Sunday, August 13, 2017

Stash Busting...

Isn't it happy-making to finish a project?  This week I finished the ripple blanket I'd recently started:

I used the American Waves Throw pattern, but made mine baby blanket size.  I couldn't tell you how many chains I started with.  With a project like this, I chain more than I know I'll need, then figure out how large I want the thing to be as I make the first row (removing the unused chains once I'm confident about the size).  To finish this off, I used the slip stitch foundation down the sides before adding a single crochet border.   I think that's all this blanket needed.  The solid section in the middle is larger than it appears in the picture, and with the different ripple stripes at both ends, I think I achieved a pleasingly asymmetrical look.  At least I think it works.

I used Red Heart Soft in the colors Seafoam, Charcoal and White.  I've got bunches, still, of the Seafoam color so you may see it from time to time in other projects.  Its softness makes it a nice yarn for a newborn blanket.  Who wouldn't want a blanket as soft as a cloud to wrap a sweet little newborn in?

And being on a bit of a kick to make some quick and easy projects and use up some stash, I started a Corner to Corner baby blanket:

The picture isn't much to look at, but the blanket is over half finished.  See that big skein in the background?  That was nearly a pound of yarn when I began this blanket.  It was ginormous and goofy looking when I toted it to a friend's house this week with a newly started blanket.  Now that I've tamed the skein and it looks almost normal-sized, I'm hoping I have enough to work some of the color into the border.  I may be playing yarn chicken with this one.

To see what other Yoppers are up to, visit our group on Ravelry.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

A week of randomness...

On one hand it's been a quiet week.  Nothing exciting.  On the other hand it's been a week full of distraction.

The week started out with the discovery of a water leak and a couple of days of having a plumber here -- first to diagnose the problem, then to do what we all hoped was an easy fix.  A week later we're realizing the leak is still there.  What makes the leak hard to diagnose is that it's likely in a pipe that is buried in a cement floor in the basement - an expensive and messy proposition to fix because cement will need to be busted through to make the repair.

I'll spare you the details, but with our family room somewhat in disarray (because an entire closet of games and other various stored items had to be emptied out), and a house project bigger than me staring me in the face every day, I've found life this week to be...  well...  a bit distracting.

Which meant I was a prime candidate for "see shiny new crochet project (on Ravelry), make shiny new crochet project!"

And I did!

First, I finished the All Shawl by Doris Chan:

The yarn is Lion Brand Heartland in the colorway Olympic.  I'd bought bunches of this yarn once upon a time thinking the color was gorgeous, but for some reason once I had it home I couldn't imagine what I'd actually make with it.

Being committed right now to working from stash as much as possible, I went stash diving.  I think this was a great project for this yarn.  It makes a drapey fabric, and isn't this lacy border pretty?

With that finished, I decided to give Planned Color Pooling a try for a  Learn Something New CAL on Ravelry...  I'd never (intentionally) done this before, so now seemed as a good a time as any to try.

Following Glamour 4 You's technique, at first I thought this technique maybe wasn't as hard as I had imagined.  I got to work and the first two repeats of the color pooling pattern looked pretty consistent:

But then, the argyle pattern started getting smaller:

And then this weird teeny argyle repeat happened (twice):

And then the pattern opened up again - to start the whole thing all over, presumably:

Not wanting to be defeated, and honestly feeling somewhat hooked on the technique, I searched for other helps and found a variety of resources.  Some people say consistent tension is important, some say counting the stitches per color is more important that tension.

I tried again, using Marly Bird's technique of neither counting the stitches, nor worrying about tension, but rather watching how the pattern moves.  This technique seemed more my style, but I found it too difficult to actually see the pattern moving as I was working it.  It's one thing to see the pattern clearly "moving" when you lay it down and step back from the fabric, or looking at a photograph.  But distinguishing just how the stitches are moving as you work each row isn't so simple when it's right in front of one's face.  Maybe this is easy for some people, but I found it extremely difficult.

After trying this technique a couple of different ways, I decided I needed to give the whole thing a rest.  I was mentally exhausted, and I don't care what anyone says - this is not easy.   Addictive, yes. Easy?  No.  Even Marly Bird admits that while it's addicting, people who've had success with planned color pooling will have frustrations at some point - because variegated yarns are all different.  And even the same colorway made in different dyelots may behave differently from one another.  I just don't know how much I want to do this if frustration is a given.

Exhausted and feeling the need to soothe my weary brain, I decided to start a ripple blanket I've been meaning to do for over a month now:

This is baby blanket sized and I'm enjoying the colors.  The ripple stripes are going to be random sizes for (what I hope is) a modern look.  This is another project made totally from stash and since I have more of the Seafoam (blue/green) color, the blanket will feature larger sections of that; the white and charcoal gray figuring in in such a way that I can make good use of what I have and hopefully finish those colors up as the blanket finishes.   It's an easy project that I imagine will be finished shortly.

And now I start a new week where once again, the first thing on the docket Monday morning is calling the plumber.  It's a good thing I like this plumber.  I'd just rather not have to see him so often (I don't think I mentioned we discovered this plumber when we had to have a new water heater installed earlier in the summer).   We've had our fill of water woes this year.

To see what other Yoppers are up to, visit our group on Ravelry!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Pretty Little Pineapple Top Bag

This week saw the finish of my Pineapple Top Bag:
It was an easy project and I love how it turned out.   Tied up like it is above, it would make a really nice gift bag; or lined, and with the lacy top folded down over the top of the bag (like pictured below), and with maybe a chain handle, I think it would make a pretty little purse (I’d want to add some sort of closure to the top if I did this):

To print out an easy-to-read pattern, I used the website, Print Friendly. Just plug in the URL for the page the pattern is on and you can remove unnecessary pictures and print out a clean copy of the pattern.  Learning about this site recently from a fellow Ravelry member was game changing for me.  If you haven't tried Print, I recommend it.  

My entire bag (from bottom to top) was worked with two strands of Size 3 crochet thread (Aunt Lydia's in Bridal White and Copper Mist, to be precise).  My bag measures about 8 inches wide and 12 inches tall from bottom of bag to peak on the lacy top (the bag portion measures 8 inches wide by 7.5 inches tall). The size of the bag can be changed by changing the yarn and hook size.

I worked the body of the bag longer than the pattern called for - I think I worked 15 rows beyond the base before working the lace top. Rows were worked in a spiral (not joining and chaining up) until I reached the top of the bag. The lace top was worked as directed (starting it on the side where it was less noticeable for me to change color).

A note on ending the body of the bag and transitioning to the lacy top:  About three stitches before I decided to stop the body portion of the bag, I began to shorten the height of my stitches. I went from a dc, to a hdc, then a sc, then a slip stitch or two (until I reached the side of the bag). Then I joined the new color of yarn here and began the lacy top.   When starting the lacy top part, you'll want to pay attention to where the center front stitches will end up (you'll want to straddle two dcs in Round 12 with the the center front of the body of the bag).  This doesn't have to be precise, but you want it close.  This is the round a drawstring or ribbon can later be threaded through if making a drawstring bag.

Unfortunately, there is a mistake in the written pattern on Round 13, (of the lace part) and I recommend keeping a picture of the pattern’s chart to refer to. Once you start doing this round, you will quickly recognize there is a mistake, but to correct it, you'll just ch 3, sk ch-1 sp, sc in next ch-1 sp, ch 3, sk next ch-1 in between each shell and each set of 5 dc’s.  After that the lacy top should be smooth sailing.
To see what other Yoppers are up to, visit our group on Ravelry!

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