Saturday, June 25, 2016

That Feeling When...

  If you're on any kind of social media, then chances are you've seen a "that feeling when" meme. Over the past few days, I've had a lot of "that feeling when" yarn-y moments. I'm willing to bet that a few of you have been in my shoes, so I thought I'd complain about share what's going on.

crochet, yarn stash

That feeling when someone is willing to pay the price for a handmade item...
I was as content as this little elephant seems to be.

That feeling when you find out the yarn company is running a site-wide sale, so you can get the yarn for less...

That feeling when you find out the color you need is out of stock...

That feeling when you search other sites to find out they don't carry that color...
That would just be a photo of a one-finger salute, so let's not go with a picture there.

That feeling when you remember you should have some of that color/brand in your yarn stash...
That feeling when you open the containers...
Oh, no.
yarn stash

  There's more to it than just what you see there. And now, I'm over the feelings. It's time for a lot of sorting, untangling, and winding. I swear The Troll gets in there and messes it all up when I'm sleeping. I just did this a few months ago, and I've only been in that bin twice since organizing it! 

  On the other hand, the second bin is still nice and neat. But like that weird way a bowl of spaghetti seems to grow as you eat it... I can't make a dent in that container, despite using 15 - 20 skeins on Mom's Afghan.

  Although I never found the yarn I needed in my stash, I did start to get everything organized again. The Troll should have fun tonight. I have a new feeling that what I'm looking for is in one of my other boxes of WIP's. I'm not going there. 

  Believe it or not, that WIP bin is organized, by category: Works in progress that are actually in progress are in separate bags, stacked in order by "less work to finish" first. Unfinished objects that require ripping out are stuffed in by random order, and then there's a pillow form that's for a WIP, so it counts as organized.

  There is a lesson to be learned, but I'm not sure if I'll ever pass the test... Take the time to keep things in order, and organize as you go. I can blame it on The Troll, but I'm probably the real culprit. Keeping my yarn stash in these plastic totes is a great way to keep it safe from cats and dust, but you can see that an extra filing system is needed here. The bin with the yarn organized by color and kept separated with bags stays organized. But the random "throw it in a box" method isn't working for the rest of the stash.

How do you keep your yarn and WIP's organized? Or is your stash a mess like mine? 

If you're a Stash Slob like me, let's make a goal to do something about it. Yarn is our friend, right? Let's treat it better! I'm going to take just one hour a week and dedicate it to untangling, winding, or ripping out (which leads to more winding). Don't have an hour? How about ten minutes? C'mon! Being able to get to your yarn faster will lead to more

Happy Crocheting!  

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Crochet Pattern Roundup - Squares

  Please, please please read this before you skip to the patterns, because I want your help. This is my first of what will hopefully be a new kind of pattern roundup - A roundup that will continue to grow!

  Here's how it will go: Designers, you can benefit! My roundups will all be based on a motif, stitch, technique, or whatever I'm obsessed with at the time. (I know, I'm selfish, right?) Then, I'll share with you some free patterns that go along with the theme. And after that, it's your turn to hit the comment section and shamelessly drop a link to your own design that fits the category! You don't have to follow me on social media or subscribe to anything (but that would be cool if you did). You don't even have to leave a comment, just a link if you wish. But it would be nice if you don't do it anonymously, so I know you're adding your own pattern. After I check it out, I'll go back and add your pattern to the roundup!

  Well, designers? Does it sound like some free exposure for your free patterns? You don't have to be a big-time blogger or famous designer. As long as your pattern fits the category, I'll add it to the post. When I get a group of at least 5 or 10 new ones, I'll re-share the post on social media to keep views from dying out.

Let's get started with the first one!

  It seems like I'm always on some kind of trend. Lately, it's been all about joining crocheted squares. Mom's Afghan, the Grannies in a Love Triangle squares and shawl, a fabric scrap rug... And I have even more square projects in progress! I recently shared a tutorial for how to join squares with the Love Knot, and a diagram for how to join with one seam

roundup, crochet, squares, free crochet patterns

  Although I *love* how the Love Knot join looked along with my lacy squares, I started envisioning what this stitch would look like with different combinations of texture and stitches. I started scouring other crochet blogs for free patterns that I thought would go great with this join, and here's what I've come up with so far:

*These are in no particular order, I just add them as I find them. All patterns you see here come from sites with readily available permissions, or I've asked the designer. If you include a link to your pattern, you will be giving me permission to use your photo in this roundup. All patterns will be credited to their designers.
I loved this square so much when I saw it, I actually waited to post this roundup until Marjan had the pattern ready. There's a great tutorial, too! Imagine using up your yarn scraps making the flowers, then turning the squares into a delicate, summery afghan with a lacy joining stitch.
This adorable design was adapted from an applique created by awesome designer Maz Kwok. Wouldn't it be so cute to combine the airy Love Knot join with a flying heart square?
I love the combined textures of this square, and it's easy, too! Hop on over to check out the pattern and see all the tutorials Alexandra has available to help you get it done. Do you think this square would look good with a lacy join, or would it be too much texture? I can't wait to find out!

I didn't get permission from Marie of Underground Crafter to use a photo... But I couldn't leave this one out! The vintage Irish crochet look of this square would become even more delicate with the use of a lacy join. Personally, I think it would make a beautiful wedding gift!
Kara designed this peace sign square for a tween or teen, but it would be great for anyone that's a hippie at heart. And what goes right along with peace? Love! This square would be so groovy combined with the Love Knot join.
Oh my goodness, this square is just a beautiful bounty of bullions! I bet the lacy Love Knot join would go perfectly with the mesh around the center of this square. Rhelena designed this square for a CAL that I wasn't able to track down... Aw... But this pattern is available and it would make an heirloom of an afghan!
Sarah has included a tutorial that should help even the newest of beginners get this done! Designed for a Moogly CAL, this square looks awesome along with the other squares in its series... But once again, I'm envisioning a flowery square combined with my lacy join for a summer garden afghan.
I remembered this pattern just before publishing, so I don't didn't have permission for a photo yet... But you see it now! I had to include this vintage square recreation from Purfylle. Stella did an awesome job working out the pattern from photos, and included a tutorial, too!

-  -  -  -  -

  So, there's my picks for squares that would look great with my lacy Love Knot seam. But you can join them any way you want! If you don't see your pattern here, please don't be offended. I can't spend all day getting lost in the playground of free patterns on the web, because I'll never finish all the WIP's on my list! But remember, it's not too late to get added. Just drop a link to your FREE crochet pattern in the comments, and it will be included soon.    

  Not a designer? Help out bloggers if you love their patterns! Follow the link to your favorite square and be sure to let the designer know how much you love it! We love feedback, you know...

Happy Crocheting!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Works in Progress

  Please, no more, lol! I made a goal to start completing more projects before picking up new ones, and I've been doing pretty good at it. Pretty good. I've finally finished sewing on all the flowers for Mom's Afghan, and all I need to do is wash it and get it to Dad. So now that my biggest project is out of the way, it gave me room to see the little projects I've been neglecting to finish.

crochet, WIP, work in progress

  Perhaps I shouldn't say it that way, because some of them see the light of day once in a while... And then there's that project that I started even though I shouldn't have, and I've been making pretty good progress on it. But there are others so neglected that I've forgotten them. Posting about them helps motivate me to get working again, so let's get a look at what I'm working (and not working) on:

crochet, plarn, rug
  The giant plarn rug I started with the kids' help... It's still growing, just like them. But without their help joining the plarn loops, progress has slowed. I ran out of bags for a while, but it didn't take long to stock them back up. I'm adding a few stripes of a lighter color to brighten it up, and it looks like I have enough material cut up to finish it. Is it big enough yet?

crochet, motif, snowflake
  Here's an awesome motif I started working on around the holidays... And I completely forgot about it until I found it under another project. I liked the design of the center of the Simple Snowflakes I created, and wanted to build on it to make a new interesting design. It's not an important project, because I was just playing around and didn't have anything planned for the square it would become. After finding it, I thought about scrapping the square idea and making it into a mandala.

crochet, bag, fabric scrap yarn
  This bag made of fabric scrap yarn is (almost) finished, but lacking the braided strap I still have to attach. It was supposed to be a free pattern. No excuses here, I just need to get it done. I lost the strap. I have to find it, or create a new one.

crochet, fabric scrap yarn, granny squares
  Another fabric scrap project! This is the one I wasn't supposed to start, because I had already made myself that promise... But you can hop over to my other blog and check out a post about a problem of mine, and you'll see why I was motivated to get moving!

crochet, doll, embroidery, ugly
  Lol, tell me honestly: Did that thing scare you a little? Meet The Troll's Ugly Girlfriend. (Well, her head, anyways...) She's something I've been keeping secret for a long time, because I wanted to share the pattern, but I quickly realized it's not an easy pattern to explain. This was started partly as a joke towards my embroidery skills, though the original idea (the body) was supposed to be a fairy. Knowing I wouldn't be able to create a decent-looking face with embroidery, I decided to embrace the ugliness of my stitching.

  That turned out to be the best idea ever! Instead of being discouraged by my poor skills, I had a ton of fun using my horrible embroidery to make her even more hideous. Lopsided eyes of "french knots" (wow, I'm bad at them) framed by puffy lids, a big bulbous nose using the same stitch, and a too-big, crooked smile of running stitches. I sewed the yarn tails over and over the same spot under the mouth to make a big, pointy chin. Adding some yarn bits to make sparse, ratty-looking hair completed my vision of what a troll's ugly girlfriend would look like. Now, all that's left is to attach the head to the body. That Troll has been acting up again, so maybe he needs a friend to play with.

  Since there's not much left to do on a few of these, I want to rush to finish them up. There's even more WIP's around here, and there's about to be one more... (Noooooo!) Even though I swore I would never take another special order, Big Bro sent me a picture of a cute elephant rug that somebody wanted, but he didn't know anything about the pattern. One search of "crocheted elephant rug" lead me to the pattern for the Josefina and Jeffery Elephant Rug (by Ira Rott) on Ravelry:

  I couldn't resist. In case that picture doesn't link back properly (I'm dealing with some errors), then you can click here to check out the pattern. And while you're distracted on Ravelry, I'll be placing the order for the yarn. As soon as it gets here, I'll be starting the project. *Sigh* There's that word again - start. I'm supposed to be finishing. But it's a cute pattern, I can always use the cash, and there's no "special" about this special order; they want it exactly how it is in the photo. All I have to do is follow someone else's pattern, and that should be a nice break from designing all the time. Plus, HOLY COW, I found someone willing to pay the price for a handmade without griping.

  So, I better get going and get to work on these WIP's! Even though that project is well within my skill level, it's pretty darn big. I have hopes of finishing it quickly because I won't be taking the usual time write down stitches while I work. But like I said, it's pretty darn big. We'll see how it goes!

Happy Crocheting! 

But wait... Hey, speaking of big projects... How did I write that whole post with only a tiny little mention of my biggest project? YAY! I FINALLY FINISHED MOM'S AFGHAN! It is a bittersweet finish, since Mom will never get to use it. But since this project has been part of my grieving process, it's a needed step in moving forward. I've decided to keep this exact pattern private, though I'll make some alterations to sell a different version. This way, Mom's Afghan will always be Mom's afghan, and nobody else will ever have it. But you can have a similar one someday. 

crochet, afghan, Mom's Afghan

Monday, June 20, 2016

Join Crochet Motifs with One Seam

  This is such a great method to make beautiful joins, save yarn, and have less tails to weave in! When I shared the tutorial for the "Join-As-You-Go" stitch using the Love Knot, I was only creating strips with my squares. Here's a diagram to show you how to keep going for a full square or rectangular project:

crochet, tutorial, one-seam join, seamless join, join as you go, how to join squares

(And by the way, you can use this with just about any stitch!)

  I also said in the previous tutorial that this wasn't the full Join-As-You-Go method, but forgot to remind you that the true technique involves joining while working the last round of the square. This is really just a "seamless join", but you'll find some calling it Join-As-You-Go. It's a confusing situation to me, because I think of it as "joining as you go", because you don't stop crocheting the seam. Plus, a seamless join makes me think of an invisible join, not a one-seam join. Forgive me if I've confused you, and please enjoy the diagram. Have fun only weaving in only two tails after joining all your squares, no matter what you call the method. And that's it!

*Gasp* That's it? Not a full page tutorial? No lengthy instructions?

You got it! That's all you need.

  But... Here's some verbal instructions, for my non-English speaking friends using translating software: Begin where you see the green circle. The grey arrows indicate where to work a regular stitch. The black arrows indicate where to work a stitch, then join to the stitch on the opposite side. End where you see the red circle.
(I've had a few complaints about putting text on photos, because translators don't work on pictures. I hope that helps!)

Happy Crocheting!

(P.S. Find the free pattern for that square here - There's a tutorial included!) 

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