Mystery Solved

I have never done a knit or crochet-a-long before. But when one of my favorite designers announced a MYSTERY crochet-a-long I couldn’t resist! Also, I have been so caught up in my new knitting skills I was kind of excited to take on a crochet project. This mystery was called Archer and the link to his Ravelry page can be found here.

So for those who don’t know, in a mystery crochet-a-long (CAL) new clues are released each week and the final clue helps you complete the finished project. In this case we crocheted different strangely shaped pieces for an animal without any idea what they would be when we sewed them together. I wasn’t super organized about getting the pieces done each week, but I made sure to have them all finished by the time the final clue came out.

SONY DSCToday I sewed all the pieces together and met my new puppy friend Archer!

SONY DSCI changed his eyes a little from the pattern because the black eyes didn’t show up against the purple. I made circles of seven half-double-crochets out of white and then added the black safety eyes. I used a smaller sized safety eye because the black part was really just serving as the pupil now instead of the eye itself. Wow, that was a lot of thought I put into those eyes!

SONY DSCI love his little tail, too!

SONY DSCJust for fun I got a picture of him checking out the Christmas tree.

Cutty wasn’t too sure about him and all I could capture was this very blurry picture of Cutty pushing him off the couch.

SONY DSCI know I haven’t been posting a lot but so many of my projects are Christmas presents and I just really can’t show pictures of them until later. It’s funny to look back on the posts last year because I was making dozens and dozens of cookies but this year I am not sure I am going to make any! I have moved on to my new favorite hobby of knitting. Now I have to go listen to my last video lecture of the semester. I can’t believe I am finished with my first sememster of grad school. Apparently I still remember how to be a student! Wish me luck on my final!

Catch Up

This may have been the least relaxing summer of my life. I don’t know that I had a single day in the whole month of July to do exactly what I wanted and nothing else. I didn’t completely realize how busy it was until today when I did only things I wanted to do. It was heavenly.

I did squeeze in some things that were fun though.

This was Jack.

This was Liz (deciding she was tired of me taking pictures)

They were some of the best kittens we have had since Cutty. Hopefully they have already found forever homes.

I baked a pie.

It was made from fresh peaches and blueberries from the farmer’s market. I used a tutorial I found on The Pioneer Woman’s website for homemade crust. It was fabulous.

I tried my hand at knitting two socks at a time on two circulars. At first it seemed to be taking forever to make any progress because I was doing everything twice.

But then at the end it was totally worth it because when I finished them I was finished with BOTH of them! I will definitely do this again.

Then I made a pair of socks and coordinating hat for baby J and my friend AO’s baby shower. I totally failed at taking pictures. This is the only one I have of the set. I did my first crocheting in a long time to make the bear. I used a pattern for the socks and hat but the bear I made up as I went along. It is truly one of  a kind. (and this was my first time working with Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino and I am in love with it)

There were cookies at the shower, too. They were the first ones since the graduation. Maybe I have lost my cookie mojo.

I also found some new blogs. This one (fieldwonderful) inspired me to make these Kalajoki socks. You can see the river pattern starting on my first sock. I chose a blue green since the pattern is based on rivers- original I know. But I truly love what fieldwonderful did with the yellow. Plus she is a fellow Kentucky girl! Yay!

I am branching out and have decided to have two projects going at once. This is different for me because I usually make myself finish one before I start another. However, I wanted something simple and mindless going while I was trying to read a charted pattern for the first time so . . .

I cast on for a shawl called pendulum last night.

So how am I going to end my hectic summer? By starting grad school in 10 days. You know, ’cause it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Something Awful and Something Awesome

I have been toying with the idea of knitting for a while now. For some silly reason I thought I would be a crochet traitor if I took that next step to learn knitting. I actually tried to learn knitting some 15 years ago before I started crocheting. It was awful and awkward and boring. However,  I kept reading Alice’s posts at Crochet with Raymond about her beautiful socks (and there are many more fabulous posts where that came from). I tried to crochet a pair of socks, but they just weren’t the same.

Then I heard about knooking and gave that a shot. It did produce fabric that looked like knitting. . .but again not quite the same. About a month ago a read this game changing post by the amazing Stacy at Freshstitches. Basically she showed me that what I wanted to do -  knit a pair of socks - was not going to happen until I learned how to knit.

So I did.

I am not a huge fan of crocheting blocks and rectangles so I figured I wouldn’t be a fan of knitting them. I just couldn’t bring myself to knit a scarf for my first project. Fortunately Matt and Dennis told me about a really fantastic knitting resource, Staci at Very Pink. I could not have gotten started without her help! She has the most amazing tutorials and tips.

Hubby has already claimed this hat (even though it is something awful and full of newbie mistakes).

Apparently some people wait years after learning to knit before they attempt a pair of socks. The whole reason I was learning to knit was for socks. So I thought why not make it my second project?!

These are a pair of socks knitted on size 5 DPNs with Cascade 220 worsted weight yarn. I again turned to the fabulous Staci at Very Pink and used these videos and accompanying pattern. Stacy at Freshstitches (confused yet?) also has a great beginners sock pattern that I did not find until after I was halfway through this pair. It is totally worth checking out as well.

Now that is something awesome!

I love them.

A lot.

I have already finished my next project (because I have become a knitting fool), but this post is long enough. I’ll just go ahead and let you know it involves cables. . .

Cats Need Scarves Too

I am finally going to show you the scarf from our Europe trip! I actually finished it a while ago but was sans camera for a while. It’s a little too warm for it now, but I will love wearing it in the fall and remembering where it has been!

At first Cutty didn’t know what to think about it.

But I kept snapping pictures and he really got into it.

I finally had to put the camera down and untangle him from the knot he had turned the scarf into.

I think he was trying to tell me that cats need scarves, too.

(Pattern is Richmond Infinity Lace Scarf found here on Etsy)

Baby J’s Bubbly Blanket

I think the day after I found out my bestie was going to become a mom I went to the store and bought yarn for this project. We were a long way from finding out if it was a girl or boy, so I needed something versatile. I had been thinking about the pattern for this Blackberry Salad blanket for a while and this seemed like the perfect time to cast on for it.

The pattern is super easy, but still interesting because of the texture and colors. I had so much fun making it!

I used Vanna’s Choice Baby yarn from Lion’s Brand. I have been getting more and more into natural fibers from my LYS, but on this occasion I wanted something that would be durable and easily washable. So, by the way AO,  if you are reading this I forgot to tell you that you can totally throw this sucker in the wash the first time Baby J spits up on it (and every time after that, too). There is no point in making something too fragile for an infant.

I know it isn’t a super smooth wrap you up kind of blanket, but I thought the texture would be fun for Baby J as she grew up and started exploring things.

Oh, I love how bright and fun the colors are! I spent a really long time rearranging the skeins before I got started trying to decide on an order for the colors.

I also like the back of the blanket, the stripes are so neat and orderly.

I thought about doing a border on it, maybe in pink once we found out she was a girl. But in the end this blanket seemed to be just fine the way it was.

Cutty couldn’t resist getting in on the photo shoot.  He can’t wait to meet Baby J either.

I took these photos at the same time as the ones for my next post. Just wait until you see how involved Cutty was with that item. He just has to be the center of attention!

 

Dino-baby

About a year ago I started making hat and bib sets for friends’ baby showers. However, when I came up with the idea for this hat I just wasn’t sure how to make a matching bib.

So I decided on a little stuffed dino-baby to go with it. It is my loose interpretation of a stegosaurus, but I like it. I actually didn’t know how it was going to turn out most of the time because I was just making it up as I went. But, now I wish I had taken notes because I think I might like to make another one!

This sweet set was for KB and her newest addition. You might remember I made cookies for her family when they found out they were having another little boy.

We had a little work shower for her over the weekend. My friend PW and I made the cake and cupcakes.

It’s always fun to celebrate happy occasions with friends!

Delicious

Since I had made the crocodile stitch scarf for one of my sisters I had been feeling the urge to complete something for my other sister. It took a while to figure out what it should be, but once I had decided the project almost flew off the hook. I had so much fun making this project. I titled this post delicious because that is how I felt about the yarn. It is Malabrigo Worsted 237 Cuarenta and you can find out more about their fabulous yarns here. They only sell to stores so unfortunately you cannot buy it from their website. However, I am all for supporting your local yarn store.

My photo of the ball I wound (by hand) was blurry, but it is the prettiest one I have ever done so I have to show you anyway.I used a stitch called the box stitch which I learned about here. I looked at a bunch of google images and I think I would like to try this in a solid color as well. I think the texture would be amazing. I like how this project is worked on the diagonal.

The scarf took a little less than two skeins so I had yarn left over for tassels. Not every scarf needs tassels, but I thought they worked for this one.

At this point of the day the sun was going down and the lighting was off. The first two pictures are much more accurate when it comes to the color of the yarn. However, I wanted to show at least one close up of the pattern.

Speaking of delicious. Last night hubby made pasta from scratch. Here it is hanging from a make shift contraption to help the noodles dry a little.

 Then he cooked the fresh noodles with a mushroom sauce and it was. . . you guessed it, Delicious!!! I am one lucky girl.

Look!

Look!

It’s a swatch of stockinette stitch (usually made with knitting needles).

Look again!I used this crochet hook to make it! A while ago I had read about a technique called Knooking at PlanetJune  and had been considering experimenting with it. It uses a cord on the non-hook end of the crochet hook to take the place of the second knitting needle.

With the cord holding the place of the second needle, you use the crochet hook to work the stitches.

I had a rough start, apparently I was twisting my stitches. But once I figured out what I was doing wrong I was amazed at what I was creating. I hadn’t tried knitting in a long time, but my previous attempts had been terrible failures. I am hoping this means I will have more options with future projects.  It does feel pretty strange to me, the movements are different than what I am used to with crochet. I also don’t know if it is easier than knitting or just the same. I have been intrigued with knitting but haven’t wanted to give up the hook yet. This way I don’t feel too much like a traitor.

If anyone is interested the kits are made by Leisure Arts and can also be found at Wal Mart.

Peacock Scarf

I have been dying to share this one with you! However, it was a Christmas gift for a sister who reads the blog and I had to wait. As soon as I saw this stitch I knew what I had to do with it! Although Hubby said it looked like dragon scales (and it is called the crocodile stitch) I thought with the right colors it might look like feathers!I wanted yarn a step up from the acrylic I use for amigurumi but I didn’t want it to be too scratchy and wooly since it was a scarf and would be near her face. I picked this yarn from Michael’s and was pleasantly surprised with how it felt to work with and the results I got with it. It is from Caron’s Naturally Caron line Country. The best part is that the name of the color I picked is Peacock! It was a sign! At the time I was buying it I got two skeins (which was silly because this stitch is kind of a yarn hog) thinking if I needed more they would surely still have the same dye-lot left. Of course when I went back they didn’t. What to do. . .

I decided that part of the peacock’s beauty is in the multiple colors in the feathers so I picked a nice green and spent a lot of time trying to decide how to incorporate it. I decided to place it on the ends to go for symmetry.

Looking at it now I think I was lucky they ran out of that dye-lot! I really like the combination of colors.

I think they look like elegant feathers. Hubby says he still likes to pretend they are dragon scales.

Just Something I Whipped Up Last Night

I was just fiddling around with a cable pattern and I thought, if I keep going with this I could make an ear-warmer-headband-thing to wear into work.

What do you think of the buttons? They were the last two from a set I had left over, so there was no thought put into the color. I think the two buttons instead of one keeps it from stretching too much where the pieces overlap. However, the buttons are so small that sometimes the crochet loops slip off them.

I think I like it. I loved the way it worked up. The pattern was easy and once I got the hang of it I could zone out and watch the cheesy Christmas Mystery Movie on TNT (I’m not proud I watched it, but it was the perfect thing to watch while crocheting).

I maybe won’t wear it all the time, but it is definitely good enough for the cold walk into work.