Thursday, February 1, 2018

January: 31 Days of Flowers

The first month of the 365 Days of Crochet Flowers is done!

First, here are the last six flowers of January:

365 Days of Flowers

And here's the whole month:

365 Days of Flowers

It's hard to picture a whole year's worth of these flowers.  Just one month of them has added up very quickly!

365 Days of Flowers

The plan at the moment is to see if there are enough to sufficiently decorate a pillow slipcover.  I'll sew the cover from a solid-colored fabric (maybe just simple cream), then tack the flowers on with needle and thread.  (I'm dreading that part.  Needle and thread aren't my weapons of choice, but I don't want to glue them on, and I can't think of any other way of doing it.)

365 Days of Flowers

The only questions are how many it'll take and whether to make one pillow cover or two.

365 Days of Flowers

Well, there's also this question:  If I have enough flowers to make the slipcover(s), what's next?  Am I really up to the challenge of making these in size 10 thread?  Do I want to do that?  Or should I select a new palette and start making flowers for a wreath?

365 Days of Flowers

Or should I just take a break from the flowers?  I'd rather be working on something else, to be honest.

365 Days of Flowers

They're pretty, but the lack of a solid, appealing plan for a year's worth of these flowers has sapped my excitement.  (So fickle!)

Oh, I don't know.  We'll see what happens!

Monday, January 29, 2018

365 Days of Flowers, Continued

I'm still not quite caught up on this one-a-day crochet flower project.  I think I'm only four days behind, so it's possible to catch up in the next day or two.

I have so many flowers to show that I separated them into two groups.

First group:

365 Days of Flowers

365 Days of Flowers

Second group:

365 Days of Flowers

365 Days of Flowers

Stack of all the flowers so far:

365 Days of Flowers

And all of them spread out:

365 Days of Flowers

365 Days of Flowers

365 Days of Flowers

365 Days of Flowers


I'm still not sure what I'm going to do with them... The thought of joining them in a blanket is intimidating-- and exhausting-- but that's what I'm leaning towards, at the moment.  Nothing else I can think of seems quite as appealing or useful, given the material (acrylic yarn), gauge/scale (worsted/aran weight), and color combinations. 

I'm afraid my enthusiasm is already wearing thin.  It's not because making the flowers is dull--  I'm enjoying that part-- but rather because they're piling up so quickly, and I just can't feel confident in my ability to turn them all into something worthwhile. 

I'll carry on for at least a while longer, I guess.  I could join the first month or two into some sort of pillow cover(s), then choose new colors for the next month and make enough of them to cover a wreath (as I've seen someone else do with flowers in at least similar weight yarn)... And I could even convince myself to make a month or so in thread for a framed piece.  There are no rules, of course, and there's no reason they all have to match/coordinate or be used in the same finished project. 

Further updates will follow!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

365 Days of Flowers

Still in the process of catching up on the 365 Flowers project!

(Yes, I still need to work on The Mittens.  I finished the thumbs and weaved in all the ends.  Next is swatching the furry yarn.  There's also a doily that is just barely started.  At the moment, all I can think about, in terms of yarn/thread, is catching up on this flower project.  A moment of crochet flower madness is good for the soul.)

Here are the next five flowers:

365 Days of Crochet Flowers

365 Days of Crochet Flowers

365 Days of Crochet Flowers

And here are all of the first ten together.  (Not quite half-way caught up...)

365 Days of Crochet Flowers

There are already three more that are crocheted (with loose ends still waving free), so the next batch should be ready very soon.

365 Days of Crochet Flowers

Yeah, they're fun to make. 
Highly recommended, if you're a fan of flowers and crochet.  ;o)

Monday, January 22, 2018

365 Days of Crochet Flowers

I happened to see a year-long project on Ravelry, and it looked like so much fun I decided to join in!

Emily at The Loopy Stitch has challenged herself to crochet a different flower for every day of 2018.  She's not sure yet what she'll be doing with them all; for now, she's just designing and crocheting them-- and sharing the written patterns and photos with anyone interested in playing along.  (The first two days use the same pattern, because she hadn't yet decided to make every flower different.)

I considered making mine from remnants of size 10 thread, because I can easily envision projects that would use a variety of differently shaped and sized thread-weight flowers.  (Garlands, wreaths, framed wall art, lampshade applique or trim, table runners, etc.)

However, that would essentially mean starting a (tiny) doily for every day of the year, and the first few rounds of a doily are usually my least favorite part.  (There's hardly anything to hold on to while you work, which leads to hand cramps.)  Also, there will be a lot of ends to weave in, which seems worse when working with thread.  In short, while 365 tiny thread flowers would look charming, they'd be a misery to make, imho.

So, I'm taking the plunge and making my flowers from (easy-to-crochet) leftovers of aran/worsted weight yarn.  I'll just have faith that I'll figure out some way to join them together into something that I can use and enjoy.

I removed a few colors of yarn (red, hot pink, emerald green, etc.) from my scrap bag, but it's still pretty random-- just what happened to be in there from recent(ish) projects.

I have some catching up to do, and I'm pretty sure that even when I'm caught up, I won't be making, photographing, and posting on a daily basis, but just as the mood strikes me.  However, I will make the effort to keep up and post photos at least on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.

- - - - - - -

Day 1:

365 Days of Crochet Flowers

Day 2:
Because I didn't want two "Day 1 flowers", I improvised my own pattern for Day 2.  Making your own flower off the top of your head helps you appreciate the time and effort that goes into designing a new flower every single day!

365 Days of Crochet Flowers

Day 3:

365 Days of Crochet Flowers

Day 4:

365 Days of Crochet Flowers

Day 5:

365 Days of Crochet Flowers

Days 1-5:

365 Days of Crochet Flowers

Stacked up...

365 Days of Crochet Flowers

All in a row... ;o)

365 Days of Crochet Flowers

I think this is one of those projects where the beauty (and dare I say it, magic) comes from the sheer number and variety of the flowers.  The more there are, the better they'll look.

If I can figure a way to do it without losing my mind in the process, I think these would be wonderful worked together into a crazy bohemian/gypsy-inspired blanket.  I just don't know if I have it in me to join them all together smoothly enough that I'd be satisfied with the final product.  It would definitely be a challenge!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Keeping Warm

We've been having a cold winter, by our standards-- and it's still only January, so who knows what the next month or two might bring?!  Perfect weather for indoor crafting!

(...Though I actually do really need to get outside and work in the garden before spring sneaks up on us again...  Never mind.  Back to thoughts of cozy craft-time...)

I have been working on the Mittens of Doom, a.k.a. the hedgehog mittens I started making for my youngest sister over a year ago and still haven't finished.  I'm on the first thumb, after which all I have to do is embroider the faces and make and attach the fuzzy Fun Fur-style "spines".  (Have I mentioned that I loathe embroidering faces and swore off Fun Fur years ago?)  So, while there's still plenty to do on that project, I've been allowing myself to work on a couple of other crafty projects.  ...Mainly because my hands hate knitting that acrylic yarn and I just needed a break from them. 

The first new project is... another doily.
Yes, another.
Because I really need more doilies, don'tcha know?  It's not like I'm already running out of places to put them and have actually started doubling them up (layering them) in a few places... :o/  I don't even know many people who'd be likely to appreciate them as gifts, modern style being what it is-- and the thought of trying to sell them is not appealing, at the moment.

...But I love making them, and I have a thread stash, so I'll just keep on making them, as long as they're fun to make!  It's no worse than people who collect shoes or purses or comic books or whatever else.

Anyway, this new one is "Orion", another Grace Fearon pattern.
I'm using a solid thread this time-- Aunt Lydia's size 10 in "Orchid Pink".

"Orion" Doily WIP

The pattern actually calls for a larger hook than I'm using, but I was settled into my seat when I noticed and was just that lazy that I refused to get up again.  (Shocking, isn't it?)  I think it'll work out, because many others have used this size hook (1.75mm), but if I were to do it again, I'd probably try a larger one, just to see if it made any difference.  It seems like you have to work into ch-1 spaces and the tops of popcorn stitches a lot in this pattern, and that might possibly have been easier if I'd used the larger hook.

Lots more to do on this one, but I'm not in any hurry.

The second project was of the short and sweet variety.
We have a small bucket that we use to corral the dogs' rubber fetching balls, and I wanted to make a mat to go under it, to protect the furniture.

I searched Ravelry for mandala patterns, found one that struck my fancy, pulled out the scrap bag, and went to town (figuratively speaking).

The pattern is intended to make a pot holder, so you usually make two rounds and crochet them together for extra thickness, but for my purposes, a single thickness was sufficient.  As I crocheted, I realized that I liked the way my mat looked and didn't want to work the stitches that outline the "petals", so I left that off, too.

Crochet Mat

The yarn is just leftover acrylic scraps.  They wouldn't be ideal for a pot holder (not as nice/safe as cotton or wool, certainly), but for a toy bucket mat, they're perfectly fine.

Crochet Mat

I had so much fun choosing colors from the bag and just crocheting effortlessly and joyfully (compared to fussing with knitting fiddly thumbs or squinting at the invisible tops of popcorn stitches)!  This little project has brought home to me that it may be time to work on joining that granny square afghan-- sooner rather than later.

Crochet Mat

I do feel pangs of guilt about those mittens, so maybe I'll make a deal with myself.  Finish those and then I can work on the afghan.  (...Can I wait that long?  Maybe better to say "finish the thumbs and you can start on the afghan"...)

Crochet Mat

Why can't knitting boring mittens be as much fun as crocheting mandalas?  Or at least as easy? ;o)

Crochet Mat

Useful mini-project done!

Crochet Mat

Monday, January 8, 2018

Mostly Doilies

There was a remnant of Alize Miss Batik left over from "Etienne", so I decided to make a tiny doily from it.  There were still leftovers, so I crocheted the tiny doily pattern again. 

(One can never have enough tiny doilies, I guess.  They also make fun things to put in with gifts.  Even if someone isn't necessarily a "doily person", they might still find a use for one of this size.  They are cute in a frame or used as a coaster, for instance.)

So, these first photos are actually of the second Miss Batik "Mathilde".  (I can tell because I finally ran out and had to use a solid-colored thread for the last round.)

"Mathilde"

"Mathilde" is a fun little pattern designed by Grace Fearon.  It's one of her free patterns.  These are my second and third times crocheting it.  The first was in Cébélia.

"Mathilde"

And here's the other "Mathilde"

"Mathilde"

Considering that they're worked in the exact same thread, it's interesting how different they can look, depending on where in the color change you start the doily. 

"Mathilde"

For my next thread project, I broke out another skein of Alize Miss Batik-- in a different colorway (#4535)-- and crocheted "Wendy", another pattern by Grace Fearon. 

This particular colorway isn't my very favorite-- too much beige for me?  too "Southwestern" for my tastes?-- but it's not bad.  The pattern's good, too, though I did have some trouble with one or two spots.  (If you're interested, see my Ravelry project notes for details.)

"Wendy"

"Wendy"

"Wendy"

"Wendy"


"Wendy"


When that doily was finished, I weighed it and the remainder of the skein and was surprised that they were very close.  So... I decided to crochet the same doily again with the remnant.  (Is that weird?)

Because I was worried about running out too soon, I started the pattern with leftovers from another ball of thread.  I thought the salmon I chose was a fairly close match with the pink, but after I'd been crocheting a bit, I realized that the pink in the Miss Batik is a softer, cooler pink.  Well, I think they work well enough. 

Despite my precautions, I ran out toward the very end, anyway, so I added in another scrap-- a pink that's a closer match than the salmon. 

"Wendy"

Again, it's interesting to see how different parts of the pattern are highlighted, depending on where you start in progression of colors. 

"Wendy"

It's fun to watch the colors change and interact with this thread, but the texture of the thread is different from what I'm used to.  It's softer-- not as sturdy.  I would like it even better if it were a firmer thread, more along the lines of Aunt Lydia's or Cébélia. 

"Wendy"

"Wendy"


"Wendy"


- - - - - - -

Tidying up the craft room, I came across a few scraps of cotton yarn. There wasn’t enough for much of a project, so I didn’t want to stash it away. Better to just whip it up into a few more cotton dish scrubbers.

Two of them are linked double crochet (ldc) squares. The third is just an improvised circular scrubber. None of them are much to look at (edging could have been applied more evenly, for one thing), but they’ll do the inelegant job of scrubbing, and I’m glad to have those scraps used up!
Dish Scrubbers

- - - - - - -

I'm trying to resist the temptation to start another doily or start joining the granny square blanket.  The hedgehog mittens are languishing from lack of attention.  I allowed myself a break from them around Christmas, but the time has come to power through.  ...Or at least spend 15 or 30 minutes every evening on them!