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