No Sweat! My very first crochet jumper!

For Christmas I got a book that had been on my wishlist for a while. Everyday Crochet by Doris Chan.  It had popped up on Amazon as something recommended for me based on the other 500 craft books I’ve bought! First of all I wasn’t too sure if it would suit me because I wasn’t that great at crochet yet but I did want a book on how to crochet clothes for myself so it went on the wishlist.

image

When I looked through the book I knew it was a good choice. There are loads of great patterns and I definitely think there’s something for everyone. I loved all the pullovers but my favourite was No Sweat. This winter I have been all about cosy jumpers and this looked perfect.

image

My favourite is the green sweater

In the book Doris goes into loads of detail about the different types of yarn you can use and gives examples of what she used for each garment. I had fallen in love with Stylecraft Special Aran with wool in Blue Heather some time ago and had been waiting for the perfect project to use this gorgeous yarn. Also it was at the chunkier end of yarn weights recommended so I knew I’d get a nice snuggly jumper!

It took a lot of reading and re-reading the pattern to work out what I was supposed to do but once I had it figured out I found it quite easy to follow. All Doris’ patterns in this book are worked top down in differing patterns of shell stitch. It’s definitely not the easiest method of construction for a noob crocheter but thankfully I’ve come on somewhat since I added this book to my wishlist and after I got the hang of it I was able to follow the pattern with very few problems. I don’t think I’d recommend it to a beginner though! Saying that there is a Ravelry group dedicated to Doris Chan and her patterns and it’s a great place to get help with any issues you might have.

The absolute best thing about this method of construction is being able to try your garment on as you go to see how well it fits at various points and you can lengthen or shorten as needed. As a curvier girl I also loved the addition of short bust rows to give a bit more room in front!

image

All in all I loved making this jumper and I can’t wait to make something else out of the book! There is something immensely satisfying about wearing clothes you have made yourself. I think 2015 will see my homemade wardrobe increasing & multiplying 🙂 Do you make any of your own clothes? Would you like to? Let me know!

image

Making an actual jumper!

I love cosy jumpers! I think they are possibly my number one favourite item of clothing and I love it when the weather is cool enough to get all snuggled up. For years, and years, and years I’ve wanted to be able to knit myself a jumper but since my knitting skills are limited to say the least I’ve been left having to buy my cosy winter woollies. Hopefully though all that is about to change!

A good friend got me Doris Chan’s book  Everyday Crochet for Christmas and I’ve been inspired to get cracking on my very first crochet garment!

The No Sweat jumper was the one I liked best so after having a good read through all her info on yarns I decided is have a go with Stylecraft Special Aran with wool in blue heather. I’ve been eyeing up this yarn for a long time trying to work out what I wanted to make with it and I’m so excited now!

image

It’s such a gorgeous colour, the photo really doesn’t do it justice. It’s a bluey reddy purple with a gorgeous sheen.

The patterns in Everyday Crochet are constructed top down so you start with the neckline and build towards the bottom in patterns of shells.  It’s definitely not a book for a beginner and it took me a long time of reading and re reading the pattern to figure out what I was supposed to do!

So far I’ve managed to construct the yoke and have started on the body. I’m hoping that I’ll get it competed within maybe another week and I can have a ta-dah! post and give a full review of the pattern.

In the mean time I’ve managed about this much and I’ll show you more when I’m done!

image

Sick House and Fair Isle Crochet

I have been doing my best to do some crafty bits and pieces over the last wee while but we have been hit by two consecutive bouts of chickenpox. The boy got it first and just as he was over it the babby got hit. Just as she was getting over it I was hit by a horrible virus that has left me with no energy and finding it hard to breathe. Now just as I’m getting over it the kids are getting it.  Poor babby is having a hard time sleeping because she’s so bunged up.

In the mean time I have been a bit inspired by my very crafty friend Emma.  You can check out some of the bits and pieces she makes on her Facebook page and on Instagram. She’s such a good knitter and has been perfecting her fair isle. Unfortunately I have no talent in that direction so I’ve been having a go at fair isle crochet!  I didn’t even know such a thing existed until I Googled it on the off chance that someone somewhere had been doing the same thing.

I found some amazing video tutorials on Crochet Ever After and scoured the internet for some nice ideas.  I managed to come up with this.  It was going to be a beanie for the babby but it worked out to be just a little too tight, plus I wasn’t 100% happy with it so I left it as a sample piece and decided to play about.

image

It popped into my head that crocheting in the third loop of a half treble crochet stitch looks a bit like a sideways knit stitch so I reckoned I would have a little go at trying fair isle with this stitch instead of double crochet. It made everything a little neater but it works up really thick, even using DK so it’s definitely for winter things or possibly a nice snuggly cushion cover!

image

I still have to play around for a bit with these techniques but it’s loads of fun trying to figure out how the different stitches work up!  It makes me terribly unproductive though so I might have to get back to regular crochet so I can get some of my planned Christmas presents started and hopefully finished before December 25th!

My Super Stripey Slouchy… Hat

I wish I could have found a word for hat beginning with S for my title! Alliteration makes me happy so this past had been set back some time while I thought if descriptive words beginning with H seeing as there are no words for hat beginning with S! I reckoned this hat is cool enough to deserve a cool post title!

image

Anyway, after my last hat disaster I thought I would have another go. Kids decided on stripes this time from a purely pragmatic approach. Aesthetics aside I wasn’t sure if I had enough to make a large slouchy beanie from one ball of yarn but the stripes have totally won me over now!

image

I loved the ribbed band I tried out for the last hat attempt made with rows of double crochet made only in the back loops so that was how I started. I began with a foundation row of double crochet and worked my way back and forth up until it was big enough to go round my head (This wasn’t the most precise job, can you tell?!). I joined it with a slip stitch to the first row and continued in the round. Using the same yarn I worked my way around by making one double crochet in the end of each row and ended up with approximately 70 stitches. I forgot to photograph it before I moved on as I thought I was only really playing around!

image

I hate weaving in ends and I wasn’t sure about how successful this hat attempt would be so instead of fastening the yarn and starting the next colour I pulled a loop of the new colour through my final slip stitch of the round and just started to use the new colour. When it was time for the next round of a certain colour I carried the yarn up the back and worked the same way. This hat therefore definitely has a right side and a wrong side but I neatened it up as best as I could as I worked so it’s liveable with. Next time I might take the time to weave in the ends but maybe not! It would certainty be a bit of a neater job.

image

I played about with the stitches as I worked my way up and used a mixture of double, half treble, treble, back post treble and double treble stitches. I made no increases and when I thought the hat was long enough I started to decrease. I started with one decrease every nine stitches, then every eight stitches in the next round until my final round ended with eight stitches.

As if it wasn’t silly enough I topped it off with a huge stripy pompom made with my very excellent Clover Pompom Maker.  I have had mine for a while and I love putting pompoms on whatever I can manage!  (I’ll be posting more about pompoms soon!)

image

I’ve ended up with a wonderfully stripey and textured hat. It was brilliant practice to see how all the different stitches I used end up. I’ll definitely be making more of these hats! This one is such a fun piece of headgear, I hope you love it as much as I do!

The prettiest hat that never was

This was going to be a lovely slouchy beanie. I made the brim/headband bit of it first by making a short row of foundation double crochet. Just eight stitches of two strands of double knit held together. Then I made it up to the right length to go round my head using double crochet but only in the back loop to give a ribbed effect. Sixty four rows in total. It looked lovely!

image

As I worked up I realised it was going to take more yarn than I had and it was a bit too tight because I was determined to use cabling! The yarn had been hoked out of my stash with labels long forgotten so I had no idea of what to buy to finish the hat with.

Oh well. It was good practice! I’ve never done ribbing like that before but I will do it again as it gave a much nicer effect than using front/back post treble stitches. The cables came together nicely but my edges always seem to be a bit holey so I definitely need to practice those. Onwards & upwards! It’s bedtime now so I’ll sleep on it and try again tomorrow.

Wish me luck for the next attempt!!

Cosy Heads

I love cosy hats for winter. I have a small, but growing, collection of cosy wooly hats to keep my head warm in winter but it’s Autumn now and it’s not quite cold enough for hats yet so I’m on a mission to make some equally lovely crocheted headbands so my ears and head will be cosy but I won’t overheat.

I love searching Pinterest for ideas and inspiration and I’ve been seeing loads of pictures of pretty braided headband and thought I would give one a go. I don’t mind following patterns but thought I would much rather try to work this one out myself according to the yarn I had.

I hoked through my yarn stash and pulled out some lovely Stylecraft Special DK in raspberry.  It’s a beautiful soft acrylic yarn in a nice muted pink colour. Perfect for bringing a bit of cheer to my autumn outfits!

I measured my head and made a long strip of foundation half treble crochet until it seemed to be about the right length.  (Moogly has some great tutorials on how to do make a foundation row rather than making a long chain and trying to crochet into it!) I used a 4.5mm hook and it took me 70 stitches to get the right length.  I continued until I had 5 rows done.  I then made 3 of these strips so I could braid them together.

image

I sewed them together along the short edges and fiddled about until the braid seemed right then I sewed the ends together to secure it.  The strands crossed over about ten times so it wasn’t very tight.  I like having a bit of width to my headband so it covers my ears nicely!  I joined the two ends and sewed again and thought TAH-DAH!  It looked perfect until I tried to put it on and all the strands separated and it took a lot of fiddling about to get out to sit right and it keep leaving my ears uncovered.  I was a bit disappointed to say the least!

Anyway after a lot of fiddling and having a bit of a tantrum that my beautiful headband wasn’t going to work it occurred to me that maybe if I sewed the strands together in the back it might hold its shape a bit better so that’s what I did!  I pinned the strands in place and used a whip stitch to join them. Amazingly it worked and now I have a lovely pink braided headband to keep me warm this Autumn!  I’ve caught the bug now and think I’ll be making a lot more of these so I have one for every outfit.  It’s pretty cute, don’t ye think?

image