rainbow-hexagons/ She takes lovely photos.

My hexagons were made using Rico Essentials Cotton and a 4mm hook. I tried to use up oddments where possible but also dipped into my stash of rainbow colours. The requirement was that they be 15cm from side to side.

First Hexagon

0239-hex1

This hexagon was made to get the size.

I used the pattern I found here:-

http://crafts.tutsplus.com/tutorials/crochet-fundamentals-how-to-crochet-a-hexagon–craft-9643

extending it to get the correct size.

Second Hexagon

0239-hex2

This hexagon is my ‘flower hexagon’ as found on my blog here:-

https://rainbowjunkiecorner.wordpress.com/flower-squares-and-a-hexagon/

with extra rows in blue and white to make it the correct size.

I found the third and fourth hexagons here:-
http://craftyminx1980.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/hexie-heaven-my-top-picks/

Third Hexagon

0239-hex3

The pattern for this one comes from here:-

http://scrapyarncrochet.blogspot.com.au/2011/07/free-grannys-garden-hexagon-crochet.html?m=1

I removed two rows in the middle to make it fit then added an extra row of dcs and the white edge.

Fourth Hexagon

0239-hex4

This is adapted from a pot holder pattern. The pattern is here:-

http://alipyper.com/2013/06/18/free-vintage-crochet-climbing-trellis-hexagon-pot-holder-pattern/

I realised that the edge was not going to be straight so after the first green row I did another row to straighten the edge then added the white border.

Fifth Hexagon

0239-hex5

This from a dishcloth pattern that I found here:-

http://plus3crochet.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/african-flower-dishcloth-pattern.html

I realise now that to get the proper African Flower look I should have used the same colour for rows two and three but I like it how it is anyway. I especially liked the texture you got with the alternating front post trebles and back post trebles.

So many hexagons!

Which is your favourite?

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!

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.

At Last – The Blanket is done

I have now finished the edge on my hexagon blanket.

So here are some pictures

First the edge

As you can see, I did four rows of trebles (US dc), alternating two colours, and then a row of double crochet (US sc) in the same gold as the centres, all finished off with a row of crab stitch. I didn’t use increases and decreases for the last two rows but I think even if it does ripple a bit it was the right thing to do. To be honest I was a bit tired of all the counting by then but with the crab stitch it would have been tricky to get it to work out right any other way.

These are the yarns I used for the edge.

Patons Fab

  • Fern 2341
  • Airforce 2312
  • Canary 2305

The colours I had bought for the edging, especially the blue, were a bit more subdued than I had expected (buying them on-line) but I had wanted a fairly low key edging so that it would not upstage the main body. I think I am pleased with the final result.

So now pictures of the actual blanket!

This is the finished blanket

Bit tricky to photograph, and with the light so low I had to use flash!

Now a picture of the blanket on my bed as it will be if we have a decent summer.

And now a picture of me snuggled up on the sofa, as I will be in the winter, or as I may be this May once I’ve turned the heating off! Yes May and I still have the heating on. Well, I am baby-sitting a geriatric hamster at present and he has to be kept warm. That’s my excuse anyway.

And lastly a photo that actually enlarges to show the blanket closer to full screen. The photos aren’t brilliant but I think they give the general idea.

This will enlarge if you click

I started the blanket at the beginning of January and I think that I would have finished it by the end of March if I hadn’t allowed myself to get sidetracked with other things, like granny circles, cup capes and learning how to knit socks, plus all the other things I haven’t mentioned……………….

Some stats

  • I think it probably took about 220 hours. Bit of a guestimate!
  • There are 220 hexagons.
  • Finished, it measures at it’s widest and longest approx 110cm (3’7½”) by 183cm (6′)
  • I used Paton’s Fab DK weight acrylic yarn and a 4.5mm hook. (I think I crochet tighter than some people do.)
  • I bought fifteen 100g balls and have about 320g yarn left over. (I ended up buying another ball of the gold for the centres, so I needn’t have worried about running out!)
  • Cost, inc postage, about £28 but I do have all that yarn left over – enough for a cushion? I wonder.

Hope that isn’t too much blanket but I am so excited now I have finished it.

Crab Stitch

I was pleased with the crab stitch edging and will probably use it again but I found some of the explanations of how to do crab stitch not entirely clear, so I am going to try my own explanation for anyone who hasn’t done it before but would like to try.

Crab stitch is worked in the opposite direction to normal. That is from left to right for right-handers like me.

It is best worked on a base row of dc (US sc) and I started by doing 1ch just to loosen it up.

Insert hook in stitch to the right ******* go over and under yarn ******* then catch round hook.
Pull through stitch ******* then start to turn hook clockwise
Continue turning till you are back where you started ******* then pull yarn through as normal
One crab stitch complete
A row of crab stitches

Where Now?

Well I’ve ordered the yarn for the socks I’ve promised to make and the yarn for my next big crochet project but neither have come yet, so I am going to get started on a little something for my granddaughter’s birthday in June. So better not say what it is in case she reads this.

But I am going to make it out of these balls of yarn.

Hexagon blanket update

Well I’ve finished the main body. Just the edge to do.

I crocheted in the ends as I went but I still had the end of the ends to cut off. I didn’t do the cutting as I went in case I cut off an end I had forgotten to weave in and risked a break. I also chose to sew in the last end of each hexagon to make them extra secure.

It took me two days (about 3-4hours) and produced this little pile of yarn bits.

I was pleased to discover when I had cut off all the ends that the back of the blanket looked almost as good as the front. I had not expected this, so it was a bonus.

Front at the top Back at the bottom

It was hard to take a good picture of the main body of the blanket so this is the best I could do.

This will enlarge if you click

Originally I was going to do a simple border. One row of trebles followed by a shell edging. But I have decided that that is a much too flimsy edging so I am going to do several rows of trebles and see how it goes.

Hopefully I will have finished the edging in a weeks time and then I can do a full reveal.

All this blogging has made me decide that I must actually buy myself a camera of my own. In the past I have owned two film SLRs but for the past few years I have been borrowing a digital bridge camera from my son and while it takes fairly good pictures, it has it’s limitatons.

I have been going round and round in circle this last week not sure what to buy but I have finally decided that I will go for a light but good quality camera that I can take around with me easily. The SLR I might have chosen weighed about twice what my old one did with just the one lens.

I am going out this afternoon, and while it looks as if I will not come back with it, I may well have bought it!

Projects, Projects, Projects!

I realise that I actually have four projects on the go at present.

Firstly and most importantly there is my hexagon blanket.


The main body is almost finished and I am trying to give it priority.

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

Then there is my ‘can I really knit a sock?’ project.

The assistant priest in our parish, having seen me first in my spiral scarf and then in my rainbow scarf, realised that I must be a knitter and asked if I would knit him a pair of socks. Not any socks, mind you. He plays the bagpipes and is part of a music group. They have to wear white knee socks, which turn over at the top.  Apparently you can’t buy socks like this and they have to improvise. But if I could knit him a custom made pair!……………………..

Well I have never knitted socks. All these double pointed needles and picking up stitches for the heel had made me feel that I would never knit socks. But I told him I would think about it.

I discovered that socks could be knitted using circular needles, so not so many ends for stitches to fall off, and I even found a pattern  that used wraps to shape the heel, so no picking up stitches. It was getting better.

I decided that I would have to practice before I was finally sure I could do this. I only had DK yarn and circular needles suitable for DK yarn so I decided that would have to do. (At least I had some boring colours I didn’t need at present). I adjusted the number of stitches to suit the yarn and wow! I actually made a sock that fitted my foot. Yes. I can do this!

I couldn’t entirely eliminate the ladders you get, when using a long circular to knit a small circumference but then I discovered really small circular needles and decided to buy one.


Yes they really are that small.

I practised using straight needles and the small circular just to knit the heel part in some odd 4ply wool I had. Yeh! This works too.

Yes and I have even bought myself some gorgeous sock yarn to knit some socks for myself when I have made the knee socks. I am saving a reveal of this for a separate post.

At present, when my hands want a rest from crochet, I am working out how much I might have to increase to fit the sock round the calf. When I have finished the blanket then I start the socks proper.

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

I have also been making a bag

similar to Lucy’s. I had so loved the thought of having it to use for holding my yarn, next to me on the settee.

She uses aran yarn and I only had DK so I have increased the number of rows for base and sides. It was useful for using up scraps of DK yarn and it was also good for when I needed some crochet I didn’t need to concentrate too hard on, (well not once I got to the sides). It is quite well advanced really.

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

Lastly

I have a project that is really on the back burner and that is to make a Buff®. I saw it advertised in one of these little booklets for online companies you get and thought I could use the pattern I had used for my Scarf/Hat Tube Thingy  as all it is a stretchy tube. I have only done about the first four inches but it won’t take long when I decide to give it time.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *
And of course I also manage to fit in the odd project on the side that can be completed quickly like the Cup Cape I made from the pattern at the Wool Hogs blog.

I made it to fit an old white mug I had, as most of my mugs have pictures on that you want to see. But now I have transferred it to my Bodum glass mug that I use for my breakfast green tea. It looks good on there too and fits just as well.

Beginning a granny hexagon blanket

Just a glimpse of my blanket

I found the pattern for this on the Attic24 blog and as soon as I saw it I knew I had to make one.

I absolutely love hexagons. They are by far the most interesting and beautiful of the space filling regular polygons. (The others being triangle and squares). And bees make their honeycombs with them – I love honey.

I decided that I would keep the golden centres Lucy had, as that made them look almost like flowers and I love flowers too.

I decided that the blanket, made a suitable size, could wrap me when watching TV in the winter and be a supplement to a sheet on my bed in the hotter part of summer.

So I started to plan in two ways.   click here if you are interested in the planning – includes a shopping bag project

I decided to use Paton’s Fab and chose the following colours:-

  • Canary 2305 for the centres

And for the main colours

  • Candy 2316
  • Strawberry 2340
  • Cherry 2322
  • Mint 2300
  • Lime 2317
  • Forest 2319
  • Glacier 2301
  • Turquoise 2315
  • Blue 2321
  • Lilac 2314p
  • Purple 2313
Main blanket colours

And I was planning to use Fern 2341 and Airforce 2312 for the edging though now I have seen the colour of Airforce, in the flesh, as it were, I am not so sure. It is more grey than blue and I had been looking for a different blue to those I had already used. I will have to decide.

As you will realise, if you looked at the planning section, I am happy to work systematically.

So I started by making ten little gold centres

And then, taking a ball of one of the main colours, made ten little circles.
Working with each ball in turn gave me a boxful.

Then choosing one ball and the ten circles without that colour gave:-

After using each ball, I got this – 110 circles

And this allowed me to chose the circles to use for each row of the blanket (according to the plan. – It was all based on diagonals.)

I then settled down to make the first ten rows of the blanket according to my printed plan.

(This is one of the few pictures that will actually show bigger if you click it.)

Then Repeat………………………..

I am on the repeating at the moment.

I expect the full blanket will be finished in a couple of months and then I will do another post.

Just a note if you are tempted to try to make a blanket following this plan. I had calculated that I ought to have just enough yarn on the basis that I can crochet ten trebles out of 1m of yarn. Well I had just a tiny piece left of the gold when I had crocheted the last gold centre so it looks to be an even more close run thing than I anticipated.  Robin or Stylecraft would give  you more metres per ball than Paton’s.