Jan 28, 2012

Hooked Up

After a bit of a hiatus, I finally have gotten back into crocheting.  What finally got me going after nursing a sore wrist and a college freshman through her first semester?  My Outlander Fans swap that started January 1st.  Based on A Breath of Snow and Ashes (ABOSAA), the sixth book in Diana Gabaldon's excellent Outlander series, the swap features the Highland Games in which four clans (Beauchamp, Fraser, MacKenzie, and Murray) compete for points.  For this gathering of the clans (i.e., swap), we are crafting things in response to a series of challenges tied to ABOSAA.  Bowing to my competitive streak, I have submitted an item for each of the six January challenges. 


Beauchamp Felted Cap:
This lightly felted helmet (above) was made for a friend of my eldest, one of a set of twins who helped her survive her first college semester.  DN #1 (dear niece) is always a willing, if not a jokester, of a model.  I used 3 skeins of Lion Brands Landscapes.  I gifted DN with the remaining 21 skeins -- 24 skeins or 1,320 yards gone from my stash.
Book Tie-in:    We had to craft something for a friend.  I chose to do so in in colors reminiscent of the Beauchamp clan colors.

Asclepian Comfort Pack:
This little 8 x 10 cotton pouch features a lined hot pack filled with lavender-scented flax seeds.  It's Egyptian cotton construction allows it to be heated in the microwave or cooled in the freezer.  Let me just say that Knitting Fever's King Tut 100% Egyptian Cotton yarn is one of the most scrumptious cotton yarns around. The sc-ch stitch pattern produced a wonderfully textured yet soft fabric.  Previously selling at $15, this yarn been discontinued but I have a few skeins left.  Easy to make, Donna Hulka's pattern can be found on the Crochet Me website.  182 yards gone from my stash.
Book Tie-in:  The rod of Asclepius, also known as the asklepian, consists of a serpent entwined around a staff and is an ancient symbol associated with medicine and healing. The name of the symbol derives from its early and widespread association with Asclepius, the son of Apollo, who was a practitioner of medicine in ancient Greek mythology. This comfort pack makes a fantastically relaxing and comforting combination that soothes the body and mind. Use this pack on your back, neck, feet, or anywhere that could benefit from a little TLC.

Stone Circle Hat:
Hat number 2 was a gift to the friend of DN #2.  Said friend loves purple so hence Lion Brand Yarn's Sock-Ease in Grape Soda.  Unfortunately, the wool-nylon blend of  is a bit scratchy.  I only hope it gets softer with washing.  285 yards gone from my stash.
Book Tie-in:  Many members of the Beauchamp Clan are not linked by blood but rather by their ability to be transported by the circles of stones that only they can hear. In ABOSAA, Donner is looking for a safe way back home, through the stones. In addition to the stones encircling the hat’s edge (see unblocked version at right) , lines of stones are aligned along 8 spokes or axes, drawing the travelers to its center, to their destinies. In Wiccan spirtuality, the number 8 vibrates: power, practical endeavors, status oriented, power-seeking, high-material goals, sacrifice, money-oriented, decisive, and stern -- traits that travelers like Otter Tooth and Donner were seeking to fulfill in their journeys to the past.

Roger's Neck Garter:
This slim cowl is made from Kraemer Yarns Tatamy Tweed DK acrylic cotton blend.  Although the manufacturer calls for 3.75 mm needle, I used a 4.5 mm hook combined with what I call a “back bar hdc” stitch to create a slightly loose gauge without losing the drape or being holey. Crocheting into the back bar created by the original yarn over results in a reversible plush fabric. Despite the “thickness” the fabric does not feel knotty or cumbersome.  Nice yarn.  250 yards gone.
Book Tie-in:  This little neck garter is a gift for Roger from Bree, to warm and sooth his throat from the winter chill. Bree wants Roger to know that she understands his pain and will do what she can to help alleviate whatever discomfort she can. Although Roger loves Bree in the muted colors of homespun, Bree hungers for the brighter colors of her own time. The muted tones of this blue-green homespun styled yarn represent a bit of a compromise, but, as we know, Roger lets Bree have these little victories.
Jenny's Wedding Pouch:
This little cotton bag used a full skein of Gjestal Baby-Bomull, a Swedish yarn that translates simply to Baby Cotton. 197 yards from my stash.
Book Tie-in:  Jenny Fraser, like all the Frasers, is verra proud. Wanting to put her best foot forward, she made this little bag as her only outward luxury during her 18th century Highland wedding to Ian Murray. Forever practical and lacking the resources to spare pearls for something that would be used infrequently during her lifetime, Jenny imitated the look with a bobble stitch. Always practical, Jenny intends to pass the bag to her eldest daughter upon her marriage.

Firecracker Beret: 
The third of three hats made this month, this one for sister Connie Jean down in Houston.   Constructed of Lion Brand Yarns Amazing (yeah, that its name), the yarn at times felt a bit scratchy while working the hat but luckily produced a hat soft to the touch.  'Twas a quick project started in the wee hours of the new year as I awaited phone calls from family living out west.  176 yards gone.
Book Tie-in:  Playing on the firecracker red and orange Aurora colorway, the beret represents the wee matches Briana spent much of the winter of 1773 creating.  Despite the threat of a house fire hanging over her parents heads, despite her husband's uneasiness about possible fire in their own home, Brianna insisted upon experimented with bringing instantaneous fire to her hearth.  This hat would serve to keep her fiery red hair under control as well.

All in all, six projects totally 1,222 yards -- all out of my stash..  I'm gearing up for the February challenges where I plan to finally make the Stone Path Hat, item number 2 on my Bucket List.

As an aside, I am the chieftess for Clan Beauchamp, as well as the chief chieftess for our biannual gathering.  The Games have been played five times before, and I am proud to say that we Beauchamps have triumphed each time.  My clan sisters are a wonderful set of women.