Archive | November 2012

Christmas is a-comin’!

Very recently, I finished the Vest I made my mom for Christmas! It’s so awesome, and I’m so pleased by it. I’m totally confident that she’ll love it!

The pattern (from Lion Brand, located here) is free and very simple. I’d definitely make it again for someone else or with a different yarn (not that I didn’t love the yarn). I made the medium size in width, but decided for the large size in length. I think it’ll fit her so well! The yarn is a varigated color (it’s called “Regal Earth” but that sounds so lame!) of Loops & Thread Country Loom. It’s really soft and has a super cool texture, which lets the vest be exciting, but not wild or anything. Perfect!

Look at the cool texture!

I want to add a button to it, as the pattern casually suggests, but since there’s no button hole, I’m not exactly sure how to casually add a button in later. Any ideas? I’d rather not make a little last minute loop, because I want the buttoning to be optional, but the loop would look very awkward when unused. I’d buy her one of those super classy shawl pins (bet that would make an excellent Chirstmas gift!) but she works as a teaching assistant for very young children, so I don’t think it would ever be able to get used. I think I may sew on my beloved snap fasteners (they’re so small, they will go unnoticed when the vest is open) and a button to the outside just for looks. We’ll see!

In other news, I’ve begun working on my portion of the work for my Christmas Scarves. My sister and I are making scarves for six different family members. We divided the work evenly (we are giving each as a pair, and so we each knit one from the pair to give as a joint gift) and she’s so far ahead of me. She’s finished one and is making good progress on the second, but since I was so busy with my mom’s vest, I just barely started my first one. They are looking so great though! I’m so excited!

And yet another side note, I finally gifted the Doctor Who Scarf that I made a while back for my ex-roomate (sounds so harsh!). She loved it! She gave me a big hug (she’s known to be quite the anti-hugger) and was at a loss for words. Eventually she managed to get one out, saying she’ll wear it around London when she goes to study there (this spring!). I feel so content with how it turned out! Yay!

I started my Poinsettia Pillow only a few days ago, and I don’t think I’ll be finishing in time for Christmas! I haven’t even finished my first square! They’re pretty elaborate squares, since there’s a lot of color changes, increases and decreases, and layers! I can’t imagine making a full blanket of them! Well, I will put my Snowflake Afghan on hold and work on my pillow as best as I can, but the Christmas Scarves come first!

Who else is just swamped with Christmas Craft?! Will this get more and more hectic every year?!

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Cyber Monday…or Fiber Monday?!

Because today is Cyber Monday, I thought it was necessary to buy something online. And what does one need in life other than yarn?! I got a few emails regarding Cyber Monday, so I checked out a few of my favorite yarn suppliers. Honestly, the consistently low prices of my favorite yarn website, Knitting-Warehouse.com, were better than any Cyber Monday deal I could find. And they weren’t even having any special promotions! I did, however, take advantage of Jo-Ann Fabrics free shipping on ANY purchase and bought a skein of yarn that was more expensive on Knitting Warehouse and a package of safety eyes for only 89 cents! Now that’s a score!
I’m very excited to be getting my packages in the mail, though
I won’t be starting these projects until after Christmas (I have plenty of gifts and other Christmas crafts to worry about!). But I’m like a kid with a brand new toy when I get new yarn or needles. I just can’t wait to get started!
Speaking of… I was going to start my poinsettia pillow this evening, but I accidentally grabbed two skeins of one color instead of one of each. Bummer!! Well, there’s always a tomorrow!
Happy Cyber Monday!

Lulu in Russia

Last night, I stayed up late (midnight is late for me, don’t judge!) so I could finish the Russian Outfit for Lulu the Pig! It turned out so nice!

I had been worried about this outfit because of the matryoshka doll, specifically. Making small things never works well for me. But I’m actually pretty pleased with how she turned out! The flowers look great and the hood is cute. The only thing I don’t like is her face. I used embroidery thread for that part (I used yarn for all other embroidery) to make her facial features smaller, but I think they still turned out too large, especially her eyes. But I’m totally satisfied, even pleased with her.
I hate to reveal my secret… But I did attach the doll. I sewed her (very very loosely, so she can be easily removed) to the dress. I then strung some clear elastic string (the same I used to secure the Paris beret and the London hat.. It’s meant for bracelets) through the doll. This way, Lulu can “hold on” to her! I think it looks really great and makes the matryoshka doll totallyyy a part of the outfit and less of a “prop”.

The bandana is super super cute! I modified it to work with my pig’s ears, which are smaller and closer together than Coco‘s. The cross stitches add such a nice touch (I almost wasn’t going to do them!) but unfortunately can’t be put on the bandana knot because you can see both sides. It looks a little weird not having them on the knot, but better than if they were there and the wrong side was visible. The dress was made as suggested, but I made the armholes smaller (I thought they were too big when I made the London dress) and I took another lesson from the London dress and sewed up about half of the dress and completed it with one snap fastener. I didn’t add a button (it’s the back, who cares). I heavily modified the embroidery because it appeared to be random in the pattern. I don’t know about you, but I just can’t do anything randomly. I decided to make flowers and leaves around the trim of the dress and then put one on the breast. It looks very nice, I’d say. The bloomers.. Well, they’re bloomers. Just like the Paris and Holland bloomers. They’re a nice, easy part. Which is why I love them 🙂

Overall, I do like this Russian outfit. It’s more simple than some of the others, but it’s still very cute and Lulu makes such a nice Russian pig!

 

So now, I have officially moved on to…. WINTER! I will be starting my Snowflake Afghan over the Thanksgiving break while working intermittenly on my long list of Christmas gifts. After the break, I will be ready for the Christmas spirit and will hopefully whip up my Poinsettia Pillow in no time! After that, I’ll be ready to tackle the new January/February 2013 issue of Crochet Today! My, I am getting ahead of myself!

Jenny’s Mittens

Last night was the first snow of the season! So it was the perfect night to stay up late and finish the pair of mittens my newly employed (she just got her cosmetology license!) younger sister had been asking for!

I started them the day before, but I had some serious gauge issues. The pattern calls for a G hook, and, since the pattern was “one size fits most” I figured a slight variation in gauge would be negligible. Forget that! The G hook created a SUPER tight mitten than was a pain to even get on. I frogged it, tried it with an H hook and realized it wasn’t a big enough difference, frogged that, and finally settled with a J hook. They fit perfectly now! The ribbing is quite a bit holey because of the increased hook, so if I were to make them again, I’d use an H hook for the ribbing and a J for the rest of the mitten. They fit very well and are very comfy. They will definitely keep her warm while driving to her new job!

The pattern I used is the Sweetheart Mittens from the September/October 2012 issue of Crochet Today! Other than the hook issue, this pattern was really very nice. It was not complex at all and gave me the perfect, quick, basic mitten I was looking to whip up in no time. It only took me a few hours, ignoring the frogging from the hook issues. The mitten is crocheted in the round, but each round is turned. I’m sure that makes no sense… It’s sort of as if the mitten is crocheted in rows that are then joined together at the end of the row, as opposed to a continuous spiral. I’m not sure what the point of this method is (other than confusing me) and I’m not fond of it. It makes for a less than attractive seam and trouble counting (the slip stitch and the chain of the end/beginning of the round don’t count as stitches to be crocheted into, but it’s pretty easy to accidently include them when counting along). Maybe I’d look for another pattern that let me work in the round the old fashioned way.

The yarn is Vanna’s Choice in Eggplant, one of the few spare skeins I have laying around that aren’t leftover from an existing project or reserved for something in mind. Well, it’s finally been put to use! Every yarns dream! I really enjoy Vanna’s Choice (I used it in my Doctor Who Scarf and my recently made Turkey “Coaster”) and the color is perfect for a sophisticated hair stylist. It used almost the full skein, so I may be buying a skein of Vanna’s Choice and whipping up another pair for a great Christmas gift… Just an idea!

I really am very pleased with the way they turned out. Unfortunately, one is two rows shorter than the other! I made the mistake before I made the thumb, and didn’t realize until I had finished. No use frogging it again! It doesn’t make a huge difference in length and is only noticeable when the mittens are lined up with one another. I won’t mention it to anybody, and I doubt anybody will notice. Still, that feeling you get when you realize you made a little mistake (like when five rows later you realized you purled a stitch instead of knit. UGH) that’s too late to fix is a real bummer! But I love the mitts and I know she does too!

 

Now that my little side project can be crossed off the list, I’m ready to move on to the next one! Since it just began to snow, I’m ready to begin the long journey of making a Snowflake Afghan. It’ll probably take me all winter (I’ve only made one blanket before, and it took me three months to make it) so I’d like to start now and continue it on and off in the midst of other projects. But before I get hooking on that, I’d really like to finish my Russian Outfit for Lulu. I’m about half way done with it, so I don’t have a whole lot left. I think I could finish her this weekend (The Sims 3 Seasons comes out today, so I might be glued to my computer screen instead…) and then I could get cracking on the Snowflake Afghan. I haven’t done as much work on my Christmas gifts as I’d have liked (There are EXACTLY six weeks until Christmas. AHHH) so I might have to wait longer and longer. I know I have way too much on my plate, but I just love it!

Turkey “Coaster”

This evening, I started AND finished my Turkey “Coaster”. I use quotations around the word coaster because the pattern (Turkey Coasters and Ornaments by Joanne Loh) suggests using this turkey as an ornament or a coaster, but because I used aran weight yarn, it’s wayy too large to be either of these things. So it’s really very purposeless, but super super cute!

 

I had such a fun time making this guy! I really love when I can start and finish a piece in one sitting, because crocheting/knitting is a patient craft that isn’t exactly based on instant gratification. But in the matter of a few hours, I used up some scrap yarn and made a festive little decoration! I used Vanna’s Choice, which I had left over in a bunch of colors from my Doctor Who Scarf. The pattern suggests a much smaller hook and lighter yarn weight, but my stash is predominantly weight category four yarn, so I don’t have a big color choice in anything else. Plus, I really did want to use up some of my Vanna’s Choice.

Unfortunately, when I made the decision to completely ignore the yarn and hook suggestion, I didn’t realize it would have such a huge impact! I have no idea what to do with this turkey!! I had envisioned using him as a rear view mirror decoration (what a great way to get into the spirit of Thankgiving!) or as a fridge magnet or something! But he’s really very big. Even too big for a coaster, I’d say. Please, any ideas? I’d love to know what to do with this guy! I think I might hang him on my door or something at this point (like a Thanksgiving wreath or something!). Either way, I really enjoyed making this turkey and if his purpose was only to bring me a nice relaxing Friday evening of festive crochet, then that’s good enough for me!

 

I typically end my blog posts saying what I intend to make next, but I just have so much going on and I’m making very little progress (I just keep adding new things!) so my plans are really unchanged. In summary, I’ll be working on Lulu‘s Russian Outfit and some mittens for my sister, while also working on some on-and-off secret Christmas gifts.

A Tissue Holder for my Mom

For my dear, old, crazy mother, I made a little Tissue Holder. You know those little portable packs of tissue that typically have like ten tissues in them? Like the rest of our well prepared family, my mom always has one handy in her bag or winter coat pocket. Anyone who has ever carried around one of those things for even a short period of time is well aware that the flimsy plastic package that holds the tissues (which is supposedly closed by a sticker, ha.) don’t last very long. I have one in my bag, and the plastic part is all disheveled. Well, it became too much of a burden for my mom to bear, and she knows I can crochet well. Well, she thinks I am the master of crochet, while I think myself humble compared to real crocheters.. which sounds like this:

So, she asked me to make her a little cozy so that she might keep her tissue pack in something more permanent and durable. So I did! Here it is!

Really, it looks much more blue in person. I made it out of Red Heart Lustersheen (she had expressed concern with it being too furry, as yarn can sometimes be, so I wanted to go for something sleek) in turquoise, which I had left over from my Sufer Girl Tank. The stitch pattern comes from The Complete Photo Guide to Crochet, which my mom got for me for Christmas and I LOVE to use for stitch patterns when I freeshape something and for some of the nice flower motifs. All I did was work the stitch pattern back and forth, decreased for the envelope style flap, and seemed the sides. I sewed snap fasteners on to keep the flap closed (much easier to open than a button when you feel a sneeze coming on).

And of course, she loves it.

So now, I still have a million things left to do! I’ve started Lulu’s Russian Outfit but barely. I would like to make one of these cute little turkeys, probably to hang from my rear view mirror. Then, I’ve got all sorts of Christmas gifts and other festive things. Not to mention, my sister said she wanted some mittens! Sometimes it feels like my list only gets longer as I complete projects!!

Day of the Dead Hat

Today, I’m wearing my Day of the Dead Hat! I finished it yesterday morning so I wore it yesterday too. Here’s how it looks!

As you can see, it’s a very simple knit hat that uses a repeating skull chart. My inspiration for the chart comes from ErssieKnits.com. She designed a Day of the Dead hat and mittens set, Los Muertos, which is for sale on Ravelry. I didn’t follow her hat pattern, but I did use her skull chart to make one of my own.

Overall, I’m very impressed with my hat. It was very easy to make and I love the effect of working a chart. My mom saw me making it and declared “you can’t do that!”. What she means to say is that it seems impossible to knit a design into something. She’s just baffled. I’ll let her believe it’s very very complicated, though using a chart is no big deal at all. The only problem I had with working in two colors this way was that the ends I carried over behind the work (inside the hat) take away a little of the hat’s stretch. It’s clear to see that, though they all contain the same number of stitches until the crown, the rounds with the skulls on them are smaller than the rounds worked only in black. This makes the fit snugger, which I have no problem with at all, but makes the crown look a little two big (very slightly in a muffin-like way) but because the hat is little slouchy, It’s no big deal. It’s also very very comfy, which I can’t but thank the snuggness of the two color work for.

This project also made me really appreciate embroidery. Working with needle and thread normally puts me off, but I had a lot of fun using different colors and embroidery techniques, which I got from Knit Simple’s Embroidery Article. The embroidery really takes this hat from scary skulls to very festive sugar skulls, which I am so pleased about.

After working with the yarn, which is Caron Simply Soft, I wonder why I haven’t used this very much before. I had originally bought it about a year ago and used only a little of it for the applique’s in my Angry Birds Hat, which is why I had white and black. After making a full-on project with Simply Soft, I realize how soft it really is! I’m always baffled how, most of my yarns being acrylic, yarns of the same material can range in their texture so much! I’m sure it’s more expensive than many of my other yarns (you can really feel the price difference in yarn!) but it’s very very nice to work with and I’m glad I used it for my hat.

So, what next for me? I still have a boat load of Christmas things. And I’m ready to start working on Lulu’s Russian Outfit. But! I got the January/February 2012 issue of Crochet Today! in the mail yesterday! I hadn’t been expecting it at all (normally I see some pattern previews on Facebook that get me all excited) so now I’ll be having a few new things to add to my list! Oh the knitting of the holidays!