Soft Shells crochet beret

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Since I’ve ordered plenty of enticingly soft velvet yarn, I couldn’t resist making another cozy beret for these cold rainy days. This one is snugger-fitting than my slouchy beret, although it uses the same amount of yarn – and, what makes me really excited, it’s the first time I actually wrote down a row by row pattern when making an original item, so now I can share it with you all!

Materials: 1 skein velvet yarn

Crochet hook 4mm/ G

Special stitches used: shell; single crochet two together (sc2tog)

Row 1: make foundation circle and work 12 double crochets into it.

Row 2: Work 3 shells across the dc (double crochet) tops. Slip stitch and join.

Row 3: Work two sc (single crochets) into the top of each stitch.

Row 4: Work 6 shells into sc row.

Row 5: Work 2 SC into the top of every second stitch: it would go 1sc, 2SC, 1sc, 2sc… All the way around, slip stitch and join.

Row 6: Work 9 shells into sc row.

Row 7: 1 sc, 1 sc, 2 sc in top of same stitch… Repeat all the way around.

Row 8: 12 shells.

Row 9: 3 sc, then 2 sc in top of same stitch, repeat all the way around.

Row 10: 15 shells.

Row 11: 4 sc, 2 sc in top of same stitch, repeat around.

Row 12: 18 shells.

Row 13: Now we’re beginning the decrease. Make 4 sc, then decrease by crocheting two sc together (sc2tog).

Row 14: 15 shells.

Row 15: 3sc, sc2tog, repeat around.

Row 16: 12 shells (or 13 if tension seems too tight).

Row 17: 2sc, sc2tog, repeat.

Row 18: 10-9 shells (adjust for tension).

Row 19: 1 SC, sc2tog… Repeat.

Row 20 onwards: make a few rows of brim in SC, adjusting for desired tightness of fit.

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In the photo: Tehilla (9) modeling the Soft Shells beret for me. It’s adult-sized so it looks a good bit slouchier on her than it does on me.

Chunky crochet hat with stretchy brim

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We’ve finally had some rain, which means long, cozy evenings with lots of yarn! I just finished making this lovely textured hat with a long stretchy brim that can be folded on itself.

It’s really quite similar to my Cozy Cabled Crochet Beanie, except that I made the cabling wider by adding two front post double crochets and alternating the location of the crisscross in each sequence.

I also opted to make the brim with single crochet, rather than slip stitch, in the back loops. It makes for a lighter, less dense texture, uses less yarn, and is less weighty.

Made with yak wool blend and crochet hook number 5.

A picnic lunch

It was a lovely, sunny day, and since Hadassah got up from her nap early, I hurried to pack a lunch and we took a short bus trip to the local park.

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Check out those eggs!

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The ducks got me confused at first, but I was told they actually belong to the guys in the picture below. They are apparently supposed to lay a clutch of 25 or so before the male begins sitting (I like this arrangement).

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This beautiful peacock ate from my hand before flying off. I do so miss having peafowl. Wish we had more space!

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A fountain.

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I’m so glad we were able to fit this trip in before the long spell of rain we’re supposed to have soon.

Hope everyone is having a lovely day!

Lots of sunshine

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November days are short, but sunny and breezy – perfect for picking, sorting, washing and drying dates that grow on some palm trees that apparently have been planted for purely decorative purposes. Well, we’re definitely not wasting these. Separate post about it coming soon.

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Look what a great find – a practically ready made deck path which is going to come in handy soon when we have lots of rain and mud. My husband found it discarded in the industrial zone, and we are going to sand and stain it.

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This handsome fellow belongs to our neighbors. It’s a Black Orpington and they have recently acquired a hen too. I will see about getting some hatching eggs in the spring (right now it’s not a very good chick season).

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Six days of creation art!

T-shirt yarn bicolor basket

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This was my first time crocheting a basket with t-shirt yarn, something I have wanted to do for a long time. Here are some insights I came out with:

Pros: I love working with t-shirt yarn! It’s fairly stretchy and slides through the fingers so nicely, with none of the scratchiness of some super bulky yarns or fibers like jute.

It also works up extremely quickly. This little basket here was whipped up in about two hours total. Which brings me to…

Cons: I got a rather smaller basket than I thought I would get. The diameter of the bottom is about the size of a dinner plate. I love little baskets and have a myriad uses for them, but I was kind of hoping for a larger one this time. When I finished, I realized that if I want a larger basket, I would have to spend more on materials than I was willing to.

Tips: This was my first time using the waistcoat stitch, and I think it’s just perfect for baskets. It works up very similarly to single crochet, except that instead of working into the top of the stitch, you insert the hook right into the middle of the little “v” in the previous row. This creates a sturdier texture that is really great for getting the basket to stand up on its own.

I also feel I’ve discovered my favorite yarn proportion for bottom vs. sides: 1\3 yarn for bottom, 2\3 for sides. That is, if you have 3 skeins, use one for the bottom and two for the sides.

I’d love to try making my own t-shirt yarn, but I’m not convinced it would be a good use of my time. If I give it a go, I’ll be sure to let you know!

Alpine stitch little cardigan

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So how am I countering this never-ending heatwave (and the tension in the south of the country)? Naturally, by making cozy and warm things that will come in handy when it’s finally cool and the rain comes and we all go looking for puddles.

I just finished another little cardigan for Hadassah. Once again, I started with a basic open raglan in double crochet and continued with the lovely textured Alpine stitch for the bottom part and sleeves – I used this free tutorial from Heart Hook Home, and by the way, I’m just so grateful to the lovely people who take the time to make video demonstrations of all those interesting stitches that really take crochet to the next level. When I started with crochet, there was no YouTube yet and all I had was my mom and grandma (which was great) and a stack of magazines that were older than I was. So today I’m like a kid in a candy store, with new tutorials, patterns, and ideas available at a click anytime, anywhere.

I do wish I could make the sleeves a bit longer, but I ran out of yarn and decided it would be too much of a hassle to order more. Still, it should be nice and warm.

I worked with worsted weight alpaca yarn blend similar to this one and a crochet hook number 4.

So what next? So many projects planned and some in the making! I will definitely share soon.

Throwback to summer

Every year, there’s this time when we get cooler weather and rains and go through clock change, and I pack away the summer clothes and bring out long-sleeved t-shirts and sweaters. Then after that, we get a spell of brutal, scorching,  dry heat that feels like something is constantly burning in my nostrils. This year is no exception.

So I’ve been staying mostly indoors, and when I’m out I don’t do much more than hang out with my chickens and treat my poor plants to frequent showers. On the left, you can spot a young papaya plant in a cage because the chickens tend to pluck its leaves away.

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Being inside means less heavy-duty cooking and more fun kitchen experiments. Below: a bowl of freshly peeled almonds (tip: to peel easily, pour boiling water over them and let them sit for five minutes). I wanted to make almond butter, but because the texture wasn’t smooth enough, they ended up in what I called Accidentally Almond cookies.

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Walking with the kids in the park nearby, on one of the cooler evenings.

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I can’t wait to have some refreshing rain (though I’m not much of a rain person) to wash away all the dust and grime and give us fresher air.