November 22, 2008

The Week in Crochet

Posted in Charity, Kitties at 1:02 pm by Rebecca Crochets

Well, it’s a few days later than Thursday, but here I am again! And I’ve made some progress with a few charity projects. Even they have deadlines, and Diane has been nudging me to finish the scarves for the Winter Special Olympics. I turned in the first one last Saturday. This is one that I started while watching a hockey game on Thursday. This type of strip in the round is usually called “Mile a Minute” and it does go pretty fast. You can make a few strips like this and join them to make an afghan. It’s pretty versatile.

Mile a minute

I wish I could say that I was enjoying the yarn required by the charity. It’s a scratchy acrylic. While the white was softer than the blue, I can’t really imagine wearing these comfortably or for warmth.

So, at least let’s make them FUN! I still had yarn left over, and I vowed that all of it would be used up. (I’m not stashing any of it.) Here’s the start of the next scarf:

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And a few hours later, Puck is enjoying the pansies:

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He was having such a good time, getting under the scarf, sniffing it, and laying on it, that of ALL the pictures I took, this is the one that best shows the scarf. The others mostly show the cat:

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See what I mean?

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After this was done, I started another since I still had yarn left. I’m pleased to say that this is what’s left of the blue now.

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I’ll add some white flowers between these blue ones to make a scarf and call this charity project finished!

Of course, I can’t throw away that little bit of blue, so I’ll be using it up for a sweater for a tree. As anyone who’s local knows, it’s been a cold(!!) past week or two, and shouldn’t our currently leafless friends be the recipient of some hand-crafted goods? Now, before you think I’m crazy, it’s really an art installation coordinated by the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. Scroll down to “Hand Made” or just look for the tree in its pretty sweater. I plan to take all the scraps I have gathered, knot them together, and crochet a few strips. I’ll leave the knots and ends untrimmed and unburied to add some visual interest. Who knows? Perhaps the birds will like it, and visit the lonely, leafless tree during the cold winter, bringing it some cheer!

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November 14, 2008

Catching up

Posted in Charity, Kitties, Ravelry at 12:00 am by Rebecca Crochets

Thursday is for blogging! I’m hoping that I can establish a schedule again where I at least blog one night a week. So now I’m declaring it to be Thursday night.

So, here are some pictures of what I’ve been up to the past week or so.

Baby booties

I’ve been trying to get rid of some of my stash. I really didn’t have too much of this baby yarn, so I only got three pairs of booties. And actually the ones in the foreground are missing a row or two around the top. They’re ankle baby booties!

Curious Puck

Puck couldn’t resist finding out what was so interesting. Could it be something cuter than he?

Preemie hats

And more cute little things. This yarn was donated in February and I’ve already made a number of toddler hats with it, but I was pretty sure I couldn’t get much more from it. Thank goodness someone from the Knit One, Save One campaign visited our crochet group. She handed out booklets with the details and a few patterns to create preemie hats for babies in undeveloped countries. Even in warmer climates, the hats help the tiny babies more easily regulate their body temperatures giving them a better chance of surviving their first month. I changed the pattern a little by using single crochet instead of the double crochet they called for. The pink one on the top right is the closest to the original pattern. I, of course, can never let a good pattern alone. I made pom-poms, stripes, and embroidery. I had so much fun doing these, I made them all in two nights!

Ribbon scarf

I started this scarf some time ago, but now that it’s colder, the women at the Pittsburgh Women’s Shelter can really use them. I finished this tonight. It was also created from donated yarn. It’s Lion Brand’s Incredible ribbon and Wool-Ease, but donated by two different people! It’s so fun to try to match up the yarns to create something pretty. I found the knitting pattern on Ravelry, but had to add a crochet fringe to it!

Special scarf

I also started another scarf tonight. This is a pattern from the yarn label, and will be sent off to the winter athletes in the Special Olympics. What’s fun, is that I was watching a winter sport (hockey) while making it: the Pittsburgh Penguins playing the Philadelphia Flyers. I started the scarf at the beginning of the game, and got this far through three periods, an overtime, and a shoot-out that went through six shooters each team. The game was pretty exciting and I think helped me keep a pretty quick pace!

Katie Bolero motif

And finally, above is the motif from the Katie Bolero that I mentioned in the previous post. The yarn is Patons Silk Bamboo in Almond. It’s 70% bamboo and 30% silk and is so soft and lustrous. I’ve made a few of the motifs and I’m having a problem memorizing the last round. I’ve got everything else down, but the last round is driving me crazy. So crazy that I’m going to make a few changes. Like I said, I can never leave a good pattern alone. I’ll share what I’ve come up with soon…

Well, that’s it for now. See you next Thursday, I hope!

April 2, 2008

Living on the edge

Posted in Charity, Flying by the seat of yarn pants at 10:00 pm by Rebecca Crochets

There are a number of things I like about working with donated yarns:

  1. Getting to work with yarns that I might never otherwise,
  2. Mixing a ball of this with a ball of that to come up with something beautiful, and
  3. Starting a project and hoping that I’ll have enough yarn.

When you make it with just a bit to spare, it’s an awesome feeling. Take this sweater.

Crochet Today baby sweater

The Mini Wrap Sweater by Jennifer Cirka in the March/April 2008 issue of Crochet Today.

I picked out an unlabeled ball of red, light weight, sport yarn. I also had a ball of white and green in a similar weight that I thought I could use if needed. I wanted to avoid making a Christmas sweater, though, so using the red and green together was out. I started working the pattern with the red. Unfortunately I needed to alter the pattern a little, since I wasn’t able to get the correct row gauge. It called for 14 hdc (half double crochet stitches) and 10 rows, and I was getting 14 hdc and 8 rows in 4 inches. After working the required 36 rows, I was about 2 inches too short. Indeed the sweater looked a little squat. After adding a few extra rows, I moved on to the sleeves. After the first sleeve, the ball was starting to dwindle and I wondered if I was going to make it. I kept going thinking that I might need to undo a few rows of the first sleeve to even up the second sleeve, then finish them both with a nice big border of the white. Well, and here is why I like these projects, I finished the second sleeve to the same point as the first, with… 72″ of yarn to spare. Not even enough to do one more row. With the red gone, trimming the sweater and creating the ties was done in the white sport weight. I love it when it works out just so.

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I’m not sure I’m going to be so lucky with this next one. Again, this is from Crochet Today, the Nov/Dec 2007 issue. The Preppy Pullover by Candi Jensen.

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I’m using the green that I mentioned before and I’ll do the cables in the white left over from trimming the red sweater. I’m starting with the back then I’ll do one sleeve. I’ve already weighed the green ball, and I have 3 oz. After doing the back and sleeve, I’ll weigh the ball again and hope for having at least half that left. If not, I’m going to try to alter the pattern to make it into a cardigan. That’ll take slightly less yarn than as it’s written currently.

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When I was working on the red sweater, I kept thinking about how I could incorporate stripes of white if I needed. Unfortunately, with the Preppy Pullover, stripes wouldn’t work, so if I’m short on yarn, I’ll have to alter the styling of the sweater.

Again, this is what I love about donated yarn. I never know what I’m going to end up with, and getting there is always an adventure! Stay tuned to see what becomes of the green yarn…

March 26, 2008

No, I haven’t

Posted in Charity at 7:12 pm by Rebecca Crochets

It was like tempting fate. I declared that I had gotten the hang of blogging weekly, then wasn’t able to blog for two weeks. Next time I’ll keep my pride to myself, so I don’t have to eat it later.

Of course, I’ve still been crocheting and knitting. See?

First up, a baby sweater knit in Plymouth Yarn Encore DK.

Baby Sweater

The pattern is from the Debbie Bliss book, Baby Knits for Beginners. Hopefully in this close-up you can see the diamond pattern created by purling on the public side.

Baby Sweater Detail

Or maybe not.

As for crocheting, I’ve been playing around with circles inspired by Kim Werker’s yarn spotlight in the Spring 2008 Interweave Crochet.

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Those yarns are Skacel Tropicana in color 304 and Berroco Zen in color 8219, which are purples, despite the appearance from the picture. Time for a new camera?

And finally, a fun little ripple scarf from another bag of miscellaneous charity yarn. This bag contained a variegated yarn with coordinating solids.

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I must admit that it’s fun to pick a bag, open it up, see the colorway, and try to come up with something that looks nice.

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And if all else fails, I do my standard single crochet (sc), lengthwise scarf. At least this time, I had a flash of a ripple!

‘Til next time… whenever that will be. No promises this time.

March 6, 2008

Done with 2 ounces to spare

Posted in Charity, Ravelry at 10:39 am by Rebecca Crochets

Well, the toddler’s sweater is done and I had 2 ounces left of the red yarn. I’m not sure why I was so worried. I’m glad I continued with the project though there were times when I thought I would be changing things on the fly. I do that quite frequently.

One of the charity projects that I’m working on now is a good case in point. Lyn from my crochet group and I got together to sort all the donated yarn we received from Ravelry members of the Steel City Fiber Arts group. They gave us over 220 balls of yarn and 29 cones! Thank you so very much, guys!

Well, we sorted the yarns by fiber and color then bagged them up like little project kits. This bag had 2.5 balls of a royal blue virgin wool/nylon blend and a matching blue-ish boa fur yarn. About enough for a scarf. I decided that I’d do stripes of each yarn until I ran out or until it was almost too long to be a scarf. I started with the fur to make it look like fringe on the bottom (just straight single crochet since you can’t see any stitch definition), then switched to the wool/nylon blend and a single crochet, chain alternating pattern. After doing about 3 inches of the blend, I decided that I needed to use up that yarn fast! I didn’t really enjoy it, and I wanted to be finished with it as soon as possible. So I ditched the stripes and now there’s boa fur fringe only on the ends. I’ll take pictures and post them, because despite not liking the yarn, it turned into a pretty nice looking scarf. The wool/nylon blend will keep the recipient nice and warm.

The scarves that we crochet benefit the Pittsburgh Women’s Shelter. This season to date, we’ve made over 50 scarves (can’t remember the exact number -it could be much higher). But that’s with yarn donated in November. We haven’t even begun to make a dent in the yarn donated in February! Stay tuned for more crocheting on the fly!