Mr Nibbly Sweettreats

While I was at the gym this morning, Rachel Ray was on.  I could have changed it, but Alyson Hannigan was the guest, and I like her, so I kept watching.

After Alyson’s segment was a “double duty” Easter decorating segment, which sounded promising.  Until it started, and I realized I had already seen each idea:

Using plastic eggs as table weight – genius!  It is still too cold to eat outside here, so I didn’t pin this one, but you had better believe this has been all over Pinterest for weeks.

Feeling cheap?  Those free paint chips have been turning themselves into garland all over Pinterest – Easter eggs included.  I also didn’t pin this.  I prefer to decorate with Peeps.

Okay, this Pinterest tip really is genius.  I did have this pinned, and I think we are actually going to dye our eggs on Easter.  Because Mommy waits until the last minute like that.

I’m not trying to bash Rachel Ray, I just really couldn’t believe that this is where their ideas are coming from.  Pinterest?  Why should I spend an hour watching the show to get three tips, if I can get hundreds of Easter tips from Pinterest in a matter of minutes?

Anyway, I normally have a few things planned for each holiday, and then give myself a hearty pat on the back if I manage to get one crafty thing done (check!  see: Peep wreath).  I did start a second craft for Easter, but only got partway through…it was oh so cute though:

Unsure what exactly you are looking at?  Well, I have a…let’s call it glorious, collection of Boyd bears (and bunnies, and pigs, and lambs, and cats, and…).  A few years ago, I got the little guy on the right who came with a carrot of jelly beans.  I did refrain from eating them, but after a year or two they were melted and disgusting, so this bunny was left with his hands stuck together and nothing to hug.  Nothing to hug?  So sad.  Poor Mr Nibbly Sweettreats.

Well, in trying to move forward in my crochet adventures, I had decided I was going to crochet a couple of little carrots, because it would be cute for Easter.  It did come out really cute!!

It, as in one.  Not a bunch.  I was trying to find someplace to display my lonely carrot and lo and behold, it fit snuggly into Mr Nibbly Sweettreat’s waiting arms.

The pattern is free on Ravelry, with a whole set of crocheted vegetables.  I was really surprised with how easy it was, since this was my first little knitted or crocheted toy.  In fact, it was so quick and easy, that now I have my sights set on the whole set.  I have dreams of Simon wanting me to make him a whole grocery store full of crocheted food.  He did have fun with it…

I am hoping that our garden this year might help him get a little interested in having his own “food”.  At the very least, it seems that Ivan will play with him!

Did you make any Easter decorations or crafts this year?  I had one more pinned that I really wanted to do, but didn’t get around to:

I guess this one will just be first on the list for next year!!

Advertisements

I Think I Can, I Think I Can

Simon’s grandparents brought up a big box of books from when my husband was small when they came for his birthday. One of them was “The Little Engine That Could”. I love reading Simon books that we read as kids, and this is one of the best. Truly a classic.

Now, every time I sit down to crochet, I feel like that little blue engine chugging over the mountain. “Chain 1, Single Crochet 1, I Think I Can, I Think I Can”.

The good news is, that little engine was right. Show some perseverance and it will happen. Say hello to my first completed crochet project:

This simple dishrag was a labor of love, I’m telling you. I started it, asked my friend who is an expert crochet-er a bunch of questions, read books, looked at tutorials, and gave up. I found another pattern, started on that, but it was so simple I got bored. So I ripped it out, went back to original, and suddenly it all made wonderful, perfect, sense.

It was smooth sailing after that, and except for the small knitting break I took, it came together pretty quickly. I’d love to have a whole set of knit and crocheted cotton dishrags, but unfortunately they’re kind of boring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like most things I make, it is not without out fault. I am most certainly not a perfectionist when it comes to crafting. If I can find an acceptable way to make it look okay, and it isn’t integral to the structure of what I’m making, I’ll usually power through. The main problem here? Tension.

You can see that the right side is a bit wider than the left. The tension got tighter and tighter as I went on. I realized it, and tried to loosen up a bit as I went, but the effort was futile. Not that it matters, it is just a dishrag, but its something to at least keep in mind for the future.

I have my sights set on another project already, something that is also a small “beginner” project, but looking at the pattern is already totally confusing. I’m sure I will be able to get through it as well, and hopefully have something super cute to show one of these days, but in the meantime, at least I know I can make a dishrag! Who knows, maybe I will end up with that dishrag set after all.

New Baby Knitting

I know I said I was learning to crochet.  I still am.  But when I got the message that my friend’s baby was on her way, I threw that crochet hook down faster than you could say “chain one”.

With the hook momentarily cast aside, I bought some new yarn, picked up my needles, weeded through all the patterns, and cast on 72 stitches for a Tiffany Lace newborn baby hat.

 

This was a really fun little hat to knit!  The scalloped edging, the points, the lace pattern, it all came together pretty quickly.  I have yet to really do a lot of lace knitting, so it really came out better than I was anticipating.  Not without mistake, and not with the most even tension, but all in all, it looks cute on a baby’s head!  I have a lot of yarn left over, and I’m planning on making the same hat for another friend who is having a little girl.

I had originally planned on using some DPNs for this project, but somewhere between taking them out of their packaging and starting the project, one got lost.  So it used the Magic Loop method for the first time.  I lost count of how many times I started this hat.  Sometimes I didn’t get further than the cast on before starting over.  A few times I was already rows in before I realized I counted something wrong.  I almost scrapped it completely, but my friend convinced me to keep at it.  Once I had re-committed to it, I sped through it with relative ease.

We stopped by to drop off our gifts today.  Every time I see a new baby now, it is so hard to believe that Simon was ever that size.  It is such a welcome reminder of when your own little baby was born, how they looked, acted, smelled, and how much they have changed and grown.

Simon, his first day home.

When Simon was born, I had just barely learned to knit.  I had only made a scarf, and I tried to make him a hat, but it was gigantic.  The opportunity to knit for others’ new babies is just so much fun!  Baby projects are cute, quick, and always warmly appreciated.

For good measure, I also brought them a nice big plate of my Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.

Just because nothing says “Congratulations”, quite like a giant plate of cookies.

I Will Crochet

So, I am learning to crochet. I know I made it my New Year’s Resolution, but I hadn’t gotten the spark to get started until the other day at Joann’s. I was walking around, buying supplies for Simon’s Valentines, and saw one of those cheapie booklets on how to learn to crochet. In one of them, this pattern jumped out at me, so I bought the booklet, the perfect yarn for it, and got all pumped up to start crocheting.

Never mind that it is an advanced beginner pattern, I already know how to knit, how hard can it be?

Hard. And easy. It reminds me a lot of learning Italian in college. I had already taken French all through high school, and two advanced courses in college. Since they’re both rooted in Latin, they have a lot of commonalities. But when it comes down to it, and you have to come up the word for cat on your Italian vocab quiz, le chat will not suffice.

That’s the hard part; what you already know, is easier. Knitting and crochet both have their own languages. Some of it is similar: a row, a repeat, gauge, increases and decreases. But it ends there. The tools aren’t interchangeable, and a chain stitch does not translate to a knit stitch.

So I have resigned myself to realize that I am going to have to start with something simpler before I dive into creating my bag. I don’t need another scarf, so I decided on a dishcloth. I don’t think you can really call yourself any kind of yarn-crafter until you have made a scarf and a dishcloth.

I picked what seems like the simplest dishcloth pattern I could find, and you know what? I still can’t read it. I’ve got to start somewhere though!

So now my couch is littered with little test patches, practicing my chain stitch and my single crochet. I was even brave enough to pull out a cotton ombre and start my chain for the base of the dishcloth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am still learning as I go, but with some persistence, You Tube videos, and a crochet dictionary at my side, I have high hopes!

One Last Gift

I have something exciting to share.

I finally finished my last Christmas present.  Just in time for Christmas!

Or not.  I’m still patting myself on the back though.  It is less than a month after Christmas.  It is still winter.  In fact, it feels more like winter than it did at Christmas.  Which is good, because this present is a scarf,

a pretty scarf!

I gave this to my mom, on the needles for Christmas.  I then packed it back up in my bag, and really tried really hard to finish it while we were home visiting.  It didn’t happen, but I got close.  So it was only a matter of time before it was done.

I have embarked on many crafty projects over the years.  When I was young, I had a kitten hook rug pillow that I worked on for awhile until I got tired of it.  My mom got me this really cool bead loom, that I only ever half made something on (although I often wish I still had it, and hope one day it’ll turn up).  I have at least 3 embroidery hoops with works in progress on them, either embroidery or cross stitch.  I have a quilt with a completed top, that is all pinned and ready to be quilted to its backing and batting, that has been waiting for that step since my husband was last deployed.  In 2008.

This is one of the things that I like about knitting.  I finish things.  I love all kinds of crafty things, but I lose patience with them quickly.  Amongst knitters, you will usually find two types.  Those who have multiple works in progress, and those who just have one.  With only a few exceptions, I am the latter.  I work on one thing at a time, until it is finished, and then I move on to the next project.  It works out well, because I have a long queue of things that I want to knit, so there’s that motivation to finish a project purely to move onto the next thing.  I’m even more motivated if it is something for myself, because I am making it because it is something I want.  I also like that it can be either relaxing, or challenging, and it is so convenient.  Pick it up, knit.  Love it.

When we drove to New York from Missouri this past summer, my mom came with me to hang out with Simon.  We stopped at a yarn shop in Erie, PA, The Cultured Purl, and they had a scarf hanging that she mentioned she liked.  It was a curly scarf, and I thought then that I would make it for Christmas.  I had pretty much given up because I had a hard time finding a knit curled scarf.  Most of them were crocheted, which I’m still working on.  But at a local craft fair I found a local yarn purveyor who had a beautiful curling scarf hanging up, and if I bought her yarn, I got the pattern.  It was very fine, very pretty kid mohair yarn (don’t get it wet, mom), and I love that it was local, so I had no problem with that arrangement.  The yarn was held double, hence the two balls of yarn.  This was the impetus for making my yarn jar.  I really wanted something that would protect this delicate yarn while it was in my knitting bag, and something that would brace both balls of yarn when I pulled strands.

The scarf is worked in short rows.  While that requires attention, this is still an easy project.  I don’t feel it is my place to post the pattern here, but if you are interested, send me an email, and I can point you in the right direction.

I hope my mom likes it, (one last time) Merry Christmas!

****UPDATE 02/23/2012****  I have gotten a few emails about this.  All very curt and demanding of the pattern.  If you would like the pattern, please ask nicely.  Thank you, and thank you for reading!

Oatmeal Yarn Jar

When I was pregnant with Simon, I decided I was going to learn to knit.  I taught myself via the internet, and now I can’t stop!  It is probably my favorite hobby now, I always have a project going.  I can only get to it when Simon is sleeping though, so I haven’t actually completed too many projects since he’s been born.  I did get a few Christmas presents done though this year though.

Okay, that’s kind of a lie.  I finished one Christmas present, I still have some left of my mom’s present.  It’s so close to being done.

Anyway, last year I was at my friend’s house, and she had this yarn container.  Just a plastic container with a hole on the top that the yarn pulls up through.  Something like this

I thought it was the greatest idea.  She had a little one running around, as well as two dogs, and it was such a great way to keep the yarn out of their little paws.  Now I have a little one (almost) running around, and the cats love to sleep on knitted works in progress.

I had all but forgotten about the jar, but then I read about this great idea to do the same thing using an oatmeal container in the Pocket Posh Tips for Knitters book my mom got me for Christmas.  My current project is using two balls of yarn held together, and they’re a pain to put away in my bag, and we were just about to finish a jar of oatmeal and…well it just seemed like fate.  Time to make my Oatmeal Yarn Jar.

You Need:
an empty oatmeal jar, inside wiped down (I used a baby wipe)  
a paper bag
glue
scissors
measuring tape
whatever embellishments you want (I used glitter glue, ribbon, and scrap yarn)

You Will:
Cut a small hole in the top of the oatmeal container.

Measuere the height and circumference of the oatmeal container, and measure out the paper bag to fit. You probably want to measure it a little bit longer around, so there is some overlap.

I ironed the paper, under a piece of fabric, before applying glue to the back of the paper bag, and apply the paper to the oatmeal container.

Make it pretty.

I love my yarn jar, I’m so excited about it! When you’re done, just put the yarn in the container, and pull it through the hole in the lid.

There’s plenty of room for variation here too; use a smaller container (small oatmeal container, breadcrumbs), use a different shaped box, like a shoebox, and put a couple different skeins in it if you’re doing a project with different colors. I even remember when I was younger, my mom had a box that came with a bunch of different balls of ribbon in it, that all pulled out through different holes. So you could do something like that with ribbon, or even embroidery floss.

Like I said, this isn’t my idea, but its such a good one, how could I not share?  Now my knitting will more organized, neater, and won’t be covered in cat hair…unlike everything else in my life!

Pin It

Sad Kitty

20111208-201314.jpg

I had a post all planned for tonight, but I’m just not feeling up to sitting in front of the computer. My little furry blonde guy, who I somewhat serendipitously posted a picture of for yesterday’s Wordless Wednesday, is having surgery on his boy parts right now.

He has had a urinary blockage before, so this isn’t a huge surprise, but I guess I hoped I could help him enough so that he wouldn’t need a pu surgery.

When I am stressed, and sad, I turn to things to occupy my mind. Tonight, I set to starting one of my Christmas gifts.

20111208-201039.jpg

Hopefully I will get an update on Ivan soon. In the meantime, I’ll be knitting.