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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Wednesday Wishlist







Have you ever really wanted to try a new product, but it's not in your budget?
Do you fall in love with projects, but you know you just don't have time right now?

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*The purpose of the Wednesday Wishlist is to raise awareness and donations for the Scarf of the Month program through crochet and yarn-related products. Although this week's picks are just some personal likes for fun, all donations will still go towards the program.


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  I can make a long list of all the techniques I've conquered as an advanced crocheter. But, recently I realized that there's a list of products that I haven't tried. So this week, I'll let you in on a secret I've been hiding...




Here are my picks of the week:



Crochet So Lovely by Kristen Omdahl:

Image from Interweavestore.com
  As a designer, I tend to write my own patterns before I buy a book for one. I often see something that grabs my interest, but I'll want to change the edging, or some stitches, or make it in thread instead of yarn. But Kristen Omdhal's new book, Crochet So Lovely has made my wishlist. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy to see the techniques she used to create these beautiful patterns.

  Visit the Interweave Store to check out pictures of other projects in this book, and I bet you'll want a copy, too! (By the way, at the time I linked to it, the book was on sale!)




Susan Bates Crystalites Crochet Hooks:


Image from redheart.com

  Okay, here's the big secret I'm ashamed of: I have never, ever used an inline head crochet hook. I learned with a tapered hook, and I have stayed with a tapered hook. Call me dedicated, or call me inexperienced, I'm not sure which. Most crochet teachers will tell you to learn with an inline head. I didn't have a teacher, or an inline head hook. I only had some books and my mom's/grandma's old tapered hooks.

  Anyways, it made me think that I should give it a try, just to be able to say I've done it. I'll probably go right back to my tapered hooks, though. But since I was looking into it, and I need a new set of larger hooks, and because these are a reasonable price that I can actually afford, I think I'm just gonna go ahead and get these. Yup, and then maybe review them, so you all can find out what my first time with an inline head hook was like.

  Also: "Ooooo, pretty colors!"


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  So, as I said at the beginning of the post, this week's picks are only personal, and they actually have nothing to do with the charity program, and that's why no donations raised through this post will be used for the purchase of these products.

  Well, maybe I'll use the hooks to create one of the scarves, and maybe I'll pick up a new technique to use on a pattern from Kristin Omdahl's Crochet So Lovely, but they're still for my personal use. None of your donations will ever go towards my personal purchases.

  

Click the donate button on the right if you can help me out! I love to play with yarn, even if I don't get to keep (or make money from) the item I've made. All donations will support my Scarf of the Month program. Every month, a new scarf (or set) will be designed to donate to charity. As a thank you for your donations, the pattern will be provided for free the following month!







Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Yarn Tales Tuesday






Saving the Yarn:
Getting through it (and a little rant)




  Last week, Yarn Tales Tuesday left off where I made the first cut in the yarn. Over the shock of the damage done to this skein, I'm ready to get through this now. The coffee pot's up and running again, and the heavy metal's still contributing to my hearing loss. Now, let's see how much progress I can make with this mess:




  After the finding another hidden knot inside the skein last week, I made the decision to use the scissors on it. It caused a small amount of emotional trauma and some sympathy pains, but in the end, it's what needed to be done. With some frenzied picking, pulling, untying and unraveling, I was able to find an available end to begin another ball.

   





  This is where we get to say "Yay!" Get over the hesitation, cut those bad parts out, and keep moving. Progress is good! I won't bore you with a ton of step by step photos. Instead, just know that I had the same problem throughout the skein. just when I get moving, I run into another impossible knot. But, no more procrastinating! Just cut, find another end, and get going again. It makes it so much easier to create a new end to pull through a knot, rather than trying to find where the end of the current one comes from.




  I was lucky enough to work through even parts of the yarn, so each ball is close to the same size. And the closer I got to the end of the skein, the less knots I found! It looked like I could make a little change in my plans: Taking a chance, I tried to keep unraveling to the end of the skein, without making any more cuts. I ran into a bunch of loops, but no tight knots to deal with. It was all going easy as pie...

(By the way, who invented that saying? Have you ever made pie from scratch? It takes time, practice, and it gets messy. Pie isn't that easy unless you pick one up from the bakery!)






 Anyways, ugh...Why did I change my mind? I was seeing progress. I was feeling successful. Did I say "Ugh"? That's also code-word for more four-letter words! I was hoping to turn the rest of the skein into one large ball, which would give me more options for projects. Now, I'm starting to think that the "yarn gods" have placed a curse on me.




  More. Knots. Ugh! You know what? Four-letter word it. I'm not fighting with it any more. Shall I get those scissors back out?






  The answer is yes. But first, I'm going to get another cup of coffee. Then, I think I'll switch over to a "girl band" for the heavy metal of the day...Alright, get ready for that "little" rant:

-Okay, I get it, probably almost none of you want to listen to my taste in music. Most people don't. But, you don't have to click on the link if you don't want to. I just like to share what I'm doing while I work. People often comment to me that it's unusual to listen to heavy metal and play with yarn for a living. Why? Why is it any different than someone who listens to country, classical, pop, rock, or rap music while they work? It's just my choice. Just like your choice of music is your choice, and it doesn't affect your job, does it?

  So, because of my mini-lecture there, let's go with that "girl band" for the day. Because I'm tired of people thinking you can't mix this with that. Talent is talent. And any kind of person, with any kind of preferences can have any kind of talent. What I'm listening to today is a band called Straight Line Stitch (video will play), and the lead singer is "different" than what you usually find in heavy metal. And that's good. But, if you check out the comments on their videos, you'll often find criticism about her gender and race. And that's bad. 

   Remember that you don't have to like the same things to like somebody. And you don't have to like somebody to like the same things. Just because somebody isn't the same as you, doesn't mean they can't like the same things as you. You don't have to like my taste in music to like my crochet work. 

  -But, before I sound like I'm accusing any of my readers of wrongdoings, let me say that all of you have been the most accepting people I've ever "known". It's the people in my personal life that have made the comments about my "odd" choices. And they're the people that don't care about my crochet work, so they'll probably never even read this. So thank you, to those that do enjoy it, and either accept me as "quirky" or at least choose to click that little red "X" and withhold any negative comments.

  Anyways, I've got knots to tackle, coffee to drink, and a new free pattern to work on. And heavy metal to listen to. Maybe I'll have this skein unraveled by next week. Until then,









P.S. From time to time, I also listen to things like Beethoven and Peter Cetera. Because I enjoy it. But shh..Don't tell anybody. Somebody else might think I'm weird.





  

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Free Pattern: Chains Around My Heart Doily






  Once you discover how fast this project works up, your heart will be "chained" to the pattern! Chains, basic stitches, and some unusual placement are combined to create the designs in this elegant doily. It's perfect for Valentine's Day, but simply beautiful enough for year round use. You can also customize the pattern with your choice of color to match your home decor.




  *Beginners, don't be intimidated! Where a few unusual techniques are required, you'll find pictures along with the pattern for help. Give it a try! No extra-special stitches are needed; you'll just be creating the stitch in different loops than usual.




  With a finished size of 12" (30.5 cm), the pattern of this doily can still be seen from under a larger candle or dish, or use it as part of an accent piece with an arrangement of smaller objects. (It also goes great with a photo-bombing cat!) Share photos of your ideas for how to display this pattern, with or without your furry friends!




 




Skill level:







Materials:
Worsted weight (4) acrylic yarn
-Red Heart Super Saver in Cherry Red used
Crochet hook size J/10- MM or size needed to obtain gauge
Smaller hook or yarn needle to weave in ends
Split ring stitch markers (optional)




Gauge:
In 4" by 4" (10 cm by 10 cm)
6 rows of 14 double crochet




Notes:
Chains at beginning of rounds count as stitches. Mark with stitch markers if needed.




Stitches and abbreviations:
Chain (ch)
Slip stitch (sl st)
Single crochet (sc)
Double crochet (dc)

Long single and double crochet stitches (Lsc and Ldc) - Worked the same as the basic stitch, but over more than one row. Pull up the base loop to the height of the current row. Pattern will designate where to create the stitch.

Extended double crochet (ext dc)- Yarn over, insert the hook, pull up a loop. Yarn over, pull through one loop. (Yarn over, pull through 2 loops) twice.
*Pictures are shown in the pattern to help you with this stitch.

Beginning (beg)
Skip (sk)
Space (sp)
Stitch (st)




Directions:

Round 1:
To begin, ch 5, join into a ring with a sl st. Ch 1 (counts as 1 sc), make 11 sc in the ring. Join with a sl st to beg ch-1. (12 sc)

Round 2:
Ch 1, 1 sc in the same st. (Ch 2, sk 2, 2 sc) 5 times. Ch 2, sk 2, join with a sl st to beg ch-1.

Round 3:
Ch 6 (counts as 1 sc, ch-5), *1 sc in the 1st sc after next ch-2 sp. Ch 5.* Repeat from * to * 4 more times. Join with a sl st to beg ch-1.

Round 4:
Sl st in the next available ch-5 sp, ch 6 (counts as 1 sc, ch-5), 1 sc in same sp. *(1 sc, ch 5, 1 sc) in the next ch-5 sp.* Repeat from * to * 4 more times. Join with a sl st to beg ch-1.

Round 5:
Ch 1, *(1 sc, ch 6, 1 sc) in the next ch-5 sp. 1 sc in each of the next 2 sc.* Repeat from * to * 4 more times. (1 sc, ch 6, 1 sc) in the next ch-5 sp, 1 sc in the next sc. Join with a sl st to beg ch-1.

Round 6:
Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), *(1 dc, ch 8, 1 dc) in the next ch-6 sp. 1 dc in each of the next 4 sc.* Repeat from * to * 4 more times. (1 dc, ch 8, 1 dc) in the next ch-6 sp. 1 dc in each of the next 3 sc. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3.

Round 7:
Ch 3, *(1 dc, ch 6, 1 dc) in the next ch-8 sp. 1 dc in each of the next 6 dc.* Repeat from * to * 4 more times. (1 dc, ch 6, 1 dc) in next ch-8, 1 dc in each of the next 5 dc. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3.

Round 8:
Ch 4 (counts as 1 sc, ch-3), *1 Lsc in ch-8 sp of Round 6, ch 3. Across the next 8 sts: (1 sc, ch 1, 1 dc, ch 1, 1 sc, 2 sl st, 1 sc, ch 1, 1 dc, ch 1, 1 sc). Ch 3.* Repeat from * to * 4 more times. 1 Lsc in ch-8 sp of Round 6, ch 3. Across the next 7 sts: (1 sc, ch 1, 1 dc, ch 1, 1 sc, 2 sl st, 1 sc, ch 1, 1 dc, ch 1). Join with a sl st to beg ch-1.

Round 9:
Sl st in ch-8 sp of Round 6, ch 3 (counts as 1st Ldc). *Ch 2, 3 dc in the base loops of Lsc (see pictures 9-1 through 9-3). Ch 2, 1 Ldc in ch-8 sp of Round 6 (see picture 9-4). Ch 9, 1 Ldc in same ch-8 sp of Round 6.* Repeat from * to * 4 more times. Ch 2, 3 dc in base loops of Lsc, ch 2, join with a sl st to beg ch-3.

9-1. Insert the hook in the base loops (loops around the chains) of the Lsc stitch.

9-2. Make all 3 dc in the same base loops, creating each stitch below the last.
9-3. Making the stitches this way will cause the work to twist slightly. Don't worry, it will flatten out again once you work the stitches of the next row into these 3 dc.

9-4. To work the Ldc before and after the 3 dc, insert the hook in the ch-8 sp of  Round 6. Pull up a long loop, so the chains aren't pinched together. Complete as for a basic dc.


Round 10:
Ch 4 (counts as 1 dc, ch-1), *2 dc in next dc. Ch 2, sl st in following dc. Ch 2, 2 dc in third dc. Ch 1, 1 dc in the next dc. Ch 3, 1 ext dc in ch-9 sp (see pictures 10-1 through 10-3). (1 dc, ch 2, sl st, ch 2, 2 dc) in the base loops of ext dc just made (see pictures 10-4 and 10-5). Ch 3, 1 dc in next dc, ch 1.* Repeat from * to * 4 more times. 2 dc in the next dc, ch 2, sl st in following dc. Ch 2, 2 dc in third dc. Ch 1, 1 dc in the next dc. Ch 3, 1 ext dc in ch-9 sp. (1 dc, ch 2, sl st, ch 2, 2 dc) in the base loops of ext dc just made. Ch 3, join with a sl st to beg ch-3.

10-1. For extended dc, yarn over, insert the hook, pull up a loop.

10-2. Yarn over, pull through only one loop.

10-3. (Yarn over, pull through 2 loops) twice as for a basic dc.

10-4. For the stitches in the base loops of the ext dc: Insert hook in the first 2 bottom loops available.

10-5. Continue with the stitches as usual, placing each consecutive stitch under the last stitch made in the loops.


Round 11:
Ch 1, *1 sc in the next ch-1 sp. Ch 6, 1 sc in the following ch-1 sp. 1 sc in the next dc. (2 sc, ch 1, 1 dc) in next ch-3 sp. Ch 6, (1 dc, ch 1, 2 sc) in following ch-3 sp. 1 sc in the next dc. 1 sc the next ch-1 sp.* Repeat from * to * 4 more times. 1 sc in the next ch-1 sp. Ch 6, 1 sc in the following ch-1 sp. 1 sc in the next dc. (2 sc, ch 1, 1 dc) in next ch-3 sp. Ch 6, (1 dc, ch 1, 2 sc) in following ch-3 sp. Join with a sl st to beg-ch-1.

Round 12:
Ch 1, *7 sc in next ch-6 sp. 1 sc in each of the next 4 sc, 1 sc in next ch-1. 8 sc in next ch-6. 1 sc in following ch-1 sp. 1 sc in each of the next 4 sc.* Repeat * to * 4 more times. 7 sc in next ch-6 sp. 1 sc in each of the next 4 sc, 1 sc in next ch-1. 8 sc in next ch-6. 1 sc in following ch-1 sp. 1 sc in each of the next 3 sc, join with a sl st to beg ch-1.

Bind off, weave in ends.





With stitches made in base loops and long stitches pulling up chains, some places in this pattern might look a little wacky when you finish it! As with many crochet projects, it will come out fine with a gentle wash and some minor blocking. No need for a bunch of work, just spread it out evenly, and allow it to dry flat.


Hey, fellow crocheters, I need some help! Who noticed how weird/washed out/fuzzy the red color looks in these pictures? I'm tired of taking sub-par photos of my projects. If I don't have the right amount of natural light, or I use the wrong color, my yarn glows! I can take pictures of other things that come out fine, but I always lose the detail of the stitches with bright colors. I'm looking for a new camera, and I thought the best people to ask would be all of you! Do you take pictures of your crochet projects with no problem? Tell me what camera you use!







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