Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah!!

I hope everyone has had a wonderful Christmas and you're enjoying the festivities of Hanukah!
I had a nice day, but it would've been a lot nicer if I hadn't woken up with a migraine. The botox is helping. With all the triggers I've had the past couple of days, this one would've put me to bed for the day. Thankfully, I was able to sit up and enjoy the festivities.

Santa brought the 2009 Crochet Pattern a Day calendar. I also received a gift card to Barnes and Noble and a subscription renewal to Crochet Today! I'm a very lucky girl to have a brother who's that generous. Browsing through the bookstore takes a lot out of me, so I'll have to either go on a non-appointment day, or shop on-line.

I finished the first Special Olympics scarf. I just have to even out the fringe. I haven't fringed something in so long, I nearly forgot how to do it! I started a second one this afternoon before I put dinner in the oven. I'm doing this one lengthwise, so hopefully it shouldn't take so long. I want to get them in the mail before the end of the year.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Constant Tension Isn't Always A Bad Thing

In fact, it's a good thing when applied to one's adventures in knitting. I had been doing a lot of crocheting to get small things done, like burp cloths/spit rag with matching baby bibs;
a tacky Christmas Toilet Paper Cozy( the cylinder shape is my design, the star decoration is from Elizabeth Hamm's Crochet A Trunk Full O Fun website)and a set of coasters and a baby blanket I still haven't finished for a craft show at a local church this past November. That's one reason I haven't been able to post since Halloween. The second reason is that the migraines have been returning full force since the Botox wore off. I had another treatment the week before Thanksgiving, and it's starting to work. The intensity of the migraines has lessened, although the nausea, light, motion and noise intolerance hasn't let up.
Tension and stress can be migraine triggers, but knitting is supposed to be a fun hobby you do to relieve stress. So, what does that mean for stress provoked by getting one's knitting tension correct?

Anyway, once the show was over, the urge to knit kicked in. I found some Homespun mill ends in my stash and decided to do a quick scarf. Yeah, right. I had high hopes since another scarf I knit with Homespun came out well.

Okay, fairly well. It looks better in person than in the photo since it's folded a little. On the new scarf, I could tell when I put it down and picked it up again. I'm sure you can too. I frogged it twice, which is why I called it the "Third Time's a Charm" scarf on my Ravelry page. At first, I considered taking a basic learn to knit class, since my technique involves balancing one needle on my leg or abdomen while throwing the yarn with my right hand. Not exactly orthodox as you can imagine. I also thought about taking a Continental Knitting class. I've wanted to learn this technique since it supposedly puts less stress on one's shoulders and arms. After I've been knitting for a while, I get sore in my neck and shoulder area. But, I don't drive at night unless there's an emergency, and I never know how I'm going to feel on a given day, I'm reluctant to sign up for a class, even if there's one in the afternoon. I'm blessed to live in an area with four local yarn stores, and I've had wonderful experiences in all of them. So, there are a variety of classes to choose from. I'm afraid to plunk money down for a class and not be able to go because of a migraine or a vertigo attack.

So, I turned to the Internet for help. I went to a few sites and found several ways to hold yarn to get correct tension. This one seemed like it'd work for me. I decided to try something simple for my next project, just to see how I'd do with the technique. I made the Waffle Stitch spa cloth from the latest issue of Creative Knitting magazine.

This done with a ball of Lily Sugar n' Cream I had in my stash. Not too bad for a first time. My edges aren't totally even, but they're better than before. I started the soap bag from the same pattern.

I've only done the first couple of rows, and I've put it down to work on a Special Olympic scarf. When I get back to it, we'll see if my tension changes the edging and you can tell where I left off!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Two Posts in One Month...

it must be a record, lol! I've been keeping busy. I finished a hat and scarf of my own design. It's done in Bernat Camoflage in the color Renegade. It's a simple half double crochet pattern that of course, dopey me didn't write down as I did it. I'll have to do another one to see what I did so I can post it.

As I said in my last post, I've been doing some little items in crochet, since I'm a very slow knitter. I started this baby bib in Lily Sugar n' Cream, and then realized it wouldn't look right. So I turned sideways to get more length. I'm not sure if I left enough room for the neck, but I think the ties are adjustable enough there should be good coverage. I also crocheted a burp cloth/wash cloth to go with it. I need more practice designing baby bibs, though. I plan do have several done within the next couple of weeks.

This scarf is done in Lion Brand Homespun, in the color Colonial. I've been on a roll of half double crochet lately, and this is done lengthwise.

This is a dishcloth done in a single crochet ribbed stitch. I figure the nooks and crannies may make a better dust cloth. I'll have to make it longer and a bit wider to be a dust mop cover.

I love vintage pattern books. It's so much fun to see what fashion trends were and how things have changed, or not. Many designs, raglan sweaters, some baby items, haven't changed much. I've found many at church or charitable garage or book sales and in a used book store that's not too far from my house. I started a baby sweater from one of the books I bought, and I'll post photos of both the sweater and the booklet. I've also started to knit an afghan from a Coats and Clark learn to knit book. Photos will be forthcoming.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I Have a Lot of Yarn...

and I didn't know how much until I started to photograph it all. I used to keep an inventory in a notebook, but never updated it as I moved skeins around, sold some on Ebay or used some in a project. Since I'm a member of Ravelry, I thought I'd use their "stash" section to make it easier than thumbing through a notebook with several crossed out areas where I actually did update, that are difficult to read. I also would buy yarn if I came across clearance yarn in a store, like the Bernat Berella "4" I got in Michaels for $0.99 a skein, or a great deal like Lion Brand Baby Soft for $0.99 a skein that you see above that was in Ollie's Bargain Outlet. I also bought more since I never seem to have enough of the yarn I need for a particular project. Usually I have some yarn I can use, but since I bought it a few years ago, or even a few months ago, the dye lot I bought are no longer available. For example, when I did my cousin's blanket, I had some Baby Soft in my stash, but it wasn't enough. I had to buy enough skeins in the same dye lot to complete the project.

For this sweater, I had five skeins of Red Heart Soft Baby in my stash that I wanted to use for a baby layette. This pattern is designed by Gayle Bunn and is from the Coats & Clark book "Beautiful Babies". I wanted to make a blanket to go with it, but I didn't realize that the skeins from different dye lots. Thankfully, I had enough of one dye lot to complete the sweater and hat, but not enough for a blanket also. The hat worked up quickly. I loved the fact the sweater was done in one piece with the sleeves attached, since I hate sewing items together. Heck, I still haven't seamed up the baby kimono I did earlier this year from that same book. I had a little difficulty with the sweater edging. I left off the buttons, because I just don't like buttons on a baby sweater. I'm too paranoid that the baby will somehow get the buttons off and swallow them.

I also buy yarn in anticipation of a new project. I bought several skeins of Lion Brand Jiffy Thick and Quick for a sweater I saw in an old issue of Knit It magazine and it's been sitting in the closet for a while. I'll get to it, eventually, but other projects rear their heads and get in the way. This has happened before, and there is some yarn that I don't remember what project I wanted to make with it.

I've been doing a lot of little, quick projects, like baby bibs, potholders, and the like that I'll share in the coming days. I have a craft show coming up in November and I want to get an Etsy store open in time for some Christmas shopping.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Finished, Not Forgotten

I haven't posted in a long time because I've been fighting a flare up of my CFS, nursing a sick dog, and...wait for it... completing projects! I finished the baby blanket for my cousin and his wife. It's the Show Off Baby Blanket designed by Carol Holding that's featured in the Leisure Arts booklet Beginner's Guide Crochet Stitches and Easy Projects. I used Lion Brand Baby Soft in Cream.
I've learned that I really dislike bobbles. I know, they give a crocheted item a lot of texture and can look nice. But, they're a pain. They take a while to complete, at least for me. The crossed stitches were fine, but I had a little trouble initially figuring out the cable stitches. Once I did them a few times, they were easy.
Two days before the Christening, I panicked, thinking this blanket wasn't enough of a gift for them. I wanted to find a pattern for a quick baby sweater that would match. I tried a couple of patterns, but ended up not finishing one, just yet, and frogging the other. The second pattern worked up quickly, but I had so much trouble with knots and tangles in the yarn, or the yarn itself frayed, the sweater looked awful. I will try again but may design my own pattern.

I've also joined the Lion Brand Crochet-A-Long, doing the Crochet Sampler Afghan at Lion Instead of using the Fisherman's Wool- I'm very allergic to wool and most, if not all animal fibers , as well as some plant fibers (e.g, flax), so I'm using Vanna's Choice in Beige. I did a panel in Cotton Ease, but Vanna's Choice is a lot softer and cuddlier. To get the correct gauge, I dropped down to a size H hook. I have a few squares finished, and am splitting my time between this and a baby blanket I mentioned in my last post, and another one I started with Bernat Baby Jacquards. I'm designing both of them, and will post more about them later this week.
I needed a quick knitting project in the midst of the final push of my cousin's baby blanket, and found a few skeins of Bernat Organic Cotton on clearance at JoAnn Fabrics. This is the baby bootie pattern on the label, and although it was very easy to complete, I need work on my sewing techniques, lol!

I also finished a couple of crocheted hot pads/potholders out of Christmas yarn, from a pattern I found amongst my late mother's things. I'll also be sharing the status of some of my other projects from my last post.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

You Start a Few, You Frog a Few

I really haven't been updating this much. I've been concentrating on the dog blog, and I've been trying to get projects done. I finished the dog bed. The smaller dogs will lay on it, but not the lab. She prefers the sofa, lol. But she'll lie on the floor, too. I found more of the same yarn at closeout at Ollies, and may make another bed for my computer room. First I have to clean the yarn out of the room to make room for it.

This is a baby blanket I started in Berroco Comfort DK, using the Cross Post Stitch from the 365 Crochet Stitches a Year Calendar by Jean Leinhauser and Rita Weiss. It works up quite quickly and I like the texture the post stitches add to the pattern. I took this to the doctor's office while I was waiting for my brother to have a procedure done, and I only made one mistake, which isn't bad for me, lol! I waffled a lot on what stitch pattern I wanted to use. I did swatches of a couple of them, but this one stood out for me. I'd like to try and make a baby bonnet and sweater using this pattern. I have to see if I use up all the yarn for the blanket, first, or just work one up in a different yarn for practice. I've only done baby garments from established patterns, never from one I've designed. I don't want to really mess up a nice yarn with repeated frogging.
These are the pieces of the baby sweater I mentioned last post. It's all done except the assembly and the ties. It's just sitting there, mocking me...asking me to put it together. I'm choosing to ignore it right now, since I want to get this baby blanket done.

This is the baby blanket I mentioned last post. I decided to use this Aran style pattern in a Leisure Arts stitch pattern booklet, after trying an Aran style from a different book that didn't work out correctly. I think it's because they had the instructions for the cable stitches incorrect, since they're different from the one in the book I'm using now. There were a couple of other problems with the instructions, and no one at the publishing company ever responded for my request for errata. So, I frogged it and moved onward. It's taking a little longer than I had anticipated, but I'm getting through the center panel. I haven't heard about a shower yet for my cousin's wife, but I think it'll be sometime this month. If I get this one done first, that's great. If not, I'll hurry up and finish the Cross Post blanket I mentioned earlier in this post.

I've put aside the baby blanket from Knit It- I had to frog back near the end of the first inset square/color change because it looked like a running stitch was going up the side between the stitches where the color change occurred. I haven't quite mastered how to change color mid row, so I'll work on it when I get these crocheted blankets done.
I've also started the Seaside Bag from the July issue of Creative Knitting magazine. So far, so good. I plan to make the tunic as well, once this crochet blitz is past.

I also frogged and put away the hat from the pattern I found among my late Mother's things. The pattern didn't come out as written, and I didn't like the large hole at the top of the hat, either. So many projects, so little time....

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Long Time, No Post

I can 't believe it's been over a month since I last posted something! I've been busy knitting and crocheting, finding some great yarn bargains and planning new projects.
I put the hoodie I mentioned in my last post back on hold after doing a little more of it. It had been a while since I actually had a finished project so I started some small stuff I could do quickly, like this baby bib. It's done in Sugar n' Cream yarn with the hook size the package recommended, alternating rows of single and double crochet. I made it up as I went along.
This is a dishcloth I did when I found some Sugar N' Cream Twists on sale at Michaels for a dollar a skein. I'm not one to pass up a clearance sale, and I wanted to see what it looked like made up. I still have to work the ends in, though.

I ripped out the first half of the dog bed I'd been working on. I had done it with one strand of Red Heart Grande, and I didn't think it was plush enough. The second half I worked with a strand of Grande and a strand of TLC Essentials. It came out quite nice, and you can see Chloe enjoying it. I found more of the Grande at Ollie's, so I may end up doing another half for the bed and let them use this as a blankie.
This is a paw wiper/dishcloth/swatch I did with Coats Creme de La Creme yarn I got online. It's a nice cotton yarn, and this is the Brown Tones color. I found a few knots and tangles in the first skein I used, but not in the second skein. We use a lot of hand and other towels wiping the girls' paws when they come inside in the morning or when the weather's bad. So, I figured I make up something that I could use to wipe them up with. It's a great size for the smaller dogs. I don't want to come at them with anything too big, because I don't want to scare them. It might be a little small for Heidi's(the Lab) feet, but it's nice to wipe her tummy with. Plus, it does match her fur color, and a girl needs the proper accessories, right?

I'll have more to share in the coming days. I'm almost done knitting a baby kimono in Red Heart Soft from one of the Coats/Red Heart pattern books. I also started knitting a baby blanket from the last issue of Knit It. I've been swatching for a baby layette I want to design for my cousin and his wife, who are expecting. And, I started a hat from a pattern I found on a piece of paper in my late mother's patterns. Off to finish the last sleeve of the baby kimono!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Pet Projects

These lovely ladies are three of my new housemates. Chloe, a 2 year old Mini Poodle is on the left in the chair. Heidi, is a 7 or 8 year old Chocolate Lab is resting on the floor, and Katie, a 10 year old terrier mix is on the floor in the background. They, and my brother moved in a little over a month ago. It's been a lot of fun having them around, but it has cut down on my crafting time. Instead of crocheting after dinner, we usually go outside and play fetch. Plus, Chloe's a lap dog. She loves to sit in my lap, lick my face and get petted. The girls love to lay on the sofas and on the afghans my mother and I have made. They usually lay on the floor when they're downstairs, and it can get cold down there, especially at night. So, I decided to make them a dog bed based on the pattern in the March, 2008 issue of Crochet! magazine.
This is the bottom half. Instead of the four strands of the original yarn it called for I used one strand of Red Heart Grande, a super bulky yarn. I found that for $1.99 a skein at our local Ollie's Bargain Outlet. For the top, I used a strand of TLC Essentials I found on sale at JoAnn's, along with a strand of the Grande. The two strands are plushier than just the
Grande by itself. I have about 4 rows to go until I do the border, block and sew it together. Depending on how it looks, I may sew a muslin lining for it before I stuff it.

I also finished the dishcloth I had been working on, and started another square from the old book I found. I really need to get back to it, but I've been crocheting when I'm up to it. I've also got a hoodie from a Bernat yarn label that I started, frogged and re-started. And for the socks? I started then frogged. The Panda Cotton is nice yarn, but I somehow twisted it so it didn't look right when I joined the first row. If I'm really lucky, I'll have one sock done by the time this month is over.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

New Years Resolutions One Month Later

I made a couple of New Year's Resolutions in the creative area of life, since I figured these would be easy to keep, right? Wrong! For 2008, I resolved to: Knit a pair of socks; crochet a pair of socks; knit a sweater; crochet a sweater; learn cable knitting, learn how to knit Continental style; start designing and enter the CGOA design contest. I'm considering entering the baby blanket I just finished, but I'm not sure it doesn't look like athousand other shell stitch baby blankets out there. I want to make a pattern that's original. I used an old stitch dictionary to find a pattern stitch that I liked. I think that deep down, I feel like that's cheating, so I should do something completely original for the contest.

I have Panda Cotton Sock yarn put aside for a pair of crocheted socks. I'm using the book Crocheted Socks: 16 Fun to Stitch Patterns by Janet Rehfeldt and Mary Jane Wood and will start with the first sock pattern. I've been meaning to start them, but need to get up the nerve to do it. I don't know why I feel intimidated by a sock or a sweater. For crying out loud, I worked as an ICU nurse dealing with life or death matters and situations, which didn't phase me. But put a pattern. a hook and sock yarn in front of me makes me twitch with fear. Weird. February starts tomorrow. I need to take a deep breath, buck up and suck it up and take hook in hand. Why cotton and not wool? I'm very allergic to wool and most animal and some plant related fibers. I get itchy and have to drag out my inhaler when I get near the stuff. Navigating a yarn store is like walking in a mine field. I had to cut this last trip short because I ended up handling a couple of skeins with wool in them and I started to react.

Knit-wise, I'm working on the Inspired Allover Cable Spa Cloth designed by Kathy Wesley pattern from the most recent issue of Creative Knitting magazine. At first, I had some trouble getting my stitches to go the right way, but once I got the hang of it, it wasn't too bad. I notice that my stitches seem pretty tight on the cable needle when I go to knit the stitches off of it. I'm using some Sugar n' Cream yarn I had in my stash. Using up yarn in my stash was another New Year's Resolution, lol. I have needed to buy sock yarn, since I didn't have any, so I guess I haven't broken it. Lent starts next week, so maybe I should give up buying yarn. That, will be a real challenge.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Here are the photos I promised. This is the completed scarf done with Lion Brand Incredible. It's knit in garter stitch (knit every row)
on size 50 needles. It does spread out so it does act like a shawl.

The next photo is the baby blanket I started from the Lion Brand Pound of Love. I put it down for a while, since I caught the knitting bug again, but now I really want to get it finished.

At this point, there's a base of single crochet around the border, then a row of double crochet for a little lacy effect. Since this photo was taken, I've added another row of single crochet. I'm not sure if I'll add a row of shells on top of the sc and call it finished, or add a couple rows of pattern stitches.

Monday, January 14, 2008

New Name

I changed the name of this blog, as well as my other one to bring it more up-to-date. Face it, at 44, I'm not a girl anymore. I'm an adult woman(geez, when did that happen, lol!) Plus, I think this has a more authoritative sound to it, like I know more about what I'm doing (craft wise that is. Life, well..that's a work in progress.)

I've recovered enough from the holidays to resume work on the crocheted baby blanket I started from the Lion Brand Pound of Love. I've done a row of single crochet around it, and will expand on the edging so I can hopefully get it done by the weekend. I want to pick up the crochet sweater I started a couple of months ago, since crocheting a sweater is one of my New Years resolutions. The others are to crochet a pair of socks, knit a pair of socks, and knit a sweater. I still find it hard to believe that someone who worked in a high tension, high stakes atmosphere of an ICU is scared so easily by crocheting and knitting a garment. This year, I'm tackling that fear head on.

I finished another square from the book I mentioned, or at least I hope I mentioned in an earlier post. (damn brain fog!) I was going to start another one, but I received my new issue of Creative Knitting, and am going to do the cabled spa cloth pattern. I want to get more into cable knitting this year, and this is the perfect project. The newest issue isn't at their website (as of 9:00pm Eastern), so it may be a couple of days before it's there. I'll post photos of my projects within the next couple of days.