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Saturday, September 12, 2015

Happy International Crochet Day!






  What will you do to celebrate International Crochet Day? As always, I'm going to crochet for charity (#crochetforcharity)! However, it seems like that's all I do anymore, so a little of the excitement has been taken from it this year. At first that made me sad, and I didn't know what to write about for our "holiday". But geez, get over it, right? That's just a depressing way of thinking about it.




Celebrating International Crochet Day




  So let's start over: Today I'm going to crochet for charity, yay! And it's all in celebration of International Crochet Day! (There, is that better?) I've been stuck on July's Scarf of the Month, and today is the day to finally get it done. Promise. It's really a simple design, but one you need to pay lots of attention to on assembly. And my assembly work keeps getting interrupted, so I keep messing it up. Today is the day of no interruptions (ha!), staying focused (double ha!), and completion (even if it kills me).




Crocheting the July Scarf of the Month




  Looking at a little peek of it, you're probably wondering "How in the world is that going to be a scarf?", but you'll see it soon enough. It will be awesomeness, because I will finish it on International Crochet Day.




Cat, crochet




  Well, I'm going to try really hard to get it finished today. Jump Steady seems to think the pieces of July's Scarf of the Month are his new toys. He's been misbehaving exceptionally well, and I'm at my wit's end with him. There's no going outside for him, because it won't stop raining and we are sooooooo flooded! This cat is nuts and the whole thing is dampening my spirits about this wonderful day.




  Anyways, on to you! If you don't want to crochet for charity to celebrate, what can you do? Let's start with: Crochet! International Crochet Day is the perfect day to just crochet. Do it at home. Do it in the car (while someone else is driving, please). Do it in public. Just crochet something!




  Teach someone to crochet. Crochet a gift for someone special. Crochet something special for yourself! Whatever you do, try to make today an extra-special day of crochet.




  I'm going to keep this short and leave the rest up to you! I'll still be here, trying to track down the rest of the pieces for that scarf. The Scarf of the Month program is getting caught up again, and I won't let this set me back anymore! The cat can have the darn pieces he stole, and I'll crochet new ones. Once I get it done, maybe I'll spend a little extra time looking for a charity that will take my creations!




crochet for charity




Happy Crocheting!

P.S. I live in a small town where nothing ever happens! Does anybody have a local yarn shop or a crocheting group that does something awesome to celebrate International Crochet Day? Tell us about it! 




Friday, September 11, 2015

Diagonal Textured Face Scrubby






  Washable face scrubbies are a great way to go green! So stop throwing those cotton pads and balls in the trash every time you remove your makeup and throw these in the wash instead. The Back Diagonal Shell stitch makes an amazing reversible texture with smooth, massaging bumps on one side, and a rougher nubby side that's great for some deep cleaning.




 With a diameter of 3" (7.5 cm), these reusable scrubbies are slightly larger than the average disposable facial pads. How many of you use those things and lose your grip? I'm always dropping mine on the floor. What a waste! The texture of these pads helps you get a grip and stop the garbage.




Add these reusable scrubbies to a gift basket with my other free crochet patterns!





Skill level:







Materials:
Worsted (4) weight cotton yarn
-I'm using Peaches & Creme 4-ply cotton in Pastel Delight, which is unfortunately a discontinued colorway. (Sorry!)
Crochet hook size G/6 - 4.25 MM
Yarn needle or smaller hook to weave in ends
Stitch markers (optional)




Gauge:
Not important



A close up for gauge purposes




Notes:
This pattern uses the Back Diagonal Stitch in the round, and the Back Diagonal Shell Stitch while increasing in the round. Check stitch definitions to make sure you are making your stitches in the correct places.

Follow pattern closely for beginning and ends of rounds. Stitch placement is extremely important. Use stitch markers, if needed.

See the end of the pattern for links to a photo tutorial and a video tutorial!




Stitches and abbreviations:
Magic Circle (You can also watch me make a magic circle in the first video for How to Crochet a Magic Angel.
Chain (ch)
Slip stitch (sl st)
Double crochet (dc)
Triple crochet (tr)

Back Diagonal Stitch (BD st) [For in the Magic Circle] - Make a triple crochet (in the circle). Working behind the triple crochet stitch: Make 3 double crochet. (See here for a tutorial showing you the original Back Diagonal Stitch)

Back Diagonal Shell Stitch (BD shell) [Increasing] - Skip one stitch, make a triple crochet in the next. Working behind the triple crochet: Make 3 double crochet in the skipped stitch.




A free crochet pattern




Directions:


Begin with a Magic Circle. Closing ch of magic circle counts as part of beg ch.


Round 1:
Ch 2 (counts as beg dc / part of last BD shell). Make 2 BD shell sts in circle. Make 1 tr in circle ahead of the beg ch-2. Make 2 dc in circle before beg ch-2. Join with a sl st to beg ch-2. (12 sts total, 3 BD shell sts)


Round 2:*
Ch 3 (counts as beg dc). Make a tr in the stitch immediately after the beg ch-3. Working in the same st as beg ch-3: Make 2 dc after the beg ch-3. Make 5 BD shell sts around. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3. (24 sts total, 6 BD shell sts)


Round 3:
(Ch 1, sl st in the next st) 23 times. Ch 1, bind off. Join round by weaving tail through beg sl st.


Weave in ends.




Go green with reusabe face scrubbies!




  *As for the way the pattern was worked and written: Why not chain 4 for a beginning triple crochet, then make the double crochet stitches of the shell behind it?

  Because I didn't like it, that's why. (Lol.) You totally can begin the round like that! But... Then you'll be starting the round in a different place, which changes the texture. It also shows the increases more. And to top it all off, that one flimsy-looking chain for a diagonal stitch sticks out like a sore thumb. So, just make it my way, okay? Use stitch markers if you need them! No complaining? Okay. If you feel like complaining, don't. Just check out the picture tutorial or the video to see how easy it really is!




Click the pic for a Guidecentral tutorial!





http://crochetistheway.blogspot.com/2015/02/free-pattern-scallop-seashell-washcloths.html
Click the pic for the free pattern to make the Scallop Seashell set pictured in this gift basket!




  And, last but certainly not least: GET THE VIDEO! Being only the second of my tutorial videos, it's not perfect. But give it a try and see what you think! Here's Part One:




Check out my YouTube channel for more! Subscribe to get the latest patterns before they go on the blog!




Happy Crocheting!





Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Wednesday Wishlist






Do you ever fall in love with a yarn, only to find out it's not in your budget? Have you ever looked for the perfect yarn for a project, but everything you find is just a little off? What about those tools that you really want, but you know you could still live without them? These are the things that make it on my Wednesday Wishlist...








Click the pics to follow the links!



Omega Sinfonia:




DK mercerized cotton
Image from anniescatalog.com


  Dk weight mercerized cotton is on my shopping list... Well, just DK weight cotton was on it first, but when I came across this yarn, I decided it should be mercerized, too. I'm looking for material to make a warm-weather lacy top, and I think Sinfonia will be perfect. Also, they happen to have an assortment of colors, including the black I'm trying to find. (Why is it so hard to find black DK weight cotton yarn?) And when I'm done with the project in mind, I'll have to go back for some of those variegated colors. (Check out the blues!)
  




Bernat Softee Chunky:



Image from yarnspirations.com


  I've been searching hard for the perfect bulky yarn, but I'm limited to a certain few colors. (Black is also one of the colors I'm looking for here!) Softee Chunky has become my final decision! I've changed my game plan for this project in mind, so I don't need a super-huge roving yarn anymore. This yarn comes in a big variety of colors, which includes both of the ones I'm looking for. The only reason this yarn is on my Wishlist and not in my stash is because I need ten or twelve skeins! I stand to make my money back from this project, but budget prevents me from placing the order. As soon as I resolve that problem, you'll be seeing a review (and maybe a pattern)!




 As always, please remember that the Wednesday Wishlist series was created to help raise awareness for the Scarf of the Month Program. Even though the yarn and tools I share on the Wishlist are often for personal projects, your donations will never go towards a personal purchase. Contributions to the Scarf of the Month program are only used to help with materials and shipping of the scarves. Can't donate? That's fine! Help spread the word if you can. Need to de-stash? The Scarf of the Month Program accepts yarn donations, too!





Tuesday, September 8, 2015

A Nightmare of an Afghan





  I know I've mentioned my "Nightmare Afghan" here on the blog before, but for new readers, let me recap: This stems from my dislike of weaving in ends. Why I designed this project, I'll never know. It's a four-panel, three-strand blanket with double-strand seams. Number of ends to weave in: Oh, I forget by now... It was over thirty.
Too many!




  After finishing the panels and joining them together, I thought of the project as "done". Then I opened my eyes and realized it wouldn't be "done" until those ends were woven in. I threaded the needle and spent night after night weaving. And then the nightmares began...








  Every dream was similar in one way: My afghan's unwoven ends would become tentacles. The space in the center where a motif would eventually go became a slobbering, toothy mouth. The tentacles held me down; prevented me from screaming for help. The end would differ: It would either smother me or eat me alive. Sometimes, both. Either way, night after night, it wasn't good.




  Unfinished, the project got stuffed in a cabinet. The dreams stopped. My W.I.P. (work in progress) became a U.F.O (unfinished object). While doing a little Spring Cleaning, I came across the abandoned afghan. I thought to myself "How silly! Why are some dreams stopping me from finishing this awesome blanket?"...








  And work began again. One night later, so did the nightmares. I tried. I really tried. But the nightmares just got to me. It made me nervous to work on it. My hands would get sweaty. My mouth got dry. I would even start to shake a little and found reasons to walk away from it. The afghan made it back into the cabinet again.




  I tried some more a few other times, but the result was always the same. That was, until the past week of computer trouble. (Trouble? How about a disaster?) Without my PC to do my usual work on, I found myself with extra time and work piling up. As I thought of ways to get around the backup, I was staring at my pile of W.I.P.'s and a severely disorganized yarn stash.








  Okay, forget about the work... A few W.I.P.'s became F.O.'s (finished objects). The stash got exceptionally (exceptionally!) organized. And when I moved on to that cabinet, out came the Nightmare Afghan.








  I spread it out on the bed to admire it. I made up my mind to finish it. I started weaving again. But I made one small mistake that I couldn't really control: The day I picked up the needle to finish the blanket was a day that the Other Half got off work early.


He came into the room. He said "This is nice!", and ran a hand over the work in progress.


I said "Yeah, I'm trying to get it finished already", as he climbed under my project. (You know, under the W.I.P., that's in progress?)


He said "Hey, this is really nice!" and got comfy.


Knowing he has a habit of falling asleep anywhere and everywhere, I asked him to please not start snoring (oh, he snores so horribly bad, lol!) and stop the work on my blanket, so I could finally finish it...




  Well, he didn't stop me from working on it, at least! How many of you have ever finished a W.I.P. while it's in use? LOL. But I did it! It's finished! I scrapped the idea of the motif in the center and wove the hole shut with the tails. But before I did that, I couldn't resist getting the camera and snapping the first picture of my (almost) completed project in-use. He woke up at the sound of the shutter clicking.


He asked "What's that for?"...


"The blog!" I replied.


He said "It better not be!"...








  Yeah... It's my blanket, my camera, and my blog, so... That's what you get when you fall asleep under a W.I.P.! Just be glad I didn't zoom in on that drool running down your face!


...He'll get over it, right?




Happy Crocheting!



(P.S. He already got over it.)

[P.P.S. For those of you who will ask if I have the pattern: The dog ate it. 
I mean that. Don't ever, ever dog-sit and leave your work on the table. When people tell you their dog is well behaved, they're probably lying (lol), and that dog might just eat a notebook with all of your for-sale patterns. Who knew a dog could destroy over $1,000 in the time it takes to go pee? But the story of the dog that ate my (home)work and ruined my bed is one for another day...]




Sunday, September 6, 2015

I Found the Hidden Treasure!






  I often complain about having to shop at Wal-Mart. It's too busy, the aisles are full of pallets of stock that isn't being stocked by an employee, the employees that should be stocking said merchandise are often standing in the way as they talk to each other, I'm sick of the rotten fruits and vegetables for sale in the produce department, and I'm tired of the cashiers putting my bread and ground beef in the same bag. Yet somehow almost every week, there I am, complaining that they're always out of whatever it is I'm looking for... Taking over two hours to shop because when behind the doors of Wally World, the words "excuse me" become magically silent to the ears of customers and employees alike ... Leaving with only half the items on my list and twice as much as I came for...




  Wal-Mart, what is this spell you hold over me? Oh, that's right: The Hidden Treasure! (That, plus you're the only store that sells the food my dog eats...) Besides the internet, I have two places available to buy yarn: One major chain-store that I'm currently boycotting, and Wal-Mart. Neither has a beautiful rainbow wall of fiber. Neither has a nice place to sit and stitch. The most exotic blend you'll find is 85% wool, 15% Rayon. And neither has anybody that even knows anything about yarn. (In fact, one cashier called it "ribbon".) But one of them has this:







  CLEARANCE! This is my chance to pick up acrylic and novelty yarns for cheap! (What's even better is that $3 price tag dropped to $1 at checkout!) It's the stuff I haven't tried yet, the stuff nobody wants to work with, and the stuff that's been unraveled and tied into knots. It's my Hidden Treasure.



  Why "hidden"? Because Wal-Mart, that's why. Where do you think you would find the yarn that's on clearance? With the yarn, right? Nope! Most Wal-Marts now have that vortex of a clearance aisle that will suck you over to the side of the store you don't need to be on, just to see what's in The Vortex. (This of course being a vortex within the vortex that is the Vortex of Wal-Mart. The whole thing will cause a tear in the space-time continuum someday...) And when you reach The Vortex, you'll probably need to look somewhere on the bottom shelf. They don't always have it. But if you find it, sometimes it's in a cardboard box; sometimes it's in a plastic bin or basket. Look out for that cardboard box folks, because they put a tall box on the bottom shelf, with no cutout in it... And you'll never know it's full of $1 yarn until you pull it out! Here's all of the Hidden Treasure that I wrestled out of The Vortex this time:







  The town I live in doesn't have an LYS (Local Yarn Shop). The entire county doesn't have an LYS. You can drive out of the county and through at least two more towns before you can get to an LYS. It's only a day trip, but I can't leave the county right now. No, no, no... I'm not in trouble with the law or anything! It's because the stupid car I bought breaks every time I try to leave town. It's jinxed. It's holding me hostage. I gave up trying to get out, and I'm stuck here until I get my truck fixed.



  So being sorely in need of an LYS with real yarn, I think I overcompensate on the clearance aisle. If you search through my "Wednesday Wishlist" posts, you'll see that I've got my eye on a few really nice yarns. Ones that I need to save up for, because I'm too broke right now to spend $30 on a skein of yarn when I have a stash full of stuff. (And that truck's gotta get fixed!) I shouldn't have bought it. I spent less than $10, but still...








  I couldn't pass up the color of this Boa, because it's going to make something perfect for my kid. (Ahem... To Kid, who sometimes reads the blog: Don't ask. It's a surprise. No, it's not purple, but you'll like it anyways. You didn't read this, and I don't have that yarn you see in the pictures.) I sat down with it that night and started working a test swatch.







  Boa can be difficult to work with. I find it easier to find the stitches when I combine it with a strand of worsted weight, like in the Furry Fingerless Gloves I made Kid. But this time Boa's going in solo, and this color is killing my eyes. Break time.








  Ooo, isn't that better? Let me stress how much this ball of With Love called to me. It was the only one! I spent ten minutes digging through three boxes to make sure. Yup, it's the only one. This combo of colors would never be my first choice of picks for myself, but I became immediately attached to the purple:






  And then I noticed the blue... Next, the green started to grow on me. And in the end, I kinda forgot that I don't like yellowish colors. Instead of the usual "yuck" feeling that I get from these happy hues, it gave me a calm, serene feeling.








And how could you not love that purple? 



  I think the serenity I feel from the combined colors is due to my favorite spot in the back of my yard. There's always something magical to find back there, so I like to carry my camera with me when I go. The flowers look a little pink in the following pictures, but they're really purple. Not as purple as this yarn's purple, but not pink like they look in the pics. Even with the pinkish-looking flowers, I can still find some similar colors between this yarn and my photos of what I've dubbed "Magic Fairy Land". 










  So I found Hidden Treasure at Wally World, and I have these treasures in my own backyard. After the nightmare of navigating The Vortex of Walmart, I need a walk back there while holding my serene skein. The weather will be cooling off soon, and I would love to drag a table and chairs back there to work with inspiration. But... Snakes, spiders, a possum, and chiggers (that's a bug that crawls under your skin) like it back there sometimes, too. (You can read about some more unfriendly central Florida creatures in this post.) I need to find a way to make a nice people spot while not disturbing nature too much. Until then, maybe I'll make myself a nice wrap out of my new yarn so I can take Magic Fairy Land with me wherever I go.




Happy Crocheting!





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