Thursday, September 25, 2014

Yarn Crazy

Completed large basket and almost completed medium
basket with lots of Thick and Quick still to use up!
I've gone a little crazy this week -- yarn crazy.  I'm still working on crocheted baskets.  My daughter has requested a set of nesting baskets.  I guess she assumes I have some kind of control over the size they turn out.  I finished a large one and then ran out of Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick partway through the middle-sized basket.  I made several trips to two different Michael's stores and only found one more skein in the correct color, barley. I called around and even looked online, and the Michael's web site was out, too.  Then I discovered four skeins at my local Jo-Ann Fabric, so yesterday I rushed over and bought all of them.  I should have more than enough to finish the set of three baskets.  And isn't that what yarn hoards are all about?  Having more than enough?

While I was milling around Jo-Ann, I came across Crochet Noro, published by Sixth&Spring Books. While I told myself that I can find plenty of lovely free patterns on Ravelry, I didn't listen and splurged on it.  My first project is going to be the Strawberry Lace Scarf.  The Noro Shiraito yarn called for in the pattern, however, costs $30 for 198 yards, and two skeins are needed.  I can't see that much of a splurge, so today I drove about twenty miles to a neighboring town with a larger Jo-Ann Fabric.  I knew from their web site that they had Premier Serenity Garden yarn in stock.  I went with the intention of picking up three skeins of the hibiscus color.  Well, here's what I came home with:

I think I was feeling colorful.

Gotta love the red sticker!
Yes, that's twelve skeins of yarn.  Four Serenity Garden in hibiscus, four in crocus, and four Hipster yarns in flamingo.  The Hipster yarn was on clearance.  It has a cool name and it's pink, so I couldn't resist it.  And at $1.97 each, why not?  When I texted my daughter that I'd bought twelve skeins of yarn, she wanted to know what I am planning to make.  Um, scarves . . . because the gazillion scarves already in the scarf drawer don't count? Actually, it's because I am getting ready to drive down to Tennessee for my third week-long visit in six weeks. While I am there, I need plenty of projects to keep me busy.  Last trip, my mother kept asking if I wasn't tired of crocheting baskets.  The answer to that was no, but I made a doily just to be agreeable.  (My first thread doily.  It was pretty bad, so there's no photo.)

As you can imagine, I'm not making all these nine-and-a-half-hour drives just for fun, but these colorful yarns will be sure to provide a bright spot in the next week.

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Peaceful Place

Today I took a little mental health break.  I slipped on rubber shoes, bundled Alfie into the car, and drove about ten miles south to a nearby prairie park.  (I've written about this park several times before, here, here, and here.) As I drove, I found myself hoping that no one else would be there on this cool and sunny Monday morning.  As I neared the entrance, I could see another car in the dusty gravel parking lot.  I pulled in and saw a man just crossing the road to enter the "dog prairie" where dogs are allowed off leash.  He turned left, the same way I always walk.

In the middle of nowhere at the prairie.  Sorry for the photo quality; I didn't
want to lug around my camera, so this was taken with my old, refurbished iphone.

Wanting solitude and quiet, I decided not to cross over to the dog prairie, but to strike out along a path leading north, toward the main preserve (the area is called a forest preserve even though there's precious little in the way of trees).  I had never walked that way before, and wasn't sure if the path would make a circuit or dead end somewhere.  It was perfect.  A 25-minute tramp took us past the prairie, near a farm, and into the south end of the original park.  There was scarcely a sound to be heard.  A plane flew high overhead and once I heard a faraway train whistle.  Otherwise, it was quiet and peaceful.  There were lots of small white, and a few yellow, butterflies, plus I saw one monarch, or perhaps it was a viceroy.  A couple of hawks or buzzards circled the sky and numerous smaller birds called from the tall grasses and the few trees.  Ducks quacked, geese honked, dragonflies divebombed, and crickets chirped.  After turning a bend to come around the pond, I saw two lovely white herons, and two little blue herons or possibly immature white herons.  I am no birder, but I do know they were all beautiful.

After almost an hour, Alfie and I returned to the car, both refreshed from our walk in the peaceful prairie.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Basket Case!

Last week I was down south visiting the old, the sick, and the infirm (aka my family).  While I was there, sometimes with not much to do, I became something of a basket case.  Crocheted baskets!

Aren't the little handles adorable?

I blame my basket craze on Meredith at Mereknits.  Toward the end of August, she began posting pictures of a basket she had crocheted.  Yowza, I was hooked (sorry).  So I hopped on over to Crochet in Color, where Meredith got her pattern, and promptly downloaded the pattern for myself.

Last week I crocheted FOUR baskets.  You can really tell how poor my crochet skills are when I tell you that none of the four baskets turned out the same size or even quite the same shape!  I gave a mulberry-colored one to my mother, so I don't have pictures of it, but you can see what I mean with the picture of the other three.

No consistency at all!
The baskets are worked with a double strand of super bulky yarn.  For some reason, I had the most trouble with the beige basket.  The yarn is all the same brand, Yarn Bee Effortless Super Bulky, but the beige was "hairier" and my hook got caught more often.  Maybe that is why I hooked it tighter.  Another factor that made them different is that with the first one (far right), I accidentally hooked the sides from the inside out (working on the far edge of the basket rather than the side nearest me).  I don't know how I got that going, but I think that's what gave it the slightly bulbous shape.  The second basket (center) was made "correctly," or at least as correctly as I could do it.  It has straight sides.  Because I'd seen the bulbous one first, though, I kind of liked it better, so I made the third basket hooking the sides inside out again.

When I brought home my basket haul, the husband wondered what I am going to do with them.  I could see one in Florida holding sunscreen.  My brother suggested a smaller one with shorter sides as a place to throw car keys.  I'm not sure what will happen to these, but there is some gray Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick and Quick in my yarn bag waiting to be made into yet another basket!

I think I may be developing an addiction.