Sunday, March 26, 2017

More small stuff...

Except for knitting some simple dishcloths, I didn't do much with yarn this week.  But mindless knitting was perfect for following along to what degree I did with the Senate confirmation hearings on Judge Gorsuch.  What a great learning experience I have found the hearings to be.   I have a basic understanding of the function of the Supreme Court, and what a judge does  (as do most of us, I would imagine), but watching these hearings was like having a front row seat in a civics class with lessons on the division of the three branches of government, and the role of judges in general.  If you didn't watch any of it live, I suggest finding some videos on Youtube and not depend on the news outlets (conservative or liberal) to disseminate it into sound bites.  Boring as all get out, but at the same time, fascinating to listen to.  They have been to me anyway.  😉  BTW, fellow Blogger bloggers... have we always had these emojis here on Blogger?   I just noticed them as I'm writing this post.  I find it hard to believe they were there all the time, but I guess I don't really know for sure.   

As the weekend approached I was reminded that I was to host this next week's CAL for Our Happy CAL Group on Ravelry.  It had totally slipped off my radar so I had to come up with something quick.  I found a perfect project in the Botanical Bookmark:

The pattern writer suggests DK weight yarn, but I used sport weight cotton (Omega Sinfonia) and I felt like the end result was a tad too thick for a bookmark.   I'd recommend using something thinner than sport weight - like size 3 thread or even embroidery floss for making this particular bookmark.

It is cute, though.  And speedy to whip up.  I may have taken nearly 2 hours total to make the one above, but I was going back and forth between the video tutorial and the Senate hearings, and I'm sure other things interrupted, too, so I got slowed down a bit as I made mine.  If I'd made it from start to finish it might have only taken me an hour. Really, it's that easy.  


And then on Saturday, I got a lovely surprise in the mail:

Neetsey, a fellow moderator of Our Happy CAL group on Ravelry made me this beautiful doily. Just because!  I was bowled over by her generosity - and her mad doily crocheting skills.  I didn't get a close up of the beads, but every tip has a pretty bead and every tip of the pineapples has two beads crocheted on.  

It's a beautiful item for decorating with this spring and summer.  At the moment I have a glass bowl of colorful eggs sitting on it, but I need to get something else bright for sitting on it after Easter.  The light, kind of bright green seems to beg for something like fuschia, or orchid, or turquoise, or I don't know for sure...  but something bright and colorful to go with it, don't you think?

If you're reading this, Neetsey, thank you, again.  You're too sweet!


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

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Spring is in the air...

You know... I wasn't going to post anything today because I've been feeling puny all week.  Struck with a bad cold (again), I've been under the weather. Completely unproductive.  The week was a total wash.  Or so it seemed.  As the weekend approached I didn't feel like I had anything to write about or any pictures to share.

But then this afternoon I started to feel a little better.  The sun is shining and it's warming up a bit and I'm suddenly inspired to give a little peek  at something I've been working on for the last couple of months:

I've been making and building a stash of colorful, flowery 5-inch squares that will hopefully make it into a large colorful, flower-filled blanket someday.  I know it doesn't look like much for a couple months of work, but it's a project that's going on in the background, something mindless to pick up when nothing else suits.

Some of you may recognize the flower motif in the center as the Maybelle flower from the Maybelle Flower Square.  Well, the evolution of the squares above is a story I'll tell another time (along with the pattern I've come up with that will include credits where credits are due - which is nearly everywhere else than with me), but for now it will have to suffice to thank my friend Sandra (Sam) for pointing the pretty Maybelle Flower Square out to me.   I love the pretty, simple design - and now 18 squares into the total of 80 plus I'll need to finish a largish blanket, I'm happy to say I haven't even come close to tiring of it yet.

Here in central Indiana, with temperatures in the 50's today, and with the sun shining through wispy clouds, it is the very essence of spring time.  And spring it will be here in two more days! The magnolia blossoms that popped out too early on the tree in the front yard appear doomed from last week's snow and freezing temperatures.  But I'm now thinking of the tulips that will soon be blooming along the back of the house, and the day lilies that will shortly follow them, along with potted flowers I can't get planted soon enough.  Aaahhh!   Beautiful flowers will soon replace a tired, if mild, winter here.

Yes, spring is coming!  In nature and in our spirits.  While I don't observe Lent in a traditional sense, I am aware of this season of spiritual reflection and anticipation and I am thankful for a faith that parallels the promises of spring and new life it brings forth.  Whether or not we share any commonalities in our beliefs about spiritual things, we get to witness the same new life bursting forth each spring, and revel in the gift of hope that spring brings with it as we leave the days of winter behind.  And that gift of hope is glorious!

I do realize some of you are anticipating autumn right now and some others of you have wonderful climates nearly year round, but for those of us in that vast middle place across the globe, where the seasons are pronounced and often unpredictable, spring days are a real tonic for the spirit.  And spirits are lifted in anticipation of it.

Wherever you live, I hope the coming week is a good one for you.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Moroccan Tiles

I finally finished my Moroccan Tile Blanket this past week!   

Made (almost) completely from stash yarn, this was a gratifying blanket to complete.  It's a real yarn hog, though, so it's pretty heavy.  Perfect for wrapping up in on a cold winter's night, for sure. The video tutorial (at the link above) was what I followed to make this blanket.  I don't even think I looked at the written pattern.  

I found the video tutorial pretty straight forward so I don't know that there's much to say about this blanket except that I love the colors and I'm just so happy I've finished it!   :^)

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

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Small Stuff...

It seems I've been into small, quick things lately and this past week all I've wanted to make were dishcloths.  Knitted ones, crocheted ones.  Sometimes life is like that, isn't it?  When we need simple, brainless activities, even sometimes just a repetitive activity to do while the brain is otherwise occupied.  I'm not sure what my brain was occupied with this past week, but gauging by the dishcloths I churned out (and are still in progress), you'd think I'd have solved at last a few first-world problems!

I made this new-to-me pattern, called Circle Point Washcloth:

And I knitted some simple dishcloths that I don't have a pattern for, but they're made with simple garter stitch borders and stockinette middle.  One I knitted Continental style and one I knitted English style.  And I learned something in the process...

One came out smaller than the other.  Any clue which one?  Continental or English?

Both were begun by casting on 43 stitches onto size 6 knitting needles, and I finished them off within a row or two of each other.  But the one knit English style (the one on the right) was smaller than the one knit Continental style (the one on the left) - by nearly an inch in two directions.  Studying them I could see that the one knit English style had more consistent tension throughout - I think, because it was easier to keep my purling rows tighter with English style knitting.  But boy, was it slow-going.  I'd only be guessing, but it felt as if it was taking twice as long for me to knit English as opposed to knitting Continental.

I'm not sure what this means for my knitting future.  I really prefer knitting Continental - it's faster, there's less readjusting that needs to happen (as I'm knitting, and as I turn my work) and therefore, the movements in Continental knitting feel much more efficient to me.

But will my tension ever get more consistent knitting Continental?  I've been knitting simple stockinette for some months now and I don't see that my tension is getting any more consistent.  I've come to understand that it's during purling where my tension gets loose (while knitting Continental), and I try to tighten those purl stitches up, but clearly, what you see in the top cloth above (in the picture with the kitty creamer) isn't consistent tension-wise (the shading of colors obscures the inconsistent tension, but if you look closely you can see, for example, that the stitches near the top of the cloth are tighter than the stitches in the middle of the cloth).  I don't say any of this looking for encouragement.  (And I say that because you all are such good encouragers.)  I'm simply pointing out that there is a clear difference between tension in the two ways I can knit.  And I'm beginning to wonder if tension inconsistencies are more inherent with Continental knitting, or if I still just need a lot more practice.

If you can knit both ways, which do you prefer?   Do you have the same issues I do with tension - depending on the method of knitting you use?

I always have questions when it comes to knitting, don't I?   I'm really not sure I love knitting all that much, but now that I've gotten this far I don't intend to give it up - even if all I ever seriously knit are dishcloths, I suppose.

Speaking of dishcloths...

On a Ravelry thread recently, it came up that some of us tend to accumulate a stash of knitted and crocheted dishcloths.  Over the years, I've had large stashes and then I give some away 'till I have a nearly empty box, but then before I know it I've crocheted and knitted up another stash.  It occurred to me it might be fun to get my box of fun dishcloths out and take a picture:

I've made a few more of the Circle Point washcloths, but as of Thursday of last week, this was my dishcloth stash.  There's just something kind of fun about opening up this box and seeing all the pretty colors of various kitchen cottons.  Soon there will be an occasion to give some away again and, of course, I'll take some out to use myself -- and one of these days I'll find myself with a near-empty box, starting all over again to knit and crochet cloths, and before I know it I'll have another (different) dishcloth stash!  I do love the changing nature of this "collection".  I should pull it out and take a picture of it every once in a while - just to see the evolution of my crocheting and knitting of these pretties.

Before finishing this post, here are two more Circle Point Washcloths I made late in the week:

A few notes about how I adapted the pattern: When I made these, I used a size I crochet hook and started with a chain of 15 instead of 13 - because the yarn I was using (Hobby Lobby's ILTC) is a bit thinner than the Lily's Sugar n' Cream that I used in the first one pictured at the top of this post.   Using a beginning chain that was 2 stitches longer than the pattern called for meant that every row was increased by 2 stitches (after the skipped stitch and 2 scs - this will make sense if you work the pattern).  And finally, I made 9 points (instead of 8 points like the pattern makes).  All of this made a cloth that is 8 inches wide - exactly what I was after.


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