Monday, April 27, 2009

The Purple Yarn First

I debated which of my stash of recycled wool would be the first to become something. I decided on the navy blue wool, but after about 15 starts and stops I realized I had to squint to see the stitches and I was never happy with the gauge. In an attempt to keep the wool from weakening with overuse, I contemplated the other yarns and my eyes kept coming back to the purple. Mmm, a lovely dark, yet vibrant shade.
I started on it last night and I believe it's trying to become a skirt... or the bottom to a tank top. I'm not too sure but it's working up nicely. I'll add pics later when it's a little more recognizable.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Finally, pictures

~NOTE~ PLEASE click on the individual pictures to see the whole thing.
I shared a picture of my first finished "Nanny 'ghan" with my friends on Granola Chicks, but I don't remember if I shared that here as well. It took me longer to make that one with all it's panels and several different stitches to jump back and forth between. It's heavy and thick and slightly smaller. The fringe was real work, let me tell you! Instead of using the pictures I already took, I snapped a couple this morning.... ok, so they are on the same couch in front of the same window. But they really are new pics. Cross my heart! Both of these throws/afghans/blankets are actually big enough to cover most of a twin bed, from the foot to the pillow. I can actually wrap one around myself and be covered from shoulder to toe and front to back... and I'm not petite.
Here's the finished Aran Cables afghan, from two different angles as well as a little closer in for some detail of the stitches and fringe.

Though the Aran turned out beautiful, it was also an intense afghan and my sore fingers and the boredom of the same panels over and over made me want something very different. My options were limited since a) it needed to be approximately the same dimensions as the Aran and b)I only had one color to work with.
That leaves texture as the arena for creativity. It took a few abortive attempts before I found something that felt right, a center rectangle of flowers in filet crochet. I then edged it with single crochet and a panel of V-and-Cross stitch on both long sides.of course, it looked lopsided so I had to add something to the short edges, but it needed to be visibly different... hmm... ah HA! Offset shells. PERFECT.

Once that was accomplished, I liked the dimensions and thought a good solid border of double crochet all around would define it nicely. It still needed to be more square than rectangle, what now? Too many different textures would be busy and jangled my nerves to look at, so I re-used the offset shell pattern to make panels again on the long edges, balancing out the look of the whole afghan. To bring it all together and give it a finished look, I edged it in a row of single crochet, then in a row of picot.

I love how the work graduates from very open in the center to thicker on the edges and I am pleased with how well the flowers in the filet stand out, I wasn't sure they would be easily identified when I made the center piece.

I know she'll like it, but I am hoping she'll love it. Those poor throws she's had on her couches for so many years have been well loved and often used and are in need of retirement.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Another afghan for Nanny

I figured, since she has two of the old and beaten up 'ghans that need replacing and I've only made one so far, why not do the job completely and make two? I love the one I already made, but it took a lot of of pain from my poor fingertips to make all those cables and reverse single crochets and knotted fringe. Not to mention it was heavy ... and I'm a wuss. So I needed to try something different. I'll get a picture tonight after I finish it. It came together very easily once I got the right center for it. I had tried three different patterns to start with and one of them, a dolphin jumping out of the waves, I had to try twice before I called "Uncle".
This time I found a free, pretty, filet pattern of flowers here for the center. It ended up being more of a rectangle than a square, but I added a wide edging of V-and-crossover stitch on both long sides and a slightly thinner edge in an offset shell stitch on the short sides.
I just finished two rows of double crochet all the way 'round and I am currently trying to decide what to do next. My goal is to get it roughly square and about the same size as the first afghan and I am nearly there. Yippee! I hope she likes them. i am always confident and pleased with what I've made til it comes time to give/mail it. then I get nervous and start second guessing myself. Is it really as finished as I think it is, or is my own opinion a little funky? (yes, that happens often.) Are they going to like it? Is it the right size? Will it sit in a closet unused, will it be tossed to Goodwill or given away? I love every one of my crochet creations and I make things to be used... after all, what's the point if it can't be pretty AND useful? Logically, I know it's a good blanket, both are. Emotionally, I know my Nanny and she'll love it. She might even giggle and I love her giggle, she sounds a little wicked when she does it, lol. But as a hooker, I can't help being nervous. It never changes and I've been doing it for 18 years now.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Play it again, Sam.

I took time off Melanie's Closet to move last month. There was a hold up and now... well, there is another hold up. However, since we already turned in our noticed on the 15th, we have to keep the house in condition to show. This would be hard enough, but with Mike out of commission since his back spasm and my mom not coming up til we get the keys, it leaves everything to me. The house cleaning, the packing, kids care, yard work, EVERYTHING. I'm nuts to start with and the pressure could possibly push me past simply nuts to Boobyhatch crazy. So, I will see you all when life calms down again! Til then, enjoy Spring.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

My reclaimed yarn stash so far

Not counting the green wool I reclaimed myself, this is the sum of my reclaimed yarn. I got the last one today, so now I can share a complete picture.
I got the purple, red, and tan from Spots Corner on Hyena Cart, from a woman who bought them on eBay and was dissatisfied with them one they arrived. Great deals there sometimes! The purple is a lace weight and a slightly deeper color, more concord than grape candy. Next comes the tan sock weight with a twist of a golden thread and cream tweedy bits throughout. SO soft and fuzzy, I love this yarn so much. After that is the vivid red. It really is that bright, lol. This yarn is somewhere between fingering and sport weight and I suspect it's lambswool. The dark colored yarn is a worsted weight, deep, dark, navy blue that borders on black. It has a nice plump squish to it that I adore in a wool and I found it on Yarn Again on Etsy. Last, but by no means least, there is a lovely couple of skeins of merino in fingering/sport weight. It's two shades, a plum red and an apple red twisted together and I found it on Spiny Norman Knits, also on Etsy. Oh, the things I envision making with these yarns!!
I would be happy to consider suggestion if you have any. I may reject them outright in favor of naming and snuggling them for the rest of my days. It could go either way.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

My Nanny's present has begun

A few days ago I stumbled across an ad in Craigslist Bend. 30 skeins of yarn in Aran for $1 each of $25 for all. EEEEEE! Acrylic is great for washing and the colors is exactly what I was looking for to make a couple of throws or 'ghans for my Nanny. Her old ones are falling apart, stiff and scratchy, and bad colors. I bought the yarn for less than a third of what I would have paid in a store or online. I admit, I was curious why someone would charge so little. Two reasons came to mind. Either they had no idea what it was worth, or there was something wrong with it.
It turned out to be in the original bulk-purchase plastics bags and in good condition. The seller knew what it was worth. He explanation made so much sense. She had entered a contest hoping for the cash prize and won 60 skeins of the same color. She used 30 of them before, she cheerfully told me, she simply couldn't look at it any more. She was moving, too, and wanted it OUT.
I have the first of 5 panels finished for one of the afghans. I am using the pattern Crochet Aran Afghan from Jo-Ann's. It's a PDF. It's a little more time consuming than the other pattern I plan to use but it's pretty and simple. The other i liked for her was Berroco free afghan pattern, Andalusia. Squares are always fast. I think she'll love it.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Recycled and Reclaimed

Last year during a March Madness contest I was searching for a way to recycle or reclaim something and make it into something else.. something new, better. I became intrigued with the idea and even after the contest was over, I couldn't completely stop thinking about it. I wanted to make a difference or at least lessen my personal impact and offer buyers a chance to do the same. Since my forte is crochet, I started with the fibers I use in Melanie's Closet.
I've found a handful of Etsy vendors who carry recycled and reclaimed yarn. I love the prices and Oh, some of the yarn is pretty enough that I want to reach in the screen and squish. I've got two orders coming so far, one is a lovely two-tone red merino from Spiny Norman Knits. I've discovered a deep satisfaction in working with light weight yarns, the delicacy and minute perfection of a finished item is worth the strained eyes and tender fingertips.
The second is a deep navy blue wool from Yarn Again. It's weight wasn't specified, but I am always up for a surprise. Especially a wool surprise. I suspect it's a sport or maybe worsted and I love working with those as well.
Lastly, I got such a great deal that I have to share. On Spots Corner, I found someone auctioning off 15 ounces of lace weight wool. I won it... for $5. You read correctly. Two skeins of concord purple that's oh, so soft, one of a wheat/pale brown with a smooth sheen and silky feel to it, and one more of a vivid red that I think is lambswool. The red is most certainly reclaimed as it still has the waves in it from being knit/crocheted and then frogged to make a skein once more. I'm so inspired by the idea of giving new life to once-loved yarns. I even reclaimed a sweater I found at a local thrift store. I got it for a steal, it was $4 I think and it was 50% off day. It was a pale mint color and needed some TLC to get it smelling fresh and wooly-clean. But it's a heavenly soft angora/cashmere blend and I love it.
Melanie's Closet on Hyena Cart is back open and I am so happy, but I think I could be happier when I start using mainly recycled yarns. With a few vendors on Etsy and various thrift stores in the area, I think I could really make a go of it. I'm excited to try out the yarns that are speeding to me right now and then I want to move on to some cotton and possibly silk.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Stocked and Running!

I'm SO very pleased to be up and running again. Take a look at Melanie's Closet on Hyena Cart and while you're there, peek around at some of the other shops and what they have to offer. There are so many talented crafters, you won't be disappointed.