October Love.

Clean cars.
Singing.
Sunsets.
Pizza.
Love.
Sunshine.
Sweetheart.
Finishing things.
Tea.
Crochet.
Cuddles.

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Getting organised and a crochet find from my childhood…

Wow, I’ve had an awesomely productive weekend. I decided to clean house in reverse this weekend, and that meant starting with my sewing room! I organised my stash and sewing shelves I talked about before, and sorted through my glory box. I also took quite a few photos, so you’ll see me getting very organised on here in the next few weeks!

All this sorting and organising made me think a lot of my late great grandmother, I seem to be much like her! In my glory box, I found quite a number of things she made for me as a little kid, she was a crafter who would give anything and everything a go, like this poncho:

Hehe! Mum says my great grandmother made it for me when I was two years old, but I don’t ever remember wearing it. Except when I tried it on again three weeks ago. It’s a different fit now 😀 hehehe!

There was a matching hat, which I’m pretty sure I still have somewhere. When I find it again I’ll put it up!

Stay crafty!

Darling Tea Time Crochet Placemat

I’m on a roll with the mini projects now!

I’ve come to an uncomfortable halt in my three areas of obsession at the moment; with crochet I need to find lots of suitable yarn for my large projects; with sewing I’ve found my pattern altering skills are rubbish and trying to increase the bust of my pattern five sizes is something my mind refuses to tackle; and finally with beading – after spending several hours threading two rows of lovely beads I found my centrepiece wasn’t centred and I’m going to have to undo all that work 😦

So I’ve been procrastinating with odd balls of yarn in my stash, most recently this:

Isn’t it darling. It’s a cashmere placemat I made from yarn I was using to experiment for the Blanket Scrabble. This actually started as the sample square made with the 4mm hook, but it was too small to use for that, and too pretty to unravel.

Here it is in action:

Delightful! I think I’ll carry on this trend and make myself a Tea-for-One set, and try my first Tea Cozy as well, I know just the pattern!

Happy Tea Time!

A Stupid Mitten.

After my last monster of a post, I think some silliness is in order. And so I present to you the Stupid Mitten.

This mitten is quite possibly one of the most stupidest things I’ve made. I made it years ago, I don’t remember when – But it must have been 2002 or thereabouts when I was discovering that I couldn’t knit. I wanted mittens because I like mittens, and I thought I could figure out how to make them.

Well my pattern didn’t work, since I made it from two rectangles. That left a lot of wool in the point near the fingers, and I misjudged how much room my thumb would need by a LOT. It took a long time to make, which is why the second never got made. That and I didn’t buy enough wool 😦

And so, I discovered what it is to frog!

Now it’s back to a delightful ball of wool, waiting its true calling 🙂

Stay happy!

New blanket project: Scrabble Blanket!

** Warning! Bit of an ultra-long-brain-required-halfway-through post. **

‘Crazy girl!’ I hear you exclaim. I concur.

If you’ve checked out my Ravelry profile, you’ll see I’m a bit more mad than that with six blanket projects in my works at the moment. But I made a hard decision to focus on only three. They are:

  1. The Star Anise Blanket
  2. Blanket Polka
  3. Blanket Scrabble

I’ve made a move on Blanket Scrabble. After working out what the plan was going to be two weeks ago, it was time to get started on the math. Here’s how I’ve worked it:

The Plan

First we (me, myself and I) need to understand what the finished blanket is going to be. Cue graphic:

The Yarn

I’ve decided on the parameters for the yarn: It needs to be 8 ply, DK weight. It needs to be soft on the skin and last a lifetime, so no pure wools or acrylics.  It needs to come in a range of colours so I’m able to buy the right ones! It also needs to be cost effective… If you’ve never made a blanket before (like me) you’ll know why soon!

I bought some great cashmere yarn from the craft department store, but it has a limited colour range and is being discontinued. However, it does meet all my requirements, so it will be a great sample yarn to work out the numbers. Speaking of which, we’ll need to know it was 100 meters in a 50 gram ball.

The Square

Count ’em in the plan, that’s 225 squares. It’s important that we choose the right kind of square. I want them to be the same all over the blanket so the centre of each square needs to be some kind of star, as an actual Scrabble board has a black star in the middle. I searched on Ravelry and the interwebs, through magazines to no avail. So I tried making a variation of the hexagon I’m using in the Star Anise Blanket and – success! I am happy.

I first tried with a 4mm hook, but since our squares need to be about 13cm x 13cm it was too small and a little tight. Upping the hook to 5mm made it the right size and floppiness!

Just a warning, if you’re not mathematically inclined and reading this with your morning coffee/after work/winding down for bed, this post ceases to be ‘easy-reading’ after this next heading…

The Math

Necessary evil in my view. So let’s get started.

We already know we need 225 squares, but how many of each colour? Count ’em:

  • 8 Red
  • 16 Pink
  • 12 Dark blue
  • 24 Light blue
  • 164 Beige
  • 1 Pink with black star

So! Back to the sample square, I unravel it 😦 ! and discover it takes 18.4m of yarn to make one.

And now for math…

With 100 meters in our sample ball, we can make about 5 and a bit squares with one ball (100m ÷ 18.4m = 5.4 squares). But we’ll get more accurate numbers with another calculation:

Colour of
Yarn Ball
No. of
Squares
Total
Yarn Math
TotalYarn
used
No. of
Balls Math
No. of Balls
Needed
No. of Balls
to Buy
Red 8 8 × 18.4m = 147.2m 147.2m × 100m = 1.472 2 + 1**
Pink 17* 17 × 18.4m = 312.8m 312.8m × 100m = 3.128 4 + 1**
Dk blue 12 12 × 18.4m = 220.8m 220.8m × 100m = 2.208 3 + 1**
Lt blue 24 24 × 18.4m = 441.6m 441.6m × 100m = 4.416 5 + 1**
Beige 164 164 × 18.4m = 3017.6m 3017.6m × 100m = 30.176 31 + 2**
* For making sure we have enough, we’ll include the pink and black star square in with the pinks!
** Just to be sure, add an extra ball or two! It would be awful to run out so close to the end, and the Stash needs to be cared for! 😀

Awesome! Now we have the first part of our shopping list, but there’s still the white yarn to work out, the yarn to join of the squares and add the border…

This one is different, we don’t have a square to unravel. But we do know that all the squares are going to be joined by a tr crochet. So how much thread do we use for one tr? Let’s make a stitch, mark the end with a pen. Unravel one stitch, mark the start with a pen. Measure between the two dots and… My tr stitch is 12cm!

Next question, how many stitches join one side of a square? We can count them with the picture, and I see 20 stitches. Right-o, how many stitches can we get out of a ball? A rude estimation of 830 stitches! (100m ÷ 0.12m = 833.3333333 stitches).

Now this is where my mind really started to wander, but stick with me…

We need 225 squares and each square has 4 sides; That’s 900 sides of squares (225 squares × 4 sides = 900 sides). But as we’ll be joining 2 sides of two squares, we’ll only stitch half that: 450 sides (900 sides ÷ 2 = 450 sides). Now, if 1 side takes 20 stitches, we’ll make 9000 stitches to join 225 squares (450 sides × 20 stitches = 9000 stitches). Excitement! So with a rude 830 stitches to a ball, we can say that we’ll need 11 balls! (9000 stitches ÷ 833.3333333 stitches = 10.8 balls, round it up to the nearest whole number!).

Finally, we work out the border. There are 15 squares along each side of the blanket. Each of those squares will be edged with 20 stitches, so along one side of the blanket there will be 300 stitches. (15 squares × 20 stitches = 300 stitches). 4 sides to the blanket; 1200 stitches (300 stitches × 4 sides of blanket = 1200 stitches). I want two rounds of tr on the border, so we’ll times this by two to get 2400 stitches (1200 stitches × 2 rounds = 2400 stitches). Again with the rude estimate of stitches to a ball, we can say 3 balls to do the border! (2400 stitches ÷ 833.3333333 stitches = 2.88 balls, round it up to the nearest whole number!).

This is where the brain protests and says ‘STOP! NO MORE MATH!’ So let’s say we want to add a final round of single crochet egding with picots or something, and chuck in another 2 balls and say that will be heaps.

Argh! So finally we can write the shopping list!

Climatic music with drum roll please…

  • 3 Red 50g DK weight balls
  • 5 Pink 50g DK weight balls
  • 4 Dark Blue 50g DK weight balls
  • 6 Light Blue 50g DK weight balls
  • 33 Beige 50g DK weight balls
  • 18 White 50g DK weight balls***
  • 1 Black 50g DK weight ball
*** Yep. Throwin’ in two more for that Safe/Stash position!

Total 70 balls of yarn!! Dude this blanket better be loved. Now you see why it must be cost effective! I would not attempt this at $12.99 a ball on my current budget, if ever!!

After all this numberin’, A quick phone call to a known knitter made the helpful suggestion of working out how much it will weigh. In her experience, she said, it’s no good making up a jumper if no-one can lift their arms in it. So one last easy-peasy calculation: The finished blanket would weigh about 3.5 kg! ((50g × 70 balls) × 1000g = 3.5kg). An acceptable weight for a blanket methinks.

The Hunt

Armed with a shopping list, it’s now time to seriously consider what yarns to buy. I know the Internet is full of beautiful yarns, but I’m a beginner and new to this wonderful world of yarn so I need my purchase to be made in person. I need to know the yarn feels right before I fork out for 70 balls of it! This is going to be some hunt! More Country Drives!!

I really do feel like I’m getting somewhere with this blanket – And I hope my math and blanket calculations assist with that old ‘How long is a piece of string’ ‘How much yarn do I need for a blanket’ question. That said, if you’re better at math than me and notice something awry with my calulations above, please let me know! 😀

Oh my goodness! Now with all that math done, I’m going back to a freeform project for a while!

Stay creative 😀

Another joyful stash discovery!

I found a box in my cupboard on the weekend, and thinking it contained some wool I started going through it. Well, it did contain some wool, but it also had some fabric pieces and another jar of beads from my great grandmother!

This was a happy discovery. Now I have two little old jars (read about the other here) with something to try, this may help me hurry up and get back to beading!

This one contains mostly clear seed beads with the old metal looking one.

It also has some plastic beads and some of my great grandmother’s WIPs in it..

And a glass button! I can just see this acting as a clasp on a necklace. Finally, here are Nana’s pieces she had worked on:

The stitched piece looks to be exactly the same method as the white beads, I think she must have liked this style. 🙂

Well, the question still remains as to when I’ll get back to beading!

Stay creative 🙂

Zirconia Crochet Lace Scarf

It is one of my favourite discoveries of crochet that yarns end up have their own yarns 🙂

For example, I bought some yarn from a market for a scarf and as I did, the woman selling it (who also did the spinning) told me about the farm and the animals it came from.

The yarn I bought for this project has turned into a Yarn!

I had bought one skein many months before starting the project with the plan to make a scarf. I remember the saleswoman telling me about the yarn but didn’t really retain what she had said until…

I ran out of it. With only two rows left to go! Disaster! My only hope was to revisit the shop and get lucky. And oh did I get lucky! I checked the store for the same coloured yarn but there was none. So I told my woes to the saleswoman, and showed her my unfinished scarf (which I had thankfully remembered to grab even though the weather said I didn’t need it.). She looked at it closely and then said, ‘You know, I think this is from my Zirconia!’

Cautious happiness ensued! Could it be?

She then started talking about her alpacas. Zirconia was special, a lovely soft grey alpaca with one blue eye. ‘Not quite the diamond!’ she said. Then I remembered, this was surely the same person who sold me the first skein!

Uninhibited happiness!

So I ordered my matching yarn. A few weeks later it arrives – I’ll need to learn how to wash the yarn and then it should match perfectly… Here’s hoping!

Now if I could only remember what size hook I used..!

I need your help! What is this?

Remember my yarn stash post a few weeks ago? Well, turned out that post was more popular that I thought it would be! I have been busy with my wool; I’ve discovered the joys of Ravelry and all its woolly goodness! Check out my profile here and don’t be shy 🙂

Anyway, there is this in my stash:

Story:

The yarn, a beautiful alpaca and silk mix made in Peru, was left over from a knit shawl I made for a friend. I had one ball left, so I decided to start something for myself. After creating most of the motif, I realised it wasn’t going to work out the way I wanted it to (not that I’m sure I ever really knew), and it wasn’t unravelling very well so I kept going, making up the last six or seven rows as I went.

So now I have a lovely soft and floppy motif with frilly edges about 28 cm (11″) in diameter. Too small for a hat, frilly edges make it too weird to make another and join. I still have almost a full ball of the stuff, so we’ve go some wiggle room.

Do you have any ideas of what this delightful disc might become?

Stay happy! xx

A country drive to Goulburn, NSW

That’s right. This is The Big Merino in Goulburn, NSW Australia.

Australia certainly didn’t miss out on the craze for Big Things and since wool export is one of the things Australia is known for around the world, it would be silly to live here and not celebrate it!

Sweetheart wanted to go on a country drive again and who am I to say no to that! I didn’t know where we were going so it was a fun surprise to come off the freeway and see this 🙂

Inside there is a gift shop (no surprise) but (surprise!) the gift shop didn’t sell much yarn! I only found one basket of 450g merino hanks in natural colours, lovely though it was. I’m considering going back and getting some.

Rather creepily, you can also climb the stairs inside the Big Merino’s head, and see the view through its eyes:

Rather a weird experience. I did take a picture of the view through the eyes, but I’ve decided that’s one anti-climax you’ll have to experience yourself 😀 hehehe!

After all that excitement, it was time for lunch. And in keeping true to my Australian roots we went across to the Bakery cafe:

Yummo, nothing beats a pie and lamington. These were two of the best I’ve ‘sampled’. Recommended!

It’s Friday night again and another weekend is upon us, I’m looking forward to some more stash sorting and getting my Star Anise Blanket on!

Stay happy 😀