Saturday, 16 September 2017

Well...missed a week, but I'm here now! We've all been hit by bugs here and I haven't wanted to do anything other than huddle under blankets (or is that my latest crochet excuse?)

Today marks the start of the #backtoschoolsweatercal - a crochet-along celebrating crochet garment making, and encouraging everyone to have a go. There is a blog hop running alongside, to help you choose a pattern and get started. If you haven't read any of the previous posts, you can start with Tamara of Crafty Escapism and her post about 5 Reasons to Make a Crochet Garment. It's my turn next week and I'll be talking about alterations, so be sure to pop back for that!

For the CAL I'm going to be making Uptown Sweater by Dora Ohrenstein, which is one of the patterns in the excellent book: Custom Crochet Sweaters. I've already made the Floating Tee from the book, and it was a very straightforward pattern with a beautiful end result, so I'm looking forward to trying another one.

Floating Tee, pattern by Dora Ohrenstein

I don't have the recommended yarn for the Uptown sweater, so I made a swatch using some leftover Wendy Ramsdale DK. I made a shawl with this yarn last year and it's so cosy, I love it! The swatch seemed fine, so I ordered some more yarn from Sconch yarn shop.

Might have overdone it slightly, because there was a sale on, but what was I supposed to do - leave some behind? Ahem.

I haven't started yet - I'm going to redo the swatch first, because I did it in a different colour, and I've been caught out before with slight differences between colours. I'll be posting updates on Instagram if you want to see how I'm getting on, and a weekly update here too - all being well.

I am also desperate to finish the Midcentury Blanket from Inside Crochet issue 75, that I started last March! I've been busy working on it the last two weeks and since I only had a few squares left to do, I thought I had loads of time to finish it before the CAL started, but it's taking much longer than expected.

It feels like no two squares are the same size and the slight wonkiness of some of them is driving me mad, so I'm taking my time joining them. From a distance, it looks great because it's a lovely quilt effect pattern, but I don't want to roll my eyes every time I look closely, so it's worth the extra time spent now. Hopefully!

I only have 3 rows left to add, and then perhaps a small border, so it should be finished soon. Handy, because the weather has really turned here, and we could always use another blanket.

See you next week!

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Finished Kos Top

Today, the second of the #backtoschoolsweatercal blog hop posts is up - this time Jo of JoJoTwinkletoes has written about choosing a style that suits you, which is a very good place to start when you're choosing a pattern. Jo also shared pictures of all the lovely garments she has made for herself and you really need to see and be inspired to have a go yourself, so go and read!

Meanwhile, this week I have been working away on my version of the Kos top by Marie Wallin, which was in Issue 6 of Simply Crochet. I actually started this in May 2014, so I'm delighted to report that I have finally finished it! Yay!

The pattern is actually very straightforward, as there are lots of repeated sections, and the stitches used are treble and double crochet (in US terms - double and single crochet), slipstitch and chain. Although the pattern is made in 4 pieces, they are all rectangles so they are very easy to sew together at the end. The suggested yarn is Rowan Siena 4 ply and the sample was a beautiful, bright pink.

I wanted to make a "quick" test of the pattern, to see what it was like and if it would suit me, so I used a yarn I had available which matched tension - Drops Baby Merino in Beige, meaning to make a red version later. However I struggled with tension issues when I first tried to make it, and I wasn't happy with the "wobbly" edges. Lack of experience meant I didn't realise this could be fixed on blocking. I also decided that it probably wasn't going to be a good fit without adjustments, but I wasn't sure how to deal with those in a pattern for a bottom up and seamed garment. So into the "deal with it later" bag of doom it went.

I've dug it out a couple of times, meaning to give it another go, but I always felt too daunted to make the attempt. It was only when Fay started her "Festival of Finishing CrAL that I decided it was make or break time. With much more crochet experience now, I was able to come up with some adjustments that I thought would work, and I'm pretty happy with the end result.

It's a shame I didn't quite finish it in time to include in the CrAL, but the blocking took longer than expected, and then a headache stopped play for a while. I also don't like sewing pieces together - I'm always worried I'll ruin all my hard work, but I took it nice and steady while listening to the latest episode of The Crochet Circle podcast, and it was all quite easy in the end.

A quick overview of my adjustments -
  • extra rows of the trebles pattern over the bust, because I have more bust than the model.
  • decreasing above the bust to match the stitch count for medium, because I have a narrower upper chest
  • dropping the front neckline to be more flattering to a larger bust.
  • starting the back as size L and then decreasing to M (large butt, narrow waist and back)
  • "gathering" the extra front rows to match the back without the extra rows - very experimental, and the jury's still out.

What's next? Well, Tamara of Crafty Escapism has just posted a list of CALs that sound very tempting, Helen of Making at Number 14 has just finished a gorgeous knitted jumper which would be fun to try, and then there's my Ravelry queue. But I did want to try toe-up socks, so maybe...?

Thanks for reading. See you next week!

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Back to School Sweater CAL and blog hop

Exciting news in the crochet world - today is the first day of the Back to School Sweater CAL blog hop, organised by Tamara of Crafty Escapism and Helen of Making at Number 14. These experienced crocheters decided that more people need to discover the joy of crocheting garments and they've set up this CAL and blog hop to help them on their way.

Each week there will be an article about some aspect of garment making technique, so there will be lots of help, advice and inspiration to get started. Each of the contributors to the hop has experience in crocheting garments, so if you have any questions, ask away. This blog is part of the hop too, and on 23rd September 2017, I'll be sharing a post on making alterations to a pattern. If you have any questions about alterations, leave them in the comments and I'll do my best to answer them in the blog post.

Fay of The Crochet Circle Podcast is hosting the chatter thread in the Ravelry group, so join in there for lots more help and inspiration. The full schedule for the blog hop and other details of the CAL can be found there, but as the blog hop progresses, each blog post will link to the next one on the hop, so you can easily jump backwards and forwards between articles.

There is also a hashtag for Instagram #backtoschoolsweatercal if you prefer to join in there.

Tamara is kicking us off today with 5 Reasons to Make a Crochet Garment, (I like number 3, for very similar reasons!) so go and have a read and hopefully you'll be joining in when the CAL starts on 16th September 2017.

In the meantime, as a pre-CAL warm up, I shall get back to my Kos top, which has been hibernating for a few years and has finally seen the light of day again. I've already made quite a few alterations to the pattern, so I shall have plenty of examples to share! Who knows if they'll be successful? It's all about experimenting and each time I rip some stitching back, I've learned something new.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Hello and welcome.

I'm Sam, a crocheter, knitter, designer and tech editor. I learned to knit and crochet when I was in my early teens, but in the last decade this love for creating fabric from yarn has gradually taken over my life!

I have been working as a crochet designer over the last 6 years, mostly on commission and for a local gallery. I recently gave myself a much needed break when my health was suffering, and returned to purely selfish crafting. I also realised that, despite all the hats, mittens and scarves I've made over the years, I had to resort to shop-bought for myself!

It is usually a relaxing pleasure to make things from a pattern, but sometimes there is a jarring inaccuracy, or the pattern is unclear. Even if it's possible to work out what was meant, it can change a pleasant experience into a chore. Too many times I have seen people turn away from a pattern because of the mistakes.

Having completed Joeli's Learn to Tech Edit course, I'm able to put my maths skills and my error spotting to good use - helping other designers publish clear, error-free patterns which are a delight to use.

If you are a designer looking to get a pattern ready to publish, see my Tech Editing page for more information, and get in touch!