Monthly Archives: September 2011

A neckwarmer for Nana and Halloween politics

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This cowl is for Nana but I didn’t think I’d get her to pose for a blog photo. It’ll look sweet with her green eyes. This is the first pattern I’ve finished from the awesome book Crochet So Fine by Kristin Omdahl. I love the patterns in this book because they are all beautiful items that look crocheted. Sometimes crochet patterns look like they are trying to be knit patterns, which just doesn’t work. These lovely, lacey items show off the best of what crochet can do, in my humble opinion. Rob did have to laugh at me a bit for making a neckwarmer because it is the kind of thing that is only worn by people who knit or crochet. You don’t often go to the mall and see a display of neckwarmers. Maybe some day they’ll catch on–it is nice to have a warm neck, no? In the meantime, I hope Nana likes it.

This is my Very Expensive Fairy. We had a bit of an adventure regarding this year’s Halloween costume for Dorothy. I don’t make the kids’ costumes. Store-bought costumes have been, up to this point, cute and affordable, and I don’t like to toil over a project that will only get worn once. I’m all about seeing my kids in their homemades on a regular basis. My favorite Halloween tactic has been to purchase once-used Old Navy costumes on eBay for a just a couple dollars. The Old Navy big-belly costumes are cute and warm and comfortable for the trick-or-treater. Dorothy sized out of them this year, however, and declared that only a “pretty” costume would do. No more fuzzy purple dragons around here. I showed Dorothy some very cool costume ideas from the Family Fun magazine, which I love. She vetoed them all. I pulled up a Halloween website and let her browse the selection to get ideas. What I hadn’t realized yet is that costumes marketed for 5-year-old girls would look more appropriate on a Bourbon Street call girl than on my kindergartner. After lengthy searching and the input of her (older) neighbor girl, Dorothy announced that she found the costume she wanted. I looked. It was a $48 Barbie costume with a slutty vibe and wings.  Wow.  I told her (switching plans on the fly!) that we weren’t actually going to buy online, but I’d take her shopping to buy her costume in person. I remembered seeing some very cute costumes at the Gymboree outlet on my recent shopping trip. Rob needed something from the mall anyway. I figured that once we were there in person she’d fall in love with an age-appropriate “pretty” costume and the whole thing would end happily. When we went into Gymboree, 36 days before Halloween, the costume selection was already very picked over. The peacock costume I’d admired at the outlet mall was only available at this point without the tail (what’s the point?) and many of the costumes were only left in one or two sizes. There was, however, this adorable fairy princess costume. It fit the bill for her–pink, fluffy, “pretty,” and it involved wings like the neighbor’s costume. It fit my bill (so I thought) because there were matching warm tights available, it seemed to be of good quality, and it didn’t make her look like a 5-year-old floozy. I thought we’d really found the solution until the saleslady asked me for $69.91. What?! I’d not even looked at the price, never dreaming we’d be paying so much for tiny bit of tulle and some plastic accessories.  Yikes. But as memories of the Budding Buxom Barbie costume flitted through my mind I paid it. Dorothy never even saw me flinch. And it’s cute. Adorable, even. She’s as sweet as can be in it.

A knooked hippie hat

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We went on vacation last week to New Orleans and to Orange Beach, Alabama. It was such good fun that it was even worth the total wreck it has now made of my house. I’m not sure how it is that returning from travel can destroy a house so quickly, but it can. Something about the laundry and the picnic supplies and the tired. I’ll catch up sometime. (When I’m dead? I hope not.) I’ll post photos after I have a minute to sit down and comb through all, um, 825 shots that I took on the trip. (I’m afraid that’s no typo.)
In addition to all the sightseeing, swimming, and keeping my kids from drowning that I did on vacation I also finished my next knooking project. I used this pattern but in a funky rainbow print. It’s going to be my cure for second-day hair this winter. The final project is more hippie than my mental image of it was, but it’s kind of fun. I’d hate to get stodgy anyway.  🙂 The Knit Picks Chroma yarn is deliciously soft and comes in other colorways–I’m tempted to come up with a project just to use more of this yarn. The pattern translated easily from knitting to knooking, so now I’m really gaining confidence. I ordered a set of knooking hooks from eBay, but they have to ship from China so who knows when they’ll get here. I purchased the crappy set that Wal-Mart sells, but the hooks are so rough that they must be sanded before they can be used, and the shape of the hook makes me unhappy–it is difficult to use. I’m hoping a good retailer picks up on the need for good knooking hooks soon and makes more metal ones. The locker hook I posted about earlier is the easy to use but only comes in one size.

Pressed flowers and crocheted socks

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Dorothy and I pressed flowers as a school craft. I don’t think I’d pressed flowers since I was in high school. It’s one of those things, I think, where I’ve seen supplies at crafty places and gotten suckered into the idea that it’s just a craft for people who have the right gear, which is just silly. Pressing flowers requires only a stack of heavy objects. We have those. We used cardboard to lay out the petals and another piece to lay over them.

After two weeks under the heavy objects (books, in our case) we had beautiful pressed blossoms, which we adhered to cards using rubber cement. This was a pretty and satisfying craft for both of us, and it was fun to count down the days until the flowers were done.

I also finally finished my second pair of crocheted socks. I made socks from this pattern right before Worth was born and loved them so much I knew I needed more.  Then Rob got me yarn for our seventh wedding anniversary, from which I made a hat and started socks. But since I have other things to do (ahem) and have not been too inspired to make wooly socks during the warmer months it took me a long time to finish these. The recent chill has me crocheting again so I finally pulled this project out and finished it up.

I have every reason to think I’m going to love these socks as much as the first ones. This is a great pattern–the small size fits me perfectly, and they are so warm and comfortable. The other pair is my go-to comfort strategy when I come inside on cold or wet days. After we moved to this house with the fireplace I’d put on these socks and sit in front of the fire–domestic heaven! Now I’m prepared for winter weather with this cheerful new pink pair.

Knooking and Bear Feet

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Something kind of major happened to me this past week. I finally learned to knit! I already “knew” how, technically, but I hated it. It just didn’t work for me. Crochet has always felt good in my hands but I just never could get comfortable with knitting needles. Every few months for a couple years I’d pick up a project and try again, but I’ve never made more than a dish towel and I’ve never enjoyed it even for a second. I’d get tensed up instead of calmed. Then I discovered knooking! At the risk of sounding totally dorky, knooking is like a dream come true for me. I’ve actually day-dreamed that knitting could feel like crochet for me, and that I could make knitted patterns without dealing with knitting needles, and–ta da!–it has happened! Knooking is making knitted fabric (interlacing yarn in the way known as “knitting”) but by using a crochet needle attached to a cord. It turns out the exact same product but feels like crocheting instead of knitting. Which, if you’re me, is totally fantastic. I used this blog, this blog, and this Ravelry group as references and used a locker hook as my first knooking hook. I knooked this hat for Worth by reading the tips at those links and holding the new hat up to a hat he already had for sizing. I’m ridiculously pleased with it and don’t you make fun of me, dangit, because it’s not every day that dreams come true.

Today I put down my next knooking project long enough to have a great day at an outlet mall with an old friend. She lives in Indianapolis so we met in between her city and mine for a fun day of catching up and fall shopping. I purchased what I thought were matching pajamas for my kids, who spent the day with their grandparents. Back at home, Worth wanted to put on his new pajamas right away. We allowed him to change and he immediately started stomping around, acting like a Big Scary Bear (this is a favorite Worth game already, which inspired the purchase of these pajamas) and admiring the bear faces sewn onto the feet of his new pajamas. Dorothy decided to put her matching pajamas on as well and join the fun. Sadly, however, she returned crying, having discovered that Carters unwisely manufactured pajamas that were almost identical in both sizes, but which lacked the novelty of bear face feet in the larger size. Curse you, Carters!

So I rallied my inner good mother (though she was a bit tired!) and rounded up some felt and sewed my own version of bear faces onto the feet of Dorothy’s pajamas.

Now all the Big Scary Bears in my “den” are happy again.