Hooked Up

Craft | Saturday September 26 2009 | 12:32 am | 1 Comment | Tags: , , , |

Well its ages since I got my delivery of new crochet hooks, but here at last is what I think of them, and the other ones I have tried.  Before I even write a word on the Clover plastic hook you’ll see in hte picture below what the main problem was!!!

3 crochet hooks

So, here we go:

Clover Reflections

Clover 4mm crochet hook broken

When I first got this hook, in a Clover Reflections set of 3 in a tube case (you’ll soon realise I LOVE things that come in their own holders) I was really impressed.  3 hooks, in 4mm, 5mm and 6mm, great colours, case, soft handles, ergonomic design – what could be wrong with that?  Well, after only about one week of use the damage shown above happened.  I have a very standard and even crochet tension and was using double knit yarn so there was really no excessive pressure on the end of the hook.  This set cost approximately £15.00, so not the cheapest hooks either.  I was really disappointed this one broke as it was comfy and colourful to use and the 4mm is size I most commonly use.

Traditional Aluminium

Traditional 4mm steel crochet hook

This is the type of hook that is most commonly known in crochet hooks, and probably the most traditional type.  It’s strong and everlasting and just goes on and on doing a good job.  What more could you ask for?  Well, this type is now available in a coloured finish which adds a bit more pleasure to their use.  I have found that the embossed size and brand name on the shank to be a bit irritating on my fingertips, but then I am a sensitive gal and the little things in life tend to annoy me.  All in all a great crochet hook, reliable and a great price at around £1.20 for 4mm.

Prym Soft Handle

Prym 4mm soft handle crochet hook

I’ll admit it up front that I saved my favourite til last!  When my Clover hook broke I set about finding an alternative and bought a set of Prym Soft Handle hooks from PurpleLinda Crafts.  I am really delighted with these hooks and the 4mm has been in constant use since they arrived.  The handle has a soft, non slip finish.  The metal hook is smooth and strong and easy to use – and I particularly like the shame of the actual hook.  I do find it can get a little sticky depending on the yarn I am using but I give the end a quick rinse with a little washing up liquid and I’m off again.  I have been careful to keep the handle dry as not sure how it would cope.  I have a set of 8 of these hooks, in 2mm-6mm, for £12.99 which is great value, and they are also available individually for around £2.00 for 4mm.

I’d love to hear what your favourite hooks or needles are and why.  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cate’s ‘Blanket’

Craft | Friday September 25 2009 | 12:30 am | Comments (3) | Tags: |
Crochet Dress

Picture by Getty Images on BBC.co.uk

Is this a new fashion we will all be wearing by Christmas?  Personally, I doubt it but I do think Cate Blanchett looks fab in this crochet dress!  It’s a statement that’s for sure and it’s in a whole new league on the red carpet.

So we’re more used to seeing granny squares in blankets and cushions, but they are very versatile – as you can see!

Maybe this is upcycling at its best?

Orders taken for anything you fancy in granny squares!

Labour of love

Craft | Wednesday September 2 2009 | 10:53 pm | Comments (2) | Tags: , , , , , |

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the Dr Who Tom Baker scarf I knitted for Caveman.  We met 2 years ago next month and I knitted it for our first Christmas together.  As you can imagine from the timescales of October to Christmas I started knitting it pretty soon after we met to get it finished in time!  In hindsight that was a pretty tall order and perhaps just a bit presumptuous in a new relationship!  But here we are still so I can tell the story with a smile!

 dr-who-scarf-full-length

Anyway, I wanted to share the pattern I developed for the scarf.  Caveman is a massive fan of Dr Who and Tom Baker was his favourite.  I did lots and lots of research, looking at pictures, colours, film etc and developed this pattern.  I used Sirdar Country Style yarn which I have found in the past to be a very standard double knit and stable and easy to knit with, using 4mm needles.  I also have a very standard and even tension, which does help.

Here are the colours and rows you will need to knit.  (Note that the inch / cm measurements vary slightly from each other just because of rounding)

frou-frou’s Tom Baker Dr Who Scarf

Width 11inches / 28cm

CO 50 stitches Knit every row

4mm needles

Shade

Rows

inches

cm

Purple 8 1 2.5
Camel 52 8.25 22
Bronze 10 3 7.5
Mustard 10 2 5
Rust 20 3.5 9
Purple 8 1.5 3.5
Olive 20 3.5 9
Mustard 8 1.5 3.5
Camel 32 5.75 14
Rust 16 3 7.5
Bronze 8 2 5
Purple 12 2 5
Olive 42 7 18
Mustard 10 1.75 4
Blue grey 18 3 7.5
Rust 10 1.75 4
Camel 54 9 23
Purple 10 1.75 4
Olive 22 3.5 9
Blue grey 14 2.5 6
Mustard 8 1.5 3.5
Rust 20 3.25 8
Purple 8 1.5 3.5
Bronze 40 6 15
Camel 12 2 5
Blue grey 8 1.5 3.5
Rust 42 6.5 16.5
Mustard 16 2.75 7
Olive 20 3.5 9
Purple 8 1.25 3
Camel 44 7 18
Bronze 12 1.75 4
Blue grey 22 3.5 9
Rust 8 1 2.5
Purple 14 2 5
Camel 8 1.25 3
Mustard 16 2.75 6.5
Olive 56 10.25 26
Rust 16 3 7.5
Blue grey 14 2.5 6
Mustard 10 1.5 3.5
Bronze 20 3.25 8
Purple 10 1.75 4
Camel 12 1.75 4
Green grey 36 5.25 13
Rust 8 1 2.5
Mustard 12 1.5 3.5
TOTALS 884rows 148inches 369cm

Changing colour every few rows became a bit of a pain at times so I’d recommend you sew in ends as you go along.  Needless to say I didn’t!!

dr-who-scarf-middleWhen all the knitting is done make tassels in each shade to finish about 6inches long each.

I have tried to find the ball bands from the yarn I used to give details of shades but just can’t track them down, although I am sure I kept them.  If they turn up I will blog details.  I’ve given the rough type of colour above and the pictures may help.

 

 

dr-who-scarf-close-up-end

My final tip: if you are knitting this in secret for your beloved find a good excuse for the amount of time you will need to spend at home knitting.  They may become suspicious if you say you spent the evening knitting and have nothing to show for it until you present them with the fruits of your labour.

Shiny stuff

Craft | Sunday August 30 2009 | 9:31 pm | 1 Comment | Tags: , |

This week I got a parcel of shiny new crochet goodies I had ordered from PurpleLinda Crafts  (highly recomended for huge stock, quick shipping and only £1.99 postage for the whole order). 

As I only had a couple of  crochet hooks (including a broken one!) I bought a set of Prym soft handle hooks, 2mm-6mm, along with a couple of larger plastic hooks, 8mm and 10mm.

new-crochet-hook-selection 

I also got a few balls of Patons 4ply 100% cotton.  I hope to crochet some string shopping bags and delicate bracelets and pendants and thought this would not be too fine or difficult for a relative beginner to work with.

patons-4ply-cotton

As usual I picked my usual favourite types of colours, in strong earth tones.  With my new selection of hooks, lovely coloured yarn and lots of ideas, I’m certainly not losing my new passion for crochet any time soon!

Curly Wurly

Craft | Friday August 21 2009 | 11:10 pm | Comments (2) | Tags: , , |

I’ve been putting my new-found crochet skills to good use and completed my first project.  My Curly Wurly Scarf is a variation of lots of twisted crochet items I’ve seen and developed to form this pink and grey scrummy scarf just for me!

 

Curly Wurly

 

So here’s how it came about:

Curly Wurly Raw Materials

Materials:

Pink Double knitting: not very much, enough for foundation chain and one double crochet row

Grey Double knitting: not very much, enough for 2 double crochet rows

Pink/Cream/Grey: I needed just over one ball but would probably make scarf a little shorter next time and use just one ball.  I used Sirdar Crofter DK Fair Isle

 

 

Make foundation chain, to length you want scarf, in pink (mine was 72inches but would probably go a bit shorter next time)

Row 1: 1 turning chain, then start dc in 2nd chain and dc in each chain of foundation chain, turn

Row 2: Join grey. 1 turning chain, then start dc in 2nd chain and dc in each dc, turn

Treble rowRow 3: Join Fair Isle. 3 turning chain (counts as 1tr), 2tr into same place, then 3tr into every dc, turn (I did try just 2tr into each dc but found in this yarn it didn’t create any twist)

 

 

 

 

 

Double Treble RowRow 4:  4 turning chain (counts as 1dtr), 1 dtr into same place, then 2dtr into each tr, turn

 

 

 

 

 

 

Double RowRow 5: Join grey. 1 turning chain, then start dc in 2nd chain and dc in each dtr, fasten off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Curly Wurly Scarf HangingThat’s it!  A curly wurly scarf!!  I have lots of ideas on curly wurly colour combinations so there may well be more.  It was fairly quick to make, although row 4 took quite a while to complete.

I am delighted with the result of this and look forward to wearing it with lovely grey woolies this winter!

Dear knitting,

Craft | Friday August 14 2009 | 12:15 pm | 1 Comment | Tags: , |

There’s no easy way to say this.  It’s over! Another has won my heart.  I know it’s only been 2 weeks but it’s the real deal with crochet.  Over the years you’ve tied me in knots and I never truly understood how you worked.  I’ve tried and I’ve given it a good shot, and many times I managed, but crochet makes sense to me, its logical and and I always know where I stand.

You are so demanding; long needles, a big bag to carry you in, patterns where I need to constantly write down where I’m up to.  It’s all just too much.  I need more freedom and crochet gives me it with one little needle it even fits in my pocket and is so flexible and forgiving.

There may be times when you tempt me back, but it will only be a fling.  Don’t beg or plead or try to win me back.  I may come willingly, I may even let you and crochet get together, wouldn’t that be fun.

Don’t be too sad, move on.  It was fun while it lasted.

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