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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Handmade Gifts

As we get into the holiday season (yup, the trees and ornaments, etc., are already in the stores!), I'm sure a lot of us are plotting out our gift projects.  I found this beautiful crochet Leaflines Shawlette  that I want to make for a special friend who's going through a lot these days...  Of course, I still haven't finished any of the other projects underway in this #yearofmaking, but I just can't help it :-)

But, this time of year always gets me to thinking about whether my handmade gifts are the way to go.  I always read Carolyn Hax in the Washington Post because I believe she assesses situations very well and gives sound advice.  So, I was really happy to see the column she recently wrote on why Handmade Gifts Trump Mass-Produced Stuff.  I say with good projects and good friends, handmade is the way to go!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


No, nothing literally thankfully -- I mean that I am having a hard time deciding what project(s) to do next.  Of course, that doesn't mean that I've actually finished the ones underway now!  Mom's sweater is underway, and I'm at the point where I need to separate the arms from the body (knitting the sweater in raglan from top down).  That means more needles or cables, or something to get the arms set aside, so I'm on hold there.  My sweater top is coming along, but I am at the shaping the neck and shoulders part, which for me is going slowly...

In the mean time, my wonderful friend Charlene got me some more Japanese crochet books at the Japanese bookstore in NYC!  One of them especially has some beautiful wraps and tops that looks pretty easy to make...  You know where I'm going with this ;-)

Also, I designed what I think turned out to be a pretty little "Spicy Shawlette" from a beautiful lace-weight yarn that unfortunately has been discontinued, so I need to rework it in a new yarn before posting:

Of course I've got millions of other ideas too about my next project(s), what to do?!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Crafty Bastards 2014

Last weekend, the Crafty Bastards arts and crafts fair was held at Union Market in Washington DC.  The Washington City Paper has been putting it on for 11 years now, which is hard to believe because I remember going to the first one!  I went on Saturday, which was just such a gorgeous day here in DC.  The metro took me within blocks of this newly developed area of town. 

So many incredibly talented artists and offerings.  It was great to run into Laurie of Feel Good Yarn Co.  She's a finalist in the Martha Stewart American Made contest, and I hope you will go vote for her!  I'm kicking myself because she had the indigo-dyed SilverSpun yarn with her at the fair (that was created by Kismet Fiber Works), and I didn't buy it on the spot; now, it's sold out :-(  But, she promises more colors will be coming later in the season.

The other wonderful surprise was seeing a former student with a booth!  Emily has created Penny&Paul and is selling her funky and fun crocheted hats! Cutest little baby shoes too...

It was so much fun walking around and seeing all the amazingly creative products, very inspirational.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Project 3 is Underway!

Ok, so I think I said that Mom's sweater would be number 3, but go figure, I ordered the yarn for it (because of course I didn't have the right color already, so we're not even counting it as part of the year in making :-) and it's been delayed in shipment.  So, I got to thinking about what the next project(s) should be as I await books and yarn...

And this new book on crochet toys popped up in my email from Cooperative Press!

Fresh Designs Crochet: Toys

And look at that cute sheep on the cover!  You know I had to order it, especially since I've been trying to figure out what to do with some of Princess and Petunia's yarn.  The other toys in this 10-project booklet are pretty cool too, so I have the feeling I know what some holiday gifts are going to be!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Japanese Crochet

I've been busily working away on Project 2, which is turning out quite differently than I thought it would... 

I decided to knit the waist ribbing, then start crocheting from there on up. Now comes the challenge of armholes. 

But what does this have to do with Japanese crochet you ask?  Well, in an initial effort to find a lacy-er pattern for the body, I kept coming across some Japanese tops and sweaters and ended up ordering three books directly from Japan on eBay!  Now I don't think I'm breaking the rules -- I'm not supposed to be buying more yarn; I didn't say anything about not buying books :-).  Besides, I have a lot of DK weight yarn, and I have a feeling that these books are going to help me use it up. 

Mom also is reminding me that I owe her a vest (thankfully, she is slowly but surely recovering, and that memory sure is intact!) so reviving that plan is probably going to be Project 3. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Moultrie Slouch Hat (Project 1)

The slouch hat is done, and the pattern has been posted on Ravelry!  I ended up designing and making it during jury duty and figured the least I could do is name it after the courthouse (actually the courthouse is named for former Chief Judge H. Carl Moultrie).

I think it turned out pretty nice!  It works up so fast because the yarn is thick and I used an I hook.  I got to have some fun with a technique I recently learned -- how to make rows or rounds of half double crochet look like knitting (the burgundy band of "knitting" on the hat).  I've just posted a new video on YouTube demonstrating the technique.

Ok, so an update on Project 2 -- the yarn I chose is thicker than the original top, so I'm having to experiment with how I want to work the crochet part, but the knitted ribbing at the waist turned out great!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Project 2 is Underway!

But wait, you ask, what happened with Project 1?!  It is done, I just need to finalize the pattern and get it posted :-).  So, in the mean time, I want to keep things going.  Of course I'm trying to decide which one of the million ideas in my head I want to get started on.  I've been wanting to get into garment making as well as combining crochet with some knit, and this top of Mom's from way back when is my inspiration because I'd really love an updated version that's my own:

Now, to go pick out yarn that I already have...

I'm thinking this beautiful Rowan Softknit Cotton.  I've got 5 balls of it (who buys just 5 balls, what was I thinking?!  Mmmm, and different colors too.  I guess it was for a long-forgotten project).  Hopefully I will have enough or be able to hunt down some more. 

Ok, now I guess I should do a knit swatch and a crochet swatch to start figuring all of this out!  Oooo, I'm getting excited.  Stay tuned...