Raindrops Cowl

Here, we are in the middle of Winter.  It has been cold and a bit wet and everything that Winter should be!  Thankfully, Winter has been put on hold a little this week – just in time to coincide with the school holidays.  Although it has still been cold, the rain has taken a back seat and the sun has come popping out through the clouds enough to allow my girls, who are on school holidays, to go outside and to remind me that Spring is on the way!

In the midst of this cold weather, I decided to try my hand at designing a textured cowl that is thick and warm and cozy to wear!  I am happy with the result.  It didn’t photograph as well as I would have liked (yesterday was NOT one of those lovely sunny, dry days we have been having!), but I trust that you are able to get the picture of how the design works.

The added bonus of designing this cowl is that it forced me to master the Chainless Starting Double Crochet.  This is an easy stitch once you get the hang of it, it was just one of those stitches that had me stymied for awhile.  If you are unsure about how to do a Chainless Starting Double Crochet, Moogly has a great tutorial on her blog http://www.mooglyblog.com/chainless-starting-double-crochet/.  It’s a great alternative to the very obvious ch 3 at the beginning of a row.

For those of you wanting to give this a try, the pattern is as follows:

Raindrops Cowl – US terms

K/6.5mm Crochet hook

“Shiver” yarn by Moda Vera – I used two balls

Abbreviations

ch – Chain

sc – Single Crochet

dc – Double Crochet

sl st – Slip Stitch

4dc puff stitch – 4 double crochet puff stitch

csdc – Chainless Starting Double Crochet

 

Chain 177.  Join to make a loop, being careful not to twist.

R1:  Ch 1, sc in back loop only in each stitch around.  Join to beg sc with a sl st.

R2: Ch1, sc in each stitch around.  Join to beg sc with a sl st.

R3: Repeat round 2.

R4: Csdc, dc in next 9 stitches, 4dc puff stitch *dc in next 10 stitches, 4 dc puff stitch in next stitch* repeat in between ** 14 times.  Join to csdc with a sl st.

R5: Csdc, 4dc puff stitch in next stitch *dc in nest 10 stitches, 4dc puff stitch* repeat in between ** 14 times, dc in the next 9 stitches.  Join to csdc with a sl st.

R6: Csdc, dc in next 2 stitches, 4dc puff stitch *dc in next 10 stitches, 4dc puff stitch in next stitch* repeat between ** 14 times, dc in next 7 stitches.  Join to csdc with a sl st.

R7: Csdc, dc in next 4 stitches, 4dc puff stitch *dc in next 10 stitches, 4dc puff stitch* repeat between ** 14 times, dc in next 5 stitches.  Join to csdc with a sl st.

R8: Csdc, dc in next 6 stitches, 4dc puff stitch *dc in next 10 stitches, 4dc puff stitch* repeat between ** 14 times, dc in next 3 stitches.  Join to csdc with a sl st.

R9: Csdc, dc in next 8 stitches, 4dc puff stitch *dc in next 10 stitches, 4dc puff stitch* repeat between ** 14 times, dc in next stitch.  Join to csdc with a sl st.

R10: Csdc, 4dc puff stitch *dc in next 10 stitches, 4dc puff stitch* repeat between ** 14 times, dc in next 9 stitches.  Join to csdc with a sl st.

R11: Ch 1.  Sc around.  Join to beg ch 1 with a sl st.

R12: Ch 1.  Sc around.  Join to beg ch 1 with a sl st.

R13: Ch 1.  Sc around.  Join to beg ch 1 with a sl st.  Finish off and weave in ends.

As normal, I’d love to see your cowl – share a picture on the thingsnicolemade facebook page!

Enjoy!

 

Technical hitch…

Wow!  What a couple of weeks!  We have had no internet due to some workmen damaging a line further down our street.  It has actually shown us just how dependent we are on the internet.  It has been very frustrating not being able to keep up with our normal contacts and activities.  Thankfully, it is all fixed now and we are back online.  I am glad that crochet is not powered by electricity or needs to be connected to the internet (although most of my patterns are sourced from there….), so I have been able to continue busily crocheting away while we have had our outage.

As I said in one of my recent posts, I am not really a scarf wearer in the Winter, but I am a hat wearer.  I love hats – they not only keep your head warm, but they can change your style so much!  My latest hat make is from Petals to Picots and is the O’Hara hat (https://www.petalstopicots.com/2016/05/ohara-hat-crochet-pattern/).  I love the design of this hat and how it uses what is traditionally a stitch used in doily making to make a feminine and interesting hat.

My first attempt was done in Moda Vera Starlight dk weight yarn (8ply) and with the hook recommended in the pattern.  I will admit that it was a dk yarn that is slightly thinner than normal.  The hat worked out fine, but is a little small for me to wear (I think I have a fairly average sized head).  It fits my daughter nicely!  So, I decided to have a second try.  I bought a thicker dk weight yarn (Divine from Lincraft, I think!) and used a hook size larger than recommended and it fits much better (I also added a couple more rows to the band).  I love the colour and the design – very happy with how it turned out.

It also opened up to me a new way to block.  I don’t normally block hats – I figure that they will be going on a head and that will shape them over a couple of wears.  This one, however, was a bit more misshapen than usual and I felt they could do with a blocking.  The method recommended – wetting the hat, inflating a balloon a small amount, inserting it into the hat and then continuing to inflate the balloon until it has gently stretched the hat into shape.  So strange, but it worked!

And, despite the hat being full of holes – it keeps your head nice and warm!  I wore it to the playground with our children this afternoon and it was great!

 

 

The bearded man

I am not afraid to admit I am not a fan of beards! I’m thankful that my husband doesn’t have one! My good friends’ husband has been growing a beard. For a few years. It was long and bushy and I’m sure the envy of beard loving men everywhere. However, he decided that he would shave it off as a part of “The worlds greatest shave” – raising money for research into blood cancers and cures for them.  He shaved his head and his beard and right when the nasty cold weather hit us here. So, I offered to make him a warm hat and replacement beard! I love the hat! The colours are great and the pattern was fab and easy to follow (http://ashleemarie.com/crochet-striped-beanie-pattern-multiple-sizes/), once I figured out sizing. I also love the beard – it made up in one night while at their place playing a card game (http://ashleemarie.com/crochet-bobble-beard-pattern-multiple-sizes/). I’m not thrilled with the fit – I used dk yarn which was slightly thinner than recommended so I adjusted it as I went. I think I would have been better off sticking to the pattern but the end result is still pretty awesome. And part of this journey of life is constant learning as we try new things! I hope it keeps him very warm as his hair grows back!

Brrrrr!

The weather in Adelaide has made a significant jump towards Winter this week.  Gone are the lovely sunny days, instead it’s cold, rainy and overcast.  So, we are having to quickly get out our Winter Woolies to combat the cold.  Now, I am not really a shawl or even scarf wearer.  I may whinge about the cold here, but compared to many climates, our cold is really nothing, so I don’t often find a need for a scarf (or the need is for such a brief time it’s not worth the effort of getting them out!).  However, I came across this pattern from Moogly (http://www.mooglyblog.com/tidal-wave-shawl/) and decided it looked like a good project to try for my first shawl.  I changed the colours a little and introduced this beautiful coral (the yarn is Stylecraft Special dk in grey and shrimp – yes, I know, no surprise about the Stylecraft, if only it was more easily available in Australia, sigh!) and I love how it has turned out.  Although the grey is not too different from our leaden skies at the moment, the shrimp is so bright and a pretty pop of colour to brighten up a miserable day.  I so look forward to it having it’s debut on one of the cold Winter mornings we have coming up!  What do you prefer wearing on cold days, a shawl, scarf or cowl?

You can really see the gradient in the stripes and the lovely shape as it is laid flat for blocking.

Where has the Summer gone?

Following a computer glitch last week, I am happy to report I am back on line with a more streamlined and organised computer!  Add that to a crazy week and a guilty confession from one of my children that a crocheted dragon was pushed down on to the only crochet hook I have to work on my newest pattern and has swallowed it up inside the stuffing and I am one tired crocheter!  However, todays blog post will go ahead!

The weather here has suddenly changed.  One week we had Summer, and then we quickly passed into almost Winter, and there is a definite chill on the breeze.  I feel it is time to start talking about cowls.  It’s not quite cold enough for jumpers yet but you certainly need something to snuggle into on those cold mornings and evenings.  This post is about the Zola Cowl (http://cre8tioncrochet.com/2013/07/bulky-stacked-shell-cowl-and-shrug).  I made this little lovely as a Christmas present last year.  For once, I actually expanded my yarn horizons and bought some yarn from Ice Yarns.  I love how cheap their yarn is, and, despite it coming all the way from Turkey, the delivery time is really quite reasonable (or you can pay a higher price and it gets to Australia in 2 or 3 days!  Amazeballs!).  This cowl worked up quite quickly (which was useful considering it was a last minute idea and I had to wait for the yarn to arrive – amazingly, I had it ready on time!) and I love the versatility of it.  It can be worn down to keep the shoulders warm, as a traditional cowl or many other ways I’m sure (I experimented with an off the shoulder version in my photos).  I quite enjoy working with patterns from Cre8tion Crochet.  Every time I’ve used one, they have been clear to read and easy to follow!  So, for those of you in the beginnings of Autumn, rug up and brace yourselves for the cold weather that’s coming!

Being flexible!

This blog post was supposed to be about something completely different than what it has turned out to be.  But sometimes, you just have to be flexible and go with what you have.  This week, life has just gotten in the way and I didn’t get my scheduled project finished (so close, but so far).  Instead, I ended up working on a birthday present for my daughter to take to a birthday party.  It’s a pattern that I have had on my “to do” list for awhile and this was the perfect opportunity (and weather) to complete it!  The pattern is the Cuddly Cat Crochet Scoodie by Moogly http://www.mooglyblog.com/cuddly-cat-crochet-scoodie/.  When I showed my daughter, she thought it was perfect for her little friend!  It was a little challenging in that I (as usual) didn’t quite get the gauge exact, so had to adjust a little as I went.  I’m not thrilled with the fit but with the nature of the garment, it doesn’t really matter, it’s just me being a perfectionist.  Other than that, it was quite easy to make up, easily done in a weekend, and the nicest part was….my daughter is learning to follow in my crochet footsteps and she made one of the ear insides herself, which makes it an even more personal present for her friend!  It was also a great weekend for modelling it as the weather has gone from being roasting hot to cold enough to need a jumper, and she was quite happy to wear the scoodie to keep herself warm during the shoot!