Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Quick Announcement

All comments are now on moderation since a Spammer left the comment on the last posting which has since been deleted. This is a spam-free blog...although Spam is rather tasty warmed up with some melted cheese over it. I haven't eaten this in years, but it'd probably give me a migraine now anyway.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Well, So Much For the More Frequent Blogging,

LOL! We've been having unusually nice weather so I've been taking advantage of it. I've been spending more time outside with the dogs. Unfortunately there's been a lot of rapid changes in the weather so I've been dealing with the migraine beast as well.

But, I've actually been finishing projects, and making progress on others!
I'm putting together a baby blanket I'm now calling the Mirror Image Baby Blanket. I made granny squares reversing the colors and was going to put them together like this.

But, once I had it laid out on the bed, it struck me as being a little busy. So, I asked my brother his opinion-he actually has good taste. He suggested that I put the colors so that the lighter edge rows contrast with the darker edged squares. I liked it!

The only problem, and it really isn't a problem, is that the last row will be a darker edge row and the first row is a light edged row. I could probably do another 10 squares of the blue centers and white outside. But, I am going to edge the whole blanket in white so it might not make a difference. I'll see. If I make the squares and don't use them in the afghan, I can always make a scarf or something else out of them. I have a lot of yarn left. I used Red Heart Eco-ways yarn for this blanket. It worked up quite nicely and has a nice sheen to it.

This baby blanket worked up fairly quickly with a shell pattern I found in the 365 Crochet Stitches a Year Perpetual calendar. It's a great design tool I'm really enjoying.

This is a close up of the pattern. I used some Caron Simply Soft I had in my stash. I had a craft show a couple of weeks ago at a local church and I wanted to get another baby blanket done.
I'm happy it sold. This year I was very pleased with how I did at the show. I have a few other things I finished, but I'm having problems uploading photos right now. I'll blog more about those in an upcoming post.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Happy Blogoversary!!

Happy Blogoversary!! I can't believe another year has passed in my crafting life. It seems like only yesterday that the Dizzy Crafter was born. Crochet and knitting have been invaluable in to coping with the daily challenges and rapid life changes living with the invisible illnesses of chronic migraine, vertigo, dizziness and CFIDS bring. Being able to create something in either craft helps me concentrate and to focus which can be very difficult with the brain fog. It's also a great sense of still being able to create something that looks lovely and is functional when many days/times, doing basic functions can be difficult. Crochet and knitting provide a link to the outside world, the ability to expand my knowledge and my worldview, and a sense of community.

In the days to come, I plan to blog more often, and hopefully post some patterns, both for free and for sale both here and on Ravelry, and open an Etsy store. I want to give a whole new meaning to the term "get dizzy."

Monday, October 12, 2009

Cruel Summer

Long time, no post. It was a bad summer, with more migraines and worse vertigo due to our crappy weather and many days of overdoing it. Our little dog who was very ill, died. Her kidneys shut down, and despite our Vet's best efforts, she didn't make it. There was a lot of running around and small projects. I just didn't have the energy to do anything complicated, like my sweater or the lacy baby blanket I was working on. But, I have a lot to talk about, and plan to post more this coming week.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Going Crazy!

It's been a crazy month. Our weather has been ever changing, so the migraine and dizzy beasts have been attacking. Plus, I've been trying to catch up on outside work in between rain drops...and nursing a sick dog. Because of all this, I've been concentrating on small projects or projects with pieces I can finish quickly. Like a dish cloth kitchen/bar set, granny squares for a baby blanket and a CAL on Ravelry, and a scarf. Then there's the sweater from the "My First Sweater" class I took at a local yarn store.

This is one quarter of the Four Quarters pullover from the Simple Style book by Ann Budd. Great book, lots of patterns I want to make. I just have to get my butt in gear and get back to it. I have the first quarter done, and most of the second quarter. I guess that means I'm at the 2-minute warning and close to half time. Boy, thinking about football already, geesh!

I started a scarf in garter stitch, thinking it would be a quick project. I also wanted to see what knitting through the back loop only would look like. In my class, I was told that my stitches were twisted. I looked rather stupid and didn't quite know what the instructor meant. I think it's because she uses a different knitting technique than mine. I don't think my stitches are twisted. I may be twisted a little, but not my stitches. Anyway, I didn't realize how much more slowly I knitted using the back loop. I did a section in regular garter stitch, but didn't like the look. I found a crochet pattern that might look good with the yarn. It's Vanna's Choice by Lion Brand in the color Brick. Thankfully it's stood up to repeated frogging without much damage.

These are two of the three July squares for the Ravelry CAL. I wasn't crazy about the other square-I couldn't get it to come out correctly and I didn't want to spend any more time on it.

I was inspired by a design on some of my favorite towels, as well as this pattern from the 365 Knitting Stitches a Year perpetual calendar. This is the Squares Pattern, and it's pretty easy to do. Right now I have one dish cloth and 4 coasters from one ball of Sugar 'n Cream, and I'm hoping to squeeze at least another cloth from it. I plan to do just one repeat of the square pattern so the set isn't too visually busy. If I can find a ball from the same dye lot, I want to do a towel to match. It should make a great gift.

I haven't done regular granny squares in so long I've almost forgotten how! I had some Red Heart Eco-ways in my stash, and thought the green and soft white would be a nice blanket. I picked up some blue and pink, thinking I'd do all grannies, but am considering doing a row of squares at each end, and some simple stitching in the middle with the green and white yarn. Problem is, I'm not sure I'll have enough of the same dye lot of both yarns to do that. I could always add the pink and blue squares, and stripes to the blanket, too. We'll see.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Knot Nice!

I can't express in mere words how irritated I get when I'm in the groove with my knitting or crochet and out comes a huge tangled mess of yarn from the middle of an innocent looking skein. Instead of getting more accomplished, I have to put down the project and spend an inordinate amount of time sorting through the twists and turns of the knot. I get so disgusted at the loss of my time, I have to restrain myself from tossing the whole thing out.
As frustrating as it is, it's best to complete the knot removal right away. Once I put the project into my tote or plastic bin, the knots multiply and get more twisted. That often leads to cutting the knot out, which I absolutely hate to do. I'll snip only as a last resort. I firmly believe that yarn has magical qualities. I've seen people nod and their eyes light up when the word "Noro" was uttered reverently in a yarn store. I've personally heard the siren song emanating from innocent-looking skeins sitting unobtrusively in a sale basket. I respect the power of the yarn, and I strive to work with it. I just wish it wouldn't work against me.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Well Heeled...

my first sock has a heel now, that is. I went to the yarn store and we went over how to turn the heel. Too bad we forgot to make the heel flap first, lol! The instructor/shop owner felt so bad, and I felt bad too because I had the feeling something was a little off, but didn't really know what. It was a bad brain fog day, plus I was having some migraine prodrome at the time, so I just figured it was my stupid brain tricks again. We all had a good laugh about it. I really like this yarn store. Every time I walk in there I'm greeted right away and people ask if they can help me. It's a little small, but there's such an aura of warmth and friendliness, and many beautiful finished items on display, as well as really nice yarn, so the store doesn't seem small.
So now I have to pick up the stitches for the gusset.

Monday, March 23, 2009

March is Passing Quickly

March has not turned into the crochet-happy month I expected it to. I haven't gotten to crochet as many things as I had planned. Yes, I did get the Houndstooth-Check scarf finished. It figures that the weather got warm and I haven't been able to wear it yet, lol! I have not started a crochet sweater yet. I want to make one that I could wear in warmer or in-between weather. Although at the speed I'm going, it might be Fall before I get a sweater done.

I've focused on quick stitch efforts. Here is another baby bib I did in two different stitch patterns just to see how it turned out. It looks a little lopsided at the top, and I think I'll revisit it and put a pocket on the lower part where the stitch patterns change. I had planned to do a bib with a slit in the center so it could just be pulled over the baby's head, but I didn't think the opening was wide enough. I'm going to give it another shot, though. I think doing a chain a little earlier in the row will leave a wide enough gap.

I did the March Squares for the CAL group. Winter Dream from the Dishcloth Diaries, and the March Square by Julie Bolduc,

worked up very quickly. In both cases I used leftover yarn from my stash. They were both done in Vanna's Choice yarn from Lion Brand. I thought about working on the baby blanket in Berroco Comfort DK, but it's still a thought.

I've also had the knitting bug more than usual. I finally got 6 inches on the sock the pattern calls for before the heel gets started. After I'd worked on it a while, I noticed that I messed up. Some of the stitches don't line up like they should, and I think I tightened up a little. I have no plan to frog it at this point. I still get very nervous about dropping stitches and would be afraid I'd end up starting over. I have to call the yarn store to go in to learn how to do the heel. I'm going to be wearing these socks under jeans, so nobody would see the tops, anyway.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Happy National Crochet Month

March is National Crochet Month!! Time to pull out those hooks and get some projects started...or finished. I finally finished the Houndstooth-Check Scarf from the Crochet That Fits book. I may have changed hook size inadvertently. I set the project down when I got the urge to knit. I've been working on my sock, but wanted to take a break. Working with the small circular needle has my hand a little wonky. I've also had the flu, and with the start of spring training (YEAH!! GO CUBS, METS & TWINS), I want a project I can work on in front of the t.v. This scarf is pretty easy to do, so I vowed to finish it this weekend. I still have to finish working in the edges.

I still have a crochet baby blanket I put down a while ago that I need to finish. But, there's a granny square crochet-a-long (CAL) group on Ravelry that I participate in-I skipped February because I wasn't that crazy about the squares, but the March squares are quite nice. There's also the Easy Classic Top from Lion Brand, or to start in with the Learn To Crochet a Sweater book that I have on the shelf. Decisions, decisions.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

It's Finished!!

My first sweater is finally done! It didn't take long to knit, but I'm not a fan of sewing things together. So, it sat in it's ripped bag beneath the coffee table in the family room until I couldn't stand to see it anymore. It's a little snug, despite the fact that I had the proper gauge specified in the pattern. I probably should have made the larger size. It's only February, and I've actually accomplished one of my New Year's resolutions!

Learning to knit socks was another resolution. So, I took a sock class at a local yarn store and I'm on my way! I'm using Panda Cotton Sock yarn in the color Nasturtiums, and the Simple Sock pattern from Cat Bordhi's book Socks Soar on 2 Circular Needles. Yes, I'm only using one needle, the teacher at the yarn store does it a little differently. I'm getting used to the small needle size and hope that the sock joint points don't look obvious.

This is the Pullover Bib and Baby washcloth from the January issue of Creative Knitting. I love the idea of the hole to slip on and off the baby. I've started to design a one in crochet, but have to re-work the hole part. One row of slip stitches don't seem to leave a large enough opening.

Monday, January 12, 2009

My First Sweater!!

Woo Hoo! I'm actually keeping one of my carry-over New Year's resolutions! I started to knit my first sweater! It's the Kelly Sweater from The Daily Knitter. So far, I'm a little larger than the stated gauge, but since I'm doing the small/medium size, whose finished measurements will only give about 2" of ease, this gauge will give me some extra room. It's working up fairly quickly, and I'm happy there's only two pieces to knit. I really hate to hand sew pieces together. I still haven't finished sewing up the baby kimono I made last year!

This is the Houndstooth-Check scarf from Mary Jane Hall's new book Crochet that Fits. This is an easy pattern with color changes every row. I used the same stitch pattern for one of my Special Olympics Scarves. The color changes are nice practice, and I've been carrying the unused color along, crocheting over it, for a few rows at a time. I had a little trouble initially with puckering from holding the unused color too tightly, so I only do it for a few rows at a time. The black skein had several knots in it, so I had to cut it to get the yarn untangled. I'm using Berroco Comfort in Black and a light purple color to match the trim on a jacket I have. I really love using this yarn. It's an acrylic, but it's not stiff or scratchy like the acrylics I'm used to using. It's nice and soft, and would be great not only as a scarf, but as a sweater or in a home dec project.

Another nice acrylic is Lion Brand's Vanna's Choice. It's soft, and it works up quickly, but I've noticed more splitting than with some other acrylics I've used. Here's the Mandala Square by Chris Simon done in the color Beige. My attention was averted during the football games on Saturday and I messed up in a couple of places. I frogged it and finished it yesterday. This square is featured in a Crochet-a-Long (CAL) on Ravelry.

Ravelry is like Facebook or MySpace for knitters and crocheters. They have free patterns, forums and places to keep track of your yarn, books and patterns. I'm enjoying the different groups and could stay on there for hours looking at patterns and yarns, etc. If you're a knitter or crocheter, you should go over and sign up. There's a waiting list, but it moves very quickly.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year!!

I hope everyone has a safe, happy, healthy and prosperous 2009 full of great projects and yummy yarns! My resolutions for 2008 were to knit and crochet sweaters; knit and crochet socks; learn cable knitting; learn Continental Style knitting; start designing; and enter the CGOA design contest.

My resolutions for 2009 include: knit and crochet sweaters; knit and crochet socks; learn Continental knitting; keep designing and either publish a design on this blog and/or submit a design for publication. Obviously, I didn't accomplish many of my resolutions in 2008, lol! Things kept coming up! I didn't even start knitting a sweater or socks. My skills need more work so my tension will even out. I did purchase a DVD on Continental Knitting, but haven't looked at it yet. There's a local yarn store that offers a class, so I plan to sign up for it. I did learn how to knit cables. I have also started to design in crochet, but I've limited myself to scarves thus far.

I also want to use more of my stash up this year. I have a lot of yarn and am running out of places to put it all. Right now one closet in a spare bedroom is full, and I have several skeins and containers in my bedroom on the floor and under the bed. Maybe I should get a hook or something to put over the door so I can hang some storage from the back of the door? Something to think about....