Thursday, December 24, 2009

Season's Greetings!

I just wanted to take a moment to say Merry Christmas and happy holidays to everyone who has stopped by Cthulhu Crochet and Cousins this year. An especially warm thank you to everyone who has taken the time to post comments or send me a picture of something they've made with my patterns. After the holidays I'll display a new batch of Tiny Cthulhu pictures from the crocheters who have sent me photos over the past few months.

Until then, if you're not too tired of crochet Christmas ornaments, check out the wonderful snowflakes available from MYpicot. The ones displayed here and numerous others are available as a free download.

Wishing everyone all the best in 2010, have a wonderful holiday season!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Who Can Resist Knitting Narwals?

I just received my copy of Sally Harless's Animals with Pastimes 2010 Calendar in the mail today. I originally spotted this on Craftster and was really enchanted with her clever illustrations. I'm not going to put up any pictures here that Harless hasn't already posted online, but trust me, the illustrations you haven't seen yet are just as clever as the ones you have. This will definitely bring a smile to my face each month as I turn the page to discover more of what the animals are doing when we're not looking.

The calendar is about 8.5 by 7 inches and printed on yellow printer paper. The images are nice and clear and the squares on the calendar have large enough spaces to write in important events. (What more could you want from a calendar?) Of course, I may just leave this one ink free so that at the end of the year I can take out the illustrations and frame some of them.

You can check out more of Harless's artwork or pick up your own 2010 Animals with Pastimes calendar by visiting SadlyHarmless.

Monday, December 7, 2009

An Alternative to Glass Christmas Tree Ornaments

While we were all snuggled in our beds on Christmas Eve, when I was about five years old, our cat ate all the glass balls off the Christmas tree. We only discovered this the next day when tiny fragments of coloured glass were floating in his water dish. Thankfully he not only survived the experience, but went on to live another eleven years. Seriously, knocking them off the tree and rolling them off the floor I could understand. Eating them? Surely, the cat food we were serving wasn't that bad.

Since then we've always avoided putting anything breakable on the tree. I just spotted this clever stash-busting project courtesy of Etsy seller ZooCrafts, who sells these crocheted Christmas ball ornaments in sets of 4 for $15 U.S. A clever alternative to breakable ornaments for anyone who needs to baby-proof or cat-proof their Christmas tree this holiday season.

Friday, December 4, 2009

A Simple Scarf

It's been a while since I've used the old knitting needles. I picked up this yarn at a moving sale of one of my favourite local yarn stores a few months ago. Sadly, the store will now be a 30 minute drive away from my house, instead of less than 5 minutes. That's probably better for my bank account in the long run, and far better than the store going out of business completely.

I've been lured in by this Ornaghi filati before, mostly because I really like the shimmery thread that runs through it. Providing you use a large enough hook or pair of knitting needles this stuff is quite easy to work with and the shimmery part doesn't split or snag.

I only managed to get about 150 grams of this so there certainly wasn't enough for a major project. Instead, I just went with an old standby a simple scarf knitted in a knit 2, pearl 2 pattern. I must confess, I had to pull out the trusty Stitch 'N Bitch to remind myself how to cast on and how to make the pearl stitches. When I was about halfway through the scarf and my needle slipped out of about ten stitches I once again remembered why I prefer crocheting to knitting! Still, I'm happy with the end result and, even though I don't wear scarves that often, I think I'll be keeping this one for myself.

A final picture where you can see the yarn and the knitting up close.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Measuring the Market Bags

I've been trying out some market bag patterns and figured I'd write up some mini-reviews for the ones I've made so far. All of these are currently available for free online, just click the links in the pattern titles.

Difficulty: Medium. This pattern has a series of six rows that you have to keep repeating to create the pattern. It's really important to mark off where you left off when you take a break. Some of the rows are very similar and it can be confusing when you try to remember where you were when you resume your work.
Size: Medium. When completed this one has a hammock shape and a fair bit of stretch. The sides dip down fairly low and I get worried that stuff if going to fall out when I pack a lot into it.
Overall thoughts: I really love the way this pattern looks when it's all stitched up, but I'm not entirely happy with the shape of the completed bag. Someday I want to try repeating the pattern, but working in a round to create a more even shape.

Pattern: Sugar'n Cream - Market Bag (crochet)
Difficulty: Easy. The base rows are single crochet and once that's complete it's just repetition of a single row of mesh stitch. This is very easy to make and, because of the mesh stitch, you make pretty quick progress. I've managed to finish a whole one of these in a single day before.
Size: I've seen so many people on Craftster and other sites talk about how amazingly large and stretchy they find this bag. Personally, I found it to be the smallest of the three. It has lots of vertical stretch, but very little horizontal give, which limits the size of items you can carry in it.
Overall thoughts: A simple, quick bag that's enjoyable to make, but if you want something large, I'd suggest looking elsewhere.

Difficulty: Easy. Lots of double crochet stitches worked in the round. It's also time consuming, taking me several weeks to complete.
Size: Large. Of the three patterns I tried, this one definitely resulted in the largest bag. It also stretches nicely, and doesn't gape at the top, so I don't worry about stuff falling out.
Overall thoughts: The bag has a nice shape, but no fancy stitches to admire. On the other hand, once you've gotten the feel for this one you could add a couple rows of more intricate stitching or some beadwork in the middle to pretty it up a bit. If you're looking for something large, this is definitely the one to make.

If you've tried any of these patterns before, let me know what you thought of them. Have a different free market bag pattern that you really like? If so, share the link in the comments section.