Wednesday, March 25, 2009

It's Knot a Crochet Project But...

After stopping by Stormdrane's Blog I knew I needed to give knotting a try. He makes some of the most awesome stuff and once I saw those paracord bracelets I realized I finally had a shot at making something handmade for the boys and men on my Christmas list. It's so hard to crochet for men, especially men who live in Texas and don't need scarves or gloves for more than three days a year. So when my grandmother offered to buy me some yarn I asked if she would pick up a bit of cord as well. I knew she wouldn't be able to find the really cool paracord at the store she was going to but I just needed something to test it out with anyway. She brought back some tan craft cord that was a bit smaller than I was expecting but still ended up working out.

I took a clasp and keyring off a lanyard I had never used (I have a few Jagermeister lanyards that I got back in Jason's touring days and they're still wrapped even - perfect!) and set to work figuring out the lanyard knot. Then I gave up on the lanyard knot and moved on! I think it was a combination of tiny cord and really long ends to deal with versus the short piece of cord in the tutorial video. I just could not make it look right although I know I was close.

So I skipped the lanyard knot and moved on to the cobra stitch. I had a little trouble with my first two attempts but once I found this video I got it down in a flash. It was surprisingly enjoyable and I felt pretty proud of myself for figuring it out. I know that I should have been a bit more careful of my placement when going back over it to make the king cobra stitch part but the cord was so small that I really had a hard time telling where it should have gone anyway. So I just knotted along until I had this:



Here my background was too dark but I think you can see the stitches better and it's closer to the true color.



Both my brother and dad have birthdays coming up (and me too!) and this color of cord should go well with my brother's Army uniform. I plan to make him a keychain as well but I'll need to figure out a way to cover some of the extra space at the clasp end. I'm sure I will end up buying some paracord before Christmas and make stuff for all the boys.

Orange Socks

I started my first pair of socks not long ago and I am really enjoying the experience of using sock yarn. I wish I could afford more of it! But I do have a great green ball to use when these are done. I think they are turning out nicely and I can't wait to wear them.

Here they are the first day that I started them:



And here they are as of today:



I'm almost ready to start the heel. I'm using this pattern for toe up socks by Mary Rhodes. I looked for a while for crocheted sock patterns and found several really nice ones which are now in my Ravelry queue but this pair seemed the least thick and bulky and uses a plain stitch pattern that will really show off the colors of this yarn. The yarn is Chrysalis Fibers Silky Merino Hand-Dyed sock yarn in "Citrus Squeeze" and I'm using an E hook.

Ugly Green Yarn Chronicles Continued

I've done quite a bit of work on the Horrendously Green Jacket. As of this writing, all I lack are the sleeves and I'm very excited about the way it's turned out so far. Here it is layed out on my floor.



That top portion is the hood and the two U shaped cut outs are the arm hole shaping. You can see them better in this side view.



Here is a close up of the hood.



And here are the two sides.





By the way, check out my cool new socks in the corner of that last picture, haha.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Ugly Green Yarn Chronicles

A while back on the 2009 Stashbusting CAL at Crochetville, a very nice woman named Marzee got some "ugly green yarn" in an eBay lot and offered to send it to anyone crazy enough to enjoy pea and avocado greens. I almost broke my finger replying to her post as quickly as I could and that speed paid off because she sent it to me! I was so excited to get yarn, not only free but in these hideously beautiful colors that for some reason I love so much. She sent me two skeins and seven balls which I combined with a few skeins of various greens I already had and then sat down to decide what to make. The first thing that came to mind was a jacket since I can never get enough of those. It needed to be something funky, from the 70's or something. Ripples came to mind. Then I remembered in my Ravelry queue the really cool striped hooded jacket.

I was really surprised once I looked at the pattern and realized the unusual way this jacket comes together. I mean how many jacket patterns begin with "chain 298"? It's basically made in rectangular sections beginning with a long strip that goes up one side, over your head for the hood, and back down the other side. Think about hanging a scarf over the top of your head and that's what the first 20 rows looks like. From there you work the sides around to meet in the back and seam up the middle. Pretty awesome and it works up really fast. I started this on Tuesday and I have a two year old to keep up with!

It was too long to fit in a picture all flattened out but the long scarf looking strip you see folded below is the hood and the other side of the jacket that I haven't started yet. The big rectangle is the side, the U shaped hole is the arm hole shaping, and the very top is the beginning of the back.



As you can see here, I started out with some Caron One Pound in Taupe. It's really brown but it looked a little green as well. That is until I put it up against the rest of the greens. But it still looks cool in there and I'll probably buy more and carry it through the rest of the jacket. I will definitely need to buy more yarn to finish this.



I also added some greens that, once again, looked more green until I put them against the other greens and then they looked more blue green. They look pretty blue in this picture but I just can't seem to get good lighting in this house and it rained all day so no sunlight. The true color is not quite so blue but still a bit of a shock to the system if you will.



I still think they all go together pretty well and I bet once it's finished it won't look half bad. If you like weird 70's thrift store type junky fashion, which I do. Once in a while you just need to wear something funky! I think I may add a zipper to the front instead of the belt tie because I never use those and don't really like how they look. Or I may possibly add some of my vintage buttons. I am thoroughly enjoying this project and can seriously see myself making more of these jackets, the pattern is so easy and fun. Hopefully the fit will agree with me.

Thanks so much to Marzee (who is probably rubbing her eyes in horror) without whom this horrendously green jacket would not be possible.

Seraphina

I attempted the Seraphina Shawl a few months ago and was hopelessly confused. Even with the images to help I still couldn't get it for some reason. Then I stumbled across this thread at Crochetville and decided to give it another shot. Suddenly everything was clear and I was on my way to making one of the most beautiful shawl patterns I have ever seen. I love looking through the completed Seraphinas on Ravelry (Rav link) because there are so many beautiful colors and patterns of pooling.

I'm making mine with some Jo-Ann Sensations Rainbow Boucle Patterns yarn (what a long name) in pink, grey, and black with a size N hook. For the first five rows or so I absolutely hated this yarn. I don't know why I bought it. I have just always preferred a smooth yarn, I hate working with things like this and Red Heart Kooky because you have a little tiny thread and you're going along and then the yarn just pukes up a hairball that you have to work around. Not so much with the boucle but you know what I mean. I don't know, it's probably my ocpd.

But after a while I did get used to this boucle and got going pretty fast. I still don't enjoy it per se but at least it's turning out nicely. I looked at this skein of boucle the size of my car and thought, I've got to figure out the Seraphina pattern because it would be perfect for that. And so far it is looking great. I'm getting some really cool stripey pooling.



I'm going to make this shawl really big and I'm doing it fairly loose, especially compared to my usual tension. I wanted it to be light and airy and really wanting to get rid of this blasted yarn is helping me remember to keep it loose. Use as much yarn as possible per stitch! I know I'll have some left over and I won't want to make anything else with it. Maybe I will gift it to someone.

Scrap Ripple Afghan Continued

I've made a lot of progress on my scrap ripple afghan since the last post. Added an entire skein of a pinkish variegated yarn that I didn't expect to be able to use on anything else. Ever. It's pretty odd. But it's perfect for this hodge podge blanket. I've only got a couple more balls of scrap in mind for this blanket and then it will be put on the shelf for a while until I get more scraps. I really can't wait to be able to curl up under this and know it was my first full size afghan and I made it just for me!

Hello Kitty Purse

Also this month is my cousin's daughter's birthday so I am making her a little Hello Kitty purse. This is the front panel with Hello Kitty's face.



The back panel is solid pink and the sides, bottom, and strap are in one big piece that I will sew together some time next week. Then I'll stitch the eyes and nose on and make a little bow for her ear. I used an I hook and some pink and white stash yarn that had no labels. I washed it in conditioner to soften it up and although it didn't soften as much as I would have liked it certainly smells nice.

I'm not sure what fabric to line this with yet but I have a couple of cute choices including some fuzzy pink fabric that I have been dying to use. But she has been known to keep important things like chicken nuggets in her purse so maybe fuzzy isn't the best idea? I'll have to decide later.

Firecracker Gloves #3

I just can't stop making these Firecracker Gloves! I love this pattern. This pair is for my cousin-in-law whose birthday is this month. I'm also thinking I will have to make myself a pair just because. Made these with Caron Simply Soft Eco in Black and Wine Country with an H hook.



I'm hopimg to get some better pictures of them once it stops raining and I can get some sunlight.

Charity Baby Hats

Save the Children was running a campaign called Survive to 5 to help babies in countries like Ethiopia, Nepal, and El Salvador survive the first years of life. They were accepting donations of knitted and crocheted hats and I had planned to send them a box full but it appears that the campaign is now over. However, these little hats can still help someone and I plan to finish off the baby yarn, fill the box, and donate them to a hospital near my home. I hope they aren't too small. I made them the size that was called for by the Save the Children instructions but they seem awfully small. Maybe it's just been a while since I saw a newborn.



I made a couple of sizes using an H and an I hook and the yarn is Jiffy Baby and Red Heart Kooky for the one on the right.

Monday, March 2, 2009

WIP List

Once in a while I like to make a post about my WIPs. It helps me keep things straight in my mind - what I need to work on, what I need to buy, what I'd like to start soon. So here is my WIP list. Items marked with an * need to be completed soon because they've been on the list too long.

Current Projects

Hello Kitty Purse - almost done, due March 29
Dragonfly Shawl - barely started but not in a rush
Men's Vest* - about halfway done
Seraphina Shawl* - about 2/3rds done
Lattice Hat - ran out of yarn, have to get back to the store
Save the Children Hats* - going to fill the box before I mail them out
Ridge Swing Cardigan - ran out of yarn, have to get back to the store
Scrap Ripple Afghan - this one will be around a while
MC Frontalot Amigurumi - just adding details now but going to take my time with it
Rag Rug* - think I have the right hook now but I haven't even looked at this in a while
Half Moon Shawl - pretty sure I'm going to frog this
Armies* - I've got one glove done, just finish the other one already!
Sweet Pea Shawl - don't know whether to frog this or just forget it, it's so boring

Future Projects

? - birthday gift for my cousin, due March 29
Flames Purse - gotta get red, orange, yellow yarn
Socks - probably make a test pair before using my nice yarn
Purse - for my new black handles

Dragonfly Shawl

Remember the yummy yarn I bought and had no idea what to make with it?



Well I think I'm going to make the Dragonfly Shawl from Interweave. But with this being a pretty advanced looking pattern, I thought I would do a practice run with some crazy purple thread that I have around. It's been smooth sailing so far but of course I'm only on Row 6. I have never done Soloman's Knot before and I heard it takes practice to get them even so maybe after making this one I'll have it down for the grey one. That is, if I get through the first one without giving up or messing up and if I can stand to make a second one! Usually I can't but this is just such an awesome looking pattern and it's a project that I plan to have around for a while anyway, doing a little at a time.

Here's what I've got so far: