Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Oh look, a chicken!

I warned you that I had things to show you from my downtime. And I'm doing it right away, even, before I'm distracted by something shiny or yarny or whatever. And since I'm still treading water with the whole loss-of-bloggal-direction thing I'll just jump right in. So, more show-and-tell it is, then! Lucky you!

My cousin got married recently and I wanted to make her something different and fun. She's not just starting out in the world; she has all the household stuff she needs and so did he and I'm sure they've merged everything delightfully and, knowing her, it's all way cooler than I would have purchased anyway. So I tread off the beaten path and made a pillow from a pattern I'd been enamored of for some time. I picked a funky color scheme and I'm pretty pleased with the result. Apparently, so are they! I didn't get a good photo in natural light, though, before I sent it off, so the show-and-tell is not optimum. I imagine we'll all survive.

Terra Cotta Pillow by Kathleen Garen
Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool and Vanna's Choice Solids
Size US H hook
As you can see, my version is totally not terra cotta, and I like it a lot better. And without the mind-numbing flash, you can't see the pillow form through the stitches. I swear. Yes, another in the long line of arguments for natural light photography. When I ever claim to be anything other than the most pathetic of photographers, I'll let you know. Hugs.

Actually, I say that, but the other project I made for them did manage to get decently photographed. Oh, you thought I only made them a pillow? For shame! I also sent them -- just as the last snow melted and it started to get nice and warm -- a smitten!

What's a smitten, you ask? I'm so glad you asked, for I shall tell you! And show you, even!

So you know when it's cold, and you're outside with your sweetie, and you want to hold hands with him, but it's too cold to be bare-handed, but you don't want to just hold hands through your gloves because that's not as romantic as touching skin, but brrrrrrrrr! it's too cold for all that open air skin touchin'? You know that one? Smitten to the rescue! One mitten for two hands! And in the shape of a heart, no less!! Freakin' brilliant, I tell you.

Smitten by Julie Weisenberger
Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick and Quick in Claret
size US 11 and 13 dpns
I'm in love with this adorable thing. I may make a hundred. Okay, that's totally a lie, but I'll make one for Gator and me. Someday. Probably.

Until the next shiny thing comes along.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Who are you, again?

Howdy! I'll just get right to the angst.

I simply don't know who you are, anymore.

Ah, melodrama. But it's very true, in a way. I started this blog when I found out that I would be moving away from my husband for a matter of possibly years and I wanted to show him what I was up to in the big city known as Beer Town. I invited the world along, and we had a great time. I met new people and they seamlessly became part of the audience. I found out that other family members were relying on this blog as their main method of knowing what I was up to. Friends that were often featured in my posts from Milwaukee are now reading to keep up with me now that I'm back in College Town. But I've lost my main audience. Gator is here with me everyday and we share all the wonderful little daily things that make marriage awesome. So I don't have to show him what I'm up to via the innernets, I just turn around and say, "Hey, Honey!"

I have no intention of giving up the blog. But I just haven't figured out who I'm talking to, exactly. Crafting blog buddies are always supportive of my handwork show-and-tell and I figure they are interested in the minutiae of my crafts, because I'm interested in theirs. But I don't assume that my sister is all that enthused about snowflake after snowflake and pictures of my dinner when I go out with friends. Okay, I don't assume anyone is enthused with pictures of my dinner, but Gator always thought it was pretty cute when I did that and now he's only, like, six feet away from me, and I don't know what to say on here anymore.

This is going to be a process. And it's still going to be mostly show-and-tell, because that's what I do. I make things. And there's just no way a blog about me is not going to be heavy on the things I make. And until I figure out what else it's about, that may be about it. I don't blame anyone who gets bored. But I figure no one will get as bored as they would if they came by again and again and saw nothing but the Olympics post. And the Olympics were a long time ago, I know. I mean, Evan Lysacek is already halfway through Dancing With the Stars, fercryinoutloud.

Plus, putting the angst right out there makes it smaller, so they say. We'll just see how that works out, won't we?

So in the meantime, show-and-tell, it is!! I've been very busy throughout my blog silence, but as it is Monday, we shall, of course, focus of Snowflake Mondays!

It's certainly been snowing up in here, as evidenced by numbers 4 through 11 from 99 Snowflakes!

It's kind of odd to see flakes all lined up like that, I think. And some of these, I must admit, are not shining examples of flawless blocking. But I bet they're awfully lovely on someone's tree this winter, regardless.

But that's just a teaser -- an aperitif, if you will. Back in February, I stated that I wanted to design two snowflakes this year. Well, one down! It was super fun and I think I'll be doing more than just one more this year. It would be great if I found time to design one a month, but I'm not going to hold myself to that, especially once it gets really nice out and I'm out and about more than crafting. But I'm very happy to be back on the design end of things, even if it's something as small as a flake. Instead of winging it, like I did with the Fancy Star flake, I was guided by a photograph of an actual snowflake. I like the idea of that because I'm a little turned off sometimes by snowflake patterns that are really just small doilies and not reminiscent of any snowflake ever found in nature. Not that they aren't beautiful, but it's just not the road I want to take.

So, without further blathering on about crap you don't care about, I present:

Crystal Fantasy Snowflake
(available as a PDF file in the sidebar)

Finished Size: Approximately 4 1/4" diameter using size 10 cotton and a 1.6
mm (US 6) steel hook.

Note: This pattern uses American crochet notation.

Picot Cluster: (Ch 7, slip st in fifth ch from hook) 3 times, (ch 5, slip st in
fifth ch from hook) twice, slip st in ch below third slip st from hook and in next
ch, ch 5, slip st in fifth ch from hook, skip next ch, slip st in ♥ next 2 chs; repeat from ♥ once more.

Ch 6, join with slip st to form a ring.

Rnd 1: Ch 9, ♥ dc in ring, ch 6; repeat from ♥ four times more; join with slip st
to third ch of beginning ch-9. 6 ch-6 sps.

Rnd 2: Ch 1, sc in same st, ♥ ♪ ch 3, dc in next ch-6 sp, ch5, slip st in second
ch from hook and in next 3 ch, ch 3, dc in same sp, ch 12, slip st in fifth ch
from hook and in next 6 chs, work picot cluster, ch 11, slip st in fifth ch from
hook and in next 6 chs, ch 1, dc in same sp, ch 8, slip st in second ch from
hook and in next 3 ch, dc in same sp, ch 3, ♪ sc in next dc, repeat from ♥ four
times more, then repeat from ♪ to ♪ once; join with slip st to first sc; finish off.

Block and stiffen using a 6-point blocking pattern.

This design was inspired by one of the over 5,000 micrographs taken of
snowflakes by amateur photographer Wilson A. Bentley in the late 19th
century. He was the first person to photograph snowflakes and the results are
still stunning.

Photo by Wilson A. Bentley. Property of the public domain.

And there you have it. I like it much better than my first snowflake design, which I figure is how it should be. Happiness!

Super huge hugs, thanks, and kudos to my awesome blog buddy Judy who beta tested this pattern and made me sound more competent than I am. You totally rock, girl!!

Next time I'll tell you about the non-snowflake related things I've been doing! Won't that be fun?

Whoever you are.