Thursday, December 28, 2006

Friggin' Froggin"


Today's theme is ripping.

Yesterday I started what I thought I had figured out for the second monster hat, and while it sort of worked, though was eating up WAY too much yarn, it needed tweeking, so RIP, out it came today. (whoa, what a sentence...grammar gods forgive, but I just don't have correct English in me today it seems...)

And with a houseful of friends knitting this morning I didn't have the brain power to dedicate to re-figuring, so I took a DEEP breath and RIPPED the entire Sweet Sweater. Every last sleeveless stitch. Have a few ideas for a more openwork sweater that may leave me with enough for sleeves of some sort.

And that's where it gets good...see, I had woven in the ends on the body. I had edged the neckline. Do you remember that it's a slubby cotton yarn? And that because it's handpainted I was having to work two skeins alternating rows? Go back to my first few posts and check. I'm not going anywhere.

Have the picture? Good, because once I got to the "v" of the "v-neck", where the yoke was from what I remember just slip stitched together, it wasn't. It was like some horrible frogging purgatory. I was all of a sudden having to pull WHOLE SKEINS through each and every loop. Back and forth over the same like quarter inch area. No idea what I must have done in the first place to create this jumble, but after a whole episode of "It's a Purl, Man", I simply couldn't take it anymore and committed the cardinal sin...don't go on if you can't handle it, just skip the next little bit. It's OK, really it is.

Yes, I cut the yarn, and then had to cut it again. The frogging gods were apparently appeased by this sacrifice of a few yards and all proceeded in an orderly fashion to the end. And now I have about 1300 yards of rewound bluish-chocolatey-grey loveliness that I'm not going to be able to look at for a long, long, long time. The End.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Out from under...


Nothing like lifting the proverbial world off your shoulders...OK, considering I have 5 small beings I'm still responsible for...that's maybe not the best choice of words. But WHOA, what a difference lack of holiday projects makes! For those keeping track, yes, I did finish the socks for #1 in time. They have not left her feet since the shall be washing day today methinks!

I used the Lana Grossa Mega Boots Stretch and they are fabulous. They colors are fabulous. The squishiness is fabulous. Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous! Looking ahead, I have her blanket to finish before b-day 6 in March...but first, continuing with the "all Happy Hooker all the time" theme I have rolling, I want to whip up the sock monkey blanket for #3's first coming up in February...if I can find likeable yarn to substitute for the acrylic it's worked just not a fan of the pilling blanket.

However, before returning to the land where I only make things for everyone else, I've already ripped into my treats:

Have started converting Jacey Bogg's (Insubordiknit) Monster Hat patterns into crochet form. The Round Hat was relatively easy, once I decided on substitute stitches and found the calculator hiding under #2's bed...gauge change needed. Never would have had enough yarn working with the knit gauge and man would it have been dense! It was the first hat I've ever worked from the brim up and I have to say I'm very happy with the result....and don't you just L.O.V.E. the yarn?!?!? Not only are the colors totally YUMMY, it's a cuddly, squishably soft singles. Next it will be on to the Pointy Ear Hat, which will need a modified ripple technique I think, then the monsters shall meet their new homes!

I'm so going to have to do this every year. Very, very good incentive to not only plough through the holiday backlog, but also pick up the hook again once it's attended to. One more treat waiting behind "the chair"...that Lisa Sousa sport weight Miss Violet's Pink Ribbon and the Miss Violet's Pink Ribbon-Along! Promise more on that once I get started...

A couple of other things to check out:

Got some latent foodie in you? Definitely check out the Eat Feed podcast. Words can't describe how much fun I'm finding it. Makes me want to run to the store with my ear buds still in!

And did I ever tell you about Crochet Insider? Issue #2 is out on the web and it's fabulous. Interviews and essays of extremely high caliber about all things crochet, and there are some absolutely amazing pics of some amazing works, antique Scottish lace wedding gowns (in the editor's essay) to Medusa head hats, it's all good.

Other than all of that, am continuing with my "it's almost over" mantra...the holidays are just not doing it for me this year. (MIGHT have something to do with who is stuck with a majority of the responisbility, the work and not only not getting Scottish yarn from my sister who spent October and November in said land of sheep, but UGGs are still ont on my feet either...despite the contention that this year my head might explode if thisis how things turned out AGAIN.) Just want them DONE. Hope you have a bit more jolly in your merry...there's always the new year, right?

Saturday, December 23, 2006

One down, one to go....

It's getting down to the wire, but the major marathon project is DONE...the blanket for my more masculine half: (that's Willy, snoozin in the background...)

It's huge, like 4 feet by 9, which is good cause he'll be able to wrap up all 6 feet of him in it. Here's a close-up:

And materials? Now don't's Kitchen Cotton. Yep, right off the shelves at JoAnn. Big honkin' cones for $9.99, and I used not quite 4...and 4 small balls of red for the stripes. Pretty much the only way I could afford to make something this big not out of acrylic, and I know the cotton will wear well, and hey, it's snuggly soft!

The finish line is now in sight. Only half of one sock for #1 left to do....pray for me!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

...and solstice comes through BIG time.

OK, I'm going to have to do some serious looking into pagan spirituality. Yesterday I tongue-in-cheek called out to the solstice, and by gosh it answered:

IT'S MY LISA SOUZA VIOLET'S PINK RIBBON SUPERWASH SPORT MERINO!!!!!!! IT'S HERE, IT'S HERE, IT'S HERE!!! Dance of joy doesn't even begin to describe what went on in my living room. Then there was fondling, and more fondling, and some covert fondling, and then I had to call some people that had absolutely no idea what I was talking about. Now I need to hurry up the holiday work so I can dig in to this. What might I be planning? Well, perhaps a pair of socks out of this fabulous, go to the bookstore and buy it right now I don't care that it's 4 days before Christmas, book:

That should take up one skein. Tell me what you think of this:
It's the Sapphire Star skirt from the Fall 2006 Interweave Crochet. I love this skirt. I also know I would never, ever, ever wear this skirt. BUT I think I can take elements from it and make a fab hat/scarf combo that will be so great in the yarn. It'll take some planning, but it's stuck in my head now so I don't think there's any going back.

For safety's sake, think I had best stash this yarny nummy-ness somewhere I can't get my hands on it lest Christmas totally pass us by...darn crocheting for others...what was I thinking?!?!?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Day that ate Christmas.

It's ugly.

Failed baking and failed fulling all in the same day.

Seriously, you may want to avert your eyes and come back at a later date. Run now, I'll wait.

OK, for those hearty souls up for the story, it actually starts last night. Setting: my kitchen. Action: Me happily whipping up 4 batches of my famous ginger bread dough..."men", bears and snowmen to follow today for the "Cookie Tyrant"'s swap this evening. Just FYI, this involves 2 pounds of butter. We're talking serious cookies here. All goes well and said dough is stashed in the fridge to "chill overnight".

Flip to #3's nap time this morning. #2 and I have innumerable little bowls filled with all things "decor"-ish, our favorite cutters and away we go. Sheets of little dudes pop in the oven. 8 minutes later tragedy strikes. Sheets of Mutants from Mars emerge from said oven, flat and hard. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Just what happened remains a mystery. It is a verifiable fact that the recipe was followed to the letter. Also verifiable that this is a tried and true classic...8 years of buttery soft orange-ginger goodness. Dough tested from all 4 batches converts to Body Snatcher status once baked. Flour is added. Ditto for baking soda. Mothers and sisters are consulted. Aliens take over all free counter space despite valiant efforts on all parts to stop the invasion. Heads are applied to walls and the "Tyrant" is notified of this peon's failure to produce acceptable goods.

It's noon and I really, really want a Bloody Mary or 5. Since I have to drive to pick up #1 later in the afternoon, I turn to what I think is going to be yarny goodness of such immense fun it will banish all thoughts of the deranged cookies running amok in the kitchen. To the laundry room!

There I pop the Stitch Diva clogs, lovingly crocheted for my sis in Lamb's Pride's best turquoise, red and sumptuous I can't stop rubbing it. They go in looking like they were made for Paul Bunyan, and I eagerly await their magical transformation. Once, twice, three times...all shrinking down nicely. Four, five, six, seven...uh, please, please, please get smaller! Eight, nine, ten...pauses for the water heater to catch up were necessary, there's no discernible progress, and I still have clogs big enough for my hubby's size 12 boats. More head-banging, more cursing. Yes, there was soap. Yes, there was really hot water. Yes, there was agitation. I even tried baking soda like CrochetMe suggests in their direction for their felted Market Bag pattern. I finally commit the ultimate act of desperation and even toss one in the dryer...nada. These babies are as small as they are going to be.

At this point, down 10 dozen cookies and one very special gift there's only one course of action clear to me...Blue Moon Winter Ale, my bed and Will Shortz Sudoku. Hopefully tomorrow is another day and solstice will chase the Christmas poltergeist away.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

...just call me Santa's Little Helper

Seriously, I should have elf ears. The small items are just flying right now. Very gratifying.

Of course, this also means I'm totally neglecting about a thousand other things, the dust bunnies have started breeding and #2 is getting lots of quality time with every holiday movie known to kid kind, but hey, it's in the spirit of the season so it's all good. Right?

The extra perk, aside from the ability to gloat, is lots of time spent with my iPod. I love my iPod. If I was sleeping regularly and had half a brain I would write epic odes to my iPod and the Apple gods that made it.

Funny, as I begged for a Nano basically just to organize my yoga music and have the ability to mix sets so I wouldn't have to do the CD dance when I taught. Of course the male person buying it couldn't leave the store without the fancy video version, for which he was soundly taunted repeatedly....and I've eaten every last syllable.

(BTW, these are of one of the 3 Strut hats out of HH I made with the Noro Kureyon originally pegged for clogs...they're turning out PERFECT, I am so in love with them I want to make them for everyone.)

See, I've become a podcast whore. I spend ridiculous amounts of time scouting for likely prospects, vetting them and giving them a test drive. Many fall by the wayside, but here are my current faves:
Cast-On (if you're fibery I assume you're already in the know) The Knitting Cook (Gourmet yarny goodness, and all of her recipes ROCK. Faith is tons of fun to listen to)
(a newcomer in fiber-cast land, but there's CROCHET! and lots of listener interaction which is fun too)
Lime and Violet (again just assuming you know of their hilarious yarn fetish lovely-ness...serious stash-enhancement opportunities) Chub Creek (Up with the Canadians eh. Seriously funny.)
Craft Lit
(Heather Ordover is a literary goddess with a good dose of fiber harlot thrown in. grows my brain she does.)
Blarm! (just plain whiny, raunchy fun.)
Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me
(the weekly NPR show, so smart.) Let's Learn Italian! (cause why wouldn't you?)
The Philosophy Podcast
(because everyone should know and love Plato...)

(Interlude: above we have a regrettably blurry picture of the fat bottom bag I made for my SIL in suede cording from the craft store with bamboo handles...and the little cardi for my niece out of Cestari Cotton/Wool DK. The colors are not showing well at all...bummer.)

OK, back to the pod line-up:
The Splendid Table
(all things YUMMY) Escape Pod (professional sci fi short stories) Food Network (stalking Alton Brown) insubordiknit(waiting, waiting, waiting for more...but check out her blog and YARN STORE..."I love monster hats")
This I Believe
(the weekly NPR essay, restores my faith in humanity)
Quirky Nomads
(what do you mean you don't know about QN? have you been living under a rock? "a family who said if the republicans get any worse we're moving to canada...and they did" Sage is so smart and wildly creative...she's my hero!)
Reasonable Diet's 6 minutes of Sanity (3 babies in 5 years people, it's not pretty.) Stillness Station (very nice meditations of all the voice)
The Official LOST Podcast
(by the producers, so very perfectly LOSTish)
This American Life
(of course a great slice of Americana...)

Enough to keep my earbuds burning for days on end. Squee!

Still in the holiday line-up are some felted slippers for my sister, possibly a few coffee cozies and the 2 blankets
... but we're not talking about them. Really, just don't ask. It's best they stay stashed behind the living room chair where I can't contemplate just how long they might take to finish...

(sorry for the formatting, it drives me nuts that the layout changes when it posts, but I'm too lazy to change it all again...)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Again with the wildly creative creations

Seriously. Do you know what these are? "Pocket Potter Puppet Pals".

How cool is that?!?!?!? Trolling my fave blogs and bang, there they were waiting for me at "too many hooks". Hee, hee sometimes it's just SO what you need to come across things that make you smile!

Follow the link for Snape, Dumbledore and Voldy patterns...then follow the link there for Harry, Ron and Hermione.

If I didn't have 5 million only half completed holiday things on my hooks, I'd be dropping everything to whip these up, then stick them in odd places round the house...or mystery gift them to my Harry lovin' friends....oooh, that's one urge that's not going to go away without some effort...

Repeat after me: "Melissa, you are a crochet goddess."

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Struttin' my stuff with the Noro

In my over exuberance to craft more things this holiday season, and make my sister who needs nothing something fabulous, I bought 8 skeins of Noro that I thought I would make in to these Stitch Diva felted clogs. What in the heck was I thinking? Clogs are so not Noro worthy! (or at least the double soles aren't, the tops would be fab don't you think?) With returning it very much not an option, I started browsing and lightning hit in The Happy Hooker. Wow did I fall head over heels the first time I saw the Strut hat, but never got back to it...but guess what they used to make it??? NORO!!! Whoo Hoo! Hats for everyone!

Strut monster #1 has appeared on the premisis:
That's #2 modeling the unfelted/fulled/whatever you want to call what the washing machine does to wool version...seriously, it's HUGE...and here's his unveiling:

He he, ain't he cute? Just couldn't help it.

Anyway, I've gotten 3 hats out of the yardage I would have used for the clogs (the pattern calls for 4 balls, and even working a hook big and VERY loose I maybe used 2 1/2, what's with that?) hopefully that means there's one for me! Will be tossing them in the wash in the next few days, so stay tuned campers, you never know what will happen when wool hits water.

(and of course this means I am still going back for more clog yarn even though I have 2 blankets not even half done...I sense some Cascade 220 looming....)

Monday, December 04, 2006


MY PACKAGE FROM KPIXIE IS HERE!!!!!! (sorry for the shine, it's gloriously sunny and therefore freakin' COLD here in the land of 10, 000 days below freezing...)

And that dear readers means there are monster hats (or at least the kits) in the house:

The pink and white is "Chin Music" and the tones of orange that you can't tell in the picture has some green tones mixed in is "Eye of the Beholder". This is the first yarn I have from Jacey at Insubordiknit, and WOW do I love it. I's so soft and just feels GOOD, and that means in a more than tactile way. This yarn has been loved and laughed and shown one heck of a good time. Now if I can just keep my hands off of this stuff until I have the holiday marathon completed....

Friday, December 01, 2006

Open love letter to Insubordiknit

Hey Jacey!

I'm sending you heartfelt thanks and many many hugs for your monster hats. They have been the salvation of my week.

See, surprise baby #3 who is 10 months old and doesn't sleep threw a wrench in the re-honeymoon-on-Saint-John plans for the 10th wedding anniversary and I've been pouting. Made manifold times worse by receiving a take out pizza instead of the surprise dinner someone had been promising...mired in despair might cover it.

Until dear hubby sarcasticly asked if I was treating myself to something to make up for it...he he he. Nothing like free license to make a girl's heart go pitter pat.

I've been stalking your stuff for awhile now, and *bing* I just scored big on kpixie. Eye of the Beholder and Chin Music will be winging their way to my house soon. I can't wait. There will so be a dance of joy when the post woman shows up. I hope I don't scare her...

Anyway, I had to thank you for being you and making such awesome stuff. You are the Suzy Sunshine of my week.

Love from Dawn in MN

Monday, November 20, 2006

I need to start writing things down

It's really no fun to have minutes of searing inspiration that are then promptly lost to the cosmos forever. The last few days I have had several fabulous ideas of things to write about here...things I was really excited to share...but where are they? Not here is all I know. Brain is a literal tabula rasa. Bummer.

So, on to the photos!

With the clock ticking, it's heavy duty blanket time round these parts. This is what I have started for #1. It's one of the motifs from Happy Hooker's Garden scarf, joined as they go, so no seaming YEAH!!! The colors aren't showing to their best here, but you get the idea. I'm using Cestari's 3-ply DK cotton wool blend that I maddly bouhgt on clearance at my LYS (Borealis Yarns, if you live in the area...LOVE them!) because they were discontinuing it and it is SO great for crochet. It's working up fabulously and the motif is easy-peasy and quick. I can't wait to finish it and see her open it...she's going to love it.

And this is what I have hookin' up for my sweetie:

Originally was planning on doing it for our 10th anniversary at the end of the month, but I fell into the acrylic trap when I was picking out yarn. I wanted to be making something special. I knew he would hate anything not cotton and I knew I wouldn't be happy working in something synthetic. But I went to the LYS and I settled for an acrylic wool blend. And in colors that were nothing like what I had in my head. It was a nice one, really it was, but I worked it and ripped it and reworked it with a different hook and ripped it and reworked it again with a different stitch and finally faced the truth. I just hated the yarn. No, I didn't take a picture of it because I want to forget it.

So now I'm working in plain old cotton, and I have the natural with red stripes I wanted in the first place. Nice and nubby in parts and ribbed in others. Once I get past the second red stripe I'm going to work HHDC for the main, then repeat the stripe bands at the other end.

Oooooh! Just remembered...remind me to talk about new obsession for spindles and things spin-y...oh and local yarns too...YUM!

Friday, November 17, 2006

My grandmother's hands

I wish I had a picture of my grandmother's hands.

I am slowly working my way through Hooked

I just read the essays by Annie Modesitt and Amy O'Neill Houck. Both deal in different ways with having learned to crochet and the connection that brings with their grandmothers. Amy has clear remembrances of being taught, of time spent of things made. Her essay is one of the best in this anthology. Well written, thoughtful and heart-felt.

It made me sad though. I don't have those memories, though I also learned to crochet through long hours spent with my Grandma Allaria. I don't remember what she told me. I don't remember what she showed me or how. I do remember what I made...endless acrylic potholders and those kitchen towels with the crocheted tops forming a loop to attached to the fridge door.

I don't remember what she worked on. I have no idea if the crochet embellished linens my mom has stashed away were done by her, or perhaps her mom? I do know my great grandmother came from Sicly in the early 1900s and this skill comes from her. I wish I had asked more questions. I wish I had been more interested.

When I was working on a blanket the other day though, something about how I was holding things brought a sudden flash of her hands. Her filed to a dagger nails pointing out stitches, running over the yarn.

I miss her.

I wish I had a picture of her hands.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

simply amazing

This is real talent. Found the link at Crochet Me and just have to give them more snaps...Seriously, this is fabulous. I've been hoarding plastic bags, but wow, the bag I finally come up with is puny in comparison. Check out all of their work, there are some phenomenal charcoals too...

Friday, November 10, 2006

OK, this is seriously sad.

Every freakin' day I think of about a million things to talk about here, and every day I can't seem to eke out 5 minutes on the computer. It must have somthing to do with the fact that my days go something like this:
  • wake shell shocked and sleepy armed from yet another night of finally giving in to the fact that #3 wants to be with me ALL THE TIME. (he's singing you a spit symphony as this appears on the page...I need to invent a spatter guard for the poor computer. YUCK.)
  • gulp coffee while getting food in, clothes on, schmutz off of all 3 before hustling out the door by 8 am
  • drop off #2 at preschool and #1 at Kindergarten.
  • return home to put #3 down for a nap, shovel the remains of breakfast (and perhaps dinner teh night before) off of the kitchen counters before collapsing with the paper and my own breakfast/lunch for 5 minutes before waking #3 to go pick up #2...
  • ...and we come home again to destroy the kitchen while making lunch and simulataneously trying to keep #3 from poisoning himself with random leaves drug in from our glorious MN autumn, choking on a stray hot wheel car or electrocuting himself by somehow getting at the one unprotected plug left we thought safely behind the sofa.
  • once #s 2 & 3 are safely napping...or at least I can pretend they are...I once again schlep out the mess in the kitchen, maybe start dinner, chug as much coffee as is left in the carafe before waking both to get in the car yet again to reclaim #1.
  • once home I don my referee cap for the scrum that generally proceeds through the making of dinner until Daddy the Wonderful walks through the door, kids end up in bed and all grown-ups collapse (hopefully at least one of us with a glass of wine and some good yarn) in front of whatever we have on TIVO at the moment before once again attacking the kitchen and going to bed, where the whole baby sleep battle starts again.
Can you tell I'm a tad grumpy? I seriously need to find a way to get at the computer in the evenings. Our PC lives in teh same open space as the baby sleeps, but perhaps I can steal time on the hubby's wireless laptop if I'm especially nice...but honestly I don't think I have the energy for that. 9 months without sleep is just too, too much.

On a more yarny note, I have some things to share:

This is the ruffle scarf out of last fall's Interweave Crochet. Worked in Patons' Rumor, which is an alpaca blend and SO soft and fabulously bulky so this works up super fast and got super long since I didn't adjust the pattern. I can wrap it around my neck about a million times and still have nice flingy bits to toss about....but it's not for me, it's a teacher gift I'm so excited to give. She's going to love it. The colors go from a warm cocoa brown to an auburn to a gold...very cool.

Have made a few snowflake prototypes trying to find the size thread I want to use. Have pieced together the sweater for my niece, but think I will be making the sleeves and body a bit longer, so am holding off on the pics. have also started a blanket for the hubby about 5 times. Am working with a wool blend, mostly blend since I couldn't afford the pricetag for the 2800 yards I would need in natural fiber. I think that's why I'm having troubles, it's just not what I had pictured, and it's definitely not what I'm used to working with. Hopefully what I have going is right on now...will show you soon. Also started teh blanket for #1, based on the garden scarf from Happy Hooker, and this I am loving, worked up in a bunch of oddball colors of Cestari DK cotton/wool my LYS has had on clearance forever. If I haven't already said it, I LOVE this yarn, but apparently no one else does because the stores here have all discontinued it...maybe it's a difference between crochet and kintting...I think it's perfect for going to have to beg them to sell to me so I can get more. Coffee cozies are also being thrown off right and left in my efforts to implement a "reduce, reuse, recycle" program for holiday gift giving this year...we listen to WAY too much Jack Johnson in the car, it's a bit like being indoctrinated.

The other great thing I did lately was this:

HUGE snaps to The Knitting Cook for bringing home made bread back into my's been too long. If you haven't listened to her podcast, run now, go...really, go now. Faith is fabulous, and her food sings to my Sicilian soul...takes me right back to my grandma's East St Louis kitchen. This is her mom's honey wheat bread...well one loaf is, the other I bastardized with raisins and cinnamon with yummy results.

Small man has found a bag, must run...pray for sleep, will ya?

Monday, October 23, 2006

Sweet Procrastination

So, it's been awhile, though I'll honestly say it seems like I posted just yesterday. Where the time goes I'll never know, though I suspect the small people in our house are feasting off of it. Let's play catch-up shall we?

Sweet is not so sweet to me right now, though I've finished it as far as I can for the moment:

Yes, lesson learned. Antique mirrors are not made for picture taking...will try to have the hubby take a live shot soon so you can see it better. Love how it's shaped, was just hoping for sleeves and find myself a tad yarn short. I started sleeves, decreasing gradually and got to about the elbow of one before confirming just how woefully short that shortage willl be. Am currently contemplating the benefits of either leaving it as is for spring or girding my will for a foray to the LYS in search of contrasting cotton for the wide-ish sleeves I'm picturing. Am thinking brown to play off the dark tones, but maybe a blue would make it not so glaring?

With this out my window, I suspect the sleeves will win:

Yes, I know it's Minnesota, but heck, it hasn't snowed much before the New Year since I was little. OK, that's a wee exaggeration, but seriously, it's been more like 50 in December the last few years. Snow before Halloween is just not on, not on at all. So that kind of shocked me back to reality. There are only so many days left until the holidays are upon us, so I decided to put "sweet" on hold and start tackling my list. I popped these off last week with some left-overs from other projects...

Great teacher gifts. The scarf in front is the "one skein" from the Happy Hooker. That pattern has fast become a favorite, it looks great with all sorts of yarn and works up super fast, though I do use a bigger hook tham they call for to make it obnoxiously long. The one in back is done with thick and thin wool and a Q hook...basicly a hdc mesh so it's super simple but has good texture and drape.
Went on a road trip over the weekend, so had lots of time to hook:
The brown in back is the Fat Bottom Bag, again from HH. I'm working it in Lion Suede for a silent auction. The handles are bamboo, should be very fall-ish and striking. Am working it with a J hook and am burning through yarn though, need a third skein to finish it off. The lavendar bits are pieces for a childrens cardi out of Crochet for Tots (hmmm, spelled that with an "i" first time around...perhaps something to think on there... ;) ). Destined for my neice in Florida, so I'm working it in Cestari DK, which is 80% cotton, 20% wool. I l.o.v.e. working with this yarn, would make everything with it if I could. It's yummy. She's from southern China, so the colors should be very striking on her. The turquoise is the start of a bag for my SIL, making it on the fly, should be interesting. I'm imagining a slouch bag with various textures. The yarn is one of the JoAnn "sensations" line...Cossetta I believe. It's a wool acrylic blend that has a shimmery bit worked through.

WOW, does it feel good to be breezing through some stuff. Frogging the sweet sweater over and over was really affecting my outlook I think.

Other things in the pipe include a throw for the hubbie that complained I didn't make him one when I did everyone else last year...I was making him a baby damn it, wasn't that enough?!?! So, I'm playing make-up this year and doing something manly that will just be his. Hope to have it finished by our's #10 and that would be nice I think. So sappy, but here's a physical manifestation of my love...ugh, he may vomit. Pics of that next time about....the throw, not the vomit.

Also hope to make my mom a wrap, my sis some type of bag, the MIL a hat/scarf combo (love the textured one in the new Crochet Today...looks like it would work up quick, but the result seems elaborate...that may be it if I can find something luxe to work it the core, I'm lazy), hopefully will have time for a blanket for #1 based on the garden scarf from HH, need something for the baby and have a host of snowflakes, mini stockings and cup cozies to make for friends as well. OOF, that seems like a ton. Better get going...

Monday, October 09, 2006

Sweeter than sweet

OK, I have to admit, I've been slacking on the "sweet" project, but look what I did instead!

Yes, that is one of many, many batches of silky, home-made apple-y goodness. Still warm from the pot cinnamon applesauce. We did the annual family outing to the orchard last weekend then it was freakishly warm for a MN fall last week (maybe where you are 80 is normal for October, but so not here...we're getting some glorious fall colors though.), so the project was delayed until things cooled off. Every year I make and freeze quarts and quarts of applesauce, because WOW does it bear almost no resemblance to what comes in the jar from the supermarket. Fresh from the pot it has been known to make me moan with pleasure. And the beauty of the thing is how very simple it is. You should really try it.

OK, on to the sweater. This was the progress I had made before said trip to the orchard. Sorry it's so blurry, but I can't get a pic taken in the mirror to turn out any other way it seems.

At this point, I had new skeins (working 2 at once, alternating rows with this handpainted stuff to try to even out the tone), and you can't tell from this pic, but there was a brown in one of them that is much more intense than in the other skeins. Knowing I am going to need every inch or yarn I have (9 skeins at 133yds each), had to take a break to mull that over. Have since resumed, and worked through those skeins and added 2 more, and I think I can live with this. The yarn is just all different and it's just going to add to the character of the sweater. After the bust, I switched from a J to an I, and it's shaping up well, a bit formed, but not too clingy. I'm just holding my breath at this point to see if I'll actually have enough for sleeves...please, please, please, I want sleeves!

Monday, October 02, 2006

"Crochet!"...a tale of redemption

Passing our house on a glorious day such as today, so glorious as to cause windows all over the state of MN to be thrown wide in hopes of catching every fair fall breeze passing, if the timing was just right, you may very well have heard the anguished cry of "WHY, oh why did I do this to myself AGAIN?!?!?"

And yes, you would have known that I once again committed the folly of purchasing the newest issue of "Crochet!".

Time and time again I've fallen into their trap, and time and again I've sadly lived to sorely regret it.

In hopes of staying out of the land of negativity, I'll just say I hope to some day learn that it's dear editors and I just don't see eye to eye...or perhaps that should be hook to hook. The styling, the yarn, the patterns tend just to not be to my taste.

Apparently today is not the day for that though, since I scooped it up, along with the latest Family Circle Easy Crochet, in a fit of crochet madness while perusing the local Barnes & Noble in search of the Oct/Nov Crochet Today.

Got home and while flipping the pages was again mentally berating myself for my folly when I stopped in shock. An article, and actual article I wanted to read. I started flipping pages faster, and there was another one, and a pattern I actually wanted to try out, sans fluffy edging, and another I could tweek to my liking I think. WOW. Guess this is what happens when we in the great white north get 2 successive days over 80 in October...

Here's the scoop:
  • Designing from a different angle, part 2 covers vertical-row construction and utilizing short row shaping...not just for knitting any more it appears. (though if you've made the driving gloves from Happy Hooker you've already done it.)
  • From Batt to Beautiful talks about taking wool roving or batt and making it crochet-able without spinning...can't wait to try this.
  • the red holiday duster pattern is the one I'm imagining without the foo-foo edging (so not me) and in a nice natural wolly-ness for winter. Merino would be lovely.
  • there are a couple of other sweater-y things I think I can adapt to suit my more "mature" mommy figure (can we stop with the crop tops yet???). want to try that tunic sans high fun furry neck and edges.
  • and just yesterday, whilst proclaiming my love for wooly wormhead's latest hat-y creation aloud (ooohh and just was there to get the link and there's a note about a new online crochet zine?????? crochet insider, check it out!), was thinking about making a hat with earflaps that turned into a scarf and "bing" here it is today in "Crochet!".
So, they've got me again. You can lay money on me nabbing the next one in hopes that such heights will prove self-perpetuating. AGH.

Liking the FC Easy Crochet too...nothing revolutionary, as everything is definitely "easy" in terms of construction, but some things I hadn't thought of doing before...and a great fulled plaid table runner I can't wait to make into a bag!

Now that I've reworked the top of my sweet sweater 3 times, am hoping to make more progress and have some more pictures to share couple of days hopefully.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

More sweetness!

More news on the Sweet CAL front. Dug out my beading stash and made myself some smart new stitch markers to replace the paperclips I've been using for way too long. Sterling wire with freshwater pearls. Ain't they cute? Slid on and off nicely too.

I want to say a few words about my yarn as the babe cut my last post short of the details. It's Araucania Yarns' Pehuen in "color 4". Great blues and browns. Hand dyed 100% cotton, nicely nubby but still s.o.f.t. Absolutely love how it's working up. It was clear as soon as I started swatching that there would be no trouble with color pooling, it's all very random and color repeats are very short. Played around with a few stitches, but since it's a textured yarn, it doesn't make sense to use anything fancy, so struck upon the extended sc as the winner and it's making a nicely uniform fabric that's not overly bulky. Almost did hdc before i realized the subtle banding goes in directions this bod definitely does NOT need more attention drawn to.

This was my first attempt, following the original template:

Wanted the neckline more open so frogged it and have redone it using Skamama's deeper neck and BINGO, lovin' it. Thank you Julie. Hasn't had a chance for it's photo-op though, so will hopefully be a bit further along by the time you see it. My neck's looking a bit more square-ish than the others though. Am hoping there's not more frogging in my future.

I didn't know how I was going to do with a sort of detailed project with all that's going on right now, but it's actually nice to have something engrossing to take me away. There's a tag for you, "Crochet, take me away."

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Sweet anticipation

My very first CAL starts tomorrow! (OK, I really wrote this over the weekend, but was having trouble with the pictures, so it's going up now....and no, the button does NOT work cause I don't know how to do that...)

OK, I know, how is that am I not CAL-ing like crazy?

Oh so very many reasons. I simply can't handle working on one thing at a time, always have 500 projects going at once, and with 3 kids just haven't had the time to be checking in regularly with forums and blogs and the universe in general...all things needed for a CAL to be of use.

With #s 1 & 2 in school regularly, and #3 hopefully sleeping at some point a.m. and p.m. (a girl can dream, right?), I'm hoping this works.

Really, really, really hoping it works because I have another confession to make...I've never made a garment for moi before either. (Yes, the Cinnabar coat is in the works, but that's following the pattern and hopefully on it's way to turning out fab.)

Why? Because I HATE SEAMING. Hate it, hate it, hate it. I pretty much rework most patterns to involve little to no seaming. If I could institute one universal crochet pattern rule it would be for everything to be worked as continuously as possible, cause I'm lazy and hate the seaming.

So, imagine my delight when I saw
this in the Fall issue of Crochet Me.

YEAH! (and quite the coincidence as I had just been listening to teh Cast-On episode with Franklin Habit talking about the percentages sweater from

Here's the yarn...more on swatching and the stitch markers I'm making tomorrow.

(and BTW, also finished up the chunky sweater for #2 and am working on a poncho for #1...nothing like love in the form of yarn! more on these later...)

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Yarn therapy.

OK, when you have kids, you know it's not all sunshine and rainbows. But every once in awhile something happens that hits you like a punch in the guts, and it did for us yesterday.

#1 is 12 days into Kindergarten. We had dropped #2 off at preschool and were playing a name game on the way to her school...who in the car could name the most kids in her class. Adding #3's spontaneous 7 month old comments in and things were a little goofy. Until #1 says a name and follows up with "He's the one that hurts me." Then with further questioning goes on to describe a nauseating tale of playground bullying. Remember, I was driving. It's a miracle we're all still alive.

So, you can imagine what kind of day yesterday was. We got to school and I pulled the teacher aside, she's very concerned and we set a time to meet after school. Great. Now how to get through the day when I'm sobbing the whole way home? Alternating between crying and feeling like I'm going to vomit, it's clear things are not going to proceed as usual, my brain is just whirling and I need to shut it down or I'll be a raving lunatic by 3:30. I'd be grabbing #1 and running as far and as fast as I can.

Get #3 down for a nap, grab my iPod (loaded with back episodes of Cast-On and Craft-Lit) and head to my corner. Only, my chair is covered with pieces of the Cinnabar coat...cannot fathom trying to count rows and keep track of increases and decreases, so I set it aside and dive into my stash. And here's what came out:

I found some yummy, happy balls of Portofino cotton blends...Souffle (the green) and Paper (the blue) and went to town making a mindless boxy sweater for #2. You know, the kind you work all in one piece, with just a slit for the neck? I'm using hhdc and am really happy with the texture and how the colors are going together. The souffle yarn is a nubby 2 ply, and the paper is basically the same yarn with a paper-ish tape twisted in, making that tweedy effect when it's worked up. Both are soft and everything is nice and drapey. And, yes, I am changing balls mid-row. Guess I was not in the mood for neat and orderly, but with the bold colors and clean design it's working. I think this was plopped down WS up, the RS is much neater. It's going to be darling. This is where I got to yesterday, so of course it's now another UFO, but with the state of my mommy brain, I'll probably polish it off yet today, tomorrow latest, working to the dimensions of one of his favorite shirts, plus some for growth.

Something about the yarn and the rhythmic motions was calming. I always say it's like meditation for me...or maybe just escapism? Either or, yesterday the act of making was just perfect. I was doing something and my brain was calm...hmmm, maybe Brenda's voice and Pride and Predjudice had a bit to contribute to that picture too, but it worked. It got me through without obsessing every minute, the time passed....and I could still drive to pick her up at the end of the day, which I so wouldn't have if my sudden desire to dive into the liquor cabinet had won out.

Lots of questions, calls and a teacher conference later, I'm still very heartsick. I don't know what the answers are. Heck, I don't even think I know what all the issues and options are right now. I do know I'm sad, and I do know I need to feel like I'm taking care of my kids. For now, while I feel so helpless and out of control, what I can do is literally wrap them in my love. My guess is my stash diving isn't done and I'll be popping out other sweaters, hats, mittens, booties, animals and whatever with abandon.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Everyone wants the crochet!?!?!?!

Short post today as the babe is cutting a monster tooth, but had to jot down my shock and awe before it fades.

Finally got together with a group of knitty friends this morning. It was a part of a larger moms support group I belong to...a new effort on my part to develop a yarny community of mine own. There were several knitters and several new knitters and a few lapsed knit and crocheters picking things up again...and several knit wannabes. Or so they thought.

After goggling the now completed back of my Cinnabar coat (pic above...oops, below in previous post) and approriating my Interweave Crochet, I was awash in demands to teach them to crochet.

Shock and awe, I tell you. S.h.o.c.k. and f***-in' awe.

I have never, ever, ever been crocheting with a group and had knitters be impressed with what I was doing, much less want to learn. And never, ever, ever, never ever have I had people wanting to learn to knit turn away from the needles and happily sit hooking chains, slip stitches and sc instead.

That Cinnabar coat is one hell of a pattern.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Stepping into the confessional...


I'm Dawn, and I have a problem.

I'm crochet-compulsive.

No, stop laughing.

Really, I am.

It started last year when I found myself unintentionally preggo with #3. Way out of control and in denial, I picked up the hooks again and haven't been able to put them down. There's way too much yarn stashed behind the chair in the bedroom, and many, many "works in progress" hiding behind the chair in the living room. And yet, I asked for yarn for my birthday...and my mom complied, gifting me with the ability to buy enough Cascade Eco Yarn to make me the Cinnabar Coat from the latest Interweave Crochet. That's it in the pic. Yummy cocoa brown, thick and warm enough for what MN has in store, I hope. Looking at it makes me want to go touch it, and hear the mellow click of the bamboo hook on my wedding ring.

Seriously, I'm a junkie.

I'm also attempting to make my way at home full time with 3 small people 5 and under, 2 english bulldogs, 1 newly transformed teeny-tiny leopard frog, 1 apparently obstinant tadpole and 1 husband all under my charge.

As you can imagine, the fabric of my life is not exactly compatible with my drive to crochet and crochet and crochet and crochet.

There's not much sleep, and many nights frustratingly spent laying awake thinking about yarn and hooks and yarn and projects and yarn and stitches and yarn. And the whole time I'm laying there not believing I'm not sleeping because I'm thinking about crocheting stuff.

Chaotic, brain melting days spent trying to hold even one of the 5 million things I should be remembering in my head as the baby cries because his new teeth hurt, while trying to make dinner and find a lost blankie and explain just why it isn't such a good idea to feed the grow-a-frog the dead bugs found amongst the dust-bunnies under the couch.

Gee, wonder why I ache for nap time and the hour at the end of the day I can pop in my ear buds, escape into a podcast and make row after row of neat stitches?

OK, so maybe it's not such a mystery.

But still, that's what this is all about.