Sunday, April 24, 2016

The madness continues...

Well, I'm glad to be committed (for the time being) to completing a round every week of the Mandala Madness CAL or else I'd have nothing  to show.    It's been a busy time here recently, and while some crocheting is happening in moments here and there, I've not been able to get much traction toward completing the couple of other projects I currently have on my hooks.

So today, I will show you Part 5 of my Mandala Madness:

While I still wish I had picked different colors (something more subdued, or at least cohesive) I just can't get over how each new round of different colors transforms the whole thing.   I know I said something similar last week, but it's true!  It's such a surprise every week.   A little exciting, and a little scary at the same time, but I've finally decided I'm having fun with it.  :^)

And that's all I've got for today. After church we're heading to the north side of Indy to visit with extended family and to celebrate three April birthdays.  Oldest son's was a week and a half ago, mine was last Monday, and DH's is today.  And it's supposed to be a beautiful, sunny, mid-70 degree day today. Whoo Hoo!  Can't ask for more. :^)

To see what other Yoppers are up to, visit our thread on Ravelry.  It's not too early to consider joining us for next year's Year of Projects.  I think we begin our new year on the first Sunday of July.  I (and others) will, no doubt, write more in the coming months, but for now you can come check us out and see what you think.

Have a good week, everybody!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Spring is in the air...

A short, but sweet post this week - full of the colors of spring time.

First, this week's Mandala Madness:

It brightened right up with pink and white in this last part.  It's amazing how each new layer totally transforms the layers preceding it.


And this week I'm hosting a CAL on Ravelry with this little Doily Purse:

It was a cute and fairly quick project.  Perfect for a little girl (probably preschool age) to use for her small treasures.  I adapted the pattern by simply crocheting my bag in the round (spiraling up until it was the size I wanted it to be.  The handle is crocheted from where the bag ended and attached on the other side.  It's a super simple little bag and my notes can be found on my Ravelry project page.

And that's really all the crocheting I did this week.  It's been glorious weather-wise and my attention has been turned to the outdoors.  I picked my last pretty tulip for the picture above and got the flower beds weeded, mulched and even planted some zinnia seeds.  It's a little early for planting, but it's so warm I think I'm safe.  I can't wait until I have zinnias in bloom again.  They are a feast for the eyes!

The weekend has been filled with good things - beginning with a high school drama (featuring some young friends) on Friday night and culminating with dinner at Barcelona Tapas in Indy to celebrate oldest son's 27th birthday.   It's a new restaurant for us - it ought be fun trying out and sharing the different tapas - all of which are foreign to us.  =^)

I look forward to another promising week weather-wise and more gardening to freshen up the place.   I do love this time of year...

To see what other Yoppers have been up to recently, check out our thread on Ravelry!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

No method to my madness...

No finished objects, but here's what I'm working on...

First, my progress in the Mandala Madness CAL:

I think I mentioned before that I feel a bit ambivalent about this thing, but this week I think I crossed over and have now embraced the madness.  To tell you the truth, a couple of weeks ago I saw someone else's mandala that was. I think, maybe only as far along as the star shape, and I thought it looked pretty.  So I took a leap and decided to give it a try.  I think if it had been labeled a Mystery CAL I would have remembered that I don't do mystery CALs.   But my brain did not register "mystery" when I checked it out, and only seeing fun colors and neat shapes I somehow thought "Hey that looks like fun!"

And just like that I signed up and began, every week, to torture myself over what colors I'm going to use in a project that I have no idea of what's coming next.  My hope was I  could keep it lively and bold, but not push it over the line into garish.  I torture myself no more.  Clearly, that line is behind me and there's no going back.

So I've embraced the madness.  The unpredictability of what's coming next.  My limitations at understanding color theory.  When all is said and done, I am learning some interesting stitches and the other peeps in the CAL are a friendly bunch.  So I'll continue until I decide I'm done.  And I will bravely show my progress here for next few weeks.


My Diamond Stitch Baby Blanket is coming along slowly.  Not because it's a hard pattern, but I tend to get distracted and have to rip out to correct mistakes.  I'm only a little further than this picture shows.   I really like this pattern and I imagine doing more blankets using it - maybe even an adult sized blanket.


And yesterday I started making an April Showers Doily.  It's being made in another CAL on Ravelry, but this time I knew what I was getting into.   Well...except that I've never made a doily before and I had no idea how hard it is to crochet with thread and a teeny tiny crochet hook.    While it's not the tiniest crochet hook made, this 1.5 mm crochet hook is super little for my middle-aged eyes.

To make it even more challenging I decided to add beads.  And to my dismay, the beads appear green when they're all congregated together.  When I threaded them on, they looked to be the same color as the thread so I'm hoping as I spread them out at the end of this doily they will not look so green, but will somehow take on the color of the thread (or something that goes with the thread).   And while I'm questioning my sanity I can't help but wonder already what my next crocheted thread project might be.  :^)

Visit the Year of Projects group on Ravelry to see what other Yoppers are up to this week.  You'll need a free Ravelry membership to take a look.  Come join the fun!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Yarn Along...

I'm enjoying crocheting the Diamond Stitch Baby Blanket.  It's made with an easy double crochet stitch throughout and once one gets past the first set of diamonds the pattern becomes almost intuitive.  Almost.  I keep the pattern close because once in a while I loose track and need a little help, but then I'm sailing on my way again.  I love the diamond pattern it produces:

And I'm reading my first Anne Perry book, The Face of a Stranger - the first in the series that features William Monk.  Just a little ways in and I'm pretty hooked.

Visit Ginny Sheller's Yarn Along to see what other yarn lovers are making and reading this week.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

When inspiration doesn't strike...

I've been looking forward to starting a Call the Midwife Blanket.  So this week, I did.

But after completing one section of the pattern repeat I decided I wasn't completely enthralled with it. Actually, I didn't like how it was turning out at all.  I don't know why.  I don't know if it's the yarn I'm using (Stylecraft DK), or if it just doesn't show well before it gets a good blocking.  I've had to block enough items, though, that I don't think that would turn me off from a project.  Not completely sure why I can look at pictures and love the variations that crocheters have come up with, but I look at my own start and not like it at all, I've decided to not be rash and rip it out, but to lay it aside to think on it for a while.

Then looking over in the large crochet basket, I'm reminded that I still need to finish Part 3 of the Mandala Madness CAL.  I looked at what I had so far and I didn't feel inspired by it either.  I'm still struggling with my sense of ambivalence  about the colors I've chosen to work with.

While I'm not too sure about this project either, I'm pretty committed to at least seeing it through to a small child-size blanket.  I'm choosing to look at it as an exercise in playing with color and hope for something fun - maybe even a bit whimsical when it's completed.  Not feeling convinced, I suppose, I'd not been able to bring myself to work on it for most of last week.  Let's hope I get some whimsy-vision going here.  I need to not get too far behind...

Fearing I'm lapsing into a bit of dry spell where it comes to crochet inspiration, I'm thinking I just need to do something that doesn't require a great deal of thought, but on the other hand doesn't have a pattern that is so repetitive that it numbs the mind.

Looking on Ravelry for something that might fit what I need, I came across The Diamond Stitch Baby Blanket.    What a lovely, simple design!   It's proving to be pretty perfect for what I hope are just some temporary crochet doldrums.  An almost elegant design that's just the right amount of challenge to keep me on my toes.  Unfortunately, I'm learning this the hard way, as I've found myself several times needing to rip back to a place where I hadn't bothered to count, but for some reason didn't notice it until I was a few rows beyond my mistake.  Clearly, I wasn't paying attention for a while.

There's no good reason why I'm not at least halfway into my second set of diamonds, except for my not paying attention, so hopefully now that I realize I can't "zone out" I will be more careful and get this whipped up pretty quickly.  I'm using one of my favorite acrylics, Deborah Norville's Everyday yarn, though I think most crocheters (on Ravelry) have made this pattern out of a lighter worsted, Dk, or even sport weight yarn.  As I searched my stash I found plenty of this wonderful shade of Orchid in worsted weight and I decided to go with it.  So far it seems to be working very nicely.

To see what others are working on in their Year of Projects this spring, visit this week's thread on Ravelry.  Come see what we're all about and consider joining us if it looks like fun.  If you'd like to start when we begin  a new YOP year, that happens on July 1st.

To access all the links in this post, you'll need a free Ravelry membership.  Membership is easy and the community there is greatly encouraging.