Saturday, March 28, 2009

harika socks are finished!

The harika socks are complete!!

03.28.09 011

03.28.09 012

03.28.09 013

Pattern: harika - from Twist Collective
yarn: Maizy in Meadow Mist and Bittersweet
Needles: US 1 DPNs (and circulars to knit the cuff of each)
Cast on: 2/14/09
Finished: 3/28/09
yardage: approx. 410 yards

I also got caught up on my NatCroMo freeform crochet today, but I'll save that for another post.

Monday, March 23, 2009

International Year of Natural Fibers

2009 has been designated as the International Year of Natural Fibers!

Martha's Vineyard Fiber Farm is trying to spread the word about this, so click here to read more about it and enter the contest to win the book "Shear Spirit"! Good luck!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

N, O, P, Q, R, S - catching up on NatCroMo

03.19.09 005

N is for Night
O is for Orange
P is for Peel

Those three are reflected in this picture (I wasn't feeling very creative at this point, so there isn't much of an interesting story to go with it):
03.19.09 001

Q is for Queen

Using some scrap acrylic yarn in jewel tones, I attempted to crochet a crown:
03.19.09 002

R is for Russet

Using red and brown yarn held together, since russet is a reddish-brown color, I decided to crochet an oval to represent a potato (russet potatoes):
03.19.09 003

Ah... my weird inspirations were back!

S is for Stone

Stone made me think of grey, so I found a small ball of leftover grey yarn and started crocheting. At first, I was thinking of maybe trying to crochet a three dimensional round stone or something, then I thought of Stone Mountain Georgia, so I thought maybe I'd crochet a mountain, but what I was crocheting wasn't really wide enough for a mountain. Then I started thinking of old stone churches and the stone that is on the front of my house that goes to a peak, and I decided to aim for a steeple-type shape and ended up with something that basically looks like a skyscraper peeking out from behind my Grape Jam blob:
03.19.09 004

I'm glad I am back on track with this project. I was feeling uninspired for a bit, but I'm still enjoying working on it, and I'm glad I got some good ideas for the last couple inspirational items.

I have a few more rounds to go on the leg of the second harika sock and then I can start the heel!! I must finish these by March 31st!! Then I need to find a nice, simple worsted weight project. I'm thinking I'll knit up some dishcloths or something. :-)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

L, M, and some new reading material

NatCroMo is moving along and I am still keeping up with the daily inspiration items.

Thursday was "L is for Leaves". I decided to re-introduce the green yarn I used the first day because the colorway was called "Leaf". I was looking through a pattern book for a crochet sampler afghan, and found a pattern stitch called "Palm Leaves", so I thought that would be perfect. So, I just crocheted a small section of this pattern.

Friday was "M is for Mold". Wow, this one really stumped me. All I could think of was to do something in greens/browns/blacks and give it some texture. As I looked through my bag of scrap yarns, I found a little ball of brown yarn that was leftover from some socks I knit for my Dad. It was Wool-Ease in various shades of brown. I hope this doesn't mean Dad's socks look moldy to me! It was kind of funny, because I was actually looking for some dark green yarn that I had knit his gloves with, because I think of mold as being green. Note to self: I need to knit or crochet something for my Dad that doesn't make me think of mold. :-)

Anyway... when I went to add in the brown yarn to my project, the green yarn from Thursday was hanging there, so I decided to switch to a bigger crochet hook and use both yarns together. I love the look of this, especially when they are contrasting yarns. So, I switched to a K hook and decided to use random popcorn stitches to create texture.

Here's how L and M turned out:
03.13.09 001

I went to Barnes & Noble last night because I wanted to see if they had the new Piecework magazine which I had read about in an e-mail advertisement - and they did!! The March/April 2009 issue features "Textiles for Historical Reenactment". My husband is a Civil War re-enactor and there is also an article in this issue called "Knit Civil War Socks". The articles look very interesting, although I don't know if I'll want to actually knit him authentic socks because they used a really tiny gauge on tiny needles and long socks in solid grey 100% wool at tiny gauge just doesn't sound really appealing to knit. But, I'm still looking forward to reading the articles!!

As I was walking into Barnes & Noble, another book caught my eye: "The Knitting Directory". This book has a lot of information in it and really good knitting diagrams for picking up stitches, cabling, etc. It's also spiral bound so it lays flat - I mean shouldn't all craft books be spiral bound?!?!?!? :-) It also contains a really nice stitch library with a lot of different basic, cable, and lace stitch patterns that I want to try. It seems like a really nice book for the bargain price of $9.98:
03.13.09 002

Thursday, March 12, 2009

J, K, and a finished harika sock!!

I have two days of progress to share for my freeform crochet:
03.12.09 003

J is for Jam - I crocheted a splotch of grape jam with some purple cotton yarn I found in my stash that was called "Grape" - perfect!

K is for Knowledge - when I first read this I was stumped, but as I started thinking about it, I thought of using some grey yarn to represent grey matter, and then I thought... why not crochet a little brain! So, I did (or attempted to anyway).

I also finished my first harika sock!!! The toe is complete:
03.12.09 007

It could look better, but at least the socks fit. I had to decrease on every round, so it isn't the prettiest toe, but I'm still happy with how the sock turned out:
03.12.09 006

03.12.09 004

I wish I could get the photos to show the colors in the lighter yarn, but it seems to appear grey in the photos. I guess the contrast is just too high.

I started the 2nd sock last night and my goal is to finish it by the end of March. Time to get knitting!!

Monday, March 9, 2009

I is for Insect

As soon as I read today's crochet inspiration "I is for insect" I decided to crochet black picot stitch to represent ants marching towards the dripping honey corkscrews from yesterday:

I'm glad I'm still coming up with ideas for each day's inspiration. I may be keeping it simple, but I'm still enjoying this project.

In knitting news... I'm going to try to finish knitting the toe of the first harika sock tonight! I haven't touched it since I frogged back the toe and got it back on the needles.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

NatCroMo and harika sock update

Saturday's inspiration for my NatCroMo freeform project was "G is for Ground". This worked out perfectly for my plan to unify the two distinct sides of my project so far. Ground immediately made me think of dirt and grass so I grabbed some brown and green cotton yarn and began to single crochet several rounds in brown around my entire piece. Then, to create the grass, I single crocheted once around with the green and then did random spike stitches to create the grass effect. I was looking for a good excuse to use spike stitches again, because I first learned them during last year's freeform CAL. Here was my piece after Saturday's crocheting:

As someone in the Ravelry group commented, the ground really grounded my piece!

Today's inspiration was "H is for Honey". So, I got some bright yellow yarn and decided to crochet some corkscrews to represent dripping honey. I'm pretty happy with how they turned out:
03.08.09 003

My knitting goal for this weekend was to finish the harika sock. I finished the foot pattern on Friday night and started knitting the toe, which was back to the knit two in one color, purl two in the other color. I made it easier on myself this time and put the purling yarn in my right hand and that went much smoother. I can knit in continental style much better than I can purl. But, I did learn to purl with my left hand for the first time with this project, so I can do it! It just slows me down. Anyway, I knit (and purled!) along on the toe until this morning when I reached the 16th round of the toe and thought, this foot is looking awfully long!
03.08.09 001

I tried it on and it was already big enough to cover my foot and I still had about 10 rounds to go.

So, I thought... do I just kitchener it closed now with 50+ stitches on the needles? No, that would probably look bad. Do I just finish the sock as the pattern is written and give the socks to someone with longer feet? No, these socks were too much of a learning experience and I really want to keep them for myself. They're not perfect, but I like them. After ALL this work, I want to be able to wear them when I'm done! Well, that really left only one other option... frogging... rip it, rip it, rip it... I put it off as long as I could. I went online and got my crochet inspiration for today and crocheted the corkscrews (Hmmm... I could have crocheted more of them, eh?)... I ate lunch... I calculated on paper exactly how many rows I wanted to rip out... I double-checked... I probably checked again... and then I did it:
03.08.09 005

Then I had to carefully get all 64 of those live stitches back on the needles - yikes!:
03.08.09 006

I know some of them are twisted, but I didn't care, I just wanted them ON the needles. And I didn't want to have to frog back any further. It really wasn't TOOO bad, 64 stitches are now back on the needles, waiting to be knit (and purled) once again:
03.08.09 007

Now, my plan is to decrease every round from this point on, instead of the graduated decreases that the pattern calls for. This will get me to the correct number of stitches after 16 rounds instead of the 50+ stitches I had after 16 rounds before I frogged. I'm hoping this won't make the foot look too pointy, but it's the only way I can get 72 stitches down to 28 without having a sock that is way too long for my foot.

I hope this works! I really don't want to have to frog this AGAIN!!

Wish me luck!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

F is for Fragrance

03.06.09 010

Friday's NatCroMo inspiration was "F is for Fragrance". This made me think of lilac or lavender so I chose some lavender yarn and crocheted a simple shell stitch, bordered by some rows of single crochet.

Today's inspirational instruction has not been posted yet. Whatever it is, I think I will crochet around the entire circle to bring this piece together once again. Although, the contrast is kind of interesting between the big thick red/blue suede/cotton and the dainty lavender and pastel rainbow on the other side.

Where will the freeform lead next? Stay tuned!!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

NatCroMo Day 5 - E is for Eating

Since I have been using the daily inspiration items to choose my yarn color, I decided to add back in the red yarn because we eat with our mouths and our mouths are red. Not very creative, but that's what struck me as I pondered today's instruction. Since I was back at where I left off with the blue Lion Suede, I decided to pick that up, hold that together with the red cotton, switch back to my big red N hook and work some giant double crochet stitches! Since the yarn was so thick, I thought some space would be helpful, so I did one dc, then ch 1, all the way across. I like the way it turned out:


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

a little crochet... a little knitting progress

Day 4 of the freeform crochet project: D is for Drop

My thought process was: Drop... rain drops... rainbows... I chose some rainbow colored cotton yarn from the stash (well, multi-colored anyway) and crocheted a ruffle along the other half of my circle:
03.04.09 001

Note to self: the next time I do freeform crochet, I really need to get away from just going round and round in a circle! :-) But, that's ok!

If you have access to ravelry, be sure to check out all the other amazing freeform projects that everyone is creating. We're having a lot of fun with this! It's not too late to pick up a crochet hook and play along!!

The main reason I am not investing more time in my Freeform crochet project is because I am still diligently working on my first harika sock which I love! I have finished the gusset decreases (all in pattern, mind you! This was a first for me!) - luckily the chart was really clear and easy to follow - and now I just have to finish knitting the rest of the foot and the toe. And a second sock...

But, here's where I'm at right now:
03.04.09 002

03.04.09 003

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

NatCroMo Day 3 - C is for Crab


For day 3 of National Crochet Month, our Freeform project inspiration is "C is for Crab". I switched to a J crochet hook and Lion Suede yarn in denim and crocheted crab stitch around half of the circle. It looks less like a Christmas ornament now - yay! :-)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Day 2 - B is for Blossom


I switched to white yarn, since apple blossoms are white and chose a size G crochet hook to go with the yarn. Then I decided to just double-crochet 8 times in each double-crochet stitch of my red-green round.

Somehow, this looks more like a Christmas ornament than an apple-inspired project, but hey, I'm only two days into it! :-)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Happy NatCroMo!!!!

March is National Crochet Month! Last year, I participated in a Freeform Crochet-along and ended up with this lovely piece of "artwork":

4.2.08 004

Very strange looking, I know, but it was a lot of fun!

This year, Kaet has come up with a new Freeform CAL and I am going to participate and try to blog regularly since I have a blog now! She will be posting daily clues on her blog here and also on Ravelry in the Crochet Month Party Group.

This year's instructions have a more inspirational theme rather than rule-following like last year.

The March 1st instruction was simply "A is for Apple" and we are to use this as inspiration to choose either our hook, yarn or pattern. Hmmm...

Apple made me think of red, so I got out some red yarns from my stash and also gathered my crochet hooks. Loopy also wanted to help (he claims he hasn't been getting enough blog time lately...):

03.01.09 001

After taking the picture, inspiration struck!
03.01.09 002

My N crochet hook was red, and I really liked crocheting with two different yarns held together during last year's free-form crochet-along, so I went and got some green yarn out of the stash (apples are also green!!):
03.01.09 004

and thus begins my March 2009 freeform crochet project:
03.01.09 005
The yarn I have started with is Lily Sugar 'n Cream cotton in Red and Lion Brand Microspun yarn in "Leaf". Since I had no pattern to follow, I just formed a chain into a circle and then double-crocheted into the circle until I could join my last stitch to my first stitch.