Monthly Archives: April 2007

I’ve still got it!

The ODD MOJO has returned. Maybe it’s Fiesta that brings it out in me. I finally got another strange project completed (conceived & completed all in one day, yay me!). Presenting, the Choomp Ninja:
Robert named it thus; ‘choomp’ is our term for breastmilk (don’t ask me why; I was still delirious from my first c-section when I coined it) and ‘choomp ninja’ is his nickname for Linda–the darling in the graphic at the top of this page. She has a habit of appearing out of nowhere and latching on.

Nevertheless, I have given this Choomp Ninja to Esther, and Linda and Bobbie have demanded their own, one red & one yellow. I’m not too sure about the yellow, it’s not a very ninja-y color.

In future iterations I think I will make the legs in the same fashion as the arms, as they have a quite ninja-appropriate swirlyness to them. I really wanted to get this done in one sitting, so I decided to make limbs that wouldn’t require stuffing.

The specs: this ninja was made with a 4.5mm hook (Clover’s SofTouch, which I adore) using TLC essentials for the body & Caron Perfect Match for the face.

I’m really impressed with the newer Caron Perfect Match. I have some I bought years ago when we were living in Virginia & it’s quite stiff. I bought enough back then to make an afghan with it–why the hell did I ever think I’d make an afghan? Anyhoo, the newer Caron Perfect Match, which I bought to make a head with, is much softer to the touch & more supple. It gives the very distinct impression that with a couple of washes it will become incredibly soft. (I have learned the value of repeated washes; it is only after about three years that my 450-thread-count sheets have earned their cost; they are now the most luxurious sheets imaginable.)

A note on the inspiration for this piece. I have StumbleUpon, an absolute must for anyone with Firefox, as I have said before. Of course one of my categories is arts & crafts, and it brought me to the Wee Ninja (Pocket Ninja) from Shawnimals.com. So if you or anyone you hold dear desires your own tiny ninja, look not to me but here instead. (And please note that my ninja is not meant to be ripoff or an exact copy of the Pocket Ninja; I was shown the photograph only in my Stumbling & used it as a jump-off point.)

Another textile art.

I posted this link originally at MamaDrama, but the Mamas there simply didn’t get it. I think most of my visitors here will, what with almost all of us being insane fiber artists.

The Court of the Splendors of Fire and Ice.

It is Fiesta time once again in San Antonio. In addition to cheap beer, dancing with said cheap beer, cascarones, and stick food, Fiesta is all about the gowns.

There is just an amazing amount of artistry that goes into these dresses, especially the trains (which of course are the showpiece). I have no doubt an entire year’s work goes into the embroidery of these dresses. They are brand-new every year, and it is always a great thing when an exhibition of the older ones is put on somewhere. (Usually you’ll see them at the Witte, but I remember once seeing them in a display at North Star Mall–home of the iconic giant cowboy boots.)

Of course, it is a great honor to be chosen to wear one of these gowns; it’s a daydream of many a young San Antonio chica, but of course unless you are from one of the city’s richest families you’ll never have a chance. Nonetheless, these women are our own royalty–along with King Antonio and El Rey Feo, and of course Miss Fiesta–and people camp out literally a week in advance for the Battle of the Flowers parade, which is your best chance to see them. (Side note: all public schools in the city close down on the day this parade takes place; it’s that important!) Since these gowns are so elaborate they are very very heavy, and the women wear their most comfortable shoes underneath; therefore it is tradition to shout “Show us your sneaks!” as no one can get enough of the contrast of wearing athletic shoes with these gowns, apparently.

It is one of many things that make San Antonio San Antonio. Most of the year we are a huge tourist city, but for these ten days it’s all about us. The mayor, Phil Hardberger, described it as the ten days we take a collective vacation from thinking. Of course, tourists do participate, and no one really minds, but it’s by us & for us, which is quite refreshing.

I have got to make something weird!

I’ve been so sucked into doing proletarian things lately. I really enjoyed the hats project, but now they’re mocking me with the need to weave in 40 little ends.

I need to do something odd. Or at least vaguely naughty. I’m just not sure what. I’m poring over Naughty Needles for inspiration (I know, it’s knitting, but I can crochet anything you can knit).

I’m also sewing dresses for the older two munchkins. By hand, because I am insane and I think we left the sewing machine in Hawaii. (Yes, I know how pathetic it is that I apparently lost something that big, and no, we haven’t finished unpacking yet.) Not that it’s a particularly difficult project, as it involves a grand total of three seams. But it’s two new dresses made for maybe $12 total, not a price you can beat!

Pattern up.

The pattern for the bottle cover is available here. The main pattern page is here, and it’s always linked over to your left. I didn’t make another bottle cover, ’cause, well, what the hell use do I have for bottle covers? None.

I did buy some more crochet hooks at Hobby Lobby today, and even another copy of Crochet! magazine, which purports to have maternity clothes in it.

Mama’s Milk Bottle Cover–Instant Gratification #2


If the ladies at MotheringDotCommune are to be believed, some women are hesitant to give Baby a bottle of expressed breastmilk in public for fear other nursing mamas will assume it’s formula. Not something I can identify with, but something I can sympathize with. (For the record, I assume that everyone is feeding expressed breastmilk, so that my happy place stays happy.) There are apparently some glass bottles out there that say “Mother’s Milk” or some such on them. I have long wanted to come up with an alternative, a crocheted bottle cover with “Mommy’s Milk” or “breastmilk” or some such embroidered on it.

I must confess, I don’t get bottle covers. Of three kids, only one of them was ever willing to take a bottle, and she only did so for about two months, one bottle a day while I was at work. (She eventually decided she’d rather wait & get it straight from the tap.) I have long been opposed to bottle covers in general; I see their prevalence as one more subtle push of formula feeding. That, and I really don’t understand what they’re for. I mean, I realize they’re to cover baby bottles. But why? Maybe it’s part of the innate drive to crochet a cozy for anything and everything you come across.

So, this is the final result. (Well, semi-final, I’m going to crochet another one where the yarns contrast better.) The project was in some ways much harder than I expected. The cover itself was simple enough–there’s no bottom on it as I didn’t want to chance unbalancing the bottle, so it’s a mere 12 rounds including the trim–but it was more difficult than I had anticipated to get something embroidered on it.

See, when you hold a bottle, so much of it is covered up by your hand. (In my happy place, no one props bottles either.) I wanted to have only half the cover taken up by the embroidery. So Mama’s Milk & Breastmilk were both out. I settled on this:

I don’t know if that’s even readable, much as I messed around with the contrast, but it says Milkies. This is a fairly common shorthand for nursing/breastmilk. Even so, it takes up slightly more than half the bottle cover, and in all honesty I think if you have something like this it’s more for yourself than any theoretically judgmental strangers. So it’s OK.

I’ll be posting the pattern soon at my patterns site & will post here when it’s up. It’s 1:36 am as I type this, so I need to go to bed & get some sleep. It only took me an hour to make this, and that’s with having to frog a couple of times, stop repeatedly to check the fit on the bottle, and jot down the pattern as I was crocheting. So it’s a fast, fast project–hence being Instant Gratification #2.

Even without the embroidery, it might make a good gift for any exclusive pumper or working nursing mama you know, and it’s a stash-buster. I used a 4oz Soothie bottle for the fitting, but I believe Avent bottles to be much the same size. (My first two were so insulted by Avent bottles that I never tried giving one to Esther, so I’ve none in the house.) At any rate, it is sized for the wider bottles that breastfeeding mamas tend to use.

Wordless Wednesday


Instant Gratification #1

I was in the mood to make something quickly. This is what I came up with:
It’s kind of bulky, but for something to make in half an hour starting at midnight, it can’t be beat.

It’s a very simple stitch pattern, a multiple of six stitches + 1.

Here’s the pattern:

***

3.75 mm hook
cotton yarn (Sugar & Cream or the like)

Gauge really doesn’t matter for this pattern; it’ll either be wider or narrower, depending on how you do it. You can always add on more repeats if you really want to.

ch 14

1) Sc in second ch from hook & each rem. chain. 13sc
2) ch 1, turn. Sc in first st. *Ch 5, sk 5. Sc in next st.* twice. (End with sc in last sc.)
3) ch 1, turn. Sc in first st. *5hdc in ch-5 sp. Sc in sc.* twice

repeat rows 2 & 3 until cuff is almost large enough to encircle your wrist. Make it about 2 repeats FEWER than you think you need.

Ch 1, turn. Sl st in first 7 sts. IN SAME ST (#7): Ch 3. DC 4 more times. Drop loop from hook. Insert hook in first DC & back through dropped loop. Pull loop through st. Slst in last 6 sts. Finish off.

Join yarn in free loop of starting chain. Sl st in first 6 sts. Ch 3, sk 7th st. Slst in rem. 6 sts. Finish off.

***

I think this might work better with a button closure instead of the popcorn closure, but it was a matter of using what I could lay my hands on quickly. I’d also like to try it with a finer yarn. Maybe the bulkiness would have more of a punk edge if it wasn’t pink. I’ll be tinkering with this pattern & eventually get put it up on my permanent patterns site. But I don’t think this is half bad for something made on the fly.

See this?


This is my acceptance letter into nursing school.

I’d be prouder if they didn’t accept everyone who passes their entrance exam.

But it still feels good.

There’s no way in heck I’m going to have everything in by Friday, so I’m shooting for the August class start instead of the May start.

Y’all know what this means, don’t you?

Crocheted microbes.

Makeover complete.

For now, that is. I am not a web developer, which is ever-so-obvious. I merely edited the hell out of the template that Blogger provided. Thus, I am sadly lacking in a proper title up at the top of the browser. I can’t get the title of my blog to show up there unless it’s also written across my graphic. I’ll get it straightened out eventually.

Also, please note that although I’ve technically changed the title of the blog, the URL stays the same. So if you have linked to me, it’s really up to you whether you want to change the title of my blog in your links area.

Remind me never to buy a "knitting and crochet" book again

This post is mostly a review of the book you see in the picture. It is One-Skein Wonders: 101 Yarn-Shop Favorites, edited by Judith Durant.

I suppose the subtitle should have been my warning. After all, when was the last time you saw an LYS that treated crocheting as anything more than an afterthought?

I bought it because it was $9.48 instead of the $18.95 cover price. Now that I think on it, the very fact that a secondhand book store had several copies of this 2006 book, all brand-new, should also have been my warning. But I was drunk on having found a bookstore with nine shop cats (hence the name Nine Lives Books) and I somehow managed to open it up to one of the few crochet patterns, and hey I knit some now (I’ve made three whole projects in the past four or five months–2 Barbie dresses and a baby skirt).

I hate buying books that advertise themselves as having both knitting and crochet patterns, since that’s usually shorthand for “we threw in three crochet patterns to pacify you hookers.” This book, sadly, isn’t an exception to the rule.

There are 101 projects, divided into seven chapters based on yarn type. I am anal, so I went & counted. The chapter-by-chapter breakdown:
Bulky Weight: knitting patterns: 20; crochet patterns: 1
Heavy Worsted: knitting patterns:4; crochet patterns: 0
Worsted-Mohair: knitting patterns: 5 crochet patterns: 0
Worsted Weight: knitting patterns: 45 crochet patterns: 2
Sport Weight: knitting patterns: 4 crochet patterns: 0
Fingering Weight: knitting patterns: 9 crochet patterns: 2
Novelty Yarns: knitting patterns: 11 crochet pattners: 2

So, that’s 98 knitting patterns and 7 crochet patterns (and yes, I know that adds up to more than 101 patterns, but some of the projects had two or more pieces to them, & actually I’m certain I missed a few “extra” knitting patterns).

The book was 93% knitting patterns. This irks me for more than a few reasons. First, but least, there’s a better ratio of knitting-to-crochet patterns in knit.1, or almost any other knitting magazine. Second, but far more important to me: it gives the false impression that you cannot crochet much of anything with only one ball of yarn.

Now, I know that crocheting takes a lot more yarn than knitting, but that doesn’t mean you cannot make plenty of crocheted objects with a single skein of yarn. In fact, a good many of the knitted objects in that book would also work well crocheted. Coasters, doll sweaters, minipurses…You’re gonna tell me you can’t find a crochet pattern for this stuff? (Especially the bookmark. I really expected that one to be a crochet pattern!)

Most of the projects I make, in fact, are single-skein projects. And if I make a lot of baby stuff, well so what? I didn’t do a specific count on this, but easily half the projects in the book were hats or scarves, scarcely less repetitive than booties or sacques.

Someone needs to write a book of one-skein crochet projects. If anybody knows of one in print, please let me know in the comments section.