Thursday, December 29, 2016

A Finished Cowl

  My resolution to get my pile of WIP's off the couch was no empty promise... I've been cleaning / trying to remember why I started that project / finding more yarn / FINISHING things! This is the cowl I was working on in the post "Stay Out of my Stash":

cowl, crochet, granny square, Loops & Threads Facets

  It's been buried on the couch, still needing a few ends woven in. I'm so unhappy with the almost-finished project that I considered throwing it away without finishing it. I loved the square I used so much, and I was eager to share the pattern... But the yarn I chose turned out to be a bad decision. What had been a cool design on paper and in worsted weight yarn became an uneven, puckering mess when made with Facets by Loops & Threads.

  I wanted to further put this yarn to the test, so I didn't throw the project away after all. Perhaps you can see in the first photo how uneven the edges look. My idea of being able to wear it long won't work. Where I thought the project would have lovely drape, it just stretches out of shape. However, it seems like it doesn't look so bad doubled over. Possibly even stylish with a jacket... And there's some cold weather coming for me to test out the warmth of this chunky yarn.

cowl, crochet, yarn, chunky, Loops & Threads, Facets

  BUT. (There's a big "but" here.) The picture above was taken before it got a bath. Let's talk about that testing: The trouble I had with the yarn coming apart while working made me suspicious that it won't hold up to much washing. After just one gentle hand-wash in the sink, I think it's safe to say my theory was correct:

crochet, cowl, yarn, chunky, Loops & Threads, Facets

  The photo above shows the cowl just after wetting it - No agitation yet and just cold water. The fuzzy "halo" of the chunky yarn became a matted mess of cobwebs between the lace.

crochet, cowl, yarn, chunky, Loops & Threads, Facets

  ...And after just a few gentle "swishes" back and forth, those cobwebs became the tangled mess you see above. How horrible would it be if this piece accidentally found its way into the washing machine? Oh! And what if it then made the trip to the dryer?? I'm not willing to risk it with this project. Not yet. I've had some acrylic yarns that make it through the wash fine, despite the label saying "hand-wash only". I don't have any expectations of that happening with this yarn.

  To be fair, I took the final picture after it was dried. The tangled mess fluffed back up a bit, but this cowl already looks worse than a well-worn sweater. The yarn is soft and warm, which makes the end result a big disappointment. With the awesome color play throughout the ball and the diamond texture of the squares, I had hopes that this would end up being my new favorite piece... And a big hit as a free pattern. Now all I have is a desire to make it again with a different yarn. Until then, I'll see if I can enjoy my cowl until it falls apart, and when I try again it will just be more

Happy Crocheting!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Video Tutorial for a Scarf

  My camera hasn't been doing much better than a potato, but it looks like I'm on my way to becoming a YouTuber. (Pun intended for those who catch it.) Even though I'm able to get a halfway decent video out of it, this problem is once again holding me back from getting good photos for the written pattern. So, I'm stuck stuck with pictures like these:

free pattern, crochet, scarf, Caron Cakes, Faerie Cake, video, tutorial

There's two other reasons I'm starting to do more videos:
1) While I was sick I tried working on things that are behind, but I couldn't make sense of my chicken-scratch notes to turn anything into a written pattern. Listening and watching the video is helping me put all the information together. I think it's a method I'd like to adopt... I have five paper notebooks full of patterns. That's a lot of trees I could save.

2) I've discovered that I actually like making videos, and I'd like to continue making more. Except... I'd love to make them better. At least my camera is taking higher quality video than pictures, but there's still a big problem with it. I hope you all don't mind that I'm using my videos as an opportunity to beg for donations. I am going to be able to afford a better camera, plus I found it available as a package with different lenses, a tripod, and spare batteries. But when I found out that lighting equipment was going to be almost as expensive as the camera package, I lost hope. I'm sure I'll still be able to make good videos without it, but if I can get some help I'll be able to make awesome videos for you.
*cough* donate button *cough* in the sidebar *cough*

😉Hmm, seems like I'm still feeling that cold...😉Anyways, please help if you can. And if you can't, then please still enjoy the video. 

  This tutorial will teach you how to begin the double crochet cross stitch, work in rows, measure for your gauge, and all the way to binding off and weaving in the ends. Follow along to create the scarf I've made, or use my instructions to adjust the multiple for any kind of project. You'll find notes between sections of the video that include materials and stitch instructions to help you stay on track- These are a good place to pause the video if you need. And don't worry: I've tried to keep it as tasteful as possible and save the begging for money until the end. 😥

PS- My scarf is made with Caron Cakes yarn, color Faerie Cake. A size H/8 - 5.00mm hook was used. You could use the instructions in the video to work this stitch in any weight yarn or thread. I'll get that written pattern done eventually, but I hope this helps for now.

Happy Crocheting! 

free pattern, crochet, scarf, Caron Cakes, Faerie Cake

Saturday, December 24, 2016

A Christmas Poem and a Pattern

  First, a sneak peek at the new pattern... Next I have a silly poem for you! Then, a little Christmas present for those of you celebrating: A video for the Double Crochet Cross Stitch Hat is at the end of the post!

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,
The air conditioner was blasting because of my spouse;
The thermometer outside showed very warm air,
And the high humidity had frizzed up my hair;
I tried products and brushing to smooth out my head,
But I should have covered it with a cap instead.

And Rip van Winkle shirtless with a cat in his lap,
Had just settled down for another nap;
When out in the yard there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to the window to see rain start to splatter;
And a few little kitties making a dash,
To protect themselves from a horrible splash;
We live in Florida, so we should always know,
That's the way the weather will often go.

As the time to feed cats was soon drawing near,
I got their food ready and donned my rain gear;
By then the weather played a dirty trick,
Because the rain had stopped rather quick;
So outside I went, and the kitties came,
As one by one I called them by name:

"Here Scooter! Here Pop Tart! Here Fluff and Booger!
Come Zombie! Come Boots! Come Innie and Sugar!"
"No, that's not your bowl; Are you trying to start a brawl?
They're on top of the porch and climbing the wall!"
Sometimes all these cats make me want to cry,
But I continue to feed them so that I can try
To spay and neuter a chosen few
Because there are people who don't have a clue.

They see five cats in my yard, so to them it makes sense
To dump a few more over my fence;
Now there's cats in my yard and cats on my roof,
Sometimes just like magic - There's more. Poof!
But enough about the cats that are running around,
Because I have a new pattern; It's worked in the round.

Working this stitch can be such a hoot,
And it makes dense, stretchy fabric to boot;
I'd never worked it in the round but thought I'd give it a crack,
Plus I made a video to help you stay on track;
This stitch in the round can be a bit scary,
So with this video you won't have to be wary;
I think this cap would be warm in the snow,
But I live in Florida, so I don't really know.

At least it works to tame frizzy hair underneath,
So you won't get it caught in a holiday wreath;
It's stylish enough to wear to the local cafe or deli,
And you don't have to fear washing when it gets kinda smelly;
For it's made with the Cakes I snatched off the shelf,
While not even bothering to be ashamed of myself.

It's really great yarn to cover your head,
Maybe keeping you warm while you play on a sled;
Or while you stand in the snow because of that jerk
That cut you off on your way to work;
This hat is probably wearable by both chicks or bros,
Plus there's a scarf to match that's worked in rows;
The 20% wool of Cakes won't make your skin bristle,
Since nobody wants a hat that's scratchy as a thistle.

It's fast to work with the double crochet's height,
So you could make this project all in one night!

  I'm disappointed that I wasn't able to get the patterns I planned posted before the holidays... I wasn't planning on getting sick again. This hat was created during one of my sick days, and it was faster for me to put together a video. There will be a written pattern coming sometime... Sometime when the words on the screen stop blurring into nonsensical lines. For now, here's the video tutorial fro the Double Crochet Cross Stitch Hat, with a kitty included:

  Well, I'm off to work on another video! I don't celebrate the holidays, but I do hope you enjoy yours. Have a merry Christmas; a happy Hanukkah; a joyous Kwanza; also happy Festivus, Malanka, National Eggnog Month, Yule, and all the other less-known celebrations that happen around this time. If I've missed a celebration you observe, then please be sure to let us know about it in the comment section so we can all learn about it. And as always:

Happy Crocheting!

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