Daffodil, willow and snail

I promise that I won’t report back every time I have personal contact with one of my fellow bloggers, but I do want to share these with you:

Mementos of our first meeting

Mementos of our first meeting

A few weeks ago I travelled all of 500m from my front door to see Katy the Night Owl… fellow blogger. We would never have met if it wasn’t for blogging, despite living so close to each other. Anyway, on that first meeting I took her a bunch of daffodils (that we were kindly allowed to pick by Reena, a local farmer’s wife) and budding willow (from our hedge).

Katy was keen to make a contribution to the masterpiece and so her squares were inspired by that bunch of flowers. I went round to see her yesterday for a chat and to collect these beautiful creations. In addition, she had crocheted a tiny snail for me, that she turned into a brooch whilst we drank tea together… he’s there on the picture, but doesn’t show up very well.

I was able to take the BonBon hat over to show Katy how beautifully the yarn she had given me had worked up. Inspired, she added a BonBon to her list of things to make.

I’m still bowled over by the sense of community here in the blogosphere and the joy of finding individuals with similar interests, but I never expected to make a friend who I could walk over to have a cup of tea with whenever I felt like!

Très bon

One of the unexpected yields of blogging is coming across other people’s good ideas. Yesterday, for example, the Dorset Finca mentioned that she has been growing living stones (Lithops) and I was so excited that I immediately found out where to get the seeds and ordered some. These little succulent plants have fascinated me ever since I was a child, but I have never owned any. That, hopefully, is about to change if my seeds germinate. Without that chance reading of a blog post, I probably would never have thought to have a go at growing these little plants, despite my long-standing interest.

Other blog posts have inspired me with recipes, gardening tips and creative ways to reuse and recycle. But perhaps my favourite inspiration comes from the folks who knit and crochet and then share their patterns, ideas and links. And so, when Nice Piece of Work posted her guide to making a Bonbon hat a couple of weeks ago I was smitten and knew that I must have a go. All did not go to plan to begin with and I had one false start, but I’m not easily put off and my second attempt has been much better:

The finished BonBon

The finished BonBon

The technical bit

The yarn I used was double knitting wool acrylic blend and I worked with a 4mm hook. I followed Jill’s basic instructions with the following modifications: I increased 7 times on round 9 and 3 more times on round 12. I worked 23cm from the top before I started the brim. To make a snug brim, I crocheted front post trebles (fpt), but I missed every fifth stitch on the first round… that is on alternate ridges I only worked one stitch rather than two:

Detail of the start of the brim

Detail of the start of the brim

I worked about 6cm of fpts, which I folded over once to expose the horizontal reverse.

Finished hat

Finished hat

If I was making it again, I think I would use a slightly larger hook, perhaps 5mm, for a floppier texture (this will depend on your tension). Once you get going, it’s a really straightforward pattern and very adaptable, as this post from Jill demonstrates. It’s certainly a pattern I would use again – thank you Jill!

Bonbon…. or possibly pas bon

I was hoping to have lovely pictures of a completed hat to post today, but it’s not to be. Whilst awaiting the final masterpiece squares, I decided to have a go at making a Bonbon hat, as described by Jill on her blog Nice Piece of Work. Katy the Night Owl had given me some yarn that she couldn’t use and I thought it looked ideal for playing around with and making a hat:

Ready to go last Monday

Ready to go last Monday


However, yarn is a fickle thing and, despite what the labels say, all double knitting wool is not the same. The yarn is acrylic and wool and has plenty of stretch and I have quite a small head, so I thought that I would be able to make a hat just by following Jill’s basic instructions. However, by last Thursday when it was 22cm long it had turned into a very snug beanie hat (which I didn’t photograph)… not exactly the look I was going for… here’s what one should look like:

A Nice Piece of Work Bonbon

So, I frogged it back to the central few rounds, increased my number of increases, worked a few more rows and increased a bit again and I do now seem to have something that might be the right shape. In the past I hated having to frog my work, but these days it really doesn’t bother me so much. Jill stated quite clearly that the instructions for the Bonbon hat were just a guide and I have, so far enjoyed exploring the shape and pattern. Perhaps I’m more relaxed because I don’t need this hat and didn’t buy yarn specifically to make it; perhaps it’s because I’ve discovered the joys of the journey rather than the destination; or perhaps I’ve just got less up tight as I get older. Of course, the other thing about crochet is that you only have to pick up one stitch at the point you have to restart… a much easier prospect than for knitting. Whatever the reason, I’m having fun and, in the end, I’ll have a new hat.

So, in order to allow you to share the journey, here is progress so far…

Bonbon attempt 2... about 16cm long at the moment

Bonbon attempt 2… about 16cm long at the moment

Maybe this will work and maybe it won’t, but eventually I will know how to make a bonbon hat.

Many thanks  Jill for the inspiration and Katy for the yarn.

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