Friday, March 29, 2013

Blanket Progress

Just checking in to tell you all that I have made some progress with this week's projects. The knit-crochet blanket now measures about 42" square and I have more yarn, so it looks to end up at least 50 x 50! It's going to be so comfy.

My time was also taken, however, with a knitting project with a deadline and on spending a couple of days with some grumpy (and not so grumpy) teenagers. That last one is called substitute teaching, and oh, how it needs its own post. 

I'll probably be showing the next progress report next week, because we have an Eastery, Springy weekend ahead of us, don't we? Enjoy yours, whatever your plans may be. Some of ours include getting the vegetable garden beds ready. Can't wait!

Now I'm off to see some young folks who dabble in robotics. Let's hope they aren't having a grumpy day.
Happy Friday!

Monday, March 25, 2013

NaCroMo 2013: Week Four

Happy last March Monday! 
I need to start out by explaining the changes I had to make on the week three project--I posted so quickly last time that I forgot to tell you. As I was ready to work up that last motif square for the Willow Blanket, I saw that I would not have enough orange for it. At first I thought of (reluctantly) buying another skein of the orange and then went on to take care of other matters. As I was busy with those other tasks, it came to me! No need to buy more yarn--listen to the yarn and adapt.
Since a blanket works better when it's taller than it is wide (because most people are constructed this way), I needed to make the blanket four motifs wide and six high. Problem solved!

Moving on...
This week I am working on finishing up two crochet projects already on the hooks. The first is to make this little framed flower motif piece that I worked up a couple of years ago into a giant pillow cover. As you can see, I am making a big granny square of the same yarns and colors to serve as the pillow back. I found more of the bits and bobs in my yarn stash reorg a couple of months ago and I think I have enough. The motif piece just never was big enough to be more than decorative and I want it to be more functional. I hope this works!

Hey, have you noticed that my yarn weights have gotten progressively heavier throughout the month?

I usually prefer to work with lighter weights, but then I am reminded of one reason to use bulky: It's fast!
In this next project, I am combining knitting and crochet with a super bulky yarn, and it's going like lightening. I am getting two stitches to the inch on size 17 needles and my Denise interchangeable knitting and crochet tips are coming in very handy for this project. As I move from the center granny square and then alternate ten rounds of knitting and two rounds of crochet (one double and one single), I can add more length to the cord as the blanket gets bigger. Not only is this project advancing rapidly, it's going to yield a very squishy, comfy blanket.

I think I can finish both these by Friday. 
The race is on!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday FO: Willow Blanket

I did it! I actually finished a NaCroMo by Friday!
This is a shot of her after I stretched the dickens out of her with a zillion pins yesterday evening.
As you can see, I decided to do the edging very simply, just alternating single and double crochet rows until I ran out of green yarn. The motifs are jazzy enough without a fussy border confusing the issue.

And this is the best shot I can get this morning while it's still dark outside--gotta leave in a few minutes to spend the day with a bunch of techy teens. The blanket finished out at 32" x 50" and will be a nice snuggly nap friend.

I'll get a better shot in the daylight and show you Monday when I also show you next week's NaCroMo project. Have a nice weekend everyone!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Willow Blanket

Does anyone remember this project from NaCroMo 2012? During that month, it grew to a nine patch and got shelved for a while. Now it's growing again as this week's focus NaCroMo 2013 project. 

As you can see, I have three more Willow squares to complete and it will be a 25-patch piece. I think I will leave it as a 5 x 5 so that the pink-dominant square remains in the middle. By then I will have approximately 330 yards of the green (Claudia Hand Painted Yarns Worsted in Navy Olive) and 220 yards of the pink (Cascade 220 in #9469) remaining, which should be enough for a generous edging worked around the entire piece. The orange is about gone, so it probably won't get to be in on the edge party. At first I will do some single crochet and then double crochet rounds, and then I want to add some pizazz. I am looking for a somewhat jaunty edge at the finish--maybe a shell or a scallop!

The Willow Square motif is from the 200 Crochet Blocks book you see here and I found some really interesting edgings in Donna Kooler's Encyclopedia of Crochet. I should be able to finish the motifs today and get them joined and even get a start on the edge. But as you can see, the sun is streaming in for us right now and the grass begs a cut, so I must make hay while...well, you know. 

Happy Crocheting or Knitting (or grass cutting or snow shoveling) to you today, whatever the case may be!
I'll be back by Friday with a progress shot. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

NaCroMo 2013: Week Three

The first day of this third week of National Crochet Month needs to be a wrap-up of last week, because I finished the little crochet bag! Hurrah!

Let's lay out the steps.

First I found a box just the right dimensions to block the finished body of the bag.

Then with the decorator fabric samples Natalie and I found last Friday at JoAnn, I prepared to make the lining. Once I did the math, I realized the craft gods were with me, because just one of these 18" x 17.5" samples turned out to be perfect for lining this 13" x 7" x 4" bag. Also, these fabric pieces already have finished edges and this one is reversible, making it easy work. 

I folded the piece in half with the lighter color facing inside and ran a skinny seam up each side.

Then, because I needed the bottom of the lining to measure four inches across, I folded the sides two inches in at the center and stitched across. Then I secured the little triangles to the underside with some fusible webbing.

I sewed the rings for attaching the straps to the inside of the bag...

...and attached the magnet closures, both before sewing in the lining. Once the lining is in, it will hide the magnet backs and provide extra strength where the strap rings are attached.

Then I pinned that cutey-pie lining in and whip stitched it just under the top edge, working a few extra stitches at the rings where the strap will strain it a bit and at the magnets, which will be pulled and pulled. 

I sewed the large blue rick rack onto the brown strapping, looped each end through the rings, and sewed a sturdy couple of inches up a double-thick length of strap. I think it's secure!
I love it! It was almost worth the ten year wait!

I'll be back tomorrow to tell you about this week's project. 
It's only one year old--a mere baby in comparison, huh? 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Crochet Bag Update

The materials are gathered, thanks to artistic input from youngest daughter Natalie.
Time to finish up this bag! It's only been 10 years since I started it.

All the crocheting is done, and now I just need to line it, make the strap, and attach. I really wanted to finish it today, but I overestimated my fabric and ribbon stash and had nothing suitable. Off we went to the fabric store and decided on woven strapping with large rick-rack sewn on for a little something extra. I'll be back on Monday to show you how it turns out and to unveil next week's NaCroMo project.

Until then, enjoy St. Patty's Day!

Monday, March 11, 2013

NaCroMo 2013: Week Two

 Welcome to week two of NaCroMo here on Figknits!
I hope you all successfully shrunk time yesterday and are on the correct schedule. The good thing about that is that Spring is coming soon!

Before I report the crochet project of the week, let's see how much was done on last week's project.

I was able to more than double the work from my last report on the little (as yet unnamed) flowery fabric. I got it blocked, which made me love it even more.

I now have 14 sets and one end partial (two flower motifs) joined. At this point, it could be a scarf really without doing any more work. However, I have only used less than half the yarn, so I might make another set just like this, joining as I go--it would make an even nicer wrap/stole. I might even have enough of the Yarntini coffee cream yarn to do a small edging. We'll see.

For now I must leave it as is and move on. Long story short, I was not exactly successful in finishing the first week's UFO, but that's okay, because I'd like to think about it a bit more.

This week's project is a little shoulder bag I started years ago out of Patons Grace and fashioned out of octagonal motifs with little filler motifs. I flashed this little number during last year's NaCroMo and it has only changed a little since then. It will definitely become an FO by week's end, because all it needs are a few more filler motifs, a lining, and a strap.

You can see that on this side I only need a few more of the brown half motifs (the triangles), and on the other side there are about the same number of half motifs and six whole brown filler motifs left to go. The liner will be fabric and the strap will be ribbon attached with covered cabone rings. That part should go pretty fast!

Wish me luck as I try to report back by Friday with the FO!

Have you crocheted yet this month? If not, then join us!

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

WIP Wednesday: Ivy League Vest

I remember watching with wonder back in 2006 when Eunny Jang blogged about her Deep V Argyle Vest.
I never dreamed back then that I would be making one of her equally wonderful designs, 
the Ivy League Vest from Interweave Knits Winter 2007.

But that's what my yarn from Madrona wanted to be!

So far, so good!
How about a closeup?

I'll keep you posted!

Monday, March 04, 2013

NaCroMo 2013 Week One

 To kick off this month-long crochet party, I chose one of my projects that might take the most time. I gave myself a headstart this weekend and plan to carry it through next weekend as well.
I've been having a little fun with some Shibui Sock color 3001 and some Yarntini Merino Sock.

It started with the pairing hand-dyed yarns experiment we were doing for Wanda Nell back in 2011, but I had to stop after four sets. I almost managed to double my efforts with these seven sets. Think I can double that before the week is out? We'll see!

A set is two of these flower motifs, the Scalloped Circle, from the updated Harmony Guides Crochet Stitch Motifs by Interweave Press, and one joining 8-point motif, which I concocted. As you can see I am alternating colors and doing all the little filler motifs in the Yarntini Chocolate Cream. I am joining as I go and working in ends as I go as well. Less headache! 
Don't ask me what it will be. Right now it's just a fabric and I love it.

I had planned today's post to be a short snack, but then look what I found at the library.

Dora Ohrenstein's wonderful Custom Crocheted Sweaters. 
Now I have to have one of my own because there is so much to learn here.
And so many pretty sweaters to crochet! Here are my favorites in the book:

The Fiji Cardi
This one is made with Mini Mochi with size D hook, so any fingering weight yarn would work.

The Eleganza Raglan
I love a raglan, and this one is made with DK weight cotton/tencel yarn and size F hook.
Imagine how soft and comfy it would be!

The Double Trouble Shell
This one could be worked in any superfine fingering weight, as it calls for a size C hook.

I am now Dora's newest fan.

I'll be back with more crochet a little later in the week, and I'll have some knitting to show you on Wednesday, as well. 
See you soon!

Saturday, March 02, 2013

If It's March...

...It must be time for National Crochet Month!

I look forward to March even more than ever now, because that's when I give myself permission to crochet to my heart's content. Those of you who've been reading my blog for the past couple years know that I have been honestly trying to balance both needle arts. I am still unsuccessful at providing equal time for both, as I set about to do with Mirth, but I'll be doggoned if I'll let this month go by without some hooking action.

At this point, I am still in the decision phase about my own celebration of crochet month. The main theme is my general theme for the year--finish as many WIP's as I can!
I have chosen some of my in-progress crochet projects (some are from last year's NaCroMo!) and plan to narrow them down to four. Every week of this month, I will pour some time into trying to finish the project for that week and I will show you how it goes. Of course, I also need to work on knitting projects, some of which I will show as well. I have to mix it up this month, but at least there will be crochet. There will!

I'll be back on Monday to show you what I chose to begin with. Until then, check out what Crochetville is doing. You can visit crochet designers' blogs this month for a virtual tour! Some of them are doing some very interesting things with this. Enjoy!