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A sweater! Almost a(n) FO….

Look at this, a nearly completed crocheted sweater with Silk Garden Sock yarn. Something isn’t quite right though:

sweaternoflash

It’s the yellow solid wool trim. It has to go.

I was trying to edge it to help it lie flat but more importantly to add some button loops. I think the yellow looks terrible but I don’t have enough of the main yarn to add any more edging. What to do? Add ties? Ribbons? Just squish small buttons in the spaces between the double crochet stitches as a sort of afterthought button hole? Either way I am going to snip away that trim right now.

I am moving in a few weeks so I just packed up most of my yarn. Oh, and I just found out that Fabric Place is going out of business! What next?

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Old blogs, a crochet tip

I found this bit from 10/03, about the granny square coat from Candytots. I do not like turning Granny squares (which is sometimes necessary if not switching colors) because I detest the way double crochet looks in the back. I posted this to my old, old knitting/crochet blog about it: 

 well i’ve been working on the “Spice Girl Coat” in Candytots. it is also featured in the 10/03 issue of Crochet Fantasy magazine. the directions in the magazine (which is easier to carry around than a book) are wrong – they say to ch 4, slst to make a loop then 2dc into loop – where’s the ch3? luckily there is a chart which is correct. the second bummer is that the pattern (which for those unfamiliar with it is a coat made up of 2-1/2″ granny squares) calls for the square to be turned between the 2 rounds.    

this was unsatisfactory to me since dc has a definite right and wrong side, so 1/2 the square shows the unsightly squiggled side. 

my new and improved square:

rnd 1: ch 4 slst to join, ch4, (3dc into ring, ch1) 3 times. 2dc into ring, sl st to 3rd chain of 4ch.

rnd 2: slst into ch1 space at top of ch4. ch3 (i chain 2 since my chains are longish) 2dc into space, ch2, 3dc into same space, ch1 (3dc into next ch1 space, ch2 3dc into same space, ch1) 3 times more, slst to top of ch3 space finish off.

there! no turning! why didn’t the designer think of that?      

 

 This is probably not new to anyone else, but it was new to me!    This brings me to something I have been avoiding. There are a couple of links to the right to my old blog on airraidsirens.com. Those links don’t work, and the reason is that everything related to my old knitting blog – which I kept from Summer 2004 until Spring of 2007 – has been permanently deleted.  There was a problem with our server over the summer, and Adam had a premonition that there might be trouble down the road so he backed up everything. He asked me if I still use the blog, and I said no, that I had moved on to wordpress but was keeping the old blog as archive with the commenting turned off. He misunderstood me and so therefore did not back it up. Subsequently the company we were using DID up and disappear and we found a new host and only then did I discover that my blog was the only thing not backed up. Imagine that almost 4 years of your blog disappeared? It was only important to me, maybe no one else will miss it but I do! The only thing I can do is check out the web archives and copy-paste the text of the entries into a new blog, which I have already set up ( loops archive) as soon as I get some time to. I think Adam should have to do it! I am currently knitting a top down cardigan for Zella out of this lovely new Noro yarn Taiyo – I love this yarn! It has the wonderful color gradations of Kureyon but the softness of cotton.  
taiyo from my stash     
  I also ordered a few skeins of Matsuri  (also new from Noro) to make a similar sweater for Milly. Ravelry.com is keeping me very busy, as I keep finding new projects to add to my queue! Just trying to make this post, I realize how unhappy I am with wordpress. I can’t get the text to separate from the picture above, and html tags show up as text. I miss my old blog, even with all the 3000+ spam comments a month. I also find this blog IMPOSSIBLE to customize. I am still on the hunt for a better host for this blog.

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A quick crochet update

Milly is peacefully napping (rare these days) so I can quickly add some finished objects.Here is a freeform “helmet” I made for my friend’s one year old daughter (I haven’t gifted it yet but I know she doesn’t see the blog):

I used Silk Garden 87, bits and bobs from a cardigan project I started back in ’05. Unfortunately my old blog is totally gone (the server up and closed and I hadn’t backed up) so evidence of that cardigan online is lost. Milly has a pretty huge noggin so the hat fits her (her head is more like the average 1 year old!)

For this I just started at the top in hdc,working the first 4 rows as rounds and then switching to spiral. My joins never look right for some reason and the join area always bulges out though the stitches are all in the right place. Then I went back and forth once across the back to make it longer and then back and forth on 2 ear flaps. I just tried it on Milly as I went.

Next is the Roselette Top from Chez Plum. I started it in Silk Garden Lite (to get the 6 month size) but it was much too small so I redid it in worsted weight, shade 211:

I have not yet blocked it but I wanted Milly to wear it today as I browse the yarn shop sales. It seems I naver have a finished object to show for all the shopping I do and it would be nice to be in a yarn store with someone in the party actually wearing something made by me. Here is another picture of the sweater, with bonus VINCE

That’s all for now, I have an awful lot more I want to knit and crochet this year – if you are on Ravelry, my username is joydisaster.

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Little Coriolis socks

acoriolis closeup

These are Milly’s chubby feet encased in a pair of Little Coriolis learning socks from Cat Bordhi’s newest book, New Pathways for Sock Knitters. I made several mistakes (on the first sock, shown on right) and on the second, a modification. They have a picot frou-frou top to hide the disaster that was left when I had to unweave and unpick the bind off. While the length and width of the foot are ok (room to grow in the toes, which is fine) the ankle and cuff area are simply too tight for a fat baby leg. On the second sock, I increased 3 stitches after the completion of the heel, working one into the top of the instep swirl. I also bound off looser than could possibly ever look presentable so the crochet was hiding something on both sides.

I made them in Silk Garden lite, with size 4 needles. I had made the Little Sky sock first, but I wasn’t crazy about the shape of the instep so I am focusing more on toe-up socks. I like the book and hopefully I can make some “full sized” socks soon as I am up to my ears in sock yarn around here. My New Years resolution was to become a better sock knitter, and knit more socks for Zella who can not tolerate socks with a seam in them (ie all store bought socks). The foot shapes are a little odd (blocking might help) but the techniques are very interesting. I find toe-up construction so helpful because I generally buy just one skein for Zella’s socks, and I can weigh the halves as I am winding the ball and divide it evenly.

amillycouch3

one more, for its own sake.

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holiday stuff

I finished these with 5 days to spare! here are four stockings, a little oversized, each took about 1 and a half skeins of Kureyon. I started to use a pattern I bought on eBay but it was so loaded with mstakes and typos I basically had to wing it. Hence a couple of the heels have “ears” but they blocked out a little. I started to embroider names on with Lurex Shimmer but I started to want to run away – I will add the names next year maybe. We know them apart by color anyhow.

kureyon socks close-up

From front to back (right to left): 209 for Milly, 182 for Zella, 170 for Adam and 188 for me.

Here they are in a room with Evie:

kureyonsocks1

I hope everyone had great holidays!

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Halloween fun!

Oh the cro-bar was out the night before Halloween! We have made Zella’s costumes before, she was a bee at age 7 months (no pattern, but check out those wings!) then the following year I cranked out a crappy fleece Hello Kitty costume (just the body, the cute plaid dress was never done) but somehow no picture of this exists that I can find (Adam? Where are the Halloween ’03 pictures?) and for Halloween ’04 she went as.. well does anyone know who this is? In ’05 we used our first store bought costume, Shrek’s Fiona and then last year we put together a Hermione costume.

This year Z wanted to be Dorothy. Real bad. I had actually purchased fabric and a pattern (Simplicity 4139) for Dorothy last year but as usual I never got around to making it and she was fine with Hermione. This year however she threw down a fit in Target for those red sparkly shoes back in September and nothing was going to sway her from the yellow brick road. Since my sewing space is still not nearly done I decided to get the commercial costume and when I got it home I was appalled at how utterly crappy it is. The straps aren’t even fabric, but some kind of printed foam. The rest of the fabric is this extremely shiny, hangnail cloth and it doesn’t even have a closure! It is wretched. When Adam saw it he agreed with me that we weren’t going to let Zella out in that, not after all the times we complained about the awful boxed costumes we had to wear as kids. Adam agreed to make most of the costume since I have my hands full. That is where the comedy of errors begins.

First, I wasn’t totally happy with the fabric I bought last year – Kaufman gingham, 387 in blue. I felt it was maybe too light and maybe too small a check. So Saturday we went out to hopefully find the perfect fabric, forgetting to (duh!) bring the stuff we have so we just don’t buy it again or buy something even less suitable. Well, we bought something less suitable since navy was too dark – we got blue again but in an even smaller check (the 386). We got home, compared them, and decided to go with the original bigger check. Did I mention that by this time everyone is sold out of all blue ginghams? Sunday night Adam started cutting out the pattern after I quickly went over the way to do it.

makingcostume

I didn’t really check on him. Suddenly he comes out of the sewing room and tells me we are about 1/2 yard short of fabric! First I blamed the girl who cut it but then remembered that we ended up not using the fabric we bought the night before so that flaky girl could not be blamed. I wondered, could the layout in the pattern be an error? It wasn’t. Adam cut out view b/c (Elphaba’s/Glinda’s skirt) which is 6″ longer than Dorothy’s – 3 skirt pieces means 1/2 yard of fabric wasted. We had enough that we could cut out the straps and bands on the cross grain instead of the bias, and when Adam asked me why they “had to” be cut on the bias, I didn’t really have a good, intellectual answer, I just blurted out “that is just how they are always done!” with so much conviction that he was convinced too. He said, “if we we are going to do this thing, I want to do it right”. So now that plan was that I would get up early Monday, pack up both girls and buy more fabric. This only put us slightly off schedule in theory since we planned to cut Sunday night and sew Monday night to be done for the Tuesday office Halloween party.

Monday I got up horribly early – not even 10am! – and of course no store had the fabric I bought the year before. I got 4 yards of new fabric (the 388 in blue) so we could start cutting out the bib and skirt all over again! This time I paid a little more attention to the pinning and cutting. As long as he doesn’t make a mistake like missing a hemline, he actually does very exacting work (attention to detail that I simply lack) and we began sewing. I did most of the sewing but Adam did some too, real slow sewing.

makingdorothy2

It took a lot longer than we thought it would.

Major shortcuts were made. The lovely bias band around the skirt was left off – Adam got it started, successfully making a continuous bias strip and pressed both edges under 1/4″ all the way around the 12 feet or however long it was but a small error caused the strip to be a foot too short so we scrapped it. Also the zipper was truly cro-barred in, as I lost my zipper foot (which turned up Nov. 1 of course) and at 4am we were barely awake when we decided to leave the hem, buttons, and neck band finishing until the morning. The collar was so confusing I am sure it is not right, but it looks like the picture so I am not going to worry about it – the problem is that I had Adam gather, pin and sew the collar in and so instead of gentle gathers in the center there is a pleat at either side of the neck : / I guess I didn’t mention that sometimes the machine feeds the gathers in unevenly and it had to be adjusted for as you sew. However the next morning I woke up late, and discovered that Grace’s kitten was missing from the box so I freaked and spent almost an hour searching the house (Grace had moved him to Zella’s bed, of course). There was not enough time to do the hem and sew the buttons and hook-and-eye before the party so I made Adam come home from work and do the hem.While he was on the way, I put in one hook and one eye (big ones, all I had) and sewed the collar edges. Now time was really short and I am embarrassed to admit this but Adam had to use Steam a Seam to do the hem. There just wasn’t enough time. BUT we all got to the party on time :^)

halloween2007

party girls

Just click on the dorothy tag to see the rest, including 3 taken by someone at Adam’s workplace party. Milly by the way was a flying monkey 🙂

millymonkey

I didn’t make any part of this costume, unfortunately. Next year.

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The most I can manage right now

Not much knitting these days! Milly is now 8 weeks old, Zella is as precocious as ever and absolutely no knitting has been done. It doesn’t help that my knitting bag and all of my tools are still packed, but mostly I am just too busy holding a chubby baby. When I was pregnant with Zella I queried all the experienced moms I could find, “will I be able to knit after the baby comes?” they all said yes – THEY LIED!! I did not have a chance to make a single thing until Zella was 18 months old. Likewise with this baby. I have a new sewing machine, but a much needed sewing project lies half cut out and abandoned on the kitchen table.

But.

Guilt got the better of me last night: Thursday Zella bought a monkey from the dollar area of Target (she has her own money, I could not discourage her!) and later that night while we were eating with my dad she noticed its neck was a little open at the seams. Since I have always had a problem separating inanimate objects from animate ones, I could not let her exchange Monkey for a new one since I felt bad for it. I promised her I could sew it up as good as new then as soon as we got home I promptly became too busy to do so. Yesterday morning she woke up and ran out bright eyed from bed, hopeful to see the new improved Monkey only to find it with its neck guts still hanging out. I felt terrible. She has shown absolutely no jealousy for her new sister but at this rate it seems inevitable. Last night I woke up at 4am and sewed the monkey’s tracheotomy closed, then crocheted this little messenger bag for him/her:

I grabbed the nearest non-wool yarn, which was Debbie Bliss’ Cathay (1/2 cotton, some microfiber, some silk) and a lousy crochet hook I found lying around (my good ones, the Clover Soft Touch, are all packed in that knitting bag somewhere) and set to work. Lovely yarn! A little splitty with a too-small crochet hook but overall worth it. I had to sew it together with sewing thread and the chain strap is unfortunately tied on – all the requisite cro-bar features are there. I knew I’d find a use for that duck button eventually.

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