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.

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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!

June challenge – unseasonal slippers

Often when I finish a project I make a mental note of how I would like to do it ‘better’ next time, and so it was the case with these felted slippers (see here and here) So I did the usual thing and bought yarn to make more slippers, only to leave it to one side while other projects leaped ahead of them in my mental ‘do-list’.
Anyway now, and without further ado, I have made another pair of felted slippers, incorporating my ideas on how to change them. Here they are unfelted:

Made in Schachenmayr Wash +Filz-it! multicolour 0258 (‘Art deco mix’ – mainly black) on a 10mm hook. I’ll get back to you when I have felted them!

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!

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