Archive | January 2015

Sharing the Secret Hats

Finally! I can share some of the hats I had to keep a secret for SO LONG. I partnered with my aunt to make some hats for a special friend of hers, and we did a variety of patterns and colors to make her smile.IMG_3714White cotton crochet cap. This was super fast and I think I have enough yarn left in the skein to make a second one. Pattern: Chemo Sleep CapIMG_3708Bulky Yellow Scalloped Hat. I loved making this one, especially the i-cord scallops. And since it was bulky yarn, it went quickly too. Pattern: Scalloped-Edge HatIMG_3729Shelbi Hat. Crochet, so quick to make, and a lovely design too. This one wasn’t free but I think it was worth it! Pattern: Shelbi HatIMG_3699 IMG_3698Look! It’s Dumbo! I absolutely love this hat. When she asked for Dumbo, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to make one that looked good, but this little guy makes me smile, and I hope it does the same for her. This hat seemed to take forever: maybe an hour for the base hat, 2-3 hours for all the little pieces, maybe 2 hours for assembly? I’m not sure. It felt longer than that! Next time I should keep track. He was a mixture of patterns and improvisation, so you can check out my Ravelry notes here.

There are two more, but they have to stay secrets for now. Stay tuned!

Making friends with a crochet celebrity

Guys, the coolest thing happened yesterday! Who here is familiar with the Petals to Picots website? Yeah, like all of you, right? Well, yesterday I opened up Ravelry and found a message from Kara asking permission to use one of my photos on her pattern page. WHAAAT? Well, of course I said yes. I replied and thanked her, told her I was flattered because she rocks, and she replied to me and said “So do you!” Ha! How do you like them apples?? At least briefly, a yarny celebrity knew who I was. If you want to see it, look at her Santa Knit Gift Card holder pattern here. If she ever takes it off, I’ll be crushed.

Okay, so back to actual yarn usage. I began and finished TWO projects yesterday! I needed some instant gratification, so I got out my crochet hook and made a simple little baby brown bear hat. And once it was done I realized I need to make one in black for mouse ears.IMG_1287In the afternoon, I cast on for a headband. I’ve got a little promotion deal I’m working out with another blogger. She’s a runner, and she’s going to test out my headband and if she likes it, maybe share some good things about it on her blog for other runners to see, plus do a giveaway contest! Pretty nifty, huh? So I’ve got those two made up and ready to ship off to her this morning. I’ll share more details when she’s ready to write her review.IMG_3285IMG_3288IMG_3753 IMG_3767I need to get a listing for these on Etsy so I’ll be ready to accept orders when they come flooding in (haha). And I need to do it quick, because this afternoon I’m going to the Kansas City Royals Fanfest! I’ll get to see some of the players, but I don’t know that I’ll stand in any autograph lines. Just going will be cool enough, I think. What about you? Anybody else have cool plans for this weekend?

Another Purple Hat Off the Needles

The other day, epicyarns shared a post of a beehive hat she’d made and it was just the kick in the butt I needed. I’d had the wurm hat in my Ravelry queue for ages, but it takes a lot of yarn, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to do the double-thick brim. The beehive hat looks very similar but had a simple ribbed fold-over brim. Well, I didn’t want to do that either, so instead of a 4″ brim I did about 1 1/2″ and moved on to the welt pattern. It knit up so quickly!IMG_3748 IMG_3747 IMG_3750There are a lot of similar patterns, but I followed this one. I used Cascade 128 Superwash in Italian Plum and the recommended needles, but I cast on 80 instead of 88, and I’m glad I did. It’s plenty big enough.

After two purple hats in a row, I’m going to switch it up. I made a baby bear hat this morning and then I’ve got some pink Cascade waiting to become a lacy slouch hat. But first I get to do something completely different: I get to proofread a children’s book about a mischievous puppy! After several crazy-busy days, I should have a long stretch of peace and quiet today, and I’m looking forward to it.

Mindless Knitting: Barley Hat & Quadratic Shawl

It’s Wednesday, right? I think so. I’ve already had a fair bit of waiting room time that needed truly mindless knitting, so I managed to finish the Barley hat I started almost two weeks ago. I really really enjoyed making it, so much I didn’t want to stop, apparently: the hat ended up as a major slouch hat instead of a normal beanie. I just wanted to keep knitting ’round and ’round! But I’m going to pretend I did it on purpose because I do love how it turned out.IMG_3734 IMG_3736 IMG_3739I’ll definitely be making more of these and maybe even manage to make some as a fitted beanie like it’s supposed to be! If you’d like to make one too, here’s the pattern on Ravelry. I made it as written for the adult medium except I knit the body at least 9″, I think.

My other mindless knitting was on the Quadratic shawl. I started this at the very beginning of September last year and got a good start before getting pulled away by holiday knitting. Since it’s all garter stitch, it’s perfect for when you need to be distracted but can’t follow complicated patterns. I’ve gotten a fair bit done, but you can definitely see where I stopped and re-started. I wouldn’t have thought my tension would be so different in the span of four months, but clearly it is. Here’s hoping it’s less noticeable after blocking.IMG_3744But the Quadratic is going back in a drawer for a little while, because last night I signed up to do a little event. Our local downtown has an event space called The Exchange, and once a month they host local Etsy sellers for a show. It’s only 4 hours, but it’s free, and I think it’s a truly awesome idea. I just learned about it recently and inquired last night, thinking I’d start with the March event, and they offered me a spot at the February event on Valentine’s Day! Woohoo! So until then my fingers will be flying on hats and boot cuffs to have a good variety for sale. My inventory’s a little low, so wish me luck on building it up in the next two weeks. (EEK!)

Craft Room Organization: Phase II

I couldn’t stand it any longer: I spent Sunday afternoon sorting my yarn stash so that it was all together by weight! Thank goodness for Ravelry, too. I pulled up my stash and filtered it one weight at a time so I didn’t miss any yarns, and there were several where I looked at the name and it meant absolutely nothing, but hey, I’d uploaded a photo of the skein! I got to remind myself how much gorgeous yarn I have, I got to pull out a few skeins of cheapo acrylic I’ll never use, and it looks much better than before!IMG_1271Last step is waiting for the husband to build the diagonal dividers for the shelves, but I can be patient on that…I think!

It’s Bittersweet: Finished Rainbow Cowl

Guess what I finished last night? My rainbow cowl! I’m so happy because that means I can either wear it or list it on Etsy. But I’m so sad because that means I can’t knit on it anymore and I so enjoyed knitting with that yarn. I totally need to save up to buy some more Vice yarn. Great stitch definition, soft without being too floppy, and those colors!IMG_1263IMG_1266This is unblocked, so I still need to wash it and pin it out but I think it’s a great size. This was a wonderful travel project too, so I expect I’ll be making more with my fancy single skeins. I even have about 60 yards left, and I’m wondering if I can squeeze out a wee pair of fingerless gloves, something just like a handwarmer. If I succeed, I’ll share it!

Craft Room Organization: Phase One

I was hit with a little wave of inspiration today. I’m sure you’ve all seen the blog post from Repeat Crafter Me about her yarn storage. And using that type of shelving isn’t anything new; in fact my woodworker husband has been wanting to make them for me for a while now. But what struck me today was how she put her buttons into little glass jars, separated by colors. Brilliant!

Previously, I had two button boxes. One held all my loose single buttons, the other held button cards with 2 or more of the same buttons. When I need multiples of the same button for a project, I knew which box to grab. But what was frustrating was digging through the boxes looking for the right button in the right color.

So while I watched my tennis this morning, I separated all my buttons into piles. I kept most of the button cards intact, since they’d still fit into the jars that way.IMG_1260 Then I gathered up the several empty glass containers cluttering up my craft room. Some I’d bought intending to use kind of like a yarn bowl, and some I just had because…well, because they might come in hand someday. Today, they did! I didn’t have enough, but thankfully my husband happened to have three Ball jars just taking up space in his workshop, and he donated them to me.IMG_1261Yay! I love my new button jars.

Now I just need to get him to make those dividers so I can make my yarn look all pretty. But I can’t help but wonder if by color is the best organization. I’ve got my yarn by fiber (alpaca, felting wool, superwash, soft/merino wool, cotton, silk, acrylic). That way when I need a certain fiber, I know what colors I have available. But it does look so much better by color. How do you organize your yarn? What do you like/not like about it?

FO Friday

It is Friday, right? For reals? I just now realized I posted a WIP Wednesday post…on Thursday. And you all are so nice that none of you made fun of me (in writing)! So thank you, I appreciate it. In my defense, Monday was a holiday and threw everything off. I think I’m back on track now. And I actually have a finished project to share.IMG_1247These are boot cuffs made for a niece’s birthday. I kind of made up my own pattern and added some of my favorite new buttons. I really hope they fit and she likes them! They’re Raveled here, if you’re interested.

And that’s all. Boy, I’m so unproductive this week. I could have worked on my seed stitch beanie, but…well. I didn’t. I had an unexpected lunch date, which was lovely, so didn’t have that time. And after I finished the cuffs and sewed the buttons on, I needed to stretch my legs plus the puppy was bonkers so he got a nice long walk and then it was almost dinner time…you know how it goes. But last night during tennis, I did cast on my beautiful rainbow Vice. It’s a plain stockinette cowl with ribbed edges and it’s going quickly.IMG_1251Can I just knit with this yarn forever and ever? It’s the best yarn ever and I want more.

I might not finish anything today. I get to have lunch with some good friends and then I have to run errands for the mother and errands with the children. We’ll see how far I get this morning!

WIP Wednesday

I’m still working on that seed stitch hat, the one I started a few days ago with my new turquoise HiKoo Simpliworsted. I’m using this pompon and seeds hat pattern and the first time I made it, I switched to bigger needles for the body of the hat as well as increased a couple of stitches for extra slouch. Then after two hours of waiting room knitting, I was almost out of yarn but not close to the end. I frogged back to the brim that night and started over with smaller needles and no decreases. Now I have 2cm to go before I start decreasing, and a worryingly small ball of yarn left. But this is the perfect pattern for this yarn, so I’m going to just keep going and buy another skein if I have to. I just love seed stitch with the bounciness of HiKoo, it’s all squishy and fun and springy.IMG_1242

I’ve set it aside for today, though. I have another boot cuff to make and then I’m going to tackle my lace scarf while it’s quiet. It’s Australian Open time, so I can listen to the soothing rhythm of tennis while counting my YOs and k2togs. 

Missing You

Yesterday was my dad’s birthday. It was the third we’ve had since he died. He would have been 71. And I made it through the day. It wasn’t pretty, wasn’t fun, but I did it. It helped that I had errands to run, doctor appointments to deal with, things that kept me busy and kept my mind occupied. Of course it was always in the back of my mind, but I didn’t have much time to dwell on it. And when I did have time, it was a different kind of grief than years past.

The first year, I kept thinking I was forgetting something, something I was really supposed to do that day. And then I’d remember: I was supposed to be calling my dad, but couldn’t. It was a series of sharp pains throughout the day. The second year, that feeling of forgetting something was gone but the loss was still sharp. We might have had cake but I’m not sure. This year the pain itself had softened, but it was joined by a pervading sense of permanence. No way around it, he’s really gone and I really won’t get another birthday with him. It was just a sad day from start to finish.

I’m glad it’s over, really. I woke up refreshed this morning, eager to have a better day today. No big plans, which makes for the best kind of day, doesn’t it? I see yarn in my immediate future, maybe a trip to Half Price Books.