Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tis the season to be jolly, and tis the night to hang holly!  That's because we are snowed in.  No joke.  The snow isn't that deep - maybe 12 to 15 inches now, but the wind is blowing so hard that it hits the windows, melts and then freezes, so our windows are covered in ice.  The wind also seems to be melting the snow and then it refreezes or something because it is coming down half snow and half ice...hurts to get hit by it.  Snow or no snow, the doggies still have to relieve themselves outside.  I'm beginning to think that we may need a somewhat covered area out of doors for the poor darlings for just such weather.  This is the second year in a row that we have been hit with "global warming" and have snow up to our knees.  I have lived here five years and this is also the first year we have had zero degrees.  I'd like to find that Mr. Gore and make him sit out in the lawn all night just to see what global warming is really like. The idiot.

Took my nearly 10 year old lab to the vet as she started coughing a week or so ago, and then would not eat.  The eating was off and on.  The coughing had subsided, but for her not to eat she had to feel bad.  Turns out she has and enlarged heart (congestive heart failure) and has lung cancer.  I can just barely write about it, let along think about it. She has been my darling since I brought her home at 9 weeks.  Just doesn't seem fair that she should have to suffer and that she should have to leave five years short of when she would normally go.  We just give her medications to make her comfy, and so far she is feeling better.  I hope it continues that way for a long time, but from what I have read from when the coughing starts they generally have about 6 months left. And, of course, there is the cancer which might take her sooner.  Sort of takes the jolly out of the season, except that she seems to feel so much better and more like her old self, it is hard to actually accept she is that sick.  I do love her so.

So, crochet wise I finished the Raspberry Fool doggie sweater which hopefully will fit my SIL and brother's doggie.  It is really cute!  I used Vanna's Choice by Lion Brand. Worked up fast, too.

I started working on a pair of wristlets from the Caron International site, and will write and show more in the next couple of days.  

I hope your Christmas is peaceful, uneventful, quite, lovely, and white.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Baby In Her Smocked White Dress

Seems like last year that I made this dress for Alice - thinking it would fit her at 3 months rather that 6 or 7! I was so pleased and so very thrilled to see it on her at last. Heidi brought it with them when they visited for Thanksgiving so I could see her in it and take a couple of snapshots. Unfortunately, I didn't get too many, and Hubby
didn't take any with the good camera. Oh, well - I do have a couple. She is such a cutie with reddish brown hair and big blue eyes.  More photos.  The pattern is from the book Adorable Crochet for Babies and Toddlers by Lesley Stanfield.  I would buy it again...I love her designs!  Hopefully, she will have more books soon.

The afghan for my SIL is in the throws of it's last breath! Hooray! I am making Tunisian Squares, 9x9 and am in the last row (not separate squares that I sew together - one big project). I'll put an edging on it, and then single crochet along where the squares meet as I don't like the look and don't want a backing. Then I'm done and off it goes to Little Sissy.

I am also putting together a package for a family that the church adopted. An abused woman and her 3 daughters who are in a shelter. I've got some hats and a few potholders (sigh - hate to give them up!), and a baby sweater and hat. I'm probably going to toss in a shawl if I get it done. Am doing a Serafina in white. Our church is usually pretty generous, and those that don't buy give money so they will have enough to eat out and buy some clothes, plus a little. Always feels good to help someone else. That is what makes Christmas merry, after all.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Seraphina Shawl

What a fun project! I'm blocking it as I tomorrow pics will be posted. I grabbed a large skein when shopping and didn't realize it was not the Rainbow Boucle - but used it anyway. Still turned out nicely in pinks and grays, but will start another one using the "correct" yarn in the not to distant future. See here...

As the pattern says, once you get the hang of it, the pattern is pretty easy. Basically on Ravelry there are some posts that give some info, and the web site has a great pattern posted.  Google it by name, Seraphina Shawl.   Although it isn't a Doris Chan pattern, it IS very Doris! Lovely pattern. You can get it on Crochetville (it is free).  The photo is on my photo page. When done in the Sensations Rainbow Boucle it is one outstanding looking shawl, so want to try that one as a gift - my only complaint about that particular yarn is that it can pick if you aren't careful.  Had lots of compliments on the shawl today at church. 

In the meanwhile, I need to get a photo of the finished product of the vest I made for my dearest friend Leonora. I sent it off without photographing the final product. Dumb.

I am mid-stream in making a Tunisian afghan in big blue checks for my SIL. Would like to finish before Christmas, but don't know if I will. It isn't her Christmas present, but would be nice to start on another big project soon, which is why I'd like to be finished. I always have a large one going and add the smaller ones betwixt and between as I get tired or bored or strained ... whatever ... when I spend a great deal of time on one pattern.


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Maggie, Chuckie and Sami rest

Twas the night after Thanksgiving and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a doggie or two or three or four.

We had some nice down time after our Thanksgiving rush, and I finished up lots of gifts. Made a nice cowl for my niece (pattern and photo to follow tomorrow) and think she will like it. Would love to have made it a bit longer, but ran out of of life's little mis-steps in crocheting.

I hope to make a few doggie sweaters for the little ones, but haven't found any I really like except for those in knit. I am hoping to adapt one into crochet and see how I do. Chuckie, the Shih Tzu, is really the only one that seems to get cold, but the newly found
Terrier, Sami, hasn't been with us during a winter so would like to be prepared. Molly, the big Black Lab and Maggie, the Border Collie, love the cold snow so they don't need anything. Well, anything I can make.

Crocheting has been the answer to a prayer for me this past 18 months. It keeps my mind calm, and my hands busy. I don't get bored as easily now, and carry yarn projects with me wherever I happen to go. Lately, I have been stepping into the foyer in church and crochet there while listening to the service. It has always been hard for me just to sit still, even as a youngster. Crocheting is a great way of keeping my mind and hands busy while listening to what's around me, whether a service, a talkative husband, TV or radio.

Now, isn't all that inner peace worth learning a new skill?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Shell Afghan Finished!

This shell afghan was completed in less than a week, so not too big and not too hard. I used Wool-Ease which is soft, so it will be a nice afghan for the granddaughter. The colors are Violet, Seaspray, and I forget the name of the rose color.

The pattern is just a five double crochet shell repeat pattern (multiple of six stitches plus one): 

Row 1:  sc in 2nd ch from hook; sk 2 ch; five double crochet in next ch; sk 2 ch, *sc in next ch; sk 2 ch, 5 dc in next ch;sk 2 ch sc in next.  Repeat from * to end, ending in the sc.  Chain one and turn; 

Row 2:  chain three [or here I use an my version of an extended sc-I sc and then chain one more], 2 dc in same original sc space; *sk 2 stitches; sc in next; sk 2 stitches; 5 dc in next; sk 2 stitches;  Repeat from * until you have four stitches left then sc in next, 3 dc in last stitch.  Chain one and turn. 

Repeat these two rows until you have it as long as you want.  

I finished it with single crochet edging, putting 3 sc in each corner. Although I haven't compared it, it most likely is pretty much the same as the Ocean Wave afghan advertised in the Lion Brand web site.  If you are using multiple colors, when you want to change colors at the end of a row, remember to draw the new color through the last two loops on the hook.  I used 3 colors so carried the yarn up the side.  Do as you wish!

I think I am going to make a larger full size in the same stitch, but different colors, for myself.  AFTER the holidays and my gift making/giving is done.

Larger photos on my photo site for crochet.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

New Book

My "new" book arrived today.  "Glorious Crocheted Sweaters" which is 20 years old, I think.  It has a collection of 60 of the most wonderful patterns for sweaters that I have ever see.  I'm in love!  With the exception that the patterns call for the various cuffs and edgings be knitted, they are all perfect in one way or another.  Unusual, even for todays standards.  I guess that would mean "timeless."  Check out the Enthusiastic crochetoholic blog listed on the left.  She has the book posted in one of her blogs this month, which is what gave me the idea.  $1.96 at Amazon!  What a bargain!

That's the way I feel about the afghans in "Vanna's Afghan's All Through The House."  I have had the book for about 15 years and the patterns are still better than many you see out now.  

I also have another book I received as a gift in's called "A Golden Hands Pattern Book: Crochet" and was originally published in 1972.  If the models had different hair cuts, you could swear some were brand new patterns.  

Time to quit buying books and to start making goodies!  Working on a baby dress for #2 granddaughter and finishing up an afghan for her.  Both are way too cute!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Crocheted Purse

So one day while sitting in my easy chair feeling sorry for myself for having such a terrible cold (AGAIN) I thought I'd take the down time and make a purse.  I liked Drew's Fat Bottomed purses, so thought I'd make one along those lines.  In starting out I decided I did not want to line it so used a G hook and Vanna's Choice yarn, with single crochet. Note it is sideways.  Then, due to the density, I ran out of yarn too soon.  I didn't have any VC in the same color of camouflage, or one of the many colors in the camouflage, but I did have a Wool-Ease that I thought would do in black. I used the sc and decreased every row on both sides so that it drew the sides up, giving some depth for room.  Worked like a charm!

I decided to use the camo for the middle and make two black ends, then tabs which thread through the handles and then button down.  That way the handles can be removed so the purse could be washed.  The most unfortunate part is that the black was not quite as thick, so little pens or pencils might actually be able to drop through.  But the purse is sturdy and can carry all the normal female notions in little bags!  Personally, I'm down to a wallet in the back pocket of my jeans.  The "notions" I carry in the car should I need them.

So, here is my little Autumn Purse, and I like it a lot, thank you very much!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Christmas is coming.......

I am happy that I have found some lovely patterns for Christmas presents.  Not the funny stuff that people rarely use - like a doll on a bed, or a doily of some sort.  Potholders.  EVERYONE uses potholders.  Plus some other goodies.  But the Christmas potholder is one that sparkles and twinkles and brings about great thoughts of Christmas Joy.  In my new book by Nicky Epstein, Crocheted Flowers, there is a Poinsettia with beads that I think is lovely.  So I made one, sans beads. Turned out really nice - but didn't know what to do with it.  As it turns out, I had sooooooo much yarn that I started making potholders with it for the bazaar and one day set the Poinsettia on the potholder to get it out of the way.  Wa la!  Prettier potholder, don't ya think?  Now am contemplating making some sort of garland or table decoration using the same yarn and flower.  

First, however, I am going to make a shawl from one of Doris Chan's patterns called the "Garland Stole" printed in the November 2008 Crochet! and it is a lovely, lovely, stole at that.  This will be for the auction at the church bazaar in December.  Should be a smashing success.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Candy Corn Potholder

You can find the pattern here and I think you will like doing it!  This is how mine turned out.

The potholders I made were easy, and the pattern was easy to follow.  I used white and yellow cotton, and a cotton/wool blend in the orange.  Worked up quickly, and everyone seems to like them.  

Monday, October 20, 2008

Do you think Crochet?

On Sunday I was listening to the sermon and heard the pastor say that when he looks at life around him he sees things from the perspective of a sermon happening right in front of him.  He wondered allowed if an mechanic saw things in terms of taking things apart and fixing them, or if a CPA saw life in terms of how to handle money.

That got me to thinking on how I see life now - in patterns.  I see checkers and visualize how to hook up the two colors.  I see beautiful knit sweaters and think which stitches I could use to duplicate the look, and what yarn I could use to give it as nice a drape as the knit (that's always the big question).   Often I will browse the clothing racks and see a blouse or a skirt or a pair of pants and see what could be a possible crochet project.  It is all so fascinating - so much yarn, so many patterns, so little time left.

I see life in colors, too - I see how colors play out in nature, with various greens matched to other floral colors, or how the ocean is covered with the many hues of green and blue.  I love to work with bold colors, but seldom do so as I found I fear in making a mistake!  So I am now pushing myself to pair bold, striking colors in my projects.

I see possibilities in so may forms - something that would look cute made up as a doggie coat.  Something that would make a neat vest pattern, or squares for an afghan.

And speaking of vest patterns, I cannot get the Garn Studio vest pattern to work for my friends vest, so am making one up as I go using bits and pieces of several patterns to make one I like and that she will like.  That means a high neck, buttons down the front, lots of room, sleeveless with shoulders that don't hang over, not girly looking, comfy and not mannish.  I hope what I am doing works.  At least the color is perfect!

By the potholders are turning out to be stunning, if I do say so myself.  Now THOSE are fun and satisfy my creativity in short spurts.  Two or three a week - like taking a happy pill!  This week I have been working on teal and purple ones in various wave or check patterns.  Fun!  I'll start posting my patterns pretty soon, so if anyone out there actually wants one (wouldn't that be nice) then they can have them.

This is a filet stitch on top and just double crochets for the backing.  All done in washable wool (wool is fire resistant).  


Sunday, October 19, 2008

I Want To Keep My Potholders!

I'm feeling sort of possessive, and that makes me feel bad about myself .  I have been making potholders for the church for their Winter Festival and I am starting to feel like I should be giving them to friends and family instead!  Some are soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo pretty!  Some are just darn cute.

What I need is to make two at one time so I have one to keep and one to give away.  THAT would make my little black heart feel much lighter and happier and less stingy .... tightfisted, cheap,miserly, cheesy, ungenerous.

Now I feel better.☼☺

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Crochet Technique

Have you ever had the misfortune of trying to crochet around the edge of something small and square and have it come out looking lopsided, or have a corner longer than the others - or worse yet, have the sides wavy????

This has been a thorn in my side for quite sometime.  And lately I have been making lots of potholders - so the problem has multiplied itself by many times.  Yikes!  And then, lo and behold, a light went on just as I was rounding the corner of a potholder having just finished one side.  The easy side.  It already had a base of single crochet tops that I could easily use.  Then WHAM.  That moment that one realizes just what you should have known for years.

When you crochet around a side that has the crochet loops all in order you are just putting your hook vertically into the loop below through the loop above it!  Amazing!

So after I got around the corner, I raised the hook in an actual vertical position and used my thumb to measure just how low I had to go into the fabric the first time.  I then just inserted the hook exactly below that loop ... and drew up the loop from that measured spot.  Then the next area was "spotted" the same way so that I did not go further or less into the fabric than before.  WOW!  What a difference it made ... Maybe not yet PERFECT but I can say that it was darn close.

Next time you want to edge something try my 'trick' and see if it helps you!  To start the process, be sure to put your hook in the vertical position - straight up and down - and let the top loop be your guide.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Woo Hoo!  Today I received my new Dude book!  "The Crochet Dude's Designs for Guys"!!!  I am excited to get to it and see if I can actually make something for my hubby or brothers that they would love!

I have flipped through the design/pattern book, which is full of Drew's fantastic humor, and have found wonderful sweaters to make, as well as other odds and ends for men.  I can even see making some of those hunky sweaters in more girlie colors for us women!!  Just a huge array of lovely and wonderful patterns I know I will love to make.

Finally, but not least, one thing I really really love about his book is that he gives you the type of yarn to buy, and then gives you what yarn HE used.  So instead of running out and having to buy "the" yarn, if you have a stash in bulky 5 weight, use it!  What a wonderful concept.  The yarns he uses are fantastic, but now you have a choice.

I have been trying to make a vest sweater for my long time friend in California.  She chose (by default) a pattern from Garn Studio which is really nice, but a bit too open. I have been trying to fix it, but something is wrong with their pattern so I have had a devil of a time, and have wasted many hours.  I see in Drew's book that he has a really super nice zip up vest with front post stitches, and it just fits the bill!  I'm so stoked!  All I have to do is either put in some short rows, if that would work, or just make the front a little bigger/wider, which I think is probably the best bet.

Wonderful!  Nice early Christmas present for myself!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Life of a Hooker

When growing up my neighbor taught me how to chain.  My hands were so little that I was unable to hold the yarn properly - or I was not coordinated!  At any rate, I developed my own way.  When we moved to Southern California my "grandmother" then taught me how to actually put the stitches together, and I was then off to a great start.  

It amazes me now that my crocheting then in my teenage years mainly consisted of making doilies.  I suppose that has a lot to do with the times (early 60's) and who was teaching me.  I taught myself how to knit and made many sweaters, none of which I had saved for some reason.  But I didn't make sweaters from crocheting.

After I moved to Georgia when in my 20's I began to crochet along with my sewing.  I made a lovely houndstooth sweater coat - I think that the pattern came from Women's Day or one of those lady magazines. It was on the front cover and I loved it.  The problem, however, was that it was not made in the proper yarn.  Although I knew how to make things, no one had explained to me the intricacies of picking out a yarn, why worsted, why cotton, why not.  So the sweater was more like a heavy unyielding coat, no sweater to it!  No stretch.  But gorgeous!  

During that time I was also knitting a sweater which, to this day, is not finished!  It is still in my stash. I am not a size 8 any longer, so unless for some reason I get to take off about 45 pounds, I doubt if I finished it that I would ever be able to wear it.  Maybe give it to some teen in church, assuming it isn't too out of date! ( but then, the styles always come back again).  The last thing I made was a baby afghan for my niece - it was made to look like ribbons.  Chartreuse ones going vertical, and darker green weaving in and out horizontally, with a white background.  LOVED  IT!

While in Georgia I made all my clothes, painted, decorated and painted ceramics, and quit crocheting for some unknown reason.  Perhaps I just didn't like the granny squares and the dolls with large skirts on the beds.  It just didn't seem to appeal to me any longer.  I quit knitting, too.

Then moved to California.  Eventually crocheted an afghan with a backing for another niece who was about seven or eight, I think.  Then started one for my nephew who was a in college.  That project took me eight years to finish, and he just received it this year!  However, after re-marrying and moving to Idaho in 2004 I picked up the crocheting again while trying to finish the afghan.  Made some hats, scarves, things for church - and then discovered the joys of making baby things for the granddaughters.  It has been wonderful to create again - I had done so much of it over the early years but somehow got away from it, so am thankful to be able to have time to make presents for my loved ones.

My poor hubby did not know that he had married a creator!  I love to create things - right now gardening and crocheting.  So my stash continues to grow, I keep buying books and patterns, and my skills are increasing by the day.  I'm having fun making quickie projects like potholders, but don't like them to be the ordinary granny square.  I love making colorful ones and those made for the holidays.

Hopefully I will be able to apply what I am learning to start designing some items on my own.  Not as easy as I thought, but a skill I hope to have.  In the meanwhile, I'll post my ramblings here, and any patterns that I think are worth posting, while the photos remain on the other sites for the most part.

Happy Hooking!