Rainbow Beanie

Clearly a beanie frenzy has taken over at Cat and the Wool, because I’ve started another beanie! One with super amazing rainbow colours! You can really tell I like rainbows 🙂

I started out exactly the same as for the purple beanie in the previous post, except this time switching colours every second row. It even looks amazing with just 4 colours already!

Circle Start

I had a big stash of Elle premier DK cotton in all the colours of the rainbow so I had to find a few uses for them 😛

Wool

I kept going until the hat was the desired width and size, and then switched to a smaller hook for the last few rounds (4.00mm to a 2.5mm – I didn’t have a 3.00mm!). I had initially started out doing a ribbed edge, but decided against it as the beanie looked fine without it.

And then….TAAADAAA!!!

Finished

It worked out perfectly! And I’m really getting addicted to them because they are so easy to make! You could take it up a notch and include different stitch patterns, but that’s another blog for another day I think. Who knows, maybe I’ll end up making them colour coded to match my wardrobe?!

The Minions however also thought this rainbow beanie was the coolest thing and decided to have a little fun. Mike and Frank are having a whale of a time, while Stein suspects a beanie would be a perfect place for a nap 😛

Mike with Beanie

Stein and Frank with Beanie

On that note, stay tuned to find out what other crochet creations evolve with the Minions and Cat and the Wool!

Beanie Frenzy!

Cat and the Wool has been up to some exciting things the last few weeks! Moving country, new work, and buying new wool! The range of choice here is sometimes overwhelming, but it does get the creative juices flowing. So what do you think I did when I stepped into a little store and saw some luscious wool for a good price? I bought it of course and started a new project 🙂

Magenta Beanie Wool

Ever since I saw the blogpost by Moogly about her beanie pattern and the fact that she has amazing tutorials for all things crochet, I decided a move to colder weather conditions would require keeping my head and ears warm. So, a beanie was created following her pattern!

Beanie train

I’m currently travelling close to 4 hours each day on the train to get to work, so what better way to make time go faster than crochet?! I started with a circle of about 4 chains and then continued with single crochet stitch, increasing each successive round to create the folds.

Beanie Start circle

I kept going until I had approximately 100 stitches and then continued the rows without increasing, so in a sense creating a tube. I’ve figured out that 100 stitches with a 4.0mm hook and double knit yarn is good, thanks to my anonymous beanie tester 🙂

I kept going until I decided it was long enough for my liking. Most of these beanie patterns can be modified in many ways, and even if you’re a beginner it’s a really easy project to start with. I suspect later on I’ll want to attempt using finer wool and add different stitch pattern to create a lighter lacy beanie.

Now the fun begins – Moogly also had a tutorial on how to do ribbing as an edge and create a slightly elastic band. I am so glad it’s so easy to learn and works out beautifully!

Ribbing

I wanted the ribbing band quite wide so I started out with 15 stitches worked perpendicularly to the beanie and the doing single crochet stitch in the back loops only in each row (not in both loops as is the norm). And this is what creates the wonderful ribbing effect! Plus, you do this in a smaller hook size (I used 2.50mm because I don’t have a 3.00mm hook) and if you think you’ve made an item too big/wide, the ribbing gets it to the right size that will still look great and fit perfectly. Trust me, it’s worth the time spent!

Beanie Finished

And as always, the Minions decided to join in the fun! Frank was having a ball of a time in a new woolly “cave”, while Stein thought it would be a great time to nap. Francis the Owl felt the beanie was a superb place to settle down and start a little nest! However, that can’t happen without another little owl, so perhaps one might be on my to-do list… I shall introduce you to The Animals in the Zoo soon!

Panel Beanie & Plushies

I’ll be posting once a week until I get settled here in the north, so click the “follow” button so you can stay up to date with all the fun happenings with a crochet hook and wool. And the Minions of course!

Stay tuned to find out more about the Beanie Frenzy and whether Francis gets a partner!

 

 

Moving Time with Minions!

Cat and the Wool has been super busy prepping all the travel gear and sorting out what to do with shipping boxes. Hence the slightly infrequent blog posts, sorry 😦

Not to worry – the Minions said they would help!

Both Mike, Frank, Stein and even Kitty lent a helping hand!

First – assemble the box according to instructions.

 

Minions and boxes

 

Second – test box for durability and stability. Kitty and Frank loved this part and made sure all boxes were ready for packing!

 

Stein and Kitty

Third – ensure non-helping hands refrain from disrupting activities. Stein apparently did not cooperate with the other Minions and proceeded to smash the boxes and turn them upside down. Frank then noticed a little roll of packing tape nearby…a promptly thought up an ingenious plan!

The tape roll fit perfectly around Stein, and while he wasn’t watching Frank promptly dropped the roll over his head!

 

Stein and Frank with Tape

Stein was not impressed with this! But what could he do?! His hands were stuck and he couldn’t go anywhere. The only thing left to do was to sit and watch the other Minions do the hard work, and let out a complimentary roar every so often!

 

Stein and Tape

The Minions have been great with the packing and moving, Cat and the Wool is very happy to have such helpful friends 🙂

We hope the moving process goes smoothly – stay tuned for more updates!

Keep the Coffee Warm – Crochet Mug Warmers!

Here at Cat and the Wool there’s always a little crochet project on the go, and today it’s a crocheted mug warmer!

Mug warmers can be practical and beautiful – it keeps your coffee warmer for longer, and with a cute animal face or colour scheme can also liven up the ol’ white mug.

Many people on Etsy have created wonderful owl- and animal-themed mug cozies/warmers and I decide I might as well see if I can create my own simple mug warmer.

To start off with, I had some wonderful multi-coloured cotton hidden in my stash that needed to be used! It’s a green-blue-turquoise blend and it looks beautiful!

 

Wool start

 

I chained the required amount of stitches to match my mug’s circumference at the bottom and proceeded with single crochet stitch.

 

Wool in Mug

I continued until I had reached half-way of the desired length and created a little buttonhole. Here I just made 3 chain stitches instead of 3 single crochet stitches, and on the following round continue with single crochet – this created a nifty little buttonhole.

 

Start

I had to increase a small section on either end to make way for the button and to be able to close the piece around the mug. The problem with this type of mug however, is that the sides are not straight. This made it difficult to create a piece that would fit but also be the correct size at the top and the bottom of the mug. Important to keep in mind for the next mug warmer!

 

Button

Once I had the desired buttonhole and a few rows, I decreased and went back to the original circumference. I kept doing this until I was satisfied with the height and then fasted off.

I sewed the button on and then popped it on to the mug – et voila! A great first attempt at making a mug warmer! Complete within 3 hours!

 

Mug warmer Finished

I am so pleased, that my next one will be a little owl mug warmer! Yarnovations has an especially nice pattern for an owl mug warmer and this one is on my to-do list!

Happy crocheting!

Crochet Inspiration Hits with Force!

A few days ago I was hit with such inspiration to crochet a fine white lace doilie! I’ve wanted to crochet this pattern for quite a while but never got round to it. I miss working with super fine cotton because it produces fine and delicate pieces that I love! I’ve been so busy crocheting items in thick DK wool and making big quick pieces, it’s really good to do something different.

I have an entire collection of crochet magazines and books that I generate inspiration from. Majority of them have been inherited from my mother – the Phildar books are at least 30 years old, if not more, and although the patterns are a little “old” for me there are quite a few gems. The little Anna Creatief and Diana Extra books are all from my travels overseas in Belgium and Italy. I love that Europe still produces monthly crochet magazines! And, I have one in Flemish/Dutch, one in French, and one in Italian! Luckily they all come with diagrams with universal symbols 🙂

 

Magazine Collection

I used a pattern from the Diana Extra book for a 6-pointed star and used white cotton #30 (super fine!) and a 0.75mm hook.

A doilie is traditionally a round piece of crochet created round by round using a variety of stitches. The finished size of the piece is dictated by the number of rounds and the pattern dependent on the placement of stitches in a particular area.

Some doilies look really frilly and over the top. I much rather prefer geometric patterns and no hearts or flowers or depictions of trees or whatever.

They can also be placemats and be any shape and in any material you want – very thick cotton or wool even!. They also do not need to be big – they can be as small as coasters or as big as tablecloths! The possibilities are endless, and you get to choose what you like most.

Magazine Cover

Magazine Pic of Doilie

I had bought thin cotton last year in Belgium in the Veritas store (www.veritas.be) which is part-haberdashery-part-accessories store. So of course I’m going to love it. I bought #20 and #30 cotton balls to try out, and I was in for a surprise!

 

Doilie Start

Since this cotton is so thin, the item made is much smaller than with #10 or #5 cotton, and decidedly more finicky to handle in the beginning. My fingers get quite sore try to hold and crochet the tiny stitches. But what’s so wonderful about it is that it produces very fine and delicate pieces that feel divine! Patterns also stand out wonderfully with the small stitches.

 

In progress 3 panel

The middle photo shows how far I’ve progressed, only 6 more rounds to go! Almost there!

At times it can get tedious doing round after round after round after round…it doesn’t seem to end! And the bigger the doilie, the longer each round takes.

But, after persevering this week I finished it!

 

Finished Doilie

It is beautiful to say the least! And the filet pattern inside the “star arms” makes me want to crochet more pieces with this #30 cotton, even if it’s a mission to work with at times.

It still needs to be washed and blocked – blocking refers to pinning it to a flat surface to even out the shape of the item and have it dry flat. While crocheting the stitches may not always lie exactly flat and washing helps with this. So my pins and the ironing board need to come out soon!

 Absolutely happy as a chappy with my crochet doilie!