new year sweater

I’ve always wanted to make a granny stitch sweater. I wear the sideways sweater a lot in the fall and winter for layering. The open stitch pattern makes it not too warm for indoor heating but the thickness of crochet makes it warm enough for the amount of time I spend outdoors in public transit or walking from one place to another in the city. So I wanted a similar sweater but different, and granny stitch would have the similar effects.

The patterns I came across are usually worked flat with the front, back, and sleeve pieces seamed together, like this one, and this one, which look fabulous. But I wanted to make one that is crocheted top-down and in the round so that it incorporates the granny corner stitches in the yoke as raglan increases.  

I found this video tutorial on Oana’s crochet channel, which is brilliant, especially the way it started with the foundation “arches” made of ch’s and dc’s. There’s no written pattern; it’s more of a formula to make what fits and try on as you go. I’ve made some modifications for worsted weight yarn and larger hooks. If you’d like to try doing something similar, you’d have to watch Oana’s video first for the following to make sense.

The finished measurements of my sweater:

Bust: 36″ around
Arm opening: 14″ around
Sleeve length: 17.5″ from underarm
Length: 18.5“
Neck width: 8.5“
Neck depth: 3″

I used about 1200 yards of worsted weight yarn and an 8 mm hook, as well as 6.5 mm hook for edgings. 

My modifications:

Yoke foundation chain (with larger hook): The sweater begins with a foundation chain of “arches” or loops made of ch’s and dc’s. I made 6 arches for the back of neck, 2 for each of the sleeves, and 4 for the raglan increases, and omitted ones in the front, so it’d make a smoother neckline. So altogether I started with 14 arches.

Note 1: I had to take away some stitches in the raglan increase, so that it is [2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc], because it was starting to buckle with the original [3 dc, ch 1, 3 dc] combination.

Note 2: I turn at the end of each round.

Row 1: first raglan increase (ch 3, 2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc), 3 dc in next 2 arches, raglan increase (2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc), 3 dc in next 6 arches, raglan increase (as previous one), 3 dc in next 2 arches, last raglan increase (2 dc, ch 1, 3 dc).

Rows 2–3: increase at the start of the row as per the video (ch 3, 3 dc between first and second dc of the row), then work raglan increases in ch 1 spaces, and granny stitches across, then increase at the end of the row (4 dc between last dc and beginning ch 3 chain of last row).

Row 4: increase at the start of the row (ch 3, 2 dc between first and second dc of the row), then work raglan increases in ch 1 spaces, and granny stitches across, then increase at the end of the row (3 dc between last dc and beginning ch 3 chain of last row).

I then join the front with 3 arches, so that now the yoke is joined in the round.

I worked 5 more rounds around the yoke, then joined the front and back at the underarm. Then worked until the piece is 18″ in length from shoulder.

For the sleeves, I started with joining yarn in the stitch at underarm (where the front and back joined), then worked 2 rounds even, then worked a decrease round.

For the decrease round, I didn’t follow Oana’s video for sleeves, which involves a decrease row of sc stitches. I wanted the entire sweater to be granny stitches, so here’s what I did.

Sleeve decrease round: ch 3, 2 dc in same space, [2 dc in next sp, 2 dc in next sp], work granny stitch around, sl st in top of beginning ch to join.

Round after decrease: ch 3, 2 dc in same space, work granny stitch around, until the group of stitches in [] of previous row, skip the 4 dc in [] (i.e. treat it as one group of granny stitch), work granny stitch in next sp to end, sl st in top of beginning ch to join. 

After the first decrease round, I worked decrease round every 6th row three times, then worked 3 rounds even, then worked another decrease round, and a final round.

For all the edging I switched to a 6.5 mm hook and worked 3 rounds of sc stitches around the neck opening, cuffs and bottom of the sweater. Generally I work 3 sc in each ch 3 space, and one sc in each dc around the cuffs. 

And that’s it, no seaming. And It’s a very quick make, I finished it in a few days. I’d like to try making another one with different colours in the yoke so the raglan increase stitches stand out more. 

Hope 2020 brings you many good things ♥

brings joy

Mike put up the tree last week. As we were looking through the ornaments I realized that these rabbit ones were made almost 10 years ago. The paint is a bit faded and got bits of the tree stuck on them now but they held up quite well, given that they were made of salt dough.

I thought they looked a bit cold this year so I made them sweaters. 

Also thought the Icelandic Yule Cat needs something special to stand on, so we all know it’s no house cat (though nothing wrong with house cats).

Small bits of crafting. Brings joy. (and procrastination from work)

May your week be joyful and bright.

 

 

homecoming

This blog was like a home. I’ve been away for a while. It’s been difficult to return from a season of losses, in which I’m still finding myself wandering. This is one of my repeated attempts in finding myself. 

Every year Mike and I make Christmas cards. A tradition since we’ve been married a dozen years ago. This year we almost didn’t make it, but we did finally, with just what we have. We thought we needed other things, but realized, as we were going through the process, that we already have what we needed.

We had an idea to make block prints of a hedgehog with mushrooms growing out of its back. Mike told me about this plush toy that he and his brother got from a massive Kinder Egg when they were children one Christmas. Our nieces and nephews now have the hedgehog. The children kindly share a photo: 

(The mushrooms on this hedgehog are green, blue and red.)

We thought about making a block print of the hedgehog with lino blocks. I thought it would be too much work. I thought we could just use foam pieces from food trays. 

I cut shapes of the body and head of the hedgehog from the foam tray with a basic utility knife. Mike had the brilliant idea of taping (with double-sided tape) the foam shape to the bottom of a glass container in order to make prints. That way, I can see exactly where the shape was printing onto the paper, and have an almost perfect registration (in printmaking terms). 

This is the foam piece (head of the hedgehog) taped to the bottom of the glass container, and me brushing acrylic paint on it with a foam brush.

This is me pressing it onto the card with the other part of the hedgehog already printed on it.

I hope this makes sense. But if it doesn’t, and you’d like to try a similar thing, just leave me a message in the comments.

Here is the herd of hedgehogs…

May you too find joy and comfort in both familiar and unexpected things around you this holiday season.

Sending much love.

settling in…

I don’t think I’ve ever been away for so long, I’m so sorry folks! >_<

April was a very challenging month. There was a great loss in my family, there were final papers for the school term, and we were moving to a new place. The month felt like a blur, but at the same time each day felt excruciatingly long, with too many thoughts and too many feelings. So have been spending the month of May trying to settle in and feeling the earth beneath my feet again.

But I thought I’d bring a new thing when I return here. A how-to for a floor pouf!

The pouf is finger-knitted and uses exactly two skeins of Bernat Blanket yarn. It uses the same techniques of four finger knitting and turning as the ear warmers, and the photo tutorial is here.

The pouf is about 2 feet in diameter and 1.5 feet tall. I stuffed it with an old double size duvet. I do have to fluff it up after sitting on it, so for a firmer pouf it can probably be stuffed a bit more with a queen size duvet or another blanket.

To make the floor pouf, cast on the first row and knit until piece is about 25″ long, then turn and knit until you have just enough yarn left to sew up the seam (about 50″ of yarn tail). The piece would be about 45″ wide.

Sew the short edges of the rectangle together using tapestry needle, tie off, then turn right side out. Weave the yarn tail through the stitches around one opening edge, then cinch tightly and sew shut. Fasten off.

Stuff with duvet. Using a different colour yarn (I used a length of worsted weight yarn doubled up) that’s about 50″ long, weave through the stitches around the other opening edge, cinch and tie with a removable knot. So that the duvet can be taken out for washing.

This is the first piece of knitted furniture I’ve made so I’m quite proud :)

Hope to write again soon. Until then, take good care!

tchotchke the cat pillow

I bought some very chunky, very fluffy wool in Cape Breton a few years ago. It knits up in variegated stripes and I thought it would make a wonderful cat pillow. And the yarn weight is great for the large gauge of loom knitting.

I named the cat Tchotchke, because I like the sound of the word :D and because I have a lot of cat tchotchkes.

It’s basically a tube shape without any shaping, it’s the sewing together that makes the feet nubby feet and the ears. It’s a very beginner-friendly project :)

Regular knitting: Alternatively, if one isn’t into loom knitting, I imagine that this cat pillow can also easily be made with a 10 mm circular needle and super chunky yarn. Just cast on 41 stitches, then knit one round and purl one round (garter stitch) until it’s 14 inches in length, then proceed with the sewing instructions. (I haven’t tried it though, so I don’t know if it might knit up smaller using regular needles, and one would therefore make the cat shorter.)

I used:

41-peg loom, from this Loops & Threads set

12-peg loom (optional, just easier when making the tail)

Loom knitting pick

Super chunky weight yarn about 200 m / 150 g (I suggest using the chunkiest fluffiest yarn you can find so less stuffing show through)

Polyester stuffing

Tapestry needle

Black yarn (I used worsted weight doubled up)

Body:

With drawstring cast-on (instruction video here), cast on all the pegs of the 41-peg loom using the super chunky yarn.

Knit one row (knit stitch instruction video here, ignore the cast-on part in the beginning).

Purl one row (purl stitch instruction video here, again ignore the cast-on part).

Repeat the previous two rows (thus working the garter stitch) until the piece is about 14 inches in length.

Bind off (bind off instruction video here).

Tail:

Cast on 7 pegs on the smaller loom or the same loom.

Knit one row and purl one row. Repeat these two rows until the piece is 12 inches long.

Leaving a very long yarn tail, weave the tail through the stitches on the pegs, then remove the stitches from the pegs and cinch to gather the stitches. Fold the tail in half length-wise and sew together using mattress stitch. Stop sewing and tie off 2 inches away from the end.

New we sew it together and make a cat shape!

With the drawstring cast-on on the body, pull on the yarn tail and cinch it close, but not too tightly. It will form a sort of curve. Tie off, then sew the opening close by sewing through both layers of fabric using whip stitch. (picture below)

With the other end of the tube (the ears and head), using whip stitch again, and sewing both layers of fabric together, sew from the edge in about 2 inches toward the centre. Repeat from the other edge. It will leave an opening in the centre of the head.

Stuff with stuffing, but not too firmly.

Weave a piece of yarn around each stitch in the centre opening, cinch it tightly closed, and tie off securely. (picture below shows what the top of the head looks like after it’s all sewn together.)

With the tail, spread open the end of the tail and sew around its edges while attaching it to the body using whip stitch. It will look like this:

Finally, sew on eyes, nose/mouth and whiskers with the black yarn.

A new friend to watch TV and hang out with! :D

Have a good week everyone!

this week’s awesome finds

Lip balm made with simple ingredients, from Our Lives with Bella.
I love funnel neck and marled yarn. Pattern by Purl Soho.
Of course I meant to write this post before Valentine’s Day to include this cute and practical craft! But love can be celebrated any day and I’m sure these olive stress balls will be greatly appreciated anytime as a gift :D From Handmade Charlotte.
Also from Handmade Charlotte, a yarn ball, an ice cream cone, a puppet — what can be more adorable?
It is not too early to dream of spring and boxy cotton sweaters. I particularly like how the centre seam is made an element of design rather than hidden. From Hooked on Tilly.
Also a boxy sweater, but a cozy one. I really like the cowl neck. By Lion Brand Yarn (follow link in post for pattern).

Hope everyone have a wonderful week!

lately

What I’ve been working on after the holidays…

This was something that I started on my trip to Hong Kong. Working on this got me through excruciatingly long flights and some moments of sadness as well as a cold. I actually managed finishing most of the body during the trip and finished the sleeves after I came back.

I made up the pattern entirely and jotted down some notes with the hope of sharing it sometimes in the future… it might not happen till May when the winter semester is over, so hopefully I will still remember what I did…

I used the Red Heart It’s a Wrap that was sent to me from Yarn Canada to review. Remember the ghostly doily? So I finished the doily AND made this sweater AND still have yarn left for probably another doily. The yardage is incredible!

After school started back again I didn’t have as much time but I did knit a hat! I’ve loom knitted a hat with with this Caron Chunky Cake before but the wide gaps between stitches (part of loom knitting but I think it’s fixable, I just don’t know how) make the hat not very warm… so I figure I’ll unravel and knit a 2x2 rib one.

And then I thought it’s a bit too short and the brim not wide enough, so I unraveled again and added stripes with the leftover grey section of the yarn cake.

I think this one is staying knitted :D

Have a great week, everyone!

homecoming

Over Christmas I made a trip to Hong Kong with my mom and sister, because my grandma is unwell. We tried to spend as much time as possible with her, knowing also that having visitors was also tiring for both my grandparents. So my sister and I did quite a bit of wandering.

The grimy streets, the humid air, the plume of exhaust every time a bus passes by on the narrow street. The palm trees, the emerald mountains, the tropical plants blooming in December. People who would speed walk right into you if you don’t make way quickly enough. The sea that always smells faintly like the sewer.

I love every tree, every brick, every grimy sidewalk, every pedestrian bridge in this city.

But I wonder if I would say the same if we never left. If I had to grow up and learn to be an adult in it. If I actually have to live with its various complicated political and social issues now. I don’t know. I don’t even know if I will always be able to visit as freely as I do now, with the ways the said complicated political and social issues are progressing. We’ll wait, and see, and hope. And in the meanwhile I’ll show you some pictures of this beloved city.

Porg, our travel companion, poses in front of the window at our guest house.
View from a pedestrian bridge on King’s Road with the old style tram.
Oil Street arts centre near our guest house. Folks relaxing on the lawn at lunch time.
Street market and shoppers.
Wandered into Hong Kong University, a colonial institution built in 1912.
Of course, stitching on the MTR. No one stitches on the MTR though…
Visiting Hong Kong Park. It has meerkats and lemurs. Much greenery. Also unseasonably warm this time of year.
Porg wants a photo. It’s not every day he gets to ride the MTR.
Another pedestrian bridge, another view.
A refurbished cotton factory that turned into an arts centre and retail space, with a thriving rooftop garden.
One of the many ghost signs. It’s clear that there are lots of thoughts and efforts put into preserving and showcasing the original structure. Even the benches are made from the original wooden doors.
Visited the neighbourhood where my parents grew up and met with my mom and aunt. Also where I went to kindergarten. I have a few specific memories of this place.
My parents’ families lived in small flats like these.
Toasts at tea time.
We egg tart lovers. Held on to Porg’s wing just in time to stop him from falling right in.
Spent part of our last evening at the harbour, with many groups of enthusiastic buskers, and the backdrop of the iconic Hong Kong skyline.

One of my favourite poems by Ursula Le Guin comes to mind, wherever home is for you…

May your soul be at home where there are no houses.
Walk carefully, well loved one,
walk mindfully, well loved one,
walk fearlessly, well loved one.
Return with us, return to us, 
be always coming home.

From Always Coming Home, 1985

new year’s awesome finds

A few projects to get the new year crafting started! :D

A quick and cozy make. I love funnel neck. By Two of Wands.
Intricate stitch pattern inspired by the Great Lakes. From Crochet 365.
Impressed by how much it looks knitted! I’m not super into crochet projects that try to look knit (because there’s nothing wrong with crochet that looks crochet!), but I do love the look of knitted fabric while my hands prefer to crochet. From My Hobby is Crochet.
I’ve always wanted to make a good jacket and this one looks sturdy! A paid pattern by Elina Vaananen on Ravelry.

Happy 2019! May your year be filled with love, joy and crafts! :D

Merry Christmas!

This year Mike and I marbled paper using shaving cream and made Christmas cards with them. It was a lot of fun and I wish you can smell the refreshing scent from across the screen! :D 

Thank you so much for journeying with me this year. Though my posts have been few and far in between since the fall, this blog has been with me since 2010 and is still a joyful anchor amidst various busy and chaotic times in my life. Thank you for being a part of it by visiting, reading and sharing your thoughts too!

Wishing you a wonderful holiday, with time to pause, rest, re-energize, craft, eat good food, share lots of laughs with your loved ones, and craft some more :D