Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Stardust Melodies CAL Progress

Here they are-- the final six blocks (two each of the last three patterns)!

"Summertime":

"Summertime"

I loved crocheting this one!

"Summertime"

The center is a little different from the average crochet block, but the video is helpful for seeing exactly where the stitches go.  The dc5tog isn't as difficult as it might look, either.

"Summertime"

Very nice layered textures!

"Summertime"

Is it just me, or does this one have an art deco vibe?

"Summertime"

"Dream a Little Dream of Me":

"Dream a Little Dream of Me"

I tried the hdc method for the stars, but mine were coming out looking messy, so I went back and switched to the dc method.  The dc stars don't stand out quite so strikingly as the hdc would have, but they're still a nice texture.

"Dream a Little Dream of Me"

"Dream a Little Dream of Me"

Like all the "solid" blocks, this would be easy to expand to whatever size you need.

"Dream a Little Dream of Me"

Simple, but pretty.

"Dream a Little Dream of Me"

"One for My Baby":

"One for My Baby"

The raised texture on this block reminds me strongly of peacock feathers.  See them?

"One for My Baby"

It's not as difficult as it may look, though there is an unusual stitch or two.

"One for My Baby"

"One for My Baby"


Very nice pattern!

"One for My Baby"

I can't believe that was the last block!  I'll miss getting those pattern updates twice a week...

I've really enjoyed this CAL, and quite a few of these patterns are well worth crocheting again (and again).  I'm glad to have them in my library.

Here's my stack of 48 blocks, divided by color:

Stardust Melodies CAL

The blocks need arranging and joining, next, and I'm still not sure how I want to join them-- or even what color I'll use.  I have it narrowed down to two colors, and I'll probably either single crochet them together as they are or add a round of sc in the joining color, then join with slip stitch on the back side of the blocks.  Hm...

Then there's the border to crochet!  There are two options included with the ebook-- a free one and a paid one.  If I use one, it will be the paid border, because I love the bobbles.  I might use the bobbly border, then add another narrow border-- because I tend to prefer borders with lacy or scalloped edges (and I have that new book of borders I'd love to have an excuse to use).

I may put off the joining for a while.  For the moment, I've gone back to working on the table runner that I started back in April.  There's still a looooong way to go on that one.  There are also a couple of finished doilies still waiting to be blocked, so there's plenty to distract do while I weigh the options for joining and edging.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

FO: "Evelyn" Doily

Here's my latest finished (and blocked and photographed) object!

"Evelyn"

Pattern:  "Evelyn", by Grace Fearon
Yarn:  Cébélia size 10, color #745

"Evelyn"

What started as a CAL turned into a regular, "un-timed", solitary crochet project, once I fell behind the schedule-- but it was a very enjoyable crocheting experience, all the same.

This pattern comes with photos with superimposed stitch diagrams, which I found very helpful for quick reference.  I seem to recall that there were plenty of rounds where I didn't even need to read the written instructions, and that's just fine with me.  ;o)  I've come to prefer diagrammed patterns-- but best is to have both, like this one does-- so you can go back to the full, written instructions, if the need arises.

"Evelyn"

(I could've been a little more careful with my blocking around the circle(s) in the center, but honestly, most of the time there's something on the middle of the doily, anyway, so I probably won't bother to re-block until it needs washing.)

"Evelyn"

I love the leaf motif and I love-love the "ropes" framing each leaf in the border.  Such a strong texture!

"Evelyn"

There are some absolutely gorgeous examples of this pattern worked in multiple colors-- especially with the popcorns worked in accent colors.  I'm tempted to make it again, myself, one of these days, but I'm not sure I have it in me to work in that many ends... I do it for afghans, but for a doily... Maybe.

"Evelyn"

"Evelyn"

"Evelyn"


Certain rounds of this pattern will keep you on your toes-- but it's great if you're up for a challenge.  (I actually made a silly, careless mistake all the way through one round-- details are in my project notes on Ravelry-- but fortunately it wasn't so bad that I had to frog it.)

You'll feel you've accomplished something when you snip the thread after that last round!

"Evelyn"

I'm looking forward to crocheting more of Grace's designs!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Two More CAL Blocks

"It Had to Be You".

"It Had to Be You"

Another pretty block with an interesting diamond pattern of raised texture!

"It Had to Be You"

I appreciated the inclusion (in the designer's notes) of an alternative to the "stretched" dc in this pattern.  Though the stretched stitches provide an unusual visual and textural effect, I find them less pleasant (and more difficult) to crochet than traditional stitches, so I opted for the substitutions.  Having the designer's own suggestions of which stitches to substitute was very helpful.

"It Had to Be You"

"It Had to Be You"

The raised pattern on either side of each corner reminds me of wings... Pretty!

"It Had to Be You"

"Someone to Watch Over Me".

"Someone to Watch Over Me"

This block (one of the freebies) has a great texture!  It works up very quickly, too.

"Someone to Watch Over Me"

The pattern repeat is easy to memorize, so this would be a good TV/movie project.  And like all the other freebies, it would be simple to just keep going to make a larger block-- or even a whole blanket.

"Someone to Watch Over Me"

"Someone to Watch Over Me"

The texture reminds me of overlapping scales-- but in a nice way.  ;o)

"Someone to Watch Over Me"

There are only three more patterns to go, including the one that was released yesterday.  I haven't started it yet, because I've been working on finishing a doily that got set aside almost a year ago when I ran out of thread.  More on that soon, after blocking-- but the next post will be a wrap-up for a different doily.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Progress Post

Another week, another couple of CAL blocks!

"Ain't Misbehavin'".

"Ain't Misbehavin'"

I like the starry design, and the special corners add an interesting dimension. The special corners (in just a couple of rounds) aren’t that hard, either, once you understand how they’re constructed.

Personally, I have much more trouble with the extra-long double crochets and puff stitches than with the corners. It’s just not that easy for me to get a consistent height for every “stretched” stitch-- especially when they’re worked in the front loop only…

(Confession: I kind of hate making these “stretched” dc. They may look nice-- better for some than others-- but I don’t find them pleasant to crochet, and they seem more prone to snagging and general wear and tear than a "normal" crochet stitch.)

"Ain't Misbehavin'"

Because I wasn't happy with the way my stretched dc were turning out, this time, I decided to rip back a couple of rounds and replace the stretched dc with tr and hdtr.  Here’s what I ended up with:

10: tr
11: hdtr
12: tr
13: hdtr
14: very slightly “stretched” hdtr
15: hdtr

This slightly alters the look of the finished square, but I think it still makes an attractive block, and it was more enjoyable to crochet (for me), which is worth something, too.

"Ain't Misbehavin'"

"Ain't Misbehavin'"


Two more blocks done!

"Ain't Misbehavin'"

"As Time Goes By".

"As Time Goes By"

This block has an interesting all-over chevron texture, and it works up very quickly.

"As Time Goes By"

After some of the other blocks in this CAL, this one is straightforward and easy.  However, the last round does require a little more attention, since it has a wider variety of stitches and fewer "sc in blo" than other rounds.

"As Time Goes By"

This one was a pleasantly restful block-- especially after my frustration over the stretched stitches in "Ain't Misbehavin'".

Ah, and I almost forgot to add that this pale dusty pink is the other skein I bought of Big Twist Value.  I didn't do a side-by-side touch-test, but while crocheting this block, this yarn struck me as nicer and softer than the gray yarn (of the same brand, last post) did.

Based on this skein, I'd definitely use this yarn again.  (It's well known among knitters and crocheters that the texture/softness of yarn can vary from color to color.  This may be one of those cases where you'll want to make a color-by-color determination.)  It may not be quite as soft as, say, I Love This Yarn, but I definitely still enjoyed crocheting with it-- and if you're purchasing afghan-quantities of yarn on a budget, Big Twist can save you some money. (As far as durability goes, of course I can't really say, yet, but I can't see why this shouldn't wear as well as the average acrylic yarn.)

"As Time Goes By"

Add another two blocks to the pile!

"As Time Goes By"

Speaking of that pile of finished blocks, here it is (though not all are visible):

Stardust Melodies Blocks

So far, 19 patterns have been released, and since I'm making two of each, that should be 38 blocks.

There are five patterns yet to come-- and then there's joining and a border.  I'm not sure yet if I'll use one of the provided borders or not.  It'll depend partly on how I feel about the border design (once it's revealed) and partly on what yarn I have in-stash (and whether or not I decide to buy more yarn for the border).  If it's too hot and uncomfortable, I may even put off joining the blocks and working on the border for a while... (Or it might be possible to do it at a table, to keep the blanket off my lap.)

- - - - - - -

I've yet to block the last doily I finished, but I have begun stitching another pattern, using the variegated thread I mentioned before.

This is Grace Fearon's "Etienne" in Alize Miss Batik (color #4536):

"Etienne"

It's such fun to see the colors changing as you crochet!

The long color repeats make such a difference!  I don't understand why the variegated thread that's commonly available (around here, at least) has such short repeats.  (Maybe it's easier or cheaper to make...)  It just doesn't translate well to many applications (imho).  It can work for one or two rounds every so often, or as an accent-- but to make a whole doily in short-repeat variegated thread usually hides the pattern with choppy blips of color, rather than highlighting it.

Now, this kind of thread may not be to everyone's liking.  You do have to kind of abandon yourself to fate, a little.  Go with the flow and let the colors change as they will.  (Technically, you can control it, I suppose, by cutting the thread and removing certain colors, but that's a lot of work-- not to mention that it can waste thread, if you don't have another use for the pieces removed.)

As far as the texture of the thread goes, I'm enjoying it, so far.  This skein (the first I've tried) is soft and silky, but when crocheted, it has body.  I've found that, perhaps because it's so soft, it can fray/fluff when snagged, but with a reasonable amount of care and attention, that's not a frequent problem.

I wish this thread (or something like it) were more widely available (though I have enough stashed away to last a good long time!).  I ordered mine internationally from a seller on Etsy (Boundless Fantasy, in case anyone's interested).  I did see at least one person selling it in the U.S.--  on eBay, I think--  but the Etsy seller offered a better deal, for what I wanted.

Looking forward to seeing how this one progresses!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Two New CAL Blocks

I'm all caught up on the Stardust Melodies CAL, ready for the release of the next pattern later today!
Here are the latest two block patterns:

"Satin Doll".

"Satin Doll"

This one came out bigger for me than I'd have liked, but I'm not sure how much of that is the pattern and how much is just my shifting moods coming through in my tension...  In any case, it's a pretty block.

"Satin Doll"

It's not as difficult as it may look, though the video is helpful for learning where to place the double crochets.  Once you've watched a few rounds, it's easy to tell where they go for the rest of the block.

"Satin Doll"

Side note:  I tried a new-to-me yarn on this block.  The gray is Big Twist Value.

In my opinion (so far, based on just this one skein), it's not a bad yarn, but it's discernibly rougher/scratchier than some of the nicer modern acrylic yarns.  Switching between I Love This Yarn and Big Twist Value, the difference was immediately obvious.  I'll certainly use up the two skeins I bought to try and I might buy it again, but it's not a favorite.

"Satin Doll"

"Satin Doll"

"On the Street Where You Live".

"On the Street Where You Live"

This one works up very quickly-- a simple and straight-forward pattern with a strong texture.

"On the Street Where You Live"

I enjoyed making this pattern-- a nice change of pace from the ones where you have to guesstimate how far to pull up a loop. ;o)

"On the Street Where You Live"

"On the Street Where You Live"


Yes, I like this one a lot.

"On the Street Where You Live"

I've also finished crocheting the "Evelyn" doily-- photos to come when it's been blocked.  Maybe I'll even go ahead and block it right away!

Though I already have a big doily UFO in light hibernation, I think I'm going to choose a pattern and start a new doily in some "long change"/long-repeat variegated thread (Alize Miss Batik).  I've been wanting to try it for months, and I don't want to wait to finish that other project first.  (Who knows how long that will take?!)

Life's too short not to occasionally indulge the wish to start yet another new project!