It is an unfortunate truth for me that I really love wearing scarves but I do not love knitting them. I get so impatient doing the same things over and over! But I really wanted a scarf to wear with my purple coat, so I gritted my teeth and made this one this winter. It was worth it–I love this squishy, warm scarf! This pattern suggests using two self-striping yarns. One of my yarns, Chroma worsted in Avalon, self-striped but my other, Preciosa Tonal in Stormy, changes colors but not exactly in stripes. They worked well here anyway. I used the ZickZack scarf pattern but changed it a bit by doing yarn-overs (thus making eyelets or holes in the scarf) instead of knit-front-and-backs.
This is a cowl I made with some bulky yarn from KnitPicks. I used the pretty “Tell Me” cowl pattern by DROPS design, but changed it around a bit to use the bigger yarn. I just did fewer repeats. It worked up very fast and is soft and cozy. Wearing great big, chunky cowls feels a a trend mostly embraced by women younger than me, so the first time I wore this out in public I felt a little self-conscious. But then I got hit on by someone slightly younger than me at the Subway, so there you go. Crochet this cowl, get hit on at Subway by slightly younger men who can clearly see that you are toting around three children and have a wedding ring. Hmmm.
Sometimes projects are inspired by different things. This project came about because I had earrings with no outfit to go with them. It’s all well and good for me to watch PBS dramas, lust after the costumes, then see show-inspired earrings on Amazon.com while innocently browsing for something reasonable like homeschool workbooks, then to add them to my wishlist, and to actually receive them for Christmas (in 2014)…but it’s another thing altogether to find something in this Kentucky homeschool mama’s closet to wear with Downton Abbey earrings. So crocheted a shawl to go with them! I used Andean Treasure yarn from Knitpicks for the first time, and it will not be the last. I loved, loved, loved this yarn. It may be my favorite yarn I’ve ever used. It’s soft and delicious, the color was so complex and beautiful (I used midnight heather), it didn’t split, it didn’t grow when I blocked it, and it doesn’t appear to be pilly. Wow! The pattern was nice too. I like the patterns by DROPS design; they are clearly written without over-explaining and they have clear charts. This pattern, 104-11 Crochet scarf, is mostly just a chart but it makes good sense. The result looks more complicated than the crocheting. I didn’t love the look of the ends of the scarf so I sewed mine together to make a loop. It’s quite possible that now I need a cup of tea and a Downton Abbey jeweled pin to go with it…
Daphne needed new mittens, and shouldn’t a girl who gets new mittens get a hat to go with them? I used the Little Scallops pattern for the hat, but chose unwisely because the tidy little scallops were obliterated by the identical color pooling from the variegated yarn I used on the crown. Oh well! It’s still cute enough, and she’s happy and warm. This was really cheap acrylic yarn I got on sale from KnitPicks and it’s not impressive so I’m glad I didn’t pay much for it. I thought it would be similar in quality to their Brava yarn, but instead it was rougher and duller. That said, it made pretty good mittens for a 2-year-old because it is cheerful, it washed up reasonably soft, it’s warm, it hasn’t pilled, and it launders nicely.
My son is a big guy. Born at 9 lbs 5 oz, he’s stayed at the top of the growth chart ever since. His pediatrician says he’ll be 6 feet 2 inches if he sticks to the curve he’s been on since birth; my husband says if that’s true we won’t be able to afford to feed him! One of the side-effects of his impressive growth is that he can’t wear anything I make him for more than a season. When I realized that none of his other hats came down to his ears I knitted (knooked) a wool hat and mittens for him to match his blue and orange jacket. I used basic Patons yarn. He was so excited when he found out that the item on my needles was for him that he pestered me like a fiend until I finished the hat (thankfully, only a day or two–these were quick projects and slow, cold days). When I started the mittens I hid them so he wouldn’t know to harass me, but sooner or later he noticed the telltale blue and orange. Thankfully those were quick knits too! He has endowed these mittens with magical properties and wears them around in the house all the time as part of some game his has invented, which is sweet but also a little annoying because then he can’t find them when he needs them. He also played a game with the hat that involved spinning it around and around on his hands like pizza dough and it is now so badly stretched out that it’s never going to fit properly again. But it only took a couple days, right?
Washed out photo courtesy of my husband, who wasn’t allowed to tough the dials on my camera and thus can’t really be blamed that I didn’t have it on the right settings! It’s hard to get photographs of projects that are worn by me!
If you follow me on Pinterest, you may have noticed that I have been pinning crocheted jewelry like crazy. I love to pin it, but I’d only ever tried to make it once as a gift. In the after-Christmas lull I decided to finally try out a couple ideas for myself. I have a stash of Curio yarn from Knitpicks because buying whole spools of cotton crochet thread at a Knitpicks sale is cheaper than trying to buy enough tiny little wads of embroidery floss to keep my bracelet-happy nine-year-old in business. (Especially when she has a mother who raids her stash for her own projects!) I made two pieces of lace, then starched them lightly with some watered-down Stiffy (not the Stiffy again!). The gray one was very hard to block. I had trouble getting all the points even, and then maybe I didn’t stiffen it quite enough because it still got a little misshapen when I was wearing it. I tied the gray piece with a small silver ribbon. I wore this on New Year’s Eve and when I came down with it on my oldest daughter said, “what did you tie around your neck?” So there you go. But in all honesty, I kind of like it in spite of its problems. The red one blocked much better although I’m not sure the shape of it lends itself quite as much to being a necklace. I attached it to black metal chain with jump rings.
What’s up with me and neck-things? I’d been working on one cowl in the house and one in the car, and they happened to come off the hook at about the same time. (Why did she say “hook?” Because I knook knitting patterns instead of knitting them. Google it!) I bought a beautiful skein of Holiday Yarns’ Super Sheep DK in Persephone at a sweet little yarn shop in Haddonfield, NJ, when I was visiting a friend in that town this summer. It was my birthday on the day I was there and the pretty shades of red spoke to me, so of course I treated myself! The photo doesn’t do it justice; it is so hard to photograph reds. I used the Qiviut Neck Muff pattern, though the wool is superwash merino. This is the second time I’ve made this pattern, and I think I left the last repeat off both times because it was big enough already, but it was a nice pattern. I like the zig-zags and it’s a quick and engaging knit. It’s my plan to wear this basically throughout the month of December. All I have to do is throw on a black or gray knit shirt (or dress, if it’s that kind of occasion) and this cowl will make me look festive because of the pretty colors.
A new local yarn store opened in my city last year, but sadly I’ve only been able to visit once. Homeschooling three kids just isn’t very compatible with visiting lovely yarn stores to browse and shop. (No, really, it’s not.) But on my one visit there I picked up this pretty yarn, Manos Del Uruguay Maxima in Slate. It’s merino and so nice. The colors are hard to describe, but they go between olive green and a sort of slate blue. I’d been wanting to knit the popular Ravelry pattern for A Noble Cowl, so I made that my most recent project. Sometimes after a project is done I wish I’d made a different yarn choice, but this wasn’t one of them. Love this yarn with this pattern! I think I’m going to wear this all winter long.
This is Daphne’s birthday gift. I bought a collection of pretty bows for her from an Etsy seller, but decided to make her a holder for them myself. I painted a piece of canvas board, using a cork to make the white dots. Then I glued ribbon on it for hanging it and for clipping the bows when they come in. Daphne has the greatest hair ever (I’m not biased!) and doesn’t mind wearing things in it, so I think this will make a fun and useful gift for her.
Once a week my kids and I meet a group of homeschool friends at a local park. It is the highlight of everyone’s week. The kids pick up their imaginative games where they left them the week before; the grown-ups sit and drink coffee, knit, and care for babies under the shade of trees. Playgroup itself is a joy, but I was feeling a little frazzled getting us all ready for playgroup every week as we were getting back into our warm-weather routine. Did I have the sunscreen? Snacks? Water bottles? Revolutionary War trading cards? (Don’t ask.) I decided I should make myself a bag just for playgroup, with pockets for all the things I need and keep it loaded all week, so all I had to do was pop in the refilled water bottles, hot coffee, and off I’d go. I used a medium-weight canvas to make the bag and designed it to be most useful as an object that is sitting in the middle of the picnic table, though it’s comfortable to carry as well. I put outside pockets for our water and inside pockets for sunscreen and my keys. A wide, spacious interior has been reinforced on the bottom with davey board (removable for laundering) and holds all our other necessary sundry. I bought more cute arrow embroidery from DesignsbySugarBean on Etsy and love the way it looks on this project.