Saturday, 29 November 2014

This morning the thermometer out back reported the temperature as -30C.
There really is nothing more to say!
Yesterday was clear away the snow day.
when I opened the garage door

snow sculpture on the back deck

And my version of Lucy's blanket is done, because my yarn is thicker and I really wanted an afghan/lap blanket. Now I'm

just waiting for her to show her border, so I can follow along with that part.

The cold also makes me think of warm hats.

This was crochet with two strands of RH Comfort ( a [4] thickness yarn) held together, light denim and dark denim, and a 9mm hook. It is not yet lined, but if the temperature stays this cold I may add a layer of warm fleece to the inside!

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

the basic beanie
There are many many patterns /instructions/ tutorials out there for beanies. By definition (mine) a beanie is a simple hat which fits closely on the head, and generally covers the ears. Once you look at the patterns in detail, however, it soon becomes evident that there is really one pattern.
 Make a flattish round piece for the crown, then go straight until the hat is big enough. Stop.
Well perhaps a few more details, but really there are not a hundred ways to cover the top part of a head with a plain hat, or at least there need not be a hundred different sets of instructions.
First you make somewhere to crochet into, a  magic ring, several chains slip-stitched into a ring or even a single chain. Then you crochet into that. I have seen instructions ( and followed most of them) for anywhere from 3 to 14 stitches for this first round. Why such variation? Sometimes it seems, just to be different from the last pattern! Basically though the taller the stitch you want to use, the more stitches you need to start with. So for sc (single crochet) you will probably start with between 3 and 8, for hdc (half double crochet) 7 to 11 sounds ok, and for dc (double crochet)  10 to 14 stitches into the initial ring will work.
The next step is increasing, so that the rounds will lay almost flat. It is very easy to figure this out. Increase each row by the number you started with. So if you first used 6 sc, the next round will end with 12 sc  ( so  2 sci n each sc). Then for round 3 you want another 6, to end with 18sc ( sc in first sc, 2 sc in next sc, repeat). And the fourth round will increase by another 6 to 24sc (sc in first 2 sc, 2sc in next sc, rep). And so on until you have a round which is big enough. For a real shorthand version of the instructions I write R1-6, R2-12, R3-18, R4-24, R5-30, and so on .
A hat with hdc would work up for example as R1-11hdc, R2-22hdc, R3-33hdc, R4-44hdc...
And for dc, R1-14dc, R2-28dc, R3-42dc, R4-56dc.
And how big is "big enough "for the flat part. Depends on final hat size. Child size hats usually recommend 13.5cm (5 inches) adult hats 15- 16.5 cm (6-7inches). But there is a better way to be sure. Measure the circumference of the head in question, I just checked an available head and it is 57cm (22.5in). since a hat generally has "negative ease" to keep it from blowing away in the wind, 55cm (or 21.5 in) should be good.  To find Diameter, from Circumference  [D=C/pi] 55/3.14=17.5cm, or 6.9 inches.
Once you reach the correct size for the crown, stop increasing and just continue one stitch in each stitch until it is big enough. Again checking the head is best but it will vary from 12 to 18 cm depending on the head ( 5 to 7 inches) from the end of the increase (ie the edge of the crown)
There are 2 basic ways to go around and around. Either crochet in a continuous spiral, or join each round with a slip stitch and ch 1 to 3 (sc to dc) to begin next round. Spiral is fine if you do not plan to change colours along the way, but join and chain will give smoother colour changes.
Here are a few sample beanies showing the possible variations due to yarn size.
very old wool, probably  size 1, crochet with 2.5mm hk. Starting round 8sc, 53 sc rounds. Fits that head I mentioned above.
cotton yarn size 4, 5mm hk. 14sc in ring then dc for crown, hdc on sides. Total 17 rounds. To fit medium child.
acrylic/rayon yarn, size 5, hk 8mm and 6.5 for edge, 12 dc in ring, 10 rounds of dc then 4 rounds blo sc. fits adult.
There is now a system of sizing yarn. It is not perfect, but if you have access to an old stash with no sizing at all, you will see how much better it is to at least have a starting point!

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

If it is Tuesday it must be Belgium pottery.
The only craft I have actually taken classes for is pottery. I first went as a child, my mother thought since I had liked making mudpies, I would also like pottery. And it was clear I had absolutely no musical ability, and I could not draw or paint, some kind or art was needed. Since then I have gone to classes or belonged to a guild on and off. Lately on.
All my pots are practical, I can't seem to just make decorative pieces.
This is what came out of the kiln for me this week.

Destined for the Christmas Sale  December 5-7. at the Guild.

Friday, 21 November 2014

This has been an ongoing project. I started crocheting cotton child sized hats in the spring, following directions from the Get Well Gang. I researched the best local place to send them and decided on the Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation, in Calgary. To date I have given them 38 cotton hats as well as 4 others, not cotton, not GWG tagged.
This is today's batch :

Some of these were made using the GWG patterns, but making too many things the same is boring, I added several other patterns too. The many different patterns and tutorials to make almost the same thing  is a topic for another day!

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Really this seems to be too easy. Click a couple of buttons, type in a name and there it is. Wait, it should be harder than this.  Well one does need to actually write a post, or there will be nothing to read.
The only way to start is to jump right in today and then go forward and backwards as needed. So here is today.

First item. This is how far I am so far in CAL with Lucy. We all know Lucy, right? 
It may not look exactly like her blanket. I admit I changed the yarn (mine is a 4 hers is 3) the hook size ( 5.0 vs 4.0) the number of colours ( 6 vs 15), the actual colours, and the starting number of chains (150 vs 198).
But I did keep the stitch pattern the same. And the inspiration is all hers. I would not be doing this otherwise!