Crocheted umbrellas

This summer I decided to try something new and so I tried my hand at crocheting an umbrella cover. Or two.

The steps look deceptively simple, really. The hard part is to make it all work correctly!

I tried two:

  • kid sized umbrella covered with white cotton/bamboo blend
  • adult sized umbrella covered with acrylic yarn

Errors you should avoid (I didn’t, so I am warning you):

  • picking a cheap, shoddy frame (limp spokes, bad opening mechanism)
  • using cotton in very dense pattern (HEAVY!)
  • removing the old cover from the umbrella too early

Steps to get your umbrella covered, high-level:

  1. Buy an umbrella (full/straight, not foldable one).
  2. Crochet a doily of choice that has the same number of beams/parts/spokes as the umbrella (or twice that) to the size of the umbrella, making sure you alter the centre to fit over the umbrella tip.
  3. Try it over the existing cover to make sure you have enough. Should be rather tight fit, but remember that if you crochet too many rounds, part of it can be left as a bit of an edge. Put knitting markers or something else that will remind you where the ends of the spokes came to be.
  4. Take the little plastic pins off the end of the spokes. Cut them off the fabric and put safely aside.
  5. Snip the threads that keep the fabric attached mid-spoke.
  6. Cut the fabric around the tip.
  7. Put the doily on, tightening the middle round around the tip of the umbrella with spare bit of thick cotton yarn.
  8. Tie the little pins temporarily to the places where the doily touched them when you tried it over the cover (where the markers are).
  9. Put them now over the ends of the wires and slowly open the umbrella to see how taut the whole thing is. You may need to move the plastic pins to another place in the crocheted cover for better fit. Close it to make sure the pins don’t fall off the ends of the wires because of weight of the cover or some unforeseen looseness.

The final outcome is here.

The white, cotton, kid-sized umbrella:

The rainbow, acrylic yarn, full-sized one:

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Yarn Review – DROPS Paris

Brand: DROPS Paris

Colour: Solids (both saturated and less so)

Content: 100% cotton

Thickness: 75m/50g (150m/100g)

Country of origin: EU

Suggested needle/hook size: 5mm

Previous review :)

I bought Paris for the first time as it was “nice not-wool” for a friend who can’t wear woollen items. I made the hat and got some leftover grey yarn. It was nice, if dull, to knit, as I tend to get easily bored with monochrome work.

Now, of the leftovers I made a small amigurumi mouse for my son…

…and then I bought some colours, as I really liked the feel of that yarn.

Really, I love it. It is made of several strands (8, I think), which plied together make for soft and reasonably strong yarn. Now, 2 years later, I have a crocheted mouse, a blanket:

1. Pieces arranged before stitching

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2. During sewing:

 

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3. Sewn together, partial border crocheted:

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Now my son is keeping it in his bed and I can’t take a photo of the finished version.

And a bag :) (two different light settings, one for each side ;))

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I can reasonably say: I WOULD BUY MORE.

Beginners? Yes, definitely. Undoes with no issue, no fuzz (it’s cotton!), wears out a bit after a few crochet/undo sessions, but not a lot. Before, I wrote it’s not good for beginners, but my son, who just started crocheting this year, actually liked it a lot. I WILL buy more, if he wants to make another mouse or anything.


Yarn Review – YarnArt Everest

Brand: YarnArt Everest

Colour: mixes (see link)

Content: 70% acrylic, 30% wool

Thickness: 320m/200g (160/100)

Country of origin: Turkey

Suggested needle/hook size: 5,5mm

 

I bought Everest ’cause it looked interesting.

It is nice to touch, slightly squeaky, but not much. Crochets up very nice, works good in the knitting mill, although it’s on the limit of its thickness tolerance. The acrylic compound makes in much fluffier than pure wool.

Would buy again, lots. Whenever I have time to work on a really freakishly patterned blanket :)

For beginners, easy to undo, not much fuzz.

Below: a tube pillow crocheted with Everest.

 

Everest_poducha

 

 


Blanket mania

My name is Srebrna and I have a little problem with blankets.

A big amount of yarn made its way into my hands over the last few years – gifts, destashes and so on. None of these could be made into something specific due to limited amount of each colour/type, so I decided to divide all that stuff into colours and make blankets.

Blanket one: Earth colours. Bunch of squares, made into a 10×10 square, bordered in shaded green. It usually rides with us in the car and is used in case someone is cold and the AC doesn’t kick in.

Blanket two: Purples. Also a bunch of squares, but organised a bit differently. Still Work In progress, 8 squares and the border waiting to be finished.

Blanket three: Blues. Squares of various blues and some off-whites, all about 30 cm. All crocheted, but not sewn together. Will go to my son’s room and serve as the bed cover.

Blanket four: Purple & cream round ripple. Made from DROPS Andes yarn, 10 balls. Only one planned more or less properly. Used Excel to calculate optimum usage of yarn.

Blanket five: Cotton. Specifically DROPS Paris. Hexagons trimmed with light gray yarn, of varying pattern inside. Still crocheting them, but I expect this one to be quite a headache when it comes to sewing it.

Blanket six: Purple hexagons. Bunch of pinks, purples and creams from various similar-sized DROPS yarns (karisma, lima, merino extra fine). Made up only of “African flower” hexagons. Hopefully it’ll be pretty. Still only part of the hexagons done.

Blanket seven: Green& brown hexagons. Kind of followup on number one, only in different shapes. Still some odds and ends of earth-toned yarn left, plus I found some green yarn probably older than me in a box, so I need to use it up. Hexagons are more effective than squares.

…ya, a little problem.


New blanket

Ripple blanket – here’s the pattern

Just finished my new blanket. Took me less than a week – yarn I needed arrived on Wednesday and the whole thing was done on Sunday. Pretty quick.

I should probably start at the beginning.

Some time ago there was a sale on DROPS yarns (very nice stuff in general) and I bought some random balls in colours that seemed interesting. “Andes” was one of these and finally I made a cowl/scarf thing out of it. Which was a total failure, because the outcome was way too thick and stiff. Probably I used a hook some sizes too small. Well.

So this week I undid it and added some cream Andes to it as a contrast, took a 8mm hook and hooked a round ripple blanket. In three days (was kind of busy on Saturday). After work only.

So, here’s the outcome. Photographed inside, no natural light, so colours are a bit wrong, but it’s, in general, somewhat purple-ish. It’s 130 cm in diameter (from point to point) and it covers my new armchair quite nicely :)

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Review: Tchibo knitting loom

I’ve only just remembered that I’ve never written anything about my attempt at using Tchibo straight knitting loom. It was a disaster. I actually went there and returned it (got all my money back, good Tchibo policy here).

Why?

It was soft and flexible. VERY soft. When I put the first round of yarn on it, the sides bent into the middle. Whatever I did, I couldn’t make any kind of consistent knit, it all came out as a bunch of very very loose loops.

Look from the top (see how it bends into the middle?):

ZGS

Look from the side (only a few rows, but even when I made some more in hope of this getting a bit tighter, no luck):

ZGT

But as you can see in the second photo, it’s all fault of very poor construction – the frame itself is hollow and walls are very thin. The plastic bent under slightest pressure, including loosely threaded yarn.

In summary: when buying a knitting loom, make sure the frame is solid (wood is good!). PRYM round looms I’ve tried out are very sturdy. I’d like to find a straight one of the same class. Possibly with pins much closer together.


Yarn Review – Red Heart Super Saver

Brand: Red Heart Super Saver Worsted

Colour: dusty pink, cream, pastel olive (others, too, but I tested only these three)

Content: 100% acrylic

Thickness: 333m/198g

Country of origin: USA

Suggested needle size: 5,5mm

A coworker decided to destash ;) She presented me with her 4 skeins of never-touched yarn – 3 Red Hearts and 1 Carron Simply Soft. I started with the RHs, all of which are more or less pastel-ish, although the pink, when concentrated in one ball, is rather striking. I hope that mixed with others it will work nicely.

First thing I noticed is that, unfortunately, this is one of the yarns that squeak. Squeak squeak squeak every time you hook it or knit it or even mill it. Perfect for the knitting mill and would probably make a great knitted blanket or a hat&scarf set for someone who can’t stand wool. This being pure acrylic, no scratch. But a squeak.

I’ve milled the cream skein, but gave up on the blanket idea when I counted how small it would be, even if I used both pink and cream (only like a 1m x 70 cm rectangle, or so). So I undid it, and it cooperates with no fuss and no fuzz, at the same time giving a bit of resistance which is always nice as it means your work won’t just undo whenever you drop a stitch.

It crochets nicely and the grannysquares for my purple/pink blanket are getting done in record time, but again, that squeak. I hope in the whole blanket it will be balanced by other, quieter yarns.

The structure is very even, 4 tightly twisted threads, don’t come apart easily.

Pros: undoes nicely, colours are good, easy to pull the “inner end” out and work from both ends or with double thickness, perfect for beginners.

Cons: SQUEAKS. Not to be used alone if you want to wear the finished work.


Yarn Review – YarnArt Magic (SURF)

Brand: Magic/Magic SURF

Producer: YarnArt

Country: Turkey

Contents: 100% wool

Thickness: 200m/100g

Colours: mixes

Suggested needle size: 5,5 (I use anything from 3,5 hook to 6mm hook/needles, depending on intended outcome)

The colours. That’s what won my heart. The COLOURS. Have a look at the producer’s website and try telling me you didn’t just drool over the colours. I love all of them, especially 600 (have a pair of socks knit with it), SURF 441 and 446 (waiting their turn to be turned into scarves) and 601 (I’d sooo want to knit a sweater with this one).

The yarn is very, very even, with slight fuzz. Undoes with effort, leaves lots of small threads/threadballs on the undone yarn. Slight scratch, but I can tolerate it even in a winter hat.

No discernible strands, but in places when one colour blends into another you will see the “tail” of one colour twisted with the next one (see producer’s photo for 592 or 602). The gradient change is quite long and single colour also lasts long. In socks it makes for ~5cm per colour + soft colour change.

The colour saturation and combinations give effects very close to DROPS Big Delight (I used a bit of Magic in my Big Delight poncho when I miscounted and run out of the main yarn half a row before end). Can be easily mixed in the same work/substituted.

Needles? Yes. Crochet? Totally. Knitting mill? Perfect, makes lovely hats and scarves, with these colours you will be visible from afar this winter :)

Would I buy more? I already did! Lots and lots, waiting for their time, lying quietly in the box.


Yarn Review – DROPS Alasca

Brand: DROPS Alasca (Mix)

Colour: grey, dark blue (also other dark-ish and smoky colours and gray pink)

Content: 100% pure new wool/100% wool

Thickness: 140m/100g (70m/50g)

Country of origin: EU

Suggested needle size: 5mm, I’m using a 4mm hook.

Suggested patterns on producer’s page.

Structure: Three strands, visible and separable, well twisted together. Next to no scratch. I wouldn’t make a hat out of it, but I’d be willing to risk a scarf.

There was a big sale on DROPS yarns in May and I kind of went overboard with various kinds I bought, so I have yet another DROPS to check out and review. I’ve unpacked my 8 balls of Alasca (so, total of 400g) and started on a waistcoat for my son. Combination of dark blue and dark grey seems to have this “proper, school-ish” vibe, so he will have something lighter than a full pullover for the official school days.

I’ve started on the blue squares and the yarn is really, really nice. As it’s thick, the outcome is visible almost immediately, but of course also the balls disappear almost immediately. Four 11cm squares and one ball is almost gone (so 4 will make 16 or 17 squares). The feel of if when working is really soft, with almost no scratch. Also almost no sheep smell, which sometimes accompanies untreated wool yarns.

Now, I wouldn’t recommend using it for hats, if you have any kind of sensitivity towards wool, but I personally would risk a scarf or mittens. Would not knit a polo neck sweater or anything tight-fitting/direct on skin (except for abovementioned scarf or mittens). Feels very, very warm. I’m thinking about a pair of ugly but warm socks when I look at it (all my socks are slightly ugly and these colours would not cover my sock-knitting blunders).

Would buy more? Yep. The colour range seems nice and I may be in need of a sober, grownup scarf someday.


Yarn Review – Rozetti Sarayli

Brand: Sarayli

Producer: Rozetti

Country: Turkey

Contents: 70% acrylic 30% wool

Thickness: 180m/100g

Colours: mixes

Producer’s page – examples of finished work, too.

 

I’ve bought two balls of random Sarayli yarn when I was on vacation and the only source of handmade materials was a local village yarnshop. The existence of one was a bit of a surprise, in fact, but I made use of it ;)

The yarn crocheted wonderfully into this granny-square scarf (3 sq per yarn ball, some tiny amount left due to uneven crocheting).

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Pros:

+ my favourite thickness

+ nice to touch

+ fabulous colours – have a look at the producer’s page, there’s more! (ok, some are a bit childish/sugary, yes)

+ fuzz enough to make sure the work is stable

+ very stable thickness

+ very affordable

Cons:

– fuzz enough to make undoing a pain

Summary: will ABSOLUTELY buy more. At least one more ball of this colourset, to make the scarf longer.