Monday, January 14, 2019

A Bad Case of the Doldrums

For whatever reason, I've been dealing with a rather long period of the "blahs". It's not often I get this way and usually after a couple weeks I snap out of it, but this time it's lingering. This is how I felt by Christmas, and I ended up spending most of that day in and out of sleep on the couch. 



Perhaps part of it is because SoCal has been getting a lot of rain lately (our winter), and rain always makes me want to curl up under some blankets and just watch tv or read a good book.

Anyway, I have been making a valiant effort. Since my YS took his paper Christmas tree present with him when he moved out, I began a crochet tree to replace it. I've written down the pattern for future reference, I'm almost done with the crocheting part, I have a pretty filigree star to go on the top, and I bought lovely gold pearls to decorate the tree with - and then I ran out of steam. So it is currently sitting on top of my entertainment unit, mocking me every chance it gets. Plus I'm still working on my Nest Stitch Shawl.

Then I decided that I should make something out of the two skeins of Mandala Sparkle that I couldn't resist picking up. I can't tell you any more at this point, because I'm hoping this will be a present - sorry, you'll have to wait. But now I've gotten bored with this one too.

I've been told that two more women of the family are pregnant and due in June and July. I bought a wonderful pattern from Kate Wagstaff called the Queen of Hearts Afghan (paid pattern here), which I think would make a great wedding/baby shower present. I plan on using Caron Simply Soft in white for the base, and blue mint, blackberry (a pink), limelight (a green), and persimmon (an orange) for alternating heart colors to give to the 1st-timer due in June. The woman who's due in July already has two girls, so I'm not sure if we'll be having a shower for her yet, but I'll make something for her anyway.

Queen of Hearts Afghan By Kate Wagstaff

I know this is rather late, but I hope that all of you had a wonderful New Year's. I won't be doing a "resolutions" post this year. The fact is that my resolutions are still the same - keep using my yarn stash (ok, I'm trying!), post three times a month, make my quilt afghan, and create my butterfly box. I did use some of my stash last year, but I was very bad and bought more yarn. I did finish the Martha Stewart fabric balls craft AND I finally finished organizing my bedroom/craft room - Yeah, two off the list! And of course there's always the loose 10+ pounds, eat right, exercise more, and establish world peace. Maybe I'm just dragging my heels because if I actually finish the resolutions I'd have to come up with more (although the last one might take a while...).

Till next time, happy crocheting!





Monday, December 24, 2018

To You and Yours -

                   Wishing all a bright, warm, and wonderful holiday season!


Friday, December 21, 2018

One Resolution Completed!

Yes, after many years I have FINALLY completed one of my New Year's resolutions. This has nothing to do with crochet (register astonishment here), but it was a Martha Stewart Christmas craft project from at least 2008, if not before. Yes, I am talking about none other than Fabric Balls!




Many moons ago Martha Stewart would have a half-hour craft show in the afternoon, and I loved it! (Some people do yoga, some meditate; I watch Martha.) I saw the program showing how to do the fabric balls and I was hooked. So I went out and bought the styrofoam balls - smooth ones are best, fabric - stretchy works best, and wonderfully elaborate ribbon. Then I became distracted with life...for a long time. However, I lovingly packed up the materials and promised myself I'd get to them some day.

My husband and I don't give presents to extended family, but I began making ornaments to give away. A couple years ago I made one of Oombawka Design's angels (free pattern here), and last year I made crochet baubles (free pattern here). But this year I steeled my determination and tackled the fabric balls.

Of course it wasn't nearly as easy as I thought it would be. The main issue was that the template to cut out the fabric didn't print out to the correct size, so there was quite a bit of adjustment to do. If you read the comments you'll find I wasn't the only one with this problem. The second issue was what to cover the ribbon ends with. I chose to order end caps and then flattened them with a hammer - you need at least 14 to 15 mm to cover and mine were a little small; or you could follow the suggestions given on the website.


All in all, I'm pretty happy with how these turned out - I just hope the people receiving them feel the same way!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Sweet Little Snowflake - Free Pattern

Not too long ago I came across a post from Anabelia Craft Design offering a delightful Stars Garland (free pattern here). I tried her pattern and it came out wonderfully, but I was really  looking for a dainty snowflake pattern. After playing a bit with Anabelia's design, I was successful!

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I made the snowflakes with an D 3.25mm hook and Bernat Handicrafter acrylic size 5 yarn. (This yarn is discontinued now but Hobby Lobby still has their version. I like it because it has a nice sheen.) Of course you could use cotton crochet thread and a smaller hook to make tinier snowflakes, or a larger crochet hook and fingering/sport weight yarn to increase the size, but if using a larger weight yarn I would suggest a cotton or cotton blend because it'll block better. At this point I haven't added any extra decoration, but I certainly think a few rhinestones, sequins, and/or glitter fabric paint would be nice. The blocked snowflake is 3 1/4" in diameter.



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These snowflakes would make a great garland, just like the stars in Anabelia's design. They'd make cute ornaments, of course, but I could see these as tag decorations or as a wonderful embellishment to Christmas/holiday cards. Perhaps as a necklace or pin, or hat, scarf, or hair decoration. Let your imagination fly!

Sweet Little Snowflake Pattern / Easy skill level
Bernat Handicrafter Acrylic yarn size 5, or your choice of thread/yarn
Size D 3.25mm crochet hook (or size for your yarn)
Materials for blocking plus some form of starch.

Stitches Used - Ch - chain; Sc - single crochet; Dc - double crochet; Sl St - slip stitch; 2 Dc Tog - two double crochet stitches together; Sp - space; St - stitch; Hdc - half double crochet; Trc - triple crochet; FO - finish off
Snowflake is worked in rounds with right side always facing you.
Rnd. 1 - Work 12 scs in a magic circle. Sl st in 1st sc.
Rnd 2 - Ch 2, dc in same stitch (counts as 2 dc tog). Ch 3. *In next st work 2 dc tog, ch 3*. Repeat * to * around to last ch 3 - sl st in top of ch 2 at start of this round.
Rnd 3 - Sl st in ch 3 sp, ch 6 (counts as 1 dc and ch 3). Dc in same ch 3 sp. Work dc, ch 3, dc in each ch 3 sp around. Sl st into 3rd ch of ch 6 at beginning of this round.
Rnd 4 - *In the next ch 3 sp work - 1 hdc, 2 dcs, 1 trc, 3-ch picot on top of trc, 2 dc, 1 hdc. In next ch 3 sp work sc, ch 3, sc.* Repeat * to * around. Sl st in 1st hdc and FO.

After I was done, I made tiny knots with my tails on the backside of the snowflake and put a dot of glue to secure them, then cut off any excess yarn. I dampened them with water and painted a light coat of commercial fabric stiffener on the back only. I had drawn 3 1/4" circles that had been divided into 6 equal parts on plain white paper. Using a bulletin board or blocking mat, lay the paper down and cover with plastic wrap. Pin into place to hold. Using the circles and lines as guides, pin the snowflakes to block (making sure you use rust-proof pins). Let dry and decorate!
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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving!





 It's always a good idea to have a special time of year to stop, look around you, and take an accounting of all your blessings. Along with my family and friends, I'd like you to know that all of you are certainly counted among mine. Let the festivities begin!