Archive for the ‘crochet’ Category

maia shawl

maia shawl

Have you ever finished a Christmas present in May? I suppose that’s what happens when you start the largest and most complicated crochet project you’ve ever attempted in November.

shawl in progress

Yes, this is a christmas present for my mother (and birthday present and now mother’s day present). Yes, she has seen it, unfinished and unblocked. Yes, that is kind of mean: “Here is this thing I’m making you that’s half done and kind of crappy looking! Aren’t you excited? No, you can’t have it! And I have no idea when I’ll be done! Merry Christmas!”

maia shawl

Oh well. It is actually done done now. I finished the crocheting in February I think, then I had a little project fatigue. I did not want to see it or touch it or do anything else with it. Has that ever happened to you?

before and after blocking

I was super nervous about blocking the shawl, because blocking could make or break this project. This project I had devoted a crazy amount of hours to already.  Finally, I borrowed some blocking wires from a friend (thanks, Debbie!), bought 200 pins, cleared off the guest bed, and blocked that sucker. It turned out nicely, seeing I had no idea what I was doing! The before and after blocking pictures are pretty striking. Block your work, people!

maia shawl

You can find the link to the pattern on Ravelry. Sorry there isn’t any information about the yarn I used. I will try to hunt it down, because I’ve completely forgotten what it was called. It was a lovely lace weight, mohair blend just slightly variegated. It was the absolute perfect yarn for this project. I guess I’ll just have to go back to the yarn store to see if they still stock it.

maia shawl

Maybe this would be a good time to start working on her present for this christmas…

 

noro wrist warmers

noro wrist warmers

I have a rather large backlog of projects I want to share with you guys. The deadly cough/fever/will this go on forever? flu visited our house last week. We are all–finally!–crawling out from the sickness wreckage.

noro wrist warmers in progress

There has been much cozy making because of all the illness and I have rediscovered these wrist warmers I made in the fall. I never have been fully on the wrist warmer bandwagon.  When not done right, they tend to resemble arm support braces from walgreens–not really the look I’m going for.

 

noro wrist warmers

There is no mistaking these colorful guys for medical supply (I hope).  Last summer, a friend of mine was clearing out her yarn stash and I was the lucky recipient of some gorgeous variegated Noro sock yarn. There was only a bit left, so I needed a small project to showcase such awesome yarn.  There are only about a million patterns for fingerless gloves out there, so it took me a while to find something just right. I wanted simple, but not super boring, something that would show off the yarn, and be functional as well.

casually holding my coffee

I’m happy to say these check all the boxes. There are more details about my Noro wrist warmers on Ravelry if you are interested. Sometimes I forget how satisfying it can be to make something for yourself. Have you made anything for yourself recently?

 

 

crochet bandana cowl

crochet bandana cowl

I have been on a bit of a crocheting kick recently. After all the sewing for kcwc I got rather sick of looking at my sewing machine. And I got sick of certain little people poo-pooing things I made for them. So I went to the yarn store and bought some beautiful, soft, and squishy yarn to make something just for me.

crochet bandana cowl

I’m not usually a fan of things trying desperately to be something they are not–think tofu dogs. Crochet is not knitting, even though they both use yarn. Crochet is its own art and has its own strengths that I try to showcase. But I wanted so badly to make the bandana cowl pattern by Purl Bee.  Looking at it was painful, because it is so perfect, but I can’t knit to save my life.

crochet bandana cowl

Thankfully someone made an equally awesome crochet bandana cowl–no tofu dogs in sight. The cowl is the same shape as the knitted version, but I think the stitches were chosen by someone who loves crochet and knows how to show of its strengths.  It worked up super fast in the gorgeous wool/silk blend yarn I bought. All the cowl details are on ravelry if you are interested.

crochet on crochet

ooo! looks like there’s a little crochet on crochet action going on in this last picture.

 

this is wool from five green acres

portobello yarn by five green acres

Today I am super excited to introduce you to Mary Jo of Five Green Acres. I am lucky enough to know Mary Jo in blog life and real life. She is a whirlwind of creative energy! When she walks in a room you cannot help but be swept up in her projects and plans and insatiable curiosity about all things crafty.

 

This is wool. First Harvest: Backyard from Mary Jo, FiveGreenAcres on Vimeo.

Years ago, Mary Jo had an idea that started with carting home sheep in the back of her minivan. Since that day, she has thrown herself into raising sheep, grazing sheep, birthing sheep, and shearing sheep. If that weren’t enough, she then went on to clean the wool, card the wool, dye the wool, and spin the wool. And now yarn! gorgeous, squishy, soft, subtly colored yarn! Please watch this lovely video to see the birth of  beautiful yarn, named appropriately First Harvest.

first harvest yarn

Because we live so close, Mary Jo delivered a skein in that same minivan! Then my work began. I needed to find a project that was worthy of the yarn. A skein of First Harvest yields a precious 100 yards.  I asked her how she determined the weight and length of each skein:

When I set about spinning up the dyed fiber, I knew I wanted to make a yarn that could be knit up fairly quickly – something that was at least worsted weight or heavier.  The downside of this is that I can only fit so much on my spinning wheel’s bobbin before it becomes too full, limiting the length of each skein to about 100 yards.
Another thing about designing yarn – determining the gauge can be something of a guessing game.  It all depends on the size of needle (or hook) used, right?  I had determined that First Harvest was about a worsted weight, comparing it to other yarn I had in my stash, but now that I’ve added the yarn to the Ravelry database, I see that by their standards First Harvest is a Bulky weight.  Ravelry gets the final say, I suppose, so I’m changing my tune – Bulky it is.  The semantics of weight don’t matter as much in the actual working up of a project, as long as you do a gauge swatch, which we all do, every time, right?  Hee.

 

first harvest cowl

I of course did not swatch, so I crocheted and ripped and crocheted and ripped and crocheted and ripped. I couldn’t find a pattern that was special enough for the yarn and used just the right amount of yarn. Finally I gave up the never ending Ravlery pattern search and made up my own pattern (first harvest cowl pattern here).

  first harvest cowl

I came up with a pebble-y stitch that shows off the yarn beautifully. Mary Jo created this gorgeous gray/brown color with sumac berries of all things. She named it Portobello, which describes it perfectly: mushroomy, earthy, soft and loamy. Of course I’m not perfectly pastoral, so I added a stripe of shocking blue for the city side of things.

first harvest cowl

Visit Mary Jo’s blog, Five Green Acres (and shop, This is Wool) to see more of First Harvest and hear stories of her yarn from sheep to skein.

 

half done projects

fan ripple wip

It’s not all wine and finished projects in these parts. Trust me there are plenty of half done–half assedly done–things shoved in various corners of my studio. This afghan is not destined for one of those corners (I hope). It is actually coming along quite nicely.  I fell in love with this vintage afghan that Miss Rachel from Smile and Wave picked up at her local thrift. I had been looking around for crochet patterns I could use to make a blanket for my son, but nothing seemed right until that blue number popped up. A commenter on pinterest pointed me to a pattern on ravelry called the Vintage Fan Ripple Stitch Pattern, which turned out to be exactly the same as the original afghan. I went out and bought a bunch of yarn the next day.

vintage fan ripple afghan

I liked all the blues in Rachel’s blanket, so I stuck with that and threw some gray in for good measure. Ravelry came to the rescue again when I ran out of the light blue yarn I was using. The heathered light blue was by Berroco Vintage, which I had in my stash, and when I went back to my local yarn store for more they were all out. After a look on the interwebs, I discovered Berroco didn’t even make that colorway anymore. Luckily there was someone on ravelry who had two skeins of it for sale! I don’t know why the two rows of light blues look different in the photo–trust me they are not. Oh also there are more nerdy crochet details on ravelry

wiksten tank wip

The other half done project is not coming along as nicely. The first time I made the Wiksten Tank it was nice, but it was a smidge small.  So I cut a medium this time. Well turns out the first one wasn’t small, it was just that the material I used didn’t have any give to it. The medium is too big everywhere and if I try to take the sides in, the wide set straps make me look, umm, beefy.  I can’t shove it in the corner because this fabric was expensive as hell. So here’s my plan: I’m going to cut this tank apart, cut the small from it (a little lower down), and then add a band of color to the bottom. What do you think? I picked up some navy linen that I think will work. I’m hoping it won’t look hackneyed.