Monday, December 29, 2008

Best new bag ever (well, maybe)

I picked up the most amazing bag at Twist. Cass, one of the shop regulars and an amazingly gifted stitcher, makes these terrific bags from recycled sweaters. She cuts the sweaters up and uses the fabric to make the best crochet/knitting bags. She lines them with a coordinating fabric (and she's great at choosing pairings because of her quilting talent), and adds all kinds of little pockets.

They have strong web handles and are incredibly roomy. Mine is a great orange wool with a funky, retro pink/orange/white lining. I so love it!
And I now have been able to add pictures as you can see! Thanks, Cass, for making a bag that feels like it was made just for me!

Monday, December 15, 2008

A hat for a friend

I have a lovely friend at work who had a birthday recently. And sadly, she also had a grandmother pass away just before her birthday and the funeral right after her birthday. Kind of stinks. So, a few of us got together and decided to help her have a happy birthday. This is my contribution:

An adaptation of the non-hair-smashing hat in my previous post. This one is also a lovely soft alpaca (Alpaca with a Twist if you are wondering). I used a smaller hook to make a denser fabric. And in a solid color, it just needed a little dressing up, hence the flower.

It fits her just right, and I love it so much that I intend to make myself one and promptly went out and bought more of the same yarn so that I can. I have to say that I really do love the little button in the center of the flower. It's such a cute hat. Happy Birthday Lynette!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Non-hair-smashing beret

This was a super fast, easy pattern for a hat that doesn't completely smash my hair. I love hats in the winter, especially because my head gets cold easily because of my really short hair and ears that are always uncovered. I used Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light and a size 4mm hook (Addi Turbo). You can find the pattern on Ravelry.com (Simple Beret by Suzanne M. Barrow) or you can find it on her blog here.
It does a nice job of keeping my head warm (unless the wind is blowing hard). I do think that I will make another of these, and I think I will size down the hook to get a tighter stitch.
I LOVE the colors and how they work together. And this yarn is a dream to work with and relatively inexpensive as well. I picked up my three skeins for $5 apiece and have plenty left to make a cowl or another hat.
I made one adaptation to the patter, and that was to crochet 2 together in each stitch around before beginning the green single crochet border. I needed it to hold its shape better to get the fit I needed for my slightly smaller than average head. I think that this actually helps the hat hold its shape and makes a better fit. I just learned about knitting elastic, and I may find some and weave a row or two in to keep a slightly closer fit. Overall, I love this hat!

Wavelength update

It's finished! I handed it to Shelly at the store the day before Thanksgiving.

A picture you ask? Well, I am just so lame that I completely forgot to take a picture of the completed scarf. I was so excited to have it finished and get it out of my possession and into Shelly's that I just didn't take a picture.

I will take one next time I'm in the store and get it posted here.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The wavelength scarf

So I finally started the Wavelength scarf for Shelly for the store. It is so slow! The yarn is Noro Silk Garden sock weight. I love the colors and I don't even mind the yarn (it isn't nearly as scratchy as I've heard tell) but the pattern is so tedious! I feel like I make no progress at all on it even if I can manage an hour or two. It will be lovely when it is finished, and I will be so happy when it is!
It certainly isn't a difficult pattern, it's simply chains and single crochet after all, but maybe that is what makes it so tedious. One of my least favorite parts of crocheting (I now know) is working into the chain.
I just keep plugging away and hoping I will reach the end of the skein. It will be beautifully soft and quite lovely when it is washed and blocked. Oh, and can I say how great the Fibersphere has been for this project? I am so happy I bought it.

In Evan's basement

So we found this box of 20 Mule Team Spangles in the basement of Evan's house. We couldn't find a date on it anywhere, but I'm guessing it has to be at least 40 years old. We laughed so hard. So hey, he could have a dance and make his basement floor a dance floor! Look how easy it is to use: Simply sprinkle them on the floor and start dancing!There's no work to the application, you can even wear your tuxedo while sprinkling them on the floor. And in one place on the box it lists all the places you can turn into a dance floor with them. Places like garages, sidewalks, patios, basements, streets and other things. Too funny. But we couldn't ever find what they were made of either. And if you look at the picture above, you can see that you don't want to get them on your soil!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I won . . .

First prize in the Yarn Shop Hop drawing! I couldn't believe it. The shops put the names of all the people who visited all eight stores during the hop into a drawing. The grand prize was a big bag full of goodies. And this was the first prize:
A fabulous Amy Butler knitting (well, obviously crochet for me) bag and a couple of patterns you can see below. I love this bag so much. I of course ran right down to Shelly's shop to pick it up as soon as I was notified I had won. And sweet, sweet, Shelly, she went through the pile of patterns for prizes and picked out a couple of crochet ones for me. I love her! And I can't wait to make one or both of these. The blanket I especially love! And that sweater would sure be great for work.

More great yarn stuff

Here are a few pictures of yarns I've added to my stash lately. I love them all and look forward to crocheting them up into wonderful items.
Mmmmmm, Noro Matsui cotton blend. This yarn is so soft and luscious. The shop had it on sale for 50% off, so I bought several. This bunch will be for a capelet or shawl. It's black with gray and green and purple. Kind of Halloweeny, I guess, isn't it? But it's the colors I wear!I love the Sockotta I used on a scarf, and fell in love with this warm pink/orange/green and purple blend. The yarn is so soft, and the cotton blend makes it perfect for a summer scarf.
Here's another few balls of Noro cotton, with a little texture. I thought this would make a fun scarf. Again with the greens and purples. I find myself adding a lot of them to my wardrobe.
This is a great collection I picked up at the shop in Salina. It's a mix of warm pinks and golds. I just bought a couple of petal pink sweaters, and this will make a nice accompaniment to them.
Yarn. The shop in Hutchinson had these terrific bags. Who can't use another project bag?
Yes, my love for fall colors betrays me at every stop. This Blue Face Leicester just called to me, and I couldn't resist. It's a beautiful, large hank and will be so warm and cuddly.

This is a skein of hand-dyed Andes and while the picture doesn't show it very well, the skein is a wonderfully soft lavendar and sage blend. Beautiful!
And this is a treasure from Idaho Falls. Of course, when I arrived for the conference and had an hour to kill, the first thing I did was find the yarn shop. Conveniently, it was across the river from the conference hotel, and a comfortable walk. This is a gorgeous soft pink sock weight and I think it will make a lovely shawl.

Yarn Shop Hop

So, the central Kansas yarn shops had a Yarn Shop Hop on October 24, and eight stores participated. The stores ranged from one in Minneapolis (yes, there's a Minneapolis, Kansas and it's not even close to as big as Minneapolis, Minnesota!) all the way to Wichita. I happened to have the day off, so I decided to spend a day by myself and see if I could hit the six that are out of town in one day.

I drove up to Minneapolis and started there, hoping I could hit it, Abilene, Salina, Lindsborg, Hutchinson and Newton before the shops closed. Then I could catch the two shops here in town on Saturday. It worked! I had a ton of fun just driving and shopping on my own schedule, and I collected some great stuff. A little sock yarn, a little hand-dyed, and some Addi Turbo hooks!

Here are some photos of some of the great stuff I scored on this trip:
Organic cotton from Heritage Hut here in Wichita. I think it will make yummy washcloths.
Kind of blurry, but I got this Fibersphere in Salina. I love that it keeps my sock yarn neat and clean.
A collection of hooks that I bought: Addi Turbos, including a thread hook that has a cover (so cool!), a Brittany hook (and I'm not sure I like it), and a smaller bamboo hook (I know I like bamboo for certain fibers).
Some Lorna's Laces DK weight I picked up in Newton and I think I will use it to make the La Mer scarf in the fall (I think) Interweave crochet magazine. It's Tunisian, and I have not tried Tunisian before, but the scarf is beautiful. The shop had one made up and on display out of this yarn.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Stuff to share

I have been quite neglectful of this poor blog over the past several months and I apologize. I could make excuses, but I just haven't taken the time.

I am teaching one class at WSU (a business and professional speaking class) and have managed to hold on to my job as McClatchy has cut jobs at The Eagle over the past six months. I am now co-host of a new pets Web site the paper launched in September, WichitaPaws.com.

And I have tried to keep up with some crochet projects and of course, stash-building!

I have many pictures I'll be posting, as well as sharing some photos and thoughts about the NFPW conference I attended in Idaho Falls in September.

See you back here soon!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

What kind of dog are you?

This is the most awesome quiz! Here are my results:

What dog breed are you? I'm a Labrador Retriever! Find out at Dogster.com

I've been horrible about updating, but I'll try to add a few posts in the next few days. And I actually joined facebook. It's weird, but there you go.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My color

Those Internet quizzes are kind of funny (for instance, according to the Muppet quiz I am Miss piggy. What?!?). But this one doesn't appear to be far off:



You Are a Red Crayon



Your world is colored with bright, vivid, wild colors.

You have a deep, complex personality - and you are always expressing something about yourself.

Bold and dominant, you are a natural leader. You have an energy that is intense... and sometimes overwhelming.

Your reaction to everything tends to be strong. You are the master of love-hate relationships.



Your color wheel opposite is green. Green people are way too mellow to understand what drives your energy.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My, it's been a while . . .

I have been so neglectful of this poor little blog! I have been hooked on Ravelry and busy reading. Not so much crochet has happened lately. I will try to post a few posts about projects, but they are mostly posted on my rav projects page. I did finally download some pictures that will make it so that I can post about projects here!

The kids started back to school today, and it has been nice to have some quiet at home. But really, they have spent time with friends this summer so I have had quiet times. Alyx goes back to school at the end of the month. We haven't seen much of her since she's been working full time.

I will try to update here a little more often. Just feeling a little lazy and not having the motivation to load pictures. Done that, so now I don't have much of an excuse.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Big Birthday Party!


So I have a great group of lunch friends. In another life I was a lifeguard and aquatic fitness instructor. At least it seems like another life sometimes. Well, the ladies in my class (and that of another instructor who left the pool about the same time as me) said they missed us (can't imagine after the torture we inflicted on them, or so they said). So we started meeting once a month for lunch. That was five years ago. See? I told you it was another life.

Anyway, our lunch was today (well, technically yesterday, but since I haven't gone to bed, I think it still counts as today). We celebrated everyone's birthday. We ate and had presents. Doesn't get much better than that. Here are pictures of everyone and their gifts. No me. I am the one behind the camera. (I got two tickets to the movies. Harrison Ford, here I come!)This is Earline with her pool pals hand towel. Sharon made it on her embroidery machine. We all put in orders.
This is Ronna with the most awesome strawberries and cool use-it-for-everything pouch Carol brought back from Hawaii. Someday I'm going to make her take me there. Carol, I mean. To Hawaii. Before I die.
This is Anita. Technically, she's not a pool lady because she never had mine or Carol's classes. But she's Nancy's friend and we like her so we let her come along :-). She got a fuzzy pen!
This is Carol, the drill sergeant. Yeah, for real. I dare you to get in the pool with her. But she'll smell good when she gets out thanks to that nice basket of pretty soap she got!
This is Nancy. you could pretty much call her the ringleader and you'd be right. She's modeling the fabulous fish hat she received. And it's a lovely accessory to her red dress.
This is Sharon with one of the amazing creations that find their way out of Nancy's basement. I hope that maybe someday I am lucky enough to land one of them. They are always the best!
Shirley will join Carol in the smelling-good party. Mmmmmm, Oil of Olay body washes with ribbons and pearls (of extra moisture). Just what the doctor ordered for that chlorine-dried skin we suffer when we spend hours in the pool.
And, finally, Barb with her frog wind chimes. No aquatic fitness class is complete without plenty of frogs, and we have them in droves. And collect them by more droves. And love every minute of it.

And I love my friends. We laugh and have so much fun when we meet for lunch. I am truly blessed. Mwah! A big kiss to all of you for your love and friendship!

My cook


This is my youngest son. He's 12. He's just shy of 6 feet and wears a size 14 shoe. And he loves to cook.

At a garage sale a couple of weeks ago I found him an old copy of the original Betty Crocker Boys and Girls Cookbook. I remember having one of those when I was a kid, and i think this copy may have been an earlier edition than mine!

He was so excited, and decided he wanted to make the Italian spaghetti recipe that is in it. So we went to the grocery store and bought fresh onions, garlic and parsley and all the other ingredients for meat sauce. He made it (completely by himself) for dinner yesterday. I haven't had a chance to eat any since it wasn't ready until after I had to go to work, but I have it on good authority that it is excellent.

You can see here that he does a fine job at chopping and mincing the onions, garlic and parsley. I think he's got a future in this!

(Oh, and sometimes I come into the living room and find him watching Rachael Ray on the food network. Maybe his next cookbook ought to be a Rachael Ray one!)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

To fulfill a request...


My sister said she hoped I'd post a picture of all the fat quarters I picked up today, so here it is.

I actually have them stacked in pairs that I intend to use together (although that could change on a whim).

From the top right, the orange and yellow — the orange is a paisley with hot pink and yellow, and the yellow has white dots in a batik-like print. Then the turquoise and pink, the blue dots and orange, the black with flowers and dots and the frogs, the doggies and blue print with paws. Center, blue and blue/red together, then yellow with dots and red, red and yellow with flowers. The two yellows at far left are kind of leftovers. The lower one has all kinds of dog-related word written all over it, so I think I will look for another bigger dog print to go with it. The other yellow would complement tons of other stuff, so I'll just hang on to it till I find its mate.

The spools of ribbon are the ribbon I picked up to use for the bags. The orange is way too skinny because I wasn't paying close enough attention, but I doubled it up with the green for the first bag I made and it worked great. The ladybug ribbon at far left I intend to use with the yellow polka dots/red combination.

Anyway, I definitely see more fat quarters in my future!

One more

I had so much fun making the first one of these that I made another. The swim meet Mark and I were supposed to judge ended up canceling after about 48 (of 84) events because of a giant thunder storm that came through the area. No threat of tornadoes though.

When I went to the fabric store this afternoon, I picked up enough fat quarters to make about nine or 10 of these fun bags. I figure I can make them as gifts, to say thanks, or whatever. Most of the fabric I picked up was only $1.49 a piece, and the ribbon was 50 cents a 6-yard spool. So the cost to make one is only about $3 and some change. A bargain! I loved this little dog print. The black and white puppies remind me a little of Chewie (except he NEVER went into a dog house in all his 13 years!). The lining is a black random-bones-in-various-colors print. They just go perfectly together. I used red ribbon to match the fire hydrants. Too cute!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

A great little bag. . .

. . . thanks to my sister! She made a terrific little project bag out of fat quarters. No cutting involved, just some seams, a casing and threading some ribbon through for handles. Voila! A great little bag!

So, once she posted a tutorial on her blog, I had to run to the fabric store and pick up some quarters to try it for myself. Not being much of a quilter, I couldn't remember (or maybe I never knew) what the measurement of a fat quarter is. So, right there, I called the person who would know the answer: Chauntel! Grabbed a bunch of fun fabrics — and I mean a bunch — and came home and tried it out. I mean, you can never have too many bags for crochet projects. And this is just the right size for a few balls of yarn, a couple balls of thread, the bag with all the necessaries in it and a copy of a pattern. Pattern books don't fit so well, but I often run a copy of the pattern I'm making to carry along.

Now, I think I will make some up for my secret pals, and for gifts, and for fun! They are quick and easy. I was at the fabric store at 4:30 this afternoon and by 6 I had this bag. I just love quick easy patterns like this. Great for travel for cosmetics, shampoo etc. I could throw one in my gym bag with that stuff in it. A handy little lunch sack. And washable. You could even sub it for a purse. I added a layer of lightweight fusible interfacing between the bottom layers of this bag. It seems to hold its shape OK. I might pick up some heavier if I wanted the bag to really stand up. But fast and fun. Thanks, sis!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

First doily is done!

And here it is:
It is laying on the ironing board after being pinned down and sprayed and steamed. I'll let it dry overnight. I'm not too worried about getting it perfect, because it has to be folded up and mailed away to Idaho.

Overall, I am really pleased with how it worked up. There are some little wiggles along the outside edges, but that's OK. The pattern was pretty easy to follow, and I only had to rip out one row because I didn't read the instructions closely enough. I really hope my mom likes it.

The thread I chose (DMC Cebelia) is a breeze to work with and shows stitch definition really nicely. Now I can start the one I have planned for the piano!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Back so soon?

OK, so it's only been two days since I last posted. I can do that! Especially since it was at least two weeks between the two previous posts. Gotta make up for lost time somewhere, right?

So I snuck away from work for an hour or so last night to get to SnB, which I've missed for the past three weeks for a variety of reasons.

As I was sitting and chatting with Pam, and showing her the progress on mom's doily (she's very aware of my prior doilyphobia), I glanced over at the sale shelves, and dang if this gorgeous yarn, in just my colors isn't still sitting there just waiting for me to buy it! Well, it's been waiting for a couple of weeks now, and I just couldn't make it wait any longer. It is a hand-dyed yarn from a local dyer in El Dorado, Kansas (and for those of you in California, apparently in Kansas they say El Doraydo). Anyway, it's a beautiful, soft, superwash from Sugar Bunny Boulevard dyed especially for Twist. Mmmmmm.

While there I also saw these great new shawl pins Shelly got, also made locally at Naked Pines Ranch in Mulvane, Kansas. Great pin, cool bead, and you can't beat $5. The colors are just right for virtually all of my yarns. It will be fun to use on the Sugar Bunny yarn above. I'm thinking a Solomon's knot shawl with it maybe. But I love the simplicity of the shawl pin.

And, an update on mom's doily. I am one and one-half rounds from being finished with the stitching on the doily. I still have some ends to weave in where I had to join, and obviously when it's finished. So far, so good. The final round is pretty much all triple crochet, all the way around for a fairly solid edging. But by now, the pattern is apparent and I love it. I really hope mom likes it. I swear I am going to put a note in with it that says if she doesn't like it she needs to send it back to me! And when this one is done I've got the thread for a large doily for the top of the piano (where this one was photographed).

I got the top of the piano cleaned off and am trying hard to break everyone of the habit of piling all their junk there. So I put a cloth I bought in Germany on it, and added some fresh flowers. I think the flowers may become a semi-permanent addition to the piano, because they just add such a nice touch. The doily pattern I have chosen is a pineapple/spiderweb combo that makes up to a 28-inch diameter. That ought to do the job.

And I am also planning to make an oblong doily for the top of the entertainment center. It needs a little help, too. I just need to find the right pattern. Maybe I'll just turn into one of those people who has doilies on every surface. Of course, I have to find most of the surfaces in my home first. The piano was just a first step! :-)

And finally, I picked up a couple more balls of Cascade Superwash. The colors spoke to me on Saturday when I was at Twist for our monthly charity crochet workshop. Again, I'm just seeing some sort of wrap or cape or shawl. The heathery color will be the main body and I plan to trim it in the dark brown. Mmmm it's soft and cuddly and washable!