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.


  1. It's so fun to see crochet which is a nice change from knitting. The start of your new blanket is unique. The dishcloths look great and handy. The embroidery is wonderful. How special those pillowcases will be.

  2. The is such a cool technique. I love seeing how crocheting can be more than just granny squares.

  3. Your knitted cloths are excellent. Embroidered pillowcases...........That is what I was trained on too. What an interesting crocheted blanket. Looking forward to seeing next weeks progress.

    1. Thanks, Marsha. I'll tell you a secret, though. shhhh The cloth on the bottom has a big mistake in it (two rows are knitted incorrectly - and it shows - it's just very strategically hidden by the cloth laying on top of it. I kept ripping back to correct it, but the mistake kept happening. I finally decided to just knit it up and call it done. That cloth will go into my kitchen drawer after it's washed, but the top one will go in my gift box. The design was a bit tedious to get right (it's simple and repetitious, but so easy to make a mistake and very hard to correct - for me, anyway). I love the final effect it makes, though so I think I'll be making more cloths from it now that I completed one that looks decent.

  4. It's funny that on my walk! It's funny that just this morning I was pondering on how to combine three different yarns for a baby blanket, and then I come home and read your post to find the perfect solution! I have a tea cozy pattern that uses that technique ( I had no idea it was called 'Jacob's Ladder') and it stumped me at first too. It does make for a neat effect.
    I just love embroidery: my Mum taught me when I was five or six in anticipation of an upcoming long plane trip. The design was a little bunny wearing a winter hat. Of course I never finished it but I remember it so clearly. I'm about to start an embroidery project too, but your pillowcases have my mind all fired up!
    Have fun!

    1. I love that you were thinking of crochet as you were taking your walk, Jenn. Can't wait to see your tea cozy using this technique. I'd love to have some of the embroidery work I did as a young girl - it would be fun to see how simple and maybe even awful it actually was. I have some cross stitch and crewel work that I did over 30 years ago (before having children), but I have no embroidery work from my childhood. Maybe I never actually finished any of it, either. lol

  5. You always do the best work in anything you set out to do! Your knitting is perfect, your embroidery and your crochet! I love the dish cloths as I prefer those without holes and that pattern looks nice and thick and serviceable! I'll be making some of those! Also, your embroidery is so pretty and I love the oval hoop! I too have wanted to make some embroidered pillowcases for years. I love the old fashioned pillowcases and dresser scarves that my Aunt Edna made for me when I was young. I still have one but unfortunately all the stitches are practically gone it is so old but I cherish it.
    Your baby blanket is amazing on how that pattern works! I've never seen anything like it and it is very cool looking when you're done. If I had to pick a next door would be at the top of the list! Thank you for so much inspiration you have given me! You don't know how much I look forward to your posts. Have a great week!

    1. Thank you for such encouraging words, Sandra. I'm sure I'd enjoy you as a neighbor, too. You're funny and kind and you do such interesting and creative things. What a gift it would be to have a friend who lives close (like a neighbor) who enjoys these types of creative pursuits.

      I, too, prefer a dishcloth that doesn't have holes. This cloth, done in Hobby Lobby's I Love This Cotton yarn is the perfect weight and drape. See my notes on my Ravelry page if you're interested in the particulars on mine above. The oval embroidery hoop I found at Hobby Lobby. I was working with a small circular one, but the slightly larger oval hoop makes embroidering these longer designs much more pleasant. My inspiration to embroider some pillowcases was that the ones we received as wedding gifts (from DH's grandmother), and some I had that my grandmother had made (before I was born, I'm sure) had worn out and I wanted to replace them. Knowing how much I've enjoyed using them, I think embroidered pillowcases would make terrific gifts. I didn't recognize them as such when I first received them, but over the years I realized just how special they were. So I'm going to continue to tradition. :)