Tuesday, 29 July 2008

AFGHAN or TV Blanket

My latest project as a 20% COMPLETED Work In Progress: it looks OK as a shawl doesn't it?
I'm using a 6mm hook with James Brett's MARBLE CHUNKY yarn in 3 colours- ocean, sapphire trio and a green's /lilac mix.
The stitch is a ripple stitch from Jan Eaton's ripple stitch book: 3 trebles plain then 2 trebles in 1 stitch twice, 3 trebles plain then 2 treble -together twice and then three trebles plain etc etc
A very simple repeat easy to follow and easy to keep track of if you're hooking while watching tv or chatting to friends!
I'm doing 4 rows of each colour and as each colour is variegated anyway : lots of interesting stripes and colours are appearing so it doesn't get boring.
The shawl is 254 grammes: so youonly need a bit from each of the 200 g balls and there's about 2 repeats on here : i.e. 2 repeats of the 3 colours so 24 rows in total.
You need a ''multiple of 12 sts plus 3'' ( soft waves in Jan's boook) : but I used 116 sts to give me 2 nice edges to the blanket -to -be.
It is planned to be the size of a single bed when finished so it can double up as a bedspread or blanket if needed- ie if fuel prices get so bad we just CANNOT afford them and turn the heating all OFF!!!!!!JJ keeps joking that the ice- age is coming and I retort that I'm getting us ready for it!
It'll be like my ''student'' days when I had a flat without central heating in a very cold Welsh winter and lived in home-made fleece ''house clothes''- trousers, slipper boots and a big comfy top which were home- made and which fitted over the top of all ''normal'' clothes just so as to keep warm....!!!

Anyway I digress: the shawl above was a partway point in the project but could easily and pretilly be an end point in itself: so go for it!
It folds beautifully at the neck into a shawl collar with a nice wavy edge....And as stated before: it's a very soft and comfortable yarn!


Sunday, 6 July 2008

Guilt-trip Gallery or Purchased Inspiration?

Here we go with the GUILT trip Gallery: These days I always feel guilty when I end up purchasing a crocheted garment as I tend to think; I SHOULD have made it myself!

However in way the purchases ignited my slumbering crochet passions and have also inspired it along the way.
Now I'm thinking : what can I LEARN from this?
After all I have many more purchased than made crocheted garments : maybe I'm mostly making ''the wrong things''?
The story starts with this lilac beaded number bought at a knitting fair on impulse in 2000 or 2001 when crochet was NOT yet on the fashion scene at all!

I admired this and wanted to know how it was made, also knowing that I had never worked with thread so fine or with beads at all.
A lovely shiny viscose is what it's made of and when wearing it I have had ever so many compliments!
It ''grows'' a bit, is very loose and the faceted purple '''oil slick coloured'' beads add a lovely dimension.

Next was a white cotton cardigan from Laura Ashley : it was in the summer sale of 2004 I think and again I have worn it ever so much, it was when crochet was not yet in ''all the shops''....
It's quite fine: probably a 3 ply or 4 ply matt cotton thread : when I bought it I had no idea how to do the stitches in it( I do now!!!).

It's a fab summer dress cover up .
Weight: 228 g
The lilac weighs: 318 g

This shaded blue piece was a mistake and I've only worn it the once so far.
Ordered from a catalogue I didn't know about the ''naff'' heart on the back panel , it does look good on jeans with a white t-shirt and there is an inspirational motif on the front panels, worked sideways I think.

The heart detail on the back...

The lovely flower motif fanning out sideways over the front panel.

The next purchase was from a second hand shop and again it's in very fine shiny viscose : a yarn I have no idea how or where to find to buy !!!
It's beaded in the floral borders, closes with hooks and has a nive velvet band finish on the front.
Very useful at winter evening parties...

A close up of the detail....

Alas many washes later it has both shrunk a bit and developed a hole in the back panel which will need mending.

High summer 2005 saw a lot of crochet in the shops and I had not yet acquired many skills so this top from George at Asda was a ''must'' , even if it was in pastel green and palest pink : I ripped out the nylon lining, dyed it with bright pink dye in the washing machine and have worn it a lot every summer since! A hot weather favourite!!!
Now there's a pattern VERY SIMILAR in the latest issue: July/Aug of CROCHET TODAY! so I would love to make one in lime green and turquoise with a bit or royal blue thrown in perhaps?
Means I'll have to finf a cotton 4 or 3 ply to DO IT WITH.....
THIS one weighs just 128g.

Also from ASDA is this cap sleeve top, again it was lined in nylon, I bought 2 white and dyed one turquoise, kept the other white.,worn a lot with cotton strappy tops and shorts.
100% cotton: is it a 2, 3 or 4 ply? It weighs: 172g.

After this there was a lull in the shopping and I learned a lot of crochet.
But in the Spring of 2006 there was this top/cardigan in New Look: made in matt cotton with some shiny viscose and although I thought by then; ''I could make this'' : 1. no pattern like it was readily available, 2 could not source the yarns, 3 had not much free time on my hands....

Good with navy shorts or trousers....

In the same Spring 2006 I first saw this in East and it was too expensive and again I thought : very do-able....But in late summer it was in the Sale so I succumbed and here it is: I haven't worn it very much though and I'm not sure why.....

This one weighs 198g and has 3/4 sleeves

I have no idea why I ordered this white cotton one, it's from a catalogue and I don't think I've worn it more than once...

Autumn 2006 : saw me looking at this crochet coat in Kaliko: £80 it was : and mostly acrylic- 75% , with a bit of viscose. It looked good on and I began looking for a suitable wool yarn, but I only found heavy or itchy ones and this coat feels very soft and drapes fluidly it's not at all like an acrylic yarn.

Then just before Christmas Kaliko had a sale and these coats were down to £8!!!
They did have loads left, possibly had not sold ANY at all so I treated myself and have worn it quite a lot over that winter.

On the front panel the flowers are raised/ 3d and on the back flat motifs only.It's very ruffled along the front opening , comes to knee length and weighs 586g.

2007 was a good year, I wore what I had or had made and no purchases- other than crochet BOOKS of course, until Christmas and the festive season beckoned....
In November for a special trip to the Royal Albert Hall : where my daughter was singing in a choir : I found this tunic top in M&S : a lovely drape and fit( I was still over 10 stone then) : it's 88% viscose with a nice pewter metallic gleam : a bit of lurex I think.

I took out the nylon lining: I'm allergic to synthetic fibres and wore a black cotton t-shirt underneath.

To increase wear I have also worn it to work- part of the metallics fashionable look?But I'm petty sure the ''boss'' was not impressed...!Too creative or bohemian probably....
The bodice has a fabulous stitch pattern: can ANYONE OUT THERE tell me how to DO THAT???
It also has a nice drawstring ribbon to show off a slim underbust- and the high ''waist'' it thus creates helps me look taller.....

Then comes a top that I thought I could wear to the office X-mas party UNTIL someone suddenly told me this was a black tie ''do''!!!I first saw this in a Woman's weekly magazine with a crochet supplement: HAD TO have it of course thinking the pattern would be INSIDE!!!!
But NO! The model was wearing it in several shots but the pattern was for a necklace, no mention of the top....ALAS!!!
Then on a csual tour of the local shops I spotted it in Principles: I recognised it at once from the magazine and well- you can guess the rest...........
Wearing quota: about 4 times, first for NEW YEAR and then a few times out to the pub..
Another viscose/lurex mix : LOVELY YARN but WHERE OH WHERE can us home- crocheters FIND THIS YARN TO USE OURSELVES?????

Coming to the end- for now- of my story : are you asleep yet?TODAY I bought the lovely little black number below.YES I KNOW : I can make this myself: I can do motifs, all sorts of them AND I can now crochet them together. AND the yarn is a simple black matt 100% cotton, I can make the buttons as I had to do this for my course and I can do the shape, inset sleeves, the lot.
BUT is it a 3ply or a 4 ply? Do I use Yeaoman's Cannele 4 ply ( mercerised and a lot stiffer than this yarn- crisper too) or a Twilleys cotton? 2mm hook? 3mm?
oooh There were just too many choices and hassles and with the (new) air conditioning in the office I NEED a cardigan to keep warm!!

So here it is : from FRANSA a lovely black cotton cardigan with 3/4 sleeves.And a LOVELY stitch pattern......

FEELING INSPIRED???I know I am and this little journey has shown me that I need to work with cottons or viscose at a 3 or 4 ply weight and then I might just wear it a LOT!IN summer anyway.
I have made several jumpers( sweaters) which have either not been worn( sleeves too long or just uncomfortable or length too short) BUT I DO have 2 which I have worn a lot:
The mohair V neck cardigan - finished in November 2005 and the Colinette Giotto jumper made in April a few years ago from a pattern in KNITTING magazine...