Monthly Archives: May 2012

Let’s Go Mets!

Once upon a time, I was a huge Mets fan.  As a childhood tomboy who was also a bookworm (interesting combo, I know), I was convinced after reading Bums: An Oral History of the Brooklyn Dodgers by Peter Golenbock that to support the Yankees was tantamount to treason.  I was born in Brooklyn, after all.  Besides, my best friend in junior high school was also a Mets fan.

(Side note: My dad’s family love the “Jankees,” but I excuse that because they arrived as baseball fans from Cuba after the Dodgers left Brooklyn but before the Mets were created.)

Flash forward to my high school years, which were spent as a scholarship student in an artsy private school.  Talking about baseball was not going to make me any friends there, and soon enough I developed other interests anyway.  As an adult, I never really got back into professional sports fandom, but I still have a cozy corner in my heart for the Mets, who I followed religiously throughout the 1986 championship season.

The fact that the Mets are the only New York team that has partnered with The National NeedleArts Association for Stitch N’ Pitch makes them even more lovable.  I was there in 2010 when we set the Guinness World Record for most people crocheting simultaneously.  (I am actually visible from behind in this video of the event, from 1:44 to 1:46, wearing a blue shirt and black cap.)

Last year, I wasn’t able to attend the game since it was on a weeknight and I had to work late.  So I was really excited when I found out that this year’s game will be on Sunday.  Apparently, it will even be nationally televised!

Yesterday, I picked up tickets for me and my two craft buddies from the Lion Brand Yarn Studio.  Since we reserved the tickets early, we also got awesome freebies – Lion Brand tape measures on keychains.  (Does this mean I can no longer avoid making a sweater by saying I can’t take accurate measurements??)  I also found out that John Franco will be inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame before the game.  Add that to the yarn marketplace, and it sounds like a great night will be had by all.  Now all I need to do is figure out what project to bring with me!

Holiday Stashdown Challenge – Week 3

(Join along with me any time if you need a head start or moral support for your holiday crafting. You can read more details here.)

I’ve already made a list of people I plan to make gifts for, and inventoried my stash looking for gift-worthy yarn.  So this week I thought about projects.

Accessories

It’s no secret that I love making hats.  So far, I’ve already made two hats for this holiday season.  I will surely end up making more gift hats, especially since most of the yarn I have available is in single skeins.  I sometimes use a pattern for hats, and sometimes design my own.  I am definitely intrigued by the Coffee and Cream Beanie (knit) by Josie Mercier, especially since it involves dyeing your yarn with coffee and I have a fair amount of undyed wool yarn bits hiding in my stash.

Coffee and Cream Beanie, (c) Josie Mercier.

I’ve also been eyeing some Star Wars related hat patterns, since I don’t think I have the patience to design my own (especially when others already exist!).  Two possibilities are the R2D2 Hat (knit) by Carolyn at So Much Yarn, So Little Time! or the Star Wars Droid Beanies (crochet) by Jen Spears.

R2D2 Hat, (c) Cmeknit1, and Star Wars Droid Beanies, (c) Jen Spears.

I’m also considering the Calli Felted Boots (crochet) pattern by Stacey Trock since I have a pair of slipper soles in my stash.

Calli Felted Boots, (c) FreshStitches.

I am currently working on the Pineapple Doily Shawl (crochet) by Laura Garsten, and I might give this as a gift.

Pineapple Doily Shawl, (c) Laura Garsten.

There are several ladies on my list who are definitely deserving of a shawl, a funky infinity cowl, or some other accessory that I will design for them.  I generally reach for my stitch guides for inspiration.

 

Seasonal, Toys, and Fun Stuff

I recently purchased the Amigurumi Nativity (crochet) by Carolyn Christmas, which I think will make a really cool gift.  I’ll have to figure out how to make it without buying new colors of yarn!

Amigurumi Nativity, (c) Carolyn Christmas.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Christmas stockings for some of my family, and there are two crocheted hexagon patterns that I am considering.  I think these will make good quickie gifts and I can use up some remnants by making each stocking in different colors.

Polka Dot Christmas Stocking, (c) Priscilla Hewitt, and Vintage Hexagon Christmas Stocking, (c) Christy Hall.

I plan to make a toy for my pre-school aged cousin, so it seemed like the perfect time to pull out Crocheted Softies (reviewed here).  Lala the Panda is (hopefully) gender neutral enough, since I think his parents are concerned about that sort of thing.

Lala the Panda by Stacey Trock, (c) Martingale Publishing.

(If I make enough progress on the rest of my gifts, I should have time to make MC that Mr. Crabby I’ve been talking about, too.)

Mr. Crabby by Stacey Trock, (c) Martingale Publishing.

Another option for my cousin is something from the Wild Things set (crochet) by Allison Hoffman.

Wild Things set of 4, (c) Allison Hoffman/Crafty Is Cool.

And, I’ll definitely be working up a few of my own, crocheted Chubby Sheep ornaments for various adult family members.

Chubby Sheep.

Home Decor

I know you should never say never, but I’m not taking on another blanket project for the winter holidays this year!  I will probably go through my Pinterest Granny Patterns and Visual Inspiration boards in search of some fun washcloth, placement, or pillow ideas for gifts.

Socks

I’ve been talking a lot about socks lately.  I made a pair of yoga socks for my mom, using Pam Daley’s pattern, but I have a few other possible sources of inspiration.

In the winter, I bought a copy of Socks A La Carte: Pick & Choose Patterns to Knit Socks Your Way.

I’ve picked out a few combos that I think will work.

And, of course, I find the idea of making two socks at once very appealing.

To have a chance of actually finishing the socks this year, I will probably have to crochet them :).  In that case, I would pick up one of these two great books by Kim Kotary in my collection, Learn to Crochet Socks the Toe Up Way! or You Can Crochet Socks.

I have the pleasure of knowing Kim in real life, and even took a class with her before You Can Crochet Socks was released.

Spending the weekend searching through my books and Ravelry has given me some great gift ideas.  What were you able to come up with?

If you need some inspiration for a Holiday Stashdown Challenge post for next week, here’s the prompt for Tuesday, June 5: You’ve made your list, you’ve thought about yarn, and you’ve scoped out some pattern ideas.  Can you try to match up your projects to people?  What about setting some completion deadlines?  Now’s the time to think about how you are going to make this all happen early this year, rather than at the last minute.  Do you have any organizing or motivating tips to share?  Are there any pitfalls you are worried about?  Tell us how you plan to get your holiday crafting done earlier this year.

Year of Projects: Crochet Master Class – Double-ended crochet (a cheat)

(This post is part of my Year of ProjectsCrochet Master Class series. You can read the other posts in this series here.)

This week, I haven’t had time to work on a new project based on one of the techniques highlighted in Crochet Master Class, so I decided to dig through some older photographs to find my first two experiments with double-ended crochet.

Darla Fanton is the featured crochet master, and she is actually the one I learned the technique from – indirectly, of course, through a pattern booklet.  I made these two scarves using the double-ended basic stitch.

This was my first version, using Bernat Lana.

You can see that on one side, more denim is visible, while on the other side, more natural is visible.

After getting the basics down, I tried a second version as a “skinny scarf.”  For this one, I used three strands of each color and I believe it was about 85 inches long.

I sold both scarves during the winter of 2010 when I had a table at several craft fairs.  My younger sister was modeling in these pictures (I planned to list the scarves on Etsy if they didn’t sell at the fairs).  Apparently, I didn’t save the pictures before editing them, which is why her face isn’t shown.  Oh well.

Vacation non-yarn haul and LYS review: Finely a Knitting Party

One of the yarn shops I planned to visit during my trip to Pennsylvania was out of business, so I decided to add another shop to my list. Since I was staying just one train stop away from Swarthmore, I planned a visit to Finely a Knitting Party on my way back to New York.

The shop is conveniently located about a block and a half from the Swarthmore train stop.  Finely a Knitting Party feels quite different from the three yarn shops I visited in Philadelphia.  You can tell it is the only yarn shop in town, because it doesn’t seem concerned with establishing a particular niche.

The yarn is sparsely arranged on cubby shelves and there is plenty of space to walk around.  The selection is dominated by a few brands like Brown SheepClassic Elite, Crystal Palace, and Plymouth Yarn.  There was a good range of fiber types, but most of the yarn seemed basic and no frills – the kind of yarn  that most people would want access to if there was only one yarn shop in town.  Anything that was slightly unusual was also pricey.  The one skein of yarn I was really drawn to was Mushishi but it was outside of my strict travel budget.

I didn’t see any crochet hooks or other signs that the shop might be crochet-friendly.  There was a selection of knitting needles in a few brands behind the counter.  The shop has a large table in the center of the store’s main room for classes.  The schedule online shows that there are daily classes, and there are pictures posted throughout the store of cheerful students holding up completed projects.  This looks like the type of LYS where you can meet new knitting buddies and hang out.

I love handmade soap, so I decided to buy some Sioux City Soap instead of yarn.

These three soaps smell amazing…

but I can’t understand why the brand is called Sioux City, since it is made locally in Pennsylvania?

Since I was on a skin care kick, I also bought this lotion.

I know I’m not the only crocheter/knitter troubled by dry skin.

As I mentioned, this shop carries a solid selection of basic yarns and looks like it has a lot of fun classes.  I’m not sure it is worth a special trip to visit, but if I’m in the area again, I might stop by.

FO Friday: Mother’s Day Shawl and other fun stuff

A few weeks ago, I shared a picture of a pineapple shawl I decided to design and make for my Mom seven days before Mother’s Day.  (Cue up the “What were you thinking??” comments from the peanut gallery.)

This is how it looked on May 8 (4 days before Mother’s Day).

I wasn’t sure if I would finish it on time, and I didn’t even know if my mom would like the bright color.  The Saturday before Mother’s Day, I went out to my mom’s and had a secret late night consult with my sister, who assured me it would look great on my mom.  (I had previously been informed by a co-worker who is my mom’s age and has met my mom a few times that it would be loved because “chartreuse is the new black.”)

So, I powered through and was able to finish the shawl a few minutes after midnight, just in time for Mother’s Day.

Here’s a secret picture I took of the shawl in the morning on my Mom’s couch before giving it to her.

Here’s the stitch detail.

I’m happy to say that my mom loved the shawl!  Even though it was pretty hot out that day, she found a way to wear it with style.

I’m glad I went with my gut on this one, and thanks to everyone who encouraged me to keep going with the color.  This is definitely way better than whatever weird last minute gift I would have had to buy.

This project was my first time I’ve used a madelinetosh yarn (tosh merino light).  The color is really lovely and my mom didn’t believe it was wool because it was so soft.  On the other hand, there were a few spots with little felted bits of yarn that I had to cut out.  Also, there was a lot of twist that made it not always fun to work with, but that may be due to the way it was wound in the shop.  There are more pictures and notes on my Ravelry project page.

I also finished the sample of my Wide Ripple Scarf pattern in Periwinkle last week.

My tall friend was kind enough to pose for this finished object picture.

This is a sample for a pattern booklet that will be published by F+W Media and distributed at Joann Fabric and Craft Stores.  I used Bamboo Ewe in Periwinkle.  My Rav project page is here.

And, I finished two small projects for myself which I shared on Sunday for my Year of Projects update.  But just in case you missed the pictures, I’ll share them again.

This is a small trivet made with embroidery floss using the “painted crochet” technique of changing colors.

This project definitely encouraged me to use up more embroidery floss for crochet.

This is a coaster/trivet made using hairpin lace.

Since this round of the Year of Projects ends on June 30, I have quite a few more techniques from Crochet Master Class that I’m trying to learn and work on before then.

My Ravelry project page for the painted crochet trivet is here and you can find the page for the hairpin lace coaster/trivet here.

For more finished objects, visit Tami’s Amis.