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Weekend Knitting

I don’t have as much progress to show as I should; my knitting was hampered a couple of times the last few days. Part of it was my fault, part of it wasn’t. I had my day-long computer course on Friday, and it was fun to learn stuff again but a lot of the info was review, and the class moved a lot more slowly than I would have liked, so I picked up my hat knitting after I’d finished the exercise, or while we watched short videos. By the end of lunch, I’d made it to the end of the knitting I’d brought. Once again, I was not thinking like a good knitter, and I have now learned to bring much more knitting than you think you need!

That brings us to yesterday. The boy had a marching band competition in a small town about 40 minutes away, and we were going to be spectating for at least two hours, maybe three. I brought three projects. I was ready! I was prepared! I was…COLD. It was sunny and 60 out, so I wore a short-sleeved tee and a hoodie, not realizing that the wind was super blustery and chilly. I was too cold to keep my hands out and knit. The husband was even kind enough to go to the nearby Walmart to get us a blanket, and that helped, but still, I would have needed my nice wool fingerless gloves to be able to knit. Sigh. The best laid plans and all that jazz. Still, with some knitting here and there, I’ve gotten my sock project into the gusset. Plus, we stopped at an antique mall on the way and I found these awesome handmade crochet hooks for $6!

I’m also very close to the end of my first hat commission. I’m on hat four of four, and I’m onto the easy section of plain stockinette in the round. This one will get finished either today or tomorrow, and the hats will be delivered and out of my hands! These are my pombe yeast hats for some friends at work, and you can check out the Ravelry page if you want more info.

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My other hat commission isn’t going as well, and it’s totally my fault because I’m so stubborn about not checking gauge. As always, I got overconfident because almost every time I’ve checked gauge for a hat, knitting or crochet, it’s the same as the designer’s. So I started this project without checking, and got about halfway through and realized it was too big. Frogged and started over with a smaller hook. Got a little farther and it still seemed a little big. I could either go down yet another hook size, or adjust the stitch count. Since I like the density of the fabric, I decided to drop my stitch count and omit the last increase round, which meant frogging back about half my progress. This is the current state of this hat.

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You might think it’s frustrating, but crochet goes so quickly that it’s not painful to frog back that much and start over. And I’d forgotten how much I enjoy crocheting, so it’s been fun to let my hands settle into that rhythm again. Plus the yarn (Expression Fiber Arts Pearlescent Worsted, with SILK!) is heavenly, so I don’t mind spending more time with it! Still, I’m hoping to get this project finished in the next few days too. I’ve got too many other projects waiting in the wings!

 

Diamonds in the Rough

I recently received a pretty bag of yarn in the mail, some organic cotton from Appalachian Baby. This is another review opportunity, and I got to choose my color palette of the 3-skein U.S. Organic Cotton set. I chose Indigo, Doe, and Natural.

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I had a heck of a time choosing a pattern. The yarn would be perfect for baby items, but I don’t have any babies in my life, so I finally chose a cowl pattern that’s been in my queue for months, Diamonds in the Rough. I’m going to modify it a bit to add stripes. I had some quiet time yesterday, so I took the opportunity to cast on. It calls for a provisional cast on, and it’s been so long since I crocheted that it took me a while to remember how to hold the hook and make stitches! But I figured it out and I’ve made a good little start. (The blue is the provisional cast-on.)

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It’ll be nice to have some cool cotton to balance out the wool in my other projects!

Furls Purple Odyssey

I feel like I have progressed to a new level of crafter: I purchased a Furls crochet hook! I’ve coveted their hooks for ages, those gorgeous colored Candy Shop hooks and the striking black and silver Odyssey hooks, but never gave in to temptation. Partly because of cost, but mostly because once I learned to knit, I wasn’t much of a crocheter anymore. If I didn’t crochet often, why buy a $30 hook when that money could go toward yarn?

Well. That all changed when I saw the ad for the pre-order of the new purple Odyssey hooks. I ordered one immediately and started counting down the days until it would ship. Lucky me, it shipped sooner than I expected, and I finally got to open it last night. It’s so pretty! It’s a darker purple than it looks here, but just as shimmery and beautiful. I pulled out some scraps to make flowers to test it, and found that it’s heavier than I expected, but not unpleasantly so. The shape was definitely comfortable in my hand. The only thing I didn’t love was that there’s no thumb rest, so when I picked up the hook I had to make sure I was holding it right to get the hook positioned, and sometimes as I worked, it would turn ever so slightly in my hand, putting the hook in a less-efficient position. I’m eager to try it on a bigger project and give myself time to get used to it. 

Anyone else use Furls hooks?

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!