Monday, 22 October 2012

Crochet Cap

I made this cap for a friend of mine who has suffered hair-loss after chemo-treatment. The pattern is "Operation Marigold: A Hat for a Cause", shared for free by Mrs Micawber on her lovely blog. I loved it as soon as I saw it - I was particularly fascinated by the border at the bottom. Both, the stitch of the body of the hat and the border were new to me, but not only are there a good explanations but also an excellent photo-tutorial on the website.

Here is the hat in indoor light, below outdoors in today's beautiful sunshine - I used a straw hat to model it on.

The material is a yarn called "Tajmahal". It is 70% virgin wool, 22% silk and 8% cashmere. It felt beautifully soft on the ball, but handling the workpiece, I was wondering if there wasn't a bit of woolly scratchiness left, in spite of the silk, that a naked head might feel - still, as soft as real wool can get, I'm sure, so I hope it's alright. The lady at the market recommended it as suitable for a baby's cap. It's washable by hand and I like the shiny autumnal golden colour.

The wool is thinner than the material used in the original pattern, and I worked with a size 3.5 needle. Plus, my friend's head size is a bit above average (57 cm head circumference). That meant I had to have more stitches and rows than in the original pattern. I ended up increasing steadily till row 12, followed by no inc. in row 13, inc. 4 in row 14, bringing the stitch count to a round 100, another three rows without increase, then (just to be on the safe side) another inc. of 4 in row 18. Then I continued down till row 25. 

As I was working with only two colours, rather than three as in the original pattern, I thought it wasn't necessary to cut the thread to start the border, so I did the change of colour and working direction in row 26 without cutting the thread.

Also, I couldn't find a button the right size and colour to make the marigold as in the pattern, so I decided to use the flower pattern I learned ages ago in my very first booklet about doily-making (Häkeln Spezial, Kunsthäkeln, Les Editions de Saxe, 1984). It had the added advantage of using up the gold yarn pretty precisely. After having attached the flower I thought about adding a button after all to cover up and further decorate the middle, but then decided against it and leave it without any hard surfaces entirely.

I'm very pleased with the result - so quick (about 5 hours, all in all, I'd guess) and easy and merry-looking and such an interesting-looking texture into the bargain.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Autumn Cap

A quick crochet cap I first made two years ago, and then altered today to make it a bit less wide.

It's made using a size-7 hook from one 100-gram-skein of chunky pure wool, hand-dyed, which I bought at a crafts market two years ago. With the lovely, autumn colours, there's no need for any pattern - it's all just double and single (at beginning and end) crochet and might be done in under two hours, were it not for having to try out and re-do stuff for size. When it was first finished, I thought it was fine, but after wearing it a few times was a bit unsatisfied with the loose fit. So, today, I undid the last three rows of 56, resp. 54 stitches, decreased the 54 to 51, then to 50, to make it fit more tightly, then increased again to 51, to make the rim fold up better. 

It's fits pretty snugly now, and I hope it's not too tight. It's a bit long when worn without the fold, but that'll cover the ears nicely. For milder weather, I usually wear it with the rim folded up as in the second photo.

Golden Wedding Anniversary

I made this for my parents' Golden Wedding Anniversary.

I'm very happy with how it turned out, even though it was ready to be presented exactly one year late. I had bought it only a month before the date - I always over-estimate my stitching-speed/underestimate the amount of stitching in a design. Also, the bells in particular took a good deal longer than expected, as they were not easy to do, requiring a lot of similar shades and a number of threads used in combination with a gold metallic thread. So, I could only show them the project in progress in 2011 - but they still enjoyed it a lot when it was finally presented, frame and all, for May 2012. :) 

On the photo it shows that for all my ironing, I wasn't able to get all the creases out, but that's just the lighting on the photo - now that it's hung on the wall, they can't be seen, I think. 

The design is a kit from "Arts and Designs". It was a well-assembled kit, and the design apparently home-made - which is a good thing, even though it meant the pattern came printed on about a dozen A4 printouts. A great plus of the design is that is doesn't use any backstitch. For the leaves in particular, though, I'd occasionally have wished slightly more visibly differing colours.

The kit came with a full alphabet of capitals, names of the months written out and numbers, and - good thought on the part of the pattern-designer - a medium sized print of the whole pattern with an empty middle to write the individually needed letters and numbers into. 

However (I couldn't follow a pattern without changing it, could I? ;) ), originally the idea was to write just the couples initials, but I didn't like that so much, I wanted the first names in full. Also, the letters used in this pattern (i.e. the small letters used in the names of the months) weren't so much my taste, so I decided to use my all-time favourite cross-stitch alphabet instead - except for the 'M', which is a slightly slimmed version of the one used in the original pattern.

This favourite alphabet is from a Rico Design booklet, "Die ersten Frühlingsboten zu Ostern", Bd. 7, by Michael Lindner u. Margrit Scharlau, (o.J.) - about 15 years old by now at least.

The little marriage symbol is my own design.