Friday, January 23, 2009

I love socks so I am sharing some with you.

Forgive the picture, I never could take a decent snapshot on purpose. I'm not really sharing MY socks. Make your own. Now let's get this started!

Hi, I'm Melanie and I love socks. Really, really, love socks. I also love to crochet. I spend any extra time I have crocheting. I neglect housework and relationships for it. Well... I don't neglect relationships, but it does put a little strain on my marriage when I haul out the hook and yarn in public or make him pretend he's interested in my current WIP. Or when I crochet while visiting family. Or when I respond to a request with "just one more row". Or when I give him the "just a moment" finger because I am counting my stitches.
Nothing makes me as a mom feel smarter than when my DH stops the child who is attempting to speak to me while crocheting, "SHH! Don't talk to Mommy right now, she's trying to count."
Trying? As though this is an attempt and could fail?
Oh, wait, I was on a particular mission with this blog entry. Where was I? SOCKS!

Sadly, crochet socks don't work so well. Not that they look bad, but let's face it - even a die hard hooker such as myself has to admit socks are better in knit.
Did I mention I suck at knitting.
I mean, I can knit if I need to, but I am not good enough that people ask me "WHERE did you buy that darling ----? I simply have to have one!"
It's more like "how sweet, did you make it yourself? Don't give up, it took me years."
But since I love socks and crochet SO much, I never quit looking for a way the two can be together. Crochet does a much better job of slippers and baby booties or shoes. My children all have been forced to wear adorable crochet shoes since birth, I have too many pairs of slippers, and I give them as gifts often. Back to the perfect crochet socks... while I don't believe I have found it yet, these instructions come pretty close. It didn't take long to make and it's awfully straightforward and simple. I would say not beginner simple, but anyone who can single crochet, get a proper gauge and measure their feet can do it.
I don't call it a pattern because there are no row by row steps to follow but rather it gives you instructions on making a custom fit, toe up sock with an adorable afterthought heel (I love the finished look of this heel method compared to a turned heel) and is perfect if someone has special sock need such as two different sized or shaped feet, larger feet, thick ankles, or health reasons such as diabetes. It's also a great project to mess with color and pattern variations. Very customizable.
Even cooler- if you use a DK or fingering weight yarn, this will turn out to be a sock you can wear with your shoes.
No, REALLY! I made mine in WW acrylic (like I wanted to risk my sock wool on an untried project!) and I was very pleased. Tad too much for my sneakers, but it would be great if it were baby yarn.
Attempting this sock would require basic knowledge of crochet such as chain, single crochet, and increase/decrease as well as a couple of intermediate such as gauge, working in the round and attaching yarn as well as proper measuring skills for a custom fit.
I suggest you try this sock, it's a good one.
Toe up Crocheted Socks at Grafton Fibers.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Snake and The Stain

My oldest son requested a snake a long time ago and I never seemed to have the time til today. He's really rather non agressive and if you flip him on his back he looks dead. Mick really loves that about him.

Last night I finished my youngest son's soaker. I was going to sew one but found my machine broken, again. Since we can't get it fixed til the tax return gets here and the boy had outgrown his other covers, I decided to make it from yarn. I knit this time even though I normally crochet, because I wanted it to be thinner, smoother and take less yarn. I love the colors, blue and green are so good together. So what if they aren't the average blue or green, they look pretty to me.
I felt compelled to try duplicate stitch for the first time, too. I've wanted to learn it since it became clear that I sucked beyond saving when trying intarsia.
I'm not too good at duplicating yet, but I have the feeling I'll get better.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Reunited and it feels so good

I found it!!!! I found my camera. I was so lost without it and I couldn't bear to replace it when I knew I would find it the moment the money was spent and the deed was done. Even with a hinky battery cover, borrowed card, and drooled on lens I love my little shiny red camera. We're meant to be together.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Pause for a random announcement

Someone IRL recognized my online store name!!!! It was totally awesome, I felt like whooping and hollering, but I would have scared her.

Thank you. You may now go back to your regularly scheduled surfing.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Piggy Paints

A friend of mine on a mothering forum, SweetPeace, told me about a friends of hers who was starting a review blog. I checked it out as a favor to her, but I quickly came to love this blog. She has some of the COOLEST stuff! The latest was Piggy Paints, a non toxic, odorless, water based, hypoallergenic finger nail polish. It comes in the best colors (I've never been very average or subdued in my choice of polish colors and her stuff is right up my alley) and is safe for little kids who put their fingers in their mouths.
Not only do I love it for those reasons, but for education ones as well. How is nail polish education you say? Fine motor skill practice, coordination, color recognition and depending on the age of the child, it's a very effective example of being able to enjoy the girly fun of nail painting without having to use toxic and unnatural products.
I have 6 nieces and I know they and their moms would love this stuff. I plan on getting some.... for them, too.
This one is my current favorite gift set. I love the colors.
Dandelion Dance is a rich golden yellow, Dragon Tears is a delicate pale green, and Glass Slipper is a soft creamy white color. I love them.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sewing Machine Saga

This year, my DH has promised we can use part of the tax return to fix one of my sewing machines. Yes, ONE of them.Here is the saga of my sewing machines...

I had a Singer my dad found in a dumpster at work one day and hauled out, had it cleaned and repaired and then gave to me as a surprise. It was bulky and square-ish and a yellowed avacado green, but it was all mine. It was literally one of the sweetest things I think he ever did. It stopped working, I have no idea why. Knowing this, my MIL bought me a nice Brother sewing machine. This one was white. It wasn't her fault that the model she bought had a common fault with the machinery and broke 7 months into owning it. It costs nearly as much to get it fixed as to buy a new one and we were totally broke so that one stayed broken. On a Black Friday sale the year after that, my DH found a VERY basic Kenmore machine in a pretty light blue color (doesn't even have left/center/right stitching option)to get me by til we could afford to fix one of my better machines.
That Kenmore is now 4 years old and has been through a series of unfortunate events, including grape juice in the inner workings, being dropped, not once, but twice, and the cord to the pedal being cut by a curious child (was unplugged). Little survivor that it was, it made it through all that. It's final insult was inflicted sometime in the last two months. I was so busy with hooks and needles and yarn that I ignored it. Last night I tried to make curtains for my kitchen windows only to find that the kids have broken and lost the spool holder. When I finally bid it farewell, it will be with bittersweet feelings. Sad to have lost such a little trooper, but glad that it's life of being overworked and abused is past.

I ended up basting a loop on a piece of fabric to slide the curtain rod through and left it all ragged and uneven. It's awful, but I really needed the curtains up for privacy's sake. I plan to take them down and do the job properly once I have my machine fixed.
I have a project list that is growing by the minute now. The baby needs more diaper covers (knitting in the meantime) I want to make some soft shoes, a couple of headbands for me, a skirt, and some lounge pants.

My crochet hook is resting for the moment while I knit a Tiny Birds soaker for my littlest man. I love that pattern, it fits him so well. After that, my oldest boy has requested a snake 15 inches long. "Made with the two, not the one" which I can only assume means knit, not crochet. He also specified that it be 8 inches wide, but I have talked him out of that. What a grotesque critter that would be!
My hands are full for the near future since he has also asked for a cat pillow (Thanks Krys, I'm sure I'll lose a finger this time) cupcakes, cookies, more cookies and a snuggie. Sewn, of course. LMAO. A yarn snuggie. Ridiculous.

I'll also be getting a replacement camera if mine doesn't appear soon... that will make my posts here much prettier, I think. Don't you?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

What happened to Mary Jane?

I have never felted anything, so this week I thought to myself "what a good project to try out!" OK, so I never purposely felted anything. I once felted a med-small diaper cover on accident (how was I to know it was in the laundry hamper?) and had to sell it as a doll cover. It was a sad time.
I used Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride worsted in country blue to make a pair of Mary Jane style slippers. They were super easy to work up, but the felting is proving harder. They are now a pretty light color that is nearer teal than country blue, my wash water is murky like a pool in a 50's movie and the slippers keep felting at different rates. Thank goodness I took it to heart when I was told to check every couple of minutes.

I wish I had my camera for this, but since I don't, you'll have to take my word for it til I a)find said camera or b)break down and use my crappy cell phone.
It took about 4 hours to make the slippers and it's been one hour of felting to get it down to size. I plan to add a crocheted flower to the strap later, once it's dried. Why? Because the pattern has flowers on it and darn it, they would look cute. Yeah, you heard me, I want them to be CUTE. I'll be making another pain ion acrylic for the fun of it and if it works well, I might make a couple as gifts.