Friday, March 31, 2006

March challenge - down to the wire

I actually did it!! After suffering from 2nd sock syndrome all month - and sidetracking on to other projects - I crocheted 2 different socks in the past week to complete all 3 sock pairs. Ta Daa! Here is my PAIR of "In your shoes ankle socks" using Patons Kroy Socks 'Vista Sea'. This was part of a sock-a-long with my crochetedsocks Yahoo group. I also crocheted a "Classic Ribbed Cable" sock mate (pattern in Crocheted Socks by Janet Rehfeldt and Mary Jane Wood) using Swizzle sock yarn. This had been on hold since before the crochet olympics!! Completing these socks and the crochet-along socks and doing the well traveled bag were my goal for March at Yahoo crochetchallenge. I also completed the cable purse.

In addition, with my CAL gang I've been working on the Jiffy Jacket and have the back panel completed - using Caron Simply Soft 'Dark Sage'. I also started another crochet-a-long with these crazy gals and have made significant progress Seraphina Shawl using Joann's Sensation Rainbow Boucle......ain't sidetracking fun?

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Splitting yarn makes Boye girl go inline

not to a Bates, mind you, but inline nonetheless. I've been pulling my hair out with the Jiffy Jacket. Not because of the pattern, it's easy, straight forward, and makes a very pretty stitch. Rather, because of the yarn. The Caron Simply Soft has been driving me crazy. I was splitting the yarn with every single sc (and this pattern is sc, ch2, sc - repeat) using my Boye H hook. My tension was getting tighter as well because I had to hold the yarn tight to try to minimize splitting. I was about 20 or so rows into the back tonight and I decided to measure. It was 21.5 inches across instead of 24 (it was about 23 when I began and I was OK with that) but I was just approaching 5 inches at 21 rows instead of 16 rows.... agh!! I really didn't want to frog the whole thing... but, I was really beginning to hate this project. Because I was crocheting so, so slowly I was getting nowhere. Then I remembered the discussion on CP about inline hooks being easier with yarns that tend to split. Now I'm a Boye girl - I hate to crochet with Bates hooks. I would only use Boye hooks. I've recently become a fan of the Addi hooks for the smaller yarn hooks since I've become a sock crocheter. I now own B,C,D,E & F Addi hooks... not Boye but Boye-like in design... definitely not inline. My wonderful dh did buy me a Brittany wooden I hook for Christmas (a lovely gift!!) I thought I would hate it becuase it is inline, but it's different from Bates hooks and I do love it, so light and it just glides through yarn. So what to do with this Jiffy Jacket. I grabbed the Brittany I hook and tried a few shells. Wow, no splitting strands...every stitch was smooth as could be I was flying... but hold on I can't jus jump in at row 21 with an I hook... I have to frog it. So painful as it was, I did it. I frogged it all the way back to the starting chain. I left that be as I make my starting chains so loose I knew it wouldn't be a problem. So here I go again. I'm starting the Jiffy Jacket again. This time using a Brittany I hook with my Dark Sage Simply Soft. Now the tension & yarn splitting problems are both solved. Actually this solves a third problem. (I can't believe I'm admitting this) There was something aesthetically bothersome about the way the green color of the Boye H hook clashed with the green yarn. OK, I've said it. Now you know I'm weird. But the birch Brittany looks great with this yarn... doesn't it? By the way, the cake of yarn there is everything i had to frog!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

FO: Cable purse

Well it's finished!! I had at least 3 offers to buy it and my felted bag today while I was still weaving in the ends of the Cable bag. Too funny! I kind of like the way this bag turned out. I made it narrower than Donna's pattern because it just seemed too wide when I first started it. I dropped it from 6 cable repeats to 4... probably should have just gone to 5...but I still like it. I do think I will need to line it though. The cables have a little hole behind them. Donna's pattern is also posted on Crochetville and I was reading through the posts last night. Several people used double stranded ww yarn to make the purse bulkier and stronger. The added stiffness meant they didn't need to line it. Oh well, live & learn. Maybe I'll make another double stranded!

Meanwhile I am working on the Jiffy Jacket... See... really I am.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Sidetracked: From stash-diving to stash-busting

"It's not my fault" Let me tell you how many times a day I hear that from my kids... No this is not a rant about my lovely children... instead this time I'm saying it, "It's not my fault". I was minding my own business, crocheting my sweater and occasionally reading some posts at CP, crochet-a-long and crochetchallenge, when I somehow became sidetracked off the Jiffy cardigan project. It all began when I went stash-diving to replace the beautiful, but not-enough-yardage, 'mulled wine' wool. Good job, you're thinking, using the stash is good. I started my sweater in the Caron Simply Soft Dark Sage that I found.... but I kept thinking about the stash. You see, while stash-diving I was reminded of all the pretty colors of yarn I had - many in single skeins left over from other projects. I've been at a loss as to what to do with the stash bits...until (this is where we learn where the fault lies).... Kathy at crochet-a-long started posting possible stash-busting projects (but scrap afghans just aren't really my thing). Cheri suggested dishclothes (maybe...) and Kris suggested bags (now that had my attention). After the well traveled bag I was thinking about some small felted accessories, and I knew I had enough wool to do another larger felted bag. Sara from crochetchallenge showed this knitted cable bag on her blog and I remembered somewhere I had seen a crocheted cable bag...but where? I followed my hunch and went to Erica's Bound by my Hook and from there to Donna's Hooked on Crochet where I found it... Camille's purse. That was it. The Dark Sage and H hook were dropped. I grabbed my Brittany I hook, this pretty RH Country Blue yarn (similar color to Sara's bag ~ see how I'm being influenced) and I was off hooking cables. A few days later, after a stop at Joann's for handles and I'm almost done... I'll go finish now, I just HAD to explain why I haven't made progress on the sweater. I've been working on this cool bag. Kathy, Cheri, Kris, Sara, Erica & Donna made me do it. Honest Mom!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Stash diving for Jiffy cardigan yarn

AGH!!!!!!!!!! that was the sound of me screaming! After my blog post yesterday deciding how much more I liked the 'Mulled Wine' wool yarn in the Jiffy stitch pattern .... I don't have enough. I bought the yarn for the Spring cardigan which uses about 1250 yds for a medium (I have about 1600 yds). The Jiffy cardigan needs almost double that at 2430 yds for a medium. I guess it makes sense that the Jiffy uses so much more (I just wasn't thinking). The Spring Cardigan is a more fitted sweater, shorter in length and uses alternating rows of dc & sc as opposed to clusters of (sc, ch2, sc) in the longer, boxier Jiffy cardigan. Clearly my brain was on vacation.

So I raided the stash last night searching for large quantities. I came up with 2 options (well really 3 but I quickly decided not to steal the wool bought for dh's sweater - it's bad enough that I haven't made his socks!). First I found some Red Heart SS in Aran (10 - 8 oz skeins) - destined for a family room afghan, but put into stash after I decided the original pattern was too airy - still searching for another pattern. Second I have 12 skeins (7 oz) of Simply Soft in Dark Sage - this was purchased on a bulk sale with thoughts of a sweater for me. But in the package with indoor lighting the color just didn't wow me (it seemed almost a little too olive-y green) so into stash with plans to become a sweater for my son for next year. Anyway, I grabbed both and I swatched...again. I think I've been spoiled by a lot of "good" yarn lately. I'm sure the RH Aran will make a great afghan and will soften with washing, but it felt like sandpaper last night. I used an H hook like I had with the KnitPicks wool and the Aran swatch was stiff and too big. It would have been even stiffer if I had gone down a hook size. The Simply Soft was so soft and right on gauge (I know I didn't do too many rows, but row for row it lines right up with the earlier wool swatch). I went to sleep last night still not sure what to do.... I'm not going to make myself a sweater in a color I don't like!!

Well, in the light of day (literally!), I've decided I love the dark sage after all. And, there should be enough of it to still make my son a sweater as well!

Friday, March 10, 2006

March challenge & CAL update

So over at crochet challenge (formerly crochet olympics) I originally listed the well traveled bag and finishing the 3 different sock WIPS as my March challenge. The bag is done and progress is being made on the socks. I finished the south bay pair from the crochet-a-long gang, and couple of nights ago I finished the first sock for the sock-a-long at crochetsocks...ta da. It's made with Paton's KroySocks 'Vista Sea', using an Addi 3.5mm E hook. I made 15 sc cuff, but then I added 10 rows of sc before working the heel. I really should work on finishing up this 2nd sock since I am sorting helping out list Mom/moderator Denise for a bit. Of course I still have to do the 2nd Classic Ribbed Cable sock. I will not fall to 2nd sock syndrome. I love to wear them too much!

Speaking of socks.... anyone following my blog comments knows there's a certain loving dh out there waiting for his socks. I think I'll be making him a pair from the Crocheted Socks! book - "Oxford Style", Using Patons KroySocks 'Windsor Tweed' with the darker charcoal yarn from Silja for the contrasting heel & toe.

In the meantime, it's time for a new garment project with the gang at Yahoo crochet-a-long. It was a close vote among the 2 sweaters I suggested (and couldn't decide between myself) and a Drops Design summer top (which I will be doing after the sweaters). Yes I said sweaters! With such a close vote I think we'll end up doing the 3 items. The poll was to close on Wednesday, and when I last looked early Wednesday evening, the Spring Cardigan was winning by one vote. So I crawled into bed with my yarn - Knit Picks Wool of the Andes 'Mulled Wine' - and started on a swatch (lower one in photo). I had to go up to an I hook (from an H) to get 13 st in 4 inches. But then, in pattern (alternating rows dc, sc), I was almost at 4 inches by the start of the row 9 instead of 11. I also wasn't sure if I like this yarn for this pattern,I went to sleep! Well, by the time I checked the board on Thursday, the poll was officially closed and Kim Guzman's Jiffy Jacket-Cardigan had won by one vote! So back to the swatch. This time with the recommended hook (H) it looks like I'm right on gauge with 8 clusters to 5 inches. The pattern says 16 rows=5 inches. I've done 8 rows in this swatch and I'm at 2.5 inches. Yay!! I'm glad we're doing this pattern (even though I voted to do the other more fitted cardigan), because I really wanted to use this yarn and I think I like this stitch pattern better for this yarn. Maybe I'll find something lighter in color and more spring-like for the 'Spring cardigan'. Life is calling, got to run!

Monday, March 06, 2006

2006 Finished Object Photos

I just tried to add a Flickr flash badge to the sidebar showing my finished objects (FO) for the year so far. It looked good on preview but I can't seem to publish my blog now. We'll see if I can publish this post. Here goes.... update - it took almost 7 minute to publish, but it worked!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Completed Well traveled bag - newest FO

Ta Daa! What do you think? Well, I like it. Of course I'll notice the little imperfections, but I really, really like it. With all that said I have to 'fess up about the pocket. I showed some photos of the bag looking great. Now here's the side that will always be against my body! I think the inside pocket affected the way the outer bag felted. The double thickness in that spot might be the culprit. The outline of the pocket is clearly visible from the outside (not just because of the extra thickness). Maybe I stitched it together too tightly and there wasn't enough "give" for the felting to occur without pulling at those stitches? Who knows. I'm happy with my first fulling/felting project.

Well traveled bag & sock update

I've been a negligent blogger, so sorry - 40 lashes with some felted yarn!! I have made a little progress on the Crochet me! in your shoes ankle socks I'm doing with the crochetsocks group. Mine are almost ready for the heel & toe. I'm doing them with Paton's KroySocks 'Vista Sea' and a 3.5mm E hook. I have to confess, I put them aside last Wednesday night because I couldn't wait another minute to start on my version of Dawn's Well traveled bag. I'm using KnitPicks Wool of the Andes in 'Winter Night', 'Asparagus', 'Mulled Wine' & 'Tan'. I did just the base that first night, worked on it a bit more on Thursday & Friday evening. Last night I finished crocheting the main bag (picture shows the sides folded in). Original dimensions were 11" x 6" x 12"(tall). This morning I crocheted a pocket to go inside.
After spending a bit of time surfing the web (and asking every forum/group I could think of) for advice on felting with pockets, I finally loosely whipstitched the pocket to the inside, and took the felting plunge (or rather the bag did). I wasn't sure if my front loader would do the job, but I put it on high heat, heavy soil, added a bit if detergent, and let it do it's thing. I checked it after 15 minutes and it was definitely fulling. I added some sneakers and let it keep going for another 10 minutes. Then I took it out plunged it cold water, rinsed it a bit in the sink (while I let the washer rinse itself out). I stuck it back in the washer for a water extraction spin (this time on gentle) and stuck it on top of some baby wipe boxes to dry. After felting dimensions are 5" x 8.5 " x 9.5"(tall). I bought some 1/8 inch diameter leather cording at AC Moore yesterday. I think it will be strong enough tripled & braided. If not, I could always double it before braiding. (I bought 25 yds at $7.99 - it was only $1 more than 8yds, which was only $1 more than 4 yds...and that was before my 40% off coupon!). Anyway, I'll try making the cord tonight and see if dh wants to help me attack the grommets!