Saturday, February 28, 2009
Trying Something New

I just finished this project, and I'm really pleased with how it turned out!

About 2 years ago I decided that I want a weaving loom. I've never worked on a loom, and I'm not silly enough to invest in one before trying it out, but I think that weaving is something I'll enjoy.

This project is a combination of crochet and weaving. It was inspired by a scarf pattern by Sasha Kagan in her book Crochet Inspiration.

Using 3 colors of Lion Brand Baby Soft Yarn, I crocheted a mesh canvas. Then I wove strands of yarn through the mesh to create a plaid design. It's soft and warm and I love the way it looks.

There is a yarn shop it town that has several looms and offers classes. I think I'm going to have to sign up. This weaving could become an obsession!

Friday, February 27, 2009
My first knit project

Here it is - my first completed knit project!

It's supposed to be a one-skein scarf. It should have been a one and a half skein scarf - it's quite short, but I only had one skein of the yarn, and none of the local stores had another.

My friend Erna taught me to cast on and do a basic knit stitch. I immediately forgot how to cast on, but found a 2-needle method on You Tube that is much easier for me. The entire scarf is done in knit-stitch. I'm sure I made mistakes, but I didn't add or drop stitches, and this yarn is great for hiding boo-boos.

I watched another You Tube video to learn how to cast-on - and voila! It's short, but it's soft and warm and just long enough to tuck into my purple jacket.

I'm keeping this one for me! Next knit project will need to be with a less frou-frou yarn, so my mistakes aren't so easily forgiven. This was fun though. It felt like an accomplishment and in just 3 evenings I created I something that I can use. Happy Worm.

Monday, February 23, 2009
Look Who's Knitting!

Started this last night. I thought it was going to be a one skein scarf, but it's 22" long, and I don't have much yarn left. Guess that means I have to buy another skein, huh? So much for my vow to use up all my yarn before buying more!

This is Chenille Thick and Quick in Amethyst Print.

My very first knit project. Nothing fancy - all knit stitch. But I cast on all by myself, I haven't dropped or lost any stitches - well, I did screw up a lot, but I think I was able to fix all my mistakes - can't be sure about that - the chenille may hide a lot.

I think that I'm a crocheter at heart, but this feels like an accomplishment. And if I can find more yarn, this scarf will look great with my purple jacket.

Sunday, February 22, 2009
I haven't blogged much in recent days, but it's not because I'm not crafting - more like I'm not finishing anything! I generally keep my WIP to one project, but I have several things in the work right now.

I'm still working on my broomstick lace. It's slow going, but I've gotten into a rhythm with it. I think it's too open for a baby blanket - don't want tiny fingers and toes to get tangled. Some friends have told me it's ok, but it isn't wide enough for a baby blanket - I think I'm locked into making a shawl. That's going to take some time. I'm going to be attending a wedding this Spring - maybe I can finish it in time for that.... maybe not.

I also started working on a woven crochet baby blanket. The photo isn't true to the colors. It's an unusual shade of purple green and a sort of mango color. Not traditional baby colors and perhaps an odd combination, but I like it. This is the basic "mesh", and then I'll weave through it to create a more plaid like pattern. Not sure yet if I'm going to just weave or SC through it, but I'll figure it out.

I packed a few boxes up for Marine Corps Kids over the weekend. I was able to include a great assortment of donated items, but didn't have any of my own work to include, so I took a break to make this little jacket. I'm just about done with a matching cap. I'll add them to the box tonight and get them in the mail tomorrow. ( Check out the Marine Corps Kids site to see all the great items that others have sent - we do get some fabulous donations!)

A few weeks ago my synagogue started a Sunday morning crafters group. We meet at the local coffee shop and work on our projects. There are some wonderful ladies involved. A few of us are crocheters, but most of the ladies knit. My new friend Erna helped me cast on and do some simple knit stitches this morning. The basic stitch I can do, but I'm sure I won't remember how to cast on, and I seem to have real problems holding the yarn properly so that the work flows. I'll keep practicing - hopefully next week we can purl stitch, and by this time next year - who knows - maybe I'll be knitting and crocheting? I think that I'm a hooker by nature, but I would really love to be able to knit too!! This photo is horrible, but it's proof that I'm starting!

So that's what I've been up to. It's been fun!

* in craft-speak UFP = Unfinished Objects

Saturday, February 14, 2009
A Hookers Valentine
My Honey knows me, and he knows what I like. This year for Valentine's Day I got two heartfelt wonderful cards, some yummy chocolate, I'm getting a home-cooked yummy dinner, and I got this great crochet book!!!

I always look at the crochet books and magazines when we go to Barnes and Noble, and they rarely have books that I love. Many are too basic, don't explain the stitches well, or contain a collection of patterns that, while lovely, may not interest me.

Crochet Inspiration was different. This book explained many stitches and techniques. It included a lot that I knew, and a lot more that I can't wait to learn.

The photographs, instructions and graphics are all clear and easy to understand!

This is a fabulous book and a fabulous gift!

Thank you, Honey! Happy Valentines Day!

Monday, February 09, 2009
My Broomstick
Wanting to play with Broomstick Lace, I went out today and bought the fattest knitting needle I could find and some variegated yarn.

This technique is fun, but slow going. I'm generally one for instant gratification, and this project isn't going to be done anytime soon. Perhaps the name Broomstick is appropriate, because I might turn into a witch by the time I'm done!

I completed 3 rows tonight. Once I got into a groove, I did find the process sort of relaxing. It requires more attention than traditional crochet, so it will be a slow go, but it's kind of fun, and I do like the way the pattern looks!

My initial idea was to make a baby blanket. I think that might have worked if I used a tighter pattern, but this is too open for tiny fingers. It could make a lovely summer wrap though - which is good, because I might not be able to finish it before summer is here.

It is fun to break out of my comfort zone and try some new techniques. Hopefully it will result in a pretty wrap.

Sunday, February 08, 2009
Today I experimented with some new (for me) crochet techniques. It was fun.

The pink swatch was done to play with some crochet weaving techniques. The background is just some stripes made with a sc-ch 1 pattern. Then working in the chain spaces, I tried 2 different methods. On the right you see simple weaving. This is just two strands basket weaved through the stitches. It's an easy way to add some color and to create a plaid pattern, but I didn't find it to be very fun. To the left, I tried a slip stitch textured stripe. This is easy and fun. I held the yarn behind the piece, and worked slip stitches through the chain 1 spaces. I really liked this. It adds a bit of texture and gives a nice finished look. I can see using this technique to trim blankets and baby clothing. I think I'll do this a lot.

Next I wanted to try my hand at broomstick lace. First I had to do some research to find out what Broomstick lace is. There are some great tutorials. I found the instructions on Crochet Cabana to be very helpful. This green swatch was my first attempt.

I used a size 15 knitting needle and an H hook. The worsted weight yarn was too think for these tools. This swatch contains several mistakes.

I realized that I probably needed to use a MUCH thicker knitting needle (or broomstick). Instead I switched to some very thin yarn and an E hook.

The variegated blue swatch is my second attempt at broomstick lace, and this one came out much better. This technique is really fun. It's a fun way to crochet in a whole new way.

I think I'll need to get a really HUGE broomstick so I can try this technique on full projects. I think it would make a lovely baby blanket with a baby weight yarn.

The Finer Things
So last night I finished the wool and silk scarf. It's on the short side because I only had one ball of each yarn, but it's just long enough to comfortably tuck into the neck of my jacket or coat.

Hubby thinks it the most "fashionable" thing I've even made. I really like it, but think its a bit odd. The wool yarn is gorgeous. I used the silk to weave SC through the wool scarf. Because the silk is not uniformly thick, it made for an interesting textural design.

I wore it this morning to a Stitch and Bitch group and got several compliments. I'm keeping this one for myself. I think I'll get a lot of use from it.

Saturday, February 07, 2009
Things I Can't Afford
When I go to the independent yarn stores, there are magnificent yarns that I like to look at and drool over, but that I would never buy. I feel like I'm still too much a beginner to deserve to use the really magnificent yarns, and I'm much to thrifty to spend the money to buy them.

I do, however, allow myself a treat every time I go visit In a Yarn Basket. I never leave there without buying at least one mystery bag.

Last time I went, I purchased a $10 bag. In it were the two balls of yarn shown here. The ball on the left is Tilli Tomas Aspen Ethereal Delight. It's a magnificently soft Australian Merino Wool. The colors are muted blue, green, lilac and yellow - it's not nearly as pastel-like as the photo would have you believe. The ball on the Right is Tilli Tomas Himalaya Silk. The photo doesn't show the beauty of the color and texture of this yarn.

These two small balls of yarn would have cost me $18.50, so I feel like my $10 purchase was a bargain!!! I must admit though, that I was intimidated to actually use such beautiful yarn!

There isn't much of it, so I decided to make a scarf, and having read sections of several crochet books this morning and Barnes & Noble, I decided to try and weave the silk through the wool. I have no idea how this will look, and if it's a nightmare I'll be horrified to have ruined such lovely yarn.

I can't afford to grow accustomed to these yarns, but I must admit that working with them is a delight!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009
An Award from Sandy

Sandy from Sandy's Space gave me this award!

Thank you, Sandy! That's so sweet!!!

I love blogging because of the attention that it brings to Marine Corps Kids and other great charitable crafting groups. It's my pleasure to share my patterns, but it's my joy to see all the great things that crafters like Sandy send to Marine Corps Kids and other organizations.

I'm supposed to nominate 5 other blogs, and I will, but not tonight! I have a meeting to run too!

Thanks again, Sandy!!!

Sunday, February 01, 2009
For Rilynn

A co-worker and his wife are expecting their first child soon! Little Rilynn Olivia is due on Feb 8th.

I love this adorable zebra fleece, and thought it would make for a cute set.

The blanket was edged very simply using white, black and pink yarn. I edged the fabric in white, did a row of black sc, a row of white sc, and a row of pink DC.

For the jacket, I used bright pink fleece and created the cuffs and collar from the zebra pattern. I've never tried this before - the collar was a bit tricky and it's not perfect, and I'm really pleased that I was able to pull it off! A simple edging with white yarn and a zebra button finished the jacket.