Tuesday, March 22, 2016

RIP Tater Salad


  I told you it was coming soon... Yesterday, March 21, 2016 - So here I am, once again, bawling like a crazy woman out in my yard. Tater would have been 9 years old in May of this year. He collapsed in the hallway the night before, and when I tried to get him outside in the morning, he collapsed on me. The Other Half took the day off of work, and we started making phone calls.


dogs, death, pets


  In his lifetime, he destroyed two doorknobs, an entire wall, every windowsill in the house, an armchair, and the ego of every person that thought they could walk in our yard. The biggest dog cage they sold wouldn't hold him. Two parts Boxer and Dalmation, one part Great Dane... And 150% sloberfest.




  He was a living terror, but he was still my doggy best friend. He broke my toe at least three times, bit me a few, and dislocated my shoulder once. The last thing he broke was my heart. Well over 100 pounds, we couldn't get him in the car even with three people. It took a livestock vet to come out and take care of him, so we sat with him all day under an umbrella to keep him shady until they made it. It took the neighbor and a tractor to create his final resting place.




  So today I'm sore of body, mind, and heart. The only comfort I can find is that I know he hadn't slept in days... I know because I've been right there with him the whole time. At least he can finally get some rest. I feel like I never will. It helps that The Kid is home on Spring Break - She's a cat person and completely unaffected by the loss, so life goes on with her around.


  And jeez, can it get more depressing? I lost my grandma last week, too, but after surviving a stroke and nearing 100 it was something we were all somewhat prepared for - As much as you ever can be for losing someone. It's just the two losses back to back that now has me stretched thin and worn down.


  Unless things manage to look brighter for some grand reason, I don't think I can continue to blog or crochet this week. I don't know, maybe The Kid and I can work on that giant plarn project... But I just don't feel like doing anything right now other than trying to rest - And perhaps a ton of cleaning, because every time I turn a corner and find something of his I break out in sobs again.





  The Beginner's Series of tutorials and all patterns are on a temporay hold, and I'll try but I'm not sure if I'll be participating in any of the usual Link Parties. We'll see, maybe some distraction now and some work after a few days will help. I know I have my beginners waiting for that pattern/tutorial I promised, so I'll see if I can at least work on the finishing touches and get it up by the start of next week.


  Thanks for listening. I don't have anyone that I can really share my grief with, so I'm sorry I dumped it all on you. Some of you awesome people come looking for me when I'm not active on the blog, which is cool. I just wanted to let everybody know what's going on, so you don't think I fell off the face of the earth or anything.


I truly wish you Happy Crocheting as always, I just don't have the energy to put it all in bold letters and add that happy exclamation point. If you have a dog, and especially if he's a giant slobbering mutt, give him a hug for me today. It's not fair that they don't live as long as us.





Friday, March 18, 2016

Grannies in a Love Triangle


  Whaaaaat? Grannies gone wild? No, just a triangular love knot mesh worked in the round to make a square. This motif alone can be a bit floppy and out of shape, but once blocked and joined together it becomes a lacy beauty. If you're not familiar with the love knot stitch, this tutorial will show you, along with familiarizing you with how to use it in this triangular mesh.


  Now, for the pattern and making-of-the-square tutorial: More advanced crocheters can find the simple three-round written pattern at the beginning. Those needing help will find a step by step lesson (like almost 30 steps, wow) for the entire square after that! I'll even show you a trick for weaving the tail into this lacy design. With border, this motif measures 6" (15 cm), and works up so quickly with the tall love knot mesh!




  And by the way, I'll be showing you the simple border I'll be adding - It's for the finished project my squares will become... But realize that the floppiness of this square can be fixed. If you'll be making a creation of your own using this pattern, you might want to play around with border designs of your own. Add shells, scallops, or anything with more solid stitches and less chains to stiffen up the edges. My squares will be joined with more love knot stitches, so the open chain spaces of the border work perfectly, and the sparse single crochet are just to add to the design.


Skill level:






Materials:
Worsted weight (4) acrylic yarn
-I'm using Red Heart Super Saver in Royal-
  *I explained in the previous tutorial that this might not be the best choice for this lacy square. (From experience, I know this yarn will horribly pill when used in open designs, but it works wonderful for taking tutorial photos!) You may want to choose a softer, similar gauge acrylic for a wearable, but this design is easy to work in any yarn. From bulky to fine thread, cotton to silk, all you have to do is follow the instructions! (And switch to the manufacturer's recommended hook size...) However, the finished size of your square will definitely be different if you use something other than worsted.

Crochet hook size I/9 - 5.50MM or size needed to obtain gauge
Yarn needle
Stitch markers *optional* But highly recommended in case you have trouble with finding the beginning stitch in this geometrical design.


Gauge:
(Before blocking)
1 love knot = 1" (2.5 cm) in height

Pattern worked to second round will equal 4" by 4" (10 cm by 10 cm)


Notes:
The size of this square can easily be changed by your tension. Obviously, the design will be more open for taller loops and denser for smaller loops... But don't worry so much about matching the exact measurements of my square, make sure your loops are consistent in size!

Working up to round 2 is pretty easy without stitch markers. (Round 1 is really just the beginning ring.) Mark your beginning stitch of rounds 2 and 3 if needed.

Beginning love knot of rounds 2 and 3 count as a long single crochet.

Let me say again that this motif benefits from a good blocking, but you don't have to pin every inch of the edges - you just have to stretch all those long loops into shape. Refer to this post for an idea of how you can make a recycled blocking "station" for your squares!

Psst... The tutorial will show you a cheat for weaving in your ends!


Stitches and abbreviations:
Chain (ch)
Slip stitch (sl st)
Single crochet (sc)
Long single crochet (Lsc) - Insert hook in stitch, yarn over and pull up a long loop to about 1" (2.5 cm). Yarn over, pull through both loops.

Love knot (LK) - Pull up long loop to about 1" (2.5 cm). Yarn over, pull through the loop on the hook while holding the base of the long loop secure. Insert hook in bottom bar of long loop (single strand to the left of the hook), yarn over and pull up a loop. Yarn over, pull through both loops on the hook.


Directions:

Round 1:
Begin with a knot-less chain on the hook. Pull up a long loop, complete stitch as for love knot. Make 3 more LK, join into a ring with a sl st in the beginning knot-less chain.


Round 2:
Make 3 LK, long single crochet in the last LK of beginning ring, working behind join (refer to pic 7). Make (Lsc, 2 LK, Lsc) in each of the remaining 3 LK. Join to beg LK.

Round 3:
Make 2 LK, Lsc in last stitch of round 2, working behind join (refer to pic 16). (Lsc, 2 LK, Lsc) in next LK. *(Lsc, LK, Lsc) in next Lsc (point of triangle), (Lsc, LK, Lsc) in next LK (corner).* Repeat from * to * 2 more times. Join with a sl st to beginning LK.


Border:
Sl st in long loop of next available LK, ch 1 (counts as sc). Make 2 more sc in same space, ch 4. (3 sc, ch 4) in the long loop of each LK around. (That's 3 spaces... Disregarding that the border begins in the middle - 1 LK in the corner, 1 LK in the middle, and 1 LK in the following corner - refer to pic 25.) Join with a sl st to beginning ch-1.

Bind off, weave in ends.


And now, the excessive amount of pictures tutorial:


crochet, love knot, Grannies in a Love Triangle
(Round 1)
1. Begin with a knot-less chain, pull up a long loop.


crochet, love knot, Grannies in a Love Triangle
(Round 1)
2. Complete the stitch as for a love knot, make 3 more LK. Insert the hook in the beginning chain, making sure the tail is over the hook.


crochet, love knot, Grannies in a Love Triangle
(Round 1)
3. Join with a sl st, flipping the tail in front of your work.


crochet, love knot, Grannies in a Love Triangle
(Round 2)
4. While making the beginning LK of round 2, flip the tail over the working yarn when the stitch is half-complete.


crochet, love knot, Grannies in a Love Triangle
(Round 2)
5. When inserting the hook under the bottom bar of the stitch, pick up the tail with it. Complete the LK and flip the tail in front of your work.


crochet, love knot, Grannies in a Love Triangle
(Round 2)
6. Make 2 more LK.


crochet, love knot, Grannies in a Love Triangle
(Round 2)
7. To make the Lsc that will close this first corner, insert the hook in the last LK of round 1, working behind the joining sl st.


crochet, love knot, Grannies in a Love Triangle
(Round 2)
8. Because this stitch is placed behind the beginning stitch, you should pull up the long loop just a little taller to meet the height of the other Lsc.

Marked in the photo is the next LK you will work into.


crochet, love knot, Grannies in a Love Triangle
(Round 2)
9. Make a Lsc in the next LK.

(This starts the beginning of the next corner, while also creating the point of the triangle you will work into on the next round.)


crochet, love knot, Grannies in a Love Triangle
(Round 2)
10. Make 2 LK and a Lsc in the same space to complete the corner. Find the next LK to work into marked in the photo.


crochet, love knot, Grannies in a Love Triangle
(Round 2)
11. Make (Lsc, 2 LK, Lsc) in each of the two remaining LK's. Marked in the photo is the beginning LK where you will join.


crochet, love knot, Grannies in a Love Triangle
(Round 2)
12. Join with a sl st. Now, to continue working in that end, you'll need to remove your hook from the working loop.


crochet, love knot, Grannies in a Love Triangle
(Round 2)
13. Insert the hook from top to bottom in the loop before the working loop. Pick up the tail and pull it through.


crochet, love knot, Grannies in a Love Triangle
(Round 3)
14. Now, pick up the working loop again and pull up a long loop to continue. Last round, we worked over the tail in the bottom bar of the stitch. This time, just keep it over your hook as you work the LK.


crochet, love knot, Grannies in a Love Triangle
(Round 3)
15. The tail will be trapped in the stitch as you pull a loop through, and fall behind the single crochet as you complete the stitch.


crochet, love knot, Grannies in a Love Triangle
(Round 3)
16. Make 1 LK, then a Lsc in the space just before the join as in the previous round. This creates the first "side".


qcrochet, love knot, Grannies in a Love Triangle
(Round 3)
17. Make (Lsc, 2 LK, Lsc) in the corner LK. The next stitch (Lsc) to work into is marked in the photo.


crochet, love knot, Grannies in a Love Triangle
(Round 3)
18. Make (Lsc, LK, Lsc) in the first Lsc of the triangle.

Note that the stitch for the corner space is marked; the top of the second Lsc of the triangle becomes the long loop of the first LK of the corner.


crochet, love knot, Grannies in a Love Triangle
(Round 3)
19. Make (Lsc, 2 LK, Lsc) in the corner stitch. Now, on to the repeat of the pattern: From * to *, (Lsc, LK, Lsc) in next Lsc (point of triangle), (Lsc, LK, Lsc) in next LK (corner).


crochet, love knot, Grannies in a Love Triangle
(Round 3)
20. And then again for the final side: (Lsc, LK, Lsc) in next Lsc (point of triangle), (Lsc, LK, Lsc) in next LK (corner).


crochet, love knot, Grannies in a Love Triangle
(Round 3)
21. That's it except for the border! Join with a sl st in the beginning Lsc.


crochet, love knot, Grannies in a Love Triangle
(Border)
22. Now, for my version of the border to go with the completed pattern: (And psst... Pick up that tail and work over it!) Sl st into the first available long loop of a LK, chain 1 to count as a single crochet.


crochet, love knot, Grannies in a Love Triangle
(Border)
23. Make 2 more sc in the same space and ch 4.


crochet, love knot, Grannies in a Love Triangle
(Border)
24. You'll make (3 sc in LK, ch 4) in each LK around, even in the corners.


crochet, love knot, Grannies in a Love Triangle
(Border)
25. Here you see marked all the spaces: 2 on each side of the square for the corners, and one in the middle.

Join with a sl st to the beginning ch-1 and bind off.


crochet, love knot, Grannies in a Love Triangle
26. Now, for a nice smooth ending: Insert the hook from bottom to top in the ending loop, then from front to back in the joining stitch. Pull the tail through the stitch and the ending loop, and you'll never see a jog in your ending join.

Repeat for all the squares you wish to make. Heads up for if you'll be following along with my pattern: You'll need 21! Whoops! I owe an apology to anyone who followed along and created 21 squares - The finished pattern was supposed to be three rows of seven squares. The join I'm using added length, and I changed the pattern (to fit me) to only two rows, eight squares across. If you're taller than me, or want a longer (height-wise) shawl, then go ahead and make it with three rows! But, that means you'll need to make three more squares... Changing the join shortened the width, so it may be too short across. That's the beauty of working with squares, though. You can make it to fit yourself. Sorry again.



Happy Crocheting!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

What is THAT?


  I'm amused by the amount of people that are curious about my crochet tools. I currently have another of my home-made tools "on display" - Meaning I'm working on a project, so it's sitting on the table. This tool is pulling in an unusually high number of questions... Well, one question: "What is THAT?"


  The sarcastic part of my brain starts thinking "Well, it has crochet pieces on it, so obviously it's something for crochet...", but the teacher in me starts explaining. And I always get the response: "Huh. Cool!" This interests me as much as my crochet tool seems to grabs the interest of every guest. Why "cool"? What's so cool about it? I mean, it's just some stuff I recycled into something I won't have to buy. I guess that's cool, but it doesn't seem to me like something that would interest a non-crocheter so much.   


  So I'm tickled by the response, regardless of how strange it might be. I decided to have a little fun and take my crochet pieces off of it, to see if you could guess what it is:


crochet, blocking, squares,


  I bet you can guess what that is, without the crochet pieces on it! (And no, Smarty-Pants, it's not a new router, that's just an empty box.) Maybe if you're a very new beginner, you might not know... But you learned crocheters can figure it out! Just in case, I'll give you a hint:


squares, blocking, crochet tools


  Squares. Lots and lots of not-so-square squares. So, I've been keeping these squares stacked up on this "strange" crochet tool... What on earth could I be doing? I can tell you one thing: I thought I was done and ready to join my squares, but realized I'm three short. I counted them twice and was sure I had enough... I set them out this morning and found some missing. Must be that darn Troll again!


  I'll be finishing (or recreating) those last three squares instead of joining today like I planned. My hands got sore, so I took a short break to share my amusement with you. Why does this tool attract the attention of all my guests? It seems like such a simple, non-attention-grabbing thing to me. I'm curious as to whether this happens to other crocheters, or if I'm really as weird as people make me think I am (lol). I'll leave you with two more questions:


Do you have any home-made crochet or knitting tools that make people ask questions?


And a bit off-topic:
If it's a rectangle, do you call it a "shawl" or a "stole"?
(I call it a stole, but I see so many people call it a shawl!)

Happy Crocheting!

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