Just For Fun is my way of sharing all the little things I like to do... from crafty things to thoughtful things!

Monday, February 21, 2011

What I did over the holiday weekend...

What do you do with a long weekend?  Paint the spare room?  Prune the rose bushes?  Go to the beach?  Not me... I figure it's time for a Mentalist marathon and a bigger crochet project than usual.
This weekend, I crocheted a coral reef!  It's part of a project at the University of Florida.  My reef will be on display with a lot of other reefs from a lot of other crocheters around the country.  It was a fun way to use up leftover yarn and I must say the photo does not do the colors justice!

I also worked on more silliness.  Last week I came across a discussion on Ravelry about "bearded beanies".  I know, who would want a beard on their beanie, right?  But you know, I found a photo of one and it made me laugh.  I printed it off, and added it to the 'when I am bored I might try to make this' pile.  The very next day, Steve came home saying that the gals at the office had also been talking about them.  I don't believe in coincidence, so the photo moved to the top of the pile and I tried to recreate it.
It didn't turn out half bad if I do say so myself... and it was certainly worth the effort for Steve to get some good mileage with it around work.  Thanks Julian! 

But you know how crazy crocheters' minds work.  Now that I've figured out how to do it, can I make it better?  The answer is of course I can!

Steve drove me out to the store yesterday to check out holiday sales... and we came home with nothing but a skein of gray eyelash yarn.  Can you imagine where we are heading?  Yes!  A beard with hair.  This time we chose gray since that is the natural color of Steve's beard these days.  I haven't laughed that hard in a very long time. 

Well, you can see why, I mean just look at the photo!

I crocheted one strand of soft black yarn and one strand of the silvery eyelash yarn together to make the beard.  We did have to do a little mustache trimming here and there.

My first thought of course was that the beanie should have been red... because all I could think of is Yukon Cornelius from my favorite Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  It makes me laugh again just to think about how hard I laughed.

You can see why... right?
Another idea struck me about beards.  Hockey players have a superstition about shaving during the playoffs.  It's why they all look so straggly in championship photos.  What if I made a beanie in Sundogs colors, and attached a beard to it?  Then I would have my own playoff beard?  It might be fun!  So, if you see me at a Sundogs game sporting a beard, don't be surprised.  It's on purpose!

Sorry Yukon, for all the laughing at your expense... I promise to make one with a red beanie and yellow earmuffs for Christmas.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Is it cold in here?

Is it middle age?  because my allergies are worsening?  because my 'allergy free' nutrition is bad?  because I can't exercise?  I don't know the reason why, but the cold has bothered me more this winter than any I can recall.  The thermostat is higher (sorry Steve), and I've taken to wearing hats everywhere.  You've seen my pirate hat, star wars beanies, and Potter hats, but this week I found a great 'end of season' sale on microfiber sport weight yarn.

There was only one skein available of this "Gems" rainbow.  I turned it into a soft moebius cowl.  For those unfamiliar with the moebius strip - it is a neverending edge.

In crochet, there is a specific technique to create this effect without having to make a rectangle and sew the ends together.  It might be easier to see the twist in this chunky ear warmer headband and fingerless mittens I made last week.

Which brings me to fingerless mittens!  I am loving these hand warmers even though I have never been a mitten/glove person.  (Did I ask if it's cold in here?)  They work great at the arena (lightbulb!  I need to make some in Sundogs team colors to match my hat!) because I can still hold my pen for scorekeeping or open that twist cap. 

Back to the cool yarn!

Actually, let me digress once more.  :oP  I have always been jealous of knitters.  I can't knit to save my life... my fingers just don't work that way, and to work two needles at the same time?  no way.  Give me the hook every time.

BUT most yarn companies make colorways based on finer knitting stitches instead of bulkier crochet stitches.  Why does that matter?  Just try to crochet with variegated color yarn.  Self striping?  Ha!  Only in my dreams. 
And then I picked up this super soft microfiber sport weight yarn.  Damn if it didn't actually WORK!

I bought two skeins each in "Earth" and "Grass" ending up with matching hats and mitts in each.   I am going to love these as winter melts into spring and 'cold' turns into 'it's a little chilly after sunset'.  If I win the lottery, I may have to buy enough of this yarn to make a sweater.

They are so soft and comfortable to wear, and just the right weight to keep the chill away when it's not outright cold (when the wool pirate hat comes out, regardless of my allergy to sheep!).

Pleased with myself, I have moved on to my Molly Weasley sweater sleeves.  Even though the pattern calls for lightweight yarn, I used my usual trick and switched to worsted to increase the sizing without having to adjust the pattern (ok I did have to adjust a tiny bit).  I think it's going to work well and I am pleased so far.  I still have the wrist bell to complete but here's a peek at my work in progress:

Pretty darn colorful, isn't it?!  It's actually gone much faster and easier than I expected.  I need to decide on the color of the body of the sweater.  As usual, I'm leaning towards one of the browns.  What do you think?  Chocolate?  Toast?  Rust?  Cast your vote!  I'll be waiting for the right sale to get this quantity but my dream of getting it completed before it gets too warm to wear may come true!

Update - here's the final sleeve!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Wizarding World

It's no secret that I am a huge Harry Potter fan.  I love the stories, love the movie adaptations, and generally wish I had received an acceptance letter from Hogwarts when I was 11.

Over the years, I've collected two sets of books (one for me and one to share), the Harry Potter Schoolbooks, The Tales of Beedle the Bard, and for Christmas, I gave myself The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook.  Even Steve has realized a wizarding gift is always appreciated... check out the 'Locket from the Cave' complete with note to the Dark Lord from R.A.B. he gave me for Christmas (next to my Time Turner from several years ago!)

I have hats and wands from The Noble Collection... all the markings of an obsessed fan.  Like most people with an obsession, I thought I had it all under control.  But then I found a couple of Potter related forums at Ravelry (here's more on HP groups there).  If you are into the fiber arts (crochet, knit, spinning, etc) you are likely already familiar with Ravelry.  If not, Ravelry is a community for yarnheads to swap stories and patterns.  Ahhh... I can hear that click!  The lightbulb just came on!  You realize the danger now... combining the yarn obsession with the Potter obsession could well be dangerous indeed.

It started off innocently enough... every new Hogwarts student needs school supplies.  Wand, standarn #2 size pewter cauldron, a pet owl, and for quidditch - a Firebolt.

Luckily, I already had my house scarves from release of Deathly Hallows, Pt1 in November.  By the way, my favorite Potter news sources Mugglecast and The Leaky Cauldron say the Pt1 dvd will be released April 15th.  Pt2 will be in theaters Summer 2011.  Can't wait! 
But then it started to spin out of control.  I saw Potter patterns everywhere (who knew they had a crafts section at Leaky)!  I watched the movies just to look for handmade items.  I leafed through pages finding obscure references to hats made of tea cozies.  I searched the web over and over, and I haven't even scratched the surface.

For example, who doesn't love Ron Weasley in Prisoner of Askaban roaring like a lion after eating animal crackers? What? Animal crackers don't make you sound like the animal itself in the muggle world?

I've never made this ear-flap style of hat but it was fun.  I may have to make others now that I have the technique down.  The ties are actually long enough to tie under your chin should it be really chilly, or windy while flying on your broomstick.

Speaking of hats... well let's just say a silly moment struck as I was trying to figure out what to do with some brightly colored yarn left over from Margaret's Cutie Pie.  I thought of liberated house elf Dobby, and how Hermione had discovered him wearing a tea cozy as a hat in the kitchens of Hogwarts.

If I had ears like a house elf, I imagine a tea cozy would fit the bill quite nicely.  For non-tea drinkers, a cozy is a bit like a sweater for your tea pot.  There are openings on either side for spout and handle, and it keeps the pot from cooling too quickly.

Can you imagine how Dobby felt to find an item that actually FIT his elf ears?  Since Dobby doesn't make it into Pt2 of Deathly Hallows, I think I may have to wear this one to the movies when it is released.  My sincerest apologies to anyone who may be going with me.

I found several patterns inspired by the character of Loony, I mean Luna, Lovegood.  I like Luna because she is sweet and honest, but also clever.  She wears this lacey crocheted scarf (hers is silvery gray) in the movie Order of the Phoenix, as everyone meets in Hogsmeade to start Dumbledore's Army.

I usually tend to go for more chunky patterns, but I thought this one was pretty and surprisingly easy to work up.

Luna is most recognizeable for her radish earrings.  I know, how could I not give that a try?!  They crack me up, and I even sent some home with a gardening friend of mine. 

In searching for crocheted radish photos I came across a Luna inspired pattern that did not actually appear in the Potter stories, but easily could have.  It appeals to me because for the moment, I have to carry along allergy safe food with me wherever I go.  No more ordinary lunch box for me!  I have the Luna Lettuce Lunchbag!  Complete with radish cluster adornment.

 So, if you see me out and about, sporting radish earrings, a green scarf and carrying a lettuce lunchbag... wrackspurts buzzing around my head... you'll know I'm just letting my inner Luna Lovegood flag fly.  Watch the Quibbler for Potter updates, and don't let the mischievious nargles interfere with getting your homework turned in on time!

Meanwhile, I'll be stitching up some Weasley sweaters for Greta's Harry and Ginny dolls and dreaming about my next project... oh come on, you have to have guessed, right?  The only obvious crocheted item I haven't already listed?  I hear you saying "oh no!" but my answer is a resounding "oh yes!"

Molly Weasley's 'coat of many colors' sweater!  You'll be happy to know I will not be wearing a housecoat over it though, and I actually have a beautiful autumnal color scheme in mind.

If I can get the sweater crocheted in time for autumn that is...  it's only February, right?
Update... here's my version of Molly's sleeves:

Update... here's the Weasley sweaters for Harry and Ginny!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Let's Go Sundogs!

I get a kick out of Vile Richard's "Hockey Song"... on Monday I play hockey, on Tuesday I play hockey, on Wednesday I play hockey, on Thursday -  I'm sore!  I will never miss a game, my jersey always smells the same.... ok you get the idea.  I may not play hockey, but I love being a fan of our local pro team the Arizona Sundogs and I have a lot of fun keeping score for the local adult league where Steve plays.

I've taken to wearing my three cornered pirate hat to the arena when it is really cold outside.  Old age (and getting cold) stinks, but if you have to wear a hat it may as well be cool, right?  It seems the three cornered hat is going to make a comeback... because every time I wear it to a game I end up making more to share. 

Most of them are pretty much the same as mine, but this weekend I made a special one in Sundogs colors for Captain Harley (who usually wears a big red 'throwback to Huggy Bear in the 70's' hat to games so this won't be a big stretch).   Is that great or what?! 

I also made a beanie for First Mate Cathie...

Last but not least, I made this one for me in Sundogs teams colors.  It's slouchy and comfortable with a rolled brim, and not a bad alternative to the complete and utter failure I had in trying to actually put a Sundogs "S" on the first one I tried to make!
*slides the hat on and wanders off singing "word to your mother, eh?  Ice, ice, hockey... too cold, too cold.  Ice, ice hockey... too cold, too cold... duh duh duh duh, duhduhduhduh *

2/9/11 Update... here is a 'checkered flag' version of the slouchy hat for summer racing season!


2/21/11 update... here's a Pirate Princess hat... and a "death snowflake" tote that makes me think of Pirates as well as the Dark Mark from Harry Potter!

Update 3/10/11 to add the Sundogs blanket using the Catherine's Wheel stitch: