3 in 30

Since I finished my '10 Shawls in 2010' project in August, I thought I'd give myself another challenge - complete three shawls during the 30 days of September.

First up was the Green Lace Shawl, 800 yards, finished on the 12th.
Then there was the Angel Wings shawl, 735 yards, completed on Sept. 21.
Both of those were gifted but #3 is all mine.

This is the South Bay Shawlette, 460 yards of luscious mink and cashmere (hurry over there while it's still on sale!) that I finished on the 28th but took off the blocking board this morning (with a little help from Lily. *#@&# cat).
I love how the solid color yarn shows the pattern more clearly than the multi-color I used the first time around. And it is a lovely pattern, especially with the picot border I added. This is going to be a cold weather shawl - mink and cashmere is hot.


Hot, Hot, Hot

  • The weather - 97+ in our coastal town, 110 when I went up to Ojai yesterday. Yay, fall is here in SoCal. Hope it doesn't stay long.
  • My new crafty passion - bobbin lace. Went to my second class last night; I'm all thumbs but still loving this. Can't wait until I make something that actually looks like lace.
  • My doubleweave towel - off the loom and washed but not yet hemmed. Love the magic of doubleweave. 8" wide on the loom
AJ proving that Lily's not the only photogenic kitty around here

becomes a 16" towel when you take it off and unfold it.


Fall is Here

Fall must be here - the mums are blooming and I've started another shawl. This is 'Gathering Leaves' (Rav link here) in Malabrigo Lace and I'm doing it as part of a crochet-along with two of my Thursday night spinning buddies. For anyone keeping count, this will be lucky #13 for my '10 Shawls in 2010' challenge. Unless I finish this or this first (not likely, since they're knit and it takes me longer.)

I took advantage of Colleen's visit yesterday to get some better pics of shawl #12.
These show off the design a bit better, but the colors are much brighter in real life. Just can't seem to get everything together in one shot.


New Shawl

I made this for a friend who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. I wanted the brightest, most cheerful yarn I could find - this definitely qualifies on both counts - and a pattern that would wrap her in warmth but was also pretty and feminine. With the choice narrowed down to two, the pattern's name became the deciding factor - 'Angel Wings' was just too perfect.

This is 3 skeins (735 yds) of Crazy Monkey's 'HypnoMonkey' DK-weight yarn in 'Popsicle Drips'. I bought it 2 years ago because I loved the colors, but could never find the right project. Obviously, it knew what it wanted to be and was waiting for just the right time.
I made a couple of modifications to the pattern, including adding a row of solid double crochet at odd intervals and putting a ruffle along the bottom edge. (My project notes are here.)Sure hope my friend likes it and that it cheers her up over the coming months and reminds her how much she's loved.


New Favorites

Courtesy of our 2-day getaway, we have a new favorite hotel - San Luis Creek Lodge (TripAdvisor reviews here) - and a new favorite antiquing spot - Cayucos, a cute little town just north of Morro Bay and right on the ocean's edge.

Craftsman Building

Our plan was to stay in the San Luis Obispo area so we could go antiquing along the Central Coast, especially in Atascadero and Cambria. I went hunting on TripAdvisor (THE best place to find real people reviews of lodging and restaurants) and found San Luis Creek; reviews were good, pictures were interesting, price was right - so I booked us a room for one night. Boy, did we luck out - this place is great.
Three buildings in three different styles - Londonderry, Craftsman and Plantation. We were in Craftsman - hubby's very favorite - in a huge room with king-size bed, 40" TV, fireplace, beautiful furnishings, lovely bathroom, great breakfast buffet, and more. Clean, comfortable and well-maintained. We'll definitely stay here again.
Monday afternoon, we visited several antique stores in Atascadero, which has a reputation as an antiquers dream destination. We saw a couple of things we liked, but nothing spectacular, nothing special; neither of us found any reason to go shopping there again.

Tuesday morning we headed for Cambria, which we knew had some good antique shops, an art glass store and first-class restaurants. On the way we thought we'd stop in Cayucos, where we'd never been, and check out their antique offerings before moving on. And . . . . . we never made it any further.
Cass House B&B/Restaurant

Four well-stocked, inviting antique stores kept us busy for several hours, with lunch in between at Duckie's - great fish and chips, clam chowder and shrimp cocktail - before finishing the day off with fresh baked cookies at Brown Butter Cookie Co.

So what treasures followed us home? Hubby found the motherlode of wood planes - several vendors in one antique mall had a wide variety of offerings - and came home with (only) 3 new Stanley planes
Plane #5, #4 and #127

and a micrometer in its original box.
My treasure was this box of thread and related items, including several hand-crocheted potholder/trivets and a tatting shuttle. I literally had to climb under a clothing rack and drag this from a dark corner in the loft. So thrilled with my find. The thread is perfect for my bobbin lace class and I can already picture the potholders hanging in my kitchen. We never did make it to Cambria. And I can't wait to go back to Cayucos.


Happy "A" Day!

Hubby and I are spreading out our anniversary celebration over 3 days this year - appropriate after 36 years together, don't you think? Although our actual anniversary is Tuesday, we exchanged gifts on Sunday and our road trip to points slightly North starts today.

Since hubby loves collecting Stanley tools, especially wood planes from the 1800's, I got him two books that together cover all things "Stanley". Each is long out of print and it took a bit of searching, but I finally found copies of both
. And what did hubby get me? Lots and lots of pretty red and white bags. Can you see what the tags say? How about now? Oh, yeah. Ever since we went to the Cartier exhibit in San Francisco back in March, hubby has been secretly collecting bits and pieces* of Cartier for me.

click photo to enlarge

I love red - I'd asked him to find me a red watch - so this is perfect. And the bag in the bottom right corner? Fits my iPad perfectly.

I'd probably be horrified at the budget busting cost of all this if he hadn't spent those past 6 months bargain shopping and tracking down seriously discounted items. So, not only is he handsome and loving, he's also pretty dang smart. Think I'll hang on to him for another 36 years.

*'Must de Cartier' collection including watch, wallet, pen, purse (with it's own dust cover/bag), checkbook cover, iPad bag and hard-bound catalog.


How I Spent My Weekend

I feel like I got a lot done this weekend, organization-wise. I filled up my new magazine rack with part of my crochet mag collection; put the rest of my craft books up on LibraryThing (love LT! I don't buy as many duplicate books now that I can check before I buy); worked on the bright and happy shawl but forgot to take an updated pic to show my progress; and uploaded to Ravelry all the fiber I've purchased in the last few months.

click photo to enlarge

At least now I know what I've got. And know that I do.not.need.more.yarn! Like that's ever stopped me before.


New Yarn and An Award

And I made it all myself - the yarn, not the award. Spun this up during the Tour de Fleece in July but just now got around to plying it. Very happy with this 313 yards of 2-ply yumminess. This is 4.2 ounces of BeeMiceElf's BFL in her 'Secluded' colorway. It was wonderful to spin, just like all her rovings. I included a link to her Etsy shop above, but good luck finding anything there. It sells out almost faster than she can upload items. If you do find something in stock - grab it! You won't be disappointed.

Award - I was thrilled to receive the 'Set My Picot Free' award from the Crochet Liberation Front this week for my green lace shawl. You can see some past honorees here and the blog post with my shawl here. Whoohoo!



I'm trying to reorganize my craft room, yet again. On a swing through Michael's I found two of these magazine cabinets in the 50% off bin. Although meant for scrapbooking, I think they'll work just fine for organizing my tons (literally) of craft magazines, including my latest passion - vintage issues of Magic Crochet. The cabinets are amazingly sturdy and well made, with great directions for putting all the pieces together. And yes, I assembled this all by myself. Wellllll, almost. Two of the drawers gave me fits, so hubby broke out the power drill and showed 'em who was boss. Can't wait to replace the piles of clutter on my counters with these little beauties.


Green Lace Shawl

My 10th shawl for '10 Shawls in 2010' is done and gifted. It took me about 4 days to make, contains 800 yards of lace-weight Merino and weighs a whopping 2.2 ounces (62.5 grams). I love how delicate and light it is. I don't usually go for this color, but the recipient will (hopefully) love it.

The pattern is from 'Crochet Lace' by Mary Konior, a long out-of-print book that I bought a few months ago. (You can see other projects from the book here.) I've been dying to make something from it, but was waiting for the right project and the right yarn.

The yarn is Elegant Yarns 'Athena', 800 yards per skein of lace-weight Merino goodness. Lace-weight can be difficult to use - breaking easily, tangling easily, making-you-crazy easily - but this stuff was great. It slid easily along the hook, didn't tangle back on itself and broke
only once when I pulled on it waaay too hard.
Although my '10 Shawls in 2010' are done, I already have another shawl (or 3 . . . or 4 . . . or 5) planned. Next up from this book, but not my next shawl project, is 'Old Shale', which has been on my radar for several years. And now that I have the book - it shall be mine.


Day Off

We took a day off from the Lancaster-shuttle - my FIL is still in the hospital with a broken hip and pneumonia - for some relaxation.

I slept in while hubby went to Naia's soccer game (they won, 1-0), then we had a late lunch at PF Changs
before going to the bookstore to get a book that hasn't been released yet (hubby misread the ad for John Sanford's newest Virgil Flowers novel, which we're both looking forward to reading.)

And finally home again for an evening of
crochet, mac n cheese, and NCIS reruns. Ahhh, the simple life. I loves it.



I'm working to deadline on a super secret project - so instead of a crochet project, how about some crochet books?

A knitting friend showed me her copy of 'Around the Corner Crochet Borders' by Edie Eckman (here) and it was all I could do not to rip it out of her hands and keep it for myself. The book contains 150 border designs, with written instructions and charts.

You know how, after awhile, borders or motifs or whatever in whichever book all start to look alike? Not in this book! Ms. Eckman has some very pretty, original borders that I can't wait to try. See all the little sticky flags? It's almost easier to count the designs I didn't flag than the ones I did.

Today's mail brought copies of 'Creating Crochet Fabric' by Dora Ohrenstein (here) and 'The Complete Photo Guide to Crochet' by Margaret Hubert (here). I've already made the 'Juliette Shawl' from the first book (here) and I want to try 'Anna', the Tunisian jacket also featured in the book. You can see most of the book's projects on Ravelry here. I haven't had a chance to do more than glance through the book, but I'm looking forward to reading it in depth.

I have a real aversion to books that claim to be the "complete" guide or the "bible" on a specific craft. I've found that, more times than not, the claim is unfounded and the book disappointing. So I wasn't expecting much when I starting flipping through a copy of the 'Complete Photo Guide to Crochet'. I was wrong - this book is great.

I'm a fan of Ms. Hubert's work (some of her patterns are here on Ravelry), along with that of several of the contributors, including Prudence Mapstone (!), Myra Woods, Nancy Nehring and Jennifer Hansen. The book is oversize so the pictures and charts are larger and easier to read. It's beautifully photographed and has several interesting sections - 'The Lacis Story', and specialty crochet methods: tapestry tunisian, Bruges lace, freeform, hairpin, broomstick and more. "Linked stitches" and "Tunisian and Shells" especially caught my eye.

I can't wait to sit down and read this one, cover to cover. I don't think it's the "ultimate reference" for crocheters (as the book jacket claims), but it definitely gets a top five spot on my list of 'must have' reference books.


One-Button Cardi

Stopped by the yarn shop last night and found the perfect button - kinda neutral and kinda purple - so this sweater is done, and just in time for the gloomy, misty, chilly days we've had this week. I made this pattern once before (here) in the called-for super chunky weight yarn and wanted to try it again with a thinner yarn.
I made a few changes to make the pattern more 'mine' - changing the gauge/hook size to fit the yarn; half-double crochet trim on the bottom edge and sleeves; pulled in the neckline to make it tighter; changed how the increases on the sleeves were made.

The sleeves are a little tight, but other than that, I'm very pleased with how it turned out. It's surprising how very wearable this pattern is. The original is a favorite of mine and I bet this one will be too.

In other news . . .

I also finally got around to taking FO
pix of the Sweet Cabled Cardi I finished back in July, just in time for the Fair. I love how it turned out, but not sure how I like it on me. Seriously thinking about ripping it out and making something else. Guess I'll wear it a few times and see how it goes.