2020 30-Day Minimalism Challenge

Sunday, December 31, 2017

A fine finish to 2017...

It's the last day of 2017 and I'm so happy to have finished a project that's been languishing now for several months.

My Lost In Time Shawl/scarf is finally blocked, tassled, and ends woven in:

I'm mostly pleased with it, but I'm tempted to regret my tassels.  Not that I made tassels, but that I used all the colors in my scarf in the tassels.  They look a little clown-like to me.

And what's up with all those uneven ends?!?   I've trimmed these things at least a half a dozen times.  But then I take a picture and they're shaggy again.   And  maybe they're too long?  I don't know.  I can always trim them up (again), but I don't really know what size (length) of tassel looks best on a shawl like this.  I'm open to suggestions.

One thing I'm very pleased with is how I finished off the edges:

Basically, I followed the instructions for the border, but when I made the picots, I caught that stitch in the back of the corresponding stitch in the last row of the shawl itself (catching up, also, the chain-5 in the first row of the border.  None of that will be clear unless you're making the shawl for yourself.  I'm just making note of this for myself to remember in the future, and for anyone else who may be curious how I did that.  Basically, it eliminates the dangling border that the pattern creates.

I want to make another one of these - the pattern is that easy.  But next time I want to use a self-striping yarn (like Red Heart Unforgettable, or Lion Brand's Mandala yarn).  Or...  this shawl is beautiful done in a single color, too.  Mine above is made using Stylecraft Batik.  I love the stonewashed look of this yarn and the easy care of 80% acrylic and 20% wool fibers.

I won't be making it again too soon, though.  I've got my sights set on some other projects.  I have more projects that have also been languishing, and I'm hosting a CAL in the Our Happy CAL Place on Ravelry in January where the theme is Pillows.   So it looks like I'll be making a pillow here shortly...   I'm thinking of using the first two weeks of the Elements blanket to make a pillow.

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

Happy New Year, everyone!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Eve...

First of all, do not adjust your monitor, or clean your glasses.  The pictures below truly are as blurry as they appear.  Why I'm sharing them is anyone's guess, but I'll at least keep them small so as to minimize the chance of you getting nauseous viewing them.

I originally had no intention of even posting today, but our sons are out spending some time together tonight and hubs and I are home relaxing after our Christmas Eve service and I'm (rather disappointedly) perusing fuzzy photos of the day and I thought, "Oh, why not?"  Someday, someone may be happy to have even a fuzzy picture of me since I so rarely pose for a photo.

So here goes...

Just before unwrapping presents, hubby snapped a picture of me relaxing in the recliner:
Pay no attention to the date stamp.  Not only could we not manage 
to get any pictures in focus, but we didn't realize the date stamp was off by 5 1/2 years..

I didn't pick up my crochet hook all week, but here's a picture
with me and the best things I have ever had a part in making:

We're not normally so "cheesy", but someone was misbehavin' and 
it was all we could do to hold still.

                                                                     Of course, I'd never rat out the misbehavin' one...

After dinner and a game (that I can barely comprehend  - Sentinels of the Multiverse) my husband and I headed to church in the driving snow for our Christmas Eve service because we had sound and computer duty.  And the boys headed to the eldest brother's apartment (for more games, I'm sure).

The Christmas Eve service was lovely as always and since the projector wasn't working, hubs was relieved of computer duty and had nothing better to do than snap pictures of me on the soundboard.  It was dark and, of course, the pictures are grainy and out of focus.   Mixing sound was the most creative thing I did all week:
I love running a soundboard, but just between you and me, I much
prefer mixing sound on an analog board.  That said, our new digital
mixer sure looks pretty when it's all lit up in Christmas colors.   😃

                                                                          And this view of the sanctuary lit up by candle light 
                                                                                         was my favorite one all week:

And that was my Christmas Eve.  Tomorrow we spend part of the day with the in-laws at husband's parents - and will take more fuzzy pictures, no doubt!

For now... Merry Christmas!  Happy Hollerdays!  Find Joy!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Getting back to a special shawl...

Unlike so many of my crafting buddies, I didn't make a single Christmas gift this year (and at this point have no intention to), so this upcoming week I think I'll focus on trying to finish my Lost in Time Shawl/Scarf.   That is, between any days I may be called to work and any Christmas preparations I may find myself busy with.  I'm hoping for a quiet week of cleaning, cooking and crocheting.  Not necessarily in that order.  😉

I haven't touched this project for months now and I'm afraid I'm going to have become reacquainted with the pattern.  If I remember correctly, though,  it is nearly finished and maybe only needs the final round crocheted and some tassels added (I think I want tassels) and I should be done.   As long as I like the size, it doesn't need blocking.  I don't know if most people block theirs because they want it to be larger, or if other yarns didn't behave as nicely as this yarn did for me.  The yarn I'm using is Stylecraft Batik.  I love it.

I have a new (purple) coat on its way to me.  I'm hoping to have this scarf finished soon and, assuming my new coat fits, I'm hoping it's chilly enough to wear it and and this scarf for Christmas.  Merry Christmas to me!  😊

And on that note, I doubt that I'll be in here next weekend (seeing as Sunday is Christmas Eve, that will be a busy day I think) so today let me say Merry Christmas to you!  Hopefully, I'll be back by New Year's Eve and can show this pretty scarf complete and tasseled.  

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

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Bethlehem stars and tiny baby hats...

Guess what.  No squares this week!   It wasn't my intention to give no attention to my Last Dance blanket, but when I saw these Bethlehem Stars posted to Ravelry early in the week I just had to make some.

The first one I made with Stylecraft Batik:

It turned out cute, but a bit floppy made with mostly 80% acrylic, 20% wool DK yarn.  A little spray starch just before steam-blocking helped, though.

Then, remembering that I was wanting to make a project for the December Red Heart Lovers CAL, I got the idea to use my Aunt Lydia, size 3 crochet thread.  Coats and Clark produces both Red Heart and Aunt Lydia's threads and somehow that makes Aunt Lydia products eligible for using for the Red Heart Lovers CALs.  So I guess maybe the CALs are actually sponsored by Coats and Clark.  I don't totally understand how all that works, I just participate because it's a great group of people.

Unfortunately, the colors are limited in this size thread, but for some reason I was attracted to the red and brown. I decided to crochet one double-stranded.  Can you see the mistake I made?

I crocheted two rows of the red and tan color on only two points (the two points on the right side of the picture).  Starching, steaming and stretching helped, but it makes me a little nutty knowing I did that and didn't even take a good look at it until after I had woven in all the ends.

Then I wondered what the stars would look crocheted with just single a strand of each color:
Actually, I think might like them better. Though I'm not sure about the tan color.  It turns these a bit too...  I don't know...  rustic, maybe?  For my liking anyway.  They are a little smaller than the first one (they are between 4 1/2 and 5 inches from point to point).

By the way, all I did to "block" these was spray some starch on them, work the starch into the fabric and lay them to dry.  I steamed them for good measure, but I didn't need to pin them at all - and they dried just perfect.  Ready to hang.

Then I wondered what would happen if I added pink to the red and brown.  Remember, my choices are pretty limited here.
Hmmm...   I kind of like these colors together  Maybe a garland of these would be fun?

I'm honestly not sure what I'll do with these stars, but they are seriously addicting to make.  Something tells me I haven't made my last one yet.    As is, these would make nifty Christmas tree ornaments, or as I said, I think they'd make a fun garland.  I just don't have a place to put a garland of red and pink stars...

I would have kept making stars, but I remembered late in the week I was supposed to host a CAL in the Our Happy CAL Place on Ravelry this weekend.  The theme this week is Charity, so I set myself to making a baby hat.  This tiny Knot Hat measures only 10 1/2 inches in circumference:
But I ask you...  is there baby head anywhere that is that small?  I know I've lost all perspective on the sizes of baby heads, but I'm thinking this is surely too small - even for most preemies.  Also, the pattern said to slip stitch around the edge.  That was a huge mistake, but I didn't realize it until my ends were all woven in and snipped.  The edge of the hat is so very small and the slip stitch edge makes it not stretchy - at all.   I'm afraid if someone actually managed to get this on a baby's head, it might not ever come off.   

So I'm thinking this hat is a fail.  But before I try it again, let me ask...  is this top knot style even cute anymore?  If you never thought it was cute, spare me, but if you once thought it was, or if you think it still passes for a cutie-pie baby hat, I'd like to know before I summon up the gumption to make another, bigger one.  That long skinny tube that makes the topknot was actually the hardest part to crochet.   I love the idea of something on top and since embellishments on charity hats are discouraged, a little flair that's part of the "fabric" feels like a fun thing.

Since the hat above was a disappointment and took longer than I wanted to spend on a second one, I tried another pattern. I had had success with the Snowfall Slouchy this autumn, and I figured I could size it down for a newborn.    I kind of love how it turned out:
And I love how the snowflakes look like little hearts.

This hat is only about 11 inches around, but the ribbing stretches.  I love the top knot on the hat above, but this second hat was a more satisfying finish.  I'm not sure I'm really up to making more hats this year, but this pattern is definitely a keeper.

And that's all she wrote!

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

Sunday, December 3, 2017

More Squares...

Short and sweet is this week's post - with my only crocheting being finishing and blocking the two designs I was working on last week.  This puts me exactly at the half-way mark for finishing the squares for my Last Dance blanket.

This first one is Week #8's square:
I loved doing this waffle stitch

And this second square is a replacement for another square in the collection I didn't care so much for:
This slightly puffy pattern is made by crocheting a series of double crochet cluster stitches.  I loved this stitch, too.

Slowly, but steadily I'm working my way toward a complete blanket!    

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