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Vintage Crochet

Last night we had dinner with my mother, and she gave me a few potholders made by her mother back when my mother was young. I knew my grandmother could crochet: I have a fluffy loop dog as well as an afghan from her. But I’d never seen these little treasures before!

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These three potholders are all two layers crocheted together, and I’m sure it was thread with steel hooks. The intricacy is amazing. I can’t imagine how long it took her to make each one. And these were definitely used; you can see the one in the top right is soiled. My mom remembers her dad cooking with one of these hanging out of his back pocket.

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But these beauties don’t look like they were used at all! Each one is a real dress (I guess so you could slide it over the pot handle?) and they’re all done with perfect precision. I’m in awe. While I know I have the skills to make these, I definitely don’t have the patience! If any of you are inclined, there are some neat patterns here.

I would love to get these cleaned before maybe framing them to hang in my craft room. Anyone have any tips or recommendations? Keep in mind they’re over 50 years old!

Fast Yoda Hat

Well, I was reminded that I have an Etsy shop this week. I’ve kind of ignored it since I went back to work, and let it slide. I’ve had a couple of small orders for stitch markers (like these) but haven’t done much else. Then I got an order for a Yoda hat. An adult Yoda hat. I’d created the listing as “Made to Order” when I was staying home and had plenty of knitting time to whip one up when I got an order. But that’s not really the case anymore! I’d sorted through my inventory recently enough that I knew I didn’t have one on hand, so I got to knitting.

I knit in the car while in standstill traffic.

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I knit at a meeting at work, I knit at lunch breaks, I knit in the evenings, I knit at the football game.

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After two full days of knitting, the hat was done and ready to ship.

img_2108Not too bad for someone working full-time, right? Of course the listing said it would ship in 1-2 business days and it actually shipped on the 3rd, but I’m still calling it a win. And yep, I went into Etsy immediately and made sure there weren’t any other items listed that weren’t ready to ship!

Another FO: my mom’s blanket! Ages ago she asked for a larger, warmer blanket, and picked out the yarn, and I started crocheting. It got set aside during the heat of summer, and then I picked it back up a couple of weeks ago. Yesterday I got to deliver it!

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It’s very thick and dense and warm and cozy and she seemed to be delighted with it. I’m delighted she’s happy, and that it’s done! It always feels good to finish a long-term WIP. My oldest is from February 2015, a long purple gradient seed stitch cowl. Pretty, but also pretty boring! What’s your oldest WIP, and what’s keeping you from finishing it?

Buttons and Hats

Oh, hats, how I love making you! I’ve loved my time making shawls but I’ve missed making hats. I finished three chemo caps this week; the aqua one I already showed you, and two more. Here’s a basic gray beanie in Knit Picks Brava Worsted.

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It’s my own recipe based on what I’ve picked up from knitting so many hats the last few years. If you’re interested, you can find my notes on the Ravelry project page. This one is definitely an adult small; cast on more stitches if you want a bigger hat.

The second one is the Shelbi hat. I did this one in white Brava. I did the teen/adult small size and it is definitely small. But that’s what I was going for, and it will probably stretch with use too. My only concern is that it might be a bit short, so when I make more, I’ll probably add a couple of rows somewhere.

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It was just as fast and easy to make as I remembered, so once I get feedback on the fit, I’ll definitely be making more of these. You can find the Ravelry project page here and the pattern here.

This morning I finally took the time to sew buttons on my two Henry Hats.

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I do so love the look of these hats!

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The green came out an adult large. It fits my husband, who has a ginormous head. But aren’t those buttons awesome??

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The blue, done with worsted weight on smaller needles, came out large child/small adult size, depending on stretch. I’m kind of tempted to go down another needle size with the next one to make it a tighter fabric, and a little smaller still. It’s interesting how my gauge is so off on this one pattern; I’m thinking it’s maybe because there’s so much purling? Maybe my purling is a lot looser than my knitting and other people’s purling?

This week I’m shifting gears away from chemo caps for a bit. I have a Thomas-themed hat to make for a little boy, plus I want to get back to my WIPs and see if I can get something finished. Stay tuned, it might be a week before I post again but hopefully I’ll have a FO!

OH! And guess what?? I hit 300 followers on my blog recently! It might not sound like much to some, but to me it’s awesome to think that so many people like what I’m doing enough that they want to follow me. So here’s a big THANK YOU to my friends and readers!!!

Cotton Lace Scarf

My knitting mojo is hindered. I spend half my day doing job-search stuff, then when I do sit down to knit, my brain won’t stop thinking about it. It’s not fun. It means I can’t knit in silence right now; I have to have the TV on too. It also means my simple projects aren’t the best, because they don’t occupy my brain as much. But I’m still resisting casting on more new projects, so instead I’m forging ahead with my WIPs. The main one is my Secret Beach Scarf in three colors of Cascade Ultra Pima. I made it to the second color yesterday.

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I like the idea behind this photo, but I couldn’t get the needles to lay the way I wanted them to, and it also occurred to me that many of my added treasures are just too small. They’re not proportionate to the size of the main item, the knitting. So I tried again.

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I like this one better: the straighter line of the needle cord, the bigger box lid to help balance the knitting. Plus the white flower in the previous photo reflected too much light no matter where I went. Anyway, the scarf. It’s pretty. I like it. It’s simple to knit. It’s also kind of…boring. Once you get the pattern set, it’s very mindless. And there are times I crave that. But now is not one of those times. Maybe I need to give myself permission to cast on another lovely intricate lace shawl!

My other current WIP is an afghan for my mom, a special request. She picked out the yarn, and my goal is to get it done before the weather cools. I think I’ve got time! I’m using one worsted and one bulky held together with a larger crochet hook, and it’s working up quickly. It’s all peachy/green/tan colors, and while they’re not my favorites, I do think it’s lovely. I’m doing a classic ripple afghan, and I’d like to add a border when it’s done.

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Other than that, I’m just waiting for my phone to ring. I put in a lot of applications over the last two days, and I’m dreading that first call requesting an interview. I mean, obviously I WANT it to happen, but it’s one step closer to having to convince a stranger that I’m a worthy employee, and one step closer to potential rejection. It’s just scary, thats’s all. But it’s all good. Once I get the first one under my belt, I’ll be fine. And until then, maybe I’ll cast on this Peek-a-Boo Bay Shawl by Little Church Knits with this gorgeous rainbow Manos del Uruguay Alegria.

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Finally, I absolutely MUST share a couple of puppy photos. I mean, come ON:

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Cutest puppies ever (in my humble dog-mom opinion). Unfortunately, right now they’re also the shedding-est puppies ever so I have to go sweep up some fur before my allergic Knitting SIL comes over for a playdate!

IKEA Visit

It finally happened. We’ve had an IKEA store in our area for a while now, but we just made it out there yesterday. It was impressive, but I have to confess, a bit underwhelming for me. The furniture is pretty far from what I prefer, very modern with clean lines, understated and simple. I live in an old house and I like the Craftsman styles, and I like furniture well-made out of solid wood. So I can appreciate the look, and the cost, but it doesn’t tempt me. Maybe that’s a good thing! I was tempted by two things, though. We got the cutest metal trash can for dog toys:

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If you’ve been a reader for a while, you’re familiar with Grace’s tendency to chew on…everything. We had a plastic milk crate for toys for a while but she destroyed that. Recently we’ve been using a blue plastic Walmart bucket. It worked but wasn’t terribly attractive in the living room. So I’m delighted with this. I might have to take off the lid though. When it moves, it rattles and the noise scares Grace. I want them to be able to get toys out of it!

My other find was an awesome rolling cart. I’d seen other crafters post pictures of this and had coveted it, but honestly I’d forgotten about it until we came across it yesterday. It’s just as cute and functional as I thought it would be.

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The girl ever so kindly offered to put it together for me. Thank goodness! I *could* have done it, but honestly…didn’t really want to. She had a bit of frustration with a screw that didn’t want to go in, but very soon I had a complete cart!

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Didn’t take long for me to fill it up, either! These are all my current projects that were piled up on top of the radiator (and various other places, if I’m being honest) so I’m thrilled to have a central location for them. AND it’s cute!!

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So, YAY, IKEA. Now I can say I’ve been there and don’t really need to go back.

The rest of the weekend was getting fresh purple hair, making more crochet slippers, and hanging out with the pups. One more slipper to make and then I’m DONE with that project.

I hope you all had a lovely weekend too. Bring on the Monday!

Crochet Flip Flop Slippers

Guys, this one really challenged me. I didn’t think it would. A friend requested a pair of crochet slippers made from flip flops (see the pattern here) then two more friends saw that request and requested some, and before I knew it, I’d agreed to make five pairs. Crazy, I know. But I read the pattern and it seemed simple. The supplies were cheap: I found flip flops at the dollar store, and Michaels had a great sale on Lily Sugar N Cream cotton over the weekend: 5 for $5!! IMG_6307At the time, I thought I might make a pair for myself, plus I want to make a few new dishcloths and washcloths. Gotta buy the yarn when it’s cheap, right?

The husband had a nifty tool to mark the holes exactly 1/4″ apart as specified, then I used an ice pick to make the holes. It was a little tedious but not difficult. IMG_6296Then it was time to use the small hook (B, 2.25mm) to make the first round, and that was pretty hard to get used to. The holes weren’t quite big enough for the yarn, working around the rubber sole was awkward, and I did split the foam twice. But finally I got to switch to the bigger hook (G, 4.0mm) and away I went. I followed the pattern exactly. I kept going even when it looked suspiciously large, when meant that when I was done, I had this huge clog-type monstrosity. I frogged that without any photos. Second attempt included a decrease row and created this lovely…thing. IMG_6299It’s not a great photo, I know, but I think you can tell it’s still rather tall. Also, it was supposed to be a size 7, and I could get it on my size 9 1/2 foot without stretching the cotton too much. Frogged again. This time I went back and read some comments, and someone else’s slipper came out super-size, and the author mentioned that maybe her holes were farther apart and the yarn was stretching more. So that’s a big thing right there: my holes were exactly 1/4″ apart and that was too close together. Let that be a lesson to you.

Okay, moving on. For the third attempt, I decreased the heck out of the body and only did six rows instead of nine. I made the tapered back one row shorter and left off one row of the decorative top. I *think* it came out okay. IMG_6303Grace approved.

After that, the second one went quickly and smoothly, and I’ve decided these might be okay after all. This was the first time I ever seriously considered saying no to a request. Now, I’m not going to be making a ton of these for craft shows or anything, but I can definitely finish the other four pairs.IMG_6309I can actually admit they’re kind of cute.

If you’re interested, my Ravelry notes are here.

Bonus FO: The Mermaid

Hip Hip Hooray! I finished the mermaid last night! Of course I had to have the puppy model for me. The girl was the photographer since we had to move fast. IMG_6267

As cute as that is, it doesn’t show the blanket that well. Here’s a better shot.

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I used this Mermaid Tail afghan pattern (free, and has a video too) and my only quibble was that I think it decreased too quickly at the bottom. Other than that, it was simple to make and looks great. The yarn is Big Twist Value Solids. For the medium adult size (fitting around 5′ 7″) I used almost 1300 yards in Medium Teal and about 370 yards in Light Teal.

The other fun thing from yesterday was a movie date with the kids. IMG_6262We saw Alice Through the Looking Glass in 3D. Fun movie, not as good as the first of course, but I did enjoy seeing Alice and the Hatter again. I don’t think the 3D was worth the extra cost, though.

That’s all for today, kids. Let’s see what kind of trouble I can get into today!