Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A baggy Christmas to all

The zeitgeist this year seems to be bags. I made cotton totebags for several of my friends:

And two of them were kind enough to send me bags too. In one day I went from carrying around my works in progress in plastic grocery bags to having an actual choice in crochet bags! So cool.

My friend Mary, who lives in Singapore, sent me this eye-popping, sparkly jewel of a bag. It's built such that it's really one bag inside another, so that there are all sorts of pockety areas, which I love.

And my crazy-talented friend Sheila sent me this bag, which she made with her new sewing machine that does everything but wash the dishes. It's got all kinds of meaningul things sewn into a pocket in the front, behind plastic. And it's got an interior pocket and a solid bottom.

Dude, you could totally sell these and make enough money to buy that land in Honduras you've had your eye on. I'm telling you, you should look into it.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Pre-holiday miscellany

I took a random photo of the ottoman in front of my beloved Big Comfy Chair to document the many projects I always seem to have going on. On the left is the granny square blanket I made earlier this year. It's been keeping me toasty as I work on other projects. Let's see, what else is there...oh yes, the sleeves that I haven't really worn since I finished them. Two skeins of sock yarn. Some cotton for the bags, one of which is in process and the other of which is done. Pins for attaching the bag pocket and paper and pen for keeping track of rows. Oh, and a tape measure for measuring bag handle length.

And here's a not very good photo of what the new weaving project may look like someday if I ever get over my fear of breaking a thread. It'll look just like a peacock's feather!

And believe it or not, this is the beginning of a rug.

Monday, December 03, 2007

My first sock

The directions were not the greatest, I've never even knitted a sock, much less crocheted one, and I was using left over yarn that my sister didn't need, so this is not the prettiest sock in the world, but it's mine.

Even now I'm hard at work on another one ... so far it's going more smoothly.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Echo weave

Here are some pix of a new weaving project that I'm dragging my feet on. The pattern is called "echo weave," and if I can bring myself to work on it, it'll be super cool. The threads (warp) are alternating blue shiny tencel and green matte cotton.

The problem is that the threads are tightly screwed up on the left side, which is causing all kinds of tensioning problems. I may have already broken one thread, and I'm only about two inches into it. So I'm afraid to start again.

I don't have a photo yet of what it looks like woven up, but here's the weft color, and believe it or not, it works. Looks like a peacock.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I can't stop making these bags

I'm now on my fourth. Here are pictures of the second one. I decided that the flap was stupid, so it's an open-top sort of thing. I have so much cotton thread left over from the towels that I'm doubling it and using it for bags. Fun colors!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Reduction tote

I found this cotton tote bag pattern a while ago and only just now got around to making it. At first I thought the pocket on the front was kind of a silly affectation, but then I folded the bag up and into the pocket, and now I think it's pretty cool. It doesn't look as nice as the pattern photos because I'm such a damn tight crocheter, but it does the job. I did sew buttons on the pocket, but there's no way they're making it through that flap. I'm making another one now in some fun colors, and I'll probably just do away with the buttons altogether.

Grocery store, here I come!

Here's the bag filled with a bunch of stuff.

And here's me with it on my shoulder. In the bag is the World's Largest Box of Cereal.

And just for fun, here's a photo of fall color at our cabin in West Virginia weekend before last. Fall has finally made it to the region.

Friday, October 19, 2007

WIP no more

I don't know about other crafts, but in crochet, a WIP is a work in progress. This sweater has been a WIP for oh, about six years now. I started it when I found out my sister was going to have a baby. That baby is now in kindergarten and will turn six in March.

The problem was that the pattern is dreadfully written.

However, once I set my mind to it and sat down and stared at the photo, the thing only took about 6 hours to complete ... including sewing all the pieces together and weaving in all the ends. If I'd only known.

Here are the pieces I'd completed six years ago, all wrinkled from sitting in a bag for all that time.

And here's me striking a pose with the finished item. I put it in the mail this morning!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Woolly goodness

Here's a scarf I wove up back in July. I had bought one huge skein of "Duet" yarn at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival back in May, and it sat there begging to be used. This yarn is so pretty that I wanted a simple structure to show off the colors, so I used plain weave (basically under one thread, over the next). The yarn comes from Brooks Farm in Lancaster, Texas and is kid mohair and fine wool.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Yummy sleeves

My husband's aunt owns an alpaca farm in Virginia, and she gave us some huge cones of alpaca yarn. I found a pattern in the most recent issue of Interweave Crochet for an alpaca shrug (or as I like to call them, "sleeves") which looked too scrumptious to pass up. So I doubled the brown yarn and started crocheting away. I didn't like the striping on the pattern, so I did a few stripes of single crochet directly on top of my previous rows. There's a name for this but I can't remember it.

Hoo boy are these things warm. (Thanks to Sheila for suggestion this use of the alpaca in the first place!)

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

I know, I know

It's been forever since I last posted anything. I've been a bit of a slacker, it's true. But it's possible that a tiny bit of productivity might be heading my way soon.

Meanwhile, here's a little project I did for my niece Ruby, who turned 3 on September 24. It's actually woven, not crocheted, from cord, using two Weavette looms to make four pieces, which are then sewn together. Since it's made from cord I'm hoping it'll hold up to the ravages of the average 3-year-old girl. I got the pattern from a recent Handwoven magazine. The strap is crocheted. Ordinarily I would never make anything quite so lurid, but it was for a 3-year-old, so really you can't go wrong with pink and purple.

I also scored a major coup with what I put inside the purse. Apparently upon seeing what was there, Ruby clutched it to her chest and said, loudly, to her sister (another pink lipstick-loving princess), "This is MINE, Lilly!" Heh.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Girls weekend

Here's a little something I whipped up for a girls weekend at our cabin in West Virginia last weekend. I made one each weekend for three weekends. I liked this particular pattern (which came from this book) because it's nice and girly. Mary, Amy, and Beth: if those little flowers start coming off, it's just because I didn't make the knots tight enough. Just sew 'em back on.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Finished towels

My good friend Sheila came to visit, and she actually knows how to use a sewing machine, so my towels are finally done! As a reward, she got to pick one to take home to Alaska with her. She is under strict instructions to use the damn thing. Don't put it on the wall or something silly like that!

Friday, June 29, 2007

They said it's a sharp learning curve

And they're right. It's amazing how much progress a new spinner can make in only three classes. I think I've spent a grand total of about 7 hours spinning now, and I've made pretty big strides.

Here's my second-to-last skein.

And here's my last skein, made by plying two skeins together. Plying is a wonderful thing. It goes a long way toward evening out all the lumps and bumps. Plus, when you ply a color with white, it looks like a candy cane. I have a sort of half-baked idea to make a big Dr Who scarf showing the progression of the yarn's quality. Still thinking about that.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Black & White

Last weekend I finished a scarf for my friend Raquel's birthday (only 4 months late). It's a deflected double weave, which basically means that as you weave, the black and the white parts are totally separate from each other. In other words, it's magic. It was fraught with peril, this project, and completely unlike anything else I've ever done, but I'm quite pleased with the result. And it looks just like the original!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

First yarn!

So I'm taking a spinning class. My husband's aunt has an alpaca farm, and she gave us on long-term loan all the accoutrements for spinning yarn. I had my first two classes this week, and I can report that I am the suckiest spinner who ever sucked. I was totally frustrated and despondent after the first class. I dreaded going back. But then in the second class, I learned that I'd been going about it all wrong. Turns out you're supposed to pull on the fleece with the front hand, not the back. This made things easier. The white skein is my first attempt. The white and orange is the second.

I think what's most surprising to me is what a fast process it is. There's no time to linger. Lingering leads to deadly kinkage:

Old and new

Here's a little something I threw together over the last couple of weeks. It's basically the first four or five rounds of the tablecloth, but made with a larger hook and a larger wool yarn.
And here's something I did last spring. I call it The Sleeves. It was on the cover of one crochet mag or another. I can't remember anymore. The Sleeves are great if it's hot out but the A/C is blowing right on you. I can't wear them outside though because as you can see, in the middle of the project, the yarn's color changed completely. That is not a shadow. I was not a happy girl.

Thursday, May 31, 2007


I finished the granny blanket.

And I'm making progress on the tablecloth.

I also have a new weaving project on the loom, but it's currently a secret and can't be shared with the masses.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Progress report

The grannies are progressing nicely. I laid them all out last weekend, sort of vaguely hoping that I was close to blanket size, but clearly I have a ways to go.

And in case you were wondering, this is what 21 feet of cotton warp looks like after it's been woven into five kitchen towels. Now all I need to do is cut them apart, sew the edges, cut the fringe, and wash. Yeesh.