January challenge – sock yarn blanket II

My second attempt at a sock yarn blanket, this one using the corner to corner technique:

It was quite hard to judge when I had used half of the sock yarn, and I had to change the ratio of plain to patterned rows towards the final corner of the blanket in case I ran out of it, but there still seems to be a colour balance to the blanket overall and I am pleased with the final product.

I used 1 x 100g ball of Schachenmayr Regia Die Sockenwolle design line 4 ply by Arne & Carlos Colour 03657 ‘Summer night’ and 3 x 50g balls of King Cole merino superwash 4 ply 3292 ‘Pale grey’ on a 4mm hook. The finished blanket measures 70 x 58cm and is 56 squares long x 46 squares wide.

This one will be on its way to Pram Depot soon – to keep a new baby warm and snuggly.

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December challenge – the snuggly one

This month’s challenge is my biggest yet. A house-warming / Christmas present for a friend. Her living room colour scheme is grey and mustard, and this is a throw for her sofa:

Made in Drops Nepal Unicolour ‘Goldenrod’ on a 7mm hook using the corner to corner technique. It measure 175 x 95 cm and took 28 balls of yarn.

It is 85 by 50 squares, so 4,250 squares in total, or 12,750 stitches – worth the effort I think!

November challenge – sock yarn blanket

I was told recently that sock yarn is much undervalued – it is machine washable, soft, hard wearing, and comes in lovely colours. So, deciding that I was up for a challenge, I set out to make a baby blanket using sock yarn. Here is my first attempt:

So what were the challenges? A ball of random coloured wool can look far from random in a finished piece due to colour pooling of dominant shades, and I had to work really hard to minimise this in the blanket. It turns out that visually the dominant shade was the palest colour (a creamy yellow) which was in danger of building up to form significant blank areas in the blanket. The particular sock yarn that I chose had long colour changes, and perhaps a yarn with a shorter-length colour change would have been easier to achieve a random effect with.

Overall I am quite pleased with it. The colours are cheery and the wool content should make it warm despite being relatively thin. I have a couple more rows to do and then this one is off to ‘Birth Companions‘ a lovely charity that supports vulnerable women giving birth. If I get my skates on it might be being used by Christmas.

It is made with 2 x 50g balls of Grundl ‘hot socks color’ shade 410 which is 75% wool, 25% polyamide and is machine washable at 40 degrees C. Plus 3 x 50g of King Cole Merino blend 4ply superwash wool shade 46 (Aran). I used a 4mm hook.

October challenge – Taiga shawl

I actually started this way back in the summer holidays, and was taught the pattern by my friend Clare.

The pattern is called ‘Taiga’ by mijo crochet and the edging pattern is called ‘Royal Starling’ (see here)

It is made in Drops big delight which is a self striping 100% wool aran weight yarn. I chose ‘Blackberry’ and used a 10mm hook for the main body of the shawl, and an 8mm hook for the very last row of the edging.

The finished shawl is 200 x 100 cm and took 5 x 100g of yarn.

September challenge – a big one

Those of you who know me will know that my preference is for small, achievable projects. A fortnight is about my maximum length of time on any one project, and any longer sees me straying well outside my comfort zone. I don’t know what the hurdle is – uncertainty that the project will get finished? Worry that I will waste a lot of yarn? Whatever the reason size has always been a problem for me. So this months challenge is something big – an adult size throw or blanket, made in an adult colour palette:

It is based on a granny rectangle, so is a fairly safe project, but it has felt like a long haul getting this far. The yarn is all Jamieson and Smith Shetland 2 ply jumper yarn, and came from the stash of my lovely friend Maureen. When it is finished I plan to donate it to the Day centre that she volunteered in, and hope that they will be able to sell it to raise funds. It is not the jumper that she planned on making with the yarn, but I feel she would have approved.

Some of the colours are discontinued but the ones I can still identify are: Charcoal 81, Green 65, Maroon 43, Pink (FC22 mix?) and Blue (FC 37mix?). I made it on a 4mm hook.

August challenge – little octopi

My August challenge has been on my ‘to do’ list for nearly a year, when you may remember I had my first attempts at making a crochet octopus (here and here):

I loved these octopi, but the pattern was hugely time consuming with eight very long tentacles, and turned out not to be very reproducible in my hands, with huge variations in size and shape between octopi. So I told myself that I would find another pattern and try again…

This pattern is adapted from one at crochet for babies here, and has a pleasing symmetry to it, so the counting doesn’t get too arduous. I made the tentacles using a chain of 30, which is not only quicker, but also safer for small babies as it is too short to wrap round their necks apparently. Anyway as you can see I have made quite a few of these now, and I am pleased to say that they are swimming off the shelves as fast as I can make them!

Each octopus took 15g of dk cotton, and I used a 4mm hook. The original pattern is in US terms so if anyone would like a UK translation leave a message and I will post one.

July challenge – Hooks and Hills square

Pam of Hooks and Hills has occasionally asked me to pattern test for her, and this month saw a friendly email drop into my inbox with just such a request.

It is a lovely square based on 13 rows of very varied crochet, explained carefully row by row.
Pam writes in US crochet terms so my job was to work through the UK pattern and check that it had all translated properly…

If I have read her blog correctly then I think this square will be called ‘Winter in the glen’ so it is particularly appropriate that it came to Scotland to be pattern tested! Can I say too what a difference it makes to have patterns tested by other people before they are published? Even little glitches can be so off-putting for us crocheters, and how many projects have been abandoned because of not being able to decipher a written pattern?

Anyway I had great fun making it. My favourite bit was probably the front post stitches which give that lovely cartwheel pattern to the centre and edge. And I also have an idea of what to make it into….watch this space!