Absolutely delectable!

I started following Tinks and Frogs blog not too long ago – I stumbled across it maybe 6 weeks ago – and have really enjoyed watching her spin and show off her work. Oh, and her adorable little girl! (Although, I’m quite jealous of how much her daughter gets to snuggle with her hand spun yarns….)

About 2 weeks ago, she had a giveaway when asking for some advice on her patterns and I posted my thoughts. And I won! I was quite excited to get my free hand spun yarn, but wasn’t actually expecting much. I mean, I was in love with the color, but didn’t know what to expect in terms of softness and feel.

WOW! I was BLOWN AWAY when I opened my package with its sweet little note! It is not only spectacular in color (the loveliest dark gold that is almost magical), but the softness – oh my!  (My daughters have both decided that I need to make a stuffed animal that the whole family can share and snuggle with.) It is just delicious! And how perfectly it’s spun? Just WOW is all I have to say about that!!

So I got a shot of it. And I added the ability for you to feel how soft it is – really. Just touch your screen!

yummy

YUMMY!

Seriously, though, if she ever decides to sell her yarn, I’ll be the first in line to buy lots and lots! (Or maybe she does and I’m just missing a link – I’ll update if I am.) And then I’ll fill up my tub and soak in it. That deliciously soft – I swear!

I’m still in a quandary as to what to make, but I’m leaning toward a cowl. It’s chilly here in the winter and a soft, squishy cowl in this would be so stunning…. But how gorgeous would it be? Don’t worry, I’ll post a photo when I work something up! (Hmmm, can I do both knitting in crochet for a cowl? I’ll have to figure that one out!)

Thanks again, Rue! You do such lovely spinning!

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Filed under crochet, hand spun, knitting, yarn

Finding new rhythms

The last month or so has been interesting. After being sick for so long, the end of school coming around and all that goes with that, photography business picking up again, I’m having a tough time finding a new rhythm in my life right now that includes this blog and a few other things I enjoy. No, don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining in the least. My life is wonderful, but getting the balance right can be challenging.

And now that I’m doing both knitting and crochet and not so focused on one or the other, I find that I like the rhythm of going back and forth between the two to change things up. This post will show that….

First, the teacher gift. The blue scarf I started just didn’t turn out well. It was a good idea with a poor execution. My chains just didn’t match between the beginning and the end. Toward the end, it was tight, even and pretty. The first few rows were uneven and ugly. And blocking didn’t help. But it was a learning experience!!

So I did a little switcheroo. I started another scarf about the middle of that and intended it for Sammie’s teacher. But after working, I realized I had something else that Sammie LOVED for her teacher so I gave Ellie’s teacher the second scarf. Frankly, I fell in love with it and the yarn…. It’s Classic Elite Yarns – their Alpaca Sox. Such amazing colors!!

colors

I fell in love with the colors in this! I bet it would be gorgeous as socks!

mess ups

I have to admit *shhhh* I messed up on this scarf twice before I noticed I'd decreased two squares! So I just went with it and kept it up. I liked the end result of an asymmetrical scarf! You?

 

The gift for Sammie’s teacher is this little bag. I have several – one I use for knitting and crochet on the go, another for toiletries, another small one for the girls when traveling. I just LOVE it!! Sammie picked this as her teacher gift. These are easy to make and don’t take that long if you can sew a straight line. I hope to make some more as “just in case” gifts this summer.

butterflies

I love the surprise of butterflies inside it! Mine is blue with bright orange stripes inside. I love it!

 

toiletries

This one is a great size for a few random toiletries and it hangs on the door! My mom taught me how to make it and I love it!

 

Socks. Washed and finished pink ones, halfway done second blue one. And I consolidated it to one picture just so you can skip past it faster. LOL!

socks

I think I need a new pattern for the next one! Must switch things up....

 

And finally, I finished my friend’s hat a week or two ago! I’m hoping to get it in the mail on Monday and I truly hope she loves it! I also realized, after measuring my head, that her head is petite compared to mine! LOL! But I know it’ll still be fab on her.

She requested a black hat with black flowers and I added on the buttons to change it up a bit. Each button has a different colored back button – and it’s easy to make more. One is black , as she requested, but I love the pop of hot pink! And she can take them off and switch them up as much as she’d like. Still love this pattern!

hat

Isn't that pink center on that black flower FAB? (The pink is better in person. Black is hard to shoot!)

flowers

And the flowers can be done together or separately. Even put two on there in different spots! Fun....

little one

Just the little black flower....

 

Since I won’t have the girls in things much this summer, I suspect I’ll be a little slow at the blog. I’m going to try to get past my mental block on posting iPhone crochet/knitting/crafting photos so I can be a little more prolific. But being a photographer, they have to be decent photos so we’ll see how it goes!

But I know this summer will be about finding new rhythms. And I know it’ll be good no matter what.

 

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Filed under beret, crochet, Ellie, flowers, hat, knitting, photography, Sammie, scarf, Sewing, sock - knit

Reclaiming, knitting and crocheting – a little bit of everything!

But honestly, I’ve mainly been purging. I admit it – I like to save things.

“These cute little scraps of paper would be so cute in a project!”

Said 4 years ago. At least.

TRASH

“I love this shirt!”

Not worn in 2.5 years because it’s a titch to small.

DONATION!

“Maybe I’ll use this purse again!”

Nope. 5 years later, it needs to GO!

EBAY PILE!

So I’ve done some playing in the evenings, but mainly I’ve been focused on cleaning things out. And WOW, has it been cathartic!

What have I done in the last 2 weeks? Well, I found a cute scarf that was hardly worn because it was too scratchy and I unraveled it!

rolling it up

Here is the first of 4 balls of yarn! I really LOVE green and LOVE this color!

soaking

Soaking the yarn

stretch

I believe cast iron is the professional way to do this...

I also finished Ellie’s sock. And decided that maybe I would make a second sock for Sammie!

socks

Can you see that the two pink socks are different colors? They were different dye lots. At least they're socks and not mittens! Or a scarf! Yikes!

And I started on a teacher gift….

scarf

Yup! Crochet! It's chains connected with SC. Simple except for needing to focus on counting between each SC.

scarf 2

I'm still not convinced this will work. But I'll wait until I block to make the final determination! Only 8 or 10 more rows to go!

I actually did have a fingerless mitten I was making from the pink sock yarn on some slightly larger needles, but I got such bad laddering between the needles that I pulled it out. Now I need to figure out why. I suspect that it’s because I’m knitting too tight. I pull tight between the needles, but I continue on knitting too tight. I’ll play around! Or I’ll just rib. LOL!

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Filed under crochet, fingerless mitten - knit, knitting, photography, scarf, sock - knit

“Hey, mommy, you forgot to take a picture of me wearing my sock!”

“Oh, Sammie! I’m sorry! Let’s do that now.”

I took way too many pictures – she was so excited. I love that! And I should get the next ball of yarn today. Yay!

point

Cute, eh? And this color is much closer than the other posts... I need to work on that a little more - you would think a professional photographer would be better at making the color look right!

the heel

That heel is so cool!

kitchener stitch

Someone needs to learn how to do the kitchener stitch better....

cutie

Cutie in her sock

Okay! Enough of the sock, already! I swear that when I do the next one, you won’t get this many photos. But honestly, there were parts of the sock I couldn’t see that well and would have appreciated seeing a done sock to understand what was happening….

On to the next sock – just one shot, I swear!

yarn

This is the sock for Ellie. it's also Aslan Trends in the Ocean Worlds colorway. So pretty! I think I'll add a little crochet edging to see what happens.

And finally, a little mini project that is my first fitted shaped garment! Granted, it’s for an 18″ doll, but I think it’ll be a good one to try out… You can see several mistakes in it and since it’s for a doll, I don’t care. I increased wrong on the 5th row and there is some weird issue in the middle right of the garment. I think I may have done a decrease there to make up for a row I missed a decrease in. They both show me that if I make a mistake like those, I need to rip and redo it as they would drive me crazy in a real garment!

sweater

This cute little sleeveless hoodie is from Creative Knitting - Child's Play and I love it!

A note on the yarn color… I bought a bunch of yarn for a project that I ended up abandoning. And I’m NOT a big fan of this color and am trying to figure out what to do with it! Neither of my girls like it so much… It’s not a bad color, I’m just not excited about it… But I love the yarn itself! It’s Cascade and it’s SO freakin’ soft! I love the feel of it and would like to buy more in colors I would enjoy more!

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Filed under American Girl doll, knitting, photography, Sammie, sock - knit, sweater - 18" doll - knit

And here’s my GOOD sock in the works!

I admit that I’ve actually finished this sock, but my model isn’t hope from school so pictures will have to wait.

But I LOVE it! The fit is wonderful and the yarn is gorgeous! Sammie is complaining that it’s slightly scratchy, but she seems to be super sensitive to that stuff. But after wearing it for a little while this morning, she claims that she needs another one now! I’ll take that as a good thing….

almost done

I think I was about 3/4" from starting the decreases here.... Frankly, I was floored at how well this sock turned out!

heel

Isn't that a good looking heel?

gusset

And the magical gusset.... I admit that I messed around and that the two sides are actually different. LOL! Whoops! (One was SSK and the other K2 together and they shoulda been the same.)

Is it wrong to be this pleased with myself?

I ordered yarn that should be here by Friday so I can start on sock #2… I have enough left of this skein to do something small with, but I’m hesitant to do anything – I don’t want to get 90% done and find out I need another skein! And I’m waiting on the new yarn just in case the dye lots are slightly different – that way if they’re on 2 different feet, it won’t be as big of a deal.

Have you been knitting socks? Do you enjoy them this much? I like how relatively quick they are, still challenging and very useful! Wonderful qualities!!

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Filed under knitting, photography, sock - knit

My crochet is lagging and it’s all knitting’s fault!

I think I’m so excited about knitting because I’m finally GETTING it! Seriously understanding how to do it, doing it relatively fast and doing a decent job at it! And frankly, I can’t wait to finish a few projects and I really want to figure out how to bring what I’m learning with knitting into crochet somehow. Not sure how – maybe they’ll just both be done in the same project or maybe it’s techniques… But I’ll figure something out!

Anyway, I’ve been working on another Hot Cross Slouch Beret as a thank you for a friend and frankly, it’s taking me too long… I’m just going slow because I want to knit and not crochet! LOL! But I force myself every few days and then I remember why I love crochet so much. It’s just so effortless, so lacy and pretty and I don’t have to worry about breaking needles. LOL!

hat

I just LOVE this pattern! I wear the two hats I've made for myself a LOT!

simple

It's deceptively simple! I love this pattern...

I’m considering adding another row. It calls for 7 X rows before decreasing. But my friend has a big head. As big as MINE, which is a big shocking. LOL! So I think , since I really wish my hats were slightly longer, I’m going to add another full X row and then do the decrease. I figure I can always pull it out if I need to!

Next I need to figure out a cool BIG flower to go on it! And I would post what I’m thinking of doing, but I suspect she’ll read this! So you’ll have to wait….

My goal? To finish it this week… Wish me luck – or should it be focus that I ask for? :)

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Filed under beret, Crafts, crochet, flowers, hat, photography

There are good socks and bad socks and I’m getting to know both

First, the bad socks…. crocheted. Okay, so I’ve only made one. And I LOVED the pattern. But the yarn was *meh* at best. And it was NOT stretchy at all… Sammie’s assessment after putting them on – “They itch and they don’t stretch and they are too big.” *sigh*

sock

They are super cute, aren't they? This is the same pattern I was using for my other (now frogged) sock.

But I think it’s just the nature of the best – crochet is just not very stretchy compared to knitting. And that’s what has got me VERY intrigued with knitting!

In the last 3 weeks, I’ve gone from knitting poorly to knitting okay using the American way. To knitting poorly trying to make my wrist feel better using the Continental method. To actually knitting pretty well for a beginner!

So I decided that tackling a sock was going to work! I pulled out the #2 needles and just about fainted. But went on…. Then I stitched up a little sample in the pretty pink yarn I wanted to make a sock with and measured it out – perfect! And I fell in LOVE with the resulting fabric and went to town on the socks!

knit sock

Okay, went to town is an exaggeration. It took me at LEAST 5 days to get to this spot! Yikes! I was worried that it would take a month to finish!

problem

There are definitely some problems in the fabric that I don't understand! With crochet, I can tell what is up. With knitting, I have no clue! (I'd love an feedback on what this hole is caused by. Twisting?)

I even had my first needle catastrophe.

needle

Bamboo is very breakable. Luckily I only need 4 and I had 5.

And when I got frustrated at how FREAKIN’ long it was taking me to knit up that sock, I pulled out some #7 needles and some worsted weight (or heavier? Not sure.) yarn and whipped these out in about 5 days. (They could be done in a day if I had more knitting time. They were surprisingly easy, despite several learning curve issues.)

fingerless

I'm SUPER happy with how these turned out! The first one had a few minor issues - didn't bind the thumb properly, as you can see, and a hold where the thumb/hand met, which I fixed in the second one. They are actually both done now!

bindoff

I found a wonderful super stretchy bindoff and actually really like how it looks, too! (LIke my manicure - my 6 year old did it!)

The gloves are a little large for me and I have big hands…. But I have the perfect person to give them to!

Back to the socks…. I can’t believe how much FUN I’m having knitting a sock! I’m actually about 80% done! And I’ve been bad about taking photos, but the heel is turned and the gusset is done and the sock is ADORABLE and I can’t WAIT to do another one!! Yay!

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Filed under fingerless mitten - knit, knitting, photography, sock - knit, swatching

Meditative Monday: Yay!

inaguration

celebration

I was fortunate enough to be able to go to the inauguration 2+ years ago and shot this photo during the ceremony. I thought it made sense for today. To paraphrase something I heard late last night, I won’t celebrate death, but I am glad this is over.

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Filed under inaguration, meditative monday, photography, usa

Uh, oh! I may be in trouble… I think I have a new obsession.

Well, I ordered a huge load of DPNs (double pointed needles). They didn’t cost much and I’m sort of intrigued by socks…. (I’ll post my foray into crochet socks when I get a chance. Busy weekend – hubby is away on business and Sammie’s party is this weekend and Ellie is sick again so it may not be until next week.) And, while I’ve found some sock patterns that call for two needles, I don’t really relish the idea of sewing up the sides – I like the thought of knitting in the round. But I’m getting ahead of myself….

I checked out a book at the library – The Yarn Girls’ Guide to Simple Knits – and found it most helpful! The illustrations are clear, the explanations are easy to understand and their patterns are nice and simple. It’s a perfect beginners book! But I have to say, after doing some basic things, I’m ready for something more challenging and all their patterns are very simple.

I found a cute and simple hat pattern in it so I decided to downscale it and try it out for giggles and grins. Thinking I was making a small baby sized hat, I ended up with bug sized hats. Not real bugs, just my girls’ stuffed bugs. LOL! I’m seeing that it’s hard for me gauge knitting.

But I just LOVED how the little hats turned out!

lucky

This is Lucky, Sammie's third buggy that looks like this. He wanted a hat so I gave him the first one. It's knitted on two needles and the seam is sewn up. Simple and easy on a small hat like this!

goofy

This is Buggy. He... I mean she has been around for a long time - since Ellie was 2 and she stole Buggy from Sammie (who was 4 months old). Ellie loves to wear goofy hats. So of course, I fixed up Buggy's hat to be a little goofy! (Those are supposed to be antenna since Buggy's fell off years ago.)

spiral

I just love how clean knitting looks - and how this spirals up. Sure, most knitted hats do that, but I still love that mine actually turned out well! LOL!

After two buggy hats, I thought I was ready to tackle and adult hat! So I set to work and cast on the appropriate stitches on the proper needles….

adult

Adult hat in the beginning

Unfortunately, my little design embellishments turned into some horrible ideas. I did the decrease and then an increase (YO) to spiral it up with little holes – pretty cute where I actually did it right – and then I decided to add some crochet. Not a good idea. The hat is also WAY too small for an adult! Even Sammie looks a little odd wearing it. Looks like some serious swatching is in my future for knitting projects! LOL! I definitely need to understand gauge better.

On a happier note, since this failed adventure (actually, I’m happy overall even though it’s not that wearable), I’ve taught myself how to knit Continental style. I was having pain while I was knitting American style (remember “Love, American Style”? LOL! Sorry – that song just went through my head). I may have been doing it wrong, but it felt like it was too much movement regardless. Now that I’m knitting Continental style, my wrists are MUCH happier and I feel like I’m started to knit looser, too. I think my gauge has been way too tight – like for that hat.

Next on the list – trying out some kids socks! That little pattern seems to be SUPER easy to follow and very well written out. And since they are kids socks, hopefully they’ll be more forgiving. I’m off to do some swatching!

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Filed under Crafts, hat, knitting, photography, swatching

Oh, my word! Is it rude to keep the gift you just made someone?

Or another title I was considering:

Holy crap! Blocking is a total pain in the butt!

Heh.

So, after the illness, a short stint with my hubby in town (man, I miss him!) and getting back into the swing of things, I finally found time to block the scarf I made for my MIL. I have to admit, it took me two different times to get cracking and do it. Mainly because I don’t have anything good to pin to. I tried my bed – nope. So I’ve been doing it on the floor and pinning to the rug – which is HARD! So I need to figure that out. And I decided to try the spray method instead of soaking since it was such a thick yarn. I didn’t think I’d like it, but it actually worked out well for this yarn!

Before blocking, I liked the scarf. But it didn’t look quite like I was picturing. I like it, not loved it.

before blocking

You can see how tight it looks before blocking. Love this stitch, but hoped it would open a bit.

main body

And you can see how thick and tight the main body of the scarf looks...

But then I pinned it out and it started looking more like I expected. Unfortunately, my pinned photos didn’t come out well. But this is the scarf just a while after unpinning…. I wasn’t sure that it would retain its shape, but it did!

after blocking

It opened AND it kept its shape!

But the most exciting thing? I LOVED how the main body opened up! It was what I wanted!

open

I think I'm in love! What do you think?

hanging

The drape on it is very nice! I would LOVE to redo this in a slightly thinner, lighter yarn to see what it's like!

Overall, I’m really excited with how it turned out! I’m actually thinking I might write up the pattern so I can learn how to do that. There are a few minor changes I’ll make to it, but I’m happy! It’s my first design….

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Filed under Crafts, crochet, photography, scarf