Sunday, June 29, 2008

Happy Birthday, Jonah!

Jonah Abrabram arrived this morning. Happy thoughts are going out to him, his Mommy and his Daddy.

Hope he enjoys his blanket. Now all that extra blue seems appropriate. :)

Like a Knotted Hank of Yarn

You know when you're trying to ball up a hank of yarn without the help of either a swift or a ball winder and you inevitably muck it up and wind up with a gigantic, complicated, no-end-in-sight knotty mess? (The Mistress knows this first hand, right?) Yeah, that's how I'm feeling right now with all my crocheting and knitting. I have a ton of projects in my mind (and in my queue) that I want to start, but I have quite a few in progress that I can't seem to finish. And even if they were finished, I wouldn't know which new projects I'd really want to start. And if I did start them, I doubt I'd finish them with any great speed.

Like that knotted mess of a hank that I end up draping over the back of chair and walking away from for a day or two, so is my creativity for projects old and new. I need to just walk away for a while and come back to it.


Little Brodie is having her first birthday in under 3 weeks. She was the recipient of 2 blankets last year - this one and this one. I want to make her something this year but 1) I'm running out of time, 2) I don't know if she needs another blanket, 3) I don't know that she uses the other blankets, and 4) if I don't make a blanket, I don't know what else I would make. I did pick up a cute little assortment of Dr. Seuss books for her so if I don't get around to making something, I can include a gift card to the Children's Place with the books. But if there are any suggestions on what I could make given the time I have to make it and what is already in my stash, I'm all ears. (Note - the little one is allergic to wool.)

My BUBBLES bubbles wrap was coming along nicely. The operative word WAS. I was stuck at the airport on Thursday for 8 hours trying to get to Chicago. I was getting some major work done on the wrap but when we stopped on the runway and headed back to the gate, I somehow missed and/or dropped and/or twisted some stitch. I tried to fix it 3 times (all while we sat at the gate waiting for the plane to get fixed). I just seemed to make it worse with each attempt to fix the problem. When the announcement came over the loud speaker that the plane was grounded and we had to get off the plane, I took it as a sign that I should 1) quit trying to fix the wrap - leave it for another day, and 2) cut my losses and realize I won't be going to Chicago.

So that's what I did - I cancelled my trip and attended the meeting via teleconference the next day. The wrap is still sitting undisturbed since the incident on the plane. I'm hoping to tackle it later this afternoon. I'm still so new to knitting that I'm not able to easily identify what the mistake is and how to fix it. So I'm just going to have to frog a few rows (I'm hoping less that 5) to get the project back on track.

Here's hoping I can fix the wrap and somehow find some creativity lurking the corners of the craft room.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Completed Project: Baby Ripple Blanket

Just about 3 weeks to complete it, here's the finished baby blanket for little Richard or Corrie (name and gender TBD).

Baby Ripple 05 Baby Ripple 07
Baby Ripple 08
Baby Ripple 10 Baby Ripple 09

Final size is about 23 1/2" wide by 25" long. Seems to be a good size and I really like the cotton-acrylic blend. It's cool and comfy without the scratchy-ness that some all cotton blends can sometime have. Look for all the stats (hook size, additional photos, etc) on Ravelry....

As you can see, the lighting was not ideal compared with the first photos I took. Though it was well before sunset, the storm clouds had moved in and blocked the natural evening light. But all was not lost. For as the rain started to fall, there was another rainbow to photograph.

Rainbow 3

Rainbow 8

More photos here.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

New Project: Baby Ripple Blanket

This blanket is for Richard or Corrie Jr. who is slated to make his/her arrival in August. I've included some photos with natural lighting and with the flash since the colors look different with both.

Baby Ripple 01

Baby Ripple 03

Baby Ripple 02

Baby Ripple 04

I'm using the Shaded Blanket pattern by Vanna White. I'm using Lion Brand Cotton-Ease instead of Vanna's Choice because I had the cotton-ease in my stash. The cotton blend should be cool enough for DC summer temperatures and the colors are fun for a baby blanket. I'm not sure if I'll only need 1 or 2 skeins per color to finish it. I've got 2 of each just in case.

A very good pattern for anyone looking for a quick and easy baby blanket to make. You can really use any yarn you want and you can adjust the size. I wanted the blanket to be slightly larger than the dimensions for the baby blanket in the pattern, so my foundation chain was 118 (adding 17 stitches to the baby blanket size). If you want a size larger, just keep adding multiples of 17 to your foundation chain. Each chain of 17 equals one chevron/ripple. (My blanket has 7 ripples while the original pattern has 6.)

I'm hoping to have this blanket done by the end of June so that when I see Mom and Dad-to-be, I've got the gift ready for giving.

PS: In the last photo above, you can see a sneak preview of what KMP's baby blanket is going to look like.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Flickr Meme

Found the instructions on Tiffany's blog

My creation

1. Samantha - Bald Eagle @ Washington DC / US National Zoo 9/3/2006, 2. The Rare Lobster Beetle, 3. Darlin' Dahlia, 4. green spar, 5. Elijah Wood, 6. Booze, 7. A TRIBUTE TO A DEAR FRIEND. (KILKENNY, IRELAND), 8. Ice cream day dream, 9. Back from my Méditerranée villa, 10. anthem sox, 11. A Sunset is a colored poem that ends up Amethyst, 12. Crochet buttons

Here's how it works:

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd's mosaic maker.

There's a group you can add it to, as well.

The Questions:

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name. (kid version: favorite animal?)

And just to note - For #10, I put in my husband's name and there was a photo of his favorite team, the Red Sox. I thought it appropriate. :)

Weekend Update

While I should be cleaning the house and paying the bills, I have instead allowed myself this time to do some updating on the blog. Yes, I am the Queen of Procrastination.

An update from my travels last week... Sadly, my train was an hour late arriving in New Haven so I was not able to check out the LYS as planned. Quite disappointing but I expect I'll be back in the area within the year to check out Yarn LLC. I should point out that Yarn LLC was listed in the recent issue of Interweave Crochet as being a crochet-friendly store. I look forward to verifying that in person.

A wonderful surprise did overshadow the disappointment of not visiting the LYS. It just so happened that one of my dearest friends was gong to be on my train. What makes this such a a freak coincidence is that her travels started all the way in Louisiana.

My phone rang Wednesday morning and I was delighted to see KMP's name on caller ID. She said she wanted to call as she would be traveling by my house.

Me: "What?!"

KMP: "Yes, I'm on the train to Boston and I'll be passing by DC and Baltimore shortly."

I had totally forgotten her mention of the trip when she told me of it in May. She had left Louisiana the morning prior for a 36 hour train ride to Boston for a convention.

KMP: "I'm sorry - I must be bothering you at work. I completely forgot."

Me: "Actually, I'm home this morning. I, too, am taking a train this afternoon. I'm heading up to Boston. Wait - what train are you on?"

As it turns out, she was switching trains in NYC - and yes, she switched to my train! How crazy is that?! It wasn't planned - how could it? She didn't know I was traveling and I had forgotten about her trip. It was just meant to be. :)

We spent over an hour visiting on the train. It was so good to see her. We remarked how we hadn't seen each other in 1 1/2 years and now we had seen each other twice in two months. Now that she has released the news to her family, I can post here that she is expecting and due in late December. She's feeling good and looking healthy; she definitely has that pregnancy glow. I asked her about a baby blanket - what color or design or yarn she would prefer. She knew what she wanted - a baby version of the blanket I have on my couch. It's the same blanket we had on our couch when we shared a house and one that she snuggled with during her trip here in May. It's made of Lion Brand Homespun in Corinthian. A baby blanket will be quite warm and easy to care for (right in the washer and dryer - no fuss). I may have to find a pattern I like beyond the basic double crochet back and forth. We'll see what I find. I'm also planning to make an adult size blanket in the same colors. Mom and Dad need a gift, too, since the little one is due to arrive on their anniversary.

I've got another baby blanket started, this one for friend I met through KMP. She's due in August (I think) so I'm busily crocheting away. I will hopefully post some photos this weekend. Sadly, the project became too big for my commute and instead I turned to reading a book that has been in my possession for 18 years (as the inscription says). I finally read Jane Eyre which my Mom gave me for Christmas in 1990.

Truly, I am the Queen of Procrastination.

Spring-ish Cleaning

Spring sprung more than a month ago but it is now when I feel the need to clean and organize "things". Those "things" range from the bathroom linen closet to files on my computer to this very blog.

You'll note that things have changed on the side bar. I've removed the list of completed projects and condensed them into one post. The list was becoming so long, it would take some significant scrolling to see the other links listed on the side bar.

Another change was to include progress bars directly from Ravelry. This way I only have to update my progress in one spot, instead of updating Ravelry and changing the images in Flickr on my Blogger template. Soooo much easier! If you are a Ravelry member and want to learn how to get the progress bars, click here. If you're a Blogger user, be sure to check out this post which will show you how to split up the CSS and Java code to make it work correctly.

I'm hoping to add and modify other things on the blog as time permits (and as my understanding of html allows), so stay tuned!

List of Completed Projects

Here is a list of my completed projects. I moved the full list from my side bar as it was taking up much too much room. Only my Flickr photos and a link to this post remain there.

The date and time of this post won't change but I will add new project links to it as time goes on. You can always see the specifics of these projects on my Ravelry page.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

More Travels...

I'm taking the train up to New Haven, CT on Wednesday for another work related meeting. I won't be getting there until sometime after 5 pm. Had I thought ahead, I would have chosen a different train because there happens to be an LYS within walking distance from the station.

Yarn LLC
Downtown: 55 Whitney Ave, New Haven, CT 06510
Westville: 910 Walley Ave, New Haven, CT 06515

The downtown location is about 10 blocks (1 mile) from the station. If my train is on time, I should have enough time to walk there and check out the store the before it closes at 6pm. But given Amtrak's record, I'm not holding my breath that my train is on time.

Lesson learned - from now on, I check for LYS near my final destination before I book my tickets.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Completed Project: A Hippo for Grace

This is a free pattern from Lion Brand and I used up some Homespun yarn in my stash to make it. I also decided not to make the bikini and tutu. It just didn't seem right for this particular hippo.

Look for all the stats (hook size, additional photos, etc) on Ravelry....

Hippo 01

Hippo 05

You can see how the lighting in the second shot shows the slight variations in color of the yarn. It's mostly a tan/neutral color with shades of purple and green. The flash makes it look almost yellow - which is not true to life - but I thought it showed the color change more clearly.

I gave the hippo to little Grace today while her Mom, another friend and I all had lunch. The reason I made her a hippo is because her grandmother has an unnatural, almost compulsive love for rabbits. So poor Grace has been inundated with rabbits on blankets and pajamas and birthday cards, not to mention stuffed rabbits. What's the opposite of a rabbit? My guess - a hippo.

And yes, Grace loved it. She even managed to pull out part of the embroidered mouth (the pink yarn). No harm done as I had done a double thickness of the mouth.

My other friend at lunch, who is just a few weeks away from popping, loved her baby blanket. I'm very much looking forward to hearing whether it's a boy or girl. I may have to make s/he a hippo, too.

Now it's off to start another baby blanket. While I'm at it, I should start a couple more, too. Who knows who is going to call me next to let me know they're expecting. I need to have a couple blankets in reserve. :)