Sunday, December 25, 2011

a very crafty christmas

i mostly knit, mom crochets. i learned how to crochet first, as a child, and later taught myself to knit. i'm glad to be able to do both, as i don't feel limited in my creating.

i kinda like to keep mom "busy" (not that she needs any help from me in that department). but, "busy" with what i consider to be "fun" stuff, ie: making things. i created a ravelry account for her. i know and use her user name and password. i am the one that updates it for her and adds projects. maybe some day she'll have the time or interest to do it herself. if not, then i'll just keep doing what i've been doing, ... as long as she keeps making ME things ;)

this year, i asked for some crocheted pillows. it started with this bird pillow, as i'd found the pattern as a "tear off" freebie in the craft store.

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this pattern is called the crocheted folk art bird pillow. it uses premier yarns everyday worsted, which is nice and soft, has great colors, and quite affordable. i don't have to tell you i'm a sucker for a nice acrylic yarn. though i thought the colors used in the original pattern were pretty, i wanted something a bit more neutral for this design.

i bought the yarn, tore off a pattern sheet at the craft store, bought the 14" square pillow form, and packed it into a clear zippered bag (like the kind you get when you buy bed linens) and took it to mom. i said, "look! i got YOU something to make for ME!".

and she rocked it! i don't know if i can convince her to make another one, or perhaps i should do it myself ...

so, i'm certainly smitten with this. she didn't like that i had chosen black, which i understand. it's a lot harder to crochet with black than to knit with black.

i can knit with my eyes closed (the basic stockinette stitch). but crochet any stitch with my eyes closed? nope.

then, i showed her some other pillow and cushion patterns, and picked out some colorways of our giant acrylic stash (stashed at her house). next up, the blooming flower cushion(s).

i chose these colors, mostly. here's the funny part ... see the white? i had chosen BLACK. yeah. she was already "done" with the color black when she crocheted the bird pillow. so, she made an executive design decision, and nixed the black!

but, it turned out very nice! don't ask me why i wanted the black .....

she had so much fun with the first one, she made a second pillow  =)   

again, i am the lucky recipient! this time around, she decided on all the colors. i had picked out a color range, and she pulled out other colors that coordinated with the ones she'd already made, or ones she thought looked better in general.

and then, there was the BIG SECRET project. this one, i had no clue about. i hadn't even put this pattern in her queue. but, it's in my raverly queue.

this pillow is based off of the pattern for the freeform crochet blanket (this is a ravelry link). i just think these funky birds are so freaking cool! the tutorial gives instructions on forming the birds, but then it's up to you to "fill it in". i would love a blanket of these guys, but for now, i have a really cool pillow!

so, here's the whole gang, outside on one of the decks. it was a very overcast christmas, but not too bad for taking pictures outside  =)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

jerry the musical monkey, loves stuart

so, it turns out, little monsters and critters happen to love sock monsters! i finished this jerry monkey for a friend last night. i gave it to her this morning. i didn't have time to take a proper picture, but played with some of the editing tools on flickr. jerry is one of the pdf patterns from rebecca danger.
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for my friend's monkey, i used the 2 skeins of yarn on the right, Sheep(ish) by vicki howell. i was going for color and yardage. i can't say i love the yarn, can't say i like it very much at all, but the colors are very good. when i participated in my color themed swap in the ravelry danger crafts group last july, my awesome swap partner knitted me a jerry. so, it was time to share the love ....

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looks like he has some bad habits, doesn't it?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

christmas socks

or, i can call this post, "christmas boots" ... or "i went shopping for other people and i found these fabulous boots for myself!".

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well, there is a sock in progress in the boot ...

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i really like the christmas colorway of red heart's "heart & sole" sock yarn. the colorway is not new, and is available year round, but i suddenly got the urge to knit christmas socks. unfortunately, these won't be done in time for the holiday, as i'm still working on other people's gifts. i'm using my favorite toe up pattern, Spice Man, by yarnissima. the idea is to knit 'til i run out of yarn!

Friday, December 16, 2011

the criminal minds mystery kerchief

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oh, so pretty! but i think she looks bigger than she is. she's more of a small shawlette, vs. a full cover the body kind of shawl.

the pattern is called Criminal Minds Mystery Kerchief. it was part of a mystery knit-a-long. now, i don't like mystery knitting. life is short, i wanna know what i'm going to get when i cast on.

but, i saw finished versions of this shawlette, and i saw it in this very yarn (well, same yarn, different colorway), and decided to give it a whirl.

one thing i enjoyed about knitting this pattern was it was error free and quiet detailed. imagine, knitting a shawl without pictures and charts (when it was part of the mystery kal).

so, the pattern gives frequent stitch counts. pretty awesome!

when i went to SAFF, i did buy another pattern by the same designer, and some more color changing yarn ... perhaps i'll reward myself in january or on new years day with a new cast on  =)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

why yes, i STILL knit socks!

as a matter of fact, i just finished this pair earlier this past week!

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this pair is for a very good friend. i started the socks back in february, as the ska theme/sockdown was to knit "man socks". i could had knitted these for myself (with fewer stitches), as the pattern is designed for man, but instead decided my good friend would love some handknit socks. i showed him the socks this past week. man, what a GRIN! he's going to wear them this coming week at a holiday party. he plans on breaking them in with some major dancing. for myself, i'm knitting some leftover socks, called totem pole socks (rav. link). i'm using up all kinds of leftovers in my superwash merino or merino/nylon mix.

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at first, i planned out the colors. and then, as i started to knit, things just changed ...

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i was even able to incorporate that purple from the recently completed pair above. essentially, with this sock, i'm changing stitch patterns and yarns every so often. i'm knitting on 64 stitches, and using stitch patterns from my various stitch library books (ie: _sensational knitted socks_). i just finished sock #1 last night, and hope to cast on the mate tonight, or work on my gloves, or my ______. you get the picture. not enough hours in the day!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

for my swappie

'tis monster-season! so, i do belong to 2 groups on ravelry (well, actually, i "belong" to many more, but only actively post on 2 of them). of course, there's my sock knitters anonymous group, and then ... my danger crafts group (hello! monster knitters!). as you saw before, i got my package from my swap partner in california, ms. brooke. and today, she got mine !!! (and, she did not have to stalk the mailman ... more on that later)

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this is gabby, the "prize" of the swap. gabby is one of the danger crafts monsters. she's knitted in some adored koigu, and is knitted as a mini. she's smaller than stuart, and is a bit fatter. WHOOPS! sorry girl !!!

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see how little she is?! ... she's crammed into a small USPS flat rate box. she's so "weeeeee". in the box as well is a teeny owl.

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i stalked my partner as best i could (online), and saw she was into knitting these owls, ... so i decided she should have one for herself.

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plus, a tin (crammed with chocolate as well) with some soaps ...

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then sewed up a wee project bag with some lovely BAH HUMBUG fabric ...

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i lined the bag with a proper lining fabric (ie: slippery polyester stuff) ... then, i stuffed it full just to "check it out".

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Sunday, December 04, 2011

a good day for monsters!

i belong to the danger crafts group on ravelry. it's one of my favorite groups, as everyone is happy in that group. it must be all the monster-knitting. monsters make people ♥ happy ♥ . every so often the group has a swap. i had never participated in a swap before joining this group. my first swap was last spring, when i knitted bea for a gal in texas.
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in return, she had knitted me a tony and coco!
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and later in the year, i did an exchange/swap with another gal up in massachusetts. i knitted her sammie the sock monster ...
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and she knitted me a jerry & beatrice!
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as you can see, there are some "extras" included within the swaps. we have a $10 budget for extras, which does not include shipping your package. for my latest swap, i got my package yesterday! i cannot yet share what i made for my partner, but i can share everything she sent to me =)
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let me just say, OMB! first of all, i love it ALL. the precious monster here is named Penelope, the Empathetic Monster. this pattern is not in rebecca danger's book, but is available as a pdf download on her website. the sweet little owl with penelope is a wee stuffie and the pattern is called owl puffs, and is designed by Jenna Krupar (or, RetroLemon on ravlery). i mailed her package yesterday morning. i can only get to the post office on saturdays, since they open AND close on weekdays, while i'm at work. when she gets hers, i will share the goodies here as well.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

beyond cute!

i do crochet. i learned crochet first. YEARS ago. and, i do love both. but, when it comes to a project, i can decide, which technique is better for the project or design. sometimes, crochet is instant gratification. such as here, with a PONY!
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i have a work friend, who's so sweet, and one of those insanely "good nature d" persons. one day, i asked her, "what would you like?" her response? ... "a PURPLE PONY!"
sarah had seen this pattern before, because (dummy me!) i showed it to her at work. she LOVED it. and, she's the kinda girl that sincerely loves things. over this thanksgiving holiday, mom & i hit one of the local craft stores, where i found some yarn perfect for the project.
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too cute? yes, i know!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

something(s) finished, at last!

wouldn't you know, when i finally finish my noro gloves, the weather turns unseasonably warm?! at the very least, the warm dry air helped them dry out on the porch today.
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i used the basic pattern from ann budd's _The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns_. and, for some reason, glove #2 came out a bit smaller than the first. i'm sure my hands aren't the same size either, so i'm not going to fret over it. bottom line, i have a new pair of very warm gloves! i let them soak in some wool wash, and it really helped relax the fabric. before, they were quite stiff. they didn't grow nor shrink. they are the closest thing to perfect (aside from being 2 different sizes :p ) finished object #2 is a finished pair of socks ...
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i started these immediately after SAFF in october. i purchased both the yarn and pattern from the miss bab's booth. i knitted them for the october SKA challenge. i still have 2 other pairs of socks to finish, plus various other "obligations" (ie: a monster for my swap group, a couple of knitted/crochet toys for friends, etc).
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i got these yarns today too ... the brown cotton is for a washcloth, and the other two (magenta & brown) are for a jerry monkey.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

a single glove

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there is always knitting going on around here, but not always enough time to share it properly.

a few years ago, i knitted my first pair of gloves. i used the basic pattern from ann budd's  _The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns_. that pair did "fit", though a bit on the big size.

i decided to give it another go, in a worsted weight (you know, for that instant gratification). this time i used some stash sent to me not too long ago, ... some noro silk garden.

the fit is certainly better than my first pair years ago. but, like socks, you gotta knit 2 !

so, i'm off the computer now, to cast on glove #2, just in case the weather turns cold.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

the nc state fair

the fair has come & gone, and i wrote a big post about it over here. i took a lot of pictures, and i didn't want to clutter things up here, so i divided the knitting/crafty stuff with the other aspects of the fair. so, if you want to see "more", just click that link above.

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stuart and i went to the 2011 nc state fair, primarily to see all the crafty knitting & crochet exhibits. we'd been following crochetbug's journey as she created her 2011 nc state fair afghan, we really wanted to see it in person. so, that was our main mission.

we first stopped at the quilts, because sometimes, they do hang the crochet blankets with the quilting.

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i really liked this one.

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and the one on the left here, LOVE it too! see the nice lady? she goes back and forth slowly moving the quilts from one side to the other, like gently turning the pages of a book.

when she finished, and i didn't see the crochetbug afghan, i asked her where it was. i described it in detail, and she said, "oh, it's down a few rows in a glass case!".

we headed in that direction, and looked at other things along the way ...

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such as, cross stitch! i am not a cross stitcher at heart, but i do appreciate the time it takes to do these designs. heck, my little snowman took forever!

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and, in the next aisle, i spotted it ...

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who knows how they judge things, but the honorable mention ribbon simply doesn't capture the journey of creating this blanket. i think it deserves a blue ribbon.

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i snapped a shot of these, as the socks in the center is a pattern i've "tried" to start before. the pattern is called nightingale by vintage purls. i did start it once (it's toe up) and i got stuck on the toe. lol! perhaps i'll revisit the pattern in 2012.

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this pair was knitted by a friend of mine. i don't know what pattern she used, but it's a simple and elegant design.

stuart and i finished off the fair with some ice cream before departure.

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if you wanna see the rest of the story ... just click here.