Busco Gancho Lace

So … I signed up for a workshop on how to make the Busco Gancho Lace shawl.  I think it’s more of a CAL, but a workshop sounds good too :)   The finished sample shawl was made in a beautiful colourway, but what I really wanted was the pattern for the shawl, but it was only available to the workshop participants.  So I signed up … *sigh*   It promises that it’s not an ordinary triangle shawl, and that there will be more to constructing the shape than just a regular triangle.  So …

I know I have lace yarn somewhere in the boxes, but not in self-striping yarn, and I didn’t have time to go through the boxes to search for it.  Seeing these SWTC Little Star yarn in the WIP bag, I frogged it and decided to use it for this workshop instead. I didn’t like how they were working up on the needles anyway, and I had only knitted four rows, so I didn’t feel so bad about frogging.  Do you ever feel bad frogging a WIP?

We had to make two swatches – one with a 3.0mm hook (top swatch), and another with a 3.5mm The swatches came out bigger than I thought.  I thought this Little Star was a fingering weight, even a light fingering weight, but these came out big.  Or perhaps I was using the wrong size hooks.

I had planned on using the red-orange to start off, and then eventually transition to the red-purple, when I ran out of yarn, because as usual, I only bought two hanks, and it looks like this shawl will take more than that, even if I crochet with a loose tension. It should work.

So that’s another CAL I’m working on … as if I don’t have enough to do already!  But I think this will work up really quick … Stay tuned for an update next week!

Rediscovering Doilies

Spring-cleaning this past weekend, I opened a bag and found these … my first doilies from many, many moons ago.

Crocheting doilies were my practice projects.  Yeah, no swatches or blocks for me.  I didn’t know about that until several years later.  I also didn’t know then that yarn came in bigger sizes than thread. So yeah, you guessed it … I stashed up on thread.  But that didn’t last long …

After discovering that yarn came in all sorts of sizes, thread and doilies were eventually put to the side, in favour of worsted weight and aran that allowed me to finish projects so quickly!  Those were the good old days, right?  Now I’ve got about three projects waiting to be finished …

Now I’m thinking of going back to working with thread … and yes, I still have my stash from years ago … and bought some new ones in new colours too.  Ecru remains my favourite thread colour, but these rainbow hues and shades in thread are tempting me …

Learning the Clasp Weft Technique

Finally … a use for this yarn purchase … bought for National Crochet Month 2014, with thoughts of making something special with it.

But after several starts and stops in both crochet and knit, it wasn’t working up the way I liked, so I put it away.

Now that I have this loom, I now know what to do with all that yarn that I bought and couldn’t find the right project for … warp the loom with it!  So I excitedly warped the loom with a SWTC soysilk in similar colours (reddish-orange and black), left over from the Hawaiian Lace shawl.  I thought that it was a nice coincidence that these colours were so similar … or was it a coincidence?  My eyes are naturally drawn to the same or similar shades, so maybe it was not a coincidence … hmmm … must research this further.   Anyway …

After warping the loom, my brain had a momentary lapse … Instead of learning the lacy patterns, like Brooks Bouquet, or working with pick-up sticks as I had planned when I started warping the loom, what came to mind instead was … clasp weft.  And that’s what I started to do.

And it was coming along nicely, then I noticed that the right side was starting to slant up … which meant that the tension was off, and at some time, the group of ties on the right had somehow loosened.  But I was not going to unravel this and start over, so I went on.

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I tried to adjust the tension and not beating so hard, making sure to leave about a quarter inch apart between the rows.  It didn’t always work …

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I don’t know if it’s because the yarn is thin and slippery, or I was not being consistent throughout.  By this time, I just want to finish working with the yarn, so I kept on going.  I was enjoying learning the new technique, but not with this yarn.

Hopefully, the gaps will even out after it’s been wet-finished.  And if not, then it’s time well-spent learning the clasp weft …. My mind is already planning the next project with the clasp weft and three to four colours …

Changing Yarn Tastes

I’ve noticed for a while now that my yarn tastes might be changing …

When I seriously started amassing a stash many moons ago, I didn’t know any better about the different types of wool fibers, weights, 2-3-4-ply, etc.  I was on a high marveling at the many things that I could create with a piece of string and a hook.  And so it started with one skein, and I would use up every inch to make the most use of it, before buying another skein.  Pretty soon, I realized that for some projects, I would need more than one skein, and so I bought two.

And then it started … the many colours … the ideas running through my mind … the pattern accumulation … and pretty soon I had amassed a good bit.  And I was happy with it.

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As the years went by and my knitting and crocheting skills improved, I started to branch out of the comfort zone and try new patterns, projects, all the while still looking for the good deals and sales to add yarn to the stash for that day when I would find the perfect pattern to go with it.  I developed a love-hate relationship with Craftsy and Etsy, trying out a skein or two of the higher-end yarns.

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Koigu PPPM mini-balls

But over the past couple of years, I’ve noticed another change coming on. There’s times when I’ve actually gone into a crafts store and walked through the yarn aisles, and walked out with none.  None!! Imagine that?  Either none of the colours called to me, or I already had that type of yarn and colour, or I didn’t like what was out there … Was that possible?  Perhaps I’m getting older and looking into finances for retirement are now more in the forefront than before, or maybe I am now yarn and wool-savvy enough.  But I’ve noticed that I am now more picky about what type of yarn to work with and for which projects, and what I buy and don’t buy.  I had come to the realization years before that I would have to change the type of yarn that I usually work with (worsted weight and aran) to make those accessories that would drape and sit well (DK or fingering).  But since they cost a bit more, I didn’t look into those too much.  And these days, there are more choices in the market for comparable yarn weights, at a lesser cost, so I didn’t mind too much about buying the more-costly yarn.  But I’m noticing the difference more and more now …

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Plymouth Yarn Miyushihi and Universal Bamboo

I don’t often buy yarn with a project in mind, but when I went on the last day of the Wool Walk, that was my purpose … to look for yarn for the pattern testing that I signed up for.  And that’s all I got, plus sparkly Cascade yarn that was on sale.  Of course by the time I started working on the test pattern, I changed my mind and used the Cascade Sun Seekers instead, and the Madeleine Tosh Light is still in the bag.  But that was ok too.

It wasn’t a yarn-buying frenzy any more, looking for the sales to stock up for the times when I may not have time or finances for the yarn therapy, or looking to add to the stash.  It was a purchase with a purpose.

So it seems that a new chapter in my yarn adventures is about to start … One where yarn purchases are now based on what I want to make, rather than just to add to the stash … It also means that my eyes are now drawn to the higher-end yarns … *sigh*  So much for my yarn budgets …

Star Designs

Flipping through some old notes, I came across this while I sat through meetings last year and doodled to stay awake … 

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Since I’m on a mandala-drawing phase right now, I should enlarge this too.  Then I think that maybe I should translate this into a crochet pattern … maybe an afghan, a blanket … Is there anything like this out there already? Maybe somebody else has already designed this (Frank O’Randle and his ‘change’ series and the Cathedral Window patterns are also similar), and there’s dozens of completed projects in this pattern. Anyway, I’m still going to try and see what I can do with this.

In the lobby of a building some weeks later, I looked down at the floor and saw this.  

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Now I have another idea for an afghan pattern.

*Ssigh* I need more hours in a day …

Hawaiian Lace

I made the deadline!!

Cutting it close, but I knew that I would be staying up late during the weekend and would get a lot done.  Anyways … here’s the finished shawl … blocked and cleaned up, and modeled by Charisse!

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hawaiian lace red

I used a portable steamer to block this.  The yarn, SWTC Pure, was 100% soysilk, and I didn’t want to risk soaking it, and then squeezing or accidentally wringing too hard and pull it out of shape.  I laid it out on the bed on top of two beach towels (those were the only ones big enough for this).  I held the steamer about an inch off the top, and gently pulled and flattened it into shape while steaming.  After a last pull to even out, I left it drying for a couple of hours.

It’s a nice and easy pattern, good for beginners, and even though the middle – mesh – part seemed to take ages to finish, it looks good.  Even Tin says the mesh part looks complicated, so you know it looks good.  It’s light and airy, and big enough to wrap around you, without it feeling heavy, even if you throw the ends over your shoulders for a tighter wrap,.

The pattern is available on Ravelry – Hawaiian Lace.  Go and check it out.

And since that’s my pattern obsession for now, I’m going to continue and finish this other one I started at the same time as the red one … remember this?  I’ll probably take my time doing this .. This one is a bit fiddly to work with …

Progress on the Test Pattern

This is my progress after several froggings and re-starts …

One set done, and the start of the next set.  I guess it’s not looking bad.  At least it looks like something now, and the piece is laying flat and you can actually see a pattern.

And because I was such an expert in starting the first set, I had a brilliant idea and started another … *sigh*  That’s why I have so many WIPs, with this impulsive starting of new projects because of many ideas.

I need to finish this though, by the time the test period is over.  There’s a couple in the group that have already finished their piece!  Have to catch up … hopefully this weekend …