Through the Years

Charisse told me that she could see the evolution of my knitting and crochet … from the first projects she got, to the current ones I’m working on.

I had forgotten some of these experiments, which she gladly took in … From the simple beanies and patterns, to the present and hopefully more advanced stitches.  I must say that the quality, choices and diversity of the yarns available in the market has also improved over the years.

So, here’s a time capsule of my projects that Charisse has accumulated.  She even sent me pics of those that I didn’t have one of, because in the beginning, I didn’t think to take pictures of what I made.

My first beanies … yikes!  look at those joining lines!

 

These were my first beanies … plain, simple, single or double crochet.  I used the colours of the yarn to make the patterns, rather than the stitches.

That’s when variegated and self-striping yarn became a favourite … I could use any stitch, and didn’t have to think about colour changes, or cutting and joining.

Simple, basic stitches still looks good to me, and my fingers automatically start a hat with those stitches.

 

 

 

 

img_2853  More hat experiments, adding the raised stitches and front and back post stitches.  More experimentation with different fibers as well – that orange and pink hat is a polar-tec hat.

I was also coming out of my knitting comfort zone more … That cowl is basic knit and purl, but there was a ssk in there *gasp*

That cowl looks warm and cozy, and that pattern might be just the one I can use to work with new yarn …

 

 

 

This was the first hat that I successfully free-winged, knitting from the bottom up, to the decrease to the top.  Somehow, my stitches were the right number, my decrease was even, and the close at the top was good.  Then I crocheted the scarf … I didn’t know if my luck would hold out and I would get a good knitted scarf.

 

That cowl … Another experiment with the front and back post stitch, but I used a bulky yarn.  We joked that it could also be used as a skirt.

 

That cowl looks so warm and cozy!   Looks like a basic knit ribbed stitch, and I let the yarn do all the wrok.

 

Another basic beanie, and a super-bulky cowl.  I was trying to recreate an ‘Outlander’ scarf, but ended up with another pattern.

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An off-the-shoulder wrap, done in bulky yarn.  The original pattern was for fingering weight, but I was too impatient to finish 400 yds of yarn … I used a bulky yarn instead.  It’s a nice pattern, and perhaps one day I’ll make one in fingering weight yarn ….

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Ahhh … the year of the braided earwarmers.  I still have two that I use, and they’re coming in very handy during these cold days.  The cowl was knit by the swimming pool when I was in Goma, DRC a couple of years ago.  It’s knit with big and small needles, in an alternate lace and solid pattern.  That was one of the few times that I was inspired to follow a pattern and actually stick to it, for the whole pattern – no tweaking, no changing a stitch.

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I also started making capelets and ponchos, which had always been on the to-do list.

 

And my current pattern obsession – the Poncho Capelet (you can read about it here).  I’ve got three other WIPs of the same pattern, different yarn :o)   I need to finish them before winter is done!

 

This is a modified Baktus pattern scarf, using bamboo yarn (you can read about it here).  I wasn’t sure at first how it would come out, with the thick and thin yarn, but it came out nice and really soft.  Now I’m thinking of getting more of the yarn and making another one for me.


And that’s the evolution of my knitting and crocheting.  Do I still make mistakes?  Yes.   And I still tweak the pattern when I get lost in the pattern … or miscount …  But I’ve come out of my comfort zone, and venturing out to more ‘advanced’ patterns.

And maybe someday I’ll try knitting socks !  lol

Happy knitting and crocheting, everyone!

 

 

 

 

Finishing Off 2014

I thought I would write a post on whatever creative things I accomplished in the last year.  I know I didn’t make much this year, but it is good to gather everything together and see how much you’ve done.  Try it.  You’ll be surprised to see just how many things that you did get done in the last year.

Of course, I didn’t get to start on anything that was on my bucket list (except for the hexagon project).  So we’re trying for that again this year.

The staple … hats!  I finally figured out the slouchy look for the hats … These are actually variations of patterns that I tried to follow, and in the end, I just decided to wing it instead of following the pattern, because the hat wasn’t turning out what I expected it to be.

And more hats!  Here’s some of the ones made for my personal charity/cause – NYC Hats for Hope Initiative. As usual, there’s more which I didn’t take photos of.

I made my first amigurumi/toy – the minion.  I said I was going to make another one, this time with two eyes.  I still haven’t started on that.  Making amigurumis and toys still does not appeal to me … I have no problem with working on the individual parts … sewing and assembling them together kills me.  The hat wasn’t too bad.  That one has two eyes – although you can’t see it from this angle.

The other cause I work on – the Special Olympics Scarf Project.  Here’s some items that I made for some of the states.  Every year I say that I will make one item for each participating state.  Haven’t succeeded yet, but there’s always next year!

The shawls … wraps … scarves … my go-to projects.  My obsession pattern this year was the Augusta Shawl.  Here’s different versions of the pattern, using different yarn weights, etc.

Oh – another obsession pattern – the Bowtie Pi Shawl (available in Ravelry).  I plan on making more of these, with various yarns.

I couldn’t figure out why my shawl was coming out with a curved neckline, instead of a straight edge as shown in the photos with the pattern.  Then I remembered … Fibonacci.  Instead of following the same number of row repeats as the pattern, I had used the Fibonacci series for my row repeats instead.  So I think that’s why the neckline curved in so deep, like this.  I like it better like this, anyhow.  The shawl drapes better over the shoulders, than a straight edge.

And I was on a fringes roll as well.  I like fringes but I usually don’t add fringes because I think that they use up a lot of yarn … but then again, knitting or crocheting a piece takes up a lot of yarn too … and fringes do make a shawl or wrap look really pretty, doesn’t it?

My one big project this year – the African Violets Afghan, in memory of my aunt who passed away last year.  This is as far as I got with it, and it’s a good size lapghan.  I wanted to add another round, so that it can also be used as a bed cover.  So that’s something I’ll be working on some more this year.

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And there you have my accomplishments from the last year.  Nothing much, nothing spectacular.  I know that it’s more of the same from last year, but until I have another incentive to make amigurumis and toys, I’m afraid there’ll be more of this for the coming year.  Oh yes … I still want to make that hooded cape … and that beach coverup … I should start now … while it’s still freezing cold outside … then it’ll be ready for summer!

Slouchy Variations

I heard forecasts about the weather for this coming winter … and it sounded cold … very cold.   As in, the same as last year.  And I haven’t really recovered from that vortex winter that dragged on forever …

And then I realized that yes, it is almost the end of August, and those ber months are coming … September, October … which usually means that the cold is coming in … and I panicked.

I’ve been collecting hats for my personal charity/cause (NYCHHI) since last year … but I don’t know if I have enough!  Yikes!  I better start on my hat-a-day schedule again, start another hat blitz!

After much experimenting again, I came up with more slouchies, with variations from the first one … a ribbed brim … a wider crown and body before it narrows down by the brim.

And look – if you need an extra layer, just pull the body down and over your ears!  The pattern for this can be found here.

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I like that … I think I’ll make more of that … It’s going to be a very cold winter … again.

 

 

My First Successful Slouchy Hat

It’s almost the end of summer … those cold winds are coming back … we’re all going to be bundled up again … I am so not ready for that so soon!  Well, we can’t stop Mother Nature either …

During an unexpected lull in activities and work, I picked up hook and yarn and decided that I was going to figure out how this slouchy hat/beanie was going to be made.  I had followed patterns before, but they never turned out right.  Some looked like it was a chef’s hat.  Others turned out to be over-sized berets.  So I put away all the patterns and just started crocheting with what I know about making hats.

After three tries – two of them completed hats already but it didn’t slouch the way I liked it – I came up with this.  Tah-daahh!!!

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I think I like this.  In fact, this is my first ever successful slouchy hat.  It’s finally slouching in the back like I think it should !!  Something came to mind though … Back in the day when I was just starting to learn how to crochet a beanie hat, I think I was making slouchy hats back then and didn’t know it … oh welll …

There’s been several requests for the pattern for this particular one.  I didn’t follow any pattern for this; I was just winging this.  This is just a basic beanie pattern, really, nothing different.  Here is what I did to get this.  If you find something doesn’t work with this pattern, do let me know.  I don’t usually write out my patterns as I’m experimenting, so this is written after the fact.

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HDC Slouchy Hat

Hook:  I used an H-5.00mm hook
Yarn:  this yarn looked/felt to be DK weight.

For this same effect, choose a variegated yarn with longer colour changes.  
If working with solid colour yarns, change the colour every 1 – 2 rows. 

Pattern:
Setup:  ch 5; sl st to form a circle;

Top:
Round 1:  8 hdc in circle; slst to join;
Rnd 2:  ch 2, hdc in same st; * 2 hdc in each st;* slst to join; (16 hdc)
Rnd 3:  ch 2, hdc in same st; *hdc in next st; 2 hdc in next st * slst to join (24 hdc)
Rnd 4:  ch 2, hdc in same st; *hdc in ext 2 st; 2 hdc in next st* slst to join (32 hdc)
Rnd 5:  ch 2; hdc in between the stitches around (not through the top loops); slst to join

Body:
Rnds 6 – 25:  repeat Round 5 nineteen/twenty times – OR until it is 10 inches in length – OR the length you want;
Rnd 26: ch 2: *hdc in next 6 st; hdc dec in next two st;* slst to join
Rnd 27: repeat Round 26;

Brim:
Rnds 28-32:  ch 2; sc around; slst to join.

Fasten off.

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Things to keep in mind about these slouchy hats:
– It’s somewhere in between a beanie and a beret … the top doesn’t have to fit the crown of the head, and the body is not as wide as the beret;

– The basic construction is a narrow top, long body, and a slightly narrower/smaller brim.  If the head opening/brim is too small for the intended recipient, I would normally evenly increase the last two rounds of the body by ten stitches, then start the brim pattern.

– Yarn and tension may make a difference.  You may need to crochet with a bigger hook or looser tension, if the yarn is worsted weight/bulky, because you need some sort of ‘drape’ and not just hang down stiffly in the back.  This was a DK yarn – actually, I’m not sure what it is; it was from a donation for NYC Hats for Hope Initiative (my charity cause), and it didn’t have any labels on it.  So my best guess is DK yarn, and if I do find out what it is, I’ll edit this.

And there you have it – my first slouchy hat that I like.  Enjoy!

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2015 Special Olympics Scarf Project: Utah and Nebraska

It may be the hot summer months now (well, for the most part – I know that there’s been some cold winds in some states recently) – but the Scarf Project for the 2015 SO Winter Games is in full swing.

SO Utah has announced their colours – Royal Blue and Lime Green.

SO Nebraska has joined for the first time, and are asking for 30 Red and White hats.

2015 KC4SO

 

Come on over and join us!

 

 

 

 

 

Minion Mania

So … this is a project a year late. The movie came out last year (?), and I saw minion patterns and finished minions springing out all over. So I commented about it and showed the boys … and was promptly requested to make one for them.

Huh?? The boys are asking me? to crochet them something?? What’s happening? Is the world spinning around too fast?

Well, I was a little delighted that they actually think I’m good enough (now!) to be able to make a minion … Well, of course I can read instructions … I should be able to make one with no problem! Right?  So I bought the fiberfill stuffing, and the yarn.  And there they sat in the corner, until some months ago, when I was watching WIPs waiting to be picked up again, and yarn that I was itching to start playing with … and I decided maybe I should try to make a minion instead.

This little fellow took me about a half day to make.  Crocheting the different body parts didn’t take me long.  Stuffing him didn’t take long.  Putting him together?  Well, that was a different story.

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My first try at putting the parts together ended up sort of crooked, said the boys.  Even the mouth was crooked.  Really?  So I took him apart, and put him together again … body part by body part.  *sigh*  In the end, I got him together the way the boys liked it.

Good thing too.  I settled for one big eye, instead of two.  I was getting tired.  I see a jogged line, where the colour change happened.  No, I didn’t want to unravel all that to make a seamless colour join.  I didn’t have felt to make the eyes.  So I crocheted them instead.  The eye doesn’t quite look round, but it’s going to have to stay that way.  Put together like this, they didn’t mind all that.  They have a minion.  And who has claimed this as their own?  Hubby.  Now I have to make another one for the boys, this time with two eyes.  *another sigh*  Now I know why amigurumi doesn’t appeal to me …

So I started a minion hat instead …

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October Frogging

Gasp!!

It’s October already! Wasn’t it just September? It was in the back of my mind everyday that I had to post something, but then … what?

There was other stuff to do … we had a full house, with guests coming in and out … illness in the family …

I stepped out the front door one morning and was met with a cool breeze in my face … and I had a brief panic attack.  It hit me that the cold winds were blowing in soon and that we were in September already and that I had to really get started working on the winter items …

In a frenzy, I pulled out yarn and WIPs and started working on something … anything …

I was going good on this WIP, then ran out of yarn …. So now it’s still a WIP, sitting in my project bag … Can’t decide yet whether to buy another skein of the yarn, or just frog the last row …

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My sister asked for a scarf/cowl in purple and I found this nice Malabrigo Jacinto … started a brioche pattern with it, lost my concentration and then it wasn’t looking right any more, and the sides not coming out straight.  I’ve frogged it and rewound the skeins, and they’re waiting for me for my next inspiration.

 

I finally found the RH Black Light colour, and started to make a hat.  It started out well, then the crown wouldn’t shape down, and it ended up so big, it was bigger than a chef’s hat … That too was frogged … waiting for the next inspiration.

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Maybe I should take a break for now … get a good night’s sleep … Then maybe the patterns will fall into place and they’ll turn out right …

What do you think?

Good weekend, all.