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!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

More spice in my life...

I did it!   I finally finished my second Spice of Life Blanket!

I know this isn't a very creative way to take a picture of a large blanket, but I wanted to give as full a view as I could of all the colors I used.   It may look like there are several dozen colors in this blanket, but there are really only thirteen.  I was, at first, striving for a Tuscan color scheme, but perhaps because I'm not sure what really constitutes Tuscan colors (or maybe I just couldn't find the right right shades in the yarns I wanted to use) I decided to just strive for something kind of autumn-ish.

In the end, I don't know that it looks particularly autumn-y or Tuscany, but I love how this blanket turned out.  I think this will look great on our sofa now through the Christmas holidays.

The Spice of Life pattern is well written, and has recently been "translated" into US crochet terms, and Sandra Paul has included some helpful photos to explain some of the stitch patterns.    The multi-part and many-paged pattern may look a bit overwhelming at first glance, but as you read through it, the layout will make sense, I believe.  I think Sandra originally put the pattern out as a Crochet-A-Long, hence the different parts.  And within each part are several sections (each section being a different stitch pattern).  Looking at the pattern that way helps it to make sense if it doesn't make sense at first glance.  It seems like I needed to grasp that and get over it before I felt completely comfortable with the pattern.  Once I did, it was truly a piece of cake.

While I heartily recommend the pattern, I will forewarn you...  some of the rows "pull in" so badly that this thing takes some serious blocking prior to crocheting the edging.  If you want a straight edge, that is.

If I ever make another one of these I will probably eliminate some of the worst of the rows that "pulled in".   The Stacked Grannies (not to be confused with the Grannies) will definitely go and I'll probably use a larger hook on rows like the Big Zipper and Stacked Shells (though I might eliminate the Stacked Shells, too). My favorite rows are the Tulips, the Puffs, and the Waves (all featured above - if you can find them).  Even with eliminating a couple pattern rows I didn't care for much, there is enough interest in the remaining rows, and enjoyable ease in the double crochet rows to keep this an interesting and fast-moving project.

I'll mention that some people compensate for the tendency of some rows to pull in by using larger hooks on those rows.  I'm pretty sure I remember doing this early on with those rows, but frankly... my hooks got separated from my project and by the time I got back to this blanket recently, and got it finished I was pretty positive I had used such a variety of sizes of hooks I was no longer sure what hook size I began with.  At that point, blocking was going to cover a multitude of issues.  So I blocked this baby hard.  And then blocked it again.

And finally I added the edging.   Don't let the curve in the picture above fool you.  The edges are straighter than they appear above.  I just didn't take the time to smooth it all out before snapping the picture.

And now that I've finally finished this project I'm already on to other things!  It's always fun to start new things, isn't it?!?   To see what other Yoppers are up to visit  this week's thread on Ravelry.

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.