Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sweet Yarny Valentines...

I had fun crocheting some colorful hearts from this Granny Sweet Heart pattern and I hosted a CAL on Ravelry this past week with this pattern.  The pattern is very well written and these hearts are so simple to make - with just scraps of yarn, really.

The large one was made with Lily's Sugar 'n Cream yarn and a size J hook.  I also went around two or three extra times to increase the size.  What I came up with is a good size for a dishcloth (8" across and tall) - or a pot holder, or just a "pretty" to decorate a hall table.


The smaller hearts (about 5" x 5") are made with Hobby Lobby's I Love This Cotton Yarn and a size G hook.   The exception to ILTC yarn are the beige and green yarns in the second heart below.  Those colors are Baby Bee Hushabye yarn. 

These are so easy to make, and I keep thinking of new color combinations and find myself wanting to make more.  I finally had to pull myself away, because really...others things call too.  So consider yourself warned and don't blame me if you try these and get lost in a heart-making time warp.   :^)

Check out what other Yoppers are up to this week in our Year of Projects thread on Ravelry.


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Yarn Along...

Just a few days into this Kilim Throw and nearly half finished - aahh...the joys of crocheting with a big hook and double-stranded yarn.   Every color change seems a bit baffling to me as I begin, but as it comes together it's always a pleasant surprise to see how the colors play off (and with) one another.  It's such a fun blanket to watch grow.  And it's going to be so squishy soft and cozy warm when it's finished.

And I'm currently reading Over The Hills by David Lamb.  I'm far enough in I decided to write this review:

At the age of 54, David Lamb takes the reader on a journey across America as he traverses highways and back roads from his home in Alexandria, Virginia to Los Angeles, California.

Overweight and out of shape, he questions the wisdom of this trek - but not until he's on the road and committed. Early on, pride keeps him from turning back, but at some point his body begins to respond to the slow on-the-road training that biking 50-some miles a day provides and he renews his purpose and resolve. Along for the ride, the reader is treated to Lamb's funny, sometimes satirical - sometimes just crusty perspectives on life.  Lamb skillfully intersperses short history lessons or facts about the many places he visits, or sometimes just about the things that pop into his head along the way to make for an interesting read.

Where Peter Jenkins, of Walk Across America fame, took us into the homes of strangers and delighted us with stories and insights into how these encounters changed Jenkins' life, David Lamb's journalistic style treats us to more of a commentator's observations on life and culture in the 1990's. While Lamb isn't a storyteller in the same vein as Jenkins, he is a journalist with a wit and a way with words that readers of this type of book will likely enjoy.

And just for fun, let me show you what gets a smile out of me every time I remove the dust jacket to read:

The cutest little embossed picture of an old fashioned bicycle.    Sometimes it really is the little details that count.  :^)

To see what some others are reading and making this week, visit Ginny Sheller's Yarn Along.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Conquering some WIPs...

This week saw two finishes - yay me!

My first finish was a linen stitch scarf I intended for Greg for Christmas.  It was all done except for a couple dozen (at least) ends that needed weaving in.  It helped that the day I committed to finishing it (last Sunday) an out-of-state friend called and I could mindlessly and painlessly get that job done while enjoying a long chat.   Greg wore it the next day (and every day since).

The bottom there is a little messy because I hadn't take a picture before Greg wore it all day on Monday.   So that messy bottom part is witness to some scarf love.  :^)

And then later in the week I finished the child-sized pink! Tides of Change blanket:

I love this thing!  It's bright and cheery, and I can just see a little girl snuggling under it enjoying the total unabashed girlie-ness of it.

Some other things have been worked on as well, but I'll save them for next time.  My other WIPs from last weekend will wait a little longer as I enjoy some new crochet infusions.  I've concluded some new projects will be good for my creative soul, and good for helping to tame the yarn stash I've amassed over the last year.

'Till next time... come visit the Year of Project thread on Ravelry to see what other Yoppers are up to.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Yarny Hearts and Mail-Art

Ever since last week I've been excited and eager to share my newest book acquisition:  A Weird Unfathomable Ordinary Everyday Life by William Bridges and Dianne Jenkins.   I attended an Author Talk at the library last Thursday evening - very spur of the moment, and I'm so glad I spurred myself to go!

William (Bill) Bridges is a retired Writing professor, journalist, book editor, poet...and I'm sure I don't know what all else he's done in his lifetime.  And while I'm not sure what all Dianne Jenkins has done in her lifetime, in the pages of this book she is an artist.  In 2006 Bill and Dianne began a snail mail correspondence with each other.  Their correspondence over the years consisted (still consists, I imagine) of everyday kind of things.  Paragraphs telling what their days are like, interjected with simple everyday kind of observations - out the window, or at the beach earlier in the day...  Bill and Dianne sprinkled their letters with witticisms and wisdom.  The words alone are a delight to read, but Dianne, being an artist, and having enjoyed mail-art for years, turned her letters into works of art.  Which, I believe, was the impetus for Bill getting the great idea of turning their correspondence into a book! 

The book has many examples of the mail art Dianne sent, and many, many excerpts from both of their letters over the years.  It's a book to savor - both the words and pictures.  So I'll be savoring it for a while and delighting in their clever, sometimes weird, totally fathomable, everyday lives, and Dianne's very clever, sometimes weird, almost always funky artwork.

AND I've begun to turn my heart toward Valentine's Day.  I know it's a few weeks off, but, of course if you're crafting for a holiday you've got to begin early, right?  I came across this granny heart pattern on Ravelry and while I don't know what I'm ultimately going to do with any that I make, I'm "all in", "head over heels" in love with making some hearts this week.  Pictured here is my first one made in Hobby Lobby's I Love This Cotton yarn.  ILTC yarn is a light (almost sport-weight) worsted 100% cotton - that I normally reserve for dishcloth making, but today it seems perfect for this project..  Love!

To see what other yarnies and readers are up to, visit Ginny Sheller's Yarn Along by clicking the graphic below.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

A glimpse into my WIP pile...

I really wanted to have a finish to show today, but more confusing points in the Tides of Change pattern and the occasional mistake on my end, combined with the happy interruption of friends dropping in last night meant that a finish was not in my weekend plans.  That's okay, though...  I'll take friends over a finish any day! 

So...   Not having anything new to show I decided to take stock of some unfinished business I really do want to finish - and soon.  So here are just little glimpses of how my WIPs stand today, with the hope that publishing them here serves as a motivation to get 'em done, already!

My Arrowhead Blanket:
I really only need to finish a few rows, sew in what remains of loose ends, and then put a border around it.  I don't believe that all blankets need borders, but this one will definitely benefit.  It will be the first blanket I've ever done a border on.  Let's hope it's a success.


A linen stitch scarf I began, oh...I don't know... sometime last autumn (really, how long can a person procrastinate?):
I'm pretty sure all I need to do is sew in all those ends.  Half of them are done already, I've just been dragging my feet finishing it.  We're having a bitter cold snap right now, so perhaps that can be my motivation for getting this over and done with.

Speaking of procrastinating, I think the last time I even looked at this Starling Bag project was late summer.  I recently uncovered it:
All I need to do is line the finished bag with this pretty fabric.  While this takes a little more thinking about (I'll have to figure out the dimensions of each inside piece and sew it together), it's not like this is rocket science.  Putting this off really makes it seem harder than it is, I know.


And last, but not longest lanquished in my WIP pile is my pink Tides of Change:
Actually, this one hasn't languished at all.  I've been crocheting pretty monogamously on this since I began a couple weeks ago.  I just keep being interrupted.  By good things, mind you, but interrupted all the same.  Just 4 more rows, a washing, a blocking, and away it goes!  Out of the WIP basket!

To see what other Yoppers are up to, visit this week's thread on Ravelry.  All the links above will take you to the original designer's pages on Ravelry.  Membership to Ravelry is free and easy.  If you want access to an amazing library of crochet and knit patterns, and one of the most supportive communities on the web, join today!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Pink Tides

Ginny's weekly Yarn Along causes me to pause and take stock of what I'm reading and crocheting.  I've been a completely monogamous crocheter for over a week now and for my efforts I hope to soon be finished with my Pink Baby Tides of Change.  I don't know, yet, who will be the recipient, but I do hope it brings a cheery smile to someone's face.

And I recently began reading Below Stairs by Margaret Powell.  The original publication date of this book is 1968 and it claims (on the cover) to be the inspiration for both Upstairs, Downstairs, and Downton Abbey.  This memoir tells the story of a young woman raised during and after The Great War in poverty stricken Europe.  She takes us inside the home and street life of the poor and then into the life of a kitchen maid serving the upper class in Hove, England.  It's very readable, and while this type of life is foreign to my late-twentieth-century-bred sensibilities, her style of story telling makes her story very relatable.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Feeling pinkish...

As I've continued crocheting the Tides of Change blanket I have finally decided I'm feeling kind of ambivalent about the pattern.  The designer is unconventional at times when it comes to writing out pattern instructions, but fortunately, with the help of fellow Ravelers who are doing this as part of a CAL, and thanks to many, many progress pictures posted on Ravelry by others who've already crocheted this blanket, mine is coming along... 

And in spite of occasional frustrations, as I complete more and more, I'm finding myself drawn to it and am enjoying watching the blanket grow.  In fact, I'm thinking of making another one in different colors.  So I'm taking good notes on my Ravelry project page.  And hopefully the next one will be a piece o' cake.

One of the big plusses about this blanket is you could stop just about anywhere (just about) and call it done.   I'm going for a baby blanket size this time, so just a few more rounds and it ought to be finished. 

 I feel like I should name this one Proud to be Pink! 

Now that winter is full-on here I'm finding myself content to work on blankets - which is slow business, and that means there are not a lot of exciting pictures to show for my time.  BUT... I'm planning on being a fill-in hostess on the 2016 Weekly & Dishcloth CAL on Ravelry every few weeks or so, so I'll probably have some smaller, fun projects to show here soon. I've already got some ideas simmering...   :^)

To see what other Year of Project participants are doing, check out this week's thread on Ravelry! 


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Something fun to start the year off...

I didn't manage to complete the Arrowhead Blanket by year's end, but feeling the need for something fun and colorful, I decided to start a new project this weekend: Frank O'Randle's Tides of Change.  I've experimented with various colors and I finally decided to do something bright and girly, and kind of funky.  At least I hope it turns out that way.

Here's a first peek (the colors are mostly true except that red color is really a deep pink red):

Hopefully the bright colors will be fine for a baby or child's blanket.  No intended recipient at the moment, it's just a fun project to start the new year off with.

Visit this week's YOP thread to see what other yarnies are up to.

Warm wishes for a Happy New Year to you!