What I’m crocheting this week

My utmost apologies for not posting this week. We got hit with a nasty cold bug here at home and I was fighting it off as well as trying to take care of a sick child. I’m just now getting caught up on everything.

I did manage to get some crocheting in this week, though.

For one, the boy has now decided he likes being a car rider (before this, he was still going to the Boy’s Club after school for about an hour to play). I don’t mind because I have learned the secret that crocheting moms everywhere have been using. Crocheting in the car rider line. See, I figured it out. It’s better to get to the school thirty minutes before the dismissal bell because then you get a good spot in line. And bonus, you get about thirty minutes of uninterrupted quiet time. I usually put the windows down, turn off the car engine, listen to a podcast, and crochet. It’s fantastic. So, I’m working on the Lace Recovery Shawl while I wait. I just started the second repeat of the edging (there are three before the final two rows). My goal is to get it done before our anniversary on May 5th.

Last Friday was also our gaming guild night. Because we did a “College of Gaming” night (which means it’s a lecture and discussion on some aspect of game play, this last time it was being a good player), I was able to sit and crochet without any interruption. It was great. What was not great was ripping back two rows two different times because I kept making mistakes. Remember, a shell is not always five double crochets. Sometimes, it’s seven. And this doesn’t become apparent until you’re on the next row. Oh well. It was a great time and I got about eight rows done (would have been more, obviously) on my Forever Shawl. We also discussed how my crocheting at the table makes me a better gamer. It gives my hands something to do so my brain can focus on the task at hand.

I also got to showcase the latest thing I actually finished, a dice bag. G got a new set of dice a couple of weeks ago. He has a huge dice bag filled with all manner of dice, but it takes him forever to find what he needs for the game. So, I decided to make him a smaller bag that he could carry his new dice in, plus some extras. Since the dice he got were “Urban Camo”, I dug into my stash and found some Urban Camo Red Heart Super Saver. I crocheted with a smaller hook than called for so I could get a sturdy bag.

G's new dice bag

He showed it off like a fantastic boyfriend and I got two commissions before we even started our meeting. So, this week I’ll stash dive again and make a couple of bags. I haven’t decided yet whether or not to write up a pattern. It’s really simple, just a circle and then build up the sides. It only took me about 90 minutes to crochet and used up stash yarn, so a win win all around.

This weekend I hope to get some crochet time in, but I doubt it. I have a cooking class tomorrow morning and then plans for the evening. Sunday is church, but we do have our Annual Meeting and I try to crochet during those so I can stay out of trouble. πŸ™‚ We’ll see.

Next week starts the Knitting and Crocheting Blog Week 2012. I’ll be participating again this year, so plan to see posts every day!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

What I’m working on

Hey, look, a crochet post!

I was going to post yesterday, I had a rant brewing for a while. But when I sat down to write it, it was coming out a bit too ranty and that was not good. So, you’ll have to wait a bit for that. Apparently I’m really good at ranty type posts. πŸ™‚

Anyway, I wanted to post on the things I’m currently working on. Now that I’m not designing, I’m able to enjoy other designer’s patterns. There’s something freeing in just being able to sit there and follow directions and not have to think about it.

So, what have I been working on? Well, as usual a lot of different patterns. I have a problem with starting projects and not really getting them finished. I do have an excuse for it, and it’s a good one. See, often my crochet time is limited to when I’m out somewhere that I need to keep my hands busy. Therefore, I need something that is portable, isn’t about to hit finishing status right away, and usually something I don’t have to pay very close attention to. My main crochet time is sadly at gaming guild night (yay, that’s tonight!). Which adds another kink in it that I have to be able to work on it without having to count too high. When people are shouting out numbers for dice rolls, it can easily screw up your internal counting. Ask me how I know. πŸ˜‰

Right now I have four current projects, although one of them is kinda hibernating (I’ll explain in a bit).

The first project I want to talk about is halfway done. It’s actually to a point that I can stop, as long as we don’t have people over for dinner. I’ve made placemats for our table.

Granny Circle Placemat

I loved the simplicity of Purl Soho’s Granny Circle Placemats. I needed to make a wise yarn choice since we have a 12 year old at our dinner table. I needed something that would be washable, or at least easy enough to replace if it was something really bad. I started with Sugar and Cream cotton, but it was too thick and I didn’t like the way it was working out. So, back to the store for me. I found Joann’s Cuddle, which is a DK weight. I really liked how smooth it worked up. I got it in a lovely brown color. See, our dining room is a beautiful shade of lavender (I did not choose that color, it was like that before I got here, which I will admit gave Mr. G another point in his favor, lol). Our plates are a nice denim blue. I wanted something that would work with both of those colors and yet not show stains super easily. So, brown it was. These do work up pretty quickly. I am officially half way through as I’ve made three. I have four skeins of yarn (and I’m getting two placemats out of just over a skein) and I am planning on making a total of six with some coasters if I have yarn left over. I finished mine off with a round of single crochet in the back loop to give it a nice edge.

My second project I want to talk about is what I’ve called my Lace Recovery Project. It’s the Maia Shawl by Lisa Naskrent. I started this before I left for Cama Beach last October. I worked on it on the very long flights from Florida to Seattle, sat at the waterfront and crocheted, and worked on it the entire way home. I’ve worked on it off and on since then (it needed a little too much attention to work on during guild nights). I’m FINALLY on the edging. I’m using Knit Picks Shimmer Hand Dyed lace yarn and I love it. It’s a fantastic yarn to work with. I forsee using this again.

Lace Recovery Project
(My apologies for the slightly out of focus, our lighting is weird in the house and this isn’t a final project photo).

I’m hoping to get this project finished soon. I just have to make myself sit down and work on it. Unfortunately, I’ve had a book steal my crochet time at night (more on that tomorrow). But, I plan to really make an effort in the next couple of weeks to get it done.

The next project is another lace shawl, and was started two weeks ago for guild night. This lace shawl is easy to work on while gaming and talking, so it’s a great portable project. A simple two row repeat makes it super quick. It’s the Southbay Shawlette by Lion Brand. If you look at the projects listed on Ravelry, you can see that there are a lot of lace variations and they’re beautiful. That’s what convinced me to use this pattern for this yarn (Cascade Yarns Alpaca Lace). It’s moving along pretty well, and I think between tonight’s gaming guild, an annual meeting at our congregation in a couple of weeks, and hanging out at the LYS, I should finish it soon.

Forever Shawl

The last project I have no picture for. I also don’t forsee getting it done any time soon (sorry, love). It’s a pair of fingerless mitts for G. I started them when it was still really cold (for Florida, lay off). I used the leftover Cascade Superwash I’d used to make him a hat for his birthday. I got one finished (although I did not finish them off until he tried them on) and started the second one. BUT…I need to go back and change hook sizes once it gets to the hand part as it was a bit tight for him. That seemed daunting to me (not really, but I’d much rather crochet something new than rip out and start over) and then it got hot. We went from piling blankets on the bed to running the a/c pretty much non-stop in the span of two days. So, right now, I know he doesn’t need them. And when I finally organized the chaos that was my stuff piled up in the next room, I kinda put them in a bag under a lot of other things. So…no photo. πŸ™‚

I plan on making this a regular type of post, since if nothing else it will keep me honest about finishing projects before I start another one (or four). So, now I ask you…what are you working on as we slide into the weekend?

Do you crochet in public?

Most people who know me have gotten used to the fact that if I can figure out how to do it, I’m going to crochet in public. I’m going to tell you a secret, though. I don’t do it to show off crochet. I do it to stay sane. I shall explain….

I’ve crocheted in line at Disney World (Epcot’s Soarin’ Ride which usually has at least an hour wait time, but it so worth it).

Crocheting a sock while in line at Epcot

My sister snapped that pic because she couldn’t believe I was going to crochet in the semi-dark of the line. But see, 90 minutes standing in a line with a bunch of people who may or may not be getting “cranky” makes me cranky. I don’t do well in large crowds. So having the soothing movement of yarn going through my fingers helped a lot. It gave me something to focus on to keep from thinking about just how many people there were in the line.

My other big crochet in public place is my gaming nights. I’m a member of our local role player’s guild and we meet twice a month to game. Now, let’s just start off with the fact that I have ADD. Two to three tables filled with somewhere around 10-15 people in a room, all of them talking at once is a total nightmare for me. Especially because this is happening in the evening when my concentration is usually shot. I’ve tried playing without crochet in my hands. It doesn’t work for me. I just can’t concentrate.

Crocheting a sock while playing Interstellar Overdrive

When I first started bringing crochet with me, I got a lot of weird looks. I told everyone I’ll be able to pay attention more if I can crochet while I play. They weren’t entirely sure, but they let me go ahead. And I was right. I was more involved with the game, better able to pick up on everything that was happening around the table, and better able to tune out the other tables.

Now, when I started, I had to use very simple projects. This meant things like the sock pattern I have memorized (and I had to start it early so I could get past the increases before the game started), granny squares, scarves, etc. I tried once to work on a lace shawl. That didn’t work out so well.

However, I’ve started branching out a bit. Last week when we gamed, I had just bought some yummy Cascade Alpaca Lace that afternoon at my LYS. And I really wanted to work on it. So, I found a pattern that was an easy repeat (and even better, a chart to follow instead of written text) and took it with me. As long as I paid a bit of attention to my hands, I was able to work on lace while I gamed.

Lace shawl while gaming

It always amuses me whenever we have new people come to a gaming night. They always look at me weird in the beginning, but then they see that I am actually paying attention. And the regulars have started asking each week what I’m working on.

I’ve also crocheted during board meetings at church (I’m not on the board, it’s so I behave and pay attention), but never during church. Not that I wouldn’t, it’s just that I can’t. I work on the sound board during services, as well as a few other things I have to do, so I’m rarely sitting for too long during service.

By far, though, my favorite place I’ve ever crocheted “in public” was at Cama Beach during the 2011 Crochet Liberation Front Retreat. It was the most peaceful and somewhere I really needed to be in order to find that joy in the fiber again and peace within my self. I leave you today with that photo. Have a great weekend everyone!

Crocheting at Cama

Lace crocheting at Cama Beach

Look Ma, no floats!

Today I’m trying a new to me technique. I’m doing colorwork in Tunisian. I don’t know if I mentioned it before, but the Red Rocks Wrap was my first ever Tunisian project. Ever. So yes, if you’re new to doing Tunisian, it’s the perfect project for you. If I can do it, you can, too.

So, colorwork. Had to look up how to change colors since it’s a bit tricky. I ended up using this You Tube video to learn how to do it. Super simple once you get the hang of where your squares are.

But, I don’t want floats. I’m making a scarf, a Tardis Scarf to be exact, and I don’t want floats. So, what does one do when one doesn’t want floats? One uses bobbins.

But what if I don’t have bobbins and I don’t feel like going out to go get bobbins? Then, I dig into my craft bag and find the little plastic tags from the potato bags that I’ve been saving. Perfect size for small amounts of yarn.

Is it more of a pain in the tail to use bobbins rather than floating yarn? Sure. There’s gonna be A LOT of ends to weave in. I’m aware of that. But, the perfectionist in me can’t let there be visible floats. So, bobbins it is.

So how’s it going? So far, so good. I’m on row 7 of a REALLY long chart. I could have done it lengthwise (I think those who have done it on Ravelry did it that way), but I prefer to have fewer bobbins. So, starting at the short end it is.

This will be a holiday gift for a very special boy who loves all things Dr. Who (so much so that he dressed as the Doctor at Halloween…complete with a Fez that I crocheted for him). More pictures as I get more finished. I’m very excited about learning something new.

A handful of announcements

Today is very hot (and humid…gotta love Florida in the dead of summer), and I’ve been at the computer all day long. This is my last computer related item on my to-do list and then I get to go sit under the fan and crochet. So, this will be pretty quick. πŸ™‚

Item #1: Since it’s been brought to my attention that I didn’t clearly announce this a few weeks ago when I wrote that one post. Um, I won’t be at the Summer Knit and Crochet Show. Sorry, but due to health issues, I had to pull my classes. I just could not see making it through the whole week of activities and teaching classes. Especially considering that most days I feel the need to take a nap after running an errand. For the record, I don’t always take that nap, but the fatigue is there. I’m so very sorry and I will miss seeing all my friends. Y’all have fun and tweet away so I can be there vicariously. πŸ™‚

Item #2: I am, however, teaching another round of classes at Crochetville. You can see the upcoming schedule (starting in August) here at their website. I hope you’ll join me as the last round was a lot of fun. Feel free to ask me any questions you might have over there in the forums. πŸ™‚

Item #3: This one is really good news. The urge to crochet has bit again (which is good ’cause I was getting worried). I spent this weekend crocheting away on fun stuff for myself and for gifts. I’ve also got some little sparks of inspiration I’m hoping to fan into flames of designs, but we’ll see. I’m not pushing or rushing anything that’s going on right now. Thank you all for your support!

Item #4: If you wanted to get my pattern for the Fearless Scarf but didn’t get a chance to vote in this last round of Flamies awards, fear not! I wanted to have a period of exclusivity for the pattern (and to encourage everyone to go vote), but I was given the go ahead to release the pattern in my line. So…next week come back here for an announcement. πŸ™‚ It will be available and I’ll have all the info then. I need to do a double check and clean it up and get it ready to go.

Item #5: There are a few other designs that were in the finishing stage that will be coming down the pike in the next couple of months. I hope you’ll check them out when I get them ready. πŸ™‚

Okay, that’s all from me for this week! I hope everyone is having a wonderful day and a great start to the week. Stay cool, all!

Knitting & Crocheting Blog Week: Day Seven – Your Knitting or Crocheting Time

Day Seven! (Woo hoo! I did it!)

Today’s prompt:

Write about your typical crafting time. When it is that you are likely to craft – alone or in more social environments, when watching TV or whilst taking bus journeys. What items do you like to surround yourself with whilst you twirl your hook like a majorette’s baton or work those needles like a skilled set of samurai swords. Do you always have snacks to hand, or are you a strictly β€˜no crumbs near my yarn!’ kind of knitter.

I crochet everywhere. Everywhere. This is my full time job and if I’m under deadline, there’s no where I won’t crochet. I’ve crocheted on the bus, I’ve crocheted in waiting rooms, I’ve crocheted on a plane, I’ve crocheted in a car in the dark (while someone else was driving), and I’ve crocheted at Disney. No, really, I even have pics to prove it:

Standing in line at Soarin’ in Epcot

But, let’s talk about my typical crafting time.

If I’m working on a design and need to make notes as I go, then I’m typically sitting at my work table. I keep my design notebook next to me and crochet a row then write it down. I’ve learned the hard way that this is how I have to do it if I ever hope to write the pattern later. I often either have a cup of coffee or a cup of water next to me. Laptop is always on and I’m known to answer emails super fast because of that. I’ll often take quick breaks and stretch my fingers by goofing off online. πŸ™‚

If I don’t need to make notes, then I’m usually in my comfy chair. There I still have a drink of some sort next to me, and try to remember to have all my tools on the table, too. I’m trying to learn to disconnect from the internet a bit more, but I still often have my iPod Touch next to me when I’m in the chair. It’s my secondary computer and I use it to do just about everything I need to do online (except Ravelry, it’s a bit harder to navigate in the tiny little screen).

My TV is always on. This comes from working seven years in a control room at a TV station. I get twitchy when there is a TV in the room and it isn’t on. Even if I’m not paying attention to it, it’s the noise. And no, music doesn’t fill the void the same way. So, if I’m home, TV on. I also use the TV as my clock. Again, this comes from working at a station. When a show has ended I know that half an hour or an hour has passed. Commercials remind me to take a break (although I did my time in TV working at a PBS station, so it took me a while to get used to those again). So I rarely watch movies. I won’t talk about what I do watch. There are benefits to working from home (mostly) alone so one can indulge in bad television vices. I now have a DVR, too, so I often record things overnight and watch them the next day.

I have one big window (sliding glass door) and one small window in my room and I usually keep the blinds open to let in natural light. The only time this changes is in the summer when it just gets too hot. We’re making some changes this year to the windows, so hopefully I can still have natural light when we move into the real part of summer. If not, I’ll do what I did last year, which was to wait until the sun moved to the other side of the house to open up the blinds.

My typical work day goes from about 9:30-10:00am (depending on when I get up and how long it takes me to do the typical morning stuff), pausing around 1pm for a quick bite for lunch, back to it until 5-5:30pm for a quick dinner and doing the dishes, then back to it until usually around 7:30pm. Some days go longer, some days don’t. It depends on the project on deck and the to-do list. And what’s going on in the house.

I often take breaks to snack, and will eat near my project (depending of course on what the food and yarn is, there are always exceptions), but I rarely eat while I’m crocheting. Simply because I haven’t figured out how to eat and crochet at the same time. If I’m putting down the hook to eat, then I’ll eat.

That’s all I can think of about my crochet time. Kinda boring, I know. πŸ™‚

Today is the last day of the blog week! If you want to read the rest of the blogs that are also posting, you can do a google search on this term: 2KCBWDAY7. Everyone participating will have that term in their post and you can follow along that way. πŸ™‚

Upcoming classes, important announcements, etc.

This Saturday (2/27/10), I’ll be teaching a workshop on my Broomstick Lace Wrap at A Good Yarn Sarasota. The class is from 1-3pm and is only $35. That gets you the printed pattern, my help to get you started, and instruction on ways to customize the wrap. If you’re interested, there is still room in the class. Call the shop and reserve your spot today!

On March 20th, I’ll be teaching a workshop on my Southern Lights Cowl at the shop. The class will be from 1-3pm and only costs $30. This will be an exciting class and again, you’ll get the printed pattern, some great tips and tricks, and help with the project.

I have other classes I want to talk about, but I can’t yet. But they’re going to be super cool and I can’t wait to announce it! One more week, and then I can post it. πŸ˜€

In other news, remember, my Help for Haiti pledge is still going on through this Monday. 50% of my pattern sale proceeds from all the pattern sales up to Monday will go to Doctors Without Borders for relief efforts in Haiti. Just because the news isn’t covering it anymore, doesn’t mean there aren’t still people needing help. Won’t you be a part of it?

Also, the Gulf Coast Crochet Guild of Florida will be having a work day meeting next Saturday (3/6/10), from 11:30-1:30 at A Good Yarn Sarasota. We’ll be tagging items and preparing them for hospital deliveries. I’m excited about this, because for a small chapter I know we’ve been working hard to make others lives a bit happier. If you’re in the area and would like to join us, please do! We’re always happy to welcome new members!

And what have I been working on? Well, I’m busy with a publication project (which will come out later this year), pushing submissions out the door so I can keep doing publication projects, and working on ideas and designs for my design line. There’s some great things coming down the pike, and I can’t wait to share them with you.

Oh, and be on the lookout for a special blog post on Friday. Not entirely crochet related, but I’m allowed a few fun ones from time to time. πŸ™‚

Have a great Wednesday everyone!

Ravelympics!

Friday night started the winter version of Ravelympics. I know I hadn’t mentioned it on here, but I am participating again this year. I’m a proud member of Team Flaming Hooks (a Crochet Liberation Front Ravelympics team). This time I’m competing in the Short Track Shawls event with the Beaded Thistle Shawl by Mary Beth Temple. It’s a stunning shawl done in Swiss Mohair by Universal Yarn. And it has pretty beads on it.

The “kids”* bought me the kit for the holidays this year and I’d been holding on to it for Ravelympics. They got it for me in the pretty purple color (and no, you can’t have it in purple ’cause they’re all sold out even back to Universal Yarn…but there are other colors available!). See, here’s my kit:

Day one started Friday night at 9pm here. My brother had come over for dinner and some Lego Rock Band prior to that. I played for about an hour and then headed into the studio. He and John kept playing for another hour or so. By the time we went to bed around midnight, I’d gotten a few rows done. Here’s what my progress looked like at the end of day 1:

Yesterday I ended up having quite a bit of time to work on the project and putting the beads on is getting a lot easier. And since each row is a short row, it gets quicker each time. I’m hoping today’s progress will get me close to the finish line. Here’s my pic from last night showing day two’s progress:

I’ll post again tomorrow with progress from today. I’m working a half day tomorrow since it’s a holiday here (and John’s home from work) so if I don’t finish it today, I hope to get it done by tomorrow.

* Yes, I know, the cats and the dog don’t have access to a bank account or the internet, but work with me here.

Even MORE handmade holiday!

I’ve been working on ornaments today.

I’ve been busting out these Star Ornaments. They’re super fast.

I used some Vanna’s Choice Glamour yarn in Platinum and Sapphire and a D hook. Aren’t they cute?



I also doubled the yarn and used an H hook and made a really neat tree topper:

I should have taken a pic before I put it on the tree, but I forgot. So, you get the upshot. πŸ™‚

Okay, that’s all from me for a bit. I think I’m done for now with making things for the tree.

More handmade holiday

Finally finished the tree skirt today! And I wanted to share a pic with you as well as some basic stats.

I started this on late Sunday and used stash yarn. I finished it today.

The pattern is from the Nov/Dec 09 issue of Crochet Today and is the Retro Ripple Skirt pattern. I used Red Heart Super Saver and used just around a skein of two colors (I used about 2 skeins of the darker color). It went super fast and was a really great TV watching project.

In that photo you can also see a few of the wrapped holiday gifts. This year I went with plain white tissue paper and tied them off with a bit of blue Vanna’s Choice Glamor yarn. The tags are hand stamped with the to and from info.

I’m really enjoying the simplicity of this year’s holiday season. I still may make a few more things for the tree, and if I do, you’ll see it here!

Β© Copyright Fibers By Tracie - Theme by Pexeto