Thursday, November 30, 2006

the north Houston LYS circuit

I had such much fun yesterday visiting all of the north Houston LYS's (Local Yarn Shops). Would you believe that there is no yarn shop in Fort Bend County (where I live)? That should be a crime. So when David had a conference in The Woodlands this week, I went with him and dedicated one morning to LYS hopping. Here's a summary of my experiences and purchases...

Twisted Yarns is a darling shop in Old Town Spring. Old Town Spring is a few blocks worth of shops containing antiques and collectibles, jewelry and random treasures that is fun to spend a day wandering through. I learned yesterday that it is also home to my favorite north Houston yarn shop. Twisted Yarns has everything! The ladies who worked there were so friendly and helpful. They were happy to show me around quickly and then leave me alone to browse and pet all of the lovely yarn. I came away with a long list of ideas and projects that their yarns would be perfect for, but I only bought one thing. I fell in love with this organic cotton yarn and bought a skein of it in the "sand" color. It was tremendously difficult not to buy it in every color--it's so soft and beautiful. I feel passionately that every baby in the world deserves a hat made of this yarn. Next friend to have a baby gets one! The only bummer about Twisted Yarns is that they are very knit-focused. None of their example projects were done in crochet. They only had a small selection of crochet hooks, and all of the classes they offer are geared toward knitters. I can forgive that little oversight, though, considering how impressed I was with their yarns and customer service. I even got a free tape measure since it was my first visit. No such thing as too many tape measures!

The Hen House--Also in Spring, the Hen House is a combination yarn shop and quilt shop. Mom and I made a stop there this summer, so this was my 2nd visit to this store. The interior could not be cuter. It's made to look like a barn, well, probably a hen house, with wood floors and wooden walls and apple baskets full of yarn. It's a very inviting place. For my purposes, however, it's not the greatest LYS. They carry many, many, many specialty yarns, most of which are too frilly for me to want to work with. I don't like hairy or fuzzy or ribbon-y yarns. I like soft cottons and wools that look like your grandmother would have used them. None of this new trendy yarn for me! I must say, though, that if I'm ever in the market for some gorgeous HPY (hand painted yarn), I'll have to take a trip back. Their selection of locally dyed HPY was to die for!

Merribee Needlearts--I made my first trip to Merribee a few months ago in search of the perfect wool for my on-going felted basket project. The little lady who owns this shop is so sweet and will sit and talk with you forever about your ideas. She was a tremendous help to me when I was debating which yarn to use and how to construct the so-called baskets. Her shop is very large, and is dedicated to needle crafts of all types, including embroidery and needlepoint in addition to knit and crochet. This shop is very crochet-friendly, a trait I admire. In fact, the owner was crocheting a sample from a new wool yarn she had just ordered for felting when I was there, and we had a lively debate on hook size for worsted weight yarn. She's pretty sure I always use a smaller hook than I should, and let's face it--she's probably right, but I'm stubborn! Merribee is not a fancy shop, though. No HPY, no organics, hemps, or linens. Not even some of the classics that you expect to see in a LYS like Cascade, but a sweet shop and an owner that makes you want to visit again and again. I did leave Merribee with a small purchase, too--some yarn for the Christmas swap on the 'pin!

lions and tigers and bears--oh my!

I finally get to share my super secret crochet project for baby Hochart! Since my dear friend Liz is always one of my most enthusiastic crochet admirers, I wanted to do something really special for her little bean-to-be. I chose this pattern from lion brand patterns, crocheted in cotton yarn. It really was a simple pattern. That's the beauty of it--looks deceivingly complicated! The entire thing is worked in single crochet--no exceptions. For the mane rows, I had to wrap my yarn once over a 1"wide strip of cardboard to create a loop before I worked the sc stitch. Those rows were so fun to see take shape. I had a blast with this pattern! The pictures are of it all finished and folded up, and of my niece trying it on over Thanksgiving (being held by her daddy/my brother). I can't wait to see it on Elizabeth's little guy (or gal)!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

longhorn longies in action

I got to see Lucy wearing her longhorn longies on Friday.

Here she is with my dad, her grandpa. Dad was kind enough to look at the camera. Lucy was watching the game! Unfortunately she did not have the ability to swing the game in UT's direction, but she sure was cute.

spoiled short dog

My mom has a not-so-miniature daschund named Short Puppy. Since daschunds are bred to hunt burrowing animals like rabbits and such, they like to spend time in small spaces. They often like to sleep "underground" in a "burrow." For SP, that means underneath whatever blankets he can find. Over the summer Mom and I saw some daschund sleep sacks made especially for this purpose, but chose not to buy one for SP. Mom has since regretted that decision, so I decided to make him one. I chose the fabric with Mom in mind. She loves moose, red, brown, and khaki. The outside is just a cotton print, and the lining inside is a sherpa fleece. I took the sack to SP when I went home for Thanksgiving.
I think it was a hit!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Superwoman pads!

Today I tried my hand at making mama pads! I know I'm not a mama yet, but it IS a commonly used name for cloth menstrual pads in crunchy circles on-line, and well, it just sounds nicer. Some of you may be thinking, "Gross! Re-usable pads?" but I'm telling you, they're great. I have quite a nice stash of them that I've purchased from various talented women who make and sell them on-line, but I thought today I'd try my hand at making my own. I used this pattern and made three 8 inch liners. I'm calling these Superwoman pads because I feel like a superhero in red and blue and stars. The two with stars are flannel with hemp inners and navy fleece backs. The red one is velour, also with hemp and fleece. All they need is snaps on their wings and they're ready to fly!

In case re-usable menstrual products interest you, here are a few links to my favorites...
The Diva Cup--worn internally in lieu of tampons
Homemade Mama's pads are some of my favorites.
I love Danielle's Fancy Pads
Robin's Go With the Flow Pads are my newest favorites. The pattern I used is very similar to her construction, which is what drew me to it!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

boy fabric is so cute!

My friend Lisa is expecting a baby boy any day now. Since she plans to cloth diaper, I made her a stash of cloth wipes. I had a blast picking out cute flannels for a little boy. From the left--baby blue with circus stuff, yellow with cars, and blue with planets and spaceships. She got 4 of each of these, all with orange flannel backs. I have another dozen cut out, but not yet serged. The 2nd dozen will have the same flannels, but will be backed with red velour. mmmm....velour!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

starting to feel like the mad hatter!

This one's for David's cousin's new baby girl, Lillian, who was born last week. It's my favorite baby hat yet. This one is made from Patons SWS yarn. It's a 70/30 blend of wool and soy. It's soooo soft! I've been wanting to use this yarn for something for awhile now. The picture really doesn't do the color justice. It's the perfect baby pinks and greens striped. Fun!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

babies, babies, and more babies

Everyone I know is having babies! So I keep crocheting tiny things...

This little hat is for a friend at church's baby boy who is expected soon. He is also expected to arrive a little early. It's a cute, soft, tiny little hat. I 'm sure he'll be just as cute and tiny.