Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day!

Arthur and I want to wish you the happiest of Valentine's Days! Arthur is feeling quite dapper in his top hat and bow tie, and he really likes his new tri-heart pillow. Even though he hasn't had a girlfriend in quite some time, hope springs eternal in his romantic heart - he's believes that this year just might be his year. I promised I would try my best to find him a friend, and that if I can't find him one, I'll do my best to crochet something for him!



These "Puffy Hearts" have been designed by Repeat Crafter Me and the free pattern is available at http://www.repeatcrafterme.com/2017/01/crochet-puffy-hearts.html. I used a fingering yarn and a 1.90mm hook. The hearts came out to be 2" wide and 1 1/2" tall - perfect size for a key chain or hair accessory. I crocheted the top hat, but alas, black is very difficult to photograph well - especially for a non-professional!

Have a wonderful day, and have a piece of chocolate for me!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Whorled Crochet Hook Organizer

While perusing the internet, I saw the concept of using a crochet-covered can for a hook holder/organizer and I thought I'd give it a "whirl" (sorry, I couldn't resist!). Anyway, I decided on a spiral design so that a person could put their smaller hooks near the middle and work outward as the hook sizes increase. For the can I just used a regular vegetable can, about 14.5 - 15.5 ounce size, cleaned with label removed. I used scrap sport weight yarn (although the pink had to be doubled) with an E hook. The nice thing about this design is that you could use a smaller or larger can, just make the initial spiral smaller or larger to fit the opening; the rest of the pattern would stay the same. I've always been in favor of flexible patterns, when possible! So without further ado, here is the pattern -

Whorled Crochet Hook Organizer  -  Skill level: Easy

Materials -
Vegetable can, cleaned and label removed
Scraps of sport-weight yarn (colors called A, B, and C)
Size E (3.5mm) crochet hook

Pattern -  Worked in the round with front side facing you at all times.

1. With A, create a magic circle, ch 1. In the circle work 1 sc, 1 hdc, and 2 dc. Do not finish off.

2. With B, attach yarn to circle and work 1 sc, 1 hdc, and 2 dc. Do not finish off. Repeat with C.

                                   Instructions 1 and 2. Yarns knotted on right side are just the tails.
3. Tighten magic circle. With A, work 2 dc in each stitch of color B. With B, work 2 dc in each stitch of color C. With C, work 2 dc in each stitch of color A (8 dc of each color). You will continue to work the colors over one another till the end of the crochet piece.

                                   Progression of spiral

4. Continue working 2 dc in each stitch until you have a total of 14 dc of each color.

5. Work 1 dc in each of the next 15 stitches with each color.

                                  Spiral after Instruction 5.

6. Now begin working 1 hdc in each stitch around with each color. You won't do any increases from this point on; this is the part of the crochet that will slip over the sides of the can - it will fit snug.

                                   Hdc's fitting over side of can.

                                           Crochet over can.

7. Continue working the hdc spiral until it just comes over the edge of the bottom of the can. Finish off two of the colors. Leaving a long tail with the third color, whip-stitch around each hdc and pull to tighten every few stitches. The piece should fit tautly over the can; finish off.


                                  Instruction 7 completed.


 8. Ta-Da!


                                               Fini!

Just a couple more thoughts. If you want to make sure your hooks stay upright, putting some scrap yarn in the can to act as a cage style of "frog" device could work well.  Also, this pattern won't work with hooks that have comfort grip handles (Clover, etc.) or even smaller thumb-hold type padding because 1) the spaces in the crochet aren't large enough to accommodate the extra bulk, and 2) the hooks don't slide in/out well because the padding hangs up on the yarn. But if you're like me and have a bunch of the good 'ol aluminum hooks, this is the organizer for you!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

For the Penguins

Yes, today is Penguin Awareness Day in the good old USA. See how enlightening this little blog can be?! Anyway, people are encouraged to think, read, discuss, or watch programs about these delightful creatures, but you are not required to dress in a tuxedo. There are even a whole array of jokes about penguins - most of them real groaners - such as "Q: What's a penguin's favorite relative? A: Aunt Arctica!"  (more of those available here). 

Of course, my interest lies in the crocheted versions of the formally dressed flightless birds. So, without further ado, I present ..The Penguin -

So cute! Paid pattern from Make It Easy here.

Just adorable hat, but inspiration only - photo here

Cute and comical trio from Stephi's Koestlichkeiten, free pattern in English here

Baby set from Missy1107, product only here

Precious baby penguin from Havva Designs, paid pattern here

Delightful kiddie clutch from Sarah at Repeat Crafter Me, free pattern here

Skipper of Madagascar fame from World Dreamer, free pattern here

Sweet little applique! Product only from Savo Designs here

Charming micro family from SuAmi, product only available here

Darling rug from Irarott Designs, paid pattern here

 Have a jolly (crocheted) penguin day!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Word for the Year

As we begin 2018, contemplating last year and full of hope and inspiration for the new year to come, I have come to a conclusion. I don't like new year's resolutions. If you noticed my past new year's blogs, I don't believe I've managed to keep any of them. The materials for the quilt I want to make are still hanging in the closet (so patiently) and the garland of mini Christmas balls awaits quietly in its box. Sigh.

Anyway, I've given up on resolutions, but I discovered a new concept - coming up with one word to focus your year around. I like this! So I have decided this year will be about ORGANIZATION. Last fall my husband put in a new floor/baseboard and painted the back bedroom for me so I could turn it into my craft room. It's not really a studio because it still has a bedroom set and my air walker in it, but it now has great craft organizing potential. So my first priority is to really go through every yarn, ribbon, pin and whatnot I own so I don't have to search for an hour to find them! (Somehow I don't look at that type of searching as an "adventure" anymore; tiresome is more like it.) And, yes, this was on my to-do list from last year, but of course other things got in the way.

I also need to organize my time, my blogs, and my social sites to improve the little business I have (click here), and my intention is to try to list one pattern or product a month. I want to start using my yarn stash, and I'm currently working on an afghan from stashed yarn (see photo). It was going to be a housewarming gift for my son and his girlfriend, but then I was told they have plenty of blankets and throws, so I guess I'll sell it in my store. I'm using Caron simply soft with an H hook and alternating front post dcs, which is really giving it a subtle but nice texture.



Recapping 2017, though, I did manage to cut out refined sugar/carbs, lower my salt intake, and lose about 7 lbs - not much, I know, but I'm afraid the Sugar Monster got me at Christmas and I regained a few. BUT, I just had my regular blood tests done and everything came back fine! I also decided to invest in an air walker, and I think this will help me while being very gentle on the joints. So this looks like a pretty good start to 2018!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year!

Yes, I know the title isn't exactly that original, but I do want to wish all of you a wondrous new year full of all good things - health, fortune, beautiful yarn, and of course crochet! Arthur wishes you a happy new year also, but he enjoyed much merriment and is now in the process of sleeping it off - as I'm sure a certain portion of America is doing, too!

Since my mom reads my blog - Hi Mom! - I couldn't post her Christmas present till now. When visiting last fall, I noticed that her lapghan had really seen better days and needed replacing. My mom has a TV room with olive-colored recliners and a neutral beige/brown couch, and since this room is where she usually uses the lapghan, I wanted to get colors that would coordinate. After returning, I found myself wandering in the yarn section of Walmart and I discovered Lion Brand's Mandala there, and at a great price too! I chose "Chimera", which is a beautiful blend of brown, teal, olive, yellow-olive, gold, orange, and fuschia. I used two skeins and mirror-imaged them. What I love the most about Mandala is that the colors are nicely hued - there, but not too bright - and it's a DK weight, which is fast becoming my favorite. I do wish that it was a little softer, but I guess we can't have everything. I wanted to make her lapghan out of a no-pill acrylic, but fell in love with the Mandala chimera colors - what can I say?







People have asked me about this stitch and I will be making a video to post to YouTube on how to do this. I need to come up with a name (the ones I thought of had been taken) - I think I'll call it the Diamond X Stitch. It's reversible, a little stretchy, and a little squishy.  Oh, yes - Mom loved the lapghan and she especially liked that it was light-weight - go DK yarn!