Sunday, December 25, 2016

Celebrating Christmas...

Popping in on Christmas evening to report a very happy holiday weekend celebrating Christmas. Two wonderful services at church this weekend, and then family celebrations -  Christmas Eve with just our boys, and Christmas Day with some of our extended family.

I was able to finish all of the linen-stitch scarves I planned to make as Christmas gifts, and all I can say is I'm really glad I got some still shots of just the scarves (before I wrapped them):

Because... this is what I got when I tried to take a picture of the scarves being modeled:

"Seriously, guys...  Can I not get a good picture of you modeling your new scarves?"

Apparently, not.

Though they did humor me (I guess) for just a minute when I asked for a serious pose:

I'm happy to report that the scarves were a hit.  While these three can be real goobs at times, they are also pretty terrific sons.  :)

Wishes for happiness to you and yours during this Christmas season.  

Merry Christmas!  

And peace to all. 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

First snow...

I've been down sick most of this week with a bad cold - which meant plenty of crocheting time (in between drug-induced naps).

I think it was Wednesday when we saw our first snow of the winter season.  (Or it could have been Tuesday, really...  I can't remember...  the past week is all melded together in the fog of my murky memory).    But whatever day it was, even with a foggy, sick head I was able to appreciate how pretty was this first snow, and I decided to poke my nose outside and snap some pictures:

Poking my nose out the back door:

And then out the front:

to the left

and to the right

And then pulling my nose back into the warm house and closing the door, as I turned around it occurred to me to snap a picture of what it looks like when someone is coming into my house:

At the time it seemed like a funny thing to do, but seeing the picture, now I think it's kind of neat. And I'm curious if any of you might like to do the same.  Wouldn't it be fun to step inside each other's front (or back) doors and just take a peek inside?  :)

Speaking of peeks, here are two little snapshots of  the Linen-Stitch Scarves I nearly finished this week (they're finished except for weaving in some yarn ends):

A gray and black striped scarf 

and a blue, gray and black striped scarf

One more to go!  Hopefully, next week (say, that's Christmas Day!) I'll have some modeled shots of these scarves.  That is if I have them all finished.  Note to self:  Take pictures before wrapping them - just in case I forget to round up the models, or in case the recipients decide to be bashful.

To see what other Yoppers are up this week, visit our group on Ravelry!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Trendy Fringe...

Getting started a bit late, I'm happy to say I finished the first of the three scarves I decided to make for Christmas gifts.

Unfortunately, though... I have a problem.  See...  when I asked my husband if he thought it would make a good gift for a guy he said, "Oooh, yeah!  That would look really good with my dark gray coat."

Uuuuuhhhh...   Hmmmm...  Well...   Shoot.  As nice as it was to hear that he liked the scarf enough that he'd like to wear it, I really wasn't making it for him (he already has a scarf I made, so don't feel badly for him).

But he did really seem to like this one, and he especially liked the red in it.  So how I could I say no?  I did some quick calculating in my head and decided that I could probably make 4 scarves before Christmas.  So I told him he could have it if he wanted it.

Then he told me "But you don't have to put all that "trim" on it for me".  I saw a window of opportunity (i.e. a chance to possibly talk him out of this scarf in particular) and I told him that was fringe and it's one of the wonderful things about using this yarn. It makes a great self-fringe and I don't have to weave all those ends in.   I told him the fringe stays. And then I told him that fringe is trendy right now (thinking the word "trendy" might just turn him ever so slightly away from wanting to wear this scarf).


And then he said, "Cool!  You mean I'll be trendy?"

I replied with a straight face and only the slightest hint of sarcasm, "Yes...  You'll be one trendy, hip guy wearing this scarf."

Then, as if he didn't believe me (and as if it was some consolation for me, or maybe a consolation for him having to wear a trendy, fringed scarf) he said, "Ah well... I'd be proud to wear a scarf you made."

Now, I'm pretty sure this last bit wasn't meant to sound patronizing, but somehow it did.  I told him I didn't want him wearing a scarf I've made for my benefit. I know reading these words, much of the nuance of this conversation is lost, but it was one of those awkward moments where you feel like someone is trying to make you feel good about something you've done and all you can think of is that now your work is added to.

And yet, what person doesn't feel the pleasure when someone wants to wear the thing they've just made.


So, I don't know...   Of course I'd love for him to have the scarf if he'd really enjoy wearing it.  But I don't need any favors here.  Then there's the bigger problem.  The person I was making this for loves red.  And yes, I told the mister that (though, I think he was maybe only half listening).  At least I think the other fella still loves red.  But I don't think he'll be all that excited to get a scarf with red in it and see another scarf I've made using red.  He and the mister are sometimes together and well, if they're both wearing matchy-matchy scarves that could be embarrassing.

Maybe I should go ask this other person what his favorite color is. Nonchalant-like.  Like...  "I'm just suddenly interested in your favorite color, not that I'm considering making anything for you in that color.  So don't go getting any ideas.  That's right - I just suddenly want to know what your favorite color is."

Maybe I'll find out his current favorite color is blue.  Or green.  Or just gray!  Gee...  wouldn't that make things easy!  Okay...  I've got an update before this was published:  I did ask, and while he mentioned red first, he also said he liked olive green and blue.  :)   Hmmm...   I see possibilities here...

So off I go now to feverishly knit (correction - crochet) three more scarves (the second one is about half finished so I do feel good about that).  I think fellow Yopper, Sanda, (AKA Sam) and I are having our own personal CAL for the next couple of weeks with these linen-stitch scarves.   Anyone else can feel free to join us if they like.  :)

I may or may not show my finished scarves between now and Christmas, but we'll see.  My scarf saga may have a new twist by next week.

Until then, I'll probably just be knitting dishcloths when I need a break from crocheting scarves.

I'm loving this variegated yarn (Lily's Sugar n' Cream in the color Mistletoe, and this stitch pattern.  Though, to get the look above, I put a 4-knit-stitch border on each side and a half-inch or so border on the top and bottom.


I hope you're enjoying this blessed Christmas season.  To see what other YOPPERS are up to, visit our group on Ravelry!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

A week of starts...

It's been a week of starts.   Early in the week I decided to try making a Lagniappe Shawl and this is just a peeky peek at the beginnings of that:

And then I was inspired, for some reason, to knit a Slip Stitch Striped dishcloth:

Still working on my tension...   :^/   I decided to make another one in red and be all set for Christmas. And hopefully improve my tension issues.

And then late in the week I remembered that I was to host a CAL today in the Our Happy CAL Place on Ravelry.  Fortunately, this week's theme is Quick & Easy.  I thought about several different projects, but when this Christmas Holly Embellishment crossed my computer screen, I decided it fit the bill:

I'm  little embarrassed showing such  a large close-up of this project as the leaves are all wrong. See... when I pieced this together, I didn't realize I had the leaves upside down 'till I finished and compared mine to the original.  In the original, the "vein" running down the center of the leaves is prominent, but it's totally lost in my leaves above.  Ah well...  it was super quick and super easy.  And if you don't look too close, it's kind cute and perfectly acceptable for tying onto a gift package on Christmas day.


And then yesterday I got the great idea to crochet some more  Linen Stitch Scarves for Christmas gifts. I'm hoping to make three (in different colors), with the first one I started being black and gray with an accent of red:

So that's this past week in crochet!  To see what other Yoppers are up to visit our group on Ravelry.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Twist n' Shout & Leaping Stripes!

This week saw a couple of finishes:

First was my Twist 'n Shout Slouchy Hat which doesn't slouch.  I even added some extra rows at the top to try to get it to slouch, but no go.  Maybe my head's just big. I don't know...   It fits fine, it just isn't long enough to "slouch".  But that's okay, I like it anyway - the stitch pattern is fun, and wasn't hard at all to make.   The slip stitch ribbing, on the other hand, was tedious to crochet, but it turned out nice and stretches great.

I made the pom pom with some low-pile fake fur.  I like the pom, but I'm thinking since pom poms are usually more fluffy, I may use the rest of the fur for some other project (as opposed to making more poms for more hats).   Though I have no idea what I would want to make with it now.  Fake fur is seriously messy to work with.  I had no idea. 

The yarn used for the hat is Red Heart Soft in the color Berry.


I also finished my Leaping Stripes and Blocks Blanket.  I made mine toddler or child-sized measuring at 38" x 48".

This is a great pattern - easy to do, and creates a fun design when using three or more colors.  And the truly genius part is that if using no more than three colors, the yarn can be carried up the side and then covered up by the border.  Very few ends to weave in!

The yarn is Deborah Norville Everyday in Orchid and White, and Red Heart Soft in Plummy.  

We had a good Thanksgiving at brother-in-law's on Thursday.   He ordered several pasta dishes from Olive Garden and everyone else pitched in with appetizers, sides and desserts.  It was a yummy, non-traditional treat.  And Friday night our three sons came over for a "shrimp fest".    Middle son cooked up his version of Shrimp Scampi on the stove-top, while I put together a baked dish of garlic shrimp. Mmmmmm...  it was all sooo good.   And then, with full tummies, we played games.  Always a new game to play with these fellas.  Oldest son introduced us to Nefarious.   It was fun, but it took me two whole rounds to grasp it well enough to not need constant help.  My thinker doesn't fire as fast as it used to.  Or maybe it's just my imagination that it ever fired fast at all.

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


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Wrapped in warmth...

My heart is filled with memories today.  Yesterday my husband and I attended a "celebration of life" service in honor of the pastor who married us 36 years ago.  After numerous moves between us, we had lost touch over the years, but oddly enough, found ourselves living in the same general area again.  I wish I could say we had connected in a meaningful way when we realized this some years back, but sadly...  except for visiting the church Pastor Ted was then pastoring, we didn't connect further.  Life has a way of taking people down varied paths; and busyness (among other things), too often keeps people from reconnecting in meaningful ways once paths have diverged.

We were surprised a few days ago to open the paper and find his obituary and picture.  We had no idea he had been ill.  How thankful we feel, though, for having seen the notice and for being able to attend his memorial service.  It was quite a memorable memorial service.

As the church gym/sanctuary filled first with the Purdue fight song, with alumni (my husband included) standing and clapping as they sang; then laughter and tears while we watched a video of Ted take the jump of his life when he took a tandem sky dive - exclaiming on the big screen that he'd waited 54 years to do this; and throughout the service hundreds of people joining voices singing happy hymns we used to sing in the Free Methodist Church, I was transported back in time.  Transported to an earlier place my middle-aged heart has been hungry for in recent years.

There were surely at least 400 people attending the service and all were strangers to us except for Ted's immediate family.  But it's amazing how a common faith, and in this case a common friend and pastor, will instantly bring people together in spirit.   It was a great day.  Our spirits were heartened and memories abounded. Greg and I topped it off with a pizza meal at a nearby Arni's.  It seemed fitting.  Purdue alums (or fans who live anywhere near Purdue), know Arni's - "in busy Market Square".  Pizza at the Greenwood, Indiana Arni's doesn't compare to the Lafayette Arni's, but it's the closest facsimile we have in our neck of the woods.  As we filled our tummies, we enjoyed our memories and full feelings from the service we had just left.

And what does this have to do with this week's Year of Projects post?  


Absolutely nothing.  

But once in a while it feels good to share the stuff of life with those of you who visit here, and Sunday's YOP post is the time most drop in.  :)

So, on that topic... this week saw the finish of my latest crocheted Linen Stitch Scarf (pattern here).

I mentioned last week how much I enjoy this stitch pattern. And how I love combining non-obvious colors together to see what they produce in the end.  Last week I showed a picture of two very unlikely colorways of yarn I was using to crochet this scarf.

I'm happy to say...  the colors played very nice and did not disappoint.  The yarn is Red Heart Unforgettable in the colorways Tidal and Sunrise.  It's a wonderful yarn for a drapey scarf.  Super soft and luxurious feeling.  And purchased on sale or with a coupon (which I almost always have) I consider it very affordable.  

I made this scarf wider and longer than normal and I really like how it turned out.  It doesn't go with any coat or sweater I own, but I think I may need to work on that as I love the colors in this! The blues are perfect for me - and the bright oranges, while not necessarily "my colors" work with the blue to complement my very pale complexion and white/gray hair.  As I began this scarf I was sure it would end up being gifted to someone, and now here I am happily contemplating keeping it for myself!

To see what other Yoppers are up to, visit our group on Ravelry.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Let's talk color...

I knew half way through this busy week Sunday would roll around with no finishes.   And then a couple of days ago I remembered that I was hosting a Crochet Along (today! eek!) in the Our Happy CAL Place on Ravelry, and I hadn't even begun the project I wanted to invite others to join me in there!

So I got busy on that and today I have another started project to show:

What is it, you ask?   It's the start of one of my favorite projects.  A crocheted Linen-Stitch Scarf.

I love this stitch pattern for so many reasons.  First of all, it is super easy. Mindless, even.  And it's a perfect stitch pattern for playing with color.  Because each row overlaps the one before, you get to watch how colors play with one another - the whole effect changing with each new added color.  And...  It's a stitch pattern that's fun for all sorts of projects: scarves, shawls, pillows, blankets, tote bags...  really anything that requires a square or rectangular piece of fabric to create. You can use various yarns and colors to create subtle shading, or a wild cacophany of color.

In this scarf I'm using Red Heart Boutique in the Unforgettable line in the colors Sunrise and Tidal:

You can probably figure out which is Tidal and which is Sunrise.

I'll admit, from the above picture these two colorways do not look like a natural fit. Not to me, anyway.  While blue is opposite orange on the color wheel and therefore complementary, these two colorways don't appear to be complementary because they are so dissimilar in tone.  The blues in the Tidal are muted and the colors in the Sunrise are nearly off the chart vivid.  

Using these two colorways in most projects probably wouldn't work if each is used by itself to create much width at all before introducing the other colorway.  But when working the Linen Stitch pattern, the colors are laid on top of each other and the end result is much more interesting (I think) than either colorway is on its own.  The muted blues of the Tidal colorway are lifted from being kind of gray to being truly blue.  And the bright orange in the Sunrise skein is still vivid, but it isn't overwhelming.  Separated from the other bright colors each vivid color in the Sunrise skein gets to shine on its own, rather than compete with the other colors.

Truth be told, I wouldn't have had the courage (or sense) to put together the above two colorways if the Sunrise didn't have a smidgen of blue running through it.  And, as I've come to look at these scarves as a total experiment in color, I was eager to give these two colorways a try together.  I think the end result will be something totally unexpected, but hopefully fun and interesting to wear.  I can't wait to finish and see what I finally have!  :)

To see what other Yoppers are up to, visit our group on Ravelry.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

On the hook...

This week ended with no completed projects, but several are on the hook.  I'll give just a peek at what I'm up to at the moment -- yarn-wise, that is.

For a couple of weeks now I've been working on a Leaping Stripes and Blocks Blanket.   I'm loving how the colors are working together.

I'm using Deborah Norville Everyday in White and Orchid, and Red Heart Soft in a variegated called Plummy.

And I'm also working on a Twist 'N Shout Slouchy Hat.  I think this is the first time I've crocheted a ribbing.  This ribbing is created by slip stitching into the backs of all the stitches.  Can anyone say tedious?  Crocheting loosely is key -  and keeping count of the stitches is important too.  Those little slip stitches tend to disappear under the first and last stitches of each row and they are easy to miss.

Crocheting a slip-stitch ribbing is sloooooow going. When I finish this hat, I think I'm going to try knitting a ribbing just to see how quickly that goes by comparison.  The body of the hat nearly flies off the hook, by the way.  So attaching a crocheted top to a knitted ribbing maybe the way to go with this hat in the future.

So that's about all I've managed to accomplish with yarn this week, but I've got something fun to show you.  Yesterday I received a beautiful copy of a vintage McCall's Crochet Treasury.  

This copy was published in 1977 (the year I graduated from high school), but some of the patterns are from 1968.  I don't know if I'll make anything from this book, but I'm going to thoroughly enjoy looking through it.  Many times, no doubt.

I just opened it enough to take a few pictures to share with you...

Now, I don't propose  that this would be anything anyone would want to wear today (necessarily), but am I the only one who thinks this is pretty?   I imagine in the 60's this would have been very fashionable.   While I wouldn't make something like this (mostly because I wouldn't want to sew the lining it would need to hold its shape), but I LOVE the fit of the pieces and the look of the crocheted fabric.  And those scallops!   I just love it. I love the whole thing.

And this one, too:

Now, this one...?  I'd change the collar, and the buttons (and maybe that bottom band - or maybe not), but I'd totally wear something like this - well, okay...  if I was skinny I'd totally wear something like this.  ;^)

And there are these pretty curtains.  I can imagine these moderned up with some bright, fun colors.  Or maybe done in some grays...

And who of you over the age of say... 50... doesn't remember these?

During my teen years there was a sunburst pillow on our living room sofa.    And that round granny pillow in the back - that would be "hip" in someone's home decor today!

Ooooh...   I'm going to have fun pouring over this book and imagining making something new out of a vintage pattern.


Of course, there's some downright silly stuff that I really can't imagine anyone took seriously the first time around:

But the entertainment value is worth something...

I wonder what crochet clothing models got paid in the 60's and 70's...  I doubt it was enough.

Well...  that's all I have for today.   If you enjoy perusing vintage patterns you'll appreciate my pleasure at looking through a book like this.  And if you think I'm a bit loony, that's okay...   That means less competition for finding such treasures.  ;^)

To see what other Yoppers are up to, visit our group on Ravely.   If you're not a member of Ravelry, it's free and easy to sign up!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Feelin' Foxy...

Last week I decided it was time I challenged myself to knit something other than simple dishcloths. I thought about making a (simple) scarf, but really...   that's kind of like knitting a... dishcloth.  Only longer.  While, certainly, there would be some challenge there, it wasn't really the kind I was looking for.

But then I came across this fox scarf pattern, and I couldn't help but imagine a little girl thinking it a lot of fun to wear.  Clearly, it had some new stuff for me, but it looked easy enough.   Maybe...   So... I decided to knit one!

Is that cute, or what?!?

Truth be told, the pattern was pretty sketchy and I had to go looking for how to knit a triangle, but once I got that down, it wasn't too hard.  It provided just enough challenge to interest me, but not so much as to frustrate me.

It's made with a simple garter stitch throughout (except for the ribbing), but it includes increasing and decreasing and I had to add new yarn.

After studying some other fox scarves (from different patterns), I decided to just make up some ears for my fox scarf.   Each is made with two triangles (one smaller than the other), stitched together and formed into something that resembles... well...  a fox ear.   Sort of...

And I figured out (after gaining some facility with increasing and decreasing) how to shape the orange part to make a more fox-like face.   The original pattern calls for making a simple white triangle face (which is adorable), but I really liked the more fox-like faces I saw on some other fox scarves, so I decided to challenge myself to make one.

When it was all done, I can see that it's not perfect, but even there I feel like I've progressed in my knitting.  I may be getting a feel for what imperfections may be acceptable.  Maybe it's just that the cuteness of the fox overshadows any imperfections, but I sort of feel like I crossed something of a hurdle - being able to accept some not quite perfect things - with this project.  To not feel like the imperfections really detract from the final project.

 So all in all...  I feel pretty pleased.   And totally tickled with this cute little fox.  

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