The Blanket’s in the Mail!

Seven months ago, on February 29th, I started a project.  That project turned out to be a massive undertaking .

It wasn’t a difficult pattern, in fact it was a pretty awesome one.  Rather than traditional granny squares, these were hexes and the greatest thing about them was that the final round attached the hexes to each other rather than having to sew each one together.  It was great.

The downside of the project was that as I was attaching the hexes, the blanket grew and grew, as blankets should, but it became unwieldy to work on…I needed an area to spread out on the floor so I could see what hexes should go where (I was attempting to not put the same color hexes next to each other).  This meant that I could no longer work on  it in my car while waiting at the school…or easily take it to the library for knit group…and, I often had trouble finding a child/pet free zone at home  in which to work on it…this meant I didn’t have much time to devote to it.  Plus, when it got down to June, July and August, it was just TOO HOT to sit bundled up under a pile of blanket…especially when I had all those ends that needed to be woven in and trimmed off.

Spring Flowers Hexagon Blanket

I ended up putting it aside for those 3 hot summer months, save a few times when I knew I could work on a few hexes.  Now, that wouldn’t have been bad, except I wasn’t just making this project for myself.  I was asked to make this for the daughter of one of my fellow January Jubilees moms.   I didn’t have a deadline and I actually feel really terrible that it took so long for me to complete it.

It was exactly 7 months to the day I started when I did the last stitch of the border and wove in those last few danging ends.  I am proud of myself for finally finishing it.  Here’s a slideshow of the finished blanket that I just put in the mail today!

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I really hope that the recipient loves it!  I gave it a wash and a dry and it fluffed up and is so soft!  I think when I finish some more projects that are currently on the hook, I might try to make some smaller baby blanket versions to sell in my shop.

Now, I’m working on 3 projects that all have a Christmas deadline!  I’m kinda stressing about getting those done.  They are also granny square blankets, but thankfully for 2 of the blankets are using the same pattern.  The squares are bigger than the hexes and I’ve done the pattern once before (Butterfly of Hope Afghan – rav link), so it’s not that difficult.  I just need to make 48 squares for the one (I’m almost halfway done with this one) and 24 for the other.  The 3rd one is a log cabin throw and is a little more intensive than the others.  Lots of color changing and I have to pay attention cause each section is different…Fingers crossed that I can get all 3 done before Christmas!

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Socks, Socks and More Socks!

Once again I’ve been neglecting my blog in favor of spending time with my kids during the summer and crafting.  Just yesterday I took the boys to the Auntie Shannon’s house and we went swimming in her condo’s pool.  It was a lot of fun.  We actually haven’t been swimming all summer and both boys really enjoyed it.  Even Bug taught himself to go underwater and Fidget was enjoying jumping in when he was wearing his floaties.  Everyone was thoroughly tuckered out, including me.  I could barely focus on our roleplaying game last night and didn’t even have the focus to work on the vanilla pattern sock I’m currently working on.

We’ve also been spending a lot of time at our local library.  Every summer they have the “Summer Reading Program.”  Kids are encouraged to read so many minutes a week and they earn little prizes for their success.  The culmination is an ice cream social with a magician.   This summer the kids made dream pillows (Bug’s was a mouse in space wearing a space helmet so he didn’t eat his cheese house), worry dolls (Bug’s was a ninja), wind chimes using clay pots, and they even tasted jelly beans to vote on the best tasting.  Bug read over 25 hours!  He’s still reading, too, even though the program ended.  He’s got a stack of books that he personally checked out on his own library card!

On the crafting front, I’ve been mostly working on socks.  Since my last craft post I’ve finished 6 more pairs of sock, a Bullseye stuffy and got most of the Spring Flowers blanket done.  Here are some pictures of my complete projects.

These are a pair of belated birthday socks to myself.  For my birthday I went to the awesome LYS, Trumpet Hill, and picked out some sock yarn.  When I was there I was introduced by the wonderful staff, to Opal’s Van Gogh Sock yarn.  The awesome yarn designers took the colors from some of Van Gogh’s famous paintings and turned them into yummy yarns!  Since it was late in the month, Trumpet Hill was running low on colorways, so I picked out a skein of In Variation Nach.  I asked if there was a colorway of Starry Night, since it is one of my favorite Van Gogh paintings (we have a print hanging in our living room) and there was, but they didn’t have it in stock.  Fast forward a couple weeks and I saw on Facebook they’d received a new shipment of the Van Gogh yarn and when I asked, they said they had Starry Night!  Squee!  I rushed over that evening to pick up a skein and also came home with a skein of Vase with Sunflowers, too!  Of course I cast on the first sock as soon as I got home!

Van Gogh's Starry Night Socks

Van Gogh’s Starry Night Socks

Barbara (Knittin and Kittens) and I did a KAL (Knit Along) for these interestingly designed socks called Carousel Socks.  We both stumbled over this pattern on Pinterest and decided to give it a try together.  I’m glad we did.  These socks had very interesting construction and we ran into the same issues together, which made getting through the project a little easier.  We’ve both decided that while it was nice to learn a new technique, we probably won’t be making these again any time soon.  They are comfy, though and I do wear mine regularly.

Carousel Socks

Carousel Socks

Upon finishing the Carousel Socks, Barbara and I decided to venture into the world of Sideways Socks.  This was another pattern that had a unique construction.  We made some major modifications to the pattern after reading notes from others on Ravelry.  I’m glad we did because otherwise our socks would have come out being knee highs!  We also modified the heel to do increases and then decreases around the other side and Kitchener the seam at the top rather than cutting the yarn and rejoining.  I think we’re both agreed again that while it was nice to learn something new, we won’t be making these again any time soon!  lol

Sideways Socks

Sideways Socks

I’ve also been getting ready for a craft fair in September.  I’ve got some baby blankets and some baby bibs done, but want to have some socks as well.  I pulled out some worsted weight (thick yarn) and made these Broken Rib socks.  They will make great boot socks for someone (with a size 9 foot) here in the great northeast during the cold winter!  They are very thick, cushy and warm!

Broken Rib Socks

Broken Rib Socks

Another pair of socks for the craft fair are these Pink Camouflage socks.  These are a size 9/10.  I kind of like this colorway for myself, but I’m going to save them for selling.

Pink Camo Socks

Pink Camo Socks

I’ve also started on another pair of striped socks for the craft fair.  I have a feeling these are going to be identically striped socks…fingers crossed, anyway.  It’s the same yarn and colorway I used for the Carousel socks.  It’s called Harlequin.  I really like this color and stripes, so I may have to pick up some more to make myself a pair.  I currently plan to make this pair of socks a size 7/8 so I can have a variety of sizes.

Harlequin Socks

Harlequin Socks

I also finished a pair of socks for Darling Hubby.  His “Whether He Wants Them or Not” Socks.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture.  He’s worn them and they are ok.  He said they were a bit slippery and I noticed that they stretched a bit more than I thought.  I think that’s the yarn I used, which is a bit of a heavier sock/fingering weight.  It’s a learning experience.

I also finished a Bullseye amigurumi for Fidget.  He’s on a Toy Story kick.  He loves anything and everything to do with Buzz and Woody.  He has a big stuffed Woody and Buzz, little mini ones and even a talking Woody.  The one thing he didn’t have was Bullseye.  I searched Ravelry high and low for a pattern that I could turn into Bullseye and the wonderful April Draven made one called “Brown Pony” that was exactly what I’d been searching for.  Apparently it had to be renamed because apparently someone was unhappy with it’s former name.    I actually managed to whip this little guy out in 24 hours!

Woody and Bullseye

Ride Like the Wind, Bullseye!

I’ve also been working on the Spring Flowers blanket.  It’s been tough working on it since it’s been so hot…I just don’t want to sit under a hot blanket on an 80* day.  I’m getting to the finish line, though.  I’ve gotten most of the border done and then I need to weave in all those ends…I’m kinda dreading that!  lol

So, that’s it for now.  Kind of a big ol’ Finished Object Friday post…

Fraternal or Identical?

I finished another pair of socks in record time this week.  I cast on Monday night at Craft Night (because I was tired of making hexes and because I was at our agreed upon stopping point for the Carousel sock and wanted something else to work on) and had both socks completed by Sunday afternoon…less than a week.  It was kinda a belated birthday present to myself, since my birthday was Friday.

This pair (number 6 on the sock counting tally) is made with Berroco Sox yarn in color 1476.  There’s lots of purples, pinks, blues and white in this yarn.  I love doing plain vanilla sock patterns and using a self-striping yarn. I don’t have to think about what stitch comes next and it’s great for when I want a quick traveling project.   This yarn was super fun because the stripe pattern was random and I never knew what color would show up next.   I just wish the yarn was a bit softer.  It feels almost stiff in a way, even after washing and drying it.

When I started sock # 2 I didn’t have the same starting point in the yarn as the first one, so my stripes don’t line up the same, but that’s ok because I love the colors and the random differences.  Someone on Ravelry pointed out that my socks are not Identical twins, but Fraternal Twins.  I like this line of thinking!  Even though they come from the same ball of material, they are each their own unique entity.  🙂

So, I hereby present pair of socks number six (pair number 3 for me) – Berroco Sox in Purples and Pinks.

Berroco Soxs

Fraternal Twins

Berroco Sox 2

Love the random stripes!

I also finally finished Bug’s Red socks.  He was so excited for them that I didn’t want to disappoint.  I finished them at Craft Night on Monday and didn’t even have the chance to wash them because Bug wanted to wear them to school the very next morning.  The pattern I used was A Thousand Kisses and it’s a good pattern.  I didn’t have a good contrasting color yarn, so I left off the X’s and O’s and make the heel, toe and cuff the same color as the body.  I’ve found that I’m just not a fan of the heel flap and the gusset.  I much prefer the short row heel.  The heel flap is great for when I don’t want to think about what I’m doing and just work back and forth, but I love the simple look of the short row heel.  I think for the next time I make Bug a pair of socks, I’ll use the same pattern, maybe with the multi-colors this time and do a short row heel instead.

Now presenting Bug’s Red Socks:

Bug’s Red Socks

I can’t wait to start working on my next pair of socks.  I’m thinking of a pair for Darling Hubby (whether he wants a pair or not!  lol)

FO Friday And A WIP Sneak Peek!

Considering at the beginning of this week I was shocked that it was only Tuesday I can’t believe that it’s already Friday!  I think it helped that Wednesday we got some snow.  We’ve had a very mild winter this year and I’m loving it!  The snow was predicted to start after noon, but it started a little after 11 while I was out buying yarn, of course..  We only got about 5 inches in our area.  It’s funny that this is only like the 2nd storm we’ve had since Halloween last year.  The first one, in January, we only got a couple inches and it didn’t last that long.  The weather is supposed to get warmer by Saturday (near 50*F), so our recent bit of snow probably won’t last long (and I’m actually ok with that!  lol)  My boys, however are gonna be kinda bummed.  We had a snow day today for Bug and after breakfast we bundled up and went out to play.  Fidget loved being dragged around in the sled.  I will say that snow is a good workout for me.  Before 8am I had the front walk, side walk and the bottom of the driveway shoveled out and all the running around in circles pulling both boys in the sled gave me some cardio!

Anyway, like I mentioned in my last post, I finished my Grey Hooded Cardigan.  Here are a couple pictures of it.  I really do love it!  It’s my new favorite!

And here’s one with the hood up.  I mentioned previously that with the first sweater I made with this pattern I had trouble with getting the front panel of the hood on easily and without a slight twist.  I felt it was unnecessarily difficult to sew on the extra piece.  Following the suggestions of fellow ravelers who endeavored to make this sweater, I picked up the stitches along the front of the hood (the same number as the final amount of rows for the front panel) and knit it to the width of the 20 stitch button area.  Then I inserted the cord and folded it over.  It doesn’t twist like the first one and gives it a slight flair, which is unique.

I don’t have a close up of the buttons, but they are a silver metal button that has what appears at first glance to be a Celtic design.  They really suit me and the sweater nicely!

I mentioned buying yarn, too.  I picked up some Caron One Pound skeins at Joann’s on Wednesday (Lavender Blue, Deep Violet, White, Sage Green, and Petal Pink) and I’m using some Rose and Cream from my stash.  I’ve started working on a Twin Sized Spring Flowers blanket for my friend Pammi’s daughter.  I’m really excited about it.  Here’s a sneak peek.  The pattern can be found here on Ravelry.

So far (in 2 days) I’ve made 7 white ringed hexagons and 7 cream ringed hexagons (only the white are pictured).  I really like how the cream looks…I’m leaving it up to Pammi whether we omit the white and go with the cream only or if we use both.  It would probably end up with diagonal stripes if we go with both, though that’s not a bad thing.

Cute Crochet Granny Bag

I’ve been working on crocheting items for my mother-in-law whose company is putting on a convention in 2012 and to raise money they are having a “Country Store” and plan on selling handmade items that are being donated.  So far I’ve whipped up a couple baby blankets, several hats, and a scarf or 2.

While browsing newly added patterns on Ravelry, I found a pattern for a granny square bag.  I thought it was super cute and looked easy, so Monday night at craft night, I whipped up a couple basic granny squares.  I decided to go with the 3 square bag first and will tackle the 4 square one next.

Here is the completed bag.  I really like it.  I did chose an easy granny square pattern, but it has several largish size holes, which doesn’t make it ideal for carrying small items like tubes of lipstick/lip gloss or loose change.  It would be perfect for a wallet/checkbook/change purse and a set of keys or even to use to carry a book or 2 and some sunscreen for a jaunt to the beach.

Granny Bag

It’s quite roomy inside and the short strap places the bag comfortably under your arm.

Granny bag open

I made a little flower button and a loop to make a closure for it.

Granny bag close up

Overall, I’m very happy with how this bag came out.  You can use pretty much any granny square and can make the bag any size.   I like the look of the flapstyle bag and I think I’m going to make my next one with a tighter granny square so things won’t have the chance to fall out…either that or I’ll have to learn how to line the inside with fabric…

I think I’ll be making one of these for me, soon!  I think I’ll make the strap longer so I can loop the bag over my opposite shoulder (I feel more secure like that) and maybe I will learn how to line a bag for myself…it’s probably not a bad skill to have!

Ups and Downs

Today has been an up and down day.  First, when I got up this morning I just wanted to sit back down.  It turns out that yesterday’s Belly Dancing seriously hurt my calf muscles.  It hurts so much to walk, especially down stairs and I cannot stand on my tiptoes.  I thought I’d “push through the pain” and try a second day, but it’s a no go.  I can’t move certain directions without feeling like I’m going to fall down.   The best thing has been staying off my feet today, sitting down.  With that being said, I’ve had a lot of time to work on my crocheting.

Last night at Craft NightI picked up my K hook, my Lily Sugar n’ Cream cotton yarn and my Lacy Cardigan pattern (PDF of pattern) and set about making myself a “Birthday Cardigan” (as I’ve dubbed it.)  I was having serious issues with reading the pattern…most patterns are very wordy and this one is one of the wordier ones.  I had to read through all the “special instructions” just to find where I needed to start and even then, I was intimidated…I don’t consider myself an expert crocheter (although I’ve improved tons from when I started) this was labeled expert so I was thinking I was doomed from the start…at least my gauge matched up perfectly…I don’t think that’s ever happened before…lol  Before the night was over, I made it through the first 6 rows.  Unfortunately, I was having severe issues with my brain reading the pattern and telling my hands what to do cause I kept making mistakes left and right.  I frogged rows 3-6 several times and after the girls left with their projects, I tore the whole thing out and started from my foundation chain…sigh…At least this time I knew the pattern a little better and voila! I made it through the first 6 rows without issue.

Today I picked it back up and started on the “this size only” instructions, which lead me to the body.  I was a bit intimidated by the arm hole areas, but it looked harder than it actually was and in no time I finished most of the body.  I have one more row to do and I can start on the edging.  I’ve never done picot edging before, but I think I’ll get the hang of it.  I feel like I’m on a roll.

I know I sound excited about my progress on this cardigan and I am.  Very excited.  I’m not usually good at making wearbles (scarves, mittens and hats don’t count), just look at how long Darling Hubby has been waiting for his sweater…yeah…  The best thing about this particular item of clothing is that I can try it on as I go!  I was able to make sure it fit the way I wanted it to before getting it mostly done and realizing that I’m going to look like a 2 ton elephant wearing  size zero jeans or like I’m being eaten by the fabric.

So, Doris Chan has a new fan!  I think when I finish this, I may want to try another one of her patterns or even another cardigan in another color.  (That is, as soon as I finish some of the WIP’s I have hanging around in my crochet trunk.)  It seems that her gauge and my gauge are pretty close and the best thing of all is that her items are simple, cute and best of all, WEARABLE!

For now, I’m going to straighten up my house and my kitchen and start on dinner.  Later, I think I’ll sit down again and finish up the cardigan body and see how far I get.  So, yes, today has been filled with lots of up and downs, but I consider it an all around UP day.

Memorial Day Weekend and 30 Day Shred – Day 22

We had a nice Memorial Day weekend.  It started Friday when I carried a barefoot Bug 2 blocks down the street to catch the ice cream truck so he could have his Batman Popcicle that he originally wanted on Wednesday…when I didn’t have any cash in my pocket.  Saturday we went grocery shopping and Darling Hubby went to the airport to pick up our friend Dave and his family who were flying back in after a vacation in Florida.  Later that day I did some weeding in a couple of our front flower beds and weed whacked the grass (my arms were pretty sore afterward).  Sunday we went to the mall for a little bit.  I picked up a couple dime books to hold my dime collection from the coin store and then we went to the book store where we found a couple good deals.  Then it was to Walmart to pick up a few items and some lunch and ran home so I could get a Joann’s coupon that I left at home.  That was the bulk of my exercising…no shredding on the weekends.

After lunch we went to Target and Joann’s and on the way I practiced my parallel parking.  I’m getting better at it.  I made 4 attempts and they improved each time.  Go me!  lol   At Target we picked up some new sandals for Bug.  His other ones were getting a little snug.  Then I picked up some fabric to use on the backing of Bug’s Wheels on the Bus blanket at Joann’s.  I’m not going to weave in all those little ends from each of those squares  (I’ll never finish by September!) so I’m going to cover them with a fabric backing.  I chose a brown flannel that matches the color of the tree trunk.  I figured something neutral and that would hide dirt would be best.  It’s also a light weight fabric so it’s not going to make the blanket overly warm or heavy.  I also picked up some yarn to make a lacy cardigan (Rav link) for me to wear over my sun dresses this summer (I hope to finish it before Father’s day so I can wear it for my birthday) and baby blanket (Rav link) as a surprise for someone.  I chose lavender Pound of Love for the blanket and I’m loving the yarn.  It’s super soft and the pattern that’s included (the hooded baby blanket) works up fast and so touchably soft.  After 2 days of working on it a little here and there, I’m over half way done.  I’m debating on adding the hood.  Having looked at other crocheters finished products on Ravelry, I’m not 100% sure I like the hood.  I also think that the hood is meant for infants and the blanket could get more use over a longer period of time without the hood.  I guess I’ll crochet that bridge when I get to it.

Yesterday we stayed home all day.  We had a picnic lunch on the patio and I got some sun – I don’t want to be bright white this summer!  After lunch Bug’s super-hearing picked up on the ice cream trucks’ jingle and we let him have one more Popsicle (I could go broke if we buy something every time the truck drives by!).  It’s so cute how excited he got!

Waiting for the Ice Cream Truck

Waiting for the truck to come down the street.

Wouldn't take his eyes off the truck!

He wouldn’t take his eyes off the truck, even when Daddy called his name.

Yeah for Popsicles

He was so polite.  He said, “Hey, thanks mister!” to the lady in the truck. lol

Ice Cream!

Yeah for Spider-man Popsicles!

That afternoon we had a BBQ and Darling Hubby grilled some chicken and baked potatoes on the grill.  I made some baked beans and sweet corn on the cob.  It was a delishous feast!  Bug even ate an ear and a half (I broke each ear in half)…he loves him some corn on the cob!  We stayed outside for much of the day, blowing bubbles, swinging on the tire swing, playing in the dirt and munching on make-shift s’mores – I only had mini marshmallows, a few graham crackers and left over chocolate Easter eggs. – we wrapped them in foil and set them on the grill to melt.

Despite yesterday being Monday…today feels like it should be Monday.  I feel so thrown off!  I had a hard time motivating myself today, even after getting a good night’s sleep.  I did finally do my shred before lunch and it felt good, even though it felt a little tougher…probably from taking 3 days off.  I’m getting better about a lot of the stuff.  I can do the easy version of the sit-ups (for the most part) and I can hold my own on the scissor crunches.  I still can’t get the hang of the walking push-ups, though…maybe someday!  As for weight, yesterday when I weighed in for the weight loss challenge on my Mommy board I was back up to 155lbs…today I was back down to 154lbs (and that was after eating breaky and shredding)…go figure…lol  Hopefully, I’ll drop down some this week.  I’m going to be very good about watching what I eat this week.  Hopefully I’ll be better motivated the rest of the week…