Vix Knits… and crochets and sews…

My adventures in the wonderful world of arts and crafts

FO: granny stripe socks!

Look, a matching pair!

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I’m so in love with this pattern

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A simple granny stripe with gentle shaping and a ribbed cuff

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My only issue was with my tension. I was using up yarn from my stash but it was all DK and with the stated hook size, I was off by about 2cm

To make matters worse, I was on holiday without my hooks!

Not one to be discouraged, I simply altered the pattern to make it large enough for my giant clown feet. I had to increase the initial starting chain but figuring out the shaping was fine because the increases and decreases on both the toe and the foot are at the edges

I also caused myself some problems by stranding the yarn up the sock instead of casting it off after each colour stripe. But I persevered and I love love love my socks

My next task will be deciding which ones to make next

I’ve bought some blues and a grey from Poundland

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And a couple of balls of variegated Stylecraft

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I realise these are chunky but I figure a) the carnival looks pretty lightweight and b) I’ve already adapted the pattern once, I’m sure I can do it again with plenty of swatching and some patience

So, my first pair of socks took me about a week (not monogamous) and approx 125g of DK yarn which works out to somewhere in the region of 350m.

With these figures in mind, I’m seriously thinking about making some to sell and making lots for gifts for next xmas

Oh and the basic pattern can be found in issue 26 of SImply Crochet or I’m sure there are plenty more out there

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FO: more sheep!

Budgie the Sheep went down an absolute storm with everyone who met him. So much so that my mum requested one of her own

Here he is, with his big brother

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Budgie was made using yarn from my stash so ‘Saw the Sheep’ (there is a tale behind the name) is made from a different brown and his body is all oatmeal rather than being a mix. Mum and Steven were both of the opinion that the sheep needed eyes so I bowed to pressure and sewed on a couple of little buttons… personally I don’t like them but Mum was chuffed

But I couldn’t stop there, I wanted another so may I introduce Cappuccino the Sheep (also pictured sitting with his big brother)

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I love the way their heads tilt at the same angle!

Cappuccino was made using a simple black and the same brown as Saw but I worked the fleece slightly differently to speed things up a little.

I really do love this pattern, which is from SImply Crochet issue 13 and designed by Toft, and I may have to make even more sheep in the future (or perhaps alter the pattern to make some other animals?)

The pattern was very easy to follow and although the fleece is slightly tricky to work, the effect is amazing.

Normally, I’m not a fan of toy patterns that require you to sew together the separate pieces but the way the legs and ears are attached make the sewing up an absolute breeze.

I can’t think of a single problem I had (apart from my complete obsession with the little critters of course!) although I do think that the Toft yarns are a bit pricey for making stuffed animals.

It’s a shame, really, that sheep come in so few colours…

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Another little stomp stomp

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You can’t really tell but he’s made from navy twinkle so he’s cute and sparkly!

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Stomp, stomp! Version one

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I’m not sure it’s quite cute enough…

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Crochet scarf/shawl – finished

I haven’t even had time to tell you much about this one, it worked up so quickly!

I think I mentioned it during my review of Simply Crochet and showed a little pic in my latest progress report

Anyway, the pattern comes from Simply Crochet issue four and is designed by Debbie Bliss.

The project calls for 4ply yarn and was worked in Debbie Bliss Rialto in Silver. However, I wanted mine to be a bit more summery so I chose to use a cotton yarn.

4ply cotton isn’t easy to buy round here but I knew I could get it from Hobbycraft and, having recently been, decided to buy it online.

I used Patons 100% cotton 4ply in Kiwi and I love it!

The yarn comes in a range of colours, although there’s less choice in 4ply than in DK and has a lovely sheen to it.

It was also amazing to work with! Seriously, I think it will become my go-to cotton yarn, I love it so much.

I’ve been working with cotton a lot lately but I’ve found some yarns split dreadfully. This Patons is different, never once did it untwist in my hands and cause me problems.

Highly recommended.

Back to the pattern… it recommends a 4mm hook but I found that the stitches were working up too loosely and my tension was way off (too big for a change) so I scaled down to a 3.5mm.

Much more suitable for 4ply although my tension was still a bit off (doesn’t matter so much for a shawl though, right?)

So, drumroll please…

CottonScarf (1) CottonScarf (2)CottonScarf (4) CottonScarf (3)CottonScarf (5)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ta-da!! Sorry there are no pics of me wearing my lovely new scarf, Steven’s asleep so it was this or nothing

Never one to stick to a pattern, I worked the edging differently. Firstly I only put it on the edges and not all the way around – two reasons, one it makes it more a scarf than a shawl, two I’m lazy

And I worked it using treble fans along the edge instead of the weirdness of the pattern (a row of ch5sp and then work the fans – it didn’t look good and it took forever)

So there it is! I’ve worn it a lot since finishing, including around the house when I get chilly and I’m now wondering if it will go with my cricket jumper so I can wear both to the movies tonight…

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Simply Crochet magazine review

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I was so excited about this new mag, I subscribed almost from the start (I was just too late to subscribe from issue one but got issues two, three and four for £5!)

I wanted to wait before posting a review, judge a few issues rather than just one.

You all know how excited I get about magazines and it’s always seemed odd to me that there are so many monthly knitting and so few monthly crochet.

Combine that with a very good subscription offer and I was floating!

Anyway…

First off, I really like the feel of the magazine. It’s not glossy like others but has really nice smooth covers

And a classic A4(ish) magazine size is always a good choice

There is a distinct uniformity in the layout of the covers but it’s a bit cluttered so your eye jumps about a bit and some of the colour combinations jar a little.

But it all makes for an eye-catching cover!

The inside always has a similar layout too and the colours are more subtle so less eye-catching but more pleasing.

There are always a couple of pages of tidbits, upcoming events, etsy finds, book reviews and the like.

So far, they’ve been ‘decorating’ a certain room each month and they show lovely full pages of pictures before moving on to the patterns.

That’s quite a theme throughout the mag, like having a cover page for the pattern.

It almost seems like a way to bulk out the mag but there are still plenty of patterns to choose from.

There’s also a funny feature at the back, showing pics of old crochet garments – some are actually quite snazzy but others are just dire!

The articles are well written and informative and generally link to a project in the magazine.

As for the patterns themselves…

There seems to be a pretty good mix of accessories, homewares and toys but few garments as yet and nothing substantial for the (grown up) man in your life.

Every month, the mag focuses on one shape, gives the pattern for different sizes and shows you some ideas of what to use it for, along with relevant instructions.

There’s also a motif section, again one a month and some examples of how to use them.

It’s a little disappointing to see patterns reprinted from Crochet Today and there has been one in every issue so far.

I’ve tried out several projects and, to be honest, more than a few have been problematic.

I’ve already posted about my trials with Jane Crowfoot’s egg decorations.

Then when I tried to swatch for the lovely shawl in the latest issue, there is a blatant mistake that I’m hoping is just a typo but still shouldn’t have made it through proofing

And I’m not convinced the right hook size is shown but I suppose with a shawl it doesn’t much matter.

I also have problems with a lot of the photography, some of the pieces have been so badly shot that you can’t get an idea of how nice they really are.

The lovely shawl I mentioned is a prime example.

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This was the picture shown in issue three, advertising the next issue. I instantly fell in love!

But when issue four finally dropped through my letterbox, I was surprised to see that it wasn’t the cover project (looking back through, it’s been the same every month)

I turned straight to the pattern and was vaguely horrified by the photos.

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The styling of the model is okay although I’m not sure about the flashes of pink. But the setting is so wrong and the styling of the shawl itself just makes it look unflattering and, frankly, elderly.

I have my reservations but I still plan on making it and the yarn for the project arrived this morning (that’s a post for another day I think)

Oh and there was another oddity. In issue four is a nice cap sleeve cardi. I was checking the yarn used and there are two colours listed even though only one is shown.

Looking at the pattern, there’s a note that says the colour shown isn’t available in the UK so an alternative has been given as well.

I’ve never come across anything like this and I think it could have been handled a lot better.

So, overall, I do like the mag and some of the patterns are simply must-makes.

But some aspects definitely need tweaking and, to be honest, I expect a bit better from an established craft magazine publisher.

I’ll definitely keep the subscription for a while longer, the last issue in particular has been filled with inspiration (as you can tell by the amount of sticky notes attached!) but I really hope things improve

P.S. You might have noticed the blanket in the background of the pics but don’t get too excited – it’s not finished but has been pressed into service in the hope that it’s inadequacy will induce me to finish it (not looking likely, too much other crochet to play with!)

Oh and UK readers don’t forget episode two of The Great British Sewing Bee tonight at 8pm on BBC!

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Stomp, stomp!

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So apt for so many reasons, I’ve just gotta have it!

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Eggs-perimentation

Sorry about that, but it just had to be done!

So, you know those egg decorations I mentioned? Well, it wasn’t easy but I figured it out

The pattern comes from issue 3 of the new Simply Crochet magazine (more thoughts on that later) and I was super excited as soon as I saw them.

I really love this time of year and, since it’s traditional to decorate eggs on the Equinox and I’ve got some cotton DK hanging around, it all seemed perfect.

All I needed were some polystyrene eggs.

Not a problem. With Steven away, Mum and I had already planned a trip to our local Hobbycraft and the eggs were the first thing I looked for.

I was too excited to wait so I started my first egg (I bought three) on Monday.

Guess what? There’s a problem with the instructions so the crochet is about half the size it needs to be to cover the recommended egg size

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I spent some time trying to extend it but it looked wonky so I gave up.

The next day I was heading out to pick up some more yarn (another post for another day) so I hunted around for some more appropriately sized eggs.

I found some shorter ones but then the cover was too big around so I gave up there too.

Fortunately I’m stubborn as a mule so I experimented some more that night and actually came up with something fairly decent

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Still far from perfect but good enough to let me sleep

Yesterday was the Equinox and I spent the day crafting (I really needed it and made some great progress!)

I spent some more time experimenting, starting with the published pattern and then making it up as I went along.

It was quite difficult but so much fun!

Check it out

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I’ve got the pattern scribbled down and I hope to make another one or two in different colour sequences.

I’m so chuffed!

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Crochet Baby Blanket – finished!

I meant to post these pics a while back but kept forgetting or putting it off to blog about more recent things

So, finally, here the pictures of the finished baby blanket!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally, I was going to do a pink or blue border (depending on the sex of the baby, obviously) but I really like how it came out with just a simple line of cream

Personally, I wouldn’t have chosen these colours but Clare said she quite likes pastels for newborns so I went traditional

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pattern came from the summer issue of Simply Crochet but is originally from a Sirdar pattern leaflet (Snuggly 4ply Leaflet 1368)

It was super easy to work and the colour changes stopped it being too repetitive.

It did prove a bit of a challenge because I kept all the colours attached and ran them up the sides rather than binding them off and starting again every time.

Overall, I love it and I’ll definitely hang on to the pattern to make again

 

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Lovely in Lilac

I finally wore my lovely Lilac Shawl this weekend, at the evening reception of a friends wedding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m not sure what I was laughing at but I was a little tipsy so it was probably nothing (we took the pictures after we got home)

I really love the shawl but it was quite irritating because it kept falling off my shoulders.

The shawl clip helped a little but did stretch the edges out a little so it didn’t look as good as it could have.

I think the back looks really lovely though, very old fashioned and flattering

Because the shawl is designed to be quite narrow across the shoulders, I was still worried about getting cold so…

I designed some mittens/armwarmers to match!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m really chuffed with them and I’m working on the pattern to share with you all.

I might even have to make some more in different colours…

I’d love to know what you think so here are a few more pics so you can have a good look

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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