Sunday, May 29, 2016

FOs and gifts

I have actually finished things.  Some are for classes.  Some are personal.  Some are for guild projects.

A few years ago, I started a shawl called "Flower of Life Chain Shawl" found on  I thought I had posted about it.  This is just chain and slip stitch in crochet.  I was using an unnamed sport weight wool yarn.  I had 4 big balls, yardage unknown either total or per ball.I started with a D hook, got impatient and after a few rows, moved up to an E, got impatient again and moved up to an F.  I did the last 6 or 7 rows with a 4.00mm G hook.  Yes I had to make the distinction.  G hooks come in 4.00 and 4.25mm.  Depends on who makes them.

Yarn: unknown brand, 100% wool, sport weight.  Fabulous violet color
Since my yarn was sticky*, I didn't want to make fringe or tassels with it.  I'm not really a fringe or tassel person but this shawl calls for it.  I next thought of purchasing tassels such as I had used in my day job a while ago.  However, I needed 55.  Purchasing that many tassels was exorbitantly expensive and would have not lasted through washing anyway.  I also was unsure of the color for tassels since the shawl was a definite violet purple.  I settled on a beaded tassel with some council from my husband.  He agreed with me.  Color choices that I ran through with him were black, white, grey, violet, rose quartz, jade, silver, gold, copper.  Most were not really seriously considered.  I took the shawl with to the store to pick, really the only way to do this.  Stores don't mind since they  want satisfied customers.  I really thought the silver would have been good.  One looked tarnished next to the shawl.  The other silver was very bright and looked close to white.  Again not something I was looking for.  None of the colors I saw did anything for me.  Then I saw some called iridescent.  The color reminds me of an oil slick on a black macadam road, dark rainbow-y coloring.  I was unsure but drawn to them.  I kept them on the shawl as I continued my shopping waiting to see if they grew on me or were growing less and less right.  I got all the strands of size 6/0 beads they had.  I went out the next day to another store to purchase more after I determined what I had gotten would not be enough by half.
A close up of the bead tassels.  3 strands 25 beads each for an approximate length of 3".  Bead gallery beads from Michaels in iridescent colorway.

Another FO is a babbling brook pillow.  I designed a lace pattern for a lace entrelac class for the Lebanon Valley Knit 2Gether  Guild meeting.  The pillow case was done and only waiting for a pillow form.  This will be going to the Guild for sale.  It's done in neutrals that don't match my decor.  I need only to insert and seam one side.  It's all but done.

Another FO is a snow and ice scraper mitt.  Despite the weather where I live, the calendar says it's May and that this particular item, now that it's found again, won't be needed for 6 months or so.  This is also another Guild project and will be going to them also.  This was done and only needs a scraper, but had been misplaced.  I also found in the same place the felted cell phone case.  It was completely done and just waiting for delivery.

Last weekend was Mother's day in the US.  My children (OK they are adults and have been for a while) got me combination Mother's day and birthday gifts.  My married son and his wife got me a shawl pin, hand carved buffalo horn into the shape of a calla lily.  To go with this they also got me a hand knit shawl from Lithuania.  Both gifts go to support small businesses.  Something I am behind wholeheartedly.  My other son got me some plants that remind me of my own mother and when I was younger, African violets and flowering cactus.  My mother could grow vine houseplants and African violets.  Other houseplants didn't last too long but these......  The African violet that was there when she died had been with her for more than 20 years.  It was beautiful.  The flowering cactus is beautiful and is reminiscent of the ones we had for years before the kittens chewed them and made themselves dopey.  The kittens have grown into adults and are now middle aged.  I also hung it in a more inaccessible location.

*Sticky yarn is not something that has glue or sugar applied accidentally or intentionally.  It means instead that the yarn will most likely felt and wants to cling to itself.

Monday, May 2, 2016


What to do with all those swatches?  We all know as a good knitter or crocheter you have been making swatches.  A proper sized swatch is about 5 to 8 inches square.  Some of us have also started sweaters or other large projects that for whatever reason have been abandoned.  I know I have a few.  If you don't want to frog your project and deal with the ramen noodle* yarn, you will probably have left it sit there unloved.

Does this seem to also relate to granny squares?  It should.  Squares are amazing for so many things.  Granny squares are not just the ones that were ever so popular for centuries.  Google granny squares and you can come up with hundreds of different patterns.  There are books upon books of granny squares, old and new.

If your projects are usually the same color family, you will have an easier time.  But even if they aren't, you can still put together a unique and completely charming project.  It is best if the swatches are the same size, but even that can be gotten around by adding a frame or border around the edge.  By using one color for the border you can make them all not only the same size, but you can make them all cohesive, like adding the black border to the old granny afghan squares.

Joining the swatches/squares can be just as fun.  There are the old standards of slip stitching them together, single crocheting them together, or sewing them together with your choice of method.  Whipstitch was my husband's grandmother's favorite.  I like that one and the mattress stitch.  Please don't use a sewing machine.  The yarn gets caught in the feed dogs and jams.  The thread can cut the yarn over time.  The yarn gets caught on the presser foot.  It doesn't look nice because you usually can't get the tension loose enough.

Ok.  Swatches and Granny Squares.  Check.  All the same size.  Check.  Joining method picked.  Check.  Now what can I make????  The list is almost endless.  An early post here is about a cardigan for a baby.  Afghans come to mind but that is a no brainer.  Don't need that many afghans?  If this is what you love to make anyway, here are some ideas.  Donate them to your local Warm Up America project, hospital for cancer patients to use during chemotherapy treatments, hospital or maternity home for underprivileged babies, animal shelter for them to have a comfy corner in what amounts to a concrete jail until they can be adopted.  Seam small ones together in a variety of ways to make eyeglass case, soap saver, scrubbies for dishes, wash cloths, hats, cushions, pillows, tote bags or purses.  

What are your ideas??  Post below.

*ramen noodle yarn is the crinkly curly yarn isn't straight after ripping out.  This is worse the longer the project sits in the knit or crochet state.  Winding into a long hank, tying in at least 6 places, and washing by hand (soak for at least an hour in water with a rinseless wool wash) then hanging to dry can fix some of this.