Monday, October 19, 2009


Originally uploaded by devinise
Haven't worked on this in about a week. I think it's eventually going to be a rectangle. If I don't do something weird. My tension keeps changing so it'll be a goofy rectangle.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

An apple

Originally uploaded by devinise
Made for a coworker in the hopes of keeping the doctor away. I was going to crochet some flowers but couldn't find any that I thought I could manage well in one night and are cute enough to bother with. Apple is cuter.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Hat troubles

One of my favorite crochet blogs is Crochet Spot. Very cute patterns and a lot of free stuff in addition to nicely priced patterns. A few weeks ago the City Hat was posted and I fell in love. I'm not a hat person. A couple of years ago I had a hat I'd throw on to keep my hair under control but even in the winter my head is usually uncovered. This hat is cute, though, and looked fun.

I got it right before Stitches Midwest so I looked for yarn there. When I found two balls of Noro Silk Garden for 50% off I knew I'd found the right yarn. It's multicolored and such a pretty combination that I wouldn't have to worry about it matching anything. I started the hat and found that the yarn's color isn't all that changes. It gets thicker and thinner throughout and I was getting mostly very thin sections. The yarn itself is scratchy but when worked up it's very soft. The stripes it was making were amazing.

I tore out my first attempt. It came out more like a tight beanie. Tried again and added some rounds. I got to the brim this time. After I tried it on I knew it'd have to go. Too big and floppy and silly looking. My tension on the brim was too tight so it bent weird. There's no way I'd wear it.

I still want to make the hat but I'm going to use normal acrylic worsted weight yarn. I have some brown that I'll probably use. And some purple Red Heart that I can make a stripe or two with. I can put up with Red Heart for a few stripes. Maybe.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

It figures

The closest LYS--the one I never wanted to go to again--just sent out their newsletter. They have a couple of really interesting looking crochet classes. On one hand, I'm upset that the store I'm not so happy with is the only one to offer something beyond basic crochet. On the other, I'm really happy that someone actually is offering new and different crochet classes. I'll need to think about this. I'm not going to sign up just because they're their but if it's something I think I'll like then I want to support it. And it'd be great to meet more crocheters.

Is supporting crochet more important than not supported a store that's made me feel unwanted and/or unwelcome every time I've been there? No. And the money I'd spend on a class and materials could be better spent elsewhere. None of the classes are for things I'd want to make on my own. I'd be better off using that money to get a new kind of Noro. Or just saving it and not spending it on yarn or crochet toys. At least not all of it.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Chix With Stix

There aren't many yarn shops around here. Not too terrible since I'm happy to buy cheap yarn most times. But it would be nice to have a place to get nicer stuff and supplies that JoAnn and Michaels don't carry.

The closest LYS (local yarn store) is very unwelcoming to new possible customers. The only time I've ever gotten any attention when I came in was when the power on the block the store is in was out and I was quickly told that I can't buy anything. Not greeted. If I wasn't so eager to take a crochet class, I would have left. But I signed up and took the class. The woman teaching it was nice enough but then the next time I went in I was totally ignored despite wandering around and being lost. Neither woman working could spare a moment from chatting with their customers to even say hello. I have no desire to ever go to that store again.

String Theory in Glen Ellyn isn't too far away and it's very close to where the local Stitch n Bitch meets. I went there last week. Got greeted and some help. Their stock is more about the origin of the yarn and honestly I'm not all that concerned about free trade and organic. I want pretty, soft, and not expensive. Nice store, but I don't think I'll have reason to go back often. They do offer a lot of classes with a lot of variety. Just not anything in crochet I'm interested in.

The other almost-local yarn store is Chix With Stix in Forest Park. It's rather close to Dominican so it's a great location for when I have class. Except that my classes this semester are Mondays and three weekends. Chix is closed Mondays and their weekend hours are encompassed by my other class' times. Yesterday my class got out a little early so I high-tailed it down to the store.

Wow! I was greeted as soon as I walked in by a happy, laughing woman. The store is open and bright with shelving that's also open and makes the store stay uncluttered despite all the yarn. And there is a lot. Tons of Noro. There's even a little clearance area that's very nicely kept. There's a table and chairs where two women were working on something, and couch and coffee table for lounging or looking at pattern books. I didn't see any crochet supplies but there were no negative reactions to me saying I crochet. We talked about how ugly some crochet patterns are even though there are some really pretty ones. They also have some supplies for needle felting. Score! I got a pack of needles, some white roving, and a pack of colored roving. I'm so excited!

The only bad thing about this store is that it's not more local to me. But they did have a sign about a Stitch n Bitch that meets on Mondays in a nearby cafe. That should work nicely with my Monday class. I was really happy to see that posted in a LYS. First time I've seen that. I hope I get another chance to visit Chix With Stix

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Attn Cell-Phones

oh no
Originally uploaded by aaron schmidt
Cell-Phones may not eat or drink in the Library.

People may talk on their cellphones, and people can eat or drink. But they must mind that their Cell-Phones behave.

Water bottle cover

I wanted something to keep my water from sweating all over everything. This came together quick and was pretty easy. Pattern is from Mr Funky's Super Crochet Wonderful. The button holes are weird. Or my stitching is. I haven't sewn on buttons but it works fine without them.

Only problem is that the yarn is cotton. It gets wet. Wet cotton smell = ew. I'll Febreze it later.

I was planning on making a detachable strap but I might leave that out or just make a carrier/cover in addition to this one.

Monday, September 14, 2009

What I've been up to

Hat Top
Originally uploaded by devinise
Friday I saw and fell in love with the City Hat on Crochet Spot. Got the pattern. The next day I went to Stitches and was on the lookout for yarn for the hat. Didn't see anything and thought I'd have to find something in a craft store and then I found some Noro Silk Garden on a 50% off rack. I loved the colors--no worrying about what would match or go with this hat! And the price couldn't be beat.

I started the hat Sunday at Stitch n Bitch and later got it up until where the brim needs to be added. Later was after my pug grabbed my finger and attempted to snap it. She didn't but it got bruised and some skin went missing. Lovely.

The top of the hat is too small so I want to rip out most of it and add a few more rounds to the top. I still have some of the first ball of Noro and an entire unused ball so I won't run out. I kind of want to frog the whole thing and start from the other end of the yarn so the pink shows up on the sides.

I love the striping that happened and am really impressed with how soft the yarn is. Unworked it feels tweedy and there are a lot of sections that are like thin straw. But the fabric came out soft and flexible. I've never crocheted so loosely. The yarn weight is supposedly aran which is thicker than the worsted weight this pattern calls for but it's really much narrower. I think that's why the hat is snug.

I'm letting the wound on my finger get some air so no crocheting tonight. Or ripping out. Another piece of Stitches loot is a nice ball winder so the prospect of frogging the hat and dealing with all the yarn is not scary. Winding with a winder is fun. Especially Noro.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A new take on an old standard

Punk Naked Mole Rat
Originally uploaded by devinise
No pattern. No guidelines. Just a need to make something to wear to Stitches and a longing for a studded bracelet.

Crochet thread is awesome. It doesn't do any of the annoying things yarn does. And with a project like this I don't have to bother with blocking it.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I've been on this road for a long time

I've started work on the Free Spirit Amigurumi Doll. After doing a few rounds of her head I thought that I should get the eyes taken care of so I'm not tempted to finish the head without them. The pattern uses normal safety eyes in front of a crocheted white. The white is made out of pearl cotton and I had no idea what that was. After some Googling I decided to try DMC floss. That was dumb. The floss is multiple threads and they aren't wound. I used a steel (tiny) hook. I managed to get one done before my mother gave me her pearl cotton. By then I was too tired to try using it.

I don't have the right safety eyes for this. All I have are green cat eyes. Which I'm not opposed to using. I don't want to get a pack of eyes in blue. Ew. I'd rather use something weird. I've seen some really pretty ones on Etsy but I'd like to make this doll sooner rather than later. I'm hoping there will be eyes at Stitches but don't really think there will be since amigurumi is mostly a crochet thing and the shower caters to knitters. Maybe I'll be surprised. There are more books on knitted amigurumi so maybe there will be eyes. But that's still longer than I want to wait.

The doll doesn't use a lot of yarn so I can make a weird cat-eyed girl and make a more normal one later. I want purple eyes so the next doll may not be that normal. Now I'm looking at my purple camouflage yarn and thinking it'd make good hair. Poor dolls.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


I crochet very tightly. The only thing I've made that couldn't stand up on its own was a granny square. Everything else holds its shape just fine without stuffing or special care. My amigurumi are squishy but not soft. It's usually not that much of a problem since I'm used to having to fight to get stitches in but the last thing I made ended up with a teeny tiny hole for stuffing instead of a nicely sized open area.

I need to pick a simple pattern and try working looser. Maybe with a bigger hook. And a glass of Bailey's. But then I'd probably just end up with a larger amigurumi while blushing and needing to pee.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Foreward/introduction/foundation chain

Two commas or just one? I'll err on the side of more punctuation.

Hi, there. I'm Denise. Online I could be devinise or devi. Devi is a great name. Not only is it a diminutive of my Hebrew name but it's pretty common online so if I say something stupid under that name I can claim it's not me. And if someone else says something stupid under that name it might be me pretending to not be me. If I say something stupid under another name then it's just another day.

I'm a circulation clerk at my local library and a substitute librarian at the same. By next year I should have my masters of library information science degree and a small panic attack about what to do career-wise. It'll be fun. Anyway, that's where the "books" portion of the blog title comes from. That and I'm a bookworm/bibliophile/book hoarder. On LibraryThing I'm devi.

In July I learned how to crochet. It's the first craft I've really taken to and been consumed by. Hence the "hooks." I intend to talk a lot about crochet here. You can find me on Ravelry as devinise.

"Dirty Looks" just flowed right and fits with my crankiness. They could also be the looks my pug gives me since "pug" in no way rhymes with the rest of the title but is something I'm likely to bring up. If nothing else, she'll be in the pictures I post of my projects. Or at least her hair will be. Someday she'll figure out how to get hair on my blog, too.