Luminosa Cowl and Happy New Year!

Earlier in the year (2018), I ventured to a nearby city and visited two independent yarn shops. At the second one, I found a cowl made with some gorgeously soft and also shiny yarn. The shop owner told me it was Luminosa by Cascade. She also pointed me in the direction of the free pattern, which is this one here, if you’d like to try it yourself!

Her cowl was done in pink and a brighter teal. They were out of the teal but I picked up the pink and a darker black and blue, which I thought would let the pink shine but still give a nice balance of color.

Still very new to knitting, as I only began to learn in 2017, I was nervous about the pattern and the fact that I dropped $40 on two hanks of yarn. It helped that the kind shop owner caked the hanks for me, so I could pick them up and start the project more easily.

Determined, I did pick up those cakes of yarn and got started not too long after this shopping trip, since I wanted to try something that would allow me to practice knitting in the round without worrying about decreasing (a hat I have YET to complete!). While it took me a while to completely finish the cowl, since I let it sit finished except for bind-off for about two months, I was extremely pleased when all was said and done. There were definitely some challenges along the way, as the purl-2-together was tricky for me, but I plowed through.

You guys…it is SO pretty and it is incredibly soft! Due to its size, it has some versatility with how it can be worn, but simply draped around one’s neck and shoulders looks lovely.

I’m still deciding whether to keep it for myself or list it in the shop. I put the Etsy shop on vacation over the holidays and now that I’m coming up on FIVE years of being an Etsy seller, which is nuts, I have started to think about where I want to take things with my craft and if I want to do occasional restocks versus having mostly made-to-order listings. More to come on that front.

If you are newer to knitting as I am, or if you are a yarn addict and need some inspiration for a project, grab some of this delicious yarn and maybe give this pattern a try. I would absolutely make another of these — but now I’m working on all the practicing of hats. 2019 is going to be The Year of the Knitted Hat!

❤ P.S. I also tried a technique I saw on Facebook from Petals to Picot about binding off with a crochet hook and once I tried that, it cleared the path for me to more easily and quickly finish knitted projects from here on out. It’s so comforting to know I don’t have to let things sit, lest they be ruined with terribly done bind-offs!

Hexagonal Crochet Trivet

I’ve highlighted the book Crochet One-Skein Wonders in previous posts, this being one of them, and when I got the urge to make a new kitchen accessory the other day, the book didn’t fail me.

I have wanted to make this hexagonal trivet (called “Golden Ray of Sunshine Trivet,” which you can find on Ravelry) since I first saw the pattern, but I was too new to crochet at the time, and wasn’t at all experienced at working with crochet thread.

If I hadn’t tried my hand at cupcakes, which require thread and smaller steel hooks to make the “wrappers,” I don’t know if I would have had any of the supplies on hand.

But I did — so I went for it! I was extremely pleasantly surprised at how much easier this was to do than I thought it would be. As long as you have a decent 1.5mm hook, it’ll work just fine with the number 10 crochet thread, which is super itty bitty thin.

Whale Buddy & Cupcake Amigurumi

Crochet Cupcake with Thread “Wrapper”

I worked up both halves of the trivet in one afternoon/evening, and then finished the project the next night.

I’m really happy with it and hope it will work out as well as the much plainer and thicker cotton trivet I made years ago but is still going strong. Plus, it’s so pretty! I think it could be just as stunning in one color, perhaps even better looking without the colors to distract from the stitches, but I was happy with how this turned out.

I didn’t have to spend any money and it’ll provide some usefulness and a pop of color. Win win!

Crochet Hexagonal Trivet

Blocked: Sunrise Knit-Alike Tunisian Scarf

This scarf took me three months to completely finish, including blocking. Scarves are one of those things that seem easy, and for the most part, they are. But when you get over halfway through and you just want to be finished already, getting to the end can seem like an eternity. Also, I’ve noticed this is more the case with Tunisian crochet scarfs than traditional crochet where you merely turn and keep going.

In any case, I was working a lot of hours between January and April, so it didn’t really take me three months as much as I had to put it down and motivate to pick it back up again on numerous occasions.

All that aside, I absolutely love the look of this scarf! The pattern is from bhooked. It may look intimidating, but it’s just two Tunisian stitches: the knit stitch and the cross stitch. I also followed her lead and did the same colorway as the designer did. I’m not usually a super bright colorway person, but there’s just something about those colors. I didn’t have a specific person in mind when I set out to make it, either — I just knew it needed to get made.

When I first began trying my hand at Tunisian crochet, I was unsure if I would get the hang of it. But I caught on pretty quickly, and like many others who have become addicted to it, it fulfills that yearning to create something denser and less loopy. I have dipped a toe — A TOE — in the learning-to-knit pool, and so far, it hasn’t taken. I’m going to keep at it but my hands just don’t want to cooperate with where I’m supposed to put my fingers to keep tension, the movements, etc. (I am working on learning Continental knitting, as it’s an easier transition from crochet and it is more efficient, which is right up my alley.) When I get frustrated at my clumsiness with knitting needles, I toss them aside and pick up my hooks again, feeling right at home.

I digress.

This scarf is super long, warm, cozy, and bright. It would make a wonderful autumn-into-winter scarf. Mine turned out pretty wide at 6-7″. I also used bhooked’s method for wet blocking. Blocking is a pain but it does work! My ends didn’t uncurl completely but it’s not terrible. It just gives the scarf that little extra handmade look.

For blocking, I used some rubber/foam interlocking mats, T-pins, and sprayed down the scarf with water from a spray bottle I had. I let it dry for a couple of days before unpinning, which was the most tedious part of the whole process.

I haven’t decided whether to list it in the shop or just keep it in my gifts pile. But I’m excited for the day to come when it goes to an ecstatic new owner!

Edit: added to the shop!

Super Fluffy Cowl with Celtic Basket Weave

I decided to challenge myself during a recent bout of illness where I could do nothing but sit around at home, for days. During the times when I did have a little energy, I would work on this cowl. I wasn’t sure at first whether I would actually finish it, but I was determined to see how it would go for several rounds, at least.

Little back story: I have had two skeins of Scarfie yarn from Lion Brand sitting in my yarn cart for months, waiting to be made into something. It’s ultra fluffy and soft but is a pain to frog and takes a jumbo hook to use it.  (Example: I have tried and failed so many times with Moogly’s Squish cowl and have just given up on making that project; I can’t get a split bouillon stitch to work with Scarfie to save my life.)  In late 2015, I made a hooded cowl with one skein of Scarfie, and while it turned out well, I also used a wooden hook for that project, which greatly fatigued my hand.

By now, I have invested in a Susan Bates aluminum M hook and that helped immensely for trying this cowl pattern. My personal note about the pattern is that it is crucial to watch the video tutorial that she links to. Learning the Celtic basket weave stitch is best with visuals, in my opinion. It still took me a few rounds before I felt comfortable knowing what I was doing. Due to the size of the hook and having to be super careful with the fluffy yarn,  I never got up to my normal speed of crochet, but I was still able to finish this piece over the course of doing a round here and there while being sick.

img_9570_medium2

In the end, I love the final product! It feels like a springy cloud around your neck and is ultra warm because of the dual layers of basket weave stitches. The mocha colors are so pretty and go with a lot of winter wear. I’m really happy with it and may even devote my other skein of Scarfie yarn to make another of these down the road.

cowl-on

 

Hodgepodge of Projects

Well Happy New Year, friends!

All I can say about my recent absence from the blog is, “Good grief!” (Charlie Brown style.)

I began a post in late 2015 to document what I was working on and life turned topsy-turvy when I changed jobs and then became consumed by the holiday season craziness.

December saw us going from Indian summer to having a chilly fall and then back to Floridian temperatures just in time for the holidays. Our Christmas was far from snowy.

I worked on a bevy of crochet projects between November and December. My memory may underestimate the number of things I did, which is why I try to take photos of my completed projects.

Below are some of the items I completed between November and January; I did a slideshow because there were a few too many to make readers scroll and scroll. Currently on my hook in need of completion are a houndstooth scarf and a new blanket I just started. I’m excited about both! I’ll finish the scarf pretty soon here and then the blanket will be an ongoing project…

Anybody working on anything really fun or interesting, or get anything for Christmas that rounded out your wishlist?

I received some more books on amigurumi, socks, and sweaters. I really want to kick things up a notch this year. And! My Etsy shop’s two-year anniversary is coming up! I think I’m going to do something a little special to celebrate. 😀

Until next time–keep up the delicious creativity!

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