Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Grown-Up Yarn

Lately, I've become very interested in what my friend calls "grown-up yarn". Basically, this is anything that's not acrylic, and is preferably hand dyed and/or hand spun. She loves Peruvian wool, angora, and silk-blend yarn. We also found some camel blend yarn in our local yarn shop, and some incredibly lovely soft stuff that was made of 20% lactase. That's milk protein. Someone figured out how to spin milk into a gorgeously soft yarn with a beautiful sheen.

Since I haven't posted anything for a while, and since I assume that any regular readers of this blog (if there are any, which frankly I doubt - and no, that's not encouragement for someone to boost my ego) then they must be interested in the - what shall I call it? The theory of crochet and yarn-work in general. Therefore, I don't feel at all bad posting my fangirlish ravings about Grown-Up Yarn.

I sit here with two skeins of Peruvian wool/alpaca/silk blend yarn and one of merino wool/llama/silk blend yarn beside me, part of a skein of acrylic wound around my fingers, and a helmet made of many kinds of acrylic yarn on my head, waiting for the final piece. My hook is sitting on my side table, just waiting to be used, along with two mismatched knitting needles I'm contemplating experimenting with. The goal here is to make a dwarf's helmet that would make Hrothgar proud. (When it's finished, assuming it's any good, I'll post the pattern so that all interested parties can make their own.)

More on that later.

There's this yarn store about twenty minutes from where I live. It's an amazing place with three rooms filled with yarn. Yarn in cubbyholes along the walls, yarn on shelves, yarn sitting in baskets and piles. There's embroidery thread and patterns as well, but it's mostly yarn. None of it's in balls or skeins; it's all in hanks, varying from fit-in-the-palm-of-your-hand to babydoll size. There are couches, too, and customers are encouraged to come and sit and work on things for as long as they want to. It's amazing. I love it.

The best part is that they don't have any of the name brands you see in WalMart and Hobby Lobby and Michael's. Vanna's Choice was to absent itself from this store. I Love This Yarn!, of course, has never been here, being the Hobby Lobby brand. Lion's Brand is missing and they don't even have Red Heart. It's like sifting through the Etsy yarn section - it just reeks of lovely lovely hand-made yarn. You can almost see the Peruvian farmers shearing their sheep and then spinning the wool. Actually, the first time I walked in, there was a guy in there spinning thread. He had a push-pedal spinning wheel and a huge mound of fluff beside him and he was making thread.

Of course, all of this yarn is horribly expensive (I paid $30 for my three skeins) but it was oh so worth it. Seriously, I have never been more excited to buy yarn, and that's saying something. Buying yarn is one of my main hobbies.

I even showed my gorgeous new yarn to my mother and made her comment on how nice it is, even though I'm well aware of just how little she cares about yarn.

I think I'm going to have to do more side projects with grown-up yarn. Maybe I should look into making wearables, even though generally speaking wearables bore me, just so I have an excuse to buy that oh-so-pretty milk protein yarn. Even if it is $20 a hank. (I'll have to save up first.)

Friday, June 21, 2013

Strawberry Trinket Pouch

This used to be for sale in my Etsy shop, but since I've refined my brand, I've taken it down and decided to put the pattern up here instead.

It's a smallish bag, made to fasten onto a dorm bed and help replace a night table. I keep my watch, my contact case, and some cough drops in mine; I don't know what I'd do without it sometimes!

This pattern has a band on the back, and a crochet strawberry flower as a button, so that it can be fastened onto things.

x(st) y:  x is the number of stitches to make in the next stitch. (st) is the kind of stitch to make. y tells you how many stitches to do. hdc 7 means "one hdc in each of next 7". 2sc 4 means "two sc in each of next 4".
2-x:  make two stitches in first stitch, then one stitch in each of next x stitches. Repeat around. (used for increasing) If this row doesn't specify the stitch kind, use the last kind of stitch specified.
2-x dec:  make (st)2tog in first two stitches, then one stitch in each of next x stitches. Repeat around. (used for decreasing) If this row doesn't specify the stitch kind, use the last kind of stitch specified.
ea: Do this for each stitch around.
Row of numbers: if there's a row of numbers after a row, repeat that row for all of those rows. (For example, hdc ea - 3 4 5 6 means that rows 3-6 are "hdc ea")
*instructions* - Repeat from * to * around.

Unless specified otherwise, join with sl st at the end of each round, then ch2. Do not turn.

Any worsted weight green
Any worsted weight red
Magenta for the small strawberries (or you can use more red)
Scraps of black (~1yrd) for embroidering seeds
A bit of white (~2yrd) for flower
Scrap of yellow (~2ft)
Polyfill to stuff small strawberries

5 hdc in a magic circle
2: 2 ea (10)
3: 2 ea (20)
4: hdc ea
5: 2-3 (30)
6: 2-5 (35)
7: 2-6 (40)
8: hdc ea
8 9 10 11 12 13
End off red. Join green.
14: hdc ea
15: *hdc 3, ch1, sk1*
16: sc ea
17: *sc, dc, tr, dc*
fasten off.

With green, ch however many you want to make the drawstring your desired length. I find that about 65 works.

Ch2 with magenta or red
1: 4 sc
2: 2 ea
3: sc ea
3 4 5 6
Join green. Stuff the strawberry.
7: 2-1 dec (6)
8: 2-1 dec (4). fasten off with ~6" tail. Sew shut.

with red, ch35
1: hdc in 2nd from hook. hdc to the end. (34)
2: sc in each until seven from the end. ch3, skip 3 sc. sc 4.
3: hdc 4, 3hdc in chsp, hdc ea to end. fasten off.

With white, mc 5 sc.
Each petal should be made in 1 st.
2: *(sl st, sc, hdc, dc, hdc)* fasten off.

1. Sew top of strap just under the green of the bag. (The top of the strap is the narrow end without the button hole.)
2. Use the yellow to sew the flower to the bag. The yellow makes the center of the flower.
3. Sew one small strawberry to the end of the drawstring. Thread the strawberry-less end through the holes, then sew the other strawberry on.
4. Weave in all ends.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Converse Slippers Pattern

I made these slippers for my roommate last year. She loves them! Someone requested I share the pattern, so here it is!

A couple of things first:  These are INDOOR SLIPPERS ONLY. They aren't suitable for going outside, and from what I've seen the white yarn won't clean up completely unless you bleach it, which will ruin the yarn. So only wear them inside, k?

Also, I haven't got around to sizing yet, so these are size 8 women's. If you adapt it to make a different size, I'd love to know! =)

How to read my patterns:
xst y:  x is the number of stitches to work into the next stitch. st is the kind of stitch to use. y is the number of stitches to work this way. (2sc 3 means make 2 sc in each of the next 3 stitches.)
sk - skip this many stitches.
2-x (dec):  2sc first st, 1sc x. If there's a dec after this instruction, replace the 2sc with sc2tog.

I Love This Yarn! Red (or any color you want) - 1 skein per pair
I Love This Yarn! White - 1 skein per pair
G hook
Yarn needle for sewing in ends

With white, ch23.
1: sc 11, hdc 10, 9hdc, hdc 10, sc 10, 4sc. (54)
2: hdc 21, 2hdc, hdc 2, 2hdc 3, hdc 2, 2hdc, hdc 21, 2hdc 3. (62)
3: hdc 23, 3hdc, hdc 2, 2hdc, hdc 1, 2hdc 2, hdc 1, 2hdc, hdc 2, 2hdc, hdc 23, 2hdc, hdc 2, 2hdc. (70)
4: hdc 26, (2hdc, hdc1)x6, 2hdc, hdc 27, 2hdc 3, hdc 1. (80)
5: hdc 30, 2hdc, hdc 3, 2hdc, hdc 1, 2hdc, hdc 1, 2hdc, hdc 3, 2hdc, hdc 30, 2hdc, hdc 2, 2hdc, hdc 2, 2hdc. (88)
6: hdc 33, 2hdc, hdc 1, (2hdc, hdc 2)x3, 2hdc, hdc 1, 2hdc, hdc 33, 2hdc, hdc 1, 2hdc 4, hdc 1, 2hdc. (100)
7: hdc ea
8: back loops only, sc ea
9-10: sc ea

After row 10, join red between 9 and 10. sl st around. Mark out 28 st at toe. Join red next to the mark.

11: sc to other marker, leaving toe alone. (72)
12: ch3, sk 2, sc to last 2, ch2sk1, sc last.
13: (sc3, sc2tog)x3, sc to last 15, (sc2tog, sc 3)x3
14: sc2tog, sc to last 2, sc2tog.
15: ch3, sk2, sc to last 2, ch2sk1, sc last.
16: (sc3, sc2tog)x3, sc to last 15, (sc2tog, sc3)x3
17: sc2tog, sc to last 2, sc2tog
18: ch3, sk2, sc to last 2, ch2sk1, sc last.
19: (sc2, sc2tog)x4, sc to last 16, (sc2tog, sc 2)x4
20: sc2tog, sc to last 2, sc2tog
21: ch3, sk2, sc to last 2, ch2sk1, sc last.
22: sc2tog, sc to last 2, sc2tog.
23: sc ea
24: ch3, sk2, sc to last 2, ch2sk1, sc last.
25: sc ea. (33)
26: sc ea.
27: ch3, sk2, sc to last 2, ch2sk1, sc last.
28: sc ea. fasten off.

TOE AND TONGUE -- join white in the same sp as the first st of red.
1: back loops only, sc ea. (30)
2: sc2tog ea (15)
3: 2-1 dec. (10)
4: sc 3, sc2tog 2, sc 3 (8)
5: sc 3, sc2tog, sc 3 (7)
6: sc, sc2tog, sc, sc2tog, sc (5)
7: sc2tog, sk 1, sc2tog. fasten off. break white.

8: Join red at 1 side. sc across. (16)
9: sc2tog, dc to last 2, dc2tog. (14)
10: dc ea
10 11 12 13 14 15
16: dc2tog, dc to last 2, dc2tog (12)
17: dc ea
17 18 19 20 21
22: dc2tog, dc to last 2, dc2tog (10)
23: dc ea
23 24. Fasten off.

Join red at the top of the high-top, just behind the first lace hole. sc down one side, across the edge of the toe (where the white toe meets the red tongue) and up the other side. Fasten off.
Sew in all ends.

LACES: With white, ch235.

And there you are! Make the other one and you're good to go!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Simple Kindle Case

I got a Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas, and it's sadly unprotected in my chaotic life. So I'm going to make a very simple case for it. I really don't forsee any problems - just a straightforward project which shouldn't take more than a few hours. Hopefully, it will also use up a little ball of white yarn that I have taking up space.

I'm going to make it mainly white, with a pink band around the top. I'm using Red Heart yarn (the pink is, at least) and my H hook.

ch19, white
1: hdc to last. 3hdc. hdc to last. 2hdc.
2: hdc ea
3: sc ea
3456789 10 11 12 13

And now I'm out of white. It's a little earlier than I wanted, but that's okay. I'll switch to the pink now and maybe do a narrow band of dark pink around the top.

14: sc ea pink
14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26: sc ea dark pink.
27: hdc ea
27 28
29: sc 3, ch30, sc ea. Skip no sts.
30: sc ea, end off.

All done! Paperwhite cover complete. It fits, but it's a bit tight; next time I'd do 20 ch at the beginning, or maybe 21. The long ch30 in the second-to-last row is a button strap. It's supposed to stretch diagonally over the top and across the front to a button sewn into the light pink. I'm going to make a flower once I have a good yellow for the center.

There we go; got a flower on it and it's lovely. I don't remember how I made the flower, sorry. I might figure it out later and do a little post for that.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Little Backpack

Another project? Just what I need right now!

So, a few days ago, I decided that I needed some stitch markers. And um... I went on Etsy and bought fifty of them. It seemed like a great idea at the time - they were less than $3 for 25 of them, so I thought, I'll get two sets! Then, when they break, which they will because no one sells durable things for that cheap, I'll have plenty more and I won't have to worry!

After I'd ordered them, I realized that I live in a dorm and have absolutely nowhere to put fifty stitch markers. Crap. Okay, okay, no problem... I can handle this. I have yarn with me, so I shall make a bag!

My favorite site to look up patterns is It's a free site and has hundreds and hundreds of patterns. The only problem is, there's a new layout which is much harder to navigate than the old one was, so I don't like spending time there anymore. And things like bags... well, there are millions of patterns! I could spend all day looking through the pages of patterns for bags! And it's not like it lists the whole pattern - just the names, which link out to the site where you can then read the pattern.

I got in and out as quick as I could with a pattern for a kid's backpack, which looks promising. Except that... I didn't like it. I didn't like the colors and it was too small and I didn't want to have to use two strands of thread, especially since I only have one ball of the color and it's a tiny one at that. So here I am, making my own pattern.

Now... I didn't think this was worthy of a blog post until after I'd done the base and part of one side, so I don't have pictures of working on those parts.

My basic plan is this:  I've got a circular (well, hexagonal) base and I'm going to do blue front and back panels, tan sides, and a dark brown closing flap. The blue parts will just be rectangles worked into the base. The sides will be half as wide as the front, at the bottom, and decrease as they go up. Here's what I have so far:

1: ch2, 6sc.
2: 2 ea (12)
3: 2-1 (18)
4: 2-2 (24)
5: 2-3 (30)
6: 2-4 (36)
7: 2-5 (42)
8: 2-6 (48)
9: 2-7 (54)
10: 2-8 (60)
11: 2-9 (66)
12: blo, sc ea

13: sc 22
13 14 15 16 17 18 19

I picked multiples of six so that I could split it evenly into four parts, with the front and back panels twice as big, like I said. I'm thinking that the side panels will start at 11 and decrease to maybe 4 or 5. I'm also thinking I'll need at least 40 rows. Also, I think I do need to decrease the front and back panels as well - the back more than the front.

20: sc2tog, sc to last 2, sc2tog (20)
21: sc ea
21 22 23 24 25 26
27: sc2tog, sc to last 2, sc2tog (18)
28: sc ea
28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35

I know I said 40 rows, but it looks like this is good, so I'll fasten off here and get to work on the sides. I've decided to make the sides 13, instead of 11, with the two outside stitches sharing a space in the first row with the front and back panels. That will eliminate a little bit of a gap in the bottom. That space always drives me nuts when I'm making something with pieces to be sewn together.

Sides: join in the same st as blue front panel.
13: sc 13
13 14 15 16 17
18: sc2tog, sc to last 2, sc2tog (11)
19: sc ea
19 20 21 22
23: sc2tog, sc to last 2, sc2tog (9)
24: sc ea
24 25 26 27
28: sc2tog, sc to last 2, sc2tog (7)
29: sc ea
29 30 31
32: sc2tog, sc to last 2, sc2tog (5)
33: sc ea
34: sc2, sc2tog, sc (4)

[picture here] Well, I know I'm very nearly done, but it isn't what I want. I don't like how wide it is at the bottom, so I'm going to rip it all out and start again. I also think that the panel I labeled "front" should be the back, instead.

Sides: join in same st as blue.
13: sc 13
14: sc2tog, sc to last 2, sc2tog (11)
15: sc ea
15 16 17
18: sc2tog, sc to last 2, sc2tog (9)
19: sc ea
19 20 21 22
23: sc2tog, sc to last 2, sc2tog (7)
24: sc ea
24 25 26 27 28
29: sc2tog, sc to last 2, sc2tog (5)
30: sc ea
30 31 32 33
34: sc 2, sc2tog, sc (4)
35: sc ea

Okay, that looks good! Now, fasten off and do the same on the other side.

Well, it's hard to see in the picture, but I'm really pleased with how this looks so far! I want the front to protrude more, be a lot rounder. I'm thinking I'll increase over the first few rows of the front and then gradually decrease up to the top. We'll give it a try.

FRONT (for real) - join blue in same st as brown.
13: sc ea
14: sc 4, 2sc, sc 3, 2sc, sc 4, 2sc, sc 3, 2sc, sc 4 (26)
15: sc ea
16: sc 5, 2sc, sc 4, 2sc, sc 4, 2sc, sc 4, 2sc, sc 5 (30)
17: sc ea
17 18
19: sc2tog, sc to last 2, sc2tog (28)
20: sc ea
20 21
22: sc2tog, sc to last 2, sc2tog (26)
23: sc ea
23 24
25: sc2tog, sc to last 2, sc2tog (24)
26: sc ea
26 27
28: sc2tog, sc to last 2, sc2tog (22)
29: sc ea
29 30 31
32: sc2tog, sc to last 2, sc2tog (20)
33: sc ea
33 34 35

And okay! There we go. All four panels done, now to sew them together! Then all I'll have to do is experiment in how to make a long semicircle (I guess, a semioval) for the top.

As you can see, the sides are a little misshapen, but I'm not worried about that. I could probably fix it if I wanted to, but it won't affect the integrity of the bag and this is just a storage bag, not something I plan on carrying around. I'm not too worried about how it works.

I looked around the internet and I can't find any semioval that I like, so I guess I'll have to make it up. I've done something like this before, in the converse slippers I made a while back, but I'm not really looking forward to it. It's just tedious to get the shape exactly right. To do it, I'll use a combination of sc and hdc.

TOP - ch 4
1: sc 2, 3sc, sc 2
2: sc 2. 2sc 3, sc 2
3: hdc 3, sc 1, 2sc 2, sc 1, hdc 3

This shape is absolutely perfect, but... still way too small. Normally I would just do sc rows until it's big enough, but that would make the edges curl instead of laying flat. I don't want that, so I'll have to keep increasing the number of stitches until it's as big as I want. I think I'll go to just using hdc so that the stitches are a little taller and I won't have to make so many rows.

4: hdc 2, 2hdc, hdc 2, 2hdc, hdc 2, 2hdc, hdc 3. (15)
5: (hdc 2, 2hdc) x2. hdc 1, 2hdc, hdc 1. (2hdc, hdc 2) x2 (20)
6: (hdc 3, 2hdc) x2, hdc 4, (2hdc, hdc 3) x2 (24)
7: (hdc 4, 2hdc) x4. hdc 4. (28)
8: (hdc 5, 2hdc) x2, hdc 4, (2hdc, hdc 5) x2 (32)

Well, it's now as wide as I want it, but not as long. I'm running out of this color, so I'm thinking I'll do two rows along the bottom (hdc) and then a sc row around the entire thing, if I can. Then I'll use whatever is left to sew it to the rest of the bag.

9: along bottom edge, hdc
10: hdc ea
11: sc around. In the middle, ch3 for buttonhole. Skip no sts. fasten off.

And there's not a lot left, maybe about six inches, so I'll go ahead and trim it off, then sew it on with blue. I have lots of blue. I'm also going to make straps (purely decorative, obviously) and a loop on top so that I can hang the back somewhere. Shouldn't be too hard. I don't have enough of the tan I was using, so I'll use a slightly darker brown. It should still match. If it doesn't, well, I'm not really bothered.

STRAPS - make 2.
1: sc ea.
1 2

Top strap - ch15
1: sc ea
1 2

And there! All done! Sew in the ends and you're ready to go! Probably a small child could wear this, if you wanted, but mostly I just want to put things in it and tuck it away somewhere. When I get back to my dorm room and my button stash, I'll sew a button on it to keep it closed. For now, I'm pleased with this.