Archive for the 'crochet' Category

And the Winner Is …

Elizabeth McNearney!! Thank you all for visiting my blog and leaving your kind comments. After drawing her name this afternoon, I will be emailing Elizabeth free pdf’s of all my paid dog sweater patterns. Thank you again for participating, and stay tuned here for more patterns and knitting/crochet news.

Holy Cow!

My blog has just passed 200,000 hits!

Thank you all for following me. I have websites linking from all over the world, from Italy to France to Japan, some in languages I don’t even recognize. I hope you enjoy my knitting and crochet patterns and you’ll keep coming back for more. In honor of achieving this milestone, I’m hosting a giveaway here: Leave a comment or link to my blog by November 10, and I will hold a drawing the next day. The winner will receive a free download of ALL MY PAID DOG SWEATER PATTERNS. I’ll announce the winner here on November 11, so if you win please contact me and let me know where to email your patterns.

Good luck, and thank you for visiting!

In the Berry Patch

Raspberry Fool

              

On Ravelry last month, the Malabrigo Junkies group had a Holiday Stockpile One-skein Design contest, so I looked in my stash to see what inspired me.

The clear, bright pink of this lovely Malabrigo colorway, Geranio, took me back to a day in the summer of 1969, when my college friends and I picked buckets full of fresh raspberries on a farm in Pennsylvania. That evening, I found a recipe for “Raspberry Fool,” a deep-dish cobbler, and we all devoured it while watching the men walk on the moon and marveling at how far our country had come.

Consulted Donna Kooler‘s indispensible Encyclopedia of Crochet for some sort of berry stitch, and the result is my first crocheted dog sweater pattern, Raspberry Fool, modeled here by the always-willing, always-chilly Willie.

  My boy does love to be in pictures, and he loves his new Mmmmmm sweater.  Try it ~ the pattern’s on my Free Patterns page (my gift to you dog-loving crocheters or crochet-loving dog parents), and it’s quick and easy, a great place to start if you’re ready to attempt your first crochet project.  And you could do a lot worse than Donna Kooler’s great book for instructions on how to wield the addictive little hook.

I have another puppy pattern, this one knit, that I will try to get up this week.  I say try because I am having a total knee replacement on Thursday, and there are way too many things to do between now and then. 

I hope to keep you updated throughout my recuperation.  This is my second knee, and I’m not looking forward to spending the holidays limping and learning to walk again.  My last surgery was on almost the exact same date two years ago, so I’ve done it all before.  This time I’ll be getting a custom knee joint created from a special MRI of my knee.  This is new technology, using the OtisKnee (TM), and it will be interesting to see how it compares with my other, one-size-fits-all knee.

If I don’t get that pattern posted before Thursday, see you on the other side …

Let the Games Begin

8/8/08                                           

Today is the day we’ve been waiting for … when the world’s attention turns to marvelous feats of athleticism, sacrifice, sportsmanship and triumph, as well as agonizing disappointment, failure, dashed dreams and lost hope.  Yes, it’s time for RAVELYMPICS 2008, seventeen days and nights of backbreaking, finger-cramping, shoulder-twisting, wrist-wringing nonstop knitting and crocheting on Ravelry.

          

Your intrepid blogger, representing Team Blue Sky Alpaca and Team Junkie, will be going for the gold in the following events:

Sweater Sprint:  I’ll be casting on Friday at 8 a.m., as the opening ceremonies in Beijing begin, with my first entry, Blue Sky’s Eyelet Cardigan in Blue Sky Cotton, color Graphite.  Entry 2 will be Ysolda Teague’s Liesl, also in Blue Sky Cotton, color Periwinkle.  Entry 3 is the Betty Shrug by Kristen Griffin-Grimes from Vintage Crochet, crocheted in Blue Sky Alpacas’ Alpaca Silk, shade Blush.

Bag-n-Tote Backstroke:  My entry is Vintage Crochet’s Hipster Tote by Bee Clinch, crocheted in Malabrigo Organic Cotton, color Turquesa. 

Designer Discus, Pets Pommel:  Mmmm-Bop, my own surprise creation, a luscious, cuddlesome dog sweater knit in Malabrigo Merino Worsted, shade Cuarenta.

Homestuff Hammerthrow:  Both entries from Vintage Crochet. Entry 1 is Emma Seddon‘s Shelf Runner, and Entry 2 is Kate Samphier‘s French Press Cozy.  Both entries will be crocheted in Blue Sky Alpaca’s Sport Weight, colors Natural White and Natural Streaky Brown.

After I’ve knocked out these little items, I’ll wrap it up with several entries in WIPs Wrestling, attempting to finish up my Angelina Cardigan from White Lies Designs, on the needles coming up on three winters; my top-down Lily Cardigan by Marie Grace Smith, knit in Rowan Purelife and close to being done; my Brighton Cardigan by Martin Storey; and my Soda Bag, also by Martin Storey.

I’ll be posting each finished project, with at least one picture and (I hope) details, as the games progress.

Wish me luck!

8 a.m. EDT:  Cast on Blue Sky Eyelet Cardi simultaneously with real-time opening ceremonies in Beijing.

 

 

 

 

 

8/9/08

I’ve completed about 20 percent of my Blue Sky Eyelet Cardigan.  You’re looking at the back here, and I’ve just begun the armhole shaping.   Tonight I’ll try to get to the 40% mark (end of second of five balls of yarn), then on to WIP Wrestling with my Lily Cardigan.

           
 

8/11/08

Halfway through the Eyelet Cardi!  I knitted my little fingers off over the weekend on this thing, but I am loving how it looks and how quickly it’s going.  Today I’ll keep forging ahead, but also working on my Hipster Tote, a crochet project that’s a good break from all this eyelet knitting.  I got about a third of the way through one side yesterday.

Hooked on ‘Vintage Crochet’

Ever since reading an advance for it on Alicia Paulson’s blog, I could not wait for Vintage Crochet, by Susan Cropper, owner of London’s Loop yarn shop, to come out. Finally I have it in hand, and it has thus far  exceeded my expectations.

I adore crocheting ~ even more than knitting.  The gal who taught me to crochet loves to tell the story of how I came to her granny square class, struggling and struggling to get it, and leaving so frustrated and angry with myself for being all thumbs.  But I was determined, because the yarn shop, wild fibre, was right across the street from my house, and those beautiful yarns beckoned me.  So I bought a simple how-to book at Barnes and Noble and showed up at Tracy’s class the next week with a fully completed crocheted dog sweater for my Yorkie. 

Once I got started, I was hooked.  That little piece of metal (I do like the aluminum cheapies best) felt so at home in my hand that soon I was turning out ponchos (Martha Stewart’s, of course), afghans and anything else I could think of.  Despite my trouble with that first class, I come by the ability to crochet naturally ~ my grandmother Rose was buried, at 92, with her crochet hook and a piece of work in her hands ~ and I still like to break up the knitting with a crochet project every once in a while.

Problem is:  How hard is it to find a decent crochet pattern?  Besides blankets and the now-outdated ponchos, where are the patterns for crocheted garments you’d be caught dead wearing?  I’ve bought every issue of Interweave Crochet that’s been published, but never made a single project from the magazine; watched Hip To Crochet and Hooked on Crochet gather dust on my bookshelf. Couldn’t even wrap my head around anything in Stitch ‘n’ Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker.  Every pattern I see is so precious or dated or over-designed or crafty-in-a-bad-way (see Rowan 43 for the most hideous of all, Chevelle, a cropped granny squarish top in a nasty ’70s color combo).

But Vintage Crochet is thoroughly enthralling with its old fashioned yet perfectly current patterns for clothing, accessories and home furnishings.  The photography, by Kristin Perers, is delicious, and the book makes sure it shows you an item from several angles ~ up close and on a human or two.  Thank you!   There’s the ripple blanket shown on the cover ~ oh, and you Yanks, be sure to buy this version rather than the one with the gal in the sweater, as this is the U.S. edition, with American crochet terms.  Precious egg, tea and coffee press cozies.  A to-die-for lampshade.  A button-trimmed shelf runner that’s def on my to-do list. For the adventurous, a crocheted picnic canopy.  (Wouldn’t it be nice over a bed, too?)  And even a bobbled-and-hooded dog sweater.

It was hard to decide where to start, but I decided to make a small item first, just to get the new off the book and give me some instant gratification.  Here’s my Rickrack Kerchief, completed in about one day:

 

 

 

 

 

The project calls for three balls of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino (one of my favorites), a bit of ribbon and a  C hook.  I used two balls of Baby Cash in off white and subbed some leftover Blue Sky Alpacas Sport Weight in moss green and some Rowan Wool Cotton in Citron.

           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve never worn a kerchief in my life, but I wore this one today, an atypically windy end-of-April day for Savannah.  Even the teenage daughter liked it!

I found no mistakes in the pattern, and it was easy to follow.  (There are, however, a few errors in this first edition, so check Loop’s website before embarking on a project.)  Making my little triangle was, dare I say, exciting, almost as exciting as trolling the Internets looking for bargain yarn for my next Vintage Crochet project.  The crochet, she does eat up the yarn, y’know.  I’ll probably go first with the Betty Shrug, to use up a bag of blush pink Blue Sky Alpaca Silk I’ve been hoarding for just the right project.  Can you visualize?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And I think I’ll order a bag of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran in Aquamarine or Rose for Alicia Paulson’s Millie Cardigan, the pretty sweater that got me interested in the book in the first place.  It’s a sweet, delicate bed jackety cardi trimmed with dainty strips of Liberty of London florals.  Go to Ravelry and check out what a few others have done with this lovely pattern.

I’m working out of several new books, and I’ll share my impressions with you over the next few postings.  Also finishing up another FREE DOG SWEATER PATTERN that I’ll post soon.