Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Starting Up (again) - An Update

The renovation of our roof started around the second week of March and ended in the second week of May. The original roof is made up of nipa palm fronds which rotted easily and leaked quite badly. Now the roof is longspan hi-rib galvanised iron sheets with 5mm foam insulation. The design of the roof was also changed. The roof has 4 gables that serve as air vents to keep the house cool. Nipa is cooler of course but the maintenance of nipa, especially of a roof this large (about 250 square meters) is very difficult.

So now I don't have to run around with basins, buckets and umbrellas looking for leaks whenever it rains. I have also just managed to clean up and put things back in their proper places.Such a major disruption has made it difficult for me to get back to crochet sooner. During this time I have been busy drawing designs and plans for the renovation of the pigpens (a total of about 80 square meters). Currently, I have one boar (Pinky) and two sows (Brownie and Number 3). If Brownie is pregnant she is expected to farrow by the end of June. Hopefully, Number 3 is pregnant and is expected to farrow in September.

The old Dirty Kitchen with nipa palm fronds for roofing material. Next to it is Number 3's pen.

The new Dirty Kitchen in progress using leftover roofing material from the house.

My plans for rebuilding the pigpens.

The rebuilding of the Dirty Kitchen started almost immediately after the roof renovation and I have been busy overseeing that as well. A "Dirty Kitchen" is an outside kitchen that uses a firewood stove. We also have the big clay oven in the Dirty Kitchen. The Dirty Kitchen is also often used when cooking for fiestas and parties. Since firewood is used for cooking, I would also like to use the Dirty Kitchen as a smoker --- fish, sausages and meat can be hung above the stove to smoke them.

Then yesterday, after numerous failed attempts, I was able to get back to crocheting.

I am trying to make an overdress - a lace garment meant to be worn over a light dress. It is based on a design I made some time ago. I am using a 3.5mm crochet hook and acrylic yarn called "Fettuccia" by Ice Yarns. This overdress is designed to be adjustable for a range of sizes. This will take some time but I hope to be able to write the pattern for this new crochet design.

I am doing reasonably well. Every week I go for acupuncture which works well for me. Later, I hope to be able to find some time to return to painting and writing poetry.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Crochet a Sock

Some time ago, I crocheted a sock, in search of the simplest construction method possible with crochet. I figured out one way which starts at the toe and proceeds upwards.

Here is a documentation of the process of crocheting a sock which I hope will help you to understand shaping for the feet and in as a consequence, be motivated to experiment and develop other sock designs as well as crochet new related items such as crochet slippers, crochet shoes, fishnet stockings and ankle socks. Happy crocheting!

Design Notes: My socks are for feet 9.5” long and about 4” wide. I used Yarn: Antipilling Acrylic by Ice Yarns (3:Light/4-ply) and Hook: 4mm. For a pair of calf-length socks I used 80 grams (or 200 meters) of yarn.

Start at the toes

I started with a foundation of 9 +2 ch. This foundation chain is about 2” long and is not meant to be the same width as the toes of your feet. If you use smaller or bigger hook and yarn, the foundation chain may need to be of different length. The basic formula for me is a foundation chain that is about the same width as the three middle toes of your feet.

Next, dc in fourth ch fr hook; dc in each of next 6 ch; 7 dc in last ch (this allows you to turn to the opposite side of the foundation ch; dc in each of next 7 ch; in next ch make 6 dc; sl st in first ch to join into a round. This completes the first round of the sock.

Continue to make the foot of the sock

Ch 2 (this does not count as dc), dc in same ch where sl st was made in first round; dc in each dc all around, ending with sl st in top of 2-ch to join; (28 dc made); Ch 2 and continue in the same manner as described. I made 16 rounds to fit the length from the toes to the point where the leg joins the foot. Remember to crochet tightly and to make the length of the sock a bit shorter than your foot since the yarn will stretch.

Now make the heel of the sock

To shape the heel of the sock you will be working in rows instead of rounds. First you need to determine how wide this row is going to be. You can determine this by putting the sock on and measuring over the top of the foot how many stitches from one side of the heel to the next side. The photo below shows half of this length (in thick white line).

On my foot, this length measures about 12 stitches. So I subtract that from the total number of stitches around the sock (which is 28 stitches) and I get 16 stitches. This means, the heel should be made in rows of 16 stitches.

So, without fastening off, you just continue on to make the heel as follows: ch 2, dc in first dc, dc in each of next 15 dc (16 dc made); ch 2, turn, dc in first dc, dc in each of the next 15 dc, etc.

The next question is, how many rows should the heel be? Here you just need to measure the length of your heel bearing in mind to crochet a bit shorter since the yarn will stretch when worn.

In my case, the heel is 7 rows in length. So I made 7 rows of dc for the heel and, as shown in the photos below, at the last row, fold the heel in half and sl st join along the last row. This joins the seam at the back of the heel. Fasten off.

So at this point, you should have something that looks like a slipper. The next (and last) thing you need to do now is join the yarn to a dc at the back of the heel and work the leg of the sock in rounds.

The leg of the sock

This is worked in rounds in a manner as earlier established, starting the round with ch 2. There are two questions I encountered here: first, how long should the sock be and second, should I shape the leg of the sock?

The first question answered: I decided to make mid-calf length socks, that’s some 18 rounds of dc, or about 7.5” length.

The second question answered: I decided to shape the leg of the sock where my leg narrows the most at the heel, this is at round 4 of the leg of the sock. You may wish to start decreasing at the first round. Decreasing means decreasing the number of stitches with dc2tog evenly all around over 3 rounds, ending the last dec round with 36 dc. Then continuing the rounds with this number of stitches. This means, from the heel I had 48 stitches around the leg and then reduced that to 36 stitches around the leg. I decided to do this so that the sock tapers and tightens at the calf and won’t fall down or slide off. Here are photos showing the leg of the sock in progress.

And there you have it – how to crochet a sock. You can adjust the number of stitches and rows and rounds presented here to make a sock in your desired size.

Once you know how to crochet a pair of socks, you can explore the basic pattern with different stitches and shapes, perhaps to make a pair of lacey stockings, a Christmas sock to decorate the Christmas tree, a pair of bedroom slippers, etc.

Enjoy! Happy crocheting!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Cowl-Hat Experiment

I tried a small experiment a few days ago - a cowl that can also be used as a hat. I used cotton-cashmere yarn that I dyed a couple of months back.  My notes are below as well as progress photos and the finished item. I am not very happy with it as a hat but very pleased with it as a cowl. I think a much better design can be made.