Monday, December 31, 2012

Now I Can Tell

It just killed me to not tell you about these.  I had the idea in late October, well, I found the online tutorials then.  I grubbed through my fabric stash to find I finally knew the reason I'd been buying small remnants of upholstery fabric all these years.  Then I had to choose a fabric for each of the eight people I wanted to make them for.  I didn't really take many pictures while I was making them since I was lucky enough to be able to take my sewing machine, etc. to work with me for cutting out and sewing.  I only had to buy the zippers for the dopp kits, I had all the other supplies on hand--velcro, batting, fabrics, and thread of course.  I really was intrigued by the travel tray because too many times I hesitate to remove my jewelry in a motel room because I'm worried it'll go astray.  They were a snap to make.  They're about 7" x 9" when they're flat.  You pinch the corners together to make a small tray for holding small things.  Oh, it's vital that you make the inside out of solid fabric so that no tiny earring gets lost in a busy print.


The dopp kits were a bit more of a challenge since the instructions were written for separating zippers instead of the standard zippers that I had.  It turned out to be lucky that I had to buy extra long zippers in the colors that I wanted so I could open them way up and mostly follow the directions.  I did not bind the inside seams as the pattern directed, that was way too much work and sewing gymnastics for me, I serged them.  

I used some of the travel trays as table favors at Christmas dinner and wrapped the dopp kits for Christmas gifts.  Naturally they coordinate.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Is Hard On Knitting

I've barely knitted this last week.  I got to the heel of my striped stocking and lost steam.  I suspect that has something to do with the fact that a cold attacked me last Friday and sunk its claws in deep.

The second of the double thick cloths got finished Christmas Eve night.  I like the front...

but I love the back. 
Look at how those colors criss-cross!

 Last night after Christmas dinner at DS & DIL1's I cast on a third double thick cloth.  It took me a couple tries to get going (hey, I have a head full of mucous and Rizolli & Iles was exciting) but I finally managed to get my act together so I have something mindless to knit today here at work.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Today It Worked

As soon as my lunch soup was hot a customer came into the store which was a big surprise since we're having a snowstorm today.  Yay.  Not.  I mean I know I said a while back that I'd like a snowy winter, but I don't want it all in one day and we're supposed to get 10-14" before this ends, and the wind is slated to pick up, making this a true blizzard.  Good thing I got snowblower gas on my way home from work yesterday.

I've been making good progress on the red & gold striped xmas stocking.  I got to the heel yesterday and left my knitting bag at work for today.

Naturally I couldn't not knit last night after supper.  So I got out the double-thick washcloth pattern, the old metal needles, and the giant skein of yellow, orange, and pink cotton.  I've been interested to see how the colors blend and pool so it was no great hardship to cast on.

The other yarn I can't wait to knit up into a double cloth is this lone skein of Plymouth Jeannee.  I do love me some variegated yarn.

Monday, December 17, 2012

And Four Dollars More

I couldn't shake the idea that I should have picked up one of each solid color cotton dishcloth yarn at the Knitting Guild meeting last Thursday, so I emailed Linda who directed me to Vicki who let me crash her quiet Sunday afternoon to get said yarn.  Eight skeins=4 dollars.  See the pretty colors?  I'm more of a variegated girl so I rarely buy solids but I do admire the way Kay over at Mason-Dixon knits her ballband dishcloths with solids. 

And since I have recently rediscovered the joy that is ballband Swiffer covers for dusting uncarpeted floors, I perceive more ballband knitting on my horizon...

...after I finish this Christmas stocking that I cast on a year ago in November 2011 and only recently rediscovered in the controlled chaos that is my knitting area.  Today's quest was to find a less awkward to make a jogless stripe and I think I may have found a less contorted way to accomplish the pattern's recommended technique.  I've said it before, there's more than one way to skin a cat--and I'm a big fan of the easiest way to be found.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


I went to the winter Farmer's Market this morning (it's raining and Durwood didn't feel tiptop).  I found a 3# bag of hydroponic tomatoes for my beloved... and was tempted into buying a whole bunch of various root veggies--golden & red-striped beets, parsnips, carrots, a giant rutabaga--for roasting to take to Christmas dinner.  I was helpless before the mounds of colorful and not fake sparkly vegetables and kept dipping into my wallet for more money.

The first thing that tempted me was this:

a booth of YARN!  

They're from Hidden Valley Farm & Woolen Mill in Valders.  (I realized that Lyn, Skully, and I had gone to their holiday sale once when we first started knitting.)  He told me that they raise the sheep, shear the sheep, clean the fleeces, send them out to be spun, then dye them themselves.  I was strong at first, leaving the temptation behind while I sought tomatoes for Durwood, but I couldn't leave without going back to the yarn.  But I only bought one skein.  I should get credit for that, at least.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Eleven Dollars Worth

Some lady passed a while back and willed all of her needlecrafting things to the Embroiderer's Guild, one of whose members is a part of the Knitting Guild too.  She brought bins and bags of yarn to the meeting last night to sell at greatly reduced prices, the money to benefit the guild's coffers and the remaining yarn to be used for charitable knitting.  Most of it was acrylic and there was a bin of dishcloth cottons.  I picked out some partial skeins, a few skeins to use to make he-man chemo hats, and a magazine with a shawl pattern I'd like to make in it.  Boys like blue so I got the blue Wool Ease in both worsted & chunky, really the only non-girly yarn she had.  Now I need a hat pattern for chunky yarn.

Here's my total haul--that skein of "Falling Leaf Ombre" takes me back to the late-1960s when I decorated my room in burnt orange, avocado, and brown.  Groovy.  It goes well with our mid-1970s burnt orange carpeting, doesn't it?

I finished the crocheted border of the Hubbard Grand-baby Blankie.  I really like how it turned out.  I hope CH, Baby Hubbard, and the baby mama like it too.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I Actually Finished Something I Can Show You

Two things even.  I went over to Skully's for coffee this morning because all of the trails are icy from last weekend's snow and the one that's usually snow-free in winter evidently doesn't have enough salt or salt slurry on it yet to help it clear off.  So I went over and she made some Kona coffee (it was yummy) and we knitted and yakked.  While I was there I finished the first skein of yarn of the Soft & Snuggly scarf/shawl-ish thingy and after consulting with her decided to bind off and sew the ends together to make a nice cowl.  She suggested that I give one end a twist to make it a mobius, I did, and I like it very much.  I will be snuggled down in it on my way to work tomorrow and to yoga after work.  And I have another skein to make another one someday sooner or later.  The yarn is Universal Yarns Classic Shades Big Time in Sapphires and the pattern is Winter Warmer, a freebie on Ravelry.

I also finished the blackblackblack Boystown Beanie chemo hat.  That darned yarn is so black I can barely knit it during the day and not at all at night so it's taken a month of Sundays to finish.  Also I am dead slow, almost dead stop as a knitter.  I think I'm going to stick to crocheting chemo hats from now on.  At the rate I knit all cancer will be cured by the time I get my speed up to one hat a week, let alone one hat a day like Andy from Knitting Guild.  In the hat-making arena I'm better, faster with a hook as a weapon.

Once again on New Year's Day I'm planning to list each project I have On The Needles and resolve to finish one of them per month until I am CAUGHT UP or run out of year.  It's kind of a companion resolution to the "yarn diet" I try to keep to each year.  I don't totally succeed at that one either but it does make me stop and think before I pile my cart or car full of yarn when the fever hits.  I resolved the finishing projects thing last January, or maybe it was the January before I can't remember, made it only a few weeks before it went by the wayside.  I'll try to do better.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Pulling Out The Big Guns

so to speak.  When bringing fabric, cutting board, etc. to work on Monday didn't attract hordes of customers, I decided to pull out all the stops.  I put my portable sewing machine, the cutout projects, and notions to complete said projects into the car and set up a beachhead on the back table.  In days past, the aroma from heating my lunch soup brought people in and if there was something I had to get done that day there'd be a steady stream of them from open to close.  These are what's called "desperate measures" I guess.  We'll see how it works.  Plus I'll get some Secret Sewing done.

I sat on the couch the other night listening to an audiobook and finished another chemo hat.  I feel bad for some (probably stupid) reason that I'm crocheting more hats than I'm knitting hats.  I don't know why and I'm working on getting over it... by making more crocheted hats.  Good therapy, don't you think?

Now I think I'll go heat up my soup and start a sewing project all at the same time.  Maybe that'll bring 'em in.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Some Things Deserve Being Noted

I spent most of the day today relighting the plywood cutout of Fifi the Flamingo that's our Christmas lawn decoration.  I bought some pink LED lights at Target yesterday and since it was warm-ish today I moved Durwood's van out of the garage, swept up, and then got to work.  I removed the old lights and pried out all the staples, then I got her settled firmly in the front yard, and set a timer so the lights go on at dark and off at bedtime.  I'm glad I took the time this year.

And so, in honor of Fifi's relighting and reappearance in the Christmas yard (and at Lala's suggestion) I knit in a bit of flamingo pink yarn in today's Maple Tree Scarf.  Do you realize that this is week #49 of 2012?  Can you believe that the year has gone by so quickly?  I can't.  However I am totally ready for this scarf to be finished.  I will not be undertaking another 2-rows-of-garter-stitch-a-day project anytime soon.

I was in JoAnn Fabrics yesterday with 2-50% off coupons set to expire.  I found a skein of Patons Wool in Chestnut Tweed that I just liked the color of, but the best finds are these sewing project books.  I look at those books every time I'm in the store and usually find nothing either knitty or sewy that I want to take home.  Yesterday there were TWO!  It annoys the crap outta me that JoAnn's has no idea what books they have in their store.  Evidently they get a carton of random books that they just slap onto the shelves willy-nilly.  Man, if I worked there I'd make a list and keep track.  It'd drive me freakin' nuts.

And after supper I got another crocheted he-man chemo hat started.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Lime Puff-ed

I finished the Lime Striped Shower Puff very slowly yesterday.  After having killed my left arm last week I wasn't about to power through and make it hurt so much again quickly.  Look at me being smart.  This one took a little more than one 2.5 oz. skein of Sugar and Cream.  Doesn't it look refreshing?  Just the way you want to feel in the shower.

I'm slowly working on the Winter Warmer too, although I think I'm going to tink (k-n-i-t backwards) back a couple rows because there's a big hole in the tan row.  I'm also going out this afternoon to see if I can't find some better US19 needles.  These are working but they're plastic, not very pointy, and they're just not comfy to knit with.  Bamboo or wood would be better.  I've got coupons.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Not Much Yarn Stuff Gets Done When Your Wrist's Hurting

See, the week before last I crocheted and knitted almost non-stop through an unexpectedly long stretch of days off.  My left wrist doesn't like that and it's not shy about letting me know it.  I've been trying to avoid knitting the last few days.  It's hard.  I keep finding new things I want to make and keep looking at the Works In Progress (WIPs) that lay there calling my name.  I decided on Monday that garter stitch (all knitting, all the time) would be easier on my wrist that a project needing both knitting & purling or a crochet project (that's the real offender, that crocheting action) so I took my Maple Tree Scarf to work with me to catch up.  Everything was going well until it occurred to me that we had snow on Saturday night and I didn't have any snow colored yarn with me.  Dang.  I unearthed a smidgeon of white yarn when I got home and caught up, and I knitted yesterday's rows before bed last night.  Look how big the roll of scarf is.  I don't think any of us is ready for this but... 5 weeks from yesterday is New Year's Day when the scarf will be done.  Holy Jeebus.  That also means that 4 weeks from yesterday is Christmas Day.  (i need to lie down)

Monday afternoon was very long at work with no knitting and only an audiobook to keep me awake and not even my Kindle to play games on.  I'm ready today.  I've got the Kindle, my mp3 player with 2 audiobook novels and 3 projects in my bag.  Easy ones, cross my heart.  Okay, maybe one is a crochet project but I promise not to bear down on it trying to finish it today; I don't need it to be finished for 2 weeks.  Cross my heart. 

I gave in and cast on a scarf last night.  Hey, it's with super bulky yarn on size US19 needles; it won't take long, and... look how pretty!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

On A Crocheting Jag

I need to stop or at least take a break.  My left hand's kind of tingly and achy and that only happens when I crochet too much or for too long.  *sigh*  I don't want to stop because I'm enjoying it.  I will stop knitting and crocheting with cotton yarn; that's the worst on my hands I assume because it's inflexible, but I'll just cut back using regular yarn.  It'll be okay, I'm sure.  And I'll wear a brace like a good girl, that'll help too.

I made another crocheted chemo hat from a new pattern I found.  I really like the golden brown with the dark brown stripes.

The knitted black Boystown Beanie is coming along.  I realized that I wasn't going to make it to the end on what I had so on my way home from knitting with Skully this afternoon at Michaels for another skein of Red Heart Soft yarn so it'll be all black with just that narrow gray stripe.  I like it.


Last night at Friday Night Knitting I finished the Double Thick Dishcloth.  I really like it; it's thick and squooshy.  Can't wait to try it out.  And the stitch to make it double thick was easy.  I'll be using it again.

I stopped at Monterey Yarn on my Small Business Saturday rounds today.  Two skeins of super bulky Universal Yarn's Big Time in the Sapphires colorway.  I've already found a "shoulder warmer" pattern and am itching to cast on.  Now, do I have size 19 needles?

At Thanksgiving dinner DIL1 asked if I'd stop at their house to see if "the ladies" had laid any eggs and to take them home with me.  They did!  Guess who'll be having fresh eggs and bacon for Sunday breakfast?

Monday, November 19, 2012

I Give Up

Four times now I've tried to crochet the Zac Brown Band beanie--and failed miserably.  They've either been coneheaded or flat.  Grrr.  Now I can crochet the bejeebers out of my old standby hat pattern which is very like the Zac Brown beanie... I DON'T GET IT.  Sorry, I'm that frustrated by the whole thing.  I sat down on the couch around 4 PM yesterday, frogged my latest ZBB attempt, wound the yarn up willy-nilly, and got a standby hat started.  And finished before 10:30 PM., with a break for supper and an orange and kitchen cleanup (sometimes Durwood lets me if there's football on).

On Saturday I sat watching TV with Durwood after supper and finished the Hyperbolic Pseudosphere.  I love it.  I made it around what I'd decided would be the last round (I did 4-5 rnds single crochet, one half-double crochet, and wanted to end with one double-crochet) with only 18" of yarn left over.  Whew.  It was a good thing I stuck a marker in the first stitch of that last round because I would have given up in exhaustion halfway around just because it was so FAR around once that last time.  I had read notes of a few of the people who made it before saying that they hesitated to use it as a shower puff because it was sooooo thick it'd never dry so that's when I decided to single crochet my way out from the center a bit and then put progressively taller and not as dense stitches on.  This is really a pattern you can use as a jumping off point.  I'm tempted to use it as my Bay Lakes Knitting Guild washcloth exchange, or one like it.  It amuses me and takes no time to make.  Crochet's kind of like knitting, I think it'd pass muster.  Besides look how cool-looking it is.  People will fight over it.  I'm doing it.  (do you think that'll be okay? god, i'm such a weenie.)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Too Much Fun

I was surfing the Ravelry pattern files of dish/washcloths seeing if there was one I wanted to make for the Bay Lakes Knitting Guild holiday exchange next month when I came across this one.  It slapped me upside the head and made me hunch over the keyboard looking at projects made with it and other possibilities.  Doesn't it look like coral?  It does, if you've never seen it in person, trust me, it really does.  This morning I've gotten back onto Ravelry and found many more patterns, many of them free.  This could become quite an obsession. Look at darymaid's coral reef!  Totally amazing.

As soon as I got home I went down into the stash, picked out an F hook and a partial skein of non-pastels and just plunged in.  Here's what I have so far.  Pretty cool, huh?