Sunday, November 30, 2014

A Square a Day

I don't quite know how Advent works. 

I know I should.  I'm an adult with two library cards, a Catholic husband, and ready access to the Internet, which means I'll read a bunch Ann Voskamp posts about it soon.  But I don't really get it.  I wanted to do an Advent calendar this year because Evelyn sort of understands the concept of calendars, but it hasn't happened.  Granted, Cody could always go out and get one since he supposedly knows how this works but he didn't (To his credit, he did try to take Evelyn to an Advent service this morning. He accidentally went to the Latin one. Right before lunchtime. It was all downhill from there).

The sweetly beautiful face of the wondrous creature who is slowly crushing our souls into tired dust. She's a gift. I believe both of those sentences with equal sincerity.
So I'm going to crochet a square a day.

I'll put them up somewhere and that can be our calendar this year.  30 squares can make a decent-sized blanket, so I can stitch this up at the end of the year for Evelyn or the couch or to donate.  Whatever. 

I just thought it would be a nice, meditative activity for me.  Apparently it's okay to bring in granny squares to your spiritual practices, so that's cool (I do know that much).  This is a purple week, so the center of the square will be purple each day.  The border of all the squares will be in this blue because I have a pound of it. 

I'm trying to work through a lot of my stash.  In fact, the only resolution I have (so far) for next year is to use up all the yarn I have.  I have some great stuff and some weird stuff and some regular ol' stuff that needs to be used and I want it all out of my hands and my head before the end of 2015.  I thought I could wait, but I've spent a crazy amount of time this weekend modifying a pattern for a granny square tree skirt for our tree.  Everything must go.

So my plan is to crochet a granny square every day.  They make me happy.  I can use colors according to my mood that day.  I can think about the season.  I think I can place these on our back door, near where Evelyn sits to eat dinner.  We can count down the days to Advent.

Thanksgiving 2014

I didn't take enough pictures of Thanksgiving. We all dressed up nicely, ate off the good china, and made amazing food.  But mostly I just took pictures of Evelyn and Ellis being adorable and silly.  So here are pictures of mostly them on Thursday and Friday. Ta da!

The babies were cuddly, and the mustaches were furry, and thanks was given.  Ellis had his first knitting lesson, Evelyn did a cooking craft, and I played cards with my family the first time in years.  Then I remembered why I don't play cards.  It was a wonderful time.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Happy stripey tube socks

I knitted Evelyn some socks! 

Never mind that I intended to knit up a bunch of baby booties this year and I don't think it's going to happen (I used up all my baby bootie powers making pairs for Ellis.  I regret nothing), or that I still haven't finished Cody's Christmas socks from LAST Christmas (I regret that, but he's told me not to), or that I really want to finish Ellis's sweater in time for Thanksgiving so my favorite nephew can be warm and I can take pictures of Evelyn and Ellis in matching sweaters because I've dreamed of that since 10 minutes after Laine told us she was pregnant. 

But I'm always easily distracted and there are so many patterns and I have so much yarn I want to use up and and and. 

So. Tube socks.  I don't like picking up the stitches on the heel flap, so I thought tube socks would be nice.  I found the TUBE SOCKS for Kids pattern as a free download on Ravelry. I'm not sure what's up with the title being partially capped, but I like it.  This is a toe-up pattern that uses the Turkish cast-on, which I thought would be fun to try out.

It wasn't.  I was too tired and too impatient.  So I decided to go top-down and cast on the number of stitches I would need.  Then I shaped the toe according to Elizabeth Zimmermann's instructions in Knitting Without Tears (of course, Elizabeth Zimmermann!). 

So ta da! Stripey tube socks!  I've been promising Evelyn some socks from this yarn since last summer because I'm a monster who doesn't follow through on my knitting promises.  I'm so happy that she was happy with these.

I'm less happy that she immediately asked for a black pair.  I plopped her down with a box of sock yarn and she picked out some navy blue yarn.  I went up a needle size and I'm still not done with them.  It's partly because I'm working more diligently on other projects and also because dark socks are boring and terrible.  I'm going to go back to a #1 needle (what I need for gauge) and knit these in a bigger size for Christmas.  They're great little socks and I want her to have some more tall stripey socks for this winter.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Dishcloth of the week: the Basic Dishcloth in Bright Colors

I'm making dishcloths again. I knew I would, of course.  You can't stay away from this kind of fun.

Once upon a time, I used to make a dishcloth every week. And write about it.

I thought I'd go ahead and keep writing about it.  I'm going to be making dishcloths quite a bit until the end of the year for gifts, and it's fun to have a record of these things.

So here we are, with the dishcloth of the week.  (Yes, that DOES mean I plan to do another post next week!) This is the Basic Dishcloth in Bright Colors from Dishcloths.

H hook, half a skein of Sugar n' Cream per dishcloth, and a mix of single and double crochet stitches. Finished size is around 8" X 8".  Quick, easy, super textured, and this bundle is going to a friend's niece as part of a Christmas present.  This looks great in bright solids and I liked working these up.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Might as well be

Tonight wasn't perfect, but I can't remember why not.

Here's our gratitude tree.

I took Evelyn to Target last week to pick up essentials and browse for Thanksgiving decorations.  She's still wrapping her head around holidays, and this one is a bit of a letdown for her after all the costumes and decorations for Halloween.  But she thinks turkeys are neat, and so when she wanted to buy a three-dollar kit (that is not nearly as cute as the one made of twigs that I saw on Pinterest before I remembered that we are, God helps us, city folk and sticks are kind of in short supply around here) I took it home and we immediately started writing down things we were thankful for.

Whenever it's my turn to do the nighttime routine, I say in the bedtime prayer "Thank you for all good things" and then we list all the good things from that day when we're done.  So lately we've been talking about "thankful" and "grateful" and "gratitude" and what they have to do with thanking God for all good things. 

The kit came with 5 or 6 leaves, and we wrote that we were thankful for: Boris, family, friends, libraries, crafts, and pasta.  Tonight we cut out some more leaves and wrote down more things.  Like: glow-in-the-dark skeleton pajamas, a new jacket, throwing a ball, scissors, playing, Halloween decorations, hats, and puzzles.

Which, by the way, we are working on because she's really been itching to try out this 500 piece puzzle.  Why not? I cleaned off the table and we started flipping and sorting pieces.  I'll have you know she built most of the bottom frame all by herself.  I had to talk to her a lot about pieces and repositioning things, but it was a really good and fun exercise in patience.  I was impressed with how long she stuck with it, and she was proud of her sharp eyes.

Cody made lasagna (from scratch.  I prefer Stouffer's.  I know these are not real problems) before he went to work this evening, and I heated it up for us.  We talked about the puzzle and how maybe she and her dad can cut out some leaves of their own.  She's pretty excited about the gratitude tree and its pretty fall colors.  She also made sure to list our Thanksgiving decorations which are now: two turkeys, a bowl with leaves, the gratitude tree, and a pumpkin Evelyn and my mom made with canning rings.  We also have pumpkins all over the living room, but they've been up since September and they may not register with her anymore.

Good mom that I am, I bribed her to finish her lasagna with M&Ms and made sure to lay out her pajamas in the living room so they would glow really brightly when she put them on.  She had to try them out in two dark rooms at least 5 times between getting out of the shower and going to bed. 

In fact, before Cody came home and broke a chair just by sitting in it (this is the third time this has happened?), I would have wagered that this was a mostly perfect night.  But I'll take it.  It was regular night in with puzzles and crafts.  I loved every minute of it.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

I've made some other things, too!

I keep meaning to talk about other things I've made, but never quite get around to it.  So I'm going to talk about it now! Yay!

I finished the blanket I was making.  It's Square #77 from 99 Granny Squares to Crochet

Well, actually it's 20 Squares #77.  I stitched the squares together and worked a single crochet border around the edges.  The co-worker gave it to her grandson earlier this week and she's shown half the office the picture of him wrapped up in this that's on her phone.  Everyone's been complimentary.  I'm really glad I ran this through the washer and dryer before I gave this to her because now this is super soft and squishy.

This is a little spider I knit for Evelyn a couple of months ago.

She's been in quite the spider phase for the past few months, and I made this when she was all about spiders.  It's the Itsy Bitsy Spider pattern, which is a free download on Ravelry.  I made this during her nap time one afternoon and when she woke up, she requested that I make some fangs.  I have politely ignored her. 

 Speaking of free patterns on Ravelry, this is the Button-Tab Hat

It's one of the first patterns I queued on Ravelry and I finally made it!  I used yarn that I bought at the fiber extravaganza, and I'd hoped I could use it for this pattern especially.  I made some modifications for Evelyn, obviously.  I cast on 78 stitches for Evelyn's hat and knit the crown in 68 stitches.  The colors pooled like crazy with the shorter rows and it looks lovely on her.

Evelyn picked out the buttons and I don't know which one of us is more thrilled with these matching hats. 

And! Remember when I made Evelyn's hat and wanted to make one for myself?  I did.

The Split-Brim Toddler Hat is technically for toddlers.  Actually, it's officially for toddlers, but this was easy enough to modify.  My notes are here.  This was a fun way to use up about a skein and a half of Wool-Ease Thick & Quick.

Cody told me I should smile like Evelyn for a picture. It actually hurt my face to smile as big as she does!

And it's fun to have semi-matching hats.  They really keep our ears warm!  I love that whole 'split brim acting as earflaps' thing.

I'm just showing you this picture because we're so cute.

This is the Trendy Baby Hat.  I made it to use up the last few scraps of this yarn I had left over from our hats.  I had planned to add it to the gift stash, but Evelyn thought Boris needed it.  I did manage to get this picture before we squirreled this away.  I haven't made this pattern in quite a while, but it's a fun little knit. It's all quick and squishy and warm.

Lastly, here's a hat that I made for Mom! This is Lacy Shells pattern from Crochet Slouchy Beanies and Headwraps.

I'm a little worried that this was just a bit too slouchy, but maybe Mom can roll the brim if she wants. Can you roll a brim on a slouchy beanie?  It's Mom's hat, so I guess she can do whatever she wants.  This calls for bulky yarn and a J hook.  It's such a fast project and super cute.  I made this in fuchsia yarn for Sara's birthday and Mom wanted one in black. 

Now they can match too!

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Turn, turn, turn

I was off work today, so Evelyn and I went out to see my parents.  She's been getting over a cold, and I've been ready to get out in the country.  Mom and Dad were happy to see her (people just put up with me because I bring her places even though she's adamant that she can drive herself), and it was a good day for a happy girl.  Two of the dogs are gone, and there's a new one in their place.  It's weird and sad. We ate spaghetti and watched a lot of Disney.  I did a couple of loads of laundry and walked around in the woods behind the house because I really love being outside even though I should have worn gloves.  I'm glad we went.