Finished Project Friday – Little Owl

I’m loving the big wips I have going on at the moment – Sophie and Willow – but today I just felt an urge to start and actually finish something! I browsed happily through Edie Eckman’s lovely Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs, but nothing spoke to me on this occasion and in search of a heart online, I fell upon this little owl pattern by Bunny Mummy Jacquie.

It made for a happy and satisfying little project during my last child-free afternoon before two weeks school holidays. My daughters think he’s very cute ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m not sure how much hooking I’ll get done in the school holidays, but I’m sure I’ll fit some in. It is, after all, my therapy, and much as I love school hols, they can drive a mum nuts at times. So I’ll be reaching for my hook and yarn as often as my beloveds allow ๐Ÿ˜€

Wip Wednesday – (Another) Willow Baby Blanket

I’ve decided to make another baby blanket, this time as a new baby gift. It was a tough choice as I browsed through 200 Crochet Blocks, but I finally settled on the Willow square again. It’s just such a great pattern! My other Willow blanket was for a girl and this one is for a boy – I thought it would be interesting to see how I can make this pretty block more traditionally boyish, and I’m curious to see how the two will compare when finished.

This time I’m using a heavier weight yarn – Red Heart Baby Soft Steps in Elephant, Aqua and Grass Green, with the recommended 5mm hook. I’m really pleased with how the colours are looking in this first block. I’m not sure if I’ll alternate the green and blue yet. I’ll probably make 16 blocks, or maybe a rectangle of 20, I’ll see how it goes. For the border, I’ll be referring to my trusty copy of Edie Eckman’s Around the Corner Crochet Borders, but I’m thinking something quite angular instead of pretty scallops or similar. Maybe this simple edging which I think would look good in this chunkier Elephant:

There is a small possibility that I’ll have started another project before the day ends or at very least I’ll be in the throes of planning before bed, as I received a surprise parcel this morning from a lovely Aunt in Europe! Behold, ten gorgeous balls of Cool Wool Big Melange by Lana Grossa in six fabulous colours! It’s Italian worsted merino and I am just thrilled ๐Ÿ˜€ I’m pretty set on the Lost in Time Shawl by Johanna Lindahl, who has very kindly already responded to my question about using worsted in her pattern, which calls for any yarn but those listed are all lighter weight. She advises I should definitely use a larger hook so as to maintain appropriate drape but has not used worsted weight for this pattern herself. I have since found a lot of other hookers on Ravelry happily completing the shawl in Caron Cakes, and as that’s an Aran weight, I figure I should be fine. I think I will go up two hooks sizes from the ball band recommendation, so I’ll start with a 6mm and see how it goes. Can always frog and change. Will report back!

It also occurred to me that the Lost in Time Shawl would be the perfect project for my remaining Scheepjes Stonewashed stash ahhhhh decisions, decisions!! The deciding factor this time round is that it’s winter, so I’ll go heavier, and then if I do decide to make it again later in the year, the Stonewashed, which is Sport weight, will be more appropriate for the season.

Have you made the Lost in Time Shawl? Which yarn did you choose?

Happy Mail!

I ordered a copy of Dedri Uys’ book of her 2015 CAL, Sophie’s Universe, from Wool Warehouse on the 18th of this month. I was so surprised and excited when it arrived this morning – only 8 days, from England! It’s my first order from this company, and based on this experience there will most certainly be another! 

My purchase was something of an indulgence, as all parts of the pattern are available for free online, but I turned 43 at the weekend, so I consider it a birthday gift to self ๐Ÿ™‚ It will be great not to be scrolling around and squinting at a screen of an evening – and the book is absolutely beautiful, I am thrilled! 

While browsing the site, I came across a Stylecraft shade card, which seemed a sensible purchase, being as I’m 22,000km from the source! It’s great to have all the colours to hand for future orders. I’m really enjoying using some of my Stylecraft Special DK stash for Sophie, and will definitely be buying more.

Nothing further to report today – I’m hooked on hooking Sophie at the moment! I do plan to start another baby blanket in the next few days though, using a square from the wonderful 200 Crochet Blocks by Jan Eaton, one of my favourite crochet books, so I’ll share a bit about that later in the week. Until then, I wish you happy hooking ๐Ÿ˜€

Octopus for a Preemieย 

I’ve shied away from amigurumi in the past because I find tiny hooks and finer yarn difficult. However, when I heard about Octopus for a Preemie, I decided it was time to leave my comfort zone!

It has been shown that premature babies can benefit from being able to grasp the tentacles of these tiny crocheted octopi. They are apparently reminiscent of the umbilical cord in the womb, and are also said to help prevent the baby from pulling on the wires they may have attached to them. 

Originating in Denmark, you can now find your area or nationwide group on Facebook for details of the strict safety criteria and process for submitting to participating hospitals. 

This is my test run octopus and my very first amigurumi ๐Ÿ™‚ He doesn’t meet my exacting standards, never mind those of the hospital, but I’m going to go down a hook size (so absolutely no stuffing is visible) and persevere! I made him with Flinders Cotton 8ply (heads up, Aussies – it’s on special at Spotlight at the moment) and a 2.5mm hook. I’m going to go down to 2mm, and perfect those twirly tentacles and facial features ๐Ÿ™‚

As you can see below, he really is very little! Hence, fiddly. But I figure it’s just a question of practice, so I’m going to keep going. And my daughters are delighted we’re keeping this one ๐Ÿ™‚

Have you tried amigurumi? Are you participating in Octopus for a Preemie? Once I get the hang of this octopus, I definitely see a lot more amigurumi in my future!

Sophie’s Irresistible Universe

I finished Sophie’s Mandala a couple of days ago and couldn’t wait to start Sophie’s Universe. So I did! 

I first became aware of this beautiful pattern a couple of years ago but only plucked up the courage to get stuck in last month. Parts 1-3 can stand alone as a mandala, and completing it was a great way to gain the confidence to finally start working on the Universe. The pattern is magnificent – not only beautiful but incredibly detailed in terms of instructions, photographs, pointers and links to stitch tutorials. 

My mandala is not perfect, but in the making and sharing of my work I discovered that a small mistake that’s blindingly obvious to me is most likely unnoticeable to anyone else, and ultimately won’t take away from the finished piece as a whole. Indeed, the designer herself, Dedri Uys, commented on my Instagram, telling me that she keeps at least one little imperfection in every project – and she complimented me on my neat tension, and my colours! I’ve not been that excited about a brush with celebrity since the first time I saw my elusive neighbour Russel Crowe in the village cafรฉ ๐Ÿ˜ And with encouragement like that, how could I not grab my hook and yarn and start Sophie’s Universe immediately! I’m just coming to the end of Part 3 now, so almost into exciting unchartered waters ๐Ÿ™‚

As an aside, while I was working on the mandala, I listened to Marie Segares interview Dedri on the Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show. Dedri talks a lot about the creation of Sophie, and is very candid about her experiences as a designer. It’s a fun and inspiring podcast and well worth a listen. I’m quite new to the world of podcasts in general and crochet podcasts in particular, but I’m already finding some great crochet chat out there – I’ll compile a list to share soon.  Please let me know if you have any faves ๐Ÿ™‚

Corner to Corner Crochet Bag

I am finding being a mum somewhat challenging at present and am intensely grateful for my chosen forms of therapy: running – my half marathon training is on track – and of course, crochet ๐Ÿ™‚ My girls are almost five and almost seven, and my joyous relief at being beyond the baby and toddler years and associated mental health issues (Post Natal Depression) is slightly tempered by the dawning realisation that with each new childhood era come new challenges which suddenly make teething and toilet training seem like a walk in the freaking park!

But I digress from the purpose of this post, which is to share with you my new bag! Let me just retrieve one more chocolate Hobnob from the back of the vegetable drawer in the fridge…

Ahhh, that’s better ๐Ÿ˜€ So, I taught myself Corner to Corner – C2C – crochet last week using thisย YouTube tutorial, and loved it. It hooks up into a nice solid fabric which I thought would be good for a bag. I experimented with a worsted-weight variegated yarn (Moda Vera Florentine Collection in Bruno) and a 6mm hook – one size down from the ball band recommendation, to add density.

I kept increasing until the width measured about 11″ and then decreased on one side only until the long side measured about 14″ , at which point I began the decrease on the other side. Thus emerged a rectangle measuring approximately 14″ by 11″. I folded the rectangle in half lengthways and sewed the short edges together.

Being impatient, rather than waiting for my D-shaped handles to arrive, I decided to use the 5″ hoop handles I already had. I centred the hoops and used four stitch markers so I’d know where to fix them in place. I went all around the opening of the bag in sc (US), including a single crochet around the hoop at each stitch marker. I then stitched the hoops securely in place on the inside. It was tricky and next time I will wait for the D handles!

However, there was an unexpected bonus – the hoops add extra structure to the bag and it stands up sooooo nicely! At the moment I am using it as a mini project bag. It contains myย needle caseย – aย Moogly pattern, and my rendering of it was actually featured in Tamara’s newsletter this week which was fun to see! – ย scissors, and a paper bag for collecting ends after weaving in. It’s the perfect size for storing block wips – perfect as I’ll be starting anotherย baby blanketย soon ๐Ÿ™‚

This was a fun little project that worked up quickly and made me smile. If you haven’t yet learned C2C, go for it! It’s easy to learn, works up fast and has so many possibilities ๐Ÿ˜€

To Frog Or Not To Frog?

That was my question last night! I started Sophie’s Garden by Dedri Uys about a month ago. Progress had stalled at round 18 at the prospect of attempting popcorns in fingering with a 3mm hook – my being unfamiliar with all three elements ๐Ÿ™‚ 

I finally got stuck in again a couple of days ago, alas blissfully unaware that I’d already made a mistake! Not an earth shattering error such as an entirely missed tall front post stitch – which also happened but I caught it before too much damage done! – but one which caused all the petals to be ever so slighly asymmetrical, and which only became apparent to me after a good few more rounds.

The horror!! However, I couldn’t bear to frog all that work, so reached a pleasant compromise instead. I kept hooking until the end of Part 3, including the optional crab stitch round, to complete Sophie’s Mandala, instead of continuing with Part 4, which squares the mandala into Sophie’s Garden. All is not lost! Furthermore, it seems that while the dire consequences of one misplaced stitch are blindingly obvious to me, they are much less noticeable to anyone else. Are you your own worst critic of your work too?!

So, my Sopie taster is complete and I loved hooking her – a challenging and enjoyable project in which I learned so much! I’m now comfortable with popcorns, clusters and front post stitches, and enjoyed the crab stitch refresher. There is most definitely a Sophie’s Universe in my future ๐Ÿ˜€

Have you made Sophie’s Mandala, Garden, Universe or Extended Universe? Did you work from the free tutorials or have you invested in the recently published book? Would you recommend it? It’s my birthday next week, I think I might buy myself a wee gift… ๐Ÿ˜€