Sparkly Broomstick Lace Cowl

Now that the weather is getting cooler, I can break out some of the scarf projects I’ve made over the past year. Including my first (and so far only) attempt at broomstick lace.

broomsticklace2

I made this sparkly broomstick lace cowl using this helpful tutorial. The yarn is Feza Jewel in Plum from my stash (two skeins). Wish I’d had a little more yarn to use so I could have made a longer infinity scarf.

broomsticklace3

I’d also use a larger “broomstick” next time. I ended up using a jumbo knitting needle, but it didn’t make holes that were as large as I would have liked. The tutorial at the link above offers some good suggestions, and you can also buy broomstick lace pins that seem like they would work well. It was a fun and mostly stress-free project – a good one to try if you’re looking for a project that doesn’t require constant pattern-checking.

broomsticklace1

In My Stash: Feza Jewel

I hope autumn is going well for you so far – mine is flying by! I haven’t had as much craft time as usual, since I’ve been focused on a busy work schedule and on my other hobbies. I’m happy to get back into the habit!

Not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, ;) but I love sparkly yarn. A lot. So when I saw this rich, deep shade of purple yarn, it was an easy pick.

Feza Jewel Yarn

I actually got this Feza Jewel yarn in St. Louis – it’s not available at my LYS. (Although I have seen some Viva Glitz locally and it caught my attention as well.)

Feza Jewel Yarn

The yarn is fairly soft – which is always a concern with yarn that contains metallic strands. I have fairly sensitive skin, but the cowl I made from this yarn (pics to come) doesn’t bother me.

Feza Jewel Yarn

Apparently That Actually Happens

Last night, the husband and I were hanging out in our living room and watching TV. I was pretty tired, having just got off the plane from a business trip. Enter, stage right, our cat, with something in her mouth.

Let me pause for a moment to set the scene a bit. This is an indoor-only, small-boned (but perhaps a teeny bit plump) pampered princess of a feline. Although she does have a particular knack for bug-catching, as far as we knew that was where her hunting prowess ended.

Assuming it was a toy or a ball of dryer fuzz she’d found somewhere, we walked toward her. Nope, it was very much an actual (though apparently dead?) mouse. The husband made her drop it. The “dead” mouse immediately started running across the living room. And then I did something that I assumed only happened in cartoons. I screamed in a pitch I didn’t know I was capable of, and jumped up on a chair.

It was a proud moment.

Understandably, this freaked out the cat, who, after managing to catch the mouse again with impressive speed, ran upstairs and straight to her go-to hiding spot: under our bed.

For what seemed like an eternity, the husband and I stared at each other and wondered what we were going to do. Then we went upstairs and pulled the bed away from the wall to get to the cat. (Evidently I did not help matters by wanting to sit on the bed to keep away from the mouse. Whatever.)

Finally, our cat dropped the mouse, which had been dispatched by this point. The husband got rid of it, and the cat proceeded to strut around smugly.

It’s good to be home.

Snowflake Ornaments

I’ve started seeing Christmas projects popping up on Pinterest and other blogs (in fact, I’m months behind by craft store standards) so I thought it was time to share a few ornaments that I made for the contest this year.

Crochet snowflake ornaments

The contest rules for this category specify that you have to enter a group of three. Last year, I made three identical angel ornaments in different colors. This year, I opted to use three different patterns (all by the same designer – Deborah Atkinson) and give them the same color scheme.

The first one (pictured below) is called the 3D Crystal Snowflake for Mom. I think this one is my favorite.

3D Crystal Snowflake Ornament

The second one is called Mother’s Day Snowflake. I got points knocked off for less-than-stellar blocking during the contest judging, and looking back I agree with the judges’ critique.

Mother's Day Snowflake Ornament

The third snowflake ornament is the Water Lily Snowflake. I wasn’t sure how well this pattern would work in my color scheme, but I like it.

Water Lily Snowflake Ornament

After completing the ornaments, I soaked them in a mixture of water and craft glue. Then I blocked them on my foam mats, with a layer of plastic wrap in between to keep the glue off of my boards. (Sorry for the horrible photo and lighting – it’s the only shot I got.)

Blocking Snowflake Ornaments

The thread is Aunt Lydia’s Classic Crochet Cotton, size 10 in natural, and Knit Picks Curio in Victorian. To hang them, I just use the simple wire ornament hooks that are available (one billion to a pack) in the holiday decoration aisles. Overall, these got third place in their contest category.

Crochet Snowflake Ornaments

Try, Try Again

As much as I’d like to share a post about a successful project that’s DONE (on the heels of my failed attempt to salvage an old project), here’s another cautionary tale. This time, it’s about the importance of counting your stitches when working crochet in the round… even when your pattern doesn’t provide a stitch/chain space count for a particular round. Especially when the pattern doesn’t provide a count. Do the math. Count the stitches.

If you zone out during a simultaneous Netflix/crochet session (ahem), you’ll make a rookie-level mistake that costs you hours and hours of effort. See that out-of-focus loop in the center of this (terribly blurry, so sorry) snapshot? Yep, that’s one skipped stitch that completely wrecked the tension and counts on every subsequent round.

Skipped Crochet Stitch

Which means all of the off-white stitches in the photo below have now been frogged – a process that took twenty minutes in itself. It’s times like these that it’s important to remember that the process, not the finished product, is what I really enjoy. :) So help me feel better about this – what frustrating crochet/knitting mistakes have you made?

Table Topper

Some Projects Can’t Be Saved

I was revisiting one of my early projects, the Cutie Pie Doily, since at the time I made it I was soooo proud of my effort. It was one of the first doilies I made, and certainly my first beaded project.

Here it is as I originally shared it. In a word, FAIL.

Beaded Cutie Pie Doily

I recently thought that by going back and trying to block it again, I could salvage it. I was so wrong. It’s just a complete mess. It’s plagued by tension problems, and the crowning “achievement” is the last few rows where I apparently decided to go rogue and disregard the pattern. (Why?)

CutiePieDoily2

The blocking itself is not that great this time either. I phoned it in as I got to the outer edges, realizing that even the best blocking wasn’t going to save this one.

It is a tiny bit better, but it’s hard to believe I entered it as a contest project. I’m not really very excited that I decided to share it here in the first place, honestly. But it’s important to have perspective on projects that didn’t work. I can be quite stubborn about trying to execute a pattern that just doesn’t play nice with my gauge and yarn choices. (I think, sadly, I’ve been working on one of those recently.)

So how about you? Have any projects that you thought were amazing when you finished them, but make you cringe now?

CutiePieDoily

Getting Started

Do you remember learning how to knit or crochet? When you’ve been doing something for a long time, it’s hard to remember where you started and how difficult it was. That’s certainly the case for me – I’d rather forget the frustration and frogging. :)

A woman named Dayna has started posting about a series of challenges that her family and friends have given her to help her learn new things and get outside her comfort zone. Aside from being a great idea in general (who hasn’t made a “bucket list” at one point?) I love that one of her challenges was to learn how to crochet from her mom.

It seems that, more often than not, this type of craft is passed down from one generation to another. It just makes the hobby that much more meaningful. Who taught you to knit or crochet?