Sunday, April 23, 2017

Do overs...

If you check back to last week you'll possibly notice that I have changed up my Lost In Time Shawl/Scarf.

At first I was just going to rip back a bit to fix what, to me, felt like a too-wide section of teal where I had left off.  But for some reason as I ripped back, I kept ending up with a spot at the end of each row where I couldn't just pick up the yarn and start crocheting from.  It was weird and it didn't make any sense to me, but it kept happening.   It was like I was ripping the rows out backwards.  But how could I do that?

Anyway, at some point I had ripped back so far, and because I was never quite settled over the bright green popcorn stitches early on, it started to make more sense to just start this thing over.   So I did. And I've gotta say... this second try feels better to me.

I also decided to reign in my color choices - from something like eight or nine colors to just five colors.  That was a relief, as well.  While I love the riotous shawls some have made from this pattern, too many colors to figure out just made me nervous I came to realize.   With fewer colors, I was able to write out a plan for the placement of those colors - except that I've already goofed up that plan.  In the end, though, I don't think the color placement plan needs to be set in stone, but it can still serve as a guideline of sorts.  So, we'll see how I like this scarf as it progresses from here. 

I know there's really nothing exactly new here, except that I brought you into my process a bit.

Speaking of processes...

A few weeks ago I started crocheting a Corner to Corner blanket - thinking I was going to make it as simple as possible - basically, all one color, with an interesting (contrasting) border, perhaps.  Well... turns out I am really good at taking a simple-as-can-be project and making it a most complicated one.

Somehow the 10 or so skeins of yarn I had on hand to make this blanket with came from about six different dye lots.  What was I thinking?!?   Clearly I wasn't thinking at all.  I know better than to buy yarn from different dye lots - thinking I'm going to put them together in the same project.  That is never a good idea.  But none the wiser (to the fact that I had different dye lots) I just dived right in to making this blanket - all the pretty skeins of yarn looked the same to me in the basket.  And then it came time to add a second skein to my work.  And the difference was glaring.  One skein had a gray cast and one had a definite beige cast.


There was no way I was going to buy more of this yarn to make this blanket.  I also didn't want a blanket that had big sections that were different from other sections, and I didn't really didn't want to give up on it either.  Fellow Yopper, Stefanie (finding herself working with different shades of the same color on her Pink Flamingo on the Lawn sweater), had inspired me to consider how to work with this sort of problem.  Stefanie simply alternated rows between the two different yarns and the end result is she has an interesting tonal thing going in her sweater.  The problem with the C2C stitch pattern is that alternating the different dye lots among different rows won't work so well because the rows aren't made of narrow knitted stitches that run across the fabric.  The rows in a C2C pattern are fat, chunky things that run on the diagonal.  The result I would get, alternating the skeins between the rows in this blanket, would not be as subtle, or interesting as Stefanie's sweater. 

So, rather than just switch back and forth every other row (which would be depressing enough), I decided that I would rip back and start over, this time interspersing sections of the darker yarn amongst the rows made up of the lighter yarn.  Randomly.  With no plan or real forethought. Hoping for something that looked kind of intentional in its randomness.

Can you see the variations in the colors?   Do the variations look random enough?

But, of course, this method means that I can't carry the yarn.  It means that every time I change the color I have to join yarns, snip,  and then do something with the ends.  I was dutifully weaving them in, until I thought, there's got to be a better way.   And don't you know.... there are a number of better ways. 

I searched and found the Braided Join.   And the Knotless Join.  I've known for some time there is a Magic Knot, but honestly...  I have trouble feeling confident that this would truly never come undone.  While I'm going to give the Braided Join more thought and practice, so far I've been having the most success using the Russian Join.    And I'm liking it so much that until I hear some horror stories about how any of these joins have come undone, I think I may try to use these kinds of joins when making blankets in the future - especially when adding yarn of the same color.  I don't suppose these methods work very well when joining a new color at the end of row - though I'm open to hearing if there are ways to join new colors at the ends/beginnings of rows without a lot of yarn weaving, or carrying yarns?   Really, I'd love to know if that's even possible.

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

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Weekend...

I'm not sure what happened to my week, but there wasn't much crocheting or knitting except that
earlier in the week I joined The Other 11 Months Group on Ravely as they started a new CAL - The Lost In Time Shawl. The pattern is actually pretty simple, and is very well written. I highly recommend it.   Here is a progress picture of mine:

The sections that appear yellow-ish are really a lime green.  While the lime green is prettier than the yellow it is showing up as, I do kind of wish I hadn't made that "popcorn" row early on using it. It just feels so bright.  I don't regret it enough to rip back, so hopefully after I get some more length on this and more colors added, the lime green will not look so bright to me.


The weekend was busy with a Good Friday worship service, a birthday celebration, and then Easter Morning worship.  

Our Good Friday service is a combined service of 6 or 7 (at least) churches.  The church it's held in is an older country church that has a beautiful, large sanctuary.   It's a wonderful service - and to make it even better, we get to see people whose lives have intersected ours over the nearly 19 years we've lived here, but our paths have diverged for one reason or another.  It's almost like a homecoming - except that we're all meeting at a new place.

Then Saturday night we went out to eat at a unique place in Indianapolis.  Rook (with street-food inspired, Asian cuisine) is at the northeast edge of the Fountain Square area - an old, but revitalized part of Indy where pubs and restaurants and some non-food businesses line Virginia Avenue and apartment buildings are fitted in - sometimes above the eateries and sometimes angling down side streets.   It was a beautiful spring evening, with music and wonderful smells wafting out of various eateries as we walked a bit.

Oldest son requested it as a place to have his birthday dinner and while there wasn't a thing on the menu any of us could recognize, we happily obliged.  It was a fun adventure. food-wise.  Here am I with my oldest and youngest sons waiting outside for middle son and his girlfriend to arrive:

We're laughing at my husband who couldn't seem to figure out how to take a picture with my phone.

Or so we thought.  Unbeknownst to all of us, he was actually, accidentally snapping dozens and dozens of pictures.

We weren't going to get a clear picture from my phone camera if our lives depended on it, but I'll take a fuzzy, happy picture of laughter any day.


Then, this morning was Easter worship service at our church.  There's always an extra special joy on Resurrection Sunday - just as there should be.  This year we came home and I'm not doing anything else with my day except relaxing and posting this.  Normally, we get together with extended family, but no one else was making it happen, and I wasn't up to the task of making a big meal this year so we're doing the next best thing.  Resting.  Or maybe it's the best thing.  :)

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

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Yarny goodness...

I've worked a bit more on the Round Jacob's Ladder baby blanket and decided to braid up the open spaces to the point where I left off yesterday.   (The lighter blue yarn is much prettier in real life.  For some reason it wants to photograph as a grayish, sort of mint green.  The yarn I'm using is Hobby Lobby's ILTY in the colors White, Sea Blue and Arctic Blue)

I just can't get over how simple this blanket is to crochet.  To be completely honest, though, the pattern is a tad rough.  I don't point that out to be critical, but to give a heads up.  At first glance the pattern may not feel intuitive at all, but once you decipher some of the odd punctuation in the pattern, this blanket is a breeze to work up.  Seriously...   replace a period with a comma here or there (or vice versa), and you're all set.

Also... I'm participating in the Red Heart Lover's spring blanket CAL, and this week I started a Corner to Corner blanket in the fairly unimpressive colorway Aran Fleck:

It doesn't look like much at the moment, but I hope to make it more interesting with a toffee colored border.  I'm thinking that will be fitting for what I hope will  be a masculine looking throw.

Other than this and some more embroidery on my pillowcases, that's all there has been on the crafty front this week. I have a number of home projects to get going on and I'm trying to find the motivation to get them started.  Getting started is always the hardest, isn't it?  Thankfully, spring weather boosts the spirits and makes "starting" a little easier somehow.  Or so I'm telling myself right now.   I'm so very glad for tulips blooming, our having sown grass seed yesterday, and now entertaining thoughts of pretty flowers soon to be planted.  But projects and work will wait for tomorrow.  On this beautiful warm Sunday afternoon I'm going to go outside and enjoy crocheting in the fresh air. 🌞

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

Sunday, April 2, 2017

All new things...

After finishing a large project and while waiting for two new CALs (Crochet-A-Longs) to begin in April, for the last couple of weeks I've tried to content myself with some simple, small crafts.

First I knit.  And then I knit.  And then I knit some more simple dishcloth patterns.   Here are two cloths made with a pattern called Boxes:

Finally I had knit so much that one of the joints on one of my fingers started to hurt.  I obviously had overdone it, so I gave knitting a break and looked for something else to satisfy my itch to create.   I had recently bought (what I thought was) a complete kit to embroider pillowcases, and I decided to get that out.  Well, imagine my surprise when I opened the package to find stamped pillowcases, but no embroidery floss.   I've since learned that this is pretty standard, so now I know...   and I'm just glad I only paid half price for the "kit" I picked out.   Fortunately, I had some embroidery floss in my crafts stash and I was able to approximate the colors that were suggested in the pattern.   So I got busy embroidering for the first time in years.

I know...  it's super simple - with only four stitches to complete the pattern (running stitch, loop stitch, french knot and satin stitch.  I'm transported back to my young girl days when I first learned to embroider - remembering these simple stitches that probably made up very simple designs. In fact, I probably once upon a time embroidered a simple design pretty much exactly like the one above. Simple seems about right, though. It's soothing and enjoyable.

Inspired by picking embroidery back up, when I was in Jo-Ann's last week with a handful of 50% off coupons I looked through their pillowcase "kits" and chose a more involved pattern to try next.  And then when I was in the embroidery floss aisle I happened to notice that they sold packages of plain pillowcases.  Two to a set.   At half the price of the "kits".  Wow!  Using my 50% off coupons and stamping a picture on the pillowcases myself I could create my own "kit" for significantly less than buying discounted pre-stamped pillowcases.  I felt so clever.  I know... if I was really clever I would just draw a design on a pillowcase to embroider, but I'm not that clever -- yet.   Anyway... for now I am enjoying this.  And getting back to embroidery has been on my YOP list for the last two years.  Yay me!

And then yesterday being April 1st, I was able to begin crocheting along with some folks on Our Happy CAL group on Ravelry.  We are each crocheting our own Round Jacob's Ladder Baby Blanket.

When I first started creating these weird large chain spaces, I didn't know what to think:

I mean, I knew that the blanket was crocheted with all these chain spaces and somehow later something was to be done with those spaces to create the "ladder" design, but I just couldn't quite imagine how this worked.   It felt like a lot of "going on faith" to just continue on, so I went back to the CAL group on Ravelry to see what anyone else had to say.

One of the other participants in the CAL said she was able to "braid up" the loops as she went and that gave me confidence to give it a try.  Following the instructions at the end of the pattern, I braided up the rows I had completed thus far:

One, by one, each loop is pulled through the loop below it...

Until they're all braided up.

Is that cool or what?!?!  I love this.  And it's very easy to do.  Now I can crochet on, confident that in the end all the crazy big chain spaces will work together to make a pretty blanket with "ladders" radiating out like spokes on a wheel to create the intended design.   What fun it will be to watch this blanket grow.

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

Sunday, March 26, 2017

More small stuff...

Except for knitting some simple dishcloths, I didn't do much with yarn this week.  But mindless knitting was perfect for following along to what degree I did with the Senate confirmation hearings on Judge Gorsuch.  What a great learning experience I have found the hearings to be.   I have a basic understanding of the function of the Supreme Court, and what a judge does  (as do most of us, I would imagine), but watching these hearings was like having a front row seat in a civics class with lessons on the division of the three branches of government, and the role of judges in general.  If you didn't watch any of it live, I suggest finding some videos on Youtube and not depend on the news outlets (conservative or liberal) to disseminate it into sound bites.  Boring as all get out, but at the same time, fascinating to listen to.  They have been to me anyway.  😉  BTW, fellow Blogger bloggers... have we always had these emojis here on Blogger?   I just noticed them as I'm writing this post.  I find it hard to believe they were there all the time, but I guess I don't really know for sure.   

As the weekend approached I was reminded that I was to host this next week's CAL for Our Happy CAL Group on Ravelry.  It had totally slipped off my radar so I had to come up with something quick.  I found a perfect project in the Botanical Bookmark:

The pattern writer suggests DK weight yarn, but I used sport weight cotton (Omega Sinfonia) and I felt like the end result was a tad too thick for a bookmark.   I'd recommend using something thinner than sport weight - like size 3 thread or even embroidery floss for making this particular bookmark.

It is cute, though.  And speedy to whip up.  I may have taken nearly 2 hours total to make the one above, but I was going back and forth between the video tutorial and the Senate hearings, and I'm sure other things interrupted, too, so I got slowed down a bit as I made mine.  If I'd made it from start to finish it might have only taken me an hour. Really, it's that easy.  


And then on Saturday, I got a lovely surprise in the mail:

Neetsey, a fellow moderator of Our Happy CAL group on Ravelry made me this beautiful doily. Just because!  I was bowled over by her generosity - and her mad doily crocheting skills.  I didn't get a close up of the beads, but every tip has a pretty bead and every tip of the pineapples has two beads crocheted on.  

It's a beautiful item for decorating with this spring and summer.  At the moment I have a glass bowl of colorful eggs sitting on it, but I need to get something else bright for sitting on it after Easter.  The light, kind of bright green seems to beg for something like fuschia, or orchid, or turquoise, or I don't know for sure...  but something bright and colorful to go with it, don't you think?

If you're reading this, Neetsey, thank you, again.  You're too sweet!


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

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Spring is in the air...

You know... I wasn't going to post anything today because I've been feeling puny all week.  Struck with a bad cold (again), I've been under the weather. Completely unproductive.  The week was a total wash.  Or so it seemed.  As the weekend approached I didn't feel like I had anything to write about or any pictures to share.

But then this afternoon I started to feel a little better.  The sun is shining and it's warming up a bit and I'm suddenly inspired to give a little peek  at something I've been working on for the last couple of months:

I've been making and building a stash of colorful, flowery 5-inch squares that will hopefully make it into a large colorful, flower-filled blanket someday.  I know it doesn't look like much for a couple months of work, but it's a project that's going on in the background, something mindless to pick up when nothing else suits.

Some of you may recognize the flower motif in the center as the Maybelle flower from the Maybelle Flower Square.  Well, the evolution of the squares above is a story I'll tell another time (along with the pattern I've come up with that will include credits where credits are due - which is nearly everywhere else than with me), but for now it will have to suffice to thank my friend Sandra (Sam) for pointing the pretty Maybelle Flower Square out to me.   I love the pretty, simple design - and now 18 squares into the total of 80 plus I'll need to finish a largish blanket, I'm happy to say I haven't even come close to tiring of it yet.

Here in central Indiana, with temperatures in the 50's today, and with the sun shining through wispy clouds, it is the very essence of spring time.  And spring it will be here in two more days! The magnolia blossoms that popped out too early on the tree in the front yard appear doomed from last week's snow and freezing temperatures.  But I'm now thinking of the tulips that will soon be blooming along the back of the house, and the day lilies that will shortly follow them, along with potted flowers I can't get planted soon enough.  Aaahhh!   Beautiful flowers will soon replace a tired, if mild, winter here.

Yes, spring is coming!  In nature and in our spirits.  While I don't observe Lent in a traditional sense, I am aware of this season of spiritual reflection and anticipation and I am thankful for a faith that parallels the promises of spring and new life it brings forth.  Whether or not we share any commonalities in our beliefs about spiritual things, we get to witness the same new life bursting forth each spring, and revel in the gift of hope that spring brings with it as we leave the days of winter behind.  And that gift of hope is glorious!

I do realize some of you are anticipating autumn right now and some others of you have wonderful climates nearly year round, but for those of us in that vast middle place across the globe, where the seasons are pronounced and often unpredictable, spring days are a real tonic for the spirit.  And spirits are lifted in anticipation of it.

Wherever you live, I hope the coming week is a good one for you.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Moroccan Tiles

I finally finished my Moroccan Tile Blanket this past week!   

Made (almost) completely from stash yarn, this was a gratifying blanket to complete.  It's a real yarn hog, though, so it's pretty heavy.  Perfect for wrapping up in on a cold winter's night, for sure. The video tutorial (at the link above) was what I followed to make this blanket.  I don't even think I looked at the written pattern.  

I found the video tutorial pretty straight forward so I don't know that there's much to say about this blanket except that I love the colors and I'm just so happy I've finished it!   :^)

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

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Small Stuff...

It seems I've been into small, quick things lately and this past week all I've wanted to make were dishcloths.  Knitted ones, crocheted ones.  Sometimes life is like that, isn't it?  When we need simple, brainless activities, even sometimes just a repetitive activity to do while the brain is otherwise occupied.  I'm not sure what my brain was occupied with this past week, but gauging by the dishcloths I churned out (and are still in progress), you'd think I'd have solved at last a few first-world problems!

I made this new-to-me pattern, called Circle Point Washcloth:

And I knitted some simple dishcloths that I don't have a pattern for, but they're made with simple garter stitch borders and stockinette middle.  One I knitted Continental style and one I knitted English style.  And I learned something in the process...

One came out smaller than the other.  Any clue which one?  Continental or English?

Both were begun by casting on 43 stitches onto size 6 knitting needles, and I finished them off within a row or two of each other.  But the one knit English style (the one on the right) was smaller than the one knit Continental style (the one on the left) - by nearly an inch in two directions.  Studying them I could see that the one knit English style had more consistent tension throughout - I think, because it was easier to keep my purling rows tighter with English style knitting.  But boy, was it slow-going.  I'd only be guessing, but it felt as if it was taking twice as long for me to knit English as opposed to knitting Continental.

I'm not sure what this means for my knitting future.  I really prefer knitting Continental - it's faster, there's less readjusting that needs to happen (as I'm knitting, and as I turn my work) and therefore, the movements in Continental knitting feel much more efficient to me.

But will my tension ever get more consistent knitting Continental?  I've been knitting simple stockinette for some months now and I don't see that my tension is getting any more consistent.  I've come to understand that it's during purling where my tension gets loose (while knitting Continental), and I try to tighten those purl stitches up, but clearly, what you see in the top cloth above (in the picture with the kitty creamer) isn't consistent tension-wise (the shading of colors obscures the inconsistent tension, but if you look closely you can see, for example, that the stitches near the top of the cloth are tighter than the stitches in the middle of the cloth).  I don't say any of this looking for encouragement.  (And I say that because you all are such good encouragers.)  I'm simply pointing out that there is a clear difference between tension in the two ways I can knit.  And I'm beginning to wonder if tension inconsistencies are more inherent with Continental knitting, or if I still just need a lot more practice.

If you can knit both ways, which do you prefer?   Do you have the same issues I do with tension - depending on the method of knitting you use?

I always have questions when it comes to knitting, don't I?   I'm really not sure I love knitting all that much, but now that I've gotten this far I don't intend to give it up - even if all I ever seriously knit are dishcloths, I suppose.

Speaking of dishcloths...

On a Ravelry thread recently, it came up that some of us tend to accumulate a stash of knitted and crocheted dishcloths.  Over the years, I've had large stashes and then I give some away 'till I have a nearly empty box, but then before I know it I've crocheted and knitted up another stash.  It occurred to me it might be fun to get my box of fun dishcloths out and take a picture:

I've made a few more of the Circle Point washcloths, but as of Thursday of last week, this was my dishcloth stash.  There's just something kind of fun about opening up this box and seeing all the pretty colors of various kitchen cottons.  Soon there will be an occasion to give some away again and, of course, I'll take some out to use myself -- and one of these days I'll find myself with a near-empty box, starting all over again to knit and crochet cloths, and before I know it I'll have another (different) dishcloth stash!  I do love the changing nature of this "collection".  I should pull it out and take a picture of it every once in a while - just to see the evolution of my crocheting and knitting of these pretties.

Before finishing this post, here are two more Circle Point Washcloths I made late in the week:

A few notes about how I adapted the pattern: When I made these, I used a size I crochet hook and started with a chain of 15 instead of 13 - because the yarn I was using (Hobby Lobby's ILTC) is a bit thinner than the Lily's Sugar n' Cream that I used in the first one pictured at the top of this post.   Using a beginning chain that was 2 stitches longer than the pattern called for meant that every row was increased by 2 stitches (after the skipped stitch and 2 scs - this will make sense if you work the pattern).  And finally, I made 9 points (instead of 8 points like the pattern makes).  All of this made a cloth that is 8 inches wide - exactly what I was after.


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

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Another week, another square...

Wanting to make another square to go into my Blanket of Squares, I found this Crossed Square pattern in the Moogly CAL 2017 group and got right to making it:

The pattern is easy and very well-written.  After a round or two, the pattern really becomes unnecessary, though.   It did for me, anyway.

So... another square down.  Thirty-one to go!   =^/

Actually, I'm not sure how many squares I'll need for this blanket.  I'm working with a size G (4.25 mm) hook and so far my squares are pretty consistently coming out between 10 - 10 1/2 inches square.  If they're on the small side, I've been able to block them out to 10 1/2 inches.   I may end up putting an "equalizing" border around each square that will add some to that measurement, and depending on what join method I use, I guess there will be some width added there, too.   This is all new to me and I can only guess right now, but I'm thinking that what would be attractive is a blanket that is five squares running horizontal, and seven squares vertical.  That's 35 squares!   Yowza!   I best quit collecting square patterns and get cracking on making them.

In addition to the square above, here is what I've made so far that I plan to put in this blanket:

To see what other Yoppers are up to, click on the graphic below and visit our group on Ravelry.

P.S.  I'm experimenting with font size again and would love to get feedback on how this larger font comes through on your computer or reading device.   I love larger fonts, I'm just not sure how well they work for everyone else.  Thanks in advance for any feedback!


Sunday, February 19, 2017

A pair of squares...

This week I got back to making some more squares for my BAMCAL blanket.   That's Block-A-Month Crochet A-Long (just as a reminder since it's been a month since I last posted any squares).

The main square in this Month's BAMCAL was the Kaleidoscope Blossom Square.  Looking at various other samples of this square, I found when the center was worked in a solid color, a snowflake pattern was evident.  So I decided I wanted to play that up.  The colors that I thought would work best for that (in my stash of heathered yarns) were Lion Brand Heartland in Mount Rainier (the light gray) and Willow Wash in Teal Heather (the dark gray is LB Heartland in Great Smokey Mountains):

I have some mixed feelings about this square.  First of all, it was a piece of cake to make.  I found the instructions very clear.  That I liked.  I didn't care, though, for the petals on this square. The way the pattern is written, the petals stick up (away from the rest of the square) and while it's cute, I knew that would bug me eventually, so I tacked the petals down as I was weaving in yarn ends.  I'm not completely satisfied with how that turned out either, though.  The end result is I have a square that I like enough to hang onto to see what I might make out of it, but didn't care for the design enough to try to make it a second time in colors that will go better with the "bright and colorful" vision I have for my BAMCAL Blanket.  I didn't think this one through too well.   But I did learn some things.  So it's all good.  :)


The second block offered up in the BAMCAL group was the Marigold Mandala Square.   I decided to go with the Marigold idea and this my yarny interpretation:

I love how this one turned out, but the pattern was a challenge. The directions were a bit unorthodox, but fortunately, the designer provided lots of pictures so it was totally doable - if a bit tedious and long to make.

Some ponderings as I work through my second month of blocks...

This Block-A-Month idea, perhaps needs to be thought of more like a Several-Blocks-A-Month (SBAM?), if I'm going to work up enough squares to actually finish a large blanket in a year's time.  Poor color choices on my part, or designs that aren't to my liking, mean I'll probably end up doing a fair number of squares that are from sources other than the 2017 BAMCAL group.  And that's fine.  It seems everyone pretty much does that.  

Like everyone else, I imagine, I spend a fair amount of time each month perusing Ravelry for other square designs, and I'm coming up with quite a collection of miscellaneous square patterns to choose from.  Of course, that's all well and good, and the database of 1000's of patterns is one of the great features of Ravelry.  But I'm thinking the end result is that my final project will not feel so much like an "A-Long", but maybe something more like "Hey, look what I made too!"    

I guess when it comes right down to it, this picking and choosing different squares from various sources to use in my blanket suites me better than me feeling like I have to make the same thing everyone else is making.  But it does raise some questions in my mind.

For example...  if I pull a square from the Moogly CAL, or a weekly Block CAL, (or the Vanna's Choice group makes some beautiful squares!) is it proper to post a picture in the appropriate threads in those groups to share my square? That would be fun, but if I'm not actually joining in their longer "A-Long" is it appropriate to post my pictures there?   I'm curious what others of you do in this regard.  I'd especially love to hear from anyone who is a BAMCAL veteran, or a member of the other "Block CAL" groups on Ravelry.  Do you make yourself  known as a participant in other CAL groups even though you may pick and choose what blocks you make through the year?  Is there a general consensus about who posts pictures where, in the case of people choosing square designs from various places?  Is there a proper etiquette or protocol?  Does anyone really care?   Am I overthinking this?  You don't have to answer that - I overthink everything.   I overthink - therefore I am.    Do my questions make any sense?    

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

Sunday, February 12, 2017


I must have been struck by Cupid's bow recently, as I've been a bit on heart kick.

A couple of weeks ago I made two different hearts out of the same Granny Sweetheart pattern:

First a hotpad sized heart:
Made out of Lily's Sugar 'n Cream yarns and crocheted with extra rows.

And then a sweet little coaster-sized heart from the same pattern:
Crocheted from Patons Grace sport weight cotton yarn.

And this week I finished this small Heart's Desire doily out of Omega Sinfonia sport-weight cotton:
I love how the hearts are a little bit funky in this doily. :)   Elongated and tilted, they're practically dancing - and they make me smile.  I kind of wish I'd made it in a bolder, or a non-traditional color, but even in a too-sweet pink, it says "fun" to me.  


Last night we celebrated middle son's 25th birthday.  A quarter of a century ago he was born!!!  How do my three sons just keep getting older while I still feel like their 30-40 something year-old Momma. Okay...  of course my body doesn't feel like I'm still in my 30's (or 40's), but in my heart it feels like just yesterday I was that young, and in my mind I can be there in a second.   ;^)

Which reminds me... this past week I had a sweet conversation with a friend (who's a bit older than me).  We talked about how our bodies age (and we certainly feel it), but in our hearts, we just don't feel ourselves aging.  It's an interesting phenomenon that some of you younger readers may not recognize yet (or surely don't recognize as profoundly as you will when older).  I imagine I don't yet feel it the way, say, an 80 year-old does.    But I suspect this happens to everyone who lives long enough to feel their body aging.  It's both a sweet and hard thing thing to feel younger in spirit than one's physical years.

Our bodies sometimes age us out of certain activities or fashions, sometimes language even, but our hearts still embrace these things (even if only in our memories - even if we laugh at ourselves remembering go-go boots and mini skirts, or granny glasses and bell bottoms ).  I smiled when my friend referred to something "cool".  I still say things are "cool", or sometimes "neat".   I can't help myself.  It just comes out.  I wonder, sometimes, if my youngers hear this and think that's just too weird, or does my generation, and the one before, satisfactorily own the lingo?  Will I still be using words like "cool" or "neat" when I'm 85?  If I get there, I sure hope so!  ;^)
I want to live young at heart.  Not in a cliche sort of way - always looking for fun, or being silly or always laughing.  Not that a happy spirit isn't desirable and something to strive for.  But I'm talking about having a freshness and openness of spirit that youth often provides.  An openness to the future, and to change.   A wonder about people.  A delight and vulnerability in giving and receiving love.   I don't know exactly what this should look like (since I don't know how my future will play out), but I'd like a young-heartedness to be a hallmark of my life as I  "age on".   I'll have to check back in on this in another 10 years or so and see how I'm doing...   ;^)

But today, as we approach Valentines' Day, I wish for big, fearless and, if possible, happy hearts for all of us.

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Sunday, February 5, 2017

Friendly Flying Tams...

My crocheting was inspired by "friendship" this week.  :)  

We knew we would be visiting with friends on Friday night and enjoying pizza and a movie with them.  While I don't want to be presumptuous (especially if they're reading this ;^), but pizza and a movie seems to have become something of an irregular, every once in a while, whenever someone is inspired, sort of thing for us and this family.  And we love it!   

The kids are young and remind us of when our boys were little, but that's not why we enjoy them so much.  We enjoy them because, well...  they just emanate love and acceptance of us.  Such a simple thing, but yet it feels absolutely huge in this busy, often disconnected world we live in.  We consider their friendship a real gift and we are so very thankful for friends like these that span the years and the many seasons of life.  

With permission from their mother, I share the children's four sweet faces.  

In case you're wondering what they're all wearing on their heads, well...  I'm getting to it.

Looking forward to the visit, I got the idea that it would be fun to crochet something for each of the kids.  As I was looking online for ideas, I remembered this flying disc I had made last summer (during the Ravellenics):

And thought that it fit the bill perfectly.  

So I got to hooking, and by Thursday night I had three more:

This pattern is a good first color-work project (for someone who's adept at pattern reading) and the end result is a fun flying disc that anyone of any age would enjoy playing with.   Or those with smaller heads, wearing like a tam hat.  :)

I've made these in the past out of cotton (the first time I made them they went into some Samaritan's Purse Christmas Child boxes), but I've decided I actually prefer them made out of acrylic yarn.  Made of acrylic, they're very lightweight (which makes them safer to fly indoors), but they hold their shape well because the single crochet makes a dense fabric.  They're also machine washable so I have little concern about the colors bleeding, or little worry about a change in shape or size with a wash.  I found them kind of fun to make and have a feeling I'll be seeing more of these in my crochet future.  :)

And hopefully, we'll be seeing more of these in our future, too:

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