Wednesday, April 29, 2009

wool-cotton blend?

Hi all! I have some fun colors of Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece picked out, but I thought I'd check to see if a cotton-wool blend meets the "rules." (It's 80% cotton and 20% wool.) What do you think?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

FO: Not-So-Blue Snowflakes

Cross posted at Sally Comes Unraveled and hot pads! and potholders - the swap.

My potholders are finished, and tomorrow they're going for a ride to Hello Yarn via the US Post Office.

Once again, this is the "Blue Snowflakes" pattern from Woman's Day Prizewinning Granny Squares. I used a G Crochet Hook.

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The pattern is for an afghan, but I just used the large square pattern and added a Biscuit Edging. I gave them all a light blocking so they would lie flat.

The yarn is Patons Classic Merino Wool Yarn in the following color combinations:

"That's Pink" and "Too Teal"
"Too Teal" and Red (exact name unknown)
"Leaf" and "Harvest"
"Old Gold" and "Rich Red"
"Leaf" and "That's Pink"
"Harvest" and Purple (exact name unknown)

I'm keeping the purple and Harvest one for myself.

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Tomorrow the rest begin their journey.


I recently posted pictures of my potholder prototypes and thanks to the input I got from those posts I decided to go with my first instinct and chose to use the Willow pattern. I am so happy I did because I am really enjoying the results. My family is also happy with them, so happy that they've tried to claim them for our home. No luck though. These are for the swap. After the 5 that I'm committed to make are finished then I can consider some for us.

Since I used DK weight yarn and a pattern with holes I needed to make these double-sided. I considered textured patterns but in the end I went with a very imaginatively named, Solid Square (also from 200 Crochet Blocks) for the reverse side. I kind of like the opportunity it offers for me to choose a contrast color to show through the holes in the Willow side. Supa-cool!

Speaking of colors, I decided to go with totally different color palettes for each of these. Ok, ok, ok. I didn't eaxactly decide to. I was a little less focused than I ought to have been when I bought the yarn and I I employed a strategy of "Oooo pretty" rather than a well thought out plan. It's all working out though because I am having a blast choosing different combos for each potholder.

It's a funny thing about this crochet stuff. The more I do the more I want to do. I went online to get myself a copy of 200 Crochet Blocks and somehow this landed in my shopping cart too. It was pretty and I couldn't resist. Now that it's here I'm sooooo happy I got it because there is so much good info in this book.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

And I'm Off

Hey everyone!

So after several weeks of practicing and trying out new techniques with DK weight mercerized cotton, I've decided on a pattern, etc. But I'm not telling you what I'm doing. Ha! Not yet anyway.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Block Party

Cross posted at Sally Comes Unraveled and hot pads! and potholders - the swap.

With my bathroom sink recently cleaned, and some spare room on my bedroom floor, this evening was a good time to do some blocking. I blocked my swatches for Decimal (I tried several different KnitPicks yarns) along with the potholders.

The Decimal swatches took a nice long soak in Grapefruit Eucalan. I have all the info on the yarn and the needle sizes here.

I was concerned about the small amount of lanolin in the Eucalan, however. I don't know if it will make a difference as far as flammability. But everyone in the swap is being extra careful about the materials they use, so I just dipped the potholders in plain, lukewarm water. After a few seconds I gently squeezed out the excess and pinned them to the towel.

I imagine most people won't need to block their potholders. But after I added the edging, these got a little curly. Hopefully this will flatten them a bit.



I tried out a number of patterns and realized I could have kept going forever, so I settled on this one.


Pattern: Scalloped Potholder (ravelry link); (archived link)

Yarn: Coats Creme de la Creme (worsted-weight kitchen-type cotton)

They're double thickness; on most of them the backs are the opposite colors as the fronts.

Hook: 4.0 mm (US G)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I have finished four of my potholders. I wasn't sure if this was the pattern I wanted to use. It seemed sort of plain to me. After looking at the pictures though I really like them. They are Southwestern Duo potholders. I only used the full circle pattern and not the crescent. I wanted to do a SW theme in honor of my very recent move to SW Texas. I used Sugar 'n Cream for the primary colors and I Love This Cotton in Taupe Ombre for the variegated colorway. I like the thicknesses of these yarns for potholders. They are crocheted in two seperate peices then crocheted together. Not including the loop they measure 9" in diameter. So, what do you think, should I try something a bit more difficult? Btw, I really loooove everyones prototypes so far they are all extremely beautiful! Than you so much for this swap...I very much enjoy making potholders. They are super fast to whip about instant gratification! :))

Saturday, April 11, 2009

This is my test sample for the swap. Like some others in this swap, I am using one of the blocks from 200 Crochet Blocks. It is "American Beauty." It is not thick enough, and has too many holes, on its own, so I will add a square to the back in one of the solid colors. The hot pads for the swap will be made of 3 colors: the center "flower" will be one color, two rows around it in a 2nd color and the outer rows in a 3rd color. The back will probably be the third color, and I will use the middle color to join the back to the front and crochet an edging.

This has been great fun finding yarn (still looking), and deciding upon a pattern. Thank you so much Adrian and Maritza.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Ready to go…

My potholders are finished and ready to go across the ocean.

It’s been interesting to read what you write here, on Flickr and on your blogs about potholders. To me, it looks like traditions here in Norway, where I live, are a little different than in the US. (And also, I hope you can understand what I write – it is quite a while since I’ve been speaking, reading and writing in English).

When I grew up, you could see homemade potholders in every kitchen. The last 10-15 years, however, it has been considered more old fashioned and out. Now that recycling and second hand is getting more and more popular again, especially among younger people, crocheted potholders are coming back. But they are still easy to find and still cheap in the flea markets and second hand shops, and I have collected some. They are always in cotton, often double, and mostly in thick (DK?) yarn. Very often, they are red and white or other strong colors – maybe so they will be easy to find in a hurry when you need them? I have never ever seen a potholder made of wool, that is of hygienic reasons of course. Cotton can be machine washed in hot water, while wool will be feltet if treated the same way.

For that reason, my potholders are all in cotton, double, without any holes in them. It’s almost impossible to burn your hands when you use them. I found a similar pattern in an old magazine from the 1980’s, but I have changed it several times during the years.

More about these, and other, potholders on my blog. It’s all in Norwegian, and impossible to understand if you don’t know the language, but you can always look at the pictures…

Thank you, Adrian and Maritza, for starting this swap. It’s been such an inspiration!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Rest of the Potholder Prototypes

Tumbledown TrivetCool Flames PotholderBack to the parade of potholders.

There were quite a few potholder patterns on the web that looked interesting to me. The first was the Tumbledown Trivet by Julie Bolduc. What appealed to me about this pattern and also the next one I worked, her the Cool Flames Potholder, was the crochet acrobatics required. In each of these patterns there is a certain amount of crocheting into stitches from previous rows behind chained stitches. I found this to be a lot of fun. I also love the dimensionality that the layers of stitches creates.

Spiked Hot PadThe Spiked Hot Pad pattern (also by Julie Bolduc) was similarly fun. In this one the nifty trick is going back a row or two and creating a super-long spike. I like this effect a lot.

One thing I noticed as I worked these potholders is that I'm a very tight crocheter. Because of that, all of these are a little smaller than they ought to be. They also hurt my hands after a while. I'm working hard on loosening up a bit. Crocheting is too much fun to have to give it up due to tight stitches.

Wild Granny SquareThe Wild Granny Square is by Julie Bolduc again. I liled it fr the same reasons as the others but I think that the end result is not as neat and tidy as I'd like it to be. Perhaps wild isn't what I go for in a granny square. It's a perfectly nice pattern but just not for me. Tis one is efinitely out of the running.

Crochet Flower Hot PadThe last prototype is the Crochet Flower Hot Pad. I love this one! It was weird while I was making it because it looked like a big, floppy, octopus but at the end when you flip the flaps and pin them down it's just magic. I could be very happy crocheting a lot of these but it seems like a bunch of other folks are using this pattern so I won't.

After the post on Tuesday I got a bunch of comments here and there saying that Willow is theway to go. I'm definitely leaning towards Willow or the Tumbledown Trivet. I'll work each again to see if being looser will make a difference. I also want to see how they look in the Sonata. Thanks for all of the input!

Crossposted to the my blog.

Still Experimenting

Here's my color palette in cotton. I put together a similar one of Cascade 220 from my stash, so right now I'm experimenting with fiber/hook combos, color combos, and the pattern.

I've reached a tricksy bit on the pattern that I want to use ("Contrasting Colors" from Nola Theiss's Crocheted Gifts in a Weekend). Luckily Ravelry exists, so I've posted my questions there and hope to get going on these over the weekend.



I really love this pattern and after crocheting 3 sides (1 1/2 potholders) I'm thinking I have no choice but to use it. The one I finished is a bit on the small side 5 3/4". I'm thinking of adding another round of increases before the top petal shaping.

I just love the small crochet thread and the vintage patterns too!! but they just seem to take so much longer than something done in dk or worsted weight.

I was afraid such fine thread wouldn't provide much in the way of heat proofing, but it did the job when I took some carrot cake out of the oven this morning.

The other pattern I like is just a big 6 sided granny square type potholder (kind of like this one), with a few color changes to make it interesting. What would you want to get? Little frilly or big granny?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Parade of Prototypes

Hi, I'm Hillary and knitting is really my love but these hot pads and potholders are so much fun. It's really nice to step outside my comfort zone and try to create using didderent skills.

Swap ColorsI was so excited when I signed up. I went online and ordered up a bunch of Elann Sonata right away. It's such a lovely yarn. Great colors and a nice smooth finish. I also bought a few new crochet hooks that are more comfortable to use. Then I borrowed 200 Crochet Blocks by Jan Eaton from my library. This is a book I'd definitely love to add to my collection. It's got great blocks and I find the other information in it very helpful as well.

Tricolor SquareFinally I started testing potential patterns using random scraps of Sugar 'n Cream yarn and I just couldn't stop. I started with the block that really caught my eye. This is from the book and it's #35 Tricolor Square. Both DQ and Stinkerbelle have tried to claim this one for themselves. No matter which other pattern I try, this is the family favorite. Sadly it doesn't meet one of the criteria that I am looking for. I need a pattern that I feel I can really execute well and I think that this one is beyond my skill set.

Briar RoseBriar Rose (#78) was the second one I tried. I try not to let the color choice influence my impression of it but I just can't help being distracted by the crazy. I also think that the hook I used was not the right size. The stitches are a little loose which is odd because I've found that I'm a tight crocheter in general. It's something I'm working on.

Gothic SquareThe Gothic Square (#94) looked terriffic to me when I saw it in the book. It also worked well for me. The stitches and combinations were ones that I felt totally comfortable with. I just don't love this square even though I really want to. I'm not sure why but it's just not "The One".

WillowI really enjoyed crocheting Willow (#189) and I thought it was a winner but the family disagrees. They're just not feeling the love for it. I like the shapes and I think it could be a good potholder if I added a solid or textured back. I just think that it could get tedious repeating this pattern again and again.

Since none of the patterns in the book were jumping out and screaming at me, I kept trying more. I'll post about the rest of them including a bunch I found on the internet. I tried a total of nine patterns last week.

Cross posted to my blog.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Too Fru-Fru?

Cross posted at Sally Comes Unraveled and hot pads! and potholders - the swap.

Earlier I was debating whether or not to put a border on my potholders. I decided I should, so I tried adding the biscuit edging.

The potholder is a little ruffled now. I'm planning to block it lightly, so I think it will work out. But I'm still worried that it's a little too "fru-fru." What do you think?

Too Frou-Frou?

Friday, April 3, 2009

still working on a pattern

Hi everyone! It is so great to hear about everyone's progress.

I am still working on finding the right pattern- which makes me a little nervous!! All the ones posted so far are beautiful. It seems like every time I settle on a pattern, I start crocheting a prototype and find that the pattern is too hole-y... I mean, it's a hot pad, I don't want huge lacy holes that fingers and surfaces could get burned through- and then it is back to square one!! Smaller holes, like the ones pictured here seem fine, but I keep finding patterns with real WHOPPER holes.

I found a possibility among the free lion brand patterns and will share the outcome later tonight after I crochet a prototype.

Good luck everyone!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

2 down, 3-ish to go

I started out thinking I would test a couple different patterns, but I really like the first one I tried. They are (thankfully) a bit over 6 inches across. This has turned into quite the stash buster. So far I've used Plymouth Fantasy Naturale that was leftover from a pinwheel blanket and a baby shrug. I'm hoping I have enough without having to buy more.


The pattern is here. (ravelry) The construction is very interesting on these! Without the video, I would have been totally lost. I can see many more of these in my future.

Finished: 5 Scalloped Hot Pads

Wow, I had way too much fun making these. They became addicting and I am became obsessed. I definitely will be making more of these in the future. I want to thank Adrian and Maritza for starting this Swap because I never thought about making hot pads and potholders. Thank you for opening up a whole new world to me. :-)

The pattern has you make 2 sides and then they are single crocheted together. The wool ones are 6.5 inches and the cotton ones are slightly wider. For yarn info on each of these hot pads, please visit my blog to see the blog post on them. The pattern link is here.