Monday, 20 February 2012

The Travelling Yarning Darling

Since my boy moved to the City of Angels, I've been back and forth visiting him every few months, and I'm off again at the end of this week :)

The novelty of a long-haul 11 hour flight with unlimited movies wore off extremely quickly, pretty much after my first visit, so on the next visit I decided to take my current crochet project with me. Each time I've always got funny looks and even got known as the 'knitting lady' on one flight (even though I was crocheting!).

Now just like a girl must limit the number of shoes she packs, I also had to do this with my yarning stuff.  With all the regulation of banned items, it took some investigating to find out about crochet hooks. The Heathrow Airport website says knitting needles are fine so I assumed a crochet hook would be okay too. The check in desk had no idea but when I got through security they didn't have a problem so I was good to go.

Anyway, I thought I'd jot down a list of items that I usually take, varying depending on the project (so if it was only crocheting there would be no need to take knitting needles or a DPN). These all also adhere to the hand baggage regulations, including the TSA rules, so you shouldn't have any problems.
  • Yarn
  • Pattern
  • Round-ended scissors (with blades 6" or shorter from the fulcrum)
  • Any length/size knitting needles or crochet hooks
  • Split stitch markers
  • Tape measure
  • Pen
  • Pencil
  • Notepaper
  • Handcream 100ml or less (the cabin pressure and onboard soap can wreak havoc on hands)
  • For knitting, double-pointed needle (if required) and point protectors.
From the picture you can see that I've packed aluminium needles.  I'm usually one for bamboo, but after accidentally stepping on one I found out the hard way how fragile they are.  For travelling, aluminium is best as they can take a little beating and be fine.

If you've never thought of taking your project with you, do can get so much done on a long haul flight and the time passes by so quickly!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

I like my Hello Kitty with a cherry on top.

Yay, kitty! If there's anything I love apart from yarn and cat videos it's Hello Kitty! I adopted this little obsession from my sister-in-law, but everyone who knows her seems to as Hello Kitty is so cute! My first crochet kitty was for her and was strawberry themed.

One day, casually talking to one of the receptionists at work, I discovered she adores kitty too and asked if I could make her one. Tomorrow is her 21st birthday so I thought it appropriate to fulfil her wish. It didn't take that long as I followed a pattern but I still think she looks kawaii!

Deconstructed kitty.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Snuggly Snood

Project complete! Remember that post last week with the giant crochet hook and gorgeous yarn? Well I finally did something with it. And when I said it was gonna be simple, I really wasn't joking. This was for two reasons:
1. I needed a quick project.
2. I wanted the chunkiness of the project to stand out.

I started it at about 6pm today and with eating and a bit of faffing I had it done by 10pm so extremely easy and quick!

Me and my boy have a skiing trip planned next week so I made this snood for that. Gotta look good in those minus temperatures (shame I didn't have it for the big freeze in the UK last week!)

20mm crochet hook
2xSMC Select Highland Alpaca Yarn (or any other chunky 100g balls)
Split stitch marker (a larger one will be more handy)

Method (work in a continuous spiral)
Base: ch35
Join last stitch to first with sl st, take care not to twist the chain.
Round 1: SC each stitch (35), mark last stitch.
Round 2-15: SC (35).
Cast off.

I was annoyingly 4 stitches short of the 15th round when the yarn got too short. So, as I was working in a spiral, I cheekily cast off a bit early :/ Hey, you can't tell so it's fine (just keep it our little secret!)

Friday, 10 February 2012

Kitty's Christmas Mouse

My brother and his wife have a gorgeous (but slightly bitey) Siamese kitty called Hero.  She likes little mouse toys. So, I had to do the obvious and make her one!

I browsed Crochet Pattern Central for a quick and easy pattern and found one here by KristieMN.  I managed to make it in about an hour and half so it was pretty easy. I had to make a few amendments, like I sewed the eyes on instead of using toy eyes.  I also decided to stuff the mouse with strips of felt rather than the usual poly-fill because she has a tendency to completely destroy a soft toy so didn't want her eating any of the thin fibres.

Needless to say, she enjoyed the little mouse. But poor mousey (rest in peace) succumbed to its injuries 3.5 days later.  Oh well, kitty enjoyed it!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

New project alert!

Bought these super chunky and super soft balls of yarn today (new wool/alpaca mix) from John Lewis to use with my gigantic crochet hook that my brother got me for Christmas...I seriously cannot wait to use these! I'll hopefully be making a snood type thing, pretty simple as I need it in a few weeks time. Watch this space for the finished product :)

Sock Monkey

The sock monkey was my first ever crochet project, and must have made him 2-3 weeks after first picking up a hook. I made it for friend's little boy, Ethan.

I got the pattern from Red Heart and it was pretty easy to follow and very beginner friendly! I did omit the hat, only because Ethan was at that point of shoving everything into his mouth and the hat had a little Pom Pom bit on it and I didn't want him accidentally swallowing tiny bits of yarn. Still looked cute though! I made my boyfriend one too, complete with hat which made up for it!

My knitting so far...

So, I officially started knitting properly 2 weeks ago.  All I've done is practice swatch after swatch of different stitches.

Knowing how to already knit, purl, cast on and cast off helped quite a lot as this meant I could delve straight into the stitches.  First up was the 'rib stitch'.  Pretty easy and fun to do and looked quite nice.  I was actually pretty pleased as it was this first thing I'd managed to do that wasn't straight knits or a stockinette.

Amongst the moss stitch section in the book, there was a pattern for a little heart.  This combined the stockinette and moss stitch to give the appearance of a heart.

Next was the cable stitch.  I've always admired this stitch.  Yeah, looks a bit old fashioned, but I love how it looks on jumpers and scarves, so I was uber excited to try this one out (I'm so sad!).  I have to say I absolutely LOVED doing this and could do it all day long...I can't wait to do a project with cables :)

The most recent one I've done was actually the plain, ordinary stockinette stitch (the one you mostly see in shops where the item is flat and looks like lots of little V's).  But, seeing as my main aim is to knit a penguin jumper, including more than one colour was pretty vital to my learning.  I decided to start with the intarsia method which is the best to use for large areas of colour.  It was pretty confusing at first and my swatch wasn't amazing but seeing as it was my first go I couldn't complain.  Definitely lots more practicing before I get this one right!

I've also dabbled a bit in increasing and decreasing stitches.  I'm not going to post any pics of these for your own sanity as they are not interesting in any way.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Mr Dragon

The creation of Mr Dragon has a quite a interesting background story to it, so let me start with that.

My boyfriend had read about random requests by people when ordering online, mainly from pizza places.  Now these would vary from "please draw a picture of a unicorn fighting a bear" to "please cut the pizza into tetris-shaped pieces".  And needless to say he was determined to find someone who would comply with a strange request.

One day, he ordered something from the Etsy seller A Whiter Shade of Pale and kindly asked if she could draw a picture of "a dragon fighting medieval knights with its fire breath."  I begged him not to do it, but alas, my efforts were in vain and guess what, she did it and it was amazing.

A few weeks later, he was on Etsy again and saw something else from the same seller.  He decided to see if she would continue the saga and asked for a picture of "the medieval knights and townsfolk celebrating to courageous defeat of the mighty dragon."  Did she do it?  Of course she did!

Now we come to Mr Dragon.  As a thank you for the hard work, my boyfriend commissioned me to crochet a dragon for the lovely seller.  I decided to use the picture from the first box as inspiration, and as it was a side profile it was much easier to create.  I needed to do a little research on how to create spikes, but the rest I managed to make up myself, and I was incredibly pleased with how well he turned out.  Because I did make him from scratch, you might say I bonded with him and the thought of sending him away was heartbreaking.  Luckily, I wrote down my pattern and just made a second one!

And that is the story of Mr Dragon :)

Pictures courtesy of my boyfriend.


So, this is my first attempt at a blog so bear with me!
My name is Mehreen and as you might have guessed I like making things with yarn.  I’ve always dabbled with knitting, only managing the odd knit and purl so I could only make scarves. 
About a year ago, I found out three of my friends were pregnant, and so instead of just settling buying them baby-grows and a plastic toy, I thought I’d teach myself how to crochet to make cute little soft toys!  With the help of Debbie Stoller's "Happy Hooker" book I did just this and I’m pretty pleased with how far I’ve come with crocheting.

This year I’d thought I’d expand my crafting knowledge and learn how to knit properly with the aim of making myself a cute jumper with a penguin on the front - cue another Debbie Stoller publication "Stitch 'n Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook".  I’ll keep you updated with my trials and tantrums and post stuff of things I’ve made already.
Well, that’s about it for now.  Bye! 
Mehreen xxx