Posted in Crochet, Finished object, Knitting

New blog entry, with actual yarn content!

With all the rehearsals going on over the last six months, you would be forgiven for thinking that I’d forgotten how to turn yarn into usable items, much less actually complete anything.

Ha!  I haven’t!

Okay, I didn’t get much accomplished in that time, but there were a couple of things.  First, this baby blanket for a colleague who was expecting his first child was started in November and finished in January.

Mike Blanket 3

Pattern: Taylor Baby Blanket (my original design)
Yarn: Bernat Pipsqueak, in four different colorways (see Ravelry project page for details), approx 275 yards total
Needles: Addi circs, size US 15
Size: Approx 36″ x 24″
Satisfaction with end product: It’s soft and squishy and perfect for a newborn. My colleague and his wife loved it, and that’s the most important thing.

Late last summer I made this tank top.

100_4902 (2)

Pattern: S7365 Damentop mit Ajourmuster by Schachenmayr Design Team (Thankfully, it was available in English)
Yarn: Cascade Yarns Sunseeker Multi in Candy Cane, approx 628 yards
Needles: Addi circulars, US 5 and US 3
Size: Medium (34″/36″)
Mods: Gauge with this yarn was a little wide and tall, so I cast on for the small to get a medium, and began the armholes at row 120 instead of row 148. Did 4 rows garter stitch at bottom edge before beginning lace pattern. Also 4 rows garter stitch at neck edge and armhole edge instead of stockinette. Did not turn over arm and neck edges for a hem. 2 inch shoulder seams instead of 2 cm as called for in the pattern.
Satisfaction with end product: Made for me, and I love it. It’s cool and comfortable and looks pretty good under a jacket, so I can even wear it to work.

You can see a few more pictures on the project page.

And finally, I made this hat in February:


Pattern: #24 Cabled Pompom Hat by Annabelle Speer (from Vogue Knitting Holiday 2012)
Yarn: Schaefer Chris in Pomegranate, approx 215 yards (a now defunct yarn company; this was my last skein)
Needles: Addi circs, US 7
Mods: Smaller pompom due to lack of the appropriate size pompom maker, a situation that has now been remedied
Satisfaction with end product: This was a gift for a friend who helped out the production of Old Love by sending us authentic Tim Horton’s to-go cups from Canada to use in our coffee shop scene. A small detail that the audience probably never noticed, but we did. I think the hat turned out lovely, but more importantly, my friend did too. You can see a few more pics on the Ravelry project page.

Posted in Crochet, Finished object

A blanket for Liam

Stripes and Hearts 10I have a new grand-nephew on the way. And, of course, I made him a blanket.

Pattern:  I Got You Babe-y by Marty Miller, from the Jan/Feb 2012 issue of the now-defunct Crochet Today.

Yarn:  Bernat Gloucester Sport, 2.8 skeins (308 yds), colorway “French Blue”; Mirasol T’ika, 4 skeins (364 yds), colorway 502 “Light Blue”.

Hook:  H for body, I for borders.

Mods: Did not do the lacy attach-as-you-go border between panels. Rather, did single crochet edging around each panel and sewed them together. Three rounds of single crochet in alternating colors around entire blanket for the edging.

84df2-knit-your-library_2016Satisfaction with end product:  I think it’s lovely.  The 100% cotton yarn makes it soft and absorbent, besides making it an easy-care baby item; I’m sure my niece-in-law will appreciate that.

You can see more project pics at the Ravelry project page.

Still “knitting” my library.  Please join us!

Posted in Finished object, FO Fridays, Knitting

FO Friday: Kayson’s Blankie

100_4662-2By the time this post appears online, my family will have increased by one.  My niece expects to deliver her second son sometime between September 7 and September 14.  All new babies in my family get a special blanket made just for them, and Kayson is no exception.

Pattern:  My design, and it doesn’t have a name yet.

Yarn:  Bernat Handicrafter Cotton in Caramel, a discontinued colorway; 1.1 skeins for a total of 767 yards.

Needle:  US 9; I used Addi Turbos Circular.

Size:  34″ x 24″, after a machine wash and dry.

Satisfaction with end product:  It’s soft and absorbent and can be thrown in the washer and dryer.  That’s the perfect baby blanket as far as I’m concerned.  I hope my niece likes it.

The pattern came about because I couldn’t find a blanket that I liked among all the blanket patterns that I already have.  Let me rephrase:  I couldn’t find a blanket pattern that I liked that suited this particular yarn, and I was determined to use this yarn because of its easy care.  And so I fiddled around for a while with stitch patterns and finally settled on a classic basketweave, but with a twist: the small basketweave sections that bookend the center portion of the blanket.

This time as I made the blanket, I remembered to make pattern notes.  I’ll get the pattern written up and made available eventually.  I have to figure out how to upload PDFs to Ravelry someday, don’t I?

Here are a couple more pictures of the blanket, for good measure.  Click the pic to see it larger.  And you can click that large picture up top to go to the Ravelry project page.

FO Friday Avantaknits Badge (2)Do you have a finished project to show off? Please share it with us by linking up here. You’ll be glad you did!

Posted in Crochet, Knitting, Reading, Work in progress

WIP Wednesday: The end of the Tunisian Terror is in sight

Remember the Tunisian Terror?  The blanket I started for my mother in April 2014?  I finished all the crocheting in April of this year and then started the embellishments.  Behold!  All the cross-stitching is done!

Mom's Tunisian 28

Here it is laid out in the order in which it will be assembled.  Now all that remains is the sewing together of the squares.  One row is sewn, eight rows remain to be sewn, and then comes stitching the rows to each other and putting a border on it.  Stitching the squares together doesn’t really take long: I can do one row in an evening of TV watching, but truthfully, I’m so sick of looking at this thing that the blanket is lucky if I even pick up one row in a week.

Aarons Baby 1 Chinook 1Also in progress, two new projects — first, a baby blanket, the tried-and-true giant granny square of many colors for a colleague who is expecting a boy.  All the leftover yarn from the Tunisian Terror is coming in handy for this one.  I have another colleague also expecting a baby, but gender is unknown at this point, so that blanket will wait a bit.  Also, I started another Christmas gift, the Chinook scarf, out of the drapy-est silk and cotton blend you ever felt, in a color called Sea Glass.

In book news, I just finished A Sudden Light by Garth Stein and started Seveneves by Neal Stephenson.  Review pending of the Garth Stein book but it will be a favorable one.  I’m less than 100 pages into the Stephenson and completely enthralled.

100_4341 (2)Bonus picture:  Here’s Phoebe, who keeps me company when I’m here in my craft room writing or winding yarn or planning projects or simply goofing around on Facebook.  She’s getting older these days and doesn’t have any teeth left, but she’s still a good dog.  Aren’t you, sweetie?  Of course you are.

This post is part of Stitch-Along Wednesday.  Click on that badge below to see what other folks have been up to this week.  Also, go check out Shadow’s Knit Knacks Link-up post and add your link at the bottom.

Stitch Along Wednesday


Posted in Crochet, Finished object, Knitting, Technique, Work in progress, Year in review

2014 in review: Yarn

2014 wasn’t a productive year for yarncraft. I finally figured out why this past weekend, after Jacquenetta was gone. When she became so ill, she spent so much time in my lap during the evenings that knitting and crocheting came to a virtual standstill. I couldn’t work on projects without getting her fur all over them, but I could read, so I traded yarn for books. Snuggling her for the last few months of her life was worth every moment, and be damned to lackluster productivity in the yarn arena.

Projects finished in 2014: Three.

Wanderer Scarf 2The first, finished on New Year’s Day 2014, was the Wanderer Scarf, seen here modeled by spouse. The pattern and the yarn are from Rowan. It was intended as a gift for a friend in Washington, and finally was mailed off to said individual shortly before Christmas.

Buds and Blooms 21Next was my new favorite cardigan, A Rose in Winter, finished January 31. The pattern is “Buds and Blooms” by Alana Dakos. The pattern calls for endless endless stockinette, but that only serves as a backdrop for the gorgeous details: the buds and vine pattern up the back, the flowers on the pockets, the deeply ribbed collar. I also loved the yarn I used (Chris by Schaefer, now sadly out of business), and that gorgeous pomegranate color.

Penny's Granny 2The only other finished project was a giant granny square baby blanket, made for the new grandbaby of one of my colleagues. I grabbed a variety of high quality acrylic leftovers in my stash and threw them together to come up with the color scheme for the blanket. This is the fastest, easiest baby blanket I’ve ever made, and the pattern become my go-to pattern for quickie shower gifts.

Projects started in 2014 and not yet finished: Three.

Wildflower 6The day after the Rose in Winter cardi was finished, I cast on another of Alana Dakos’ patterns, the Wildflower Cardigan, using Elsebeth Lavold’s Silky Wool in a deep caramel color. This is another cardigan with vast expanses of stockinette but exquisite little details that make those vast expanses worth the tedium. The back of the cardigan is finished; the right front has been sitting here in my craft room, waiting patiently for me to pick it up again. Soon, my darling, soon.

Tunisian Terror squaresAt Christmas 2013, Mom picked out a blanket pattern in one of my afghan books. In April 2014, she bought the yarn and shipped it to me. Thus, the Tunisian Terror was born. The thing that slows me down with this project is the boredom. Each square is the same: one color surrounded by a border of black single crochet. The pattern calls for some multi-colored squares, but I haven’t got there yet. And each square, once finished and assembled, will be cross-stitched, so there’s some excitement to be had down the road. The finished blanket has 63 squares. I’ve got roughly half of those done.

Ultra Pima cardi attemptCome summer, I decided I needed to knit a lacy cotton cardigan to wear over sleeveless dresses, which serves two purposes: warding off the air-conditioned indoor chill that is everywhere during summer in the South; and making said sleeveless dresses appropriate for the office. Yes, I know it’s old-fashioned of me, but some reptilian portion of my brain won’t quite accept that “sleeveless” is now in keeping with professional office attire. I am determined to use this turquoise-colored Cascade Ultra Pima that’s been hibernating in my stash for several years, but have had nothing but trouble in finding the right pattern. I think I’ve started three or four separate patterns with the Cascade and ripped each one of them out after getting roughly five inches into the piece. I’ll keep experimenting until something clicks.

Projects started in previous years but not finished: Nope, not telling. Let’s just say there is more than one (*cough*spouse’s socks*cough*)

New techniques learned:

  • Tunisian crochet: Learning Tunisian crochet (Tunisian simple stitch only) was easier than I thought. I will no longer shy away from Tunisian patterns, even if they call for something other than TSS, because if I can learn that stitch by reading the directions, I can learn them all!
  • Mitered squares: This technique was taught me in a class at Stitches South in April. I have yet to put the technique to use, but the instructions and my practice swatches are sitting right here in my craft room, just waiting.

Stash acquired: Um. A lot. A good sight more than I used, that’s for darn sure. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

Stash used: Not very much. As noted above, I only completed three projects. I’ll never go cold sheep, because such is beyond my willpower, but this year will probably be a diminished year in stash acquisition because I’m not going to Stitches in April. It’s been moved to Nashville and the travel budget just isn’t available. So, yay for the bank account? And yay for shopping the stash!

So, here we go, 2015! New year, new crafting opportunities, new patterns to read, new AND old yarn to fondle, new techniques to learn or put into practice. It’s going to be a good one.

Posted in Crochet, Finished object

FO Friday: Baby Granny Redux

My first FO Friday in months! This giant granny square baby blanket was finished some time ago, but because I somehow managed to go two months without a single blog entry, it was never properly documented. I made it for the first grandbaby of my colleague Penny, and she reports her daughter and new grandson think it’s fabulous.

Penny's Granny 2
Pattern: Great Granny by Katherine Eng, from Crochet Today! Jul/Aug 2010
Yarn: Bernat Berella 4 in Soft Taupe, Burnt Orange, Burgundy, and Natural; Patons North America Canadiana Vintage in Oatmeal and Brown. Total yardage due to use of partial skeins, approximately 500 yds.
Hook: US H
Satisfaction with end product: As usual, the acrylic became soft and drapey once washed and dried. I’m happy with how it turned out. And, as mentioned above, its recipients were quite pleased, which pleases me. Because with a gift, it’s how the giftee feels that’s important.

7cde9-fofridayThis post is part of the FO Friday roundup, hosted by Tami’s Amis. Click the badge over there to see what everyone else finished this week!

Posted in Crochet, Finished object

FO Friday: Great Granny!

Furlough Day 11. Sigh. But the baby blanket is done.

Great Granny 4

Yes, it’s a giant granny square. And it was such fun to crochet that I intend to make several more out of the remaining skeins of acrylic, thus creating a backstock of baby blankets to be used as needed, or possibly donated to Project Linus or some other such organization.

Great Granny 7Pattern: Great Granny from Crochet Today July/August 2010
Hook: Size H (5.0 mm)
Yarn: Multiple skeins of acrylic (Patons Canadiana and Bernat Berella), 1090 yards total. Click this link to go to the project page on Ravelry.
Satisfaction with end product: Very pleased. The color combination worked out well, and it’s suitable for either a boy or a girl. And, as always after washing and drying, the acrylic is soft and cushiony. Don’t ever let anyone tell you acrylic is scratchy and uncomfortable. Well, maybe some acrylics. But seriously, even Red Heart Super Saver softens up after a good hot wash and dry.

7cde9-fofridayThis post is part of the FO Friday roundup, hosted by Tami’s Amis. For links to more finished projects, click that badge to the right. Go ahead, you know you want to.

Posted in Crochet, Finished object

Baby love, oh, baby love…

No. I’m not having a baby. Bite your tongue. And perish the thought!

But I made a baby blanket because: (a) I like making baby blankets; and (b) my colleague’s wife had a little girl. Baby girl was three months early, and it was touch-and-go there for a while, but she’s doing much better now. Still in NICU, but apparently thriving.

Blanket Full of Prayer

Pattern: Mine, sort of. I took the stitch patterns from Interweave Crochet’s Fall 2011 pattern Lacy Canopy Cardi Wrap, then reoriented and repurposed them. The result? a blanket of delicate lace for a delicate infant. You can see more pictures on the Ravelry project page.
Yarn: Bernat Berella 4, Natural, 5 skeins (975 yards)
Hook size: I
Satisfaction with end result: I’m rather proud of this blanket, to tell the truth. I wasn’t exactly sure whether my “reorienting and repurposing” was actually going to work. In the end, the stitch counts for the border took a little finagling to make the pineapples come out equal on all sides, but said finagling is invisible in the end product.

Posted in Book stash, Crochet, Finished object, Project planning, Yarn stash

Oh, look! A finished project! And other new stuff to show off.

While not writing in my blog, despite my New Year’s non-resolution to update more often, I’ve been doing a number of other things, such as watch lots of TV series via Netflix I never saw when they were first aired, like, umm, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel — not done with either of those two series, so no spoilers please — Dollhouse (so I’m on a Joss Whedon kick, what of it?), and the first season of Downton Abbey; read books (12 so far this year); and make stuff. Mostly stuff I (a) haven’t yet finished; (b) finished but haven’t yet taken pictures; or (c) finished AND taken pictures but haven’t yet downloaded off the camera or uploaded to the web.

Remedied one of those last items today, though! Feast your eyes upon the Lacy Winter White Blanket:

Pattern: Lacy Lilac Blanket by Katherine Eng, Crochet Today! Mar/Apr 2009
Yarn: Bernat Berella 4, 4 skeins. The best acrylic worsted ever.
Colorway: Natural
Hook size: H

This sweet little blanket was finished in February. The pattern calls for 35 squares, if I recall correctly, but I made it with 20 squares only because it’s intended for a baby: my sister’s newest grandbaby, a little girl expected to arrive in early May.

Spouse lost his job at the end of January and thus far has been unsuccessful in finding something else. Fortunately I’m compensated well enough in my job that we’re able to make all our monthly expenses without trouble, but the loss of his income put a serious crimp in our travel/discretionary spending. Wah. I know. First world problems. I’m lucky AND grateful not to have to worry about losing our house or our vehicles due to his lack of employment. Still, I had to miss attending Stitches South this year. However, I was able to afford to run over to Atlanta for the day yesterday, meet my friend Kelly for lunch, and make a quick dash through the market. I came home with a few nice goodies.

First, the book Knitting Plus, which I found in a booth for half off the cover price.

I’ve been intending to buy this book forever; well, at least since it was published last year. Some beautiful patterns in here, and lots of good fitting tips for those of us in the larger size ranges.

Then, some gorgeous glass stitch markers from Tanya McGuire.

Omigosh, I love these. There were so many other pretties in the booth, it was hard to limit myself to just one set.

And finally, yarn. Of course. You don’t think I’d drive all the way to Atlanta and NOT buy yarn, do you?

6 skeins of the fabulous Riveting by Kollage, in one of their new marled colorways, Red Denim. I’ve lusted after this yarn since it was introduced. It’s intended for a lacy tunic-type top. I have a couple of patterns in mind, and saw at least one in the new book that might be suitable. I’ll keep you posted.

By the way, those last three photographs were taken by my husband in his nifty tabletop “light booth”. Expect lovely photographs of small projects henceforth.

Posted in Crochet, Finished object

It’s Friday. That must mean it’s FO time.

I have to laugh every time I type “FO Friday”. In my world, FO means “field office”.

And, at last, I get to show off a couple of blankets.

Circle of Love baby 1
Pattern: Circle of Love Throw by MaryAnn Sipes from Crochet! Magazine May 2008
Yarn: Patons Jenny, 5 skeins (785 yds)
Hook: US G
Finished size: Approx 32″ x 32″

Here’s a detail of the lacy square:
Circle of Love baby detail

The Lacy Ripple Baby Blanket is my own design:

Ripple baby blanket 2
Yarn: Lion Brand Babysoft, Candy Print, approx 1/3 skein. Lion Brand Babysoft, Baby Green, approx 1/3 skein. Sirdar Snuggly 4 Ply, Lemon, approx 1 skein. All yardage is estimated due to working with partial skeins.
Hook: US G
Finished size: Approx 19″ x 29″

Both of these blankets are intended as gifts. Pregnancy was epidemic in my office recently, and so the Ripple Blankie will go to one of my colleagues, who is having a boy. The Circle of Love will have to wait until a baby girl comes along.

Go check out Tami’s blog and see who else has finished what!