Thursday, April 26

Thunder, Buckets and Tuckered Honeys

Thunder Over Louisville
Last Saturday was Thunder, an event that marks the beginning of a time like no other here, when suddenly the spotlight shines upon the people of this otherwise small town, sleeping quietly at the river's bend. The hometown hospitality comes out, neighbors and strangers mix at events, in the bars, at the track at dawn, watching the horses exercise. Even here sadly much of that neighborliness has disappeared but Derby time brings it out in people and the convergence of the masses suddenly fills the streets night and day. Whiskey, horses, women and parties. Charity events ranging from the hilarity of the Bed Races to the semi-formality of the Barnstable Brown party, abound and rhythms of musicians on Waterfront Park occur almost daily throughout the two weeks. This is commingling of rich and poor, middle class, hip hop and rock and blues, out of towners, south enders and east enders all caught up in a feverish anticipation which culminates in the greatest two minutes in sports. There are many celebrities, many more people who though not celebrities are within the same socioeconomic class and living similar lifestyles and it is amazing how much money flows in such a short time. Amazing also is how the town fills, swelling by two or three times itself and on the whim of weather can sell out of almost anything in two days. I've seen a time when you couldn't buy a coat in Louisville because the usually warm spring turned bitter, many times when you couldn't rent a room and I've even seen times when umbrellas were like gold nuggets and as hard to find but that's just the way it is here in our town, you just never known what's coming around the corner, or down or up the river. Some links to various events:

Now Onto Crochet
The past few days I've been busy
making small items, thought I would share with you all just what I've been up to.

I haven't decided yet what to trim the blue bucket hat with, leaning toward a flower and while I like the picture of the rose hat with the ribbon around it, I'm not so sure I like the actual look of it in person so the ribbon as trim isn't a solid deal yet. I made another bucket hat in purple tonight, smaller than these two. Just haven't photographed it yet. The orange yarn is something that sat around here for a long time before it finally became a scarf. I have a bit left and I'm contemplating what to make with it. Something to go with the scarf I think, just not sure yet if it will be a hat, or possibly wrist warmers.
Here's a close up of the orange scarf. I just love the flecks of red orange and purple in the fuzzy yarn.

Honey Pie
My Honey pie tuckered herself out the other day and climbed up on top of the blue pillow on the couch and got comfortable. Apparently sleeping on the pillowtop wasn't as comfortable once she'd gotten into a rumbling slumber because the next time I looked here she was in all her glory. Of course I couldn't resist memorializing her funny, rather awkward comfort.

Tuesday, April 24

Another Shawl

I finish another shawl the other day. This one is called Lightweight Jewels Shawl and I used the Jewel Box called for but finished it a bit differently than in the pattern. Not that much differently really I used the same finishing stitch that goes across the top but took it around the entire shawl before doing the second row across the top. The pattern uses fringe and I don't like fringe on most things and for the life of me I cannot understand why anyone would use Jewel Box or any other chenille type of yarn for fringe since you have to knot the ends of each strand to keep them from fraying away. I think it turned out great.
Here is a close up of the stitching
The front

and the back
Now here's a link for the pattern

Sunday, April 22

Celebrate Earth Day

In the spirit of earth day I thought I'd use my posting today to explore some of the ways in which crochet either has already been or has become an earth friendly craft.

There are several options in organic materials such as soy, bamboo, linen, hemp, cotton, silk and animal fibers. These can be made even more earth friendly by using organic farming methods in the growing raising stages.

Looking around on the web I came up with several places that cater to organic fibers. I will focus today on those organic fibers that are grown rather than raised. Please keep in mind that I in no way endorse any of the companies or sites that I've posted. I simply thought my readership would like to have some links with which to check out the various options.

First stop is a place that sells organic Tussah yarns. Tussah are silk worms that live in the wild. Their silk is gathered after the worms have emerged as moths. This method is kinder and friendlier than traditional silkworm production which incorporates the destruction of the silkworm that chews on the mulberry leaves in quite a nasty manner. Traditional silkworm cultivation calls for the destruction of the silkworm before it emerges from the cocoon by boiling or baking. So you can see that Tussah cultivation is truly earth friendly, no killing, no boiling, and no chemicals. The yarns come naturally colored with earth tones that, depending upon what the worm has been eating, range in color from beige to brown.

Another option in yarn is bamboo. You can find them here:
Bamboo yarn is made by processing the bamboo grass stalk and combing the fiber strands from the plant. In addition bamboo yarn is naturally anti-bacterial, breathable and cool, and acts as a natural UV blocker.

Hemp yarn is another alternative that is natural. You can find this product in many places today, including:

Linen is another natural fiber that is used to make yarns. Linen yarn is made from flax fibers and may be the oldest textile material in the world. Linen has a high natural luster and natural color ranges between shades of ivory, tan, or grey and when prepared properly, has the ability to absorb and lose water rapidly. Sources for linen yarns include:

Soy yarn is an environmentally friendly fiber made from tofu manufacturing waste. Soy protein is liquefied and then extruded into long, continuous fibers that are then cut and processed like any other spinning fiber. You can find it here:

Cotton yarn is a more familiar and accessible fiber for crochet. The trick is to find cottons that are environmentally friendly, that have been grown and dyed organically. Some sources:

There now is a brief overview of various organically grown fibers/yarns. I'm sure there are many more sources out there, I just happened to come upon these and chose to use them. I'm sure if I were to try and incorporate more of them I could be at this all day. I hope you all will consider trying some of these at some point. I have yet to do so myself, but have plans on trying a few, especially the soy and bamboo yarns. They sound so yummy!

Friday, April 20

Quick Project

Whipped this up last night. It's from a pattern here:

I used a Phentex super bulky yarn that I got on clearance. It's a beautiful chenille type named Rose. I found it extremely easy to work with and the pattern only took a few hours to make from start to finish.
Here is a closeup of the yarn. I hope you can see the flecking that runs through it.

That's really it for the day. I'm working on another shawl using Jewel Box yarn. Hope to have that finished and ready to photograph later today. I hope everyone is having a great Friday. Till next time, ciao!

Thursday, April 19

Three Projects, Two Complete

I've finished the Illusions shawl! Here's a picture.
First, the front:
As I said, I used 3 skeins of RH Light & Lofty in Salt & Pepper that I bought on sale three years or so ago. It's been just sitting here and when I saw the shawl pattern at the Bernat web page I immediately thought of this yarn. I think it turned out to be very lovely. It's a very thick shawl and will keep whoever ends up with it toasty this winter I'm sure.

Next a good picture of the back:
You can't tell from the picture but the pattern is a repeat of a row of v-stitches followed by a row with three dc clusters. The stitches are placed in the space between stitches on both of the pattern rows and it ends up with an alternating lacy and cozy effect. I am going hunting for another yarn to make another of these with because I like it so much.

I have stitched up the sides of the cell phone pouch and now am trying to decide on handles.
After some reflection I've decided that the clothesline is too thick for the pouch so I'm trying to come up with an alternative to that for the handles. Haven't made a decision but when I do I'll have pictures of the finished product for everyone to see. For now, here are views of the pouch open and closed. You can see in the picture where the pouch is open that I left an opening for the antenna because the pouch is so close fitting over the phone.

Last night I was sitting around after I had finished tucking in the ends on the shawl. I was trying to come up with ideas on handles for the cell phone pouch and decided I needed to keep my hands busy so I whipped up a little cotton bag. It was a fun project and didn't take much time so I may make a few more of these in the kitchen cottons I have stashed away.

Tuesday, April 17

What are you up to?

I'm in the middle of two projects at the moment. I'm working on a cell phone pouch, have the body completed just trying to figure out how to finish it off. I'm leaning towards using some yarn covered clothesline as the "side" seams as well as the handle. Decisions, decisions!! LOL!!! The other project is a simple triangular scarf using the pattern from the Bernat website called Illusions. I'm of course not using the Illusions yarn but rather using up some Salt & Pepper Light & Lofty yarn by Red Heart that's been sitting in my stash pile for three years now! Here's the link for the shawl pattern:

Monday, April 16

Ever Notice How Quickly Plans Go Awry?

Seems like life is keeping me hopping these days. Staying so busy I am finding it difficult to make the time to post on here! Busy is good though, and I have been busy working on crochet projects and running errands. Errands are just no fun but the crochet is.

I worked on a roll brim hat and matching purse most of last week. The hat came from a pattern from the Lion Brand site, the purse is constructed using the roll brim hat as a model. I wanted a purse that imitated the shape of the hat and not only was that effect achieved, I think it turned out stunningly. I used three strands held together, one was a worsted weight acrylic in country blue, the second was a NoBo yarn in a turquoise with eyelash and speckles of colors attached and the third strand was a variegated eyelash. The handle is clothesline that I crocheted over with the three strands. I found a button that mimics the effect of the color "bumps" in my button box and used it for the purse. This picture gives a good shot of the button. While it's not an exact match I think it works really well.

I also worked up this shawl from the Galaxy Shawl pattern at the Bernat web page. I used the lovely color called Pluto. Pattern link:

In addition I also managed to eek out one more square for the pastel granny afghan I'm working up. My progress is very slow but hey, there are no deadlines on any of these so I can afford to take my time. This is especially good since after I finished the last square and stashed it with the others that I have done, I discovered that they are all different sizes anyway. I thought they were all eight inch squares. Nope! Some are eight inches, some are seven inches and there are even some that are six, six and three quarters, seven and one eighth. Oh boy! I can see that I'm going to be adding rows to many of them and just praying I can get them all to turn out the same size.

Wednesday, April 11

Two New Projects FInished

Two new projects that I've completed and will post pictures for you to see today. I've been swamped with other responsibilities and had no time to sit long enough to write a posting for some time. I've also been a bit too busy to do a lot of crocheting which is why there are only two projects completed to show today.

The first is a wrap I made using the Havenly Wrap pattern found at Bernat's website. I have posted the tiny URL link for anyone interested in checking the pattern out. I used some WalMart NoBo yarn that I had purchased a while back. It's a lovely yarn that combines a soft twist and eyelash and a metallic all in one strand.

Normally I don't add fringe onto anything but this piece seemed to call for it. While adding the fringe I picked out another pattern and started it. Turns out I finished that pattern before I ever finished attaching all the fringe onto the wrap. Can you tell I don't like doing fringe? LOL

This next item is made using the Caprice capelet pattern found on the web page for N.Y. Yarns. Now, of course I didn't use the Caprice yarn called for in the pattern. Instead I used a peach yarn that I picked up at the thrift store some six months back. I loved the feel and look of this yarn and had no clue what I could use it for when I bought it, but when I saw the pattern for the capelet I thought of that yarn immediately. I think it turned out beautifully even without the blocking that is necessary for it to hang just the way I'd like.Here is the front view. As you can see it does need blocking. Here is a back view of the capelet.

Tuesday, April 3

Odds & Ends

Crochet Confessions
The other day when I picked up yarn at Hancock's I forgot to snap a photo of this particular yarn. It's a colorful 100% nylon ribbon yarn by Dynasty called Thailand. I thinks it's a really pretty combination, reminds me of Creamsicles, although technically Creamsicle would only be orange and white and this yarn is much more colorful than that.

I must confess I intended to make my mom a rosary for her birthday. I picked out some beautiful spirit beads and hematite and a lovely nylon cord to make this for her. Needless to say it got stuffed into my WIP's bin and forgotten. Well, not so much forgotten as just put aside I suppose. Anyway, I never did make the rosary. However, my friend and crochet buddy (who also beads) took the project and made it for me. I did make the rosary pouch for the rosary. Hehehe, the easy part you understand. So, since my mom isn't internet savvy we'll just keep this between ourselves. I am going to try to side-step taking credit for making the piece, but I really don't want to admit that someone else made it either. I made her a bed jacket for Christmas and it was too small. I picked out the same yarn and started another jacket for her in a size that I hope will work. I've gotten the main piece finished and have been waiting on her to come for a fitting before seaming it and adding the collar and cuffs. The rate it's going she may be getting it for Christmas next year! LOL, that's what I call a two-for-one!

Odds & Ends
While surfing the internet last night I stumbled upon a site that I found interesting. It's titled The AntiPattern and while not exactly crochet related it seems relevant. I know I'm constantly working on "designs" that go wrong with an end result that is more of a problem than the solution I had intended it to be. This seems to be the tenet of what the AntiPattern is all about.

On that note, I got to thinking I'd not seen any postings lately from What Not to Crochet so I wandered on over there to see what they'd been up to lately. Apparently not much going on in crochet gafs these days as their latest posting is a Satyr mask from the 1970's. Right beneath that was a posting that did catch my eye and one I feel doesn't really deserve a top spot on the site. It's a crocheted headband and purse set for a girl that uses those doll faces that are often bought for potholder and blanket baby projects. Now, I see nothing particularly scary about the items and I think were I still a little girl I'd be thrilled to have them. This is called dropping the ball in my humble opinion, choosing something that truly doesn't belong there, and doesn't live up to the reputation that this site has so carefully crafted. I think there are a lot worse items out there that could have been chosen over this little girls' set. Take the horrid Hamburger dress for instance;
now there is something truly ugh inspiring and much more befitting of a posting on the infamous page.

Off the Hook
I have just finished up the pattern called The Incredibly Versatile Giant Snowflake.
I made this using RH Soft Baby in a Pink Pomp and a size N hook. It came out lacy and beautiful. I still need to wash and block it but here's a picture since I just couldn't wait.
I'm now on my next project and hope to have a photo of the completed piece for everyone really soon. Until next time, happy crocheting everyone!