A Hook and a Snail

One of the lovely things about May in the Highlands is that it is a favourite time of year for people visiting – long days, the chance of some dry weather and sunshine, and not a midge in sight.

So I had this in mind when I read last year that Jan of The Snail of Happiness had resolved to visit some blog friends in real life – and the idea of meeting up in May was hatched.

It has taken a little more than a year, but the intrepid Snails made it up to the very far North of Scotland, and here to prove it is the photo!

I don’t know who had the biggest smile!

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May challenge – Virus shawl

May’s challenge has a nice story to it…
A visit to a (relatively) local yarn shop at Armadale on the Isle of Skye, and a conversation with Birgit, the lovely owner, brought this pattern to my attention.

It has the somewhat unattractive name of the ‘Virus shawl’ presumably because you start off with one motif (the virus?) and the motifs multiply with each row.

Anyway there is a very wonderful youtube video by Bella Coco (here)which takes you few the first 8 rows step by step, and after that the pattern is a simple 4 row repeat.

I think the thing that I am happiest about is how well the yarn fitted with the pattern. I used 200g of Stylecraft Batik swirl ‘Blue Ocean’ and a tiny bit of Stylecraft batik ‘Indigo’ to finish the final row. All done on a 4.5mm hook

Thanks to Maureen

Today has the potential to be a sad day as it is the funeral of my dear and lovely friend Maureen. So although I think it is it is right to be sad about sad things I also want to spend part of today remembering the many positive roles she had in my life. And in particular to say thank you to her for her warmth, enthusiasm and kindness. There are many words I could use to describe what she gave to me but instead I have decided to put together a collage of some of the projects she helped me with – through yarn donations, colour consultancy, encouragement and advice.

For these, and so much more – Thank you Maureen xx

April challenge – Bat Mitzvah hat

I was asked by one of my favourite 13 year olds to crochet a kippa (or skull cap) for her Bat Mitzvah, which is at the end of the month, and this was her vision:

So what made it a challenge? Firstly I did try to follow a pattern (which is rarely a good plan for me) and produced a most un-kippa like object, too wide at the top and too big overall.
It did however make me realise that fit was rather important and I asked her to send up one that fitted her, along with some cotton yarn. These arrived almost by return of post, and armed with a model I set about copying it, which turned out to be a much easier job than following the pattern. I did stick with the stitch in the original pattern which was half trebles, and overall I am delighted with it.

Looking forward to being at the celebration and seeing it being worn.

Made in Ricco baby cotton soft dk on a 4.5mm hook in half trebles. The shade is number 56 – turquoise.

March challenge – Happy scrappy scarf

At first sight this scarf might not look like a challenge at all. I have after all made rather a lot of corner-to-corner scarves already, so what is special about this one?

Well to start with none of the yarn was mine, I was using up a friend’s stash, and so the colour palette is hers. Secondly I didn’t buy a single scrap of yarn to add to the project, so there was no background base-colour that I knew would bring everything together. Finally the scarf has 12 different colours of yarn in it, including different textures and weights and in very varied quantities.

So what do I think I achieved? The thing I am most pleased with is that to me the scarf has a cohesiveness that does not suggest that it was made of scraps. There is a loose six-stripe repeat, which allowed me to space out the dominant red and turquoise colours evenly between some more neutral shades, and finally I used pretty much every scrap of yarn that there was!

I have shown the scarf to my friend, and she is pleased with it, and with her agreement it will soon be winging its way to Knit for Peace. They currently have an appeal out for items suitable for teenage boys – and I am hoping that this will fit the bill.

February challenge – Going to Skye scarf

Based on Cherry Heart’s Going to Wales scarf, this one has been rather more locally made…

I am not very proficient at reading written patterns so it was lucky for me that some kind soul had drawn out a chart for it on Ravelry. There is a slight error on the chart which shows the loop between trebles on row three as three chains whereas the written pattern says five, but it was a godsend. Oh and I did miss out the edging row as to be honest the edges seem fine as they are. Made in Louisa Harding Amitola (80% wool, 20% silk) on a 4mm hook. The colour is number 136 which seems to be called ‘Hook’ for no obvious reason. I thought that the yarn was 4-ply and although it is described as DK on-line I was not short on yardage at all.

As this post is my February challenge I should explain what was new for me – I have never made a ‘lacy’ or open-work pattern before, I had to match the colour sequence over two 50g balls of yarn, and I did have to read a written pattern even though I had help from the chart. That’ll do for now!

January challenge – Apple orchard beret

One of my loveliest Christmas presents was the Stitching Santa gift that I was given by Quiet water craft . Here is what I made with part of it:

Made in Lion Brand Landscapes yarn ‘Apple orchard’ on a 6mm hook. I started off using the Lion Brand ‘pom beret’ pattern but decided that I didn’t like all the double trebles (UK terms) so frogged the lot (as you do) and started again using UK trebles which gave a much more structured hat and significantly smoother colour changes.

This is the first of my monthly challenge posts, the idea being to try one new thing each month in order to make sure that I don’t fall into a crochet rut! It wasn’t difficult technically, but I think the yarn really suits the pattern, and I rather like the fact that I ended up re-designing it completely!