Thursday, February 27, 2014

Groovyghan Update and More Crocheting Adventures Planned

Groovyghan has moved into the flowers and stripes stage! So excited to work on this project. It makes me happy to work on this colorful project when the temps continue to sit in the 20s. Some day soon there will be real flowers full of color in the yard. Until then, I've been making my own.

Mindless miles of double crochet stitches...

As I have been crocheting on Groovyghan, this is the view. I'd say she is enjoying putting on winter weight and napping with her baby dog Freido. (Yes, all of her toys has names and if you tell her a certain name, she will look for that toy. Unless, of course, you have company over and want her to do this trick for them!)

No crocheter or knitter I know works on their current project without thinking of what they will start next. As I was crocheting Groovyghan I was drooling over the online postings of Mollie Makes Crochet. It looked dreamy, colorful, vibrant, and enticing. Breaking my rule against buying books, especially hard copy books, I gave in and ventured to B&N. The one and only copy sitting face out on the shelf is now living on my nightstand as I keep picking it up and flipping the pages. So far, I plan to make the afghan on the front (possibly using sock weight instead of sport), and I totally want to make the doily/potholder motifs in mass to hang on a wall as art. I, as likely have many of you, have seen this done in art galleries and shops. Why not do it somewhere in my own home? The trick will be making it look modern and artistic instead of grandmotherly and old fashioned. 

As a former Managing Editor at a book publishing house, I have to say that they did an amazing production job on this book. The quality of the paper and binding is top notch. All the work put into the composition of each page and the photos and demonstration art is apparent and will prove this book to not only be a popular project book, but also a go-to reference guide. In a world where electronic books dominate with their colorful and interactive pages, it is great to see the production values in a print book be so high. Good job Interweave and Mollie Makes!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Olympic Knitting: Baby Beret, Bee Sweet, and a Topper

When I pulled out yarn and patterns to knit up charity hats during the Olympics, I had a few musts at the top of my list. One was an adorable baby beret pattern and the other was a ball of Bee Sweet yarn with a pattern on the label. This last one has been patiently waiting in my stash forever!

This little number was such a fun one to knit up. I love a pattern that either is just straight mindless knitting or engages you with constant changes. This one has a new element every inch...picot edge, heart lace motif, bobbles, and an i-cord top bow. 

Pattern: Sweetie Pie Hat by Tanis Gray (pattern on yarn label)
Yarn: Bambino Taffy
Needle: US 5
Mods: I only did one row of bobbles instead of two.

Picot edge...I love this technique and even featured it on my Gillian Hat.

Pattern: Baby Rollin' Beret by Woolly Wormhead
Yarn: Plymouth Merino Worsted Solids
Needle: US 7

This hat is just adorable! It was supposed to be the baby size, but I would say I was a little tighter than expected and would list it as a newborn size instead. Perhaps I was a little tense watching all the falls in the men's figure skating program that day! Or, maybe it was the giddy excitement I got each day in anticipation to see what the heck Johnny Weir would wear that day. I hope NBC in four years has Johnny, Tara, and "Terrance" as the live announcers and the recap at night. Far more interesting, imho.

Pattern: Battleboro Hat
Yarn: Berroco Vintage
Needle: US 8

This was a fun hat to knit. You make the bottom of the hat first in the flat. Then, you pick up to work the top in the round. However, you then pick up stitches from the bottom to create the button area. I would have preferred this to just be worked and overlapped from the beginning as it would have resulted in a cleaner and more seamless look. Additionally, I really wish I had added more rows for depth. It fits me as it does the model in the pictures (also an adult), but I really think it is super small for most adult noggins. I plan to tag it as a child/teen hat when I donate it. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Olympic Knitting: Mag Mile Hat

This hat that I made as part of my Olympic charity knitting is a little more special than all the rest. This past July when I was struggling to get through a day without pain, I cut way back on what I allowed myself to eat and attended the Knit and Crochet Show. By this point I realized that eating certainly triggered all the pains, but I was still being told by doctors that they didn't see anything wrong. (Damn you, Ted the Tumor.) I was so determined to go to this conference. The first day was a professional development day and I was fortunate enough to meet a fellow indie designer. We chatted, crocheted, talked knitting and business, and left with each other's contact information. Theresa saw what had been going on recently and learned of the 40 for 40 project. She sent along her new hat design and I quickly went into the yarn room and grabbed yarn and needles to make up a Mag Mile Hat. Her pattern is available for purchase in Ravelry at the link below. I do hope that you will hop over and buy a copy for yourself. It is a fantastic pattern that knits up so fast and it is so warm, perfect for the winter winds that we have all been having.

Pattern: Mag Mile Hat by Theresa Schabes
Yarn: 1 skein of Berroco Vintage worsted held tripled
US needle: 11 and 15
Mods: I added a few rows because I got wrapped up in a curling match and was too lazy to tink them back out! (I seriously even looked up curling clubs in my area!)

This is an excellent pattern for all those gift making needs. It knits up very fast using either a chunky yarn or worsted held triple. Isn't it adorable? I'll be making on for myself, too.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Olympic Knitting: Preemie Hats

Despite being a bit absent from blogging, I have been continuing to watch the Olympics and knit hats. Am I on schedule for 15? Heck no, but I am making progress. So, I won't be winning the gold, but I would say I made the quarterfinals!!! After knitting mostly with worsted weight yarn for days, I decided to mix it up for a little bit with some sock yarn leftovers. A great way to use up small yardage amounts of leftover sock yarn is to knit them up for preemies. These little babies are so incredibly small and I'm always a little shocked when I knit up a preemie hat and see the size.

Pattern: Preemie Baby Beanies by Karen Everitt
Yarn: Madelinetosh sock in Midnight Pass; 
special colorway available at A Good Yarn in Sarasota, FL
Needle: US 2 DPNs
Mods: Instead of an i-cord bind off, I put a pom-pom at the top.

Pattern: Preemie Baby Beanies by Karen Everitt
Yarn: Koigu KPPPM (color # not was a leftover bit)
Needle: US 2 DPNs

Pattern: Tiny Knitted Preemie Hat by Bee Roewert
Yarn: Koigu KPPPM (color # not was a leftover bit)
Needle: US 2 DPNs

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

14 years ago...

Fourteen years ago on a cold winter day we ventured off to New Hampshire. Patrick was looking at possibly going to grad school and had an interview. I waited patiently in the hall and then we headed out to find a restaurant that a friend's parents recommended. As PK drove the little car that other friend's had lent to us, he seemed flustered and ended up going down a one-way street the wrong way. After that little adventure, we found the restaurant and settled inside away from the blistering wind.

Although it was lunch, Patrick ordered us lobster. A little unusual to indulge at lunch, but we were on vacation. When the waitress said she wasn't sure if they had any yet that day, he looked like he was going to throw up! When she came back in and said she did have two left, he practically screamed with delight. Why all this odd behavior from my normally very calm guy? At the end of the meal he explained that he had a plan for the rest of his life and the first step was including me. With that, he popped open a ring box and asked me to marry him.

Photos from our honeymoon in Italy...being silly in Venice.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Olympic Break...Groovyghan

A few days before the Olympics started, I received a yarn shipment I had placed the prior week. You see...I fell in love with the Groovyghan pattern designed by Tracy St. John's Designs. I've been on strict yarn diet and have been working hard to use up yarn stash. Well, sometimes you just have to buy some new yarns when you find just the right project. The colors screamed at me to bring them into my house and turn them into a crocheted beauty.

I'm using all Berroco Vintage except for the orange. The orange I ordered was dull and didn't match as well as I had hoped. So, into the stash bin I went and I found this lovely bright orange in Miss Babs yarn. PERFECT! I grabbed my US H hook and set to work. It works up pretty fast...7 blocks a day was my pre-Olympic pace.

Bright circles...

Colorful granny squares

And all those ends are done to make seaming later easier! Isn't it awesome? I've been working on it here and there between my hat knitting. It is VERY well written, too. If you are looking for a fun crochet project, it is a good one. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Olympic Knitting: Tweed Beret and Tubey

The weekend was full of knitting and hanging out with Patrick and the puppies. So much for forcing ourselves out in the cold to go see a movie! Instead, we all curled up with many afghans and watched all the Olympic competitions. My hands were busy knitting away. However, on Thursday the mailman brought a special surprise from my good friend. Check it out!

Isn't this adorable? An Olympic-themed knitting bag with various sports on there and KNITTING!

And these stitch markers with a ski marker and the colors of the Olympic rings. 

I was so excited to get this surprise gift and it has been in use every single day since it arrived. The inside fabric is also very cute and both goes along with the "rings" theme, but also reminds me a bit of Easter. It looks like I can turn it inside out and use it that way for a few months this spring, too.

Hat 3: Tweed Beret from Interweave Knits
Size: Small/Medium
Yarn: Berroco Vintage Black Currant
Needle: US 7
No mods

Watched team figure skating, women's ski-athalon, and the alpine practice runs. OMG! Those people are insane!!! That course is crazy and they are going sooooooo fast. No wonder so many of them enjoy a little drink!!!

Hat 4: Tubey by Woolly Wormhead
Size: Medium
Yarn: Plymouth Merino Superwash Worsted Solids
Needle: US 7
No mods...turned it inside out for the three-needle bind off.

Watched luge and team figure skating finals.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Olympic Knitting: Elfin and Doodie Hats

Every two years, I LOVE to watch the Olympics. This time around it has come at just the right time. It is much too cold for us to be out and about and the scene looks like this...

Yes, it is beautiful. There is also just so much of it and it keeps coming along with dangerous temperatures. But, it did set the stage for the WINTER Olympics. I originally planned to start during the opening ceremonies, but then I realized that this time around events started the day before so I did, as well.

Hat 1: Elfin Hat by Woolly Wormhead
Size: Medium
Yarn: Fiesta Boomerang
Needle: US 7
No the little i-cord that I tied on top.

Watched qualifications for slopestyle and team figure skating.

Hat 2: Doodie Hat by Woolly Wormhead
Size: Large
Yarn: Universal Bella DK Tapestry (915)
Needle: US 5
No mods

Instead of filling the bobble with stuffing, I filled it with matching yarn. Why? So that I didn't have to wake up the sleeping dog on my lap to get the stuffing. It worked out well for the hat and the dog!

I so love this decrease technique on hats. One of my favorite ways.
Watched the opening ceremonies, more of the team figure skating, and the long speed skating.

So far, so good. There is snow outside and tea, yarn, and TV inside! I completed treadmill workouts both Thursday and Friday, as well. More tomorrow on more hats and a special mail surprise!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Planning and Inspiration

During the last few Olympics, I've participated in what knitter's used to call The Ravelympics (named after the site Ravelry and the Olympics until the Olympic committee got up in arms and made them change it). The idea is the spirit of the games and all the hard work that the athletes do, challenge yourself in your chosen craft. A few years back my challenge was to make the Spud & Chloe knitted farm for my little niece. This time around I decided to combine my Olympic knitting/crocheting with my 40 for 40 charity project. (The 40 for 40 project was a goal I set to celebrate turning 40...make and donate 40 items to charity or to someone deserving of a handmade gift.) I didn't get the running start at this project last year when I wanted to because of illness. But, I ended up making 15 items for the nurses and PCAs during January. Meaning I need another 25 items by 5/17. SO...

The challenge is to make a hat each day of the Olympics...starting with the opening ceremonies and ending during the closing ceremonies. After going through my magazines and electronic patterns, I listed them all off in my motivational journal and gathered up yarn from my stash. (All hats will be made from stash yarn to continue the efforts to decrease my yarn on hand.)

If it all works out, the yarn shown here will knit up 13 hats and crochet 2 hats. I have a "secret" over-the-top goal of doing more than 15 so I that can make a larger dent in the 25 remaining items of the 40 for 40 project. One of the great things about getting ready for this project has been getting to put the motivational journal into action. Here are some photos of the front and back covers of my journal:

Clearly I'm craving color right now!

The back cover features some palm trees, shapes, and the great Elizabeth Zimmerman.

The inside starts out with some cheat sheet pages from magazines. Short row shaping reminders, abbreviations, needle/hook conversion chart, etc.

One section contains the hats for 40 for 40 and another section hosts other patterns that I want to make or that are inspiring in some way.

There are some holiday pages to remember for next year, and there is an entire section dedicated to designing, Craftsy classes, and technique magazine articles. I'm still in the process of inserting random pictures throughout to just pretty up the interior, but I've already been motivated to try out some new designs, music, and books. 

This morning while I was on the treadmill I was listening to music and feeling grateful that I am well enough to do some walks now. I was mentally planning some of the Olympic knitting and started thinking about how the days will run. Curling up with my work and cheering on the USA athletes. But, I need to do more than just work out my mental health. So, I decided to make it a goal to walk on the treadmill M-F during the Olympics. Of course, the ultimate goal is to get me more than back in the habit so that after the Olympics I keep up the workouts. But, this gives me a good plan to get started! So excited to cheer on the athletes and give myself a bit of a challenge.