Monday, December 5, 2016

Focus

*Beats head against the wall*
  I ran into a big problem today, but don't worry... I'm not going to sit here and complain about it. My camera stopped focusing correctly. I'm trying to work the issue out by playing with settings, but I'm afraid it's a bigger problem than I can fix.


  The trouble started when I was taking photos of a different project than the one here, and I thought maybe it had something to do with the color or lighting. So, I grabbed another WIP to test it out. Although I wasn't able to solve the problem, I scored a few that weren't too bad. Now I have some crochet eye candy to share with you. Hope you enjoy!


crochet, circle vest, Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable



crochet, circle vest, Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable



crochet, circle vest, Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable



crochet, circle vest, Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable



crochet, circle vest, Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable


  Those are the best of the bunch. I took all the above photos in the same lighting while playing with various functions. Nothing seems to change. I searched through help forums and ran across many suggestions that it could have something to do with the IS setting. Switching that didn't help, either. Nine times out of ten, it just won't focus at all.


  As a last resort, I even tried the auto-function. In the following pictures, I moved the table over to increase the amount of sunlight falling on the project. At least I can say it seems to have changed itself... But I don't think it did a very good job at it!

crochet, circle vest, Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable


crochet, circle vest, Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable


crochet, circle vest, Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable


  Well, I'm perplexed. Auto-function might be kicking in to do something, but none of my manual settings are changing at all. And can we agree that auto-function sucks?


  I think I've beat my head against the wall over this long enough, and there's not much use in trying to troubleshoot any further. I've been taking about 100 pictures a day with a $100 re-manufactured camera for almost two years! The poor thing has probably had enough. Ain't that just my luck... I just replaced the battery and memory card a few months ago! *Sigh* I'm going back to my yarn now, because that makes me feel better. There's always a camera on my phone, after all...


Happy Crocheting!


  *Update* The purpose of this post was only to share the pretty pictures I got out of that whole mess... But since I'm getting comments and messages from people that want to help with my camera issue, I'm adding some examples of the bad ones.






  The camera is a Canon PowerShot A3300 IS. It's just a compact digital that doesn't have many settings to adjust. There's macro and infinity for focus, brightness adjustment, a few filters, and color enhancements. Each of the previous photos were taken using various combinations of those settings, minus the filters. I've had this issue before after using the zoom function, but it has always corrected itself after powering down. This time, it isn't correcting itself. Because I'm adjusting so many functions and still getting similar-looking photos, I suspect that I'm hitting buttons but the camera isn't actually changing anything at all.

  So, if you're a camera pro and you happen to know how I could fix it, then I'd love your help. But please, don't go out of your way to help me solve this problem. I've already been looking into a new/used/refurbished camera. I found a Rebel T5 on a discount that's almost within my budget... But wait, now I'm on eBay looking at all kinds of DSLR's that come with tripods, lens kits, and random other things I probably don't need. Maybe some time spent without a camera will finally make me get on Ravelry and finish adding those patterns I'm supposed to be selling... Maybe then I could afford the camera I want. Ooo, look! I found yarn on eBay! Aw, darn... Maybe that's why I never get anything done.

 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Snowflake Set

  These snowflakes can be used together as a table set or separately as ornaments. The larger doily measures 9" (23 cm) across, and the smaller coaster is 6" (15 cm) in diameter. (Both measured at widest place from point to point.) The six-inch snowflake only uses basic stitches and should be suitable for most beginners. The nine-inch snowflake requires a back-post double crochet, making it more of an intermediate pattern.


free crochet pattern, snowflake, lacy, doily, coaster, worsted weight, acrylic yarn, Red Heart


  A smaller hook is used to give the pieces some stiffness, which helps them double as ornaments without needing fabric stiffener. If you find it too difficult to work your stitches with a smaller hook, you could go up a few sizes... But keep in mind, this will change the finished size of the patterns. Likewise, a lighter weight yarn could be used to make a smaller version. (Because could you imagine the large doily made in thread? OMG.)


free crochet pattern, snowflake, lacy, doily, coaster, worsted weight, acrylic yarn, Red Heart




Skill level:
Easy/Intermediate

crochet, skill level, easy, intermediate, International Crochet Pattern Symbols






Materials:
Worsted weight (4) acrylic yarn
-I'm using Red Heart Super Saver in White
It only took some scrap to make one doily and two coasters... 1/2 oz per coaster, and between 1/2 and 1 oz for the doily.

free crochet pattern, snowflake, lacy, doily, coaster, worsted weight, acrylic yarn, Red Heart

Crochet hook size F/5 - 3.75 MM
Yarn needle
*optional for ornament use - Add some sparkle! Attach beads with a needle and thread, coat with glitter glue, or hang a large pendant bead from the bottom with some jump rings... Use your imagination and craft supplies to give your project an extra touch.


Gauge:
(Not very important unless worried about size.)

In 2" x 2" (5 cm x 5 cm)
8 rows of 8 single crochet

free crochet pattern, snowflake, lacy, doily, coaster, worsted weight, acrylic yarn, Red Heart


Notes:
Chains at beginning of rounds do not count as stitches.

The large doily shown begins with a round of single crochet stitches, and both coasters shown begin with a round of double crochet. The double crochet center could be used to start the large doily, but the single crochet center could make the coaster too small. This doesn't matter if you're using the patterns for ornaments, so have fun mixing and matching!



Stitches (American terms):
Chain
Slip stitch
Single crochet
Double crochet
Back post double crochet (only for large doily) - Yarn over, insert hook from back to front, before the post of the stitch. Going over the post, insert the hook from front to back on the other side of the stitch. Yarn over, pull up a loop (3 loops on hook). Yarn over, pull through 2 loops. (2 loops on hook). Yarn over, pull through last 2 loops.


free crochet pattern, snowflake, lacy, doily, coaster, worsted weight, acrylic yarn, Red Heart



Directions:

Large/Doily - 

free crochet pattern, snowflake, lacy, doily, coaster, worsted weight, acrylic yarn, Red Heart


ROUND 1:
Chain 5, join into a ring with a slip stitch. Chain 1 (does not count as stitch). Make 18 single crochet in ring. Join with a slip stitch to first single crochet made.
(18 single crochet)


ROUND 2:
Chain 2, double crochet in first available stitch. (5 chain, skip 2, double crochet) 5 times. Chain 2, join with a double crochet in the first stitch made (counts as chain-5 space; referred to as "double crochet joining space" below).
(6 chain-5 spaces)

free crochet pattern, snowflake, lacy, doily, coaster, worsted weight, acrylic yarn, Red Heart



ROUND 3:
Chain 1, single crochet in the double crochet joining space. (4 single crochet, 3 chain, 4 single crochet) in each of the next 5 chain spaces. In the double crochet joining space, make 4 single crochet, 3 chain, 3 single crochet. Join with a slip stitch to the first single crochet made.
(6 chain-3 spaces)

free crochet pattern, snowflake, lacy, doily, coaster, worsted weight, acrylic yarn, Red Heart



ROUND 4:
Back-post double crochet in the first available double crochet of Round 2. *Chain 5. (Double crochet, 5 chain, double crochet) in chain-3 space**. Chain 5, back-post double crochet in next double crochet of Round 2.* Repeat from * to * 4 more times. Repeat * to ** once.  Chain 2, join with a double crochet in the first back-post double crochet made.
(6 points consisting of a chain-5 space, chain-3 space, and chain-5 space)

free crochet pattern, snowflake, lacy, doily, coaster, worsted weight, acrylic yarn, Red Heart

free crochet pattern, snowflake, lacy, doily, coaster, worsted weight, acrylic yarn, Red Heart

free crochet pattern, snowflake, lacy, doily, coaster, worsted weight, acrylic yarn, Red Heart



ROUND 5:
Chain 1, single crochet in the double crochet joining space. *Chain 5, single crochet in the next chain-5 space. (1 chain, 2 double crochet, 5 chain, 2 double crochet, 1 chain)** in chain-3 space. Single crochet in next chain-5.* Repeat from * to * 4 more times. Repeat * to ** once. Join with a slip stitch in the first single crochet made.
(6 point "sets" - a short point {chain-5 between single crochet}, followed by a tall point {chain-5 between double crochet}, for a total of 12 points)

free crochet pattern, snowflake, lacy, doily, coaster, worsted weight, acrylic yarn, Red Heart



ROUND 6:
Chain 1. *(Single crochet, 6 chain, single crochet) in the next chain-5 space. (Single crochet, 3 chain, single crochet) in the next chain-1 space.
[In the next chain-5 space make - (Double crochet, 1 chain)2x, double crochet. 5 chain, slip stitch in the top vertical bar of the last double crochet. (Double crochet, 1 chain)2x, double crochet].
(Single crochet, 3 chain, single crochet) in the next chain-1 space.* Repeat from * to * 5 more times. Join with a slip stitch to first single crochet made.

free crochet pattern, snowflake, lacy, doily, coaster, worsted weight, acrylic yarn, Red Heart

free crochet pattern, snowflake, lacy, doily, coaster, worsted weight, acrylic yarn, Red Heart


Bind off, weave in ends.

free crochet pattern, snowflake, lacy, doily, coaster, worsted weight, acrylic yarn, Red Heart

free crochet pattern, snowflake, lacy, doily, coaster, worsted weight, acrylic yarn, Red Heart



free crochet pattern, snowflake, lacy, doily, coaster, worsted weight, acrylic yarn, Red Heart



Small/Coaster -


free crochet pattern, snowflake, lacy, doily, coaster, worsted weight, acrylic yarn, Red Heart


ROUND 1:
Chain 5, join into a ring with a slip stitch. Chain 3 (does not count as stitch), make 18 double crochet in the ring. Join with a slip stitch in the first double crochet made.
(18 double crochet)  

free crochet pattern, snowflake, lacy, doily, coaster, worsted weight, acrylic yarn, Red Heart


ROUND 2:
Chain 2, double crochet in first available stitch. (5 chain, skip 2, double crochet) 5 times. Chain 2, join with a double crochet in the first stitch made (counts as chain-5 space; referred to as "double crochet joining space" below).
(6 chain-5 spaces)

free crochet pattern, snowflake, lacy, doily, coaster, worsted weight, acrylic yarn, Red Heart


ROUND 3:
Chain 1, single crochet in the double crochet joining space. (4 single crochet, 3 chain, 4 single crochet) in each of the next 5 chain spaces. In the double crochet joining space, make 4 single crochet, 3 chain, 3 single crochet. Join with a slip stitch to the first single crochet made.
(6 chain-3 spaces)

See R.3 of large snowflake for help


ROUND 4:
Chain 1, *(single crochet, chain 3, single crochet) in the space between sets of 4-single crochet. 2 chain, (2 double crochet, chain 5, slip stitch in the vertical bar of the last double crochet, 2 double crochet) in the next chain-3 space. Chain 2. Repeat from * to * 5 more times. Join with a slip stitch to the first single crochet made.

free crochet pattern, snowflake, lacy, doily, coaster, worsted weight, acrylic yarn, Red Heart


Bind off, weave in ends.


free crochet pattern, snowflake, lacy, doily, coaster, worsted weight, acrylic yarn, Red Heart


  I think snowflakes are great for winter decorations! These are perfect for adding a little festive touch to the table, but they would look great hanging from a tree, on a wall, or in a window. Since they use so little yarn, it would be 'cool' to make a bunch and have them hanging all around... They will make your guests 'freeze' in awe... Okay, I'll stop with the puns. At least I don't have to worry about these snowflakes melting in the Florida heat!


free crochet pattern, snowflake, lacy, doily, coaster, worsted weight, acrylic yarn, Red Heart


Happy Crocheting!


Monday, November 28, 2016

The Ugly Granny Bag

  I loved my idea of making a reusable grocery bag out of my Giant Plarn Granny Squares, even though I knew it would have its downfalls. The first problem was the huge gaps between the stitches, but I only planned to use the bag for large items anyways. The second problem is the weight of the bag itself... With over 100 grocery bags used to make this one project, it came out pretty dense. However, after weighing the finished piece, I discovered it only weighs a pound.


  That's one pound of plastic saved from a landfill! And by using this bag when I go shopping, it will reduce the amount of disposable bags coming home with me. But... That leads us to the third problem with my bag: I think I may be a little embarrassed to use it! I saw the first two potential problems before I started to create it and luckily, it didn't turn out as bad as I thought. This bag is totally usable, but nothing prepared me for how ugly my granny bag would be!


crochet, plarn, granny square, bag, finger crochet, recycle

  I do think this idea would work to make a cute bag with yarn and a finer gauge, but this super-thick plarn has created a monstrosity. Since the idea itself still has potential, I'm still going to share with you how I made it. You can see in one of my Lost Crochet Files how plarn actually can make a pretty cute granny bag... Just not this way. I think this bag is hideous, but it will still serve its purpose. I'm not really too ashamed to use it. I'm just self-conscious enough to never make one like this again.


crochet, plarn, granny square, bag, finger crochet, recycle



  To briefly explain the idea of this project: You need a total of five granny squares - One for the bottom and one for each of the four sides. Of course, this is the part where you could be creative as you want... Make a scrap-tastic classic granny, create a different version of a granny for each panel, or even mix and match smaller grannies to create the larger squares. Colors, fiber, and size are all up to you! So is the option to recreate my hideous plarn version, but I'll be highlighting the things I wished I had done differently to make it look nicer.


crochet, plarn, granny square, bag, finger crochet, recycle



The setup:
I started by attaching my sides to my bottom piece with one seam in the round. Below you can see an example of how to put the squares together before I worked the seam. They should have all been right-side-down, but I made a few mistakes before I got that right. 😩

crochet, plarn, granny square, bag, finger crochet, recycle


The bottom seam:
My plan was to work an extra-strong seam of single crochet stitches - And I did. In hindsight, I wish I had done this differently. Perhaps sew the squares together? This bulky material created a horribly thick, ugly seam. But in the experimental stage, I thought this wouldn't matter with the seam being on the inside.

crochet, plarn, granny square, bag, finger crochet, recycle


It didn't look so bad before I seamed the sides together. The seam rolled towards the bottom of the bag, and I thought it would provide strength for heavy items inside, plus help the bag keep its shape.

crochet, plarn, granny square, bag, finger crochet, recycle


The side seam:
Knowing that bulky seam would stick out in the way of putting items in the bag, I decided to work the side seams in a slip stitch. Those still turned out to be quite bulky, which is why I think sewing might be the better option for this project.

crochet, plarn, granny square, bag, finger crochet, recycle


As I mentioned in another post, I also made one of those seams in a different direction than the others. It was the first seam I made, but before weaving in the ends, I worked the next one another way. I continued on to finish the other two seams, forgot to rip out and fix the first one, and weaved in the ends before I remembered. I didn't feel like picking out the ends, so I left it as-is. That one seam causes a nasty twist in the bag, making the whole thing look like a mess. I think the same project made correctly would have a much nicer shape.


The handles:
I had worked handles in-the-round for another bag, and I wanted to do the same for this one... But I found it too difficult to work a small cylinder with bulky material and finger crochet. I gave up and made flat handles. I joined in the corner space of the square, worked a stitch in the middle of the join, and one more stitch in the corner of the next square for a three-stitch wide handle.

crochet, plarn, granny square, bag, finger crochet, recycle

I worked a total of twelve rows in single crochet. To join to the other side I turned, worked one single crochet in the corner space of the square, and worked the next two stitches through both thicknesses of the handle and the stitches of the bag.

crochet, plarn, granny square, bag, finger crochet, recycle



  Although I can bash the appearance of my ugly granny bag, it's turning out to be pretty useful. Over the Thanksgiving holiday, it held four 40 oz. cans of yams - That's ten pounds! The wide handles made it possible to carry the weight comfortably, when usually it would strain my hands. That was a load that would require double (or maybe triple) bagging with disposable grocery bags!

crochet, plarn, granny square, bag, finger crochet, recycle



  The thick, cushion-y material would be great for keeping bananas and other produce safe from bruising. And if I use a few more squares, I could make a rectangular bag that would let me carry two gallon jugs at one time. (You know, I think if I made the seams better, this one would stretch to fit.) Maybe I shouldn't be so disappointed in my idea because of the first attempt! It was made while I was extremely stressed, and I was concentrating more on keeping busy than making it right. Yes, this one bag is hideous. But because I know where I went wrong, perhaps a second attempt could have more potential.

crochet, plarn, granny square, bag, finger crochet, recycle



  I think I'll try making the material a bit thinner, and maybe I'll use a hook this time - Maybe not. I'd love to see some other crocheters give the project a try using their own ideas - Material, color, shape, etc. I know that plarn can make a nice bag because of others I have made. (One created along with yarn might even be called pretty!) This eyesore might be useful, but the project needs improvement.

crochet, plarn, granny square, bag, finger crochet, recycle


  As for the other two bags in that photo: You can find the pattern for the messenger bag here; that one obviously follows a different design... But the other bag is the one I mentioned with the handles worked in-the-round, using the same method as this ugly granny bag. The only difference is that I used thinner material and the classic granny square pattern (plus a hook instead of finger crochet).


  Perhaps I should stop comparing my ugly granny bag to nicer projects. It is useful. It is sturdy. And it is a finished project! Rip van Winkle even said "cool!" when he saw it done... That doesn't happen very often! He also says the bag isn't ugly. I reserve my right to stick to my own opinion about that. We've since agreed to meet in the middle and give it the ambiguous description of "unique".


crochet, plarn, granny square, bag, finger crochet, recycle

 
Happy Crocheting!