Friday, January 28, 2011

Next Week...Something That's Not a Hat. I Promise.

Although this installment of Tiniest Dye Lots Ever totally counts as not-a-hat, right?  This week's bitty-overdyeing project involved dipping some Paton's Classic Wool in "Old Gold" (which here is a euphemism for "mustard.") in some Wilton food dye (and regular food colouring) in red.  I was nervous at first because it looked like it was going to turn a muddy brown, but I like the end result.  I also like that when you put the original and dyed colours next to each other, you get a very go go Gryffindor! effect.  :D  Maybe I'll make myself a little Gryffindor wristwarmer or something.  I think it's getting to be time for some Harry Potter re-reading.

And here are this week's little hats.  The one in the lower right (and again in hideous mustard, why is this stuff even in my stash?) is an adapted puff-stitch pattern that was fun to do, and the purple one next to it is the Battlestar Idol Baby Hat, because those were the two shows I watched as I made it. 

The turquoise one is meant to be viewed from the air:
This is so any passing birds will have something interesting to look at, clearly.  I actually kind of love this one, I was getting fed up with trying promising-looking patterns that had to be frogged after a bit (...whether this is the patterns or just me is up for debate...), so I flipped through my motif book to find a circular one I thought could be adapted into a hat.  I want to make thousands more voluminous popcorn flowers right now.

I also finally finished off my little black brimmed hat, but it needs its ends woven and I'm thinking of giving it a contrasting hat band or something, so it's not showing up here yet.

I will, however, happily share the results of some serious Untangling I did to finish it.
This was a big giant snarled mess for about...six months, and now it's a nicely-behaved yarn snowball!  (But has this inspired me to unsnarl any of the rest of my snarled yarn?  No.)

Stop by FO Friday and Fibers on Friday to see other people's hats and not-a-hats. :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Meanwhile, at the Hat Factory...

This week's crop of teeny hats for Caps for Good.  I've been playing with stripes and bobbles (the two variegated hats in the center row have little popcorn-bobbles on them, which didn't really photograph here) and some front-post stitches for a couple rows of ribbing (on the orange hat in the lower left), but I think I'm going to consult Ravelry for some new patterns soon.  I need to get better at following patterns and having the patience to work through them even if I have to turn off the TV or my music to do it.

But a much more exciting FO...

All of the amazing hand-dyeing that's been popping up on WIP Wednesdays and FO Fridays got me inspired.  I don't have any white/off-white wool in the house, but I do have some Paton's Classic Wool in lemongrass, which I figured would be light enough to overdye with interesting results.  The bright yellow-green-ness of the yarn limited my colour choices, though---it was basically "try to make it greener" or "add some blue," so I went with blue.

I had some Wilton's icing dye in just sitting temptingly in the cupboard, so I did some googling and went with the process outlined at this tutorial, except I decided to live on the edge and skip the thermometer part.  What I really wanted was something variegated, but I decided to stick to basics the first time around, and settled for just not trying to get the dye into the yarn evenly, which sort of worked and created some slight variations in colour.

Hand-dyeing is just as much fun as you all have been making it look!  I was ridiculously excited when the dye actually exhausted and instead of a murky pot of blue water with some dubious yarn, I had a little hank of kelly green yarn and clear water!

And the obligatory "before and after" shot...

I can see this becoming a dangerously addictive hobby.  And I was planning on buying some off-white wool for an upcoming project anyway...

Check out other people's projects at FO Fridays and Fibers on Friday!

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Warm-and-Fuzzy FO Friday.

I feel silly for just having learned about the Caps for Good infant hat drive when the deadline is the end of February.  It's been running since September!  I could have made so many more hats!  I found out about this drive and got one of their "action kits" after I made my WIP Wednesday blog post, and have managed to whip up five hats since then, somehow. 

The pattern in the kit is so, so easy---all nice friendly double crochets, so it works up amazingly fast and the tall rows make it easy to know where you are in the process.  I made these while watching Dexter. (And have thus titled them "Slightly Murderous Baby Hats" on Ravelry.)

I also wanted to try a more complicated pattern, so I gave this one a try, because the ribs looked pretty and I haven't done a lot of front and back post crochet yet. 
This hat was a fantastic way to practice the technique, since it's so teeny (it was supposed to be in sport weight to be a preemie hat, but I did it in worsted so it's more regular-newborn sized.  And being modelled here by a handy stuffed cat, as I am [happily]  not in possession of a creepy baby doll to put it on.)  It was a great way to learn what the front and back post stitches actually look like from different angles, and get into the rhythm of using them.  The ribbed fabric it creates is really plush and warm, too.

I also wanted to do some preemie hats for SuddenExpression's preemie hat drive, which you can read about on her blog or on Ravelry, and I couldn't resist the cuteness of this bear-hat pattern
Making and attaching the ears was fun---it was almost like putting together an amigurumi, but less small and fiddly. 

Check out what other people are up to at FO Friday and Fibers on Friday!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Some Lazy Wednesday WIPs.

I'm still in one of those moods where I just keep starting new things to see what will happen and end up ripping them out, which is always fun (with occasional hints of frustrating).  Said mood/mode of creating stuff doesn't really loan itself to a WIP Wednesday post, sadly.  I guess I could photograph all the skeins of yarn I've started and un-started things with?  

My hat is sort of coming along, though:

My decision to make it in black has slowed it down, since I'm up to the edging bit, and with black, I need to do it in daylight so it will be easier to see what I'm doing and get it as even as possible.

I also started an interesting rectangular motif in two reds and black that may become part of my planned skull-scarf.
...Or I may just end up frogging it.  It's a mystery!

In non-fiber WIPs, I rediscovered the joy of Artist Trading Cards the other day.  This is as good a place as any to explain my blog title, actually.  It's part of a lyric from an Ani DiFranco song that goes they say goldfish have no memory / I guess their lives are much like mine / and the little plastic castle is a surprise every time.  I've loved that since the moment I heard it in high school, and it actually describes part of the way my brain works---I'm pretty sure that I forget how much I like certain things (like painting or collaging or crocheting or all the shades of green that appear in springtime) on purpose so that I can be happily surprised by how wonderful they are all over again.

So the other day I decided to be surprised by the fun of making ATCs (which are little 2.5 x 3.5 inch pieces of art, it's such a fun and un-daunting size for a tiny project, even for someone who's mostly fine arts impaired, as I am), and joined some swaps on Swap-Bot, where I've been swapping stuff on and off for years now.  One of them is for a heart-themed card, so I had fun painting a piece of the newspaper (the legal notices and pets for sale/adoption section, haha) in a quick rainbow gradient, and I'm going to use a heart paper punch to cut lots of hearts and then glue them together in overlapping layers.  That's the plan, anyway.

(Go stop by WIP Wednesday at Tami's Amis to see what everyone else is working on!)

Friday, January 7, 2011

2011's First Finished Projects

I got these photographed today just before even more snow started falling.  I filled the bag with some tasty groceries (cereal, dried apples, and tea, yum) and hung it from the support of my sadly disused clothesline.  I really miss using my clothesline, you guys.  Winter cannot end soon enough for me. 

So there's my finished CD-in-the-bottom market bag, which is a pattern I definitely recommend.  It worked up easily and well, and once I got into the rhythm of the treble crochets, it was something I could do while also watching TV---in this case, the first series of the BBC's Being Human, which I liked a lot.  There's so much vampire/werewolf/paranormal whatever narrative around at this point, and this show (which has a vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost all sharing a house in Bristol) was in interesting take on it.

The CD in the bottom works wonderfully---one of the problems I always had with the idea of crocheted market bags is my suspicion that heavy stuff would just stretch them out, and this seems to counter that nicely.  I love the idea of using useless CDs, too, although of course once I actually needed one for this project, it took me forever to find one.  I wonder where I've stashed them all...  (Remember when AOL used to constantly send you CDs in the mail to try and coax you into installing AOL?)

This peace sign granny square (which I attached prayer-flag style ties to) was actually my first FO of 2011.  Made from this (excellent) pattern, this was my first attempt at this kind of colour change where you have to carry the unused colour along on the back, and while it definitely took getting used to---there was a lot of ripping out a few stitches and going back to pick up the other colour, which I'd forgotten about---it was fun.  I've always said I'd never make an afghan, but after doing this square I'm not so sure...

But first, a hat!  Which I think I'll go work on right now, while watching Dexter.  I saw the pilot the other night, and whoa.  So effectively creepy, and Michael C. Hall is amazing.  And the south-Florida setting is perfect for some wishful winter watching.  (See also: Burn Notice.  I wonder if my library has season three yet...)

(Go check out what other people are up to at Finished Object Friday at Tami's Amis, or Fibers on Friday at Visions of Sugar Plums!)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Some WIP Attempts At Softening the Winter

First of all, thank you so much for all your sweet comments about The Pony. I think sometimes when you spend a lot of time alone with a Secret Project, it's easy to start doubting the wisdom of said project, and it makes me happy that you all liked the pony and the gesture behind it. :)

It doesn't look like it right now, but this is going to be a hat.  A cute little tiny-brimmed hat from this book.  I made one of these in October (which was my First Hat, actually) and it sold at a craft fair. This one is going to be for me.  In past years, I had the luxury of not wearing hats because they tend to look stupid on me, but I walk a lot and it's just too cold right now to be vain, so I need more hats.  This one is interestingly constructed---you make this nice brainless rectangle piece, which is all just neat rows of half-double crochet that I plan to do while I watch some TV tonight, and then join it into a hat-sized cylinder and work the top in the round and add the brim.

I don't even remember how, but I somehow discovered the wonder of Craftsanity podcasts the other day.  I listened to the most recent one, an interview with Anna of the adorable and amazing (adorabmazing?) Mochimochi Land, and I found the discussion that ensued about crafting weird, whimsical things really inspiring.  I was finishing off my market bag (I actually have FO's for this Friday already! This is very exciting.) as I listened, and a crocheted happy tree popped into my head.

One of the things I miss most about seasons-that-aren't-winter (uh, besides ever not being cold) is trees.  Not that the trees go anywhere for the winter, obviously, but I miss the colours and sounds and beautiful shadow-shapes created by their leaves.

I'm not sure about this yet, I think I'm going to frog the trunk and make it thinner, since right now it has a distinctly mushroom look.  It's so, so nice to just work on something freeform, though!  I've been following a lot of patterns lately, and I'm finding it really relaxing to just increase and decrease where I feel like it and not worry about lumps and bumps, because a tree's leaves are supposed to be unevenly distributed!  If I like this enough to sew together, I may make some little polymer clay beads to make it an apple tree. 

I'm really excited about this year being Year of the Rabbit, so I figured some bunny-making was in order.  So far...just this partial head and ears.  Held together (and given rudimentary eyes) with pins, so clearly, a voodoo bunny.  Other planned bunny projects: giant bunny ami from Cuddly Crochet, possibly some bunny slippers.

See what other people are up to for WIP Wednesday at Tami's Amis.