Spring-Cleaning the Stash

I always find the Easter weekend to be a good moment to at least begin the annual spring-clean.

The days are lengthening, Winter has hopefully finally been given the old heave-ho, and I’m beginning to feel optimistic and energised about the coming Summer. We did also have a flat-inspection by the landlord just before Easter too, which gave an additional incentive to tidy up.

It doesn’t look much like we’ve had a tidy, though. Not now. Not since I took it into my head to have a rummage through my yarn stash to come up with a new project/see if I have the right stuff for planned projects. Now I have yarns and crochet magazines strewn across the floor.

FreebieYarn

In doing so, though, I have found a new project – the sort which doesn’t take too much thinking, and which can be done in amongst more complicated projects.

One of the side-effects of buying crochet magazines, like with cross-stitch, is ending up with a collection of the freebies. With cross-stitch, these are mini kits. With crochet, it’s usually little balls of yarn.

And because I so rarely make whatever they recommend doing with the yarn, I now have a box of random colours.  Admittedly, some of these are the ends of balls from previous projects. But the new project with my box is a patchwork blanket of granny squares, with the intention of practising different granny square patterns, rather than just doing the same one over and over, though I have already done three of the normal one. Just as a start.

I’m also planning a couple of the Virus shawl, as a light Summer-evening cover-up. But I haven’t the right yarns for them. Not yet..Oh dear…Trip to Hobbycraft required…

Hugo the Llama

I forgot how short February was. I mean, it just sort of sneaked up on me and then flew by, and before I knew it, I was reaching the deadline for my sister’s giant llama.

Hugo the Llama

I’m not going to lie: I was a bit cross when she opted for the llama. I’d given her a choice, you see, for her birthday in January. A matching evening shawl and clutch bag, for which I had found coincidentally matching patterns, or a giant llama, the pattern for which my husband had found while I was looking at yarns for the shawl and bag.

He’d initially coming running up with a road-kill fox rug (not really, but it had the flattened look of road-kill, in the way of such rugs), but I’d thankfully noticed that it was for knitting, and I don’t knit. He went away, disappointed, but came back not five minutes later with a llama pattern. So my sister had a choice.

And she went with the llama. I looked more closely at the llama pattern, and discovered it wanted 10 balls of super chunky yarn (at £5 a ball) and 8 bags of 250g toy stuffing (at £4 a bag). And the finished thing would be a metre tall. Gulp. The yarn wasn’t even on special offer!

I had a look around, and discovered a chunky yarn, on 3 for 2 at £4 a ball, which ought to do the trick just as well. Given that the llama had to get to London, I figured a slightly smaller one would probably be appreciated. Even if she had asked for it in the first place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was impressed by the pattern. Once I got going, it was quite easy – the sort of therapeutic pattern to sit of an evening and double-crochet round and round. It’s designed in a large-scale amigurumi style, so you start with four individual legs and then join them up.

The only tricky bit occurred once I got started on the main body and back. It was too large and unwieldy at that point to keep on my lap as I spiralled. I ended first on the floor, kneeling, and then on the sofa, leaning over the neck, the complete the head. His finished height, ears included, was about 65 cm. And he didn’t need 8 bags of stuffing. I think about 2 sufficed. And only 3 and a half balls of the chunky yarn. My husband commented that the llama looked a bit like a dinosaur, perhaps a diplodicus, without the ears and tail, so now I’m making a much smaller one in a green/blue cotton yarn I had in my stash. Maybe with a pink/purple Mrs Diplodicus to go with it.

For the interested, the pattern is a Knitcraft pattern from Hobbycraft, and I used the WI Soft & Chunky Merino/Acrylic in Cream, which I’ve just realised isn’t machine washable. Oops. Never mind.

How Thick is a Piece of Wool?

Answer: How long is it? Although, you’re more likely to receive a definitive answer about its thickness than about its length.

I began my crochet journey with normal, standard, double-knit yarns and 4-5mm crochet hooks. Since then, I’ve played with Chunky yarns, and 6-7mm hooks, and 4-ply sock wool, with 2mm hooks.

ProjectBag

As you can see, I currently have two crochet projects on the go – one in the 4-ply, and one in the Chunky.

My preference, I have decided (and it wasn’t a difficult decision, I’ll be honest), is for the thicker yarns. I find them easier for counting and for hooking through the stitches and for generally crocheting.

Titchy-witchy 4-ply wool and attendant dinky hook – frankly, just too fiddly for words. There’s probably an art to it which I simply haven’t worked out yet. Or you need thinner, more elegant fingers than I have. Especially when it comes to making the limbs of these monsters. I’m a bit further along than this photo suggests, having completed the body of the 4-ply monster, but I’ve been having trouble with the first limb. It’s the 12 stitch tube for the arm. I keep adding extra stitches as I go around. (Fingers crossed I’ve finally worked it out – but it has taken me about half a dozen false starts!)

I don’t have these problems with the thicker yarns. Okay, I probably have the adding in extra stitches one, (but don’t we all?) but it’s much easier to find the extra stitch and head back to remove it.

 

P.S. – I’ve decided that my craft weeks will likely be just the one post, and that I really rather like writing about chocolate, so I’ll probably talk about that more than just for one week a month. Probably Life will become somewhat more chocolatey. This is a good thing, I feel.

 

Monster Projects

The wonderful thing about Edward’s Imaginarium is the vast number of potential projects. Of course, the fact that the most difficult stitch is a double doesn’t hurt.

Currently I have two different monsters on the go. One’s being done in a multi coloured 4 ply sock wool, which actually is at least partly wool, and the other is a much larger acrylic yarn.

ProjectBag.jpg

It’s taken me a while to get used to such tiny stitching with the 4 ply wool and 2mm hook. I’m still not sure how much I like it. Normally not much. I prefer the chunkier yarn, especially when I’m counting to 54 for the round…Easier on the eyes as well.

Worry Monsters

It’s been a stressful time, the last few weeks, not least because of moving several hundred miles. I read somewhere that moving house can be one of the most stressful things a person can do.

Fortunately the rhythm and relative simplicity of crochet – and the counting – makes it wonderfully soothing to troubled minds. Or at least for mine.

And I was given a copy of Edward’s Imaginarium as a belated Christmas present. You know small children’s flip books where you mix and match body parts? Like that, with crochet patterns so you can mix and match your own monsters. I’ve had it on my wishlist since I found it…

Which means I’m being busy making my Worry Monsters. Like those worry dolls who take away your worries.

WorryMonster9.jpg

And because this isn’t for a child, I feel comfortable using buttons for eyes. I just have to choose which of my collection to use…