Monday, October 2, 2017

We are safe.

First, I want to say that we are safe, our friends in town are safe, all of us are out of danger.

I was going to post a regular Weekend Wind-up since I haven't done so in a bit.
Today is not the day for that.

I woke up to half a dozen texts, emails, and facebook messages asking if I was safe. At this point, it was 6 am, I hadn't had any coffee, and I'd gone to bed early on Sunday owing the a headache that just wouldn't quit. So I hadn't seen the news.
After updating my friends on the Facebook safetycheck page, and noting that my local friends were also safe, I started reading the news.
And...I don't have words. I'm just sad.

The only thing I can reliably say at a time like this is, We Love You. All of you, even if we don't know you, even if we haven't met you, we love you.
I'm about to bake up some pumpkin bread and take the boys to church, since it's open for anyone to pray today.

If you live in Las Vegas, there are blood drives today at 6930 W. Charleston, 601 Whitney Ranch, and 901 Rancho Ln.

And if you don't live in Las Vegas...please hold those affected in your thoughts. It's a tiny gesture, but means so much. Love is felt even when we're worlds apart, we feel it even when we don't know who or where it comes from. And it's a comfort.

I've got tears now, which weren't there when I started typing. It's starting to hit full-force, so I'm going to post this up now and update later.

Remember, we love you. All of you.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Fall Into Crochet Sale!!

To celebrate the start of my favorite season, I'm running a sale in my Ravelry store. All patterns are 20% off now through midnight (PDT) on Monday, 25.September.2017. No coupon needed, just add patterns to your cart and check out.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Garden Report - the Surprise Potato

I tried a Thing this spring, whereby I attempted to grow another rose bush. I had a cutting from my lovely yellow rose bush, and I planted it in a potato and hoped for the best.
The cutting did not survive. I was a little bummed, but to be honest I didn't expect it to take. I didn't see a compelling reason to pull the dead stick, so I just left it there.

Fast-forward a few months, and I noticed that the spot where I'd planted the rose cutting had green coming up.
Folks, this is a potato plant.
Rather by accident, I've got potatoes growing in a xeriscaped Las Vegas yard.

I doubt it will yield much, but hey! It's still fun! (And it does keep growing, so who knows what we'll get?)

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Seasonal Change Cowl

It's here! My newest design, the Seasonal Change Cowl:

The weather is getting cooler. The days are getting shorter. And the leaves will soon begin to turn.

This cowl takes less than a skein of Malabrigo Rios. And it works up quick - one of my testers finished in an afternoon. It's perfect for a last-minute fall accessory, and even better for those last-minute handmade holiday gifts.

The pattern is available for sale in both my Ravelry and Craftsy stores.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Weekend Wind-Up

I've set a new personal record in sock-knitting. These took one week, from start to finish.
And I love them. 

Since I'm apparently on a sock-knitting kick right now, I started another pair. Once again, I'm just knitting a plain sock and letting the yarn show itself off. 

Felici is sooooo soft! I love this yarn. 

Friday, September 8, 2017

Monday, September 4, 2017

Weekend Wind-Up

The socks are finally finished!

Through some amazing feat of the universe, the friend for whom these were made was actually in Las Vegas this weekend, on vacation with their partner. So I was able to give these in person, and he immediately tried them on, started raving about how awesome they feel, and said "once you wear handknit socks, you don't want to wear anything else."
Talk about being knit-worthy!
(That's someone who will almost certainly get another pair.)

I've started a pair of socks for myself!

I actually got really far on these, considering I started them Friday evening at dinner. My hands started hurting after I made it through the heel, so I put them down for a while.
The yarn is Wisdom Yarns Pix in the colorway "Succulent." I like the purple, and I like self-patterning yarns for socks. Although, if I'm being perfectly honest, I chose this yarn based on not having to wind it (like most of the sock yarns I have in my stash) or match dye lots on two 50g balls (I have a bunch of Felici in the stash, too).

Oh, that patriotic tape I started weaving last week? I finished it. I'm getting a bit better, but still there is a lot of variation on my tension (and subsequently, the width).

It's a long weekend, which should be nice - but both the boys are sick, which is not so fun. Luckily, it seems to be a minor cold, but sniffling kids don't sleep very well. Which means Mom doesn't sleep so well.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Garden Report

My spring/summer attempts at vegetable gardening failed. I'm not entirely sure what went wrong, but the bean plants died, then the cucumbers did. Most of the carrots never germinated at all, and the ones that did never plumped out.
In fact, this is the entire harvest:

The basil plant held on, but the leaves are really narrow and the stems are woody, not at all like the basil plants I see in other gardens.
But that's ok. I'm going to try again. Thus, I present to you, my fall garden!
I used CMU blocks to create a raised bed, and I'm also using the openings in the blocks to plant. I'm using seeds instead of transplants this time, too.

So far, we're off to a good start. I've got several cucumber plants that have started (remember, I live in Las Vegas, it doesn't get cool until nearly Halloween), and I've got both radishes and carrots planted - and the radishes have already sprouted.

The plan is to plant snap peas, turnips, parsnips, and carrots as we move into autumn. If I can serve home-grown vegetables at Thanksgiving, I will be very excited!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Weekend Wind-Up

Sad news: my favorite local yarn shop, Mirage Fiber Arts, closed down earlier this month. Now I'm stuck with online shopping for most of my favorite yarns.
On the upside, I purchased an inkle loom on clearance. And I've already started weaving. And I'm learning that I have plenty of room for improvement.
First weaving project
I took a weaving class in high school, so it's not as though this is completely new to me. But sophomore year was twenty-two years ago. And although all three use yarn, weaving is a lot different than knitting or crochet.
Still, I'm enjoying this. 
Yes, it's patriotic.
In crochet news, I'm making progress on my Doors of Durin filet project. It's the project bag attached to the stroller, so it goes with me to drop-off/pick-up C from preschool. 

And I finished this gorgeous shawl! The pattern is Over the Willamette by Jenn Wolfe Kaiser, the yarn is from Forbidden Woolery - the "Veiled Scandal" colorway I picked up at Vogue Knitting Live. It uses almost two skeins (I really should just weigh this and figure out exactly how much). Oh, wait. The scale is right next to my computer...173g, so 1.73 skeins.
 The details on this are just so pretty!

There's also this pair of socks that I promised for one of my friends. I finished one sock, I've turned the heel on this one, and now I'm panicking a bit because the color stripes aren't going to match on the leg. I really hope my friend loves these being hand-knit just for them enough to overlook the imperfection.

So, pretty good weekend. How was yours?

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Happy Birthday!

Just a really quick post tonight, wishing my son Grant a very Happy Birthday! Hard to believe it's been two years already since we welcomed you into the world. And yet, just look how much you've grown!
2 hours

2 years!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Weekend Wind-up

I really, really wanted to say I finished a sock this weekend.
I didn't.
I didn't even finish it this morning, although I'm binding off:
And then I need to make the second sock (luckily, second-sock-syndrome is not something from which I suffer).

I did manage to get another handle on that market bag:

And the garden is coming along. I think. Here's what the vegetable box looks like right now:
The cucumber plants got big. So did the basil. I really hope the cucumbers produce - I've seen evidence of cutter bees on the rose bushes, so I know we have pollinators around here. I'm just really eager for the fruit to grow!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Weekend Wind-up

I didn't actually manage to finish anything this weekend, but I did make some progress. And I started another project. Because I have to keep crafting. It's an addiction. 

First up: The nearly-finished grocery bag. This is not the same pattern that I just wrote and released on Saturday; this is the leftover yarn from that bag, and I had a choice between making two dishcloths or making a small mesh bag. I have plenty of dishcloths already. 
Just one more handle to go

Next: I started a sock. Again. Because I have a serious case of startitis with socks. But as this pair is for a friend, I might actually finish them.
Seriously, I'll finish this pair!

Finally, there's this pair of wool shorts that are very nearly complete...except for the drawstring and lanolizing that will ready them as a diaper cover/springtime clothing.

Oh, and I might have added a bit to the stash...but, I mean, I had to buy a new circular for the socks. And I didn't want to wait for shipping, which meant I had to visit the yarn shop...and no one expects to walk into a yarn shop like Sin City Knits and not buy yarn, right? At least I kept it manageable. A skein of Vintage (I've got a bit of inspiration to design something) and a skein of self-patterning sock yarn. Because, like I said, I've got a serious case of sock startitis. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Green Grocery Getter - Earth Day Free Pattern

In honor of Earth Day, I would like to share the pattern I wrote for this reusable grocery bag:
If you've been reading along this year, you already know that I've been participating in an Earth Day-themed Crochet-A-Long in the Nerdy Hookers group over at Ravelry. This bag is a result of that CAL; I would very much like to stop using so darn many plastic bags every week, but I also know from years of experience, that bringing only enough bags for half the groceries does nothing but confuse the cashiers and baggers.
So, I need to make a lot of them. A whole lot.
I have a bunch, already; about 7 six (I counted) knit and crochet bags; this is more than enough for a trip to the farmers market or Trader Joe's, but I'm still building up to the 12 or 13 I estimate I'll need for a typical grocery run at Smith's.
The collection so far
This bag does hold a decent amount, about the same as a plastic grocery bag, with a little more room at the top. Here's a comparison (it's the same box of Shredded Wheat and fruit snacks in each bag):

Something important to note: I've made two of these, the first from Lily Sugar & Cream and the second (shown here) from KnitPicks Dishie. I strongly prefer the Dishie, and I've listed the gauge for that yarn. Gauge is not crucial to this project, so if you're using a thicker kitchen cotton, like Sugar & Cream or Bernat Handicrafter Cotton, it's ok if your gauge is different. Just make sure you like the fabric you're creating (and you might want an extra ball of yarn, just to be safe).

Ok? Well, then, here we go!!

Green Grocery Getter
by Katherine Larson

Finished Size: 4.5"/11.5cm wide x 11"/28cm long x 10"/25.5cm tall

Skills Needed: Chain, single crochet, slip stitch, half-double crochet, double crochet, single crochet back loop only

Yarn: KnitPicks Dishie Multi (3.5oz/100g, 190yds/174m, 100% cotton), 2 skeins or 230 yards/210m worsted weight yarn
Tools: H/5.0mm crochet hook or size needed to meet gauge
Tapestry needle

Gauge: 16sc and 20 rows = 4”/10cm

Pattern Notes: Pattern is written in US crochet terms.
Bag is worked in the round.

Ch: chain
Sc: single crochet
Hdc: half-double crochet
Dc: double crochet
St: stitch
Sl st: slip stitch
Shell: (dc, ch1, dc, ch1, dc) in same st



Ch 22
rnd 1: 2sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in next 19 sts, 4 sc in last st, working along back of starting ch, sc in next 19 sts, 2sc in last st, join with sl st to beginning. (46 sc)
rnd 2: ch1, 2sc in same st, 2sc in next st, sc in next 19 sts, 2sc in next 4 sts, sc in next 19 sts, 2sc in last 2 sts, join with sl st to beginning (54 sc)
rnd 3: ch1, 2sc in same st, 2sc in next st, sc in next 23 sts, 2sc in next 4 sts, sc in next 23 sts, 2sc in last 2 sts, join with sl st to beginning (62 sc)
rnd 4: ch1, 2sc in same st, 2sc in next st, sc in next 27 sts, 2sc in next 4 sts, sc in next 27 sts, 2sc in last 2 sts, join with sl st to beginning (70 sc)
rnd 5: ch1, 2sc in same st, 2sc in next st, sc in next 31 sts, 2sc in next 4 sts, sc in next 31 sts, 2sc in last 2 sts, join with sl st to beginning (78 sc)
rnd 6: ch1, sc in same st, sc in next 2 sts, 2sc in next 2 sts, sc in next 29 sts, 2sc in next 2 sts, sc in next sc in next 6 sts, 2sc in next 2 sts, sc in next 29 sts, 2sc in next 2 sts, sc in last 3 sts, join with sl st to beginning (86 sc)
rnd 7: ch1, sc in same st, sc in next 3 sts, 2 sc in next 2 sts, sc in next 31 sts, 2sc in next 2 sts, sc in next 8 sts, 2sc in next 2 sts, sc in next 31 sts, 2sc in next 2 sts, sc in last 4 sts, join with sl st to beginning (94 sc)
rnd 8: ch1, sc in same st, sc in next 4 sts, 2sc in next 2 sts, sc in next 33 sts, 2sc in next 2 sts, sc in next 10 sts, 2sc in next 2 sts, sc in next 33 sts, 2sc in next 2 sts, sc in last 5 sts, join with sl st to beginning (102 sc)
rnd 9: ch1, hdc in same st and each st around, join with sl st to beginning (102 hdc)
rnd 10: repeat rnd 9
rnd 11: ch1, sc in same st, * ch5, sk 4 sts, [sc in next st, sk 2 sts, shell in next st, sk 2 sts] twice, repeat from * around, join with sl st to beginning sc
rnd 12: ch1, dc in same st, ch2, sc in ch-5 sp, ch5, sc in middle dc of next shell, shell in next sc, sc in middle dc of next shell, * ch5, sc in ch-5 sp, ch5, sc in middle dc of next shell, shell in next sc, sc in middle dc of next shell, repeat from * around, ch2, join with sl st to beginning dc.
Rnd 13: ch1, sc in same st, * ch5, sc in ch-5 sp, shell in next sc, sc in middle dc of next shell, shell in next sc, repeat from * around, join with sl st to beginning sc

Repeat rnds 12 and 13 five more times.

Rnd 34: ch1, sc in same st, 4 sc in ch-5 sp, sc in next (sc, dc, dc, dc) twice, * sc in next sc, 4 sc in ch-5 sp, sc in next (sc, dc, dc, dc) twice, repeat from * around, join with sl st to beginning sc
Rnd 35: ch1, sc in same st and in each st around, join with sl st to beginning
Fasten off.

Handles (make 2):
These can be placed to your preference.
Row 1: Join yarn to top of bag with sc, sc in next four sts, turn (5 sc)
Row 2: Ch1, sc in back loop only of each st (5 sc)
Rows 3-20: Repeat row 2
Row 21: Ch1, working through both loops of row 20, sl st to top of bag.
Fasten off.

Weave in all ends, and enjoy your new eco-friendly grocery bag!

ps - if you've made a bag from this pattern and would like to share your results, the Ravelry link is:

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Garden Report

I forgot to do a weekend wind-up; I didn't actually do much crafting, though, since it was Easter. I did get a few pictures of the boys at the church Easter egg hunt.

On Easter Sunday, though, I could not get them to look at the camera. Or even stand close enough to let me get a picture of them. This was the best I could do:

Of course, I did manage to indulge my Pinterest-loving self, and made these deviled eggs:
By the way, they tasted great. I thought the apple cider vinegar used in the dye bath would alter the flavor, but it didn't.

Anyway. On to the real reason for today's post: The garden.

My vegetables are not having the greatest time of things. Not all of them, anyway. The carrots that managed to sprout, look like they're coming along.
I just kind of wish there were more of them. Still, 4 carrots in a container is 4 more carrots than I've ever grown before. These have another 5 or 6 weeks left to grow. I'll plant more in the fall, and hopefully have more success.

My cucumber plants are getting big.
So is the basil - I'm planning to make pesto soon, because look at it!
The beans are struggling a little bit. I don't know what's wrong, but the plants are still growing, so I guess we'll see how it goes. (It's a good thing I live in a time & place where my family's survival is not dependent on my ability to grow vegetables.)

Know what is doing great, though? The roses.
I even brought some of these inside.
(Also, the purchase of floral foam was one of my better ideas.)

Monday, April 10, 2017

Weekend Wind-Up

I finally finished that market bag I started a few weeks back.
This one is made from KnitPicks Dishie Multi, which I absolutely love for kitchen cotton! It's much nicer to work with than Sugar & Cream, and the colors don't fade as fast. 
Of course, it's thinner than Sugar & Cream - which means the gauge is different, and thus this bag is smaller than the first.
That's ok, though! It's a market bag, not a fitted garment. It just has to hold soup cans and cereal boxes, or apples and clamshells of berries (especially since it's spring, and strawberries are back in season).

I also finished this lovely shawl:
The pattern is Blackcomb, and I enjoyed crocheting this immensely. However, I chose a yarn that just didn't have the yardage I needed for a shawl that would be my size (which is, um, ample up top). I should have read the ballband closer, it was only 75 grams. But look at that color changing! The colorway is called Aloha, and I really think it does suggest an island sunrise. (This was part of my yarn haul from VKL last month, I'm so excited to already start working through it!)

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Frogging party

What have I done. Oh, dear. It's pretty awful...and yet, awfully optimistic.
Two projects, frogged. Here are the before pictures:
And the after:

So what happened? Well, I failed to admit that this just wasn't turning out how I'd envisioned it, and remained stubbornly determined that it would be perfect just as soon as it was finished. But it wasn't, no matter how pretty this lace is:
And I grew more upset with it, the more I looked at it, so a-frogging I went.
By the way, single-ply alpaca silk does not like to be frogged. At all.

Then, a decision that this other piece wasn't doing anything spectacular for me, either, so why not just rip it out and make something better? (Tosh DK, on the other hand, doesn't mind being frogged at all.) Although I do like the lace on it, so I might use the stitch pattern somewhere else:

I totally admit, that if I'd made these in acrylic or even some cheap wool like Cascade 220, they would probably be relegated to the bag of finished-objects-I-never-use for eternity. (It's a real thing. In a dark corner of my closet.)
But these aren't cheap yarns, that's Blue Sky Fibers Metalico, and a skein of madelinetosh. Those are yarns that need to be something!
So, a-frogging I went.

And now I know what doesn't work, which means I'm just that much closer to something that does.