Thursday, January 31, 2008

Timing is everything!

OK, so this is what I see when I look out my back door today. There is about 4-5 inches of snow. It started early this morning, between 2 and 3 a.m. I know because I was still awake after work. And while it is cold and wet and white, we didn't get the blizzard conditions that were forecast. High winds, blowing snow etc. Now, there is some drifting, so the wind obviously has been blowing a little, and maybe it was worse this morning when I was sleeping.

But it's enough to keep the kids home from school, a situation Kyle hates because his class was slated to go on a field trip to the university today. He is not happy about having to stay home!

But then my doorbell rang, and I saw the UPS man climbing back up into his big, brown truck and saw a package on the doorstep. It was the boots I had ordered a few weeks ago that were on backorder! They could not have come on a better day! I still have to go to work tonight, because a little snow does not the newspaper stop. In fact, a lot of snow does not the newspaper stop! I love it when things come together. Yea! I will have warm feet tonight and can still go to SnB.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I love geting packages in the mail,

especially when they contain fabulous yarn. I ordered from the Sheep's Tale on Friday, and got my order on Monday. This is a great (although rather blurry picture) of a slightly heavier sock weight (not quite DK?) hand-dyed superwash from Opal. It is called Herbstmelodie (fall melody for us in English). Unfortunately the pictures don't do justice to the colors, which look like the rich colors of autumn leaves. I think it will make a lovely shawl.

Also in the package were these: on the left, a self-striping sock yarn (also a superwash blend) from Opal, from a series that is based on the work of an artist. I believe the series is called Hundertwassers Werk. There is actually a photo of the art on the label and you can sort of see it on the right-hand side of the label above. I also got this Cherry Tree Hill Sockittome in earth. I am determined to make some finer wraps in these lighter weight yarns, or something. I feel a need to break out of my worsted weight rut! And I love the colors!

Four hats finally finished!

I sat down yesterday and finally started the last of the four hats I needed to make (for Christmas!) for my nieces. I think I was 'hatted out.' After taking some time to make a couple of other projects, I felt like I could get back to that last hat. Plus, I had a great conversation with my sister, and could figure out how to embellish the hat.

You can see that floral is the theme for these hats, and I was just sort of lost in how to embellish the gold hat. The pink hat is for Nikki, who is 8, and at the time of the question her favorite color was pink (although it may not be any more). The purple hat is for Gina, who just turned 22. I think it looks grown-up enough to quite nice and her favorite color is purple. The blue hat is for Katie, who is 14, and a freshman in high school. I love the little daisy buttons as a fun element, and the flaps can unbutton and cover the ears if desired. The gold hat is for Cammie, who is about 20. She wears a black pea coat and loves yellow. I think the big flower is really retro and adds a touch of fun, as does the sort of ruffly scalloped edge. It looks quite nice on, and the flower pattern is in the March 2008 issue of Crochet! magazine. The magazine just started a series of flowers of the month, and this rose pattern was exactly what I was looking for so I could incorporate yellow into the white flower. Now, I can actually get them wrapped and put in the mail. And since mom and dad's afghan is finished I can send that, too. And of course another box needs to make its way to Iraq . . .

Monday, January 28, 2008

Two more finished projects

The scarf is finished!I finished the scarf of the Pendragon wool. I love, love, love the way it turned out. It's about seven feet long, and about eight to 10 inches wide. I used a wavy ripple pattern from "The Crochet Stitch Bible" by Betty Barnden.
I wanted some kind of fringe on it, but not traditional. So I used a chain stitch fringe. It adds just a nice finishing touch. I think the stitch pattern really let the colorway show through and set it off without being too intricate to take away from it.
And it matches my coat perfectly! It's long enough that I can wrap it and tuck it, wear it loosely if it's cold at work, and I love the colors. Love it, love it!
Then, while I was at SnB on Thursday night, one of the gals showed me this great Noro yarn, Noro Daria in color no. 2 (red/olive/magenta) and she had just stitched together a small case for her mp3 player in another color. I listen to my iPod at work sometimes, but I have to set it on my keyboard tray. I get tangled in my headphones, or I knock the iPod off or whatever. So, I took her idea, bought a hank and made this handy iPod holder. I shaped it to fit my iPod mini.
I wanted something sturdy, but that still had some interest. So I single-crocheted the base of the pouch, then added a row of double crochet, a few more rows of single, another double, and finished off with a couple rows of single. The handle is a chain (125 chains), attached with a slip stitch on the other side and slip stitched back around to the other side.
I still wanted a little more finish, so after making the strap, I slip stitched around the top edge. I really like the extra bit of finishing it provides, and now I have a hands-free way to listen to my iPod while doing other things, and I can keep cords from interfering with whatever else I'm doing. Ta-da! And it came from my own mind, just using the size of my iPod as the determiner of size.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A little yarn therapy may work

OK, so I finally sat down and finished mom and dad's afghan. I'm really happy with the way it turned out, and it's much bigger than the original pattern would be. I added some stitches (I can't remember exactly how many), and a bunch of rows. It is about 48 by 72 inches. I will get it in the mail tomorrow, and hope I can fit it in a flat-rate box. It doesn't weigh a lot, but it's pretty bulky. The colors in the photo are close to accurate, and the tweed sections are a cream chenille. The main yarn is 'I Love this Yarn" from Hobby Lobby in cranberry. It's a lovely, soft acrylic and easy to care for.
And, this afternoon I went to the local yarn store (Twist, which is the greatest little yarn store ever!), and picked up some yarn I had set aside. This is a great had-dyed colorway from Family Pendragon, and Shelly had it on clearance. Just a single, lonely hank, but 8 oz. and 400 yards of lovely wool. The color is 'humperdink,' which made me think of the "Princess Bride." One of my all-time favorite movies! It is a great blue, yellow, gray and purple.
I was taking the picture with flash, so the colors aren't exact, but they are pretty close. It has wonderful rich colors, and the blue is exactly the same color as my lighter weight parka. I have been searching for a good scarf to wear with that coat, and I knew when I saw this yarn that I had to have it. So now it is destined to become a lovely scarf, and maybe a hat or some mittens. I am excited to get started on it, i just have to decide what stitch to use and how to design it. I looked at what seemed like a million patterns, but didn't find anything I liked, so I'll do my own. So, the adventure begins...
And finally, I picked up one more skein of this superwash wool. The rich rusty brown had me written all over it, and I knew I wanted a vest made out of it. I have been searching for a pattern (that sounds familiar!) and found this cardigan (below) in the latest Lion catalog. I was just going to make it without the sleeves (I thought they were built-in). Then when I got the pattern downloaded, and realized the pattern had set-in sleeves. Woo-hoo! That means the pattern will be even easier to adapt into a vest! And it takes hardly any yarn. It's a Vanna White pattern.
I have a cream and dark chocolate brown that I intend to use for the border. One round of cream and one round of chocolate. I think it will set it off just nicely. Once I get this one constructed, I have a design floating around in my head that is just itching to get out!

I still have one more hat to get done, plus Alyx's hat and scarf but I really want to work on something just for me. :-)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sort of in a crochet funk

I heard on the radio yesterday that British researchers identified Jan. 21 as the most depressing day of the year. I felt it yesterday. We had cloudy, gray cold weather that turned into drizzling ice. Then I had to take Alyx back up to school, and I thought we were going to leave around 2, but didn't leave until about 5:30. By then the ice was really bad, so we had to travel much slower than normal. Thankfully, though, one of her friends from school met us about halfway and picked her up. I was so grateful for that.

But really, I am just not motivated to do much right now. I have a few projects in progress, and no real desire to pick them up. No real desire to start anything new really either. I do need to get over to the yarn shop and pick up a couple of skeins, maybe that will help. And I did add a couple of rows to mom and dad's afghan. I do want to get it finished so I can send it off to them.

I need some sunshine!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

No new crochet yet, but...

We did add a new family member that actually gets along with Milo. We took Daisy back on Sunday because she just couldn't be nice to him. She was sweet and affectionate, but needed to be an only dog. When we took her back, there were almost no dogs left, but a couple that had transfered over from the city animal shelter. One, a rat terrier the Humane Society folks had named Spartacus, had just been neutered and couldn't be visited that day. So we put him on hold and went back Monday. We took Milo with us so they could meet each other. They seemed to get along all right so we brought the terrier home. We didn't like the name Spartacus, so we changed his name to Sparky. He's just sort of figuring out that that is his name. He is around 18 months to 2 years old. I took him to the vet today to get him checked and he is in great health. He hasn't barked yet. Kyle has had him sleeping in his room. Milo was a little unsure at first (maybe because Daisy wasn't so nice to him), but had really come around. And in a day or two, when Sparky is back up to speed and starts running again, they will be able to play in the backyard and have a great time. And don't their faces look just alike? They are so cute together!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Is the second week of January over yet?

Okay, so I may be barely making my goal of posting at least once a week, but I think it really depends on how you count weeks. Maybe that's splitting hairs, but I don't think the second week of January is over until midnight on the 14th. So, that said, I will go on with my second post of 2008 and do a little updating. Let's start with events of the past few days:

First, many of you know that I work at the local newspaper, and on Wednesday, we ran a story about the Humane Society. Our local shelter had a major influx of puppies — seven litters in one week, one of which had 15 puppies — and decided to have a half-price adoption sale. I had been thinking about getting another dog so Milo would have someone to play with when he can't play with us, so I went to the shelter on Thursday. It was packed! Two hours after opening almost half the puppies had been adopted. Now, I didn't want a little puppy that I had to house train and have chewing on everything. I wanted a puppy that was a little older and we found this little girl, seen here with Milo and me. She is a Basenji/Corgi mix. We're still not sure she will be all right with Milo, but she is a sweet little thing and very affectionate. I hope we don't have to take her back.

Next, going farther back, on December 22 we had a crazy major snowstorm/
blizzard here. I, unfortunately, had to drive into work that day (we are kind of like the post office and will deliver the news despite all kinds of horrible things, like a blinding snowstorm). What normally takes me 15 minutes in traffic took about an hour and a half. The distance is about 6 or 7 miles. Yikes! Well, I didn't take any pictures (they would have been just white blobs anyway, because I couldn't see 20 feet in front of me!) of the snow, but after the storm blew over, we got an incredible sunset. This photo was taken out of the office windows on the third floor of the newspaper building. It doesn't do justice to the amazing colors of the sunset that night.

And finally, proof that we actually did celebrate Christmas at our house. I had some doubts that we would make it, but we did. This is our lovely little Christmas tree. We liked it. Now I have to get it down! :-) But in my defense, I have gone on a major cleaning/dejunking spree over the past week. Hence the reason there is no crochet to show off tonight. In fact, I just realized that I also didn't get Alyx's scarf and hat done either. She goes back to school Monday morning. Hmmm, I guess I better get busy and at least try to get her hat done tomorrow! But in the meantime, I have thrown out large bags of garbage too numerous to count, and have many more bags of old clothing and other items to donate to charity. I can't wait to get them out. And a benefit to doing all this work is a nice place to store my yarn. And having the ability to put my hands on things that I need. And being able to walk across my basement floor without risking my life (and if you think that's an exaggeration, you're wrong!). So, I have been busy, just not always doing what I'd really like to do. The crochet is just going to have to wait maybe a little longer, except for Alyx's hat, of course.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

I have been remiss in keeping postings up over the past several weeks. I could make up all kinds of excuses, but really, I could have put a little post up if I had taken the time. I did work 13 out of 15 days, tried to get stuff together for Christmas, and spent a ton of time crocheting. I am in the process of making hats for some nieces, an afghan (the doily one when -- or if -- it gets finished) for my sister, and afghan for my mom (about 75% done) and a million (at least it seems like it) dishcloths. My goal for 2008 is to update the blog at least once a week. I hope that I have enough crochet projects to keep things interesting. I promise to get some pictures of above-mentioned projects posted in the next day or two. I really love the way the hats have turned out, and I even have plans to design one here soon. Anyway, I wish the best for everyone in 2008, and thanks for a great 2007!