Friday, June 23, 2006

Bad, Suzi, BAD!!

I bet some of you are wondering why I haven’t updated this in a week. Not Sure

It’s a good answer.

I finally got re-started on my sister’s blanket!!!! Thumbs Up Smile I was going to do a pillowghan, but I started out wrong, so rather than have to frog it AGAIN, I've decided it’s just a regular afghan. But I completely changed the way I was combining the colors, and I like it a LOT better. I really think she’s going to like it. Thumbs Up

I’m not going to show pics, because I gave said sister the URL for this blog, and I don’t want to ruin the surprise, should she be checking up on me. Shocked

But I’ve decided that I absolutely HAVE to work on this thing at least a little bit every day (even if it's only 5 or 10 minutes), and this way I’ll be sure to have it done by November, which is when I plan on sending it. I’m also putting in a few goodies, which I haven’t actually GOT yet, so it gives me time to get that done as well.

My swap partner’s items are on hold right now… I skipped over beading (I might still do that, but wanted to get this other thing done first) to make something I’ve never done before. But it seemed easier than beading, so it was a better choice for me. But I’ve temporarily run out of supplies. I haven’t been able to get into town to get any more this week, because I’ve had one kid home sick all week.

That’s WHY I’ve re-started on my sister’s afghan. I already have the yarn for it – I’m just frogging my first attempt and using the yarn again.

Oh yeah, and I’m doing something with said afghan which is another thing I’ve never done before. I don’t know WHY I’ve never done it before, because it’s usually one of the first things people learning crochet actually DO. But somehow I just skipped right over that part of learning. And since I’ve got so much experience with all of these stitches already, it was a breeze. I was even amazed to find out that my gauge is RIGHT ON!! Surprised I’ve NEVER had that happen before... well… the times I’ve checked, anyway. A lot of times I do projects where I don’t really care if my gauge is off – things like blankets and washcloths and such.

I’m glad I finally GOT it re-started, though. Redoing it the way I AM redoing it has actually inspired me! I’ve got a mental list of the other things I’m sending, along with full-color Panavision mental pictures. Lol

I should have done this a long time ago. I think it was just the disappointment I felt when I realized I’d made a mistake that put me in a funk about the whole thing. For a long time, every time I looked at it, I just turned my nose up at it, seeing nothing but that mistake. Frown

But now I’m back where I started. With enough yarn, a hook, and renewed inspiration.

It’s a lovely feeling. Angelic

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Sanity Questionable

I’m in possession of questionable sanity. Perplexed

I sat here, browsing through patterns on Thursday night, and I get it in my head to make something to wear to Daniel’s birthday party (my neighbor’s only son, it’s his 18th tomorrow). At first I thought “poncho.” See… I’ve always liked ponchos, even in the 80’s when they were “so yesterday.” And I’ve been meaning to make myself a poncho for the last year.

But on the other hand, I’m really liking some of these shrug patterns, too. Especially the ones that are written with the bigger people in mind. Or those that can be adapted to any size. Thumbs Up

So I went over to the ‘ville, and asked for some opinions. Poncho or shrug? It’s pretty much unanimous, they all think I should make a shrug. Somebody mentioned shrug-a-licious, but when I looked at the pattern, it looked too difficult to figure out how to adapt it to MY size. Not that the pattern itself is difficult, but it would take a lot of figuring, a lot of math, in order to adapt it. But the Mrs. Who/Fluffy Pink Shrug… now that I could do! Especially since it’s pretty much done in one piece!

So I’m working on that now. I’ve had to Frog frog it once, because even though I measured like the directions say, when I put it over my arm to check how far I had left to go, I realized that it wasn’t going to fit around my fat chicken wing arms. Not to mention the fact that my daughter walked off with the piece I’d had done so far, and ended up accidentally frogging about 1/3 of it on her own! Baring Teeth

So now I’ve got about the same amount done as I’d had done the first time, but this time I KNOW it’s going to fit me. I just did the same thing again, checking to make sure.

I’m going to make it a little shorter in the arms than the pattern says, because I decided I want to put some bell-type cuffs on the sleeves.

Cross your fingers for me that I get it done in time. Of course, if I absolutely have to, I can work on it all day tomorrow. But I’m really hoping that, now that I seem to be on a roll, I can get it done faster than I’ve done so far.

I can HOPE, anyway! Angelic

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

First swap item finished.

Well, a certain someone's first swap item is finished. I think it'll look a lot better with blocking, but it's done.

Just for the heck of it, I wore it today, just to see if it would get any attention, and if so, what KIND. Well... so far, it's gotten only rave reviews. One person said they couldn't believe I made it myself, and another said that it didn't "look homemade." Shall I take that as a compliment? Methinks I shall. Nerd

I'm really glad I went for the skein of yarn that was £0.50 more than the other one. They were the same TYPE of yarn, but different brands. One was £2.49 for 25 grams, and the other was £2.99 for 50 grams. Well, the Polish in me said "only 50 pence more for twice the weight? Oh YEAH, baby!" Lol If I'd gone with the original yarn I was going to go for, I wouldn't have had nearly enough to finish what I'd made... and it would have meant a mad dash back into town, hoping against hope that they still had the same color I'd originally bought!!!

NOW... on to the other item. I'm see-saw-ing back and forth between two different things. Both very similar, but I'm just having a hard time deciding which to do. If I knew for sure I had enough materials, I'd just do both, call 'em a "set," and count them as one "item." But I DON'T know for sure, and I don't really know where I can get more of what I have... so I've GOT to choose. But which one????

God, this is so hard.

But ya know what? I'm having fun with it, too. Sure, there's a lot of anxiety attached to all this, but knowing that I'm going to be surprising somebody with something I've made, and that she'll be surprising me as well... hell, it's downright exciting!!

I'll definitely join another swap sometime in the future. But hopefully, next time it'll be something I'm a little more familiar with, something I have more confidence in. If not... well, there'll be another "swap anxiety" post in my future. Tongue Out

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Swap Anxiety

I'm probably not the only one who's ever felt this, but right now I'm suffering from a severe case of swap anxiety.

This is my first swap - EVER. And although I HAVE been crocheting for over 20 years, I would have to say that my skill level is still at "intermediate" at BEST.

I'm not sure exactly what level my swap partner is at, but I'm working on some of her swap items and I'm sitting here second-guessing everything. Will this be good enough? Will she like this yarn? Will she see the colors I've chosen the same way I do? (Because a lot of this stuff IS subjective, after all.) Not Sure

And that's not even going into the other item I'm planning. I haven't started it yet, but it's got me in some serious heebie-jeebies. It's something I've never done before, and I can't find a pattern I really like, so I've decided to just "wing it." Shocked

On a slightly more upbeat note, however, I've come to really like this yarn I'm working with (no pics just yet, because I don't want to give anything away, just in case my swap partner happens to read this). I have decided that as soon as I can afford it (sometime in the next 2 weeks), I'm going to get myself another skein of this stuff - probably in a different color, something a little bolder - and I'm going to make myself a summer top. I was looking at this pattern, and decided I'm going to use that as a "starting point" and add my own touch to it. I'll be more specific when I get it done, because it'll take me so long that I'm SURE my swap partner will have received her items by then, so I won't have to worry about "giving anything away." Nerd

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Celia, I've done it!!!!!

Okay, so I'm talking to someone who's been dead for nearly 3 years, but hey... if I can meet my future husband in cyberspace, I can talk to dead people in cyberspace too!!!! Tongue Out

Back when I was like 17 or so, my cousin Celia tried to teach me how to crochet doilies. She took me shopping (okay, so grandma took us shopping really, but that's only because Celia didn't know how to drive at the time), bought me the thread and the hook, came over to our house, and sat me down and tried to teach me. But I thought I just couldn't get it right, so I gave up on it. Frown

Now that I've done this, I realize what the problem was. It wasn't that I couldn't get it right, it's that I expected what I was working on to look like what the finished product should look like. I didn't realize that it could buckle and bow and still be okay. I didn't know there was such a thing as "blocking," and that any "imperfections" in the doily would be "fixed" after doing it.

But after seeing some absolutely gorgeous doilies on Crochetville, I got it in my head that maybe... just maybe... I could actually do it now. And I couldn't get the thought OUT of my head. After all, I've only been able to read a pattern for a year. (They always confused me before, but a year ago something "clicked" in my brain and they suddenly made sense! Lol ) And I STILL had the same thread and hook that Celia bought me oh so many moons ago, stashed away in my yarn box.

So I went searching for a pattern that called for the same size hook I have (a Boye size 6), and that didn't look too difficult. I finally found one, and got to work on it. I could have gotten it done in one night, but I've got so many WIP's right now it's not even funny. And I'm not used to working with thread, so I could only do a little bit at a time.

But I finished it last night, and blocked it this morning. And it looks okay, even if I do say so myself! Thumbs Up

So Celia, if you can see me... I finally got it! Aren't you proud of me? Angelic

In progress, but nearly done.

Same level of progress, but a different view.

All done, all blocked, and all better!!!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

An Oldie but a Goodie

I made this blanket 6 years ago (God, it doesn't seem like that long ago!!!) when I was pregnant with my 3rd child, who's now 5 1/2.

I didn't know for sure what I was going to have - boy or girl. We'd had several scans (lots of health scares with this one!), but never, not once in any of them, was she in a position where we could tell definitively whether she was a boy or a girl. I had a feeling it was a girl, but I didn't want to put all my faith in that feeling. So I opted to make a blanket with neutral coloring, so that no matter what I had, it would be appropriate.

It's done in pastel shades of purple, green, and yellow, and done all in single crochet. I wanted it as warm as possible, because I was due at the end of September and it can get VERY cold in the Chicago area at the end of September! You never know what the weather's going to be like. It can be 90 degrees one day, and 30 degrees the next.

The border is a mix of single crochet and shells. Shells at the top and bottom, single crochet on the sides.

I'm quite proud of this one, because it was done long before I ever learned to read a pattern, so it was all off the top of my head. And because of the fact that I obviously did a good enough job that it's stood up to countless washings, 3 moves, and the kids dragging it around all over the place. Thumbs Up

I wouldn't exactly call it my BEST work, but it ain't too shabby, either! Nerd

Closeup view of the stitches.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Teddy Bear Poncho

I just whipped this up in an hour for one of the kids' teddy bears. It was looking kinda nekkid, and I had my craft basket next to me, so I just grabbed the end of a yarn and a hook and got to working on it.

It's one of the easiest things to make in the entire freaking world, if you ask me.

You just chain any multiple of 4 (check to make sure it's going to fit over the head of the toy you're making it for) +1, turn. Hdc in every ch across, and join with a sl st to form a ring (you might want to use something to mark that stitch, as it is the ONLY join you're going to do). Now comes the "tricky" part - although it's really not all that tricky. Divide your beginning ch by 4 (mine was 32 ch, so 32 divided by 4 = 8), and that gives you the number of stitches to do before you increase. Using my example, I hdc 7 sts, and on the 8th st I increased, by putting 3 hdc in the 8th st. Continue around until you reach the last stitch.

Keep going in this pattern, increasing in the middle stitch of every 3 hdc increase. This will increase your stitches between increases by 1 stitch on every row. (Again, using my example, it was 8 stitches on row 1, 9 stitches on row 2, 10 stitches on row 3, etc.) Continue until the piece is the desired size (I kept trying it on the bear to make sure it wasn't getting too big or too small). Join with a sl st and fasten off, weaving in ends.

You can finish it off any way you want. Some like fun fur, some like fringe (in which case you don't need to weave in the end, just trim it to match the rest of the fringe). I used tassles for this one.

That's it. Easy peasy, lemon squeazy, as Lexi (my 5 yo) likes to say. Tongue Out

It's Kid Approved!Smile

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I finished my "Jimbo Washcloth" set :)

I just couldn't help myself. I think it was the excitement over my Jimbo Hook, combined with the feel of this cotton yarn. It's just as soft as the other skein, but in a different way. It doesn't feel like suede, like the other one did. It just feels... soft. It's hard to explain, but I'd be willing to bet that the other yarn addicts out there will know exactly what I'm talking about.

Not only that, but I do have a habit of single-mindedly going at something until it's finished. I think that's most definitely my grandmother's perfectionism rearing it's ugly head. What can I say? Being brainwashed for a lifetime has a tendency to get to ya.

But... now that my washcloths are done, and I can get to working on my shawl. I have no idea how long it's going to take me, but if I keep working like I've been... NOT VERY! *LOL*