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.

Piecework

My mother is out of hospital and recuperating at home. In the end I never spent any time with her because she stayed in hospital for a whole week rather than the promised single night and now I have a cold so I can’t be with her. I did spend a happy couple of days with my sister (more on some of our thrifty creativity in her new house in a later post) and made some progress with the masterpiece.

The core of the masterpiece

The core of the masterpiece

The central panel is complete, with the nine squares bordered and stitched together, and I am now putting borders around some of the other squares and blocking the ones that need it. The edges are relatively quick to do and the yarn is lovely to work with. I think that stitching them together is working well and allows me some flexibility with manipulating slightly different-sized squares (although the edging reduces the variation).

A fair share square

A fair share square

Plus, there have been a couple of additions from the blogosphere recently. Jill (Nice Piece of Work) has sent a beautiful square from South Africa. She chose to represent the permaculture ethic ‘Fair Share’ in her choice of local, ethical cotton yarn, plus the contribution of the central flower from a friend. You can see what she wrote here. This is my first square from South Africa and makes a lovely addition to the project – thank you Jill.

In addition, Katrina (Crochet Crush), who made the beautiful flowers of Australia square for me, sent a postcard showing the flowers that inspired her choice of colours. This is certainly going into the scrapbook, but I wanted to share it with you here too:

australia flowersAnd look how the square captured them:

Flowers of Australia square

Flowers of Australia square

Thank you again Katrina, and I promise to e-mail the picture to you now I’m back home.

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