Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Solution for Cold Ankles

For many of us the weather is still rather cold and, I don't know about you, but I get cold ankles.

The obvious solution is to get legwarmers and I did that. But I really don't look good in legwarmers and they're definitely not standard business attire.

But my ankles are cold!

Maybe I'm the last person to finally figure this out, but I finally came up with a solution. Ankle warmers that hide under my slacks...

Occasionally they peek out from under my pants, but I don't think that looks too bad. The full view of what I've got tucked away under there is this...

I thought about writing up a pattern, but realized it's simpler to just tell you how to do it here. This is a great stash buster and an awesome way to use hand spun yarn.

First, measure:
• Around your ankle.
• Around the widest part where your heel is.
• Around your leg about 7 to 8 inches above your ankle bones.
Make sure you write all these measurements down and keep a ruler or tape measure handy while you work the first one to check that you make them big enough.

Second, pick your yarn and hook:
• Pick something warm and soft. I chose some hand spun alpaca plied with silk.
• I suggest you take the time to do a little swatching to get your hook size right.

Third, make your ankle warmers:
• Chain about 7 to 8 inches, turn, work a row of single crochet, chain 1, turn. (I suggest making a note of the number of stitches you have so it's easy to make your second one the same.)
• Working only in the back loops, single crochet across, chain 1, turn.
• Continue working single crochet rows in the back loops until the relaxed length is the same as your ankle measurement. Stretch your work on a ruler to see if it's long enough to go over your heel and accommodate your lower calf. If it is, chain 1, turn. If it isn't, add rows until it does. Do not tie off.
• When you have got it long enough, put the ends together and line up the stitches. Start slip stitching or single crocheting your seam. I added a little interest on my pair by putting a 3-chain picot every 3 stitches.
• Make two, put them on, and experience the wonderful world of warm ankles.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

What I'm Up To

Right now I'm in one of those quiet phases where I've got my head down working. I've been picking up a few UFOs (un-finished objects) to get finished offed, testing pattern samples, and fine tuning a few pattern ideas.

The one crochet project that I'm finishing right now is my Rain Wrap. It's an idea that I came up with about a year and a half ago. After finding the perfect hand-painted yarn at the Pagosa Fiber Festival last May, I started swatching and quickly realized that I was going to need some pretty detailed diagrams to make it. So I had to spend time drafting those and pause every now and then to fine tune them as I went. Eventually, I just wore out and stuck the project in my UFO stash. I pulled it out again last week and, fully refreshed, have been flying along. I should have it done by next week. Whoohoo!!

I've been catching up on my sewing UFOs as well. A dress, some slacks, lengthening a pair of jeans, and some bags I promised to make for my Mom too long ago. Since I'm on the tall side I have trouble finding pants that are long enough or that don't shrink 2" when I wash them. Uggh! I hate it when they shrink. I had to get creative since lengthening jeans means adding fabric.

Testing Pattern Samples
I like to use my creations for a bit before committing to the publishing process. It helps me be sure I've picked the right yarn, made it exactly how I want it to be, or even that it's worth publishing.

My Ocean Waves Scarf started out life in a different yarn. It was beautiful, but after I wore it a few times I realized that it was not quite what I had in mind. So I remade it using the Classic Elite Provence and was pleased with that result.

I recently made a hat that will be published in the coming months. After wearing it once I realized that I needed to adjust the pattern to get it to drape the way I wanted. So I frogged and re-crocheted it with the adjustment. Now I love how it looks and fits and wear it all the time. I love it so much that this sample is going to live in my closet for the rest of its life.

Currently, I'm testing a bag and fiddling around trying to get the strap just right. Good thing I don't have a deadline!! I'd have missed it a couple weeks ago.

Pattern Ideas
Well, they just keep flooding into my sketchbook and it's a matter of sifting out the best ones and making them a reality. In development are a couple more hats, a couple more bags, and a lacy scarf. More on those later.