Monday, December 12, 2011

Knitting Fever, Elizabeth Zimmerman, and Ugly Sweaters

So I've been wearing my Old, Ugly, First-Sweater-I-Ever-Knitted (yes, that is the official title) a lot lately because I've discovered that Elizabeth Zimmerman was right about a couple of things.
1.   Garter stitch is awesome and really, really warm.
First knitted sweater
Raveled - (to read the whole story of this sweater click on the "raveled" link.)  

This sweater can actually be warn as a jacket most days here in Houston and it's perfectly, wonderfully warm.  So warm, in fact, that I don't even care anymore about the odd glances I sometimes get when I wear it out in public. Or about the fact that I look like a slightly smaller, slightly cuter version of the Michelen Man when I wear it.  

Yes, I've finally picked up a book by EZ, as she's affectionately known in the knitting world.  I decided to start with Knitting Without Tears because it's the quintessential beginning EZ book and I must admit I've always been a bit intimidated by EZ and her devil-may-care approach to knitting.  This woman is truly a knitting master and, as she likes to say, she is the absolute master of her knitting.

I must confess that I am not.  I'm a pattern knitter and I cringe a little every time I stray too far from whatever the pattern says I must do. I'll go so far as to change yarns or even fibers, mostly because I can't afford 27 balls of Rowan SuperExpensive Superfancy Cotton or whatever they're calling it, but that's about it.  If the pattern doesn't work for me I move on until I find one that does.  

But I've been enchanted by the garter stitch, lately, and no one loves garter stitch more than EZ.  So here I go into new territory.

Unfortunately I have a few Christmas things I need to work on before I can really dive into my new garter stitch passion.  (Oh yeah... Christmas...)  AND I do need to finish up the Abandoned Ripple (also it's now official title)

But after that everyone's going to be seeing a lot of garter stitch around here.
I'm also a little nervous about trying out my first EZ pattern so that should probably be good for a few laughs too.  

Thursday, December 1, 2011

You are an obsession. You're my obsession.

A few months ago, I wrote this post about shawls and how I finally "get it" about why everyone is so crazy about them.  Well, here's my next confession:  I am obsessed with shawls now.  I honestly can't figure out how I ever survived and thrived without them.  AND I finally knitted one with some of that stash yarn I was talking about in my last post.

Ravelry link  
Hanging Mara Shawl
Araucania Atacama- now discontinued  

I was worried about trying to knit one because as I've said before I am a s l o w knitter.  Also, most of the patterns I see getting ooohed and ahhhhed over are lace knit shawls and despite the undeniable beauty of the lace knitting.  I am just not there yet and don't know if I ever will be. Aside from the mind-numbing complicatedness of the lace stitch patterns,  I'm just not a lacey shawl kind of gal so I'm not motivated to figure out how to do something that's, strictly speaking, not even really my style.  But I found this pattern for the Mara shawl and I thought it was perfect.  Exactly the kind of thing I might actually wear and easy as pie to knit.  Now this shawl consists of a whole lotta garter stitch, so if that's not your thing, then you probably wont like this pattern, but while knitting this one I discovered that I really love the garter stitch, especially with a yummy dk variegated yarn.  For the first time in a long time I found myself enjoying a knitting project so much that I really didn't want it to end.  And of course, I finished this one amazingly quickly because I was enjoying it so much.  
Mara stripes

Here's a close up of the color and the stripes I added to make the shawl bigger. It's still not as big as I wanted it to be, but I really used up every scrap of that yarn that I had and it's now discontinued, so that's that.  A word about this yarn:  Yummy!
This is 100% alpaca, which is a very warm fiber.  In the garter stitch it is so squishy and delicious.  I put this shawl on my shoulders any time I'm feeling chilled and in no time at all I am toasty warm.
(I had no idea that just putting a little something warm on your shoulders could make you feel so warm!  I am so in awe of that new discovery.)
Alpace, like wool, can be a little itchy, but so far I'm persevering because I love the warmth so much.

Another confession:  I already bought some more yarn because I want to make another one of these, but next time in a solid color and much bigger.
Yes... obsessed.  

And just to ease my troubled conscience about the abandoned ripple blanket, I also finished a sweater that I started last year and that was languishing in my UFO pile.

Hanging striped raglan
Yarn:  Caron Country

I actually kind of forgot I had started this one.   I think I got discouraged because I knew I wouldn't quite have enough yarn to make the sleeves for this sweater long and at the time I really wanted it to be long sleeved, but after pulling it back out I decided that short sleeves would be just fine and in fact I really actually love the short sleeves.  I think for a long time I thought short-sleeved sweaters were kind of silly.  Like those open-toed boots that were all the rage last fall/winter?  I thought, "What's the point?  If it's cold enough to wear boots/a sweater, then wouldn't you need to cover your toes/arms?"  But living in Houston, I'm now understanding how it can be chilly enough to want a sweater, but not cold enough to need a long sleeved sweater.  And if it gets colder I can always wear a long sleeved shirt underneath and really that's about as cold as it ever gets in Houston.  (Still don't really get those open-toed boots, though.)

And that's about all I can tell you about this sweater.  I have no idea what pattern I used or if I just made it up as I was going along. All I know is that it's a top-down raglan knit in the round and that the yarn is super soft and lovely and machine washable and if it holds up well I'll definitely use it again.
Perhaps on another shawl?  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Playing Hooky (no pun intended)

I have a few confessions to make...

I've been playing hooky from my ripple blanket.  It's not that I don't love the ripple, but sometimes, you just need to think about/ look at/ fixate on another project before the one you're working on is finished.  I used to have a real problem with this until I decided that I would only work on one project at a time.  But seriously people, ripple blankets take a really, really long time to finish.  Especially the particular ripple I love to do which consists of nothing but single crochet through the back loop (sc tbl) until the end of eternity.  This magical stitch makes a beautiful fabric that is cozier than should be possible, but that has a wonderful dreamy drape to it.  It even makes really cheap acrylic seem wonderful.  But it is boring! (Of course, if this blanket was for me, I'd probably be finished by now.)

There's also the fact that for about 2 weeks we thought we might be moving to Chicago.  Now as soon as I heard this, I naturally thought about yarn and knitting and making all kinds of things that I don't really have any occasion to knit while living somewhere that only gets cold about 3 times a year.  I was thinking about mittens and wool sweaters, (with real wool!)  And the imagination was sparking all sorts of inspiration frenzies and visions of walking through snow in a beautiful, perfectly knitted cable knit sweater. But alas, the dream died and the job Mr. Man was hoping to get went to some other (undeserving) candidate (who probably has no appreciation whatsoever for hand-knit sweaters.)  And I had to go back to finding things to knit/crochet that I might actually get to wear here in Houston. But by then I'd already raided my stash and found some pretty awesome and some other not so awesome yarns that I'd forgotten I had.  Well, this sparked another frenzy.  This frenzy had to do with finally knowing what I wanted to make with these certain forgotten yarns.

First up we have Nashua Vignette:

Nashua Vignette with pumpkin

It looks like a lovely yarn, doesn't it.
Well, it isn't.
I bought this yarn years ago (it's now discontinued) to make a sweater, but once I started knitting with it, I hated it.  For one thing it is incredibly scratchy.  For another thing it's really... sproingy.  I don't know any other word to use.  What I'm trying to say is that even though it's a worsted weight yarn it behaves like a bulky weight yarn once you start knitting or crocheting with it.  It just... sproings up! I had a lot of this stuff, too because I bought enough to make a whole sweater, (but not a bulky sweater because, let's face it, Kate Moss I am not, and who else would look good in a bulky sweater?)  It's just been sitting in my stash for 5 years or so but a few weeks ago I had an epiphany about what to make with it.  
Close up of half granny shawl

Can you guess what it is? (See how sproingy?)

Okay, I'll show you...

Half granny shawl hanging by the door

Yeah, that's right, I made another Half-granny shawl.  This one was made more for warmth than for prettiness.  I don't really have any plans to wear it out in public.  For one thing, it's huge!  I was trying to use up all that yarn (I still have one ball left.)  And I found a surprising amount of other scraps of very similarly colored yarn hiding out in my stash so I threw that stuff in there too.  Now I have a shawl that I can wrap around myself whenever I have to go outside to let the dog out or whatever, but don't feel like putting on a sweater or jacket. Or just for when I'm cold inside, which happens to me a lot. This shawl is very warm, and it of reminds me a little of the kind of thing you might see on an ancient Italian widow. I kind of hated every minute of working on it because of that crappy yarn, but I do have the satisfaction of knowing that it's no longer in my stash and it is exactly what I was wanting when I decided to make it.  My favorite part is the little picots on the edge.  I need to use more picots.

Okay so even though I do have more to show you of my "playing hooky" projects, I have no more pictures so it will have to come in the next post.

Meanwhile I'd like to know if anyone else is having this playing hooky problem.  Also if anyone else has any yarn in their stash that they hate and don't know what to do with it.  Anyone?  

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Still plugging along...

I wish I were one of those bloggers who could pound out a blanket every 2 weeks.  Or that I had something fabulous to show you every single time I blog.  Unfortunately, I'm still working on this chevron blanket and it is slooowww goooooiiinng...

Chevron in progress

Even though this chevron pattern takes longer than some of the others that use double crochet, I really just love the fabric made from single crochet through the back loop.  It has such a nice drape, and yet it makes such a warm cozy blanket. Do you have a favorite ripple/chevron pattern?

This one is a gift for the parents of a friend who lost everything they had when their house burned down this summer.

Here it is again, draped over my legs while I work on it:
Chevron in progress

Every time I make one of these for someone else I want to steal it for myself.
The next one I make is going to be MINE!

Anyone else in the mood to ripple?  Join this Ripple Along on Flickr.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Baby Blanket Madness

Oh dear!  Has it really been almost a month since my last blog post?  Well, but I have actually been busy. For real!

First I made this blanket for a friend who is expecting a boy in mid-October.

Blue Granny Square blanket with booties

Can you tell this blanket is for a boy?  Haha! I usually try to be a little less obvious about using traditional gender colors because
1. I sort of hate pastels and
2. I just love doing the unexpected when it comes to baby stuff, it's just way more fun.

But for this one I decided to go super traditional. I'd been wanting to try the granny square thing with just a few colors and the same square repeated for awhile and I really loved it! I love the way it kind of looks like tiles and that it looks like something someone might have made back in 1950.

My favorite part of this particular blanket is the border.

Close up of border

It's very simple, just single crochet around and around but it makes it look very polished and elegant.  Almost serious.

I also knitted some booties.

Black and white knitted booties

Now, seriously, aren't booties just the cutest things ever in the history of ever?

Now I'm working on something else for another friend.  Here's a little peek...

Ripple detail

(You can probably guess what it is.)
And I haven't forgotten about the Goodnight Moon blanket, but it's gonna have to be on the back burner for a little longer.  

Monday, August 29, 2011

Do you tawashi?

A tawashi is actually a japanese word for a specific type of scrub brush, but the term has expanded in the crochet realm to these cute little thingees that people started making and using as scrubbies for their dishes.  
Tawashi anyone?

I came across these first on etsy.  What caught my eye in particular was the fact that they were made out of acrylic.  Cheapo acrylic yarn, the scratchier the better.  I had always followed the yarn commandment that says, "Thou shalt only use cotton for handmade yarny kitchen thingees."  But much to my surprise acrylic does an extraordinary job of scrubbing dishes. I even scrubbed my lasagna pan without soaking it first with above tawashi and it took no time at all and nowhere near as much elbow grease as it usually would.  Hmmmm... looks like I'll have to take back my vow to never ever buy Red Heart Supersaver again.

I used this pattern to make the tawashi above.  The crochet part was super simple, but I had to watch a video  I found on ravelry to understand how to put it together.  So I made a little picture tool to show how it's done in case anyone wants to make one.
Do you tawashi?

When I looked up "tawashi" on Flickr and ravelry I found that people are cuckoo for these things.  Sort of like useful amurigami.  For me the awesomeness of tawashi all lies in the idea of maybe never having to buy a sponge again.  And the fact that you can throw them in with your regular laundry. Because I've always been a little creeped out by the whole sponge crawling with bacteria situation.  Speaking of which, supposedly tawashi made from acrylic is so good at removing food particles from dishes that you don't even need to use soap. (Of course, I still will use soap, but how cool is that?)  There is also some Japanese yarn that has been treated with silver ions to make it anti-bacterial.  Yarn made especially for tawashi making! But I'll stick with my Red Heart stash for now.

So far I've just tried this one pattern, but I found all kinds of super cute tawashi pictures on Flickr.
Here are some of my favorites: 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Goodnight Summer

I am boycotting summer.
I'm just over it.  I am so done.

Merriam-Webster defines boycott as - to engage in a concerted refusal to have dealings with (as a person, store, or organization) usually to express disapproval or to force acceptance of certain conditions

Every year around this time I start yearning for Fall and the end of summer.  But this year I'm in a downright protest against summer.  Here in Texas we're on the 900th day of 100+ degree weather, not to mention one of the worst droughts these parts have ever dealt with. (Okay it's not really the 900th day, but that's what it feels like.) I mean we didn't even get a real Spring for crying out loud! No rain = no flowers.  I mean the trees are just gasping out here, folks.  

So I was walking through my local craft store sometime last week when I came across this:

Here it comes...

Now, usually I scorn the putting out of the holiday things months before the actual holiday, but this year I almost did a little dance! And I thought, "Darn right! If the craft stores can start preparing for Halloween in August well then so I can I!"  And right then and there I decided that I'm just not dealing with summer anymore.  As far as I'm concerned it's time to start preparing for falling leaves and cornucopias.
So there!

And here at Casa Moi, that means it's blanket making time!
Goodnight Moon inspired Granny Squares
This one is going to be for Mr. Boy.  He's pretty much grown out of all his baby blankets, and when I made this one for my friend last year, he loved it!  So I vowed to make him a Granny of his own.

I chose to use the colors from Goodnight Moon because he can just stare and stare at that book for... well... minutes.  He's a 3 year old boy after all.  So no one activity can generally keep him occupied for more than a few minutes.

And I'm also making a baby blanket for a friend who's expecting and whose baby shower is coming up on September 17th.  But I can't show you pics of that one yet because you never know whose watching.

So I'll be a busy, busy, crocheting bee for the next few weeks!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Sometimes I knit.

Not often, but sometimes, I knit.  I really love to knit, actually, but it takes sooooo loooonng to finish anything, which means that I hardly ever do finish anything knitted these days, which is why I just crochet most of the time.  I can crochet like the wind.

However, every now and then someone asks me to make them something, and inevitably that something is usually knitted.

Hat for Dad
This hat for example was made for my dad.  I made him a hat long ago for Christmas, I think it was?  And when I asked him what he wanted for Father's Day it turned out to be another hat just like the other one.  Really, a hat?  In the summer?  You want a hat?  Are you sure?  Yes.  He's sure he wants a hat, only he wants it to be burnt orange (UT colors) so he can wear it to the UT games.  And let me tell you, that was no easy task finding the exact right shade of burnt orange.  You can't just pick any old orange.  I had to take him to the yarn store and we spent quite a bit of time going over which orange is burnt orange and which is Tennessee orange and which is almost burnt orange but not quite.  (Apparently to show up to a UT game wearing Tennessee orange or not quite UT orange is a major faux pas. Who knew?)  But alas, Dad will have his hat.  (Quite a few weeks past Father's Day, but knitting takes me soooo loooonng!)

Here's the pattern I used for the hat, though instead of a rolled brim, I used a 1X1 ribbing for the brim. And the stripe sequence I chose was based on the Fibonacci sequence because it's one of those math geeky things that men think are cool.

And then once I start knitting, well, I have to make a few of these too:

Impromptu dishcloths made for Mom

Now these are dishcloths made of cheapety cheap cheap cotton yarn, and they are magic.  Magic I tell you!  Everyone loves these things, and thankfully they are extremely quick and easy to make.  I can turn these suckers out in a day or two.  Less if I didn't have a toddler to tend to.  They may not look like much, and usually when I give them to people as gifts they look at me kind of like,  "Oh... knitted dishcloths... well... thanks... I guess..."  But then they always come back to me and say, "HEY! Those things are AWESOME! I need, like 100 more of them!"  But really you only need, like, 3 of them because they are damn near impossible to destroy.  Unless you're my mother.  She always finds a way to tear them up, so I made the above for her.  But when Dad saw them, his eyes lit up!  "OH! You made us some more dishcloths! Oh I LOVE these things!"  Really?  Well, that's what I like to hear!

Anyone want the pattern?  Here it is!

(In case anyone is interested, when I make them I change row 3 so that the first knit 2 together is an SKP, only because I think it makes a more fetching dishcloth, but it's really not necessary for functionality.)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Salon Effects by Sally Hansen... so far, pretty cool.

Okay, so remember waaaaaay back when, I mentioned something in this post about trying the Sally Hansen Salon Effects nail polish strips? Well, I finally did it!

Summer feet!

These are the #340 Girl Flower Strips and I thought they would be perfect for a summer pedicure.  Yeah, I decided to try them on my toes instead of my hands because, well, a wildflower manicure just seemed like a bit much for me right now.

I did do one accent nail on my hands with the flowers:

Not sure how I feel about that look.  I think I might have liked it better if I'd chosen a better color for the rest of the nails.  Maybe a sky blue, or a fun summery pink?  This shimmery iridescent silver is just not doin' it for me really.  (In case anyone is wondering that color is called Silver Lining and the polish is also Sally Hansen- Complete Salon Manicure.)

Also, not sure how I feel about the whole accent-nail-of-a-different-color thing.
I might be too old for these sorts of shenanigans.

Here's a close-up of the Salon Effects:

I'm still not sure if these things are going to hold up or not.  I haven't yet showered so, I'm a little skeptical of how they're going to look once that happens.  I've read some reviews and most people say they wear like iron, but a few people said they chipped off after a day or two.  We'll see!

They were, by the way, pretty easy to apply, so if they do wear well, that would make them pretty f'n awesome.  

Monday, June 20, 2011

South Bay Shawl reveal!

This summer has been crazy so far, what with home improvements to be done and high school reunions to attend.  But things seem to be slowing back down again.  So let's all hope that I actually start blogging more often again.

Here's the finished project that I teased you all with in the last post:

It turned out to be a shawl that I made especially to wear to my high school reunion, but never actually got to wear it because it was never cold enough inside the ballroom.  Just as well probably, because the shawl might have been a little too busy to go with the dress I chose, but I was working with stash yarn, and I didn't have enough to make it elegantly all one color. (This shawl was quite the yarn-eater, especially considering that it's a lace pattern.)

Pattern is called the South Bay Shawlette, and it's a free pattern from Lion Brand (but you have to sign up to their websight to see it if you're not already a member.  But it's free to do so and as far as I can tell they don't send too much spam.)  You can see how gorgeous the pattern is in the above close-up, and it's suprisingly easy to do, especially if you just follow the diagram. This was the first pattern where I virtually ignored the written pattern and went strictly off the diagram, but I'm pretty sure if I'd only had the written pattern to go from it would have been a much more frustrating pattern.  As it was, it almost crocheted itself.  Very easy and very nice results.  I plan to make another one eventually, maybe in all one color, or maybe in an ombre of a different color pattern because even though at first I only changed colors because I realized I didn't have enough yarn to finish, once I saw the ombre effect I really liked it.

I used two different kinds of yarn, both cotton.  The two darker colors were Omega Sinfonia and the lighter blue was Nashua Creative Focus cotton dk.  Now I love me some Sinfonia because I love mercerized cotton and I love not having to pay a fortune for it, but that Nashua yarn was so much more luxurious than the Sinfonia.  It's egyptian cotton and it really is significantly soften than the regular ole cotton that I'm used to.  The only down side to working with it was that it was so splitty, so I had to go super slow on that last section, but after blocking that light blue yarn was even softer that before!

Here's a couple of (really terrible) pictures of me wearing the shawl:

Please everyone, just concentrate on the shawl.  See how pretty that shawl is?
Too bad I didn't get any pictures of me looking fabulous at the reunion in the dress with the shawl, but such is life.

Here's a couple of pictures of the finished floor for those who wanted to see that:


We LOVE our new floors! 

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Home Improvement

Haven't had a whole lotta time to be crafty for the last couple of weeks because we are doing a few home improvements which involve lots of furniture being moved around and lots of watching Mr. Boy very closely to make sure he doesn't go running off with the cordless drill.

Time for home improvement!

We're (finally!) putting in hard floors in our living room and hallway.

Living room furniture in the kitchen

Which means that everything that was in the living room had to be in the kitchen for a couple of days.  That was kinda fun and interesting, and I'm really glad that part is over.

We're finished with the living room, but Mr. Man still needs to do the hallway, so I'll be going out of town for awhile with Mr. Boy so he can finish in peace and without having to listen to me say, "Wow, that's really loud... I didn't realize it would be so loud!"

When it's all done, then I'll post pictures of the finished fabulousness.

Here's a little peak at what I've been working on...


Hopefully, I can finish by the end of the week.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Tapestry Crochet Reveal

Hey! I'm finally ready to reveal my little tapestry crochet teaser I showed in this post.

I've been wanting to try tapestry crochet for ages, but I was too intimidated for a long time.  It just looked so complicated and intricate, and though it sounded easy to do, I just couldn't believe it really would be.
Well guess what... it really is as easy to do as it sounds.

Tapestry crochet is crochet's version of fair isle knitting.  But like most things crochet, it's waaaaaaay easier to do than fair isle. And, as far as I'm concerned, way more fun, too.

Little Tapestry Crochet handbag

So here's my little bag.  Kind of anti-climactic, I know, after making you wait for weeks and weeks to see it.  Well, I have no good excuse except that it didn't turn out quite the way I had planned, and then I couldn't decide how to finish it.  And then I realized that a couple of the yarns I was using were actually thinner than the others which made the gauge go all off and wonky.


Close up of weird gauge change

You can really see the wonkiness in this picture.  That turquoise and gold colored yarn were both thinner than all the other yarns I used and so the bag sort of indents in that little area.  Nothing huge, but just enough to make me less excited to finish it.

And then of course as soon as I started to make it I realized that if I'd made it a little bit smaller it would have been a perfect Kindle case/carrier.  And then I realized that what I really, really want is a big bag with the same general pattern and maybe fewer colors.  So the enthusiasm factor just kept diminishing until the only thing that could motivate me to finish it was the fact that I'd promised all my loyal blog people that I would show you what it was.  So there you have it.

One thing I'm really glad about is that I finally tried a new technique.  I am such a weeny about trying new techniques.  Isn't that silly?  But I really love the tapestry thing, and I plan to do more of it soon.  So I guess this was more of a practice project.  

Check out this purse I saw in Macy's... 


Pretty wild that I saw this after I'd started on mine.  I think I like the bigger checker pattern and the muted colors of this one better than mine.  

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Oh my goodness!

Today I received my potholders from the swap!

Received from potholder swap 2011

Aren't they just SO gorgeous! I love them all, each and every one.  My husband looked at them and said sardonically, "You're never going to actually use any of these are you?"  I promptly assured him that I would, but I left out the fact that it would probably be some time (a few days or weeks or maybe a month) before I do anything but just stare at them and sigh in bliss...

Just look at a close-up of these sweeties...

Potholders close up!

I mean have you ever seen anything more gorgeous!  And each and every one was beautifully, masterfully crocheted!

I can't believe that they're mine, ALL MINE!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Still here!

Yeah, I've been kind of lazy with the blogging these last couple of weeks, but I wasn't just sitting around doing nothing. (Okay, well, not the whole time.)  For the past few days I've actually been working furiously trying to get my potholders in for this 2011 Potholder Swap.

I honestly wasn't sure I would be able to make it.  I kept going back and forth about which pattern to choose and then I spent a few days trying to decide about whether it was worth all the trouble it would take me, then once I'd decided it was worth the trouble I spent a bit more time trying to decide whether I could actually pull it off or not now that I'd waited until the absolute last possible moment to even start. Ha!

So here's my little lovelies...
(The colors are a bit off here, they're not quite so glaring in real life.)
Potholder Swap 2011

And here's the back side...
Potholder Swap 2011(back side)

So now I just have to hope and pray that they get there on time, and that the fact that the postage lady absolutely refused to put any more postage on my return envelope than the $3.26 that she says is the absolute limit for first class mail doesn't somehow disqualify me for this swap, because now that I've worked on these suckers until my fingers literally bled, I'm really excited about seeing what comes back to me.  Some of the pictures that have been sent in to the Flickr and Ravelry groups are so stunning that I'm just drooling to get my hands on some of them.

I'm also somewhat obsessed with making some more potholders.
Once my fingers heal and come unclawed from the furious crochet fest.

Here's a close up picture of my favorite one.
Notice the fancy-schmancy tags that my husband helped me make.
(Okay well he didn't so much "help me" make them as much as he just went ahead and did the whole thing.)

Potholder Swap 2011

Thanks to everyone who left a comment on my last post.  Ya'll are all so sweet!
I had to postpone that tapestry crochet project to get these potholders done, but I will reveal that one as soon as I can.

(To find out what yarns and patterns I used click on the picture which should take you to my flickr.)


Sunday, March 27, 2011


How excited am I to get my very first ever blog award!


Thank you so much to Andrea at Apples and Pears for including me.
Now I'm supposed to pick 3 to 5 blogs with fewer than 100 followers to nominate.
Here we go, in no particular order.

101 Thingees
Cozy Things
The Adventures of The Gingerbread Lady 
Marjo's Cozy Corner
Sew Loved By You

Some of these ladies I know personally and happen to think they are the most talented people ever, and some are just blogs that I've really enjoyed peeking into.  I'm actually not completely sure if some of these have under 100 followers, but whatev.

Click on the links and take a little peek.  I promise you wont be disappointed.

And now for a little sneak peek into what I'm working on these days...

Tapestry Crochet

More later...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Things I'm Loving

Doing my nails...

A true Ab-Original OPI w/Libery of London mug

I've been really into having pretty nails lately.  I read somewhere, that during times of economic recession, women tend to treat themselves in little ways more often.  They buy more lipsticks/nail polishes, things like that, and I can see why.  It's a little thing that makes you feel pretty and it doesn't cost much.

Which leads me to thing #2 that I'm loving:
Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat

Seche Vite with OPI

Now if you're a nail polish freak then I'm sure you've heard of Seche Vite, but if not, listen up! This stuff is seriously cool.  It really does make your nails dry fast and it makes your manicure last, as far as I can tell, forever.  The first pic of me holding my favorite mug was taken the day after I painted may nails.  The 2nd pic is of today nearly 4 days later and there are absolutely no chips and very little tip wear. (Please ignore my sketchy lookin' cuticles.)  This is a pretty amazing change from my usual experience with the whole nail polish situation.  Usually I have at least one or two chips on day 2 and by day 4 what isn't chipped is wearing down from the tips pretty significantly.  As you can see from the somewhat blurry pic there are no chips.  None! And the tip wear is just barely starting to show.
Now I've heard that some people have a really terrible experience with this stuff.  They claim that all their polish peels off their nails one day after painting them or that it starts chipping less than 24 hours after it dries.   I'm sort of waiting to see if anything weird like that happens to me, but so far I'm wondering where this stuff has been all my life.

(BTW- The nail polish color I'm wearing is OPI-  A True Ab-Original if anyone is wondering.)

Thing #3:

Ian with his ripple

I love seeing Ian all cuddled with his favorite ripple blanket and pillow.  He's actually getting too big for this blanket.
I see a new one in his future.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Spring bag!

Spring has definitely sprung here in Houston this last couple of weeks, which means that I've switched gears from blankets, scarves, and shawls and moved on to warm weather crochet.  So far that means bags.  I've been a little obsessed with crocheted bags.  I'm sure this has something to do with my purse addiction. Did I mention that I have a purse addiction?  Well, I do.  It's pretty serious.  The only problem is that the money situation has been just a leetle bit tight around here lately so no new fabulous purses for me... Unless... Well, hey! I can just crochet myself some new bags!

I've been flirting with the idea of clutch bags.  The problem is, I'm not one of those women who can just throw a lipstick, a phone, and a credit card in my purse and be good to go.  I have needs, people!  Which generally means that I tend to carry around the equivalent of a small suitcase with me wherever I go. But whatever, clutches are so cute and they're suddenly everywhere so of course, I must have one.

Sooooo... Here's my first attempt at a crocheted clutch:

Bobble Clutch

The pattern is called Textured Tweed Clutch from the Fall 2005 Interweave Crochet.  (It's also available as a Ravelry download.)  I changed up a few things:
The pattern calls for a 100% tweed wool yarn which I didn't use because it's supposed to be a Spring purse and that to me means it needed to be cotton so I used Red Heart's Eco cotton blend instead.

The original pattern is all one color, but I didn't have enough of this yarn in all one color in my stash so I used the two colors I did have.  More on that decision later.

The pattern for the base of the purse is supposed to be a seed stitch pattern, but I tried it and it was kind of wonky to work and with the dark color I was using it seemed a whole lotta work for something that you could barely even see so I just switched it up to straight single crochet.

The original pattern calls for a buckle closure, but I didn't have a buckle handy and I had decided that I would not be buying anything new for this project so I improvised with a button hole and a button I happened to have lying around.

Bobble Clutch hanging

Bobble Clutch close-up

So it's cute, right?  Look at those cute little bobbles in the close up.

But here's the thing:
As soon as I finished this purse I thought to myself, "Now what the heck am I gonna do with this?  Where would I ever wear it?"  The colors are, well, all right, but I have almost nothing to coordinate this with.  The size is a little weird too.  It's not really small enough to just be a cute little afterthought of a clutch, but it's not big enough to truly carry all the stuff I need it to carry.  Also because it's weirdly oblong, it's sort of floopy.  I had to stuff it with scarves to take these photos but without the scarves it kind of folds up on itself.  It truly probably needs some sort of reinforcement sewn into it to help it keep it's shape, but I just don't love it enough to do that much extra work on it.  

Bobble Clutch w/out strap Bobble Clutch tucked

Here's a couple of pictures with my hand and tucked under my arm so you can get an idea of it's actual size.  I tucked the strap inside to see if that would make it any more usable for me, but it just makes it look weird.  (Please ignore my oh so stylish tie-dye ensemble.)

So, even though I don't hate it, I don't really love it, either.  I'm just going to chalk this one up to a learning experience.  Onward I march in search of a clutch design that will work for all my little niggling idiosyncrasies.

A word about the Eco-cotton blend yarn.  It is a lovely yarn and I will probably use it again, but not with the puff stitch.  Not ever again.  It took f o r e v e r to get those little puffs to work with this splitty yarn.