Monday, March 31, 2008

A finished scarf — or, instant gratification

I've been working on my ripple afghan in fits and spurts, but occasionally I feel the need for a little instant gratification. So, when I was needing some a couple of weeks ago, I turned out this nifty little scarf. It is one of those great one-skein patterns. I used Berroco comfort for this one.

It is a nice brownish pink, so I can get away with wearing it. Generally pink is not a great color for me. I love working with the yarn and it comes in a zillion colors.

The pattern is from the March/April issue of Crochet Today. When I first saw the pattern I wasn't enthralled (maybe because the one in the magazine was really pink), but the more I looked at it the more I liked the ruffled along the edges. So, I went to the yarn store (well, I didn't actually have to make a special trip, I was there for something already I am sure) and got the yarn. The pattern was easy and I was able to kick this puppy out in about 2-3 hours. Fun stuff!

So, now, I'm making flowers from random patterns that I find free online, or from patterns I have, or from Tamara's brain. I'm ready to try some embellishing, and I am learning to better work with threads. I think I will limit myself to nothing smaller than a size 10. I think I would need a magnifying glass otherwise!

A box for my parents

So I finally got a box together for my parents. The afghan was supposed to be their Christmas present, but it ended up being a 'happy spring' gift instead.

You can see the edges of the afghan (which ended up just immense!) in the lower left corner of the box. I also blogged about it here. The other items were just a few little things for mom. She always wants a couple of new towels for her kitchen, and Kyle thought if we were sending kitchen towels we should send some dish rags, too. So I whipped up the four towels, and Kyle picked out four rags. The little olive green square you see with a brown edge is Kyle's first finished crochet 'project.' He really wanted to send it to his grandparents, so I put it in the box with a note on it. Buried in the box is the "Savin' up for knitting lessons" bank I got for my sister like the one I have on my desk at work. She loved it!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A spring day over spring break

So the sun was shining and the weather was warm (and the wind was blowing 40 mph — typical). We went to the zoo. Apparently every other person in Wichita was ready for a spring day, because they were there, too.

The flamingos were happy to see the sun and the picture doesn't to justice to their bright coloring.

The meerkats were playing and running around. I loved this one in the bush.

The hippos didn't even go in the water. They just laid around on the dirt and soaked up the sun. Of course, their water is so disgusting you can't even see three inches into it. . .

The zebras must not have wanted much to do with the crowds. They only showed their back sides. :-)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Some fun new yarn and hooks

I found a great clearance place online that has a ton of different types of yarn, and some of them are available for as much as 75% off: Smiley's Yarns. So, of course I found some terrific cotton and blends that just fit for some future projects. First, there was the Jaeger Roma. A nylon, acrylic and angora blend. It is incredibly soft and has a smooth touch. I love it, and got it in two colors: mocha and leaf green. (top and second pictures) I'm thinking it will make a nice vest, capelet, wrap, or something like that. It will be a nice spring addition to the wardrobe. Now to find an appropriate pattern to make with it. It's a light worsted and I have about 1,250 yards of each color.

Then I also found these two great cottons. Lily elite cotton in a lovely buttery yellow. And it is really soft and supple. Much nicer than the sugar and cream, and will make a nice short-sleeve cardi or something similar. Perfect for summer. Another pattern hunt is in order.

Finally, there's this terrific worsted weight from Coats, TLC's cotton plus in a persimmon-y peachy color. Again, about 1,200 yards, and a pattern hunt. Soft soft soft. Mmmmmm.

I have tried thread crochet several times and have such a hard time with those short tiny hooks. Now, I know that a 00 or a 1 or 2 is a decent size hook, but the steel hooks are short and hurts my large hands. Cruising around on E-bay I found a seller who makes wood handles, and will insert any size Boye steel hook after you win the auction for the handle. I purchased 5, as you can see, sizes 0, 1, 2, 3, and 6. They are so easy to work with and I am so excited to do some thread work. I have some size 3 and size 10 thread, and am thinking I will branch out and try a couple of other sizes (but probably nothing much smaller than a 10, maybe a 12). I'm even thinking I might try a doily or two! And I saw a cute denim skirt that was embellished with little doilies in a natural cotton thread. I'd like to do that to one of my skirts. And some cute lacy embellishments on jeans or a jacket, and sweaters. Oh the fun in my future!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Shawl and yarn and basket and cardi

So, I've been working along on my ripple afghan (it's about twice as long as it was when I first posted about it, and I still love it, by the way). But I was feeling a need for a little instant gratification, so to speak. And one night I was sitting on the couch and it was a little chilly. So, I began to desire a small shawl. I perused free patterns online, and found a simple prayer shawl pattern on Lion Brand. Loved it, and decided I wanted to make it. The pattern is shown in both Thick & Quick Chenille and Homespun. I have some Homespun in my stash for a poncho, so I didn't want to use that. And I have some T&Q Chenille in my stash, so I thought about that. Then I decided I wanted something different. Monday night at about 9:30. Luckily, we still have one Wal-Mart that actually has a fabric section. So off I go, ostensibly to pick up some other items I need, but also to get a yarn fix. Ta-da! Homespun in Meadow. Wednesday morning I had this wrap ready to wear to a luncheon I was attending. I love it!

Now, I gave the Boteh scarf I made away, so I've been wanting to make another one for me. I have some variegated yarn I picked up thinking I might use it, but I am just not sure how the pattern will look in a variegated. So, I picked up these two skeins of Opal superwash. I love the blue — it's really a denim blue. And I love to wear jeans and a white shirt, and thought the blue scarf would be just a great touch. And I also love green, so I felt a need to add a green scarf to my list (in case I don't want to wear the blue one with my jeans ;-) ). The rosy color is kind of a brownish pink (I don't wear true pinks well). And there is a great scarf in Crochet! March issue that I want to make. It is the Ruffled Lace Scarf, designed by Nancy Brown. The yarn they used was a Dark horse Fantasy. Didn't want to wait for a mail order (and only need one skein) so I went with Berroco Comfort, which I love anyway.
Needed a basket to carry my projects. I am tired of having to dig around in a bag and I can't see the bottom and everything is jumbled, etc. And I have some great bags, but with the ripple afghan, when I was changing yarns, regardless of how great the bag was, it was a pain. Plus, they don't stand up straight when you set them on the floor and try to leave your yarn inside and pull it out. Anyway. Shelly got these great baskets in. They are from Ghana, and the importer she buys them from buys them in a free trade situation directly from the makers. So I can feel even better about getting it. I love it and it does just what I need it to. Stands up, lets me see my yarn, provides a receptacle for those bouncing skeins, and is easy to lug around. However, my little dog is scared of it. Can't figure that one out. Won't come in the same room as it.

And finally, next project in the queue is this wrap/cardi from the Dec. 06/Jan. 07 Crochet Today. I really want to get it made while it's still cool outside. And I have so much stuck to nature-type colors lately, I wanted something a little brighter. I was going to just buy new yarn, but I decided maybe I could bust a little stash (since I just ordered a ton of new yarn from Smiley's). So I went down and found this warm red fuzzy stuff. I picked it up on clearance at Hobby Lobby (yes, that says 99 cents) ages ago, thinking I could find a project for it. It's a little lighter weight (a heavy 3 as opposed to a lighter 4), but I think it will work just great. It's slippery and fuzzy, so I don't think it will be hard to work with at all. And the stitch pattern is big enough, and the yarn is not so fuzzy that the lacy pattern should still be plenty visible. Plus, the newsroom gets awfully cold in the summer when the air conditioner is running. So, that's up. Now, off to Ravelry to get a few hours in and do some updating!

Those are some big feet

These are the feet of the puppy we brought home in September. Needless to say, he has grown! I was looking at his feet the other day and noticed how big they were and how different they were from Chewie's (our other dog that we had to put to sleep around Thanksgiving). Then, I thought, these feet remind me of the feet of the big three-headed dog, Fluffy, in the first Harry Potter movie. And when he puts his foot on your lap, it just emphasizes the similarity. Of course, Milo really does have only one head. And his paw isn't as big as Hermione's head. But still...