Archive for the ‘Crochet’ Category

Spinning Batts

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

Patricia from Yummy Yarns kept sharing photos of her beautiful batts and eventually I gave in to temptation and purchased these two bundles of pretty :o)

I also bought some thread as I decided I wanted to try spiral plying to stop their colours becoming too muddled.

Opening out the bats and tearing them into strips to use was really fun. Each section was different and there was a surprising amount of pretty shimmer hiding inside the darker one! :o)

I saw a broomstick lace crochet wrap on the front of a magazine and did something I rarely do – I bought it! It did come with some cute broomstick lace tools which looked useful :o) I figured the lace would help show off the yarn with its big open loops and I slowly started making squares :o)

I was trying not to worry about lumps and bumps. Not really going all out “art yarn”, but embracing the different fibres wanting to do different things. My husband didn’t seem impressed with the inconsistency given I’d been showing off my smooth purple blanket yarn the day before! Spiral plying was really fun and I think the end result looks cool :o)

Spinning without worrying too much about consistency was very freeing, but it was a little challenging at times working from the strange mixture of fibres – some wanted to draft much more easily than others! I really enjoyed seeing each batt turn from a bundle of fibre into yarn and then into squares :o)

I hadn’t left an awful lot of yarn for the border so I joined them by sewing with some of the thread. This reminded me that I hate sewing squares together! Wow it took a long time. Not helped by managing to get 3 squares attached the wrong way and having to redo them! Ugh! But eventually I got them all joined :o)

I had to get the scales out for the border to make sure I didn’t end up with any partial rounds (it’s not easy to undo this yarn). So the border is fewer rows than the pattern, but since I changed the square construction too this is no surprise. I’m not good at following patterns ;o)

The final wrap got a good blocking which really helped even out the squares and open up the border.  I wore it to Yarndale and it received a number of lovely comments :o)

Return to Spinning

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018

It has been years since I last spun any yarn, literally! My Mother actually found my membership card for the New Forest Association of Guilds we joined for Saturday social spinning in 1994!

Bizarrely, I recently found the last yarn I spun over 20 years ago stashed at the back of a draw!

I’m definitely going to have to try washing this and, assuming it doesn’t fall apart, make something with it :o)

Back then I didn’t really knit or crochet or have anything to do with the yarn I created. As fun as it was, the process stopped there.

Recently my parents came to visit and my Mother turned up with her Ashford Traveller wheel for me to try out and see if I still enjoyed spinning. The answer was a resounding yes! :o)

So much so I apparently wanted to start writing a blog again to share my creations :o)

My first yarn was rather lumpy, bumpy and very bulky! But I had just enough to make a little scarf! :o)

From floof to finished item was incredibly satisfying :o) So much so that I quickly ordered more merino tops and began my experimentation blanket. A simple granny stripe blanket I can use all my crazy attempts on, in purple ;o)

My most interesting discovery so far is that when I crocheted I was undoing the ply in my yarns and in fact I need to spin “backwards”. So now I spin my singles anticlockwise and my plying is done clockwise and the newer yarn remains nicely plied as I crochet :o)

The left of the photo shows the new rows where the yarn stays plied whereas on the right you can see that the 2 plies end up just sitting next to one another. Interesting and useful to know! :o)

Crocheting Blanket Squares Together

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Apparently I crochet blanket squares together in a strange and unusual way!  I tried to find a tutorial to show a friend how I do it, but I couldn’t find anything quite like it… so I thought I’d better write my own! :o)

I don’t like sewing.  There, I said it.  When faced with a giant pile of squares ready to combine into a blanket there was no way that sewing was going to be the answer.  I had seen various “join-as-you-go” methods but that requires too much early planning.  I like to make a giant pile of squares, then lay them out all over the floor to decide on the layout, and then join them.  So I came up with a method which is kind of like “join-as-you-go” except that I do it all at the end :o)

Here are the 4 tiny squares I made quickly to demonstrate the technique.  These intentionally have different numbers of stitches on the edges, because it doesn’t matter :o)  I tend to make very random blankets, so the edges are always different numbers! :o)  The arrows show the order we’re going to crochet along the edges.  This can easily be expanded to the size of your blanket, just keep going all the way along one column before going around the top and down.

For the edging I usually use black, but here I’m using green as it showed up nicely against my red background :o)  I work a very simple border.  Join in a corner, ch3 (counts as a dc) and then dc in the same space. dc in the first stitch below, chain 1, skip a stitch and dc in the next.  Repeat across.  2dc, chain2, 2 dc in the corner.  Repeat pattern across the second edge, 2dc in the corner and then chain 2.

The edge pattern can be easily adjusted depending upon the number of stitches on the edge of your square, you just need to ensure you have the same number of spaces each time.  Sometimes this will mean not skipping so many stitches if you have a small square, or perhaps skipping 2 stitches beneath a chain if you square is larger.

Your next 2 dc go in the corner of the next square.  Now we start joining!  As my second square is smaller than the first I’m going to skip the first and last dc’s so I can still get 5 chain spaces across the edge easily.  So to continue the pattern I would do a chain next, but first, I’m going to slip stitch into the first chain space on the first square, like this:

So now the pattern becomes: dc, slip stitch into chain space, chain 1, skip a stitch, dc in next stitch.  Repeat across to join the 2 squares and then 2dc in the corner.  Slip stitch into the chain 2 space in the corner of the first square, and then chain 2 and 2 dc into the corner of this square.

Now you’re going to continue your border patter along sides 4 and 5.  At this point if you had more squares you would repeat what we just did above, but as we don’t, we’ll crochet down the other side (6 & 7).  At the bottom we join the third square in just the same way as we did the second, with the second 2dc of the corner jumping into the next square.

After side 8 you’ll be faced with a more interesting looking corner, although you do just the same as you would expect – slip stitch into the space next to you and then do your chain 2 and 2dc.  The fourth time you come to that corner it gets a little more interesting – you need to slip stitch into the chain 2 space on the previous square, then chain 2, and then slip stitch into the chain 2 space of the bottom left square before doing your second 2 dc in the corner.  Hopefully the pictures explain all this better than my words!

In case you’re struggling on how to hold the squares, here’s a photo of the way I hold to to the slip stitches between the squares.  Also a photo of the finished squares! :o)

The border lies flat almost immediately, and after a wash and dry it’s even better :o)  I’ve used this on all of my blankets so far and it works up really quickly.  Plus there’s only ever 2 ends to sew in – the start and the finish!  Assuming you have a large enough ball of yarn to do the whole lot in one go of course! :o)

Sasha decided to get in the way just as I was trying to take the final photo, so I thought I’d share this photo too :o)

Obviously if you have any questions please leave a comment :o)