Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Crochet Summer

After I finished my granny square scarf, I jumped right into another crochet project: a baby blanket.  I dipped into my stash of acrylic yarn, babies needing things to to washable, and I used this free pattern. 

This blanket has used up lots of yarn and being that it uses a double crochet stitch throughout, it makes up very fast.  I'd be done by now, but I ripped out several rows because I hadn't planned properly for the color changes between the three shades of yellow.  I should be done soon, I'm going to repeat the three color section that I started with, and it'll be a nice size, about 35 x 42 inches.

I can see myself continuing to make a few more of these.  I'll have to see what's left in the box of acrylics.

Crocheting this blanket reminded me of some other zig zag afghan projects I've made.  Both were made with a single crochet stitch pattern, so they're not exactly the same as the one I'm making now.  The first one is a baby blanket I made for my kids.

This one I made for my son Alex many years ago.  You have to love these acrylic blankets, they hold up so well over time, and this pattern reminds me of a Missoni print.

On another note, I received this St. Francis pin, which I bought from Angela May, as a memento of finishing my St Francis quilt and showing it a Sacred Threads.  The collage image caught my eye when I first saw it, and I'm enjoying wearing it.  She has beautiful things in her Etsy shop.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Granny Square Scarf

This project turned out better than I'd hoped it would.

There was always the possibility that it would look garish instead of quirky and cool.

The key I think was to use natural fibers and fingering weight yarns.  The scarf drapes nicely and is lightweight and warm.

Starting with the fairly coordinated set of weaving yarn samples also gave the project cohesiveness.

This one's a winner.  I will wear this a lot.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Embellished Jean Jacket

When we met up in DC, Debra brought me one of her machine-embroidered Virgin of Guadalupes stitched on canvas.  She suggested I might want to add it to a jean jacket.

She said that if I stitched it down and left a margin of frayed edges, it would be machine washable.

She said I could embellish it with buttons.

Isn't it great when your friends share their good ideas?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Back From Sacred Threads

I had a great time on my trip to see the Sacred Threads show, and tour the DC area with Debra.  I should have taken more pictures, but Debra's blog entry gives some more detailed highlights of our trip. Here I am in front of my entry, "St. Francis Preaches to the Birds." 

The show is very impressive, and it is an honor to be included. The show organizers arranged for a reception and dinner where we got to meet and chat with many of the other artists.

Debra and I battled the heat to see some of the museums and monuments in DC.

This is the Vietnam Women's Memorial.

I found this detail of the boots to be especially moving.

We hiked in the heat to the Lincoln Memorial. 

At the Smithsonian American History Museum, they have a truly impressive doll house.  It's meant to represent a spacious house for four adults and ten children.

In the food exhibit, they have my crock pot on display.  Debra says she has the same one in burnt orange.  Who knew we have important artifacts sitting in our kitchens?

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Making a Rag Rug from Old Sheets

I've been wanting a BIG cotton rug for my kitchen.  Something to catch the splashes that happen between the sink and the dishwasher. 

I had a pile of old sheets--stuff truly beyond use.  When my daughter lived at home she had a pet rat, Millie, and used to fall asleep with her in the bed.  Millie was very tame and loved these pajama parties, but she also liked to chew holes in the sheets.

I cut the sheets into one inch continuous strips like this.  Winding the strips into balls made them easier to handle.  I cast on 52 stitches with a size P crochet hook and did a simple double crochet until I got to the size I wanted.

I would have made it bigger, but I was afraid of making it too big for my washing machine.

This is how much was left over.  This project ate up some serious yardage.

On the Guernsey Shawl front, I'm on Chart B.  This has turned out to be my morning knitting: it requires me to pay attention, and to see what I'm doing clearly.  I watch an episode of Breaking Bad on Netflix in the morning, and knit a few rows.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

One More Row

The granny square box is almost full.

When I lay out the scarf, I see that I need one or two more rows to approximate the 72-75 inches I'm going for.  I'm seriously running short of yarn at this point, and will dip into some untapped stash for more colors.

I sewed one row together and wet blocked it to see how much it would grow, and the growth was negligible: 1/4"- 1/2" in length and width.  So it's at least one more row, and probably a border as well.

Because I get the itch to start something new right about the time I start to see the end of a project, I knitted up some swatches for the Guernsey Triangle.  Yarn and needle choice are very important to maximize the texture in the stitch pattern.

My first sample was knit with some plain wool sock yarn in the recommended size 4 needle.  In the middle of the swatch I switched to size 3, and the top was knit in size 2.  If I were to use this yarn, I might even knit it on a #1 (though I would need more yarn) to get good stitch definition.  The photo makes the texture look better than it does in real life.

I got much better results with a ball of Plymouth Happy Feet, also a wool and nylon sock yarn.  You can see on the yarn tails that this yarn has a hard twist, so the stitch definition is superior.  Problem: I only have one ball, so I decided to see what else I could test.

I have 1800 yards of recycled cashmere from a sweater I unraveled.  The weight is a light fingering or heavy lace weight, so I put two strands together.

The stitch definition is very good, and it's squishy as all get out.  I'm going to use this yarn.

Test out a lot of yarns if you tackle this pattern, and maybe try a sport or dk weight or a smaller needle to get good stitch definition.  Making these adjustments will require more yardage than the pattern specifies.

Sweater Genesis

  A few years ago I learned to harvest yarn from old wool sweaters.  I don't do it so much anymore, with the exception of if I find...