Crochet Mitred Square Throw

MitreThrow

This throw was a serious exercise in destashing. I really wanted to get rid of my over-abundance of reds and purples. The natural white background contrast is handspun RomneyX. I should really never attempt to do my own carding – the result is always less than spectacular, but the finished yarn is good enough for a throw. This project took me two winters to complete, mainly because I’d lose interest for so long that I kept forgetting how to do crochet mitred squares. Then I’d lose the printed instructions. Then I’d lose the link to the website with said instructions. Hopeless, I know. But all things can be overcome with some committed Googling!

Finally all the squares were done. And yes, it took several more weeks to decide on how to arrange them – from ‘arty diamonds’ (oh so wrong), to random rows (hideous), and finally to just joining four points to make large squares. Even joining the squares took a couple of attempts – using double crochet (sc for the Americans) resulted in too bulky a seam, so I took it down to slip stitch. I came across a post at the gorgeous Once Upon a Pink Moon for a bobble edge and that has really put a fun finishing edge on the whole thing. It’s turned out to be a rather sturdy, snuggly, comfy throw and I’m really happy with it. Now I’m waiting just a little bit impatiently for cool weather…

If you’d like the pattern for crochet mitred squares, drop me a comment and I’ll have a hunt for them. They’re around here somewhere…

Carding, Crochet and Cooking Clay

It’s been a busy couple of weeks at Chez Westie, as I work my way through a bunch of crafty projects that have been languishing unstarted for… um… some months. Well, you know how it is – there’s always something else demanding your attention that takes you away from other things demanding your attention.

Anyhoo…

Last weekend was spent washing a lovely, fine Romney fleece that I got over a year ago. It’s been sitting nice and greasy in a bag, minding its own business while I periodically fretted over whether or not to wash it myself or send it off to the pros. All for fear that I’d felt it by just showing it hot water. In a fit of STOP PROCRASTINATING FFS!!!, I got out my brand new laundry bags (also purchased over a year ago for just this purpose) and filled them with greasy, finely crimped locks. It only took 3 hot soaks in Martha Gardener Wool Mix and 2 cold rinses, and I had me a squeaky clean fleece.

Next challenge was using my drum carder for the first time. I’d never actually used a drum carder before, so after I rolled some really nasty batts, I figured I was doing something wrong. YouTube to the rescue. Turns out that the small roller was turning in the same direction as the large roller, presumably because the pulley cord is a fibre cord and has insufficient grip. It was put on by the previous owner and was clearly a No.8 wire job. I’ve since ordered a replacement pulley band. In the interim I’ve helped things along by manually providing the necessary traction to turn the small roller in the opposite direction.

That was one hurdle, but I was still getting lumpy batts. Back to YouTube for another look at those clips. Solution: put the batt through again (and again if necessary) to get a well-combed batt. I am SO looking forward to spinning this floofy loveliness!

While those freshly washed locks were out in the sunshine drying, I tackled some polymer clay. These are just fun experiments with leftover clay to get me enthused… I have a larger plan in mind.

In between cooking clay and my first foray into prepping raw fleece to spin, I’ve been destashing my beautiful collection of hand-painted fibre, mostly from Southern Cross Fibre (David’s stuff is so good he’s always sold out, so you need to join his fibre club, or sign up for shop updates – and be a speedyfinger!). As there’s only so many scarves, hats, etc that I want to make, what better way to preserve these beautiful fibres than in a snuggly blankie? Once blocked, it’ll be wide enough to cover my queen-size bed.

Let’s look at that fibre a little closer (and there’s still heaps more to be spun and included).

I’ve also been learning new songs on the guitar, experimenting with minor chords (ye gods, a song may actually get written!), and stepping perilously close to COUNTRY MUSIC! Gah! Ok, so I’m drawing the line there and going as close as alt-country/blues, but I thoroughly enjoyed going to see Ryan Adams on Thursday, opened for by the equally talented Jason Isbell, whose latest album (Here We Rest) I have since purchased. I may love-love-love hard rock and heavy metal, but it doesn’t mean I completely exclude other genres. Being musically well-rounded is a good thing, although that can dent my credit card pretty deeply sometimes – there’s just so much great music out there!

Sock Yarn Throw – it begins

Even a cursory glance into my stash tells me that I have gone a little nuts buying sock yarn. Truth be told, I’m never going to make that many socks – for me, or anyone else. Let’s face it: most people would rather wear sweaty nylon socks than sweat-beating merino/silk. So I’m repurposing the sock yarn into a throw, because that’s pragmatic and practical. Somewhere along the way, however, I seem to have unleashed a hitherto unknown masochistic streak… each square is only 4 rounds. About 3″ square. I can hear your palms smacking your forehead (I’ve stopped doing that due to incipient bruising). Anyhow, here’s my start on the little suckers. Wish me luck…

Double Crochet Throw – Finished

It must be said that I am a World Class Procrastinator. If I can dither about endlessly to not complete something I’m not particularly invested in, I will do it – with bells on. For example, I have been wildly successful in my efforts to take forever and a day on the home DIY front. Really, I’m awesome. You should see the place. Er… perhaps not. But the bathroom’s looking pretty swish, if I do say so myself.

I’m also pretty awesome at UFOs. Starting projects? Not a problem. Finishing the buggers? Not so much. However, I have applied the cane to my butt and not only finished making sufficient squares for my Double Crochet Throw, but actually joined them together! Into a Real Live Throw! Amazingly, it only took a few minutes to assemble them in a pleasing non-patterny layout:

After much angsting about what kind of join to do, I settled on a double crochet join, so you end up with a visible seam on one side (the right side) and a flat seam on the other (the wrong side). All threads were worked in as I went, which prevented that whole life-sucking drama of weaving in your ends. Took a couple of evenings to complete the joining and… ta daaaa!

I had a particular friend in mind when making this throw, and I’m pleased to report that she did exactly what I thought she’d do: snuggled it.

Destashing – Double Crochet Throw

It started with making some 30x30cm squares for the Container Love project… and I just kept going.

20 squares later and I have a snuggly throw – just in time for summer. Um, yeah… I’m getting a head start on my winter projects? Unfortunately, I regret to advise that this has made the most alarmingly miniscule dent in my yarn stash. Worse, I can now see just how much damn novelty yarn I’ve purchased over the last few years. Fortunately, I have a plan to get rid of it – I mean, use it wisely. It’s all going to become a Tunisian Crochet Throw, and I’m going to have to start it straight after finishing the Double Crochet Throw, else I think the throw-equivalent of second-sock syndrome will otherwise afflict me…

Chevron Crochet Cushion

Tis done! Finished it last night and is now creating a vibrant splash of colour on the couch.

Chevron cushion - finished

The bottom join was created by doing Row 1, then on Row 2 inserting the hook through the corresponding other end in a zipper-like join. In this picture, Row 2 of the pink row was joined to the foundation chain of the blue row. This seam was joined with right sides together, then turned inside out so the seam lays flat.

Chevron cushion bottom seam detail

The side seams were joined by single crochet.

Chevron cushion side seam detail

Combining multiple colours is not something I’m good at, so for me, this project was quite a challenge. I’m really happy with the result though. Joining the top and bottom was an awkward, cack-handed affair and I was surprised at how well it turned out – you really can’t tell where the join is. Yay!

Crochet Mitred Square Blanket progress

This week I’ve been pushing away at getting my crochet mitred square blanket completed. I’ve used up some more stash yarn, and now need to spin more of the Corriedale background yarn (the natural coloured yarn). There are about 30 more squares to go. How do I know? I’ve completed the design layout. Yes, I have whipped up a design template in Adobe Illustrator so I can sew everything in the right order. It’s not OCD, it’s being organised… (cough)

Crochet Mitre Squares

While I was admiring the growing stack of squares, I spotted Ruby taking a snooze on the now vacant loom table. The sun had moved off it but left it all warm. How thoughtful of me to leave the table there for her convenience… guess she’ll miss it when I move it back to the craft room. Heh.

Ruby - sleepy puss

Progress is also being made on the crochet chevron cushion cover, but am a little conflicted as to what cushion inner to use. Spotlight were completely out of the size I wanted (typical), so I got a flat foam piece instead. However, because the chevron pattern ‘concertinas’, I’m not sure if it’ll stay flat. I’ll block the finished cover but as there’s a mix of natural and synthetic fibres, I’m not sure how successful that will be. If it doesn’t work, I’ll wait till Spotlight restock the cushion inner I want, then have another go. The flat foam can always be used for something else.

Purchased at the same time was a round piece of flat foam. This is to complete a circular cover that was crocheted some time ago. OMG, do you know how tricky it is to crochet a circle and keep it flat? Tricky, that’s what. It used up a pile of stash yarn bits, as well as the side piece, but another circular piece needs to be done. At the rate I’m destashing, I may have to BUY some yarn soon! Cripes!

Close Chevron Cushion Cover

In a sudden fit of “I absolutely must stashbust!”, I decided to crochet something small and colourful. Being utterly hopeless at doing colourwork (that actually looks good), I figured if it turned out completely awful, I could let the cat have it. And hopefully she would give me back a blanket or two. Greedy cat, she is.

So here’s where it’s at:

Crochet Close Chevron cushion cover

My cunning plan is to crochet enough to fold in half, cast off and cleverly do a ‘zip’ thing with the chevron edges. Of course, this plan may only work in my head and not in reality, but never mind – I’ll fake it somehow.

But wait! There’s more! Here’s the pattern for the Close Chevron Stitch:

Starting chain: multiple of 11 sts + 2
Drape: good
Skill: easy

1st Row (RS): 2dc into 2nd ch from hook, *1dc into each of next 4ch, miss 2ch, 1dc into each of next 4ch, 3dc into next ch; rep from * ending last rep with 2dc only into last ch, turn.

2nd Row: 1ch, 2dc into 1st st, *1dc into each of next 4 sts, miss 2 sts, 1dc into each of next 4 sts, 3dc into next st; rep from * ending last rep with 2dc only into last st, miss turning ch, turn.

Too easy.

Domino/Shadow Crochet

Domino or Shadow crochet. Like Domino or Shadow knitting. Same diff. Whatever – I’m stash-busting to make a blanket. Having made several lacy crochet blankets, I now want something more solid, so I’m whipping up domino squares. They come together very quickly and will be crocheted together too.

The background colour is a natural corriedale which I’m spinning. Only trouble is – now I’ve started this project, I have to keep spinning to keep myself supplied with yarn! Oh dear. What a shame. Yeah…

Domino Crochet

Corriedale