Arlequin Shawl: begin!

Since I couldn’t decide what to do with that lovely sport weight yarn,  I started working on the Arlequin Shawl, a free downloadable knitting pattern.  I’m using the same brand of yarn called for in the pattern, Lily Neige, and even the same colorway, Bonbon Arlequin.  However, my yarn is not quite the same as the one in the pattern photos:

not your average crochet -  arlequin shawl

It’s variegated, not a long gradient.  The long gradient version is lovely but it wasn’t in stock back when I ordered this.  This is Lily Neige Single Fingering Alpaga & Soie: 90% baby alpaca, 10% silk.  And oh. my. gosh.  This stuff is so soft!  It’s creating a delicious fabric:

not your average crochet -  arlequin shawl

My stitches look to be a little looser than the pattern sample, but I like it the way it is so I’m not bothering to go down a needle size.  The fabric is so soft and drapey, it’s incredible.  The yarn is starting to pool, as you can see, but I don’t even care about that, it just adds interest!  The texture is great too.  I’m just loving everything about it.  Here’s a closeup:

not your average crochet -  arlequin shawl

I’ve never knitted a shawl sideways like this before, but so far I’m enjoying it.  It’s working up quickly, although I suspect that will not be the case for much longer once the rows get wider.  It’s such a delight to knit, though, that I don’t think I’ll even mind that.  I got 2 skeins just in case, each being 425m/100g.  One might do the trick, but if not I’ll be able to make it exactly the size I want and still probably have enough leftover to make a cute hat or something!

Well, that’s all for now, thanks for stopping by!  See you soon!

completed Maeve & sport weight struggles

Let’s start with the happy!  I finally finished my Maeve shrug!

not your average crochet - maeve shrug

Looks kinda weird when it’s not on, so here it is actually on:

not your average crochet - maeve shrug

I made the size Small and used exactly 5 skeins (1085 yds) of Berroco Vintage (50% acrylic, 40% wool, 10% nylon) in the colorway 5195 Macaron.  I ordered 6 so I have a leftover skein, which I’m super happy about because I LOVE THIS YARN.  Not only is the colorway absolutely GORGEOUS (I wish you could see all the flecks of purples & oranges & pinks & reds in there but my camera can’t get that close up) but the yarn itself is great; I used Berroco Vintage Chunky for one of my ripple blankets back in 2011 and I’m so glad I did; it’s still SO soft and SO warm and I’m glad that I purposely felted it slightly in the wash so my dog’s claws can’t pull the yarn.  Now I’m not going to purposely felt this shrug, of course.  It’s just cool that you can if you want to, but you can machine wash it on cold and it’s fine.  I’m going to use some of my leftover Vintage & Vintage Chunky for potholders for Christmas gifts, I think.  Anyway…

not your average crochet - maeve shrug

It’s kind of hard to tell since I can’t take a good picture of my back but there is some sagging around the armpit area & under the back band where it connects to the garter stitch section.  This is something that many people who have made this shrug have run into, and perhaps if I block it I can at least fix the second part of the problem, I dunno.  And I don’t really mind the whole bat wing look, so the saggy armpit parts aren’t the end of the world.  Both of these issues occur, I believe, due to the fact that the shrug won’t stay completely up — the wide garter band that goes around is 12″ and that much fabric at your neck doesn’t really work — it just pushes the shrug down a bit.  That’s how the model’s wearing it in the pattern photos so I guess that’s just how it sits.

not your average crochet - maeve shrug

Even if it has a couple of small cosmetic issues, this shrug is SO COMFY.  I know I’ve used a lot of caps in this post and I don’t usually do that but that just shows you how much I mean it!  The shrug is very warm and cozy and no parts of it are too tight, and the front magically stays in front of my chest which is the best (because it helps keep the whole shrug in place & it keeps me more securely wrapped and warm)!  I like how it completely covers my neck — that’s one of my issues in winter with my sweaters that have larger necklines — my neck gets too cold!

So to sum it up, I like this shrug a lot.  It was easy to make (minus the math headache that I completely created for myself) and took a little over 2 months to knit, working on it pretty regularly but not obsessively.

Now on to my sport weight yarn struggles — I need your advice!  I have this LOVELY (again, I mean super duper lovely because the spin is great and it is SO SOFT) yarn in a fun bright color that I got on sale a long time ago from Purl Soho called Mulberry Merino (80% merino, 20% silk):

Purl Soho Mulberry Merino

I wanted to make a crochet shawl that has a large wingspan so that I can add buttons and wear it as a cardigan if I want to, like The Boho Crochet Wrap does.  However, when I purchased a pattern that I thought would be suitable for my sport weight yarn I had a huge gauge issue.

The pattern I purchased is called Picnic, and the pattern says that gauge isn’t really important.  However it does give measurements for a gauge swatch and I was so far off that I redid my swatch 4 times!  It says 15 sts & 7 rows of dc = 4″(10cm) with a size E hook (3.5mm), but I went all the way up to a size H hook and my gauge was still too small!  And by the looks of it even if I keep going up hook sizes to get the stitch gauge my row gauge will still be at least 1/2″ off, if not more.  That’s potentially a problem if I want a large wingspan and have a limited amount of yarn to work with (988 yds/903 m)!

I also like the Hotel of Bees shawl, and I could make it with this yarn (I think it would look fine in one color, and this bright yellow reminds me of bees), but it has the gauge listed on the Ravelry page & it looks like I’d have a similar issue (although maybe not so much with the row gauge… but I’d still have to go from the recommended E hook to at least an I)!

Now I haven’t done a gauge swatch for crochet in a while because I haven’t really needed to; am I crocheting extremely tight?  It doesn’t feel like it when I’m doing it, and I even tried the gauge swatch with my Clover Amour hooks and my Susan Bates hooks to see if the different kind of hook made a difference (it made only a tiny difference in row height).

What do I do?  I feel bad about paying for the pattern if I’m not gonna use it but I don’t want to spend all that time making the shawl if it’s not gonna be the size I want.

Maybe I could just try to make The Boho Crochet Wrap in this yarn instead of a DK weight yarn.  It calls for 980 yds of DK weight yarn though and I only have 988 yds of sport weight yarn — if I went up a few hook sizes do you think I could make it work out to be the same size?

Ugh, all this nice yarn poses such troubles because I want the pattern for it to be perfect!  Please let me know below what you’d do, or if you have any suggestions.

Thanks for reading this far, and thanks for stopping by!  See you soon!  :-)

busy hands: cacti trio #2 & more!

My coworker friend really liked the cacti trio that I took and put in my office:

not your average crochet - office cacti

And she commissioned me to make her a trio for her office!  So here’s her trio:

not your average crochet - cacti trio 2

You can see that I made an exact same barrel cactus, but the other two are different:

not your average crochet - cactus

This cactus with purple flowers doesn’t have a pattern specifically, I just used the techniques from the barrel cactus pattern and added the little flowers.

not your average crochet - succulent

This little succulent does have a free pattern (click here), although I added more petals than the pattern says.

I think my coworker’s trio turned out super cute!  I do apologize for the photos being a bit blurry — they had to be taken late at night so that I could take them to work in the  morning.

I’ve also made a dragon egg dice bag for my husband, who plays a couple of games that require irregular die:

not your average crochet - dragon egg dice bag

As you can see it uses the crocodile stitch that is so popular right now for those mermaid tail blankets, and let me tell you, this stitch is a wool eater!  I just used cheap Red Heart that I had lying around for amigurumi figurines.  When you cinch the drawstring it begins to look like an actual egg, even like the ones from Game of Thrones:

not your average crochet - dragon egg dice bag

It’s a tad misshapen here because it’s laying on its side and isn’t cinched up all the way, but you get the idea.  I think it turned out pretty well!

I’m still working on a couple of things that I will share soon, as well; I’ve had busy hands!  Thanks for stopping by, see you soon!

crochet cacti trio

My office in our new building is nice and big, but it’s got no windows and is very bare since we have to provide our own decor.  It needs something green, and since I can’t really grow real plants in there, I had to make my own!

IMG_3960not your average crochet - cacti

I’m really happy with all of them!  The agave took the longest and was hardest on my hands, but even so I can’t pick a favorite!

IMG_3960not your average crochet - cacti

I talked about the barrel cactus in my last post.  The agave & saguaro were also made with worsted yarn and a size E hook.  The free pattern for the agave can be found here and the free pattern for the saguaro can be found here.  I made some alterations though — with the agave plant I made 5 of the medium leaves, 3 of the small leaves, and then I made 3 even smaller leaves that aren’t included in the free pattern but follow the same easy premise.

not your average crochet - agave

I also made the saguaro a little taller so that I could bury a good bit of it under the rocks to stabilize it.

not your average crochet - saguaro cactus

These are just so cute, I’m so happy with them.  I might have to go back to the store and get a couple more pots and try a couple of other types of cacti!

Well that’s all for today, thanks for stopping by!

summer crochet

The Maeve shrug is still coming along — only about 4 more inches of the band to go and I can bind off.  Unfortunately for productivity the shrug is big, wool, & warm, so I wanted to start some smaller, quicker, cooler projects.

Say hello to my little barrel cactus!

not your average crochet - barrel cactus

Isn’t he cute?  The free crochet pattern is here (although I doubled the stitches per row and the number of rows), and the free crochet pattern for the pink flower I put on top is here.

not your average crochet - barrel cactus

I want to name him something adorable.  There’s also a mini agave plant and a mini saguaro cactus in the works; the trio will help decorate my sad window-less office and make it sorta-kinda seem like there are living things in there… sorta.

not your average crochet - barrel cactus

Speaking of decorating my office, I’ve also started a doily for my very large wooden desk!  The crochet pattern is called “Debbie” and it can be found for $3.99 USD here.

not your average crochet - Debbie doily

It’s worth noting that I’m using my new Clover Amour hooks and I swear I couldn’t get so much done at once if it wasn’t for those awesome handles.  However, I DID have to do the first bit 3 times before getting even close to gauge with different hooks; it calls for a steel 1.75 mm hook but I’m using a 2.75 mm hook instead.  I wonder if the author had a problem with their gauge (which is not very likely), if I have a problem with mine, or if the tapered hooks (instead of my usual inline) are making a difference.  I’ll have to remember to do gauge swatches when using these hooks in the future, just in case.  It’s a fun pattern so far anyhow, with interesting stitches but nothing too hard (at least not yet).

As far as other life stuff goes, I dyed my hair purple & got a side cut, which I love.  Work has been crazy busy but we just passed inspection for the renewal of our accreditation so I’m hoping things will get a bit easier, at least for a little bit.  I think we all need a break, because we’ve all got a bunch of other life junk going on too and we need to practice some self care.

Well, that’s all for today I suppose.  I’ll update with more cacti soon, hopefully, and progress on the doily and the Maeve!  Thanks so much for stopping by, see you soon!

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