The two projects I am supposed to be working on, Angus's blanket and my cross stitch sampler (both pictured above), have been firmly pushed to one side and will no doubt languish in the basket by my chair for some weeks now. All kinds of other projects have elbowed their way to the front of the queue, some for gifts, some for me, some just because I fancied making them.
First the gifts. Bella and Angus have requested more animals from the excellent Edward's Menagerie and I am more than happy to oblige. Angus has requested the chimpanzee...
and Bella the koala.
So far all I've done is buy the yarn, but I need to get going on these to prevent a pre-Christmas panic. I am in that denial phase, where the thought of making two whole toys from scratch in six weeks seems overwhelmingly impossible. But I know that as soon as I pick up the hook and make an arm, and then another, and then a leg, they will be done in no time.
I've been working on a second pair of socks, and swapped that super expensive yarn for something cheaper but still soft and a gorgeous colour. So far I have made two toes.
No, I'm not exactly tearing through that gift list, am I? It's becuase I've been distracted by more cross stitched napkins. I know, I made loads last summer, I don't need any more. But I really wanted to make some Christmas ones, something a bit special that would be pulled out once a year for Christmas lunch and maybe Christmas Eve and Boxing Day too at a push.
So far I've stitched a tree and a robin. The tree pattern is adapted from one I found in the book Embroidery Companion, while the pattern for the robin is one I made using an image from the computer and some graph paper.
He's pretty cute, isn't he?
I also made myself a hat using this great pattern from Annaboo's House with a ball of super chunky yarn and a 9 mm hook. The pattern suggest Drops Andes but I used this brand as the website was out of stock of lots of Drops Andes shades when I ordered, although annoyingly they seem to have them back in now. The hat was made in a couple of hours and is as easy and fast a make as the pattern promises. Also - pompoms! I bought myself a pompom maker. How did I not know about these? Hours of fun.
You want to see the hat on, don't you?
So, crochet socks - I've been doing a lot of research! Crochet is has less elastic or stretch than knitted socks, I have learnt, but the ones I made are not hard to get on or off and they have a good amount of stretch in them. But as bed socks, they are slightly oversized and looser than normal, every day socks would be. It seems that crochet uses more yarn and makes a thicker fabric than knitting. This is great for items like blankets and scarves, but not so good for socks and clothes. In crocheted clothes, especially, the added chunkiness isn't what anyone wants around their midrift, so patterns for oversized tops and jumpers work well, or ones that show off an open, lace work style of crochet. I'm not sure where that leaves us crocheters with socks, but I suspect the secret to a good comfortable pair of crocheted socks is to use a very small hook and thinner yarn, to create a small and even stitch texture. Thank you very much for the patterns you recommended in your comments before. I looked at and bookmarked all of them. Through Instagram, I discovered Vicki Brown and her crochet sock collection. I think the "pop socks" look particularly promising as an everyday ankle sock kind of pattern. I will aim to make a pair this winter and then wear them a lot, and feed back to you all on how I get on.
Thank you also for your words of encouragement regarding knitting. A lot of you said don't give up, it's not that hard. I know that really. It's not knitting, it's me.
Joining in with my friend Jennifer's Winter Project Link Party.