Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Charitable Trust?

Hooray!  I finished a quilt!



Shortly after I truly got into quilting, a little over a year ago, I started playing with some simple ten-inch squares Sonja gave me.  I cut them into five-inch squares with a quick slice through the middle twice, and began stitching them together into strips.  I had thought I might do a stitch-and-flip with batting and backing in place, an easy way to quilt.

I got sidetracked by other projects, but recently returned to this one, and finished, though I didn't do the stitch and flip after all, just sewed the top together as usual, then pinned the quilt sandwich, using a little backing material and batting that had been donated to a local charity group.

They are such a trusting group of women, they let me walk away with tons of fabric, and I keep promising I really will make quilts with it all and bring it back.  I'm just slow!

They are very patient with me; this is only the second one I have finished for them.  But I'm working on more!  Really!
I admit, this quilt would probably look and last better with borders on it, but I REALLY wanted to finish one of my UFOs, and I didn't have any more of the fabric for the top, and I could've found something that would've worked, but I just ran out of steam.


So here is the finished product, only about a year after I started it, baby-sized, small and sweet.  Note, it does have binding, you can see it on the left side of this last picture, and you can see a bit of the backing folded over there as well.

It is now aimed for the door and someone in need at a local hospital, as soon as I get a chance to pass it on to the trusting charity group.

Thanks to all who give me fabric and such--I get to play and have fun, improve my skills, then pay it forward.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Still Spinning

Somehow, between knitting and crocheting and designing patterns, quilting, working, and teaching, every now and then I sit down for half an hour or so of spinning.


This has been my spinning project for over a year, because I don't spin for long sessions these days, and because I bought every bit of this color that they had at Loop and Leaf--a full pound of 85% merino and 15% silk, my friends.


The first plied skein hasn't been put through the wash (in the sink), or the fluff and dry cycle (on the banister) yet, so it doesn't look quite as drapey as it will.



But wait, there's more!  On the Big Mama wheel:

Partially plied, with some waiting in the wings.









But wait, there's more:




















Lots more!


When I'm done, I hope to have enough to make a shawl.  Perfect for those cool California evenings with the moon rising among the palms.





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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Free Recipe: Baby Cabbages à la Yum!

Every now and then, someone walks into the local yarn shop looking for a "recipe" for a sweater or a scarf, for example.  We've all called a pattern "a recipe" at one time or another, I think.  Giggles shared, we move on to the project at hand.

But today, I want to share an actual recipe for actual food.  It probably has a good dose of the kind of fiber that's good to eat.  Let alone being cruciferous and all.  So good for you.  And yes, you guessed it, the "baby cabbages" are Brussels sprouts.

I used to just trim them, steam them with garlic and dill weed, and eat them with brown rice and maybe a little olive oil.  But the other day, I wanted to cook them without having to wash the dreaded extra dishes that would entail.  Don't I have enough to do without having to wash the dang steamer and another dang pot?  Dang right I do!

Oven roasting to the rescue!

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BABY CABBAGES À LA YUM!

Line a 9x9 inch roasting pan with heavy duty foil or two layers of regular foil.  The two layers are so the foil won't tear when tossing ingredients together.  That's right, everything's going right into the pan.  No extra bowl to wash!

Yummy hint:  use grapeseed oil because you can heat it up higher than a lot of other oils, including olive, without setting off the smoke alarm.  Trust me on this; the last time I baked salmon with olive oil, the smoke alarm decided I was burning the building down.  The sudden heart-pounding and adrenaline racing through my system was not good for my digestion.  Besides, grapeseed oil has a nutty flavor that really jazzes up a sprout, so I like it better than olive oil in this "pattern" anyway.

INGREDIENTS
A couple dozen Brussels sprouts.  (A few handfuls from the Farmers Market, perhaps?)
Grapeseed oil
1 or 2 medium/large red potatoes  (I like using the red here for the color, too.)
Minced dried garlic (unless you have fresh; go wild!)
Dill weed (dry, fresh, what do you have on hand?  Use it!)
Black pepper
Dried minced lemon rind (haven't tried fresh here, it's probably fabulous!)
A miniscule amount of salt for those of us who are watching our sodium intake

DIRECTIONS
Rinse the sprouts, trim the stems and cut the sprouts in half.  Peel and throw away any bruised leaves.

Toss the sprout halves into the foil-lined pan.  Drizzle grapeseed oil over the sprouts.

Dice the potatoes and throw them on top of the sprouts.

Now might be a good time to turn the oven on to 400 degrees.

Back to the sprouts:  sprinkle liberally (not conservatively) with garlic and dill weed.  Grind some fresh black pepper on top.  Go ahead, grind a little more, what could it hurt?

Add a dash of lemon rind.  Maybe two dashes.  Add a pinch of salt, and stir everything up with a plastic spatula or wooden spoon, or something that won't tear the wonderful, labor-saving foil.  Everything should be lightly coated with oil.  If not, add more oil and toss.

Place the pan in the oven and let cook for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until sprouts and potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally so they don't stick to the foil.  They will start to brown, looking caramelized or glazed, or just roasty and good.

And just now, as I finish typing this, I remember I meant to take pictures of the entire process of cooking this recipe to post on the blog, and instead I threw the recipe together and ate every bit, last night and tonight for dinner, it's all gone, there are no pictures, and the first time I made it, I didn't know it was going to be so tasty, so no pictures then, of course, and so... when I make this again, I will try try TRY to remember to take photos.

Instead, for now, I offer this amusing link with a fine picture of Brussels sprouts growing, and other interesting food facts and pics.

This happens every time I teach, too.  I mean to take photos of everyone having a good time (or at least pretending to!), and then I forget.  How embarrassing.

Oh, well, enjoy your sprouts!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

New Pattern: Starflower Square

I had lots of fun designing this one and playing with different yarns to see how the square would turn out.  Check out the pattern at YIYO Designs.



The orange and purple Starflower is made with Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, one of my favorite sport weight yarns, using a 3.5 mm hook.  People sometimes want to know what size hook to use, but since everyone's gauge varies slightly, you just need to experiment and find the size that makes a fabric you like.

The pastel version of the Starflower Square is made with worsted weight Berroco 100% Merino yarn--a discontinued yarn, alas, but one I have stashed with wild abandon in a variety of colors.  I have tons of it, and I have lots of plans for that yarn.  (Insert maniacal laugh here.)

Anyway, with this yarn, I used a 4.5 mm hook, which falls between a standard G and an H.  It's a G and a half, if you will, and not all hook manufacturers make them.  Mine is one of those metal tipped/plastic handled ones, and the manufacturer may have been... Inox?  Ka?  I can't remember.

This blue and yellow square is made with Tahki Cotton Classic.  Yes, I'm still bravely using up my Cotton Classic stash.  It is dwindling, but slowly.  This yarn seemed to want me to use a 4 mm hook, i.e., a classic G.

Just in case you haven't read this elsewhere on my blog, I am usually a loose crocheter--take that as you will--and you may want to go up a size if you're... normal.  Not average, we're all above average, just like all the children at Lake Woebegon.

Okay, let's say, if you're usually on gauge with the hook size recommended on the yarn label.

I like that.  I think we could use that phrase for lots of things.

"How are you today?"
"On gauge, thank you.  Can't complain."
"How is that proposal coming?"
"Right on gauge, boss."
"How are things with your boyfriend?"
"On gauge.  We got engaged."
And so on.

I think it could signify calm.  So, here's hoping your holidays are on gauge.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Waiter, There's a Cat in My Potholder

Recently, I took a potholder-making class.  (Check out one tutorial for the pattern we used here.)

I was hoping to be enthralled with making potholders.  "What a great way to use up fabric quickly!  I could make a ton of these and sell them in my Etsy shop!" I thought.

Turns out, it's not really my thing.  I'd rather be quilting.  But I enjoyed the class, hanging out with friends, creating, and learning something new.

I used one of the many cat-themed fabrics and other remnants Sonja gave me last year.




The clever construction of the potholder still left something to be desired in the way it was finished.  Our teacher chose to sew all the pockets or flaps down with a zigzag stitch, and my friend Elisa zigzagged hers and it looked great.

Mine, however, was atrocious.  I blame it on the fact that I only had my otherwise wonderful Janome Gem with me, and my zigzag selection was severely limited.  (It can't be my amateur sewing skills!)

I got out the seam ripper, made mincemeat of the zigzags, then cut out one of my favorite cats from an extra bit of fabric, sewed it onto some fusible web, turned it inside out, pressed it on with the iron, and appliquéd it by hand with blanket stitch, since I didn't want any stitching to show on the back and mess with the charming cat motif.

I had thought this might make a good gift for someone, but it's so darn cute, I think I have to keep it!

It's sitting on the kitchen counter now, all ready for Thanksgiving.

Have a happy one, everyone!






Friday, November 22, 2013

Hot Cocoa Mo' Blues

I wish I had looked more closely at what I was knitting every row or two or three.

I thought I was moving along swimmingly, knitting those three different stitch patterns per row, with the decreases and the increases and the knitting into the back loop sometimes and sometimes not, and the purling into the back loop sometimes and sometimes not, and the twisting of stitches and wrapping the yarn clockwise instead of counter-clockwise, and the what-all and the what-not and the what-on-earth-for, keeping track of everything ever so beautifully, only to hold up the sweater back after the armhole shaping last night, and realize, I got off track in two different places, for three or four rows, TWENTY OR THIRTY rows earlier.  Days and days ago.

It doesn't look good.



I encourage people to resist frogging unless absolutely necessary.  Call small errors a design element, and move on.  Live and learn.  It's all practice, right?

I kept looking at it, wishing it didn't look as bad as it did.

"Breathe," I told myself, trying not to despair.

But note how the simple rib in the center section suddenly goes flat.  It looks like someone pulled a thread out of some cloth.






Note how, on the side, the diagonal suddenly stops, as if it has hiccuped or burped, then continues to diagonalize.

Having read other knitters' notes on Ravelry, I know it isn't just me finding this pattern surprisingly challenging, but still, it chafes to make mistakes like this.

I was strongly considering how I might go stitch by stitch down to the Disaster Areas and redo the stitches one by one without ripping out all the rows, but given the fact that some stitches are meant to be twisted and some are not, I could easily make things even worse.

I set the sweater aside--moments of sense and sensibility do occur, I didn't try to fix it at 10 p.m.  I congratulate myself for that at least!

I went to sleep, and then this morning I spread the sweater out to see if those errors really were as bad as I thought after a good night's rest.

Do they bother me still?  Yes.

Do I want to rip it out?  No.

Do I want to wear this sweater with two glaring messes in the back?  After all the work I am putting into this *!#$% thing?  No.

These mistakes don't look like a design element.  They look like crap.

So, I will be spending part of this evening carefully frogging and keeping track of what row I am on, since practically every *!#$% row is different.

"It's the journey, not the destination," I mutter unconvincingly to myself.  "Process, not outcome, progress, not perfection."  Sure, sure--blah blah blah!

I am developing a love-hate relationship with this pattern.  Love the way the stitches look, hate how easy it is to screw it up.  I was hoping to wear this sweater at least once this winter!  Looks like it might be ready in time for November 2014.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Free Pattern: It's Not TV, It's Cable Scarf

This is a basic "mock cable" pattern (hence the name of the scarf).  Plus, it's such an easy pattern, I can watch TV while I knit, with no frogging.  It's one of those versatile stitches that looks great on both men and women.


I made a long scarf for my father with this stitch a few years ago, using three skeins of delectable Plymouth Alpaca Grande.  Two skeins would have been plenty!  Between the alpaca and this cozy stitch, the scarf is so long and warm, he can only wear it when the temperature goes into the low teens in winter.

This does actually happen where he lives now and then, so the scarf doesn't have to stay in the closet all the time.  So sad to think of that poor scarf, sitting cramped in the closet among the heavy coats that rarely get worn either.

But don't cry!  The scarf pictured here is knitted more sensibly out of worsted weight wool.  This is actually some of my handspun, and it was lots of fun to knit with it!

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IT'S NOT TV, IT'S CABLE SCARF


© 2013 Reyna Thera Lorele
www.etsy.com/shop/YIYOdesigns
www.yarninyarnout.blogspot.com
Ravelry: captainhook

The pattern is a multiple of 5 sts plus 2.

MATERIALS
For chunky yarn, 200 yds or so should be enough, with size 10.5 needles.
For worsted weight, I used about 270 yds and size 7 needles.

DIRECTIONS
For chunky yarn, CO 27 sts.
For worsted weight, CO 32 sts.

Row 1 (RS):  p2, *sl 1 as if to knit, k2, psso, p2*, rep from * to * across.
Row 2:  k2, *p1, yo, p1, k2*, rep from * to * across.
Row 3:  p2, *k3, p2*, rep from * to * across.
Row 4:  k2, *p3, k2*, rep from * to * across.

Repeat these 4 rows until the scarf is the length you want, or you run out of yarn, or both.

ABBREVIATIONS
CO = cast on
k = knit
p = purl
psso = pass slipped stitch over
sl = slip
st, sts = stitch, stitches
yo = yarn over




If you like this pattern you might also like this free pattern:  Able Cable Cowl











or these inexpensive patterns:
Christina Cowl
Milan Lace Scarf

Christina Cowl

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Free Pattern: Big Guy Beanie

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A recent commission for a hat had me searching for a simple pattern that would work with my gauge using Noro Obi yarn.  It's a blend of wool, silk, and a small amount of mohair, fairly pleasant to work with as there isn't enough mohair to shed all over the place.  It is a thick-thin yarn, i.e. in some places it is thicker than others.

Noro usually gives a range of recommended needle sizes for all their yarns, which is probably more sensible than just saying one size as most yarns do, since everyone knits with a slightly different tension.  Some of us are looser than others.  Not sure what that says about personalities: there doesn't seem to be a correlation between uptight or anxious and a tight knitting gauge, but I don't think this has been scientifically studied!

Still, it's annoying when the range of needle sizes is given as #8 to #10.  Is it worsted weight or is it bulky?  You decide!

I went for a #9, did the dreaded gauge swatch, and came up with a stitch gauge of 3.5 per inch.  I liked the way the resulting fabric looked.  Onward to knitting the hat.

I was hoping to find a free pattern that had already done the math for me, but when that failed, I came up with my own.  You could adapt this for a smaller head, but if you decide to cast on fewer stitches, do it in multiples of 4 since you are starting with a 2 x 2 rib.  You could use a smaller needle instead, or in addition.  Then you might not want to knit 8.5 inches from the cast-on edge.  You might go 7.5 or 8.  But you still have to get that hat to cover the crown of the head!  Sometimes you just have to do the math!

This pattern is for a large size hat, hence the name:


BIG GUY BEANIE

Materials
1 skein of Noro Obi yarn (or about 125 yards chunky yarn)
#10 needles, 16-inch circular, or size to get gauge
#10 dpns, set of 5
Stitch marker
Tapestry needle

Gauge
3.5 = 1 inch in stockinette


DIRECTIONS
CO 76 sts, place marker on R needle, and join.

Begin K2, P2 rib every row until you have about 3 inches (about 16 rows or so) from CO edge.

K one row.

K2, P2 rib for another inch.

Change to stockinette st, i.e., k every rnd until hat measures 8.5 inches from CO edge.

Transfer sts evenly to dpns now, or a little later, as you decrease to fewer total sts.
Begin decreases as follows:
Rnd 1:  k8, k2tog around (you will have a few sts extra at the end of the rnd, just k them.
Rnd 2 and all even rnds: k
Rnd 3:  k7, k2tog around
Rnd 5:  k6, k2tog around
Rnd 7:  k5, k2tog around
Rnd 9:  k4, k2tog around
Rnd 11:  k3, k2tog around
Rnd 12:  K2, k2tog around
Rnd 13:  K1, k2tog around
Rnd: 14:  k2tog around

Cut yarn, leaving around 6 to 8 inches of a tail.  Using a tapestry needle, weave tail through remaining sts on dpns, then remove dpns.  Pull yarn to tighten, poke needle through top of hat, turn hat inside out and weave in ends.  Turn hat right side out again, fold up the cuff and you're done!

ABBREVIATIONS
CO = cast on
dpn(s) = double pointed needle(s)
k = knit
k2tog = knit 2 together
p = purl
rnd = round
R = right
st, sts = stitch, stitches


Feel free to contact me with questions or comments!


© 2013 Reyna Thera Lorele
YIYO Designs

Monday, October 14, 2013

A Christmas Cowl

A couple of years ago, I was singing a capella with The Nashville Belles (you can read about one of our adventures and the power of a pair of fingerless gloves below), when our fearless leader, Christina, mentioned she was about to go on a trip to Sweden.  It was winter, near the holidays, and Christina was well aware that it was going to be VERY COLD in Sweden.

Modelled by Lauren



I had some lovely yarn, Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande Handpaint, that I thought would make a nice cowl for Christina, warm but not as floppy and potentially intrusive as a scarf might be, especially when traveling many hours overseas with a tiny baby in tow.


The blue/variegated cowl is the one I gave to Christina; it's a somewhat fuzzy photo, but that's all I have of that one.




I like the pattern so much, I have made several more with various kinds of chunky yarn.

The fiery-colored one above is also Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande Handpaint, the blue self-striping one is James C. Brett Marble Chunky, and the white one is Berroco Comfort Chunky.



It is really fun to knit, super easy and fast using chunky yarn, and with the holidays coming up once again, I thought it would be great choice for knitters who want to churn out some gifts quickly.  So I decided to write down the pattern and make it available in my Etsy shop here.

I call it the Christina Cowl after our wonderful conductor and singer, and also because I have another dear friend named Christina;  the name has good associations.






So that's the cowl, and read on to learn more about one of its namesakes.








A DICKENS OF A CHRISTMAS

I didn’t want to be the one to say it was too cold to go.  So the wind chill brought the temperature down to eleven degrees; so what?

“It’ll be an adventure,” Mom said.

Our a capella group was performing Christmas carols to raise money for charity.  We were booked throughout December at the usual retirement homes, the public library, and the like.

The gig in Franklin, Tennessee was called “Dickens of a Christmas,” an annual outdoor festival offering carriage rides, chestnuts roasting, and other Dickensian treats.  Everyone was encouraged to dress as a character from Dickens.

Our group, however, was singing jazzy arrangements of old standards like Jingle Bell Rock, for example, rather than, say, Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.  No glorias and allelujahs this year, and nothing remotely Victorian.  I could just picture Tiny Tim on his crutches, rock, rock, rockin’ ’round the Christmas tree.  Why not?  It would be an adventure.

We didn’t even know we had the gig until the last minute.  A flurry of e-mails ensued.  In the rush to get our group listed, the organizer billed us as the Hip Dickens Carolers instead of our actual name, the Nashville Belles.

The billing confused one of our sopranos at first; she thought we were replacing another group.

“Then we could be the Hip Replacement Carolers,” she said.  There were certainly enough of us in the grey-haired department to qualify.

Meanwhile, the snow was falling, the temperature was dropping, the wind was rising, and I kept hoping someone somewhere would please, please cancel.

Instead, my ride came early.  One of our first altos,  Leslie, had pressed her husband and their snow-worthy, gas-guzzling, heavyweight SUV into service.

Everyone’s Prii (the plural of “Prius”) got left at home.  There’s a time to go green, and there’s a time not to slide off an ice-covered road in an ecologically sound heap.

Leslie and her hubby picked up my mom first and then came to get me.  On the way to Franklin, Leslie kept offering Mom a hat, and Mom kept saying, “No, no, I look terrible in hats.”

“It’s awfully cold out there,” the rest of us said.

“There’s the wind chill factor,” we said.

“When the snow is falling practically parallel to the ground,” I said, pointing out the window, “you know there’s a bit of a breeze.”

Mom relented and pulled on the black knit cap Leslie handed her.  I started giggling, more from the martyred look on Mom’s face than the stylishness, or lack thereof, of the hat.

“I think you look cute!” Leslie chimed.

“See?  That’s a real friend,” Mom said.

In her swirling black cape-like coat and black skullcap, Mom looked like a Dickensian prelate.  Perfect!  On Dasher, on Dancer, on Gas-Guzzler....

We arrived early and waited in the car, watching occasional passersby struggle through the snow and wind.

“She looks cold,” one of us would point out.

“Yes, she does,” the rest of us would agree.

Pause.

“He looks really cold.”

“He certainly does.”

Pause.

“They look absolutely frigid.”

But we couldn’t put it off any longer.  We tumbled out of the SUV, me with my bad back, Mom with her aching knee, and we trudged out into the parallel snow.

The outdoor stage was built from metal poles, with black plastic sheeting hinting at what we all wished would have been walls and a ceiling.  Several men were sweeping snow off the stage.  (Yes, snow on the stage.  You read that right.)  The men kindly sent us over to City Hall to wait in the lobby for the rest our troupe to gather.

Then it was our cue.

“Once more into the breach,” Mom and I Shakespeared at each other as we trudged out into the gale again.  (The actual quote is ‘Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; or close the wall up with our English dead.’)

I had fingerless gloves, not in deference to Dickens, but just so I could turn the pages of my music and still have something resembling wool on my hands.  I held my notebook with one hand and jammed my free hand into a pocket before it turned blue.  Others were not so lucky.  I felt sorry for them, with their pale little frozen fingers clutching at their notebooks, their little palms practically frozen to the binders.

“Oh, the weather outside is frightful,” we sang.

Christina, our leader, was conducting.  Most people need two hands for this, but not Christina.  She corralled the pages of her music, which were flapping in the wind, with one hand, and she conducted with the other, and she was singing soprano through it all.

The black plastic sheeting around the stage snapped and billowed, a syncopated drumbeat to “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.”

Christmas standards are mighty big on snow.

Our audience was small but enthusiastic, clapping wildly (no doubt trying to get warm) and cheering after each song.  We were all so proud of ourselves for simply showing up, performers and listeners alike.  Plus, this being one of the few gigs where we got paid, we made three hundred dollars for the Tennessee Respite Coalition.

We sang well--and quickly!  “The Marriage of Figaro” was never doo-bah-doo-bah-done so fast!

Then we trudged back to the car and inched our way home, circling the long way around to avoid cars already piling up, stalled on steep hills, unable to get traction.

Mom was right, it was an adventure, and actually, a ton of fun.  But when several of our members, including Mom, came down with colds the following week, Mom said, “Never again, not when it’s that cold.”

But she has sung the national anthem in 110 degree heat to open a baseball game and, afterwards, she barely even looked wilted.

Me, I can't take the heat.  Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.










© 2011 Reyna Thera Lorele



Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Hot Cocoa Blues

Actually, I'm not blue.  I worked it out.  But here's a story for all you collectors of UFOs, you wild and woolly wool-stashers and sufferers of start-itis.

The pattern is Hot Cocoa, designed by Jordana Paige, appearing in the More Big Girl Knits book, and it is a great-looking, class act sweater.  In the pictures in the book, anyway.



However, let's say that along about, oh, maybe January 2011, you grab the gorgeous Ballad Blue Rowan Cashsoft DK that you stashed in, let's say, March 2010, and you knit 27 rows of this sweater, which has 3 different stitch patterns per row, with a 6-row repeat, with decreases on every 5th row that affects where you start with the first stitch pattern on all right side rows, with an extra stockinette stitch on either end of every row.



Let's say you dutifully keep track of exactly where you are in the pattern using highlighter tape and the best knitting row counter in the world (which, alas, they no longer manufacture).


Then let's say you put the project away as a UFO for TWO YEARS.

It sits there in one of your project bags for TWO YEARS, carefully covered with a clear plastic bag to keep out the dust and spiders, and every month or two it whispers, "Remember me?" and you ignore it.  And the longer you wait, the longer you think it's too complicated to deal with because you are overwhelmed with, say, moving, and the more complicated you imagine it is, the more afraid you become.

And then there's that glorious moment where you realize, "That pattern ain't the boss of me!  I am the Yarnmaster!  I ain't afraid o' no patterns!  I have a degree in Russian Language, for heaven's sake!  I can figure out any pattern that comes down the pike!  And besides, I'm all unpacked.  My brain functioning is returning to something resembling normal.  Whatever's normal for me, anyway."

So you pick it up again and dutifully read the directions, even taking your time, studying and pondering, and you say, "Aha!  I've got it!" and you gleefully start knitting and then you realize you forgot to start at a different point in the first stitch pattern because of the decreases, so you frog a few rows, no biggie, and start again, remembering to count backwards from the first stitch marker so you know how many stitches you have and therefore, where to start in the pattern, and you knit a dozen or so rows, and then you realize you're supposed to decrease on row 5 of the pattern instead of row 1.  So you take a deep breath and... well, let me put it this way:

I have decided that yarn is squishy, stretching and forgiving, and the fact that one time, I decreased 2 rows later than the pattern instructs will be FINE.  It might even be BETTER.  Will I do the same thing when I do the front panels?  I doubt it.  I will finesse it.  I will fix it.  I will make it work.

Despite my procrastination and minor frogging, this is a super fun sweater pattern, and assuming I am making the right size, which is debatable because it's likely this size will be too small and the next size up would have been too big, it will be FINE because I can always add a side panel between the back and the front.  I've done that before.  I am a Sidepanelmaster as well.

So, just a friendly word, speaking from recent experience, about setting aside those UFOs for too long: yes, it takes time to pick up where you left off.  Mistakes may happen.

But do not be afraid.  Do not be very afraid.  Just pick it up and start again; it will come back to you.  And never frog unless absolutely necessary!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

New Pattern: Granny Cap Granny Square

Presenting the Granny Cap Granny Square, now starring in the new Granny Paints the Town blanket.



The pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!

This square evolved when I was doing squares for the yarn bombing in L.A.  I wanted to do something a little different from a basic granny.

I first did a couple of them in white, and they looked like those old-fashioned, ruffled granny caps.

The yarn bombers wanted certain colors for their project, white included, but once I was done making squares for them,  I branched out, color-wise.




I had a ton of Tahki Cotton Classic in dozens of colors left over from other projects, most notably Debby Ware's wonderful Cupcake Hat.

I've knitted many of those; they are great baby shower gifts, and for charities, I imagine they brighten the day for someone going through a tough time.


Pictured here are just a few of the many I've made.  They are really fun!

So, anyway, LOTS of Tahki Cotton Classic lying around, waiting for the right project.


I planned to join the Granny Cap Squares into a blanket, though the cotton makes them a bit heavy for any but the smallest blanket.  I toyed with a scarf idea, but it just wouldn't have been as gloriously cheerful, and besides, making these squares gets kind of addictive.

I just kept going.


I had so many great colors!  I was tossing them together like mad, making no two squares alike.

Even the bears started tossing squares around.

And of course, I started running out of yellow, and I needed yellow to keep things light and cheerful.  Then to join them all together, I needed 5 skeins of black.

So I went shopping.







To give the blanket a truly finished look, I did a black border for each square.

Then began joining, crocheting a lacy border, and our favorite, the weaving in of many yarn tails.

I do the weaving in as I go along, but there were so many!



Now it's done and ready for the bears:



If you like this pattern, you might also like the River's Edge Ripple crochet blanket or the Dancing Diamonds crochet blanket.