Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Xmas FOs -- Hats! and more

My babies are out the door, hopefully warming their new owners. I was almost sad to see them go. At least a few of them genuinely looked good, so I hope to get up pics of people wearing them soon. Here's one of Sylvia in her cloche:

I started most of the hats from the top down, based on the hat pattern in Interweave Knits' winter 2004 Crochet special issue, and did something different once I got to the right diameter for the crown. (Bought an old copy from a LYS, but it's not on Interweave's website.)

The pattern has a helpful but hard-to-understand tip to keep the seam from roving as you crochet in the round in one direction. Basically, you start every other row one stitch ahead of where you normally would. Because the last stitch then overlaps with the slip stitch/turning chain, this produces a tighter, less visible seam. One of these days I'll put together a photo tutorial.

The above brim, I adapted from Crochetme's Gulf Shores cloche pattern. The flower is from The Happy Hooker's Spring and Winter hat/scarf pattern. The yarn--Plymouth Outback Wool--is a find, with 370 yds/hankd for $16!

I certainly got a lot of practice making hats! Here are a bunch; the ones on the right are for my 8 month old nephew. Unfortunately the gray skies washed out all the colors. :(

Besides the cloche above, my favorites are the gray/light blue starburst hat and the bobble hat below:

... there were some scarves in the mix, too. Here's one with detail. The photos don't do it justice; the yarn is beautiful and lustrous, Lang Pearl in #0046.

I still have a couple projects left, then it's back to sweaters for myself.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Sweater Deconstruction

In the last post I mentioned recycled sweater yarn into hanks. Here are some pics of the various stages. I more or less followed Ashley Martineau's very helpful tutorial.

Started with a very nice sweater that didn't fit well. 1) took the seams apart--tricky the first time! 2) unraveled the yarn into balls. 3) wound them into hanks and tied them, like funny christmas wreaths--slightly wrong, since I was supposed to tie the ties like figure 8's to minimize tangling.

Then I soaked them in mildly warm water with a small squirt of my regular shampoo, gently squeezed (but did not wring) out the excess water, rolled them in towels, and then hung them to dry over a vent in the bathroom. Wound them back into balls, luckily no tangles.

Voila! After about two evenings' worth of work, 1000-1200 yards of sport weight, high quality, 97% wool/3% elastic yarn. Soft, squishy, beautiful.

My apartment doesn't get a lot of light, so the pics are always a little off. But my friend Sheila loves this color so I am going to crochet a keyhole scarf for her.

If I'd known I was going to get into this, I would have bought a yarn swift and ball winder instead of a sweater machine. Argh!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Happy Holiday

I turned in Chapter 4 several days ago. Woo-hoo! Rewarded myself by goofing off the whole weekend. Last night my sister Song came over and we watched "Go" and ordered out for Zachary's deep dish pizza (yum....). She spent the night and I made waffles this morning. Then my friend Sheila came over and we headed off to the Telegraph Avenue holiday street fair in Berkeley. Sheila went mad taking photos of everything. Here are some pics:

I decided to "unveil" my face because I find blogs with pictures of people more interesting. (But I'm not using my legal name because I dont' want to wonder if employers and colleagues--I have some work that appears on the web--might read some inane entry later on. After all, I used the word "boobs" in a post about the Sweet sweater. That's very me. That is not, however, very professional sounding.

Sheila labeled this "Liberation Groupy":

If you look closely, the banner says WWW.LIBERATIONINK.COM. Proceeds go to community organizing in San Francisco. I snapped up the olive cap sleeve t-shirt, which has a network of human hearts and reads: "keep loving/your heart is a muscle the size of your fist/keep fighting". Inspiring and cute to boot.

Speaking of cute, look at my hubby:

The hat, BTW, is a brimmed beret I crocheted right before Halloween, which I always wear tipped back. I saw a several vendors with knit and crocheted hats, including brimmed berets, and felt a little smug that I could make one myself.

Last night I unraveled a stretchy wool sweater from Banana Republic that never did fit me right. Someone told me about recycling yarn from thrift store sweaters. I read this helpful tutorial before getting started. Here I am winding balls into hanks before washing them to straighten out the kinks. The hanks are drying in my bathroom as I type. Man, it's a lot of work! Only worth it if the yarn is nice.

It was a good day. Only seven days to Xmas and so many projects to crochet and knit!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Winter/Xmas Projects

First of all, I am still bogged down in Chapter 4. 42 pages and counting, me swimming in news articles and archival documents. A vampire's life: after crocheting late into the night I was inspired to write some more. Fell into bed at 4am, got up at noon.

Finished two Xmas presents. The pink one, in Trendsetter Granito, is a cloche from's Fabulous and Flirty Crochet. Given the color variations, I skipped the fuzzy accent yarn. Also added another row of shells. The multicolor one is a stocking hat made from some sock yarn I got ages ago. It fits almost as tight as a skullcap. Basic Dc; rolled up brim in the simplest V-stitch. You can't see it in the picture, but I topped the brim join with cute little points that stick out when you wear the hat.

Scary looking, isn't it? Reminds me of Edward Scissorhands, tatty and unfinished. Frou Frou cardigan (from Stitch n Bitch Happy Hooker) turned out too narrow in the back (and I checked the gauge, goddamn it!). I've made so many adjustments, the pattern will be useless until I get to the trim. Plan to rip out a few inches at the bottom to make it shorter. But the way it's hanging so unevenly perturbs me.

It's fun design the garment as I go and watch how the fabric behaves. See how the grain of the fabric slants in the front? Happens purely from the way it lays across the chest, as the torso narrows towards the waist. Now I think I can design a bolero jacket using the same stituch pattern.

Oh, and I took up handknitting again. Spent a couple of hours browsing through Knitter's Review and Knitty. Options, options!