Friday, June 12, 2015

WBS Blanket Progress: A Contrasting Color

The squares continue...
Join me in my journey to become part of a world record - Let's help make the squares that will create the World's Biggest Stocking!

To learn more about the project from its creators, click on the World's Biggest Stocking button in the right sidebar.

To find out what drove me to make more than one blanket for the project, see this Yarn Tales Tuesday post.

  It's getting really, really close to the deadline to mail in the World's Biggest Stocking squares in time for the contest! Not only do I need to work quickly to finish this blanket to add to my donations, I also have to spend time trying to fix my printer, or just go buy a new one. For each blanket to count as an entry to win the $5,000 prize, I have to print and fill out the form provided by Yarnspirations... But, my printer is inhabited by the spirit of an alien spaceship right now, and it's doing whatever it wants instead of printing my form for me. I'm half expecting it to start hovering and fly away.

  Anyways, I started making these blankets to donate before the $5,000 contest was announced, and I'll still continue to make them after the contest is over. But, I mean, c'mon... I want to win that money, don't you? I'm trying to get as many done before the June 22nd deadline, but I think this will be the last one I'll be able to finish before I need to mail them in for my entries.

  One last thing before we get to work: I had a plan. I wanted to take photos of the process of shipping the blankets, right up to when they get handed over at the post office... Uh oh. Apparently, people have actually been arrested for taking pictures in a USPS office. Yikes! I'm working to contact the proper person to make sure I don't go to jail or get put on the national terrorist list over a blog post. I may have finaly found the right person to contact, so hopefully I'll hear back soon. If anybody has faced the same problem, I would greatly appreciate some advice on what to do.

  Okay, let's get back on track. Remember that the pattern for the Granny Square Blanket isn't my design: It's provided for free by Yarnspirations for the World's Biggest Stocking project! You can download the patterns here. Just like me, you only have a short time left to donate your stocking squares to enter in the contest for $5,000. But, more squares will still be needed! Please help make the blankets that will be used to create a world-record setting stocking! The stocking will later be disassembled, and the blankets will be donated to charities.

Let's get started!

We left off last time where I had finished the centers of all the red squares. I've worked ahead to finish the next round of white on all these squares, so let's take a look at the last square left to work on, and how I'm joining the contrasting color.

I've decided to stray from the pattern. I hate how no matter which way you pull the new color through, there's a little tiny jog in the beginning of the round. I'm weaving in my ending tails, and I'll work over them with the contrasting color. Here, I'm pulling the tail through the front loop of every other stitch.

And here, I found a quicker way. I turned the square over and started working in the opposite direction. I'm still working into the same loops of the stitches, but now the front loops are at the back of the stitches. Working this way lets me pull the tail through more easily, instead of having to insert the hook over the working yarn. You could pull the tail through the back loops of the stitches, but I tend to catch the strand with the hook and pull the tail out when I work the next round. Do whatever works for you!

Even though it's only worked through one round of stitches, this is an unbelievably secure way to weave in the tail. Once the next round is worked over these stitches, the tail will be trapped forever! I don't worry about trimming the end now, because it usually gets pulled back into the stitches. I can trim it later, if needed.

This definitely makes the stitches look funny... for now. Once I work into them, you won't be able to see the difference! Beginners: You might need to mark your ending stitch if you want to keep following the pattern as written. I have no problem finding my ending stitch and turning chain, but for those who are new, you might lose it when you work around.

I'm beginning the new color without a slip knot, just like I showed you when I changed colors on the Big Granny Square Blanket. I yarn over with the tail for the first step of the stitch, and this secures it without a knot. 

If you bind off for the color like I'm doing, and you do lose your beginning stitch, don't worry! All you have to do is make a double crochet in each double crochet around - the pattern is simple, so where you begin isn't too important. Making sure you have the correct number of stitches in the round is what really matters.

Every corner is worked the same way, making each side of all the rounds increase by four double crochet. As long as you have 15 double crochet in between the corner chain-3 spaces, it won't matter where you begin.

Because I weaved the tail of the last round in following the stitch direction, I'll leave the beginning tail of this round loose. Later, I'll weave it in the opposite direction to balance the slight change in thickness.

Now, these squares are ready for the last round of single crochet in the beginning color. I'm going to bind off and work over the tail for this round, too. It's the end of the day, and I have a lot of work with a needle to weave in those beginning tails. But do you notice that there's one square missing? (Probably not. I'm sure not many of you are actually counting the stack of squares to make sure all 16 are there!)

I went ahead and completed one square. I had to. The tiny bit of red left over from making the centers of these squares is just floating around, waiting to get tangled. After finishing this round, I still had a bit left!

  I've come to a conclusion: Forget taking it easy; I want my chance at winning that money! I can take a break when it's over. We'll continue with finishing these and starting the rest of the squares soon!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

New Free Patterns!

Links now, patterns later... Sorry!

  I've been so busy with the blankets for the World's Biggest Stocking project that I haven't been able to keep up with sharing all my free patterns on Guidecentral! What I really like to do is also provide the written pattern here on the blog when I make a guide for a crochet pattern, but lately, there just hasn't been enough time for me to get it done.

  I promise I'll write them out eventually, but for now, I'll just share the links with you. And, you know, as usual... Maybe you could "like" a few of my guides and help me make a couple extra cents. If you're a DIY'er of any kind and you haven't checked Guidecentral out yet: GO DO IT! I'm not the only Maker with crochet patterns available, plus you'll find all kinds of crafts and DIY projects... And when you check out my guides, you'll find more than crochet! Okay, so you'll mostly find some yummy recipes, because it seems like the only time I'm not crocheting is when I'm cooking...

  Anyways, I know ya'll don't want to hear all my "blah, blah, blah", you want the free patterns, right? Clicking the pictures will take you straight to the link. Here you go:

Tire Coasters for a car lover:

Designed with Father's Day in mind, these would make a great gift for any car lover! Personalize with a phrase, name, or a favorite car brand.

Tiny Thread Daisies:

This is a cute little project that will help beginners get used to working with thread! These daisies could be used for decorations, jewelry, and more.

Happy Jellyfish:

I gave up on trying to embroider eyes and started using buttons to save my sanity. The result: How cute are these?

A Fun Little Piggy:

This applique is another result of giving up embroidery for eyes: This little guy makes me smile every time I see him!

A Cute Little Kitty:

My last attempt at embroidering eyes (lol). I was going for a sleepy-kitty look that I couldn't achieve using buttons. In hindsight, I think I should have made a normal cat eye, then created the sleepy look with an eyelid.  

A Small Plant Hanger:

My collection of orchids is growing and growing (no pun intended...but ha!), and I had to design a pattern that would finish quickly. It took me longer to get the wire bent for the ring at the top than it took to crochet this hanger. 

Check out my entire list of guides for other DIY projects you might have missed:

1. Perfect prime rib with Au Jus
2. Flower string lights
3. Stone candle holders
4. Strawberry pancake syrup

My tire coasters were included in this week's Featured Guides! Don't forget to check out what other Makers are up creating, too!

Image from Guidecentral's homepage 

Have fun!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

WBS Blanket Progress: Beginning the Granny Square Blanket

Squares, squares, and more squares!
Join me in my journey to become part of a world record - Let's help make the squares that will create the World's Biggest Stocking!

To learn more about the project from its creators, click on the World's Biggest Stocking button in the right sidebar.

To find out what drove me to make more than one blanket for the project, see this Yarn Tales Tuesday post.

  I like challenging patterns. Love knot stitch? Bring it on. Puffs, clusters, filet crochet, and pattern stitches of all kinds... No problem. Bullion stitch: One of my favorites. Clones Irish lace... Okay, still learning some of it. But assembling pieces? I hate it! If you browse through my free patterns, you might notice that I try my hardest to create everything in one piece. My skills are advanced enough that putting together squares or pattern pieces is no problem for me. I just don't like doing it.

  Even though the simple patterns provided for the World's Biggest Stocking project are so easy for me, these multiple piece designs are challenging my mentality. But, it's a challenge, so I'm having fun. I'm even starting to get over my dislike of joining squares. I'm working my way up to the blanket with the most pieces, so I'm starting the Granny Square Blanket Square for my next project. This blanket consists of twenty-five six-round granny squares. 

  The colors of this blanket are a nice change from the holiday colors I've been using for the other squares. I've worked with red, white, and green since last October, thanks to a few other holiday projects I had picked up, then transitioning right into the World's Biggest Stocking blankets. When the holidays come around this year, I'm making everything in purple. 

  So, anyways... Follow along as I begin the Granny Square Blanket! Remember that these patterns are not my design; they're provided free by Yarnspirations for the World's Biggest Stocking project. Click here to download them for yourself, then make a blanket square that will help set a world record and later be donated to military charities!

Let's get started!

These granny squares are made differently than the pattern for the Big Granny Square Blanket, but the center begins in the same way. Two double crochet are worked into each side of each corner, and a double crochet is made in each double crochet around. The color will change at the end of the third round. 

But, what I'm doing is joining at the end of the round, for now. My plan is to make all the squares up to the color change, and I'll pull the joining slip stitch out later. I'm doing it this way to avoid juggling multiple skeins of yarn, because I often move my work from place to place. 

Here's what I have left of one skein after finishing the centers of the first sixteen squares. There's not enough here to make any more centers, but I don't need any more in this color, anyways. There will probably be enough to make the last round of single crochet for at least one square.

Before I continue, I'm going to weave in all the center tails of these squares. I think I'll probably work over the ending tail when I start the contrasting color, but I'm not sure yet.

I can't weave the ending tails in now, anyways, because I have to undo this stitch to change colors. According to the pattern, the new color should be pulled through when making the joining slip stitch.

I'm going to follow the pattern for one square to see how it comes out, but it looks like this might make a little jog in the color... We'll see! For now, I'm gonna finish weaving in all those center tails. That's another thing I don't like doing, so I need to get it out of the way.

My RA is starting to act up again, so I'm supposed to be taking it easy. Then I went and made all 16 of the centers for the red squares in one day. I'm gonna take a break now, and we'll pick this up again soon.

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