Welcome to Yarn Project Week! All three of my posts this week are going to be about recently-completed knit or crochet projects. This is a scarf and earwarmer set I made for Dorothy and me to share. I purchased fantastic yellow polka-dot rain boots at Costco last fall, but somehow I never know quite what to wear with fantastic yellow polka-dot rain boots. I decided I needed a scarf that would tie in some of my more sedately-hued shirts with the bright boots. This wool-acrylic blend yarn fit the bill perfectly. I began knitting a scarf using a rather fussy wave pattern, then realized I was totally wasting my time with such detail when the focus would be on the colorway–and the boots–anyway. So I unraveled it and crocheted the whole scarf on a great big size K hook in the time it took to knit about four wavy inches. (I crocheted in front loops only, which gives a sort of ribbed look.) When the scarf was done and it was clear that Dorothy was even more into than I was I decided to add an earwarmer to make it a set she could wear. I didn’t use a pattern, just knitted (knooked) each row until I had a head-sized band, sewed it up, and added a crocheted flower. It’s a soft, warm, happy set. We’ve each worn it and enjoyed it, me just the scarf with my now-coordinated boots, and she the complete set.
Before I knew how to knit or crochet I only owned two hats. If the weather necessitated a hat, I wore things that matched my two hats. End of story. And that seemed to work just fine. But somehow, once the power of creating hats was in my power the “need” in my wardrobe for hats increased exponentially. Sounds like funny math. But why not? Hats are fun and they keep your head warm. I recently picked up a sweet little boiled wool brown jacket at TJ Maxx and before I could wear it I had to make the hat that was always meant to go with it. I never considered not making the hat, or not buying the jacket just because the required corresponding hat didn’t exist yet. I used the French Country crocheted hat pattern for sale on Ravelry and decked it out with the pretty corsage flower pattern. I love that flower pattern because the flower is crocheted in a row and then sewn up in a spiral, which requires much less counting and right side/wrong side nonsense than crocheting a flower the usual way. I like a pattern I can follow with only one tiny part of my brain while the rest focuses on keeping my kids from setting the house on fire. The hat pattern was nice too. Quick and cute. Because I have a small head I used a smaller size crochet hook, but then as I neared the brim I was afraid it wouldn’t be long enough so I added an extra row of cluster stitches. That was a mistake because it really didn’t need the additional length, but it didn’t end up so long that I felt like I needed to unravel the brim and re-do. I used natural, un-dyed wool for the hat but mixed some strong tea in with my water when I blocked it to darken up the color just a tad, to make it match the jacket better. I just pinned on the flower so that I can opt to wear the hat without it, and so that I can wash the hat more easily if necessary. Now if I can just squeeze this new project into my overflowing hat drawer…
So I think my seasonal allergies are officially killing me, and perhaps my blog as well. I’m so groggy but can’t sleep well, and I can’t stay up late for my solo creative time either since I’m so tired–all of which means that I’m just not getting quite as much done as I used to, and I feel all red-nosed and nasty. I’ll quit complaining now, but I’d like it noted that it is not cute or vintage or handmade or (since this comes up so often on my blog) sexy to have a stuffy nose for three weeks straight. Not one bit. Bleah.
Moving on, I’ve actually managed to get a lot done in the past few weeks anyway even if some of it may never make it into my little record here. This is my sweet family at Easter brunch, one of us popping decongestant pills as needed.
Dorothy’s dress was a joint venture by me and my mother. Mom sewed a simple tank dress out of white eyelet and I crocheted colorful little flowers to decorate it. I used cotton embroidery thread so the scale of the flowers would match the eyelet fabric, then made a very large one in worsted weight yarn for her hat. She looked sweet and pretty and it was fun to do a project with my mom for my daughter. Now the white dress has chocolate stains all over it, so I’m trying to devise a creative laundry solution!
I sewed my own dress from McCall’s M6027. I fell in love with this fabric at Joann’s a couple months back and finally got around to stitching it up a couple days before Easter. I think it is a Lisette poplin. The pattern worked up very easily on the serger–no messing with clipping around the bust or fussing with how all the skirt godets line up. The serger magically makes it all smooth. The problem with this pattern didn’t arise until I tried the thing on and realized the shoulder straps are set too far apart for my frame. I re-serged here and there, clipped, stitched and tucked and finally got the bodice so tight and the straps so ridiculously high that I couldn’t put my arms down when the back was zipped up. Right at the point I was read to throw it in the trash I took the scissors and cut big chunks out of the fabric under the armpits and that was when things finally started to improve. I sewed it back together and it fit acceptably well. The straps are still not in quite the right place for my shoulders and something around the arms looks a bit uneven, but if I keep the cardigan on no one will notice! The fabric is so pretty it is worth it. I altered the pattern a bit and re-sewed the dress out of a thrift store sheet to see if I could get the straps right on a second go-round. I love the theory of the pattern with the swishy skirt and the quick serger seams. I want to sew it out of this fabric and have it be a “cocktail” dress, in a breezy casual summer cotton. It went better the second time but then bagged a bit in the front. If I get my courage up I’ll order the fabric and do it one more time, with hope for a perfect fit.
My last Easter project was a gift to my church. Our pastoral staff organized an Easter vigil this year, a unique and special service that involved traveling around all the grounds of the church and involving various lay and clergy readers. They needed two three-ring binders in which to stash the materials for the readers and someone thought of me because I sometimes do book-binding. It’s much more satisfying to make books with more attractive bindings–traditional stitching or screw posts–but the three-ring kind was serviceable here so that’s what I did. It was fun to get back into a craft I haven’t spent much time on lately. I hadn’t even purchased book board in Dorothy’s life, but I was encouraged to find that I could buy it locally. I decorated the binders with illustrations drawn for the service by another church member, which I then embossed with powder and heat. I think this project will inspire me to do some more books in the upcoming months. I made a baby book for Dorothy but haven’t done the same for Worth so that seems like a good place to start.