Sunday, May 31, 2015

Molly Poncho

I have crocheted the neck and edging of the poncho to complete it. Now I have no excuse for not cleaning my windows! To wrap it up, the pattern was designed by Stacey Lozano, I found it on Ravelry. The wool is handspun, 21 microns, hercosette (ie treated so that it won't felt) dyed in the microwave.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Coming Together

I had to give some thought to how to sew the pieces of the Molly poncho together. Once I'd worked out what went where, I decided to use  backstitch, working from the right side.
And the wrong side:
The original pattern by Stacey Lozano doesn't have an edging around the poncho, but I think I'll do one to give it a better finish. I also have to fill the neck area in, following Stacey's pattern.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

More Ends

I've almost finished the second part of the poncho, so I have another set of ends to sew in. Random stripes are rather hypnotic. As I crochet a row, I'm pondering which colour and stitch to use next. Then, of course, I must try it. On and on I go, when I should really be cleaning windows or something.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


I've finished one section of the poncho. If you use a different yarn for each row, you're going to have a lot of ends to deal with!
I debated whether to sew in the ends after each row or wait until I'd completed the section. I decided on the latter. It's easier to have needle and scissors on hand and get on with it, rather than having to keep looking for them. Also, I had to undo a section when the sides weren't straight, so I was glad I had made that choice. I threaded the ends into the back of the work. I think they're pretty well invisible:

I learnt to crochet as a child, but I haven't done a lot of it. I'm surprised how quickly it goes along. No wonder people crochet blankets and afghans.

Monday, May 25, 2015

One Direction

No, not the boy band. A crocheted rectangle would usually be worked back and forth. But crochet has a right and wrong side. Since I'm using a different colour wool for each row, I decided to start each row on the same side and have all the stitches facing the same way, rather than turning the work. Like frontside/backside tatting, the difference is not huge, but it does give a smoother look.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Two By Two

The Molly poncho is crocheted as two equal rectangles. I don't plan to make them identical, but I do want the colours to be equally distributed. So I have dyed two skeins of each colour, one for each part. I plied a bit more boucle, but I probably won't use it. I rather think there's going to be enough going on without it.

Thursday, May 21, 2015


At yesterday's craft meeting, Corlie suggested I try to add some texture to my poncho. So I spun a bit of boucle (or plied a bit of boucle, to be more accurate) and crocheted a sample. Hmmm. I think the longest stitch works best in terms of texture. It would add weight to the poncho, because the yarn is necessarily thicker than my 'plain vanilla' yarn, but a row here and there might work. I'll mull over this for a bit. Any suggestions welcome!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Still Spinning

I'm still spinning. It seems amazing that all that fluffy wool will fit onto the bobbin, but it will. I'm going off to craft group meeting this morning, so I won't get  much spinning done, but it will wait for me.


Right. The green wool is done. Spun, plied and wound into two skeins.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Ready for Green

I spun another batch of natural wool for my poncho, after finishing two skeins of red. The coloured wool is slightly felted, which makes it tricky to work with. The natural zips along with much less effort. I'll spin the green next and then another batch of natural. That should be enough to get going with.

Saturday, May 16, 2015


My daughter brought this wool when she visited last year. There are two lengths of red and two of lime green. I thought they'd work well for my poncho because it's going to be multi-coloured and I won't need much of each colour.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Doing the Twist

Adding twist to a thread makes it stronger. A thread with less twist is softer. When spinning, you have to balance these two attributes, strength and softness, keeping in mind the purpose of the yarn being spun. When I'm spinning for sock knitting, I usually aim for a yarn with a tight twist because strength is important. The wool on the left is sock yarn. But for a poncho, I want a soft yarn, so I aimed to spin the wool with less twist.

On my spinningwheel, I can influence the degree of twist in the thread by moving the drive band. In the top picture, the band is set for a higher ratio than in the bottom picture. What that means is that for every time the wheel goes round, it turns the spindle whorl more times, so the thread is more twisted. So I spun the sock yarn with the drive band set as in the top picture, and the poncho yarn with the band sitting on the bigger spindle whorl. The yarn pulled in more quickly on the lower ratio, so I had to keep my wits about me!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

A False Start

Having chosen my poncho pattern, I used scraps from my wool basket to crochet a swatch. Most of the wool in there is left over from knitting socks and is quite thin. Too thin for the size of my crochet hook. There is too much space between stitches. But the multicolour yellow/orange/brown yarn looks much better, in the fourth and top rows. So I decided to spin a yarn matching that thickness. I spun almost 400 g of a wonderfully squishy yarn:

Then I did some calculations and worked out that the finished poncho would weigh at least a kilogram - 2.2 pounds. That's really too much. We went to town yesterday and I bought a finer crochet hook. I crocheted another swatch:

I think that looks better, even though this photo is upside down! I'll go back to the spinningwheel. It will take me longer to spin the wool needed and longer to crochet the poncho, but I think the result will be more classy. And easier to carry!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Introducing Molly

I thought I'd enter the crochet section of next year's competition. I must crochet a poncho. I thought ponchos were very 1970s and I'd struggle to find a pattern, but no, there are hundreds of patterns on Ravelry. But, as usual, the competition guidelines are very specific, which narrows it down a lot. I printed out a pattern of a lacy poncho that I liked and took it along to the information day last week. No, no, the experts told me, it's too open a pattern. The book says, 'Avoid patterns with large openings'. Right. I went back to Ravelry and concentrated on another guideline with says, 'A variety of colours, pattern stitches and yarn textures will result in an interesting article'. I think Molly fits the bill:
The Molly poncho was designed by Stacey Lozano. She named it Molly because it reminds her of Molly Weasley's sweater from Harry Potter.
Just to make the project a bit bigger, I plan to spin the yarn for the poncho. I'll be able to dye small amounts of many colours.

Outside In

When I worked the circle in chain stitch, I started in the middle and worked outwards. For the oval I started on the outside and worked inwards. It wasn't easy to turn without having any fabric  show through. I need to learn these things before I start embroidering on a real design.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Another Bracelet

This time I put Swarovski crystals in the middle of the top ring. The photos don't really show how they 'twinkle'. I thought seed beads around the big bead would be too much, but I added them to the picots between the 'petals'. I think I'll keep this bracelet. For one thing, there's an extra picot on one of the petal rings. I tend to keep the less perfect things for myself!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Indian Chain Stitch

The project for next year's embroidery competition is to make an evening bag embroidered in Indian Chain Stitch. After Monday's information day, I know that Indian chain stitch involves filling a whole design with chain stitch. I thought I'd practise a bit before looking for a design and the right fabric. It sounds simple enough, but it must be done perfectly - no split stitches, no spaces, even stitches..... I'll work on it.

Friday, May 8, 2015


 I used Ninetta's layered rings technique to make a bracelet to show off a hand made bead. The torch glass bead was made by my sister-in-law, Clare Gaylard.  Let me show a closer view:

I think the texture of the tatting fits well with the texture of the bead.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

With Beads

Eventually I did get the hang of Ninetta's layered rings and created a whole line of 'diamonds'. Then, as muskaan predicted, I wondered what had taken me so long! I filled my shuttles with size 20 thread instead of the 10 I used for learning, and had a go at adding beads. I had to give some thought to adding a bead to the mock picot. What I did was make a lop-sided picot - one side is double length and the other close up which creates a loop that a bead can be threaded onto. There are several possibilities for adding beads. Probably the easiest way is to add beads to the picots when joining. A bead can also be added to the centre of the top ring. Or both. These techniques don't require beads on the shuttles. Threading beads onto the shuttles would add more options.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


I am making progress on this technique, by consulting muskaan's tutorials and Ninetta's diagram. (See yesterday's post for links). But I'm not there yet! I've turned a corner with my second motif - duh. At least there is a second motif. I'll spend some more time, throw away some more thread, but I'll get there.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Wasting Thread?

Not really. I won't learn anything if I'm not prepared to experiment and throw away the failures! Ninetta updated a Therese de Dillmont pattern by using modern techniques to achieve the same effect. She used it to tat a bookmark. Muskaan has augmented Ninetta's work by creating two tutorials to illustrate two different ways to achieve the effect. The first one is here and the second here. As you can see, I didn't grasp the concept immediately! Yesterday I went to an information day to hear the requirements for next year's competition articles, so I didn't work on this, but I'll get back to it and hopefully make some progress.

Saturday, May 2, 2015


I'm glad to have learnt to knit two socks at once on  two circular needles. I think my needles are unnecessarily long. The long, springy cables meant I felt as though I were wrestling them at times. It would probably be easier with shorter cables.

 I'm not a chronic sufferer of Second Sock Syndrome, but I must say it was great to be finished all at once. On the other hand, if you got something wrong, you'd have to undo two lots.

 I think the circulars worked pretty well for the fairisle. To start with, there are only two 'junctions' instead of three or four, and I think they turned out fairly smoothly. That alone would be an argument for using this method.

The Turkish cast on method works really well with this method. Much easier than starting with waste yarn and then grafting, which is what I've done previously for toe up socks.

I can't swear I'll knit every pair of socks like this in future, but it is a good method of sock knitting to know about.

Friday, May 1, 2015


I still have the cuffs to do, but I've finished the fairisle part of the socks. The chart was designed by Anne Abrahamsen. I found it on Ravelry. The pattern is called Windowsill or Fensterbank or Vindueskarm. I love the way the pattern goes all the way round the sock, so that the back and the front are not the same. If I'd really had my wits about me, I could've made the socks mirror images of each other, but I had enough trouble keeping track of two circular needles and four balls of wool!