Wednesday, March 31, 2010

For the love of granny

I didn't learn to crochet granny squares until I had been crocheting for about 30 years. I know, I know, that's what everyone learns to do first, right? Well, not me. I don't know why, I just didn't. But when I did, I realized why they are so popular. The thing I don't like about granny squares, though, is all those ends that have to be woven in when you change colors so many times.

Well, I found the solution to that! When I was at Stitches West last month, I found a beautiful bag of Noro Kochoran. It is a bulky weight, 50% wool/30% angora/20% silk yarn. Well, I didn't really want all that fuzzy stuff on me in clothing, but I just couldn't pass up the bargain of 10 balls at a discounted price in colors that I really loved. After we got back to my sister's house, I started thinking about making an afghan with it. I know, I know, seriously? Use Noro? Isn't that a little, um, decadent? Crazy? Expensive? Well, yes, to all of them. But all it took was one granny square and I was hooked, so to speak. I looked at patterns for dozens of different squares, but I didn't want the pattern to get lost in the yarn, I wanted it to show the yarn off. Basic granny square was just the answer!

Now, the other thing about this afghan was that while I was making every square, I couldn't help but think about my grandmothers, who both crocheted. One grandma I remember mainly making doilies and lovely things with thread; the other I remember with lots of afghans. I love making doilies and thread things, and I love making afghans and other bigger things. I think I have both grandmas to thank for my love of yarn and hooks. This afghan then is in tribute to my grannies. A granny for my grannies, and I wish they were here still so I could thank them for the wonderful gift they shared with me.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Grateful for good friends

You know, when we have trying times in our lives, it's so important that we have good friends. I know that I am blessed to have many good friends, but this post is about one of them. She is my great knitting friend, whom I get to see when I go to the yarn shop to hang out. I usually try to time my visits so that I know she will be there. She makes me laugh, even when things are hard. She encourages me to branch out in my knitting adventures and I keep trying to convince her that crochet is good for more than charity scarves.

But last week, when things were just rougher than normal for me at home, I went into the store like normal (it's a great place for me to find some peace) and Susan had just a little something for me. Now, it's always the thought that counts, and this was such a thoughtful and sweet gift that showed me how much she loves me. I don't really think we tell the people who mean so much to us that we love them often enough. I look at this and immediately know that Susan loves me.

A tiny little hanky with a beautiful crochet edging and a sweet little note did so much to lift my spirits. Thank you Susan!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Grannies rock

So when I was out at Stitches with my sister, I totally splurged on a bag of Noro Kochoran yarn. 10 luscious skeins of it. Then I was stuck with trying to figure out what to do with 1700 yards of yarn that is not suitable for a garment for me (all that angora just doesn't cut it for garments). I immediately decided I wanted to make an afghan with it, and I figured I would do some variation on a granny square.

I looked and looked at all the different patterns for afghan squares out there, but with the long color variations in the yarn, I figured that the design of the square would likely just get lost in the yarn. I grabbed a cake of yarn, my 5.5mm hook, and whipped up a traditional granny to see what it would look like. I was sold. This yarn was meant to be traditional granny squares. I got two squares out of each yarn cake, plus have enough of each left over to seam the squares and to put a simple border around it.

Above was my first layout, but I think there is too much turquoise in that far right row. So I changed it up a little ( I think I switched only 2 or 3 squares--I guess if I searched closely enough I could figure it out) and got this:

Now, let the seaming begin!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

In which I make snakey Hufflepuff socks

So, on, there is this really wonderful group based on the Harry Potter books. I love it, because the way it's set up, I get more projects finished than I probably would otherwise. We are sorted into houses, we have classes, and we play Quidditch. It's my favorite place to hang out when I'm online! And, my fellow Hufflepuffs are some of the greatest people I have ever met.

Anyway, for Quidditch in March, we had a crochet sock team from each house, and I was on the Hufflepuff team. I have attempted crochet socks before, but always got hung up at the heel. I have a deep instep and long heel, thus making adaptations almost always necessary, and hence the reason I never finish a pair! Well, this time I did. One of the other people in our house is a dyer, and she made special Hufflepuff  yarn for those of us who were making socks and wanted it. I had so much fun making these and I love wearing them. They fit in my favorite Birkenstock clogs.

One of the fun things about this yarn is that it ended up making a little snakey face on the toe of one of my socks. It makes me smile every time I see it.
I think I want to crochet more socks!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A trip that results in more yarn

I am really bad about keeping my blog up, and I really need to be better. Maybe this year? Yeah, or maybe not. I guess I'll see. At least I am thinking about it more often.

I had to just write a quick post to say what a great trip I had to California, to spend a week with my sister and play with yarn. We had a fun time at Stitches West, and I brought home quite a haul. The yarn makes me happy.

I got some great yarn from Miss Babs, Creatively Dyed Yarns, Kitchen Sink Dyeworks, Lisa Souza Yarns, Blue Moon Fiber Arts and Noro. I also got some Elsebeth Lavold Sily Wool and and some Kangaroo yarn.

Overall, a nice stash enhancement. I am already 2/3 done with the granny squares from the Noro to make the ultimate splurge afghan. It's going to be yummy. Other plans are in the making for much of the other yarn.

I was glad to have some time to spend with my wonderful sister. We don't get to see each other often enough. And after I got home, I realized that I didn't even get a single picture with her. And now that I have been home almost two weeks, this is what I miss: In 'n Out Burgers, Yogurtland and Trader Joe's. Oh, and of course I miss my sister. And her knitting group.