Friday, April 28, 2006

Drops Top Swatch

I sat down last night after putting the kids to bed planning on weaving in ends on the Sweet Pea cardigan and even trying some of the embroidery. Well, panic struck - I couldn't find my hook case anywhere. I usually crochet in the kids rooms just before they go to sleep for a bit while we're saying prayers, having a little chat and/or singing. I carried my bags from room to room last night for a variety of reason but never actually crocheted. So now they're asleep, my dh is at a business dinner and I want to crochet. Instead I'm crawling around their rooms (with only nightlights to guide me) trying to find my hook case - no luck. I remember opening my hookcase in the library yesterday afternoon and can only hope that it's still there... WAH!

So with no needle to embroider the sweater, and only the Addi 4.0mm hook I used for the sweater, I decide to try the swatch for the Drops Summer Top. I figure my gauge will be off (the pattern calls for a 3.0mm), but at least I'll figure out the pattern and my yarn, GGH Bali frogs pretty easily. Within a few minutes I'm thinking "What did I get myself (and my CAL gang) into?" It's a little disconcerting until you get a few rows into the pattern. It didn't help that my dh called and then came home in the midst of the first few rows... this pattern needs full attention in the beginning... and I was so grumpy about my potentially lost hooks, I needed to crochet this swatch. Poor dh tried to be sympathetic about the hooks - although he didn't like my suggestion that he go break into the library and retrieve them (good thing, as we found my hook case this morning - it had rolled under ds's bed). He even commented that he could replace all my hooks for my birthday - men, they just don't understand emotional attachment to things - not that new hooks are a bad thing, but when you're mourning a loss, immediate replacement isn't the answer!
Anyway, I eventually worked my way through this swatch. As expected, I'm a bit off gauge, but I can fix that now that I have my hooks. I have to go discuss the bobble and the tc vs dc issues with Hilary at CAL. The bobble directions were missing YOs... but how many? The original directions say "Pull a loop through the sts (see the chart) and make it approx. 1 cm [3/8"] long, pull another loop through the same sts and make it approx. 1 cm [3/8"] long, pull st though all loops on hook."
Hilary, I believe added 2 YO, so it reads: "Pull a loop through the sts (see the chart) and make it approx. 1 cm [3/8"] long, YO, pull another loop through the same sts and make it approx. 1 cm [3/8"] long, YO, pull st though all loops on hook." It works, but leaves the bobble a bit open & tilted, in my hands.
So I tried this: YO, Pull a loop through the sts (see the chart) and make it approx. 1 cm [3/8"] long, YO, pull another loop through the same sts and make it approx. 1 cm [3/8"] long, YO pull st though all but one loop on hook, YO pull through last 2 loops". This sort of tied up the bobble at the top of the stitch.... I don't know... we'll see!
Now on the dc vs tc thing... I agree the symbol given is for tc, even though they label it dc. But on one end you do this dc or tc and ch 2, on the other end you ch 5. In my hands the side with the tc is taller than the side with the ch5... so either I need to do the dc or I need to ch6.

In the end, it's not so bad, just rough going for a bit until you get the pattern down.

Sweet Pea Cardigan

The Sweet Pea cardigan was one of those impromptu projects. I picked up the magazine, fell in love with the pattern while still standing in my LYS and left with the yarn to make it (already moved from WIM to PIG). Of course having an almost 4 yo dd asking if her pretty flower sweater is done yet made this move immediately from PIG to WIP. The trip to NY saw a fair amount of progress on the sweater, and in spite of running out of yarn a few days ago, I have even more progress to report! The top picture is on the 24th, after assembling the sweater. The second picture is on the 25th after adding the neck edging, center front edgings and button hole loops. I guess I had actually just started the lacy botton edge as well.
After the trip to my LYS & Joann's I had the yarn to be able to complete the crocheting on the 26th (I took my kids to 2 playgrounds - they had fun and I was able to do some rare daytime crocheting). This last picture shows the finished sleeve & bottom lacey edging and also includes the flower buttons and the ribbon & thread to embroider the flowers.

In search of ribbons & buttons...

I had the kids with me on a button hunt the other day. I needed buttons for my Jiffy Jacket, little girl flower buttons & ribbons for the embroidered flowers for the Sweet Pea Cardigan. For the latter I thought I'd have more luck at Joann's than at my LYS, so that's where we started (mind you it was 11:45am, I hadn't fed them lunch and Joann's was a mob scene due to some sewing machine demo)...

Luckily, it worked out, eventually. After 1 minute in the store we ran out to head next door to TJMaxx - my ds had to go and my dd shared this fact with everyone by yelling "potty emergency" over and over again!. Back in the store I found ribbon on the sale rack and pretty quickly dd & I agreed upon flower buttons for her sweater. Then began the hunt for my buttons. While the kids began playing a matching game with the 5 spinning towers of buttons (one picks 5 packages and then the other one has to go find matches)I spent entirely too much time searching through the choices until 35 minutes later decided on the ones I saw first! Isn't it always this way? Then I had to put away not only my 10 alternate choices but the "matches" they hadn't been able to return. Actually they did a really good job amusing themselves and putting away their buttons. So here's the Jiffy with the buttons (lying on it - I can't find my green thread!). And a close up of the button as well.

Then we headed off to my LYS (don't worry I fed the kids first) to get 2 more skeins of yarn to finish the Sweet Pea Cardigan. I had assumed at first glance that I was doing one of the middle sizes that called for 6 skeins, I bought 7 knowing that Svale had a little less yardage than the recommended yarn. Well, it turns out that I needed to do the largest size and I needed to make some adjustments to make the arms even larger... so 2 more skeins should do it. Luckily the yarn gods were with me and even though my LYS was in the middle of totally reorganizing their yarn bins, the first 2 skeins I pulled out were the right dye lot. Photos & more on this sweater in the next post!)

Well, I had to browse around the store (my LYS has a little toy bin and my kids were happily playing and weren't ready to leave) and I just couldn't leave without this yarn. Isn't it pretty? It's Classic Elite Yarn ~ Flash in 'Pink Tweed' (100% mercerized cotton). I got 6 skeins and I'm hoping it might be enough for a tank top for me (although dd thinks it must be for her, as it's pink)... so now I'm on the hunt for tank top patterns for me....

Sunday, April 23, 2006

April challenge - a week to go

Wow, I just checked by challenge list for April - it's over at Yahoo crochet challenge. I have 7 days to go... must get hooking. I had the Spring Crochet cardigan for myself on my list that I was going to do with my crochet-a-long group. The person who started it first has reported that there are a lot of sizing problems. She made the size large (she swears she made it to gauge) and it doesn't fit her (a size 10) and barely fits her size 6 teenage daughter....... so, it's not my fault.... I edited my list - removed that sweater and added the Sweet Pea Cardigan I'm making for my dd.

So where does my April list stand, I need to...

  • finish the Seraphina shawl (I'd guess about 6-10 more rows),
  • find buttons for my Jiffy Jacket (and sew them on),
  • finish the Sweet Pea Cardigan (on 2nd sleeve - need to assemble, add neck & button sc edging and bottom & sleeve lace edging)
  • make a felted hook case (haven't started this!!)

At least Abby's birthday poncho is 100% finished! I guess I had best get to work!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Crochet progress on Easter trip

I never had a chance to post before we left. We went to visit family and give the kids a New York City mini-adventure. Thankfully we went on the Skyfari at the Bronx Zoo and nixed any plans to go on the Roosevelt Island tram...

On the crochet front... before I left I was struggling with the decision of how many WIPs & PIGs to bring with me. I figured I would have a couple of hours each of 4 evenings, and the 4-5 hour trip down & back to what to take. I did finish the assembly of my Jiffy sweater the night before we left so I wanted to bring that to do the edging... I thought I could work on the Seraphina shawl, or start to make Abby's poncho for her bday - and I want to bring the my Spring Sweater and Abby's new Spring cardigan... In then end I decided, there's room in the car, I'll bring it all!!

1. Jiffy Jacket - I started & finished the edging on the trip to NY on Saturday. I did 4 rounds of sc (instead 0f 3 - just thought it needed an extra round before the button holes). Speaking of button holes, I did 7. Now I need to find buttons - didn't hit any LYS in NY - only buttons I saw were miniature statue of liberty replicas... I think NOT!

2. Lacy Shell Poncho - with my dd reasonably distracted by the DVD player in the back, during the last hour of the trip south I started crocheting her birthday poncho. I finished it Easter morning after church while waiting for other cousins to arrive. I used about 5 oz of an acrylic mill end in lavendar/lilac/light purple - I think it's Caron Perfect Match. I still have over 1.5 lb of it left...

3. Seraphina Shawl - I added a few rows to this Saturday night while putting the kids to sleep (I couldn't work on the poncho in front of my dd). I tried again Sunday morning after finishing the poncho - I got a few stitches done, but at this point it's too large for a small apartment with kids underfoot. I put it away.

4. Sweet Pea Cardigan - Abby knows I'm making this for her, so I figured I'd start this next. I also figured its small size would make it a good travel project for the car. I started on Sunday afternoon at the park with the kids (perfect weather for wearing the Jiffy Jacket) , and worked a bit on it en route to the zoo on Monday, over the next few evenings and en route home on Wednesday.

All in all, a good crochet vacation! I carried ALL the yarn for the Spring crochet cardigan but didn't start it.. I will, soon, very soon!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Recent yarn acquisitions

I couldn't help myself yesterday. I went into my LYS, innocently, just to pick up the new copy of Interweave Crochet. Well I fell in love with the "Sweet Pea cardigan" and had to get some cool summer yarn to make this for my dd. First, we ruled out everything that wasn't machine washable - dd is just about 4. In the end, I bought Dale of Norway 'Svale' (50% cotton, 40% viscose, 10% silk) in this gorgeous shade of light green. Of course this wasn't even a WIM and now it's a PIG!! Now at my LYS, purchases must be in multiple of $20 for punches on your frequent shopping card (actually they call it a frequent-knitter card - but I don't, we'll just leave it at that, since I like this shop and shop owner!), so I rounded up my purchases with a new Addi 'A' hook and Brittany 'G' and 'H' hooks.

A few weeks ago I was drawn into the same store in search of yarn for the Drops Design top we'll be doing at Yahoo! crochet-a-long in a few weeks. I found GGH 'Bali' (50% cotton, 50% acrylic) in a beautiful lilac color. I can't wait to make this top!

And while we're confessing yarn purchases... I finally straightened out the Wool-Ease mess for the 'Alpine Meadow' Hoodie from "More Crocheted Aran Sweaters". After exchanging various combinations of different dye lots, I am now in possession of 12 'same dye lot' skeins of Blue Mist, and 2 each of Forest Green Heather, Rose Heather and Oxford Grey. The pattern calls for light gray heather, but until I find that I have Oxford Gray. This is a project for late Summer - early Fall. I hope to wear it this fall. All in all, a good yarn week or two!

Monday, April 10, 2006

One-armed Jiffy...

I guess I'm making some progress of the Jiffy Jacket, somehow it just seems so slow to me - probably because I'm not staying up to the wee hours (and I'm not shoving life to the back burner) like I did with my Olympic sweater. Anyway, the back, front & one arm of the Jiffy are finished. I'm using Caron Simply Soft - which in my hand crochets more like a light worsted weight so I have to pay attention to gauge. I went up a hook size to get gauge and switched to an inline hook to deal with splitting, ending up with my Brittany 5.5mm I hook. Even still my row gauge was a little off, so I added a few rows in the main body of the sweater. (I'm doing medium which calls for 40 rows before the arm hole shaping. I did 44. I did the armhole shaping and top as written, and I match Kim's measurements). I'm a little concerned that the tapering on the sleeve might be too tight - I compared it to my Drops Design sweater tonight... if I'd done that earlier, I would have increased the number of rows between the decreases from 8 to 9, but alas hindsight is always 20-20 as they say... I almost frogged it back to around the elbow to spread out the decreases, but I decided it would be OK. The Drops sweater has very little give since it's cotton - the Jiffy in acrylic should be a little more forgiving and we're only talking about 1/4 inch difference. I did change the sleeve at the end. Before the last decrease I did 12 rows instead of 8, then did the last decrease and another 8 rows. So I end up with 79 rows instead of the 72 called for in a medium (adding a row for every 10 rows like in the sweater front). My hindsight solution would be better, but I'm not frogging! Even taking into account adding rows for the Simply Soft, after everyone's comments noting how long the Jacket is and how long the sleeves are I'm starting to feel like a tall, long-armed Amazon woman!!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The birthday quiz..

No, it's nowhere near my birthday, but I kind of liked the results of this quiz and thought I'd share it with you all. I stumbled on it as I was browsing through crochetblog web ring this morning (yes I should be doing laundry etc, but hey, it's my life!)

Your Birthdate: July 5

You have many talents, and you are great at sharing those talents with others.
Most people would be jealous of your clever intellect, but you're just too likeable to elicit jealousy.
Progressive and original, you're usually thinking up cutting edge ideas.
Quick witted and fast thinking, you have difficulty finding new challenges.

Your strength: Your superhuman brainpower

Your weakness: Your susceptibility to boredom

Your power color: Tangerine

Your power symbol: Ace

Your power month: May

Monday, April 03, 2006

WIPS, PIGs, WIMs & April challenge

So it's time to figure out what I'm going to work on or rather going to complete during April with my friends at Yahoo crochetchallenge. Although I'm pretty sure what the end result will be, I'd like to take the time to actually make a WIPs, PIGs & WIMs list just to make sure nothing of importance is falling through the cracks (or rather off my hooks!).

(After several questions - I decided to edit this to include definitions...)

WIPs - works in progress - for me that means I've started it and I at least occasionally work on it.
PIGs - projects in grocery sacks - this means the yarn is purchased and the pattern chosen and they are theoretically all sitting together in a bag awaiting their turn on a hook.
WIMs - works in mind - that list in your mind (or down on paper) that you want to do... for my list I have either pattern awaiting yarn or yarn awaiting specific pattern.

So we'll start with current WIPs with links to patterns & any blog progress reports.

1. Jiffy Jacket - progress = 40%
2. Seraphina Shawl - progress = 50%
3. Navy blue cardigan - progress = 15%
4. Toddler cardigan - progress = 50%
5. "High-Stylin' Pillow" (Crochet calendar)- progress = 10%

1. Letter pillows "Y" & "X" from Woven-n-Spun
2. "Easy Ripple" Afghan
3. 63 squares Afghan - Aran
4. Lacy Shell Poncho - Abby
5. Spring Crochet Cardigan
6. Drops Design Top
7. 'Oxford Style' socks (Crocheted Socks!)- Bob
8. Felted Hook Case

1. 'Alpine Meadow' hooded sweater
2. Granny Ripple Baby Afghan
3. Picot Cropped Cardigan
4. Cream Cotton Shrug
5. Bob's sweater Teal/black/gray
6. Alex's sweater - Green
7. Abby's sweater - grape chunky
8. Mittens & Hats
9. Abby's sweater - periwinkle
10. Abby's snow girl cardigan (Crochet! Jan '05)
11. Alex's sweater vest

Wow! What a list! As I expected the winners are... the first two WIPs - the Jiffy Jacket & the Seraphina shawl, and PIGs #4 + #5 - the poncho for Abby's birthday and the cardigan for me as a CAL at Yahoo crochet-a-long. Bob may get his socks started (always need a small travel project) as well. Well this process actually made me feel a lot better. Now I just have to start hooking!

4/23/06 - ETA - Felted Hook case PIG