Friday, September 28, 2018

warm ears

I had 30-something yards or so leftover from each of the yarns my nieces picked out for their mittens, so I decided to make a matching headband for each of them. 

It took some time to find patterns that matched the weight and yardage I had, but in the end I like the two I found. Each only took a few hours to make and they turned out super cute!

This one is a pretty geometric lace pattern that I thought matched the triangle motif in Samara's dragon themed mittens quite well. I needed a little more yarn than I had so I used a bit of the turquoise from Jasmine's pick. I do like the pop of color at the back!

For Jasmine, I chose a simple cabled band to go along with her mittens which are pretty much cables all over the place. The bulky yarn makes for satisfyingly squishy cables and the stitch definition is awesome. 

For each of these patterns I did this weird made up thing to connect the two ends together. I turned the band inside out, picked up stitches through the cast on row while simultaneously k2tog with the active row which left me with one active row of stitches off of the closed band. Then I just did a traditional bind off of those stitches. This gave me a nice seam on the outside, a sturdy join, and a clean and neat edge for the seam on the inside. I'm sure someone somewhere has done that before, but I was pretty pleased with myself for coming up with it. 

Time to pair these up with their mitten mates and send them off!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

lilac mountain

At the end of last week I found myself browsing around Ravelry's pattern page (again). They have a "what's hot right now" list that changes regularly and I always like to click on some of those patterns and see what's what. This time around there was a cool modern looking cowl that had just been released and the designer had it downloadable for free for the first day. Lucky me! 

I stash dived and found a good yarn pairing with the right amount of yardage and just cast on. I enjoyed the break from the socks I'm working on, and with the pattern being pretty easy to memorize and super fun to see form, this piece was done in no time. I ran out of the background yarn before the last repeat, but it turned out plenty tall enough even so. It's kind of an unconventional color pair, but I quite like the way the lilac works with the brighter colors of the variegated background. The fabric is thick and sturdy and it's gonna be nice and toasty. 

Pattern: 66 Triangles Cowl (my Ravelry page)
Needle: US 5
Yarn: Lion Brand Martha Stewart Extra Soft Wool Blend in 'Lilac' & Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage in 'Rocky Mountain High, Colorado'

Thursday, September 13, 2018

color play

This whole stash cleaning thing really did work! I found myself another set of yarns to get me to fewer leftovers and more experience with color work. This time I'm making myself some socks - real loud, hot pink socks. Hopefully I can use them for riding.

I've been working at the table after breakfast, in bed before sleep, and on the couch while listening to Dave practice his guitar. I just can't put these down! I think it has a lot to do with the flamingo color. So fun. The fair isle pattern at the top also had something to do with it -- once you start a row you want to see the next one until the pattern emerges. I have to admit that watching a lot of Arne and Carlos on YouTube gave me the gumption to try this pattern rather than choosing something simpler. I'm such a visual learner. When I saw them work their beautiful Norwegian patterns, it took away the intimidation factor. After all, it's all just knit stitches!

I am hoping I have enough of the pink to get myself through two socks. To make me a little more comfortable with that possibility, I shortened the leg a little bit and am working the heel in the gray. I've done afterthought heels in other colors, which are super simple to make sense of. This pattern uses a heel flap/turning heel method so looked up the best way to make a contrasting heel rather than changing the pattern. Answer: start at the heel flap and end when you pick up stitches for the gusset. 

I looked back and I think this is my first attempt at a fair isle pattern. How exciting!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018


This latest finish is a satisfying stash buster that took me just a couple of days to work up. I'd been browsing around my Ravelry favorites for new smaller projects to work on post mittens and cotton rounds, and after the process of reorganizing my stash last weekend I found a good set of worsted weight yarns that wanted to be worked up together. (Apparently my brain doesn't want to start that last border on the Shetland shawl just yet!) 

I chose a cool crochet pattern I'd had saved and modified it a bit. First, I made it significantly shorter. Rather than starting out with over 200 stitches per round I did just 81. My first row of foundation hdc gave me enough of an idea of circumference to know that number would be a snug fit rather than one that needed to be wrapped multiple times. Then I decided to play yarn chicken. The pattern calls for only one color and only three repeats of the star stitch stripe. I chose three colors and kept going until I thought I would run out of them. I ended up with five star stitch stripes and managed to use up all of the yellow and most of the other two colors (just a few yards left to accent another project). What a lucky thing! 

The result is a sturdy cowl that will stand up around the neck on its own. It's a little bit Gryffindor with the maroon and yellow stripes, but the coral stars bring it back to looking like autumn to me so I'm calling it Harvest. I'd totally make this again, multi colored or solid. The rows just fly by and I really like the star stitch!

Pattern: Pumpkin Infinity Scarf, free on Ravelry (my Ravelry page)
Hook: H (5 mm)
Yarn: misc worsted weight acrylic leftovers

Monday, September 10, 2018

yarn diet. riiiiight....

Last year I was aiming to be really good and work on projects using yarn from my stash rather than acquiring more shiny new yarn. According to my Ravelry stash page, I did pretty good! I had no new yarn in 2017 until Art Fair weekend in September when I got some more Serenipidye yarn. I was aiming to keep it going in 2018, which was going well until this summer when Dave and I wandered into Fengari on one of our sojourns to Half Moon Bay; and again when my folks came to visit; and again at Art Fair this month. This yarn diet thing is hard!  

To my credit, I notice I've been buying yarns that I don't really have - i.e. the big squishy kind - rather than more sock yarn. Except those couple of hanks from Art Fair - one has sparkles, how do you resist? The other lovelies in that pile are Malabrigo Mecha (top 2 and bottom) and one Madelinetosh DK weight (deep purple) that are just gorgeous variegated skeins that I can't wait to dive into. Apparently I'm in a cool colors mood? 

Also as I've been puttering around the kitchen more I've noticed some of my dish cloths have had better days. Time for some new ones! Mom crocheted me a few great ones that I want to try to make more of,  hopefully I can get the pattern from her to do that. And for that we need cotton! These are some fun and bright colors that will look nice in the kitchen.

It was good to take stock of the newbies and realize that I actually did pretty good this year, too. What this also prompted me to do was take out the stash and reorg a little bit. I now have a separate box that has my leftovers in it nice and neatly arranged. Now when I want to do some stash busting I have all my options in front of me at once rather than having to dig through the basket. This way even if I don't have much of a particular yarn I know what I have hanging around that I can combine it with. I feel some color work coming on! 

Friday, September 7, 2018

even quicker

While my recent cowl and mittens finishes were pretty quick, I sat down today to watch the US Open with something even quicker!

Most patterns call these things "face scrubbies" but I'll just call them cotton rounds. I had some bits and pieces of leftover cotton that have been hanging around forever and I thought I'd try making myself some of these rounds to replace the disposable ones I've been using for my face toner. I'm not totally convinced I will never turn back, but I do love using all the dishcloths Mom has made me in the kitchen, so why not give it a go? 

These little guys were super fun to make, and quite addicting! I managed to work through ALL of my leftover cotton. I even enjoyed weaving in the ends. What is wrong with me?! 

These rounds were made with two SC rounds and one DC round. I like that they are simple and sturdy. Hopefully they'll hold shape well through washes and dry out well between (i.e. not get stinky before laundry day). 

These last three were made using two rounds of puff stitches and one round of SC. I don't think these will dry out quite as well as the others but the puff was too fun not to try. My Ravelry page has a few more details as well as links to the two patterns that I used as guides, and there are a bunch of patterns out there for various sizes and textures. 

All in all these were a really relaxing and satisfying use of time today! True potato chip project -- almost literally -- they aren't much bigger than a chip themselves and I could make a whole bag. It was also fun to get back together with my crochet hooks. Sewing is also making a comeback! More on a quilt top soon.