Sunday, March 17, 2019

A happy hooky week...

Having slain the slump, I continued in my productivity this past week.  And having reacquainted myself with thread and steel hook, I found myself wanting to make some more doilies.

First I made a small Doily #8 from the book 99 Little Doilies:
I call this 6 1/2 inch wide doily Circle of Leaves

And then I made a third Winter's Breath Doily (having given away the first two I made last year):
Winter's Breath measures right at 8 inches across

The thread used is Artiste Mercerized Egyptian Cotton thread available at Hobby Lobby.  It is so tempting to go check out what new colors they might have stocked since last summer, but I must not.  Stepping foot in Hobby Lobby is dangerous business while I'm on a yarn buying moratorium. 


And lastly, I finished the ribbed scarf I started two weeks ago:

I just love this easy-to-knit stitch pattern.  It's so squishy and stretchy.  And combining two different yarns makes for a seemingly infinite number of unique scarves one can knit up.  This is made with Red Heart With Love in the color Boysenberry, combined with Red Heart Unforgettable in the colorway Stained Glass.   I love how I can get a fun striped scarf with very few ends to weave in when I'm done!

And that wraps up another week of yarny makes.  

To see what other YOPers are up to, 

2019 Yarn Stash-Down progress:  31.9/100 skeins

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Slaying the slump...

I don't know how strongly it came through my post last week, but I was feeling a serious slump coming on when it comes to yarn.  So much so, I contemplated taking the week off and just not worrying about a post for today.

Well, somewhere between that thought and the end of the week, I visited Stef's Crafts with Wool Paper Fabric blog (specifically this post) and I was suddenly prodded to not give in to the slump.  And actually to think more intentionally about my crafting.  I don't know if it was her mention of Kondoing, or her sweet nephews being interested in her yarn and how she was going to encourage them in that, but somewhere in that post I felt something nudge me.  Something that said, "Don't give in to the slump.  Not just yet."
Click the image to read an article on  ideas for overcoming "the slump".

Now, I'm not saying it's wrong to give in to the slump.   There are times when putting our crafts away for a time is exactly the thing we need to do.  Maybe we just want to embrace the slump for a while.  Go right ahead.  No guilt required.

But I knew what was going on with me was something I didn't want to give in to.  Not just yet, anyway.  :)   So I started thinking of how I could be intentional about things.  

Well, first of all, I decided to dust off an old project.  It was so close to being finished, but for some reason I hadn't wanted to face it for the last six months.   When I finally got it out and found my place again, it was oh so quick to finish.

I've nicknamed it Pineapple Square Doily.  If you'd prefer to know it by its given name, it's the one and only #11 in the book, 99 Little Doilies.

While I had to find my thread fingers again (you know... like you have to find your land legs after being on the water for a while, my fingers had to get use to working with thread after crocheting with worsted and bulky yarn for six months).  But once I did, this little cheerful doily finished up pretty quickly.

Then, I decided to stop being picky about what to do with that pink yarn I was struggling with last week and just make another C2C baby blanket and call it good.   C2C makes a pretty pattern in a solid color yarn:
So what if I just made one in blue?  😉

And I stopped waffling over what two yarns to combine in a knitted scarf I want to make.  I settled on a thick yarn (Red Heart With Love) and an odd single skein of RH Unforgettable self-striping yarn.  I put them together and I'm now a quarter of the way finished with that project.

All of a sudden I'm out of my slump and on a roll.  I'm already looking at doily patterns and wondering what I'll do next.   I don't know how long this will last, but for now, the slump has slithered away!

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

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Goodbye February!

Even though spring is more 3 weeks away, it's March and that means spring's a comin'!  And I am soooo glad about it.

February was not an normal month for me.  There were busy weeks sprinkled with long quiet, unproductive days all which left me feeling a bit - I don't know... kind of unsettled.  Or maybe just feeling kind of dull.  It wasn't bad - not by any means.  But I'm glad it's passed.  Goodbye February!

Last week was a mostly busy week that found my crojo waning, but I did manage to get this little baby blanket finished:

It's a simple Corner to Corner stitch pattern with a border made up of linen stitch, finished off with a sweet little scallop. 

There's just not much to say about it except, "another project finished, another one of those huge 1-lb skeins out of my stash!"  Yippee!

Late in the week I tried crocheting a pink baby blanket (with another of those huge 1-lb skeins), but the pattern calls for a hook that is larger than would normally be suitable for the yarn and the result is lots of splitting.  Ugh.  I've tried off and on in my free moments this weekend to keep going, but I'm calling it quits.  
The stitch pattern isn't inspiring me, and I really dislike working with a hook that is too large for the yarn.  Bah.  I'm putting it in time out for a bit while I decide what to do here.  


A yarny side note:

Last night we had friends over for pizza and a movie (it's a tradition we started with this family a couple of years ago).  We don't have enough seating for everyone, so three of the kids sprawled on cushions on the floor and covered themselves up with blankets.   I wish I had thought to take a picture.  The ones on the floor each chose a different crocheted blanket I had made -- the little girl asking for a specific one - she even asked me privately if she could use the one she had picked out the last time.  It was her favorite, she said.  That just melted my heart.

I'd love to give this blanket to her, but I'm also tickled that it's a special blanket she enjoys using when we host Dinner & a Movie Night at our house.  I'm well aware that we are making some good memories with this family and the power of a memory of a special blanket used when visiting could be greater than the everyday pleasure of owning it.   Then again, she might just swoon over it every time she enters her bedroom (it's big enough to cover a twin size bed).  And then again, she might just get tired of it if she saw it everyday and eventually she'd realize just how gawdy it is - and that it goes with nothing, really. 

Not to make more of this than it is, but while I'm mulling over the above thoughts, I'm curious if anyone has a thought to share.  Don't feel like you have to have a thought.  I'm just letting  you into my brain today.  Welcome.  😊

Meanwhile... to see what other YOPers are up to, 

yes, it is snowing again today...

2019 Yarn Stash-Down progress:  25.44/100 skeins

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Random yarny makes...

It seems I accomplished very little (yarn-wise) early in the week, and then suddenly had a burst of yarny enthusiasm the last few days.

This past week in Our Happy CAL Place on Ravelry, some of us made these cute Heart Pocket Note Holders.  When I first saw the project I knew I wanted to make one to hang above my kitchen calendar to hold pens that I use to write stuff down with:
I feel kind of silly loving something so kitschy.  But I do!

And see how well it coordinates with my calendar, 
and it fills the purpose I envisioned for it perfectly:

By the way, the flower pattern was found here.  It is not part of the note holder pattern - in case anyone is interested.


And then yesterday a new CAL was offered up for these Bowl Cozies:   

Now, let me be clear...  my bowl cozy did not turn out at all like it was supposed to.  Mine did not take on a bowl shape, though to be honest I only made mine single layered, so that is possibly why.  While single-layered is satisfactory for "insulation", mine was pretty floppy and ultimately useless.

Not wanting to give up, I looked at others' projects and noticed that someone else had pinched in the corners so I gave that a try.  That did make it cozier and I look forward to giving it a try in the microwave soon.   The pattern worked out correctly for more people than not, so don't let my flub dissuade you from giving the pattern a go if you like the idea of one of these things.

And being the last Sunday of February, I counted up my knitted (and one crocheted) dishcloth made this month.  Ten new cloths added to the gift/use some day box:


To see what other YOPers are up to, 

2019 Yarn Stash-Down progress:  22.53/100 skeins

Sunday, February 17, 2019

A sweetheart of a blanket...

A short and sweet post this week 
to show my finished Sweet Heart Blanket:
I love how when the blanket is stretched a bit 
the shell stitches look like columns of hearts.  

Sort of.
What do you think?

At any rate, I'm please enough with how it turned out, and I'm super glad to be finished  - and to be finished second guessing my color selections!   

In case anyone is remotely curious about the pattern, it was found in an old book I own called Weekend Afghans.  The pattern name is Corn on the Cob (because it was originally done in a bright yellow).  

But I like Sweet Heart Blanket much better.   😊

This picture shows all six colors.
(The lightest pink doesn't show in the first picture above.)

And now... on to other projects!  
To see what other YOPers are up to, 

2019 Yarn Stash-Down progress:  19.56/100 skeins

Sunday, February 10, 2019

My fickle sweet hearts...

Here today with a very short progress report on my Sweetheart Blanket.   After much second guessing, ripping back, and re-crocheting, I've probably (in terms of effort) made this blanket over at least two times by now.  
Oddly...  as tired as I am of crocheting this blanket, I really do like the design of it.  I keep imagining various other color combinations, but I dare not start another before this one is finished (or, I suppose, given up on).  Bottom line is I know I don't have a perfect gradient of colors in my stash for making an ombre like I'd like.  And in retrospect, I wish I had just gone with some fun colors (as opposed to shades of pink/red), but seriously...  I've come too far to just give up, I feel.

Wish me well as I add the last two colors and finish this project this week!

To see what other YOPers are up to, 

Just to prove spring did not actually arrive early last weekend (when I was sitting outside on my deck in shirt sleeves crocheting), this picture more accurately depicts early February in central Indiana (taken this afternoon 2/10):

But no complaints here.  Tomorrow is supposed to be in the high 40's!   And Tuesday in the 50's!  Before it turns cold and snows again...  How many times can I say what a crazy winter we're having?!?

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Can you see the hearts?

With all the fussing around with yarn I did this week (and nothing but time on my hands due to the frigid weather and no where I had to go), I have surprisingly little to show this week.

During February in Our Happy Cal Place we're making baby/child/lap blankets.  So early in the week I pulled out various blues and teals from my stash, intent on making an ombre blanket.   I even started several ripple-patterned blankets, but for one reason or another each one of them got frogged before I got very far in. Either my counts were off, or I wasn't happy with my yarn - I tried two or three different days to make it work, but I finally decided it just wasn't meant to be.

Giving up on that idea, and needing something that didn't require many brain cells (because I had used so many up on my failed teal ombre blanket) I finally just decided to pull out my last jumbo skein of Loops & Threads Snuggly Wuggly Big! yarn (that name makes me giggle every time) and start making a simple C2C (Corner to Corner) baby blanket. I'm maybe a third of the way finished:


Now, I had earlier pulled aside some shades of pink and coral to make a second blanket, but the CAL for that (in the Red Heart Lovers group) had a definite start date of February 1st.  So there was no working on that early.  But Friday finally arrived and I've gotten this much done on a child-sized blanket I'm calling Sweetheart Blanket:

 Do you see the hearts?    


Let me turn it around...
Do you see them now?

How about if I stretch on the fabric a bit?

For some reason, when I saw this blanket in a book (and it was a yellow blanket, mind you) I saw hearts.  I thought crocheting it in shades of pink it would be undeniably a blanket of hearts.  But today I'm not seeing hearts.  Not unless I squint my eyes and cock my head a little to the right.  Then I can almost imagine hearts.

Ah well..  it should be a fun experiment with color, anyway, as I've not tried making an ombre blanket before.  Honestly, it won't be a true ombre since (I think) there will be corals in the middle, but I'm hoping it sort of approximates ombre.  Sort of approximates works for me at this point.

Check back next week to see my progress!  And to see what other YOPers are up to, visit our group on Ravelry!

I feel a little silly with this snow-background graphic today.  After temps in the negatives °F last week, today we're in the mid-50's!   Ahhh.... Midwest winters are nothing if not interesting.    It's tempting to imagine it's spring, but snow's in the forecast again after this week so I'm not packing away my winter graphics yet!

2019 Yarn Stash-Down progress:  12.5/100 skeins


Mid-Sunday afternoon I had to come back and add this.

Just four days after the polar vortex had us braving (or sheltering from) near record frigid temperatures, it has warmed up to 64°F  and I'm sitting in the sun, on my deck, in shirt sleeves, crocheting.  It's almost too warm to have this blanket on my lap.

On February 3rd!   Outside!!!!

I know cold weather and snow will return, but today I'm saying, "Good Riddance, Polar Vortex!  I hope I don't see the likes of you again anytime soon."

Sunday, January 27, 2019

I am such a square...

Two years ago I joined the 2017 BAMCAL group on Ravelry.  For the uninitiated, BAMCAL stands for Block-A-Month Crochet-A-Long.  The idea is you  make two blocks each month and by year's end you'll have enough for a blanket.  


That first year, I was excited and early on I made a number of blocks - mostly playing with colors, but I eventually made four blocks that helped me settle on my colors and were acceptable for putting toward a blanket I hoped to finish that year.

Here they are (again), for the record:

Then, in 2018, with the renewed enthusiasm that a new year brings, I joined the 2018 BAMCAL group and declared my intentions of making more blocks and hopefully finishing a BAMCAL blanket by year's end.

I made a total of zero squares in 2018.

So this year, I again jumped into the 2019 BAMCAL group, with lots of enthusiasm, but having a more realistic view of my likely progress I make no more declarations of when this project will finish. 

Finding myself in a bit of a lull between larger projects, this past week I decided to make a couple of new squares.  This was, in fact, the only crocheting I managed to get in finally - when things slowed down late in the week.

The first square I crocheted was Eye of the Beholder:

This was a fun square to see made by different people - That's always true, of course, but this square changed dramatically with different color placements.  If you don't believe me, you can scroll through the Ravelry thread here.

Then, rather than do the second square (which was too open of a pattern for what I want in this blanket), I searched the archives and found Hope Still:

This square was a bear, to be honest, but the finished effect was worth all the effort.  My advice if you chose to make this square...  Don't work it when you're tired, breathe deep, take it slowly, and take breaks.  And most importantly... trust the instructions.    'Nuff said.  

With two squares successfully made in January of 2019 I'm in love with the idea of a BAMCAL blanket again, and my colors.  All is well.

Regardless of how many squares I make this year, this is one of those projects that will eventually get finished.  Hhmm... there I go making declarations again.  Let's just say that's my plan, anyway.  If I live long enough.  


I mentioned earlier in the month that I would be working on whittling down my kitchen cotton stash this year by always having a dishcloth or washcloth on the needles or hook.  Well, I forgot to mention hotpads.  I still have something of a fascination with hotpads.  😊

Seeing someone else's Pinwheel Hotpad recently, I was inspired to try my hand at making one:

Here's the thing, though...  Since I referred to two patterns and two videos to complete this pinwheel shaped hotpad, I really don't have a pattern to recommend.  If you want to make one, search for pinwheel hotpad.  It was fun, and not even difficult, but without a single pattern to refer to, I'm honestly not likely to make any more.  That said, I'm happy I made it as I've been curious about how these are made for some time.  My curiosity is now satisfied.  😉 

And the following pretties will be added to my dish/washcloth box for using or giving away at some point:

Patterns (or stitch patterns) used in the above cloths:

Simple garter stitch 
Simple stockinette stitch (with garter stitch borders)
Boxes Dishcloth - remains my personal favorite
My Heart Dishcloth  - this would make a sweet child's washcloth 


To see what other YOPers are up to, 

2019 Yarn Stash-Down progress:  12/100 skeins

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Baby, It's Cold Outside (and chilly inside for that matter)...

My short, elbow-length poncho is finished!  Here it is finally:
Lace-Edged Poncho pattern is here

If you click on the link to check out the original design you'll notice that mine looks a bit different. I decided to make the top part longer, and dispense with the original lace edge (which appears to be maybe 4-6 inches long. Instead, after making a longer top part, I used border #5 from the book, Around the Corner Crochet Borders by Edie Eckman for the edging.

It's a slightly lacy scalloped border that I think suits rest of the poncho.

I'll be honest... I was growing ambivalent about this project as I worked on it this past week. I second guessed my yarn colors, kept trying to figure out some sort of interesting striping, and in my efforts to enlarge it a bit (to fit around my... well, myself) I worried that I was either making it too large or not large enough. With all of these things there was a fair amount or ripping back and redoing that happened, all the while I just wasn't sure how it would suit me.

Well... After I took the pictures (above) I've been wearing it pretty much non-stop this weekend. It's a perfect thing for wearing while sitting here typing on my keyboard. Or while knitting or crocheting. Because it doesn't come much beyond my elbows, I can even do dishes in it. It's essentially like wearing a shawl, but I don't have to adjust it (or pin it) to get it to sit still and mostly stay put.

A perfect finish for the deep freeze that descended on the upper Midwest this weekend. 😊


And, now, since I said I would do it (and I truly believed I could), I kept up the temperature scarf most of the past week...  But I've finally decided to give up on my plan to finish it.  

It finally passed the point of ugly, and I just refuse to finish that last row...

It was clearly a mistake to go with so many colors, and temperature increments.  I might have liked it more if I'd gone with fewer colors in similar shades, but this...

I just can't go on.  
I dislike it immensely.  And I don't want to spend any more yarn on it.  So I'm ripping back what I can salvage, and tossing the rest.  

And I feel greatly relieved to have that little experiment behind me. 😏 

To see what other YOPers are up to, 

2019 Yarn Stash-Down progress:  10.61/100 skeins

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Shawling along...

I thought I'd have my Lace-Edged Poncho finished this week, but I got sidetracked by a pattern shared in a Shawl CAL on Our Happy CAL Place on Ravelry.    People were whipping out this fun striped shawl in no time and I decided I needed to give it a go.

Once you start making this thing, it's difficult to put it down.  So I kept going and had it finished over the course of three days: 
Pattern:  Cakes Two To Tango

To be completely honest, I'm not too sure about the colorway.  It's the color Spirit in Lion Brand Mandala yarn.  Made up in this shawl, I go from thinking it's pretty and interesting to thinking the bright turquoise color is just too much.

But the experience of working this pattern was a happy one and I may try it again with other yarn.  Mandala is a DK weight yarn and it made a nice weight shawl/scarf - even if the bright turquoise isn't exactly my thing - in winter, anyway.  

I don't know, though...  maybe if I had a dark gray coat (or maybe a coat in colbalt blue 😃), I'd love these colors.  See what I mean?  I keep flip-flopping.

I like the pattern, though.  And I think this would be a fun project made from individually selected colors along with a neutral color (as opposed to using self-striping yarns). Or maybe that's just me wanting to be more in control.  😉

Here's a picture showing it more "shawl-like":
I do love the picot edging


And while the colors in my January/February Temperature Shawl are going to be all over the place (and also leave me little control), I'm enjoying this month (or two-month) long project:


And lastly, my Lace-Edged Poncho got just a little love this week.  

I'm not real sure what I'm doing with the colors here.  I had some idea of doing graduated widths of each color as I progress down the shawl, but I didn't start out with a concrete plan so I'm not sure how this is going to end up.    I'm also considering not making the lace edging.   I don't know.  I like the concept of this short poncho.  But I may find I'm doing too much adapting of the pattern.  We'll see. I'll just keep crocheting and hopefully next week I'll be finished and will like it.


And now finally...  
with this post, my 2019 Stash-Down begins!

My goal this year is to use up 
100 skeins (or more) of my yarn stash.   
I'm happy to report 
I'm starting the year out strong:

2019 Yarn Stash-Down progress:  6.4/100 skeins

While I don't expect anyone to keep close tabs on my stash used vs projects made, for the sake of my own personal accountability I'd like to put down here that this week I ended up donating two skeins of yarn after trying it and not liking it.  I don't know how often that will happen, but I'm giving myself more encouragement to get rid of yarn I know I don't care for.  My "getting rid of" will be my gain - and hopefully someone else's.   Again, not that I expect anyone else to care, but I will probably make note of that kind of thing in YOP posts when it happens.

And this year, behind the scenes, I plan to be knitting more dishcloths to use up some of my kitchen cotton stash, and the yarn used for those will show up in the week's tally that the cloths are made in.  But I only plan to show those cloths (in one picture, most likely) in the last YOP post of the month.  

And that's it!

To see what other YOPers are up to, 

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