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Showing posts from 2012

Secrets REVEALED!!! ;o)

As promised, I've come to share some photos of (some of) the secret projects I've been working on over the past year.

There's more photo editing to do, so there will be at least one more post like this in the future, but since my previous post mentioned (and linked to) some of them, I thought I'd at least deal with the ones that have been "processed".  (Note: I've posted lots of photos on Flickr; these are just a few.)

I'd seen some crafters make the Tucson Throw in all white and loved the look, so I made two of those-- one for each pair of my grandparents. 

I think they came out nicely!  (The motifs are pretty big, though.  I wonder what it would look like in lighter-weight yarn... It would take longer to make, of course.)

I made this baby blanket for the baby that one of my cousins is expecting in February:

I made an afghan for my parents, too. It's a DROPS design, with one of their completely unmemorable names-- "120-3 Blanket cro…

2012: The Year of the Afghan

I don't believe it was a conscious decision, but 2012 has turned out to be the Year of the Afghan for me.  (g)

Let me count them up...

I started the year by finishing an afghan begun the year before-- the Very Vintage V-Stitch-Ghan (which I've been using and loving a lot this season).

I've started a few long-term-project afghans this year:
Novelty Scraptastic Afghan  (attempting to use up most of my novelty yarn)So Ugly It's Cute Afghan (mini-grannies in scraps)Granny's Daughter (micro-grannies in scraps)
I also started (but did not finish) the A-Gypsying We'll Go Afghan.  (That's the paperweight granny / African flower motif blanket, for those keeping track.)  I've picked up work on that one again, now, but there's no way I'll finish it before year's end.  (Wouldn't even want to try!)

And in the category of "Started and Finished in 2012" we have these:
Pink and Purple Crochet Sampler Favorites LapghanCitric Acid Retroghan (kook…

Ah, Sweet Freedom! ;o)

Well, almost.  There's another family get-together-- but my gift-making for 2012 is finished.  There was one little something that I'd originally planned to have done in November... then hoped to finish by Christmas... and then gave up as a lost cause.  I'll finish it sometime-- whenever.  It wasn't important-- just a little trinket-- and the things I really "needed" to finish, I did manage to complete on time.  I was photographing and wrapping the last couple of items yesterday morning, before the first family get-together. 

It is so good to have that done!
I always feel the need, when writing along this vein, to first say that, yes, I enjoy giving hand-made gifts-- but for the past month or two, it had just gotten to feel like too much.  I do believe that 2013 will be the Year of the Extremely Limited Handmade Gifts.  (g)  I want to feel free to make whatever I like, whenever I like, with fewer deadlines encroaching onto my craft time.  Selfish crafting, i…

Crafty Resolutions

(It's a little early, but...)

I'm not one for making (and sticking to) grand New Year's resolutions, but I think all of us feel that occasional (or maybe frequent, though ineffectual) urge to resolve to do better in various areas of our lives.  (Exercise?  Healthy eating?  Getting the jungly portions of the yard back under control?)

I've been contemplating crafty resolutions, lately.

Last year, I resolved to work on handmade gifts throughout the year-- and I did pretty well at that.  True, I still have a couple of gifts in progress, but I've finished and wrapped a few fairly major projects, so I count that a success!

Next year, I'm not sure I want to make so many gifts.  (For a number of reasons, but mostly because you can never know if the gift will be to the receiver's tastes and used, and it just takes way too much time and effort, if you're not reasonably sure.)  So maybe one of my informal resolutions will be to scale back on the handmade gifts.  …

Things 1, 2, 3 & 4

Ack!  Headache!
(I shouldn't complain, because I don't get them that often. *knocks on wood*)

I am bad.  I... Istartedanother scrap afghan.  (Should I pretend to hang my head in shame?  No, I already have a headache; that's punishment enough. ;o))

I couldn't resist.  After crocheting (and not weaving in the ends, yet!!) twenty more of the Ugly-Cute mini grannies, I misbehaved.  Instead of either weaving in my ends or going back to the WIP that is "due" by or before Christmas, I started whipping out "Granny's Daughters"-- i.e. teensy-tiny one-round granny squares.  Oh well.  What's (yet) another long-term project between friends? 

If I counted correctly, I made 60 of the Granny's Daughters squares before coming to my senses.  Crocheting sixty Granny's Daughters doesn't take long.  They practically fly of the hook (size F, as per the pattern).  Weaving in the two tails on each miniscule square, however, is Another St…


I actually have two finished projects that I could share here (meaning that they weren't secret projects), but I have yet to photograph them-- and with today's overcast skies, it'll have to wait.

In the meantime, though, how about a little rambling chitchat on a variety of completely random subjects?

Gold or Platinum Embroidery Needles--
Not so long ago, I noticed that the blunt-end (tapestry? darning?) needle I use for weaving in ends of yarn had tarnished/the shine had worn off in just the spot where I touch it most.  I had another, so I switched to it.  Now I've noticed that it is also beginning to show the same signs.  Frustrating!  I'm sure my lovely skin chemistry is to blame.  *grumble*

I'm not sure if this wearing off the of the nickel plating is a real problem, but I'd rather it didn't happen.  If nothing else, I think I started noticing a metallic smell every time I used the more worn needle.  It probably wouldn't hurt anything to continue …

Victorian Ornaments Afghan

Here's one of those projects I won't be starting anytime soon.  ;o)  (Even after the Christmas stuff is done, I will deny myself the fun of starting any new afghan project until I've finished the "Gypsying"/African Flower one already in progress.  One must have some self-control. (g))

But if I can't make it right now, maybe someone else can, so I'm spreading the word!

The pattern in question is the Victorian Ornaments Afghan.  Very pretty worked in Christmas colors-- but I don't see why it couldn't be crocheted in any colors you like.  There's nothing inherently seasonal about the afghan, imho.  The "ornament" shape of the motifs is your typical "cat's eye"/"pointed oval"*, which is decorative at any time of year.  (In fact, if I ever do make this blanket, it will not be Christmas-themed, because I prefer afghans that I could-- in theory-- use all year.) 

The pattern was published in Crochet! Magazine (Autumn…

Where Are You, Christmas?

I am fighting the urge to start a new project that will be mine, mine, all mine.  (Even though I already have a few me, me, me projects in progress...)

I really-- no, I mean really shouldn't start something new.  I have a Christmas gift that I'm still crocheting, another that needs a polymer clay button or two, and yet another that is a sewing project.  Oh, yeah-- and then there's another (tiny) sewing project that I might try to get done for Christmas.

Part of the problem is it just doesn't feel like Christmas.  At all.  I'm not sure what's to blame.  The unseasonably warm weather?  The fact that I haven't yet mustered the enthusiasm to put up any Christmas decorations?  The knowledge that once I put up said decorations, Donald and I are the only ones who will see them (and I'll have to take them down and put them away again in just a few weeks)?  Or perhaps the fact that I haven't done any of my shopping yet and have no idea what anyone on my list…


Maybe I'm late to the party and everyone's already seen this before... but for reasons of my own ;o) I was looking at photos of Amineko cats on Pinterest and was absolutely stunned to see a human-sized one sitting on the couch beside his creator.

Chester is an example of what Alison Willcocks calls "Extreme Crochet".  At 6'5" tall, I'd say he's pretty extreme. 

Just imagine being a child and receiving a toy cat that size!  I think Child-Me might've been a little scared of him, at first.  (g)

No Minimum Free Shipping at Hobby Lobby

Hey, if anyone's interested, Hobby Lobby has a special deal going just for today and tomorrow (November 28th and 29th).  Free shipping on all orders, with no minimum purchase necessary.  (Some items don't qualify, but I imagine those are few and far between.)

There's also a "40% off one item" coupon available this week, and you can use it in conjunction with the free shipping (on eligible items-- basically, anything that's not already on sale/clearance this week).  

Seems like a good deal to me!  :o)

Random "Don't Get It" Moment

Ok, so I've mentioned before that I use Ravelry.  It really is an amazing resource for anyone who knits or crochets (or spins or weaves).  For a long time, I used it mainly as a record for my projects and a handy place to research/find patterns and information about different yarns.

Lately, I've been using the forums a lot, too.  There are groups for practically anything you can think of-- styles of knitting/crochet, authors/books, TV shows, bands, breeds of dogs, states/countries, political affiliations, every hobby under the sun, pattern designers, yarn companies, etc.  I enjoy reading the forums when I'm eating a meal alone or just unwinding for a few minutes during the day.  Occasionally I'll even post a reply or two. 

After a while, you start to recognize faces avatars, even across multiple boards.  (Some of these people must be wasting spending even more time on the forums than I do! (g))  Sometimes I get curious after reading what someone says and click through…

Gift-Giving Season: An Early Freak-Out

Where does the time go?  It's already Thanksgiving (and then Black Friday) this week!  Monday is my husband's birthday (already?!)... and then the month of December will be whisking by, with all its gatherings and obligations.

How does this happen every year?  I love the holidays in theory, but gosh, they have a way of sneaking up on me every single year.  I never seem to be prepared in advance, even when I started making gifts back in January!

That said, I don't actually have many gifts left to make (if only I could say the same about my gift-shopping, which I haven't even begun).  There are three or four that need some finishing... A few more that need washing and photographing (which I've been putting off because I want to make sure they'll smell fresh when they're opened and not like they've been stuffed in a drawer or closet for half a year)... Then there's a bigger sewing project that is not even halfway done.  (Fortunately, it should g…

Why Does it Smell Like Wet Sheep in Here?

Yep, I gave in to temptation last week (so the wet sheep smell is long gone (g)) and treated myself to some yarn-dyeing!  (After a draining, depressing Tuesday, I needed some fun.)

I started with a skein of Lion Brand Fishermen's Wool in "Natural".  I know that this yarn isn't considered of the highest quality by many, but it has its good points.  It's readily available in even big-box craft stores (where you can use a coupon to get it at an affordable price).  The yardage is fantastic-- 465 yards of worsted weight per skein.  And it's 100% wool, which is perfect for playing around with dye.  It's not superwash (which means you can't just toss it it the washing machine-- hand washing is a must), but that makes it good for felting, if you've ever wanted to try that.  It's not the softest yarn ever and may be a little scratchy against the most sensitive skin, but for something like hats or outerwear, I think it's just fine. 

So, with such a…


When I last wrote, I had two secret projects in progress.  Now they're both done.  Well, all done but one tiny finishing touch... and the washing, which I plan to do closer to Christmas.

It feels good to have those off my plate!  ...But now I'm working on a new set of secret projects!  So...

(Secret projects.  So dull to blog about.  Even duller to read about, I'm sure.  Sorry!)

- - - - - - -
I decided to knit a hat using some of that wool yarn I dyed however-long-ago-it-was.   I'd been wanting to do that for a while, but I was hesitant to start.  It had been a while since I knit my first hat, so I needed to refresh myself on the magic loop method... (I've never used dpn and don't even own a set.)  Once I got started, it came back to me pretty fast.  All but two aspects.

First, ladders.  I was having trouble with laddering at the place where I joined the cast-on stitches.  I must've cast on, joined, despaired, and ripped it all out four or five times before…

Finished! Pink & Purple Sampler

Back in July, I started crocheting my first sampler (as you may recall).  In an effort to use up a surplus of pink and purple stash yarn, I decided to make that my color scheme, and I used the square recommendations from a CAL on Ravelry.  Well, yesterday I wove in the last loose ends and tossed it into the washer.

In the beginning, the CAL was supposed to last for twelve squares.  It turns out that they're extending it until November, but by the time they'd decided, I was too impatient to wait for the next suggestion.  Instead, I turned to a couple of crochet books I own and found three more squares to add to the mix.

 Then came the joining.  I'd been dreading that part since the beginning.  I knew my stitch-counts wouldn't match from square to square, but when I counted them, I was shocked by how much variance there was.  Most of the squares fell close to 42, but there were also a few 45+ and a few others in the mid-to-upper 30s.

I looked online for tips about joinin…

Scrappy Grannies, &tc.

First, thank you for all the kind comments on my Citric Acid afghan!  :o)  

Second, so much for my plans to catch up on the last few blocks for the Crochet Favorites Sampler CAL Afghan... I've left that project solidly on the back burner.  (Ah, who am I kidding?  It's been off the stove altogether for quite some time.)

There has been crochet and knitting, though.  (Of course.  At this point, I can't function without crochet-- or at least my beginner's-level knitting.)

Instead of working on one of the afghans currently in progress (there are three, if you don't count the novelty yarn one, which is in deep hibernation until cold weather arrives), I brilliantly decided to start yet another afghan project.  There's something about finishing one project that triggers me to start a new one, even if I already have more than enough to choose from in my current WIPs.

Anyway, whatever the reason, I've started a scrap afghan.  I've been saving very short lengths…

Citric Acid Retroghan -- Completed!

As I mentioned last time, I finished the Citric Acid Retroghan earlier this week.  Today, I took a little time to finish weaving in a few loose ends, then let the washer and dryer do their magic.  (Yay for machine washable yarn!)  Straight from the dryer, I hauled it out to the patio swing and snapped a few photos.  I probably should have gone the extra step of setting up the tripod, because my photos could have been a little sharper-- but they'll do.  :o) 

So, here's the "it's finished" post full of gratuitous afghan photos!

I think I've described most of the process in an earlier blog entry.  It was messier than making a bunch of squares or hexagons and joining them (either as you go or all at the end), and I'm not planning on making another afghan like this in the near future, but it was obviously doable. (g)  The trickiest parts were joining the triangles, evening out the strips of triangles so that the vertical stripes wouldn't be too wavy-- …

This 'n' That

Nerd Wars-- To Join or Not to Join?
I was (briefly) considering joining a team for Nerd Wars over on Ravelry.  But then I saw all the "rules"/guidelines... and I decided that maybe I don't want to follow any rules (however go-with-the-flowy) during my crochet / knitting time.  Also, I'm not sure how easy it would be to tie my up-coming projects into a team theme... Or how much free craft time I'll have in the next few months, given that I already have WIPs I want to finish...  Or how I would even choose a team, because my geekiness is not as obsessive steadfast as it might be.  What can I say?  I'm a fickle, capricious nerd with varied interests.  ;o)

...I don't know.  I guess I might change my mind and try it, anyway.  There's time to think about it.

Before I even consider committing to a Nerd Wars team, I probably ought to catch up on the Sampler Favorites CAL, Part 2 (or whatever it's called... I can never seem to remember).  It's …

Vintage Yarn Labels

I bought a bag of (mostly acrylic) yarn at a thrift store, last week.  There were a few older-looking labels in the mix.  It's always interesting to see those, I think, so I snapped some photos to share.

Mary Maxim is still around, of course, and it looks like Mellowspun is, too, but this particular skein looks a little old, so I'm counting it as "vintage". ;o) Also, the fact that it is listed as "100% Orlon" instead of just "100% acrylic" indicates it's not new, I believe.

I love how these old acrylics boast that they are:  Mothproof!  Colorfast!  Non-allergenic!

FIESTA! I love the font and bright colors in this label. It looks very 80s to me...  And look, it's a Special Value.  Only 58 cents a skein!

It's funny that after indicating that it's machine washable and dryable, the label points out that you can also handwash it, if you choose.  ...Yeah, I'd say that handwashing would always be an option, but thanks for putting…

How Very Neat!

I'm one of those people who don't have a smart phone.  My cell phone is a no-frills, mostly-for-emergencies affair-- but I still think this is such a really neat and fun idea.

Someone on Ravelry posted a photo of a knitted QR code (one of those weird-looking, pixelated squares of black and white dots that you can scan with a smart phone).  Better yet, it works.  (As in, you can scan it with a smart phone and get sent to the intended URL.)

A quick pattern search reveals that this isn't the first time someone thought of doing that, but it's the first I'd heard/seen of it.

If I knew a self-confessed computer nerd someone who'd be sure to appreciate the humor, I'd be tempted to make them a pillow or something with a code pointing to his/her favorite website... The only person who comes to mind (not necessarily a computer nerd, but someone who might think it was funny) doesn't have a fancy phone, either, though...

Still, a neat idea, and I just can't g…

Citric Acid Retroghan

I'm making progress on the Citric Acid afghan!

First, I had to make enough of the citric-shaded triangles...

Then I joined them together in strips. That went pretty much just as I'd mentally pictured it-- except that it did take more than I'd expected of the triangles to achieve the desired length. No problem! Just whip up a few more.

After they were joined into three strips, I had to figure out what to do about the ends of each strip.  I wanted them "even" on both sides, but obviously a triangle doesn't quite work that way.  I tried a few different things and finally settled that the best I could do was to try to figure out a "half-triangle".  That took a few tries, too, but I finally got something close enough to half of the triangle motif I'd selected for this project (Motif 78 from Beyond the Square), so I crocheted six of those and evened out the strips.

Now for the fun part!  Free-style crochet!  (Or as close to it as I'm ever likel…

Well, It's About Time!

One evening a week or two ago, apropos of nothing, it suddenly occurred to me that, hey, it's been nearly two years (according to my notes on Ravelry, and there's no reason to believe they're lying) since I started that Moorish Mosaic Afghan-- or the Sunny Seaside Mosaic Afghan, as I called mine. How's about I finally weave in the last loose ends? 

Now, I'd woven in the bulk of the ends long ago, before joining the motifs, but I made a bit of a mess of extra loose ends during the joining.  I guess I wanted the joining yarn to match at least one of the adjacent motifs...(?)  If I ever make a similar afghan (something not made up of easy squares or join-as-you-go motifs), I will not be so picky.  Using the main color throughout would've been fine, but I didn't know as much about joining, back then. 

So I had an evening of weaving tails before the TV (and left a few more to weave the next day)-- and it was done!  Why didn't I just go ahead and do it long…

Citric Acid Retroghan

We're expecting houseguests in early September, and I've been meaning to use their upcoming visit as a metaphorical kick in the behind to get me started on a major house-cleaning mission.  There's a multi-page list of To-Do's, and I've barely scratched the surface...

What better time to start another large-scale project?!  (Well, one can't be cleaning constantly, right?)

It started innocently enough as a plan for a cushion cover-- just an excuse to try out one of the triangle motifs in Beyond the Square-- but somehow, it's morphed into a plan for a whole afghan. 

I'm using Motif #78 as the basis, but I think I'll jazz it up a little and make it something other than just a bazillion triangle motifs.  I'll show you once I've gotten far enough along to see if it works.  To start with, though, I'll need a bunch of triangles...

(Those photos are a bit blurry. Sorry!)

The color scheme is "Citric Acid"... aka just plain "Citru…

CAL Sampler Squares Photos

Not much time to write at the moment, but here (in no particular order) are photos of the rest of my squares (to date) for the Crochet Favorites Sampler (part 2) CAL:

I'm sure they'll look more "even" when they're all crocheted together, but I'm happy with them just as they are. I've been having so much fun with this project! (Still not sure, but when all the rest of the squares are completed, I may make a few more squares to go with them and take the blanket up to a larger size.)