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

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Gathering leaves... a shawl story

Shawls are for old ladies right?  Miss Marple was always knitting something fluffy and pink for someone. 

Or are they for cowboys? The Man With No Name always wore one... he just called it a 'poncho'.

Or possibly Gallagher (the comic) who used to do both, be a cowboy AND a lady at a party?  (It's all in the elbows.)

Ponchos were hugely popular when I was a kid in the 70's.  They're really just a blanket with a hole in the top for your head (just ask my grandson!).

I am 7 years old in this photo I'm a little upset here because it's really cold and I just slipped on the ice.  Everyone else is still sitting in the car and my Mom is taking the picture with the window rolled down.  What can I say, I wanted a picture of the snow.

A few weeks ago I made a short version called a shrug out of some really great soft and sparkly yarn.  There will be more of this easy style in my future.

But, it was time to challenge myself a bit and make something more traditional.  Turns out, it might be my most favorite of all!

I know!  I am SO not a 'lace' person.  This pattern is called "Gathering Leaves" and it captivates me for some reason.  Perhaps it is the green fluttery leaves outside my office window.  Perhaps it is the hint of autumn leaf gathering and cooler temperatures it conjures in my mind.

I used over 2,200 yards of sport weight yarn instead of lace weight for this baby, and added a repeat of the small leaf pattern to make it a bit larger.  It ended up about 5 feet long down the center, and has a 'wingspan' of 9 feet.  That might sound outrageous, but trust me, for a six footer, it's perfect snuggle size.

Here's a better view of some of the details...

 Hmmm... if I can do this, I probably could do that tablecloth pattern from the 1930's. 

Yeah, right.

Maybe a white poncho with red flowers... it's been such a long time.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A hat by any other name...

I have developed a fascination with hats.  Perhaps it is that I identify more and more with *Warning* as I get older.  Perhaps it's living in a cooler climate.  Perhaps it's laziness and I simply do not want to brush my hair anymore.  :oP  Whatever the reason, I am enjoying myself.... and my hats.

I recently came across some patterns from my childhood in the 70's that included everything from granny square vests to groovy ponchos and colorful hats.  This one is called Peacock Eyes.

They are all worked in simple single crochet.  I also tried a new yarn from Knitpicks.  It's a blend of cotton and beechwood modal (viscose spun into yarn) and it is perhaps the softest cotton yarn I have ever used.  Perfect for hats... there will be several more coming!
 I also made this vintage basketweave hat.. but the large blob section looks like Arkansas to me.  Is it just me?  This one is on the "I probably won't wear it so it might get frogged and remade" pile.  I think I might like it better if the entire hat was the finer basketweave rows instead of blobs.  Time will tell.
I still have to get over the idea that patterns from my childhood are now considered "vintage", but I think once I do I might find other uses for these colorwork patterns. They'd make great bags!

 I got around to my splurge handpainted rayon yarn project too.  I made a cabled diamond cap, and a matching shrug.  This is the most indulgent yarn I have ever used in my life and it's going to be hard to not want to use it for everything from now on.  So soft and yet durable, and the gold thread brings just a little extra sumpin'.
 I also like how the color swirls itself into soft stripes. *sigh*  So nice.

But, just in case you are worried that I'm not giving equal attention to other body parts that get cold... here are my Hogwarts House Unity socks.
 For those unfamiliar, House Unity takes a color from each house - Gryffindor red, Hufflepuff yellow, Ravenclaw blue and Slytherin green and puts them together. 

Did you know that the Hogwarts motto is "Never tickle a sleeping dragon"?  Sounds like good advice to me.

It's all childs play...

I feel like I've been slacking off by not getting my project photos up to share.  In a funny sort of way I actually feel a little guilty.  What's up with that?!  Anyway, here's what you missed the last couple of weeks while I was planning/having/remembering fun with my grandsons!

Steve won tickets on The Train so we wondered if our 5 yr old grandson would like to go.  Of course he did!

It was a magical day, and he told us several times about how much fun he was having - the ultimate grandparent moment.

On the way to the Grand Canyon, we had a lot of fun playing games and telling stories... and we even got to walk on the train to the cafe car for train shaped cinnamon graham crackers and chocolate milk!  (Does it get any better?!)

Don't tell anyone, but one of my favorite moments was this quiet one just watching the condors fly over the canyon.  That is serious trust, to feel ok hanging your feet over the edge cause 'Grampa's got you'.
One of the things Topher enjoyed the most was the Junior Ranger program.  If you complete the workbook for your age group, and attend a program (like this story time adventure about condors), you can earn a Junior Ranger badge.

He even got picked to wear the condor costume, but I have to figure out how to convert the cell phone video format before I can share that (boo!  hiss!)
If you look closely at the robot on the tshirt, he's wearing the gold Junior Ranger badge like a holster on his hip just above Grampa's hand.  :oP  Topher is also sporting a new Junior Ranger cap.  Sadly, I did not get a photo of his Raven patch, which will hopefully end up on that hat as well.  A great day that we will all remember for a long time.
What's that?  Where's the crochet?  Well, these two nuts also have a running joke between them when they randomly yell 'squirrel!' and look around frantically like Dug in the movie "Up!".

You can imagine how funny it was when we actually had a squirrel stop and yell 'boy!' while visiting the Canyon.  Which explains crochet project number one... matching Grampa and Grandson squirrel hats!
The funny part is that little brother Freddy really loved this hat, and refused to take it off... he even slept in it!

So, back to the drawing board for another hat.  Asking Topher what he'd like, he said pirate skulls.

But, thinking that Freddy might decide he likes that hat too, I made a dinosaur one to distract him... and hope that Topher will get to keep the one he specifically asked for!

I also had fun with some other kid related patterns, like this wizard's cape (what kid doesn't enjoy a wizard's cape now and again?)

And, some general monkeying around...

Lastly, I was touched by the story of the two new pigs at the local zoo.  It seems siblings who raised these two for a 4H project just couldn't bear to sell them for slaughter once they were grown.

It sounded so much like Wilbur's story in *Charlotte's Web* that I just had to crochet a web.  I haven't been back to the zoo to check, but the keepers tell me they will find a place for it!  I can't want to see it all stretched out and spider web looking!

But that's not even the half of it... I'll be back soon with my latest round of colorwork hats!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Bits and pieces...

The end of the month often means the end of my yarn stash... or should I say the need to finish up the ends of the yarn I started earlier in the month (before I open the new stuff!).

To that end, there is a never ending parade of hats and blanket squares, including these wacky rainbow skulls.  While I'm not certain than the rainbow was a good choice, it was a fun hat to make.  I thought rainbows and skulls would be funny together... and the hat is great in person, from a slight distance, but you can't see the pattern well close up.

 Next on my list was a crocheted necklace.  I have a lot of beads in my stash as well, and I thought this was a great way to use the stone chips I had left over from other projects like this dream tree

I used metallic thread to crochet the chain that connects the stones.  Simple really,  thread all the stones on first then start crocheting...  for this aventurine necklace I crocheted a three chain stitches,  moved a stone up, crocheted three more chain stitches, on and on to the desired length.  Tie a knot, add jewelry hardware, and there you go! 
I also added an octopus pendant to this one because the color of the stones reminds me of beach glass.

I made a couple of them while I was at it and will definitely be making more!
I began a larger project this week as well.  It's the luscious luxury yarn I splurged on during the Yarn Tour.  It's soooo soft, and sparkly, and light, and amazingly wonderful.  You'll just have to wait for finished photos next week!