Jinxed yarn

I haven’t blogged for a week or two. After my “all night long” crochet stint, I developed what I will refer to as “crochet elbow”. Despite being the butt of a few jokes, I have fully recovered….. only to face my nemesis in woolly tasks.

I bought some wool a while ago which has remained in my stash. It is a recycled cotton yarn and I bought it during one of those mad dashes around a wool shop. One of those dashes in which I have pondered colours and textures for for too long and realised that my parking ticket runs out in just five minutes. Yes, they do happen regularly *blush*. It’s a pale cream colour, and the ‘recycled’ bit makes me feel a little bit green and a little bit smug. I’m crocheting and saving the planet! What an achievement in just one afternoon!!

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I pulled the yarn out to use about five months ago. It was going to be a loosely woven jumper which would hang nicely. That was the plan. I found a simple pattern on ravelry and got started. But, the neck twisted, my tension was all wrong and the numbers didn’t add up at the end of each row. I was dropping and gaining stitches in all the wrong places. So I unravelled, literally.

Last weekend, I found a beautiful shawl in an old issue of “Inside Crochet”. Perfect for my recycled cotton Aran. But nope. I have unravelled three times and I’m still in a pickle. I’m ‘sure’ I’m following the pattern, but I must be doing something wrong because both ends are supposed to look the same, but are looking very different in reality. And it’s the same each time I try again.

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Maybe my yarn misses being whatever it used to be? Maybe it was very happy being a tablecloth or cardigan or decorative centrepiece. Maybe it is refusing to comply on purpose.

I have found a poncho design in this months issue of “Simply Crochet” that I love. The original design uses 4ply alpaca, so I’m sure my poncho would look very different in recycled Aran cotton. But, I’m going for it…. third time lucky?

*starts unravelling project*

Perhaps if I talk to my yarn and explain that a ball of yarn cannot come on holiday, but a stunning cotton poncho can, I might have more success??? 😉

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All night long….

No, I’m not singing to Lionel!

I had a lovely text message from a friend on Thursday evening. She had seen the bee kindle cover I made for my sister and asked me if I could make an iPad cover for a family members birthday. Woohoo! A compliment and my very first crochet order. We exchanged a few messages and decided on a rainbow pattern, just like my iPhone cover, except I swapped the pink around so it was mixed in with the red and orange. I spent Friday afternoon planning the number of rows, which buttons to use and how to mix my colours.

At about 7pm I started to crochet my foundation chain, carefully counting stitches and making sure each stitch was the same size. I had decided to do htc (US: hdc) in the round and I concentrated hard on making sure my first colour change was seamless. At 10pm, I turned to hubby and in a slightly unsteady voice said, “erm, I’m not halfway through yet”. My first order was to be delivered at 9.30am on Saturday morning!!!

Luckily, I had planned each colour change and number of rows in each colour so perfectly that once the panic set in, I could crochet furiously without worry that I would run out of yarn or end up within uneven stripe. At 12.45am I had to stop. I still had a sense of humour and was laughing as I shook off cramp from my crochet hook hand and showed hubby the line that yarn tension had left on my other hand. Needless to say that I had crochet dreams that night!

I woke at 6.45am and picked up the hook again. I finished the crochet ten minutes before we left the house. Added the buttons five minutes before we left the house. And I weaved in the ends as we raced down the motorway. Looking back I learned three lessons:

1) Good planning is essential
2) things always take longer than I think they will
3) I love crochet under pressure! (Hubby would disagree with this one)

I handed that iPad cover over with pride. And it was all such a rush I don’t even take a picture of it, so maybe I learned four lessons:

4) ALWAYS TAKE A PHOTO

Tying up loose ends

Tonight has been a night for finishing things. I had my little girls coral cardigan to finish, which had approximately 50,000 loose ends. At least! And I had bought some little wooden buttons for my rainbow iPhone cosy and wanted to get them sewn on quickly.

Luckily toddler hadn’t napped at nursery today and so was shattered by the time we got home. After a quick cup of milk she was ready for bed and the evening was mine to sew away.

When I made my rainbow ripple crochet blanket I found tying in the ends quite satisfying. Perhaps because it took about four months to finish that particular blanket and I was so pleased to be doing something other than treble crochet stitch! Finishing off my mini coral cardigan was less satisfying somehow. I found myself rushing and my mind was jumping forward to where the next ends would be woven in. Maybe because it’s a smaller project I want to move on more quickly. Or maybe there were a lot of ends compared to the size of the item. Either way, I found it a little laborious. Both items are finished now… and I’m really pleased with the results.

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For my next project I want to try and make a wine cosy. I might even add a felt block with a saying on it. My favourite so far is “I saved some wine today…. It was trapped in a bottle!” In fact, in an ideal world that could be my mantra. I have a soft spot for a fruity rioja! I do think that it might be a little long to stitch onto a piece of felt though. Especially when considering my short attention to detail today with the weaving in. I might stick to short and sweet, perhaps something like “wine o’clock” would work?

Am I the only one to find tying up the loose ends less interesting than starting something new? There is something warm and fuzzy about ending a project, but I find the excitement of something new much more appealing. Even more so if I’m altering or amending a pattern I’ve found, I enjoy a little problem solving. Maybe crochet is my answer to sudoku!

A terribly British day…

You may (or may not) have noticed my new iPhone cosy on “The End” page. I actually got on with using my rainbow stash and created a cover for my iPhone. I adore it – the wool is extra soft and it’s a delight to use.

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I spent a happy couple of hours earlier browsing the button selection at our local craft store to see if I could find a finishing touch. And I hit the jackpot – two beautiful wooden buttons in heart shapes to add to the front of my cosy. It will be perfect when I sew them on. I feel like I really designed this cover, it’s so satisfying to make something without a pattern that I feel is truly “mine”.

Today has been a terribly British affair. I’ve enjoyed many cups of tea whilst watching the tennis final (woohoo and well done Andy!!). I’ve wandered through the world of crochet blogging and added some exciting new blogs to my reader. I found my pretty wooden buttons. I’m also contemplating the next crochet project, perhaps a wine tote? Or amigurumi keyring? I feel very civilised.

In actual fact, I’m recovering from a great Saturday night out and had forgotten that a lack of sleep will actually take me a good few days to get over. I’m not as young as I used to be it seems!! It’s a good thing I have tomorrow off to spend a day out with hubby and relax in the beautiful English sunshine 🙂 I plan to get on with that next project as well, so will update soon with whatever that may be. I think I might just have caught the “designing” bug though. I can see lots of crumpled paper, full of frantic scribblings in my future.

So pretty!

After waiting an hour for toddler to wake up yesterday, I finally entered the wool shop! I have a plan for a ladybird iPhone cover and so needed some bright red wool.

After picking up the wool I needed I went to the cafe for a brew and a biscuit, only to find it was full. So I wasted a little extra time browsing the wool collection whilst waiting. And browsing became shopping. Inspiration hit and I bought this rainbow selection of Sirdar wool. I’m really happy with it, I just haven’t told hubby quite how much it cost 😉

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So now i need to decide what to do with it. I like the idea of some really tightly crocheted items, perhaps just double crochet so the colour changes can really take the limelight. I’m toying with the idea of lavender stuffed hearts. I’d also really like to try an owl with crocodile stitch so perhaps a rainbow one would look good. I do need to get started though, I have a tendency to simply hoard very pretty crafty things. I could have these yarns lined up on the windowsill for months, just congratulating myself on beautiful colour choice! So the sooner I break open the paper on these wools, the better!!

I need more hours in the day!

So my blog has been sat around for a week doing not a lot! I’m thinking of it lots and in fact last night I couldn’t sleep for designing a new iPhone cover in my head and thinking about blogging about it. I do love sleep though, so once I’m in bed I absolutely refuse to get up again for ANY reason (except perhaps fire… or an early morning holiday flight).

This last week has been a busy one. I’ve taken the week off work and have been spending lovely days out with toddler, duck came too but wasn’t allowed in soft play. Toddler banned him from the slide stating its “for children, not ducks!”. Can’t argue with that logic can I? So he’s having a rest at home while we’re having another day out. This week we’ve shared hot chocolate in a cafe, had play dates, visited family and right now she’s having a nap in the car while I blog and wait impatiently for her to wake so I can go into the wool shop I’m parked right in front of!

The only drawback to these lovely days out is the lack of crochet time. I've almost finished my lovely coral cardigan for toddler. She's going to love it, if I can just find twenty minutes to weave in those ends and finish seeing on the second arm. My fingers are itching to start another project, but where can I find an extra few hours to crochet?

I must say though, that despite a lack of alone time, I have managed to master the art of crocheting with a toddler on my lap. She calls it "making circles" and I call it "quiet time for a sit and think". We chat about the day whilst I furiously crochet away. I'm not sure I can manage crochet multi-tasking with cooking or ironing or browsing pinterest (the latter takes up more time than you would think!). And hubby feels a bit neglected (understandably) if I spend all evening crocheting.

So all in all I need one of the following

A) a time machine for extra hours in the day
B) a cleaner so I’m given extra hours in the day
C) strategies for getting a few sneaky rows in

I’d welcome any ideas!!

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Dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s

I’ve spent this last week thinking about my blog. I decided to try blogging as a way to talk about my love of crochet. I keep starting tweets about exciting yarn or fantastic new ideas, only to realise that my current twitter friends just don’t appreciate crochet the way I do! So I delete the tweets rather than bombard friends and that results in endless chit chat to poor hubby. And bless him, whilst he does love me, he does not love my yarn collection!

So this is my new outlet for all my crochet related thoughts, ideas, inspirations and lightbulb moments.

I started with my concept of “hook and duck” and I have to say I’m pretty excited about taking duck out for trips and new adventures. Then I started to build this blog. I started on Sunday by registering and added bits and bobs over the last few days. I woke up at 3am on Wednesday morning and spent a couple of hours thinking about colour schemes and early blog choices (I’m not as young as I used to be & I’m still feeling the effects of a sleepless night three days later).

Now my site is pretty much done and I’m actually sitting here writing my first blog – about setting up a blog! It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be, although I still have to get my head around a couple of things, I think I’m ready to go. And I’m certainly ready to get back to crochet, I’ve spent so much time at the computer my crochet hand is getting twitchy and I’m itching to finish my coral cardigan. I bought a beautiful lime green button to go with it and am looking forward to putting it all together.

So, I’ve broken the ice, taken the leap and written my first post, the first of many I hope. Let the crochet musings commence!

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