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  • Crocheting a Chullo. Still. Or am I?


    I'm still crocheting the Modern Chullo pattern from Hats & Scarves.  Maybe a more truthful thing to say is "I haven't unraveled my project for the Modern Chullo pattern lately because I'm letting it rest."

    It's not the hat.  It's me.  

    Well, let's back up. 

    A couple of weeks ago, I was working on the Modern Chullo pattern and all was well.  The increases were great, the gauge was good, and my colors looked fantastic.

    Carrying my yarn in the back for whole rows was going fine and I really liked how this was going. Until I didn't.

    You see these yarns?

    The black yarn is your run-of-the-mill, regular ol' Red Heart worsted weight yarn.  So is the gray yarn.  The blue yarn is some little scraps of what I am guessing is Lion Bran Wool-Ease that I found in a bag of destashed yarn from a friend.  It's all Category 4, worsted weight yarn and I was just using a little bit of the blue.  I figured it wouldn't be that big of a difference and the stripey portion should be fine, right?

    WRONG.  Of course.

    I didn't think to take a picture of the wrongness, but the best way I can describe the problem with using the very squishy blue yarn with the much stiffer gray yarn was that it looked like the blue stripes were being eaten by the rest of the hat.  They were inconsequential blips just marring up some crocheted fabric.

    That time, the problem wasn't so much me as it was the yarn I picked out.  You could say that was an error in my judgement, but then I would tune you out and never speak to you again.

    Either way, the end result was truly pitiful and I ripped it all out without documenting my failure.   Well, I ripped back to the first two rows of gray.  And then I used some red Red Heart yarn.  After all, the model in the book looked great with red strips against the gray background and using the very same yarn in different colors should solve all of my problems.  Right?

    WRONG.  Again.

    This time, it was all user error.

    And I have no idea how it happened!  I was watching what I was doing!  I was awake and properly caffeinated, and with fewer distractions than I normally have!  When I was crocheting, the rows looked fine.  I crocheted two rows of gray after the colorwork, and was nearly finished with the whole body of the hat when really stopped to look at this mess.

    It's wrong.  It's spectacularly wrong.

    And here's where I began and ended some rows incorrectly as well.

    Sorry if the craft fail seems gratuitous at this point.  Hide your pets and children.  Tender eyeballs should not gaze upon this monstrosity.  I'm not that fond of looking at it, either. 

    Which is why I have sitting in a hidden timeout.  I think this is an adorable pattern and I really do want this hat for myself.  But I feel a little like I'm going crazy with this project.  I'm trying to figure out if I want to start the whole thing over in just one color, or if I want to try to read a chart and work with color and pay really, really close attention to every stitch and hope that the third time's the charm.

    I think I'm going to let this settle a bit longer while I think on it.  I hope you're much happier with your WIPs this week!

    (And if you're not, then I feel your pain.  I really feel you.  Yikes.)

  • An Easygoing Hat for a Not-So-Easygoing Knitter

    It seemed simple enough.  Knit the Easy-Going pattern from Knit Celebrity Slouchy Beanies for the Family and use up a skein of Vanna's Choice.  I really enjoyed knitting up the Casual Comfort pattern, and I loved how it looked.  A slouchy beanie seemed like a great project and a great accessory, and I had bought the skein of this oatmeal-colored yarn on clearance a few months ago for some kind of project that I apparently never finished.  So last week I cast on stitches for the smallest size and went from there.

    And I went pretty far pretty quickly!  I started with a Size 5 needle for the simple K1P1 ribbing, and moved on to a Size 6 after my increase row.  I was enjoying the simple stockinette, and how lovely the yarn looked all knit into smooth fabric.  The yarn colorway is Linen, by the way.  Everything about this project exuded calmness, serenity, and simplicity.  It was a perfect midwinter's project.

    Until I really looked at my skein.

    The pattern calls for about 220 yards.  Checking the label reviewed the awful truth.  I had roughly 170 yards.

    And another inch before it was time to get started on the decrease rounds.

    Oh.  Time for a stress migraine!

    At first, I started knitting faster so I could see if I could manage to quickly finish the hat before I ran out of yarn.  Then I realized that was ridiculous, but I mention this because I'm sure you've done it too.

    Then I slowed down because maybe I could forestall the terrible end.  Then I realized that was ridiculous, too.

    So I stopped for a while.  I know neon pops of color are pretty.  And I have some nice bright blue that would contrast with this linen-colored yarn.  Maybe I could even throw on a pompom and get all fun and jaunty.  But I wasn't feeling fun and jaunty!  I still wanted something plain and simple, so I wasn't sure what I would do next.

    I let it sit all weekend.  Maybe some of the yarn could grow back.  Maybe letting the project rest would help.  Maybe I could stop grinding my teeth so much.  But maybe not.

    I ran out and bought an insurance skein of Vanna's Choice.  I'm going to get back to this, and I'm going to have lovely, simple, and completely monochrome hat.

    And probably some extra yarn.

  • A Tote to Try Again

    I'm going to make a tote!

    Obviously I should make some more squares.  I'm trying out the Granny Square Market Bag from Totes & Bags.

    I tried to make this pattern once before, but I just wasn't feeling the cotton yarn for these little squares.


    Goodness knows why, because they were adorable.


    For whatever reason, I just haven't tried out this pattern.  But I cleaned up some of my stash this weekend and decided to use up some yarn I actually liked and here we are.


    Little pieces that will become blocks that will become panels that will become part of a bag.  I'm pretty excited about having a bag I made for myself, and I think this is going to look incredibly cheerful.


    I'm using acrylic yarn, mostly Red Heart with some Vanna's Choice and some sort of Michaels knockoff of Red Heart.  Yes, there is a store brand knockoff of Red Heart for when the real thing is just too fancy and pricey and I buy it sometimes.   It's great for larger projects and the scraps are great for projects like this.


    I've already crocheted all of the circles in the middle of the squares, and now I'm mixing up colors.  I'm using dark brown for my main color and I think this is going to be a great traveling toy bag/farmers market tote/storage bin type of bag.  I'm hoping to work on it a little bit more this weekend!  I think the overall look is going to be kind of like a kaleidoscope, and I can't wait to see this as a finished object.

  • Busy Bee

    I'm not sure this is the best use of my time, but now and then, I crochet a block from the Colorful Hexagon pattern in Motif Afghans

    I left off the last row because I originally thought this was going to be a baby blanket.  Why I would need to start a blanket in the middle of a bunch of half-finished projects for my baby nephew who is due any day now and my Christmas list of gift idea projects (which is due....we don't have to talk about it) is beyond me.  But I'm still compelled to make a hexagon sometimes.  Every time, it's a yellow hexagon.

    I made several during a knit night a few weeks ago just because I wanted to.  I'm using Caron's Simply Soft in Sunshine.  I want this whole cheerful thing to look like a honeycomb.  I even want to find a little bee pattern to crochet and stitch onto a corner. 


    I bought a skein of some slightly contrasting yellow yarn to work a single crochet stitch border around each block and then seam this together.  I wonder if one skein is enough, though. 


    I have three skeins of the Caron yarn, and no other plans for it.  I could make a ton of these sweet hexagons!  And I really want to!  I'm also starting to wonder if I should have left off that seventh row to make the blocks smaller. 

    Because I think this might 'bee' for me in the full size. 

  • WIP Wednesday: The Short but Sweet Cowl

    Remember when I told you about the Short but Sweet Cowl from Crochet Cowls last week?  I thought this would be an easy enough project to finish up over the weekend.

    It wasn't.

    I sat down a few nights ago and thought I could finish it up after a few hours of furiously crocheting through my television-watching excitement. 

    I couldn't.

    (But on an unrelated note, is anyone else watching The Good Wife?  Oh my goodness!  Oh wow!  Just wow!  I'm clutching my yarn this season.)

    It turns out reaching a height of 18" can take just a bit longer than I anticipated. 

    This isn't tricky, and I didn't have to rip back a mistake and start over.  This is just taking a little while.  I'm enjoying the simple pattern repeat, and the pretty teal blue of this yarn.

    Not everything can be cranked out in the space of a movie.  In fact, most yarn things take a long, long, long time.  I tend to stick to smaller projects so that I'll have something to write about, but this is a really lovely cowl.  I'm close to the end of this, but it's going to take a little while longer.

    I think I'm okay with this.  The pattern's not as short as I'd expected, but it is sweet.

  • Crocheting the Short But Sweet Cowl

    I've been happily crocheting away on the Short But Sweet cowl from Crochet Cowls.  I just work a few rows every now and then, whenever I get the chance.

    Once you get started, you're just working the same row over and over but it looks like your rows are alternating because you turn your work.  I love how it looks!

    This a medium-to-shortish cowl.  There's not a lot of draping or hanging so if you're not in the mood for a long, swinging cowl, this might be more your style.  This fabric isn't stiff, but it's thick and solid and snuggly.  Here's how the finished product looks in the book:

     It's not ridiculously bulky, but it doesn't look like it would feel too flimsy either.  This is a cowl to look stylish and keep you warm.  Very warm.

    Also?  It's made with bulky weight yarn and a J hook. 

    Please note that this is bulky weight yarn--not super bulky.

    That's some mighty yarn!  I also don't remember what brand it is.  I think it's something discontinued and also a little more teal in real life.  I think it's going to be a lovely and super warm cowl, and I'm enjoying working on this each night before bed.  Which is a good thing because a cold front is coming, and I think I might be working on this with a bit more frequency.

  • Knitting in a Bit More Than a Day for a Baby

    I'm knitting a sweater for my daughter.

    You just have to trust me that this is a picture of that sweater, because it doesn't look like much right now.

    I'm working on the Pattern Stitch Cardigan from Knit in a Day for Baby by Candi Jensen.  She freely admits in her introduction that some of these patterns more along the lines of a weekend project than something you can knock out in a day and I appreciate that.  I haven't had an uninterrupted weekend of knitting since.....well, probably since before I had a baby, but a few weekends ago I did have a pretty good day of knitting when I nearly knit an entire pattern that was also from this book.

    But I can't talk about that pattern until after my sister's many baby showers.  So I'm talking about this little cardigan for my little girl.

    She's growing every day, or at least she's stretching out like Silly Putty.  She's very tall, but very slender.  Well-fitting clothes are a bit rare for us right now, especially now that she thinks she's too big for onesies.  But the lovely thing about making something by hand is all those modifications you can make to a pattern to suit your needs.  So I cast on the number of stitches for an 18 month old, and I'm working the length for a 24 month old.  The pattern has sizes for 6, 12, 18, and 24 months.  My little creature is actually 36 months and I'm starting to worry that I should have cast on the amount of stitches for the 18 month size.

    Seriously, she is very small.  I wrapped this WIP around her the other night just to get a feel of when I should start working on dividing the back and arms and she kept giggling and spinning inside the knitting needles.  She laughed "It's too big!" and I had to remind myself that she'll be wearing this over jeans and a thick shirt.  And that one day she'll grow out.  Maybe. 

    Still, I'd rather make something a tiny bit too large than something she'll outgrow before Christmas.  And this won't be nearly as bulky-in-a-bad-way as some of the sweaters I've started seeing in a store because I've made this a bit trimmer and if I want it to be longer, I can just make it longer.  It's the beauty of making your own things!

    I'm at the point where it's time to divide for the fronts and back.  After that I'll make two sleeves, where I'll once again get to add a few rows for length if I feel like I need to.  The whole sweater is worked in seed stitch, and I love the nubby texture with this light tan (nearly oatmeal) yarn.  Textured tan is in all those fall projects for a reason.  It just looks so good!  I'm using some worsted weight acrylic for easy washing, and I think I want to use brown buttons and orange edging.

    I also think I want to finish this in time for my girl to wear it to the pumpkin patch this weekend.

    I've been knitting this for a couple of weeks in fits and starts and in bits and pieces, but I'm definitely going to be spending a bit more time with it in the next day or two.

    Wish me luck!

    EDIT: In case you were curious, this is what I wrote about this project after the weekend.

  • (re)Trying New Things with a Brand New Knook

    Hey, y'all.  Long time, no Knook.

    But I'm at it again!  I figured my dishcloth compulsion could use a little variety, so I tried out the Mock Cable pattern from Dishcloths Made with the Knook.  As you can tell, I haven't gotten very far but there are nights when I just pass out on the couch and last night was one of them.

    BUT!  I do already know that I like the new Knooks from the Knook Value Pack.  Before losing consciousness at a surprisingly early hour, I tried out the new plastic version of the Knook and I knew I loved it after only 2 or 3 rows.  This is less likely to snag you yarn than the bamboo version, and the value pack has 10 Knooks in sizes from 3.5mm (Size 4 knitting needle or E hook) to 9mm (Size 13 knitting needle or N/M crochet hook), so you can work on projects with anything from baby yarn to super bulky yarn.

    Bulky yarn and a 9mm Knook?  You could take over the world with that kind of speed crafting!  Don't know how to Knook?  Get yourself over to the Leisure Arts website and watch all the video tutorials--for both right-handed and left-handed crafters.

    And as for me?  Well, I had thought that I'd Knooked most of the dishcloths in Dishcloths Made with the Knook but it turns out I've only done about half.  There are dishcloth patterns in my house that I haven't tried out yet and I can try them with a new toy!!!

    Can't talk anymore.  Most go Knook.

  • I Found Out Where Quilt Squares Come From!

    I know where quilt squares come from!  I'm still working on the Jennifer quilt pattern from 3 Times the Charm, Book 2.  The block-making process was going well until my bobbin ran out of thread and I made the very sad discovery that I bookmarked the wrong tutorial for winding a push button bobbin.  But before I ran out of thread, I did sew together enough fabric squares to finally understand what the instructions meant when I was reading about how to make the quilt blocks.

    The quilt is made up by arranging two types of blocks.  It's really that simple.

    First you take a base pattern block and a charm pack block (or a square from your own fabric stash):

    and draw a line diagonally across your base color block.

    Then you sew two lines on either side of your drawn line, at whatever seam allowance is called for in the pattern.

    80 pieces of fabric, just waiting for greatness.

    I took a picture right before I made the cut, and then I just held my breath for a while because I'm not too steady with straight lines and rotary cutters.

     I know, I know.  Why am I making a quilt out of more than just plain squares? I don't know!  I guess because I like pretty fabric!  Plus, why not?  Quilts are cool!

    Now look!  Two squares!

    When you arrange them like this, you get one type of block.

    And when you arrange them like this, you get another!

    My mind is blown by this pretty simple process.  Admittedly, it doesn't take much to impress me but COME ON!  This is pretty impressive. 

    I'm totally excited about doing this dozens more times!  I know I'll be fine, even with the straight lines and the rotary cutter.  Practice makes perfect, and I have a great lung capacity.  If I hold my breath, and maybe set my tongue just right, I'll get a freshly wound bobbin in that machine and I can really get started on this awesome project.

  • Time for Some Housekeeping: A Very Tidy WIP Wednesday

     Happy Wednesday!  What works-in-progress are you crafting right now?  I felt like I had enough to write a whole post about them, so I will.

    First up is my very first attempt at a sock!

    I'm making nearly every mistake possible, so I'm learning a lot! I thought I would have more to say about that, but I like the yarn and I like the needles and I like the instructions in I Can't Believe I'm Knitting Socks.  Sometimes all the right things in a project go, well, right even when there are mistakes and I'm enjoying myself.  I'm very, very, very happy with this venture.

    My search for the perfect summery slouchy beanie continues.  This is my attempt to cottonify the V-Stitch Beanie from Crochet Slouchy Beanies and Headwraps.  The pattern reminds me of a beanie I lost a couple of years ago, and I'm really happy this will make a good replacement.  Fingers crossed!

    Here's my current dishcloth project because I wouldn't know what to do with myself if I wasn't working on one.

    This is Annie's Choice from Knit Dishcloths, and I'm excited to see more of this star-like pattern come out.

    Oh hey, remember this one?

    Yeah, me neither.  This is the Twisted Headwrap from Crochet Slouchy Beanies and Headwraps.  I started it a while ago and made a mistake right before it was time to work the twist.  I really like Lion Brand's Amazing yarn, but it is extremely unpleasant to try to unravel.  So, with warmer weather approaching, I decided to take a break.
    The break turned out to be a bit longer than intended when I completely forgot about this nice little WIP, but now I'm ready to pick it up again and try out something new and twisty!  it's making me wonder what other projects I have languishing in bags somewhere.....
    Oh dear.
    I think I'll try to make a little more progress with these projects before I go searching for any more, though.  That seems wise.


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