On the Hook, 24/10/20

I restarted my Diamonds not Pearls jumper, this time I’m using a 6mm hook, I did a gauge swatch, and I’ve read the pattern properly! I really enjoy working on this, and have to be strict with myself otherwise the other things I’m making won’t be finished in time. I am loving how the 2 yarns are looking together. It makes me think of mermaids and unicorns πŸ˜‚πŸ¦„πŸ§œβ€β™€οΈ

Here it is in all it’s glory:

This is exactly the sort of image I saw that made me want to make spirals!

Because the yarns are changing colours gently as I go the jumper can look really different depending on what part you’re looking at! The photos below are from me choosing a random point to fold it over, and then flip it for the 2nd photo.

Looking forward to seeing how this develops and eventually wearing it! πŸ™‚

On the Hook, 17/10/20

Things have been a bit experimental recently.

The spiral jumper has been frogged pretty much back to the start as the increases were still too fast. I’d got to the arm hole level and there was just too much fabric leaving me with puffy sleeves or ripples across the back and front. So it’s now increasing every third row instead of every other. This is how far I’ve got with this version:

Hopefully this will work a little better. I looked at the pattern for the Luna Sweater I made and tried to follow the same kind of maths to get the increasing to be at about the same rate. There were lots of scribbles and sums, but in the end it seemed that just adding one extra non-increase row in every set of rows would do the trick. Could have just tried that anyway, but I was trying to understand the principles behind working this out.

If you remember, the reason I started wanting to make a spiral jumper was because I saw a picture on Instagram of a Tunisian Entrelac pattern. It wasn’t out yet, and there were several people testing it so I saw more pictures. You can see where I’m going here, right? Yup once the pattern came out I just had to try it! I’ve done a tiny bit of Tunisian Crochet years ago, but only made a test dishcloth type thing. I watched a couple of videos and got my head around what you have to do and made a start with some test yarn just to try it. It went ok, so I then thought ‘what yarn do I have?’. I wanted 2 yarns so that I could do alternating colours on the panels. I realised I had that lovely blue mix yarn I got from Mum for my birthday and a similar lilac mix yarn (lurking in my stash) that might go nicely with it. The blue mix is Cygnet Watercolour DK in Blue Horizon and the lilac mix is James C. Brett Marble DK in MT53. This is what it looks like so far:

It looks really different at different points around the yoke as both the yarns are gently changing colours as it goes along. I like the effect, and it turns out that Tunisian Entrelac crochet is really quite addictive. There’s something very satisfying about it. I’m probably going to start again as it won’t lay flat so I think my hook size and tension are a bit off, what with learning as I go. I am also trying to do a fingering weight pattern in DK, so who knows if it will actually work out! It’s fun experimenting with it anyway.

All this experimenting is beneficial to me in terms of learning to design and learning new techniques, but also in terms of learning to accept mistakes. I’m trying to make them into learning opportunities instead of getting frustrated. Sometimes when you realise something you’re working on isn’t turning out as you planned it can make you want to give up, and you feel frustrated and cross that you’ve ‘wasted’ lots of time on it. But I’m trying to remember that the best way to learn is to try, and when it doesn’t work out, try again and learn from what went wrong before. I’m getting better at this, but I do still get annoyed with myself.

Insect Communication

This week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge is on the topic of communication. As you’d expect from me, I’ve gone with nature and small things…

Bees perform dances to tell other bees where the best food is. While I don’t have photos of bees dancing, I do have plenty of photos of bees doing other things!

Honeybee on Osteospermum
Perhaps another Honeybee did a dance, so this one knew to come visit this Osteospermum flower
This bee clearly knows what flowers to visit, look at the size of those pollen sacs! Perhaps on return to the hive it will tell the others where it has been
Honey bee
The pollen sacs end up different colours depending on what flowers the bee has been visiting

Hoverflies don’t have pollen sacs, but it’s still possible to communicate where they’ve been. This one has a lot of pink pollen around her face, so even if she wasn’t still sat on a Scabious flower, it wouldn’t be hard to work out where she’d been!

Hoverfly on Scabious

Some insects use the sense of smell to communicate. Females give off pheromones which the males detect, so that they can find the female and mate.

Emperor Moth Caterpillar
The Emperor Moth uses pheromones, and this the result – a very large caterpillar that will grow up to be an impressive moth (sadly no photos of them!)

Grasshoppers use sound to communicate. The chirping sound they make is one of the things that says ‘summertime’ to me. I enjoy trying to find out where the sound is coming from and getting a photo before they hop away!

Legs, up, ready to chirp
Often they’re hard to spot, but not this one! Chirping proudly from on top of a developing blackberry fruit!
This is more likely the shot you’ll get, or just some empty grass as he hops off as you press the button!

Damselflies communicate with females by basically showing off! They swoop about showing off their lovely colours and their flying prowess, and hover by the females to make sure they’ve seen. The female then communicates back by sticking around or flying away. The males communicate quite vigorously with each other too, saying ‘this is my patch, go away’ pretty clearly! Their colours also communicate who’s who, generally the brighter, more eye-catching ones are the males.

If a female damselfly approves of a male, they move on to the next stage …

Mating Azure Damselflies
Azure Damselflies
Beautiful Demoiselles mating
Beautiful Demoiselles
Common Blue Damseflies
Common Blue Damselflies

Dragonflies behave in much the same way as Damsels. The males defend their territories and show off to the females, hoping for their approval.

Southern Hawker dragonfly
Southern Hawker patrolling his territory
Black Darter dragonflies mating
Black Darters, having met with each other’s approval
Golden-ringed Dragonfly
Look at me, aren’t I splendid! I would make an excellent father!

Hope you’ve enjoyed a little delve into the world of insect communication πŸ™‚ All in all, it would seem insect communication is a lot more straightforward than human communication!

On the Hook pondering, 10/10/20

There was a time when the things that I now love were derided. I felt uncomfortable and bored in silence. Frustrated by sitting quietly. Longing for something, anything to actually happen! But these things are now my pleasures. To sit on the sofa and crochet to the rhythm of the ticking clock and the gentle snoring of the cat. I relish the peace, the calm, the creativity, and enjoy the small pleasure of the last rays of sunshine lighting up my yarny meditation as evening draws near.

On the Hook, 3/10/20

The weather is turning more autumnal now so we have been thinking about keeping warm. My daughter needed a hat, so I decided to find the scarf/shawl I had started making her a while back and get that finished and make a hat to match.

I don’t actually have a photo of her wearing them, but perhaps I’ll get that for next week’s post.

After I did this, I started thinking about a hat for myself. I already have my rainbow scarf/shawl that I made back in February, so I decided to use the same yarn and make a rainbow hat too πŸ™‚

When I posted this picture on Facebook, my uncle commented “is there a rainbow mask to go with it?”… and I thought hmmm, I wonder! Obviously you can’t use a purely crochet mask so I decided to have fun and make a crochet cover that you can put over your boring mask. It’s a bit bonkers and the shaping is a bit off, but it was fun!

And finally, I’ve done some more rounds on my spirally jumper. Soon I’ll be reaching armhole level so will have to work out what I’m doing there!

On the Hook 26/9/20

For reasons I won’t go into here, I missed my post last week. I managed 37 straight weeks of posting every Saturday, which is still pretty impressive!

So here I am today with an update on non-secret things…

Last time I was experimenting with a spiral jumper, and I was thinking perhaps the spirals weren’t as spirally as I would like. So I started again to try out front post double trebles instead of front post trebles. On the first attempt I was increasing on every row and it got all ripply, so on the second attempt I increased on every other row. It’s working really well, spiralling nicely and not getting ripply, and I’m happy with it now.

Here’s what I have so far:

This is a rough pattern of what I’ve done so far:

Foundation: 84 foundation dcs, ss to join.

Row 1: ch2, tr in each stitch, ss into first st.

Row 2: ch2, *3tr, fpdtr in stitch in row 1 but 2sts back from where you are currently**, repeat from * to ** until the end of the round, ss into first st.

Row 3: ss into first 2 st, ch2, *2tr, tr2tog, fpdtr in row 2 (2sts back)**, repeat from * to ** until the end of the round, ss into first st.

Row 4: ss into first 2 st, ch2, *4tr, fpdtr in row 3 (2sts back)**, repeat from * to ** until the end of the round, ss into first st.

Row 5: ss into first 2 st, ch2, *3tr, tr2tog, fpdtr in row 4 (2sts back)**, repeat from * to ** until the end of the round, ss into first st.

Row 6: ss into first 2 st, ch2, *5tr, fpdtr in row 5 (2sts back)**, repeat from * to ** until the end of the round, ss into first st.

Row 7: ss into first 2 st, ch2, *4tr, tr2tog, fpdtr in row 6 (2sts back)**, repeat from * to ** until the end of the round, ss into first st.

Row 8: ss into first 2 st, ch2, *6tr, fpdtr in row 5 (2sts back)**, repeat from * to ** until the end of the round, ss into first st.

Row 9: ss into first 2 st, ch2, *5tr, tr2tog, fpdtr in row 6 (2sts back)**, repeat from * to ** until the end of the round, ss into first st.

Row 10: ss into first 2 st, ch2, *7tr, fpdtr in row 5 (2sts back)**, repeat from * to ** until the end of the round, ss into first st.

Row 11: ss into first 2 st, ch2, *6tr, tr2tog, fpdtr in row 6 (2sts back)**, repeat from * to ** until the end of the round, ss into first st.

Row 12: ss into first 2 st, ch2, *8tr, fpdtr in row 5 (2sts back)**, repeat from * to ** until the end of the round, ss into first st.

[ch2 at beginning of round doesn’t count as a stitch throughout, UK terms used]

Hopefully you can see the way it’s developing. When I create the fpdtr I am in effect adding a stitch, as I’m not skipping anything, so on the even rows I’m increasing by one stitch on each of the panels. On the rows in between, the tr2tog stops the increase. I slip stitch across 2 stitches at the beginning of each row so I don’t have a join in the middle of one of the panels, and the join stays kind of hidden behind one of the lines of the spiral.

Here’s a close-up if you’re interested in the detail:

Not entirely sure what I’m doing when we get to the sleeves. Or when I’m going to stop increasing the yoke. But I guess that’s the fun of making it up as you go along πŸ™‚

Space in the garden

This week’s topic for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge is ‘negative space‘. In terms of photography, negative space is about including more in your shot other than the subject, and allowing that quiet background to highlight the subject. I looked back at some photos I took in the garden a few weeks back and cropped some of them to increase the negative space and see how it feels.

I’m loving this shot of a Hoverfly sitting on a Water Mint flower head. Originally the hoverfly was more towards the centre, but putting him over a little further to the left has him really standing out against the green.

Original crop

This little Common Green Shieldbug (4th instar, I think) was perched on the Meadowsweet seeds. With the space on the bottom right, it looks like he’s looking out from there, contemplating life.

Original crop

This Small White butterfly perched on the Verbena by the pond. The pond is almost hidden at the moment with the amount of plants clustered around it (and some falling into it), but with a low f-stop, the background busyness has faded away. Cropping out some of the flowers, and keeping in more background has made sure it’s all about the butterfly

Original crop

Another little Common Green Shieldbug (2nd instar). I like how keeping in more of the leaf emphasises how small he is in comparison. It looks like he has quite the climb ahead of him.

Original crop

Another Hoverfly on the Water Mint, in the spotlight, looking ready to take to the stage.

Original crop

And finally, this more grown-up Common Green Shieldbug (5th instar) seems to be pondering life beyond this leaf, and wondering what lies ahead…

Original crop

On the Hook, 12/9/20

This week, I got a jumper idea in my head, like an itch I had to scratch. I’m not sure if this is an original idea or if someone else has already done it, but I’m going with it.

I saw a tunisian crochet entrelac jumper on Instagram. The image stuck in my head and despite the fact that I couldn’t find it again for ages, I kept thinking about it. What I’m actually creating is nothing like it in terms of stitches and construction, but it was the idea of the spirals going round and round and widening as they go that grabbed me.

So this is what I have so far.

After a couple of false starts I have these slanted, spiralling fptr (or fpdc in US terms) marking out these widening stripes. I’m imagining keeping it going right through the body of the jumper, not sure what will happen to the arms. At some point it won’t be widening any more, so the spirals will just keep going at the same width around the body. But who knows how it will really end up. Depends where my mind takes it! It’s fun to experiment πŸ™‚ I’m wondering if the slant of the fptrs is enough … maybe I should do fpdtrs and from one stitch further on… hmmm…

The yarn I’m using is Deramores Studio DK in Topaz.

On the Hook, 5/9/20

I don’t want to break my blogging streak by not doing a crochet post today … but I have nothing to share! I have been busy working, and have only crocheted things that you can’t see I’m afraid.

How about you enjoy this photo of our spider plant who has moved home in my home-made macrame hanger to get away from too much sunshine in the window! Not sure if he’s going to stay here, but it will do for now πŸ™‚