Sunday, October 8, 2017

Squares and more squares...

This past week I finished the first four squares in the Last Dance Blanket:

And I came up with this color scheme and layout (using stash yarn):

The color representations aren't completely accurate (e.g. it's hard to convey "dusty" and "clear" in the colors that are those), but I think this graphic is a fair approximation of the colors I'm planning on using.  And I kind of like it so far.  Of course, I reserve the right to change my mind about any of the colors as I go.  I've already learned that two of the colors I have yet to crochet squares for are discontinued, so right out of the gate I'm adapting my plans.

If you'd like to join a current CAL for this blanket, we're working on it together in Our Happy CAL Group on Ravelry.  We just started the second week (second square) today and the CAL will go through the end of December.

Each pattern is worked 4 times, so at the end of each week we should have four squares completed, and at the end of 12 weeks (which will be the end of December), we should have 48 squares!   And then a couple of weeks in January will be dedicated to joining and crocheting the border.  Wish me well!  And come join me, if you like!


As if that wasn't enough of a project to start this past week, I was inspired to try a square from the Stardust Melodies Blanket by gifted crochet designer, Polly Plum.  And after I crocheted that square I was so impressed by the video tutorial and how perfect and nice the square turned out, I decided to consider making a small blanket of some of the squares in this collection.

The first square I tried is called Don't Fence Me In:

I followed Polly's video tutorial (which is available at the link above) and I must say she is thorough and her instructions are easy to follow.  I look forward to making more of her designs.

Note:  Polly has published an e-book that has many more patterns (and accompanying video tutorials) for a large Stardust Melodies blanket, so check it out if you think you might be interested and want more than the 12 free patterns Polly generously provides on her website


And finally, I decided to pull out a long-languishing project.  Okay, I know some of you have projects that have languished a lot longer than this one, but I hadn't worked on this Fairly Isleish sweater since trying to block out the seriously crooked center-front edges (that was in June, I think).

What used to look like this:

Now has a straight button band on one side and a button-hole band on the other side of the center-front:

And the beginning of a toddler-sized long sleeve:

I'm going to try to get this finished!  If not by the end of this week, then by the next.  There might be a little person out there who'd be warmed by this cute little sweater and it will soon be turning chilly here.

And that's it here in my little corner of the crochet world.  The coming week promises to be busy and if I think to take some pictures, I may have something new and interesting to show and tell about next week.
Hmmm...  aren't you curious now?!?  😉

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

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Hats For Kids...

As of today, I declare my hat factory officially closed.  I don't know if 17 hats is a good number to have made in the last four weeks, or if it's a ridiculous number, but this is what I've got to show for my crocheting efforts over the last month.

Washed and dried, these hats are super soft and if they find the right heads to fit, they ought to keep some kiddos warm come winter.

I know I shared a couple of the patterns here when I first made them, but I thought I'd share all the patterns - in one place this time.  Clicking on the pictures will take you to my Ravelry project page, that will have any notes I made, as well as a link to the designer's page.  Clicking on the links in the text below the pictures will take you to a video tutorial of each hat.

The Divine Hat was probably the easiest and quickest to make, and of course I love it for that reason alone.  Because the pattern produces a hat on the large side, though, I had to tweak it a bit to get it kid-size.  Basically, I just continued with 3 dc shells, instead of enlarging to 4 dc shells where the pattern instructs, and if necessary, I switched to a smaller hook when I worked the ribbing (or started with a smaller hook if I was wanting a hat significantly smaller).   An easy hat with a ribbing that doesn't stretch as much as the others I did, but cute all the same.


Then there was the Snowfall Slouchy.  I'm not sure how much mine will slouch, but I loved how these turned out.  The size can be adjusted by creating a larger or smaller ribbing, and when beginning the hat portion, just make sure that the starting number of stitches (the stitches that transition from the ribbing to the hat portion) is a multiple of 4. 

A note on how to get the correct starting number of stitches...   After connecting the ends of my ribbing by slip stitching them together (into the back loop only), I did a round of sc's around the top edge of the ribbing with the same yarn I made the ribbing with.   I strive to get the right multiple of stitches on this round by using increase or decrease sc stitches.  Then, if changing colors, I do so with the first round of dc's, and if I didn't hit the correct multiple on my sc round, I have a second chance to get that right on the dc round.

I should mention that I love how the designer made these ribbings - watch her instructions carefully as it's  little different from other crocheted ribbings I've made.  I love it  because it makes very nice edge.   This became my go-to pattern for creating a ribbing on the rest of the hats that were made from the bottom up.


It was when making the Snowfall Slouchy hat, I discovered the Puppy Love Heart Slouchy - made by the same designer - Bethany Dearden.  This can be crocheted in any size - crochet sc's around the top of ribbing in multiples of 6 (I think).  I love how these turned out, but there is a lot of openness to this pattern, and I wasn't sure how warm and dry of a hat that would make, so I only made two of these before deciding to move on to a new pattern.


I think my favorite pattern was the Stepping Textures Hat.  The written pattern and video tutorial demonstrate how to make one of these with chunky yarn, but these can be made with any size yarn as long as one starts with a base number that is a multiple of 5.  And, again, I made a ribbing like Bethany Dearden demonstrates in her tutorial  - as opposed to the slip stitch ribbing this pattern calls for. Note: the slip stitch ribbing is wonderfully stretchy, but it's tedious to make.  More tedious that I have patience for.

The pictures below may not show every single hat, and may even show a duplicate or two, but this is what my month of hats looks like:


And I almost forgot -  After some disappointing attempts at making sturdy pom-poms, I searched for a way to make pom-poms that don't pull apart, and looky what someone came up with:

Try it!  It works pretty well!  All of the pom poms on the hats above are made using this technique.  So much for my fancy-schmancy Clover pom-pom makers!


And that would be all she wrote, but I want to invite anyone who might be interested to join in a Last Dance CAL in the Our Happy CAL group on Ravlery.  We're just getting started, so you can get in on it from the beginning if you like!

I'm making a Last Dance in the Clouds blanket and here's the first square I made last night:

The CAL will run through the end of the year with weekly installments and links to video tutorials (I think), and even a prize each month for some lucky participants.   Come join the fun!

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

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Lookin' like a hat factory here...

For a change of pace from making hats, I crocheted a pretty sunflower "doily" yesterday:

Made with Peaches & Cream worsted-weight cotton in the colors brown and gold, I made mine a few rows larger than the designer's and it measures about 9.5 inches across.

If you're interested in making your own, here is the video tutorial I used:


Otherwise, it's still looking a bit like a hat factory around here!


are gathering and awaiting their final trimming in order to be added to these:

I think I'll make just a few more hats this week and then I'll wrap up this endeavor.  At the moment, I have 13 hats crocheted and while it's tempting to set a specific goal, I think I'll just be done when I'm done.  And I think I'll be done next Sunday.  ;^)

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

Monday, September 18, 2017

Snowfall Slouchy...

A busy Sunday came and went and I was mildly inclined to skip this week's Year of Projects' post, but at the same time I wanted to show what I'm currently working on.  So here I am - even if a day late.

It's nothing fancy, or anything, but here are the latest hats I've crocheted for donating to a hats (gloves and scarves) drive for kids that will be happening in a month or so:

The pattern is called Snowfall Slouchy Hat by Bethany Dearden.  While you can find the pattern for free at the link above, Bethany has some excellent  video tutorials of several hats she's designed and I highly recommend them.  Here is the video I used to make these hats.

I'll be making more of these Snowfall Slouchy Hats and I think I'm going to try at least one other of her hat designs before I wrap up my hat-making endeavors.  I'm thinking of making a bunch of pom-poms in one session to top all of my hats, so when I next show these off, they may look a little more finished.

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

Sunday, September 10, 2017

This and that...

This post may look like I've been really busy crocheting this week, but really what's pictured are items mostly crocheted over the last few weeks, and only needed a little work to finish.   

First, I finished a couple of Scalloped Potholders:

This is a very well-written pattern that I recommend.  These potholders are two-layered and pretty thick made with Lily's Sugar 'n Cream.  Made with a thinner cotton yarn, one layer might make a nice washcloth, though.

But I like these as potholders.  I'm thinking I might make a couple more to go with a new flowery tablecloth I recently found on clearance (at Meijer), but these two are going into my Potholders For Posterity collection.  :)


Moving onto other things...  I'm happy to say I finally had success at making a couple of child-sized hats.

First, to go with this simple linen stitch scarf:

I finished this child-sized Divine Hat

And then, this weekend, I made a Stepping Texture Hat:

I found the chunky yarn too thick for making a slip-stitch ribbing that the pattern gave instructions for, so I made a ribbing using single crochets in place of slip stitches into the back loops of the row below.  Making my ribbing different from the pattern meant I also needed to adapt the beginning of the body of the hat.  It wasn't difficult, but I crocheted a row of sc's, sometimes adding sctog's until I had a total of 40 stitches I could work Rnd 1 into.  The instructions are clear and I finished this hat in just a few hours.  The stitch pattern becomes intuitive after a few rounds, and again... it's a well-written pattern that I highly recommend.

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

Sunday, September 3, 2017

A busy week...

I saw a window of opportunity and jumped on a house project this past week.  That, and otherwise trying to keep up with the stuff of life has caused me to not even give much thought to crochet - at least since mid-week.

Early in the week, though, I finished a child-sized scarf (no pattern referred to, it's just a simple linen stitch), and when I had quite a bit of yarn left over I searched high and low for a child's hat pattern that I liked and that fit the yarn I had left.  I tried a couple of different patterns, but they either turned out way too small or too large.  I was beginning to feel kind of frustrated.  But then, this afternoon I decided to give the Divine Hat a try.

So far I love the stitch pattern in this hat, and the resulting swirling ridges.  And it's working up so fast!  I didn't want to hold off posting this week, so I took an in-progress picture to share.   Laid out like it is I'm thinking it's kind of large, though.  Definitely larger than I thought it would be.

Another row or two and it will stop increasing in size, and I'll start the ribbing or whatever kind of edging I'm going to use.  But I just don't know about this.   The pattern is easy and works up fast enough that I will readily rip it out and make it a second time using smaller hooks, if I need to, but I'd really love to get this set finished.    Hopefully, next week I'll have a finish to show.

I do like the pattern, though, and I think I will make more of these.  I'm sort of on a quest to make some hats and scarves to donate this fall when the hat, scarves and mitten drives come around.  I'm hoping this hat is a success because a pretty hat produced from an easy pattern sounds like a winning combination to me!   :)

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

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Granny Triangle Scarf

Last week I found myself  disappointed with the beginnings of a knitted scarf done in Caron Cakes yarn, but this week I found a project that is perfect for them:

A Granny Triangle Scarf in the colorway, Funfetti

And another in the colorway, Cherry Chip

There is a mistake in Row 2 of the pattern - basically, there's an extra stitch sequence - that's pretty obvious as you're working it, but still...  it stopped me for a bit as I sorted out if the mistake was mine, or in the pattern.  I mention it in case anyone goes directly from here to the pattern - I figure if I can save someone a bit of time second-guessing their work, it's worth a mention.

The pattern uses one skein of Caron Cakes yarn.   An easy peasy project that makes a very satisfying finish!  

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

Sunday, August 20, 2017

A simple and sweet baby blanket...

I started the week attempting to knit a child's scarf with a Caron Cake yarn I purchased at the height of the Caron Cake frenzy, but I grew unhappy with it on several counts - 1) the yarn seemed too thin for the type of scarf I was making, and 2) I don't care for how long the color repeats are - again for the type of scarf I'm making.

Unfortunately, I cut the yarn before deciding this was an unsatisfactory project.  Fortunately, I didn't invest more time in this before deciding to call it quits.  One can always be thankful when calling it quits before something has become a too-huge of a time-sink.

So early yesterday I declared the scarf frog-worthy and I set my mind to finishing the Corner to Corner baby blanket I had begun a week or so ago.

It's a simple blanket, but I'm satisfied with how it turned out:

The yarn used was DK weight Loops & Threads Snuggly Wuggly Big! yarn.  Prior to washing, it's not the snuggly-wuggliest yarn I've ever used, but the skein was certainly big!  It weighed in at 396 grams (14 ounces), and measured 1154 meters (1263 yards) in length.   I have 52.5 grams (1.85 oz) - just over 150 meters (or 165 yards) left over - if I've done the math right.  And now I'm wondering if that's enough for a baby cap.   I'm thinking probably so - for a newborn hat?

And that's all she wrote (and hooked) this week.  To see what other Yoppers are up to, visit our thread on Ravelry.

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 than 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!

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