Saturday, April 30, 2011

Help! I need your opinion...Camouflage Star Blanket

I got an email from Lion Brand Yarn the other day and noticed this little star pattern (click HERE to check it out). I set out to try the star design and it turns out it's pretty much the same pattern as the Pink Star Baby Afghan I finished a few weeks ago.  Above you'll see how the star looks in Bernat Brand yarn in "Camouflage."  Yep, that's supposed to look like camouflage but I am not sure where in nature this yarn would "blend" in.  The photos above are a tad dark but the colors are pretty accurate.  I am undecided about how this yarn looks in this pattern and am soliciting your opinion.  What do you think? Should I keep going until I have a nice sized blanket for a boy perhaps?  Or should I "frog" it and try this yarn in a different pattern?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Snuggle Project is Complete!

I finished up my Snuggles... five in all.  A great "stash bustin" project for the Red Heart Super Saver acrylic yarn that's been in my stash for years and years and years!  The latest three blankets were made with three strands of yarn held together at once and I used a Size P crochet hook.  They are basically just big granny squares. I just kept on crocheting until I ran out of yarn. I brought the completed blankets to the Humane Society Animal Shelter in Canon City, Colorado, today.  The receptionist said most folks just bring in old towels for the animals.  She said my blankets were nice.  She said there were some old lady cats in the shelter who would really like the snugly blankets I brought in today.  The receptionist also said she had never head of the Snuggle Project before so I filled her in.  More information can be found by clicking HERE.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Baby things...

I showed you my Pink Star Baby Afghan the other day.  I talked with Sherry, the coordinator of the Ravelry group called "Granny Squares for NICU" (for two Little Rock, Arkansas hospitals).  She also welcomed me to send the baby caps I've been making since November/December 2010.  I made it a goal to make more caps this week before I mailed off the box of goodies, but I realized I had enough yarn for another small blanket.  I whipped up this big granny square baby blanket in just a few evenings,
as well as a few more caps.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Snuggles Project

 Yes, this is a knitting blog...
 But there sure has been a lot of crocheting going on...
Busting through my stash of chunky weight yarn to provide some comfort for animals at my local Humane Society Animal Shelter.   I learned about this program on Ravelry.  The link is here.  These two crochet items are a size suitable for a cat or small dog.  I plan to try to make some more "Snuggles" with the worsted weight Red Heart yarn still in my stash.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Ahhh, Oregon...

On Ravelry, I found a very nice shawl pattern called "Multnomah"... it's a shawl designed by a lady named  Kate Flagg.  The pattern link is HERE.   I was intrigued by the project's title since I lived in Oregon from the time I was nine years old until I was 23 years old and moved to Colorado.  Multnomah is the name of a town in Oregon and Multnomah County is the county where you find the City of Portland... a beautiful city... the City of Roses... I love Kate Flagg's description of her project and the inspiration for her project's title.  And, being from Oregon, I get it!  Here's what she writes:

Multnomah county, in northwestern Oregon, is home to a place very near and dear to my heart: the city of Portland. While there are many reasons I love it, one thing that always stands out is how lush it is with vegetation. Trees and leafy vines grow absolutely everywhere.  The idea for this shawl was conceived while I was at home, but about 2/3 of the way through knitting it my husband and I made the 6 hour drive from our house to Portland. I’d been kicking several names around in my head, but nothing seemed right. Then we crossed the Multnomah county line. I looked at the landscape speeding by outside my window, then down at the knitting I had in my hands, and the colors of it were the same. And right then I knew my shawl finally had a name.

I love the look of shawls and decided this is a project I would like to make.  I toyed with the idea of making this shawl with some sock yarn I have in my stash from Knit Picks but I decided the variegated yarn I had in mind was not quite right.  I know I've resolved to try to not buy new yarn this year (and just knit from my stash), but a yarn store in my area recently closed and everything was half-price. I found this lovely yarn and I splurged... bought two skeins.

The colors in this yarn remind me of blossoms on fruit trees in Springtime.  Hood River is another town you'll find in Oregon.  From Hood River, there are beautiful views of snow capped Mt. Hood where I snow skied as a kid.  Hood River is an agricultural area with all kinds of fruit orchards... apples, pears, cherries.  Hood River is a windy area along the Columbia River Gorge and windsurfing is ever popular, as are micro-breweries.  It's a really pretty area in Oregon.  So my version of the Multnomah Shawl will be made using yarn which reminds me of Hood River in Springtime...

I got to thinking about Hood River while I was typing up this post. I found a great website promoting the town. The link is HERE if you'd like to see photos of what I am trying to describe.  Turns out their Blossom Festival is THIS weekend... dang it, we missed it!

Two posts in one day... keep scrolling down! :)

Pink Star Baby Afghan

One of my goals for the year was to make a baby blanket for a group I found on Ravelry called "Granny Squares for NICU."  The group link can be found by clicking HERE.  The group's founder, Sherry, collects granny squares and puts them all together to make blankets for babies in the Neo-natal Intensive Care Units (NICU) in two Little Rock, Arkansas hospitals.  When I first contacted the group founder, I did not have the right yarn to make squares for her blankets so I decided to make one blanket myself.  This is how the Sherry descibes the goals of the group on Ravelry:

We lost out sweet grandson. He weighed only 13 ounces. He was so very tiny, so precious.
The NICU staff wrapped him in a small crocheted blanket for us to spend a few moments with him.  Being a crocheter myself, I was touched that someone took the time to create such a unique blanket for our little angel. Right then I decided I wanted to be that type of person too. I wanted to start making blankets and donating them to the NICU and that’s what I did.  I use 4”, 6” or 8” granny squares in pastel colors, join them together and donate them. I use pastels but any color scheme will work. Its an easy way to use up leftover yarn.  I will also gladly accept 16 x 16 inch or larger finished blankets, preemie or newborn hats and baby washcloths.  I donate them to UAMS NICU in Little Rock, Arkansas and Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas.
I would love for you to join us and start giving of your time to bring some comfort to a precious little one and their family.

Here's my contribution.  The pattern link can be found HERE.  I used soft pink Bernat Baby Softee yarn primarily.  I realized the contrasting stripes are really essential to make the design "pop" so I added some white stripes with some sport weight Red Heart yarn I had on hand.  The pink yarn is so soft and floppy (not in a bad way) so the addition of the white contrasting stripes gave the blanket a bit more structure.  On the edges, I used some ridiculously soft and squishy fluffy white Plymouth brand "Oh My" yarn (a recent splurge).  This "Oh My" stuff feels like the softest terry cloth robe... a little unconventional for the edge of a blanket but I am glad I used it. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

What's knitting...

I would not say I am losing interest in knitting but I have to admit I am in a bit of a funk when it comes to knitting.  After my chemo cap frenzy in March, I've been at a loss as to what to make next. I think I am feeling a tad burdened by my stash and am feeling like I want to bust through some of the yarn I like the least so I can reward myself by working on some of the bigger, nicer projects I have in mind.  Of course I am still knitting... just ever contemplating what's next.  Above, a vintage looking mitered dishtowel.  I need to make the button hole a tad smaller.  The pattern link is HERE.  My friend, Harriet, has made a few of these retro-looking dish towels and I've been admiring the nice style. It's a fun, quick knit! 
A collection of cotton kitchen goodies.  Some dish cloths, a hand towel, and in the center, a cup cozy.  The cables on the cup cozy are supposed to look like an owl.  It needs eyes. I am not happy with how it turned out.  I've been experimenting with cup cozies lately... I have some bugs to work out I suppose.

A close up of the mitered dishtowel. 

What's next... I am NOT sure...  I am crocheting some goodies for the local animal shelter...
more stash busting...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

"We Care Stitchers"

Before I became obsessed with knitting and all things related to knitting, I crocheted.  I primarily made afghans which used gobs of yarn.   As a result, I purchased less expensive yarn… you know the stuff… Red Heart Super Saver 100 % acrylic.  As time has gone by, I purchase less and less acrylic yarn but I continue to have quite a lot in my stash and I just haven’t been able bring myself to get rid of it.  This weekend, my husband was teasing me about the area in our master bedroom closet where he insists my knitting stuff is “expanding”.   Now, I’ve been pretty good about not buying yarn this year, but I have to admit, my collection of bags, books, storage containers, and binders full of patterns printed off of the Internet continues to amass.  “I am knitting as FAST as I CAN!,” I insist! But alas, my stash does have me feeling quite overwhelmed.  Why the other  day, when I was cleaning out my knitting bag, I kid you not… I must have thrown out a dozen labels from used skeins of yarn.  Must have been all those chemo caps I made in March.  But despite knitting as fast as I can, my stash does not seem to shrink.
I SERIOUSLY looked at my stash again on Friday and decided I would donate my Red Heart Super Saver (and similar yarns) to charity. I had a huge bag full and there it sat… by the door to the garage to be taken to some charity, frowning at me each and every time I passed by.  I felt kind of like a failure… getting rid of yarn, but I reasoned that if I am going to spend a lot of time working on a project, I would like the yarn to be yarn I really loved.  I just had no project in mind for this yarn and it was taking up a lot of precious storage space. 
On Saturday, a gal named “Kae” on Ravelry sent me a “friend” request (we are now “friends” on Ravelry).  I had just been admiring a photo of one of her completed blankets at the Yarn Outlet in Colorado Springs when I visited that store last week.   I got to checking out her group called “We Care Stitchers”… turns out they make afghans for wounded soldiers from the United States Army Base at Fort Carson (Colorado Springs, Colorado).  And wouldn’t you know, they want knit and crochet squares and rectangles made out of 100% acrylic yarn.  See, I knew there was a reason I was holding on to that yarn!
In case you are interested in learning more about “We Care Stitchers”… click HERE for the LINK.  This is how the group is described:

Our current mission is to provide afghans for injured warriors returned to Ft. Carson in Colorado Springs for outpatient rehabilitation.   Everyone is welcome to participate in showing appreciation for our troops and all they do to keep us safe. The Afghans are knitted or crocheted of 100% acrylic - worsted weight. We accept entire afghans 45 x 65 inches or individual blocks in multiples of 5-inches.

Here is a gorgeous example of an afghan completed by this group (photo used with permission from Kae... Thank you, Kae!).  I think this is one of the most beautiful afghans I've ever seen.  Immediately it reminds me of a stained glass window in the "Prairie Style" like you'd find in a home designed by Architect Frank Lloyd Wright.  This photo is from Ravelry where you can see other great examples of afghans completed by this group by clicking HERE or HERE.
Okay, back to my squares and rectangles!  My new mantra is "Get off the computer and knit...!"

Friday, April 8, 2011

Cup 'o Coffee Cozy

Kathy North, a fellow Colorado knitter and crocheter, came up with this cute pattern and I just had to give it a whirl. The pattern is available for free on Ravelry (Click HERE for pattern).  I think it's a pretty quick crochet project although, when you make a two-colored version like I did, there are a lot of loose ends to weave in at the end... and I am a little a LOT lazy when it comes to weaving in loose ends. 

This would make a great last minute gift.  I found about this pattern on a Ravelry group which is focused on making things for the Children's Hospital in Denver, Colorado.  Some of the group's participants are making these cozies for parents whose kids are staying at the hospital.  A sweet, comfy cup cozy for parents going through a stressful, tough time.  Thank your lucky stars for your healthy kids!

Monday, April 4, 2011

What's knitting...

A little knitting this past weekend. The cap is a cotton version of the Lace Edged Women's Cap, a pattern  I've made quite a few times. The pattern link can be found HERE.  I found this pale pink cotton yarn at a store called "Tuesday Morning"... an odd store with an odd assortment of things.  I was thinking the yarn felt soft, but now that I've made the hat, I am not sure if the hat will be soft enough for a chemo cap. The yarn is called Fibranatura Links and is 100% organic cotton. The rest of what I bought will probably make some very nice dishcloths. 

A yes, those are Christmas Stockings... for Operation Holiday Stockings.  I promised myself I would try to make these through the year instead of waiting until the fall season when life seems to be so busy.  I splurged and bought this fluffy yarn called "Oh My!" from Plymouth Yarns for the contrasting cuffs on the stockings. It's a super soft, squishy yarn which reminds me of terry cloth when knitted up. 

I am working on a hand towel, too. More cotton from my Mom's stash... Thanks, Mom!  I was stumped about what to bring to my Thursday Knitting group last week and grabbed two skeins of cotton. What started out as a dishcloth has turned into a hand towel for the kitchen.  Super plain and super boring simple knitting, but super relaxing... perfect for an enjoyable afternoon with my knitting gal pals.