Thursday, December 21, 2006

another first

Wow, you can tell it's my first time to attempt this, but I'm pleased with the results nonetheless. My friend Elizabeth is a brand new mommy and mentioned wanting some nursing pads. I told her I'd try to whip up a pair. Imagine getting breast pads from a lady who has never nursed a child! Ha! I had good fabric and Google and the 'pin for advice, though, so here's what I came up with...

They are made of 2 layers of hemp fleece for absorbency and one layer of windpro fleece for water resistant-ness. I tried to make them contoured for a better fit and succeeded more on one than on the other. I learned a lot though, and I'm grateful that Liz is the kind of friend that I can send my first attempts to!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A Roman Lady

I threw a Roman party for my Latin classes yesterday afternoon. We ate reclining like the Ancient Romans and snacked on bread, grapes, cheese, and hard-boiled eggs. And drank wine (er, grape juice) of course.

I had so much fun making my costume. It's really simple, but it's my first official "garment". Purple tunic, gold rope around an empire waist, gold rope headband, and big gold earrings. Those of you who know me well know that I never wear earrings that hang off my ears, so that was a big stretch!

I invited my class to dress up, too, but only had one taker, pictured to the right. She also made her costume herself. Darling!

Monday, December 18, 2006

you ain't nothin' but a horned frog...

I'm posting occasional pictures of the progress being made on my 'pin friend Jenn's TCU horned frog longies. Well, technically, they're Jenn's daughter's longies. ;-)


back--my favorite! :D


1/7--practice swatch for TCU embroidery on the bum

1/6--just needs finishing touches!

12/29--legs complete, joined, and working up the hips

and a side view so you can see the heiny shaping

12/20--leg #1 complete at 13.5" long and a little more than 13" in circumference

12/17--the beginning of leg #1

Friday, December 15, 2006

look what DAVID made!

It's a yarn swift! I'm told that really nice yarn (the kind I'm always tempted to buy but still shy away from) rarely comes in tidy little skeins like the yarn at Michael's that pull neatly from the center. Therefore, in order to work with it, it must be wound into a center-pull ball with the help of a swift and ball winder. I have a ball winder (something like this) on my Christmas list, and I found plans on-line to make a simple swift. David had been itching for a wood-working project, so he whipped it up for me. It looks great and I'm so excited! Now I must need to buy some really nice yarn, huh?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

it's an oven mitt,, it's a mitten, it's a

BATH MITT! I'm still using up the random bits of cotton yarn in my stash and this little pattern caught my eye. It's really soft and roomy! It does seem a little holey to me, so I think I'll do the next one in half-double crochet instead of double to tighten things up a bit. I've been enjoying washcloths in the shower more than my scubbie lately, so maybe I need a few more of these...

Sunday, December 10, 2006

pretty as a flower garden

more longies for Lucy! Over Thanksgiving, Stephanie and I went out and chose yarn for Lucy's new longies. She chose Lion Wool in the flower garden colorway in hopes of matching a shirt that Lucy already has. Stephanie also requested a little top-knot hat to match. I think they came out super cute! I'm always hesitant to crochet in variegated yarn since I don't like the "built with Legos" effect that some variegated yarns can create (you can see it a little bit in this hat that I did). But the flower garden longies had *really* short color repeats, which looks like little flecks of color when crocheted. I tried them on Stella, my most cooperative model, and fortunately, they're way too big! But Stephanie, it'll give you an idea of how the ensemble looks all together. Now all I need is to see them on Lucy with her matching shirt!

Friday, December 08, 2006


My dear friend Jessica and her sister Kristin are bringing new babies into their homes around the same time. Jessica is due with her 3rd child right after Christmas, and after much anticipation, Kristin and her husband get to go to Taiwan to bring home their adopted daughter Laney in early January. I asked Jessica if it would be dorky to make matching hats for the new cousins. She said no, so here they are...

The slightly larger one on the left is for Laney. I had some 'pin friends with 9-10 month old babies measure their heads so I'd know what size to make it for this sweet little girl. The one on the right is for Jessica's baby Rush (his/her in-utero nickname). It's a newborn+ size, since Jessica swears her kids have unusually large heads. I made these out of Paton's SWS in Natural Earth. They're not the most babyish colors, but I needed them to be gender-neutral since we don't know who Rush is. I used this yarn in a different color on David's cousin Lillian's hat. I still love it--soft, soft, soft.

And one more note for those of you who have excellent memories and may be wondering, "Didn't she already make something for Rush?" Yes, I made Rush a kitty lovey. To my great satisfaction, that kitty lovey has been adopted (stolen?) by Rush's 2 year old sister, Claire. I love that she loves it, and I'm happy to let it be hers and make something new for her baby brother or sister. ;)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I finally finished

the rest of baby Daniel's wipe stash! I gave the 1st dozen to my friend Lisa before Daniel was born, but I only got around to sewing the 2nd dozen today. They have the same flannels on one side, but red velour instead of orange flannel on the other. So soft! I know she uses and likes the flannel ones, so I can't wait to give her these!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

a (hopefully) cute twist on a on old classic...

dishcloths! I made these out of leftover cotton yarn from the lion project and Ellie's hat. I think the color combinations came out super cute, even though David agreed that the yellow, orange and white one looks a bit like candy corn! The "candy corn" dishcloth is made in a fun basket weave stitch that took forever but looks really cute. It's about 7x7 inches square. It's pretty thick, so it actually might make a better trivet than dishcloth. Who knows. The pink and chocolate one is a 7x8 rectangle, and was a super easy pattern that is nice and soft--lots of give. Overall, these were fun, and I have plenty of random cotton yarn left. I should make more!

Friday, December 01, 2006

got drafts?

I made this door draft stopper snake today for my sister-in-law for Christmas. She had one on her list, and I (foolishly) thought, "Oh, I can do that! No problem." Wow, were there ever problems! Yes, it looks straightforward enough, and if you look at the pattern, you too will think, "Easy!" but I nearly chunked this thing out the window during the sewing process today. I am such a novice seamstress, and WAY too much of a perfectionist. This creates a problem when my skills are nominal and my expectations are high. Arg. I am pleased to say that I'm satisfied with the final result, and hopefully my husband will soon forget what a bear I was when he happened to come home today in the middle of the most frustrating part!

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.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

experimenting with a new soaker pattern

isn't this precious? The ribbed soaker looks so classy to me! This one's a little wide in the hips relative to its rise and legs, but that's due to me not adjusting for adding the short rows in the back.

Live and learn, and try again soon!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


#1--crochet lessons with Victoria begin Thursday. Her mom is going to buy her a hook and some easy-to-work-with yarn between now and then. We're going to meet during her study hall at school, which is the hour right before her Latin class with me. I'm so excited! I hope she likes it!

#2--I posted a picture of Lucy's Longhorn Longies on the 'pin and I got an order for some from 'pin mom! I have NO intention of getting into the diaper cover crocheting business, but Jenn lives near Stephanie and Nathan and we've emailed a bunch and tried to get together when I'm in the Ft. Worth area, so she's more of a friend than some random internet person. She wants some purple TCU longies for her toddler. Why not? Toddler sized longies sound like a fun challenge to me! She's going to hunt down the perfect purple yarn and then I'll get started.

#3--it's killing me not to post a picture of the super fun project I'm working on for baby Hochart. But since I know Liz reads this blog--all of you will have to wait until she's seen the real thing before I post pics. IT IS SO STINKIN' CUTE!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Hook 'em Horns!

I finished Lucy's "Longhorn Longies"! Made from the Ladybugz Morning Glory pattern in Lion wool (pumpkin and winter white colors).

She can wear them as a diaper cover this winter and they'll double as pants. My favorite feature on this pattern is the little heiny extension so they'll fit over those fluffy cloth diapers.

I'm so pleased with the way they came out! Now, here's hoping they fit with a little room to spare so she can wear them through the winter...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

teaching more than Latin

I left about 30 minutes early for my Latin classes today due to a severe line of thunderstorms due in the Houston area during my normal travel time. I figured I could sit up at school and chat for a while before my class if it meant I didn't have to drive in the heavy rain. I took the hat I was working on (see below) for entertainment, too. One of my students, a super cute 4th grader named Victoria, saw me working on the hat and asked if I could teach her. I told her that my mom taught me when I was about her age, so sure, if she wanted to learn, I'd be happy to work with her. I didn't know if she was really serious or not, but when it came time to leave today after class, she cornered me and started talking details. She really wants to learn! I'm so excited! I told her I'd email her mom and we'd set up a time for lessons. How fun would it be to teach one of my kiddos my favorite craft? Yay!

bitty baby hat

I worked this up today for a friend at church who is expecting any minute now. It's out of the same lime green yarn as Lucy's bunny lovey (had leftover from that project). This one was fun and fast...

Thursday, October 05, 2006

kitty love!

This project cracks me up. It's for my friend Jessica's baby, Rush (not his/her real name--but an in-the-womb nickname). I started with the intention of doing another bunny lovey like I made for my niece (see post below). The problems started when I got fancy and decided to try a pattern that worked from corner to corner instead of in straight rows for the "blanket" part. That turned out to be a disaster. The first half went great as I increased up to the middle--I had a lovely triangle that was making a perfect 90 degree angle and I was so excited. The 2nd half was the problem. I don't know if it was me or the pattern, but I could never get the decrease right and it quickly became evident that the 2nd half was never going to make a square. Since I'm going to be seeing Jessica this weekend, and wanted to give her the lovey, I didn't have time to start over and make it square. So the winging-it began! I quit crocheting before it turned into a long kite-shape, and decided to make something work with the pentagonal shape I had. An idea from some loveys I've seen in Target and Babies R Us seemed like it might work with my one sharp corner. They make some where the animal has arms and looks like it's holding the corner of the blanket. So I attached the head and created arms to hold the corner. It turned out surprisingly well. In fact, if I'd done the head and ams in a contrasting color (yellow or brown), I think it would be perfect. But a monotone lovey it is. Oh, and it turned into a kitty instead of a bunny because I couldn't picture a bunny having arms to hold a blanket with! And I thought that with the blanket corner coming up and bunny ears hanging down, the critter's face would be totally obstructed. Hope Rush likes some kitty love!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Chic on the Halfshell

That's the name of the purse I just crocheted. No, I didn't make it up. It's the name of the pattern. My version is a little wonky--I'm not sure it could be called "chic" but it's still pretty cute. I talked David into visiting the yarn shop in Katy with me (Sugar Land has none) and this pattern was available there (free!) with a very cute little white example purse. I had some wool/acrylic blend yarn (what the pattern called for) just sitting at home with no real plan so I worked it up. Unfortunately, I had about 5 yards too little and ended up finishing the handles with a khaki color, which coordinated fine. The wooden button helps pull the whole thing together, in my mind. I really enjoyed the rows on this proejct. I've done plenty of crocheting in the round, but nothing where I only made partial rounds. I really had to trust the pattern--sometimes it seemed to be telling me to do something made absolutely no sense at all to me! In the end, though, it was all good.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

current project...

I found a taker for that adorable hat I mentioned wanting to make! I'm crocheted it for my friend Katy's toddler, Ellie. Katy sent me a picture of Ellie's winter coat and we chose yarn that we hope coordinates with it. I decided to make a little coordinating scarf as a surprise to go along with the hat. Here it is...

I saw Katy and Ellie this week and delivered the hat and scarf. They fit! They're cute, too. Well, we didn't get to look too long before she ripped that hat right off her head! Katy liked them, though, so that's all that matters...

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Oh the fun that can be had...

with a big ole' skein of fisherman's wool! I spent yesterday afternoon dyeing wool yarn with Kool-aid. Kool-aid is supposed to be a permanent dye on all animal fibers, like wool, silk, mohair, etc. We'll see how it holds up, but it sure was FUN! I used these instructions from The article gives three different methods--stovetop, microwave, and "painting" a variegated yarn. I tried one of each. I thought I'd share my process and results with you!

"Black Cherry" on the stovetop

First, I bundled my yarn in "loose hanks" and chose my "flavors", about one package per ounce of yarn. Then I soaked my yarn in warm water with a glug or two of vinegar for 20-30 minutes until it was good and saturated.

Meanwhile, I mixed my Kool-aid with a very little bit of water--just enough to dissolve the powder. Then I put the Kool-aid mixture in a large pot on the stove, added the yarn, and enough water to just cover the yarn. I saw the yarn soaking up the dye almost immediately. I heated the water to nearly boiling (good and steamy) and then put the lid on the pot and let it sit for 30 minutes or so. I did stir it a few times, but I was afraid of felting it, so mostly I just poked the parts that looked like they needed a little encouragement with my spatula! The most amazing part, I thought, was that the yarn really did soak up all of the dye out of the water. Towards the end of its time on the stove, the water in the pot truly was clear and the yarn was red. Unbelievable.

After the wool had cooled down enough for me to handle it, I rinsed it under warm water until the water ran clear (which took seconds--the wool was really well set with the dye) and laid it out to dry. I let it dry overnight and rolled it into a ball today. Ta-da!

"Blastin' Berry Cherry" in the microwave

The microwave method was not my favorite. My wool didn't come out colored as evenly as it did on the stovetop. I started off the same way as the stovetop--soak the wool with a glug of vinegar, mix the Kool-aid with a little bit of water, and put in a microwave safe dish. I spread the wool out as best I could in my dish, but I think I should have chosen a bigger dish. I don't actually know if I own one that's bigger but would still turn well in my microwave, though. Bummer. And again, I filled it up with enough water to just cover the yarn. Then I zapped it for 2 minutes on high, let it rest about 10 minutes, and repeated the process two more times--zap, rest, zap, rest, let cool.

One of the reasons I wasn't too fond of the this method was that the dye didn't seem to heat-set in the microwave as well as it did on the stove. The water in the dish never was clear and when it was time to rinse this one, it took *forever* for the water to run clear. It finally did, though, and here's my result:

and the Grand Finale.... a variegated yarn using "Lemonade", "Lemon-lime",
and "Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade"

This was the most fun! Again, I soaked my yarn well with some vinegar while I mixed my three flavors. This time I put my flavors in three measuring cups, with about a cup of water each. I laid my yarn out flat on the floor with some trash bags underneath.

Then I poured a bit of one color and then another, one at a time, and patted it to make sure the dye saturated all of the yarn layers. I tried to use colors that wouldn't look tacky if they bled into each other, which is good, because they certainly did!

This is what the yarn looked like before I heat-set it in the microwave.

I put it in a caserole dish and zapped it twice for 2 minutes with a rest in between. There was no more colored water in the bottom of the dish after that, so I figured it was done.

This one rinsed clear almost immediately like the first one, and went on the drying rack with the others.

Here is the outcome of my variegated labors:

And one more...just to show off...

Now, don't you want to try???