25 November 2012

Winter's eve

I really, really want to live in my own house.
With a fireplace and a rocking chair. With an attic and lots of cozy and warm handmade stuff: blankets, wool socks and sweaters.
Have I already turned into a grandmother?
Or is it just winter approaching? :)
Days are short and sun never seems to rise at all... Taking pictures becomes a challenge.

 Finished warm stuff...

 Warm stuff in the making...

My stash :) (basket is from IKEA, I didn't make it myself!)

22 November 2012

When I'm in the bad mood...

 ...Best solution is to organize something.
For example, my photo database.
I know that pictures take up the largest part of my hard drive. Let's take a closer look.

First step: import everything to Lightroom. This sounds stupid, but it took me years to understand the power of this tool, and I'm starting to use it only now. Better late than never, huh?

First step of the first step: years 2011-2012, to begin with. Just 170 Gb of pictures, no more, no less. 15 thousands of them. And I need to find out if there is a couple of decent ones among them, after all.
Good luck to me.

13 November 2012

Crochet gifts

Making gifts is the best kind of crochet. I enjoy so much when things I've created make someone else happy.
Theme of wrist warmers/fingerless mittens continues!

My friend got her own pair as a part of birthday present. Now she assures that it's the best solution for cold office :)
Her lovely daughter helps to model:

 Other than the cable part, making of wrist warmers is similar to the Autumn fingerless gloves.  And the cable is based on this pattern.

That's not all: bobble stitch cowl and earflap hat, which looks huge in the picture, but actually is 0-6 months size, also met their new owners :) 

02 November 2012

What's the best thing about Moscow?
You can always take the train to Minsk from here.
And today is that happy day!

27 October 2012

Tablet PC crochet case

A month ago we succumbed to common insanity about tablet PC's and bought one.
The thing is, it didn't have a case included. And of course I immediately decided to make one.
Handmade crochet case may not be the most convenient and multi-purpose case available, but it also doesn't cost $100. And it is certainly the most fun.

At first, I took out my summer cotton green-and-blue yarn. Then, I thought about a stitch I had been planning to use for a long time - Spike Stitch.
Crochet fabric made with this stitch is quite thick and firm - very appropriate for the purpose of tablet screen protection.
A couple of weeks later: that's what came out...

The case is in active use for a week now and feels all right :)

Now, here's a little spike stitch tutorial.

Start with a few rows of single crochet, using one color -  it's the base (or canvas) for a spike stitch. In my case, 5 rows.
Change color. Work  one usual sc into first st of new row.

Then, insert hook  one row below your working row:

And draw up a loop of the same height as the first loop on your hook:

Finish sc as usual: yarn over, pull through both loops - one spike stitch finished!

When you have mastered SP-1 (spike stitch into previous row) , try  SP-2, SP-3 and so on...
The difficult part is to find the right place to insert hook. But after a little practice it's no more a problem.
This is SP-5 (looking not very neat in the making!):

But quite OK when finished:

You can place spike stitches in specific geometric pattern, like I did, or in random order.
You can base them on sc or any other stitch (hdc, dc...).
Experiment with color combinations and don't forget to have fun :)

22 October 2012

Autumn colors: fingerless gloves

As the weather grew cooler and my hands started to freeze a little bit, I realized that my first ever crochet project is not quite so wearable. I decided to give the idea of fingerless mittens/gloves another try, after almost a year.
I finally used up remains of mustard yarn. Love this rich color, so appropriate for autumn.

These gloves are really easy to make, it's been only two evenings from start to finish.
(And then few weeks for photoshoot, getting pictures ready and writing the pattern. As usual!)

 I used 50% wool 50% acrylic yarn with 4 mm hook.
Gauge: 16 sts x19 rows = 4 inches

Cuff: Start with ch 8. (Or more, if you want a wider cuff.)
Row 1: sc in  second ch from hook and in every remaining st of starting chain. Ch 1 turn.
Row 2: sc only in back loop of every st. Ch1 turn.
Repeat row 2 until the cuff fits your wrist. (I recommend to make it a little bit tight, because yarn tends to stretch and you don't want your gloves to be baggy.) Fold your cuff in half and join two sides with slip stitches. Then turn it inside out.

Main part: Now start working around the edge of the cuff.
Rows 1: ch 1. sc evenly distributed around, join with sl st. (Results in 27 sts in my case.)
Rows 2-7: ch1. Sc in every st around. Join with sl st.
(Number of rows before the finger hole can be changed depending on preferred length of the glove)
Row 8:
For the left glove: ch1. Sc in next 5 sts. ch 5 for finger hole, then sc in every sc around. Join with sl st.
For the right glove: ch1.  Sc in every st around till there is 10 stitches left to the end of row. Ch 5.  Sc in next 5 sts. Join with sl st.
Row 9: Repeat row 2.
Repeat row 9 until the glove reaches desired look. In my case, it's 10 rows after finger hole.
Finger: Hold the glove so that the cuff is pointing down and attach yarn to the right corner of the finger hole. Start first round on the lower side of finger slit and make sure that the right side of your crochet work is facing out and the wrong side in. Work about 7 rounds  of single crochet in spirals, without joining. Finish with slip stitch(es).
 An easy way to keep your hands warm. :)

20 September 2012

Nikon D600: my thoughts

When I wrote here about D800 soon after its release, I pointed out few alternatives for myself, none of which were really satisfying - as I wanted to stay faithful to Nikon brand and didn't want to waste $3k+ on new camera body.
I've been reading rumors about D600 for months. Now it is finally announced!
D600, unlike D800, proved to be the perfect choice for me now.
I'm still happy with my D90 in all aspects, except for sensor size. But D600 is kind of an updated full-frame version of D90 - what else to wish for?

Why D600 is better than D800 (features important for me)
24MP / 36MP - 12MP is definitely not enough now, but 36? I was discouraged when I learnt about that feature of D800, and I'm glad that D600 hasn't inherited its sensor (of course it couldn't).
5.5 fps / 4.6 fps - I know that technically 4,6 fps on 36 MP is cooler, but still.
760 g / 900 g - I'm a fragile girl (D90 body weighs only 620g!). And size does matter too - look at the picture above.
$2099 / $2999 - no comment.
D600 features the same video recording quality, the same great LCD screen as D800.
So no question here. Ready to go full-frame!

08 September 2012

How to turn yarn into elephant

Six months ago I wrote here that amigurumi is definitely not for me.
Well... you probably have already guessed... I was wrong!
What comes to mind first when you think of a present to a 4-year-old girl?
Soft toy?
CROCHET soft toy!

Pattern source

I needed a cute and instantly likeable character, and I had gray yarn...
Mouse? Rabbit? Wolf?
In fact, choosing pattern wasn't easy. Probably because most of the available for free patterns are a little...weird? Well, you can see for yourself:

All I can say is WTF???

At last, I saw this Baby's Elephant, became excited and started crocheting immediately...
This is the original version:

In my implementation it has lost the cap, but acquired the bow, and by its color we can most certainly say that it's a "she" :)

The toy was made very quickly, unlike this post. I wonder if Baby Elephant is still alive, since I gave him to his new little owner  a month ago :) And maybe my sewing was not so reliable for a child's use!
Anyway, I'm ready  to make another one. Even more cute :)

19 August 2012

New yarn & Upcoming projects

When I finally returned home after being away for 3 weeks, I was glad to find my yarn stack waiting for me! I think it's a good idea to make a speculation post to celebrate it...

This set of skeins is one of my first deliberate color combination choices (previously most of the combinations were random, based on the yarn I already had).
I pinned these ponchos 6 months ago, in the end of winter. Now it's finally the right time to begin working on them (in my own size, of course)!

I wanted the color palette for the poncho to be muted and warm and to remind of autumn - so the colors above seem right. And it's 100% wool!

All the rest are yarns for summer garments. It's still summer, right?

With this mint-colored cotton yarn I plan to make bolero. By the way, it's Japanese pattern - I find Japanese crochet to be the most dainty, tasteful and inspiring:

(Source: http://gosyo.shop.multilingualcart.com/free1.php )


Another combination: bright turquoise colors.
I don't have specific project in mind for this yarn (yet), but it should be something stripy and fun:

Absolutely no idea what to do with this. It's cotton ribbon yarn, and they had only one skein of it. Maybe some baskets or other accessories?..

And, at last, this slightly stretchy (96% lyocell 4% nylon) yarn will probably become a bikini top.

These plans will definitely keep me busy in next months, let's see what comes out!