Thursday, October 29, 2009

Ready for Christmas now...

I finished the family Christmas stockings this week, yay!

The pattern is Easy Christmas Stocking by Minnie McKain from the 2007 Crochet Pattern a Day Calendar.

I did modify it a little bit because the stockings were coming out a little small to actually use as Christmas stockings, in my opinion. Also, I futzed around with how to make the hanging loop a little, but mostly I just upgraded to a bigger hook (from size G to size I) and increased the number of stitches in each round from 41 to 50. I am extremely pleased with how they turned out.

Here is my husband's:


And our daughter's:

And here are all three together:

For once I am actually hoping that Wal-Mart puts out their Christmas stuff as soon as Halloween is over so I can go get hangers for the stockings to put on our awesome bookshelves! Though I won't actually hang them until December...

Anyhoo, so that project's done. I've been searching out other projects I can do to use up all of the cool and special yarn I have accumulated over the years (mostly thanks to my mother) but haven't been able to figure out what to do with. Mostly this is resulting in socks. I have completed the first sock of my second run at Easy Does It--I am super pleased with how it came out! I also found a pattern for a really nifty vest that I am going to start tomorrow. So, lots going on. Also I am going to make a TCU themed blanket for a friend's Christmas present, hopefully I will be going to get the yarn for that in the next few days.

I will keep you updated as projects progress. Hope you are all having a fantabulous week!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fall, she is really here, no?

Man, it has been downright chilly here lately. If it wasn't for the baby waking me up to be fed, I probably wouldn't be getting out of bed before eleven most days...sigh. I have found the drawback to not working anymore, apparently. Cold weather, it is my kryptonite. Oh well.

Anyhoo, that's not stopping me from being fairly productive crochet-wise (even with a massive break for Yoshi-related project planning). I finally got the Flower Box Afghan assembled and finished up. I am pretty happy with how it came out, even with the haphazard arrangement of random colored squares, rather than a set pattern. It has a nice patchwork quality, to me.

Here you go:

And, because this blanket is for my little girl's big-girl bed, I got a picture of her with the blanket also:

That is her, "Mommy, I do not want to be photographed right now and am two seconds away from crying," face, by the way. In case you were wondering.

I got the family Christmas stockings started this week as well. One down, two to go, though I will hold off on pictures until I get all three done.

That's really all I've got for you at the moment. Hope you're all well. Enjoy the last week of October!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

And an incredibly bad but awesome idea is born...

Well, I finished the Flower Box Afghan today--there will be more on that (and pictures) later in the week--but that's not what this post is about. Oh, no.

I happen to read a lot of webcomics--and a lot of those webcomics happen to be about gaming. I am not a huge gamer, and while I do enjoy the occasional console or PC game, I tend to get easily distracted and very rarely finish said games. But I love the world/community and gaming and gamers lend themselves to a certain level of humor and self-mocking that is just beautiful, thus I read the gaming webcomics. Anyway, what that has to do with crocheting is that the current story arc on one of my favorite comics, Real Life Comics, combines video games and, wait for it...CROCHET!!! Here are the strips in question:

Hopefully they are big enough to read, but if not, go to the link above and check it out starting with Monday October 19.

Anyhoo, I read the first one and thought, huh, that would be kind of neat. A lot of work, but really neat. Then I shared the strip with my husband, who is a much more serious gamer than I. And he got super excited when I said it would be kind of cool to make a Yoshi (little green dinosaur from Super Mario World, for the uninitiated) blanket. So the more we joked about it, the more serious we both got about the project. He went and found me a sprite of Yoshi (that's a pixelated image) and I have spent the last two hours or so with my graph paper and colored pencils figuring out the pattern, and how many squares, and dimensions and how much yarn, etc.

So. The plan is drawn up. The research is done. Using Red Heart Classic yarn (they have a much better color selection for what I need and the stiffer acrylic will actually make a much better image, I think) I will be able to make a roughly 4' by 4' blanket containing 1088 1.5" squares. I won't be able to get started until December or so, probably, and it is going to take FOREVER to make, but I am so doing this. At the very least, this will ratchet my geek cred into the stratosphere.

Of course, my husband is now planning about five more Super Mario World themed blankets for me to make after this one...

Peace out, y'all. Have a super week.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Vanishing Act

Well, I managed to finish my spur of the moment baby blanket project last night--just in time to give it to the proud mother-to-be at her shower today. She loved it!

I had something of a setback on Thursday morning though. I had gotten up, fed the baby, showered, got all of my internetting done, and was sitting down with a cup of tea to watch Jeopardy! and settle in for the long haul on this blanket when I came to a nasty realization: my crochet hook had disappeared. It should have been sitting on top of the blanket where I had left it the previous evening after stopping for the night--but the hook was nowhere to be seen. I have my suspicions on who vanished my hook (*cough* Tony *cough*) but I still have no idea where it went to. I spent a good half hour crawling around the house, looking under, behind, and in things trying to figure out where the hook had gone, all to no avail. Heck, I even checked the litter boxes! By the time my mother in law arrived (she was coming to visit the baby and give me a little break), I was almost in tears I was so frustrated. I still have no idea where that hook could have gotten to, but I ended up caving in and making an emergency run to JoAnn's, baby and MIL in tow (she was rather amused by the whole thing and remains convinced that I will one day find the hook while rearranging furniture) to buy a new hook. Actually ended up buying two, just in case.

Needless to say, since Thursday night, I have been very careful to make sure I put the hook away out of sight when finishing my project for the evening. Hopefully the culprit won't give a repeat performance!

Anyhoo, after all that hooplah, here's the finished product:

I am pretty proud of how it came out, if I do say so myself. I used a pattern I have in my stash called "Linked Loops"--I wish I could reference the source, but I have a photocopy from a book someone had given to me and the name of the book isn't on the photocopy, unfortunately. But here is the pattern, if you are interested:

  • Chain a multiple of 4 plus one.
  • Single crochet in second chain from hook and next three chains (4 sc).
  • *Chain 12, single crochet in next four chains.*
  • Repeat from * to * across (do not chain 12 after final four sc).
  • Rows 2-4: Chain 1, turn. Single crochet in each sc across.
  • Repeat rows 1-4, changing color on each row 1.
  • Before starting the final row, pull each chain loop through the loop below it and sc final loops into last row across.
Here's a closer look at the loops. It comes out with a nice cabled look.

I will note that I did do the stripes in rows of six rather than four, so my "cables" are probably a little tighter than you would get sticking strictly to the pattern.

But wait, that's not all! After finishing that blanket, I was finally able to finish my second sock, huzzah!

Here is the completed pair:

And the lovely foot model showing them off:

The pattern for these was Easy Does It by Janet Rehfeldt from Crocheted Socks! 16 Fun to Stitch Patterns. I used Lion Brand's Sock-Ease yarn in Taffy.

I will note that due to my incompetence, I did deviate from the pattern. In the foot I used the long split single crochet stitch instead of the extended single crochet stitch. This, of course, means I will be making another pair of socks with this pattern soon, actually following the pattern. :o)

Well, that's all I've really got for you this week. Up on my plate now is assembly and completion of the Flower Box Afghan (already begun) and then next up is a set of Christmas stockings for my family. Good times.

Hope you all have a fantabulous week!


Saturday, October 10, 2009

All kinds of progress to report!

Well, I have apparently thrown my "one project at a time" rule completely out the window. Thanks, Mom! (Don't look at me like that, you know I had to pick the habit up from somewhere.) So there are all sorts of things going on at the crochet front in Cori-land.

First up, I have finished all of the squares for my Flower Box Afghan, huzzah! I think I've figured out how I want to lay all of them out for assembly:

Tony decided he had to help with this part of the process. Anyhoo, so that's the major part of that project done. I am going to hold off on the assembly and border however, until after I have finished my next two projects. That's right, you heard me, I have two other projects on the hooks (and the yarn bought for a third).

First up, of course, you know about the socks I have been working on. Here's a shot of the completed first sock:

And let's see that on our lovely foot model:
I have to say, as much as I have been frustrated by my own mistake in making this sock, I actually think that my error is going to make for a much sturdier, longer-lasting sock. I always wear through the feet of my handmade socks ridiculously quickly, so I am hoping that this pair will last me a bit longer than previous socks. I will at least have to remember that stitch for the future--as annoying as it is, it might be worth the extra hassle. We'll have to see, I guess. I am currently two rows into the foot of the second sock of this pair. I am hoping, but not making any promises to myself, that I can get this done this week.

The reason I am holding off on the assembly of the big blanket and that I might not get the sock finished this week is project number three, which I do have to get done by Friday night, because it is a present for a baby shower I am going to next Saturday. I realize it is insane of me to start a baby blanket less than a week before I would need to give it to the recipient, but it just dawned on me Thursday that I could make a blanket for this person, so, yeah.

I am using a general pattern called "Linked Loops" to make this blanket. Here's what I've got so far:

It looks a little weird right now because it calls for making a series of chain loops in the first row of each color change. Once I get to the last row of the blanket, the loops will then all get linked together like so:

I think it will look really nifty if I can pull it off. Fingers are crossed.

Once I get these three projects finished off, I will start on project four. I got the yarn this week and am kind of excited about it. I am going to make Christmas stockings for myself, my husband, and our daughter. I figured that now that we are our own little nuclear family, we should have matching Christmas stockings.

Anyhoo, that's it for me. Wish me luck on the baby blanket! I hope you all have a supercalifragilisticexpialadocious week!


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Oh wow, I am an idiot.

So I was looking at my sock A trying to figure out what the heck I did wrong on the esc stitches for the leg of the sock, and it just wasn't making sense. Then I looked at the instructions for the sock again and realized that I actually did the esc on the leg correctly. Then the heel called for a different stitch, the long split single crochet, and then switched back to the esc for the foot. Well, when I made the first sock, I kept doing the lssc rather than going back to the esc, somehow thinking in my head that the lssc was the esc. This, consequently, made this sock much more difficult than it needed to be. Also, it totally isn't the sock the pattern actually makes. Sigh.

So, knowing what I did, I will be now at least be able to make sock two match sock one. Also, that means my next pair of socks that I make will actually be the ones the pattern is for.

Sigh, can I blame the baby for mixing up the stitches? That seems like something I can blame on being a new mom, right?

Okay, well, back to the hooks. I have the second round of frogging to do on this sock before I can actually start making it correctly.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Darn it!

So I only have six squares left to make for the flower box afghan. Yay!

I got the first sock finished and a big chunk of the second sock started. Yay!

Then I finished the number of rows I used to make the leg of the first sock and realized something was not right. Turns out that when figuring out one of the primary stitches in the pattern (extended single crochet) on the first sock, I actually did the stitch completely wrong for the whole leg and didn't start getting it right until I got to the heel. Okay, that sucks, sure, but no biggie--except on the second sock I was doing the stitch correctly and so the length, thickness, and appearance of the second sock is completely different from the first. Boo!

I spent almost all of the first sock thinking how I really wasn't a fan of the esc stitch and then on the second was just starting to think maybe it wasn't so bad and I just needed to get used to it...sigh.

It wouldn't be an issue if I wasn't already finished with the first sock. I think I have figured out what I did wrong though and so I frogged the second sock back to the start of the leg and am trying to replicate sock one. We'll have to see how it goes. I'm 12 rows in at the moment (out of a theoretical 26), and I can't tell if it looks the same or not. I may have to wait until I hit row 26 to decide. Grr.

Anyhoo, so that's been my week in crochet so far. I'll have some pictures for you this weekend, regardless of where I am with sock number two.

My super wonderful mother in law is coming over tomorrow to watch the baby for a bit so I can go get a haircut and run some other un-baby-friendly errands. Woohoo! Other than that my week is just plodding along.

More to come in the next update.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Just a quick note.

Well, I got my October square done (yay!) and my ten squares for the blanket done this week. I did not get sock A finished though (boo!) but I am hoping that maybe I can get it finished tomorrow. I have only 5-10 rows left to do on the foot and then the toe, so who knows, maybe it will happen.

There are only 10 squares left to do for my blanket though, so I am going to try to get those done this coming week and after that comes the fun of trying to piece them together for assembly! I have decided that this blanket will go in my baby's room and be her "big girl blanket" to have as she grows up. Hopefully it will be something she can cherish when she is older, knowing that I made it in the final days of my pregnancy and just after she was born.

Anyhoo. Other than that, I don't have a whole lot for you, except for the reveal of the September squares.

The pattern for this month was the Birthday Flower Square by Chris Simon, which was a fun square to make.

Here is my take on it:

And here is my sister's:

I mailed off her October square yesterday, so that means we only have one square left to make (since the square our mother contributed will count as the December pattern) before it is time to assemble the blankets. I can't wait to see how they turn out, and to share!

I hope you all have a wonderful and blessed week!

Take care,