Thursday, May 28, 2009

I love the Swiffer Cover, so here it is in use.

Yup, I'm gonna show you pictures of my used mop and dirty floor. Aren't you thrilled?
Here is the cover.

Sorry about the looks, it has been used to death since I made it because my kids keep fighting over it. Oh, and I can't forget the coffee-grounds-on-my kitchen-floor incident. Pick up the grounds FIRST, then mop! Sheesh, He's 6 already, do I have to tell him EVERYTHING?
Totally teasing. Just in case you took me seriously and got offended for my kids. :)

This is the linoleum on the floor just inside my back door. three kids, a husband, two dogs and this is a regular look for us.

And below is the same spot of floor just after using the Swiffer cover. It took some real scrubbing, but the cover can take it since it's cotton, not paper.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Crochet Swiffer Cover

I made a Swiffer cover as a gift for an RAK group I recently joined and I was dying to try it out myself. I have a Swiffer Wet Jet, but my conscience was poking me every time I bought a bottle of cleaner or a box of disposable Swiffer pads so it went in the closet to gather dust. I made do with my sponge mop for a while, but I really hate those things. I crocheted cotton sponges for my kitchen and use cloth rags for washing, I even use cloth for nose-wiping during a cold most times... so why did I keep using a sponge mop? I couldn't answer that myself, so I started using a spray bottle with more natural cleanser in it and a handful of terry shop rags to mop with.
When I saw the Swiffer cover I just HAD to make one... I made it a few days ago and didn't test it out til today, but now I wish I had. It's wonderful! It scrubs the spots like nothing else, it absorbs far more cleanser than the pads did keeping the floor drier and I can use less because it stays wet enough to keep cleaning.
I'm SO making a couple of these for Nanny, I think she'll love it.
I was concerned about the fit since I went by the pattern with no alterations even though the pattern wasn't made for the Wet Jet.It's great, perfect fit.

Mason's New Sleeveless Hoodie Pullover

The boy never seems to fit anything for long and the most recent growing phase left him without a suitable jacket. It's an awkward time to buy him something because I know he'll only wear it a very short time and I don't want to waste money... but I can't begin to guess what size he'll be when the cold weather comes again so I cant buy one that will be big enough to fit when he needs it.

What do I do? Crochet, of course.

This was a simple little pattern I made using the guidelines in my favorite (and very first) book, American Crochet. It's a must have for any serious crocheter. The cover is torn, the corners bent, coffee stains on a couple of pages and yet it's still the most valuable book I own for crochet. In this case, I used the chapter for making wearables.

I will post a pattern in greater detail soon, but for now a basic description will have to do.

I started at the bottom of the back and made a simple rectangle then shaped the arm holes and the back of the neck. Cut yarn, and start the front panel also at the bottom. This time I added a crocheted cable to either side and I made the front neckline a couple of rows shorter and the shoulders a couple of rows longer. Since I know he'll grow quite a bit, the joining of the sides and shoulders were done in a sc for easy undoing to add a bit of ease when he gets bigger. SC joining on the seams also allowed me to hide the ends of threads without sewing them in... simpler for the finish and much easier when sizing up.
The hood is simply made by sc around the neckline and adding a few sc in the back for shaping. A couple of rows into the hood, I decided to add cables, 1 on either side of the hood to match the cables on the front. Once the hood was the right length, I stopped at the back of the hood, half row, and turned it inside out. Holding the sides together, slip stitched a joining and made a row of sc around the facing. To further shape the hood, I decreased every third stitch for the top half of the hood.
Finishing was done by two rows of sc around the arm holes decreasing at the bottom to shape, and a row of sc around the hem. This left only 4 ends to weave in, one for the hood, one for the hem, and one each for the armholes.
Finished sleeveless hoodie is 24 inches around, 12 inches around the arm openings, 12 around the neck and a 10 inch tall hood.
It's fast and simple, I made it in a day and a half with many delays and interruptions.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ravelry is Wonderful

I know most of the people who actually read this blog (hi, mom!) are familiar with Ravelry. I love that place, but I have to admit to a shameful neglect... I used it only for the patterns. I know, I know! Bad Melanie.

As a way of making amends, I started joining more groups, slowly of course since I am not really a "join in" kind of girl, and my friend Dee from SweetPeace made it easier when she invited me to join Handmade RAK and RAKs. Yes, two groups. So far I have only sent one out - to a member of the Handmade RAK group. I made her a Swiffer cover and a coffee sleeve from her list and I loved them so much I made myself one yesterday while visiting. Visiting whom, you might ask? Good question! Smooth segue if I do say so myself.
One of the groups I joined on Ravelry was Oregon Knitters and Spinners. I have crocheted for years, but I do knit a little and though I am bad at it, I use a drop spindle that was a gift from Dee. She's great, don't you think? I owe her cookies.
I got an email after I joined the group, an invitation to come meet some of the local members, a group of three ladies who meet up in Sunriver a couple of times a week. I couldn't make the first meeting On Sunday because of Mike's return from Vegas being so late/early. I wasn't sure I would make the Tuesday meeting either because DH needs the van (only vehicle) for work. He was sweet enough to take off a little early so that I could make it to the group! Maybe I owe him cookies as well.
They were so nice, I really enjoyed spending time with them. Two of them were spinning which was so much fun to watch, and one was knitting. I felt a little out of place with crochet, but I think that was just me. I got more than half finished with my Swiffer cover while I was there and DH & the kids enjoyed wandering through the library.
I had only been in a group like that before with Mom and my Kirsten. I suppose it was nearly the same thing. They are both members of Ravelry, too, but we met in my house and brought husbands and my kids and usually stayed for coffee and dinner.
I miss you both! I wish you were here.
Back to yarny stuff... the Swiffer cover patterns* I found were for the green Swiffers. I don't know if there is a difference that matters, but mine is purple. I tried on the cover and it fits, so I think I'll try it tonight and see if it works. If it does, I'll make some for my grandmother. She loves her Swiffer, but hates how often she has to change the pads and rinses them out in the sink. LOL, yes the disposable pads. I figure this will be something she would love. She won't know what to do with herself when I give her the presents I've amassed (such as her afghans) over the months since I've seen her. I saw her in November, I think it was. Been too long.
Heather, LeAnn, Shirley, it was good to meet you three and I am looking forward to seeing you again at the next meeting!

* - the patterns I found were mostly free Ravelry downloads, but if you aren't a member, this is a good pattern and it's available free on Craft Stylish .com.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Sock and more

Didn't go as well as I had hoped. It was great from the toe all the way up to the ankle, but then I had to alter the pattern a little to make the ankle bigger to fit my foot and then the afterthought hell didn't work up right. I will take the heel out and make it a more gradual decrease in the hope that it will not pull the back of the cuff down like it does right now. The toe was worked in the round and that led to it being twisted just a little and I hated it. Next time I'm working in rows, I can handle the joining, but not the twist.
Ignore my D-doggy, he is just soaking up the warm weather. And ignore the color as well, the wool is a bright red, not pink or orange.

After those pics, here is one of my latest project. We went to Juana's (our real estate broker) garage sale on Sunday and got some baby boy clothes for the two nephews we found out we are having. I love crochet so it's not that hard to believe I started talking about yarn and thrift store reclaiming. She dug a sweater out of her boxes of clothing and asked if I could do anything with it. It was felted, for sure. It used to be a woman's medium and the poor little thing would have fit a size 5T girl. However, it was in good condition so I was indeed able to unravel it. I got two 5 oz. and two 4 oz balls of merino from it. I used some of that to make Juana a scarf. I know, it's the first hot weekend and I make a wool scarf for a pregnant woman, but she can use it later in the year.

I also made a Swiffer Sweeper re-usable pad from kitchen cotton and a thick coffee cup sleeve in a pretty blue color for an RAK I am part of on Ravelry.
Handmade RAKs. My friend Dee is running it and it was so fun to make something for someone! I do love giving gifts. Unfortunately, I forgot to snap pics before they were sealed up and mailed off. I have a couple of Swiffer here so I will make myself a pad or two and another coffee sleeve. Only for the pictures, of course. I'm obligated now.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A New Sock Project!

I need to update because I made it once and it was too small, then again and it was too big, so this time I had a different size hook and adjusted the pattern a smidge and so far it seems to be right on gauge. Back to the toe now and my next step is the LDC... after I clean more. I am crazy cleaning freak right now because of the house junk going on. Tired of it, soooooo tired of it. Socks later, held in reserve to bring back the sanity when the kids and house get to be too much.

I am a hooker, plain and simple. I crochet very well, but my knitting is passable sometimes, atrocious at others. I love socks and I have tried to knit myself a pair so many times..... so many.... *sniffle*. I can't. I just can't. I can managed kids or babies socks, but not mine. The obvious plan is to crochet a pair, right?

Take a good look at the crochet sock patterns out there. They are more like slippers or boots. Ribbing in crochet is for looks only, no good at all if you are looking for something that will hold up a cuff. I stumbled onto a pattern I liked the look of, Heart and Sole crocheted socks. I love the effect that linked double crochet has on the sole of the sock and the light, open look of the front. It's simple and easy to follow and I have plenty of fingering weight wool for the project.
I'm finished with the toe and halfway up the length so far, wish me luck!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Reclaiming yarn again

I went to my favorite thrift store on Saturday and there was a 50% off green tags sale. I got 11 sweaters for for $21. So far I've reclaimed two full sweaters, one is a bright blue and had the most annoying epaulette-style shoulder patches and they took HOURS to unstitch. 31 ounces of wool from that one!
The next sweater was a soft lambswool, 20 ounces of a more earthy blue color, like the breast of a Blue Jay, 6 ounces of darker blue like the crest of the bird and then .8 ounces of a pale oatmeal color.
Right now, I am about a 1/3 through frogging and balling a lovely moss green cotton in fingering weight. There are firm plans for the green cotton :)
I'll have to get pictures of the whole steal and the balls of yarn I've worked so hard for already. I've already gotten enough yarn from the sweaters so far to more than pay for the total purchase.

OK, ladies and gentlemen, here is the picture I promised. My yarn from 4 sweaters. All balls are wound, labeled with fiber content, yarn weight, weight by ounce, and color name. What... I was nowhere near organized enough last time.

And here is all of it stacked neatly. Just because I like to see things clearly labeled and neatly stacked. It doesn't happen in my house anymore and I miss it. Just let me have this moment.