Sunday, May 28, 2006

80's Kball Prom

Here is a picture from my 80's kball prom. Both Michelle and I were nominated for Prom Queen... and it was an honor to be nominated. I feel very blessed for the honor and want offer my congrats to Lisa. Heheheh.
I put together my outfit the day of. I'm wearing a blue mini-skirt (3 tiers of ruffles) over black spandex/leggings. I bough a red 80's sweater from a thrift store and cut off the sleeves. I wore the sleeves as legwarmers. And I wore white socks with black pumps (complete with a cheesy bow). I cropped the sweater and cut it down the front. I wore it over a zebra striped tanktop that was ridiculously cheesy. I also crimped my hair and wore hoops. Oh... and I crocheted myself a fingerless glove with fur trim for my right hand. There is nothing more fun than looking ridiculous!

Just for Fun...

If Lily-cat were a cartoon character, this is how she'd be drawn. Note that she is lording over me.

Purses and Yoga Mat Bag - From Christmas

So... I finally have some pictures of the purses and one of the yoga mat bags that I made for Christmas. This first one in aran colored yarn with a red bow, I made for Sue, my sister-in-law. The inspiration for the purse came from these designer purses. I found a pattern on Crochetville, but mixed it up to get a shorter, wider bag. I bought rattan handles from Joann's and painted them a warmer, darker brown. I also made the same purse in heather gray for my sister Betsy. The yarn for both is red heart... which means that I spent less than $5 (handles included) to make each purse. Not a bad deal.

Here are some pictures of my sister Sheila's yoga mat bag made from this great pattern. I hope she's able to use it. Here are some different angles. For this one, I also used Red Heart. It's super-washsable... which is great considering how much it rains in Scotland (where Sheila lives). The texture of the yarn is not very soft, but being that these are bags, I figure that it is mor important that they are sturdy! If you are a crocheter, I really recommend both of these projects for gifts. They are useful, easy to make, and work up quickly... plus, the materials are fairly inexpensive.

Mom's Market Bag

This was my first felted project! I made Crochet Me's Pike Place Market Bag for my mom. My mom and my dad love to go to the nearby market in NC for organic food. I'm not sure that they can fully stock up on their groceries with this bag, but it's a start :) I think that this will probably be a great bag when my mom is taking Q and brand new Myla Rose around on adventures. The pocket is the perfect size for a baby bottle! I chose purple yarn because it's my mom's favorite color. I used Cascade 220 (in order to felt, the yarn must be 100% wool. For those of you who don't know what felting it, it's actually kind of a neat process. Basically, you stitch up a bag in a super-large size in wool yarn. Then you put it into the washing machine inside a pillowcase that is zipped or tied shut. Along with the pillow case, you put some items in the load to create friction (I used some plastic sandals, a tennis ball, and my old paint jeans from my set construction days). You add some baking soda to the load and wash it on HOT. The result is that the wool shrinks (ever wash a wool sweater?) and kind of fuses together into a firm fabric. Felt!
Anyway, I made this awhile back, but never got around to fully attaching the handles. I need to use my friend Kate's sewing machine for that :) Since she's been hard at work on her thesis, I haven't been pushing to get it done. I guess that the thesis for her lil' biomedical grad diploma from UCLA is kind of a priority for her right now. Don't ask me why.... obviously my opinion doesn't matter ;)

Spiderweb Lace Skirt

This project is dangerously close to being finished. I have yet to weave in the ends or add the elastic to the waist. I also haven't blocked it (but I think it'll be best if Betsy blocks it so that it fits her perfectly). I kind of got distracted by the plethora of baby hats that I've been making for the lil' ones in my life... or soon-to-be in my life :)

I got the pattern for this skirt here. I don't looooooove this pattern. It's fine, I did it... but I had some problems with the joining of the rounds. It turned out fine, but if Betsy looks close enough, she'll be able to find the problem. Because of the many layers, I don't think that the mistake matters. I think that if I were to do it again for someone else, I would make it in different yarn and also change up the lace on the skirt. I thought it would be a little bit more lacey, honestly. I think Betsy will like it - and it will be a good skirt to wear in the Cold Seattle winter. It's made with Wool Ease and can be worn over a lighter skirt, leggings, or it can be worn alone (oooh la la!). Oh, I also had immense problems with the top of the skirt because no matter what I did, I couldn't get my stitching to match size wise with the pattern. So, I didn't follow the pattern for the top portion.
I don't know that I will remake this pattern, because that much sc in such a tight stitch is kind of annoying :P The top portion took me a VERY long time. The bottom portion probably took me about a week. The top portion (non-lacy) hits at the upper thigh.
My sister Betsy is phenomenal and deserves this skirt... which is right up her alley. I hope she wears it when she dances! Once it's blocked, it should hit to about mid-calf/ankle (the bottom is not straight, but wavy in length). If she doesn't mind modeling the skirt, I will post it here.

Aunt Sheila's Wrap/Shawl Finished Pics

Here are pictures of the shawl that I made for my Aunt Sheila. The pattern for this lovely wrap is from "Wrap Style" by Interweave Press. I used TLC Baby Yarn in Powder Lilac and the result is a really quite pretty. I am very happy with it and can't wait to send it to her. My Aunt Sheila was an OB/GYN nurse for decades and actually helped my mom through all of her pregnancies (6!!) over the years. Aunt Sheila's house was the best place for sleepovers! She'd wash our hair with her "special" shampoo and conditioners that always smelled amazing and made my hair feel like a million dollars. She'd give us little make up cases with Clinique eyeshadows and lipsticks :) She'd let us eat Dove Bars for breakfast and stay up late giggling. We'd play "fairies" on the stairs and pretend like the stairs were the hill where the fairies lived. She'd play these old records like the Red Baron and Peanut Butter and we'd dance like crazy.
Everything in her house always smelled so good. They always say that smells are your strongest memories, and I remember her place so well by the smell of the soap, the kitchen, even the smell of the couch. I also remember the way everything felt. So warm and cozy. The fabric of the pink chair in the room that everything was a dusty rose. I remember sitting in Grandpa's chair (which was in her living room). And I could smell this mixture of tobacco and time. Hard to explain, but that is the closest thing to a memory of Grandpa Gallagher that I have.
The majority of my memories of my Grandmother are in that house, too. My aunt was my Grandma's caregiver for most of my life. I would go over there on Saturday's and take care of my Grandma. Combing her hair, listening to her memories of growing up in Ireland and coming over here... praying the rosary with her and watching way way way too much Frank Patterson and singing along.
My aunt gave up a lot through the years, but never surrendered her personality, values, ideals, or interests. She loved budweiser over any of the fancy schmancy beers my dad brought over for family parties... and was the only woman I remember drinking bud or any beer when I was growing up. The image that that creates, though, is so contrary. She really loved all things exquisite and pretty. She loved fashion, but loved the fashion of Kate Hepburn and the images of the Victoria catalogue above all. She kept every outfit she ever loved. I remember her showing me the dress that she wore to my parents wedding - a smart outfit with a darling short, short skirt. An outfit that Jackie Kennedy wore, too. She'd tell me stories about going through great lengths to get THE outfit that was just the style. And laughing her marvelous laugh. Following up with a, "ohhhh gad!"
Right now, I live in the neighborhood that she lived in as she came of age as a young woman starting up a nursing career. I walk the streets that she walked... and both times that she visited me, we went to The Apple Pan, the first place she ate at in Los Angeles.
The story is that she drove out here from Ohio... seeking a change of scenery and a job. She drove with her friend Min (I am pretty sure), who told her that she could drive part of the way since my aunt was a brand new driver (my dad had taught her the prior week!). As it turns out, Min couldn't drive... so my Aunt drove the entire 3,000 odd miles in her in her pretty lil' vw bug . When they arrived, her feet were aching tired. First thing they did was have a burger at The Apple Pan.
My aunt did amazing things during her time here and really learned so much about life and the world. She read up on buddism and learned yoga. She met people from all over the world and so many cultures. She discovered yogurt, artichokes, and avocados :) And mexican food! Cleveland didn't get Mexican food until the latelatelate 70's, so, this is pretty impressive.
She and her friends from the Newman Center at UCLA formed a group of young, social activist Catholics. They posted flyers and worked together on various causes attempting to make the church a more welcoming, progressive place and helping those that were down on their luck.
When my aunt came out to visit a few years ago, I got to meet most of the members of this group. I felt like I was witnessing something truly unique and powerful. I was able to see her through their eyes - as a strong, intelligent, beautiful woman who changed other peoples lives through her thoughts and beliefs.
Recently, my aunt was diagnosed with alzheimers. She came out to visit with my Aunt Kay and Uncle Bob to help her cultivate her earlier memories, which frequently are the strongest. I was so terribly hurt and saddened to see that someone who was so articulate was having trouble with certain words and phrases. She gave me a package of yarn, some insanely 70's patterns and asked me to send them to my sisters who crochet (Bridgid and Betsy). She can't crochet anymore because of the alzheimers. She told me that if I wanted to learn, that I could learn from her books. I did send them on, but first I taught myself how to crochet... wanting desperately to connect with her.
She now is living in a community that specializes in alzheimers, and it is a truly amazing place for her. I know that it is the right thing, but it's hard because I wish that her house could remain as is. From what I hear, she is doing beautifully and very happy. She is able to do things like yoga (which I doubt she ever thought would come to Cleveland) and dance and make friends. I have been told that she is very much like herself, but like herself when she was younger... which is kind of nice. It's as if she gets to have a carefree adulthood and feel like a little girl.
Sure, that's idealizing it, but it is the only way that I can cope with it right now. I think that alzheimers really throws my faith (already dwindling) for a loop. I am trying to see that her soul is untouched by this disease. That the amazing soul that loved me and made me feel like the luckiest girl in the world (c'mon... dove bars for breakfast!) is still there. I just really hope that the powers that be can git their sh** together and come up with a cure!
Anyway, the shawl made me think of her as soon as I saw the pattern. It's so intricate and complicated, but yet decidedly feminine and girlish. I hope that I can get some pictures of her wearing it, but I can't promise anything. If I can, I will post them here.

Turquoise Shawl and Black Scarf

I finally have pictures... these are from NOVEMBER. Pathetic, I know.

But still, here they are. I made the following two pieces, a scarf and a shawl in the Spiderweb Lace stitch that I found in my favorite crochet book. The shawl in Microspun for my friend Michele (aka meesh) who is modeling said shawl.

She modeled it before the ends were woven in (note the lovely end hanging out across her arm). I finished weaving in the ends at our Thanksgiving Potluck party. Which was Michele's last night in LA before she went to PA. :( I miss her!!!

To see close ups of the stitch...

This was a complicated stitch, but I loved the results!

I also made a scarf in the same stitch, but in Patons' Brilliance. I haven't decided who to give it to yet... so yeah, any suggestions are welcome ;P

It's a skinny scarf and has some "sparkle" in the yarn. I haven't decided who would actually wear it :)

Monday, May 01, 2006

Bunny for Mits

I crocheted this bunny for my friend Mitzie from one of Roxy Crafts' awesome Amigurumi patterns. Like everything I do, this one doesn't look identical to the original. I kinda switched things up here and there. This one doesn't measure up to Mitzie's two real bunnies - Bonnie and Clyde. The embroidery is kind of messy, but c'mon - it adds character!

Mitzie, in case you haven't met her, is the friend of mine that grew up in Japan and moved out to UCSB for college. She studied accounting and then briefly moved to Arkansas where she picked up a love for country music. I worked with Mitzie at MetWest (a Fixed Income place) where she was pushed around by an awful boss with terrible breath. I used to go and hang out with Mitzie at this great dive bar that had karaoke called Roger's Tattle Tale. Mitzie's comes off as this quiet girl, but man can she belt out a country ballad. :) I loved seeing the permanent residents of the bar stools at that bar look up in shock when she sang.

Mitzie works for Ernst & Young now and just moved to Houston. She seems to be adjusting just fine and I'll be seeing her in a month when I go down there to check out Austin. I can't wait to see her!

In other updates, the skirt for my sister is nearly complete! I have about 2 more rows to add to the bottom and then I just need to add elastic to the top. There were a few problems that I had with the lace where it joined. At some point, I realized that it would work better if I stopped joining and just worked in the rounds. Of course, I didn't realize this until I was a skein into it... so I did not go back and re-do it. I know this is a total sin... but honestly, I don't think you can tell. The way the skirt hangs in layers, it is really not noticeable at all. I think it's going to look really stunning on her. It might be too warm of a skirt for the summer up in Seattle, but I think it'll be perfect for this fall.

Well... that's the update. Hopefully, I'll be able to post pics of the finished skirt soon.