Everyday Crochet

I know every book is personal. I loved the books I bought prior (and by request I'll post more thorough reviews when the books are right in front of me), but many may not. The same is true for this one. I love it. Many may not but I freaking love it. It arrived a few hours ago.

I can't go pattern by pattern and discuss them because I'm at work and I just can't flip through a book that slowly today. My boss may not appreciate that very much.

What I can tell you is this. You're not going to find a lot of full-on sweaters in here. There are a few, but this style is not the majority. Most of what is offered seems to be cardigan type sweaters and car coats and vests. Open fronts with long, 3/4 length or short sleeves. Also they tend to close with a single button or closure, or a tie. They're cute though. Really, really cute and shaped, not just boxy cardigans that hang on you. There are a few fitted longer sleeved tops like I said, but not as many as there are cardigan type tops. There are also a few tanks in there that are just really lovely and feminine.

She has a chapter at the end with a few belts. Why??? I don't know. I don't like them. There are only a few though. It seems odd to me. One for certain goes with a long sweater, but the others just seem hideous. But that's preference, as I don't like the crocheted belts at all.

In terms of variety, it seems lacking. I say this for one main reason. A lot of the patterns seem to be a shell stitch of some sort. Actually, most of the book seems to be in some sort of shell stitch. I didn't read the patterns, I just looked at the photos, but upon glancing through the book it all seems to be shells and more shells. Now, I love that look so it's great for me. If you don't like that look, maybe pass on the book.

Am I glad I bought it? Yep, sure am. I love the style of the clothing. I love shells and scalloped edges. I would say that the majority of the patterns in the book are of items I myself would love to wear. Whether I'll make them is a different story. But I sure do think they're something purdy.

PS--is blogger being annoying for anyone or is it just me?

Yep, I'm Bi.

I feel like I need to defend myself a little bit.

Some of my crochet friends are a little worried that I've decided to learn to knit.

Am I really betraying the crochet?

I don't feel like I am. Crochet will always be my first love. It will always be my craft of choice. And it will never make me pretty socks that I so desperately want to learn to make. Or cabled sweaters. Or any number of things.

As of last night I have become bi-crafty.

I cast on 15 stitches, thanks to the help of my DVD. And this is maybe 5 or 6 rows of straight knitting. I'm going to stick with knitting for now. I'll taclke purling on a different swatch. And then when I've got those down, I'll figure out increases and decreases. And then...who knows. A simple pattern. Probably a hat on 2 needles.

Miss Marley was not at all pleased that I have gone to the dark side. You can see the contempt in her eyes.

And she later decided she would do her best to destroy all things knit.

I'll persevere though. You'll see. Some day I'll be knitting gorgeous socks on 4 dpns.
I'll tell you though--knitting is slow compared to crochet and it makes my right shoulder sore for some reason. Maybe I just don't have the right technique down yet.

Crochet Books

Got a few things from Amazon over the last few weeks. I had pre-ordered quite a few books, and they're finally being released. Aside from the new Crochet Me book, I think everything has arrived.

I really, really love this book. I didn't think I would because I hate the shawl on the cover. However, there are probably 10 or 12 different patterns in here that I'd be willing to make and actually wear. I'm a fan of any type of lace or openwork pattern, so this is right up my alley. I'm a bit concerend that the patterns are beyond my skill level, however I think my skill has plateauded because I've stopped challenging myself. It's time that I push myself more. This is definitely a keeper.

This book is kind of a let down, though not because I dislike the patterns. I actually found quite a few items in here that I really like and would be willing to make. I think what bothers me is that the title is misleading. I don't find much in this book that I could complete in a weekend. I was really looking forward to cute projects that were quick. Not really what I found though. I'm not unhappy with what I did find, so there's enough for me to work with that I'm pleased with the book otherwise.

Actually Everyday Crochet hasn't arrived yet. I'll let you know what I think of this one when it gets here. Probably this afternoon or tomorrow.

I forget which blogger said this would be a beginner's dream book, but she was certainly correct. Someone who is just starting out in crochet (and someone who is young or enjoys young looking designs) would really enjoy this book a great deal. I found it to be a mixed bag. I liked half of what the book had to offer, but the other half made me gag. Some of the items were just plain ridiculous looking. But again, there seemed to be enough projects in there that I liked to make the book worthwhile.

What I'm very pleased with overall is that all of the books I purchased contain patterns I want to make for myself as well as patterns I want to make for other people. I think after the Christmas rush is over I'm going to spend time working on stuff for me, since I so rarely crochet for myself. Most of what I make is to pass the time, use up stash, or for gifts. I'd like to actually find a pattern, buy the yarn, make it for myself, and then wear it. Here's to hoping I can change how I do things enough for it to work out that way.

Going to the Dark Side...

For Christmas, my brother and sister in law bought me this DVD:

It has remained untouched for the past 9 months. I finally pulled it out last Thursday and climbed into bed and watched the first 45 minutes or so of it. I didn't practice knitting while I was watching it (I was too tired), but I found that the instructions were insanely easy. Knitting has never looked so simple to me. I decided that after I finished making the blanket for the wedding that is in less than 2 weeks (kill me now) I would pick up the needles.

In the meantime, I purchased these books based on the reviews on Amazon.com.

My entire desire to learn to knit stemmed from a love and appreciation of knitted socks. I'd love to make socks. I started (three times) on crocheted socks but I just don't like them one bit. However, as I've been exposed to blogs on the subject, especially Bron's Blog, I've fallen in love with knitted sweaters. There's something special and different about knitted clothing compared to crochet clothing.

So, I'm doomed. I went to Joann's online store and bought myself a set of Clover bamboo needles. I think they range from size 8s to 15s? I plan to make swatches and scarves until I've picked up the craft enough, and then I really need to invest in some circular needles to make a few beginner patterns I've fallen in love with, and then some dpns to start working on socks. I think I'd like to make a few hats on 4 dpns before I start on the socks. I'm somewhat intimidated by size 1 dpns. They look like long toothpicks.

I'm trying really hard not to get ahead of myself. I feel like I should invest in every size single pointed needle, every size circular and every size dpn. I will refrain though. For now, I've got my beginner set (should arrive today or tomorrow), and I'll just invest in the needles as I need them for the projects I choose. Sigh. Another obsession. Just what I need.

I do have to admit, I won't really do much except dick around between now and Christmas. I don't plan to get into any projects. I think I will just swatch in my spare time. I've got too many crocheted gifts to worry about making to even start learning to knit until January.

Derryfest: Sunday September 16, 2007

I'm happy to announce that the event was very successful. I made a little money, I destashed, and I got many, many compliments throughout the day.

Derryfest was originally supposed to be on Saturday the 15th. However, due to rain it was postponed until Sunday. From what I learned from other local crafters, that right there pretty much guarantees your profits being cut in half. So from the beginning we were a little doomed in terms of that.

Secondly, our display was what you could call rudimentary. We're not craft-fair people, and we don't intend to do a ton of fairs, so for us to invest money into this would have been ridiculous and wasteful. So we kept to basics and spent $2 on our table. Yes, $2. We bought two vinyl tablecloths from the dollar store. Our space was $30, and that was plenty of expenditures for us. My assumption is that some people passed by us because we didn't have that million dollar looking craft booth, but I could be wrong. I don't think we looked too terrible, though. I thought we were tastefully minimalist.

The final factor that caused our profits to be lower is the fact that I am destashing all of my yarn that I bought as a beginner with no knowledge of good yarn (or inherited from Mom and Grandma). Which is to say, most everything is acrylic yarn. Furthermore, though I spent a decent amount of time on these projects, each and every one of them served specifically to destash and pass the time. So I did not price things competively. I priced things very, very low. Anything that was wool or cotton obviously came with a higher price tag, but all the acrylic stuff was marked considerably lower than you would expect it to be marked. And get this. People still complained about prices. A hand crocheted scarf for $12? Are you kidding me? That's not too expensive, people.
Derryfest isn't really a craft fair though. I called it that, but it's not. It's a day of free family entertainment in the tiny town of Derry, NH. There's a stage with constant activity--dancers, martial arts, singers, etc. People come to hang out and listen to music and spend some time with their kids. Though there's a vendor section, you don't get the kind of traffic you would get a craft fair. People just look, they don't really buy.
I was talking to a knitter. She said she does holiday craft fairs. She said that her most successful fairs (she'll do morning or afternoon events, not 3 day fairs and such) tend to make her about $200. Now, these are craft fairs where people go to actually buy stuff, not like Derryfest. Well, given that criteria, and everything listed above, I'd have to say Sara and I were extremely successful. We made $129 profit during a 7 hour event. Though it's not a ton of money, I think it was good given what it was. And I love that I have a little extra money to put toward the vet bill, which was my goal. Overall, I couldn't be happier.

I've been tagged

I have been tagged by Andy. So, here goes.

The rules:
Once tagged, you must link to the person who tagged you. Then post the rules before your list, and list 8 random things about yourself. At the end of the post, you must tag and link to 8 other people, visit their sites, and leave a comment letting them know they've been tagged.

Eight Things about me:

1. We have three cats and a ferret. Marley and Otis are my two kitties, and Mark has Domino. Lulu the ferret makes pet #4. I clean 3 litterboxes and 1 ferret cage every night.

2. I was born in Derry, NH and lived in the same house until I was 24 years old. My parents still live there and probably always will.

3. I am addicted to reruns of "The Practice" starring Dylan McDermott. I also can't get enough of "Law and Order: SVU" reruns. I wouldn't know what to do without my DVR.

4. I'm cynnical, sarcastic, miserable, and snarky 99% of the time.

5. I crocheted incorrectly from the time I was 10 or so, until I was 27. I only knew how to slip stitch, so all of the hats and scarves I made are pretty silly looking. I taught myself how to crochet correctly early in 2007.

6. I crochet just about every day.

7. I just recently (yesterday) purchased a set of Clover bamboo single pointed needles so I can teach myself how to knit. I think crochet will always be my craft of choice, however I would love to learn to knit socks and cabled sweaters. I'll dive into that venture after Christmas when all of my crocheted gifts are completed.

8. I quit smoking on September 1, 2007, and I plan to never be a smoker again.

I am technically supposed to tag 8 people, but that's not really my style. So I will tag anyone who reads this and who feels like answering some questions.

Weekly Update

Another short update as the Summer of Socks nears its close.

Before jetting off to Hawaii, Adelle started work on Roza’s sock pattern from the Spring 2007 Interweave Knits. Aloha!

Adrienne has two more pairs of socks to show us this week. Well, sort of. She can’t show us the entire socks because they are off to Blue Moon Fiber Arts first. She’s made 5 this summer, 2 of which she is able to keep.

And now for more fair news. Amy J. won first prize at the Dakota County Fair for her Child’s French Socks. She’s also made a lot of progress on her Plain Jane socks. We’ve now had 2 SOS-ers rock the fair. Congratulations, Amy!

Jen has finished her Liebchen (aka Baby Cable Rib) socks just in time for her trans-Atlantic move. Good luck, Jen.

Amanda has finished her Granite Jaywalkers and is working on her last SOS pair, Sunset Socks.

Angela Marie has made some progress on her second Dream Sock, and has begun another pair of Monkey Socks.

Aquaknits has some gorgeous photos this week of her Eleanor Socks. She’s also started on Little Child’s Socks from Knitting Vintage Socks.

Anna had some time to work on her current pair of her “Knittin’ like a Rock Star Handspun” socks this week. She even had a chance to work on them at a faculty retreat she attended. They look great.

Hooks 'n Books

I'm a member over at Crochetville, though admittedly I only pop in there once every 4 to 6 weeks or so. Well, recently I saw a post looking for local crocheters in Manchester, NH. Well, well, well. That's where I live. Apparently 3 of us live in Manchester, and starting tonight we will be meeting together at 7pm to crochet at Barnes n Noble. I'm very excited. We'll meet on the second Wednesday of the month, each month. I hope it's a really good time. If everyone shows, there will be 4 of us. Barnes n Noble has a calendar thing that you can add yourself to, so hopefully over time more crocheters come out of the woodwork and join us.

And the winners are...

I am so sorry! I never posted the winners of the Pay it Forward thing. Here they are. The randomly selected winners are as follows:




If you would all email me your full names and addresses I'd appreciate it. :)

Email me at aprilmagnuson at gmail dot com.

And before the end of 2007, I shall pay it forward.

Weekend WIPS

I think I've finished most of what I plan to make for the craft fair on Saturday (5 days away, ugh). I have a cute selection of baby hats, lots of adult hats and scarves, a shrug, some dish cloths, some headbands, lots of purses and bags. I think it will be good.

Here's the newest installment of my cute baby hats. Here we have a bumblebee, which I think came out just adorable. The color in the top photo is more accurate. The only thing I will change in the future--instead of putting a big stinger on the head, I think I'll use two antanae instead. Regardless, I think it's damn cute.

And here we have a teddy bear hat. Also newborn/infant size. I think this one is adorable, too.

And yet another Paton's Divine Scarf. I bought 25 skeins of this when I first started crocheting again because it was on sale for $1/skein. I planned to make 2 ghans with it. I'm making one right now for a wedding gift. The other one would have been grays, purples, whites, pinks--pretty colors, all striped and lovely. I scrapped that idea and am just making scarves to get rid of the shit. I don't want to say that I hate it, but honestly I pretty much hate it. Come October I'll be pretty much done with all of it, thank God.

Hoping everyone else was productive this weekend and had a nice few days off from work.

Thank You for Not Smoking Part III

It's been 10 days now since I started the process of quitting. It has not been easy, but I am happy to report that as of yesterday, Day 9, it became much easier. Not sure what happened at that point, but it just seemed easier all of a sudden.

Here's how things are going:

Times when I want to smoke *badly*:
Hanging out with Sara (she smokes)
Driving home from work
Drinking my morning coffee on the weekend

The rest of the time I feel fine. I don't feel the urge when I drive to work or drive around town, I don't feel the urge after a meal. I don't really think about it at work. Hooray!

Have I cheated? Yes. How much? 3/4 of a cigarette with Sara. It tasted bad. I had been craving it for about 2 or 3 hours while we were shopping. It was not at all satisfying. And for the rest of the weekend I didn't have any urges at all. In fact, it reaffirmed in my mind that I didn't want to be a smoker. Double hooray.

Oh, I also did buy a pack last Thursday night. I lit one, took a drag or two and threw it out the car window along with my full pack (I know, I littered, but I was frantic and wanting them out of the car right that second). I feel like I was weak initially, but as soon as I started to smoke I thought, nope, this is not what I want.

All in all, success so far. I know for those of you who are non-smokers, cheating a bit may seem like a horrible, weak thing to do. For you smokers who have tried to quit though--I bet you understand how tempting and easy it is to sneak one here and there.

Ultimately, I want to be a non-smoker. And I'm going to be one. I may have some bumps along the way, but I feel confident that I will be a non-smoker someday. For the first 6 months you're still considered actively trying to quit. But come March 1st I will officially be a nonsmoker. I can't wait!

Friday Update

Just a brief update this week, guys. Sock talk seems to have slowed just a bit.

This week Adrienne proudly introduces us to “Crazy Over You,” a sock of her own design in Panda Wool Circus.

Agnes is working on her plain Maizy socks for her husband, and they’re coming out quite nice.

Jen is almost finished with her mother in law’s socks. She also cast on some Belatrix in what she considers to be pretty ugly yarn. I’ll have to take your word for it, Jen. I don’t think it looks bad at all.

Amy P. is in need of some help. She has yarn and she has patterns, but she’s not sure which yarn to use on which patterns. Come on guys, let’s help her decide.

Andrea has finished her Hourglass Ribbed Socks in a milk and honey colorway.

In this week’s installment of Sock-It-To-Me-Sunday, Angela Marie shows off her Jaywalkers and Priscilla’s Dream Socks. Great work!

Finally, Angeluna has almost completed her first Bellatrix, and is also almost done with her Solstice Slip socks.

Fall 2007 Interweave Crochet

My copy arrived in the mail yesterday, almost 2 weeks before it's due to hit the stands. There are a few really cute things in here, but mainly I'm interested in the sweater on the front cover. I love it.

Unfortunately, I can't really do much of anything for myself until after Christmas. I'm bound by the craft fair next Saturday, the wedding gift for 10/6 and all of our holiday gifts. Drats.

Keeping Me Warm

I had a sneaking suspicion that being outdoors on the beach on the Atlantic Ocean very far north in Maine during Columbus Day weekend would prove very chilly. So I whipped up a basic triangle shawl to throw over me for the 20 minute wedding ceremony that will take place outdoors. I alternated between hdc and shell stitch, and then did shells around the outside. You can't even see how nice this looks, but oh well. Black is such a bitch to photograph.

As you can see it's not very large and maybe doesn't match the dress that well, but at least I will stay warm for a brief period of time for a next to nothing priced project.

I used up the last of my Super Saver in black on this one. I will get through this stash one way or another.

The Professional (Yes, another one)

Another Professional hat from Crochet Me (Emily's design). This one is modified. I added too many shell rows because I was chitchatting with a friend and just kept going and going and going. I think there are 6 or 7 rows? So at the bottom I didn't add as many rows as the patten calls for, lest it would be way too long. I hate how hard it is to photograph black stuff and actually show off stitch detail. If you look at the white one a few posts down you'll see how the pattern works up. This hat marks the very end of my stash of Red Heart Super Saver. Hooray. I'm making some progress using up my cheaper yarns at least.

Various Headbands Galore

I've been on a headband kick lately. Just playing around, keeping my hands busy I guess. I make them all out of basic cotton, usually Sugar n Cream. These one could use some blocking, especially the black one. The yellow and black ones are just a shell stitch pattern. The red one is based on a headband I saw on lare night rerun TV, worn by Carla on Scrubs. It was a basic openwork trellis-sort of headband with a border around it. It looked like it was crocheted but who knows. When I put it on, it's super, super cute. Very hippie-ish.

The Professional

I'm a huge, huge fan of the Professional Hat from the online Magazine, Crochet Me (I believe the designer is Emily but I cannot get the site to load to double check...grrr!). I have blogged about this hat a few times now. This particular version is using Lion Microspun and a G hook. The end result is a version suitable for a toddler or young girl. I love it, and it looks very pretty and dainty.

Black Bags

Just a few small black pouches. Stash busting endeavor. Red Heart Super Saver.

Paton's Divine Purple Scarf

I'm not a fan of this scarf at all, but I'm trying to use up an enormous stash of Divine that I somehow came to own. I'll try to sell it.

Thank you for Not Smoking Part II

I haven't smoked since Friday night. Thank God for the patch. It's helping tremendously. I'm surprised at how few physical cravings I'm having for someone who has smoked half a pack to a whole pack per day for 9 years. I'm doing really well with that aspect of it. What also surprises me is just how irritable I am, and how I can't concentrate to save my life. When I say irritable, I mean seriously irritable. I touched a hot bowl of spaghetti this weekend and it startled me. My reaction? I picked it up and threw the bowl against the wall. Later in the weekend I dropped a piece of chicken on the floor. So I screamed and yelled and picked it up and chucked it across my apartment. I am so clumsy and so bitchy. I can't even tell you how miserable I am to be around. Mark quit this weekend too. There were a lot of fights between us.

I'll have pics later in the week of some things I've been making. I made a shawl this weekend to wear to a wedding in 4 weeks. I have some small headbands and things I've been making over the past week, too.

Being at work is so hard. It's time for my cigarette break. Insert pouty face.

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