Sunday, December 6, 2009

400 things.

Today I had about 400 things that I was supposed to do that I didn't do. No good excuse, just freakin' didn't do them.

Christmas season is looming and every year I tell myself I'm going to start early and every year I don't.

We were going to put up the tree the day after Thanksgiving because I've always wanted to be one of those people that puts up the tree right after Thanksgiving. Well, Husband had to go out of town to Singapore for work on the Saturday after Thanksgiving which meant the Friday (tree day!) was spent running around packing, making sure that everything that needed to get done around the house before I'm left alone with the Boy for a week got done so no tree day. Okay so we'll do it when he gets back. Like the moment he gets back. Well that was yesterday and today... we just freakin' didn't do it. We didn't do ANYTHING. *sigh*

So, darn it, I've got to do something. So here's a post. I don't have much to show, just some dishcloths that I made for a friend for a hostess gift because she cooked up a storm for us on Thanksgiving. Cooked up a storm while taking care of a 3 year old and a 12 week old. So, girlfriend deserves some dishcloths.

Day 93



Multimedia message



Garter stitch is so pretty...

I actually made her 3, but I never did get a picture of the 3rd one. The pattern is Grandmother's Favorite. I used size 6 needles and I actually did a bit of modification.

Instead of knit 4 then starting the increase, I knit 4 again on the next row before starting the increase. Then for the decrease rows, instead of using knit 2 together for both decreases, for the 1st decrease I did Slip 1, knit 1, PSSO. Then did the rest as the pattern says. Then once I got down to 6 sts, I did the first decrease, skipped the YO and did the second decrease to get me down to 4 sts again. Then BO.

It just seemed to look better, more even this way, though that might just be my imagination.
Okay, so at least now today I did one thing that I've been needing to do. I posted a blog.
399 to go...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Austin trip

I spent the first few days of November in my home town of Austin.

Day 75




Day 77



The back porch at Mom and Dad's...


Day 76



Ian at the park...


Day 78



Mmmm...pretty yarn.  Looks good enough to eat.



and some delicious looking yarn from Hill Country Weavers that I wanted to buy SO badly but didn't.

It was a pretty good time.

I only bought 2 skeins of superwash merino so I could make myself some fingerless mitts to replace the ones that I accidentally felted while I was there. (grrrrrrrrrr) No pictures of the yarn I bought yet. I'll take some once I've finished the mitts.

Note to self: No more making fingerless mitts out of feltable yarn.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween ROCKS!


FirstHalloween 031, originally uploaded by reneewestberry.

Mr. Boy's first Halloween was a total success!
Hope everyone else had as much fun as he did!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!


FirstHalloween 019

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Reminiscing...

So I'm trying to be a "good" knitter. I have a fair amount of almost finished projects and even though, with the new crisp, fall weather we've been having (which, by the way, is somewhat rare in these parts) I'm itching to start something new, I'm forcing myself to finish at least some of what I've started. I will not start so much as a pair of socks or fingerless mitts until I've finished at least 2 projects that have been sitting around for severeal months now. One of them actually has been sitting around for about a year. Part of the problem is that I'm fairly sure that once these projects are done I won't even really like them anymore. I've just gone too far to rip them and start over and I can't stand seeing them lie around the house anymore. (Yes, I keep them out in the hopes that having to see them every day will somehow inspire me to finish them. Does that actually work for anyone?)

So anyway, until I finish these projects, there's just not much goin' on in my life to blog about here at Chez Eden. Even the Halloween hubbub has died down somewhat. I lost my steam somewhere in there so some of the other super cool paper crafts I had planned for Halloween will have to wait till next year. At least I managed to get some raven and owl silhouettes up in the window before I completely lost all motivation.

Day 60

So anyway, I was rummaging around in my closet yesterday when I came across my first ever knitted sweater. Man, is it ugly.

Reminiscing...

Here it is, in all it's glory. All garter stitch, in Lion Brand Wool Ease, which I thought was just the best yarn ever at the time and I couldn't understand why anyone would ever want to use anything else. I crocheted the bright pink trim on later using crab stitch, thinking that all that rusty orange just needed a little something to make it just a little bit more something. Now I do like these colors together, but I now understand that this doesn't necessarily mean I should be wearing them. Out in public on a hopelessly pilled and very obviously handknitted sweater. Ah well, you live and learn.

Day 67

In the close-up, you can see just how awful Wool Ease looks after a few trips through the washer and dryer, which is why I don't use it anymore. And this photo is after I cut all the little pills off of it, though I don't know why I even bothered.

Still, I must say that at least this is a very well-made sweater. The fit is perfect, which is amazing for me because even now I rarely manage to get something to fit just the way it should. Must have been beginners luck. The seams are pretty good too. It's warm and comfortable and wearable. I just don't wear it anywhere but inside the house.

You've come a long way, baby.

Now I know that Wool Ease kind of sucks despite the fact that it's cheap and can be run through a dryer. Now I know that garter stitch is better left to blankets, babies, or edging. Now I know that many things need to be considered before choosing what color or colors will work for a pullover. Also that pullover sweaters are usually too warm for Houston.

Now I know.

BTW- The pattern I used is called Earn Your Stripes from this book. (I did it all in one color because at the time I was intimidated by the notion of carrying my colors up the side. teehee)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Halloween Banner and some new socks

I finally did some decorating for Halloween. Not finished yet, but I did manage to make a pretty cool banner.
HalloweenDecor2 007
It was easy, but time consuming and after doing this, I seem to have lost all motivation to do anything else.
HalloweenDecor2 008 I did have fun playing with paper and stencils and scissors and glue. Made me feel like a kid again. I spent a lot of time in the scrapbooking isles at Hobby Lobby and Michael's. I never realized how much money those scrapbookers must spend! Oooh La La! That is one expensive hobby!

I also managed to finish another pair of crocheted socks.

Day 49
Same pattern as the last pair of socks I did, but this time I did esc instead of sc for the cuff part. Still not sure whether I like it or not, but the Serenity Sock yarn I used was softer and prettier than the Red Heart and Sole.

Now I'm not sure what to do next, but I do have a lot of UFO's that I could attend to... Hmmm...

Friday, September 25, 2009

Fall is coming! Fall is coming!

Short little post just to show off some pics I took today with my phone. I'm doing the 365 Project on my Flickr, which is basically just taking a picture a day for a year. I am definitely NOT a photographer so compared to the other 365ers, mine will probably be more just of a journal of what I did this year than an impressive thing to show off to people. Plus, even if I was a photographer, since I use my camera phone for most of my pics, I'm not expecting too many really quality pics.

However, today there must have been some Fall Magic in the air because all my pics were taken with my phone and they all came out pretty fantastic. I actually had a hard time deciding which one to choose for my Day 36 photo.

Gourds!
I've decided that gourds are equally, simultaneously beautiful and ugly.

Pretty Fall Colorful Corn!
Just some pretty and colorful corn.

Pumpkin Fairytales...
I call this one "Pumpkin Fairytales." I didn't make the sign in the picture look like that's what it was saying on purpose. I only noticed it after I saw the big picture on the Flickr page.

Day 36
This was taken while I was still sitting in the car. It's the one I used for Day 36.

Flowers at Whole Foods Market
My favorite one of the day. I really just took this on a whim because they were SO pretty. Shows what happens when you don't think about something too hard.

God, I just LOVE Fall!

Monday, September 7, 2009

10 Cool things about CROCHETED SOCKS

Day 6

1. Crocheted socks are easy!
Seriously. They are. Back in the day, when I was a new crocheter, I picked up this book from the library, thinking that I would maybe make me some socks. I read through a couple of patterns until my eyes crossed and returned the book thinking to myself, "Well, that's not gonna happen..." The patterns in the book are actually easy, but they weren't easy enough for me at that time. (I like easy things, in general.) If only I had known that:
2. You don't even really need a pattern.
I'm not sure what made me start thinking about crocheted socks again. I guess I was getting tired of trying to think of summery things to knit or crochet. (I'm SO ready for Fall to be here.) So I was browsing around ravelry and I came across this pattern, and I thought, "Well, I can do that..." It's really more of a simple, general explanation than a pattern, but somehow, it was just what I needed to give me courage to try to make me some socks. And low and behold...
One sock down...
Before I knew it I had one sock finished. Which leads me to cool thing number
3. Crocheted socks are fast!
I took me maybe a day and a half to finish this one sock, and that's while running around after a very busy 19 month old. Which leads me to
4. You only really need some yarn, a hook, and 2 stitch markers.
Also maybe a needle to weave in the ends and sew the afterthought heel closed. (Though if you want you can also slip stitch it closed. Which I tried on the first sock and it worked, but wasn't as pretty as sewing it closed.) Now, let's just take a moment to fully appreciate the magnitude of #4 here. You only basically need one hook and some yarn. That's one hook compared to 4 or 5 double pointed needles or two circular needles or one super long circular needle. I don't know about anyone else, but for me that is a big deal. For one thing, my little one loves to sneak up to me and pull whatever I'm working on out of my hands. Let's just imagine for a moment how devastating that would be if I were trying to juggle 4 or 5 needles and he ran up and grabbed one... Not a pretty picture. But when he grabs my hook, I can just giggle at him, chase him down, and finagle the hook out of his hand, then get right back to work, redoing the two or three stitches that got pulled out by his mischief. "No problem, sweetie... aren't you cute..." So maybe #4 should be, "Crocheted socks make you a better Mommy."
5. You get to use sock yarn.
I, for one, have always gazed longingly at the sock yarn. Especially now that you can even get it at any old craft store that also sells Red Heart Super Saver. But I never really bought any because I never made socks. Sure you can make other things with sock yarn, but I never did. But now I plan to happily browse through the sock yarns, just dreaming and scheming about all the cool socks I'm going to make. Yippee!
6. If you use an afterthought heel you can replace the heel part when (not if) it gets worn out. Now there are other heel methods that can be used when crocheting socks. There's the short row heel and the gussetted heel. Both of which are sort of copies of the heels of knitted socks. But I can't really see any great benefits to either of those types of heels. Looking on ravelry I saw a lot of complaints and confusions related to both these heel types. Even so, some crocheters seem to see them as superior in some way to the afterthought heel, maybe because they're harder, or maybe because they copy the knitted sock heel. But personally, I think the afterthought heel is the greatest thing since sliced bread. For one thing it is spectacularly, extraordinarily easy to do. For another thing, I think it's a whole lot prettier than the other ones, mainly because with the afterthought heel I can keep the lovely spiraling stitch pattern that I started out with, and that you can only get by spiraling, instead of interrupting it to suddenly start working back and forth in rows. It gives the finished sock a sort of continuity that looks really beautiful so that you can't necessarily see where the sock ends and begins. I love that.
7. You can custom make them to fit your foot exactly.
In fact that's why you don't really need a pattern. Because you try them on as you're making them to see when to do the next thing.
8. If you make a mistake, it ain't no big thang.
Since this is crochet, not knit, making a mistake means just pulling out the hook ripping to exactly where you need to, then putting the hook back into one live stitch and moving on with your life. It also means you can play around a little. You can try new things, be creative, try a ripple or a ribbed cuff or a fan-stitch, or lace, or filet crochet, tapestry crochet... the possibilities are almost endless.
9. Crocheted socks are very comfy, very warm, and Yes, you can wear them with shoes.
I don't know who started the nasty rumor that crocheted socks can't be worn with shoes, but I'm guessing that same person probably can't sleep with a pea under her mattress either. The fact is, if you use a small enough hook and thin enough yarn (I used an 3.5mm E hook with Red Heart and Sole yarn) they can be easily worn with shoes. They are a little thicker than the thin socks that you can buy in packs of 6, but they aren't like slippers. The stitch pattern that single crochet makes is a little different than stockinette stitch, but I got used to it pretty quickly and I'm fairly sensitive skinned. If you're skeptical, go ahead and give it a try. It's a quick enough project and if you don't like them you can always give them away to someone as a gift because
10. Crocheted socks make great gifts and people are impressed by handmade socks, knitted or crocheted.
As soon as my mom saw them she tried them on then "ordered" 2 pair. Though some knitters may turn their noses up at crocheted socks, non yarn worshipping people generally don't even know the real difference between knit and crochet. All they know is, "Hey, someone made me a pair of socks with their own two little hands! How cool is that!" Personally, I love the fact that because crochet can't be duplicated with a machine, crocheted socks can't be bought, only made. So there!

CROCHETED SOCKS!

Update:  The pattern I used to make this is no longer available apparently.  The link isn't working anymore.  Too bad because it was sort of perfect.  But I found another one that is similar, though it starts at the cuff and works down to the toe instead of toe-up like I did for this one.  (Toe up is easier, I think.) Soon, I'll have to write out the sock recipe that I used to make these.  

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Halloween Tree!!


Halloween Tree!!, originally uploaded by Hell'sCook.

Yes, people, I'm already starting to think about Halloween. You see, Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday. Chalk it up to being the child of an intense health food nut who only allowed candy on holidays and birthdays and how could I help but choose Halloween as my favorite? I mean, it's an entire holiday almost totally dedicated to candy! It was the only time in the year where it was acceptable to stockpile as much candy as possible and hoard it or gorge on it at will!

But now that I'm older and I can't eat that much candy without suffering severely in one way or another, it has become more about just... acceptable spookiness. The pagan in me just loves the fact that it's a holiday entirely dedicated to celebrating the dark side of things. You don't have to celebrate the birth of any deities or give of yourself in any selfless way. You don't have to run around like crazy buying a crapload of gifts for family plus any friends that you think just might also buy you one. No one is expecting you to cook or bake large amounts of food and invite family and friends over for cheer and goodwill, nor do you have to endure anything resembling a midnight mass. In fact, one of the great things about Halloween is that you can turn off your porch light and ignore it almost completely if you so choose and no one will find it strange or rude or uncaring. OR you can go completely nuts and decorate and bake and dress up and throw a wild party and that will be just as equally accepted by all. I LOVE IT!

The past couple of years, despite my love for the holiday, I have pretty much ignored it. Last year I had a baby who was too young to fully appreciate it, plus I was too tired from taking care of him to do anything other than buy a bag of candy and throw it in a bowl for any trick-or-treaters who came along. The year before that I was pregnant with that baby and so nauseated that just the idea of candy or the smell of burning pumpkin made me want to hurl.

But NOW, oh now! I am ready or at least I intend to be ready. I'm going to make up for those lost years and then some. I'm going to make homemade Halloween decorations. I'm going to bake and maybe even decorate sugar cookies. I'm going to carve pumpkins. I'm going to take my wee one, who is finally getting really good at the walking thing, and costume him up and go trick-or-treating. Oh yes, I'm going to do it all! And I'm already thinking about it all right now so I won't run out of time or be overwhelmed.

I probably won't have a Halloween tree, but I like the "spirit" behind the idea.

(ps- notice the countdown widget at the bottom of the page)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Frock Finished!

Finally finished the Frock Camisole. It was super easy and it was just as cute as I wanted it to be.

Frock Camisole
I"ll probably knit it again because it really went fast and it's very comfy and somewhat flattering. If I do knit it again, though, I'll pick a different yarn and knit one size bigger. The Caron Spa is lovely and oh so soft, especially after washed and dried, but I just think this top would be prettier and maybe drape a little better in a cotton yarn. The Spa makes me feel like I'm wearing a nightie top. It would be really nice for a comfy oversized pullover or cardigan, and I'm already planning to use it to knit my son some pants once it gets cool again. (If it ever does get cool again. This summer feels like it's going to last forever!) The top fits, but it doesn't fit the exact way I was planning. I have a little too much boobage for this size.

Here's a close up of the yoke:
Detail Frock Camisole
I love the way the reverse stockinette curls up the straps like that. I made a few booboos on this part, but the pattern was pretty forgiving. I also made the straps about an inch shorter than the pattern calls for, but I might make them longer next time.

I think this is the first garment I've ever knitted in the round and I am now a big fan of knitting in the round. No seams to sew and once you're done, you're DONE! LOVE THAT! I used to avoid the circular needles because they just felt weird to me, but I'm over it. It's all about getting things done quickly now.

Here's a little preview of what I'm working on now:

Knit Chevron up close
I'm not going to say what the pattern is yet, because I'm just not sure how or if it's going to work out. It's a bit wild!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Selfish knitting mood

Baby squares1

This is what I should be working on right now. It's a sweet little baby blanket for a friend of mine whose baby was born some months ago and will probably, by the time I'm finished with this blanket, be somewhere close to graduating from high school. Okay, no, that's an exagerration. But seriously, I should have finished this long ago. Especially since it's such an easy, lovely pattern. And especially because I spent so much time trying to come up with just the right colors. (Vintagey, 1940's because those are the colors that always remind me of the mommy and also because I wanted to use up some scrap yarn.) But I'm in one of those selfish knitting moods. I only want to knit for me right now and I only want to do really easy, really instant gratification projects.

Hopefully this mood will be satisfied once I finish with this pattern. I didn't take any in progress pictures of it because most of the time I find those pictures pretty boring, but also because I'm lazy. I'm really close to being finished and I'm hoping that it fits and looks as fabulous as I imagine it looking.

I'll let you know.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Big project coming up...

I'm still in the planning/inspiration phase of this project, which is actually my favorite part of any project. I love the planning, dreaming, wondering part of projects even better than I like finishing it. Probably why I have so many UFO's floating around.

I've been wanting a bedspread for our queen size bed ever since the weather became warmer and I realized that a crocheted blanket is the perfect thing to keep you just warm enough during the hot Houston summer months. I've always used comforters year round, but now, after having a baby, I find I sweat like a horse at night if I'm under a comforter. Right now I have a ripple blanket that I made last Hurricane season on the bed. It's pretty and it looks nice, but it's not quite big enough to cover the whole bed and it's bit bright for my decor ideals. October2008 006 I'm looking for something a bit calmer and classier. If I had more time and patience I would do something like this:

rowanblanket I want that classic one-color crocheted bedspread look, but with a bit of a modern twist, but really who has time to sew all those freakin' squares together? Not me. So I did some looking around and came up with Andalusia. It's a free pattern from Berroco and it's pretty much perfect for my needs right now.
andalusia_lg_medium ANDALUSIA
It's still sewing squares together, but the squares are bigger so it shouldn't take as long, and I like the little flower detail, but that's it's not too flowery. I don't want to drown my poor DH in crocheted girliness, but I want something a little classic and feminine that reminds me of those antique crocheted bedspreads you see on Grandma's bed or now, mostly in antique/vintage stores. This pattern is only big enough for a throw, but I'm going to just keep adding on squares until it's as big as I need it to be. I may try to find some sort of border, too, but maybe not. I kind of like the clean lines of the sc border, not sure if I want to mess with that.

Here's a detail of the square close up:
andalusia_D_lg
Love that little teensy flower!

Now the main problem is that I can't quite decide what color I want to do. I'm not used to having to settle on just one. I like my colors! I thought about doing just the flower part in one color, then everything else in another color, either two very different colors, or two shades of the same color. Like dark green and light greeen or gray and white, but I think that would mess with the general antiqueyness that I'm trying to create. And then there's also just which color do I want to choose. I'm pretty sure I don't want to go with pure white or even off white because I have a small child and 2 cats and a dog. No white. But a soft grey might be nice, or even a taupe. Still not sure and it will probably really come down to just whatever I see in the store when I go to get the yarn. I've pretty much decided that I'll use Cotton-Ease for the yarn, inexpensive, but not too cheap and it shows great stitch detail, which I really like for crochet. Also, machine washable and very durable. I'll probably do some swatching too, just to see what looks good and which size hook I want to use.

More on this later...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Aaaaat Laaaast... my love has come along...

JanFeb09 041

Pattern: Warm Cap with Brim/Swirls Cap
Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Fantasy Naturale Multi
Hook: Size F
Size: Custom Fit for my teensy head

This is the Magic Hat. I decided, on a whim to make myself a hat this winter. It was one of those things where you just suddenly decide that you need to drop everything and make yourself a hat. (I don't really know if this happens to anyone else, but it happens to me.)

First off, I should say now that I have bad mojo when it comes to hats. They just never work out, no matter how hard I plan, or how carefully I pick out my pattern. It always turns out wrong somehow. Either too big or too small or it fits but it looks stupid on me. And at one time I had just given up on hats entirely. Just decided that I wasn't really a "hat person." But then for some reason I decided to try again. Maybe I saw a hat on someone and liked the way it looked and got jealous. Or maybe I was just really cold. I really don't remember. Probably it had something to do with wanting to buy myself some yarn and the only way I could justify it was to tell myself that it would only be a couple of skeins... just enough for a hat.

My first candidate was Le Slouche by Wendy Bernard. Well, I made it and it turned out looking pretty good and then it just streched and stretched and stretched until it was covering my eyes. I'm thinking that had to do with the cotton yarn, but I'm not sure if I just made it too big or what. Anyway, it didn't work out and I didn't like it enough to make it all over again, plus I decided I wanted a hat with a brim anyway. (I'd been seeing these cute little slouchy brim hats everywhere and I HAD to have one.)

Well, to make a long story short, I eventually had to resort to changing from knit to crochet, then I ended up having to combine two different hat patterns to get the hat I wanted. And I had to crochet in some elastic around the base to keep it from stretching out. (A little trick that I took from inspecting a bought hat that was cute, but too small from me.) There were times during my Hat Journey where I almost gave up. I must have made this hat maybe 4 or 5 times before I finally figured it all out. So maybe I should call this the Perseverence Hat. The Holy Grail Hat. Whatever. It's Magic to me because I finally have a hat that I love. I had to modify the pattern greatly to get this particular hat, including going to a whole other pattern to get the brim. The pattern itself is easy, but it's more of a suggestion than a pattern as far as I'm concerned. Anyway, it all worked out in the end and now I have at least one hat pattern that I know fits my head. WOOHOO!

JanFeb09 043 JanFeb09 040 JanFeb09 042

Love that I can wear it with my hair down, or all tucked up inside, too.

I liked the yarn, especially the color, but I think if I make it again, I'll choose a solid color. I always feel like variegated yarn looks kind of cheesy in crochet and had I known I would end up switching to crochet I would have chosen a solid color to begin with.
Also, you might notice that the brim doesn't really match up with the little seams very well, which makes the hat look slightly wonky.
Oh well.

(Modifications on ravelry)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Finally some FO's!

Clapotis and happyfeet

Pattern:
Clapotis (knitty)

Yarn:
DMC Senso Harlequin in "Earth"

Needles:
Size 6 (straight)


I actually finished this Clapotis awhile ago, but life got busier and crazier so I didn't have a chance to download the pictures. I took this picture with my feet because I was so proud of the Pedicure I gave myself, but the scarf looks pretty good too if I do say so myself.

Here's a close-up:

Clapotis closeup

Isn't she beautiful, my friends?

Oh, words alone cannot express how much I love this scarf. Now I understand why everyone in the world who knits has made at least one of these babies. (And why most people make more than one, which I plan to do sometime in the future.) Not only is it truly beautiful, but it's actually one of those things that is fun to knit, at least according to me. Some of the people on ravelry complained about the endless boredom of it, but personally, everytime I got to drop one of those stitches I got a little, eh, shall I say charge!

And as great as it is to knit, it's even better to wear. I wore this thing everywhere as soon as it was finished. It looks good with jeans and a tee-shirt, with a dress, whatever. And since I made mine in a cotton blend it's the perfect weight, not too heavy, but it keeps me warm.

The only thing I'll do differently if I make another one is to make it just a leetle bit longer, more of a stole size, because that's another fabulous thing about it, that it can be worn as a scarf or a stole. (I toyed with the idea of making this one longer, but I was too paranoid that I would run out of yarn.)

I'm also really happy about the way this yarn knitted up. DMC Senso is a lovely yarn for a Clapotis. It's sturdy and strong, but light at the same time. I guess that technically it's a crochet thread, but whatever. It's fabulous for a Clapotis.

More FOs soon!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I'm still here...

Okay, so it has been quite some time since I've posted here, but that's ok since I don't think anyone really reads this blog. But I have not just been sitting around. I've been knitting and crocheting my little ass off and I have a LOT of finished projects to brag about. I just need to stop procrastinating and download the pictures from my camera. Well, it will happen soon. I promise.

Just not today. (Haha!)

Monday, January 5, 2009

Clap, clap, clap it's CLAP-O-Teeeee!

Clapotis started!
SO! Last week I started a Clapotis. Yes, despite the fact that I have a sweater to finish that I've been working on for months. Despite the MANY baby items I need to knit for my ridiculously fertile friends who all seem to have babies due within the next few months, despite my OWN baby who is in some serious need of some cute little knitted baby bell bottoms. Despite all this and more I started a Clapotis last week.

It happened when I went to my LYS on a whim while I was finishing up my Christmas shopping. I have no idea why I went in there. Perhaps I just needed a safe place away from all the Christmas crazy. Or maybe it was just the joy of being able to look at yarn without worrying about the baby. From my experience baby in a yarn store = bull in a china shop.

So there I was just browsing and fondling like usual when I came across a Clapotis that someone had made and just sort of draped, casually, across a display shelf. Now, I had, of course, heard of the Clapotis. And in my mind I think I thought something like this, "Hmmm... that's a clever little pattern...maybe someday, but probably not..." And I really didn't see how it had become such a craze/addiction for so many people. I mean it's just a scarf, right? And I really have no need for anymore scarves. I already have a ton that I never use anyway. I mean, I live in Houston for crying out loud. We have exactly 2 or 3 days of scarf weather per year and on those days I usually just stay home. And even though people say the pattern is easy, the directions looked pretty frickin' complicated to me, and one of my knitting philosophies is that if it's too complicated then it's not for me. But more on that later. The point is, for several reasons I just did not really ever think that I would catch "the Clap."

But then I saw that Clapotis just lying there, casually, but seductively, almost as if it didn't even really want to be noticed (but it knew that it would be.) And I picked it up and I slipped it around my shoulder and around my neck and just like that... I caught "the Clap." (It's apparently outrageously contagious, inflicting it's victims with even the most casual of contact.) I HAD to have one. Now, admittedly, part of the luxury of that particular Clapotis was probably the yarn, which was Blue Heron Rayon Metallic and about $40 for one hank, thank you very much, but seriously beautiful and probably worth every penny. And I did actually consider buying it just so I could have a Clapotis just like that slutty one in the store, but I managed to take hold of my sensibilities just in time and then I ran out of that store.

I went home and I tried to forget about the Clapotis, just not think about it at all. I mean I was seriously busy, here. I had a ton of stuff to get done and a ton of projects already started and needing to be finished and I could not allow myself to buy any more yarn right now anyway. But before I knew it I was looking up the Clapotis on ravelry, you know, just browsing, just wanting to see what everyone else was doing and thinking about it, no big deal. I should have known it was all over once I looked on ravelry. 9335 Clapotis projects and counting. So I thought, who am I to try to resist. But what really finally convinced me was that I realized I had the perfect yarn in my stash already. (DMC Senso Harlequin) I bought it probably a year ago just because I liked it. I had no idea what I would do with it and I just bought all that the store had left, which wasn't a lot, but then I came across 2 more balls a few months ago on sale and I bought those two, still having no idea what I would be using it for. So total I had 800 yards. Perfect. Kismet. I mean how could I prevent this from happening when it so clearly wanted to happen. And I would technically be doing a good thing by using up some of my stash. Right?

Well, then I had to figure out the pattern, and I'll admit, I was intimidated. I mean there was just lines and lines of abbreviations with parentheses and kbl and pfb and kfb and p2tog and all kinds of stuff that I only knew how to do in theory, having never actually done it before. And then while looking through the ravelry group for the Clapotis where people just get together on line and rave and contemplate and gush over the Clapotis, I found that there are spreadsheets for this pattern. Spreadsheets!

Ok, so I printed out my spreadsheet and I sat down to start the pattern and right at the beginning I'm stumped. Pfb. Purl front and back? WTF? How do you do that? Well, I looked it up and I'm still not sure I'm doing it right, but it's working and that is good enough for me. All in all, I probably had to do the start up rows 4 or 5 times before I stopped messing it up, but now I'm tootin' along and am almost to the part where I can start dropping stitches, which from what I've heard is one of the highlights of the joys of the Clapotis.

So far I'm enjoying the process though I can tell that it will probably become a bit tedious after awhile, but I can't wait for the finished product. The yarn I chose is technically a crochet thread, so it's very light. Almost fingering weight which is perfect because I'm really hoping to be able to wear this scarf despite the mild weather of Houston. And I'm loving the earth tone variagation of the yarn. I don't even mind the occasional pooling which I know annoys some knitters, but I think is rather interesting and pretty, especially if it's something like a scarf that won't be stretched over any bumpy body parts.

More pictures soon!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Finally!

So here are some pictures of what's been keeping me busy these past few weeks...

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I made a bunch of these for our Christmas tree since my theme this year was "unbreakable things," and I wasn't sure I would have enough ornaments to make it look fully festive enough. Plus I just think these are the coolest things ever.

paper chains handmade
I made this paper chain after seeing one for sale at Gardenridge. (It wasn't paper but a sturdier pliable plastic, but I still couldn't believe that anyone would actually pay for it. Plus the store one was only in red and white. Rip off!) I had forgotten completely about these, but I thought they would be perfect for our unbreakable tree. Yes, I used staples instead of glue. It went way faster and these are never sturdy enough to last more than one year, so I say do what you have time to do. Why get precious about it.

Diaper Wreath

Oreo cake balls.

Knitted booties
As if Christmas decorating wasn't enough to do I also volunteered to help a friend with her baby shower. (CRAZY!) But it was actually a lot of fun and I would have gone way crazier if I hadn't had so much Christmas stuff to do. I got the diaper wreath directions here. The middle picture is of these delightful little things called oreo balls. They are SO crazy delicious and SUPER SIMPLE to make. Just check out the recipe if you don't believe me. The last picture is of the baby booties I knitted for the shower gift. The pattern is Ruth's Perfect Baby Booties and it's also pretty easy and very quick. I was nervous about it the first time I knitted it because it was the first time I had ever done short rows, but it turns out short rows are pretty easy. And everyone loves these little things. AND they really are the only freakin' things that will stay on wiggly baby feet.

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YAY! The finished tree!

Breakable ornaments hung in the window.

Bowl of balls
This is what I did with all our very pretty, very dangerous or breakable ornaments.

SO I had a LOT of fun with the decorating, but I learned my lesson.
1. Never EVER volunteer to help with a baby shower that takes place anywhere near Christmas.
2. If you're going to make a lot of homemade decorations for Christmas, start decorating in late October instead of early December.
There was actually a lot of stuff that I found on line or saw somewhere else that I wanted to try, but I just ran out of time.

All in all, though, I had a lovely Christmas!