Tag Archive | warm

Day 5: tree

Christmas tree scarf (3)

This tree is on a scarf I made on my knitting board, lo these many years. It has been languishing in a bin, waiting for someone to love it enough to take it home. In other words, I made it for my Etsy store. I made up the pattern on my own. I even had to sketch out my own little grid because I had no graph paper at the time. The scarf used up two partial skeins of yarn that wouldn’t have made anything on their own, but I think the combined effect turned out pretty nice.

All I’ve got to show for myself

Don’t you hate those weeks when you know you’ve been doing stuff and you were pretty sure that you were accomplishing said stuff, but then you look back to assess your progress and…

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Yeah. That’s two full skeins of yarn. I’ve been working on it every evening and it still only measures about 6 inches high. I’ve got four skeins of yarn left, doing a little math… this may not turn out. Well now, that’s depressing. Especially because this yarn has a distinct aversion to being frogged (for the record, spell check does not approve of the use of “frog” as a verb). Wanna know how I know? Huh? Huh? Well, I did read it on Ravelry under the reviews for this yarn — Red Heart Boutique Treasure in “Spectrum.” Also, I have firsthand experience. Because that up there, which is supposed to be this:

From AntiqueCrochetPatterns.com (click pic for linky)

From AntiqueCrochetPatterns.com (click pic for linky)

Originally started out as this:

Basketweave Capelet (Crochet Today Sept/Oct 2009)

Basketweave Capelet (Crochet Today Sept/Oct 2009)

And that wasn’t turning out right, either. I think I keep choosing patterns with too-ornate stitches that just eat up the yarn. The original project used a basketweave stitch, which is really pretty, but that time, two skeins of yarn only achieved about four inches in height. Basketweave is not the way to go if you want to build height quickly. So I scoured CrochetPatternCentral and Ravelry to find a shawl or poncho with a dense enough stitch to keep me warm this fall. ‘Cause let’s face it: with this basketball I’m sporting under my shirt, my regular winter coat is not gonna fit. The current shawl pattern uses a crossed treble stitch to make it nice and thick. And it is! And I think it would be warm!

Up close and personal with some crossed treble action

Up close and personal with some crossed treble action

But I also cleaned out Michael’s for all of the same color lot, so I’m kinda married to these six skeins that I have. One would think that I could produce something suitable out of that. Apparently one would have to do that by making a big, uninteresting rectangle of single crochet. We’ll see.

In the meanwhile, I’ll be ripping out two weeks’ worth of work.

Just enough warmth

Sometimes I get cold, even in the summer. The first summer that my family moved back to the Pacific Northwest after my body had acclimated to 90+ days all summer for the previous twelve years was a major shock to my system. These fir trees block out a lot of sunlight. When there is sunlight. I’ve since become re-accustomed to the less-than-summery temperatures we often experience up here. And part of my survival is sweatshirts and jackets. What can I say? I’m a wimp when it comes to cold.

While functional, hoodies aren’t particularly chic. Since I’ve been making all these lightweight summery-type clothes (Take that, clouds!), I needed a way to keep warm without instantly demoting my outfit to “college student” (Not that there’s anything wrong with that. heh But my college career was many years ago and I milked the sweatshirt/flannel pajama bottoms ensemble for all it’s worth back then).

My first thought was a shrug — something to cover my shoulders and a little bit up top, just to add a tiny bit of warmth. I had found a pattern that I liked in one of my crochet magazines and bought yarn for it. First, the yarn.

You got my money once, punks.

You got my money once, punks.

It’s a Martha Stewart (Lion Brand) acrylic/wool blend (65%/35%). I liked the aqua color (called “igloo”), which is similar to the yarn pictured in the pattern. I’m easily swayed by suggestion, apparently. I also liked that it is a smooth yarn and, while the weight is listed as a 4, it’s not too thick or bulky. As far as working with it goes… eh, I’d be hard-pressed to buy this again. It tends to be splitty; I found knotted lengths within the skeins and one skein even started with several inches of dirty yarn — like it had been walked on! I was too far along at that point to want to abandon the project or deal with the hassle of returning and finding another skein in the right color lot. Besides, who’s to say the next one wouldn’t have some kind of weird issue, too? Obviously, I cut off the dirty part and forged ahead.

The pattern. Well, the pattern ended up consisting of block motifs joined together. If you know anything about me, you know I hate weaving in loose ends. Look, it’s one thing on a blanket, but on a garment? I’m pretty good at hiding those suckers, but there’s always a couple that will work loose eventually. I didn’t like the idea of sporting little fuzzy ends sticking out. Plus, there was the weaving to start with. So I nixed that pattern and went to my fallback — Crochet Pattern Central.  I looked at all the shrugs, shawls, ponchos and capes. Some of them I looked at twice. I finally landed on Anke Spilker’s “Knock Knock Knock Penny.” I have no idea what the name is about, but I liked the look of the little poncho. It had enough coverage to offer warmth, but enough open stitching to keep things airy.

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Fans and summer go together!

As you can see in the pictures, it is basically a series of fans, which really aren’t that difficult to execute, but look fancy. And, while the pattern isn’t difficult, I did find it a bit of slow going because the first 15 rounds are all slightly different, so I couldn’t get into that yarnworker’s zen-like rhythm (full disclosure: I can never spell “rhythm” correctly on the first try). Rounds 16-26 repeat previous rounds, but I only went to about Round 22 or 23 because I was running out of yarn and time (this was one of the projects I wanted to get done before my trip back East). I like the finished length, so it doesn’t bother me that it is a little shorter than how the pattern was written. If I fold my arms across my chest, the poncho is long enough to cover them for a quick warm-up. And, just like I had hoped, it’s warm without being too warm for a cool summer day.

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I'm not the only one who likes it! She has commissioned me to make one for her, too.

I’m not the only one who likes it! She has commissioned me to make one for her, too.

Black and white

If you’ve been following my blog at all, you’ve seen an assortment of dresses that I’ve made for myself. One thing those dresses all have in common: they are all lightweight. I’ve shivered through the last few winters going to church in thin cotton dresses, but there’s only so much layering you can do before you just give up and wear jeans. I needed a winter dress. I knew this several years ago and bought a couple of yards of black & white houndstooth corduroy. The pattern it was intended for was a vintage 60s sort of military-inspired dress. I don’t know what I was thinking. That style uses a lot of folds and tucks, which 1) would not have worked with corduroy and 2) would have induced eye-crossing optical illusions with the houndstooth print. Sometimes I don’t plan things out very well.

Houndstooth and corduroy!

This past spring, I decided that I needed to work through a lot of the fabric in my stash that didn’t really have patterns to go with them. I bought a bunch of patterns on sale and one of them was McCalls 2401. It’s a simple sheath dress: a front, two back pieces, two sleeves and the facing. The construction is very simple. The fit is gained through four darts in the front and two in the back.

M2401

I had to let out the hips a tiny bit and take in the two vertical darts near the top to really get a nice, close fit.

Pretending that I’m not freezing to death.

I didn’t notice during all my multiple fittings that the back neckline was not lying flat. I think next time, I will pinch in small darts on either side of the zipper to take out some of the excess. I can’t do it on this one because the facing is already in and it would require a lot of deconstruction to do that. I’ll just tough it out and count on my hair to cover the gaping.

Pretty proud of my invisible zipper, though.

I wore the dress all day Sunday — to church and an afternoon of Christmas shopping. It was warm and comfortable!

I don’t have anything all that interesting to say about it. I will be using this pattern again with some navy blue wool.

Mr. Gren told me to act natural. Now I want to make a sailor dress.