FO Friday: Baby legwarmers and Winner: 30 Min-Knits

For the second week in the row, I’ve finished a quick project from stash yarn for my friend AW’s new baby.

This is my version of the Cozy Crawlers Leg Warmers from Linda Permann‘s Little Crochet: Modern Designs for Babies and Toddlers.  (The pattern is also available as a free download here.)  I used about half a skein of Bitsy Knits Bitsy’s Sock in the Quite a Party colorway.

I bought this yarn at the 2011 Finger Lakes Fiber Arts Festival.

It's the yarn in the front.

Once I wound it up, I realized it wasn’t going to work for an accessory for me since it was too… lively for my tastes.

I was also a bit worried about pooling.  (If only I had read this post from Le Tissier Designs then — I would have known exactly what to do with this yarn!)  I’m not too stressed by pooling in infant legwarmers, though ;).

I may have time to make another quick project, but I might just mail these out with the booties, a card, and some children’s books.

 

In other news, according to Random.org, the winner of the giveaway for my review copy of 30 Min-Knits: What Can You Knit in Half an Hour or Less? by Carol Meldrum, courtesy of Barron’s Educational Series, is number 5…

Jane!

Congratulations, Jane, and thanks to everyone who entered!  You can read my review of the book here.

 

For more finished objects, visit Tami’s Amis!

There’s still time…

…to enter the Ripple Mania CAL giveaway for your chance to win amazing prizes from Leisure ArtsLion Brand YarnMagique Enterprises, and Red Heart.

You can find all the details in this blog post!  Share your pictures by 11:50 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, November 28!

The Ripple Mania Prize Package from Leisure Arts.
Lion Brand Ripple Mania Prize Package.
Magique Enterprises Ripple Mania Prize Package.
Red Heart Ripple Mania Prize Package.

And, for all you knitters out there, you have until Thursday, November 29 to enter the giveaway for my review copy of 30 Min-Knits: What Can You Knit in Half an Hour or Less? by Carol Meldrum, courtesy of Barron’s Educational Series, here.

Enjoy the week, and good luck!

Free pattern: All Weather Cowl

I’m excited to announce another free pattern in collaboration with Galler Yarns.

Download All Weather Cowl Pattern PDF.

Using one jumbo skein of Galler Yarns Aztec Boucle, an organic cotton yarn with just a little bit of nylon added, this cowl is a great all weather accessory.  The eyelets created by the stitch patterns and the cotton yarn make it breathable in warmer weather, but the length allows you to wrap it around three times for warmth in cold weather.

This is a reversible stitch pattern that can be made even by Tunisian crochet newbies.  It doesn’t hurt that the yarn texture will cover any mistakes you make ;).

The All Weather Cowl is crocheted across lengthwise and then seamed.

 

Since you will have 80 inches (203 cm) of stitches on your hook, I recommend using a Tunisian crochet hook with a flexible cable.  If you don’t already have some on hand, I sell them in my Etsy shop here.

The Aztec Boucle works up nicely and creates a great gift for any eco-conscious person on your list.  I sell a kit in my Etsy shop that includes a jumbo skein of Aztec Boucle in Ecru along with your choice of bamboo Tunisian crochet hook with a long cord.

You can also download this pattern on Ravelry here and on Craftsy here.  Enjoy!

FO Friday: Booties, 30 Min-Knits Book Review, and Giveaway

I have just a small finished object today, my very first pair of knit booties.  But they come with a long story!  (And, to thank you for reading the whole story, I’m also including a book review and giveaway at the end of this post.)

I have a friend that I haven’t seen in ages.  She used to date (and then was engaged to) a friend of mine from college.  There were about 3 or 4 years when the three of us would get together very frequently and have a great time.  They lived in a nearby neighborhood for a few years and then they moved to the Boston area, but I actually kept in touch and visited regularly for some time.  Then there was a lot of upheaval in my life in 2007-08 and, at the same time, they broke up and this friend moved to California.  I haven’t seen her since then and now we are “Facebook friends.”  (You know what I mean – I think about her, occasionally see a status update, but haven’t actually called or written in ages.)  Via Facebook, I learned that she got married and eventually that she was pregnant.  She actually kept a rather entertaining weekly blog during her pregnancy which I only discovered in about the eighth month.  The humor in her posts reminded me why I enjoy her friendship so much, so I decided to make her newborn baby girl some gifts.

 

Since we haven’t seen each other in about 5 years and I am completely pressed for time, I decided that my standard baby gift (a blanket) was out of the question.  I also didn’t want to buy any yarn, so I started looking for a group of smaller projects that I could make with stash. And that’s where these cuties come in.

I had a second ulterior motive.  I recently received a review copy of 30 Min-Knits: What Can You Knit in Half an Hour or Less? by Carol Meldrum from Barron’s Educational Series.  As the self-professed world’s slowest knitter, I figured I had to time myself making at least one project from the book.  I decided that if I could make one of the projects in 90 minutes, a normal knitter might be able to do it in 30.

The Broad Strap Booties seemed the perfect solution:

  • A pattern fit for a baby (check),
  • Made with small amounts of yarn (check),
  • In a yarn weight where I have some “girl colors” in my stash (check),
  • In an easy care (machine washable) yarn (check).

I used just a wee bit Lion Brand Wool-Ease Sportweight (now discontinued) that I bought years ago at one of the Smiley’s Yarns famous Manhattan yarn sales.  I think they came out pretty cutely.

I’m looking at Little Crochet: Modern Designs for Babies and Toddlers and Baby Blueprint Crochet: Irresistible Projects for Little Ones, both of which I won in blog giveaways (yippee!), for inspiration for some other small items to include in the package.

For more finished objects, visit Tami’s Amis.  And to learn more about the Ripple Mania CAL giveaway, open to all readers on earth with prizes donated by Leisure ArtsLion Brand YarnMagique Enterprises, and Red Heart Yarn, check out this post.

Book Review

I recently received a review copy of 30 Min-Knits: What Can You Knit in Half an Hour or Less? by Carol Meldrum from Barron’s Educational Series.  The book positions itself as “a collection of knitting projects that you can really fit into your spare time…creating fun and imaginative pieces in a half-hour or less.”  The concept appealed to me totally, especially since I knit extremely slowly, but I’ll admit that I was dubious that anything can be knit (by me) in thirty minutes or less.  The book comes with a few disclaimers that put me more at ease.  Finishing is not included in the 30 minutes, and when the project is for multiple pieces (e.g., a set of mittens), only one piece can be made in 30 minutes.  Ok, perhaps there is such a project out there.

The book includes 60 projects, most of which are small and can be made with stash yarn, or which are made with bulky yarn or two strands of yarn held together.  You can tell that Carol is primarily a teacher, because the book is organized by skill level (40 Easy projects and 20 Intermediate projects), and then sub-divided by technique.  At the beginning of the book, there is a gallery of  project photos along with the page where you can find the pattern.  Some of the patterns include a technique marker (e.g., Cable Knitting) on the side of the page.  These techniques are explained in a 14 page illustrated section at the end of the book.

I made the Broad Strap Booties (pictured on the cover) to test out the 30 minute theory.  I gave myself 90 minutes per bootie since I know that I knit extremely slowly.  (As a reference point, it took me 25 minutes to make half a gauge swatch for the pattern – 22 stitches by 15 rows.)  I was able to complete both booties (not including swatching but including knitting and assembly/finishing), in just under 2 hours and 15 minutes.  I consider that a resounding success.

What I liked about this book: 

  • Each project is photographed several times from different angles.  The projects appear against a white background in the gallery, then again in “group photos” every few pages (with each item numbered for reference to the pattern), and then again on the pattern page.  This gives you a really clear idea of how the finished project will look and is also visually interesting.
  • Even though I personally don’t see myself knitting some of these projects (e.g., a Dali mustache), everything inside is actually very cute.  None of the projects “look” like they were thrown together in 30 minutes or less.
  • Most of the projects are great stashbusters.
  • There is an opportunity to try out techniques like shaping, cables, beading, or colorwork on a small and low-risk project.  The technique section in the back includes a “Practice This” box which directs you to the appropriate patterns using the technique.
  • If you tend to procrastinate on gift knits, this could be a great “go to” resource for inspiration.

What I don’t like about the book, or what’s missing:

  • Like other paperback books, it doesn’t lay flat so it is difficult to knit and read at the same time.  There are front and back cover flaps that you can use to hold your place, though.
  • When a pattern includes charts or a template, those are in the back rather than next to the pattern page, so you will need to flip back and forth a bit.
  • Though most projects are clearly made with just a small amount of yarn, the patterns list the full size of the skein used for the project.  For example, the booties that I made used about 34 yards in the main color and about 9 yards in the other color, but the pattern just mentions that I need two balls of Rowan Handknit Cotton DK (93 yards each).  I think the book could get more mileage as a stashbusting book if Carol included the approximate yardage for each project.  Instead, the knitter needs to guess whether they have enough yarn in their stash for any given project.
  • On a related note, it would help if the weight of the yarn was listed for each project.  If it isn’t part of the brand name (e.g., Rowan Handknit Cotton DK), then there aren’t many clues about the yarn weight.  I’m guessing the Rowan and Coats yarns that Carol used for the book are ubiquitous in the UK, but it would be great if it was easier to make yarn substitutions.
  • While arranging the book in order of difficulty is a great idea, it is hard to find projects by type (e.g., women’s accessories) with this system.  It is difficult to determine the scale of a project from the gallery, so it would be helpful if the index listed projects by type.  (The baby projects are listed as a category in the index, though.)

Unfortunately, the patterns are not posted on Ravelry yet and you can’t “search inside the book” on Amazon, so it is hard to get an idea of what is included if you don’t see the book in person.  I would recommend this book for a beginner, advanced beginner, or newly intermediate knitter who likes to make small, portable projects.  If you are trying to bust some stash and enjoy gift knitting, this could also be the right book for you.  The book includes 60 projects, which is more than you would generally find in a book at this price point, but many of the projects are primarily decorative.  I think this would be a fun book to use when knitting with children or teens since the projects are cute and fast to make, and the accessories are on trend.  If you are a more experienced knitter or like more detailed/involved projects, then this is probably not the book for you.

 

Giveaway

To kick off the last minute holiday gift making season, I’m giving away my review copy of 30 Min-Knits: What Can You Knit in Half an Hour or Less? by Carol Meldrum, courtesy of Barron’s Educational Series.  This giveaway is open to all readers with a U.S. mailing address.  Enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on Thursday, November 29, 2012.  

To enter:

  • Leave a comment telling me about your quick knitting experience: do you make a lot of fast projects, do you knit gifts at the last minute, etc.
  • For additional entries, like Underground Crafter on Facebook, follow Underground Crafter on Twitter, join the Underground Crafter group on Ravelry, and/or share a link to this giveaway on Facebook, Twitter, or your blog.  (And then, leave a comment here, on Facebook, on Twitter, or in the Ravelry group letting me know what you did!)
  • One winner will be chosen at random.

Good luck!

Holiday Stashdown Challenge, Week 28

(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.)

With all of my “must make” holiday gifts finished, I’m now free to turn to the fun stuff!

You may have seen my previous posts about the great swaps I’ve had on the A Swap A Month group on Ravelry.  Sadly, the group began unraveling a few months ago when it was discovered that the moderator was a naughty swapper herself.  Some of the members have reformed into the Strangers in Good Company group.  Our first swap is an ornament and card swap for Christmas, so I’ve been scouring the web for awesome ornament patterns.

I found this adorable sweater ornament pattern by Jessica Spencer and had so much fun making these that I think I will create an ornament gift tag for each of the Christmas celebrators on my gift list.  (I mentioned before that my winter holiday gift list includes people who observe a range of holidays.)

I made a camouflage version and a cherry chocolate version.  These is also a wonderful way to use up little yarn scraps.  And, unlike when making a real sweater, I don’t really mind that the sleeves are not the same length for both arms.

How is your holiday crafting going?  Feel free to share your holiday crafting journey in the comments!

Year of Projects, Year 2: My thoughts on continuing in YOP

You may have noticed I haven’t posted a Year of Projects update for the last two weeks.  I have been following along with my favorite YOP bloggers, but I think I’m taking a break from the Year of Projects for a while.

I say “I think” because this has been something I’ve debated about for weeks.  I’ve actually previously written posts about this and then never published them.  I love participating in the Year of Projects because it is a great crafting community, and I’ve “met” some of my favorite bloggers this way.  Last year, my YOP goal list was tied to one amazing book, and I felt really compelled to work through it as a way of learning new crochet techniques and also of sharing with the world some of the amazing things crochet can do.

This year, I tried a slightly different approach.  I set up a list of goals that included my crafty aspirations for learning new skills.  I added some projects that I wanted to be accountable for completing but where I might need some community support to help me stay on track.  In some ways, having a list that has so many different types of things on it has made it harder to choose what to work on next.  Yes, I know I can sit back and reform my list at any time but I’m not sure that is what I want to do right now.

You see, some things have changed in my life since I joined this year’s YOP.  I’ve been given some more opportunities to publish my patterns, and for the most part, I’m not able to share anything about those projects until publication.  This means that I’m working on more and more projects that I can’t share with my readers while simultaneously having less and less time for projects on my list.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about three blog posts lately:

  • this one from Crochet Concupiscence describing why she isn’t participating in the Year of Projects for 2012-2013,
  • this one by Thistlewood Farm asking bloggers to consider what they want their blog to be when it grows up (which I originally discovered through a post from Project: Stash), and
  • this one that I wrote back in back in January about my fear of becoming over-memed.

I know I don’t want my blog to be a place of obligation and crankiness, nor a place of feeling like I don’t live up to (my own) expectations about completing goals.  I have a lot of ideas about the direction I’d like my blog to take in the future, but I also have to be realistic about the amount of time I have left after accounting for my full-time and part-time jobs, attempts to have a personal life, etc.  The solution that seemed the best for me right now is to step away from participating in YOP until I have time to work on specific projects and I feel energized about posting about them!

For more YOP updates, visit Come Blog-a-long on Ravelry.

Ripple Mania CAL: Giveaway

Whether you’re just joining in or you’ve been participating in the Ripple Mania Crochet-a-long since October, I know you’re excited to hear more about the prizes!  The Ripple Mania CAL has four fantastic sponsors, Coats & ClarkLeisure ArtsLion Brand Yarn, and Magique Enterprises, who have each put together a great prize package.  This post describes the prizes, explains how you can enter the giveaway, and includes the schedule for the Ripple Mania CAL.  All images are used with permission.

The Prizes

Red Heart Ripple Mania Prize Package (Retail value: $75)

Red Heart is sponsoring a fabulous Ripple Mania package including an issue of Crochet Today! and a copy of the Ripple Effect pattern booklet,  along with everything you need to make the Windsor Ripple Throw - 8 skeins of Red Heart With Love yarn (2 skeins each 1530 Violet and 1814 True Blue D; 1 skein each 1907 Boysenberry, 1701 Hot Pink, 1401 Pewter, and 1805 Bluebell) and a 6 mm (US J) Susan Bates bamboo handle crochet hook.  And, to make it easy for you to work on your project on the go, they’re also including a Red Heart tote bag.

 

 

Leisure Arts Ripple Mania Prize Package. (Retail value: $48.85)

Leisure Arts is sponsoring an awesome Ripple Mania prize package including 69 ripple patterns in 5 pattern books!  The package includes 40 Favorite Ripple Afghans (Ravelry page), Beauty of the Earth Afghans (Ravelry page), Vanna’s Choice Color It Beautiful Afghans (Ravelry page), Ripple Afghans to Crochet (Ravelry page), and Rippling Effects (Ravelry page).  These books will definitely keep you crocheting for quite some time!

 

 

Lion Brand Ripple Mania Prize Package. (Retail value: $33.16)

Lion Brand Yarn is sponsoring a wonderful Ripple Mania prize package – 4 skeins of Amazing in Strawberry Fields, enough yarn to crochet the Candy Color Ripple Cowl.  You’ll have a fashionable accessory just in time for the deep cold of winter!

 

Magique Enterprises Ripple Mania Prize Package. (Retail value: $24.95CAD)

And for those of you who have been longing to try an Eleggant crochet hook after reading my review, Magique Enterprises is sponsoring a set including the Eleggant comfort crochet handle, six interchangeable hooks (in steel sizes 1.25 mm, 1.75 mm, and 2.25 mm, and in aluminum sizes 3.5 mm, 5.0 mm, and 6.0 mm), and o-rings.

 

Now that you’ve heard about all the amazing prizes available, you may be wondering how to enter this giveaway.  Read on for details!

 

Ripple Mania Giveaway Rules

To enter the Ripple Mania giveaway for your chance to win one of these great prizes:

  • Join in the Ripple Mania Crochet-a-long!  You can participate in the Underground Crafter group on Ravelry, in the comments on this blog, on the Underground Crafter Facebook page, or by Tweeting @ucrafter #ripplemania.
  • Photograph your Ripple Mania project!  Smaller projects (accessories, baby blankets, cozies, washcloths, etc.) must be completed.  Larger projects (adult sweaters, large throws, or bedspreads) must be at least 1/3 finished.
  • Projects must have been started and/or completed during the Ripple Mania CAL (between October 17 and November 28).  You can use any crochet ripple pattern, though of course I’d love it if you used one of mine :).
  • Share a photograph and description of your Ripple Mania project by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, November 28.  Each project counts as one entry in the giveaway.
  • To share your project on Ravelry: Add the project to your notebook with the tag ripplemania.  Share the project  in the Ripple Mania CAL Giveaways thread.
  • To share your project on Facebook: Post a Wall photo on the Underground Crafter page.  (Remember that if you don’t “like” the page, I won’t be able to message you on Facebook, so you’ll have to check back to see if you’ve won.)
  • To share your project on this blog: Post a link to a project photo (on your blog, Flickr, etc.) in the comments.
  • To share your project on Twitter: Tweet @ucrafter #ripplemania with a link to a photo of your project.
  • This giveaway is open to all crocheters worldwide.
  • By entering the giveaway, you are granting permission for your project photo to be shared in a collage of all entries on this blog.
  • On or about December 1, 2012, four winners will be chosen at random and contacted for mailing addresses.  Winners must respond by December 15, 2012 or their prize will be forfeited.
Thanks so much for joining in, and I can’t wait to see the projects!

Ripple Mania CAL Schedule!

Wednesday, 10/17 – Ripple Mania Kick Off!

Ripple Mania CAL Chat on Ravelry

Week 1 Chat on Ravelry

  • Supply list and project suggestions
  • Colorize Your Ripple: Choosing a Palette for Your Project

Wednesday, 10/24 -Ripple Basics

Week 2 Chat on Ravelry

Wednesday, 10/31 - Ripple Variations

Week 3 Chat on Ravelry

Wednesday, 11/7 – Squaring Up Your Ripple

Week 4 Chat on Ravelry

Wednesday, 11/14 – Adding ripples to hexagon and square motif patterns

Week 5 Chat on Ravelry

Wednesday, 11/28 – The Big Reveal!

Stop by Ravelry to join in on the CAL.

Ripple Mania CAL, Week 5: Adding ripples to motifs

The last PDF for the Ripple Mania CAL was just uploaded!  This week’s PDF is all about how to turn granny square or hexagon projects into ripples.  There are two more weeks to join in before we can start competing for the awesome giveaways!  Stop by Ravelry to join in on the CAL.

Ripple Mania CAL Schedule!

Wednesday, 10/17 – Ripple Mania Kick Off!

Ripple Mania CAL Chat on Ravelry

Week 1 Chat on Ravelry

  • Supply list and project suggestions
  • Colorize Your Ripple: Choosing a Palette for Your Project

Wednesday, 10/24 -Ripple Basics

Week 2 Chat on Ravelry

Wednesday, 10/31 - Ripple Variations

Week 3 Chat on Ravelry

Wednesday, 11/7 – Squaring Up Your Ripple

Week 4 Chat on Ravelry

Wednesday, 11/14 – Adding ripples to hexagon and square motif patterns

Week 5 Chat on Ravelry

Wednesday, 11/28 – The Big Reveal!

Free Pattern Alert: Ribbed Möbius Crocheted Cowl at Kollabora

You might remember that I was working on secret projects a few weeks ago.  The first one was just revealed today!

Teaser revealed!

 

(c) Kollabora

You can download the free pattern for the Ribbed Möbius Crocheted Cowl here.  If you aren’t already a Kollabora member, you should check it out!  It’s a great, multi-craftual maker community.  (You don’t need to be a member to download the free pattern, by the way.)  This is a great one skein project that works up really quickly with a bulky yarn.  Enjoy!