Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Ogee Progress and New Doilies

I've been a bad craft blogger.  I apologize, but I can't honestly promise I'll do better.  This time of year, when the blogging urge hits, I'm more drawn to my garden blog... But I'll still post here from time to time, because of course there's always a craft project in the works.  ;o)

The sampler afghan is still temporarily on hold.  (I'll get back to it soon enough.)

Instead, I've been working on the ogee afghan.  I'm making strips, which I'll join toward the end of the project.  This should be a good plan for tweaking color distribution, but it also makes it harder to get a good "in progress" photo, since the unjoined motifs tend to curl up a little.

Some "these'll-have-to-do" progress photos:

Ogee Afghan WIP

Ogee Afghan WIP

Ogee Afghan WIP

Ogee Afghan WIP

Ogee Afghan WIP

- - - - - - -

I've also been getting into doily mode, lately.  I think it has something to do with the warm weather.  Doilies are the perfect hot-weather project, since they use nice, cool, smooth cotton thread and don't require holding a heavy project in your lap.  They're also very portable, so they're easy to take outdoors in nice weather.

As a matter of fact, I started the first recent doily on the beach.  It's yet another version of Denis Augostine Owens' "Summer Splendor".  This was the fifth time I've made this pattern.  Safe to say I like it. ;o)  It's repetitive, but sometimes that's a good thing.  This time I used some raspberry-pink thread.  I've yet to block it, though.  Photos next time, I hope.

My current "most active" crochet project is "Momentous Occasion" by Patricia Kristoffersen.  It's a fairly advanced pattern, and I'm working it in some size 20 thread, which makes it slightly more difficult, in my opinion.  (Photos of this one next time, too.)

- - - - - - -

Today, I actually used the sewing machine for the first time in a long while.  Picked up a simple string-quilt-style table runner I started months ago.  Maybe I'll get back into sewing again soon... There are certainly a number of projects already started, not to mention the ones that are still just ideas swirling around in my head.

Now, which project should take priority?!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Another Block and a New Project

I decided on the next block for the sampler afghan-- Triquetra Celtic Knot Afghan Block by Joyce Lewis.   Like those of her earlier designs that I've hooked (Crocodile Flower and Simple 10-Petal Afghan Square), I'm finding it very pretty-- and also innovative.  It requires that you pay close attention to what you're doing, on certain rounds, but the pattern is extremely detailed and clear.

I still have rounds to go (not to mention the block border), but I snapped a (flash) photo of the block as it stands.

Triquetra Crochet Block (WIP)

It's currently at a stand-still, partly because I'm going to have to start measuring it and probably making adjustments to get it to the same size as my other blocks-- but also because I've been sidetracked by another project.

I've started another afghan.  No, we don't need another afghan, but I like making them, so I will.  If it's a vice, it's a relatively harmless one.  Besides, I already have the unassigned yarn.  Why not have fun with it?  I might have to start pawning spare afghans off on unsuspecting strangers, though... ;o)  (Or donating the ones I don't like as much to some charity organization or other...)

Anyway, excuses aside, I'm making an afghan of these motifs.  Unfortunately, I don't have any more info about the pattern than what's on the link, which I came across in a forum on Ravelry.

The motif looks a lot like one in a recently-released pattern by Jane Crow.  For a while, her pattern was not available except as part of a rather expensive kit for a shawl, but she's now released the pattern on its own, as well as two other versions of it-- one of them being a blanket.  By the time the blanket pattern came out, I'd already started making these motifs, so I figured I'd stick with them.

I haven't made many, yet, as you can see...  I'll be joining them in semi-random strips as I go, then at the end, I'll join the strips.  I love choosing colors for each motif.  Definitely the best part of making a scrappy or many-colored afghan.

Tessellated Ogee Motifs

The downside to the motif-only pattern is that it doesn't demonstrate how to join these ogee shapes.  (There's also not a pattern for half-motifs, if you want them.  I'm not sure yet if I'll try to devise my own pattern for that.  I kind of like the uneven/jagged-edge look, at the moment...)

I think I've figured out joining-- to my own satisfaction, at least.   Here's my joining test.  I've tweaked the pattern ever so slightly.  Two single crochets in each of the treble clusters, rather than the one-per-stitch called for in the pattern.

Tessellated Ogee Motifs

On the back, you can see that I tried joining with single crochet and slip stitch.  I think I prefer the flatness of the slip stitch, but either would work.  Of course, you could also sew them by hand with possibly neater results, but that takes me forever (not to mention that it really hurts my hand), so crochet it is!

Tessellated Ogee Motifs

My tails in the photos above are longer than I usually leave tails, because I realized after I'd crocheted a few of them that I'd made them incorrectly, so I had to go back and fix them (leaving extra-long tails with the excess yarn).  If you follow the pattern at the Google Docs link, don't make my mistake of thinking that the treble crochet cluster is three plain treble crochets.  There's a difference. ;o)  (I guess I wasn't paying close enough attention!)

While looking through my stash of acrylic yarn, choosing colors for this new afghan, I came across a loose yarn band from some second-hand yarn.  I have no idea how old this yarn is-- not that old, since it has a bar code-- but I got a kick out of the font and name... Pop'n Yarn.  "Premier Quality Yarn".  I use a lot of 100% acrylic, so I'm not exactly a full-fledged yarn snob, but if this is premier quality, you hate to think what the standard and bargain yarn was like...

Pop'n Yarn


Thursday, April 14, 2016

More Afghan Blocks Finished

"Shattered" (by Margaret MacInnis).

"Shattered"

I guess I already wrote about this first one, in the last entry.  It has some interesting textures.  Popcorn stitches.  Puff stitches.  Spike stitches.  Front-post and back-post stitches.  Lots going on, here.

- - -

"Kingsley" (by Polly Plum).

"Kingsley"

I wrote about this one last time, too.  I like the way it turned out-- particularly the "leafy"-looking design-- though I had to make some small changes to make it (more or less) match the other blocks in size.  I can't remember if I just left off a couple of rounds or shortened some stitches... I think I just left off some rounds.

- - -

"Beware the Ides of March" (by Margaret MacInnis).

"Beware the Ides of March"

I left off the tapestry crochet and also left out one round to make the block match the others in size.

This is another that I chose from my queue-- not a block that has (as yet) been specifically included as part of the CAL.  It's a while before the next "official" block will be available, so I'll probably choose another from my Ravelry queue.  There are plenty waiting!

Though I tend to gravitate towards the ones with opportunities for lots of color changes, I probably need at least a couple more with larger blocks of color, to balance out this afghan's first block, "Puff Wheat".

Friday, April 8, 2016

"Denna" Crochet Block Completed

I finished "Denna"!

I started out making the 12” square but realized after the 10th round that my block was coming out too big. (My other blocks for this afghan are all smaller than 12” squares, before adding the border.) So I ripped back that round and switched to the instructions for the 9” square.  To get the block to the size of my other squares for this afghan, I needed something in between the 9” and 12” block, so I adjusted the last two rounds slightly.

I think there are some minor number errors in at least the last round of the 9” pattern. It looks like it was copied and pasted from the 12” pattern, and the designer forgot to adjust some numbers. Of course, by the time you get to the last round of the pattern, you can probably figure out what to do, just from the photo, and since the pattern is free (and available in three sizes), we can’t really complain. ;o)

I love the way this block turned out!  It was pretty easy to crochet, too, which was nice, after the more complicated blocks I’ve been working on lately. I’d like to make this one again, sometime. :o)

Though it isn't a difficult pattern, I realized toward the end of the project that I'd put one of the front post stitches into the wrong place.  It was a slight mistake, but one that would've nagged at me every time I saw it.  Fortunately, it happened to be right near the loose ends of that round, so I was able to do a makeshift repair without ripping back multiple rounds.  It's still not perfect, but it's good enough for me.

Denna

I haven't taken a photo of my next completed block, yet, but it's done.  All the ends woven in and everything.  "Shattered" (without the Canada Goose block border):

Shattered WIP

I had fun making this one, too.  Somewhat less fun when the puff stitches reared their ugly heads, maybe... ;o) ...but still fun.  I need more practice making puff stitches, but I don't really want to practice them, because I don't enjoy making them.  (A real conundrum, huh?)  My main problem seems to be pulling them up tall enough.  I feel like I'm making them tall, when I start, but by the end, they seem shorter than they ought to be.  Ah, well, they're passable.

- - -

I'm currently in the middle of "Kingsley".  That's the pattern that Polly Plum designed especially for the BAMMM Kazaam 2016 CAL.  I believe the coupon that drops the price to .99USD is only good until the end of April, so if you're interested, don't wait too long!  (You don't have to participate in the CAL to take advantage of the deal.  The coupon code is on the pattern's Ravelry page.)

I don't have any progress photos of my "Kingsley"; next time, I hope.  I'm enjoying the pattern-- and it's a real looker-- but you really have to pay attention, on some of the rounds.  (~glaring in the general direction of Round Eleven~)

The photos labeled with stitch groups are very helpful.  Be aware that there are some errors in the pattern, though.  So far, I haven't come across any that I didn't immediately recognize, but they could be confusing for someone with less crochet experience.  There's a link on the pattern page for errata, so I'd suggest giving that a look before starting.

- - -

I'm not sure which block will be next up.  Maybe "Florentine" (by Margaret MacInnis).  It's not technically part of the CAL, but it could certainly be an extra or alternate block.  If you act fast (again, by the end of the month), you can get this pattern for free.  (Click the link above and read for the coupon code.)  The designer is releasing it in incremental clues, so you can work it as a mystery block, if you so wish.

There are quite a few blocks already in my queue, too, so I might start one of those, first, and wait for more clues to roll in before I decide whether this block belongs in my current afghan.  "Florentine" is described as masculine and geometrical, which may or may not go well with my soft spring pastels.  Oh, I'm sure it would be fine, but there might just be other blocks that would be even better for this particular project.

Photos of a finished "Shattered" and "Kingsley", next time!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

English Garden Block Completed

My English Garden block (designed by Julie Yeager) is finished!
I changed the last couple of rounds slightly-- mainly to increase the size.  More details on my Ravelry project page (linked above).

English Garden

I've started on the next block-- shattered (by Margaret MacInnis)-- but I'm waiting for the last day of clues (released tomorrow) to be able to continue with that one.  I have a progress photo from yesterday (not up to date on my progress so far) at the Ravelry link above, but since some people are working on this one as a mystery CAL, I guess I won't post that here, just in case.

April's block is from another guest designer, Polly Plum, but we're still waiting for that one to be available (seeing as it isn't technically even April, yet).  In the meantime, I decided to try another of that designer's blocks.  She has some stunning ones available.  I started with a freebie that's been in my queue for months: Denna.  I'm not sure my color placements are the best possible arrangement, but I'm sure it'll be fine.  It's a fun block to make, so far.

I laid out the few completed Whispers of Spring blocks (BAMMM Shazaam CAL blocks) on the bed to get an idea for how many I might want to make.  I'm thinking 4 x 5 looks about right.  Twenty blocks, then.  At the moment, it doesn't feel like I'll be willing to drag this project out for the rest of the year-- but then again, the heat of summer might make it easier to set aside in favor of a lace project... Then there's also a lot of gardening to focus on, in the next couple of months...

Also, I'm very seriously considering jumping in on this other afghan CAL:  Frida's Flowers Blanket.  Stylecraft (the UK yarn company) is hosting this event.  The free pattern will be released in sections every two weeks over the course of four months.  (The first bit's not coming out until the 5th of April, but there are a couple of "gearing up" informational PDFs available now.)  The designer is Jane Crowfoot, whose patterns I've often admired.  This one is beautifully floral-- one of my favorite styles of crochet.  I'm still not sure if I'll make this right away, but it's a definite possibility.

Friday, March 25, 2016

BAMMM SHAZAAM 2016 CAL

How's that for a cryptic-looking post title?  ;o)

I was feeling in need of a new blanket project-- a sampler, preferably-- when I came across a crochet-along for 2016.  The BAMMM Shazaam 2016 Afghan CAL (Ravelry pattern link) is being hosted by designer Margaret MacInnis, a.k.a. Muggins, at her Ravelry group.  (Here's the thread devoted to the CAL.)

The afghan is a "block a month" crochet-along, and you can read all about it at the links provided above.  Some of the 12" blocks are totally new designs; some (maybe just the alternates/"fillers" for people who want more than a total of 12 blocks for their afghans?) are patterns that have been around for a while.  Most will be the work of the main designer/hostess, but there will be at least five blocks from guest designers, too.

From what I understand, most of the blocks are free, but at least some of them will be paid patterns-- with a (temporary) coupon code for a significant discount.  (So far, the paid patterns have been reduced to 99¢ for people from countries without a VAT.  They're a little more in countries with a VAT.)  I think the coupon code is good for all of 2016, but if you're interested in participating, I would  hurry and check into that yourself, in case I'm mistaken.

Each block is edged using a pattern called "Canada Goose Border", and when the blanket's finished, at the end of the year, there will be a special whole-afghan border to tie it all together.

- - - - - - -

I selected several colors from my stash of acrylic to start my version of this sampler afghan.  With the beginning of tender leaves just showing in my garden, I gravitated toward springtime pastels. (There's a list of the yarns I'm using on my project page on Ravelry.)

I haven't decided how many blocks I'll make, so I haven't yet made any of the filler blocks.  In fact, I'm still not sure if I'll even stick to the suggested schedule of blocks for the whole year, but for the time being, I am.  There are some very pretty blocks in the group, already.

Here are some quick photos of what I have so far:

Puff Wheat
Lots of puff stitches and front-post double crochets (fpdc).  I'd never really taken the time to learn to do puff stitches properly, before, so this really did feel like a lot of them.  They're still not my favorite stitch to make, but at least now I know I can do them (after a fashion), if they're in a pattern I simply can't resist.

I've already added the Canada Goose border to this block.  I'm planning to add it to each one as I go, to have them ready to join when the time comes.  The border might be a little challenging for a beginner, but once you get going, it has a nice rhythm to it, and the textural appeal is great.

Puff Wheat Block

Promise Me Spring
This felt like a fairly complicated pattern, to me.  It's one of those blocks where you start out with small motifs (the leaves) and then join them in subsequent rounds by crocheting into them at various points.  The instructions spell everything out in plenty of detail, but you do have to pay attention (or at least I did).  I really like the results!

Promise Me Spring Block

Promise Me Spring Block

English Garden
I haven't gotten very far in this one, yet, as you can see, but the finished project photos on Ravelry show that this block can be gorgeous.  (This is one of the paid patterns, by the way, but I can easily imagine making more of this one, for future projects.  A whole afghan made in this motif, with slight variations in color placement, for instance, would be beautiful.)

English Garden Block

That's all I've done for this project, so far.  I'm looking forward to spending some time working on the English Garden block tonight!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Old(er) Project Photos

I found some photos of projects from late last year that I'd never processed and uploaded.  It's good to fill in the blanks on some of those projects on Ravelry.  It looks so much nicer with a photo!  (g)

Textured Turban
(Free pattern.)  I made this one as an extra to put in my niece's Christmas present.  It's a cute little hat, but if I were doing it again, I'd use a seamless join for every round, because every time I think about this project, it still bothers me that there was a visible seam down the back.  (g)  Yes, seamless joins take a little longer, and there are (many) more ends to weave in that way-- but the nicer result would be worth it, for something like a hat.

Textured Turban

Irish Mesh Cowl
This is another free pattern.  It makes a really pretty cowl, I think, and it works in a variety of yarn weights.  This was some light fingering that I dyed myself.  I did have some issues with the pattern, but I think that was my own fault and not a problem with the pattern.  (See the project notes on Ravelry for more info, if you're interested.)

Here it is blocking.  (I finally used my blocking wires!  They were fun and pretty easy to use, too, so there's no excuse.  I need to do more blocking soon!)

Blocking an Irish Mesh Cowl

And here it is post-blocking.  A little wobbly on the edges, but that should be less visible with a little wearing.  I added some crocheted flowers to hide the problem area referenced above.  This was a Christmas "extra" for one of my sisters (Carrie).

Irish Mesh Cowl

Meret and Meret the Third
Yet another freebie.  I've made this hat three times, in three different sizes. (g)  It's a fun pattern, and I like the results.  The first one turned out too small, though, so I decided to give that to my niece, and the third Meret I made (which has come the closest to being "just right"), I gave to her mother (my sister Carrie).  The second version I made is BIG, so I kept that one for my own fairly large noggin, though I may eventually either donate it or unravel it, depending on my mood.

Anyway, here are the two Merets I've given away:

Merets

Merets


Meret


Tribbles
I was in the mood for mindless knitting.  Dish scrubbers are perfect for that type of "useful and uncomplicated" project.  I like to make them from variegated acrylic.  The variegation keeps the knitting interesting (ooh, watch the pretty colors change! ;o)), and the acrylic is just right for scrubbing dishes-- better than cotton, imho.  Oh, and yes, this is another free pattern.

This time, I made them in two colorways.
Red Heart "Bon Bon Print":

More Tribbles

More Tribbles


And Red Heart "Mexicana":

Tribbles from Mexico

Tribbles from Mexico


Cables and Lace Advent Scarf 2015
I have almost finished this one.  I just have to decide how I'm going to finish it.  I started with a provisional cast-on, because I thought I might want to graft the two ends together for a long cowl.

Whenever I finally decide and do that (and weave in the ends and block it), I'll give this project its own blog post.  I really loved knitting this!!

The pattern is currently unavailable.  It was a free mystery knit-along for December 2015, and the designer is now making corrections and adding photos to the pattern, after which point it will be available for purchase.

Cables and Lace Advent Scarf 2015

Cotton Pot Holders
These last several photos are from a not-so-old project.  I was in the mood for crocheting motifs, so I made some cotton hot pads/pot holders.  All the motifs I used are from Edie Eckman's Beyond the Square and Connect the Shapes books.  My color choices were determined by what I had on hand, which (if nothing else) forces you to work at least slightly outside your usual comfort zone color palettes.  (g)

Crochet Hot Pads

These next two photos are the two sides of a single hot pad.  An interesting motif-- #33 from Connect the Shapes.

Crochet Hot Pads

Crochet Hot Pads


Crochet Hot Pads


Crochet Hot Pads


That does it for those photos!

I have two active yarn projects, currently.  One of them-- another crochet afghan-- will probably be the subject of my next blog post.