Thursday, July 13, 2006

Swatching mania

I'm not sure what came over me last night. I was thinking about possible and probable Garment CALs at Yahoo crochet-a-long - which ones I am doing, which I am skipping, and which I should offer to moderate etc. I had myself so confused, I decided that I needed to figure out what yarn I could use for which patterns... the next thing I now I'm a swatching fool. So here's what I did (these may or may not end up as CALs).

First I started with Twyla - when I saw this stitch detail I fell in love. Even though I knew I'd be changing the pattern a bit to taper the arms and maybe change the edging width (I'm a pattern tweaker, what can I say), I wanted to make this sweater as I loved the texture & pattern of this stitch in the photo. It calls for Berroco Softwist - a rayon & wool blend ww with 100 yds/50g. I have the Wool of the Andes in Mulled Wine that I originally intended for the Spring Crochet Cardigan and thought that would make a great Twyla. So I grabbed my Brittany 5.5mm I hook and did the 8 cluster repeat for 5 rows.... well, it was 5 inches long and just barely 2 inches high (short & fat!!). I frogged that and tried again still using the I hook , but with a pretty tight starting chain and hit the gauge this time. After all this, I realize (once again) that this is a yarn eating stitch pattern and requires 1700 yds ( I have 1540 yds of Mulled Wine). In all honesty, this yarn didn't accentuate the stitch pattern as much as I would like...maybe I will make the Spring Cardigan with this yarn after all!
So next yarn ... Sirdar SalsaDK in Flamingo (this time I checked yardage first - I have over 1900 yds). I grabbed a Brittany 5.0mm H hook this time and worked up a gauge swatch. Even though it's DK insteak of WW, I think it will work fine. The gauge swatch looks nice and I like the pattern in this wild yarn! I hope this will be a September CAL.

Second pattern I swatched was Robyn's Crystal Lace Bolero - likely to be a CAL in August. Robyn also used Berroco Softwist, but I wanted to use up some stash for this so I went with some basic acrylic in a dusty rose color. Once again grabbed the recommended hook size and started hooking. Well, again I was huge! My square was closer to 5.25" than 4". (Hmm, maybe Softwist is more of a light ww). I could go with some Simply Soft I have in stash, but now I like this color, so I tried again using my Addi 4.5mm G hook. This time, crocheting rather tightly, I have a 4" square.

Well, I was on a roll now and it wasn't midnight yet, so I grabbed the third pattern, one I'm now dying to do myself, Drops 68-15 Summer cardigan and the Catania Cotton in Marine from my stash. The width of the repeat is right on gauge, and as best I can tell, the height is okay as well (the clock struck midnight, my dh groaned that my light was still on and I put my crochet down and went to sleep!)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

New WIPs on my hook

Shhh... don't tell... but I'm not supposed to have any more WIPs right now. I sort of committed publically, in many places, that I wasn't going to start anything until I finished my Drops Tops. But... my dh bought me that gorgeous afghan kit and the yarn was calling to me..touch me, feel me, wind me, hook me! So while reading stories with my kids the other night, I wound those gorgeous hanks of yarn into cakes. That night while working on my Drops Top, when I reached for the measuring tape I came upon my K hook (it just jumped out of the hook case into my hand, really, it did!). So, to satisfy my curiosity (and my dh's to be honest) I started hooking, just a bit of the Colinette yarn 'ghan. Well the next night, as the yarn winder & swift were still set up, while upstairs reading with the kids again, I wound some hanks of the Beth tank top yarn into cakes. Then, as I'd left my Drops Top in the car, I grabbed an F hook and started the Beth tank while singing to my dd. (I had to be hooking something.) I finished the lower edge of the Beth tank that night. Ever since then, I've been allowing myself a few rows of the lap-ghan and/or a few stitches of Beth each evening (provided I've worked for a bit on the Drops Top that day!)

So here they are. Active WIPs 1,2,& 3:

1. Drops Design Top - Previously I finished the front panel. Now I'm working on the back panel. Pattern is from Garnstudio Drops Design (link above). I'm using a 3.0mm hook with GGH Bali yarn shown here (scroll down a bit).

2. Beth tank from Berroco - I haven't done much (must work on Drops Top first) but I did the lower band just to see the pattern in this yarn. I'm using a 4.0mm hook with Knit One Crochet Two 2nd time cotton in the Nantucket Colorway shown here (scroll down, bottom right photo). I wish the lower photo was the more accurate color, but I think the top one really is (more gray, less blue).

3. Colinette yarns afghan kit - this was my birthday surprise from dh. The kit pattern is for a wave-like ripple afghan (3'x4'). I'm using a K hook and the gorgeous yarn shown unwound in my birthday post and in cakes with the ghan here. I've completed 1 of 4 1/2 pattern repeats.

In the end I'm probably getting as much if not more done on the Drops Tops. I really work much better this way.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

July WIPs, PIGs & WIMs

Can you say ROLLOVER?? Looks like a few items on my July challenge list will be unfinished projects from June! But first let's do the monthly review of all the possibilities - I find it's nice to see it all down in writing so I can reassess each month and decide what to put on my monthly challenge list for Yahoo crochetchallenge. In case you're interested, here are the links to my April, May and June lists (the April one gives acronym definitions).

1. Drops Design Top - progress = 45%
2. Navy blue cardigan - progress = 15%
3. Toddler cardigan - progress = 50%
4. "High-Stylin' Pillow" (Crochet calendar)- progress = 10%

1. Beth tank from Berroco
2. Drops Safran Tank
2. "Easy Ripple" Afghan
3. 63 squares Afghan - Aran
4. Spring Crochet Cardigan
5. 'Oxford Style' socks (Crocheted Socks!)- Bob
6. Felted Hook Case
7. 'Alpine Meadow' hooded sweater
8. Marble yarn sweater for me - Todays Crochet pattern
9. Colinette Afghan kit
10. Twyla Cardigan

1. Letter pillows "Y" & "X" from Woven-n-Spun
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
12. Robyn’s Spider Shrug
13. Socks - soon to start sock-a-long at crochetsocks.

I love getting this all written out to look at. OK – for July… I want to complete the first WIP - the Drops Top we’re doing at Yahoo crochet-a-long. I'd like to also do the Beth tank for me (PIG #1) and maybe (but most likely not) the Safran tank (PIG #2). Then there's the elusive sock-a-long CAL at crochetsocks (WIM #13) - if that starts I'll have to keep up with that as I am a moderator there. On some cool evening, I'll probably dig out and start the afghan kit just to pet the yarns...

(In case anyone noticed, I moved the "X" & "Y" Letter pillows from PIG to WIM since the patterns still haven't been written. I may try to write then myself this fall if Kim hasn't done it. My kids beds look pretty funny with 3/4 of the letters of their names!)

Time to start hooking!

Tank Top ideas...

These are the sleeveless summer tops that I've found (and I like) on the web. I posted this on several forums, but for some reason not here. For my own sake I'm adding in yarn type and yardage needed for the higher possibilities.

1. Adriafil tank - pattern & photo
2. Beth by Berroco - this uses 8 hanks Touche (712yds ww yarn) for the large (39")
3. Crochet Shell (or dress)
4. Drops 88-20 Safran Tank - this uses 5 balls Safran (875 yds DK yarn) for the XL (41")
5. Fitted Scoop Neck Tank - this uses 720 yd Patons Katrina (ww yarn with stretch) for a 39"-41" Long
6. Jessica Tromp tank - photo & diagram
7. Lily Tank Top - pattern & photo - this uses 7 (70g) Sugar & Cream (ww yarn ~1000 yd) for a large (40")
8. Mango Mesh Top
9. Sherbert Tank Top - this uses 8 oz Patons Katrina (~600 yd ww with stretch) for a small...
10. V-stitch sleeveless

In addition there a a few patterns in some publications that I own that I was considering:
11. Sunny Days Tank Top by Denise Black in "24 hour crochet projects" R. Weiss - this uses 16 oz of Luster Sheen (sport/fine) yarn (1340 yd) for the large (38" - 40")
12. Flutter-Sleeve Top in "Fabulous & FLirty Crochet" K.Lee - this uses 6 balls (720 yd) of GGH Mystik (DK) for the large (39")
13. Designer Wannabe Tank Top by Ajda Mesic in "Happy Hooker" D. Stoller - this uses 12 balls (1474 yds) of Catania (sport/fine) for the large (40")
14. Cupcake by L-J. Bernhardson in "Happy Hooker" D. Stoller - this uses 8 balls (920 yds) of Amazon DK Cotton for the large (40.5")

So in trying to match up the cotton yarn I have in stash with some possibilities...

I have a sport/dk cotton - 12 balls (137yd/50g) of Catania - could go fo the Designer Wannabe Tank or the Drops Safran Tank or even the Sunny Days Tank Top

I have worsted weight cotton - Knit One Crochet Two "2nd Time Cotton" (180yd/100g) in 2 multi colorways - I have 4 balls (720yd) of one and 6 balls (900 yds) of the other. This could be used for Beth... Don't think it's stretchy enough to sub for Patons Katrina, but it might be thin enough to sub for a DK weight....

Birthday surprise...

My dh did it again! I love this guy. He took the kids out shopping for birthday presents for me and with a lot of guidance helped them pick out a beautiful necklace (my dd likes to get me jewels), and some chocolates. Then at their favorite place to shop for me, Yankee Candle, dh gave a little guidance for choosing a tea light warmer for scented wax potpourri and then let the kids spend over 30 minutes choosing the wax tart potpourri "flavors" all on their own. They had a great time and I certainly received some beautiful and interestingly scented gifts! He went off to work yesterday, telling me the kids would give me my presents. My ds woke up my dd and off they went to draw me cards (I stayed in bed, half sleeping and half waiting). They arrived (pouncing on top of my bed) at 7 am bearing those great hand drawn cards that you cherish forever and all the loot from their day out with Dad. I was smiling, the kids were smiling, it was terrific. We called dh at work, I thanked the love of my life for my wonderful birthday gifts, and the kids and I went about our day.

I didn't expect dh home until late, as per usual on Wednesdays, but he surprised me walking in at 4 pm. He had canceled his evening plans, bought a birthday cake and had detoured 25 miles on his way home form work to go to my LYS, Ewe'll Love It (but I didn't yet know this). He said he went to a lighting store to get a desk lamp he wanted - so we set that up - and oh yeah, he stopped in to the LYS and grabbed a book for me - a book of knitting patterns of Shetland sweaters - just in case I want to learn to knit - (I guess I can make him a sweater since I've never made his socks!!) Well, he showed no hint that he had purchased anything else at the LYS - he usually has a tell-tale twinkle in his eye - so we went ahead and ate dinner, had cake and then he surprises me - he produces this monster bag of fiber for an afghan kit!! What an amazing assortment of color and texture! Then the eye twinkle appears as he tells me all about choosing these colors and these fibers from amongst the various kits available. He does a great job of choosing colors and putting together items that I would most likely never choose on my own but love when I see them assembled. He has done this in everything from kitchen countertops to clothes to jewelry and now he's doing it with fiber!! So here's the lastest yarn loot. It's all from Colinette yarns of Wales. The kit includes Wigwam cotton tape - lichen colorway - 100% cotton - 143yd/100g; Zanziba - in 2 colorways: Jay & Autumn Leaves - 51% wool, 48% viscose, 1% nylon - 99yd/100g; Fandango chunky cotton - cezanne colorway - 100% cotton - 110 yd/100g; Skye - velvet bilberry colorway - 100% wool -152yd/100g; and finally Mohair - in 3 colorways: Tapis, Mist & Renaissance - 78% mohair, 13% wool, 9% nylon - 193yd/100g. The kit is for a ripple lap afghan (3' x 4') with a hook "not larger than K".
All in all, I'd say I had a fantastic day, but moreover, I am blessed with a fantastic dh and wonderful kids!!

June challenge report

OK, it's time to check in and see how I did in June. So what did I theoretically commit to on my June challenge list for Yahoo crochetchallenge, and what did I actually do? On my list was finishing the Absolutely Precious sweater #2, the Sideways Shell Baby Blanket, and the Drops Top with my CAL. I also wanted to make the Caprice Sundress for my dd and possibly the Beth tank for myself and finally I expected to start a Sock-along as well. Here's what really happened in June. Click on "progress" for a link to the post showing current state of the project.

1. Absolutely Precious Baby sweater #2 - progress = 100%.
2. Sideways Shell Baby Afghan - progress = 100%.
3. Drops Design Top - progress = 45%. I'm actually moderating this CAL at Yahoo crochet-a-long group. I can't believe how little I actually accomplished again this month (I said the same thing in May!!). This time it's because after finishing all those baby items I couldn't resist making the dress for my dd (see #4). I am finally working on this full time now. No other WIPs allowed!
4. Caprice Sundress - progress = 100%. This was quite a project as I ended up frogging, redesigning and re-crocheting the entire body of the dress. I think I will end up lining it as soon as I can get to a fabric store.
5. Beth tank from Berroco. Progress = 0%. I'd love to start this I just haven't allowed myself to get distracted away from the Drops Top. I may need to let it happen to prevent burn out, we'll see in a few weeks...or days! Of course the list of possible tank tops has grown....
6. Socks - soon to start sock-a-long at crochetsocks. Progress = 0%. This is entirely NOT my fault. I don't even have the pattern yet. We'll still waiting for this to start.

All in all, I did OK! I really wanted to do more on the Drops Tops, but redesigning the Caprice Dress took a bit of time!!

WIP: Drops Top

Wow has it been a while since I posted. Believe it or not I'm only working on one WIP right now, and I'm still not finding a lot of time to work on it. Hopefully, now that we're through the Holiday weekend, life should settle down a bit here and I should be able to get a bit more crochet time in!

This is the Drops Design Top I've been working on with my friends at Yahoo crochet-a-long. I'm moderating this CAL so I'm embarassed about how slow my progress has been, but at least I'm still working on it. We had many start it, but few seem to still be working on it. Anyway, I have finished the front panel complete with armhole shaping and neck/shoulder shaping. Now to attack the back panel and then the sleeves. It's shown here over the white tank I will wear under it. The width of the front panel seemed to tighten up a bit on me with this stitch pattern. I'm going to pay close attention to this phenomenon on the back panel otherwise this will have to be passed on to a skinnier sister or niece!

Edited to answer the obvious question...Yarn is GGH 'Bali' (50% cotton, 50% acrylic) in a beautiful lilac color.