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.

Textured toddler crochet pullover

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The following post is sponsored by LoveCrafts, the go-to place for all things yarn

I was reorganizing my closets about a week ago and, to my astonishment, discovered that Hadassah (19 months old) has hardly anything for cooler weather. It was really extremely surprising because generally, the little ones get so many hand-me-downs in great condition that I am forced to weed through them.

Anyway, I realized that I might not have many little sweaters, but I do have lots of yarn and endless fun patterns to try! So I decided to start with an easy thick baby cotton pullover incorporating this fun textured stitch I like to call the hourglass stitch (I have no idea what it’s commonly known as; I found the diagram in one of my vintage Russian magazines, a treasure trove not even Pinterest can compare with).

I started with a basic top-to-bottom open raglan, one of the most useful patterns I know. I knew I couldn’t make a tight pullover because Hadassah hates having her head squeezed through, so I opted for a few buttons at the back.

A shot of the buttons:

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Once I was done with the raglan part, I started working round and round from top to bottom down the body and sleeves. The hourglass diagram is as following:

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I know I’m repeating myself here, but being able to read a diagram is one of my most useful crochet skills ever. Dot = chain, the little t’s are sc, the long lines are dc, and the mushroom-like hooked things represent front post double crochet (I only had to do front post, not back post, because I was working in the round).

Now on to making more cozy cool weather goodies!

Slouchy beret in double crochet

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So the crochet spree is still going on? You bet it is, with switching to winter time and the resulting long dark evenings. And what can be more fun and rewarding than making something you can whip up quickly to wear the next day?

I had long wanted one of those cute slouchy berets, and I had some deliciously soft velvet yarn sitting in my stash, calling out, “pick me up and do something with me” – so I did. By the way, it turned out a lot more economical than I thought it would. I only used one 100 gr skein of the navy blue yarn and a bit of grey for the flower. Which leaves me with plenty more yarn to make matching berets for my daughters! Hurray!

There are lots of fancy hat patterns out there, with cables and ridges and bobbles and swirls, but I soon realized it’s better to go for the simplest way when working with this yarn, which is as snuggly, warm and floppy as a newborn kitten.

The basic free-form instructions to make a beret go like this: start crocheting a circle and, increasing the number of stitches in each round, create something like a flat pancake the size of a dinner plate (give or take).

Crochet one round without increasing. Then begin decreasing at the same rate you were doing the increase on your last row. That is, if you were adding a stitch every ten stitches, start decreasing every ten stitches by skipping a stitch. Try on your beret from time to time. Once it fits on your head to your liking, make a few rounds without increasing or decreasing for the brim. I made the main body of my beret in double crochet and the brim in single crochet for a snugger, denser feeling fit.

You can add a flower like I did – there are lots of fancy ideas out there, but I just did something basic: make a slip knot and work double crochet stitches into it to make a snug circle. Then make the petals by working alternately 3 DC in one stitch, 1 SC in next, and so on.

Secure your flower by weaving the loose ends into the brim of the beret.

 

Snuggly puff crochet poncho

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Autumn, with cooler, shorter, rainy days has come even to our warm corner of the world, and what can be better to celebrate this change of seasons than a new warm cozy poncho (crocheted out of upcycled merino wool with an alpaca trim)? It feels like wearing a snuggly blanket and making it was pure delight.

I kind of winged it and don’t have an exact pattern precisely because it’s such a basic, easy garment. Essentially, if you know how to make a granny square, you can make a basic poncho. 

Start by creating a chain and joining the two ends together, making a circle. This will be the head opening so don’t make it too tight. Make a row of double crochet around the chain, adjusting your number of stitches so that it’s a multiple of 4.

Divide the number of stitches by 4 and, at the end of each quarter, create a corner as you would when making a granny square and crocheting from the center. Once you have your corners established, that’s it! You just keep adding, and the possibilities are endless. I used a freestyle combo of V-stitches and puff V-stitches for a bumpy textured look.

Once you have made your poncho as long as you like, return to the beginning and start working upwards from your foundation chain to make the cowl neck. I used this vintage pattern for mine:

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In the end, if you have some leftover yarn, you can choose to make a fringe like I did. There are several methods for making a fringe, and I chose the simplest one I could find. I love fringes for the cute boho look they give and for their ability to make a garment visually longer with very little effort and comparatively little yarn.

With some creativity and daring, you can make your own original cozy poncho. Happy crafting!

Light cotton crochet cardi

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In a final crafting spree before the Feast of Tabernacles, I finished this light cotton cardigan in the picot fan stitch. I worked from the top down, following this tutorial, and then added a harmonizing border around the edge and sleeves.

I used a beautiful, soft, drapey bamboo and cotton blend and crochet hook number 2.

I look forward to wearing this during the balmy Sukkot evenings.

Cozy cabled crochet beanie

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The cozy winter hat for Israel is done, and I love how it turned out! This was my first attempt at two nifty crochet techniques, namely the stretchy slip stitch ribbing and the cabling (which also involved mastering the front and back post double crochet). It was incredibly fun to learn and I love the texture I got! I followed a wonderful, very clear tutorial from All About Ami almost exactly, except that I found a matching pompom in my stash rather than making my own.

I used lovely, irresistibly soft single-ply merino yarn and a crochet hook number 3.5. Working with single-ply yarn was another novelty for me, and it certainly does come with its own challenges. The yarn doesn’t hold up its structure as firmly as three-ply, and doesn’t take kindly to ripping out (which almost inevitably happens in a row or two when learning a new technique). But the softness and beautiful sheen were just lovely.

I hope Israel wears this hat with as much pleasure as I had making it.

PS: Did you mean to ask when I had the time to do this in the middle of the High Holidays prep? I kind of wonder myself! It was a fantastic way to relax and feel I’ve accomplished something at odd moments here and there, that’s for sure. I wish all my Jewish readers Shana Tova and a wonderful year ahead.