Thursday, January 24, 2013

Crocheted Booties

 Thought I'd dropped off the face of the earth?  I've been dealing with life and making lots of things to sell. I'll be disclosing a large inventory soon. I'm getting ready for a big year. I'm doing expos, working on a contract, and a project bag coming out in a magazine under products. I just hope to be able to keep up with everything. 
I finally made those crochet booties and they have been sitting on my dresser, a disappointment. They have a bit of a misshapen twist.
I put them on our grand daughter a while back and decided I didn't like the look. 
 So I added a ruffle and still I'm not completely pleased. They would have been better made by my oldest daughter.

Somehow my boots aren't quite right. Yes, I added six stitches on each side of the instep. I needed  bigger size. I don't think that was the problem. I think I'm just not a talented crocheter. Practice makes perfect. I just don't want to practice. Pathetic I know. I'd rather knit. I'm not so good at that either but I enjoy it more.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Crochet Boots

 Excuse me for giving you the wrong information on the knitted boots. Please check out the blog post again. I've changed the information source on them.

Since I don't have time to do the knitted boots, I'm trying crocheted ones. These are the cutest ones I could find. Of course finding the pattern was the easy part since my crochet skills aren't as advanced as my knitting one and they aren't too good. When I was small my grandmothers use to teach me  and of course they read the pattern. This isn't a complex pattern and it is free and you will find it when you click on the link.

Most of my crocheting was crochet thread snowflakes, crocheting around flannel receiving blankets  and a few afghans. With age came tennis elbow so my crochet days ended. That's when I switched to knitting exclusively which does not bother my elbows nearly as much. Knitting also offered more of the styles I love.

But crochet is much much faster and fast is good right now. The down slide is crochet leaves holes for our winds to whistle through but then something is much better than nothing. Nothing is what our grand daughter has right now beyond socks to cover her feet.

This pattern says for 6 to 12 months but though I used the crochet hook size recommended and basically the size of yarn, my sole came out too small. Ri....p, Start over. I added to each side of the sole four more stitches. To figure things out, I ended up charting the stitches and it gave me the lay of the land I needed.

I've started up the side  but I'm sure I'm going to have to add a few more changes since our grand daughter has kanckles not ankles. In other words, they are very thick. And the ankle part seems to be a bit narrow for her.

Plus, I'm sure I added a few ooops changes despite crocheting one row on one boot and then switching and crocheting a row on the other boot. Though I looked up how to do a half crochet once more and a single crochet decrease I think my lack of short term memory got in the way and I think I did the decrease wrong. It is so hard to remember and normally I have to repeat repeat repeat but time has gotten in the way and I can't do more than a few rows at a time. The time on the Inernet lowering my crochet time which would be put in the repeat time necessary to put things into long term memory. But hey, both boots are the same so I'm not ripping it out.

I'll let you know how things progress.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Baby Boots

I found theses boots. They are wa...y too cute and so... warm looking. These are the classiest boots I've found and believe me, I've been searching and searching. I thought they would be perfect for our grand daughter since after all it was 1 degree Fahrenheit the other morning. Her poor little toesies in just socks has got to get cold when the wind whips the blanket up. And the wind is frequently blowing here.

So I bought the pattern from and made a plan to begin the booties when our oldest daughter came home for Thanksgiving. I figured she could help me unravel all the foreign language in the pattern. You know ssk, rst, and m1. Don't laugh. Yes, I've made sweaters, hats, mittens, socks and the like for years but I just keep using the same patterns over and over adding slight artistical changes but never venturing off into the world of really reading a pattern. 

But that is changing and in that spirit of bravery, I waited until our daughter arrived and she could read the pattern for me. LOL Alright, maybe I'm not brave but I read the simple pattern four times and was too baffled to begin. Mostly because of intimidation because I just couldn't wrap my head around 'the lay of the land'. I have this problem of wanting to see the whole scope of things and not wanting to just follow along blind step by step until woalah, things become clear in the end.

It's like when I visit a city and I need to know the basic layout of the area. The mountains are over here, and the lake is over there and that's east and that's west. Where as city folk follow this street to that street and over on to that one. But in my defense when I get lost, I know I've go to find a street and head toward the hills or go west and I'll eventually get to where I can start following streets again. It works great unless the city is flat and doesn't have many distinguishing features that can be seen from a distance. 

The lay of this pattern just had me all confused. So I reined in my runaway horses and calmed them plodding along step by slow painstaking step hoping the pattern would lead me to a successful ending.
But first I had to translate English to English. You may speak the same basic language over there in England but you've got bobbies and we've got policemen; and we've got hoods and you've got bonnets. Of course I didn't know there was a foreign language problem until my daughter pointed it out. It was part of my confusion since I couldn't figure out what a 2,5 mm knitting needles was. I just knew I didn't have one. Then she told me that England often uses commas where we would us a period. So the first thing I had to do was look up needle size conversions.

Toni assured me my yarn sizing was good and off I started. The sole looked huge but I kept going with the mind set of the pattern knows best.
And on the journey I learned all about ssk and k2tog and how they lay differently but are really the same thing, a decrease.
I learned that rst is a English term because my daughter, Toni, who works at Interweave Press had never heard of it. But this stitch is quite awesome because it makes the sides of the boots extra thick and warm. Something I'd guess would be especially needed in an English countryside where when it gets cold the moisture makes it seem even more bitter cold.
One degree F here the other morning doing chores was downright pleasant. The wind wasn't blowing, which makes a huge difference, and we are extremely dry with the drought sucking all the moisture from the land and air.

A rst is when you go into the knit stitch below the one on your left needle and knit the two loops together. For us Americans, a rib stitch would be something like knit two and purl two. I'm now curious what that ribbing at the bottom of a sweater is called in England? Anyway, this stitch makes a wonderful thick layer when like in the pattern you do an England style rib stitch and purl, rib stitch and purl all around the sides of the boots. Then next row is knit one, purl one. And the following you switch back to the rst, p, rst, p.

And though I was following along completely on faith, blind to what the outcome would be, I should of paid attention to the little voice inside that kept saying, this isn't working, this isn't working.

After hours of reining in the horses and plodding along, I had to rip  the whole thing out. Our grand daughter is eight months and I was doing the 6-12 month size instructions and the boot when I tried it on our youngest on Sunday stretched two inches past her toes.

Obviously something was lost in translation.

Discouraged that the boots won't be for Christmas, I'm still not giving up. I'm just not making them for Christmas. I'm doing the 0-6 months size this next time. I should have measured our youngest's feet for there is a foot length chart on the pattern and so in part the sad outcome is partly my fault. I of course having built up a raft of frustration lately,  RIPPED out the whole boot when I should have stopped and measured the sole for a calculated readjustment for next time.

I credit this to why they say I'm a pretty good teacher. I know all the things not to do. In part I know my ADD is a factor in my always charging ahead but the good Lord gave me a gift. I'm 'more stubborn than a mule' as my father use to shout in frustration when I was young and I don't give up easily. I just know by now easy isn't my usual route but I'll get to the same destination as others, just not as fast and I've got to say I probably learn more than some with all my side trips.

I may not have a completed boot but I do have a understanding far greater than when I started. The second time going this far into the pattern will be far quicker because I understand the 'lay of the land' and I now know where to put stitch markers to help me lay things out more clearly.

Wish I could do the boots in a cream or a pale icy blue. Wouldn't that be pretty?  But alas, my daughter, mother of the youngon these boots are intended for doesn't do hand laundry and all I have is hot pink washable wool in my stash and no money for shopping. Cream at her house being insane anyway.

So all you wise and wonderful knitters, have you ever done an English rst before?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Great Hat For Using Up Small Amounts of Yarn

Our three year old decided we should walk to the corrals today. This is the hat she chose. She's on an extended visit. Not sure when she will decide to go home as she informed me in the bathtub last night that she was going to live here forever. This sweet little tyke was badly in need of some Pappa and Amma time after this last weekend to right her world again so she's staying as long as she needs.
This was a great hat for using up a little bit of this and a little bit of that homespun yarn.  Note the exchange of colors. The first zigzag of orange becomes the next main color and the red zigzag in that becomes the main color next. When I hit the decreases I simply went to solid colors not willing to think. Sometimes it is just fun to simply knit. I saw a picture of a scarf with much broader stripes and I thought what if I.... and I..... and presto chango I had a hat. The bright colors made this hat cheerful for a chilly day and the best part is I used up lots of little bits of yarn in many colors. Kind of like the theory behind a scrap quilt.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Notion Pouches

As I've been using my own personal project bags, like I sell on Etsy, I have been wanting something to put my extra knitting needles and notions in. I have a cosmetic bag that I began using but I keep opening it to see what is inside. You see I have no short term memory so I keep forgetting what I put in there. Out of sight out of mind. It's why I drop things in my hand if I don't keep playing with them. This brain can be a real pain. These two needs, a notion pouch and a peek a boo side led to the creation of these notion pouches.
So I headed to the fabric store with an idea and bought zippers and vinyl. 
Further complicating things was I wanted to create something that didn't have seams that my knitting needles would catch in.
With these ideals and a basic idea I began my pouch first by sewing on a zipper to the vinyl. I ripped that out and added fabric before the vinyl. Sew rip, sew rip, that was all I did for two days during the time I had to work on the project. 
In frustration I turned to the Internet but nothing was like what I had in mind. The tricky part being the seams which left me full of frustration. This owl pouch was eventually tossed, minus the zipper which I saved and used on another pouch. 
I used 7 inch and 9 inch zippers trying out different sized vinyl pieces and ...

different heights, too tall, too short and finally just right. emerged. Now I have all sizes of pouches with nothing really wrong with them except they weren't just right like the blue one. That means I'll have four pouches at an inexpensive price of $5.00 and the blue one which will be the standard will go for $10.00.  Give me until tomorrow and I'll have them up on Etsy. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Project Bags

 Yeah, a day for The Calico Bush shop. Not many of those have been available lately. My goal is for that to dramatically change so stop by the shop. I'm putting up items as fast as my fingers can fly across the keys. I've at least four more project bags to post in the next couple days alone. That's not mentioning the buttons and livestock bags I need to get up. 

And new items are still being made. Today, I'm going to attempt to creating a notion bag with a see through front and a zipper. Something I've been in need of myself. 

And Dawn, I can't get that double knitting out of my mind. I'm watching U-tube video late at night to see how it's done and figuring what Scandinavian pattern to try converting to a double knit pattern so I can create a warm winter hat.  Sorry, squirrel moment there. My mind wondered. Probably because last night was one of those nights I was watching double knit u-tubes.

The bulk of the day was taken up with grand kids and chores. Cute as they are, I did text my daughter toward the end of the day and said. "I'm done, she's yours." Our youngest, who is seven months old, acts like a premadonna some days and is a demanding handful. She wanted fed upteen times yesterday. The other three kids, aren't bad at all to watch but they do come in a package of four. Sometimes I get to sneak one or two out by themselves. Boy is that a treat.
Today is a luxury I'm going to fully enjoy. Have you noticed that the project bags you are seeing in this blog, which by the way I just put up in my shop this morning, have a theme? It's funny but when I go shopping, which fabrics stores are far and few between around here, (but JoAnn's is coming 40 miles away. I can hardly wait yeah!!!) (woops, another squirrel moment there.) I invariably always come out of the store with fabric in the same theme or basic color. I can't figure out why. One of the mysteries of the fabric world.
One time it was all fabrics with a brown theme, another time is was all blues. This time it ended up being pine cones. I could really go bonkers over natural theme fabrics. Don't see a great many of them though. That tells me something. Maybe we are a narrower audience.
Luckily, I'm a bit eclectic. I can appreciate and enjoy a large variety of artistry. It doesn't mean I want to take it all home. So in selection of fabrics for project bags, I try and carry a broad style of fabrics with a bit of class. One thing I don't carry is cutesy. Others are doing it and it is not my thing anyway so I stay away from those fabrics. What I'm trying to say is, if you don't see what you like, check back. Project bags are dependent on the stores selections and your style my just be what I happen to find on my shopping trips.
Lately, I have been in heaven sewing. One night I couldn't stop until three in the morning. I LOVE pine cones and the fabric just kept calling to me, "Don't quit now. See how pretty I'm turning out?" Think I'm crazy? Well, I'm here to inform you I lost it years ago and I'm having so much fun I'm not going to every be sane again.
Oh yeah, and by the way, this fabric comes in a large and a small  bag size.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Reversible Knitting

It's all your fault Dawn. You mentioned reversible knitting and I couldn't help but wonder. You had to know that would happen. My overly curious brain fires off questions about everything. So what did I do, look of course. But first the ladies room was calling so I took some reading material with me, a KNITS magazine that had gotten wet in the laundry room. I thought this was a good moment to glance through it and rip out the pages I wanted and toss the rest.
 Low and behold, there was an article about reversible knitting. It had to be a sign. But disappointment followed when I learned that there was just a lot of talk and no pattern. Talk is cheap and does nothing to still my cravings. What I need is a pattern. Particularly to this hat. It is WA>>>>Y cool. 

And so in my feverish state I left the thrown room and went toodling off around on the Internet looking for reversible knits, double knits and any other words I could think of that might describe the method. I came up with a few scarf patterns that didn't interest me and one beautiful Norwegian type sweater without a pattern but nothing like this awesome hat.

I'm begging you. Where is the patterns? I'll buy a book if it has lots of great designs. No, I'm not an afghan kind of gal. I prefer quilts or this one would trip my trigger but alas I didn't find a pattern for it either.

 I want Scandinavian sweaters and cool hats done in reversible knits. Does this book exist? If so, help. My brain is on overdrive thinking how wonderful thick warm hats done in this method would be against our biting winter winds.