Crochet paper chain

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The crochet paper chain project is finished! Yay! However I'm pretty sure crochet paper chain wasn't on my 2017 project list was it? I need to go back and see how that list is coming along.

This project came about because I wanted something small to do to have a little break from the ripple blanket project, that would be easy to dip in and out of, and just like the bunting, it is intended as a donation for the handmade stall at our school fete in September. That may still seem like forever away, but it takes me a while to do things, plus we have to move house between now and then.

These photos were taken in Louise's ace photo taking spot when we went up to visit for a weekend.

The seed for this project was seeing SFMGS's crochet chain necklace, here.

And then as I was starting I saw a reference to Meet me at Mikes's post about crochet paper chain! I can't seem to find the actual post that I read first, it included a link to another paper chain project that was done granny square style, but as Pip said in that post, it's enough sometimes to see a picture of something to be inspired to go off and do things your own way.

I figured out what I wanted mine to look like, nice and flat (ok flat-ish) like proper paper chain, with each link a single colour, and after fiddling with so many cowls that had been worked in the round, it seemed logical to create these little colourful loops in the round too. It took me a couple of tries to find the tidiest method for me.

The Details

Now this isn't a pattern, because I don't know enough to write a pattern, but it will be a 'how I did it'.

I used Patons Cotton Blend yarn, in 7 colours to match ROYGBIV. Trust me, using orange was very difficult, as I loathe it so, but I managed. Because ROYGBIV.

I used a 4mm hook. I think this is a project where you want pretty tight stitches, so if your tension is a little loose, maybe go down half a hook size?

I created a chain of 40 stitches, joined the loop (you may want to experiment here to create a smooth join) and then double crochet (dc-UK or sc-US) into the back loop of each stitch until you complete your first round, then double crochet under both loops of each stitch until you have completed 6 rounds. At this point it can help to look up how to invisibly join, however I didn't find the tutorials I found much help, because they were for crocheting circles, not flat work in the round. I made my last stitch a slip stitch instead of a double crochet, which helped pull that step down a little. Careful with weaving in your ends that you don't just work back and forth near your start and end points, just that little bit more yarn can widen the appearance of your loop in that area. Spread out your weaving in ends away from your start and finish points. And then - here's the unexpected twist, I turn the loop inside out! You don't have to, but I prefer it that way.

By the end I was getting my start and end points pretty tidy!

It can feel a little awkward when you first work your second chain loop, because you have to join through your first finished paper chain loop. My tip is work in those ends as you go, every single time. It will make for less stuff going on in your hands!

Now that I'm done I love it, and think I may need to make some to keep. Maybe some rainbow for pulling out for birthdays, and metres and metres of the stuff for christmas. In white? Maybe white, pale grey, and some sparkly silver yarn, mmm lovely!

Having a bash at natural dyeing

Wednesday, May 10, 2017
I'm sorry I haven't posted in such a long time. Truthfully, I'm having a really tough time at work at the moment and it is sucking the joy out of my life. I am perusing other options.

Anyhoo, enough of the oversharing of woe, Let me show you something that has given me great happiness recently.

The other day I was peeling beetroot, to make soup. Peeling the buggers is always a vaguely stressful time as I am a  naturally messy person and without applying hyper vigilance, my hands are destined to be pink for days, my bench top runs the risk of being permanently speckled with pink blobs and my clothes could be bedazzled with interested new design elements.

Whilst trying my best to work neatly, it occurred to me, not for the first time, that it seems such a shame to chuck out the peelings without first having a bash at natural dyeing. Fortunately, I had purchased some mini-skein blank mill ends during my last trip to Bendigo. (I found them in the back room of the Bendigo Woollen Mills store. This room is basically the end destination of any serious Australian knitters annual pilgrimage.)

So, armed with beetroot peelings, and have skim read a few blogs on the matter, I decide to give it a bash.

To this I added about 2 litres of water and 2 tablespoons of vinegar (to help the colour set).

I boiled the mixture and then left it on a simmer for about 20 minutes.

The next step is to strain the mix, discard the peelings and then allow the liquid to cool because I didn't want to create a felted mess.

Once I was happy with the temperature (I guessed) I threw in my seven mini skeins. I was intrigued to see if there was any difference in the results based on the soaking length so I pulled out the skeins at different times the shortest being one hour, and the longest being overnight.

The time allowed in the mix did differ the results, what I discovered was that there was no great difference being one and two hours, which were the lightest, and there was no great difference between 8 hours and 12 hours which obviously were the darkest.

Once the yarn was pulled from the pot, it was rinsed and then after the water ran clear gently squeezed and hung on the line to dry.

I feel like I should apologise for the washing...I'm not going too, we occasionally wear clean clothes in this house.

Didn't they turn out well?! I'm a little bit in love with them despite the fact that they are pink.

So was that the end of my dyeing adventure? No. It was the beginning of my mania.

Next step, Turmeric

2 Litres of water mixed with 2 Tbsp of ground turmeric (no vinegar) then boil and cool as before. The mix was gritty but I didn't strain it.

Then, rather than create a batch of yellow skeins, I mixed the turmeric mix with the left over beetroot dye, which was much weaker than the previous day as I had already used it. I left them overnight to do their thing.

The results...

I've run out of blank mini skeins...I clearly need more.

I've a vague idea what I want to create with the result but so far haven't started anything.

Hopefully this post signifies a return to blogging and the end to whingeing about my job!
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