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WIPs

  • So Many Babies. So Many Projects.

    I've started knitting the Basket Weave pattern from Car Seat Blankets and I think it's going really well!

    I know, I know.  I normally don't start posting about a pattern when I'm a meager ten rows into the thing, but that's where I am with this pattern.  And really, this post is mostly to tell you that I've decided this week is Baby Week.  I know I tend to post a lot about baby patterns anyway, but would you believe I was actually pacing myself with one or two projects a week?  You just have to trust me when I say that I have totally shown restraint with these baby posts.  But I know a lot of people with a lot of babies in their lives and while I was attempting to make things that weren't for babies, a couple of babies went ahead and were born without my permission. 

    Babies do not care about schedules.

    So now neither do I!  Every project I post about for this whole week is going to be baby-related!  If you're not a big baby gift knitter or crocheter, drop back by some time next week.  Seriously, I may still be going.  My gift plan lately has been to give co-workers a blanket.  Friends of friends get a blanket and a little accessory like a hat or a pair of booties.  If my math is right (and it usually isn't), I need to make three blankets and four (?) accessories. 

    The granny square I made last Wednesday?

    I need to decide if I can make it into a blanket by Saturday's baby shower.

    And the half-finished purple blanket that I need to make a decision about regarding border colors?

     

    I'm going to make, well, some kind of decision about it.

    There are so many patterns!  So many yarn choices!  So many babies!

    So I'm going to work on the Basket Weave Blanket for right now.  I love a good basket weave pattern, and this is for a friend whose nephew was born earlier in the month.  I had already crocheted a Star Wars-inspired hat for this friend's nephew, and I was just starting to think about a blanket to make when the baby showed up a bit early! 

    It was all downhill from there.  From a crafting perspective, I mean.  And I like the colors I've picked out!

     

    I think this will come in pretty handy in a few months, and I think the bright colors will be a wonderful distraction for a little traveling baby.   Car seat blankets are fairly small, so finishing this up shouldn't take long.  I think it's a great way to kick off my Great Big Project of finishing up all these small projects for small people.  Happy Baby Week!

    Wish me luck.

  • WIP Wednesday: Crocheting the Lace Tote from Enviro-Totes

    Another week, another nope, same work in progress.  The Lace Tote from Enviro-Totes is still a fun project and it's still a great stash-buster.

    Once I was part of the way through my second ball of scrap yarn, I felt a little panicky until I remembered that I had a third one tucked away somewhere.  I was quickly motivated to find it!  I haven't needed it yet, but I will soon.  Every now and then I'll use a different yarn than whatever is the next color up in my ball of yarn, but mostly I'm enjoying seeing all the colors thrown together fairly haphazardly.  I'm joining my new yarn when I get ready to pull my yarnover through all three loops of the half double crochet stitch and then I just crochet over both ends of the yarn.  I'll go back and cut the the ends when this is all over.

    And that may take a bit more time and yarn.  The bottom, and lower portion of the sides, are solid half double crochet stitches worked up in cotton yarn.  This feels incredibly sturdy already!  I'm a couple of rows into the 'lace' part of the bag and I'll be on that part of the bag for quite a while.

     

    I was almost discouraged about how little progress I thought I'd made until I compared my work this week with where I was at last week.  To review, this is how the project looked last week:

    And this is what it looks like now:

    I know, this thing is huge!  Since the top is held together with drawstrings, I think it will still be more of a tote than a crazy-looking duffel bag.  Maybe.  I don't care, because I think it's going to be great.  Bags made with cotton yarn are my favorite crocheted bags there are, and this one might turn into my favorite.  I say "might" only because I don't want to jinx myself.  This could be the tote bag crochet project to make all my dreams come true, or to use up all those little bits of leftover cotton yarn.  That's pretty much the same thing. 

    Happy summer crafting, you guys.  I'm in a good cottony place right now with this WIP and I hope you are too.

  • Happy Scrappy Adventures in Afhgan-Making

    I'm crocheting the cover pattern from Learn to Crochet Circles into Squares!  When I first saw the Afghan pattern, I thought I didn't have enough yarn to make so many circles using so many different colors.

    But this weekend, I was looking at my spare scraps of yarn and realized.....I totally did.  Awesome!

     

    It's so much more fun for me to start something than to do pretty much anything else.  Seriously.  I have a big problem with startitis, so maybe take my words with a grain of salt but I just think jumping headfirst into a project is one of the best feelings ever--even if you have a bunch of other WIPs piling up around you.  Actually, jumping headfirst into a new project might even feel better when you have a bunch of other WIPs piling up around you.

    You can start fresh!  Everything will be different this time!  The pattern holds such promise!  Your stash has yet to let you down!  Anything is possible and we could be heroes just for one day!  I may be stretching just a bit, but I'm really just saying that to sound sane and humble.  Because really, that is what the inside of my head is like nearly every time I start a new project.  Why would I keep myself from feeling that joy just because I currently have five or six WIPs staring at me in judgement?  Heck, they can't stare at me if I shove them into bags and put them away.  Onward and upward with new projects! 

    I think that's my favorite part anyway.  Just doing what I want.  There are no crafting police.  No responsible adults frowning and reminding me that I might want to free up some needles and finish a few projects before trying anything else.  I am the adult!  (God help us all.)  I can start or stop a project at any time! 

    Plus, I've wanted to try this afghan for a while.  I've enjoyed the other projects I've crocheted from Learn to Crochet Circles into Squares, and I love the circle within a square motif.  It reminds me of modern art and playfully cheerful children's storybook illustrations.  I just like circles. 

    And this has all the colors of the rainbow! 

    I should mention that I realize I've only crocheted the circle part of these circle-within-a-square squares.  I am currently still internally debating whether to use brown yarn or purple.  I honestly may finish up a few baby afghans that I've neglected lately and then see which color I have more of.  Because I think either one would look great--the brown is your standard Crayola chocolate brown and the purple is a dark plum that would bring out the bright colors without being too dark to work with.  Either one is a winner and I think this is going to be beautiful.  The finished product is supposed to be a nice throw size and I'm not sure how many blankets my couch needs, but I'm excited about this one anyway. 

    Now that I'm nearly finished with the circles, I'll probably let them marinade while I finish up other projects and think about brown versus purple yarn for the rest of the afghan.  I'm going to travel a little for the weekend and I'll be able to finish up some projects anyway.  Now that I have this little bit of startitis out of my system--the only real cure is to go ahead and start yet another thing!--I can focus a bit more on other WIPs.

     

    I'm really excited to have gotten such a good start on this one, though.  I have a good feeling.

  • A Little Lightweight Clutch!

    I'm crocheting the Embellished Clutch from Bags & Totes and it's going splendidly. 

    I love working on bags and other small projects in the summer, and this project is small and simple in addition to being a really cute clutch!  Like the Lace Clutch I made a couple of weeks ago (also from Bags & Totes! This book has some real winners!), this little project is mostly single crochet stitches worked with two strands of yarn held together.  This pattern calls for super fine yarn, and so I picked out two (mostly) similar skeins of dark blue sock yarn. 

     

    The project made for the pattern photo is crocheted with super fine cotton yarn, and would you believe that I bagged up a skein of cotton and nylon sock yarn to my yarn store's yarn swap just last week?  Of course I did!  And it was bright red and just...ugh.  Ugh. 

    But! I've been noticing myself gravitating toward dark blues lately, and a navy blue bag is going to be fun to carry around once my daughter is tired of this.  Because I'm making this for my little girl.  She saw a picture of this when I was looking through some of my patterns and asked if I would make the purse for her. 

     

    And why not? Clutches are full-size bag for little girls, and this is a great little project.  I've made one half of the bag and I'm making good progress on the second piece.  I'm really looking forward to making some little flowers to add.  I think I'll use different colors for three or four of these cheerful-looking embellishments, and I'm really liking the idea of using this as a little needle bag.  I could line the inside to hold my crafting bits and bobs, or I could use it to hold small crochet projects.

    Let me tell you some nuts-and-bolts things before I forget.  The finished product is supposed to measure 11" X 7" and I'm using an H hook, which is the recommended size.  Working with two skeins of yarn is never as terrible and messy as I fear it will be.  The pattern calls for an E hook to make the little flowers that embellish the clutch.

    The handle is made by chaining and then going on about your business a few stitches later like nothing happened.  Obviously the pattern's instructions are more detailed, but I just wanted to throw it out there in case you were curious.   And also, in case you're really curious, I want to add that there is no need to have these big ol' sewing scissors out.  My work was just curling up a lot, as dense single crochet stitches tend to do.  I just needed something heavy to make my pieces lay flat for picture-taking purposes.  Once this is seamed together and stuffed with toys, I'm sure it will be fine.

    As quickly as this is crocheting up, I'm sure I'll find out very soon!

  • Crocheting the Hybrid Scarf with Lightweight Yarn

    I've started crocheting the Hybrid Scarf pattern from The Cuffed Shawl and More, and I've changed a few things since last time.  For starters, I'm using sock yarn!

    I discovered that I have three skeins of some Patons Kroy Socks in Flax, and I don't know what else to do with it.  I distinctly remember having some kind of plan when I bought it (no, not socks), but I can't remember that plan for the life of me.  So now it's going to be a scarf and I think it's already awesome. The pattern calls for for about 450 yards of worsted or aran weight yarn and a K crochet hook.  There are eight rows worked in double crochet stitches and some type of gloriously gradient yarn.  The book model is made with Red Heart Boutique Treasure, and I used Lion Brand Amazing.  They're both fantastic yarns. 

    But I had wondered about this scarf with a lighter yarn, and I think a solid color will work nicely.  I jumped down to an E hook, though an F hook would probably look nice and extra airy. The stitches fit together fairly snugly, but this isn't stiff.  I'm not sure how many rows I'll need to crochet until this looks long enough (wide enough? I guess it depends on how you're wearing it), but I'll probably just crochet until I run out of yarn.  That may or may not be my life motto anyway.

     

    Since this is for me, I'm going to skip the scalloped edging again.  I love the points where the increase stitches are worked, and I think leaving them uncovered will make this look more shawl-like. 

     

    This may sound odd, but I'm hoping this looks like bat wings when it's all spread out.  I just think bat wings would look nice for an autumnal shawl-scarf hybrid, even if I probably will wear this bunched up like a scarf most of the time.  I still think it's going to be lovely, and I'm going to keep thinking as I work my way through this project.

  • Let's Crochet Some More Baby Blankets!

    I'm working on the Flower Border blanket from Baby Afghans!  I think when one is a bit stalled on a baby blanket, it's a good time to start another blanket!  Or something. 

    I just really wanted to work on this blanket.  I had never thought about it until someone from my knitting group was flipping though the pattern book and said she didn't really care for this pattern.  Or maybe she wasn't super enthused about the border.  Either way, I suddenly thought this was a great pattern and I had to make it.  Sometimes it's just that simple.  So now I'm getting started! 

    The body of the blanket is crocheted with single crochet and double crochet stitches.  It's a lovely way to make this textured and interesting.  The border is squares sewn into strips that I'll stitch on later.  I think about the border a lot while I'm working on the body.

    I'm not sure yet about the colors I'll use.  Do I want to crochet brown squares with orange, yellow, or green centers?  Orange squares with brown, yellow, or green centers?  

    Or I might make blue squares with brown, orange, or green centers.  Or something.

    The more I look at these pictures, the more I think I might not use brown at all.  I'm making this for a friend of a friend and the color scheme of the nursery decor is brown with oranges and purples and greens.  So I need four colors that go well together, and with purple.  I'm certain I have the colors in my stash, but I'm not sure which ones I want to use.  That's okay, though.

    I have at least fifteen more inches to crochet on this before I have to decide.  That should give me plenty of time to think!

  • A Very Berry Hat

    I'm knitting a hat!  It just seemed like the thing to do in the summer.  There's no rush for warm accessories this time of year.  The hat from the Red Berries Set in Snow Day Sets to Knit is knitting up rather quickly, though!

    I'm using the recommended #6 and #8 needles and some worsted weight partial skeins I had left over from making a few hats for Christmas presents.

     

    My yarn was nearly the same as the yarn used to make the Berry Set, so I thought I should definitely try out this hat!

    The 'berries' aren't showing up as starkly as I'd hoped though.

     

    I'm not sure what the problem is, but I'm hoping the little bit of texture will still be a fun break in the ribbed monotony when this is all finished up.  I went ahead and left off the little bit of blue in the brim because it felt too fiddly, and I'm not sure if I'll knit the blue stripe at the crown.  I think this hat would look nice in all knitted up in red until the big bit of blue at the top.  But the more I think about it, the more I realize that I might have to make that blue stripe at the top several rows tall--I'm not sure how much longer my red yarn will last!

    Oh, and another note about the 'berry' portion of the hat: ouch. There's a lot of knitting into a stitch a few times and then knitting three stitches together.  Over and over again.  My hand hurts.  I just wanted you to know that in case you were going to try this out.  It might hurt your hand.  It might not if you relaxed a bit, though.  Or so I keep telling myself.  
    But it's okay.  I can take a break from this to rest my hand or work on something else.  Our snow days are quite a ways off.  I'm glad I got a start on this, though!  I'm looking forward to seeing this in all its completed glory, and I'm looking forward to wearing it!
  • Crocheting a Rough Draft with the Granny Stripe Blanket

     
     

    Another day, another work-in-progress!  I'm working on the Granny Stripe pattern from Baby Afghans

     

    One of my friends from college is expecting her first baby this fall and I wanted to make her this blanket.  I love rainbow-type color combinations and I thought the dark brown would make this look extra warm and cheerful right as the weather will start to get chilly.  I realized early into the project that I wanted to go up a hook size.  Or two.  My gauge was fine with an H hook, but the end result feels a little too bunchy and stiff. 

     

    But I kept going.  I wanted to see if this would stretch a bit as it grew heavier.  And I wanted to try out this pattern so that I could make this little afghan as beautifully as as I can for my friend and her baby.  One of the reasons I like to make a pattern repeatedly is because it always makes me a little sad and confused when I finally get the hang of something and then I have to go onto the next thing.  I just got good at it!  Why not try it again to make something better?! 

    It's not going to get better than these colors, though. I just want to put that out there.

    When my friend and I were just a few weeks into college, we started giving each other our papers to review if we (fine, I) had them finished a day or two before a deadline.  We would check each others work and offer feedback.  This time around, I'm really taken with the idea of mailing her a blanket that's been fully planned, well-composed, and carefully crafted.  I think I ripped off a syllabus section about essay answers in quizzes.  I've been reminiscing a lot about our time together in school and my memory takes me on some strange detours sometimes.  Anyway, my point is that I don't mind that this blanket isn't The Blanket. 

    I've been thinking about the color arrangement and I do believe I'm going to follow the instructions and repeat the color repeats twice instead of mirroring them like I'm doing with this one.   I'll figure out how to weave in these ends discretely. 

     

    And, of course, I'll make this larger. I don't know what I'll do with this rough draft of a baby afghan.  But I have one more row of the border to crochet and then the real work of making the next version will begin.  I'm really looking forward to it.

  • Begining to Crochet the Lace Clutch from Totes & Bags

    I'm crocheting the Lace Clutch pattern from Totes & Bags. I love it!

    Ordinarily, some muscle behind my right eye begins twitching whenever I see a pattern call for working with two strands of yarn held together (there are plenty of yarns in any weight you could ever need!  Come on!), but this looked so cute!

    And I like the idea of a small summery clutch that will hold keys and a wallet for quick trips out. Plus, I had just the lightweight yarn just for this project!

    I received four skeins Louisa Harding Lanthe for my birthday a few months ago and was saving them for just the right project. The yarn is half cotton and half extra fine merino, and light and oddly stretchy.  This makes it surprisingly easy to crochet these fairly tight single crochet stitches.  The pattern calls for approximately 300 yards, and I have 400.  I'm all set!  This is a perfect project for the perfect yarn.

    This also feels like a perfect project for summer.  You know one when you see it.  Bags and purses are perfect summer projects because they don't take up too much space on your lap and make your legs hot.  They're usually fairly small and quick as well, which is perfect for when it's too hot to concentrate.  Plus, wit all the extra time you (I) spend outside, it's always nice to have something new to carry your things.  This is also a fairly simple little project.

     

    The bag's body is made up of single crochet stitches worked flat.  The flap will be a fun change of pace when I switch to some lovely double crochet shells.  I'm note sure if I'll line this.  On one hand, I think I have some cute fabric to go with this yarn.  On the other hand, I think the crocheted fabric will be dense enough on its own for the bag to hold its shape--and my stuff!

    This is already turn out to be a great little summer project, and I can't wait for it to turn into a great summer bag!

  • I Can't Believe I'm Knitting Toddler Mittens!

     
     

    I'm making some mittens!  Tiny, toddler-sized mittens!  The Basic Mittens pattern from I Can't Believe I'm Knitting Mittens is helping me create some adorable little mittens for my three-year-old.

    They're lovely.  I'm using #5 needles and some Manos del Uruguay Wool Classica that I have left from when I knitted mine.  We're going to match this winter!  I can't wait!

    Mine.
    Hers.

    I first learned to make mittens this winter from the 36-stitch Mitten Pattern from Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmermann .  I really like the method of working the thumb holes by knitting a few stitches onto waste yarn, and then unraveling it later to pick up the free stitches.  So that's what I'm going to do with these mittens. 

     

    However, the instructions in I Can't Believe I'm Knitting Mittens! suggest a pretty interesting construction that involves a little bit of moving stitches around and casting on some new ones that I would try if I was more adventurous.  But since I just figured out how to knit mittens a short while ago, I'm sticking with what I know because I want these to be nice.

    Working with the four needles is going along just fine, and things only feel too 'slippery' when I'm on the last few rows.  There's an excellent tutorial here about working with double pointed needles, and I thought it was a nice refresher course to watch before I got started.

     

    I'm working on my second mitt now, and I'll save the thumbs for last.  I know that cold weather is a long ways off, but I'm excited about finishing these little mittens quickly.  I want to be ready and I want to see these on my little girl's hands!

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