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.