Monday, October 30, 2006

Petrol Crochet Hat from Japan and Amigurumi heaven!

I went to Japan a few weeks ago. It was a long trip with a lot of work and very little free time. But on the final day we got 2 hours to do what we wanted to on the streets of Tokyo. What did I do? I ran to the Tokyu Hands department store (via Kiddieland to pick up some Totoro toys) to buy some crochet books of course!

As we all know, the Japanese make excellent crochet patterns and the books they have are just so much better than the ones I can get in the UK. They just seem so much more creative - and cute - which is why I was determined to get some books before I went back. I ended up having about 10 minutes to decide which books to get, but thanks to my pidgin Japanese ("Sumimasen, Amigurumi?") I managed to find what I was after.

I got this absolutely lovely amigurumi book from Ondori, which contains a lot of patterns that are already available online for free (courtesy of some helpful translators). But it was only 280 yen and it seemed only right to hand over that small sum for the such great patterns. Can't wait to make some of the kawaiiii toys.

I also got this book from the Let's Knit series from Tezukuritown (click on the second button down and you can check out some of the patterns it includes). And the first thing I did when I got home was to sit and make this hat. It was too big when I made it the first time so I did it again with a smaller hook. Then it was too small, so I split the difference and did it again. But it was too small again. So I decided to go back to the original size and just do it tighter. But it was still too small. Just what kind of dark forces were at play here?

It was only then that I went back to the original hat (thankfully, I hadn't unpicked it) and realised that I'd put in two extra rows by mistake. After taking those out I was left with a hat that was the right size. I try not to think about the 4 evenings I wasted doing all those retries... It's best not to dwell on the lost hours... :(

But the fact that I did keep trying it is testament to the simplicity of the pattern - super quick to crochet and drawn in that excellent Japanese stitch diagram. So much easier than a written pattern - why don't we use them?! I love this hat - and after last year's hat making debacles, I think I deserve to have one success at last!

The two books together came to around £6 I think! Unbelievably cheap - and so much nicer than most of the stuff we have.

Crochet Purse - The finished product

You may remember this purse, which I made while on holiday over the summer (summer! Remember that?! Damn you Greenwich Mean Time, I want British Summer Time back). I sewed this sari-type lining into it a few months ago, but deleted the shot I took of it by accident before I had a chance to post it up. So here it is. Nothing else worth mentioning about it I don't think.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Three quick things

Forgot to say! The hat went down a treat - both mother and baby were delighted. Or at least I think Mae was delighted, though it may just been a touch of wind (that's the baby I'm talking about, not the mother - no idea how her wind was).

And on another note, just wanted to say that the paltry number of updates on this blog is no reflection of how much I've been crocheting but has more to do with the amount of time I already spend on a computer. After 10 hours sat at my desk staring at the web and writing stuff, I quite often run out of steam when it comes to my personal blogs. But I've got some bits to stick up soon, so I will have to be a bit more committed to Good Hooking.

And finally, we're (Shiny Media) hoping to launch a crafts blog soon. If you want to write for it, or know anyone who might like to contribute, let me know! You can email me on editor[AT] . And if I take ages to respond, please don't take it personally - I'm all over the place these days and so is my brain.

Crochet Blanket - my life's work

I learnt to crochet a while back now and just like most learner hookers, I started with basic Granny squares made out of three trebles (US double double crochet). Actually, I think they may have been double trebles come to think of it... Anyway, I started with granny squares and made quite a few squares , returning to it over the years as my interest came and went. At some point - though I forget the exact timeline and details - I'm pretty sure I unpicked the whole lot of the them and started again from scratch. The history of this blanket - when I started it properly and how long it has taken me - has fallen out of my brain for some reason. But there are two things I do know: it's still very far from finished; I'll probably unpick it all fairly shortly and start again. Again.

The very idea that I'll unpick it yet again (as well as the initial unpick and re-start, I've unpicked countless squares as well as the white joining rows more times that I care to count) is sending my boyfriend into fits of sighs, but this time it's not about me being all anal and overly perfectionist - it's because it's so weighty that it's starting to pull itself apart. If I do end up unpicking, I'll feel very sad, but also a little pleased that I can get back some of my favourite wool colours - and have the opportunity to create something even better that will be more sturdy. Those big double trebles, with those large squares (incidentally, trying to find 4 colours that look good together without repeating designs is frankly impossible - hence that bright orange monstrosity you can see) are just a little too volatile to survive standard blanket-based activities (sofa lounging, bed warming etc etc).

But even if I don't unpick it and decide to carry on (maybe add a backing sheet that will help to hold it all together), I can't imagine when I'll ever finish it. It's a huge beast of a thing, and there are loads more squares to add on - not to mention all those tiny joining squares to make and sew into the gaps.