Monday, July 21, 2014

Old-Fashioned Update



The collection of granny squares for the "Old-Fashioned" afghan slowly multiplies.

They're such fun to make!  Mindless, carefree crochet.  The only downside, really, is all the ends to weave in.  Two per color, four colors per square = eight ends per square.  (Woo, basic arithmetic.) Whip up a handful of granny squares, and before you know it you've got 30 or 40 ends hanging there, taunting you.  It's a must to stop regularly and weave them in, because I hate having a ton of ends to weave at the end of a project-- really, really hate it.  (Confession:  I still haven't finished weaving in all the tails on my first hexagon-motif afghan... I'll try to work on it when cool weather comes around again.  It would be insanity to do it in the middle of summer.) 

The palette is a bit restricted at the moment, but I think that it'll all come together, eventually.  That so-called palette is determined by what colors happen to be in my scrap basket at the moment, and right now, there are very few bright colors in there.  (Maybe it'll end up with a Nanny McPhee vibe.)  I could wait to make more squares until there are more colors to choose from... but I want to work on it now.  And this method is more... organic... authentic... ;o)


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The next Mysteryghan clue came out on Friday, and though I'm still distracted by the granny square project, I began to follow the clue on Sunday afternoon.  I'd like to keep pace on this MCAL.  Last year, I had to stop and finish that year's MCAL long after (most of) the other participants had finished theirs, because we were visiting Donald's family in Sweden, and fitting an afghan-sized project into our luggage was unrealistic.  This time, I'm planning to keep up right through the end, if at all possible. 

I mentioned last time that I was worried I'd run out of one or two of my Mysteryghan colors.  Well, a shopping trip led to the discovery that one of the local W-M stores (Daphne) does still carry the RHSS "Real Teal" that I'm using-- so that's one color taken care of...  As for the peach, Hobby Lobby's I Love This Yarn! "Light Peach" will do very well.  If it's not a perfect match, it's close enough.  (Peach seems to not be an "in" color at the moment, or at least I haven't seen a lot of it in the 100% acrylic yarns that are locally available.)  It's good to know that in a pinch, there are decent substitutes (that don't involve color-matching through the computer monitor and shipping fees).

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So, this afternoon/evening, what will it be?  Dutifully working on the Mysteryghan (which requires a certain amount of focus)-- or reaching for my wonderfully instinctive granny squares?  Decisions, decisions!
 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Mysteryghan Progress & More!


Still knitting away at the Billowy Delight scarf-- very slowly, because it's not the most exciting thing to do.   (No photo, but you're not missing out on much.  It looks the same as last time, just maybe a little longer.)

- - - - -

Still keeping up with the Art Deco Mysteryghan.

Every Friday there's a new clue, and so far it hasn't been difficult to finish one clue before the next one comes.  I had to force myself to do part of this week's clue, though.  Four blocks worked side to side (instead of in rounds).  I am not a fan of working side to side.  "Round and round we go" is so much more fun!  Especially when you have to crochet an edging into those rough sides.  I think they came out ok, though. Maybe a little wobbly in spots. but that'll even out after joining.

Here come a couple of photos, so if you're avoiding spoilers for Clues 2 and 3, don't scroll down!
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Ok, you've been warned.  ;o)


Here are my pieces from CLUE 2:



And from CLUE 3:


I changed the two-color hexagons slightly.  Instead of following the pattern, I used the instructions for the single-color hexagons, because I prefer that look.  (Alternating fpdc with plain dc shows off the texture to better effect than using mostly fpdc, imho.)

The peach and "harvest gold" (probably not its actual name) still look kind of clashy to me, but I think that as long as I don't let them touch, it'll be ok.  (I'm good at convincing myself that even strange color schemes "work".  As long as I'm satisfied, who else will care?)


I suspect that I will run out of one or two of my colors before the end of the project, and one of them is a discontinued (vintage) yarn.  Still, they're only peach and teal.  Shouldn't be too hard to find a reasonable substitute for either of those colors.

- - - - - 

The "Hypno-Cushion" is finished!

I'm excited to scratch it off my current WIP list, but the cushion-cover itself only rates a "meh".  It's ok, but not a real beauty.  (The mustard in the pillow beside it in the photos isn't helping.  Those two will not be next-door neighbors...)  It'll be used somewhere.

Hypnocushion

Hypnocushion

- - - - - 

I'd like to keep up-to-date with the Mysteryghan clues and continue to chisel away at the WIP list, but I think, with the progress of the past month or two, I've earned the right to start a new WIP-- so I am! 


"Old-Fashioned" 
(the "working title" ;o))

--It will be an old-fashioned granny square afghan.  Each square will be at least 3 or 4 rounds (not exactly sure yet) and will not have a round of single crochet around its edge. 

--The joining method will be JAYGO, but I may work up a bunch of complete squares and then join them with "fill-in-the-blank" squares, later on.  (That way, the color distribution can be tweaked later in the project.) 

--This will be a "scrap-stash"-busting project.  As such, it will probably take a while to finish.  (Have to wait for that scrap-stash basket to fill up, every so often.) Worsted-weight acrylic yarn and a size G hook. 


I'm looking forward to working on a true granny square afghan!  (The last scrap-buster didn't feel like a real granny square afghan-- probably because the squares were so small and were all edged in sc...)  I love scrap-busting projects!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Billowy Delight Now More Delightful

Well, maybe "delightful" is a bit of a stretch, but at least I'm finding knitting the Billowy Delight scarf more pleasant than the last time I was working on it.  That's my current WIP-of-choice, while I wait for the next Mysteryghan clue.  (Coming on Friday!  I know what I'll be doing Friday night, assuming we don't go anywhere for Fourth of July fireworks.)

Billowy Delight is nicer to knit when you have something to listen to.  TV.  Audiobook.  Should I admit that I, a grown woman, am working my way through Pretty Little Liars on Netflix, which is my current choice of lunchtime entertainment?  It's such a silly teen drama, but it's addictive.  For audiobooks, it's Madam, Will You Talk, by Mary Stewart, in the evenings, if I'm not in the mood for music and there's nothing worth watching on TV... and there rarely is, at the moment.  Summertime TV is lacking.  I'm curious about NBC's upcoming Welcome to Sweden, though.  All those Swedish stereotypes... Should be annoying fun.  ;o) 

- - - - - - -

I added a bag of partially used-up balls of novelty yarn to my pile of donations destined for a local thrift store.  It's the remnants of the yarn I was using for that novelty yarn afghan.  The one that I just didn't want to finish, because Life's Too Short to Crochet Something You Hate.  The part I've already crocheted will, I guess, become a dog blanket, but it's very narrow for a blanket.  I suppose I could donate that to charity, too, but honestly, I can't see why anyone would want the thing... It's too wide to work as a scarf, not to mention that it's exceptionally thick and bulky and bizarre-looking.  No, doggy "blanket" it is!  I'm sure Luna will be thrilled.  (Actually, she probably will be.  She'll drag that monstrosity around and plop down on it and find a good corner to chew.  All under close supervision, of course.) 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Art Deco Mystery'ghan-Along

On Friday, we got our first pattern update (a.k.a. Clue #1) for Julie Yeager's 2014 MCAL!

I couldn't resist peeking at other crocheters' project photos before starting my own.  Maybe it spoils some of the surprise to peek, but you still have no idea how all the pieces will go together-- and I prefer having at least a vague idea of what I'm going for.  (It also helps me determine whether or not to deviate from the pattern in recommended color, color changes, etc.)

I decided to add another (lighter) green to the mix-- and I may use more orange (or pumpkin or rust) than I initially expected. 

Originally, I'd planned to use a G hook for this project, but after working the first motif, I decided to go up to size H, which should yield a slightly looser, more flowing fabric. 

The deadline for downloading the MCAL pattern for free has been extended, by the way.  (To July 21st, I think...)  So if you've been on the fence, there's still time.  It looks like it's going to be a fun one.  Lots of texture and motifs in a variety of shapes.


How about a photo?


If you don't want the first clue spoiled, don't scroll down!

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The 12 popcorn grannies did get a little tedious, but fortunately they're not big.  And popcorn stitches are fun, in moderation.  I joined them into two strips of six, because Julie mentioned on the discussion board that we could go ahead and do so, if we were looking for something else to do before the next clue comes out.

There was some debate about how to work the center of the hexagons.  I did my first one (the experiment with the G hook) "sc 3 down one dc, sc 3 up the next", but then read that Julie actually intended the pattern to be worked "down" each dc (though she added that it was a matter of personal preference, and either would work).  I ended up working them as intended, but I'm still not sure which look I prefer.  Some people have been working that raised round in another color, but I'm leaving it plain for now.  You can always go back and add some "surface crochet" in a contrasting color-- at any time. 

For the decagon, lots of people have been experimenting with adding stripes instead of using just one color for the whole thing.  I decided to follow suit.  If nothing else, it's a good way to get an idea of how some of your colors work together.  My decagon doesn't include either of the darker greens I'm using (the avocado in the popcorn grannies or the darker green I've yet to use), but I'm happy with how the other colors look together.  I still think it's best to keep the peach and the harvest gold separated, though.

(Note to self:  The easiest way to do that-- since I won't know how the pieces go together until the very end-- would be to make a point of never ending a motif/piece with harvest gold.  Swap to pumpkin instead, for the last round or two.  Well, that or just don't worry about it.)

Looking forward to the next clue!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Tying Up Loose Ends

After the "high" of finishing the scrapghan, I decided to continue the good feeling by tackling a few "loose end projects" hanging around the house.  Unless I want to use something right away, I can be prone to procrastinating that sort of thing, and they pile up.

I sewed a button the crocodile stitch "Pinecone Neckwarmer" I made back in... ~checking~ ...oh, September 2012.  (And that's not even the record-holder in this blog entry!) 

Then I approached the knitted objects with woven ends left hanging.  I'm much worse about weaving ends in knitting than in crochet, because I know how to weave ends into crochet, but for some reason, I'm still shy about the knitted objects.  Not a good excuse, really, because with the help of a couple of YouTube videos, I got them done in very little time, compared to the months they've been waiting.

First, two hats:
A teal Foliage for me...
And a brown Simple Cabled Hat for Donald.  
(There are still no photos on the second project page.  They both need washing and blocking before I put them into storage.  I'll try to snap a photo or two before putting them away.)

After that, I was on a roll, so I wove multiple ends into my Regency Ruffles scarf.  (I like it.  I've almost forgotten how long it took to finish the thing.)

Then there were a couple ends on the sock-yarn Irish Mesh Cowl

Finally, I wove in the tails on my Obsidian Multnomah.  This shawlette, by the way, holds the record as the oldest project in this blog entry.  I started it in April 2012, finished it in October 2013, and only got around to weaving the ends this week.  Now I need to block it-- another hurdle, my first time using blocking wires.

- - - - - - -

I didn't want the feeling of accomplishment to stop, so instead of starting a new project (and yes, I was tempted), I decided to work on one of my numerous WIPs.  (Not one of the afghans, though.  I'm not feeling up to finishing another afghan just yet...)

The latest linen stitch cowl (Apple Blossom Chickadee) seemed do-able.  I probably could've just bound off right away, but instead opted to add a little more length-- not enough for boredom to set in, though.  I've finished that one, now, and even went ahead and weaved in the ends right away, like a good little knitter.  ;o)

My current active WIP is the Hypno-Cushion.  I'm not sure exactly how large I originally intended to make this cushion cover, and my Ravelry notes aren't especially helpful on that point, but I think I'll keep it small.  Just eight motifs, four per side.  They're all crocheted now.  Up next, joining motifs, sewing the pillow insert, and closing up the cover.  (I have another crochet project on hold because it requires a bit of sewing.  I keep putting it off...  Maybe I can make myself work on both of them over the weekend.  The sewing machine's not that scary, once you start.)

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I'm not sure how long I can keep this finishing-streak going, but the longer I can resist starting something new, the better it'll be.  I'd like to not feel guilty about my next new project.

There's still plenty to keep me busy on my Unfinished list:
--  Billowy Clouds of Alpaca scarf (almost all of it still to do)
--  Be of Good Cheer afghan (joining, border)
--  Old-Fashioned Sampler (not sure... more blocks? joining, border)
--  Granny's Step-Daughter pillow (joining, sewing)
--  Ruby Cardiff Cowl (almost finished, I think)
--  Crochet Cacti (ugh... not interested)
--  Scandinavian Heart  (double ugh)
--  Cozy Cottage Popcorn Pillow (had forgotten all about it...)
--  Bewitching (doily, barely started)
--  Wreath of Blooming Crochet (snore)
--  Linen & Cotton Isis (shawl, no idea...)
--  Cotton Basket  (all but forgotten)
--  Secret Project (meh... someday, but not important to finish)
--  Lotus Bloom (doily, stalled, not sure how much is left)
--  Novelty Yarn Scrapghan (*this* close to giving up on it)

...Wow.  I didn't remember that there were that many things on this list.  A couple of them I could finish in an afternoon or less.  A few, I'm not even sure I want to finish-- especially the crochet wreath and the novelty yarn afghan.  In fact... Yeah, I don't think I'm going to finish the afghan.  I'm almost positive that I'll be scrapping that one.  The strip I've finished could be a dog blanket, maybe-- or a very warm and fuzzy stole for someone with a brave soul and an unusual fashion sense.  ;o)  Of course I could finish it, but if I really don't want to, it's a waste of precious time and energy.  Better to donate the leftover novelty yarn to someone who'll actually enjoy it than to force myself to use it simply because I made the mistake of buying it.  It was all clearance-bin yarn, so there's not that much waste...  The bigger waste would be throwing hours of time into it, only to have it sit unused in a closet or chest because it's so not my style that I wouldn't want to look at it.

- - - - - - -

We're getting closer to the beginning of that mystery crochet-along I wrote about before.  The designer/hostess, Julie Yeager, postponed the start to make sure she got everything ironed out properly, but she's said it's nearly ready-- by July, at the latest, I think.  (Here's her Ravely group page, where you can learn more.)

I'll probably make an exception to my "no new projects" kinda-sorta "rule" for this, since it's a MCAL and will be more fun if it's worked along with everyone else.  

I think I'm still sticking more or less with the yarn I posted about before, though Julie wrote a little more about color options after I made those choices.  I think she said something about being less focused on having a "main color"-- and that more than four colors could work very well.  

I'm looking forward to that first real clue (though I haven't even worked on the sample clue, yet)!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Waste Not, Want Not

I've finished the border for the Ugly-Cute afghan!  (And changed its name to the more positive "Waste Not, Want Not".)  It's taken a while, because apparently crocheting the same thing over and over again, around and around, is, well, boring.  It depends on the pattern, I guess, but the border I chose was extremely repetitive.

I thought I'd try to use up as much as possible of my remaining (but dwindling) stash of Caron Simply Soft.  (All except those skeins set aside for a different afghan-- all shades of blues, grey, and white, if I recall correctly.)  I was aching to slap the "FINISHED" stamp on this project, though, so I stopped well before the yarn ran out.  There'll be more leftover Simply Soft than planned. (Some way to use the rest will come along.)

A few photos of the finished scrap-buster:

"Waste Not, Want Not" Afghan

"Waste Not, Want Not" Afghan

"Waste Not, Want Not" Afghan

It turned out prettier than I would've thought, when I started it.  (A bit rumply, but...)  I don't think it'll be out on display, like this, but it's perfectly serviceable.  I kind of like the "used every last bit" look-- that "use it up, wear it out" style of thrift. 

I'd like to make another "scrappy" granny square afghan, sometime, but if I do, I'll forgo the round of single crochet (last round of the squares in this afghan), use only pieces that are long enough to complete a round (i.e. no "magic knots", no extra ends to weave in), and I'll probably opt for "JAYGO".  (I got sooooo tired of the slip-stitch join!  JAYGO's the way to go.)  I'd likely also make the squares more than two rounds each-- three or four, at least.  Oh, and I'd strive to use only yarn of a (very) similar weight.  (That can be tricky at times, which is why I'm trying to get rid of the Simply Soft-style so-called worsted-weight.)

Now to start collecting scraps... ;o)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

No More Slip Stitch!!

I have finished the slip stitch joining of the Ugly-Cute Scrapghan. 

I have slipped the last stitch.



. . . . . . . Yahooooooooo!  




Well, but seriously, I was getting so tired of it!  I don't want to slip stitch any more.

Next, I'll put a border of some kind on the afghan (and weave in the ends created during the square-joining, in the process).  I might keep the edging very simple, or maybe I'll get interested and make a more elaborate border.  Doesn't matter.  Either way I am done slip stitching! 

Photos when the whole thing's done and laundered.
(And then it'll go hide away somewhere until winter, probably.)