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.

circles.jpg

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.

ripplescarf.jpg

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.

ripplescarfdetail.jpg

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!

February 27, 2008

Getting the hang of this

Posted in Flying by the seat of yarn pants at 8:12 pm by Rebecca Crochets

Since I made my proclamation that I would blog every Wednesday, I have blogged every Wednesday, but one. Yippee! I am not yet confident enough to say that I’m going to add another day of the week. I have thought about it though. We’ll see.

Anyway, today I wanted to share my latest project. It’s a sweater inspired by the book “Single Crochet for Beginners” by Cindy Crandall-Frazier. Originally I bought this book to share with a co-worker who was learning to crochet. She was having problems with anything more than single crochet. And even then, I think her single was really an extended single crochet (just looked for a good tutorial for this and didn’t find anything within three google pages -sorry). The book has some really detailed pictures of how to make the stitches. There’s 6 pictures alone for making the starting slip knot! It also has some really cute projects, yes, all made out of single crochet.

Anyway, there’s a cute baby sweater in the back that I’ve adapted heavily. It uses single crochet, of course, as well as single crochet in the back loop to highlight the cuffs, neckline and hem. It’s sized for a 0-3 month, in baby sport yarn and a H/5.00mm hook. Well, I wanted to use some yarn recently donated to my crochet group, two balls of Bernat Soft Boucle (5 oz in a ball) in red and tan. Though the yarn suggests a J/6.00mm hook, I decided that I would start with the hook recommended by the pattern and crochet the specified number of stitches, and not swatch. Since I have no specific person in mind I don’t have to worry about it fitting anyone in particular. I’m just aiming for it to fit a baby/child at the women’s shelter in Pittsburgh.

As I crocheted, the fabric produced had a nice hand to it, so I continued. If it was too stiff, I was going to rip it out and go up a hook size or two until it draped nicely. I’ve made a sweater or two before that could have stood up by themselves! The hook was definitely too small for the yarn I used. This of course is great for sculptural items, but definitely not wearables. Poor kids, and the sweaters were acrylic, too. They were constricting AND did not breathe.

Anyway, after I got a quarter of the way up the front, I realized that my sweater may not be completed before I used up all the yarn. And since this was donated yarn, I might not be able to match it properly. Original sizing for the Baby 0-3 month sweater was 9″ wide. I had 12″. Quick check on the internet to see what size a 12″ sweater would fit: about a 4T. Not having kids, I think that means 4 Toddler. Big difference. I soldiered on. These things always work out.

Still wondering about how much yarn I needed to complete my 4T sweater, and with thoughts of how to make it a short-sleeved cardigan if I had to, I weighed what I had crocheted with a small kitchen scale I picked up at the local dollar store. It’s probably not the most accurate, but for $1 it would be close enough. I then weighed what yarn I had left and found that I had almost all original 5 oz of the red and 3 oz of the tan. The sweater weighed 3 oz as well. I was going to be OK! What I thought was a quarter of the sweater only used up 2 oz of the tan, which meant I only needed 8 oz of yarn total! I continued on with the conviction that this would not have to be a vest!! (Thanks to my cousin for this great trick of weighing your yarn and project. She weighs her swatches then multiplies the weight by the area that she needs to achieve and then determines how many total ounces she needs. My twist, ala “Flying by the seat of yarn pants” is weighing the yarn, approximating how much of the item is completed and multiplying those.)

And that brings us to today. Here is a picture of the sweater still in progress.

4T Sweater

This shows the front and back sewn together and the other modifications I made. Like leaving out the single crochet in the back loop (totally will not show on a boucle) and the cute button detail on the neckline that the original had. In my haste, I sewed up the shoulder seams without realizing the buttons on the shoulder allowed them to be unbuttoned to get the baby’s head through without hurting the poor thing. No worries here, I tested this on myself. I can get this over my head, so a toddler shouldn’t have any problems either. It made me wonder about the stretchiness of boucle that allowed this to happen. It certainly wasn’t the smaller than appropriate hook or the single crochet.

I’ve now started the sleeves and I’m getting close to finishing the tan yarn. I’ve been crocheting a row in tan on each sleeve alternating from one to the other so they’ll be the same length when the ball runs out. I’ll do this until I run out of the tan, then switch to the red to finish the tops of the sleeves. This does seem to all be working in my favor so far, but if I truly were smart enough to outwit the yarn, I would have already sewn up the sides in the tan so I didn’t have to worry about seaming the tan portions with the red yarn. I’ve decided already that seaming in boucle is difficult anyway, and I’ll try to find some smooth tan yarn from my stash. Plus I’m really not sure yet where the sleeves will be placed anyway. Boy, can I rationalize! See, it will work out in the end. It’s just a matter of how you look at things!

And finally, a gratuitous kitten shot. Puck is helping mommy keep her place in the pattern. And it sure is tiring work! Poor kitty!

Tuckered Puck

February 20, 2008

With a little Puck…

Posted in Kitties tagged at 8:03 pm by Rebecca Crochets

Puck is our new kitten, and he loves yarn! The other cats have never been too interested in the yarn and I could leave it out in my craft room, in my project bag, on the coffee table (though the husband always hated that – sometimes the yarn pile would hinder the operation of the tv’s remote control), on the bookcase in the living room, wherever I had recently been working.

It came as a surprise then when we came home one day and discovered the yarn that had been sitting on the coffee table, had been unraveled and had made two trips around the living room, dining room, and kitchen. After that night, I learned to be more careful with where I left my yarn.

Apparently, I have much to still learn. Like you can’t leave the craft room door open or think that a certain bookshelf is too high for a cat to reach, because if there is one ball, no matter how well buried in the bottom of a bag, it will disappear only to reappear later with a ton of black, cat fur all over it. Often I don’t even realize it’s missing, until it resurfaces later in very bad shape.

Now, I must admit it’s cute to see Puck trotting around with his latest “kill” hanging from his mouth. But one cannot encourage this behavior. I just do not have enough yarn for that. (Don’t listen to my husband who says otherwise.)

Puck slays the wild yarn ball

I’d be a mean mommy though to deny him one of his favorite things. So, snuggling near the yarn, has now been deemed acceptable.

Puck snuggling with mommy’s yarn

Too cute! Who can deny this face?

What a cute boy!

February 13, 2008

The next project

Posted in Robyn's samples tagged , at 8:14 pm by Rebecca Crochets

I just wanted to quickly share Robyn’s next project that I’m working on.

Blocking the pieces

This is the men’s vest for her booklet, being blocked on a towel on the floor. It might be hard to tell, but the back of the vest is in the foreground, and it has not yet been seamed to the front. That’s the next step, then finally some ribbing! It is locked tightly away in my craft room, as Loki, our 6 year old snowshoe cat, thinks there’s nothing better than a cat blanket pinned to the floor. I’m not sure what the exact appeal is, but Loki has always loved my craft room, especially when I’m there. He loves to sit on the table while I work, sit on the floor while I organize my books, and sit under the vent when the heat is blowing. He loves being near his momma. It’s really cute, except when there is some serious crochet to protect.

While this was being crocheted, my husband was checking it out. He usually doesn’t wear too many handmade items, because the few patterns there are don’t appeal to him. He likes classic knit wear (someday I’ll get around to that Aran sweater he wants), and I was pleasantly surprised to hear him say that he might wear something like that. Wonders never cease.

By the way, I should mention that this was taken with a real digital camera! Not a cell phone! I’m getting a little better at this. Only slightly, however, since I snapped it before I headed out the door for work this morning. 🙂

January 30, 2008

Saved by the cell

Posted in Robyn's samples at 9:06 pm by Rebecca Crochets

Cell phone, that is.

Brought the digital camera to work, thinking I’d take some pictures of Robyn’s cropped cardigan over my lunch break with the beautiful natural sunlight available on a wintry Pittsburgh day. Camera, Check. Batteries, Check. Battery charger, ’cause who knows when it was last used, Check. Good planning ahead, Rebecca. Well done. This is coming together for you.

Except, after you’ve taken the photos, how do they get on the computer? DOH! Yep. I forgot the cable to connect the camera to download them. Oh well, it really wasn’t that beautiful a day here in Pittsburgh anyway.

Here’s where the cell phone saves the day. Took a pic, emailed it to myself, downloaded it, and here you are!

Robyn’s Cropped Cardigan

Unfortunately, the cell phone camera really does not produce the most true colors, and it doesn’t have a flash. But the project is finished.

This project is for Robyn’s leaflet described on her blog post, where she shares her design process and inspiration. It is made from a nice superwash wool yarn that she will be revealing in the near future. It’s a nice crocheting yarn, and the pattern is super fun! Honestly, I’ve been intimidated to make garments from patterns previously, but Robyn’s patterns are easy to read, sensibly constructed, and really cute! They are the perfect first step into more complex designs for a beginner with all the stitches down. This is also perfect for intermediate and advanced crocheters, because it’s a fun crochet and the pattern stitch is easily memorized.

Oh, and did I mention she’s family? We’re all so proud of her. Now, go check out her blog at Crochet By Faye!

What are you still doing here?

January 23, 2008

No surgery necessary?!?

Posted in Ravelry, Robyn's samples at 8:53 pm by Rebecca Crochets

Here I am blogging again! It’s Wednesday night and I was tempted to write yesterday, too. This is a good sign.   …Though I have to admit I almost forgot, since I got sucked into Ravelry again.

Anyway, the orthopedic surgeon looked at the x-rays, and said “Good news. We’re not going to have to operate.” That NEVER crossed my mind. I almost didn’t go to the doctor, just the numbness creeping up my arm was disconcerting.

I’m in a splint for six weeks, but I can still crochet! I’m working muscles I never knew I had! I’m left to typing one-handed, and I haven’t tried knitting yet, but it isn’t too bad so far.

As I am new to this blogging thing (and the Ravelry), I still need to get myself organized. I must find my digital camera, charge up the battery, and get snapping. I totally wanted to have this blog be about the projects I am working on, and not my medical woes (which are usually nil, except apparently when dressing near a doorknob).

Anyway, my goal for next Wednesday will be to post a picture of the cardigan that I’m currently working on for my cousin, Robyn. I basically just have to weave in the ends and this sample is finished! Check out her blog entry about the inspiration and her design process for this piece. And let me say, it was a fun crochet!

Till next time!

January 16, 2008

Sometimes life gets in the way…

Posted in Ravelry tagged , at 7:49 pm by Rebecca Crochets

I’ve been reading knit and crochet blogs for well over a year, and I’ve had two general thoughts about blogging:

-They look like they’re having a lot of fun, showing off their projects, making friends, and getting feedback and compliments.

And,

-It must take an incredible amount of time to write an entry (if they’re anything like me), and then do it everyday!! …with pictures, too! That’s just crazy! Who are these people and where do they get the motivation to set aside time to do this??!?!?

One of my favorite bloggers posts everyday. Besides the content, one of the reasons I like her blog is because she posts everyday. I know, I know, my first and last post was August 15th. Obviously I have great insight into the blogging thing when it comes to others. And, yes, I too, can’t stand it when I’m all excited to check out a certain blog topic from someone I’ve never read before, and they haven’t posted anything new for months. Hypocrite, I am.

I did have these reservations about maintaining a blog, and that’s why I never started one. I wondered -and decided I didn’t- have the ability to be so disciplined. Wasn’t I right! Then, I got my Ravelry invite (see my meager prior post) and knew I had to step out into this blogging world and try it myself, even with doubts about my abilities.

Then life got in the way… I had crocheting to do, some knitting to finish, cats to feed, a husband to entertain (you’d think that if they were bored, they could just find something to fix or paint or whatever), employers to continuously convince to send me a paycheck (it’s called work. and they actually want you to do it AT work!), grad school to start, a Yarn Ball to help organize, crochet groups to go to, yarn to buy, family to phone, a few holidays thrown in… You know, STUFF. TO DO. LOTS OF IT.

Anyway, last weekend, I attended a seminar on writing research articles for peer-reviewed journals, and one of the messages that I understood all too well, was that if you’re waiting for a week where there will not be much going on so that you can do the manuscript, you will never get any writing done because that week will never arrive. (That’s the truth!) The presenter suggested setting aside a regular time to write, or a daily word count goal (It appears the Yarn Harlot tries this method.). I’ve decided to try once a week, Wednesday night. That was the other suggestion she gave us, announce your intentions to somebody so they can ask you about it every time they see you. Well, you heard it here.

…And here I am. It’s Wednesday night, and I’m blogging. So, nah! Here’s the really funny thing: On Sunday, I gracefully (or was that not-so-gracefully) smashed my hand into a glass doorknob in our house, and apparently, the doctor tells me, I have fractured the fifth metacarpal on my left hand! It’s not ridiculously painful, but I am scheduled to see the orthopedic hand specialist tomorrow to make sure I haven’t ruined it for life. And yet, I blog. How ’bout that! Maybe setting a goal is a good idea!

…Tune in next week when we see if Rebecca’s good intentions are only that! And will they amputate her crocheting arm? AAAHHHH!!!!!!

August 15, 2007

Got my Ravelry invite!

Posted in Ravelry at 5:57 pm by Rebecca Crochets

Yes, I got my Ravelry invite. And I knew I had to finally come up with a blog. What’s been holding me back is a name. What to name it? It’s got to be something GOOD! Something that I won’t mind if it sticks with me forever. Something that I can take on the road if needed. (What if I move? I can’t be the Pittsburgh Crocheter in Des Moines. I’m not even a native Pittsburgher -though 7+ years is certainly a long time to visit.) I digress. A name…

Rebecca Knits? Taken. Wendyknits already knits. And does it quite well.

Yarn Floozie? Someone’s been there, done that. Indeed, there’s a Yarn Harlot on the loose in Canada.

Crochet by Loki? Already a cute pet/designer combo on the scene at Crochet by Faye. That and Loki, my cat, only wants to shred the yarn, not help mommy crochet it.

I’ve been mulling this over for a few months now. I’ve been at a loss. Then it hit me. I crochet. I knit. And I oftentimes rip it out. Over and over again. In fact, in order of most time spent, my husband would say it should be called Rip, Crochet, Knit, Never finish. I do finish things. I’ll show him. And I’ll record it on this blog for anyone else to see as well.

Thanks for visiting!

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