Monday, September 30, 2013

Because why not

Mmm, I made sushi!

Wait what

It's a fish!!

This is the Fish to Sushi crochet pattern by Irene Kiss, with a few modifications by me. Mainly I altered the construction of the fins so that I could crochet them directly onto the body, rather than making them in separate pieces and sewing them on. If you're interested in the details, they're on my Ravelry project page.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Crochet stash-busting

Recently I've been in that mood where I dump out my stash boxes and touch all the skeins and stare and plot and then tuck everything away and worry about having too much yarn. When I'm in that mood, crochet is wonderfully soothing and satisfying, because it eats up so much yarn and goes so quickly.

I can't get enough of that super-cute T-rex pattern that I posted about earlier, so when my grandmother requested a new critter (I've showered her with amigurumi in the past), she got a dino, of course. It was a good opportunity to pull something interesting out of my acrylic stash, and I am very pleased to report that one of my Red Heart skeins from my early crocheting days is now 100% used up.

I actually ran a little short on yarn, so I modified the dino pattern slightly by skipping several rounds at the bottom of its body that were not used to increase or decrease stitches. Its tummy is a little less rotund, but it's still nice and chubby. Although this yarn was a bit brutal on my fingers, I do really like the colors, and I'm glad its final incarnation was this cute little dino. (It also became a dragon and a little crab and a little fish.)

Earlier this year I bought a skein of Michaels' house brand yarn, Loops & Threads, in a leaf-green color, because it seemed like a good idea at the time. This is actually a very decent acrylic, but I had no idea what I could do with it, especially since I probably have more worsted acrylic in green than any other color. So then I decided to make something for my cat. Of course.

Yes, I underestimated my yarn usage again. But I'm learning to embrace asymmetry sometimes.

I had an idea to crochet a popcorn-stitch rug to put under Juniper's litter box, to help collect the litter that she tracks around. Tamara Kelly's Blackberry Salad Striped Baby Blanket is a free pattern, and while I felt a little weird modifying a baby blanket pattern to make a bathroom accessory, it worked really well. I burned through the entire ball of Loops & Threads, plus a few other odds and ends that looked nice together. And the rug serves its purpose (when Juniper decides to exit her litter box from the front, which she does not always do, because she is a cat). I guess it's strange to get excited by the sight of lots of cat litter trapped in something I crocheted, but hey, it's doing its job.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

WIP Wednesday: Many Seasons Mini Skein scarf

Earlier this year, I joined my first yarn club: GnomeAcres' Many Seasons Mini Skein Club. I am a fan of GnomeAcres yarn and of tiny things, so I have really enjoyed getting a bundle of cute little skeins every few months.

My stash anxiety won't let me just hide new yarn in a bin to marinate - I ponder what to make with it until I have a project planned out, even if I'm not going to start for months. Almost as soon as I signed up for the mini skein club, I decided I would make a Mini Mania Scarf. My first club shipment came and I happily got started and then... I wasn't as happy any more.

After long-tail casting-on a billion stitches (using both ends of the skein to avoid real misery, but still not very fun), I got a few rows in and decided that the needle I was using was too big, and the linen stitch wasn't suiting the yarn as well as I wanted. Disappointed, I ripped it all out and hid my spring mini skeins away, and when my summer shipment came I wasn't sure what to do with it (for me, this is unsettling).

As it's started to feel more like fall, I decided to give the mini skein scarf another try. This time I used a crochet cast-on and a smaller needle, added a black border to the edge of the scarf, and I'm doing four rows of each colorway so that each one stands out a little more. And now I like it!

It looks a little crazy, but it's really fun to have a project where I have very little control over the colors and don't know yet how it will look when it's finished.

And just in time for the cooler weather and the arrival of pumpkin-flavored everything, the fall mini skein shipment arrived:

I'm looking forward to adding them to my scarf!

Monday, September 23, 2013


(I wanted the title of this post to be something along the lines of turning frog[ged project]s into princes, but it wasn't happening. Instead I titled it after my Trillian shawl, which is named Regeneration because my tv accompaniment for this project was Doctor Who.)

My "frogging spree" of last month was less painful because I already had alternatives in mind that I thought would better suit the yarns I was knitting with. I had been using some Miss Babs Yummy sock yarn for a Zilver shawl, but things were not looking good. As I mentioned in my last post, I ripped out that shawl and started a Trillian shawl instead, and we lived happily ever after.

Long rows of garter stitch are kind to hand-dyed yarn. The different colors blur and blend together, and this yarn now looks much more like it did in the skein, when I thought it was so pretty.

I love that this pattern allowed me to knit until I ran out of yarn. It's just the right size - generous without being ridiculous - and I don't have a ball of yarn left over that's not enough to make anything but too much to ignore.

The other ripped-and-redone project of last month was my socks using Manos del Uruguay's Alegria sock yarn. My first attempt offered visual proof that pretty yarn + pretty pattern ≠ pretty project in every instance. So, I went back to Ravelry to browse my collection of favorited sock patterns, and picked something much more suitable to a highly-variegated hand-dyed yarn: Anne Campbell's Show-off Stranded Socks. Look!

Much better. This stitch pattern gives texture without fighting the swirly colors for attention, and it was very easy to do. I will definitely keep this one in my repertoire for future socks.

And don't worry, I've already bought new yarn to make the Herbology Socks that I thought I could knit with the Alegria.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Rainbow Joris

It seems it's time for my monthly blogging spree again. First up, a finished object from August: Joris! The pattern is by Annita Wilschut and is available to purchase through Ravelry.

He took me two months from start to finish, although that's not indicative of my interest in the pattern. I've wanted to make Joris for a long time, but he became the project that I kept pushing aside to work on other things. The pattern is a little complicated, though not difficult, so I could only really work on him when I had time to sit down and concentrate... and you know how that goes.

But! Now he's done, and I'm very pleased with him. He may or may not be called Lorenzo - that was the name given to him by my manager, but I still just think of him as my rainbow friend. He sits on the dresser in my bedroom, and makes my inner child very happy when I look at him as I'm falling asleep.

He did exhaust me a little, though. Knitting has its uses but when it comes to toys, I think I prefer crochet.