Recent Crochet Projects

Monday, December 21, 2015 0 No tags Permalink

Recent Crochet Projects – December Update

scarf
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?

maxybed

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.

maxyblanket

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

moon

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.

tomatillos

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

tomatos

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).

cabbage

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!

crochetblanket

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.

crochetscarf

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

Spring Projects – Fermentation and Crochet

crocus
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.

sauer

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.

sauer2

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.

sauer3

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!

babyhat

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:

babyblanket

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

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.

furlzbowl
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.

dishcloths

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.

babyblanket

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

crochet

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

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.

sweatercece

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.

sweaterbobbie

Like this? Check these out:

Cats in Hats

Crochet heart sachets

Crochet Valentine Heart Sachets

Friday, February 13, 2015 0 No tags Permalink

hearts

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.

hearts1

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:

weather

Next predicted day at 40 is March 5.

Crochet Purses and Kitty Blankets

Saturday, January 31, 2015 0 No tags Permalink

pinkkittyblanket

I have a coworker who has a sick kitty. This small cat blanket is crocheted with a J sized hook using Caron Simply Soft. The pink body of the blanket is Caron in soft pink, two strands held together, alternating rows of single crochet and double crochet. The scalloped edging is a single strand, two rows of single crochet followed by the scallop which is sc, skip two stitches, five dc in the next stitch, skip two and then repeat the whole thing. I made a similar blanket for Maxy cat, to put over him while he sits on our laps on the couch in the evenings. He loves it!

purse2

I wanted to make a new purse to replace the brightly colored one (below), as my dress coat for work is more of a maroon color and it clashed terribly. The body of this purse is a mixed grit stitch, while the very bottom, flap and strap are single crochet. It’s made with Loops & Threads Charisma, which is soft and bulky and quite nice to work with, and a size J hook.

purse

To start, chain 26, then single crochet in rounds for six rounds. Next, continue to crochet in rounds, but now using the mixed grit stitch. Crochet as many rows up as you want the height of the bag. At that point, mark each side of the bag with a stitch marker exactly spaced across. On the back side, count four in from your side marker on each side:

diagram

For the flap, I single crocheted across for the first two rows. After that, I did a single decrease on each side of each row until it closed down to where I added the button loop. The strap is single crochet, six stitches wide, and I sewed it on each side using the side markers on the bag for guidance. The mixed grit stitch is tight enough where I don’t need a lining. I’ve already sent it through the washing machine and dryer, and it held up just fine.

bluepurse

This is the previous purse. The start of the pattern is similar to the Moogly Chroma Crochet bag but the top is a flap just like the one above. It’s Cascade Yarns Hollywood in Malibu Blue.

Like these? Check out more crochet projects here:

Crocheted baby set

#12scarvesofxmas

Yellow baby blanket

Crocheted baby set

Friday, January 9, 2015 0 No tags Permalink

Crocheted Baby Set

baby1

I’ve been working on a few gift projects since the holiday scarf set is done. My brother-in-law’s sister just had a baby, and I have a baby shower to attend for a coworker in the next few weeks. Perfect timing to use some baby rippled yarn my sister sent me and to try a few new projects.

In addition to the rippled yellow yarn, I used white Bernat Softee for the hat. Both the hat and booties were made using a G sized hook. The bootie pattern is from here, and although it’s all in French, the photos are enough to show you what you’re doing.

baby2

The hat is as such: chain 4, sl st to join. 13 dc into center, sl st to join. Ch 2. Rows 2-5, dc into the first stitch and two dc into the next, repeating for row, sl st to join and ch 2. Rows 6-13, dc into each stitch, sl st to join and ch 2. You can either end there, or you can crochet rows 14-17 for a turn-up brim. It’s really basic, so you can add in different colors. I had a bit of a weird line from the sl st joining, so I put this flower on to cover it.

I’d say the hat took about two hours, as did the set of booties. Not bad for a nice little gift.

Next, I’m on to crochet a new purse in a more neutral color, and then a dress scarf or two. I still have to work up my special January project to send on, too…details to follow!

Hooked on crochet? Check these out:

#12scarvesofxmas

Purple lap blanket

Favorite crochet links

#12scarvesofxmas

Friday, December 26, 2014 0 No tags Permalink

I don’t know when exactly I decided that I would start the #12scarvesofxmas project, crocheting a scarf for each of my coworkers for Christmas this year. However, I started working on them while I was off with my ACL repair September 16th. The staff members at the shelter are constantly rotating dogs inside and out, and they are always cold in the winter.

Originally I had all kinds of ideas about trying different crochet stitches. But some of the projects took a lot longer than others, so I went pretty simple for most of them.

I did not make my goal to finish them by Christmas. In fact, I’m working on the last one now and should finish it over the weekend. I did photograph all of them, but somehow managed to delete one picture after gifting it. Oops. Picking yarn for each coworker was a fun project. Some of them, I knew immediately what I wanted. Others, I needed to think about for a while.

This basic scarf was crocheted with two skeins of Vanna’s Choice acrylic. It’s a repeating hdc with an N sized hook:

scarf2

This scarf was crocheted with two skeins of Deborah Norville Everyday Soft Worsted. It’s repeating rows of dc:

scarf2

This scarf is two skeins of Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable in the color Polo. It’s repeating rows of dc, 31 stitches wide. The yarn is lovely and soft, but make sure you get it right the first time because ripping it out is near impossible without breaking the yarn.

scarf3

This scarf was crocheted with two skeins of Bernat Softee Chunky Ombre Yarn in the color Peas In A Pod. The fringe is some baby yarn I had purchased for another project. It’s a repeating dc with a large hook (N?):

yellowishscarf

This scarf is crocheted with two skeins of Bernat Softee Chunky Yarn in the color Teal Twists. Same repeating dc stitch. The yarn is super soft and lovely to work with:

scarf

This scarf is repeated rows of sc with two skeins of Loops & Threads Woolike yarn (one gray, one navy). Woolike is 85% acrylic and 15% nylon so it has a really nice drape. Knitpicks has this great YouTube tutorial on how to work with two skeins for a striped pattern. This one took forever, M sized hook. Finished this scarf on November 11th.

greynavy

Scarf seven! It’s Red Heart Soft Baby Steps yarn with an M sized hook. Five rows sc, two rows dc with the same yarn, five rows sc, two rows dc with the contrast yarn and so on. It’s soft and it should be warm:

seven

Scarf eight is ten rows of sc followed by two rows of treble crochet, repeated using purple Loops & Threads Woolike yarn on the same old M sized hook. This one is pretty and lacy, and won’t be as warm because of it. More of a dress scarf, I guess:

scarfeight

Scarf nine is Lion Brand Heartland yarn in the color Olympic. It’s repeating rows of dc with the M sized hook. I put fringe on it as well:

nine

Scarf ten is crocheted every other row alternating dc and tc using Lion Homespun thick and quick in the color waterfall on a P sized hook. And this is the one for which I deleted the photo. The yarn was so thick and soft, you couldn’t really see the pattern anyhow.

Scarf eleven was crocheted ten rows sc and one row tc repeating using Berroco Folio yarn in cranberry. It’s 65% alpaca and 35% rayon/viscose.

scarf11

Scarf twelve started from the Moogly Cuddly Cat Scoodie pattern, but I changed it up pretty quick. It’s Lion Wool-Ease Thick and Quick yarn, dc on a P hook. 123 chains long, four rows for the scarf and then the hood on top of it. I’ll post a picture when it’s complete.

Upcoming projects for the new year include baby items for two different babies, a lap blanket to cover Maxy when he sleeps on the couch, some drink coasters and then some cat hats and sweaters. That’s hats and sweaters for cats to wear. What are your crochet plans for the new year?