A VERY pink Sea Princess

It’s done! I can’t believe it, but I finished the Sea Princess sweater early.

And, like so many of the knitting challenges I’ve taken on before, it wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be. (Really, you’d think I would have learned by now.)

I was really overwhelmed & nervous about the prospect of having to use charts for almost the entire thing…especially the cables. The only charts I’ve done before were for washcloths (non-cabled washcloths, mind you). Once I got into though and figured out a way to keep myself on track , the charts were super easy. The cumbersome part of this project was actually flipping between the charts and following the written directions at the same time. The trick? A 3-ring binder and post-its.

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Being able to flip through the 3 charts and keep the directions out & off to the side made it much easier to work. And also easier to pack back up when I needed to. (Not so easy to keep the cat off of though…seriously if you put a piece of paper down, you may as well be providing an engraved invitation for her.)

So, much to my surprise, I managed to finish this sweater about 2 weeks earlier than I anticipated. And it’s a good thing too! All of a sudden, it’s decided to be spring here. After a wishy-mostly-washy March, it’s supposed to finally be warm all week. At lease the Kiddo got in one good wear before it warmed up.

I guess it’s good that we have more little girls in our extended family.

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Ready for spring

I’m so done with winter. I have been for a while. I’m ready for spring. I think it might be the colors.

And I am ready for spring colors. And flowers. And plants (I keep thinking about what veggies I’m going to plant in my container garden this year).

But since spring isn’t here yet, I decided to create a little bit of spring for myself.

How about some flowers?

Pretty, pink, and functional too…flower dishcloths.

Flower Dishcloths

The pattern is Flower Power Dishcloths by Doni Spiegle and is a free Ravelry download. It’s an easy-to-follow crochet pattern and it works up super fast.

I think I’ve figured out the two things I like most about crocheting.

  1. I can make a crochet project much faster than the same thing if it were knitted.
  2. I find it to be much easier to do shaped things – like flowers, Mickey ears…etc. (There are plenty of ways to do the same things with knitting, but they don’t come as easily to me.)

And bonus, the dishcloths are made from my stash of cotton.

Project Use Up All The Cotton Totals: 54g for both flowers

468 grams of yarn used, 618 grams to go

A quick look back

Before we get too far into 2013, I thought it could be fun to take a look back at 2012 and some of the projects I made last year.

First, some interesting figures:

  • In 2012, I made 74!! knitted or crocheted items (likely more than that since I probably didn’t enter them all into Ravelry)…that’s compared to only about 20 items in 2011.
  • Out of those 74 items, 42 were crocheted and 32 were knitted. A whopping, but unsurprising, 58% of the things I made last year were hats. But I actually got brave and knitted 3 shawls as well – which is a big deal because until the very end 2011 I had never made any shawls at all.

And about those hats…

  • Hello Kitty & Minnie Mouse were/are the overwhelming favorites with nearly 40% of all of the hats I made last year being one or the other – Hello Kitty just edging Minnie out by 2 hats.

So yeah – that’s a lot of stuff! Here are some of my personal favorites from the past year:

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How about you? What’s your favorite thing you made (or did, for my non-crafters) last year?

More than meets the eye!

When a friend of mine requested a Transformers hat for her son, I figured that it would be no problem. I mean, it’s Transformers. Someone has to have made a pattern right?

Yeah, not so much.

I searched as many of the corners of the internet as I could think of. All to no avail. I did find one crocheted Transformer hat on Etsy, but she was only selling the finished product not the pattern. My only recourse was to write a pattern myself. It was a really fun challenge since, although I’ve improvised before, I’ve never actually written a pattern down.

Here’s what I came up with:

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What do you think?

Make ALL the Hats!

Well, I did it! I took on the challenge and I completed it. On my second attempt at a Nerd Wars Dissertation (read “very large project that takes 3 months to complete”) I actually finished. (Get ready folks, this is a long one.)

So, what did I do exactly?

I made 9 hats in various sizes – 5 knit and 4 crochet. Want to see?

A couple of the patterns were free, a couple I already had in my personal library, and a couple I had to purchase. Not unexpectedly 3 of the 4 knit hats are Susan B. Anderson patterns (I LOVE her stuff!).

Anyone who has seen some of my previous posts will not be surprised to see yet another Pumpkin Hat. It’s a HUGE go to for me when making baby gifts…especially when I don’t know the baby’s gender. So, I had that pattern and the Pink Paper Bag pattern already because they’re both in Itty Bitty Hats. The 2 Pom Pom Hats are also Susan B. Anderson. The pattern for them is the Dream Catcher Hat and was free.

The other knit hat – Princess Crown – was also a free pattern. Despite it’s lack of cost, I’m not entirely sold on this pattern. It came out okay, but I didn’t really enjoy the process. There were A LOT of stitch markers involved. It’s possible that I was just grumpy because I was short on time so I will give it at least one more shot before I decide whether or not  I like it.

As for the crochet patterns – I bought the Minnie Mouse and the Cloche patterns from Lizzziee on Etsy (along with 3 other patterns) and I couldn’t be more happy with them. The directions were so easy to follow – which was a big deal for me since I’m pretty new to crochet.  The other hat I made was Hello Kitty and it was from a free pattern. I was dubious at first, but when I got it all finished I was super pleased with the result.

Minnie, Rainbow Pom-Pom, and Princess Crown are for my kiddo. She’s all set for winter and playtime now. Pumpkin has already been gifted and Blue Pom-Pom is a gift as well. Hello Kitty has actually been sold. I’m saving the 2 Cloche hats and Pink Paper Bag to sell at a craft fair.

And more awesome – I already have an order for a Minnie Mouse and I have 3 more Hello Kitties to make for birthday gifts.

Best of all…I finished a dissertation and I’m really proud of myself!

She said it wasn’t a good idea, but I did it anyway

A little while back I finished up a blanket for a friend of mine and when I was done there was a bit of leftover yarn. I didn’t want to just stash or trash the bit I had left since I knew she was a bit in love with that yarn as she had specifically bought it for making her daughter’s blanket before the baby was even born and had spent quite a bit of money on it. So what to make? Well, I made a Penelope! (I LOVE Danger Monsters!!)

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As soon as my friend saw her daughter’s Penelope, she immediately asked for one of her own and she wanted hers to be bigger. Rebecca Danger specifically states in the pattern that making the pattern larger would involve copious amounts of refiguring and basically rewriting of the pattern, so pretty much just don’t do it. But my friend was so excited and loved Penelope so much, I couldn’t find a way to say no.

Oh & did I mention that I am insanely picky about colors? So, not only did I agree to make a Big Penelope, but I wound up picking a sport weight yarn to make her with because it was the only yarn in the particular silver-gray that I wanted to use that I could find in the craft store. It took me twice as long to do half as much work. Way to go Becky!

Nearly 3 1/2 weeks later, Big Penelope is done! (To put it in perspective – I can finish a worsted weight, regular-sized Penelope in about 3-4 evenings.) I really am quite proud of her.

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Although I don’t think I’ll be making any more Big Penelope’s (especially in sport weight yarn) any time soon.

Project Use Up All The Cotton – Week “I gave up counting a LONG time ago”, Projects 5, 6, & 7

I know, I know…it’s been a REALLY long time. What can I say…darn life! I seriously did not expect this summer to get away from me like it has. Yeah, yeah, excuses excuses. On the up side, I’ve actually gotten quite a bit done…some non-cotton items and a couple of things that are in cotton, but are not part of this project. Plus 3 more PUUATC things and here they are:

There’s an Owl Coffee Cup Cozy:

I really enjoy how this came out & I’m thinking a few more will make great holiday gifts for my kiddo’s preschool teachers. I’m always at a loss for what to get them, especially because there are usually at least 3 teachers to give gifts to and we don’t have a huge budget for that stuff.

A Zig-Zag washcloth:

I added this one to the small arsenal of wash/dishcloths I’m amassing in my kitchen. I like that they are re-usable and soften up over time. Right now I’m the only one that will use them though. My husband has yet to convince himself that it’s okay to use a knitted washcloth. He looks at them like little treasures that he’s afraid of ruining…which is sweet because he respects that it takes effort to make these things, but he’s missing the point – they’re supposed to be used. Ah well, some day.

And a Broomstick Bookmark:

This came out really cute. I’m not sure if I’m going to make more though. I love giving book gifts, but my family has finally hopped on the e-reader bandwagon, so a bookmark is less-than-helpful as far as a book-related gift goes. They would probably be happier with Amazon gift cards so they can get more books. On the other hand, I’m considering doing a few craft fairs next year and if I do, I’ll totally put a few of these out for sale. I think they’ll do really well.

Project Use Up All The Cotton Totals:

Project 5 (Owl Coffee Cup Cozy) – 16g
Project 6 (Electric Cloth) – 33g
Project 7 (Harry’s Broom) – 6g

 215 grams down, 871 grams of yarn to go