Author Archives: Nicola

About Nicola

Long-time vegan, whole-food plant-based enthusiast and educator. Crazy about crochet and knitting.

FO: the Doppelgänger hat

Standard

Inspired by a comment from a co-worker that she thought a ponytail hat would be nice (it wasn’t really a request and it certainly wasn’t a demand) I thought I’d crochet one on the fly and see what happened.

It needed to be warm so I made it double layered, starting at the crown, working down through the first part and then continuing on and finishing with a second crown to make a one piece hat which is also reversible.

And it has ponytail holes.

The holes were made by chaining 6 and skipping 6 stitches on one round, and then working into the chain on the next round.

The yarn is Lion Brand Mandala in Chimera and I let the colours fall as they came, without cutting or splicing. I mostly used a 5mm hook but went down to a 4.5mm for 6 rows in the brim area.

I considered sewing the edges of the two holes together but that might have reduced the stretch. Also when washing the hat it will dry quicker if opened out. And if one didn’t want to stick a ponytail through the hole, one could stagger the holes to stop draughts!

Orangey shades one side, greeny shades the other. And a closeup of the hole.

Misc makes

Standard
Misc makes

Spring has arrived in full, with today’s temperature reaching the low 20s. I managed to leave work early, which almost never happens, and took a book out to the deck to catch some sunshine before dinner.

I take my new phone now when I go walking because it takes good photos. These are from a couple of days ago.

I burnt the heck out of my fingers making this guy…

I got hot glue on my skin and actually had quite the blister afterwards. I feel like he could use more accessories. Or perhaps I’ll just make more using the rest of the dollar store socks and see how they turn out.

Another easy, quick project was this flowy vest (waistcoat) which is my fifth one of this style.

I like to wear these at work. They go brilliantly over a T shirt and jeans, making an outfit look more dressy and streamlined, and they take 5 minutes to make. You only need a metre of a non-fraying knit fabric. If the print goes all the way to the selvage you don’t have to trim them off. I just make sure to straighten up the cut edges.

Once the edges are neatened all you have to do is fold the fabric with selvages together, measure 8 inches down from the top and 7.5 inches in from the fold, and cut a slit from that point down for 8 inches through both layers to make armholes. Easy peasy!

I had to do a repair on this apron. My sister bought this for me years ago, it was made by a local (to her) crafter and has seen me through many a kitchen mess. But I wore a hole through part of it so dug out some stripey fabric from the stash and patched it and now it’s good to go again.

And finally (FINALLY!) a crochet work-in-progress!

A co-worker of mine is leaving soon. She hasn’t been there long but we will be sad to see her go. She mentioned (not in a gimmiepig sort of way) that she had been wondering if I’d be able to make a hat with a ponytail hole. Well, I didn’t mind having a go, not that she has any idea that I’m making it.

This Lion Brand Mandala is one of my favourite colourways. It’s called Chimera and is sort of a muted rainbow.

I am designing this on the hook and the plan is to make it double thick because she’s headed further north. I’m approximately at the halfway point. It was coming out a bit loose so I went down to a smaller hook for the rounds that will form the brim. It’ll be reversible when it’s done.

Enough distractions, I must get back to my hook. I’m on a deadline.

Fun with dye

Standard

The store where I work has a monthly DIY idea and this month it’s a rope bowl.

My boss has been making these for ages and she uses cotton clothesline which she buys in bulk online. But the fabric store obviously wants to promote their own products so they used cotton piping cord for theirs, plus they dip-dyed it in Rit dye.

I brought home 8 metres of cord, some 100% cotton thread (so it would take up the dye) and some Coral Rit. I already had a scrap of vinyl at home.

Above photos are after sewing and before dyeing. The top diameter is about 7″.

(Spoon for scale.)

I was pleased with the result, but I did just go back and add a bit more stitching to the final loop to make it look neater.

When I was dipping the bowl into the dyebath, the water was barely soaking through so I scooped some water into the inside and then had to hope it would drain out, or I’d have had dye up the side and over the edge!

There was so much dye, I didn’t want it to go to waste, so I grabbed a couple of balls of white cotton Drops Safran and tossed them in as is. They instantly went a vibrant orange. After they’d had a chance to dry a bit, I used my swift to make them into hanks so they’d dry faster.

I got a nice tonal effect. In real life, it’s coral, not as bright as the photo suggests.

I’ve had a satisfying day today, cleaning and airing the house.  Soup is cooking and now I’m going to make a couple more earsavers for myself. This is one I made last night.

Fabric stashbusting

Standard

My latest FO is a wonky basket crocheted from strips of jersey knit fabric. I made something similar not long ago, but this one burned up the last of this $3/metre fabric that I bought years ago.

Cutting the 2″ strips was quick thanks to my rotary cutter and ruler, but snipping a hole in each end of the strips and joining them took a couple of hours.

I ended up with a 2lb ball of the blue/brown and a smaller ball of the red/orange. With hindsight, I should have cut the strips lengthwise instead of crosswise and they would have curled the other way, leaving the colourful right side showing.

Whilst I didn’t follow a pattern, I was inspired to use the stitch pattern from Toni Lipsey’s Jessie Stash Basket, which alternates a single crochet in the back loop and a waistcoat stitch. The base of my basket is 14″ across, so I can fit a lot of stuff in there.

I probably should go easy on the big hook crochet as my right wrist, which I broke three years ago, has been aching again. I think the worst thing is opening cans, with the twisting motion that entails, but this kind of crochet comes second.

I worked today, but had three days off over the weekend. It was lovely but also frustrating as I intended to get going on a sewing project but kept overthinking it and never even started it.

Yesterday I took myself off on a mini road trip as I had something I wanted to pick up from a friend in a town 40 minutes drive away, so I took a picnic and made the most of it.

I had a homemade London Fog, a bag of yarn to wind into balls, food, water, my beach quilt and an extra sweater. It may look gloriously warm in these photos but it was around 10C and the slight breeze off the lake meant I needed to stay wrapped up.

Thanks to my workplace being closed on Sunday, it’s a short week and I only have three shifts rather than four. Wheeeeeee!

Nothing says spring like…

Standard

…bunnies, lakeside walks in the sunshine and hot cross buns!

I made a fun gift for a co-worker. My Ravelry project page is here if you’d like to check out the details and pattern. It’s a cute pattern that I found on Ravelry, of course.

Earlier in the week I met a friend for a walk and tested out the photo capabilities of my new phone.

It was a beautiful day though the wind was really cold. Today I went for another walk and the temperature was in the double digits and I was warm in just a T shirt.

As Easter is imminent I just had to make some hot cross buns though mine don’t have crosses. I completely forgot to add them just before baking. It’s not the first time I’ve done that! Still, they taste wonderful. I used a vegan oil-free recipe from here.

I confess to having scoffed a couple when I returned from my walk and now I just feel sleepy, but I’m cooking dinner so I’m having to keep my wits about me!

I hope your week is going well. I’m working the next two days (yes, I work on Good Friday but at least I get stat pay) and then I have the weekend off.

March Winds

Standard

Ta dah!

I’m calling this wall quilt March Winds because it’s March, it’s spring, these colours scream “spring” to me, and the leaves look they are blowing across the quilt.

In fact, where I live the leaves aren’t out yet and butterflies are nowhere to be seen. But this brightens up my dining room and matches my table runner and placemats.

The size is 42 by 32 inches. I built it with 8 inch blocks made up of 16 2-inch squares. The sun block was a later addition to the plan.

The zipper trees were inspired by a friend’s artwork and the leaves are fused with Heat ‘n Bond. The afterthought butterflies are glued on to maintain some dimension. I just happened to have some butterfly fabric in the stash.

I’m happy with the result, despite the imperfections, of which there are many.

Happy spring, everyone!

Leafing out

Standard

Ah, I love a day without outside commitments. Mr Fixit was working overtime so I was able to indulge my desire for a morning of solitary book reading and tea drinking, followed by an afternoon of quilting.

This quilt top had been pieced and the zippers sewn on (for trees) and I had fused some contrast fabrics to Heat n Bond for leaves. The freehand leaf-cutting was unexciting but I had Netflix to make it more interesting.

Today I sprinkled leaves randomly and peeled off backing and ironed until I felt there were enough. I have some left in case I want to add more.

I pieced a backing out of scraps from the front and large chunks of some of the other fabrics left over from making the top. Above photo is after I pin-basted.

I started with my walking foot and did some “stitch in the ditch” quilting along the verticals, avoiding the trees. Bear in mind that I excel in slapdashery and the stitching sometimes wavered from the ditch!

After switching to the darning/free motion foot, and dropping the feed dogs, I changed the thread and added some quilting to the sun, and then started on the leaves.

By this stage the family was all home and I needed to take a break and cook beans for dinner. As I write this, the pressure cooker is going nuts because sometimes bean water clogs the valve and then you get a sudden gush of steam as the pressure releases. I’ve cleaned bean muck off the stove and it should be OK now!

It’s been a beautiful sunny day and I feel a teeny bit guilty for not having gone for a walk or anything else close to exercise. But I’ve really enjoyed my day so far, so guilt be gone!

Next update will hopefully be a finished wall quilt.

Not a table runner!

Standard
Not a table runner!

Honestly, I didn’t need another cowl (or shawl/neckwarmer/scarf/whatever) but I do love making and wearing them. Nobody likes a cold neck, eh!

I joined most of my grannies together and along the way they told me they wanted to be a cowl.

I briefly considered crocheting around the edges but decided not to.

Love the result.

Spring basket

Standard

How long have these fabrics been marinating in the stash? Maybe 5 years.

They are thin jersey knits and I bought them really cheap. $3 a metre cheap. I hadn’t been working at the fabric store for long and I got carried away and bought far too much. I know better now.

Tonight I had an urge to make a basket with “T shirt” yarn. I cut two inch strips of the fabric and started attaching them together by making a small slit in the ends and looping them one through the other. My crochet hook is a 19mm one, the largest I own.

I made the base in a spiral using single crochet in the back loop. It can be hard work using such thick ‘yarn’ and such a large hook but it does grow fast.

Once I decided to stop increasing, I ended up letting the fabric do its thing and curve inwards so the outside is the back of the stitches.

It can hold A LOT of yarn!