Thursday, March 31, 2011

Crochet Projects: Glittens

These began as a Christmas request from my sister-in-law for some long-cuffed convertible glove/mittens, also called "glittens" (or perhaps mloves). I made a bold decision while wandering around Target one night, thinking to myself that I could more easily make such a pair than I could find in a store, and for cheaper too! I left Target and went to Michaels, bought the perfect color yarn, then went home hoping that a free pattern existed. I was lucky to find this pattern, which with some slight adaptations turned out to be perfect! I was not so lucky with my yarn choice, though, as the Super Bulky yarn worked up to make oven-mitt sized gloves. Not good! So as I hinted in a previous post, that yarn became other things and I bought a new yarn. After my sister-in-law was so happy with her pair (she wears them every day!), my husband and then my mom requested a pair also. I do not have a photo of my sister-in-law's pair, but I will include details of what yarn I used and what changes I made to each set of glittens.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Crochet Projects: Warm Headband

Before it gets too warm outside (and yay, spring seems to finally be around the corner!), I better share a few more of the cold-weather accessories I made this winter. This headband has already seen a lot of use- it's perfect for quick walks or longer cross-country ski trips, especially to wear with a pony tail. The back is tapered so you can move your head around without the headband slipping too much.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Crochet Projects: Simple Beret

This project was one of the first of the season. I'd been hoping to make a hat which would be easier to wear without squishing all my hair flat. After I found this bamboo yarn, Bamboospun in Sea Blue, I was so excited to start the project! This helpful video from Threadbanger taught me everything I needed to know about making the hat. I basically followed the directions closely, but ended the hat with a row of double crochet to make the hat tighter and to add an interesting edge.

The hat took about 1 1/2 skeins of the yarn, which is unbelievably soft, with enough left over to make my sister-in-law a nice cowl for her birthday! If I can get a photo of that, perhaps I'll share soon.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Photography: Cedar Waxwings

This post is quite unrelated to the other recent posts, but I am still excited to share this! As I gave up Facebook for Lent, I thought this might be an okay place to share. A few days ago, my husband discovered some Cedar Waxwings hanging out in the berry trees near our home. When I came home soon after, he turned me right around, handed me my camera, and told me I had to come see them. We've only seen these birds once before (from a distance) as they usually just pass through our area of Michigan while migrating further north. They arrive in a flock, eat all the berries, and are gone within days. Sounds a bit like a swarm of locusts, but they are SO beautiful that you can hardly hate them.

Here are a couple of my favorite photos from our photo shoot with the birds!

Knitting Projects: "Grimace" Cowl

Thanks to my husband for the nickname of this cowl. He says the color reminds him of the McDonald's purple monster character. I guess I see his point...

Knitting and I do not always get along. I find it to be much slower and more repetitive (boring?) than crocheting, but to use new techniques (different stitch patterns, changing colors, etc.) is too intimidating to me. Crocheting just one stitch at a time makes much more sense to me! Also, making a knitting mistake or dropping a stitch stresses me out because I don't know how to fix it.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Crochet Projects: Convertible Cowl

This will be the first of a few wearable winter projects, made mostly for me and mostly out of left-over yarn. Also, this is my first (embarrassing) attempt at photographing myself wearing some of them. Let's just say my husband and I had a laugh at some of the expressionless, face-on shots which now rest in my laptop's recycle bin...

Anyway, this cowl pattern is one that I adapted from Jaida Louisa's "half hour cowl". Instead of joining the beginning chain, I just crocheted one flat panel. To one end I added three buttons. That way, the cowl can be worn three different ways. There are no button holes, because the open pattern leaves more than enough space between stitches to fit the buttons. Sometimes I just wear the cowl with a long-sleeve t-shirt as an accessory. It can also be worn with a coat to keep your neck warm in the cold. And cowls are much less bulky than long scarves when worn under a coat. Great new trend!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sewing Projects: Bath Puppets

This has really been a season for homemade gifts. Between Christmas and all the surrounding family birthdays, making gifts has saved both money and frantic time spent last-minute scrounging at the store for the perfect gift. Plus, it gives me a great reason to sit around crafting without being selfish!

The most recent homemade gift was some bath puppets for our niece's first birthday in January. The idea and pattern for these puppets came from Martha Stewart's website. I got the washcloths from TJ Maxx and the felt from Hobby Lobby. I wanted a more finished look for my puppets, so I made the pattern about 1/4 inch wider on all sides, then sewed 1/4 inch seams around and flipped it right-side out. The felt noses are glued on with fabric glue, and the eyes and pig's nostrils are just small french knots of embroidery floss. The kitty I came up with, and those ears were kind of a struggle! They are a smaller version of the pig's ears.

One difficult thing about the finished product is that the cut edges (which are inside the puppet) of the washcloths leave a little fuzzy snow wherever they go. Perhaps the original method of zigzagging all the edges would've prevented that. Oh well!

Overall, I think our niece loves the puppets at bath time, although my sister-in-law says they're too cute to actually use for cleaning!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Crochet Projects: Starling Handbag

A recent project, this one combines a few things I've been wanting to do:
(1) I finally get to try out futuregirl's Starling Handbag pattern.
(2) I get to use up the leftover yarn from my husband's glittens (post on those to come).
(3) I get to try felting.
(4) I get to use my sewing machine.
(5) I get to make something for me!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Crochet Projects: Stash Basket

Another functional crochet project that I made recently is a basket to hold all my scrap yarn! I made one of these (in one solid color) for my mom for Christmas. This one is perhaps a little less attractive, but it was a great project for "busting" my stash a bit also- all of the yarns I used were really old!