Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Pretty in Pink....or not

This sweater vest was made from a pattern on Ravelry called Pretty in Pink . Being a vest to keep my mother warm in the winter, I went with a color she would like. I fell in love with it, too. It's called "Cognac". Doesn't that just conjur up images of well-suited men sitting in big chairs in some exclusive club library smoking cigars and discussing politics? No? Pardon me....

I chose to make it in wool because that is one of the best fibers out there for keeping warm.

I must confess a bit of silliness went on in the making of this sweater! The first part is knit up from the bottom to the armholes, thus no seams. Gotta like that! But then silly me who does not like to do one front, then the other front, then the back one after another went and attached two extra skeins of yarn and worked all the parts simultaneously on long circular needles. So imagine it like this: Knit right front row, drop the yarn; pick up yarn for back, knit a back row, drop the yarn; pick up ...well you get the idea. In theory this is a good idea. I was too stubborn to stop and just do it the traditional way. Now, before you go and try this method yourself, be forewarned: Handling three skeins of yarn is tricky business and requires strict attention to the placement of each skein immediately prior to working with it every row. Otherwise. I shudder here. The skeins become hopelessly tangled and you, dear knitter, curse the very day you read this blog!

This lovely photo gives you a peek into my yarn room. You can see a couple drawers full of yarn next to my comfy knitting chair. On the table to the left is a lovely shrug I knit in an acid yellow hue that my daughters wouldn't be seen in (thank you internet sale!). It has since found solace in the company of a girl studying for the theatre (no kidding). The skein of yarn just under the shrug is Lorna's Laces dk in Child's Play. I have two skeins of this pretty stuff. Not sure what they will become. Also, my button box came in handy. I chose some bone colored shirt buttons. PS Mom likes it a lot. PPS Mom does not like having her photo taken. Ever.
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Sandy the Dottie Doll

Well, here's a mess! With a capital M! You see I set about making a doll and had to take out all kinds of things for inspiration and practicality. Crochet thread, embroidery thread, felt, fabric, scissors, needles, beads, trims, yarn and glue all littered the table during her preparation and "birth". It took two tries alone to get the right size motif to fit her body.
Isn't she a cutie??? Dotties are dolls made of fabric according to a set theme. My theme this time was mother earth related. Although I mostly knit and crochet, I wouldn't be worthy of the title The Stitch Sleuth if I didn't look for other ways to be crafty and incorporate my specialty. Her hair is made from strands of Lion Brand Homespun which has a thread twisted around it. Remove the thread and Voila! you have what looks like wool roving. This color is called Quartz and it's lovely shades of purple. The end of the tail is a five-pointed starfish and the 'sandy beach' across her body is a motif from the Vogue Knitting Stitchionary 4 Crochet. The starfish is on page 148 and the wide scallop is on page 128.
Here's a closer look at the wide scallop. This is actually an edging pattern that you can repeat, but I only made one. This one is made using No. 10 crochet thread. The first one was made with No. 3 thread, but that turned out way too big. I think the motif gives the feeling of the wave retreating from the beach and leaving a lovely, sandy pattern, don't you?

If you want to learn more about Dotties, just search the web or join Swap-bot. I sent this lovely lady off to a swap partner and received one from someone else. Loads of fun, really! You should try it! Ta Ta For Now! Happy Stitching!

Sunday, July 11, 2010


I've been making a lot of these bracelets lately. They have proven a popular extra when I do swaps and my two daughters like theirs, too. I made a two-circle pendant to match one of the sets. They are super easy to make with my directions below:


Items needed:
#10 crochet thread--Go for the sparkly kind if you like!
No. 9 steel crochet hook
plastic rings (many sizes available at local craft stores)
one button (for closure)
sharp needle (to sew on button and weave in ends)

Step One: Make a simple crochet circle. The button is sewn on this circle in the finishing step.

Leaving a 6" end, Chain 2. 6 sc in the second chain from hook. Place a marker in the last stitch made.
Row 2: 2 sc in each stitch. 12 stitches.
Row 3: *1 sc in next stitch; 2 sc in next stitch* Repeat around. 18 stitches. This completes the button holder. Remove marker. Do not fasten off. Chain 1.

Step 2: Now you crochet half-way around the plastic rings. Generally, 7 rings makes a nice size bracelet between 7 and 7 1/2". Use your own wrist as a guide and keep in mind that there will be a little give in the final product. Here we go:

Hold a ring in your left hand, insert the hook through the ring, draw up a loop firmly around the ring, yo and draw through both loops. Repeat until your ring is half full. Different sizes require different amounts to look covered, but not crowded. Write down how many stitches you use to cover the ring. If you use different sized rings in a project, just write the number as you go.

So now the ring is half full. Chain 1. Pick up your next ring and fill it half full with stitches. Chain 1. Repeat half-covering a ring, then chain 1 until you have enough filled to be a bracelet.

You will now chain a loop big enough to fit over the button you are using as a clasp. I mostly use shirt buttons and they take 8 chains. You will have to use your best judgment on how many chains will work for your button, but remember there is more give to a chain than you think, so be a little conservative in your estimate. But if you have a shirt button, at this point, Chain 8.

Now you will fill this side to match the number of stitches used on the first half. After the first circle is filled, you will slip stitch into the back of the Chain 1 you made between rings. Keep going, filling the circles and slip stitching into each Chain 1 until you are back to the button circle. Slip Stitch into the last Chain 1 before the button circle. Fasten Off.

Step 3: Finishing. I use the original tail from my chain 2 at the beginning to sew on the button. Weave in any loose ends. Put it on and admire it!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Coaster Swap

When it comes to swaps, I spend a lot of time looking for just the right thing. I mean, my swap recipient has gone to all the trouble of listing her fav colors, objects, books, movies, etc. Why not tap into that?

When I say "the right thing", I mean the right pattern. The coasters on the right were a free pattern off the internet. I made them during my marathon session watching the Prime Suspect series from the BBC--seven seasons, mind you! These weren't the only stringy things I made during that series....more on other items for another post.

These are crocheted with No. 3 Thread from Royale and a B hook. No. 3 thread is supposed to be sport weight. I like it because it's soft, colorful, readily available and cheap.

This swap marked the start of my "swap anxiety". As I made these little pretties, I was actually thinking about my older son and daughter who live elsewhere. Do they have pretty coasters for their furniture? Nay, I say. Why am I making these for a complete stranger when my own family is wanting? Well, for now, I assuage my guilt with the knowledge that it's not too late to make them some. This was a swap in May and it's July now. I am finishing up my July swaps this weekend and plan to take at least a month off of Swapping with Strangers.

Don't get me wrong, I see swapping with strangers as a boost to my creativity. Then I will share that creativity with the ones I actually live with. Soon.
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