Tuesday, October 6

That Lovely Scarf

The CAL Scarf Along is Coming Along

I've gotten to the point now where I'm working on the lace inset that joins the two motifs together. It's going to be slow going as I have to have the piece on a flat surface to join the two strips with the lace. Working at my computer desk and eager to get it completed. I took some pictures of the first segment of lace, this will be what I repeat up the scarf, joining the two motifs to each side of the lace as I go. I had to fold up the motifs strips and used chip clips to keep them from getting in my way as I have to turn the work with each row. They look cute holding the crocheted pieces.

I've got a picture of the lace inset piece, closer up so you can get an idea of the stitching of the piece.

I have a LOT more pictures but they're just repeats of what you're seeing here, and I think it would be too boring to just keep showing you pictures of the same thing over and over.

October Fest

October is a strange month. The weather is just now starting to turn cool, but it's definitely not October cool. A good friend and I have decided to try and yard sale this month in an effort to get rid of a whole lot of junk we've collected, gathered and carted around for far too long. We set up this past weekend and did fair on Saturday. Sunday was a very slow day however. It wasn't until we were in the process of cooking steaks on the grill for our dinner that we started getting many customers and from then, throughout our attempt to have our dinner we had customers, LOL. Guess they must have smelled the steaks cooking! We're going to try and yard sale each weekend this month, hoping we can get most of our stuff sold off because we really don't want to have to store this stuff through the winter. We have only touched maybe 1/5th of the stuff we need to sell, the rest of it being stuffed into the loft and back half of my shed and we had to get the stuff we had out this past weekend out of the shed so we could get it cleared enough to get to the rest of the junk. Now, the stuff that didn't sell last weekend is all crammed into my smallest bedroom so we can spend part of this week digging out in the shed in order to get more junk out for this weekend.

My Next (already started) Project

I ran across a beautiful shawl pattern on a yahoo group I belong to. It's called the Wisteria Shawl and was posted in the group as a crochet-along that occurred before I joined, but I think it's beautiful and so dug out some size 3 thread I had stored and started one. I did take a quick picture of the first bit I've gotten completed (worked on it while we were yard selling this weekend).

The picture really doesn't do the thread color justice, it's a much more vibrant shade, almost a salmon color. I think it's going to turn out great!

That Bedspread is Finally in my Room

I finally got moved back into my master bedroom and got to put the red and white afghan I made on my bed, which is thrilling to me because now I've gotten the room together and it looks great and it's the most peaceful place to sleep, or lay and read, or watch tv in now. I still have to switch my clothing out of the other room and put it into drawers and closet, but I'm working on that this week, and hoping that by Christmas time I've gotten everything out of the other room and have it set up as my crafting room. I can hardly wait till I can settle in there and crochet, or sew, or just read!
As you can see, my beagle likes the afghan too!

I placed the bed under the window because I like having air on me when I sleep.

Love this picture in the room.

This picture isn't quite as ideal a fit, but I needed another large picture for the wall by the bed and wasn't liking what I was finding out there, so when I ran into this one I thought it would go fairly well, and it certainly looked much better than the ones I'd seen up till then so I snapped it up.

Monday, September 28

Finally, Fall

Wow, today it turned fall here. The morning started out breezy, very breezy and cool. It's stayed cool all day and the winds have kept on coming. I think we're supposed to have at least a couple more days like this before the rains hit us again. Have to use this time to get my lawn mowed...one of the last mowing of the season I am sure. So in the spirit of the change of season I found a site full of images that epitomize the turning... http://tiny.cc/STbLu

It's also Yom Kippur. I'm not Jewish but I wondered what the holiday was about and so I found out at Wickipedia. http://tiny.cc/dwIzv Good ole' Wickepedia, always there to 'splain things. So, it's supposed to be a day to atone, or a day of final "judgement" of how you've spent the time since Rosh Hashanah in atoning for your sins against both God and your fellow humans. Interesting that not only is it a day of fasting a prayer, but traditionally there are six things that should be avoided on this day:
  1. No eating and drinking
  2. No wearing of leather shoes
  3. No bathing or washing
  4. No anointing oneself with perfumes or lotions
  5. No marital relations
  6. No dealing with money [with an exception of games which use play money]
I also find it interesting that the vigil doesn't actually begin until sundown of the holiday and carries through until sundown of the following day.

Openwork Shawl Update

On a crochet note, I finished the Openwork Shawl and took pictures. I love the way it turned out but haven't as of yet decided on another yarn to make a second one in. I thought I had a yarn in mind but turned out not to be a good choice, so....onto another choice, once I find one that is.Front viewRear view

The Peacock Tracks Scarf Mystery CAL Update

I have finished the first strip of 24 motifs in the shawl. Have one more to complete and then we'll be sent the audio for the lace strip that goes in between the two motif sections. I am looking forward to finishing this and seeing how beautiful it is all in one piece.

I hung this strip from the door so I could get it all into one shot. This gives you an idea of the length.

Here's another shot of the strip, a little closer this time.

One thing about this pattern that has come up and affected everyone one participating is the fact that the little "ring" that the "feathers" fan out from doesn't seem to want to lay well at all. So we've all been trying to find work through to fix the problem and I've been playing around with some different things, trying to work this out. I think I have come up with a fix, though I'm not going to actually put it on paper and present it to the CAL group until I've gotten through this second motif strip, to test out my changes. Here is a closeup of one of the motifs that I made with the fixes.

Latest Project
I've gotten 3/4 of the way through another scarf, the Trefoil Scarf which has trefoils all around the outside edge and then trefoils down the center. All I have left to complete is the 37 trefoils that go down the center strip of the scarf. Now, each of these have to be made individually and then attached to the scarf and given my penchant (or lack of) for sewing I'm probably closer to 1/2 done than 3/4 because it will take me so long to get those 37 trefoils placed and stitched onto the scarf. I'll be sure to post pictures when I've got it finished. I may have to keep this one, rather than try and sell it, such an intensive labor of love deserves my admiration daily I do believe.

I also managed to get my rather ungainly button box straightened out over this past weekend. I sorted and divided them all by color and into divided cases so that next time I want a button for a project I can simply go to the color family I'm looking for and start sifting through what's in there. I do have some unsorted ones left in a tin, but the cases were full and so there wasn't room to put those buttons in. I will just save them for adding to after I've used up a bunch of the buttons.

A Room of One's Own
Now that I finally have my home back to myself I have decided that I want to get rooms straightened out and set up, one room I'm going to turn into a craft room, where I can keep all my crochet and sewing supplies, equipment and tools. Additionally I think I'll have enough room to find a nice comfy chair to place in there so I can sit in there when I want, watch tv and crochet. I also am looking for a decent table to set the sewing machine upon so that I've got ready access to sew when I want or need to. So, on the list of items I will need for this room is a table, a nice chair for sewing in, a comfy loungy chair to crochet in and at least one bookshelf, perhaps two for crochet books, magazines and patterns. I already have a trunk to place my material in, crates which store the crochet yarns and threads. I will place some of them into the closet, and some will stay out at the end of the room by the closet, with the material trunk beside them. Of course you'll all get to see once I am finished. Can't keep me from proudly showing that off you know!

The other room I've decided to place the computer back into. I have it in the living room presently and while I like it out here, I think I would rather have the extra space in the living room and since I've got the smaller room, might as well set it up in there. Then of course, I'll have to have another bookshelf to put in there, just because it's going to be a study.

Notice if you will there won't be a spare "bedroom". I think I've learned my lesson on having room that others can occupy on me. It never seems to work out, and more than that, I usually end up getting royally screwed in the process so I have come to the conclusion that if I don't have an extra bedroom, no one will be tempted to occupy it. If I have company well....they can either sleep on my couch, or in my bed and I'll sleep on the couch. HAH!

Monday, September 21

Stage 4 Complete

Well, I finally received instructions for Stage 4 of the Mystery CAL scarf and have completed that segment. I think it turned out correctly, but I also think I'm going to pull it all back out and remake the entire motif (because, stage 4 does indeed complete the motif) before I continue on to make the remaining motifs required for this segment of the CAL. I think, if you take a look at the motif closely you can see where it's not quite symmetrical, the picots on one side don't really match up to the picots on the other, and they're supposed to. I know the beauty of crochet is that it is hand made, so nothing is ever going to be exactly the same, and while I understand that, I also think that they could a little more closely resemble each other. Besides, by pulling it out and restarting it I think it will give me a more complete idea of how to make the entire motif in one step, rather than in the 4 steps it was broken up into during the learning process. Isn't it amazing how we're just never satisfied?
I think this picture gives a much better indication of the true color of the yarn I'm working with. Isn't it just the yummiest color? The CAL instructor has given us 2 weeks to finish up with this section of the CAL before he's going to post the next segment. The reason for this is to give all 270 members who signed on for this venture time to finish the first 2/3 of the project, which is two strips of this motif repeated 23 times to make 2 separate strips with 24 motifs. Apparently for the next portion we are going to learn some sort of lace motif that will be placed between these two strips to complete the entire project. I think it's going to be gorgeous once finished, and of course, once I get a strip complete I'll be posting pictures for you all to see.

I learned recently that my daughter has decided to do something really special for her 21st birthday. She's planning a trip to Amsterdam to celebrate this monumental event in her life. I am both pleased and puzzled by this choice. I like that she wants to go abroad and possibly get an idea of how other cultures live, and how attitudes in Europe are so different than in America. I am aware that a short week in a foreign country isn't quite the length of time necessary to get a real idea of how another culture lives and thinks, but I'm hoping some of it will come through for her. Of course, first we'll have to get through the fog of intoxication that I'm sure she'll stay in throughout the trip, since marijuana, or more correctly in Amsterdam, hashish, is legal (and most likely the entire reason for her decision to go there in particular). I'm a bit puzzled though by this decision since she and her husband don't have enough gathered together in life yet to even have gotten themselves into a place to live, being still dependent upon the kindness and tolerance of friends and family members to put them up for a time here and there. I suppose being transient like they are makes it much easier to pick up and go wherever they choose at a moments notice, but it also has to make life more stressful and less fulfilling. But I have to keep reminding myself that people's values are their own, and not necessarily mine, or anyone else's. I can't help thinking though that one of the first things a person should be focusing on is getting someplace, some space, they can call their own. Their little spot, their safe place, place of refuge. I don't know, maybe that is entirely my own frame of reference, and my own idea of how life should be operating, but then again, I see more people following down that road than taking the other, and enough people following that course that I suspect it isn't just "my" take on how life should be functioning, or how one should be functioning in life.

Now, I have almost completed the Openwork Shawl I posted pictures of last time, and once complete I'll make sure I show it off. I'm using Caron's Simply Soft acrylic yarn for this first one, with intentions of making at least two more in varied yarns to see how differently they look and drape when made with different materials. The Simply Soft is working up nicely, it's a lovely shade of green called Soft Sage and it does make the piece what it is I believe.

I'm trying to get these things completed and then considering switching off to make some smaller projects, small purses, hair accessories, things like that because a friend and myself have booked a booth for a craft fair in November and my friend keeps telling me we need some items to sell that aren't so large, and expensive, as the shawls and she seems to think if we have some middle of the road items that we'll sell them quickly, for there are people who will be attending who can't quite come up with the money for larger items and they'd probably spend if there were items that were more in their price range. I suppose she's referring to children, and young adults/teens who have limited resources and would be more apt to purchase an item in the 2 to 10 dollar range than one that cost considerably more. While I can concede this, I also have to say I think most of the people who will be attending this craft fair are going to be adults who will have no problem purchasing the larger items and that if we focus so much on smaller items we might be losing out on sales we could make with larger items. I'm willing to give this a shot though, just to see what happens. Since this is our first year with this craft fair I'm curious to see what does sell, what appeals to people and I'm thinking that learning this will give us a better idea of what items to focus on for next years fair. I am also thinking I'd like to have a great amount of shawls put together for spring, and try to market them to the finer shops here in town for sale at Derby time. I think that shawls and stoles and even shrugs will appeal to the crowds that come into town for the Derby, and this being a once a year event, if our items go over well this year we'll have a better opportunity of selling in the following years. I also tend to think we'll be able to sell the items for more because of the out of town crowds who will be coming in, and because of the nature of the event. It's a time of year when people are partying and having a good time. Money is flowing and I think people will have no problem purchasing once they get into town and see our lovely items. Heh, guess I'll keep my fingers crossed on that one.

Since we had such a cool summer it seems that everyone is predicting we'll have an even cooler winter, in fact, a cold cold winter so I've been trying to decide if I want to make at least one of my dogs a sweater for the cold weather. My smaller dog likes wearing clothing. Not sure about the larger one as I've never tried to put anything on him. But, him being 10 and pretty settled in his ways I am more apt to believe he'd fight something new like a sweater being put on him. So, I'm thinking perhaps he'd enjoy and appreciate a pet bed to snuggle up in on those cold days. I'm also thinking well...then I'll get the opportunity to try several new things as I'm working up items for the animals. I will get to work with wool yet again, something I don't do much of, by crocheting a dog sweater for Honey the beagle. I can experiment with T-shirt yarn crochet by making a pet bed for Baby the older and try out fabric strip crocheting by making a pet bed for Honey the younger. Heh, nothing like feeding your desire to experiment while pleasing your pets at the same time.

Wednesday, September 16

Today I went a visitin'

I went to visit a dear friend of mine today. I don't get out often, and when I do I have to really pace myself because of the back injury. A few hours of driving, walking, and such and I'm wiped out; totally. My friend lives across town and so we don't get to visit one another much anymore and today I made plans to just go sit out at her house with her and spend some time catching up. It was great, I took pictures of her plants and her dog, Heidi, a Schnauzer, who is getting to be an old lady. Heidi is a wonderful, rotten, sweetheart and my friend is just a wonderful sweetheart, no rottenness about her. So we caught up on where our lives were at, talked about our kids and what they're up to, ate a spot of lunch and just hung out. It was grand fun and I tell myself I need to do more of that, but trying to visit all the wonderful friends I have would keep me hopping, and in constant pain so I have to settle for taking a day here and there, preparing myself and then going and spending some quality time. The times in between we catch up with one another via telephone, but there's something inherently satisfying about seeing one another in person that you don't really get from phone conversations.

When I finally got back home I was indeed wiped out, and am very nearly ready to put myself to bed early this evening. Hehe, I'm hurting from standing and moving more than I normally do in a days time, but I'm really warmed in the heart from having had time with my friend. I did manage to get a picture of her and the dog. I keep telling myself I am going to take one of her and I together but I keep not doing it. It's funny how you're always the one taking pictures so you never seem to end up with pictures of yourself with your friends and that's something I miss having in my photo albums.

George & Heidi

On a crochet note-
I received the 3rd audio tape for the CAL tonight and have managed to get that completed. Here's the latest image...

I also have on my hook a shawl project designed by Doris Chan. I just love her work, it's so lacy and delicate, and yet simple. I can usually whip out one of her shawls in an evening. I happened to order some books from a book site online, saw this book entitled Crocheted Shawls on the Go and without even having had the opportunity to look it over first, I ordered it. Well, let me tell you, it's the best thing I've done for a very, very long time. There are 21 patterns in the book, all crochet, and I at least like every single one of them. In fact, I love at least 17 of them and have plans on keeping my little fingers busy for a while with this book. I took a picture of the pattern and of the progress I've made on my own project up till now and so I'm sharing both with you this evening. Can't wait to see this completed. I think I'm actually going stash diving and going to come up with at least two other yarns to make this pattern twice more...with a bit of a twist to each.

Here's the picture of the pattern in the book. Yummy!

This is my project, 6 rows in. It has the sc foundation chain and I'm beginning to love this more and more.

Here is a close-up of the yarn. I'm using Caron's Simply Soft in their sage color. Simple yarn, and even though it's not anything like the yarn called for in the pattern (texturally at least) I think it's going to turn out stunning.

Monday, September 14

Scarf CAL Part 2

Well, we received the second set of audio files for the next stage of the scarf project. I was totally excited, sat right down and worked it up. So...without further adieu I present pictures of this second segment:

I'm so excited, think this project is going to be scrumptious when I get it finished....and warm, and just in time for the cold weather season.

Sunday, September 13

Scarf CAL

I got up late this morning to find we got our first set of audio instructions for the CAL. I was thrilled, sat down immediately with my yarn and hook and started. It didn't take very long to complete that first stage, in fact, it took so little time I'm anxious for more, lol! Now I know patience is a virtue, but it's one I don't happen to possess and so I'm all geared up to be crocheting on that scarf and I'm done, until I get the next set of instructions. Waahhh, pout, pout!

So, thought I'd share pictures of the first stage, completed, with you all this morning.

Here's a shot of the first stage, taken as it lay on top of my kitchen table. I think the red underneath shows off the details of the piece.

Here is another shot of the piece, laying atop a plain white sheet of paper. I think this shot gives you a better idea of the actual color of the yarn.

Now, for this project I needed a fingering weight yarn that wasn't acrylic. I have a very small assortment of fingering weight yarn in my stash, but it's all acrylic or acrylic blend so I got to go shopping. This particular yarn called Palette had 50 or more different delicious colors to choose from and I had a hard time making a choice. I will definitely end up back at the Knit Picks website ordering some more colors of this yummy fiber.

So, now I'm simply waiting for the next audio installment of the CAL to arrive for download and looking through my stash to come up with something else to work on in between installments. I have so many choices that it's hard coming to a final decision. Ever have that problem? I've been trying to look through my stash and just let something in there jump out at me. It hasn't quite worked yet, oh, there have been some things that have murmured or whispered my name, but nothing yet that has been so bold as to demand I pick it up and work with it. Guess this will dictate that I next start perusing patterns and see if any of THEM call to me. LOL, such a quandry.

Friday, September 11

Late Night Endeavors

Ok, so, I sat up tonight watching an old Frank Sinatra movie and playing around with some crochet work. I say playing because I have already frogged what I accomplished due to it not turning out correct. I am not sure if it was me, or the pattern, or a combination (though I'd bet my life it's a combination), but it wasn't coming out correct and I just had to give up for the evening.

With the CAL just around the corner (starts Sunday) I don't want to get involved in too intricate or time consuming of a pattern, and so I played with this pattern and a yarn I liked to see if it would work gauge-wise. I think it will and I really like the yarn and think it will work most excellently with this particular pattern and so I'll shelve this lil' project until after the CAL is over.

Since I don't traditionally work with lacier weight yarns I think I'm going to have to pay close attention to this Peacock Scarf pattern, and moreso because it's going to be given in bits, via audio files. I'm excited about starting the project but I also don't want to put too much else on my plate and get myself overwhelmed. That's a sure-fire way to end up with unworked items gathering dust in the corner. I still have a couple of those...lol! I guess I'm doing good, I only have a couple of PIGs that I absolutely don't intend to pick back up. Need to get busy frogging!

As for PIGs that I have temporarily shelved, well, I only have four of those so my determination to finish all those tossed aside projects has paid off over the last couple of years. I had at least a dozen when I decided to start focusing on them. Let me tell you, there's a definite reason they were all gathering dust...some I just didn't like the way the pattern was looking as I worked it up, some I got bored with or found too frustrating (when you frog the same item 4, 5, even 6 times it gets waaay old, and the yarn starts looking pretty gnarly), and some I just let slip through my fingers, stashed them away and forgot I had them going.

One of my major aims has been to use all those odd afghan squares I have managed to collect through the years. Having pared down and through various colors I ended up with a bunch of different red ones and a bunch of different blue ones so I decided to make a red granny afghan with those red squares for my bed. I took the squares I had and made a bunch more to go with them, dividing them into equal portions of granny squares and sampler stitch squares. I then edged each with a round of sc in black, joined them and edged the whole piece in a nice wide border of black. I turned out beautifully, it's big enough to act as a bedspread for a full size bed, or a coverlet for a queen sized bed. I'm so proud of it, and love having it spread out on my bed.
Here's the finished coverlet.

Some of the individual squares when I was trying to decide layout.

Some more of the various squares, close up.

Here is the piece just after joining all the squares together with a round of sc around each.

Now onto those blue squares which are all different sizes. This poses quite a challenge, but I think I have an idea....forthcoming. Until then, tah folks, and happy crocheting.