TWiP: August Occasions

A weekly roundup of the images I took for my daily Project 365, as well as the slice-of-life things I posted on Instagram.

I’m not a hugely social person, but I really love the weeks that are as filled with family visits and parties as this one has been.

There was a Christening and a backyard party at my sister-in-law’s house on Sunday, we had Neil’s family over for a little angel food cake and strawberries on his birthday on Monday, and later in the week, the kids and I spent two days visiting my parents.

I got some significant knitting done somewhere on Tuesday or Wednesday, but the rest of the week it has taken a back seat to all of the visiting (as it rightly should). I’ve loved working on the yoke, with it’s interesting construction, but that is over now, and I’m left with the usual 15 inches of stockinette to slog through before I get to the end of the body. I always feel my enthusiasm wane when I get to this part of a sweater project!

So, what is This Week in Pictures?

It’s a roundup of the photos I shot with my DSLR for Project 365 (one image each day for all of 2015), plus some phone snapshots I posted on Instagram during the previous week.

Ready? Cast your mind back to this time last week…

Saturday

365: 2015 227/365 – I’m in the middle of a kind of ridiculous fashion crisis, but I took a break to crochet this flower brooch. It’s a handy thing, because I can use it as a pin for my new shawl or I can wear it alone. In other words, I can use it no matter how my wardrobe issue eventually resolves itself 😉

Instagram: Just hanging out on my bed watching mysteries and crocheting flower pins on a Saturday night, as you do.

Sunday

Instagram: Just hanging out with my goddaughter 😊

365: 2015 228/365 – It was a beautiful day for a Christening and a really nice party afterwards :-)

Monday

365: 2015 229/365 – Happy Birthday to my good sport of a husband who actually wore the party hat and birthday badge I had waiting for him when he got home tonight :-)

Tuesday

365: 2015 230/365 – Now that last week’s shawl is done, I’m back to knitting the sweater I started. I’m enjoying this one, since it’s put together differently than I am used to and it’s keeping me entertained so far. I really love the sideways cable. (The pattern is Caribou from Tin Can Knits.)

Wednesday

365: 2015 231/365 – It has been a stormy afternoon, with the rain coming and going.

Thursday

365: 2015 232/365 – Maggie.

Friday

Instagram: I’m jumping in, right after I post this picture 😎

365: 2015 233/365 – Sunny Friday afternoon, lounging in the grass after a swim, looking at the sky, and chatting with the family. ♥

Thanks for taking a peek at this week’s photos! If you want to see this stuff as it happens, please feel free to follow me on Flickr and/or Instagram.

I may already have plans to blog about some of these things in greater detail over the coming week, but be sure to leave a comment if there’s something in particular you want to know about!

Sweet Pea Shawl

14_shawl_14_ul 14_shawl_34_ul 14_shawl_33_ul 14_shawl_19_ul 14_shawl_17_ul 2015 226/365

Do you remember a few weeks ago when I bought a sundress with wide blue and white stripes and decided to knit myself a lightweight mustard-colored sweater to wear with it? The outfit was going to be perfect for an event I had coming up. I loved the combination of colors and styles.

As it turned out, I didn’t have as much of the mustard yarn as I thought I did, and I ended up scrapping the sweater. Boooooo.

Undeterred, I decided to try the same sweater in a dusty pink that I had plenty of. It was no mustard yellow, but it would do.

Thing is, it was an acrylic wool blend, and it just looked and felt warm, no matter how airy I tried to keep my knitting. Eventually I just decided that I would never want to wear that heavy yarn with a sundress in the summer and I took apart that sweater, too.

At this point, I started re-thinking the sweater idea and thought maybe a lacy cotton shawl would work. I picked out a pattern, ordered some pale pink yarn online, and waited for it to arrive.

And waited.

And waited.

It took so long that I resigned myself to shopping my closet for a fine gauge cotton sweater I already owned, and when the yarn finally did arrive, I prepared to stick it in the basement for some other use.

I had five days before my event. No way could I crochet a shawl in five days!

Neil thought I should try it anyway, so I printed out my pattern, wound up my yarn balls, and crocheted a row of 20 shells in an hour. Well, that was encouraging!

I suppose there is no suspense to this story, since you can see by the images that I did, indeed, crochet a shawl in five days. Actually, I did it in four!

You may also see from the images that I didn’t wear the striped dress that started the whole thing in the first place. The more I tried it on, the less the fit appealed to me. I decided I would wear one of my eyelet sheath dresses instead. I have two. They were both white when I bought them, but I dyed one a minty blue green.

2015 227/365 Flower pin without shawl Flower pin with shawl

I wore the dyed one for my photo shoot, and the white one for my niece (aka my new goddaughter 😍)’s Christening.

And, since I had an extra day, I also crocheted a flower, attached a button to the front and a pin to the back, and used it to hold the shawl closed during the ceremony.

It was a ninety degree day on Sunday, so I ditched the shawl as soon as we left the church, and just wore the flower by itself for the rest of the day.

I love love love the way this shawl came out! I also love how quickly it happened. Instant Gratification is my middle name, you know. I don’t dress up very often, but I don’t think I need to be fancy to wear this. I can totally see it working just fine with jeans and a tee shirt on a crisp Fall night. My only hesitation is the color.

The pink was perfect for the occasion, but as a rule I don’t wear much pink. I’d probably be more likely to get more use out of it if it were a darker color. I’m considering throwing it in a dye pot, but I haven’t decided. Maybe I’ll just whip up another one in a darker color instead!

THE DETAILS

Pattern: Sweet Pea Shawl by Amie Hirtes

Yarn: Berroco Weekend in Tea Rose

Hook: I (5.5mm)

Modifications: Eliminated fringe

Notes for next time: Be careful when slip stitching along the sides of the shells. I did mine too tightly, and as a result, one edge of the shawl was not able to stretch as much during blocking as the other. I ended up with a crooked triangle. Not a big deal, but something worth avoiding next time!

TWiP: Beachy Keen

This Week in Pictures (TWiP) at Polka Dot Cottage

It’s been another very yarny week, between finishing up my Everyday Cardigan, and starting two brand new projects in one day (one of which I have already finished)… I’m on a real roll here with the string and the sticks and the hook.

It wasn’t all needlework all the time here, though. We got to take a little spur-of-the-moment vacation! Two days and one night in Ocean Grove. So nice. I will probably give the trip its own post next week, but for now there are pictures, and plenty of them. I tend to go a little overboard with the Instagramming when I’m away from home 😜

So, what is This Week in Pictures?

It’s a roundup of the photos I shot with my DSLR for Project 365 (one image each day for all of 2015), plus some phone snapshots I posted on Instagram during the previous week.

Ready? Cast your mind back to this time last week…

Saturday

Instagram: Well, I finished it. Somehow my gauge was waaaaay off, and I’ve got about 8 inches of ease in this sucker. Not what I was going for. Still, it’s super comfy. Maybe I’ll throw it in the washing machine and see what happens… #pdceverydaycardigan #knitting

365: 2015 220/365 – It always seems to turn into Monkey in the Middle. [at my parents’ house]

Sunday

365: 2015 221/365 – Winding a gigantic hank of yarn for my next project.

Monday

365: 2015 222/365 – This is hopefully the start of something beautiful. I have been unhappy with the last two sweaters I knit for myself, but I’m thinking third time’s the charm.

Tuesday

365: 2015 223/365 – We visited my aunt today. Her dog Maggie was a little gray blur in most of my photos, but she stayed still-ish long enough to check Eamonn out. [at my aunt’s house]

Instagram: So I decided to see if I can #crochet a shawl in 5 days. I started last night. So far so good.

Instagram: 6 rows down, 14 to go. Not bad for a day’s work (especially a day where I spent plenty of time doing other things, too). Gotta love projects with lots of holes in them – they go so fast! #crochet

Wednesday

Instagram: Beautiful day to be at the ocean. [in Ocean Grove]

Instagram: Kicking back in a hotel room with my current #crochet project and a bottle of soda my sweetie got me. Next stop: beach! [at The Quaker Inn]

365: 2015 224/365 – We spent Wednesday and Thursday in Ocean Grove this week. We had such beautiful weather! There were a lot of vintage (or just vintage-looking) bikes around. It made me want to rent one and ride all over town. Maybe next time! [on the Ocean Grove boardwalk]

Instagram: Hello, Atlantic Ocean. [on the Ocean Grove beach]

Thursday

Instagram: Breakfast on the front porch with my 12 year old. [at the Quaker Inn]

Instagram: The shawl is coming along nicely 😊 #crochet #sweetpeashawl [at the Quaker Inn]

365: 2015 225/365 – I took a walk around Ocean Grove this morning. I’ve always loved these little tent homes, and this is the first time I’ve seen them inhabited for the summer (usually we’re here in the off season, when they’re mostly dismantled). [in Ocean Grove]

Instagram: It’s a shame that certain younger members of our party can’t appreciate the beauty of doing nothing, because I could easily sit right in this spot for another hour or more. [on the Ocean Grove boardwalk]

Friday

Instagram: Back home from the shore, finished up my #sweetpeashawl this morning, and now it’s blocking. I haven’t made up my mind about fringe yet, but I’m leaning towards no. #crochet

365: 2015 226/365 – Well, I finished it! It came out a little lopsided, but I’m happy with it nonetheless. Now to figure out what dress to wear with it… (actually, I think it would be great with jeans and a white t-shirt, sometime when I don’t need to be dressed up.)

Thanks for taking a peek at this week’s photos! If you want to see this stuff as it happens, please feel free to follow me on Flickr and/or Instagram.

I may already have plans to blog about some of these things in greater detail over the coming week, but be sure to leave a comment if there’s something in particular you want to know about!

My huge sweater

I am not having a whole lot of luck in the selfish knitting department. First there was Lady Kina, which came out somewhat on the gigantic side. I’m frogging it as soon as Icome up with a new use for that yarn.

Then there were the three sweaters I started in one week, all of them with enough problems that they were each unraveled by row 50.

My Everyday Cardigan (Cap Sleeve Variation)

And now there’s this. My new Everyday Cardigan. I made it with cap sleeves, and intended to wear it over a tissue tee or one of my ubiquitous home sewn peasant shirts. The plan was for it to be more body-skimming than my long sleeve version. I even added waist shaping to it.

And yet…

My Everyday Cardigan (Cap Sleeve Variation)

I’ve got about eight inches of ease in this sucker. That’s eight inches more than I wanted. Ugh.

I really really thought I had checked my gauge before I started, but how is that possible given these results? Perhaps I measured incorrectly. My gauge was a full stitch per inch less than I thought it was! 4 sts instead of 5 sts. And that translates into a much wider silhouette than planned.

There are things I love about this sweater.

My Everyday Cardigan (Cap Sleeve Variation) My Everyday Cardigan (Cap Sleeve Variation)

For one thing, I still really find this yoke design quite attractive. Front and back.

For another thing, the yarn is lovely! The variegated neutral color really appeals to me. And the yarn itself is so soft and super squishy.

That last point, though, as much as I like the way it feels, contributes quite a bit to the stretchiness of the sweater. It’s already huge on me. I don’t need it to stretch out even further.

My Everyday Cardigan (Cap Sleeve Variation) My Everyday Cardigan (Cap Sleeve Variation) My Everyday Cardigan (Cap Sleeve Variation)

I haven’t decided yet what I’m going to do with it. I have tried wearing it several different ways (as you can see) and most of them make me look about 20 lbs heavier than I am. I’m barely willing to own my actual weight, so I’m really not excited about artificially inflating it.

The good news is that I knit this up in record time, and if I do decided to unravel it I’m only looking at a week wasted. I can justify it even further by pointing out that I really enjoyed the knitting experience (which is not always the case) and so it could hardly be called “wasted” time.

I’m not going to make any decisions about this right away. I may feel differently about it when cooler weather comes. Right now, in the middle of August, it was kind of an awful photo shoot. Long sleeves, long pants, and a wool sweater in the summer? Ugh. Not fun.

In the meantime, I’ve decided to scratch the sweater-knitting itch by doing someone else’s pattern for a while. I sometimes get caught up in tweaking my own design, and I forget how much I can learn by knitting something completely new.

2015 222/365

So I cast-on Tin Can Knits’ Caribou, and I am really liking it so far. It’s got an unusual yoke construction that is just enough of a challenge to keep me enthused, but not so much of a challenge that I am overwhelmed by it. I’m knitting it in a pretty yarn that is usually over my budget, but I was able to grab thanks to a generous gift certificate from my in-laws (from Christmas 2 years ago – it took me a while to choose something!)

I have high hopes for this new one. I’m hoping to break my unlucky streak. After that, maybe I’ll be ready to unravel the super wide cap-sleeve Everyday Cardigan and try again for a more reasonable fit!

(Somewhere in there I need to figure out what is up with my gauge – lately I knit much more loosely than I used to!)

WWYD with this damaged vintage afghan?

Damaged vintage crochet blanket, WWYD?

My mother recently came across this blanket that her grandmother made for her. It’s spent many years in an attic and is somewhat worse for wear.

We were looking at it last night and trying to figure out what could be done to either restore it or repurpose it, and it occurred to me that my online community might have some experience with this, or at least some great ideas!

So, here are the details as far as I can tell:
Damaged vintage crochet blanket, WWYD?

  • My mother says her grandmother only used wool, and the amount of felting in this blanket seems to bear that up.
  • On the other hand, some colors have survived largely intact, while others are nearly entirely eaten through. That suggests to me that some of the colors might have had synthetic content?
  • The squares appear to have been crocheted together at the end with a slip stitch (I think? I’ve never done that myself, so I can’t be sure) rather than sewn together or done join-as-you-go style.

I could probably make some new squares and insert them where the old, damaged squares were. Or we could cut it up and use the pieces for different things (I thought of a scarf, or a pillow).

What do you think? Any creative ideas?