Archive for the ‘Crocheting’ category

I just need to catch my breath

December 31, 2013

Has everyone gotten their Christmas packages yet? Probably not; I know at least one went astray and might not be reunited with its recipients until the calendar flips over. Nevertheless, how can I let the year end without wrapping up what I made for the holidays?

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Pattern: Luxe Cowl by Margaux Hufnagel
Yarn: Lion Brand Martha Stewart Crafts Roving Wool (100% wool), colorways Snowdrift and Persimmon
Needles: U.S. 13 Harmony wood Options 16″ circular

I actually made two of these, the other in a winter white. This red one went to my mother-in-law Libby; the white one I hope will soon be in the hands of my niece.

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Pattern: Crocheted Square Washcloth by Stacey Trock
Yarn: Red Heart Eco-Cotton Blend (75% cotton, 25% acrylic), colorway Vanilla
Hook: Tulip Etimo 5.0mm (H)

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Pattern: Waffle Knit Dishcloth by Debbie Andriulli
Yarn: Aslan Trends Pima Clasico Cotton (100% cotton), colorway White
Needles: U.S. 6 Sunstruck straights

Libby also requested some easy-care, throw-em-in-the-wash, bleach-the-heck-out-of-em dishcloths. I dug around in the stash, found some non-colorful cotton, whipped ’em up.

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Pattern: Rikke Hat by Sarah Young
Yarn: Knit Picks Gloss DK (70% merino, 30% silk), colorway Robot
Needles: U.S. 4 (band) and 7 (body) Harmony wood 16″ circular (half-magic-loop style)

My lovely model is lovely, but I wish I’d gotten a picture of this hat on Noel. I made it for nephew Daniel, and it is a terrific style on a fashion-forward man.

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Pattern: Astronomer by Veronica O’Neil
Yarn: Knit Picks Swish Worsted (100% merino), colorways Black and White (not sure what yarn the gray stripe is)
Needles: U.S. 8 Harmony wood Options 16″ circular (half-magic-loop style)

Boy, this turned out handsomely. I made Bowdoin College colors for nephew Sawyer, who runs cross-country there. The turned hem is a polished touch. And the yarn knit up crisp and even. A professional-looking effort, maybe my favorite of the season.

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Pattern: Mini Sweater Ornament With Cables by Emily5446
Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Tonal (in Gypsy), Knit Picks Essential Kettle-Dyed (in Spruce), Knit Picks Felici (in Arugula), Cherry Tree Hill Sockittome (in Birches, not pictured)
Needles: U.S. 1.5 & 2 Nickel fixed Options 24″ circulars

I made a handful of mini sweaters to put in random stockings. The Birches one (made of leftovers from an as-yet-unblogged Sockhead Hat) managed to hop in a stocking before I had time to photograph it. In 2014 my leftovers are all devoted to hexipuffs, so I hope they enjoyed these last gasps of freedom.

I hope your holiday of giving was as warm as mine! See you next year!

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I couldn’t get any bigger with anyone else beside of me

June 13, 2013

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Pattern: The Ultimate Hat by Sun May (Rav link)
Yarn: Oberlyn Yarn Stella (50% alpaca, 40% merino, 10% cashmere), colorway 2055
Needles: U.S. 7 and 8 Harmony wood Options 24″ circulars (magic loop)

When I get in the mood for stashbusting, I cast on hats. When I get in the mood for using the single skeins that I buy as trip souvenirs (a collection that I think of as the Stash of Precious Yarn, or SPY), I cast on hats. When my ears get cold walking my daughter to school in the dead of winter, I cast on hats.

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All those impulses came together in this hat, the result of a long search for a cabled slouchy hat with a touch of luxury. I bought the yarn in Montreal during the 2009 AAR annual meeting. The picture above is me modeling it, for a change. I finished this hat in three days, so desperate was I for warmth on those early morning walks, and so happy was I to have this amazing yarn sliding through my fingers.

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I can turn up that long brim for a double layer of protection when the wind really gets to howling down Bruce Street. And the yarn is so soft and light that wearing this hat is like wearing a cloud. Perfection.

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Pattern: In Bloom Beret by Britney Waterhouse (Rav link)
Hook: U.S. J (6.0mm) Tulip Etimo
Yarn: Stitch Nation Bamboo Ewe (55% bamboo, 45% wool), colorway Sprout

I made this hat for the second annual Craftin’ for CASA sale this past February. My criteria were stashbusting, fast, and appealing to a casual browser.

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I don’t remember who bought it, and apparently I didn’t get a picture. It sold, though. The kids these days like ’em super-slouchy, worn practically hanging vertically off the back of their heads. I can’t fathom how they keep them on.

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I’m down to just a couple of hats sitting on my charity/sale/random gift shelf. And I’m in the mood for some stashbusting and indulgent, SPY-based knitting. Time for more hats.

She couldn’t help thinking that there was a little more to life somewhere else

September 29, 2012

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Pattern: Noro Scarf (two-tone diagonal garter stitch) by Suzanne Pietrzak
Yarn: Bernat Mosaic (100% acrylic), colorways Calypso and Spectrum
Needles: U.S. 8 Signature straights

Time to play catch-up! I have several finished objects going back to 2011 that have not yet been blogged. This simple, colorful slant on the classic Noro scarf was completed on the eve of our Craftin’ for CASA sale last year, and was purchased by Claire for her sister Marie.

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Pattern: Harris Tweed by Luise O’Neill
Yarn: Tuesday Morning Exquisite Chunky (57% merino, 33% microfiber, 10% cashmere), colorway Cream
Needles: U.S. 10 Signature straights

This was also for the CASA sale. I loved knitting this one; this beautiful three-dimensional, fully reversible, unisex-appropriate stitch pattern deserves to be more widely known. I’d also love to get my hands on more of this yarn, which I picked up at Tuesday Morning; some people have said it’s relabeled Rowan Cashsoft.

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Pattern: Enjoyable-Rib Scarf by Anne K.
Yarn: Moda Dea Tweedle Dee (80% acrylic, 16% wool, 4% rayon), colorway Thunder
Needles: U.S. 10 Signature straights

By my count, I’ve knit this pattern five times. I often go looking for another simple but visually interesting rib pattern for chunky yarn, but I always come back to this one. So satisfying. This one hasn’t found a home yet.

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Pattern: Habit-Forming Scarf by Elizabeth Morrison (PDF link)
Yarn: Diakeito DiaFelice (50% wool, 28% nylon, 22% mohair), colorway 506
Needles: U.S. 8 Signature straights

I bought this yarn in Japan during my September 2011 visit, and knit it up over the Christmas break. It took me a lot of experimentation to find a stitch that showed off the colors, which are wool and mohair encased in a shimmery nylon casing. I was bedeviled by the fabric’s tendency to curl into a tube, though. If I recall correctly, I donated this to a silent auction to benefit Conway Cradle Care.

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Pattern: Reversible Cabled Brioche Stitch Scarf by Saralyn Harvey
Yarn: Knit Picks Andean Silk (55% alpaca, 23% silk, 22% merino), colorway Scarlet
Needles: U.S. 7 Signature straights

Ah, brioche stitch. There is nothing like you for squooshy ribbing. Throw in big reversible cables and a luxury yarn, and you have the perfect scarf. Only fault I can find with it is that the complexity of the ribbed reversible cables incorporating yarn-over-heavy brioche made the use of a cable needle (or in my case, a DPN) imperative. I donated this one to the Conway Cradle Care silent auction too. I hope it brought in a good price.

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Pattern: JustRight Dishcloth by Deborah Ellis
Yarn: Ella Rae Baby Cotton (88% cotton, 12% nylon), colorways Ecru and Ink
Hook: 5.5mm (I) Tulip Etimo

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Pattern: Squaring the Spiral Dishcloth by Deborah Ellis
Yarn: Ella Rae Baby Cotton (88% cotton, 12% nylon), colorways Ecru and Ink
Hook: 3.5mm (E) Tulip Etimo

Two crochet dishcloths for CG’s second-grade teacher whose favorite fashion look is zebra print. These both come from a lovely e-book of crochet dishcloths, containing patterns both basic and quite striking. I love using this DK-weight cotton blend that I picked up at Tuesday Morning; it’s soft, smooth, and drapey.

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Pattern: A Beautifully Simple Coaster by Deborah Ellis
Yarn: Louisa Harding Nautical Cotton (100% cotton), colorways Sage and Light Blue
Hook: 4mm (G) Tulip Etimo

And this was the teacher gift for AA’s fifth grade homeroom teacher. I was really itching to crochet up some cotton last December, clearly. More Tuesday Morning yarn; I like the sage green a lot better in combination with the bright blue than alone. Six coasters in the set, three of each color.

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Pattern: Sixty Cables by Gabi KrisztiƔn (Ravelry link)
Yarn: Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock Solid (80% wool, 20% nylon), colorway Pond
Needles: U.S. 4 and 6 Zephyr Options 24″ circular needle (magic loop style)

I started this faux-cable hat for the Craftin’ for CASA sale, but didn’t finish it in time. Terrific textured hat pattern with just the amount of slouch I like. Still doesn’t have a home; might be part of this year’s upcoming sale for CASA.

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Pattern: Lacy Baktus by Terhi Montonen
Yarn: Inca Sportlace Hand-Painted (75% wool, 25% nylon), overdyed with Easter egg dye
Needles: U.S. 5 Zephyr Options 24″ circular (knit flat)

This is one of the two skeins I overdyed (full story here) in my first crockpot kettle dyeing experiment. I started with the colorway I liked less, the reds and pinks and yellows, just to see how the fabric looked knitted up. When I ran out of yarn, I added a purple corner in Knit Picks Palette (leftovers from my Endpaper Mitts). Although at the time I liked it as a homage to a very famous version by bluepeninsula (used as a guide and inspiration by many Ravelers), every time I put it on I worry that it just looks like a kludge. So I haven’t actually worn it yet, and might end up donating or selling it.

Dishcloth for Ellen

Pattern: Forked Cluster Stitch Washcloth by Oshinn Reid
Yarn: Knit Picks Simply Cotton Worsted (100% cotton), colorway Bermuda Heather
Hook: 5.5mm (I) Tulip Etimo

Practically Hyperbolic dishcloth for Ellen

Pattern: A Practically Hyperbolic Dishcloth by Deborah Ellis
Yarn: Knit Picks Simply Cotton Worsted (100% cotton), colorway Bermuda Heather
Hook: 5.5mm (I) Tulip Etimo

Two quick crochet washcloths made as a housewarming gift for a new faculty member. The Practically Hyperbolic was already a favorite; the Forked Cluster Stitch was new to me and made a very handsome texture. I’ll definitely use it again. Excuse the horrible indoor Instagram photography — I only had to time to snap a quick pic after they were given.

Believe it or not, there’s still more … but that’s enough for one day and one post!

For the love which from our birth over and around us lies

November 27, 2011

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Pattern: Reversible Strands by Nancy Smith
Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease (80% acrylic, 20% wool), colorway Avocado
Hook: 4.0mm (G) Tulip Etimo

Once upon a time there was a boy named Jacob. Jacob is a teenager who does not live with his parents. The court decides where Jacob will live. A government agency decides who will take care of him. A lawyer speaks for him in front of a judge. A volunteer makes sure the court hears what he needs. Jacob’s life is often in the hands of strangers.

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Jacob has a story. But I don’t know that story. Not many people do, other than that volunteer. He was taken away from his parents because they neglected him, or maybe they actively mistreated him. Maybe his parents never wanted him and still don’t want him back. Or maybe they are working to change their lives and make amends and reunite with their son.

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Although I don’t know Jacob’s story, I know enough to be concerned about him. Because of where the court has placed him, he can’t have many things of his own. That means that he’s probably in a group home of some kind, and not in foster care. He may be exhibiting some of the problem behaviors for which teens like him, teens without parents who took good care of him, are at risk. As a teenage boy, he’s among the least likely group to be adopted. His life is spiraling, but is he on the way up or on the way down?

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I don’t know Jacob’s story. I know his name, his age, and that what he can receive from me is limited. I made him this hat. It’s reversible; one side has bold spiral ridges, one is deceptively plain. I hope Jacob’s story from here on will include this hat. I hope his life is reversible, and that he will find his footing on a path that leads him out of his unpromising start. I know that my hope, my hat, and my support for the few people who are fighting for his future are all I have to give him. I know that his story deserves to be told. When we hear it — if we do — I hope it has the happy ending we all deserve, no matter what our beginnings might be.

Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got

November 7, 2011

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Pattern: The Perfect Slouch by Tiffany
Yarn: Berroco Cotton Twist Solids (70% cotton, 30% rayon)
Needles: U.S. 7 Zephyr acrylic 32″ circulars (magic loop style)

Cady Gray calls this look “mysterious eyes.” She thinks it’s hilarious when I tell her to turn her head but cut her eyes toward me. Look at her laughing.

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She’s wearing the second Perfect Slouch hat I’ve knit. The first one was made last year for a Conway Cradle Care client — a teenage mother that can stay in school thanks to the day care CCC provides for her child. This one is for a girl named Heather. She has just entered her teenage years, and her favorite colors are red and blue — a girl after my own heart. Like all the CASA clients we’re crafting for, she is in the custody of the court, taken away from her parents because of abuse or neglect. As an older child, her chances of being adopted are slim. Her best outcome is to be reunited with her parents — if they are indeed making efforts in that direction.

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When I think of the CASA clients we’re knitting for, I think of my daughter. She lucked out in the parenting sweepstakes, as did most of us who’ve grown up with only the normal lumps and bumps of childhood. Doesn’t this hat suit her? Wouldn’t it suit — and be even more meaningful for — someone like Heather?

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I love my girl so much. I hope the girl who gets this hat will be loved like that someday.

Not the building but the beam

June 30, 2011

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Pattern: Sunny Spread by Ellen Gormley
Yarn: Elmore-Pisgah Peaches & Creme Double Worsted (100% cotton), colorway Gold
Hook: U.S. K/6.5mm Etimo Tulip

I completed this in March, but it has only just now reached its destination — the home of Lily Tobias, new daughter to my dear friend Scott and his wife Ali. So many things to love about this blanket! Let me name a few.

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It’s modular. This is my first blanket worked in squares that were then stitched together. I got to where I could crochet a square in an hour, not counting the time it took to rip out the border when I realized I forgot to work in the back loop only while transitioning from the circle to the square shape.

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It’s bright. Part of the attraction of this very popular blanket pattern, without a doubt, is its cheery yellow color. You can’t beat yellow, if you ask me, for babies. (Or green — but that’s another post.) Blue and pink are predictable, binary, and overdone. Pastels too. Primary colors really say “kid,” and it’s not long in a baby’s life before baby stuff is done and the transition to childhood has begun. A blanket like this can last and remain stylish and appropriate for years.

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It’s covering a beautiful girl. And long may it keep her warm, comforted, and protected.

All the swells join in the search for sun and sand

June 25, 2011

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Pattern: Mao by Angela Tong
Yarn: Knit Picks Simply Cotton Worsted (100% organic cotton), colorways Mandarin Heather and Limeade Heather
Needles: U.S. 5 Zephyr acrylic Options 24″ circulars (magic loop style)

So many of my dearest friends are having babies, or have just had babies, or have children that are just coming into their most charming childhood ages. It all makes me crave toys. Buying them, dreaming about them, remembering them. And of course, making them.

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The entire latest issue of Petite Purls was devoted to toys. It set me into a frenzy. It fed my obsession. I had to make something from it right away. Only days after the patterns appeared online, I had rescued these almost-full skeins from the scrap basket. Not only did I get to make a cute toy, I got to continue indulging my fingers with cashmere-soft Simply Cotton. Win-win.

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Because I had babies in mind for this squeezable little nuggets of cat, and because I don’t happen to have safety eyes around the house, I used black scrap yarn to make eyes (per this tutorial by Anna of Mochimochiland, who is now officially a friend of a friend, making me vicariously very cool). I experimented with different ways of making an upside-down triangle nose and upside-down v mouth, although I should have just looked up the instructions for Tammy the Cat from the Gurumi family — I did a great nose on her.

But as I was finished my second Mao, making the flat knit circle for the bottom so kitty will sit up straight, my mind started working overtime. It’s a lot easier to make flat crochet circles than knit ones. What would a crochet version of Mao be like?

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It took two days and a lot of experimentation, but there she is. I started at the bottom with the circle (original knit Mao is top-down) and then kept working on how to get the increases to happen fast enough. Didn’t quite get it, so crochet Mao (C-Mao for short) has a more elegant, tapered figure than her knit cousins. I kinda liked it, so I stopped with this version.

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Her ears are flat rather than stuffed, and her tail — well, that’s where the elegance ends. Business in the front, party in the back.

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If the designer and the publisher are okay with it, I’ll post the pattern notes for C-Mao. For now, I’m just pretty impressed with my first foray into figuring out something like this. And with my menagerie of cats. Who, if Cady Gray has anything to say about it, may never make it to any of the babies that sparked this toy modness in the first place.