Category Archives: Crochet and other craft

Know when to hold ’em, know when to frog ’em….

With apologies to Kenny Rogers for repurposing his wonderful song in my blog post title.

There is so much going on in the world this week, I offer this blog as a distraction from the reality of war, flood impacts and the ongoing pandemic.

Those who have been crafting for a long time will understand that sometimes a project will just not be going how you had hoped. This realisation often comes multiple hours into a project, and there is a point where you need to decide to persevere regardless, put it aside in the naughty corner for a while, or just decide to frog the project and move on. Over the last month, I have been wrestling with this decision with a project that I had hoped would become a special family heirloom for our first great-niece.

First, for those new crafters, to frog a project means to pull out the work done in crochet or knitting. The motion of unravelling the stitches which make up the fabric you have painstakingly worked on. We often say “rip it, rip it” back, which sounds like “ribbit”, hence frogging. That is the word origin story I am familiar with, anyway.

Now, to the problem item. A seemingly simple pattern, the knitted spiral baby blanket from Monsteryarns. I thought it would look amazing using a whirl, which has beautiful variegation and long slow colour changes. I had come to terms with it being a labour of love, over a kilometre of 4ply yarn on 3mm needles was going to take a while. So, in November I began knitting. By December I realised I had misread one of the pattern rows, so frogged what I had done (approx 30 rows in) and started again.

A top view of the swirl circular baby blanket, with colour fading from pink in the middle to mauve and bue on the edge visible in the image. The swirly lines begin in the middle of the blanket and spiral out as the blanket increases in size at the edges of the circle. The rest of the yarn ball is at the top left of the image.
Progress on the spiral baby blanket.
The swirl blanket on circular needles, folded in half to look like a semi circle. The colour fades from pink in the middle to blue and yellow at the bottom of the picture. It is attached to the rest of the yarn ball, which is at the top of the image. The pattern makes swirls of eyelet stitches which make diagonal lines in the fabric.
Another view of the swirl baby blanket.

I was happily working at least 2 rows a day over the Christmas holiday period, and into February. This is when the next issue surfaced, the shlubs in the yarn were really visible in the knitted item. Previously I have used whirls to crochet. The schlub (aka fuzz buzz) is where the new colour is added in to the yarn. It is a feature of this yarn, and usually not very visible in crocheted work. Unfortunately in this blanket these schlubs were very visible, making it look like the fabric had been caught and pulled. I tried to pull the fuzz to the back of the work, but this made the stretch in the stitch more obvious, somehow.

A very close up image of the knitted fabric. The fabric is pink and fades to pale pink. There is a stitch that is fuzzy and looks pulled, due to the nature of the yarn used.
The pink colour change on the whirl is quite obvious. The fuzz buzz makes the fabric look like it’s been pulled.
A flattened out section of knitted fabric on circular needles. The fabric is blue which fades into a pink colour. There are two sections that look like stitches have been pulled.
Two sections here look pulled, and even blocking may not change it.
A close up imahe of knitted fabric on circular needles. The fabric is yellow and blue. There is a slightly fuzzy yellow stitch.
This yellow colour change isn’t very obvious, as it is on the lace increase section of the pattern.

There were two options that I worked through in my mind. I could keep knitting and hope the schlubs could be blocked out. Not likely, as the stitches are quite visibly different in the knitted fabric. I could frog and re-knit it, cutting the yarn before and after the schlub, then weave in the ends. This option defeats the purpose of using this beautiful, long gradient yarn, as the big draw card for me is having a stunning fabric made with only two ends to weave in. Could I really give this to a new baby when it looked so unprofessional? Yesterday I decided that I couldn’t do that, so have decided to frog it completely and instead finish off another bakewell blanket to gift instead.

So I will frog the knitted blanket and try the spiral blanket again with an 8ply hand dyed yarn sometime in the future. For my new great-niece I will finish off a bakewell blanket I had in progress, and will probably also have time to make another little kina or in threes cardigan also.

A square baby blanket with dusky rainbow colours which fade through blues, greens, yellows, pinks and finished on the outer round in purple. The pattern has a lattice shape with bobbles in the middle of each lattice square.
A bakewell baby blanket made in a popin candy whirl.

With the decision made I feel quite relieved. I can now stop worrying about what it might look like at the end of many more hours of work, and just move on to make some beautiful items.

I wonder if you have been through a similar thought process with a project you thought would be special?

Until next time, happy crafting and stay safe,

Fiona T

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2021- finishing off lockdown projects

It is fair to say living through a global pandemic has put us all in a bit of a spin. What were normal routines have been disrupted by lockdowns and uncertainty. I live in Melbourne, so we had extended periods of severe restrictions and lockdowns across 2020. I was relieved to be able to work from home, learning to teach my secondary students remotely. Like many of you, my crafty friends, I was also appreciative of having my crafts at hand to support my mental well being.

I was crafting regularly, but found at different times I couldn’t concentrate on some patterns. So I scaled down my expectations and used some basic patterns to make sure I could still get my crafting fix. I’ve ended up with at least one of each of a basic knitted, crochet and tatting project on the go at most times across the last year.

I have realised that I didn’t blog much at all last year. I did spend a lot of time on various projects, and photographed many of them, but just didn’t get around to the blogging part. Over the next few weeks I will share some of my projects.

Near the beginning of the year I was lucky enough to win a shuttle give away from Lorraine Kolusa for valentine’s day. It took a while for the shuttle to travel across the world, but when it arrived I was really happy to have such a lovely shuttle in my care. I had wound it thinking I would use it for Jon’s Threads that bind doily, but have ended up using it more recently for Laura’s Amanda doily.

The beautiful Valentine Shuttle
Valentine shuttle loaded and ready to tat.
Amanda Doily from Laura Bziukiewicz on Facebook. Made in size 40 thread, mauve lizbeth colour 632 and Alenalea wildflower.

I also made two lovely crocheted items with Scheepjes whirls. First a Grinda Shawl, made in a woolly whirl for my Mum.

Grinda Shawl in progress

And second a granny square baby blanket for a family friend. I was going to use the bakewell blanket pattern, but it was one that was too complicated for me during the second lockdown. Though I did manage the bakewell pattern during the first lockdown.

A successful bakewell baby blanket, in an acrylic 8ply.

I also had some knitting projects, with an “in threes” baby jacket and three knitted “can I borrow that” scarves which I made as part of a knit along through Unwind cafe.

That’s probably enough for today’s blog. I’ll upload some more projects soon.

Happy crafting,

Fiona T

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Crafting in the pandemic

I think it is fair to say that the last few months have been a rollercoaster for all of us. It is times like this I am glad I have my regular crafting routine. From age 7 when I learned to knit, crafting has been part of my everyday experience of the world. It is as much a part of my identity as my love of reading and science. I am pretty sure for most of you it is the same, the processes of crafting are part of our “being in the world”.

*Edit: I have realised the date once I posted this- Happy international tatting day!

I have been focussing on finishing the baby blanket began in December/January. The colourful wedges baby blanket, from Purl Soho, was a fun knit, it uses only garter stitch and has taught me how to do short row work too. I made it in Bendigo Wool Mills Imperial blend (wool, alpaca and silk blend) which was a limited edition release last year. It is a beautiful yarn to work with and makes this blanket soft and drapey.

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Starting the Colourful Wedges Baby Blanket. Pattern: Purl Soho Wool: Bendigo Wool Mills Crafter: Fiona T

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Beautiful wool from Bendigo Wool Mills to make clothes and baby blankets

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Blocking the Colourful Wedges Baby Blanket

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Colourful Wedges Baby Blanket Finished and ready to wrap

 

You may also recall that I began making a dress for my Neice in the same yarn. I really like the look of the crochet dress, but I think I will have to adapt this a little as making the full dress in the yarn is too heavy for practical daily wear. I think I will pull the dress part back, and use some fabric to make a dress and attach to the neck and shoulder line. So it will still have the cute granny square colour burst, but not be too heavy for my niece to wear.

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Beginning of a crochet dress for my niece

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Progress on the crochet dress

I have also been tatting along with the Arleta doily, from January. I am using Alenalea’s beautiful threads, which reminded me of the colour of irises. I was surprised recently just how close her colours are to nature, as my Iris had a midseason bloom. The picture below shows just how close these colours are.

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A pale pink and purple iris matches exactly to the variegated thread colour “Gorgeous Size 20”

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Progress on Arleta doily

I am tempted to join in Jon’s tat along on Facebook and have a shuttle wound for it. A very special shuttle from Lorraine Kolasa’svalentine giveaway.  It took a few weeks to get to Australia, but it was very welcome when it did arrive. It is so beautiful, both to look at and to feel. Thanks so very much Lorraine for this super generous giveaway. I am eager to take this shuttle for a test drive.

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A well-packaged gift

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The beautiful Valentine Shuttle

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Valentine shuttle wound with wildflower size 40 thread, ready for Jon’s pattern

I am also working on a few other projects, and have found some very old UFOs as I tidy up shelves and cupboards.  I will share their progress next time.

I wonder what craft are you getting done during the pandemic?

Happy Crafting

Fiona T

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Lego block baby blanket

Welcome back. As long-time followers will know I enjoy multiple crafts, not just tatting. I always have several projects on the go, and will choose to work on different projects each day depending on my mood, energy level and if there is a deadline for a project. In last week’s post, I spoke about choosing two baby blankets to make for my new Nephew.  In addition to the knitted colourful wedges pattern, I also wanted to take the opportunity to make this crochet Lego style blanket: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/lego-block-blanket-2 . It is a paid pattern by Bethany Miller which I tracked down on Ravelry. The individual blocks are made with a moss stitch to ensure even edges, making the blocks quite elastic.  It took a few trials (read: most of September and October) to find the right stitch count for the yarn I was using. I am using milk cotton from OzYarn, which I chose as it had the best bright colour range for this style of blanket.

Here is an image of my progress so far, I’m about a third of the way through:

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As well as learning two new stitches- the chainless foundation (aka Foundation Single Crochet- FSC) and the moss stitch -this project is also an opportunity to work on my tension/gauge with crochet. I have had quite a few frogging episodes where the end of a longer block is shorter than the foundation, and so I have had to rework the sections. I also needed to note down the hook size I used for the round buttons on the blocks, as the ones I began to make for the blue blocks varied in size from those in the red. I am experimenting with different hook sizes and am sure I’ll figure out the right size and tension soon.

Overall, I am enjoying making this blanket and hope to have it completed by April/May before our winter here in Australia. I hope the colourful wedges blanket will also be completed by then. I’ll just keep chipping away, a little each day.

Until next time, happy crafting,

Fiona T

 

 

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Happy New Year 2020- review of 2019 tatting

Happy New Year! I thought I would spend a few minutes uploading some images to review my craft adventures during 2019. I really didn’t think I had done too much crafting, as I was teaching, finishing my PhD thesis, spending time with family and friends and we also got a puppy. It seems I managed to squeeze in a fair bit of crafting though! The photos below show a wide range of fibre crafts I have begun, and many I have completed. In looking through these images, there are a couple of projects I had forgotten about too…like the Mary Konior Spinning Glass mats experiments, and a monthly bookmark challenge I set myself. I am pleased that I have been able to blog semi-regularly and managed to have a giveaway too. I hope 2020 will see regular posts, and that I can share more of my creative ideas with you all too.

I hope your year has been filled with great things, including crafty fun. I also want to wish you all the best for 2020. Many thanks for following, as always happy crafting,

Fiona T

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Spring 2019 Craft Give-away

Well, the last few months have been very busy at our house. I submitted my PhD thesis for examination in August, and the time since my last blog post (which wordpress tells me was March) is a blur.  It is Spring here in Australia and I feel like I am waking up along with the flowers.  I particularly enjoy the smell of wattle in the warming air as I leave the house in the morning, and seeing the iris’ blooming in my garden.

To celebrate this milestone for my studies, I am running a craft giveaway*. I have been buying things and putting them aside over the last year, and coming up with ideas for both local (Australia/NZ) and International prizes for you lovely followers of my blog. As I clean up the ‘backroom’ I am also discovering that I have doubled up on a few books, the first of which will be part of the Australian Prize pack. Others will form giveaways leading up to Christmas.

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Image of the Australian prize in the onemadtatter giveaway October 2019. Image of a book, a tatting shuttle and thread in similar purple and blue tones.

The Australian Prize pack includes some of AlenAleaDesign’s thread, 70m of size 40 “Crystalyne” colour, a brand new Dreamlit posted bobbin tatting shuttle in Amethyst Petals colour and a craft/mystery novel “A Tangled Yarn” by Betty Hechtman. I have been enjoying Betty’s novels over the last few years as an escape from academic reading. The copy I am giving away was a “double-up” as I accidentally pre-ordered two of these books- so the winner will receive a brand new, unread book. 

The International Prize will be an AlenAleaDesign monthly pack. This will be the October Pack, which will be released later this week. It will be mailed to the winner of the international prize.

Now, how to enter. Comment below on this post, or on this post’s thread at the Onemadtatter Facebook page. If you comment in both places, you have two chances to enter.  Both Facebook and WordPress usually tell me which country you reside in- so this shouldn’t be a problem when I make up the lists of commenters for the random number generator to choose from.  I will draw the winners using a random number generator on Sunday, October 6th, at 4pm Australian Eastern Daylight Saving Time (AEDST). I will email the winner directly, as well as announcing on the blog and facebook page. If I don’t hear back from the winner in four days, I will re-draw the name for that prize.

So let’s start sharing, to enter a comment to let us know what your favourite thing about Spring is (Even if it isn’t Spring in your part of the world.) Mine is the change in the air temperature, the scent of wattle and the colourful Irises popping up in my garden. 

As always, happy crafting

Fiona T

*I am giving away craft items which I have purchased. I will also pay for postage of the items to the winners. The international prize is also purchased by me and posted to the winner by arrangement with the Vendor. Aside from supporting local vendors, I have no business motive on this blog, or through this giveaway. Onemadtatter is my hobby blog and a place where I share my love of all things craft.

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Merry Christmas 2018

Merry Christmas to all of my followers, and best wishes for the new year ahead of us. Again I am in awe of how this blog has grown, and hope you have enjoyed the sharing of craft over the last year. To those who have participated in the give-aways this year, I have enjoyed reading your comments and stories, and love being part of this community. I hope to bring some more crafty fun through 2019 too.

I haven’t found much time to blog in recent months, as I have been busy working on a number of craft projects for others to gift to their relatives. I can share them with you all today, as I hope they are being opened by recipients today. As always, I have no business motive on this blog and recieve no payment for the links I share here- they are products I have sought out, paid for and used myself, and share them with you in case they can help you reach your crafting goals too.

First I will share the yarn bombing, co-ordinated by the Melbourne group Yarn Corner https://www.facebook.com/groups/157893757611209/ . I have been a member of this group for a year or so, and I was determined to be a part of their Christmas project this year. I made time to contribute a few squares and two strips to add to a tree. I didn’t get much time at the install day to take photos of me with my tree, but here is another lovely volunteer sewing our piece onto a tree. The pattern for the snowflake squares was adapted from Linda’s snowflake pot holders: http://web.archive.org/web/20090607063420/http://www.lindaslists.net/snowflakeph.htm 

If you are based in Melbourne (or Australia for that matter) you might want to be part of this group- they are an amazingly supportive craft community.

Second I will share the first graphghan I have ever made. I was asked by a family friend to make this for her sister’s new baby, and I really enjoyed leveling up my skills to make this. I worked on this since August and was able to finish it by mid-November. The pattern was a paid pattern from: https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Crochet-Patterns-ELEPHANT-and-GIRAFFE-Color-Graph-BABY-GIRL-Afghan-Pattern/262086460308?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l9372 and I changed the colours in the background to off white, as the baby this was made for is a boy. It took a lot of concentation, counting, retro-crocheting (AKA frogging) and pateince to sew in ends, but it came out really well and is very cute. In time I might attempt another similar pattern.

Elephant and Giraffe baby blanket. Made from Oz yarn milk cotton, and this paid pattern from Karen on Ebay: https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Crochet-Patterns-ELEPHANT-and-GIRAFFE-Color-Graph-BABY-GIRL-Afghan-Pattern/262086460308?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l9372 . I used single crochet to complete this graphghan, and changed the colours as it was for a boy.

Elephant and Giraffe baby blanket. Made from Oz yarn milk cotton, and this paid pattern from Karen on Ebay: https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Crochet-Patterns-ELEPHANT-and-GIRAFFE-Color-Graph-BABY-GIRL-Afghan-Pattern/262086460308?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l9372 . I used single crochet to complete this graphghan, and changed the colours as it was for a boy.

The third thing I was working on was a pair of ‘gym boot’ booties for a work friend’s first nephew. These worked up quickly and each time I make them I think they look great. The pattern is from a book of booties I have had since I was a teenager, and I used the Milk Cotton from Oz Yarn.

The last thing I was working on intermittently during that time was some crochet market bags- again in milk cotton (I do enjoy working with this yarn). The pattern is free at Justbcrafty: https://justbcrafty.com/2014/03/crochet-mesh-grocery-tote-pattern.html   They work up pretty quickly and I use the yellow one to hold my fruit and veg, and the blue one is great for bread- it doesn’t get squashed!

Crochet market bags. Made in Milk Cotton from Oz Yarn, using this pattern from justbcrafty: https://justbcrafty.com/2014/03/crochet-mesh-grocery-tote-pattern.html

Crochet market bags. Made in Milk Cotton from Oz Yarn, using this pattern from justbcrafty: https://justbcrafty.com/2014/03/crochet-mesh-grocery-tote-pattern.html

Phew, it feels great to be able to share all of these projects with you. I have also gotten back to tatting, but I think I have shared enough craft for one day. My next post will be devoted to the tatted items I have recently finished.

Until then, have a lovely holiday season!

Happy crafting

Fiona T

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Some small items to welcome babies.

I usually have a few projects going at any one time. Over the last few months a few of our friends are preparing to welcome new babies into their family for the first time. These have recently been gifted, so I can now reveal them on my blog.

First up is a picture of items I have finally conquered. I have had so many versions of this ‘gym boots’ pattern, and this is the first time I am happy with the result. I used Bendigo Wool Mills 5ply cotton, and a 3.25mm hook to make these. The pattern is from an Annie’s Attic Collection book.

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The second picture below is of some of my favourite items to knit. There is an in-threes cardigan, made in Bendigo Wool Mills 8 ply Bold Bamboo, with a co-ordinating Milo vest/dress. The second Milo Dress is made in 8ply Bendigo Wool Mills Savanna, which is an Alpaca wool blend, and it has a matching head band from a modified Muki Crafts paid pattern. Of course, I had to make a pair of the little Mary-jane style shoes and socks, in 5ply acrylic, as I knew this recipient is having a baby girl. wp-1513852358529..jpg

I am really enjoying knitting and crocheting these small items. I especially like the top down, seam free items, as the patterns are so clever with very few ends to weave in.

I wonder what kinds of items you like to knit or crochet for babies?

Until next time, happy crafting,

Fiona T

 

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Diamond Sword Crochet Blanket

A couple of weeks ago I finished this blanket I was making for my son. I began the blanket last year, it took approximately 18 months to complete. I didn’t work on it everyday, but would make some squares here and there while zoning out in front of the TV.

Completing a project like this looked pretty simple, but needed a fair amount of planning before I started, and as I progressed, to bring it together.

I started by looking online for a 15x 15 pixelated image. I was using an 8ply pure wool yarn. I ended up settling on this image, and reduced the colour pallet to six shades, instead of nine: 

Then I had to locate a crochet square pattern. I wanted more of a solid block pattern rather than granny square style. I looked online for free patterns and found one that I felt would give a pixelated effect. I used rounds 1-3 of the April square: https://www.allfreecrochetafghanpatterns.com/Granny-Square-Patterns/April-Square   and made each square for my blanket in a single colour. I ended up adding a boarder to the blanket with additional grey squares, making this blanket 17 x17, 7 cm squares.

I attached the main coloured squares into rows, and periodically checked that the placement would work. Here are some images of the blanket ‘in progress’. I tracked rows against the pixelated diagram using post-it notes which were numbers with columns, and attached using bull dog clips.

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289 squares later, I was done 🙂

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It took a long time to hide all of the ends from the individual squares and from the row seaming too. While I am pleased with how it looks, I wont be making another one any time soon 🙂

Now I don’t have any big projects on my shuttle, hook or needles…I wonder what will take my eye next?

Until next time, happy crafting.

Fiona T

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Merry Christmas 2016

Things have been a bit quiet on the blog for a few weeks as I have been busy finishing Christmas presents and studying too. The two gifts have now been given to their new owners so I can show you them now.

The first one was quite quick to make. I used Bendigo Wool Mills Cotton 10ply to make this in threes cardigan for my niece. 

The second one took a little longer as I hadn’t made a collar like this before. The vintage pattern is from a Coats learn tatting book no 660, and made is in Milford Mercerised cotton size 40, purple. I experimented with using crochet to attach the tatted collar as I went, and this required a little bit of retro-crocheting to make it sit properly and not pucker. The recipient loved it, and I hope she enjoys wearing it. I hope to blog soon about the process I used to make this collar.

Wishing all of you a wonderful holiday season. 

Until next time happy tatting, 

Fiona T  

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