Saturday, May 6, 2017

Happy Birthday!

Just a really quick post tonight, wishing my son Grant a very Happy Birthday! Hard to believe it's been two years already since we welcomed you into the world. And yet, just look how much you've grown!
2 hours

2 years!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Weekend Wind-up

I really, really wanted to say I finished a sock this weekend.
I didn't.
I didn't even finish it this morning, although I'm binding off:
And then I need to make the second sock (luckily, second-sock-syndrome is not something from which I suffer).

I did manage to get another handle on that market bag:

And the garden is coming along. I think. Here's what the vegetable box looks like right now:
The cucumber plants got big. So did the basil. I really hope the cucumbers produce - I've seen evidence of cutter bees on the rose bushes, so I know we have pollinators around here. I'm just really eager for the fruit to grow!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Weekend Wind-up

I didn't actually manage to finish anything this weekend, but I did make some progress. And I started another project. Because I have to keep crafting. It's an addiction. 

First up: The nearly-finished grocery bag. This is not the same pattern that I just wrote and released on Saturday; this is the leftover yarn from that bag, and I had a choice between making two dishcloths or making a small mesh bag. I have plenty of dishcloths already. 
Just one more handle to go

Next: I started a sock. Again. Because I have a serious case of startitis with socks. But as this pair is for a friend, I might actually finish them.
Seriously, I'll finish this pair!

Finally, there's this pair of wool shorts that are very nearly complete...except for the drawstring and lanolizing that will ready them as a diaper cover/springtime clothing.

Oh, and I might have added a bit to the stash...but, I mean, I had to buy a new circular for the socks. And I didn't want to wait for shipping, which meant I had to visit the yarn shop...and no one expects to walk into a yarn shop like Sin City Knits and not buy yarn, right? At least I kept it manageable. A skein of Vintage (I've got a bit of inspiration to design something) and a skein of self-patterning sock yarn. Because, like I said, I've got a serious case of sock startitis. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Green Grocery Getter - Earth Day Free Pattern

In honor of Earth Day, I would like to share the pattern I wrote for this reusable grocery bag:
If you've been reading along this year, you already know that I've been participating in an Earth Day-themed Crochet-A-Long in the Nerdy Hookers group over at Ravelry. This bag is a result of that CAL; I would very much like to stop using so darn many plastic bags every week, but I also know from years of experience, that bringing only enough bags for half the groceries does nothing but confuse the cashiers and baggers.
So, I need to make a lot of them. A whole lot.
I have a bunch, already; about 7 six (I counted) knit and crochet bags; this is more than enough for a trip to the farmers market or Trader Joe's, but I'm still building up to the 12 or 13 I estimate I'll need for a typical grocery run at Smith's.
The collection so far
This bag does hold a decent amount, about the same as a plastic grocery bag, with a little more room at the top. Here's a comparison (it's the same box of Shredded Wheat and fruit snacks in each bag):

Something important to note: I've made two of these, the first from Lily Sugar & Cream and the second (shown here) from KnitPicks Dishie. I strongly prefer the Dishie, and I've listed the gauge for that yarn. Gauge is not crucial to this project, so if you're using a thicker kitchen cotton, like Sugar & Cream or Bernat Handicrafter Cotton, it's ok if your gauge is different. Just make sure you like the fabric you're creating (and you might want an extra ball of yarn, just to be safe).

Ok? Well, then, here we go!!

Green Grocery Getter
by Katherine Larson

Finished Size: 4.5"/11.5cm wide x 11"/28cm long x 10"/25.5cm tall

Skills Needed: Chain, single crochet, slip stitch, half-double crochet, double crochet, single crochet back loop only

Yarn: KnitPicks Dishie Multi (3.5oz/100g, 190yds/174m, 100% cotton), 2 skeins or 230 yards/210m worsted weight yarn
Tools: H/5.0mm crochet hook or size needed to meet gauge
Tapestry needle

Gauge: 16sc and 20 rows = 4”/10cm

Pattern Notes: Pattern is written in US crochet terms.
Bag is worked in the round.

Ch: chain
Sc: single crochet
Hdc: half-double crochet
Dc: double crochet
St: stitch
Sl st: slip stitch
Shell: (dc, ch1, dc, ch1, dc) in same st



Ch 22
rnd 1: 2sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in next 19 sts, 4 sc in last st, working along back of starting ch, sc in next 19 sts, 2sc in last st, join with sl st to beginning. (46 sc)
rnd 2: ch1, 2sc in same st, 2sc in next st, sc in next 19 sts, 2sc in next 4 sts, sc in next 19 sts, 2sc in last 2 sts, join with sl st to beginning (54 sc)
rnd 3: ch1, 2sc in same st, 2sc in next st, sc in next 23 sts, 2sc in next 4 sts, sc in next 23 sts, 2sc in last 2 sts, join with sl st to beginning (62 sc)
rnd 4: ch1, 2sc in same st, 2sc in next st, sc in next 27 sts, 2sc in next 4 sts, sc in next 27 sts, 2sc in last 2 sts, join with sl st to beginning (70 sc)
rnd 5: ch1, 2sc in same st, 2sc in next st, sc in next 31 sts, 2sc in next 4 sts, sc in next 31 sts, 2sc in last 2 sts, join with sl st to beginning (78 sc)
rnd 6: ch1, sc in same st, sc in next 2 sts, 2sc in next 2 sts, sc in next 29 sts, 2sc in next 2 sts, sc in next sc in next 6 sts, 2sc in next 2 sts, sc in next 29 sts, 2sc in next 2 sts, sc in last 3 sts, join with sl st to beginning (86 sc)
rnd 7: ch1, sc in same st, sc in next 3 sts, 2 sc in next 2 sts, sc in next 31 sts, 2sc in next 2 sts, sc in next 8 sts, 2sc in next 2 sts, sc in next 31 sts, 2sc in next 2 sts, sc in last 4 sts, join with sl st to beginning (94 sc)
rnd 8: ch1, sc in same st, sc in next 4 sts, 2sc in next 2 sts, sc in next 33 sts, 2sc in next 2 sts, sc in next 10 sts, 2sc in next 2 sts, sc in next 33 sts, 2sc in next 2 sts, sc in last 5 sts, join with sl st to beginning (102 sc)
rnd 9: ch1, hdc in same st and each st around, join with sl st to beginning (102 hdc)
rnd 10: repeat rnd 9
rnd 11: ch1, sc in same st, * ch5, sk 4 sts, [sc in next st, sk 2 sts, shell in next st, sk 2 sts] twice, repeat from * around, join with sl st to beginning sc
rnd 12: ch1, dc in same st, ch2, sc in ch-5 sp, ch5, sc in middle dc of next shell, shell in next sc, sc in middle dc of next shell, * ch5, sc in ch-5 sp, ch5, sc in middle dc of next shell, shell in next sc, sc in middle dc of next shell, repeat from * around, ch2, join with sl st to beginning dc.
Rnd 13: ch1, sc in same st, * ch5, sc in ch-5 sp, shell in next sc, sc in middle dc of next shell, shell in next sc, repeat from * around, join with sl st to beginning sc

Repeat rnds 12 and 13 five more times.

Rnd 34: ch1, sc in same st, 4 sc in ch-5 sp, sc in next (sc, dc, dc, dc) twice, * sc in next sc, 4 sc in ch-5 sp, sc in next (sc, dc, dc, dc) twice, repeat from * around, join with sl st to beginning sc
Rnd 35: ch1, sc in same st and in each st around, join with sl st to beginning
Fasten off.

Handles (make 2):
These can be placed to your preference.
Row 1: Join yarn to top of bag with sc, sc in next four sts, turn (5 sc)
Row 2: Ch1, sc in back loop only of each st (5 sc)
Rows 3-20: Repeat row 2
Row 21: Ch1, working through both loops of row 20, sl st to top of bag.
Fasten off.

Weave in all ends, and enjoy your new eco-friendly grocery bag!

ps - if you've made a bag from this pattern and would like to share your results, the Ravelry link is:

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Garden Report

I forgot to do a weekend wind-up; I didn't actually do much crafting, though, since it was Easter. I did get a few pictures of the boys at the church Easter egg hunt.

On Easter Sunday, though, I could not get them to look at the camera. Or even stand close enough to let me get a picture of them. This was the best I could do:

Of course, I did manage to indulge my Pinterest-loving self, and made these deviled eggs:
By the way, they tasted great. I thought the apple cider vinegar used in the dye bath would alter the flavor, but it didn't.

Anyway. On to the real reason for today's post: The garden.

My vegetables are not having the greatest time of things. Not all of them, anyway. The carrots that managed to sprout, look like they're coming along.
I just kind of wish there were more of them. Still, 4 carrots in a container is 4 more carrots than I've ever grown before. These have another 5 or 6 weeks left to grow. I'll plant more in the fall, and hopefully have more success.

My cucumber plants are getting big.
So is the basil - I'm planning to make pesto soon, because look at it!
The beans are struggling a little bit. I don't know what's wrong, but the plants are still growing, so I guess we'll see how it goes. (It's a good thing I live in a time & place where my family's survival is not dependent on my ability to grow vegetables.)

Know what is doing great, though? The roses.
I even brought some of these inside.
(Also, the purchase of floral foam was one of my better ideas.)

Monday, April 10, 2017

Weekend Wind-Up

I finally finished that market bag I started a few weeks back.
This one is made from KnitPicks Dishie Multi, which I absolutely love for kitchen cotton! It's much nicer to work with than Sugar & Cream, and the colors don't fade as fast. 
Of course, it's thinner than Sugar & Cream - which means the gauge is different, and thus this bag is smaller than the first.
That's ok, though! It's a market bag, not a fitted garment. It just has to hold soup cans and cereal boxes, or apples and clamshells of berries (especially since it's spring, and strawberries are back in season).

I also finished this lovely shawl:
The pattern is Blackcomb, and I enjoyed crocheting this immensely. However, I chose a yarn that just didn't have the yardage I needed for a shawl that would be my size (which is, um, ample up top). I should have read the ballband closer, it was only 75 grams. But look at that color changing! The colorway is called Aloha, and I really think it does suggest an island sunrise. (This was part of my yarn haul from VKL last month, I'm so excited to already start working through it!)

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Frogging party

What have I done. Oh, dear. It's pretty awful...and yet, awfully optimistic.
Two projects, frogged. Here are the before pictures:
And the after:

So what happened? Well, I failed to admit that this just wasn't turning out how I'd envisioned it, and remained stubbornly determined that it would be perfect just as soon as it was finished. But it wasn't, no matter how pretty this lace is:
And I grew more upset with it, the more I looked at it, so a-frogging I went.
By the way, single-ply alpaca silk does not like to be frogged. At all.

Then, a decision that this other piece wasn't doing anything spectacular for me, either, so why not just rip it out and make something better? (Tosh DK, on the other hand, doesn't mind being frogged at all.) Although I do like the lace on it, so I might use the stitch pattern somewhere else:

I totally admit, that if I'd made these in acrylic or even some cheap wool like Cascade 220, they would probably be relegated to the bag of finished-objects-I-never-use for eternity. (It's a real thing. In a dark corner of my closet.)
But these aren't cheap yarns, that's Blue Sky Fibers Metalico, and a skein of madelinetosh. Those are yarns that need to be something!
So, a-frogging I went.

And now I know what doesn't work, which means I'm just that much closer to something that does. 

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Weekend Wind-Up

Well, I managed to finish the crochet shorts!
They fit perfectly over a large prefold. I still have to lanolize them, but I'm quite happy with the result.
These were made from the Little Fire Crochet Pants pattern (Ravelry pattern page is here). I typically knit wool diaper covers, but decided to try out this pattern in honor of both NatCroMo and the Earth Day CAL I'm doing.
One thing I liked about this pattern is the lack of short rows for shaping - instead, half-double and double crochet stitches are used to give extra length on the back side.
It's especially nice as it doesn't cause obvious patterning changes with variegated yarns. This yarn is fairly monochromatic, so it wouldn't be as noticeable anyway, but on some colorways it really shows.

Shortly after I finished these, we had a crazy dust storm. I went outside to secure everything on the patio, and snapped a picture while I was out - it was crazy haze.
Seriously, there is no filter on this. Here's what it normally looks like (from a slightly different angle)(ignore the weeds, please, it's an ongoing struggle):
We didn't lose power, but I did lose a few branches off one of the rose bushes. And our welcome mat got flipped over. And there was dust everywhere. But otherwise, we're fine.

I had another bout of startitis, and just had to begin making a shawl.
That's one of the yarns I got at Vogue Knitting Live, I've already hit the first color change (you can see the last row is green instead of yellow), and I'm loving how this is working up!

Finally, I have some garden news. I have a carrot sprout!
 And a strawberry!
I hope you had a great weekend, too!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Weekend Wind-Up

I did manage to get some crocheting done this weekend! Nothing is finished yet, but that's ok.

Remember this market bag I made earlier in the month? Well, I'm making another one. This is out of KnitPicks Dishie, which is so much nicer to work with than Sugar & Cream. The cotton is a bit thinner, so I'm using a 5.0mm hook instead of 5.5mm. This will also make a slightly smaller bag, but that's ok! The mesh will stretch quite a bit. 
I'm also using this project to trouble-shoot the notes I made from the prototype. If I can actually nail down the challenges and solve them, I'll have a workable pattern to share. 

And I'm working on a pair of shorts for Grant. It's starting to warm up, and in the hot weather I'd rather use a wool diaper cover than a plastic one. Wool is breathable, he stays cooler. I haven't made this pattern before (I usually knit diaper covers), so it's interesting to see the different construction. 
The yarn is Malabrigo Worsted in Comfy Junkie, and I'm using a 4.0mm hook - my gauge was spot-on with the first swatch, which is always a nice feeling! It's like the pattern just wants to be made, right away!

Hopefully, I'll be able to finish at least one of these before Friday, so I can have more than one completed project to wrap up National Crochet Month!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Yarn Haul

Today, I visited the Marketplace at Vogue Knitting Live. It was in Las Vegas - right down the street, actually, at the Red Rock Resort & Casino.
I initially wanted to take a class, but the schedule just didn't work out for me. But that's ok! I still got to shop for yarn!
All the goods!
Let's take a closer look, shall we?

After a couple rounds of browsing the various booths, I ducked into 3GreenSisters to look at bags. Yes, I know, I have plenty of project bags. So what? This gorgeous bag was calling my name.
See? It's orange! My favorite color! And it stands up on its own. (Nevermind the tilted tripod - I was too excited to get pictures, I didn't want to waste time.)
And it has pockets inside, too!

Next, I found myself at Mimi's Needle Basket, looking for a new circular to knit socks. I really like the Chiagoo circular I already have, so picking up a second was a no-brainer. And I saw this nifty sock ruler, so I thought I'd give it a try. One of the knitters in the booth showed me hers, along with the sock she was working on, and it looks like something that come in handy.

At this point, I popped over to the Fitting Station to get my current measurements taken. I received a card with the measurements, plus a schematic to remind me which numbers are which. (I'm not about the share that, though...let's just say, the baby weight hasn't gone anywhere.)

And then, yarn. Wonderful wooly fibers in all sorts of colors! I could have gone a bit crazy. I almost did. But, I'd like to actually knit (or crochet) with everything, so I tried to be conservative.

I found this gradient pack, and paired with black it should look absolutely gorgeous. It's from Greenwood Fiberworks, and if I were a spinner I'd have gone nuts in that shop. So much roving, so much color! As it happens, I prefer having my yarn ready-to-knit.
I may need to re-shoot these pictures; it decided to rain this afternoon, so the light just isn't the greatest. The gradient pack is called "Tiger Lily", and it is the same base (Star Dust) as the black.

I stopped into Invictus Yarns, and fell in love with this so so so soft merino-silk blend, fittingly called Poetry.

It is destined to be a shawl(ette). The colorway is "Charred", and it is a lavender-gray.

Of course, I stopped by my LYS to show support! If you're ever in Vegas and want to shop for yarn, visit Mirage Fiber Arts. I picked up a skein of Hedgehog Fibers sock yarn in "Copper Penny", and a cake of Freia Ombre Fingering in "Aloha".
And, yes, I intend to actually knit socks. That's a story for another post, though.

Oh, and I did pick up a few freebies:
A couple of pinback buttons (currently residing on another project bag) and a snag-free stitch marker.

And, finally, I spent some time in the Forbidden Woolery booth, chatting about Captain America, Marvel movies, and where color inspiration comes from.
Two skeins of Fortitude (a fingering-weight merino) in "Veiled Scandal" - how could I pass up a name like that? And a skein of Justice (a fingering-weight Merino/Cashmere/Nylon sock blend) in "Water Bender" - yes, that's from Avatar.

One more thing I want to share - this amazing installation by Gina Rose Gallina.

Everything is crocheted! The dress, the wig, the flowers, the bees and bugs, even the fence posts.

All in all, I had a lot of fun. I would definitely visit again - hopefully I'll manage to get a whole weekend, and take a class or two.