Friday, January 13, 2017

She Made Me Do It

  I've been so involved with other projects that I forgot to update you all with the latest yarn purchase... I know, I promised not to buy more. The Kid made me do it; I swear! Some of her friends surprised her with some holiday gifts, so she wanted to get some things to return the favor. She chose to go shopping at the craft store. Then she took a wrong turn and led me right into the yarn section. Next thing I knew, all of this was in the basket:

yarn, shopping, Michaels, Caron, Loops & Threads


  There was more, too. Some of that got used up in an all-night crochet tornado of making gift bags (and a tie) for her friends. I took pictures of the bags, but lost them somewhere in the new computer. And the tie was finished last-minute before she left, so I never got a photo of that it. Each were made with Caron Simply Soft, which happened to be available in all of their favorite colors... Of course, I let her pick out a few skeins in colors she liked, too. She picked out the brightest red and a beautiful purple which unfortunately comes out a bit dull in the pictures:

yarn, Caron Simply Soft, Iris


  Directly across the aisle from Simply Soft is a wall of Loops & Threads Charisma on sale for $2 a ball! "Ooo! Get it! Get it! Get it!"... That was me speaking, not her. She's obsessed with purple, and they had this awesome heather in an amethyst tone. I knew exactly what it was going to be when I saw it. We (I) bought four balls.

yarn, Loops & Threads Charisma, purple


  Of all those purchases I can blame solely on The Kid, there was one I made of my own choosing... Though I did make her pick the color. I was a bit scared to try another new yarn from Loops & Threads after my mishaps with Facets, but I do enjoy working with Charisma, so not all of their yarns are bad. (Just that one.) Since this stuff looks to be a cheaper version of Simply Soft, I decided to compare it:

yarn, Loops & Threads Soft & Shiny, Caron Simply Soft


  At first comparison, Loops & Threads Soft & Shiny is even more shiny and softer than Caron Simply Soft. I haven't worked with it yet to know if the gauge will match, but Soft & Shiny seems to be a little thicker than Simply Soft. And just like Facets, it appears to be tightly spun when balled up, but as soon as you pull it from the skein, you can see loose fibers. Oops! Well, would you look at that... While trying to pull the tail out to show you, this skein spit out a little yarn vomit. We can't have that mess sitting around now, can we? I'll have to get a hook and start experimenting!

Loops & Threads Soft & Shiny, yarn, Michaels
  

  But first... There's this little thing I started that will have to be finished up. Didn't I mention that there was four balls of that Charisma purchased? So, where's the pretty picture of all of them piled up in all their glory? Sorry, all I can give you is this:

Loops & Threads Charisma, yarn, Michaels


  Um... Should I explain that I'm still having trouble with insomnia? Instead of letting it bother me, I've just worked it into my schedule as "free time". Free time to work on whatever I want. The pretty purple fluff called to me from the bag, asking why I left it in there. My latest session of Free Time was dedicated to helping it evolve into the vision I had for it:

Loops & Threads Charisma, vest, rectangle, granny


  I think I like Free Time! Especially when it involves chunky yarn that works up quickly. And as a purple-lover myself, this one is just a treat to watch grow. I won't be sharing a full photo of the project yet because I want to keep it a bit of a secret from The Kid. All I'll say for now is: Wow, this one is gonna be great.

  Well, in that last photo you might notice the sun going down for the day. I guess it's time to go make some food... Rip van Winkle came home hungry. I'd say I can probably have this project finished by tomorrow, but I won't. It's a Free Time project that's not on a program. Maybe I'll get some sleep tonight. Or maybe there will just be more


Happy Crocheting!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Faerie's Enchantment Hat

  When I made the videos for this hat and the matching scarf, I hadn't yet decided on a name for the pattern. Therefore, I simply called it by the name of the stitch used. It didn't take long for this set to inspire my imagination!


crochet, free pattern, hat, beanie, stretchy, Caron Cakes, Faerie's Enchantment Hat


  Between the color of yarn used (Faerie Cake) and the "magic" in the way the increases for this hat are worked, my mind started seeing sparks of a Faerie's magic in the stitches. Plus, my new hat feels like it has its own mojo every time I wear it. I feel more energetic, confident, and even a little mischievous when it's on my head. It's quite enchanting. I think that's just because it's a great looking/fitting/feeling hat... But let's not downplay that magic too much! 😉


crochet, free pattern, hat, beanie, stretchy, Caron Cakes, Faerie's Enchantment Hat


  It's safe to call this hat one-size-fits-all for adults; the stitch makes a super-stretchy material (check out the video to see how far it stretches - it's at about 30 seconds). You may want to work an extra round for larger sizes, because more stretch = less length. And the stitch count is easy to adjust for smaller sizes, but I haven't worked any up yet so you'll have to measure for fit. I did make a larger version that turned out more like a slouchy beanie, shown after the written pattern. All you have to do is adjust the number of stitches in the first row, and the rest of the pattern stays the same!


crochet, free pattern, hat, beanie, stretchy, Caron Cakes, Faerie's Enchantment Hat



Skill level:
Easy-Intermediate


Materials:
Caron Cakes (or equivalent)
- worsted weight (4), 80% acrylic, 20% wool
- Color used for main pattern: Faerie Cake
- Slouchy hat made in color Bumbleberry and finished with Caron One Pound
Crochet hook size H/8 - 5.00 mm
Stitch markers (optional)
Yarn needle


Gauge:
In 4" x 4" (10 cm x 10 cm) square
8 rows of 8 in pattern stitch


Notes:
Pattern stitch is worked in multiples of 2.

Chain 1 at beginning of rounds does not count as a stitch.

The first double crochet in the round may be difficult to find because it falls behind the next stitch. Mark with a stitch marker if needed.

Disregard stitch counts if working a different size. The second and third rounds will double the number of stitches each time, and the stitch count stays the same from then on.

Find the full how-to video for this project here: https://youtu.be/QNHR4VFCwjo


Stitches (American terms):
Chain
Slip stitch
Double crochet

Double crochet cross stitch (beginning stitch for rounds is written out in pattern)
-Increasing stitch: Yarn over, insert hook in the next stitch. Yarn over, pull up a loop. (Yarn over, pull through 2 loops on hook) x2 (1 double crochet made.) Yarn over, insert the hook from front to back in the same stitch, behind the first double crochet made. Yarn over, pull up a loop from behind the first double crochet. (Yarn over, pull through 2 loops on hook) x2.

-Non-increasing stitch:
Skip one, make a double crochet. Yarn over, insert hook from front to back in the skipped stitch, behind the first double crochet. Yarn over, pull up a loop from behind the first stitch. (Yarn over, pull through 2 loops on hook) x2.


Instructions:

crochet, free pattern, hat, beanie, stretchy, Caron Cakes, Faerie's Enchantment Hat


The pattern begins with a loop on the hook, and chain-1 to begin. All stitches will be made into the beginning loop. You may begin with a magic circle and chain-1 if you prefer.


Round 1:
In the beginning loop: Make 1 double crochet. Yarn over, Insert hook in loop from front to back, behind the stitch just made. (Yarn over, pull through 2 loops) to complete the stitch.
(First double crochet cross stitch of the round)
Make 8 more double crochet cross stitch to complete the round. Join with a slip stitch to the first double crochet of the round.
(9 double crochet cross stitch; 18 stitches total)


Round 2:
Chain 1. Make a double crochet in the first available stitch. Working behind the chain-1 and stitch just made, make a double crochet in the same place.
(First double crochet cross stitch of the round)
Work an increasing double crochet cross stitch in each remaining stitch around. Join with a slip stitch to the first double crochet of the round.
(18 double crochet cross stitch; 36 stitches total)


Round 3:
Chain 1. Make a double crochet in the first available stitch. Working behind the chain-1 and stitch just made, make a double crochet in the same place.
(First double crochet cross stitch of the round)
Work an increasing double crochet cross stitch in each remaining stitch around. Join with a slip stitch to the first double crochet of the round.
(36 double crochet cross stitch; 72 stitches total)

Don't worry! The pattern will begin to ruffle from the rapidly increasing stitches. Working the following rounds will straighten it out.


Round 4:
Chain 1. Make a double crochet in the first available stitch. Working behind the chain-1 and stitch just made, make a double crochet in the stitch before the first.
(First double crochet cross stitch of the round)
Make a non-increasing double crochet cross stitch in each of the following stitches. (1 non-increasing stitch is worked over 2 stitches.) Join with a slip stitch to the first double crochet of the round.
(36 double crochet cross stitch; 72 stitches total)


Rounds 5 through 15 (or to your desired length):
Repeat round 4.

*You can bind off and weave in ends, or check out the variations I made on the slouchy hat:


crochet, free pattern, hat, slouchy, Caron Cakes, double crochet cross stitch, Faerie's Enchantment Hat

  This version begins with 10 double crochet cross stitch, which makes the top a little more "slouchy". I used up the scrap I had left of the Bumbleberry color that made the Angel Cakes Shawl, but ran out in the middle of round 13. I pulled it back to round 12 and changed to some scrap of One Pound in black. Not having enough of that for a full three rounds in the pattern stitch, I finished off with a round of single crochet stitches.

crochet, free pattern, hat, slouchy, Caron Cakes, Bumbleberry, double crochet cross stitch, Faerie's Enchantment Hat


  Since this hat fits a little loosely without stretching over the head, it actually fits longer than the smaller, full-15-round version. I suspect the hat worked as written would double as a slouchy hat for an older child or tween, but I'm not sure what length it should be worked to for the proper fit.


Happy Crocheting!

PS - The pattern for the matching scarf will be coming up next!

crochet, free pattern, hat, scarf, Caron Cakes, double crochet cross stitch, Faerie's Enchantment Set

Monday, January 9, 2017

It's NOT a Disaster!

  Well, well... I'm very surprised at what I'm about to share with you! First, let me quickly set up the situation: Rip van Winkle has developed a nasty infection which has me washing and re-washing everything in the house, and cleaning like mad. So, can you guess what happened when I hastily grabbed a pile of crochet stuff I had thrown on the floor? My blanket made with Bernat Blanket came out fine after being dried on high heat. My afghan made with both Caron One Pound and Simply Soft survived a wash in the machine on the heavy setting. And my fuzzy blanket (not crocheted) that was tossed in with them left a lot of lint in my dryer... But there was one item in that pile that wasn't destined for machine washing... That "disaster" of a cowl I made with Loops & Threads Facets.


Loops & Threads, Facets, yarn, crochet, cowl, fail


Loops & Threads, Facets, yarn, crochet, cowl, fail


"OH NO!" was the first thing out of my mouth when I saw a corner of it peeking out of the load in the just-ran-on-a-full-cycle-on-high-heat-dryer.

"It's destroyed" was the next thought I had before pulling it out...

And "I can't believe this!" is what I said when I saw the whole thing.


Loops & Threads, Facets, yarn, crochet, cowl, fail



  The end of a tail has popped out, which we all know happens from time to time. But other than that, I swear it looks better now than when I had hand-washed it! The feel of the yarn is... Different. It's not quite as soft as it had been, now having a bit of a scratchy-wool-but-still-soft feeling. The fuzzy frizz that had developed all over the project now appears to be smoothed out some (but not all the way; you'll see soon). And the whole thing shrank a little bit, but it now looks more like its old shape instead of the stretched-out mess it had become.


Loops & Threads, Facets, yarn, crochet, cowl, fail


   But, where did that frizz go? One theory is that perhaps they were loose fibers that needed a fluff in the dryer to remove... The lint trap sure was full of gray stuff, and maybe it didn't all come from that Walmart blanket. I originally thought that my black blanket's lint had mixed with some lint from the Bernat Blanket to create gray; that was before I saw the cowl in there.


  My other theory is that the high heat simply melted the frizzies away, and that's why my fluffy-soft cowl is a little scratchy now. Come to think of it, maybe a better way to describe the feeling is "crispy". Kinda like if you iron acrylic yarn... Hmm... There's an idea! I wonder if I could use an old cotton towel and the iron to further set these fibers in place? That's an experiment best performed on a scrap of the yarn before I go killing the whole cowl. But I think it's worth trying, because the edges of the piece are still looking like a well-worn sweater.


Loops & Threads, Facets, yarn, crochet, cowl, fail


  Maybe I should just let it go... From farther away and out of bright light, the cowl simply looks like a cozy, soft, fluffy accessory. When it's bunched up around the neck, the seams that pulled from shrinking can't be noticed. It even seems like maybe that shrinking helps bring the definition back to the lace squares.


Loops & Threads, Facets, yarn, crochet, cowl, fail


  I'm still going to make the pattern again in another yarn. I'll just call this a tester and wear it out without worrying! And who knows? Maybe after another accidental trip into the dryer, it might look even better. I think the next time it needs washed, I'll toss it in the machine again. But I do fear another trip to the dryer could turn it into a child-size cowl. Eh, either way, I'm over it. It's time to move on to the next project and more

Happy Crocheting! 

Ooo, but wait! Now this yarn is on clearance! Maybe I should buy more! 
😉 Just kidding. 😉

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