Sunday, October 16, 2016

Yarn fail turned into a success...

Looking through my cotton yarn to make another dishcloth  I knew I was picking a least likely contender for making a pretty cloth, but wow - was I underwhelmed by just how ugly of a cloth this color would make:

It's Lily's Sugar & Cream in the color Earth Ombre in case anyone wants to be sure not to purchase it for the purpose of making a dishcloth.  Bleck.  One good thing I can say for it, though, is that I won't worry about it getting stained.  Not that I'd likely even be able to tell if it's stained...

Looking in my stash and seeing three more skeins I decided I either needed to rehome the stuff, or find something else to make with it quick so I could stop regretting I'd purchased it once upon a time.

When I came upon this pattern I thought it might provide enough openness in the crocheted fabric that the unattractive blend of colors and degree of variegation just wouldn't matter that much.

Once I started, I couldn't crochet fast enough - I wanted this yarn gone.

I had to make two bags before I used most of the offending yarn.  I have to say, while these won't be winning any beauty contests, I like these bags a whole lot more than I like that dishcloth.  And they were easy peasy to make.  After making the first one I really just winged (wung?) the second one.

The pattern makes a fairly small bag as written - though these things stretch.  A lot.  I made mine larger than the pattern (by enlarging the circle base - which was a good choice because I wanted them larger in diameter than the pattern would make), but I think I made them both a bit too long.  It's hard to estimate how much these stretch, so my recommendation is to make them shorter than you may think you actually need them to be.

Grocery day is a ways off, so I just went shopping in my kitchen and can see that these bags hold quite a bit of stuff.

Because they stretch so much, I recommend not putting super heavy items in them, but they will nicely corral bags of chips, some boxes of cereal, a loaf bread, some not-too-heavy produce... Frankly, I think these bags will hold pretty much anything that would fit in them.  The question is, do I want them dragging on the floor as they're hanging over my shoulder?!?

Now to put these babies in my car - where they can await my next shopping trip!  And Yay! for finding success again out of what was appearing to be another yarn fail.

To see what other Yoppers are up to, visit our thread this week on Ravelry.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Henny Penny & Cocky Locky?

Last week when I posted the picture of the crocheted chicken potholder I couldn't help but think it looked more like a proud rooster than a clucky hen.  The pattern (link found here) said it was a hen, so I called it a hen.  But deep inside I couldn't help but think of it as a rooster.

Then I got to wondering...  could I maybe make this just a tad smaller - maybe with a smaller comb and wattle and maybe it would look more like a hen?  Referring to some pictures I found online I refitted the pattern slightly and made me a demure hen to go with my cocky rooster.  What do you think?
I don't know if these two felt any attraction for one another, but for me it was love at first sight.

So then I had to make another pair:
These two are vintage-y.   Kind of old fashioned.

And then...  before I knew it, I was making another pair:
I think I'm getting the vintage-y look down...

And then finally...  before I got all chickened out, I made this cute little pair:
These might just be my favorites!

Am I nuts or what?  It seems I couldn't stop until I had nearly a whole flock!  But they were such fun to make.  In fact, truth be told, something inside me wants to make another pair.  For what purpose, I haven't a clue, but there is something a little bit addictive about making these.

I wish I could say these are all original, but only the first pair is remotely so - and only because I think that amber color on the back wings is possibly obsolete.  I don't know that the girls look all that much different from their fella's but it's nice having these as pairs - whether I'm using them myself or wanting to gift them to someone.

So...  One pair goes into my "Potholders for Posterity" collection, one pair will be used by me, and another pair is going to a friend as a gift.  I sort of love them all and can't decide at the moment which pair goes where.

Dare I ask...  do you have a favorite?

To see what other Yoppers are up to, visit our thread this week on Ravelry.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Simple pleasures...

While you wouldn't know it from any pictures I've taken, or crochet talk I've been talkin', I am working on my 2nd Spice of Life blanket.  I could probably finish the body in a quick session, but then it would need blocking before I add the border.  Sounds easy enough.  The problem is I've still got enough of a remnant of vertigo in my head that a simple thing like bending over and looking straight down (like I would need to do to pin something to block) is still making me woozy.  Since I'm under no pressure to finish the blanket, I've decided to just take my sweet time finishing crocheting those last fews rows, trusting that one of these day I'll feel totally normal again and I'll get that baby blocked and bordered.

Until then I'm making things that don't require blocking.  :)  Simple things.

Like knitted dishcloths:

Three new cloths in the colors of autumn.  Bring on that autumn weather!

And this Chicken Hotpad:

Is it wrong to be smitten with something that comes off one's own hook?  I may be a little too excited about this cute little hen, but I'm thinking I see more of these in my crochet future.  I've made notes on my project page, so replicating this, or making a whole flock of new and varied ones should be a piece of cake.  I don't know if this will be a gift for someone, or if I'll add it to my potholder collection, but I'm totally lovin' this little chicken.  :)

To see what other Yoppers are up to, visit this week's thread on Ravelry.

Monday, September 26, 2016

It's almost pumpkin time!

Today's post is short and sweet as this small project was all I could muster after a week of dealing with vertigo again.    I get these episodes very infrequently, but when I do they really mess with me.  Today, I'm feeling nearly symptom-free and it was so good to pick up my crochet hook and whip out this little cutie:

Every fall I get the urge to make some of these and today I pulled aside some new yarns to play with as I make some more.   I think it will be a fun thing to do tonight as I watch the presidential debate.  I wouldn't think of not watching the debate,  but I have a feeling I'll need something to keep me sane as I do.   The pumpkin above is made with Vanna's Glamour in the color Bronze.  It has some sparkly specks in it which just made it even more fun to make.  The yarn is a thin worsted, and crocheted with a size F crochet hook this little mini pumpkin measures just 2 inches in diameter and 1 3/4 inches tall - from bottom to top of stem.  I know - it looks a lot bigger than that in the picture, doesn't it.  ;^)

If you're interested in how I made the button stem, I wrote a tutorial last year that you can find here.

To see what other Yoppers are up to, visit this week's thread on Ravelry!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

A little spice in my life...

I've been getting ready for a garage/yard sale next weekend and with all the purging and pricing involved in that, I haven't done much crocheting lately (or any knitting, for that matter).

I haven't ignored my crocheting completely, though.  I'm enjoying getting back to my second Spice of Life Blanket:

I do love these colors.  They put me in the mind of autumn.

And a blogger last week took a picture of some wonderful vintage pattern books she recently obtained and that reminded me that I had a similar treasure I unearthed a few weeks ago when helping set up for a Friends of the Library booksale.  

All these vintage crochet magazines and pamphlets pictured above, and four really cool knitting books:

I'm a sucker for old pattern books.  While I've earmarked several patterns I think I might try to "modern up" a bit, even if I never actually make anything from these books, the pleasure I get just browsing through them is enormous.  While there is a nostalgia factor, for sure, I also find inspiration in browsing these old books.  I wonder what things inspire a creative mindset in you.

To see what other Yoppers are up to, visit our thread on Ravelry!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

When yarn color disappoints...

What do you do when you receive yarn and the color disappoints?  For a week I waited patiently for a yarn order and when I received Deborah Norville's Everyday yarn in the color Violet Heather I was unimpressed with how little it looked heathered.  It's hard to get a good picture of this color of purple, but below is a picture that shows the ever so slight amount of black (or dark gray) that is in this yarn.  If you can't see it, it's not you.  I have to look hard and tell myself it's actually there before I think I can see it.

Seriously now...  would you call this heathered?

The violet is really much darker than this picture shows and in normal lighting the heathering is completely unnoticeable.  The flash used puts a bit of a shine on this yarn that simply isn't there in normal lighting.  What may look like a bit of heathering is really the contrast created by the shine on the purple.  What isn't shining is basically what is black (or dark gray) - or shadows.   

So what's a person to do?   It's not worth it to send it back.  And I didn't need any more plain purple yarn. 

I let it stew for a bit, knowing I wouldn't be using the yarn for the project I had hoped to make with it.  But then I got an idea.  Combine it with another yarn to make something of a different heathered look.   And that's what I did.   I added some laceweight Loops & Threads Woolike in the color Mauve and this is what I got:

Not bad!  The purple is still a bit darker than this picture shows, but the mauve lifts the dark purple to something prettier than it appears by itself.   Though the purple is actually darker, this picture is a fairly accurate representation of how the tones in the two yarns work together.   I'm still not making what I had hoped to make with this yarn, but I think this casual poncho will be kind of fun in this new colorway I created.   I may only wear it around the house, but I look forward to having something easy I can toss on temporarily to cover chilly arms.  And just in time, too.  We're beginning to enjoy evening temps in the 50's.  A little early for fallish weather, but it's glorious nonetheless.

To see what other Yoppers are up to, visit our thread this week on Ravelry.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

With just a little bit of yarn...

It's the weather.  I'm excusing my lack of direction and inclination to work much with yarn on this beautiful weather we're having.  It's been in the 70's for the last half of this week with overnights in the 60's and 50's.  It has me happily gadding about in my free time, not doing anything particularly worth mentioning, except that well, you know... errands need running, groceries need buying, friends sometimes need lunching with...   And I've been enjoying doing all these things in the context of glorious days after several weeks of trying to avoid spending unnecessary time out in the spiteful heat and humidity and rain.

To be clear, though,  I'm not complainin'.   I'm just explainin'.   My heart goes out to those who've experienced hurricanes, tornadoes and floods in recent weeks.  How is it in your corner of the world?

What I did manage to start and finish this week are these cute little Apple Coasters:

And this simple autumn-ish doily kind-of-a-thing:

Both of these projects were short CAL's on Ravelry.  And both were made with just a bit of yarn. One of the apple coasters will sit on my computer desk this autumn.  And the doily kind-of-a-thing will hopefully find something to rest under.  A plant maybe.  Or maybe I'll just put it out with this little kitty creamer.  :)  The kitty creamer is an antique that I believe at one time was my grandmother's.  It's from the 1940's I'm guessing from what I can find online.   And the yellow formica counter top is only a couple decades younger than the kitty creamer.  Yep, that's my kitchen counter.  My sad old   stylishly vintage yellow kitchen counter.  ;^)


On the knitting front...  I have decided not to post pictures of every single dishcloth I make, but I will report that I knitted two more simple ones this week.  One had some mistakes I tried to turn into design elements - I accidentally knitted a row on the purling side and for some reason thought purling on the knitted side later in the cloth would give me two nice" ridges", but all I really got was one nice ridge and one loosey-goosey sloppy row of purling.

Oooh, okay...  Here's a picture:

Of course, I figured out several rows after I did that loose purl row that I should have just knitted on the purl side again - and I'd have a nice tight ridge like the first one.  It was a head slapping moment, and I consider that a good thing.  That means I'm learning!

The second cloth, I'm happy to report is a work of art.  In a kindergarten knitting class, that is.  I'm getting the tension tighter on my purling.  I still don't know how anyone manages to have such perfect enough tension that they nonchalantly make lovely large items like shawls and blankets, but I'm contenting myself with seeing some slight (and somewhat consistent) improvement in this area in my humble washcloths.

On that note I want to thank you, reader, for indulging me and encouraging me in these weekly posts about my knitting progress.  I truly hope to look back on this time as a quaint and innocent period of my knitting life.  Innocent of what magnificent creations I eventually may be capable of.  :)   Wow. Where did that come from?  A week ago I was a happy humble dishcloth knitter.  This week I'm aspiring to magnificence.  =^/

This week (hopefully) I will get back to my second Spice of Life blanket.  Making two at a time seemed like such a good idea when I started these in July, but having laid one aside in order to finish the other during the Ravellenics I find that I've become a bit apathetic about finishing the laid-aside one.  But finish it I will.  I trust that just picking it back up again will overcome the inertia I'm experiencing at the moment.  This is such an enjoyable pattern to crochet and I actually like these colors better than the colors in the one I finished already, so really... I imagine it will fly off my hook once I get going on it again.

Here is the last progress picture I took of it (back in July):

I've crocheted a good number of rows beyond this point and I'm sure I'm about halfway finished, so really... I should be able to knock this out in a couple of weeks.  And that's so good, as I have ideas brewing.  I may have to start them before my Spice is finished if the yarn I'm waiting on arrives, but that isn't likely to happen for a few days at least.   My main goal is to accomplish something on this Spice this next week.  And probably knit another dishcloth.  ;^)

To see what other Yoppers are yopping about, visit our thread this week on Ravelry!

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