14 September 2011

Simple variegated crochet washcloth

As promised, here is the "pattern" I used for the 80s kneesock colored washcloth.  Pattern is in quotes because it really is a case of this crochet RE-newb playing with stitches until I got something that looked cool.  I recrocheted it in solid blue soft cotton when hubby requested a soft facecloth, and he tried it out this morning and loves it:
Blue facecloth for hubby
No, really ... it IS this simple:
Chain 31
Row 1: sc in 2nd chain from hook, sc across (30 sc)
Row 2-8: ch1, turn; sc in first sc *ch1, skip 1 sc, sc in next* then sc in last sc
Row 9: ch2, turn; hdc in each sc and ch-sp across (30 hdc)
Row 10-13: Repeat row 2
Row 14: repeat row 9
Row 15-18: Repeat row 2
Row 19: repeat row 9
Row 20-27: Repeat row 2
Row 28: repeat row 1, do not finish off ...
Round 1: ch1, sc around doing 3 sc in each corner, sl st into first sc
Round 2: ch2, hdc around ... I did 2 hdc into 2 adjacent sc's on each corner to get it to lay flat, sl st into first hdc and finish off, hide tails.

Almost forgot: I used worsted-weight cotton and H hook for the variegated, and aran(?) cotton and a G hook for hubby's blue one.  I'm still trying to get the hang of matching hooks to yarns, so play with the yarn versus hook until you're happy with it ... and remember my motto: "They're not really pattern instructions, they're suggestions!"  This is especially true in this case.  LOL

I did up the blue facecloth in just a few hours, even with getting supper on the stove, so more experienced crocheters can probably knock it out even faster.  While it looks nice in a solid color, I think I still like it better in variegated:
variegated washcloth in 80s color combo
What can I say?  I like colors - especially these colors.  I think I'll try this out in my other variegated cottons, just for fun.  And get another cup of coffee ... if anything isn't clear, just leave a comment asking for clarification.  This pattern-reading and pattern-writing idea is new to me.

13 September 2011

More crocheted dishcloths

Along with being a great way to practice stitches and (attempting to) crochet evenly and consistently, dishcloths are ridiculously useful around the house, and hubby has requested more - this time to give to his platoonmate who gifted us with a plastic grocery bag filled with fat carrots from his garden plus two bags of potatoes from his neighbor's garden.  Hey, I'll trade a little yarn and practice crocheting for garden-fresh produce!

In my quest for an easy-to-crochet textured dishcloth that looks good as well, I have found a pattern named "Citrus Twist dishcloth" through the Ravelry pattern database that is easy to follow and easy to remember.  I can't declare "the" pattern yet, but I love how it looks in variegated yarn (which I am truly a sucker for!)
Textured crochet dishcloths in almost-solid and variegated yarn
Now I just need to get consistent enough that they come out square (like they are supposed to!).

Marysews, I have NOT forgotten your request for the pattern on the 80s colored dishcloth ... I am starting another to make sure I can duplicate it, as that truly was just me playing around with stitches.  Hubby requested a "really soft" one to use on his face for shaving, so along with verifying the pattern (?) idea, I am trying to keep up with hubby's request list.

10 September 2011

Colors! I'm so HAPPY!

I decided to return to the "scene of the crime" with that cotton worsted weight yarn I've been making so many useful things with ... this time I went hoping to score colored yarn.  I was successful!  Yay!  First up, the variegated yarn in colors hubby calls "80s kneesock colors" and my first thing made up in it:
cotton crochet washcloth in "80s kneesock" colors
Yeah baby!  Pink and purple, with just the right splash of a cool sunny yellow and a green I can wear.  I'm pretty sure I've stated my tackiness knows no bounds, and when it comes to 80s color combinations this is painfully obvious to those who don't appreciate such colors.  While hubby sighs and tries to hide his pained expression, I am REVELING in this very recent reemergence of my favorite colors.  Oh yeah, fair warning: I have crochet thread to make lace in this color scheme.  I'm not sure it matches exactly, but it's close.

Hey, after about five years of seeing only earth tones that make me look like a cadaver available in the retail stores, I think I am allowed at least a little celebration. Besides, the earth tones haven't completely disappeared from retail yet ... they are just being combined with colors I can cope with right now.  Like the blue and green in one of my purchases last night:
Colored cotton worsted weight yarns
I restrained myself and put the lavender-white-green yarn back ... although that was a struggle.  One thing that helped me remember to be restrained was I had just hit the sale table of our local specialty yarn shop and scored alpaca yarn ... enough to make myself a lovely and decadent scarf for the winter!
Wonderfully soft alpaca yarn!
Along with being in "my" colors, this stuff is so soft ... it even beat out silk yarn on the table!  To top it off, back in January I scored some alpaca blend coating in tan.  If I can get my (*donkey*) in gear I will be really styling this winter.  (My thoughts have turned to winter sewing with our first cool-weather cold front.)

Now, a well-intentioned alert for those of y'all who look good in earth tones and love to wear them:  GO STOCK UP!!!  If what I've gone through these past few years is any indication, y'all are going to spend the next three to five years grumping about a lack of colors available that suit you.  For some insane reason, the textile and garment industry has the notion that colors are "trends" and depending on the whims of fashion trends, some colors are "out" while others are "in".  I don't know anyone who can change his or her complexion to match these trends, nor do I know anyone who can pull off all colors ... so for the rare fiber fiend who does NOT already have a stash of fabric and/or yarn in those preferred colors, you'll need to break your no-stash rule or suffer the paucity of good colors!  Check the clearance section first ...

Meanwhile, I'll be the too-happy customer in the stores doing happy dances at all the pinks, purples, and cool blues available - especially if they are all in one item!

08 September 2011

My new dog

As the PR chat room heard last night, I went and got a new dog yesterday afternoon, brought about by my dogsitting last month.  Most (all?) of the chat regulars strongly requested (demanded!) pics of the new canine addition to my zoo ... so to avoid getting virtually lynched in chat tonight I picked up the digicam and made an honest effort this morning.  A couple camera notes: doggie will not stay the necessary distance from the camera, nor does he pose or hold very still unless he is laying on a stained part of the carpet.  Here's the best I can do without hubby's assistance:
Aries, my new dog
His name is Aries, which I find amusing since he is much more loverboy than god of war, and he'll turn two in October.  He comes to us already housebroken and loves being in the house with his family, and keeps trying to sniff and lick our cats ... the feline faction really doesn't appreciate that.  Last night, he and the cuddle kitty took turns next to my chair attempting to "guard" me from the other.

Um, yes ... he is a pit bull.  However, just like other house-pits I've known and the three house-Rotties I've owned, Aries totally blows the stereotype for the breed out of the water.  He's affectionate, adoring towards his special human (and he's chosen me!), responsive, and eager to please ... and is taking the cats' snit fit in good humor.  Aries just isn't too sure about my teenage son and his size 12 shoes ... LOL.

04 September 2011

Useful things for the kitchen

So the dreaded oven/hot mitt is finally finished ... I was stalling because I have learned I truly detest sewing together the fabric-batting-muslin sandwiches.  Now I understand why people pay the asking price for prequilted fabrics!  (Note: If you enjoy diagonal machine-quilting layers of batting and fabric together, all the power to y'all and I wish you bliss .. this just is NOT my thing.)

It won't win any awards, and I will definitely be buying my next hot pad and oven mitt at the store rather than make another, but this one does match my apron perfectly:
Hot/oven mitt done
Oh yes, for a certain chat regular: hot mitt = oven mitt.  Ovens tend to be hot.  This project also has ruined my sense of humor temporarily.

Logistical note on construction: make the inside layer smaller than the outside one.  (Should I make that a Sgt Obvious tip as well?)  Have an extra sewing needle on hand - the batting dulls a needle faster than topstitching canvas and buckram do!

While procrastinating on sewing the hot mitt, I have also been using my crochet hooks to make useful kitchen items:
Lumpy (textured) dishcloths

Bobble/Pop scrubbers

Swiffer pad with textured bottom

Swiffer pad, top
These crochet up fast, are a great way to practice the new stitches I had to learn to make them ... and hubby says we need multiples (the second scrubber and dishcloth are already given away) not just for our house but to give to family as gifts.  I also made a ridged textured dishcloth that ended up being tested in my son's bathroom.  He says it works "very good" and sounded a little surprised about it.