Monday, December 31

Out With the Old

Today I'm saying farewell to a year that slid by so quickly I could barely keep up with the days as they passed along. I got a lot of crochet accomplished this year. Producing unique and beautiful items had the effect of bringing me a great deal of satisfaction, pleasure and sense of accomplishment. What a nice legacy to leave behind.

I finally made the number one spot on my HQ page of free links this holiday season. I am committed to continuing to add links to the page because I like having all those free options in one place.

Over the holidays I didn't get a lot of crochet accomplished. I whipped up some coasters as a last minute gift that I never took pictures of. Guess that means I'll have to make some more just so I can show them off. They're gorgeous coasters and the pattern works up really quick. I finished another One Skein Scarf from the pattern in the Happy Hooker's Stitch 'n Bitch book. The link for the pattern can be found in my last post where I was showing off the Yellow Buttons yarn project. This one is done with Jewel Box Amethyst yarn.
It made a very long scarf.
A detailed shot of the neck
A close-up so you can see the beautiful colorway.

Another project I've ventured into with a crochet friend are Fleece Shrugs with crocheted details. I have pictures of one, constructed with pink fleece and trimmed in a pink print boucle yarn.

Front & Back

Close-up details of the collar Back

The last thing I've worked on for the year is Christmas related. I started it on a whim after Christmas because I wanted something quick and easy to work up. I saw this pattern for a Snowflake Doily and loved it. Instead of using the size 50 thread and size 12 steel hook to obtain a doily 7 1/2 inches in diameter I used some R.H. Holiday yarn and a size F hook to create a centerpiece 25 1/2 inches around.

So my new year starts with the unfinished Seraphina's shawl and Zen scarf that have been occupying space in my Progress Bors all month. I'm hoping the ushering in of 2008 will give me the incentive I need to pick both projects up and complete them before the end of January. We'll see, sometimes these things have a time frame of their own, to which I am not privy.

I hope this coming years brings new inspiration to all my fellow crafters out there, indeed even new inspiration to those who choose other forms of creation and relaxation.

Wednesday, December 12

Projects Gone Wonky

Well, not sure what's going on with the Progress meter here, but it's gone wonky on me and I don' t know why. Perhaps it's just my luck, perhaps it knows I'm a computer moron and has taken this opportunity to screw with my head. I've tried a couple of simple things with no luck. *Sigh* I will try adding another project to the mix and see if it straightens out then. Bear with me folks I'm a much better talker than programmer.

I wanted to share pictures of the round shawl now that I have it completed. You remember the one I said I was making from a vintage pattern I found in an old Mon Tricot magazine that I picked up at the local Thrift store? Well, it took a bit but I finished it and I think it's gorgeous.Here's a picture of the shawl in progress. I have gone through two of the five cluster sequences of the project. It turned into a huge round lovely shawl but I could only get a photo of it folded, with my friend holding it against a sheet and draping it over her back in order to get a good picture of the color and detail. At least this project didn't go wonky on me.

I still have the Zen scarf in process, haven't bothered to pick it up and work a stitch because it's so tedious that it's been boring me. Hopefully I'll get back to it soon and finish it up.

Meantime I've discovered the joy of making the One Skein Scarf from the Happy Hooker's Stitch 'n Bitch Book. I had a couple skeins of this vintage yarn called Buttons that was a pretty yellow with flecking that seemed perfect for this project. The end result:

Lovely scarf; the pattern is easy and works up super fast, in about three hours.
Here is a close up shot of the yarn with the colors flecked throughout.

I'm working on a second one using this pattern with some Jewel Box yarn in an Amethyst color.

Tuesday, December 11

O.k., So He's Got Me Hooked

Poor Me!
I wanted to share with you a special thing I got to capture today; a picture of my dog Baby at his "best". I had a friend stop by this evening and both Baby and Honey were yammering away wanting attention. Honey, being younger and less well behaved usually gets the attention early on while Baby waits patiently. Once Honey has had her fill then Baby wants his turn. Now, tonight my friend was busy talking to me about something important and wasn't paying attention to the Baby boy, he started whining in the most pitiful manner and so I told my friend she should give him some lovin' just to shut him up for a bit, lol. Well, she called him over, he jumped up on the couch beside her and sat there, soaking up the attention. He just happened to turn and give one of those pitiful little whimpers and I laughed, grabbed up my camera and got him to look my way long enough to snap a shot of him at his "hammy" best. Now, isn't this the most pitifully ignored puppy you've ever seen?

My sadly neglected Baby.

Onto Projects
I have to say I've been lax in finishing up projects but finally tonight I forced myself to sit down and finish the Farpoint Topper I started back in October. I posted pictures which will show up on my progress bar, but I'm going to post the picture here as well because I think the top turned out so beautiful and I want a picture that will stay on the blog after I've gone on to other projects. This was really a simple project, worked from the book Amazing Crochet Lace by Doris Chan. By the way, I absolutely looooovvveeee this book. Every project in it is something eye catching. I have only worked two of the projects so far, but I've intentions of working almost all of them, eventually! So, the Farpoint Topper:

I finally picked up the Seraphina's Shawl that I started in the Cozi Yarn and frogged repeatedly until I had to put it down for fear of messing up the yarn. It's such a beautiful colorway of yarn it would have broken my heart to mess it up, so I put the thing up for a bit until I felt capable of tackling it again. I've gotten probably 60% though it now and I'm quite pleased with the way it's turning out. I've draped it over my shoulders a few times checking the length and I just love it, so soft, cuddly and warm. I may have to keep this one for myself; we'll see.
Front side View of the back

A closeup of the beautiful color, called Evening Jewels.

Sunday, November 18

Twas the Week Before Thanksgiving

Lamby Pie?
I've decided to make my dog a rug/mat thingy to put in her doghouse. This will of course be made of wool and so I went stash diving for what little 100% wool I have yesterday. I think it will be a very colorful mat but I don't think she'll mind that it's pieced together since it will make her doghouse warm and cozy. It looks as if I'm not going to have enough yarn for this project and so I am going to have to start thrift store shopping again in the hopes of picking up odd skeins. Normally this wouldn't be an issue but at the moment my budget doesn't have any room for yarn. I've been happily eating away at my rather largish stash for projects and up to this point it's presented no problem, I always seem to be able to find something to substitute with for a pattern. But this particular project calls for wool and only wool and since finances are so tight I am hoping that I can scrounge up the amount I need from thrift stores. It stinks to be strapped financially.

Progress over Perfection
I've been lazily working away on the Round Shawl and enjoying the process of working it up. It's also given me an opportunity to work with a vintage pattern as I got this particular one from an old copy of Mon Tricot. The pattern is fairly open ended with instructions and I'm not sure if this is common for older patterns or not. I have worked some older patterns but not all that many and the ones I have worked were fairly detailed. This one takes you in detail through a certain point and then leaves off with the classic repeat rows xxx except for [these exceptions] and while it's a really simple pattern it leaves a few questions that I've had to answer by taking a plunge into unfamiliar territorty and just doing what I think is called for there.

Outside of some freeform purses and a few very simple patterns I've not done a lot of branching out on my own. I tend to closely follow a pattern and when I veer off from one it's usually because I've made a mistake in reading the pattern. This is something new for me, to make determinations about a piece on my own. So far it seems to be working out just fine, if it weren't I guess I'd just be frogging and reworking in a different way.

On another note I've been fascinated with Ravelry, trying to get around this rather huge site/community, learn how to use it, take advantage of all it has to offer a crafter and participate in the community at large there. I had an episode last week that drove me insane with progress bars. I'm no computer whiz, not even close. I'd classify myself more in the computer moron catagory and most of what I accomplish on here is very painstakingly won. I wanted to put up progress bars on my blog from my ravelry page so my readers could see the projects I'm currently working on and preview pictures of them as they progressed. This called for inserting java code into my blog and the code was a nightmare for me. I apparently didn't have something right and kept having to insert, delete, insert, delete for the better part of this past week, frustrating me no end and taking time away from my crochet projects. Well, finally with the help of three people from Ravelry I accomplished this task, the code works and does everything it's supposed to do so I now have progress bars that show off the wips I have on the hook. Yah!!

Stash Acquisition Syndrome?
A rather nice event for my week, I went to pick up a drop-leaf table from a local freecycler (beautiful hardrock maple table, but that's another story altogether) and she happened to be a fellow needlework enthusiast. I discovered this because I saw some knitting magazines stacked up beside the table when we got there for pickup. I commented on this, asking her if she knitted and telling her that I and my friend who was with me to help with the table crocheted. She was thrilled at that prospect and warmed right up with the information that she predominantly knitted but had learned to crochet a few years back as well as creating other forms of needle arts. It was nice meeting a fellow crafter because I only really know my friend, here in town. I know a lot of people from online but not many in person here and I miss the fun of sharing things with others in town. I would like to be able to meet up once a week or a month with other enthusiasts and have a session of crocheting, chatting and camaraderie and it disappoints me that I haven't found that here in town. I have seen these set up for knitters but not for crocheters and while I know I'd be welcome at a knitting session I feel like I'd be the "odd man out" and would rather have a group of us who do the same thing, so we're all on the same page. But, I digress...anyway, this lady gifted me and my friend with crochet magazines that she was going to have to get rid of. We were thrilled, we not only got a number of new sources for patterns and inspiration, we made a connection with someone who understands our passion.

Saturday, November 10

Scarf Saturday

Saturday mornings were made for sleeping in and this seems a bit early to me to be up, though my dogs usually dictate the time I rise and today has been no exception. They actually let me sleep in today so I guess I shouldn't complain about it seeming early, lol, even if it does.

Thought I'd start out today by posting the rest of the completed crochet items I'm trying to catch up on showing. Sometimes it feels like I get a lot of crocheting accomplished and sometimes it feels like I'm getting nothing accomplished and I can only judge the number of projects completed in retrospect. It didn't feel like I did all that many projects until I started showing them off (and having to snap photos, download and upload and all the business of creating on this blog). Now, I'm no prolific crocheter by any means, so it is more that the busy-ness of creating and showing off everything makes it seem like I've got more accomplished than I actually do.

That said, I've a lot of scarves left to post pictures of this time.
Two are freeform, made with Yarn Bee Frosting that I had an odd skein of in my stash.
This is a lovely colorway of pinks and purples with a bit of beige and white flecked through it. The scarf is simply constructed, a bit wide and a bit short. It's cozy, soft and warm around the neck.

This next is a lovely colorway called Gold.It's a long skinny scarf that, unwound, trails the floor when draped over the dressmakers form.

I used a couple of Bernat patterns and substituted yarn I had in my stash instead of using the yarn required by the pattern. I'm sure this changed the project slightly, but I fail to see much difference, perhaps the scarves are a bit "skinnier" than those pictured in the patterns.
This scarf is made from a pattern entitled Cashmere Motif Scarf on the Bernat web site. I used a vintage Columbia Minerva acrylic yarn entitled Performer from my stash because I just love the color. It looks minty to me, though it's titled Lt. Green.
Here's a close-up shot of the motifs.

This next pattern is entitled Alpaca Scarf to Crochet on the pattern and listed elsewhere as Alpaca Gem Scarf. The yarn I used makes a definite difference in the look of this scarf, which turned out not nearly as full looking as the product pictured on the pattern.The yarn is another vintage yarn entitled All Seasons. It's a sport weight variegated yarn in the color, Hazel Bark.

Here's a close-up of the yarn so you can see the variegation in it as well as the details in the motif.

I decided to make the Zen Scarf with the only mohair yarn I have in my stash, a lovely magenta color of unknown origin. I'm even guessing that it's mohair, but whatever it is, it's a lovely yarn and I've been saving it for something special. I thought this Zen scarf was special enough to use the yarn for, and while it really is, I have to say it's a tedious project and seems like it's going to take me six months to complete. I guess it's the pattern of the pattern itself that makes it so tedious, I'm not quite sure. I just know I can only do a few rows at a time before I have to put it down. I also have to make sure I work it so that I can put it down at a certain point in the sequence so I can keep track of where I am with the pattern.

Another project I've got in process is the Farpoint Topper from Doris Chan's Amazing Crochet Lace. I love this project and have all the panels made, just have to put it together and do the finishing stitches and it will be ready to show off (and to wear)!

Now one form of crochet that I've been interested in trying is called Broomstick Lace (sometimes known as Jiffy Lace). I haven't done it yet, have accumulated some of the needles but haven't set myself down with instructions and attempted. In reality you really don't have to have special needles, in fact, it's called Broomstick Lace because when it was first introduced the "needle" used was just a sawed off broomstick (sanded down at the cut end to prevent snagging mind you). You can still use something as simple instead of hunting down the needles. You can also use one of your larger sized knitting needles, or any sort of dowel you can find as well.

For those who know nothing here are some sites that explain the technique and offer instructions. One is at Crochet Cabana. Another can be found at Serendipity Crochet. Yet another tutorial can be found at GrittyKnits. All are excellent tutorials but your personal style of learning may dictate which site you prefer.

Once you have the technique down, here are a few patterns for your enjoyment.
Broomstick Lace Afghan
Another Broomstick Lace Afghan
A girl's Summer Romper
A Hat at Crochet by the Hook (just love Dot's site)
And a couple of scarves (The Red Scarf) (Jiffy Lace Scarf)
Hopefully if you're interested in trying this technique there's enough here to not only get you started, but to allow you to explore the various levels of difficulty inherent in creating projects with the technique.

I think it's a lovely looking technique and have seen so many patterns that I would like to try and make that it's been like trying to avoid the sirens call to finish up projects I've got in my basket first before I attempt it. Now I'm off to finish up those projects hanging around in my basket so I can break out the broomstick needles and start trying myself!

Monday, November 5

Rave, Revel & Ravel

Just over a week ago I got my invitation to join a new group called Ravelry, a place for fiber artists and enthusiasts to bring their particular interests into a community with others who share those interests as well as others. I have to say I'm a bit lost over there at this point, but I think once I figure out how to get around and get things accomplished I'm going to like this group a lot. The possibilities it offers seem endless.

The My Notebook area offers tabs that allow me to do everything from cataloging my stash, projects, hooks and books to keeping track of friends and groups and future projects. Having my stash catalogued for instance will make it a lot easier when I'm contemplating new projects because I'll be able to tell at a glance if I have the proper yarn or an adequate substitute for any given project I am interested in creating. The site gives me added opportunity to hook up with people I already know online and a chance to meet new people from all over.

There are groups of every sort you can join, forums where you can interact, get questions answered, keep tabs on what others are doing and learn in every area you might have an interest in. I've started a group in the hopes of getting to know more local fiber enthusiasts and possibly getting together for meetings and crochet time together. Who knows? While this new venture is taking a lot of my time at this point, (there is soooo much to learn yet) I believe it will prove to be extremely beneficial for me. I'm hopeful that before too long I'll be bopping about the place like an old hand.

I have more projects to show off as well.

This past spring I posted pictures of some bucket hats I had made, loosely based on this Basic Bucket Hat pattern. I stated then that I wanted to adorn them because I thought they looked too darn plain. It took awhile but I finally trimmed them and have pictures to crow about.

Really liked this lavender hat but I thought it needed something more. I made this flower chain from a pattern I found online here using some Sinofina a friend picked up at Hobby Lobby and gifted me with.

Now, here is the same bucket hat with the flower chain but in brown with a salmon thread I picked up at the thrift store one day.

For this blue bucket hat I wanted to do a little more so I created a freeform leaf chain and made individual flowers from the flower pattern and stitched them on at random around the leaf chain. Turned out really nice I think.
The white and green are both Sinofina thread.

I had a couple leftover balls of some trellis yarn laying around that I wanted to use up and so I freeformed this shawl. Pretty simple, but just lovely looking. The trellis yarn always seems to make even the most basic things into something special.A view from the front.

And now the back.

Saturday, November 3

November Already?

Oh my, I cannot believe I let the whole month of October slip by without posting an update or two. I hope everyone had a good month.

I have a friend who decided Halloween was not just for kids and went out trick or treating herself. Now, I am not sure I think it's exactly a kosher thing for a grandma to be out trick or treating but, it made her happy and didn't hurt anyone and there are far worse things in the world she could have been doing. To her credit she had her husband sit home and hand out candy while she went out and I can only imagine how people reacted to the site of this gray haired granny holding out a candy bucket.

I have worked sporadically on projects this past month and will post a few today and catch up as I can with the rest of them.

I have some scraps of novelty yarns that have been building up in a bag and decided to try to put some of them to use making scarves. I used the Lion Brand pattern for the Christensen Skinny Scarf to make these:
This first was made with a combination of boucle, Boa, a variegated sport weight acrylic, Galaxy and Jewel Box.

Here's a close up to show the details.
This one used some brown acrylic, Homespun and Disco along with some Galaxy.
And the details.

Now this one used Jewel Box, Disco, some brown acrylic, and the boucle.
Now here's a close up of the colorway.

I also used this Shawl Cape pattern, the actual paper flyer was offered by Hobby Lobby stores last year, to make two different looking items.

This first is made with a boa yarn like the pattern calls for.

Here is a close up of the boa yarn. Isn't that pretty?

For the second shawl cape I substituted some Phentex novelty eyelash yarn that I bought on sale at Big Lots last spring. The color is white, but white doesn't begin to explain this beautiful colorway. I also tweaked the pattern a little so it turned out quite differently from the first project.
Here is a close up
I think the color is gorgeous.

Thursday, September 20

Slow Going

Now, I would have thought that with the weather cooling down that my crochet work would have picked up significantly but it seems to be the opposite instead. I have only finished a poncho that I made using thread and am almost done with a Firefly Scarf project; also thread. It's essentially done, I just decided I want it longer than the pattern calls for so I haven't "tied" off yet.

Here is the poncho, it actually calls for Bernat's Cool Crochet thread but I have this cone of wine colored thread that has a glimmer to it and I thought I'd try with that since it seems the same size as the Cool Crochet. It's a lovely color and has beautiful drape in the finished project. It was
just a slow process for me. The color doesn't really come through well with this camera. It's actually a deeper, redder color more like this.

The Firefly Scarf was a pattern picked up from Annie's Crochet Pattern of the Day promotion so I cannot offer a link to it. Annie's tends to repeat their offerings so if you missed it this year it will be back next year I am sure. I will tell you though, the stitch is what makes the scarf what it is, that is a double love knot stitch. Here's a picture of the almost finished project. I am using another thread on a cone I picked up at the local thrift store and a size I hook. The project calls for it to be 54" long but I want it longer and I have a ball of the thread that I pulled off the cone and decided I'd go until the ball runs out. I have another inch and a half of rolled thread to go so the scarf is going to be extremely long as opposed to how it is supposed to be. I would venture to guess it will end up 70 or 80 inches long. Here's a picture of it in progress.

Here's a close up of the stitch pattern. Just lovely isn't it?

Even this scarf has been slow going, mostly because I somehow kept not picking up the last stitch at the end and would have to frog over and over again. I finally have managed to work on it without losing that last stitch and it's been going quite well since.

Perhaps the reason these projects are taking so long is that I've been working with thread and I don't normally do thread projects. I'd like to believe that rather than the alternative which is that I've just gotten burnt from too much crochet and can't seem to focus to get things completed. LOL!!

Well, life is what it is and if I need to slow or even stop, the hooks and yarn will be there when I come back. The really good thing about this craft is that the hooks and yarns are patient and uncomplaining.

I have several more projects picked out that recently came up on the web and I am excited about them so maybe that will be the incentive I need. I also have decided to make a paperback carrier for my sister for Christmas and have pulled that pattern out. Haven't picked out yarns yet for any of these projects but I will soon.

So many projects, so little time!
Till next time, happy crochetin' folks!

Monday, August 27

Seems like this month has slipped by before I could catch ahold of it. The heat and humidity kept most of my crocheting to a minimum, outside work to almost nil except for the obligatory mowing as I had to and trying like mad to keep the tomato plants watered enough to keep them alive. I have harvested a few tomatoes, they're starting to ripen three or four at a time which works out great for me, I have a couple and have some to share as well.

The projects I did accomplish this month were worked mostly late nights, when things cooled enough to be holding yarns. I have several photos to post so I hope you enjoy looking at them all.

Ribbon yarn shawl for toddler.

Details of edging.

Peach hat using up leftover yarn.

Child's poncho, also using up leftover yarn.

Picot Wrap I made from a pattern for a Picot Lace Shawl. I worked the pattern according to directions and apparently they were unclear as to the decreasing of each end so I ended up with a rectangle, and since I was already ten or twelve rows into it I decided to keep it rectangular and came out with this.

I also worked a couple of the Flamenco Wraps up using cotton 4 ply yarn rather than the ribbon yarn. The first one I made came out a little short because the chain five triangular section wasn't as long as it came up using ribbon yarn. So, the second one I made I switched to a chain seven triangle and it worked out wonderfully.

The pictures didn't come out as clear as I would have liked, I think because of the colorway of the yarn itself.

Here's a close up of the flower closure that is used in the pattern. It's hard to see but I really liked the way it came out. It looks a lot better in person than the pictures show.

The second Flamenco Wrap is more clear in the pictures, again I think due to the colorway. As you can see it came out considerably longer due to the increases in the chains of the triangular piece. Lovely!

A closeup of the details of the back triangle edging pieces.

I used a button by itself for the closure on this wrap. I liked the color of the button, thought it went well with the colors of the yarn.

I loved the look of Caron Feathers yarn and loved the free pattern for the shawl that was made using the yarn but didn't have enough yarn for the project. I did however, have quite a bit of Frenzy yarn and since I am trying to use up yarn (rather than purchasing more for a particular project) I substituted the Frenzy for the Feathers in this shawl. I like the way the piece came out, although as usual, I goofed something up and the shawl came out with angled ends rather than blunt, straight ends. Go figure, lol!

Here's a closeup shot so you can see both the yarn and stitch detail.