Friday, June 19, 2015

WBS Progress: Four Blankets Shipped!

And the rest of the stuff I missed... Like a tutorial!

  Since I was in a rush to finish the Granny Square Blanket and get my donations mailed to the World's Biggest Stocking Project, I didn't cover the final assembly of the squares in the last post. So in this post, you'll get a bunch more "blah, blah, blah", along with a great tutorial!

  Even though the $5,000 contest is coming to a close, more blankets are still needed for the Stocking! I plan on making eight more before the project is over, but I'll be taking a break for a bit. Yesterday was the first day I didn't pick up any crochet in... Um... In a really long time! I'd love to tell you that I used my crochet-free day to do something awesome, but in reality, I cleaned my house. Yay. Actually, I could count some of it as crochet work, because a lot of my time was spent organizing my WIP's (work in progress). I also spent some time putting together a tutorial for you, so let's move along!

It was almost a disaster, but I was able to save it! One Granny Square Blanket completed, and already shipped to the World's Biggest Stocking.

Here are the squares that I messed up. The border of the Red Squares and the centers of the Navy squares were worked with a smaller size I/9 hook. Everything else was worked with a size J/10 hook. At this point, I had only worked up to the last row of double crochet for each square.

When I first stacked them up and took a look, I thought I'd be able to go back to one hook size for the last round of single crochet. They look pretty close, don't they?

Nope, wrong! I worked the border of a Red and a Navy Square with the same size J/10 hook. It threw it off even more! I frogged the round I had made on the Red square and worked it with the smaller size I/9 hook. Perfect! I made the remaining Royal square all with a J/10 hook.

As for how I assembled the squares, I worked through both loops of both pieces to pull the whole thing together a bit. I began by working in the back loops, but that caused the pieces to (unexpectedly) ripple. 

Working through both loops solved the problem! I really expected to have better results by using the back loops, but I was wrong. Thankfully, I had only joined four squares before I noticed the problem. To avoid the extra thickness of the seam, I used a single crochet-two-together to join them.

Which leads to that tutorial! First, let me be clear that I would never claim this pattern as my own - but since I strayed from the pattern and used my own method for joining the squares, I took the opportunity to make a Guidecentral guide for the stitch!

  Call me a sell-out if you want to. But for picture-heavy tutorials like this one, it's less work for me, and works better for you on Guidecentral. Plus, I have more due in bills this month than money in the bank right now, and that's because of the yarn for this charity project! So, you don't mind clicking a link for that tutorial, do you?
  You'll also get a bonus learning how to begin the row with a standing single crochet (which is actually a standing-single-crochet-two-together), and I'll show you how to work over the tail, too! This stitch makes one flat side and one textured side, which can be adjusted by working into the front, back, or both loops of the stitch.

  Are you back? Now, let's see how I shipped those blankets!

Vacuum-sealed bags, yay! I picked up a box of these at a discount store for less than $5. I figured I could let go of one of them to ship these blankets. The plan was to stuff them into one of those "If it fits, it ships" boxes to save some money, but even mushed down like this, they didn't fit.

I had to buy a regular shipping box for them to fit. And had to pay regular shipping. And (ouch!) that came to almost $20. I arrived at the post office excited and happy to be shipping the blankets, and left feeling a little... Broke (lol), but still happy! So, remember to give that Guide a "like" for me, so I can make a few cents back, okay?

Yarn to make four blankets for the World's Biggest Stocking: $75.
Cost to ship the blankets to the Project: $20.
Amount I could possibly win thanks to the Stitch for the Stocking contest: $5,000.
That feeling that you get when you donate to those in need:

Happy Crocheting!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

WBS Blanket Progress: Time to Go!

It's shipping day!

  To make a long story short, I finally finished the Granny Square Blanket for the World's Biggest Stocking. I'll have some assembly photos for you soon, but we're going to skip ahead a little for a fun day today. My other half is coming home early today so he can take me up to the post office, and I'm so happy to finally be shipping some blankets to the project! If I could drive right now, I'd already be on my way. But...

Here's me putting the final touches on the Granny Square Blanket this morning. Me, with my stupid leg with the stupid busted knee propped up. And the cat that thinks she's helping. No driving for me!

(And ya'll don't have to feel bad and do the whole sympathy thing because of it. It's my own fault for trying to pick up more weight than I should.)

Have sympathy for this, instead. Who knew cats could go from sleeping in a chair to flying onto a blanket in a split second? (Cat owners. All cat owners surely understand this.) I think Lucky's trying to tell me she's been feeling neglected through this project. She gets some treats, and I get to go wash this blanket... Like I needed more to do. 

Another pile of treats, and here's all the blankets ready to go! I wish I had more ready before the contest deadline, but hey... That's four chances at the $5,000 prize!

One last thing before I pack them up: Don't forget the form - My entries in the contest won't count without it! I finally got the printer working, and printed out an extra one in case I have any problems when I get to the post office. This is going to be a big package, but I have a plan...

  I'm waiting on the other half to come home to help. I was going to pack these babies into a vacuum sealed bag to save space when shipping, but my stupid vacuum quit along with my stupid knee. I think it's just clogged, but I can't carry it outside to clean it out. Arg! The black cloud hanging over this project continues to rain...

But at least we finally had a rain-free afternoon! Looks like some people on the coast saw a pretty good storm, but skies were clear for the mosquitoes to fly yesterday evening. Best wishes to those who aren't so lucky to be facing Tropical Storm/Depression Bill right now.

Happy Crocheting!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

WBS Blanket Progress: Uh Oh!

What happens when you rush a project... And a lesson in "fudging"

  With only days left to finish this blanket, I messed up again. I swear, if you follow all the posts about my work on the blankets for the World's Biggest Stocking, you'd think I was a beginner. The truth is, when Yarnspirations announced the contest to win $5,000, I started rushing my work to get as many done as possible before the deadline. And this is what can happen if you rush a project, even if you're a master crocheter:

What this looks like is a great stack of squares that are ready for the fourth round of contrasting color, right?

Wrong! If you go back to the last post, you can see that I started out using a smaller size I/9-5.50MM hook to show you how to weave in the tail before working over it. And what I did next was begin working the Navy squares with the same size hook.

My 'J' and 'I' hooks are very similar colors. In the low light of more (and more... and more) thunderstorms, I never noticed the difference. If only I wasn't rushing, I probably would have noticed a difference in the size of the squares. I had them in separate stacks, and never bothered to put them together.

The good news is, I didn't finish the final round of the Red squares yet. And I noticed that I worked the contrasting color round of the Red squares with the incorrect hook, too. Here, you can see that there's a very small difference in size between the centers of the Red and Navy squares.

So, I switched back to the bigger hook to work the contrasting color for the Navy squares. They came out almost the same! Almost.

Because the white border washes out in the photos, and because, y'know... There's another square on top of it, you might not have noticed the Red square underneath in the last photo. Pretty close, huh? 

  I'm going to finish working them this way, then go back and finish the final round of single crochet later. There's a tiny difference in size between the squares, which I think won't matter. But just in case, I'm going to see if I can make up that difference by working the final round in different hook sizes. We'll see... "Fudging" to fix my mistake sure beats frogging them all!

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