Saturday, December 22, 2007

Stash Basket, a Hamster, a Ripple "Blankie", and a Band Concert!

I have a few more crochet projects to show. The first is a basket I crocheted for my daughter’s room. I saw some of these on Ravelry, and loved them, so I had to make one myself. I got the pattern for free on Ravelry as a PDF file, but couldn’t find it elsewhere online. If anyone wants the pattern, I can email you the PDF file. For the basket, I used two skeins of Sugar N’ Cream Twists in the “Summer Twists” color, that I got for $1.37 each at a local craft store, Pat Catan's. Sure beats the $1.99 Joann’s charges it for it online.

I used an F hook instead of the recommended E, because I crochet tightly, but after assembling the basket, I realized I should have used the E, to make the basket stiffer. I sprayed the basket with several coats of a fabric stiffening spray, and that helped, but it’s still not as stiff as I would like. I added a shell stitch trim to make the basket more interesting. It was an easy pattern, but all the rows of single crochet with a small hook made it really tedious, not to mention making my right wrist and hand sore. The third photo is of my daughter’s hamster, Chester, who she put in the basket. Needless to say, he wasn’t too happy, LOL!

My son saw the basket, asked if I crocheted it, then picked it up, and said it will be perfect for carrying his cars (he has a ton of little Hotwheels cars, and cars from the Disney Cars movie). When I told him the basket was for Sissy (my daughter – he’s called her Sissy ever since he learned how to talk), he got upset. I told him I’ll make him one too, in “boy colors”. I feel bad that I don’t crochet as many things as I do for my daughter, but there’s so few crochet patterns for boys his age (he’s almost 5). I did start working on a “blankie” for him a while ago though.

When I first learned how to crochet, I made him a small blanket out of Lion Brand Jiffy yarn, and he takes it to daycare with him for nap time, but the blanket has gotten so fuzzy and worn looking (the yarn didn’t hold up well), and after he saw a granny square blanket I started for my daughter, he wanted me to make him a second blanket. I had tried to crochet a ripple blanket awhile ago, but the pattern called for skipping spaces, and for some reason I couldn’t get the holes in each row created by the skipped spaces to line up, so I gave up on ripples. I was really disappointed until I found this super-easy ripple baby blanket pattern in Crochet Today magazine. The “valleys” in the ripples are created by decreases, rather than skipping stitches, which for some reason, I just find easier. I started my son’s blanket about a month or two ago, and I’m pretty happy with how it’s turning out.

I’m using TLC Essentials in Barn Red, Light Celery, Country Blue, and Linen. I kind of wish now that I had used a yellow color instead of the tan, because I think the tan looks rather dull. I don’t feel like redoing the blanket now though since I’ve gotten so much done. The TLC Essentials is cheap, and has a lot of yardage, but I’m disappointed about how rough it feels to me. I ordered it from, and all the reviews raved about it, and said it’s a soft yarn, so I assumed it would be soft, but it’s not. I’m hoping it will soften up once I wash and dry it with fabric softener.

I haven’t been working on the blanket a whole lot lately though, because I get most of my crocheting done on the bus to and from work, and the blanket is getting too large to work on comfortably on the bus. The local bus system here in the Cleveland area just cut out a bunch of busses from the routes I regularly ride, and now the busses are so crowded that a lot of times I can’t crochet (don’t want to bump anyone with my elbows!) or can only work on something small. Every time my son sees the blanket, he asks me if it’s done, and gets upset when I tell him not yet, so I need to get started on it again.

The one thing I would love to crochet for my son, but can’t find a pattern I like anywhere, is a vest. I just want a pattern for a simple, crocheted, v-neck boy’s size 4 or 5 vest, with no buttons, or zippers, or elaborate stitches. Sounds simple enough, but I can’t find one anywhere. I’ve tried Googling, asking on Ravelry, on Crochet Partners, on Crochetville, looking at patterns on yarn company websites, looking in my collection of crochet books, everywhere I could think of with no luck. I’d even be happy with a girl’s vest pattern (because I could change the color), but no luck for that either. I wish I had more crocheting experience so I could just design my own.

Well, my last thing to show is a picture of my daughter’s Christmas band concert last Wednesday evening at her school. She plays flute in the beginning band, which are mostly 4th graders with a handful of 5th graders. The band must be pretty popular, because my daughter said all of the kids in her 4th grade class are in the band except for about two. She’s the one in the middle with the big puffy ponytail, and the burgundy top and skirt. My husband comes from a very musical family – all his brothers play instruments, and my husband was in several marching bands through junior high and high school. He can read music, and also play by ear, and can play the piano, trumpet, and drums. I’m trying to convince him to buy a trumpet so he can play along with our daughter, LOL! He was happy then when my daughter announced that she wanted to join the school band, and luckily he helps her practice, because I can’t read music.

My daughter did well in the concert. I’m proud of her for going right up there on the stage and playing even though she was nervous. The concert was very nice. A few kids in the advanced band (grades 5 through 8) did solos, and they were all really good. I told my daughter if she sticks with the flute, I’ll buy her a pink flute case (she just has a black one now). I’ve actually seen pink flutes, but at $300+, forget it! Her used flute alone cost $140 with the flute, case, cleaning kit, etc. Between that and the $600 a year the band program costs, I’m going to make sure she sticks it out!


Christina said...

First I need to say I think its awesome your little girl plays the flute! I was in the band in high school and played flute. I LOVED it!

I love the basket. I've not been brave enough to try anything that needs fabric stiffner yet. Call me chicken!

Love the colors on the afghan! Looks wonderful.

Hope you're all set for Christmas which is just 2 days away now! Agh! I'm still not done!

naida said...

hi, great projects, and cute hamster! lol

its awesome that your daughter plays the flute :)

happy holidays!

My Best Friend Calls Me Martha said...

Oh! So many similarities between your daughter and me. My brothers have always (and still do) call me sissy even though they are now 22 and 15 :) And, I played the flute from 4th grade all the way through high-school. It was sooo rewarding! It's nice to see parents who are willing to encourage their children with music. It makes me happy :)

Also, the blankie for your little boy is turning out adorable. LOVE it!

Deneen said...

I love the basket and the blanket. The flute was a tough instrument for me to play as a kid and good for her!

Webkinz, huge at my dd's school too-of course I had no clue what they were til November and now she has 10 (birthday presents, etc). I refuse to get into the whole "Must have" thing with the "retired" ones-seriously. She asked for a wii this year and again, I refuse to search all over, etc-it's crazy and the manufacturer's want it to be that way. Elena doesn't have her heart set on any particular Webkinz, is thrilled with ANY-

The JLS thing will be discussed, just at another time-the local paper had a syndicated article on "Zoey 101-how to explain to your 10 year old"-it was a discussion I knew I had to have, just don't like the pressure of it now. Her uncle bought her an anatomy book (age appropriate) for Christmas-so I'm sure there will be questions.