Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Progress on my Boteh Scarf

I thought I would post a little update on how my Boteh scarf is progressing. I carry it with me most of the time, so if I have a chance to work on it I can. Unlike what I hear about most knitters, I rarely have more than a project or two going on at a time. It seems that the knitters I know always have several projects on their needles. I can't keep patterns straight if I do that much. Although I don't know why. I use quick hats or scarves as a diversion from a project that takes a longer time to finish.

Our church has an ongoing humanitarian project, and they need crocheted or knitted scarves to send to children in third-world countries. So I have a stack of acrylic yarn skeins that I keep around and just through a large-hook doubled-yarn scarf together. They work up pretty quick and don't have to be anything fancy, just measure 60 x 8 inches.

I love the way this scarf is coming together, once I got the pattern figured out. I had to frog two motifs (the third and part of the fourth) because I was crocheting in a circle. I had decreased down the wrong side of the triangles. I got it figured out and now the pattern moves along pretty quickly. It's really lightweight and I think will be really comfortable. I love the pattern and may make one out of another color or maybe a different scarf. The pattern in interweave used a fingering weight yarn, and this is just a little heavier (and really barely a little) than that. It is nice and soft and has a lovely drape.

Monday, September 24, 2007

A new member of our family

We got some sad news about our dog last week. He has cancer in his mouth, and we don't know how fast it will grow and make it so he can't eat or drink. But for now we are just loving him and enjoying him. He isn't experiencing any pain or other adverse effects from it right now, it just bleeds occasionally. So the family (and the whole family was here this weekend) decided to get another dog now, while we have Chewie to train him. So when I went to work on Saturday, they went to the Humane Society and found a great puppy.

He is a Doberman mix, and is 7 months old. He is really quite mellow, has long legs and weighs about 40 pounds. I think he won't get much bigger than he is, but he might fill out some. He was a little shy, but seems to be warming up to everyone. He kept running to the front windows and looking out them this morning after Kyle left for school. Kyle has been really great with him and taking care of him. Then he came in and jumped up on my bed and went to sleep with me.
I think he is going to be a great dog.

A little splurge

I've been really anxious to make this great baby-doll top pattern in the spring issue of Interweave Crochet, and have had a difficult time finding just the yarn I want to make it in. The pattern used bamboo, but I really wanted to feel the yarn before purchasing for this project. So I haunted the stores and went to Twist, where I found some yarns I loved, but just couldn't bring myself to spend $100 or more just to make a top (cheapskate runs very deep in me). But Shelly did have some really lovely 100% cotton that feels like it will drape nicely and be comfortable as well. And she had a beautiful green (I love green and orange, but not usually together;-) ). It's a nice slightly on the heavy side of DK weight, and feels really great. Soon, I'll have to get started... The hank shown above is the "extra" because the yardage on these hanks is a little shorter than the ones used, so we wound all the other, and I'll wind this one if I need it. Anyway, I'm pretty excited about making this, and it will be my first fitted clothing project.

And when Alyx was home this weekend, she saw the hats I had made for the boys and tried to steal Ryan's blue one, so I made her a green one. I used Bernat Softee Chunky, which is a bulky weight yarn. It should be nice and warm for her when the weather starts to get cold. It worked up nice and fast, and it is soft and thick.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The start of something new

Well, I started a project that has been sitting in my basket for a while. I am not as adept as I'd like to be at reading crochet charts, so I have put this particular scarf, the Boteh Scarf from the spring issue of Interweave Crochet, off for a short while. Also, the yarn is finer than I am used to. Yes, I'm a wimp, I know, but I am trying to broaden my horizons a little. I really love the cotton feel of the Red Heart luster sheen yarn, and the washability of it because it is 100% acrylic. The color is tea leaf (and it doesn't look quite as nice in the photos here).

The pattern is not as difficult as I thought it might be. You can see the very small picture of the scarf as it appeared in the magazine. And because they have completely changed the website, you can no longer see the table of contents for back issues of the magazine. Rats! I really loved being able to see what was in the magazine, look at the projects, and see what yarns were used. I have to say that while I like some of the changes to the site, that one I don't. I was able to pull up the cached page on Google, except that when I clicked on it, I got the dreaded "404 page not found" message. So, the picture you get (because I was too lazy to take a picture of my copy of the magazine) is a tiny one that I got on a Google image search and was the little icon.

I tried to take a picture that was a little closer so you can see detail, but I think I'll have to do it again and get a little closer, maybe when I have better light to work with. I am pleased with how it is going, and I think I will like it.

Monday, September 17, 2007

A hat for Alyx...

...and a scarf to come. Out of what pattern? Why the one-skein pattern of course! I tried this hat in single crochet several times, and it just wasn't working, so I went back to my tried and true double crochet pattern (works up faster anyway!), then adapted the lower rows to incorporate the shell to match the scarf. The yarn is Wool-Ease, in a nice Nebraska red with little colored confettis in it. It's pretty darn comfy, and soft, and should help keep her head warn when the snow starts to fall. But it's also one she can wear when it's just cool outside and the wind is blowing a little. I made it a little long to cover her ears better.

Next on the list is the scarf, which won't take terribly long either. I think I've got that pattern down to about an hour and a half or so per scarf. Maybe even a little less depending on the fiber.

I do love the way the shell pattern makes a nice border on the hat, adding a little shape, and making it look a little less like a regular beanie. And if she doesn't like it, then I have a nice hat for when it gets colder here! ;-)

New stuff to show

So it's been a little while since I have taken the time to sit down and write and post some pictures. I finished this scarf last week, and I just love it. I used the same pattern as the orange alpaca (the one-skein pattern), but used some ribbon yarn that my sister sent. It's really nice and lightweight, and will be a great accessory for my black and green wardrobe when winter comes. Wow, that makes me sound like a witch. Hmmmm, maybe it's an accurate statement...

The yarn is a little soft, and it took more than one skein (just a little more, really). But it drapes nicely and will be excellent accessory wear, with a black or lime turtleneck. I also have a great lime-green denim jacket with which it will look absolutely adorable. Now, if we could just have some of the cool weather we had over the weekend return.

I LOVE this scarf pattern and have more plans for it in the future. I think I will make Christmas gifts for my friends and the ladies I visit teach (who are actually also my friends!). I have plans to make it out of a really bulky yarn, and would like to make it out of a soft cotton blend as well. I could use one in every color!

On another note, we had the pleasure of a visit from the Yarn Harlot (Stephanie Pearl-McPhee) yesterday. Now, I am not a knitter (my sister would say I am not yet a knitter), but I can definitely appreciate anyone who seriously loves yarn, and can joke about it. She was really very personable and fun to listen to. I just substituted "crochet" nearly every time she said "knit" and it worked well. Except for when she talked about the apocalyptic day that sheep would offer no more wool, and we would be left with the yarn in our stashes. She warned the room full of knitters that they would have to watch out for the crocheting hordes, who would come because crochet works up so much faster and we would run out of yarn first! I seriously had to laugh at that, but it gave me an idea as to why I might be a little reticent to give up my hooks and replace them with needles any time soon. Besides, I am still not convinced that I can handle two pointy sticks at one time! It was a lot of fun to have her visit, and you can see from the picture that she smiles a lot!

And finally, I went to Michael's today to buy some bamboo that was on sale (unfortunately it was bulky and I need DK weight) and found this marvelous bulky yarn on clearance for $1 a ball. Well, I certainly couldn't pass up a bargain like that, could I? So I bought all of this color that I could find, 25 balls, and now I am looking for a car coat type of pattern made with bulky yarn to make out of it. Barring that, I will use it in a mixed fiber afghan. It is incredibly soft, and I love the oranges, tans and sages. Mmmmmmm, mmmmmm.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

You have got to see this...

I was just out doing a little surfing and I found a link to this marvelous flickr set of pictures. Design ideas from 40 years ago, and some of them are so cool! They are not simplified, and the details are just marvelous.

Just winding down

It was a late night at the paper tonight. Not the latest ever, but a little later than normal on a Saturday night. Football season has started in earnest, and that keeps the sports team busy busy. We print two editions of the paper for Sunday, and early edition for the state, and a later edition for the city. This means that there are always a few things that need to be changed on pages, like the lottery numbers (they don't get drawn early enough to go in the state edition), some sports scores, sometimes a national or world story will get an update and things like that.

Tonight it was mostly sports. Big 12 football is huge, and KU and K-State both won today.

On another note, I finally got back in the pool today. I haven't swam regularly since I started my master's program three years ago, and it was absolutely just time to start exercising again. I took Kyle and we went over to the lap pool and swam for about 45 minutes. Ahhh, the quiet of the water, and the cool, and the feel of the strokes and breathing. Wow, do I need to get in better shape! But it sure felt good, and I plan to make it a regular part of my routine. The pool is nearby, so I don't have much of an excuse to not do it.

And I think Kyle liked it too.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Yea! I have more memory in my computer

I have been running my laptop with 256MB ram since I bought it almost three years ago. I had another 256 card lying around waiting to get put in, and just never got around to it. When Evan got Skype and could call over the computer, and Mark put it on his computer too, and the sound was so great, I knew it was time to upgrade. So I ordered a 1GB card, and installed it (all by myself!) this afternoon. It was so much easier than I expected.

Now I will go download the program, and buy a headset, and woohoo, I can talk to my kid in Iraq!

And of course, I will add a picture to this post, just because I can, and it should load faster. So, the picture you see is a bag I bought in South Dakota on vacation, and I just like the pattern in the fabric. And when I have more crocheting done, I will post more pictures of it, too.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

And we have another runner in the family

Ryan had his first cross country meet of the season today. It wasn't nearly as hot as it has been, and there was a breeze, so I think the conditions were all right. The middle schoolers ran a 1.5 mile course. The picture on the top is the start of the race, and the runners extend past the edges of the picture frame on both sides. The team in red in the center is Ryan's team. He did pretty well considering that running does not exactly run in the family. My life would have to be in severe danger for me to run willingly! But somehow Evan got some good running genes. Maybe Ryan has a little bit of that as well.

The last picture is near the finish, probably about the last 200 yards or so of the race. As Ryan came in he was determined (as you can see) to make it to the end.

Lots of little things

So I went on a little hatmaking binge and made some hats for the boys. The black and white one is actually made from Lion Brand Wool-Ease, and will go in the stack for Iraq. The blue and the gold ones are Ryan's and the camo one is Kyle's. It matches his school backpack...

The wool-ease crochets up nice and soft, and I think will make a nice hat that has the wicking and warmth properties of wool, and the washability of acrylic because of the 80/20 blend. Just enough wool. As I stood in Michael's and looked at yarn, I just had to restrain myself from buying oodles of it to make yet another afghan. There were some really nice colors and the yarn is nice and soft.

I also ripped out my scarf and re-crocheted it a little longer. I was pleased with the smaller amount of yarn I had left, and decided to make a little flower to pin on the scarf. I had just enough yarn to make this 6-petaled flower, that I think adds just a nice little touch. I have a great red yarn for Alyx, that I will make this scarf and a hat, and should have enough left to make a few flowers to scatter on her hat and scarf. I like the way the flower made up and it was easy...just the right touch for a hat with a shell border.