Sunday, August 29, 2010

Such a Peaceful Morning

Rock River Illinois, 6/10

It is such a peaceful morning. End of summer bugs singing, not much birdsong, a slight breeze randomly tinkling the windchimes outside my bedroom window. Perfect temperature. How could anything be wrong on a day like this?!

Latest WIP: my attempt at sealettuce, which I believe is a Lucy Neatby design (that I am trying to duplicate.)

I'm using Silk Bamboo yarn from Knitpicks, very very drapey, no body to it at all, but that makes the ruffles lovely and pendulous!

I also started Shiri Mor's lace cardi from the summer VK issue 2010. Yarn is Melody from yarntreehouse on Ebay, something I'd stashed several years ago. I'm hoping the FO looks wonderful b/c i'm not sure of the overall color of this yarn! I hope that the color shadings show up a bit for some interest w/o distracting from the lace pattern.

Hmmm, looks like a thong...painful even to contemplate! But rest assured, it is one of the triangles for the back of the sweater (after I blocked the crud out of it, I realized I had missed out on two repeats of the pattern, which several more rows. Duh, no wonder I didn't get gauge!!!) Sigh. Good thing I had the epiphany...I simply went ahead with the same needles and made the next triangle (which is identical), and it was to gauge. Woohoo!

I went through an intensive "principles to get out of debt" seminar at our church yesterday. I am a big fan of Dave Ramsey; have seen him speak in person, have read his book and started his "Seven Baby Steps" to get out of debt last year, but lost impetus. It's so easy to get distracted. This seminar reinforced good planning and budgeting principles. I am ready to get into this fully now, let's jump in the deep end!

There is a Ravelry Group called Gonna Be Debt Free, which is wonderful to use for a pep-talk when you need to be reminded of your goal. That's where I first heard of Dave's principles.

Did you know that the Bible has >2,400 scriptures related to money management?! And, I never knew that prior to the 1980s credit cards were not common! Now the average american household has 10 credit cards. Holy moly.

I'm tightening my belt, but I still have my magazine and book fix to conquer. I did good this time, I passed on the fall issue of Vogue Knitting--instead of just adding it to my collection, I decided that all my other queued projects will long forestall any possibility to knit the Vladimir Teriokhin sweater which was the only interesting piece in that issue. So, I treated myself to only 2 yarn magazines this time--good girl.

I need to whittle the grocery bill down too. Things cost so much, and I hate waste. I have been buying fruit all summer, and not eating it. (Don't know what the deal is with that. I just haven't wanted it once I get it home.) I need to adjust to one less mouth to feed around here and stop buying so much quantity. I shop once every 2 weeks....because I really can't stand going to the grocery, and can't see the benefit of going more often than that.

I like the idea of tee-shirt yarn, and loved the photo of this yarn from aqualight's Etsy shop:

There is a group on ravelry about t-shirt yarn. Polka Dot Pineapple has a cute tutorial about making it yourself. That's a cool idea for bathroom rugs, rag-rugs, etc...but I really love that black and white striped version!

Look at this clever way to make your own shawl-pin! What a great idea!

'Nuff recycling for one day. Happy Sunday everyone!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Al Finalmente!

Looking Back at Yellowstone 2009

Oh, yeah! Another doily down, and a birdie doily at that! I am so happy to be done with this (as of 8/20/10)--I mean this in several ways. First, I love this doily and I love Ferosa Harald's designs. This doily was the thing I most wanted to make in this book. But, filet crochet is more boring than I can stand, so I'm really glad to be done!

This is 15 inches by 30 inches--Someone smack me if I ever say I'm going to make a filet crochet project ever again....

On the subject of birds--In my world, there has been some baby birdie drama. A nest right in front of our kitchen window caught our eye when a bright red cardinal was coming to feed his babies. So we got a close up view of them for 3-4 days. Man they are loud when they are hungry! Mom and dad have been run off their wings trying to keep them fed. I was going to try to get some pics or a video, but put it off for 2 days. Came home at lunch on 8/19 and peeked at them--business as usual. But when I looked 4 hours later they were no longer in the nest.

I had to look around, but saw both of them had left the nest. They were making so much noise!!! One was only a couple of twigs away from the nest and peeping for all he was worth! I think he was saying 'Wait for me!' because the other one had flitted to the other side of the tree. Mom was still flying in to feed them and encouraging them to fly....

At dusk I returned from walking the pup, and saw the mom fly under a neighboring bush--I peeked under there and one of the babies was sitting on the ground deep in the heart of the bush. Making as much noise as usual! I nearly went back outside to scoop him up and put him into the nest as it was getting dark. I hope the baby was able to find his wings!!! I'm looking forward to seeing the family of birdies around...

So, anyway, I finished the birdie mat in size 10 thread--it's freakin' huge!!! What the?! I am tempted to try this again (I know, I know, I'm asking to be smacked) using the extended double crochet stitch (scroll down) and smaller gauge thread. Am I nuts?! But my proportions are all stretched out as I obviously don't know the finesse required to get SQUARE FILET CROCHET! Never tried the EDC stitch, but it is supposed to make your work in filet more square....(see what the original doves doily looks like here)

I did not go to Stitches, in order to save money, but then popped into Hobby Lobby that same weekend to assuage my stash (heh) and bought a bunch of colors of "Happy Hands Lizbeth" size 20 cotton thread. I LOVE this stuff, and I only spent about $35 on it (a fraction of what I would have been tempted to spend at Stitches!!!!!)

I am already partway done with my next doily from a vintage Magic Crochet issue (#47), and it has little violets sprinkled around it. I am using the new size 20 thread, and a size 10 steel US hook--and magnifying glasses! The delicacy of the work is worth the effort, though.

The only bummer about this thread is that it only comes in 200 yard balls, but really, who is going to be making a huge project out of this tiny thread?!

Sooooo, fall is here, you can really feel it by the low altitude of the sun now when I get out of work. I've already worn my wool poncho to work some mornings! And, the geese are on the move overhead....

Was going to go to the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival, but upheaval in my life might prevent that. I guess that there is a season for King Solomon said. Maybe next year?!

Yesterday I went to a chain craft store after my haircut, and saw some Aunt Lydia's Bamboo Crochet Thread size 10. I made a mistake and touched this yarn in the store--which led me to bring it home!!! This stuff is lovely and soft, I'll bet it makes wonderful drapey lace projects! And it's cheap, comes in 300 yd balls in sweet colors.

Is stashing a form of getting ready for winter? It feels like it to me, I'm all snug in bad weather, working on my projects! If I just had a fireplace....

Happy Autumn, y'all!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Or stay. I don't care, cuz my house is on a hill, and I have lots of stash to dive into....

More diversions from my doily finale: home-made handtowels for the bathroom. I have a huge stash of leftover dishcloth cotton from my giant ripple bedspread, and I have been paring it down with new washcloths in the stitchpattern from last post. Then I realized, I have more washcloths than I need at this point! I am starting to run low on handtowels, though....

so Aim's Handtowel was born!

The pattern: chain 41, sc in 2nd chain and follow the stitchpattern across. When you come to the end chain, sc in it and turn your work so you can work the same stitches across the other side of the chains, as if you were going to work in the round for an oblong shape!

That gives a nice scalloped starting end. Unlike the washcloths, this will have straight edges, with scallops only on the 2 ends.

At the end of that row, start to work back and forth like usual for the washcloths, (i.e. NOT working in the round anymore) My finished towel has a total of 32 rows of scallops, giving a 19.5 inch x 12 inch towel. It used up 2 skeins exactly of Sugar 'N Cream washcloth cotton, with a size G crochet hook.

Important: remember to chain 3 at the beginning of each row, and do it very loosely so that the sides of the towel will not pucker!

Another washcloth, the last one prior to the towels:

So, though I may be temporarily finished making washcloths, I now turn my attention to handtowels. I hate buying things that I can make! Especially such thick and luxurious towels from my stash yarn, in happy vintage colors! There are several other towel patterns I'm going to try...

"Shopping in my basement" is the theme this year! Stitches is next weekend, a mere stone's throw from my home, but I am not going to go. I'd love to, but stashbuilding is all that will happen, and it's not in the budget. Similarly, this year I missed my fav Fiber Fest, which I have attended since the beginning. I'm cracking down on the spending. And, it feels good!

Happy stitching!

(p.s. that first pic is a gnome-butt fungus on the forest floor last spring! Peek-a-boo!)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Washcloth Factory

This pattern is so much fun! Thanks Mary Anne for the idea to use that pattern! Here are my mods to make it just right for me:

G hook, worsted weight dishcloth cotton
Ch 31, sc in 2nd sc, *ch 2, 3 dc in same chain, sk 3 chains and sc in 4th, repeat from * across.

Row 2 is the same as the pattern, except after each sc, I ch2 instead of ch3--it draws in the holes a bit. However, at the beginning of every row it should be ch3 to give the selvage more ease & keep the edges from pulling in (this may just be due to the way that I crochet!)

I think I want to start knitting up some hand towels, I love the one Mary Anne made here.

Other than that, the filet crochet project c-r-a-w-l-s along.

Happy knitting and crochet!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

"R" n Stuff

Recycling. I love to find second uses for things. It's the way life used to be, before our wasteful age of wealth for the common man. And this video is a cool tutorial on crocheting with plastic grocery bags:

Isn't that cool? I love the cutting technique and looping the plastic together--that's a great way to make a continuous cord out of the plastic! It could make good totebags for shopping green, or if you didn't mind the look of it, maybe an entry rug just outside the back door to wipe your feet off before coming in! Don't they call this 'plarn'?

It probably seems random to y'all, these out-of-order ABC posts, but I wanted to share the cool videos and links I had saved in these old drafts. (I just don't have the interest anymore to do the whole alphabet!)

Soon I hope to have another lace FO--I was certainly cranking out more lace in June. I forgot how dang boring Filet Crochet is, but my Doves Doily is nearly finished so I'll share a picture when it's done.

I made an interim linen stitch washcloth, b/c I needed a break from the interminable filet work.

It turned out nice, but the one thing I can't seem to do with any slip-stitch article is MAKE IT LONG ENOUGH! I took it off the needles and suddenly it stretched to twice as wide as high...grrr. Must remember that any mosaic stitch or linen stitch article will stretch hugely width-wise. I still like it, my Sunrise,Sunset washcloth....

I made it in 2 colors of Ty Dy Cotton I had in my stash (631 & 289).

Fun colors, pretty texture, lovely drape, and no open holes~the perfect washcloth!

Here's the details: CO even number of stitches on needles 2 sizes bigger than yarn calls for (I did 50 stitches on sz 9 needles), then start pattern stitch.

Linen stitch Pattern:

K1, SLIP 1 WYIF, repeat across. Turn.
P1, SLIP 1 WYIB, repeat across. Turn.
Repeat these 2 rows across. (I actually slip the first stitch of the row to make a neat edge and pretend it was the first stitch as written; continue across with pattern)

NOTE: I do not like the way the CO edge looks, it's all loose at the edge and looks awful. (Plus I screwed up at the beginning of the pattern!) I'm thinking that BO and CO first row/last row should be done in K1P1 rib to keep it looking neat and snug...I'll have to try that with my next one.

Happy High Summer Knitting and Crocheting!