Monday, June 27, 2016


  Ah, yellow... Such a bright, happy color, isn't it? It makes you think of sunshine and flowers, lemonade and bumblebees... All those things that trigger memories of fun in the sun. Well, I'm here to tell you that I absolutely hate yellow right now. And blue, red, green, or any of the other colors that trigger horrible allergies for me.

yellow, crochet, bullion stitch

  I know, when you read that opening, you thought it would be a fun, happy post about summertime, right? Sorry. But I promise the griping will end soon. Right now, I have a not-fun summertime bug. And many years ago I was diagnosed with an allergy to yellow food dyes. Later it was discovered that I seem to be allergic to just about any color of a lot of kinds of dyes. Do you know why it really sucks to be allergic to dyes? Because they're in food, soap, lotions, laundry detergent, dish soap, aaaaaannnnnnnd cold medicine.

  To combat most of these problems, I've found quite a few brands that carry dye-free, fragrance-free products. And I make my own laundry soap, stay away from anything that looks artificially colored (no candy for me!), and spend tons of time reading ingredients in stores.

  I don't know what it is about yellow, but I'm definitely the most allergic to that color. It doesn't matter if it's in food or soap, yellow #5, 10, lake, or any of the other kinds of yellow dyes that exist. I even get a reaction from working with certain yellow yarns, like the one I'm trying to use up in tutorials. There's no way I could ever make something for myself with this stuff.

crochet, bullion stitch

  That would be a preview of the bullion stitch tutorial you were going to see soon, which was going to have a video. I took the pictures I needed, then had to charge my battery. I set up my area to film, but had a coughing fit. Uh oh, not good. The Other Half has been sick, but I never worry much about catching things. One good thing about having rheumatoid arthritis is the kick-butt immune system you get with it. I almost-never get sick. Almost-never. Long story short, I went from fine to so-sick-I-can't-make-a-video in less than an hour.

  I'm not giving up on the video, so I'm holding off on the tutorial. The poor Other Half has been to the store and the pharmacy three times, only to bring back something I can't take - They seem to put yellow, or my second-worst allergy, red, in every single cold medication. My usual honey and lemon natural remedy isn't enough for this crud. He found a dye-free cough syrup, but I need something that will help the horrible aches, pains, and headache that came along with the low-grade fever. But since he was actually told by a pharmacist that the dyes wouldn't hurt me because they were listed under inactive ingredients - OMG, where did you get your degree? - I'm done with finding a medication that will help. It's time to just tough it out.

  I tried to work out a motif while relaxing in my chair, since I'm kind of stuck on that square until I can make the video... Crochet, rip, crochet, nap, stare at the TV while nothing makes sense, crochet, rip again, work out a stitch count on paper, crochet, and nap some more. I was really happy with the design, but my stitch count is off somewhere. But, it's okay. Even though there will be more ripping back, I have it worked out on paper and it's going to be awesome.

crochet, motif

  So, I guess I was able to make something good out of my misery. I still haven't got the finished Mom's Afghan to dad, because I packed it in a bag as soon as I heard that first cough from The Other Half. The bullion stitch tutorial is on hold, and I'm not even working on what's left to be done on the Love Knot shawl. With the fuzziness in my brain, I can't seem to focus on anything that is supposed to be getting done. But hey, a weird design seen in a fever dream led to the creation of another motif. There's always a bright side, after all.

Happy Crocheting!
(PS - If you didn't catch on, I'm admitting to starting another project, even though I had set that goal to finish all WIP's before starting another project. You can yell at me if you want, but I'm blaming it on the cold.)

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!

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  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!

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