Recent Crochet Projects

Monday, June 12, 2017 0 No tags Permalink 0

Sweater, Shawl, Blanket – Recent Crochet Projects

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It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a crochet project update (and the last one, for National Crochet Month 2017 – I didn’t do a single one of those projects). I’ve been steadily working on various items. I did two sets of eight washcloths to pair with soap from Black Sheep Antiques in Marshall. They have the best soap ever…smells wonderfully, maintains its scent, doesn’t melt down too quickly. I love it. One set of eight went to the Women’s Co-Op auction and the other for the Hand Made Market at the Humane Society’s Martini Madness event.

After the washcloths, I finished up my attempt at a sweater (above photo – and not the one I was planning on in National Crochet Month, which is still not completed). I took the photo from the only angle that looks good. The sweater is unwearable. It’s two rectangles stitched together, and seamed up the sides and down the middle. As you need to leave room for the neck hole, the center of the front and back of the sweater are much shorter than the sides. In fact, the back of the sweater only comes up to mid-back, which the sides are both at hip level. Bummer. Worse yet, it came from a pattern on facebook and I can’t see any way possible the pattern would actually work out as described now that I’ve completed it. I just started a different pattern for a cardigan, also from facebook. It’s a rectangle that is seamed together in a weird way. I hope it turns out. I’m using some linen knit picks yarn I bought on sale two years ago and forgot I had. I have high hopes for it.

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After the no-good sweater, I did a quick Shawl in a Ball shawl for my mindfulness instructor. I took the extra time to block it out on the boards, which helped I think. It’s the purple color and she liked it. I’ve made a number of these Shawl in a Ball projects. They are fast, they look good, and they make great gifts. Highly recommend.

After that, I had a baby afghan to make for my cousin’s baby. It’s a new yarn for me, Bernat Pipsqueak. Each skein I used had multiple knotted joins, so I’m not a fan and probably won’t be working with it again. I understand one join in a skein. But multiple joins in each skein? No thanks. It required a giant hook for the pattern I did so you could see the stitches. It is really, really soft. I used five skeins.

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After the current cardigan sweater, I did find a pattern for another one that I might try. I got a really interesting book on crocheting sweaters from the top down, but it’s too complicated for me. I need simple blocks that don’t require a lot of counting.

What crochet projects are you working on?

Like crochet? Check these out:

National Crochet Month 2017

National Crochet Month 2016

 

National Crochet Month 2016

Tuesday, March 15, 2016 0 No tags Permalink 0

As you know, March is National Crochet Month. I’m a little late in posting, as we’re already half-way through the month. Things are stressful all over now, so I’m doing the best I can.

national crochet month

I’ve been working on blankets. Finished the purple and white one I was working on last. I’ve got two new ones going now, stash-busting projects. I’m not exactly happy with either. Turning a circle into a square is not as easy as you would think. These two blankets will be one-of-a-kind and unique, and they will be the last two I make like this. I’ll update with photos when they are done as they are a mess right now.

Normally, for National Crochet Month, I like to try something new and challenge myself. As I mentioned, things are difficult right now, and it’s all I can do to keep on with the two blankets I’ve got going. However, I did purchase two vintage books. If you crochet much, you might know that nearly all vintage crochet/knitting books have patterns that are almost always knit with just a tiny bit of crochet trim. But getting the ratio of what is knit to crochet on eBay is difficult. You’re lucky if you get a few pure crochet patterns. In the two books, only the photo above here is crochet. It sort of looks like a crocodile stitch. I did think maybe I’d work on that next. Vintage patterns are also challenging…good luck trying to figure out what that old yarn they used would correspond to today. But, it could be fun.

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Because I don’t like to knit, it’s kind of disappointing to look at all the beautiful patterns in the vintage books and just brush them off. I think what I’d like to try is to convert a few of these patterns into crochet. Some of it is getting a stitch that looks right. Some of it is in the drawing and measuring of the finished project. So, although I don’t think I will get anything other than one of the blankets done during National Crochet Month, my plan is to work on eyeballing a vintage knitting pattern and converting it over.

What are you working on for National Crochet Month?

Previous National Crochet Months:

2015

2014

 

 

 

Recent Crochet Projects

Friday, February 26, 2016 0 No tags Permalink 0

Recent Crochet Projects – February Edition

Thought now would be a good time to catch up on recent crochet projects, as March is National Crochet Month! I’m still working on my plans for projects for that month (and have a few other things going as well).

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First up was two baby blankets. I used Bernat Baby Blanket Big Ball Yarn and a bamboo P sized hook. The top one is purple with a white border, for a LHS alumni friend’s little girl. The bottom one is striped with a beige and cream. It looks less baby-ish, but I thought it could be fine for either a boy or girl. The color reminded me of a small woodland creature, soft and warm, which is why I chose it.

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Next, I was ready for a quick and easy project. These cleaning cloths are made of cotton Sugar N Cream yarn; one skein made three cloths.

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I love those kitchen scrubbies made of mesh. When our last one gave out, I thought I’d give it a try and make some myself. The stiffer netting works better at cleaning, but it’s hard on the old hands in the crocheting process. One yard of netting made two scrubbies.

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This time of year, Maxy is always searching for a warm place to sit. I thought I’d see about making a bed without any kind of pattern. It didn’t go that well, to be honest. I do have some bamboo splicing that I am going to bend to make this stand up better. If that doesn’t work, I’ll try a bend coat hanger. It’s a lot of yarn and a lot of work for not much of a result, unfortunately.

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The leftover skein from the above bed was used to make a little blanket for Maxy as he sits on my lap. He has several of these blankets in various locations through the house.

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And now again for another blanket, again using the Bernat Baby Blanket Big Ball Yarn. This time I’m doing stripes with the purple and white. It’s for a friend’s son who is facing a grave illness. I hope to finish it this weekend and deliver it Tuesday.

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Recent Crochet Projects

Monday, December 21, 2015 0 No tags Permalink 0

Recent Crochet Projects – December Update

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In the midst of writing out my holiday greeting cards, I have been working on a few crochet projects; thought I should catch you up my my most recent crochet projects. I made this nice little one-skein scarf with some Jimmy Beans Wool silk/cotton mix yarn. It’s soft and lovely. 20 rows sc, 2 rows dc, repeat using a L hook. I loved the yarn color when I saw it, and wanted to make something easy for myself. It is so soft. Why can’t all projects be like this?

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I’ve also been working on a cat bed for Maxy. It’s slow going as I’ve ripped it out and started five times over. Hopefully the L hook is the key to stiffness. It’s my own pattern, and I’m not sure it will work out. It’s a learning experience for sure.

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Maxy also got another blanket, as the blue one is now in a box in the office and he needed one for the couch.

2015 – what I’ve learned. I prefer easy projects I can do while watching Downton Abbey. Blankets are my favorite, followed by scarves. I started a tunic, and didn’t get very far with it. For crochet to be relaxing for me, I want easy and repeatable, like a moving meditation.

2016 – my goals. I have two baby blankets to complete in January. And I have a few scarf gifts I’d like to work on for volunteers at work in January/February. I’d like to make a lap blanket for a friend who needs a hug. I would like to get back to the tunic as I bought all the yarn for it and it’s just sitting there. January starts the last season of Downton Abbey. I’ll have to find something else to watch when that’s over. Love Downton Abbey. Love.

More crochet here:

National Crochet Month 2015

Crochet Cat Sweaters (for cats. sweaters for cats)

Easy Crochet Purses

Misc. Monday

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Wooooo dog, this post has it all. It’s been months since I’ve done a general, non-postcard update. So here it is, the fruits of the summer.

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Our veggie garden did great this year. I made two batches of salsa verde (tomatillos, onion, garlic, jalapeno).

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In addition to tomatoes for eating, I made a batch of sauce and cooked down two batches of tomato paste (boil and peel tomatoes, puree, cook down, put in pan in 350 degree oven and bake until paste).

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And I made a batch of sauerkraut. We got a fair amount of radishes. Three heads of cabbage. Lots of tomatoes. A few carrots. Good lettuce and arugula. Next year we’re planting more green beans and more peppers. This year we also got a compost barrel (and inside bucket) and we’re composting our kitchen waste. Right now I also have a batch of hard cider cooking. It’s exciting!

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I’ve been crocheting up a storm. I made a mint lap blanket for a friend. Then I made this lap blanket with a ruffled edge. LOVE the ruffled edge. The yarn is Simply Soft Paints Yarn in Rose Garden.

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I loved the yarn so much (and overbought), so I made a scarf and sent it to a friend who needed a scarf. Now I’m working on another scarf for another friend.

I’ve been reading, too. Just finished Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (very good) and Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (excellent). Here’s how I turned out with the Summer Reads 2015:

 

What Comes Next and How to Like It: A Memoir by Abigail Thomas

The Bone Clocks: A Novel by David Mitchell

American Ghost: A Family’s Haunted Past in the Desert Southwest by Hannah Nordhaus

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel by Anthony Doerr

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

The Wishing Thread: A Novel by Lisa Van Allen

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews

All but two done, but I made up with two others. Not bad.

I’m getting ready to start sewing again. I have to make my Halloween costume for Howl-O-Ween at the shelter. And I have a new pattern to make a dress. Just need to pick up the fabric and I’m ready to go.

How about you? Can you believe summer is over and we’re well into autumn already?

Spring Projects

Tuesday, April 14, 2015 0 No tags Permalink 0

Spring Projects – Fermentation and Crochet

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It is finally starting to feel more like spring in Michigan (at least until next week when the temperature drops again). The robins are back in full force. The crocuses came and went. The bleeding hearts are up about two inches, and there are a few blooms out on the forsythia outside my office window. The wild violets are perfuming the air, and Maxy has been taking regular walk-abouts on his leash. I’ve been working on my list of new plants for the garden and putting together my list of summer reads.

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As you may remember, I read the Sandor Katz book The Art of Fermentation as part of the Summer Reads 2013. And I previously made and bottled my own kombucha. Recently I got it in my mind to make and ferment our own sauerkraut.

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It is incredibly easy to start. Cut up cabbage. Put it in a bowl and salt it. Massage the salt into it for ten minutes. It will get weird, wet and frothy.

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Put the liquid and the cabbage into a stoneware pot. Tamp it down. Put weights on it. Add more brine if there’s not enough to cover everything. Put the lid on the pot and wait. I’ve been checking it every day to see if the liquid is okay or if it needs skimming. So far, so good. I expect it to be ready in three weeks or so. Hopefully it will turn out fabulous!

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It seems everyone is having a baby now. I just finished this hat to send to Alaska. It’s crocheted on a G size hook using Bernat Baby Softee in cream, single and double crochet rows as the desire struck. It’s not really a pattern, but I think it turned out cute. And this blanket, again a G hook with Bernat Baby Softee, single crochet with a weave pattern and a scalloped edge, is for Baby Silvio:

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The final project is a purple blanket for a friend out at Southern Exposure. I hope to get it done in time for the Martini Madness event May 14. I haven’t been reading or playing accordion as I’ve been working on these projects. After the final blanket, I plan on taking a little break from crochet and catching up on reading. We’re just over a month away from planting season, and that will take up a lot of my time once it starts. We’ve got big plans for the garden this year!

What spring projects are you working on?

National Crochet Month

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 0 No tags Permalink 0

dishclothcloseup

March is National Crochet Month. While I haven’t been posting any crochet updates, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been crocheting!

I’ve put my new Furls bowl to good use working on a scarf. I like the Furls bowl because I had a fear of a ceramic bowl shattering when I pulled it off the table or if Maxy knocked it off. This works quite well.

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The scarf pattern was quite complicated, so I took a break to get back to something easier. Dishcloths! My first project ever was one year ago during National Crochet Month and it seemed fitting to go back and do another round.

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These three are made with KnitPicks Dishie yarn. It’s easy to work with and should hold up well. These are crocheted with a Furls G sized hook, 35 chains, then [sc and chain, skip]. I got three done with a single skein.

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Now I’m working on a special gift project, same crochet hook and pattern but using Bernat Softee baby yarn in mint green.

Are the Furls hooks worth it? They are very nice hooks. I don’t know as if I have any less pain using them than my other blocky-handled hook (I have the Boye Ergonomic, which you can use with any regular old aluminum hook). I do like the sparkly appearance and often find I am looking at the Furls with admiration as I crochet. And it’s very light, which is nice. What I do wish the company could improve on is communication. They don’t let you know if there’s a delay in shipment, so you might go a week or longer after order thinking they’ve forgotten you. If you’re paying that much for a hook, more emails would be helpful. They did include a free skein of yarn in my last order, possibly to make up for the delay.

I’ve been stockpiling DVR movies on Turner Classic Movies to watch while I’ve been crocheting. It’s relaxing, especially with a fairly simple pattern. Even though it is now officially spring, it’s still fairly cold here in Michigan. No sign of the spring bulbs as of yet. At least we’ve had a fair bit of sunshine, which helps a little.

Crocheted in a Cascade of Shells

Monday, February 23, 2015 0 No tags Permalink 4

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Irresistibly feminine evening coat is crocheted in a cascade of shells from neck to hemline. Beginning with a circular yoke of closely spaced patterns, coat flares subtly to wider shells on the belled sleeves and skirt. Made all in one piece of featherweight knitting worsted, style is most dramatic in white and most elegant with rich brocade lining.

This delightful piece, and the accompanying pattern, is in one of my vintage crochet magazines. Love it.

Feline Friday

Friday, February 20, 2015 0 No tags Permalink 0

sweatermaxy

It’s super-cold outside, friends. Better put on another sweater. Here’s Maxy, wearing his.

Just finished my latest crochet project, a cat sweater, using free pattern Phoebe’s Favorite Cat Sweater found here. It’s a little small, even for some of the smaller cats. I’d make a few adjustments to the pattern next time I make it, but it really is cute and again it’s free. It also leaves the front arms open, which some cats prefer.

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They are still predicting the second week of March will be a little warmer, with temperatures finally above the freezing point, but I’m not holding my breath.

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Like this? Check these out:

Cats in Hats

Crochet heart sachets

Crochet Valentine Heart Sachets

Friday, February 13, 2015 0 No tags Permalink 0

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This year for Valentine’s Day, I put together little care packages for the staff members. The bags included a fizzy juice drink, chocolates and these lime-scented heart sachets. The José Crochet heart pattern is crazy easy, fun and FREE. You can’t ask for more than that; find it here. There are photos with great diagrams as well. They work up quickly…two sides, crochet together with a loop. I can’t recommend the pattern enough. It’s awesome.

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I should have taken a photo of the bags before I handed them out, but I didn’t. Guess it’s been awhile since I did this. Here’s the last Valentine’s package I put together. I think February is an especially cruel month, and we could all use some random happiness here and there.

We have 34 days until the spring equinox. One to two inches of snow tonight. Next week is supposed to be terribly cold, with temperatures well below the historical averages:

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Next predicted day at 40 is March 5.