I’m one of those people who can’t just sit and watch TV without doing something with my hands. In the summer this is usually stitching shibori patterns on scarves to be pulled up tight before being dipped in the indigo vat. But on long dark evenings, wool and needles seem to be more appropriate. And it’s so relaxing not having to make any creative decisions – just following a pattern.
Normally I would regard myself as a knitter rather than a crocheter, but I couldn’t resist this crocheted blanket pattern by Janie Crow, called Persian Tile. I bought the kit with yarn and pattern at the Knitting and Stitching Show in October, and it’s kept me going through all those long dark evenings. 🙂
I wouldn’t regard myself as an advanced crocheter. To start with, I had to revise the difference between double, half treble and treble crochet, and I had to refer to Youtube to find out about double treble crochet, which I’d never heard of.
The total blanket consists of 16 octagons, 9 more conventional granny squares, 12 half triangles for the edges and 4 quarter triangles for the corners. For the octagons I found it easier to crochet them all at the same time, ie do all the centres, then all the round 3s, round 4s etc, as it created a rhythm and once I’d got it I didn’t need to keep referring to the pattern. But it also meant that it took ages before I actually finished a single octagon!
The worst part was weaving in all the ends. The colour changed on every round, and some motifs, like the red and orange fans, were crocheted individually, so it seemed to take as long to sew in all the ends as to crochet the octagon! The triangles were also fiddly, because they were quite small.
It’s difficult to photograph the whole blanket, even though it’s not very large (about 110cm square). But it’s the perfect size for snuggling on the sofa on chilly January evenings in a draughty Victorian house. 😉
I’m currently working on a series of spherical felt samples, experimenting with different techniques to introduce additional texture to the form.
I started with straightforward nuno, enclosing the plastic resist with silk cut from an old scarf, felting over it, cutting it open and turning it inside out:
I also tried knitting with strips of silk scarf knotted together and then felting it – on a flat piece this time. I put some wisps of wool over part of the knitting to help it felt in, but it didn’t really need it. The silk knitting felted in very well, but I think the stitches needed to be more open to get the contrast between the felt and the silk:
So then I used crochet – first with 100% wool (Rowan Felted Tweed) and then with a mystery yarn donated by a friend. I suspect it’s synthetic, because it’s quite shiny, but I thought I’d still give it a go, because the contrast in texture would be very interesting.
The wool version did felt in, though it also went quite hairy. The other version didn’t felt in, but seems quite happy sitting on top of the felt. I may try stitching on top just to catch it in and make sure it stays in place.
I’ve got some lambswool yarn that is used at Morley for machine knitting – I’m going to try using that to see if I get a less hairy finish.
What I like about this scarf is that it looks as if it’s made from hundreds of circles sewed together. In fact, it’s made in long strips of circles, which are connected with slip stitch as you go along. So there’s no sewing – only a few ends to tidy up at the end. Which is a relief – I hate having to sew in lots of ends.
And it’s worked in a multicoloured yarn, so you don’t have to keep changing colours all the time.
I found the pattern, by Linda Permann, in an old copy of Inside Crochet magazine, which I picked up at a market stall, but it’s also on Ravelry. I used Silk Garden Sock Yarn by Noro in blue, black, lime, and grey.
My experiments with ironing knitted swatches of plastic yarn (plarn) showed that they lost their elasticity. So I thought I could use this to advantage by ironing some crocheted coasters.
The photo below shows a crocheted circle before ironing. It’s a bit difficult to see, but the different types of plastic make the texture quite uneven, and the coaster doesn’t sit quite flat.
The photo below shows the coaster after ironing – interestingly, it doesn’t shrink very much.
And below is a collection of coasters in different colours. Again, the various plastics all behave slightly differently, leading to varying sizes and irregularities in texture, but I think this is part of their charm.