Saturday, January 22, 2011

Blue Lagoon

Well, hello, and Happy New Year, everyone!

I know, I know, it's been a litte while. I needed a break from the Internet and my computer altogether as I took a few days' break; then work got once again hectic as hell.

The weather was so spring-like last weekend that I gave in to Seb's plea, took a break from it all, and we grabbed our bikes (well, a friend's bike in my case - I don't have one down here yet) to go see the sea.
The cycling (and walking) path from the town to the beach we chose to reach is sheltered from the cars; the path runs between lagoons and you can see flamingoes preening themselves, Camargue horses gathered along the path to get some attention... and the blue of the sky reflected in the water all around.
This was also a nice opportunity to photograph the set of matching béret and shawlette that I'd just finished making.
The béret, which I made first in late December, is the Crochet Basque Hat by Drops Designs, with a very interesting stitch pattern. Le patron est aussi disponible en français... :)
I was finding the original model a bit too bulky for my taste, so I chose a yarn in a lighter weight than recommended (Aran instead of Super Bulky) and a crochet hook in size 7 instead of 8.
I made the béret larger than the pattern - first because my gauge was smaller for the reason stated above, and because I wanted a snood-like béret to accommodate the buns I usually wear when going out.
The pattern starts decreasing at round 11. Instead, I continued increasing twice:
Rd 11: As Rd 9, but start with 11 ch; in pattern, chain 7 instead of 6
Rd 12: As Rd 10
Rd 13: As Rd 9, but start with 12 ch; in pattern, chain 8 instead of 6
Rd 14: As Rd 10.
Rd 15: As Rd 11, and I then followed the pattern.

Once I'd made the béret, I decided I wanted a matching scarf. I had half a skein left from the two skeins I'd bought for the béret, so I got 3 more (or rather, Seb got them for me as a Christmas gift ;)). In the end, I settled not on a scarf, but a shawlette. The pattern is another freebie - the South Bay Shawlette, by Lion Brand.
This shawlette came along amazingly quickly. Of course, it helps that I used a 8-mm hook and that my yarn was bigger than the recommended fingering! :) Still - it took less than a week to make, and a busy week at that (I only crocheted it during part of a Sunday afternoon and a few evenings). This is a mindless project once you’ve started on the first few rows.
The stitch is very pretty, I think :) Here is the shawl on my white sofa to show the stitch pattern better. I did not even block it - I was in too great a hurry to use it!
My idea is not to wear it as a shawl, though, but scrunched up around my neck, like this:

The yarn for both is Carpe Diem by Lang, a soft, warm merino and alpaca blend. I used 5 skeins for both projects - 150 yards (1 skein and a half) for the béret, and 350 yards for the shawl.

I didn't need a coat that day, but the turquoise makes a nice contrast with my purple coat, which is why I chose this shade.
If it is any consolation to those of you dealing with wintry weather (and even snow in some cases!), and possibly gaping at the pictures, the temperatures are now back to freezing in the morning. The sun and impossibly blue skies are still here, though, which is what matters to me!

OK - back to work...
Have a great weekend, everyone :)