Earth Basket

I’ve been wanted to try making a crochet basket for a while, and I started on one a few months ago, but I sort of abandoned the project. Working with cotton (especially bulkier cotton) hurts my hands after a while. I did really want to finish the project, though, so I finally picked it back up this past week and added the last few rows.

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I used the really cheap cotton yarn that you can pick up at craft stores like Michael’s – Lily Sugar ‘n Cream in the Sage Green and Terra Firma colorways. I held it double and used a 5.5 mm crochet hook, as recommended in this free pattern by Nicole Dasig. I added a few rounds to the bottom and to the sides to make it a little bigger than the pattern calls for. I really like the green, but I wanted to use a darker color for the bottom so that I don’t have to worry about getting it dirty if I want to set it on the floor or ground.

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The basket can hold about ten 100g skeins of yarn, so it would be great for storage. I’ve been using it as a project basket that I can keep by my couch with the whatever I’m currently working on. I can also easily grab it to take with me for outdoor or cafe knitting. Right now, it’s holding the Desert Star top that I’m knitting (and hopefully finishing up soon!).

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It feels so meta to keep yarn/yarn projects in a basket made of yarn. I’m into it.

May, June, July Squares

Great news! I’m finally caught up on my block-a-month squares! I got a bit behind while i was trying to finish up my Poison Oak and Sonation sweaters. But now I’m back on track and will hopefully remain on track, because it’s a lot more pleasant to make 3 squares a month than to make 9 squares in one month… So, without further ado, here’s May, June, and July!

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It makes me so excited about the finished blanket when I see lots of the squares together (although it also makes me dread sewing them all together… but that’s a problem for future me). If you haven’t read my other posts about this blanket, I’m participating in a Ravelry crochet-a-long making 3 afghan squares per month – 2 12 in. squares and 1 6 in. square. The finished blanket will be 5 ft. by 6 ft. The year is over halfway through, so I’m over halfway done with the blanket! I’m using Malabrigo Rios yarn.

Because I have so many squares this month, I’ll just give a quick description of each one and link my Ravelry projects in case you’d like to see more pictures.

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Row 1 (May squares) from left to right:

  • Wishful Thinking (12 in.) by Polly Plum in colorways Purple Mystery, Whales Road, and Lettuce. This was honestly one of my least favorite squares. It was very finicky, and I don’t love the final look enough for it to be worth it. But I did like that it’s different. (Ravelry project page)
  • May Pole (12 in.) by Shan Sevcik in colorways Glazed Carrot, Fresco y Seco, and Whales Road. (Ravelry project page).
  • Parkdale (6 in.) by Sadie Cuming in colorways Archangel, Sunset, and Purple Mystery. (Ravelry project page)

Row 2 (June squares) from left to right:

  • Shoofly Pie (12”) by Polly Plum in colorways Fresco y Seco, Whales Road, and Sunset. I like this square, but I was kind of disappointed to have another pie themed square (Ravelry project page)
  • Chocolate Delight (12”) by Dayna Audirsch in colorways Archangel, Teal Feather, and Purple Mystery. I originally thought this square looked sort of boring, but I really like the simplicity of it. It’s a nice change from the more complex squares. And the bulb-like shape of the petals reminds me of palace towers or something. (Ravelry project page)
  • Charming (6”) by Melinda Miller in colorways Sunset, Fresco y Seco, and Lettuce.(Ravelry project page)

Row 3 (July squares) from left to right:

  • C2: Shining Sea (12”) by Funny dieBarbarin in colorways Glazed Carrot, Teal Feather, and Lettuce. This is my favorite square so far, although it was annoying to make because of all the puff/bullion/popcorn stitches. It’s just so unique with the offset squares. I also think the name is clever. (Ravelry project page)
  • Moon Blossom (12”) by Karen Smith in colorways Archangel, Fresco y Seco, and Whales Road. I really love the alternating stitch effect in the border of this square. (Ravelry project page)
  • Checks and Balances (6”) by Cylinda D. Matthews in colorways Whales Road, Purple Mystery, and Glazed Carrot. I don’t love how this square turned out, but I think its my fault for using two colors that are too similar. Oh well. (Ravelry project page)

Whew! I’m very proud of myself for actually writing about/photographing/Ravelry-ing about all of these squares at once. This kind of documenting can be annoying in the moment, but I love having the record of all of the things I’ve made and what I was thinking when I made them. I wish I had it for earlier pieces I made, but it’s hard to go back and remember what yarn, what size of needles/hook, etc. How do you all keep track of all of the projects you’ve finished?

Hanalei Sweater

I finished another sweater! I actually started this sweater in March, but then I had to put it away to make a different sweater as a graduation gift for my roommate. After I finished that, I got right back to working on my sweater. The pattern is Poison Oak by Carina Spencer. DSC_7979

I used a little less than 3 skeins of Hanalei Hand Dyed superwash merino silk fingering in the variegated Pele colorway. I fell in love with the bright colors of this yarn at a local yarn store in northern California.

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The pattern is designed for two colors of narrow stripes, but the yarn I wanted to use is so variegated and bright that I chose not to stripe it. I also didn’t alternate skeins (I know, I’m horrible), but I’m actually glad I didn’t because I really like pooling effect here. It reminds me of a sunset.

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The sweater has a slip stitch detail down an asymmetric front. It’s high-low – long in the front, and falling at the hips in the back. I made it a little longer than the pattern calls for. The pattern includes options for 3/4 length or cap sleeves, and I chose the 3/4 length. I made the 36” bust size, and I used a size 2 needles instead of size 4 because I’m a pretty loose knitter.

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I’m so, so happy with how this sweater turned out! It’s the first hand-knit sweater that I own. It may be a little while before I can wear it since it’s not exactly summer wear. I’m hoping to be adding a few more knit garments to my collection soon!

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A few patterns on my radar to start next:

Happy summer knitting everyone!

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SoCal Beanie

I started this lacy beanie as part of the Spring Hat KAL hosted by the Wool, Needles, Hands podcast, but I went to Los Angeles to visit my sister and ended up leaving the unfinished project behind! After I got it back, I went ahead and finished it even though the KAL was over. It’s a really light, floppy summer beanie.

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I used the Mehendi pattern by Svetlana Volkova and Classic Elite Yarns Silky Alpaca Lace held double in the colorway Olive Moss. I made the medium size of hat, and, after blocking, it had the perfect amount of slouchiness. It took quite a bit less than half of a ball of the yarn, even held double, so it was a fairly cheap hat to make! I really like how the variegated lace held double turned out, and I love the bluish tones.

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This beanie is pretty different from the things I’ve knitted before, but it’s definitely ideal for a fun style in the summer in California.

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Auckland Sweater

For the past month, I’ve been furiously working on a sweater for my roommate as a gift for her thesis defense (today!) and PhD graduation. I finally finished the sweater early this week and, after showing it off at knit night, I gave it to her! I finished the entire sweater in one month and one day. Also it is my very first sweater ever. I’m super proud of it, and I think she really likes it. I really want to make one for myself.

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I used the Sonation pattern by Mari Chiba in the 51.75” bust size. The pattern is designed for at least 10” of positive ease, so I went with the larger of the two sizes I was deciding between to get a really floppy, comfy piece. I think I could actually have gone with the smaller 48” bust size without making much of a difference in fit – but I would have had one fewer lace repeat! Curses!

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I used Madelinetosh Twist Light yarn in colorways Void and Rocky Mountain High (2 skeins each). The sweater is bottom up, and I switched from Rocky Mountain High to Void after I ran out of Rocky Mountain High yarn, and then I used Void for the sleeves as well. I really love the bright variegated colors of Rocky Mountain High, but I thought an entire sweater made of it was too much, so I chose a dark, more sophisticated color for the top. And I love how the contrast turned out. The pattern calls for fingering weight yarn, which the Tosh Twist Light is, but I still had to go to a US size 2 needle to get gauge (I am a very loose knitter). I also chose to mattress stitch the shoulder seams instead of doing a 3-needle bind off because a friend of mine advised me that it is more stable in the long run.

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I was sort of worried in starting this project that the lace would kill me, but it honestly wasn’t that bad for the majority of the sweater. At the armholes, the front and back are separated and worked flat for a bit, and that was definitely more annoying than the rest of the sweater, which is worked in the round. I like the effect of the lace – it ‘s not too open but has enough texture to be interesting.

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Finishing this sweater in time for my roommate graduating did require me to suspend work on my other projects, so I still haven’t finished my May or June block-a-month squares, and I haven’t touched the Poison Oak sweater I’m making for myself. I did finish a hat, which I’ll post about soon! I’m hoping this summer I’ll have lots of time to catch up on everything! I have a lot of cast on ideas as well… so we’ll see what happens there. What are you all knitting/crocheting this summer?

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El Camino Crop Top

It definitely feels like summer has started here in the bay area – it’s been so hot for the past week. It reminds me that California is not necessarily the best place to live as a yarn-crafter. Big sweaters and scarves are not really wardrobe staples. Last summer, I had the idea to make a hybrid sort of garment. I bought a plain crop top on sale (at American Apparel I think?) and added a crochet lace border.

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It was super quick and easy, and I really love the result. It’s a top I wear a lot. I used the border from this crochet shawl pattern. I made this beautiful shawl as a gift for a friend’s mom a few years ago and definitely recommend the pattern. I really liked the edging for the shawl, so I decided to use it for this, but there are tons of free crochet (or knit!) lace patterns that would be great for a shirt edging.

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I made this top by measuring the circumference of the bottom edge of the shirt, crocheting a border piece in the round with a few rows of single crochet that was the same length around, and then working the lace pattern. I used embroidery thread to sew the single crochets to the shirt from inside of the hem so that you can’t see the single crochets or the stitching. I’m not 100% sure what yarn I used, but I think it was Blue Heron Yarns Rayon Metallic.

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I’m planning to make a few more of these for this summer! I was also considering adding some lace edging to a pair of jean shorts. We’ll see.

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Any other ideas for clothes to add some yarn to?

April Afghan Squares

I managed to get a picture of all the squares I’ve completed so far for my block-a-month afghan! I’m really in love with how it all looks together. (You can read more about the block-a-month crochet-a-long I’ve been doing in my posts for January, February, and March or on the CAL Ravelry page).

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I wanted this blanket to be really loud and crazy and not look like a traditional afghan. I think I’m achieving that! I’m excited that I’ve made it 1/3 of the way through the year without falling behind (thanks to many hours of crocheting on the last weekend of each month…). I can’t wait for the end of the year to see my finished project! Stay tuned.

The first square I made for April is the Key Lime Pie square by Lettice Rose, which is available as a free Ravelry download. If made in the right colors, this square really looks like a key lime pie! I kept the green color for the lime slices but didn’t go much further. I like how it came out sort of mandala-esque. I used Malabrigo Rios (which I’m using for the entire afghan) in colorways Lettuce, Sunset, and Teal Feather.

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The other 12” square is the spiral flower square (also available as a free Ravelry download) by Mehlika Akkaya at Sculptures in Disguise. The flower motif in the middle was really fun to make and is available online – I may use it for something else in the future! I used colorways Archangel, Purple Mystery, and Fresco y Seco for this square.

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The 6” square for April is called Twisted Braids and is by Aurora Suominen. It’s also available for free on Ravelry. I used colorways Lettuce, Glazed Carrot, and Whales Road.

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Here’s hoping I get started a bit earlier on my May squares…

Yarn Adventures: Monarch Knitting in Pacific Grove, CA

I attended a conference at Asilomar this past week (no, it wasn’t Amy Herzog’s knitting retreat, which is held there every spring, but I wish it was!). Of course, I took the opportunity to do a little yarn shopping. The conference was only three days, and the schedule was pretty packed, so I didn’t have a lot of time to check out all the yarn that the Monterey area has to offer. I did skip one afternoon session to go for a very pleasant run along the coast and into town to check out Monarch Knitting. It’s located in Pacific Grove, CA, and it has an adorable storefront and an open, welcoming interior.

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The yarn was organized by weight – starting at lace weight to the right of the door and increasing to bulky on the far left. I thought this was a much more convenient way for a yarn store to be organized than, for example, by brand. There were also tons of cute little nooks for knitting/crocheting all around the store and some people hanging out doing cross stitch.

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I ended up getting some Madelinetosh Twist Light for a sweater that I’m planning to make as a gift for a friend (any lacy sweater pattern suggestions for fingering weight yarn, send them my way!). I’m planning to get some dark grey to go with it.

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I also got some super cute stitch markers because they were made of teeny-tiny shells, and I was on the coast, so I couldn’t resist. Cabin Fiber Co. makes a lot of nature inspired stitch markers. They also have an Etsy store!

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But seriously, looking for lacy sweater patterns for this yarn!

Midtown Wrap

I’m currently in the middle of working on my first sweater (Poison Oak by Carina Spencer), so I don’t have any current finished objects to post about this week. This crocheted wrap/scarf that I made a few years ago is one of my go-to pieces because it’s big and warm and soft and goes with pretty much everything, so I wanted to write about it. Also I took some pretty pictures of it at this weird modern art thing near where I live.

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The wrap is just 6 really large granny squares sewn together. The yarn is Classic Elite Yarns Vail (70% baby alpaca and 30% bamboo viscose) in Camel and Charcoal. I really like how the center panel of Charcoal in contrast to the outside panels of Camel turned out. It also looks cool when worn as a scarf because then the part wrapped around my neck is a different color than the ends that hang down.

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I get a lot of compliments on this piece, but it was so easy to make! It’s a good example of how nice yarn and strategic color choices can make really simple things look beautiful and unique.

What are some of your favorite simple pieces?

March Afghan Squares

I’m a little late in posting about my March squares for the block-a-month afghan I’ve been working on this year – I actually finished the squares before March ended (yay!), but I didn’t get around to getting them photographed or writing about them until now. I’ve had a really busy April! I haven’t even been able to get started on my April squares yet.

If you’re new to reading the blog (welcome!), I’m working on a crochet afghan through a Ravelry crochet-a-long. I make 3 different blocks each month. You can read more about the CAL and about the squares I’ve made so far in my posts for January and February.

So, without further ado, here are the squares I made for March!

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My favorite of the 12” squares was the Picture Frame Square by Lisa Naskrent. It’s available for free as one of the squares in this Interweave Crochet Chain Reaction Afghan Project booklet. A lot of the other squares actually looked pretty cool as well – future afghan project? I’m using Malabrigo Rios for this afghan, and this square is made in colorways Lettuce, Glazed Carrot, and Fresco y Seco.

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The other 12” square is called That one Sister, and it’s by Melinda Miller – you can download the free pattern on Ravelry. I used colorways Archangel, Sunset, and Fresco y Seco for this one. I really like the appliqué flowers! I noticed after completing this square that it’s made of Mardi Gras colors, so it’s very appropriate for March.

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The 6” square for March is the Popcorn Puff Square by Ruth C. Roy. It’s a cute, simple square that’s actually really clever. The puff stitch flower isn’t a appliqué, but is worked as the center of the square, and subsequent rows are worked in the backs of the stitches. You can download the pattern for free on Ravelry. I made it in colorways Fresco y Seco, Whales Road, and Teal Feather.

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After I finish my April squares, I’ll be officially 1/3 of the way finished with this CAL! I’m planning to get some pictures of all of the squares I’ve made so far next month to see how the afghan as a whole is progressing. I’m still enjoying this project so far – doing all different squares certainly makes an afghan less boring to work up!

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I’ve also been working on a knit-a-long hosted by Tayler of the Wool, Needles, Hands blog. I’ve recently been watching her podcast, and I love it! The KAL is for a lacy spring hat and ends in May – I’ll be sharing my hat here once I finish it! What crochet/knit-a-longs are you working on?