|Crochet ruffle scarf|
I find knitting and crochet relaxing. I like to be doing something with my hands while I watch TV or talking in the evenings and I like to be producing something useful (I love sewing, but its a bit anti-social and loud). I am currently working on a pair of crocheted socks from this pattern. Fiona from Arbordale Farm gave me some lovely bright NZ wool when she came back from holiday last year and I thought it would make a nice pair of socks, but I also didn't feel like knitting (see my knitted sock effort here), so I found this crochet sock pattern. I think I actually prefer crochet now, its less fiddly than trying to keep all those stitches on needles and if you drop your one loop you just unravel a bit and don't have to spend half and hour trying to sort out all your stitches (or lose the whole thing). I also find it easier to hold just the one hook instead of two (or more) knitting needles. So I think I will be doing more crochet in future.
|Crochet socks - up to the hard part!|
When I was tidying up my knitting and crochet stuff I found a knitting book that I bought last year and hadn't read yet. (If you are in Brisbane, heads up, there is a bookshop near the Fortitude Valley station that sells all books for $6, I bought WAY too many books there and its probably lucky that I moved away when I did). Anyway, I had a quick read and this is a really good book, I'm tempted to buy the rest in the series. Its called Custom Knits Accessories: Unleash Your Inner Designer with Improvisational Techniques for Hats, Scarves, Gloves, Socks and More, by Wendy Bernard (affiliate link). What I like is that she explains how the pattern is put together, so you can modify it. I am TERRIBLE at following a pattern (or a recipe) and I really appreciate that she explains how to use stitch dictionaries (which I also own) and how the yarn choice will change the final result, as I never follow the instructions. The best part is that she explains the maths behind sock patterns.
|Some good knitting books|
It turns out no matter whether you're knitting or crocheting socks, the maths used to work out the heel flap and gusset are the same. Now instead of trying to interpret lines and lines of pattern (and I think I cast on the wrong number of stitches, so I'm screwed anyway), I can just work it out to suit my foot. So I might end up doing some more knitting from this book, and there are two others in the series, both about knitting larger items, so that might help me finally knit a vest that fits me (I didn't share the last attempt, but lets just say it didn't work out).
I do need to finish the alpaca wool shawl that I started knitting in a lacy stitch from my stitch dictionary and then had to unravel because I must have dropped a stitch early on and it was coming apart. I am giving it one last attempt before I just give up on the lacy stitch and knit it on big needles in stockinette stitch! I also finished a crochet scarf in alpaca wool last year, and I don't think I shared it with you (sort of based on this pattern). I just crocheted trebles for the whole thing and the pattern was one treble into the first stitch, then two trebles into the next stitch, then one again and so on, and the same for each row, which produced a ruffle. I would have liked it wider, but I ran out of yarn. Its lovely and soft, but quite different to the other alpaca yarn I'm working with on the knitted shawl, I don't know if that's due to the way it was spun or the animal itself.
|Alpaca lacy knit shawl|
Finally, I wanted to show you how I organised my knitting needles! I have never bought a new knitting needle, they have all come from the op shop or the markets, but I have quite a collection now and they kept falling out of the cupboard whenever I opened it. I found this bag at the op shop, I think its supposed to hold bottles of wine... but its perfect for knitting needles as it has three long compartments. I have needles in one, crochet hooks and "in-the-rounds" in another, and my mini-sewing bag in the last one. When I go to the op shop I've been keeping an eye out for cosmetic bags, the ones you get when you buy those "great deals" from department stores and end up with random cosmetics that you don't need (haven't done that for a while!). I find they end up at op shops, empty and clean (never used I suppose) and they are perfect for neatly tucking away a knitting or crochet project, keeping the yarn, needles and pattern together so you can figure out what you were doing six months later. They would make good pencil cases too. The spotty one has a pair of scissors, a measuring tape, pins, needles and a pencil. The other two contain the unfinished socks and the shawl that I'm working on.
|Organising my knitting and crochet stuff|
|Perfect length for knitting needles|
What are you working on at the moment? Crochet vs knitting, which do you prefer? Any good pattern tips? And how do you organise your knitting needles?!
See below Amazon Affiliate links for a few knitting books that I find useful including the one I mentioned above. If you buy through these links I get a small commission at no extra cost for you. If you're reading this on email or blog reader, you will need to visit my blog to see all the links.
Previous posts about knitting and crochet: