Lunchtime links

I’m not a knitter, but if I were, I’d think about making these – Totoro gloves!. The link is to a pattern on Ravelry – you’ll need to be logged in.

This is also wonderful, and huge. A crocheted Super Mario blanket.

And finally, Shauna Richardson has been commissioned to crochet three 30 foot lions as part of  ‘Artists taking the Lead’, for the Olympics in the UK. It’s a huge undertaking, which she estimates will take about 2 years.

Tatting for giants

Just for the hell of it, I thought I’d try tatting with some cotton I originally bought to crochet with. It’s very smooth and looked like it would slide easily enough (something you need for tatting), so seemed worth a little experiment. I’ve always liked the idea of tatting with other threads – in the past I’ve tatted with different types of sock yarn, but the picots can end up looking a bit messy as the strands of thread come apart.

This is 4 ply Rowan cotton, and actually it tats up pretty well. In this photo you can see a full motif in fine Finca thread, which I made some time ago, and half of the same motif in cotton. So far, the half motif has taken up two shuttles, and I stopped as I needed to wind on a third. (For the non-tatters out there, the smaller motif was created with the thread from one shuttle).

It’s a Mary Konior pattern, which I really like, and part of the experiment was to see if it would be suitable to make into a scarf. The answer…? Well, sort of. It’s actually a little big – if you hold it up to your neck, it’ll reach from your collar bone to your chin. It’s a bit too large, really – and is quite thick so I’m not sure how comfortable it would be to wear, it wouldn’t drape that well. More than that though – the THIRD SHUTTLE and it’s only part way through! It’s great practise for joining in new threads, but just as you think you’re getting somewhere, you’ve run out of thread again.

I don’t think I’ll finish it, which I feel a bit bad about, but it’s such nice thread I don’t really want to waste it. It was worth the experiment though. Maybe I’ll look around for a smaller motif…

Trouble in toytown

I’ve been making this monkey for what feels like forever. I started before Christmas and it seemed to be working up pretty fast. I was making it as a gift  for a little lady I know, (very little) but then realised actually she was too little, so all urgency was off. Which was lucky, as I couldn’t find any eyes the right size.

I continued after Christmas, but had lost enthusiasm – mainly for the fact I wasn’t sure about the cotton I was using. I actually really like the cotton, but I’m not sure it’s right for this kind of thing. I’m really picky, I know that  – but actually, you see more of the crochet in this than you do the character of the monkey. You can see every stitch. With thinner cotton, the stitches are still visible, but of course they’re smaller, so you see more of the monkey and less of the crochet… With wool, the stitches blend in more because the texture is fuzzier. Does this make any sense? I look at the monkey above and I see more of the fact it’s a bit of crochet than I do that it’s a monkey, and that’s wrong.

Also, I couldn’t get the accessories right. I made a shoulder bag; didn’t look right. I tried a cotton scarf; didn’t look right. I tried a ribbon one; again not right – wasn’t right as a more formal tie, either. I wanted to make a hat; couldn’t face it. In the end I found something I’d put to one side a while back and pulled it apart, and it became the top part of the hat. Making the rest of the hat was easy, and I decided to finish it off with a little flower. Having said that, this has always felt like a boy monkey to me, so now I can only really think of him as a cross dresser.

Sheesh. Who knew hobbies were so *hard*. This is meant to be fun, right? We need to live together for a bit i think (not you and I, although I’m sure that would be lovely, but the monkey and I), so I can see more of the monkey and less of an annoying thing that i had to get over with. Poor chap. Chapess. Monkey.

PS. I should’ve called this blog Occasional Monkey, shouldn’t I?

Panic crochet

On the run up to Christmas, I’d decided to make a few gifts for various people. Little by little time started to trickle by, and before I knew it, run away with me completely. I was going to make bunting, but then that plan was scuppered by someone faster with the same idea, I was going to make a monkey, but decided that the recipient was probably still a bit young. I was going to make a lavender bag, with the little piece of Irish crochet I’d made, but didn’t have time to get to a fabric shop, and… and… like I said, time just disappeared.

On 23rd December, I knew I had a failsafe plan for a friend who had made me some cushions for my birthday – which I *loved*. I was going to make a Queen Anne scarf – the pattern for which is available for free here. (It seems to be missing its pictures, but if you’d like to see pictures, Flickr has lots). It’s a lovely pattern, works up pretty quickly from what I’d read, and I knew just the yarn, as I’d spotted it on Ravelry.

Except that on 23rd December 7.00pm, John Lewis had decided to take the remaining few balls of this yarn off the shelves  – and put it at the bottom of a huge cage in the stock room, unreachable by human hands.

I switched to a different yarn. ‘It’s pretty similar,’ she said, ‘it should work out fine.’

Except that it was nothing like it. I started the scarf. It was tiny. You’d be lucky to warm the neck of a Barbie, let alone that of a full grown friend. I switched patterns. I started the Boteh Scarf instead – I knew I could do it, I’d made it before. Except  I had my doubts. Was it right in this yarn? It was a bit heavy wasn’t it? Not very delicate. Doesn’t feel that special. Ack.

I searched Ravelry to see what else people had made with the yarn I had available, and lo and behold, I found a lovely pattern!

I crocheted into the night. I crocheted while I waited for a kettle to boil. I crocheted on the phone. I crocheted on the train. I crocheted on Christmas day and on Boxing day. I finished on 27th December, and it was ironed and blocked by the evening.

If I’m honest, I’m not sure I’d recommend this yarn for this pattern. The yarn is nice, the pattern is great, but to do the pattern real justice, I think something less textured would be better. This is a bit fluffy and so some of the detail gets lost. But the details are lovely when you can see them.

So it all worked out ok in the end. And I’ve learnt a few things:

• I’m no good at making things to order. Being an Occasional Crafter means you’re pretty good when the pressures off and you can faff about staring into space now and again – but when the push comes to shove, you’d rather stick the kettle on and have a nice cup of tea

• That it’s fine to be a faffer – it’s a hobby afterall

• That Ravelry is really pretty amazing. There’s a ton of patterns on there, which is great – but that you can search by yarn first and see what things people have made with that yarn. Who even knew you’d ever want to do that? Well – proper crafters maybe, but it was rather a revelation to me.

Happy New Year 🙂