Sunday, October 4, 2015

I Love Fall. I Love Crocheting Afghans...

It's been a busy week. 

I was too distracted to try to start making anything complicated or try a new pattern, so about Wednesday, or so, I started making another linen stitch scarf  This scarf is pretty sedate compared to the most recently finished one, but I like it.  The two yarns I'm using are similar in value, but one has some color running through it, while the other is just various gray shades.  When I picked the yarns I was hoping this would create a masculine-looking scarf.  As it's coming along the purplish pink color is the only thing that makes me hesitate about gifting this to a man.  Anyone else have any thoughts?

After more dry days in the 80's it turned gloriously chilly on Friday.  And Saturday was rainy.  All day long.   It was a wonderful day of reading and crocheting (and I confess, napping ;^).   Because it was finally cool enough I was inspired to pull out my Arrowhead Striped Afghan I started last spring (but tucked away once it got too warm to crochet something so large).  I have been looking forward to it being cool enough to crochet blankets again.

Here's a link to the pattern.  And today I found this video, too.  I'm only about a third of the way finished so it doesn't look like much, but see the arrow shapes formed with this stitch pattern?  It's one of those terrific patterns that is much more complicated looking than it really is.  And it creates a great cushy, thick blanket even though it's made with single-stranded worsted weight.  This stitch pattern makes it look like it's made with much thicker yarn.

Oh, how I'm enjoying the feel of fall.  Everything about this time of year enlivens my senses.  Makes me thankful that the dreary heat of summer is (mostly) behind us.  Warns me that bitter cold is just around the corner - clutching the coattails of autumn.  And crocheting seems to take on a new purpose.  A new pleasure.  The cold seasons make me especially happy I have this ability to create with yarn and hook.  :^)

To see what other Year of Project friends are working on this week, visit our thread on Ravelry.  In fact, if you're so inclined feel free to join in!   While our year runs from July 1st through June 30th, anyone is welcome to join in at any time.  I think.  It's a small, but supportive and creative bunch of knitters and crocheters.  I'm so glad to be participating (for the first time) this year.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Crocheted Linen Stitch Scarf

Yep, I've finished another scarf.  And the colors on this one make my heart happy.

I just love watching this Linen Stitch scarf grow - especially when using different colors of yarn.  One can combine various yarns in a seemingly infinite number of ways to get a unique scarf every single time.

This time I used Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable yarn in the colorways Meadow and Sunrise.  Together these two unlikely companions made a fun, cheery scarf - perfect for a crisp autumn day, or for brightening up a blustery winter day.

I will say I was surprised at how fuzzy this yarn was this time around.  It does seem that different colors of this particular yarn fuzz differently.  I'm not sure that this one fuzzes badly.  It's just more fuzzy than previous scarves I've made with this yarn.   A bit more than I'd prefer - and I am curious how it will look after it's laundered (I will come back here and give a report on that).  Having said all that, it looks (and feels) very much like a soft wool to me.

How to style it:

My preference for wearing a scarf is for warmth - simply wrapped around my neck, with the ends looped through the folded end of the scarf and tucked into my coat or jacket:

It's a non-fussy look for a non-fussy sort of gal.

But this one could be temporarily (or permanently) fastened at the ends to create a pretty cowl:

I like that look, too.

While I'm really tickled with this color combination, truth be told the colors probably aren't the best for me.  I crocheted this as a total experiment with no idea how it would be used.  Being as happy with it as I am this will likely be a gift for someone - either a friend, or an unknown someone - it doesn't matter.  I just hope it makes some else smile, too.  :^)

To see what other participants in Ravelry's Year Of Projects group are up to this week, visit this week's thread.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Yarn Along...

A week ago I finally decided to pick up the knitting needles and give it go.  Sigh.  It's very humbling to feel competent at one needlecraft and realize you're almost completely inept at another (I posted my first attempt in Sunday's post).

After a week of practicing knitting and purling (and even getting Continental Knitting down pretty well - in fact I prefer it) I'm feeling better about it all.    I still prefer crocheting, but today I felt confident enough to start a simple dishcloth without fear I'd grow utterly discouraged. 

It's a simple pattern alternating a row of K3, P1, K3 with a row of knit stitches.  You can see the pattern beginning to emerge.  I've made some mistakes, but nothing yet that's making me despair.  Yet.  Truth be told, I'm actually a little encouraged that I can tell what my mistakes are.  That's new.  And a sign that I'm progressing.

And tonight I plan to start The Stolen Crown by Susan Higgenbotham.  I'm not sure what the story is, but after reading Higgenbotham's The Traitor's Wife I jumped at the chance to get my hands on a copy of another of her books.  I do know it's about kings, queens, courts, murder and intrique, and the time frame has some close relationship  to The War of the Roses.  And while I suspect Higgenbotham takes very seriously her literary license when it comes to writing historical fiction, I do expect to learn about (and more importantly become curious about) some historical events and persons I'm not very familiar with as I read this new-to-me novel.

To see what other yarnies are making and reading check out Ginny's weekly Yarn Along.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Octagon Baby Blanket

The words "I'm done!" have become almost a weekly challenge for me to finish projects begun.  I know when the weather encourages me to move to larger projects like full-sized blankets or possibly an intricate design, finishing a project each week isn't likely going to be a reasonable expectation.  But in these early weeks and months of this year's Year of Projects blog challenge I'm liking the motivation it's providing.
So...once again...   I'm done!   With the Octagon Baby Blanket I started early last week.
The picture above is an accurate representation of the colors and tones of the yarns used in this blanket.  Other pictures are edited to get them close to correct - just to explain some variations in tone and lighting.

I have not figured out a way to get an attractive picture of the whole blanket spread out (when I manage to get the whole thing in one shot it seems anticlimactic somehow), so hopefully I've captured the essence of the octagonal shape and managed a little intrigue.

I had to tweak the instructions a bit at the section breaks (it just wasn't as intuitive to me as it seemed to be for others who had previously crocheted this blanket and created project pages on Ravelry), but once I got something figured out that worked for me it became a very simple and intuitive pattern to work.  

In fact, except for having to count the stitches each time I finished a row in a section, it was pretty mindless.

One might say...a tad...monotonous.   ;^)    Every single stitch is a double crochet.  I find that patterns like this are perfect for creating a sort of meditative and peaceful space.  A perfect thing to do during periods of stress.  Not that I am under stress presently.  Just sayin'....
I decided to edge the blanket with a simple scallop edging.  I think it creates a sweet edge without being feminine, or even obvious. 

And now, in the spirit of  sharing with my fellow YOPers my progress on personal challenges, I present my first knitting attempt.  It's embarrassing, and awful, but I look forward to coming back to this post - months (or maybe years) from now and seeing the progress I've made.
You are free to laugh.  In fact, I insist that you do.  Believe me, I have to laugh at this or I might just cry: 
As is, I'm going to have to challenge myself to keep picking up my knitting needles to practice because my overwhelming inclination after knitting the above swatch is to simply give up. 
While some of the process came back to me (I had knitted once upon a time as a teen), I found it impossible to keep a consistent tension and have no idea where some of those stitches disappeared to.  It didn't help, I suppose, that I kept switching back and forth between Continental and English, but my lands....look at that mess!  lol  And the edges are just depressing on the stockinette part.  They don't show because they curl under, but all of my edge stitches are loose and loopy.  Hopefully through practice I can conquer that, but I found that the most discouraging thing of all.

And don't get me started on purling Continental-style.  Let's just seemed to me much like trying to eat ice cream with a fork while standing on my head must be.  It is not natural.  Knitting Continental-style wasn't too hard for me, but purling holding the yarn in my left hand...  On my. 

I imagine I'll be practicing knitting squares and rectangles for some time.  I'll make it a goal of mine to post a monthly (at least) picture of my knitting progress.  I see a lot of dishcloths and scarves in my near future.

Speaking of scarves, here is a progress picture of the latest linen stitch scarf I began crocheting this past week.  I think combining the nothing-in-common-colors of yarns is making an interesting looking scarf for autumn.

That's what I'm telling myself, anyway.  The bright riot of colors in the one yarn would, no doubt, create an attractive crocheted or knitted fabric, but I rather like how the muted tones of the blue and beige colors of the other yarn tones down the loudness of the first yarn.  And yet, the end result is still fun and cheery.  This was a project that was purely for the experiment of seeing how these two somewhat disparate colors and tones would work together (or not). 
Visit Ravelry to see what other YOPers are up to this week.   A free (and no-strings attached) membership with Ravelry is required to see most of the links on this page. 


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Yarn Along...

Today was DH's second foot surgery in two month's time - and that meant hours for me to just sit.  And crochet.  I decided to take along two different colors of Red Heart Unforgettable yarn and see what might come of combining them in this linen stitch scarf I've come to love.  At first glance these two colorways don't appear to make good companions.  I give you Sunrise (on the left) and Meadow (on the right):

Would you have put these together?  If you're color-cautious like me, probably not.  Except for the small bit of greenish blue that's occasionally spun into the Sunrise color that gave me courage to try.  The blue-ish skein doesn't vary a lot, but it does have some beige spun into it, which helps to work with the small amount of neutrals in the Sunrise.  So I took the plunge.

As I crocheted a couple rows I had my doubts, but after four or five rows I think it's actually working.   In fact...  I kind of like it.  Good thing, too, because this loosely spun yarn is a bear to unravel.

And looky there.  Together, the two yarns kind of match the book I'm reading!   A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner is a captivating read.  Two stories run alongside each other in this novel.  The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 1911 and the attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001.  Actually, several mysterious stories are woven around a beautiful scarf that appears in the first chapter - and that's all I'm going to tell you.  It's all I can tell you.  I'm only half way through, but I'm pretty confident I can recommend this book as an interesting read if you enjoy women's fiction.  Or, perhaps, even if you simply enjoy a good story.

Join other yarnies at Ginny's weekly Yarn Along to see what's being read and created, literally around the world this week.
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