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Monthly Archives: March 2011

[2KCBWDAY4] Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2011: Day 4

Today’s topic is a question we are to ask ourselves: whatever happened to your _____ …

Ya know – I racked my brain on this one and realized that there is one item that I do wonder what happened to it, but I really don’t think that I will ever know. What I can do is tell you the story of my first afghan.

Around age 5 I joined little league – yup, baseball. I was the only girl on the league and took a lot of flack from the community for this, especially the parents of the boys. After a couple years I landed myself on a team with a fabulous coach. There were a couple awesome coaches, but Mr. S really stood out to me that year. I was maybe 8 years old. He was a special education teacher at my school and spent the evenings coaching a little league team. He was a very nice man and a very very VERY patient man.

The end of baseball season was approaching and I decided to do something for Mr. S. That is when  I sat down, hook in hand and started crocheting red and black granny squares. I genuinely had no idea what it would turn into. My parents bought the yarn for me and with the last skein of red, they accidentally bought a darker red. I noticed but needed to make the squares. What I had was just enough of the darker red squares to make an afghan with a big S in the middle.

I gave it to him and he loved it. I am pretty sure it was the only afghan he would ever have been given by one of his players.

I sometimes wonder how Mr. S is doing… and sometimes, when I think of him, I wonder if he still has that afghan.

———

If you are interested in reading other peoples’ blog posts for Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2011, just head to google and search for 2KCBWDAY4

 

[2KCBWDAY3] Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2011: Day 3

Today’s topic is all about how I organize my yarn …. well, this should be a relatively short blog *laughs*

Until about a month ago all of my yarn was in boxes. Oh, and some was in bags because it was considered a “WIP Bag” – then my beloved took pity upon my mess and bought me a very large basket. This is my first attempt at organizing my yarn so while I still have a lot in boxes, I am pleased with my basket of yarn.

It isn’t much, but it’s mine.

 

[2KCBWDAY2] Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2011: Day 2

Today’s topic is one of reflection – to look at myself and see how I have grown; compare myself knowledge and skill-wise.

I know it may sound impressive when I say I’ve crocheted for a good 30+ years; however, part of becoming better is knowing there is always room for growth. I know that while I am good at what I know, there are so many more stitches and techniques that I can learn.

Looking back at the last year, I think I have spent a lot of time being more creative – making my way away from patterns, mine and others’, to just feel free to play freely with the hook and yarn. I have come up with an interesting stitch that I am still working with before releasing it on my blog and in patterns.

As for what I create, I have to admit that previously I tended to shy away from wearables beyond the basics; however, recently, I have taken a turn in making more items like shrugs and shawls and am hoping to tackle some sweaters and socks. It may seem like something every crocheter would make, but honestly – in the 30 years I have crocheted, I have shy’d away those types of patterns and spending more time on other things more focused on household.

So there you have it – my personal reflections on my crochet life in the last year. I would love to hear about yours so please either comment or leave a URL where I can go to read your entry.

 

[2KCBWDAY1] Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2011: Day 1

A TALE OF TWO YARNS
Today’s topic is a simple one – tell readers about two yarns, perhaps one I like and one I do not. This is simple enough because yarn is the …. foundation …. (get it?) … of crochet. I don’t know if it is inherent to knitters and crocheters, but I am a very texture based person. I really enjoy touching things – and with crochet, that means I get to run my hand over so many different fibers. Simply put – texture is important.

So what yarn do I enjoy? I know there are a lot of expensive yarns out there: silk blends, cotton, bamboo – all so lovely to touch. But while texture is important, I have to consider cost. I do a fair amount of charity crochet and I go through a lot of yarn just crocheting other types of items for personal use and gifts. I like to use expensive yarns, but I’m just a regular ole person – I can’t afford to put 10$ or more into a skein of yarn, and then make something that takes 5 or 6 skeins.

my cowel in ILTY oatmeal

This is why my favorite yarn is “I Love This Yarn” brand yarn. I will buy other acrylic yarns, including Red Heart, but you will find a lot of my projects use ILTY. I like that it is rather affordable and for an acrylic yarn, it is relatively soft. If I have to choose a specific color from this brand, I love the tweeds and even more specifically, “oatmeal” would be my favorite. I keep several skeins on hand for emergency use and have made several items out of it already. The price just makes it even more appealing than it is already.

There is one yarn that was deceptive. I was visiting my mother and my husband went to Walmart for some random items. He came back and had a bag of this yarn. It was absolutely gorgeous and the texture was lovely. I was actually surprised he picked out such a nice yarn. When I went to crochet a scarf out of it, it was a nightmare. The crimped nature of the yarn and the fiberous nature of it made it hard to count stitches and stay on track with the pattern. I ended up frogging as much as I could until the yarn got tangled into itself. At that point, I threw away the remaining portion.

Unfortunately – I had 3 skeins of this stuff!

Well – the story does have a happy ending. I stuck the yarn in a bag and shoved it into a drawer. Out of sight, out of mind. One day I was watching YouTube videos and came across a pattern that I wanted to try. It was a loom knitted caterpillar scarf. I started it with regular yarn (probably ILTY hehe) and didn’t like it. I frogged it. I conceded I would most likely need to go buy yarn until, for some reason, a lightbulb came on and I went and got the frustrating yarn. The yarn worked into the loom beautifully and did wonders for the pattern. I was glad I had it, even if it made me angry months ago.

Scarf made with Lion Brand Homespun

So what is the yarn – the yarn was Lion Brand Homespun yarn. The color I had was called Colonial (which reminded me of peacock blue). It has a silky texture to it, it is affordable, and it is hard to work with.

This yarn was truly a lesson in buying yarn that fits the project. Not all yarns can be forced into a certain pattern.

 

[Video] Granny Square Beret Tutorial

The videos below walk you through the entire ‘granny square beret/cap’ pattern found on headhuggers.org. I have written permission from Sue of HeadHuggers.org to do this tutorial.

HeadHuggers.org is a charitable program that brings crafters of all kinds together to create hats and get them into the hands of people going through chemotherapy, which causes the individual’s hair to come out. The belief of HeadHuggers.org is that the person has enough to worry about with worrying about their head being cold.

In order to follow along with these videos, you will need to use the written pattern located here (will open in a new window):
http://www.headhuggers.org/patterns/cpatt08.htm

Hopefully this pattern will help those struggling with the pattern get through it and have a wonderful hat suitable to give away to someone who can use it.


Video 1: Creating the Granny Hexagon

Video 2: Creating the Granny Square

Video 3: Joining the Granny Pieces Together

Video 4: Adding the Brim

 

WIP Wednesday

And here I am again – with many of the same projects on hook and only a little headway. I have been crocheting, but my project list will ebb and flow through the week and it just seems that it misses WIP Wednesday.

So let’s get crack-a-lackin’ on my projects:

1. The new and improved baby blanket for a friend

Still going stong on this baby blanket

I was only able to put an hour or so into this one. I am hoping that I can really focus on it this weekend and maybe even finish it. I do have some homework due since Spring Break is over… so I guess I’ll have to play it by ear.

2. Legwarmers for friend
These don’t seem to be going anywhere and I’m not sure why. I think I’ll touch base with her again tomorrow and find out where we were. I think I was needing some more measurements but she may have forgotten or think we are on a different page than what I think.

3. Scrapghan #1
Still there… still eating all the leftover yarn.

4. Scrapghan #2 (on hold)
Still on hold.

5. Kitty Toys
I’m still fiddling BUT I did get an order from a coworker for 2 more kitty toys. I had given her an early design and apparently her kitties like it. Perhaps the earlier design will work for my needs.

7. Dishcloths
This is just one of those things I’ll always be working on.

IN ADDITION TO THE ABOVE
I have really been putting some focus into my blog. I was able to do the tutorial for the head hugger pattern for headhuggers.org and have put some time into creating an abbreviation page. I am also putting some time into getting a list together of good charitable projects. I was thinking of having an open list but the more I think about it, I’m leaning towards having it be charitable projects I’ve worked on personally… perhaps I’ll find a happy median.

I got a new book of crochet and am looking forward to delve into it… and I think I may go do that right now.

I wish you all the best. God Bless and Happy Hookin’
– Cris

PS: If you like looking at what others are working on, then I’d suggest heading over to Tami’s Amis blog.

 
13 Comments

Posted by on March 23, 2011 in My Projects

 

[Video] HDC Turban Pattern Tutorial

The videos below walk you through the entire ‘hdc turban’ pattern found on headhuggers.org. I have written permission from Sue of HeadHuggers.org to do this tutorial.

HeadHuggers.org is a charitable program that brings crafters of all kinds together to create hats and get them into the hands of people going through chemotherapy, which causes the individual’s hair to come out. The belief of HeadHuggers.org is that the person has enough to worry about with worrying about their head being cold.

In order to follow along with these videos, you will need to use the written pattern located here (will open in a new window):
http://www.headhuggers.org/patterns/cpatt22.htm

Hopefully this pattern will help those struggling with the pattern get through it and have a wonderful hat suitable to give away to someone who can use it.

ROWS 1-3

ROWS 4 and 5

ROWS 6 and 7

ROWS 8 to end

 

Lesson’s Learned – not just for IT anymore

Take 2

I work in IT – information technology for folks not ‘in the know’ hehehe After a large project is implemented or a very rough release, everyone on the project will sit down and go through a Lesson’s Learned meeting. For some this is a breeze, and for others it can be a little more time intensive. What this does is allows the group to identify what went wrong, what could be improved, and know what was done that was right. Once identified, we look for process improvements and implement those for the next big project or software release.

It sounds blah because it is – but you have to be willing to be critical of yourself and not take it personally. You have to be able to look at the finished product and all the effort it took to get there and know what was good and what was not.

And yes – I have found this to be applicable to many areas of my life, both personally and professionally…. including my crochet.

Last month I finished a hat for a co-worker. You may remember it as the Illini Stocking Cap. I was relatively happy with the results; however, there were definitely some elements that I did not like. When working up your own pattern this will happen. After giving him the hat, I couldn’t help but keeping thinking “what could I have done to make _____ look better” – and one morning, it finally came to me.

Granted, I was going to re-do the hat anyway, but I was lucky enough that he came to me a few days later saying he did not want to seem ungrateful, but he was a little worried the hat may be a little too big. I was so excited that he was giving me an opportunity to correct the flaws that I saw. Obviously, they were not big flaws. He probably didn’t even notice. But, I have a feeling that with the hat re-created, it will make those tiny flaws stand out. That’s ok though – no one is perfect and it was a first go at a made up pattern.

I truly wish I had taken a few more detailed pictures of the first hat to allow you to compare them visually here.

Back to topic – I have found that lesson’s learned are invaluable to my crochet. I may have been crocheting for a rather long time, but this does not mean I am invincible to mistake or being able to better myself or my skill.

I think that is my lesson of the day. I do not remember when I was having problems with tension – I am sure that I did. I am sure that I struggled with reading those first few patterns. I know I had to split yarn and pull up bubbles with every stitch…. Just because I don’t remember them does not mean they did not exist.

The truth is – those days exist for anyone who is attempting to learn a new skill. For anyone, the beginner or the expert, do not lose sight that you can always learn something new – you can learn something in the most unexpected of places, and if you allow yourself to see your work as something not personal, you can also learn something new from yourself. And most importantly, we shouldn’t be embarrassed to share those observations with others – knowing others struggle with certain elements or techniques only allows someone else to know their struggles and frustrations are perfectly normal and can be worked through with enough patience, practice, and time.

God bless and happy hooking
– Cris

 

Finally Finished Friday

Ahhh it’s Friday – I look forward to spending the weekend with my family and getting out in the wonderful promised warm weather –

But Friday means something else – it means I get to post all the items I finished this week!

Now… it may seem like I was not that productive but I was, for some reason it just didn’t show in finished crochet pieces.

What I did finish were a field of shamrocks.

I wanted to do the review of shamrock patterns for my blog, which I successfully completed (to read it, click here). But it left me with a lot of little shamrocks. The reason I started with the shamrocks was to make two pins for my kids. After seeing so many patterns, I thought the review would be good. And the review left me with a LOT of shamrocks. I decided to convert all of them into pins and put them on my desk at work. I then thought “why not make the money back for the pin backs I had to buy” and sold them for 50 cents each. I sold 9 of them! I was so surprised. Those that bought them really seemed to enjoy them, and all were worn on St. Patrick’s Day.

So, these are pretty much the only finished objects I have. I am still midway through the stocking cap, the scrapghan still bellows for more yarn whenever I walk passed, and the others sit in a stagnent state, waiting for me to finish something else.

I did join a weight loss contest at work so I know I will have less time to crochet for the next two months, but hey – do whatcha gotta do, right? I figured I was already losing weight, why not ramp up the exercise a bit more and win a contest in the middle of my weight loss journey *grins*

So – with that I will digress back to the workday and …. darn it. My ipod just died.

I really should be better about charging that battery.

Anywhoozles – break is over and I am headed back to the work day. I wish you all the best.

God Bless and Happy Hooking!
– Cris

PS: If you like reading about what others have done, visit Tami’s Amis blog and the Sugar Plums Blog to check out everyone else’s FOs

 
8 Comments

Posted by on March 18, 2011 in My Projects

 

WIP Wednesday

Oh boy – it’s the time again! It truly feels like I just wrote about what I was working on last week and here I am, again – writing about my projects.

I finished the shrug that was on my list last week and in some ways, finished the baby blanket that had been giving me fits. Granted, the shrug is wearable – the baby blanket is a ball of yarn because I frogged it and started over with a new pattern.

So let’s see – what’s on my hook(s) right now….

The color is baby green (does not show well here)

1. The new and improved baby blanket for a friend
Yup – after frogging the Bernat Baby Bobble Blanket, I began work on another baby blanket. This one is relatively simple using the basketweave stitch. It is not quite as slow as the bobble blanket but it is a pattern I can get behind. I know once I get a good 3 hours dedicated to this project, it’ll be done.

2. Hat for Coworker
Yup – this one has creeped back on to my radar. I finished the hat a week ago; however, he finally came to me and said it feels a little big. So I’m going to make him a new hat and he is going to give the other to his son (who has been oggling the first one I made). I reassured my co-worker I don’t mind. Besides, what else am I going to do with all this blue and orange?

3. Legwarmers for friend
Ok – this project has stalled a little but I did get some elastic last week so I’m ready to get it geared up and finished off. I don’t know if it’ll be this week but I’m sure going to try!

Large Scrapghan Granny Square

4. Scrapghan #1
This is the biggie. A few folks are wanting to see pictures of it. I figure there is no harm in sharing, so here it is. I’m making it with 4 strands of yarn at once. It is very thick and so comfy, cozy to be under. Again – it keeps making me fall asleept! The plan for this bad boy is to rest comfortably on my queen size bed .. ya know, so I can rest comfortably too!

5. Scrapghan #2 (on hold)
I’ve decided to put this scrapghan on hold until I finish the first one. The first one is eating yarn like nobody’s business so hopefully it won’t be too long before I can get this one moving forward again.

6. Kitty Toys
I’m still fiddling with designs. I know there are several patterns out there, but I specifically am wanting the cat toy to have a certain look and functionality. Sounds mysterious, doesn’t it? *smiles*

7. Dishcloths
This is just one of those things I’ll always be working on.

8. Shamrocks
These will definitely be in my FO Friday post simply because St. Patrick’s Day will be over. If you haven’t seen already, I did a pattern review for several shamrock patterns I found online. There are a lot of patterns! Some work up faster than others – I just wanted to get my personal opinion in on them and help people pick a pattern that is good for them and their skill level. I have made 18 shamrocks/clovers and glued pin backs to them. They are really cute! I’ll get a photo and post it for FO Friday – the reason I’m putting them in WIP Wednesday is that depending on if anyone at work wants to buy one for 50 cents. If I get a lot of buyers, it may be in good form to crochet some more and have them available on St. Patrick’s Day at work.

With all that – this week is spring break from school. I don’t get the break though because I’m still busy being a mom and full time employee and artist.

I wish you all the best, Happy Hooking, and God Bless.
– Cris

PS: If you like looking at what others are working on, do visit Tami’s Amis blog and happy reading! (will post link after she gets her page updated)

 
10 Comments

Posted by on March 16, 2011 in My Projects