Do you knit or crochet during the summer? Here in the northern hemisphere it is summer and I thought I would share some thoughts and tips on summer knitting and crochet. I have heard that a lot of people stop knitting during the summer and then take it up again in the fall. Even thought summers where I live can be pretty hot, my knitting and crocheting doesn’t stop during the summer months. For fun I did a survey on Twitter asking if people knitted or crocheted in the summer. I only got 4 responses and all of them knit in the summer. That is a very small sampling but it tells me that at least some people knit and crochet in the summer.
I found this article with advice on summer knitting useful. During summer, I usually end up knitting inside under air conditioning in front of a fan at my desk. Summer is a good time to knit smaller, portable projects. I see people I follow on Instagram take a portable projects to the beach. One summer I made cotton sun hats that I wear when I work in the yard. It is also a good time to use lighter yarns such as cotton and linen. One thing I have found is that my local craft store will often put yarn on clearance in the summer. That is something to keep in mind when you are at the craft store. I have gotten some good deals that way. Do you knit or crochet in the summer? Let me know in the comments.
I recently wrote about my knitting goals. I want to give equal time to both knitting and crochet on this blog so I also wanted to write about my crochet goals. Lately, I have been more inspired by knitting than crochet. Until I started the blanket I am making right now, I have been knitting more than I crochet. However, when I thought abut it there are many things I want to crochet. Here are the crochet projects I want to do in the future. I look at this list I made and realize I could be busy for a long time.
Crochet more garments
In the past, I have struggled to find crochet garments I want to make. However, I have found a few patterns I like. I really like this Convergence Top pattern. I found out about it when I asked for advice on crochet garment patterns on a Ravelry forum. I have been eyeing the Northern Dreams Pullover for a long time. When I first saw the pattern years ago, I thought it looked like a difficult pattern and never thought to attempt it. I recently looked at it again and realized it was a crochet version of a yoked sweater. Now I really want to make this sweater. However I am on a tight budget right now and would have to buy yarn to make both. I have also been eyeing this pullover by Dora Ohrenstein.
Make a dress
A friend of mine designed this dress and I really want to make it at some point. I also love this dress by Lily Chin. Both would be a challenge for me and a big project I know I want to make these at some point but I am not sure when I will get around to it.
Make a ripple blanket
This past winter, I was reading about temperature blankets and came very close to making one. I decided to make the blanket I am working on now instead. A friend gave me some red heart yarn that should work well for a blanket. I like the way the rippled blanket looks and I like the idea of having a colorful blanket to use during the winter.
I have been reading about freeform crochet for years and am intrigued by the idea. If you don’t know what freeform crochet is, this article describes freeform crochet pretty well. I really like the idea of being creative and freewheeling with crochet. I have read about the work of Prudence Mapstone, and Jenny Dowde and would love to explore freeform crochet further. I have thought that it would be a fun way to use some of my scrap yarn.
Make some of the design ideas I have sketched
I keep a sketchbook and write ideas for projects that I could design.I want to get in the habit of working on some of these ideas on a regular basis.
About a month ago, I wrote about getting back to bead crochet and beadwork after not doing either for a long time. Since then, I finished the bracelet I was making. This time, it came out the right length. I then had to figure out how to join the rope together into a bracelet. To join the rope, I used the instructions in this book. I joined it together and am happy with it for the most part. A little later, I did a google search on joining ropes and found another way to join the ropes that may be better. Here is a video of that technique. I want to try this technique on the bracelet I am making now.
I started making another bead crochet rope and decided to use a pastel color scheme. I had trouble deciding between red, blue, grey and ivory or pink, grey and ivory. I really liked the pink beads and so I decided to go with the pastels. I am using a different thread this time. This book recommends Jeans Stitch or Gutermann 100% polyester top stitching thread. I used Jeans stitch for the previous ropes I did and now I am trying the Gutermann thread. I would like to make a project using each type of thread to see how they work.
Recently I wrote about the scrap yarn in my stash and the projects I have done to use up the yarn. One night I looked up stash busting patterns on Ravelry and found some beautiful patterns. There are a lot of lovely and creative ways to use up yarn. Here are a few of my favorites.
1: A lot of people like to make blankets out of mitered squares. I have seen a lot of pictures on Instagram of people making blankets made out of mitered squares using fingering weight or worsted weight yarn. I used these instructions to make a scarf but a lot of people use these instructions to make a blanket.
2: I like this winter hat pattern that has been in my Ravelry queue.
3:I absolutely love this beautiful pillow pattern. I love the bright colors.
4: This is a cute pattern for a snake.
5: I almost have to include a pattern for a log cabin blanket. I love how they look and want to make one at some point. This is another pattern that is in my Ravelry Queue
6: This crocheted lace shawl would be a good pattern for summer
7: The designer designed this knitted shawl to use up her scraps of fingering weight yarn.
One thing I love about being into crafts is finding ways to use what you have to be creative. I love looking up creative ways to upcycle. I also enjoy reading about projects that use ordinary household objects to make something creative and interesting. In that vein, I want to write a small series on using up scrap yarn. This week I will talk about my experiences with stash busting.
In my stash, I have 2 bags of small amounts of yarn that are leftover from other projects or from projects I unraveled. I also have several skeins of leftover yarn. I can’t bear to throw out any of it no matter how small the amount. I keep thinking I could find a use for it. Originally, I kept all the odd bits of yarn because I wanted to learn freeform crochet and I kept thinking that I could use it in that technique.
I haven’t done much freeform crochet but I have used up scarp yarn in other ways. Periodically, I like to go through my stash and and find ways to use up odd bits of yarn. I made the bag in the middle picture to use up scrap yarn. I recently made these slippers to use up an odd skein of bulky weight yarn. I also made a hat and several scarves to use up odd bits of my stash. Some of the projects work better than others on stash busting. I will start a project to use up scrap yarn and end up buying more to finish it. I started the scarf in the top picture to use up some purple and pink yarn I had but ended up buying 2 skeins to finish it. I bought the grey to add a neutral color and I ran out of the purple and had to buy more. I wrote about the scarf project here. With the blanket in the bottom picture, I drastically underestimated how much yarn it would take and had to buy a lot more yarn than I was originally trying to use up.
May 2nd was Ravelry’s 10 anniversary. I thought I would take a moment and write about what the site means to me. Ravelry is an amazing place. It is a an online community for knitters, crocheters and spinners. It has a database where you can look up patterns and yarn. It also has a place to list the projects you have made and a queue to list the patterns you want to make. Plus there are a large number of forums where you can interact with other fiber types. You can look up a yarn and see what others have made with that yarn You also can look up a pattern and read what others have to say about the pattern and see what it looks like when it is finished.
Thanks to Ravelry, I found out about Elizabeth Zimmerman, freeform crochet, yarn bombing and a lot of my favorite designers. I also received countless tips on how to expand my skills. I learned about art projects that asked knitters and/or crocheters to help out and make stuff for the exhibits. I have made pieces for 2 projects. Here is a link to one of the projects. I also participated in the Mandalas for Marinke project. Here is a blog post showing the Mandalas I made for the project. Ravelry has even helped with non fiber related things. I have found out about some of my favorite books from a book group I joined on Ravelry.
One of my goals is to design and publish my own patterns. Without Ravelry, I wouldn’t know that this option exists. Plus there are 2 groups on Ravelry that are incredibly useful if you want to design patterns.They are Designers and budding designers. Both groups have amazing resource pages. Thanks to those pages, I found out about 2 Craftsy classes and a lot of books I could read on knitwear design.The Ravelry forums have been a lifeline for me at various times. Just about any knitting or crochet question you have could be answered on the forums. Recently, I went on the forums to find out how to try on a top down sweater before it is finished and found out about some tools I didn’t know about before. In short is an amazing community.
Before I knitted or crocheted, I did a lot of beadwork and jewelry making. I have been making jewelry off and on since the early nineties. At one time, I even tried to sell my pieces on Etsy. I ended the shop a long time ago. In recent years I have been knitting and crocheting a lot and beading very little if at all. Last year, I realized that I missed doing beadwork and decided to carve out time to work on beading again. I had started several beading projects years ago and they had sat there and I hadn’t been working on them. I went through the projects and took apart the ones I didn’t want to work on anymore. I decided to keep a few projects and finish them. I am hoping to finish those projects at a later date. I had worked on bead crochet ropes before and thought that would be a good way to start getting back into beading since it incorporates both beading and crochet.
I used this book as a reference. This book on various beading techniques is another book that has a section on bead crochet ropes. Stacy Trock of Fresh Stitches made some bead crochet ropes. Here is a tutorial she wrote. She strongly recommends this book; I haven’t read it yet but I want to read it. With bead crochet you string the beads on the thread beforehand. I was aiming to make a bracelet. The first one I did came out too much short because I misread how much thread to use. That is the orange, red and grey one in the above picture. The second rope (the yellow and grey one in the picture) turned out better but still a little too short. I am on my 3rd attempt and so far so good. It is the project in the first picture. I have been using Jeans Stitch quilting thread, size 8 beads, and a size steel 10 hook. I am enjoying working on bead crochet ropes. It goes faster than knitting or crochet. This time I am hoping it will be long enough to wear as a bracelet.
Since I recently wrote about the blanket I made, I wanted to write about other projects I have been making. I just finished making slipper socks. This pattern is the Ribby Slipper Socks pattern by Cathy Carron. I made this project because I needed a pair of slippers and was looking for an easy, relaxing knitting pattern. I decided to make slippers instead of buying them. I had some navy bulky weight yarn in my stash that I wasn’t sure how to use. I realized this pattern would be a good fit for the yarn. I rarely make the same pattern twice but this is the third time making these slippers. In the past, I had used this pattern to make my dad a pair of slippers for Christmas one year and I made myself a pair that wore out.
I also just finished this string bag. I am hoping to use the bag when I visit to farmers markets. The yarn is Martha Stewart brand yarn I got on clearance one summer and never could figure out how to use. I finally decided to do this bag pattern. It is an easy pattern and a good use for this yarn. I am trying to decide if I want to make a second bag.
As far as current works in progress, I am working on the blanket I wrote about earlier. I have also been working on the Herbavore shawl. I found out about it when I did Stephen West’s Craftsy class on shawl design. The pattern uses increases in a novel way and I wanted to see how he did it. I am using Manos del Uraguay Allegria yarn in the Atlantico colorway. The yarn was an impulse buy. I saw this yarn and had to buy it because I loved the colors. I have been trying to use up my older stash but I was excited about using this yarn with the pattern. Starting this pattern has been harder than I thought. I had to use several stitch markers to separate the increases and there is no resting purl row. I kept having to rip it out and start over I had to keep careful count of the stitches. Eventually saw how many stitches I needed to use between each set of stitch markers and was able to get the hang of it by carefully counting the stitches. I was about to give up when I got it. I love working with this yarn; I love the colors and once I got past the first few rows, the pattern isn’t that difficult.
Stitch’N Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker
I learned to crochet from this book. It has a good overview of the basics and some cute patterns. It is also a sentimental favorite because the author’s first book Stitch’N Bitch is a big reason I wanted to learn to knit or crochet in the first place.
Donna Kooler’s Encyclopedia of Crochet
If I am not sure how to do a technique this book is the first place I look. It is a comprehensive guide of the basics and beyond. The second part of the book has a stitch dictionary that I use often.
Crochet Master Class
This is a great book if you want to go beyond the basics. It gives projects, instructions and background on several techniques including freeform crochet, irish crochet and hairpin lace.
200 Crochet Blocks
If you like to make blankets, I highly recommend this book. It has a lot of motif designs and it also has a section on how to design blankets.
The Finer Edge
The author of this book is Kristin Omdahl and I am a big fan of her designs. I think any serious crocheter should have a book of edgings. The edging in this book are lovely. The book also has a list of projects.
Crocheting School a Complete Course
This is another good book to have if you want to get beyond the basics. It gives instructions on several techniques including broomstick lace and Irish lace.
I am back with new content after a hiatus. Life happened, I was stressed out and I let this blog go by the wayside. Recently, I was making this blanket and kept thinking that I wanted to write about it. I sat down to write the draft and realized how much I missed writing blog posts and decided to work on new content. I wanted to make a blanket because I only have one other handmade blanket that I finished in November of 2014. That blanket doesn’t go with my current color scheme. When I made that blanket, I knew I wanted to use granny squares and a specific color theme but after that I winged it. It took me over 3 years to finish it because I worked on it on the side of other projects and I didn’t plan ahead that well. As result, I spent a lot of time figuring out how to put the squares together after I made them. In the time since I made that first blanket, I got more interested in designing my own patterns and realized the value of sketching, figuring out the math and planning ahead of time.
This time I wanted to make a blanket and plan ahead how I was going to make it and how I wanted it to look. I knew that I wanted to use a black, grey, white and red color scheme. I love neutrals with a pop of color. I was reading Fridays with Franklin and he made blanket inspired by quilting patterns. I loved the idea and started to think about doing something similar. I looked up quilting patterns like this one and started sketching out ideas. At this point , this felt like a big project and I wasn’t sure how I would pull it off.
I started to swatch for the squares. I looked at the book, Crochet Workshop and used instructions from the book on increasing. It didn’t work well at all. I was aiming for a square but it didn’t come out square at all. For swatch number 2, I pulled out the book, 200 Crochet Blocks. Before, I started to swatch #2, I read the first section of the book. The first section was on how to mix and match blocks. The book showed a pattern that had squares arranged to look like diamonds. I played around with that idea in my sketchbook and was so excited. I swatched a square from the book that I was sure would work; it didn’t work at all. The edges curled up, and the square used a single crochet stitch. As a result, the square took a long time to make. A whole blanket of single crochet squares would take a long time and would completely try my patience.
Then I remembered a crocheter I follow on Instagram made a blanket using using the corner to corner stitch. I found a tutorial on the technique on the Crochet Crowd website. Once I figured out how to make the square, I made a swatch using the corner to corner technique and I liked it. It gave me the effect I wanted. Then I did some math to figure out how many squares I needed to make and how much yarn I would need. I had looked at this site to figure out different afghan sizes. I knew I wanted a blanket that would cover the top of my bed. I measure the bed and wrote down those numbers. Then I measured my swatch and figured out how many squares I would need across and down. I figure I will need to make 56 squares and I have made 20 so far. I am enjoying the project and will keep you posted.