Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Gift That Can't be Given

  I suppose I made a promise that I couldn't keep... In the post before I published the Bandanna Baby Bib pattern, I mentioned the Little Cutie that the project was intended for. Since Halloween is over, I guess I won't be spoiling the surprise if I tell you he was going to be a cowboy. Smart Cookie Mommy's plan was to use simple jeans and a button-up shirt he already has, plus a new pair of boots that would last him through the winter season. I intended to make the bib as an accessory for his costume. And I promised you all some photos.

crochet, baby bib, pattern, accessory, gift

  So, where are all the pictures of Cutie in the whole getup? There are none. One of my kids' old stuffed animals had to double as the model. Having already made a commitment to another project, I was worried I wouldn't finish the WIP in time for Halloween. I dumped a little of the housework on the Other Half and worked a few evenings to get it done. And I did get it done.

  One week before Halloween: The Other Half talks to Cutie's daddy. Daddy says that Mommy will bring the little guy over tomorrow for a fitting and pictures... So I wait. And wait... And wait. No Cutie. A phone call and a promise of a visit the next day: And I wait all day again. Daddy promised that he'd bring Cutie over the next day... And again, for the day after that when he failed to show.

  Four days of waiting, and I gave up. They never bothered to contact me in the remaining three days to Halloween. It came and went, and the accessory never was added to the costume. Here it sits in my house, waiting for a Cutie to wear it. Sad and lonely without a little one's companionship, my WIP seems to be destined as a dust collector.

Halloween, crochet pattern, bandanna baby bib

  What's the deal? I pondered over the situation a few times. Did I offend them in some way? I was worried that I had, but then, why promise you'll show up? Why not say "thanks, but no thanks"? I never would have wasted the yarn to make the bib, if I had known they didn't want it.

  But... They sure acted like they did! When I asked Mommy if she would mind me adding to his costume, there was no indecisive "hmm...", "maybe", or "no, that's nice, but you don't have to". There was only: "That would be cool!" And when Daddy came back in the house, she made a point to tell him what I would be making. And yet another: "That's cool".

  I'm over 30 now... Have I finally passed the age where I don't understand the language of youngsters? Does "cool" now mean that you don't care? To me, it means awesome; great; super; wonderful. But after my idea was called "cool" multiple times, I'm left wondering what they meant by it. At least I know it wasn't a horrible design of the pattern itself that sent them running... They never saw it.

crochet, bandanna baby bib, pattern

  This isn't the first time that someone turned down a gift! What seems like a long, long time ago: I made a beautiful CD case with a beaded cover for a friend. I used her favorite colors, and stocked it full of some music she would enjoy. I presented her with the gift, told her 'happy birthday', and she replied "That's pretty. Here, you keep it."

  What is wrong with these people? Better yet: What's wrong with me? I have a history of creating things that aren't appreciated. Is my work horrible and I just don't know it, because I have some mental disease that makes me think my work is awesome? How hard should you have to work to give a gift?

  But, wait... You don't really have to answer that, because I already know. Those questions were only fleeting thoughts in my head. I spent more time typing those sentences than actually thinking them. I have my own gift: Indifference. It's a gift that's learned more than given, but other people sure have a hand in developing it. Long ago, it used to cause some true emotional damage when one of my projects was mistreated or under-appreciated. And now, I just don't care. If you don't want it, then fine. I can sell it. I can save it for when the mommy-to-be I know pops. Or, I can donate it to charity. For every one person that doesn't appreciate my work, there's countless others that are praising it. Why should I let those few get to me?

  Some might think that indifference is a bad emotion, but I feel like it's usable here. You shouldn't be indifferent towards your work, home, or your family. (Well, at least most of them, lol.) Excuse me for the following sentence, but... Does it really matter if I don't care that they don't care, as long as there's others that show they care? You can't make everybody happy. So, concentrate on making sure you stay happy. You know what would make me happy? If I finally got to that afghan I was designing for myself. It's time to be selfish.

afghan, design, WIP

Happy Crocheting... For Yourself!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

An Ode(r) to Sheep


Oh, mighty Sheep, who live in a barn
Your fleece can be used to make wonderful yarn
You are important, oh mighty Sheep
As you are counted we drift off to sleep

Oh mighty Sheep, we love your wool
Fiber this fabulous won't come from a bull
Your roots in our history run quite deep
We owe much to you, oh mighty Sheep


You are a beast that is often ignored
At the mention of "sheep", most become bored
Your popularity is now a bit less slight
After you recently managed to stop a flight

Interest was piqued when we received word
That trouble was caused by some of the herd
You caused a fiasco, oh mighty Sheep 
When you were packed on a plane, two thousand deep

It must have been miserable down in the hold
But you got your vengeance a hundredfold
The pilots and crew met with some trouble
When the airplane filled with your methane bubble

Oh, mighty sheep, you don't smell like roses
Your odor began assaulting their noses
In midair, with nowhere to run
They had to endure the deed that was done

In distress, the flight was grounded
As fire alarms and warnings sounded
Oh, mighty Sheep, as you flew through the sky
Did you laugh while you made the pilots cry?

The air was cleared and the flight resumed
But the crew had already been properly fumed
It must not be fun transporting sheep
The smell is quite bad, and the -ahem- gets deep.

Oh, mighty Sheep, may your conditions be checked
And you treated with much more respect
For your wool is so loved among the fiber arts
That we can forgive your smelly farts


  For those of you who haven't heard, quite a debacle was caused recently by some sheep on a cargo plane. In transport from Australia to Malaysia, the 2,000+ sheep packed in the cargo hold managed to ground the flight due to an excess of methane gas. The beasts released so much manure and flatulence that the gases set off the fire alarms. I found a report of the incident here. Apparently, after airing out the aircraft for two and a half hours, the flight was able to resume.

  In closing, I'd like to add that over 2,000 sheep on a plane seems extreme, even if they were lambs instead of full-grown sheep. If they were full-grown sheep, then holy cow! I mean... Sheep! No wonder the flight was grounded. Being unable to find an example of how packed in they were, I can't condemn these people. Who knows? Maybe the sheep had plenty of room. But when your flight is being grounded due to sheep farts, perhaps that's too many.

Happy Crocheting!


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Bandanna Baby Bib

  Make sure those baby bronc busters are geared up right! Even the littlest cowboys and cowgirls need a bandanna for ridin' the range. Since the youngun's are a mite too small to be tyin' their own, here's one that ya'll can stick on for em'. A few color changes and some fancy stitchin' make this here kerchief snazzy enough for the town hall dance after the dogies are rounded up.

crochet, free pattern, baby, accessories, western wear, bib

  Okay, enough cowboy-talk and let's be serious. This bib was made to fit from 6 months to 12 months, with a circumference of 12" (30.5 cm) around the neck. The body is 4" (10 cm) long, at the point. After consulting my size chart, I discovered that a neck of 12" should fit from 6 - 18 months. Really? Doesn't the kid grow somewhere in between there? I don't have any 18 month old to try this out on, so I'm cutting the size off at 12 months for safety, and you won't make a bib that cuts off the poor kid's circulation. If you happen to know baby sizes better than me and you have the answer, please leave a comment to help others out!

Skill level:
crochet, skill level. easy

3 colors worsted weight (4) acrlic yarn
-I used Caron United in Cherry, White, and Navy
Crochet hook size H/8-5.00 MM or size needed to obtain gauge
Yarn needle
Matching colored thread
Sewing needle
Sew-on Velcro

crochet, free pattern, baby bib, western wear, gauge example

In 4" by 4" (10 cm by 10 cm)
8 rows of 12 half double crochet

Chain 2 at beginning of rows always counts as a half double crochet

In straps: Chain 1 at beginning of rows always counts as a single crochet

Change colors on the last yarn over of a stitch. (For hdc: Yarn over, insert hook, pull up a loop - 3 loops on hook. Yarn over with new color, pull through all 3 loops.

Stitches and abbreviations:
Chain (ch)
Slip stitch (sl st)
Single crochet (sc)
Half double crochet (hdc)

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

Directions (body):

Begin with Color A (CA).

Row 1:
With slip knot on hook, ch 2 (counts as first hdc). Make (1 hdc, ch 1, 2 hdc) in farthest ch from hook.

Row 2:
Ch 2 (counts as hdc), turn. 1 hdc in first hdc. 1 hdc in next hdc. (1 hdc, ch 1, 1 hdc) in ch-1 sp. 1 hdc in next hdc. 2 hdc in last hdc.

Row 3:
Ch 2, turn. 1 hdc in first hdc. 1 hdc in each of next 3 hdc. (1 hdc, ch 1, 1 hdc) in ch-1 sp. 1 hdc in each of next 3 hdc, 2 hdc in last hdc; change to Color B (CB) on last st.

Row 4:
Ch 2, turn. 1 hdc in first hdc. 1 hdc in each of next 5 hdc. (1 hdc, ch 1, 1 hdc) in ch-1 sp. 1 hdc in each of next 5 hdc. 2 hdc in last hdc; change to CA on last st.

Row 5:
Ch 2, turn. 1 hdc in first hdc. 1 hdc in eaach of next 7 hdc. (1 hdc, ch 1, 1 hdc) in ch-1 sp. 1 hdc in each of next 7 hdc. 2 hdc in last hdc; change to CB on last st.

Row 6:
Ch 2, turn. 1 hdc in first hdc. 1 hdc in each of next 9 hdc. (1 hdc, ch 1, 1 hdc) in ch-1 sp. 1 hdc in each of next 9 hdc. 2 hdc in last hdc; change to CA on last st.

Row 7:
Ch 2, turn. 1 hdc in first hdc. 1 hdc in rach of next 11 hdc. (1 hdc, ch 1, 1 hdc) in ch-1 sp. 1 hdc in each of next 11 hdc. 2 hdc in last hdc.

Row 8:
Ch 2, turn. 1 hdc in first hdc. 1 hdc in each of next 13 hdc. (1 hdc, ch 1, 1 hdc) in ch-1 sp. 1 hdc in each of next 13 hdc. 2 hdc in last hdc. Do not bind off.

Beginning of left strap:

Row 9:
Do not turn. Ch 2 (counts as hdc), 1 hdc in post sp. 2 sc in next post sp.

Row 10:
Ch 1 (counts as sc), turn. 1 sc in next sc. 1 hdc in each of next 2 hdc.

Row 11:
Ch 2, turn. 1 hdc in next hdc. 1 sc in each of next 2 sc.

Rows 12 - 30: 
Repeat rows 10 and 11 (8 times), repeat row 10 once more.

Bind off, weave in ends.

Right strap:

Row 1:

With CA and wrong side facing, join in the side post space of row 7. Ch 1 (counts as sc), sc in same sp. 2 hdc in next space (row 8).

Row 2:
Ch 2, turn. 1 hdc in next hdc. 1 sc in each of next 2 sc.

Row 3:
Ch 1 (counts as sc), turn. 1 sc in next sc. 1 hdc in each of next 2 hdc.

Rows 4 - 22:
Repeat rows 2 and 3 (8 times), repeat row 2 once more.

Bind off, weave in ends.

Surface crochet embellishment:

crochet, free pattern, baby bib, western wear, surface crochet

*I tell you in the following instructions to begin with the right side facing you. In the picture above, you see the back side of the surface crochet, which some may prefer. If you want the thinner single strand to show instead of the crocheted loops (seen in display photo), begin with the wrong side facing.

Working down right strap -
With Color C and right side facing, bring up a loop in the middle post space of row 30 (body). Sl st in the middle post space of row 29 to secure. *Pull up a loop long enough to reach the ending hdc sp of next row, sl st in this space. Pull up a loop long enough to reach the middle post space of the next row, sl st in this space.*Repeat from * to * until reaching the main body of the pattern.

Working across the body -
Pull up a long loop, sl st in first hdc of body. Pull up a long loop, sl st in post sp of row 10. **Pull up a long loop, sk 1 post sp, sl st in next post sp of row 11. Pull up a long loop, sk 1 post sp, sl st in next post space of row 10.** Repeat from ** to ** to the space before the corner ch-1 of row 10. Sk 1 post sp of row 11, pull up a long loop, sl st in the next post sp of row 11. Pull up a long loop, sl st in ch-1 corner sp of row 10. Pull up a long loop, sl st in first hdc post sp after ch-1 sp of row 11. Pull up a long loop, sl st in post space of row 10.Repeat from ** to ** to end of body. Repeat from * to * to end of left strap. Bind off, weave in ends.

With needle and matching color thread, sew on 2" (5 cm) Velcro to the end of each strap.

*If you follow the blog, then you know my (lack of) sewing skills! If not, then you can always refer to my post "I am a Sewing Dummy". The following is an example of how I sewed on the Velcro. It's probably not the right way, but it works for me... Except for that part where I became a pincushion... That hurt a little :)

sewing, crochet, free pattern

First, gather all needed supplies, including coffee. The yarn isn't needed for attaching the Velcro, and I don't know why it's in the picture. Maybe because I needed more coffee. I'm probably using the wrong kind of needle for this, and I don't know what size it is. Sorry, I'm not much help when it comes to sewing. Wanna come over and sew some Velcro on for me? I'll make you a cup of coffee!

crochet, sewing, Velcro, baby bib

Okay, before we get to my horrible example of sewing: I really recommend putting the rough side of the Velcro on the side that faces out. In case the pieces aren't exactly lined up when attached to the little one, the soft side of the Velcro will be towards the skin. 

sewing, crochet, free pattern, Velcro

What I have is a big, long tape of Velcro. I've seen it sold in pre-cut squares and rectangles, plus ovals which may be perfect for this project. But since I already have this kind, I cut about 2" (5 cm) of Velcro, then I trimmed the ends to round the corners. 

sewing, crochet, free pattern, Velcro

Before I attach the Velcro, I secure the thread to the crochet piece with a little back stitching. Although I know the correct term for this, I'm probably doing it wrong - I leave a long tail after sewing through a bit of yarn, then sew over and over... And over, and over the tail.

crochet, sewing, Velcro

I sew up through the Velcro then back down through it, without going all the way through the crochet piece. I angle my needle so that it comes out to the side of the Velcro before traveling through to the back of the yarn. Each time I bring the needle back up, I begin before the last stitch made, to (hopefully?) secure the thread.

crochet, sewing, Velcro, baby bib

I did pretty good at making a straight line for part of the seam, but the rest shows my true abilities.

crochet, sewing, accident

And this picture shows my sewing abilities at their full extent. It's a good thing that only went through the top layer of skin. Once, I went horizontally all the way through my nail bed. This is where I'll stop the sewing tutorial and tell you to proceed at your own risk. 

  I don't want it to end that way, but I'm really not your teacher when it comes to sewing. Twice, I sewed myself to the pattern, and almost bled on it after a good jab of the needle. I know, I know... Use a thimble... But how do you keep the thing on your finger? It's constantly falling off and just annoys me.

  I remember another of my mother's attempts at teaching me to sew: "You really don't get this, do you?" I can do algebra and geometry. I'm not always grammatically correct, but I know when you're not. And I have common sense enough to back out of a parking space and not cause a disaster. Sewing is just... Beyond me. I managed to attach the Velcro without a trip to the hospital. My seams are strong; threads intact. I wish you the same. I'll just spare you the pictures with the bandages and bloody fingers. After all, Halloween is over, right?

Happy Crocheting!
And successful sewing, too!

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