It has been quite a bit from my last post. The year has come and gone and so have many new crochet projects. I am not sure how much yarn I have gone through. I know I have two afghans in progress (one star shaped and the other a scrap-ghan). I have made so many scarves and have discovered the beauty of cowls. I am definitely expanding my crochet knowledge and having a blast while doing it. I apologize to all my readers who started following what seemed to be a blog I was never going to forget to wondering where the cobwebs and dust bunnies came from. Well - hopefully 2011 will bring about a bit of change in that. My only sadness with this blog is that I specifically made it for crochet - and not other crafts.... and I've been painting like a crazed lady as of recent.
Anywho... let's get back to Crochet. I'll worry about that other stuff later.
I have a new love for the "I Love This Yarn" brand of yarn. For such a low price you get a quality yarn that is pretty soft and versatile. The color choices are awesome too. My new favorite color is "oatmeal" which is a light tan with flecks of browns and blues.
I have also been a bit crazed about making hats the last couple weeks. This is one of my favorites:
Blue Bobble Beret
I was looking for free patterns online and found a pattern for the bobble beret:
The website is called "Patterns by Dot" - Dot shares a lot of patterns and all are pretty well written. She is another blogspot blogger so please, do give her credit for a great pattern and enjoy her other offerings.
I will say her explanation of how to do the "bobble" was a little confusing. Basically I figured it out (or translated it as...) as this: to do 1 bobble stitch, YO and put your hook through the stitch, YO and pull a loop through (leaves 3 loops on your hook the first time through). YO and pull through 2 of the loops (leaves 2 loops on the hook). Now, instead of finishing off the stitch as a double crochet, YO and put your hook through the same stitch again. YO and draw a loop through. YO and pull through the first three loops on the hook ... repeat this so you have done 5 partial stitches in the same stitch. After the 5th partial stitch, you will have 6 loops on the hook. YO and pull through all 6 loops. Do a single chain stitch to lock the bobble stitch in place.
Now, another thing that kinda "got" me in the pattern is that when you do the row of single crochet's after your bobble row, you will actually come up with a LOT more than 60 stitches. You cannot blindly stitch otherwise you will have increased your hat size by almost double! What I did was for the single crochet row, I would do a single crochet above all the double crochets and then a single crochet in the locking chain stitch of every bobble. This means you will be skipping every 3rd stitch in the bobble row. I had extra stitches and I'm not sure why. Perhaps I was doing the bobble wrong, but in the end, as you can see in the picture, my hat turned out pretty darn good. It only took me about an hour and a half to two hours to complete. It was a pretty good project that went fast. It would make a great gift.
I'd be interested to know if I didn't do the pattern right.... Dot? You there? hehehe
So that is a bit of an overview of a free pattern that I got through and wanted to share the results and my interpretations of the pattern. If you have a pattern you'd like me to try, I'll give it a shot!
I'm training for a race this summer. It's a small race but I'm a big woman - I am wanting to get into racing and I must do so slowly. So, the last few days I've been walking a mile... increasing the pace, walking more... Anyone who knows anything about endurance training knows there is "the wall" - the place you get where you think you just can't go no more.... Your legs burn, your chest hurts, the air you breathe seems cold... sweat is pouring down your face and you think you just... can't... go... one... more.... step. Then, if you are strong enough, you push through... you just say "one more" .. then "one more" again .. then you try to set a small goal of 10 more steps.. just 10 more. If I can do 10 more steps then I have won - once those 10 have been taken, just 10 more... that is how I get through "The Wall."
The wall is applicable to more than just training to run a race...
In November of 2009 I started an afghan for my son. Because of finals and Christmas (read as: easily distracted) I just haven't had an opportunity to finish the afghan. I have set this as my goal for the end of January 2010. I want to finish this afghan. The afghan "pattern" is not difficult - but double crocheting an entire afghan is insane. The overall look is good - but unlike a scarf, I find myself counting how many rows I have left before looping in the black... 5 or 6 times before every turn and at every turn. There is no way to get my mind off of "when will this end..."
The Wall, oddly enough, is more devastating to my crochet projects than running on the treadmill. It makes no sense. Physical pain cannot (or at least should not) compare to the blah that goes into repeating the double crochet a few thousand times.
I don't know - what I do know is that I have about 2 feet left and only 14 days left in January.
I am not sure where the fire came from this weekend but my fingers have not had a break since Friday returning home from the yarn store. My tunisian crochet scarf is laying next to my laptop even as I type this - taking a break to hit the WC and grab some chocolate milk. The funny thing is, it feels like I've been crankin' out the projects all weekend; however, I've only completed 2 scarves, a hat, a facial washcloth, and made decent progress on the scarf I'm using with the new crochet style.
In all of this, while it seems like I would have to have locked myself in a room away from all humanity - I did plenty of other things like going out to eat with the family, watching a couple movies with the family, played some games, and did some housecleaning. Yet I look around and I think "what in the world did I do this weekend?"
On that note, I do think I need to run a few more rows on the scarf - I have work in the morning and will have to return to reality here in about.. *checking clock* 6 hours.
My husband and I both know that I have a problem. It's apparent when my entire day at work is filled with the excited statement "He's taking me yarn shopping" followed by a giddy, school-girl giggle. However, I insist that it is only an addiction if someone admits that it's a problem - and there is no way I'll be doing that anytime soon.
Before the end of the work day, a coworker made my husband's life even worse by spilling the beans there was a very small knitting shop on the south side of the city. "WHA!?!?!?!" How in God's creation did that fact elude me? My coworker informed me that yes - it was a little more expensive but his wife just loved the yarn from there. Well - I believe I would just have to make that sacrifice. Someone has to, right?
So we go. When my coworker said it was a very small knitting shop, he excluded the fact that it pretty much looks like a brick woodshed. The building is VERY small and in a rather odd location. But, ya know what - that's ok - because when I opened the front door, the warm air wooshed by me, and behold - it was like a scene from The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. I felt my hair blow back from my face - all I saw were walls and walls of yarn. I felt like I was standing still and the walls of yarn were building upon themselves, leading back to a never-ending hall of goodies. I'm pretty sure my poor husband saw my eyes glaze over and gave a loud, "oh God we are going to be broke by the end of the month" kinda sigh. It was his distress or the children running by me like they were entering a candy shop that shook me, allowing me to enter my Winter Wonderland.
The store was going to close shortly (odd Friday and Saturday hours... hmph), but that was ok. The lady said she had a few things to take care of and I should feel free to look around. Usually I would just say it was ok and back out, giving her her space - but not now. Oh no. I was going in. I didn't know where to start... left, right, back, front, high low.... my sense of touch was on overload. I had no idea such wonderful yarns existed in this podunk, midwest city.
I did end up making a small purchase and a promise to myself that I will return soon (or maybe I was rubbing the yarn and giving it reassurance it would be ok.. could go either way). I purchased 2 skeins of Encore burgundy yarn (pictured above) and an afghan hook - I am going to give Tunisian Crochet a bit of a whirl. The yarn is for a hat for my husband (justifying addiction again through giving to others).
The rest of my shopping was done at Hobby Lobby. After having been in that other store, Hobby Lobby wasn't so shiney and bright - don't worry, I mustered my way through *laughs* - They had a sale on "I love this Yarn" brand - 2.89 a skein. Not terrible. These are the flecked tan and blue skeins in the picture. The pink are the Vannah White brand, which I do like. Then, my husband so lovingly reminded me that I needed bigger hooks for the other yarn so I scored a set of hooks that included L, M, and P sizes - three I don't have. I'm not a fan of acryllic hooks, but begger's can't be choosers ... besides, not getting the metal now means I'll get them later.
The projects to be made with these yarns:
Pink - scarf for my son's friend at school (she does not have a scarf and asked if I could make her one)
Tan Flecked - scarf being made for charity
Burgundy - hat for husband
Blue - I don't know... it was on sale and I had to have it.
I still need to purchase some green and camo Red Heart brand to finish off my son's afghan, but that's ok - I have gotten my fix for the night....
After having 2 days home with the children, working and casually getting things done, going back to work on a Thursday is a bit depressing. Of course, the 5ish inches of snow outside doesn't make things better. It is safe to say that focus was in short supply today.
With all of my mental power being spent on thoughts of crochet, it's no wonder I came up with (what I think will be) a great idea. It is a gift for my beloved husband for Valentine's day so I cannot say too much. He does occassionally read what I write and I don't want him to know. Granted, as soon as I can, I'll post pictures AND if it turns out as I'm thinking it will, I'll have a pattern.
I am beginning to think that coming up with these great new ideas is pretty much a cover-up for "gettin' my fix" with buying new yarn. Last week, I actually gave him the excuse of 'I have this awesome yarn but it just won't work on my hooks right... I need some bigger hooks' - all just to get back to the store for more yarn.
On a related note, I 'lost' another scarf again today. Sidestory is: I keep a box of items I make that I have nothing to do with. These make great gifts. Always handy to keep extra items on hand. So, after 'losing' my last scarf to my sister-in-law at Christmas and looking out the back door at 5ish inches of snow, I decided to dip into my goodie box and grab a scarf. I selected a white scarf made of worsted weight yarn crocheted using the puff stitch (one of my personal favorites). Oh so warm and toasty. At work, my coworker noticed it and said it was nice. I said it was one of my extras.... she admired it again, giving compliment to my work. I said thank you. I could see it in her eye - she liked it a lot. Soooo I offered it up to her. She said "she couldn't" and I said it was ok. She appeared to be thrilled to take it. Don't let it be said that I won't give anyone the shirt off my back... well, scarf at least.
So I came home without a scarf. My husband noticed... he and I both know its because of my addiction to buying yarn. I think unconsciously I'm setting myself up to give things away so I can get myself back into the craft store. It makes sense....
I saw a few crochet contests to from Red Heart and Lion Brand.. oh look - one more reason!
Through the years folks always ask "well, what do you need to start crocheting." Well, to be honest, you only NEED a material that is long and pliable and can be bent around itself without breaking and thin enough to do it - everything else is bonus material.
I will conceed that there are items that I use to make my crochet life a bit easier... ya know, like a crochet hook. Snarky comments aside, there are a few items that a person can get that will facilitate starting the hobby. I posted a YouTube video explaining: Click Here
In addition to the video - I'd also like to suggest this little gem. I have never seen anyone use or mention it so I like to think its somewhat original (but who knows - comment and let me know if you've seen it before).
1. Crochet a chain long enough to wrap around your computer screen with about 5 inches left over.
3. In 6th chain from hook, sc all the way down to the other end, stopping approximately 10 chains from the end
4. slip stitch and tie off (not sc'ing in the last 10 chains gives it a nice taper
Simply wrap the screen marker around your computer screen and slide the chain tail through the loop you left from step 1. It's adjustable and soft! You can move it anywhere on screen to mark your place in any pattern.
I came up with the idea while working on a heart doily pattern. I kept looking up at the screen and realized how easy it was to lose my place. I pulled my needle out of the doily, slid it into a scrap of yarn and created my first computer ruler. It keeps my place on screen and slides up and and down very easily without damaging the screen. So many of the crochet patterns I use are online. It saves from having to print the patterns (bookmark and pull it up when I want to work on it) making it a bit ecofriendly too. Since I use different laptops that have different screen sizes, I make it to fit the largest and have it adjustable to fit the smallest.
I sit here again - in front of my PC with a new blogspot account. This time, I think I'll make it.
I plan to share something more personal than forcing myself to write about some odd topic here and there or forcing myself to be witty. This time, I'm sharing my passion for crochet. I'll share this via video tutorials, original patterns, attempts to create others' patterns, and who knows what else.