Sunday, July 26, 2015

Progressing on my Starling Bag...

When I first started this Starling Bag I thought I'd get clever with the stripe pattern - I fancied the teal stripes graduating in size as they went down the bag (skinniest stripes at the top, fattest stripe at the bottom).  But after trying this graduated stripe effect, working from the bottom up, about halfway through I realized I would run out of the silver long before I ran out of teal so that killed that idea.  And I have no desire to get more of this silver yarn - it's Knit Picks Brava worsted and not being particularly fond of it, I'm trying to use it up and be done with it.  So I revised my plan with the stripes.  And ripped...   And re-did about half of what is pictured here.

For anyone who might be interested, I've written my review of Knit Picks Brava (an acrylic worsted) on this Ravelry project page.

I'm liking the even stripes fine, in the end.   It may not look as clever as I originally hoped, but it should look nice.  I know that top silver silver stripe looks wider than the silver one lower down, but they are the same width. It's a trick of the camera angle.

The bag should be done shortly now.  I plan to finish the teal stripe I'm on, then add one more silver stripe and end with teal handles.   I expect that will make a nice size project bag.

While the colors come out great in the natural outdoor light, the silver looks less vivid indoors.  So I'm thinking it needs some brightening up.  Maybe I'll attach some flowers?  Or a motif or two?  Then again,  maybe I should decide what I will line it with first.  A lining might give a clue as to what might brighten the bag up on the outside.  Or maybe a pretty or interesting lining will do the trick all by itself!

I mentioned last weekend that I was getting back to my shawl.  Well...the more I worked on it, the less I liked the yarn (made up into a shawl).   I'm getting a better feel for what seems to work and not work when crocheting with variegated yarns and now I'm working on a post in that vein.  So the shawl project is shelved and will eventually be frogged, but a new idea emerged from it.  Win!

Looking forward to seeing what all my other YOP5 buddies have been up to this past week!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Yarning Along With The Starling Bag...

Seriously in need of something simple, but gratifying, I went looking for such a project.  And I found it in The Starling Bag.  The instructions are super clear and the designer has even provided pictured tutorials for any tricky parts (though seriously...her instructions are so clear, the tutorials are hardly needed).  Don't let Future Girl's request for your e-mail turn you away.  She has some seriously good resources there.

I decided to make the base of mine larger than the pattern directs and I'm double-stranding the worsted weight yarn, so this ought to be a sturdy (and large) bag.   I'm living on the wild side and figuring out what sort of pattern of stripes I'm doing as I go.  Whoo hoo!  Gotta cut loose once in a while.

Yes, those are single crochets.  The very thing my aching fingers were screaming over a few days ago. Somehow this isn't so bad, though.  Maybe when the bag gets larger I'll start crying again, but for now I'm managing. 

There are so many nice versions of this bag on Ravelry.  Here's hoping I like mine enough to line it when it's finished.   I have high hopes it will make a nice project bag.


And last night I started reading A Month of Summer by Lisa Wingate.  

It's an interesting story told from the point of view of two women  - Rebecca, a 40-something year-old who is called upon to help her father, whose health is failing; and Hanna Beth, the woman who took Rebecca's father away when she was a child, leaving Rebecca and her mother to struggle on alone.  I have a feeling as the story unfolds, life will not be as it seems from Rebecca's scarred memories. 

And after weeks and weeks of rain, it's a beautiful day in central Indiana.  Eighty degrees and low humidity - a rare combination for Hoosier summers.  It is glorious.

Two happy little flowers on my Fuchsia plant.  
I love how they look like two ladies dancing.  

Check out what others are knitting and crocheting at Ginny's Yarn Along.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Chevron Pillow Finished!

While I've finished a few dishcloths in the last couple of weeks, I'm counting this chevron pillow as my first official YOP5 finished project.

I like it, but frankly I'm really glad to have it done.  Working on this gave my fingers a workout.   It's all single crochet, so the fabric is on the tight side.  And all those ends!!!  I think my fingers ache as much from sewing in all those ends as they do from the crocheting. 

But I'm done!  And that makes me happy.  After I give my fingers a break, I'm going to try to knock out my shawl I started a month ago and promptly set aside.

Later today we're looking forward to having our three sons here.  Their company will be very welcome as the husband is still recovering from foot surgery and he's pretty limited in what he can do and where he can go.  He's grown bit glum about it all.  I can't blame him. He has to keep his foot elevated most of the time, and it hurts to walk, anyway.    We'll enjoy some Lasagna and then some games.  Middle son is bringing Settlers of Catan.   My current favorite game is Ticket to Ride, but we've had a request to play I guess I'm going to be giving it a go this time.

Do you have a favorite family game?  If you have adult kids, what do you like to do when you're all together?

Linked to:  Hookin' On Hump Day

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

My husband got the boot!

A post-op walking boot, that is.

Well, actually, it's a big clunky sandal.  But it will do the job of protecting his foot very nicely for a few weeks.  

This morning at 6:00 a.m. we made our way to the surgery center where the husband had surgery to clean up some arthritis and bone chips that had made walking very difficult.  It was a fairly standard and uncomplicated surgery from what we understand, and if this is a success he plans to have the other foot done, too.  And then we have high hopes that come late fall he'll be walking normally again. 

To pass the time during the pre-surgery waiting and then his surgery I took along a simple crochet project (of course).  I've been wanting to try spiral crochet, and this seemed as good a time as any.  

Last night I found this (very well written) pattern for a crocheted spiral dishcloth and I was able to crochet almost a whole cloth this morning.  Well, hey, lookie there.  It's another dishcloth from Neatly Tangled - the same crocheter who created the hyperbolic dishcloth pattern I wrote about yesterday.  Cool beans! 

I like it.  I like it a lot.  

When I first started reading the instructions, I thought it was going to be kind of complicated and fiddly.  But once I got going, it was really pretty simple.  You do have to keep track of where you are and what color you're supposed to be using so you'll need at least one stitch marker, but this isn't hard.  At one point I thought I messed up, but I continued on like I knew what I was doing and it worked out.   We'll see when I do another one (and I will be doing another one) if the error was mine or if the pattern got confused about what color I was on.  ;^)

I'm almost embarrassed to admit this, but I'm thinking that this might be my favorite dishcloth now.  I know.  I know!  Just yesterday I was in love with the hyperbolic dishcloth. What can I say.  I'm fickle.  Or easily tickled.  I'm a sucker for a fun dishcloth, for sure.

The book next on the docket is The Communion of Saints by Philip Graham Ryken.   I'm not very far into it, but the forward convinced me to give it a go.  The first line is:  "Americans have started bowling alone."   And then goes on to expound on how independent and autonomous we have become as individuals in this culture, and in our churches.  I get it.  I feel the draw toward autonomy.  I think I've always felt it.  I tend to think it's my introvert nature that draws me there, but something tells me that's not the whole truth.  And the draw is not wholly right.  

The Christian life cannot be lived fully autonomously, but having recently been thrust into the reality of needing to find a church home - our wonderful little fellowship had to give up our building and our pastor retired over a year ago - and... well... we've been a bit disconnected ever since.  We're in a sweet church right now, but the seeds of autonomy have been sown and it turns out it's grown weedy in here.  I think I'm ready to uproot it.  But I'd be lying if I didn't admit it's a little scary.  Or intimidating.  Or maybe it's just work.  And I've grown lazy and more than a wee bit selfish.  I'm hoping for some insight and inspiration from this book.  I'll give a report when I've gotten deeper in.  It looks promising.

To see what other yarn-lovers are making and reading, check out Ginny's Yarn Along at Small Things.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A New Wave Dishcloth...

With several WIPs on the hook I found myself wanting some instant crochet gratification so I went looking through my files of easy crochet patterns.

I came across A Practically Hyperbolic Dishcloth  and decided to make one.   And I loved it!

Which meant, of course, I couldn't make just one...

I made three!

And, of courseI couldn't help but alter the pattern a bit.  Because, well, I never seem completely satisfied until I've played around with a crochet pattern and changed it somehow.  I don't know why that is, but on the third one of these I hit upon the perfect edited version (for me).  

Now might be a good time to mention I used worsted weight cotton yarn and a size H crochet hook.  Final size will vary depending on yarn, hook, and how tightly one crochets (I don't think I crochet particularly tight or loose).

First I made a green one and I followed the pattern to the letter.  It had just the right amount of ruffliness, but it was just a tad too small for my dishwashing pleasure.  The pattern says this should measure about 6.5 inches (that would definitely be too small for me).  Mine measures 7.25 inches in diameter.   Hmmm...  maybe I am a looser crocheter than I thought.    

A follow-up:  After using these dishcloths over the period of a week or so, and washing them a couple times, I've concluded that I actually prefer the 7.25 inch green one.   While a 7.25 inch square dishcloth would feel too small, I'm sure, I think the ruffliness of these cloths gives the feel of more cloth in the hand.  I'm a little surprised at this, but I've decided when I make more, I'll be following the directions to the letter (only adding another row if, for some reason, my crocheting is too tight and yields a smaller cloth) 

Then I made the orange one and I experimenting by added 2 more rounds (I repeated round 9 once, and then did a row where I crocheted 2 dc's in one stitch then crocheted 1 dc in the next 5 stitches - alternating that stitch pattern all the way around).  The point of that last row was to try to "tone down" the ruffles.  It did help, but it ended up making a big cloth.  The orange cloth measures 8.5 inches.  Not too big, maybe, but with the ruffles it just feels like too much cloth in my hand.  I can use it, but it's not...perfect.

The pink one, though, was juuuuust right.  See note above (just under the picture of the green cloth).   I followed the directions in the link, but after round 9, I crocheted a round of single crochets (just one stitch in every half double crochet stitch below).  Then finished it off with a  round of slip stitch in every single crochet stitch.   This cloth measures 8 inches across and the last two rows of single crochet and slip stitch in every stitch settled the ruffles down so that the waviness is pretty perfect. 

It fits my hand and around my fingers perfectly.  Making it an easy cloth to swish and scrub dishes with. 

I think this might now be my favorite crocheted dishcloth.  In fact, I'm thinking that a few of these tucked into a bridal shower gift would be a fun surprise.  Or they'd make a nice hostess gift, perhaps.  Especially done in bright, cheery colors!  Or pastels for spring!  Or Christmas holiday colors!  Or in pumpkin orange at Thanksgiving! get the idea.  These are kind of perfect any time.

Check out Neatly Tangled for this and other fun, simple, and colorful crochet projects.  You can download from Neatly Tangled, or visit Deborah Ellis' Ravelry Design page and see all her fun patterns there.

If you're not a member of Ravelry, why not?  Membership is quick, easy and free!  And I get absolutely nothing for referring you.  What can be better than that?  A no-strings-attached, endless supply of patterns and resources - with the touch of a few keys.

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