Week 42: Christmas Stockings!

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I’ve been in love with Crochet Today’s Stuffable Stockings ever since Erin made her red and white ones a few years ago. I never felt a strong desire to make a stocking for myself when I lived alone, though, because the ones my grandmother made for me and my siblings way back when are pretty much the most perfect ones ever.

my very, very, very favorite part of Christmas.

But once I moved in with Dan this summer, having our own stockings seemed a lot more important. I originally planned to knit striped ones, since the idea is to knit the fair isle ones for future children, and I like when the mom and dad stockings don’t match perfectly with the kids’ ones. (I overthink things a bit. Just a tiny bit.) ANYWAY. I couldn’t pick one, and wasn’t sure about my knitting abilities.. and really, I just wanted to crochet. Hexagons and the contrast with the white borders just seemed so perfect.

137.365 :: oh crochet, I do love you

red hexagons in stripes

Making the hexagons was really easy, and I ended up going with a forest green and lime for Dan’s stocking (he asked that the forest green be the dominant color) and maroon and bright red for mine, just so they’d go with each other.

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Stitching them all together, six sides times seventeen hexagons, was not really all that fun. For the red one, which I made second, I was completely flummoxed by the diagram (even though I had already done it successfully with the green one). I finally figured it out, of course, and hung them on the mantle-less fireplace on Monday night.

138.365 :: red and green

I think they turned out pretty fantastically.

Week 36: Baby Shower Gifts

We found out a few months ago that Dan’s youngest sister was pregnant, expecting their parents’ first grandchild. (A momentous occasion that I’m sure makes my own parents jealous.) Anyway, I knew that I wanted to make something for this future baby, just because it’s also going to be Dan’s first niece or nephew. I waited until we found out she was expecting a boy to plan my craft, and decided to make a small stroller-size blanket and hat to match.

handmade52.36: baby shower gifts!
Jeanette’s baby shower was this past weekend, and I finally got around to starting this project during the hurricane, and finished it over Labor Day weekend.

bear hat #3!
The hat is one I’ve now made a few times, and it always goes over so well that it’s hard to stop making it. I was hoping this one would end up more newborn-sized, but it’s probably going to fit Future Baby D when he’s a few months old. I added in the blue to the tassels to make it more of a set.

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The braided tassels were mirrored in the blanket’s border. The blanket is from the Happy Hooker book and was simple and easy, but I’m really pleased with how it turned out.

a baby blanket
And giving a handmade gift at a party where they make a big fuss out of the present-opening? Is pretty enjoyable. But mostly, I’m excited for Dan’s soon-to-arrive nephew and have already volunteered him to babysit, just so I can snuggle as often as I can.

Week 28: This Post is Actually About Moving

So things have gotten a little crazy around here over the past few weeks, but so far I have still managed to keep up with Handmade52. Somehow. Maybe partly because I need the distraction, even though I can’t really afford it much longer. I started an afghan this week, one that I saw in my summer issue of Crochet Today. I couldn’t find the yarn that the pattern called for, so I went with the old standard Red Heart Super Saver, and I’m okay with that. A ripple afghan is a pretty classic thing to crochet, and I feel a bit like it’s a right of passage. Or, okay, fine, I just wanted to make one and I like the stripes of the one from CT. I started it over the weekend, and am enjoying the mindless stitching as forced relaxation amid the chaos. Because I’m moving in a week.

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I chose the colors when I thought we were buying a camel-colored couch, figuring that red and teal could be my accent colors. That was before I found out that the couch we loved was entirely too monstrous for our not-overly-large living room. So we don’t have a couch, but I’m still crocheting.

Moving is stressful. I’m sure you all know that. But it’s so much more than that for me, this time. It’s all gotten so complicated, the things that I am sad about, combined with the things I am excited about. Add in the fact that I’m, you know, turning 30 the day after I move, and my brain is kind of on overload. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Dan and I have been together for two years and nine months now, and we have livedan hour apart the whole time. He works nights, I work days, so one of us has been driving ut to see the other every weekend. And it’s doable, it’s certainly not as difficult as many people deal with, but it has gotten old. When I started my current job last fall, we decided that it was about time to think about getting a place together, because we are both just so tired of packing a bag every other weekend, figuring out where we’ll be, adjusting plans based on who we’ll be closer to… etc.

We found a place that we both like, despite an awful, frustrating process. And it’s good. And I’m happy. I’m in a good place as far as packing goes, and I’m off starting on Friday for what was originally supposed to be our Birthday Week Extravaganza (Dan’s is on Monday, mine on Thursday) but is now Moving Week with a Side of Birthdays.

But.

I know there shouldn’t be a but. And I’ll get to the things I’m excited about in a minute. But for me, this is kind of the end of an era, and it is hard, sometimes, to always be expected to only talk about the things I’m excited about. Because there are a lot of things I’m going to miss, little things that I am losing. I’ve now lived by myself for four years and now… I won’t. I like living by myself. There’s no one to judge me for how often I eat cheese and crackers for dinner. Or the fact that my refrigerator is stocked with beer and cheese and cranberry juice most of the time. I love my bedroom and the sunshine during the day. I love my wall of Es and how close I am to my family. And Chipotle. And my favorite pizza in the world.

But more than anything else, I love that I have lived 15 minutes from the beach all of this time. (All my life, truly.) I can go there when I need inspiration or when I’m sad or when I just want to smell the salty air. And I have never been able to imagine not being so close.

Except in a week I will no longer be that close. And that is making me really sad.

Okay, fine, I’m only moving an hour northwest. And Dan and I will finally be together, and we’ll have a pool to swim in and I’ll have someone to cook for. And we won’t have to miss each other on weekdays. And you guys, I’m getting a CRAFT ROOM and it will be full of my books and craft supplies and it is SO SUNNY. And I will be able to do laundry whenever I damn well want to, instead of once a week at my parents house. There’s an ice cream store and a pizza place within walking distance. And holy crap, we’ll be TOGETHER.

So there’s sad. But there’s good. And yes, I’m turning 30 right in the midst of it and that makes everything even more complicated and stressful. But I’m still crafting, and life goes on, in both big ways and small ways.

Weeks 22 and 24: Afghan!

Guys, I finished the granny hexagon afghan yesterday! And I am SO HAPPY with how it  came out. I’ve been working on it on and off since last November, as best I can figure, and the past few weeks have been a flurry of weaving in ends, stitching all 95 hexagons together, weaving in more ends, and crocheting the scalloped border. While this afghan will go to my parents with the orange couch it was made to match, I’m really glad I finished it a few months before moving day, because it means that I can enjoy it, too.

finished!
finished!
border

I decided to join the granny squares with slip stitches rather than the recommended whip stitch, just because I can work faster with the crochet hook. It’s a nitpicky process, but I like how it looks, with the seams only visible from the back of the blanket.

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This is the largest item that I have ever crocheted, which is noteworthy since I’ve been crocheting for at least 15 years and have never finished a blanket (other than the baby-sized one I made last summer, which was what got me itching to make a full-sized one).

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Yay!

Weeks 20 and 21: Still Hexagons

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So I obviously didn’t post anything last week, but I was and have been hard at work on my hexagons. Last week, I finished the final color combination and weaved in a million, billion yarn ends.

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Then, thanks to a few days at jury duty, I started in on the fourth color on each hexagon. (And thanks to Erin‘s suggestion, I smuggled in a nail clipper to cut the yarn, since I was pretty sure scissors would be frowned on at the courthouse.)

95 hexagons!

This week, I’ve been continuing with the gray rounds, and as of this writing, have added the final color to all 95 hexagons! Next up: more ends. And then stitching the hexes together! The pattern suggests whip stitch, but I think I might go with the slip stitch method described here, which I used when I made my famous granny square blanket last year. (How did I never blog about that? I SO wish I had recorded the pattern I ended up cobbling together from various other places. Since I will, eventually, one day, make another blanket like that.)

Week 19: Lots o’ Hexagons

Crochet Today had a pattern for a giant afghan made out of hexagon granny squares about a year ago, and I knew I had to make it, simply because the photos in the magazine feature an orange couch very much like mine. I started collecting the yarn for this afghan last summer, and I already owned quite a few of the colors thanks to all of those Gryffindor scarves I made way back when. I am not sure when I started making this officially, but it was in the late fall; I’d bring the yarn for one color combination out to Dan’s for the weekend and crochet while he and his brother played video games. And while trying to keep poor Bluecat away. (I did end up crocheting him a few circles with extra long tails, because they do make pretty perfect cat toys. And I felt bad for having to keep him away from something so enticing.)

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And then Handmade52 started, and the great baby hat factory went into business… and the yarn and already made hexagons sat on my coffee table for quite a long time. Until recently, when out of nowhere, the urge to crochet became too big to ignore. So I picked this project back up, and have been making pretty solid progress over the last few weeks.

granny squares, status as of late April

There were, of course, a million loose yarn ends to weave in from the hexagons I had already finished…

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And then a few more color combinations to work on. I’m now working on the last color combination, and next up will be adding the gray rounds to all 95 hexagons. And then, of course, stitching them all together and adding a border. I’m pretty excited.

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Of course, this week I realized that my parents asked if they could maybe, possibly, if-you’re-sure-you’re-okay-with-it have the Great Orange Couch and Chair back, because they’d fit so nicely into their most recently-remodeled room, aka the grownups’ rec room, aka the room my sister and I shared growing up, but that has now been turned into the treadmill-sewing machine-and extra tv room. So when I move this summer, the orange couch will no longer be mine. And I’ve been making this afghan specifically to go with the orange couch. So my parents are now getting what will soon be a pretty spectacular hexagon afghan. Which means I can make another one for me. (Maybe.)

Week 17: Nook Case

So as y’all know, I have now had my Nook for a few months, and am really loving it. I have been using a cover that Dan bought me for Christmas, and it is hot pink and folds open like a regular book, except it has a handy dandy notepad in it, too. And it’s a great cover, but I discovered that (for me, at least) the kind of cover that opens like a book and folds back on itself is really awkward and unbalanced to hold while reading. It started to drive me crazy.

So I started shopping online for a new case, thinking a flip-top case or just a simple cozy that just stores the Nook when you’re not reading it would be the best. I didn’t really find anything I liked, but I resigned myself to choosing a really basic neoprene zip-top case and was moments from clicking “submit order” when I saw that Marianne had just posted a photo of the cozy she had just knitted for HER Nook. (What? I multitask. Always.)

And I said DUH. Why did it not EVER occur to me to make one for myself? With all the freaking MAKING OF THINGS that I have been doing since 2011 started??

I started on Ravelry, but was too drawn to the cable-knitted cozies (and I don’t know how to knit cables yet), so I turned to a basic Google search. It didn’t necessarily have to be a pattern for a Nook-specific case, but if I could find one where someone had already figured out the measurements, I was all for that. I found this pattern from Little Birdie Secrets and loved it.

nook case

I decided to crochet stripes because I was so in love with the colors I used for Thea’s hat, and had a really fantastic time choosing buttons at the local fabric store. (Okay, fine, I bought way more sets of buttons than I needed for this project.) I actually also bought white rick-rack because my brother said this would look like a kind of adorable monster if I added some teeth.

handmade52.17 nook case

As I was starting, I had a feeling that it wouldn’t be quite wide enough, but decided to just go with the pattern’s measurements. Of course, in the end, it’s a little too snug, but I’m hoping the yarn will stretch a bit. This is also the first time I’ve ever used (or, hell, heard of) moss stitch, which works up amazingly fast and looks really great. I’m not happy with the not-perfect job I did stitching up the sides, or the fact that I probably should have blocked this with pins and all that jazz so the edges stop curling… but it’s just so cute! And stripey. I will probably make another one in other colors, because it’s not like I don’t already have the buttons. Or extra yarn.