Whatever!

What to muse about today?

March 9, 2014 ~ I Forgot

Attempt #3

Let’s not talk about the things I forgot – both daughter’s shoes (!?!?!?) yesterday, my wallet on a trip to the grocery store today, what day it was, so missed calling my dad on his birthday…  Let’s talk about crochet instead.

I started working on this runner to put on Teagan’s dresser.  I’m stuck on two other projects – one knit and one crochet, (I think I’m going to frog them, do over) – so decided to learn how to crochet lace.  Since I’m using a sock yarn, so light fingering instead of crochet thread.  I may be crazy, but I’m not completely insane.

Oops

The first motif was challenging.  The yarn is a bit more stretchy than a cotton would be, and the instructions for the pattern aren’t always clear.  Eventually I got the first motif done.  The pattern calls to join motives as you go, my first attempt there wasn’t very good either…

I hadn’t realized that when I joined them, they were just a tiny bit off.  It wasn’t too hard to figure out where I went wrong, finding the time to actually fix it was more difficult.

Once I got that, the next four came easily!  Only 17 more to go!

Five

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PS. Yes, I really did forget the girls’s shoes.  Stu and I packed them into the car for a trip home, neither wanted to put their shoes on for the ride, so we carried them.  I turned the alarm on and locked the house.  We only realized we forgot the shoes when we got to my parents and went to get the girls out of the car.  They’re almost 5 and 3, it’s not like they’re itty bitty and don’t need shoes.  Sheesh.

Can I blame it on the time change?

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February 20. 2014 ~ Simple Lines

Simple Lines

Not too long ago I knit a second baby blanket for a co-worker. One who was expecting (not had!) a baby boy.  I got a skein of that lovely blue denim marl yarn that I used for the lacy crochet blanket.  Wanting a pattern that would be easy enough to do while watching tv at night, I googled away.

I really enjoy the patterns that aren’t too complicated – though those are fun too! – and don’t need to pull to much of me into actually working them.  Something a bit more than just back and forth, but not too much counting.  The pattern Simple Lines – Vertical Stripes was perfect!  An interesting border, simple pattern, but a bit of elegance.  I quite enjoyed working this up.

I will admit to using a technique suggested by a friend – writing the pattern on index cards, a card for each row.  When I mentioned to her how I got lost while working on the Time Turner shawl, she said she highlighted (on her iPad) the row she was working on.  I don’t usually use my iPad when I knit or crochet.  The index cards worked very well, and they’re easy to carry around.

My one learning on this project was how to fix garter stripes.  Fixing stockinette is easy, now.  Garter is a bit tricky, but not too bad.  I do love learning new things, strengthening my skills.

Usually I try to make a hat, or a lovey, to go along with the blankets.  This pattern had a matching hat, though I ended up not having enough time between finishing the blanket and needing to gift it.  I think I’ll end up making the Squares pattern, maybe for a girl, and I’ll work the hat up too.

Blocking Lines

PS. The recepient of this blanket was very touched. He wasn’t expecting me to make him anything, we don’t really work together much, though he has seen me knit and crochet at work – at lunch – before. I hope his baby enjoys it too!

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February 18, 2014 ~ Let it Snow

More. Snow

Another six inches or so today.  It was really pretty when it was falling at a rate of four inches per hour.  Not a true white out, but white.  Big fluffy flakes.  All between oh, 8 am and 3 pm.  Pretty quick fall.  The plows didn’t get to our street until after then.  They didn’t bother plowing us mid-fall.

The girls got to day care just after the flurries started.  We had a bit of shoveling plow wake – and finding our mailbox – before we could go get them.  But they had fun – Teagan pretended to be a monster (with claw feet and spiky hat!) and Ashlin did karaoke.  They both played with snow inside.  And Ashlin didn’t have an accident!

Stu and I worked from home, conference calls, training, with a touch of crochet between powerpoint slides and SQL code.

Granny Stripe in Neapolitan

I found the yarn Saturday while the girls were doing their heart craft.  Four skeins of Neapolitan by Loops & Threads.  Both girls said that Stu could have a pink blanket.

Variegated yarn can be so lovely and yet so daunting.  You don’t want to do something too complicated, because the detail gets lost in the color changes.  I Googled, pattern searched Ravelry, Pinterest and found some interesting things.  But kept coming back to the granny stripe.  I had done a scarf in this pattern, and some granny square slippers.  An easy stitch combination, nothing too complicated, but still lots of fun to work up.

I think it looks pretty good.

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November 25, 2013 ~ X-Box

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X-Box with Hat

A few months ago (yeah, I know!) I made a blanket and hat for my cousin’s baby. At the time, they didn’t know/weren’t telling the gender of the baby.  And baby blankets are so much fun to crochet.  I googled around and found an interesting pattern – X-Box Stitch. It looked like a fun pattern, not too gender biased.  It would work well!

I had a big skein of Loops & Threads in Pee Wee Prints, a lovely blue and green variegated baby yarn.  I had bought it on sale because I thought it was gorgeous.  As I needed something neutral, I decided to use that.  Besides, it’s a really soft yarn.

The pattern was fun.  Almost like a box stitch, but not quite as structured.  It’s a very difficult to see how lovely this pattern is with the stripy yarn.  It’s a series of crossed double crochets following regular double crochets.  Easy.  Fast.  I will use this pattern again in a solid yarn.

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X’s and border

I ended up doing a white border using a stitch combo from the book I had on borders – Around the Corner:  Crochet Borders. I’ve used this book often for edging ideas.  It’s always fun to try something new.  I picked edging #150, but added an extra row of half double crochet between the second and third rounds, just to try to make it feel a bit more substantial, more in line with the blanket itself.  I hadn’t done any stitches on the back post, (or front post) before, so that was a bit interesting, but gave the edging a bit of extra texture.

I had a bit of yarn left over after the blanket, so decided to knit a hat to match.  I like trying to use up the extra yarn with something fun and useful. And well, knitting was still very new.  So, a simple umbilical hat.

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Hat

This was only the second hat I’ve knit in the round, so getting that first join done was a bit tricky.  But it went fast once that was done.  Up to the point of the decreases, and the double pointed needles.  They were so not fun. I also had problem with the I-cord, but was able to get something that worked well enough!

Getting the cord long enough to knot wasn’t much fun.  It was awkward, and unweildy.  But at last, it was done.  This had was enough to make me want to avoid DPN’s as much as possible.  But not enough to put me off knitting!  More projects to follow!

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DPN’s and i-cord

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almost there

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October 23, 2013 ~ Lacy and Lovey

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Lacy Blanket and Lovey

Not too long ago my mom and I were out shopping and she started looking at boy clothes.  I reminded her that we had two girls, no boys.  She told me that one of her friends daughters had/was having a baby boy.  At the time, I had very little in a project queue, so I offered to crochet her a blanket as a gift.  All she needed to do was buy the yarn and I’d crochet it up and have it ready for her in the next few weeks – we were going to be seeing them in three weeks.

So, she picked out yarn. I sent her a few pictures of possible patterns for the blanket and she picked the Lacy Crochet Baby Blanket.  A lovely pattern, and an easy repeat.  Just the right sort of project to work on at night, tired, on the sofa.

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First round

I ended up starting with a 168 crochet chain with a 4mm hook, though the pattern designer suggested using a smaller hook than called for – she suggested a 1mm hook, which I didn’t have.  Mom picked out a lovely Loops & Threads baby yarn – Snuggly Wuggly baby denim marl – with a very interesting mottled pattern.

The blanket worked up fast – in just about a week, give or take a few days.  As the lace pattern worked up, I kept seeing fish or arrow heads in the chains and clusters.  So fun!

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Blocking

Once I had the body of the blanket done, I blocked it.  As it was a gift, I wanted to be sure the blanket corners were as square as I could make them, before starting the border.  I was very happy I picked the gingham to cover the towels I put on the dining table for my makeshift blocking board.  Even though it was a thin pattern – 1/4 inch strips – it was still enough for me to block the blanket square.  The blanket before being blocked wasn’t too off kilter, but the blocking definitely helped.

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Crab Stitch border

The border was pretty quick, I chose to use a white to give it a defining finish.  I’ve never done a crab stitch or a single crochet between stitches, so that was fun.  Crab stitch is a bit awkward at first, but eventually it got a bit easier to crochet backwards.

The last two times I’ve done baby blankets, I’ve knit up a hat with the remaining yarn to gift with them, to make a set.  This time, I wanted to do something different.  My girls loved their little flat loveys, so I thought I’d make one.  A knit one.

Again, thanks to Ravelry, I found an easy knit pattern.  Easy is relative, I still needed to figure out a few things, but it wasn’t too far of a stretch.  Lutin is the name of the pattern, and the pdf was in French!  Um…  my French is good, but knitting?  I knew a few words, but not enough technical language to know what was going on.  Thankfully, someone else translated it!

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Half a Lovey

I worked it flat, as the pattern called, though if I do this again, I will at least do the head and hat in the round. (I now have DPN’s under my belt!).  This was the first time I put stitches on a holder and worked other parts of a project.  Interesting.  Also, I realize that I totally need to use my counter – I ended up miscounting the second side and the arms were a bit shorter.  Oops.  At least I was able to hide it once it was sewn up and knotted.

The biggest challenge, other than counting consistently, was to sew it up.  I hate sewing!  The pattern recommended a mattress stitch, which I had no idea how to do.  I found a few helpful sites on the net (thank goodness for the internet!).  I have to admit, seeing how the mattress stitch worked was very cool.  Not cool enough to get me to get this sewn together in less than 4 days.  But eventually, I did get it finished.

I did run out of yarn by the time I got to the legs on the second piece.  I just finished it up with white.  So, he has some white pants and a white hat.  No biggie.  

I think I will do at least one more, even though there is so much sewing.  I think he turned out pretty cute.

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Three out of four!

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C’est Fini!

 

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September 24, 2013 ~ Big Buttons!

Buttons

Big Button Wrap

I finished this wrap the other night.   Using some lovely yarn a friend gave me, I made her a little something.  She’s been having a rough time lately, and needed a little picking up.  Besides, she loved this yarn enough to pick it out in the first place.

It was a bit weird at first using this Lumpy Bumpy yarn was a bit odd.  I’ve never knit – or crocheted – with anything this thick before.  Having the yarn go from very thin to thick took a bit of getting used to.  It was fun watching how the yarn worked up, too.  Sometimes the thick bits alternated with the thin, sometimes they stacked.  One way or the other, the yarn was very nice to work with.

I would work on this project when I was too tired to work on the shawl I was also working on.  Since the yarn I was using was so textured in itself, I just swapped out the lovely stitch in this pattern to a simpler stockinette.  Still, it didn’t take too long to knit almost 60 inches.

Once done, it got a slight blocking, big buttons sewn on and brought into the office to give away.  My friend was so happy, she loved it!  I love that she loved it!

Done!  #knit #lumpybumpy

On a model :)

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June 26, 2013

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Look! A stack of square ones!

These will be for Ashlin’s blanket. I need to pin them together and sew them all up! Then, figure out what to do for a border. I may not get them sewn together until the weather is a bit cooler. We’ll see.

There’s no rush. She’s still in her crib.

For now.

4 Comments »

May 31, 2013

ShawlFinally, I have time to write up some details about the shawl I made for my mom for Mother’s Day.  There is a bit of a back story… There was a co-worker who was in hospice after a long battle with cancer.  I was going to crochet up a quick lapgan or blanket for her, so got a pound skein of yarn.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get enough time, but still had the huge ball of yarn.  With Mother’s Day approaching, I switched gears to creating something for my mom.

I found the pattern on the Caron site, and although it was for a scarf, I thought it would make a lovely shawl.  Doubling the width made for a snuggly sized shawl.  Initially, I had an extra three stitches once I finished the foundation row.  It seems I cannot count properly.  Thankfully, I was able to undo the slip knot and unravel them without having to rip out that first row.

IMG_0198The pattern wasn’t too complicated, a four row repeat that had a rhythm to it, allowing me to work it up quickly, without needing to read the pattern every few stitches.

Another thing that was great about this project was that I finally “got” the stitch diagrams.  Up until this shawl, they were just pretty pictures, that really didn’t help me much at all.  Now, it’s a wonderful key.  There’s a clarity, where the written pattern may have been unclear, I can see exactly what to do thanks to the diagram.

As the shawl got longer and longer it became apparent that I would need to block it once I was done.  Most of the projects I’ve done really didn’t need blocking.  Stu’s scarf, the african flower baby blanket, for example.  I’ve never blocked anything as big as this would be.  Thanks to Google, I found a way to make a home made blocking board, so went and got some check material and some pins.

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One pound and a half of yarn later and I was done, and ready to block.  I set up the dining room table as my make-shift blocking board (towels under the check material, clamped to the edge of the table) and pinned the wet shawl down. I left it pinned to the table overnight, and probably should have left it another day, as it was still a bit damp, but I needed to wrap it up!  I had worked until just about the last minute.

Blocking really opened up the lace pattern, and squared it up.  It wasn’t much fun, but it was worth it.  I know that for Ashlin’s blanket, I will be blocking all the squares first before sewing them together, and the shawl I will be starting shortly, will also need to be blocked.

Anyway, My mom really liked her shawl, and I feel very proud of it too.  It was a learning experience, which is always a good thing.
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May 13, 2013

Wow. Where has the time gone? It’s been so busy lately, and whatever free time I’ve had has been spent with some yarn. The non-sick free time, that is. I was laid low for about a week with some fatiguing tummy bug.  Good side was that I lost six pounds in a week.  Shame that once I started eating again too much came back.  Oh well.

I did finish the shawl I was working on, and was able to block it in enough time to give it to my mom on Mother’s Day:

blocking the shawl

Blocking the shawl on the dining room table

Blocking really helped the shawl – the detailing really came out once I pined it on the table.  I cheated a bit, and used a towel under some gingham material that was clamped to the table.  It worked wonders.  I would have liked a bigger checker pattern, but they didn’t have any material at the store when I went.  The smaller grid will work, it’ll just be a bit more difficult to block too.

I am almost done with the straps on Ashlin’s car blanket.  I should finish tonight.  They even have button holes!  Once that’s done, I’ll move on to either Teagan’s car blanket or the one for Ashlin’s bed.

More tomorrow, once I get this car blanket done.  I really want it to be done.  There’s also a draft or two that need fleshing out, finishing…

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April 25, 2013

So, some random things…

  • In the car Teagan saw a bug of some sort, which she dubbed a cricket. She then went on to tell me that it was crawling on her hand, but when they do, they kiss you when they crawl on your hand.  With their feet.
  • One day when I had to leave early to work in Jersey, I left a note for the girls, and Stu.  On it I asked Teagan to be a good girl at nap time (we are still having issues – sad face), and gave everyone hugs and kisses.  Ashlin asked Stu for the paper, saying “ugg!  Ugg!” and then kissed the paper.
  • Ashlin cannot leave day care, or anywhere else for that matter, without hugging everyone she knows goodbye.
  • She also can’t walk past an open door without closing it.
  • On my drive home from Jersey the other day, Alt Nation played Josie Cotton “Johnny Are You Queer” and I had flashbacks of teasing my friend Tom incessantly.  I’m not sure exactly why the song bothered him, but it did.  My sister also joined in when she was out and the song came on.  I miss Tom.  He’s moved too far away from some of his friends and we don’t see him enough.
  • I finished Ashlin’s car blanket last night, the blanket portion anyway.  I used a crochet bind off, which was easier for me to control the tension, and the cast-off stitches look much better, looser, than those of the scarf.  I will need to work on that.
  • The button hole on the strap is throwing me for a loop – not a hole – unfortunately.  I will get it figured out. Soon.  I’m sure it has something to do with my mirror knitting and Eastern European style.  I moved on to the crocheted shawl for the time being.
Done!  Blanket at least. #knit #blanket

Done!

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