Wednesday, August 22, 2007

It Must Be the Yarn

I have noticed that, with my previous projects, crocheting has had a tendency to make my hands and wrists hurt. I don't generally have this problem with knitting, unless I am trying to knit heavy yarn at a much tighter than normal gauge.* I don't seem to be having this problem with Babette, and I have been hard pressed to put down the hook.

I think it must be the yarn. It's so soft and yummy and I'm going for a little drapey. Anyway, all other projects (poor Retro Redux) have been put on hold for now. You all are going to get sick of these pictures of squares. As for that, I think these babies are fairly photogenic, but they really look much lovelier in person. (Or maybe on your monitor, rather than mine.)

I've decided that the pastel colorways (like my beloved Cherry on Top) are not going to work and that mostly single colorway squares will be best. The key will be working with colors of similar value that look good together. In the picture above, I haven't quite decided about the pink squares. The one near the top left is Positano and the one at bottom right is Hot Flash. There should be some variation of light and dark, though; I don't think I will know for sure until I get more squares done and can lay them out together.

I'm sure there are some (many?) of you thinking that all this variegated crochet is going to look like a giant mess, but I think it will look fab when it's finished. I am hoping for something along the lines of a Pointillist painting ... more than the sum of its parts.

* That's why they call it Intolerable Cruelty.

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Craft What You Love

I started something new last night. That's sort of (OK, definitely) cheating on my UFO-completion plan. Except that I did finish something today. Behold ... the Granny Square baby blanket!

I mean ... Behold the Granny Square Scarf! Upon picking up these squares again, I started to feel that the gauge was just too loose for a baby blanket. I envisioned tiny fingers getting all tangled in those holes. I just started to feel very meh about the whole thing. But I could not bear to frog all those squares -- too much work. And they were pretty. Might there be enough of them for a scarf? Yes, there were! For the curious, the yarn is a melange of Plymouth Encore and Lion Brand Wool-Ease and the pattern is Traditional Granny from Jan Eaton's 200 Crochet Blocks.

Here's where the love part comes in. Nine times out of ten, I start a new project because I want to play with different yarn. This new project is no exception.

Colorways of the big square, from the center out: Pandora Rose, Mardi Gras, June Carter

No surprise here, it was Cider Moon Glacier calling me. The pattern is the famous Babette Blanket. Now here's a blanket project to get excited about! This is a seriously long-term endeavor, both because of its size and because it will require a lot of yarn. I couldn't possibly afford to buy it all at once. (No smart remarks about the size of my Glacier stash ... it's not that big!)

I love the big square I made with changing colorways, but I'm thinking about making most of the squares in one colorway only. What do you all think?

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Friday, August 17, 2007

I Am Such a Cheater

I know. I'm supposed to be working on Retro Redux, Socks for Nieces, and the granny square blanket. And I am! But no one said I couldn't sew. Last night, when the house was quiet, I got a mind to make a skirt. So I did ... in about two hours. You have to love sewing for the instant gratification.
Missing: one waist. Reward offered.

Voici, my first attempt at an elastic-waist A-line skirt. I used the pattern from Sew U by Built by Wendy and I made the size medium. (I have big hips, what can I say?) The fabric is just quilting cotton from the big-box fabric store.

Mmmm... don't like a whole lot. It's a little too long. And the fabric was fine for practicing (I think I bought it for quilt/craft projects), but it looks a little too "1980s-Laura Ashley-Junior League" for me. Not that there's anything wrong with the 80s, Laura Ashley, or the Junior League.

Oh wait! There's my waist!

This morning, while S was at summer school and J with his grandma, I tried again. Much better!

This time, I used the directions from Sew What? Skirts. I like this book. I like drawing the pattern right on the fabric. I like that it teaches you what measurements to take and how to make a skirt that fits you just the way you want it to fit. So, obviously, I went shorter and I also made the angle from the waistline to the hemline pretty wide. In the future, I think I'll draw the side seams at a sharper angle, to make a narrower skirt. Also, I did not need to incorporate as much ease in the waist as I did. But it is fine; I can wear it lower on my hips if I like.

A word about the fabric: it's Zinnia by Alexander Henry. I don't know who Alexander Henry is, but I luff him. I bought the fabric at Sew Mama Sew, which I also luff.

I swear there will be knitting. If I can resist the siren song of the sewing machine and the promise of actual completed projects.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007


My Sockapalooza box arrived today! My pal, who completely and totally spoiled me rotten, was Tania of knit1frog2.

Holy guacamole, people, look at the goodies!

Lovely sock yarn! Boatloads of Japanese treats (and my current favorite chocolate bar, how did she know)! The Post-It notes are so cute and perfect. Lately, for some reason, I've been obsessed with bird prints and bird motifs. For example, I just bought some of this Joel Dewberry fabric. If I didn't know better, I'd think that Tania had telepathic ability or some kind of direct line into my brain.

But, I know, you want to see the socks. How incredibly perfect are these?

They are Diagonal Rib Socks from Interweave Knits in Socks That Rock in Nodding Violets. So beautiful, that's all I can say. Tania did an amazing job knitting these ... just gorgeous work.

Coincidentally, the June Carter Swirl socks arrived at their destination today as well. I was thrilled to learn that my pal, Sarianna of May Contain Traces of Knits, likes them. Yay for swaps!

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Monday, August 13, 2007

See? An FO!

Now this one is really sad. It sat around for two months, needing only one button.

Pattern: Chanson en Crochet by Mari Lynn Patrick (in Wrap Style)
Yarn: Mission Falls 1824 Wool in Oyster, about 5 balls
Hook: Size G Boye aluminum crochet hook

This could use another block, now that I look at it.

Anyway, I was inspired to make this wrap when I saw this lovely one by Pimpampum. Chanson is a fun pattern to work, because you're constantly changing the stitch. Those flowers made me a little crazy, but I think they turned out all right. I can see getting a lot of use out of this, too. Yay for finished!


And now, for something completely different ... music! You may have noticed the cool widget on my sidebar with the changing album covers. This is courtesy of my latest obsession, (Thanks, Sandra, for introducing me!) In a nutshell, is internet radio and also like Ravelry for music geeks. Nice.

It has all these cool tools that keep track of what you're listening to, make recommendations, tell you about other users that share your taste, tell you what your friends are listening to, etc. etc. Here's my chart of top artists for the past week.

And a word (or two or two hundred) about Sea Wolf. Preeti and I saw them open last week for Silversun Pickups. Both bands were unbelievably fantastic. But I am developing a possibly unhealthy obsession with Sea Wolf. Think indie-rock with folk influences and a cello. Also, think very dreamy lead singer (Alex Church, formerly of one of my favoritest indie pop bands, Irving). Good stuff, people. Check it out.

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Discipline and My Taskmistress

Don't get me wrong, I love Ravelry. I love it to bits. But one thing about Ravelry that PCR and I were discussing yesterday -- it has the slight tendency to make one do more reading about knitting, looking at knitting, and thinking about knitting than actual knitting. Plus, it's a veritable breeding ground for the startitis virus.
Discipline is hard in the face of such beauty.

The result of all this is that I've got a shamefully long list of works-in-progress. Here goes, I'm coming clean.

1. Fifi
2. Retro Redux Shrug
3. Lacy Skirt with Bows (too new for pictures, even!)
4. Rib and Cable Socks
5. Beaded Rib Socks
6. Giotto Cuff Socks
7. Socks for Nieces

This does not include the currently hibernating projects.

1. Lady Eleanor Stole
2. Must Have Cardigan
3. Granny Square Baby Blanket
4. Two (!) pairs of mittens from Folk Knitting in Estonia

This is sad, people. It's time to start finishing things. But I have assistance. Preeti gave me a plan. I can work on one big project and one sock project at a time, until they are finished. But she didn't stop there; she made me a prioritized list of my WIPs. First up on the big project list is the Retro Redux Shrug. Preeti started and finished hers since I cast mine on.

The Retro Redux Shrug, now with progress!

Socks for Nieces is my current sock project. I think we agreed that we could work on blanket squares in addition to the big and sock projects, so I see some granny squares in my near future. Preeti's not my only inspiration. Heather has been on a UFO-completion roll as well...go take a look at her cute EZ baby sweater.

I'm turning over a new leaf, knitsibs. Prepare for FO posts!


Monday, August 06, 2007

One Little Sock

Pathetically, this is all I have managed to finish lately. Starting things, that I am really good at. Finishing, not so much. These are socks for my niece, who was recently visiting from California with her twin sister, little brother, and Mom and Dad. (Her mom is my little sister.) Olga recently posted about the joys of the auntie gig. It's a nice job if you can get it; I only wish I got to enjoy it more!

Anyhow, Niecie M saw me pull out this yarn one afternoon when I was visiting with them at my mom's and was instantly entranced. She wanted socks from this yarn (Cider Moon Glacier in the highly girly Go-Go colorway). How could I refuse? Now I just need to make three more. Because I certainly can't make a pair for M and not her sweet sister T.

And here's a picture of the beautiful coasters I got from Ashley. I realized the other day that one reason I love them so much is that they remind me of the cover of one of my favoritest albums.

It's been so disgustingly hot here that I haven't touched my sewing machine in weeks, which makes me very sad. (My craft room is on the third floor of my old, un-air-conditioned house.) I've got my fingers crossed for a cold snap, along with some free time.


The other day, Amy Karol of Angry Chicken wrote a very interesting post about reducing the presence of plastics in her home. I have made a little goal for myself of bringing no more plastic shopping bags into my house. I have several reusable bags from the grocery store, which I keep in the car. I usually carry a large bag, so small things can go into that. And, of course, I wouldn't be sorry to have an excuse to sew a bunch of cute totes as well. I'd like to be able to get rid of all my plastic dishes for the kids, but S recently has gone through a "breaking dishes and glasses when frustrated" stage (love you, autism!). I think he's about over it, but I'm not inclined to test it.

I recently saw this New York Times article about the environmental impact of buying bottled water and wanted to bring it to your attention. In general, bottled water is no healthier than tap water, is ridiculously more expensive, and results in millions of plastic bottles in landfills which take literally centuries to decompose. Having learned this, I've decided not to buy bottled water any more. Just a little food (or drink) for thought.

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