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Archive for February, 2008

This Washboard Dishcloth used just over one skein of Lily’s Sugar and Cream in Soft Teal.  The color is washed out a little because it’s very dark and overcast in the San Juan Islands today and I waited until just before sunset to get the camera out for photographs. 

With a few more foundation stitches and added rows this pattern could double for a placemat.  The picture below makes the dishcloth look placemat size, but in reality it measures 11 x 13 inches – not quite big enough for a full size plate and utensils.   

 

Linuxwitch‘s square-shaped version on Ravelry uses only 18 rows for the body of the dishcloth.  (Thanks for the link Adrienne!)  If I made this again I would follow the 18-row formula because the back-loops-only half double crochet gets a little boring.  Plus, cutting back on the rows would put this pattern back in the single-skein category. 

The border is my favorite part of the pattern.  I like how the shells curve around the corners. 

Also, I finished the Through Any Window Blanket Tutorial.  I took plenty of pictures with lots of detailed shots.  For beginning crocheters, the first two rounds are written without abbreviations and there’s left-handed directions too. 

Hopefully, in the next few days, I can blog about my Swap Swap Gals package for Katrina!

*That’s cool* a random fact

The largest soft-shell clam, the geoduck, can weigh up to three pounds.

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Zarah sent me some beautiful crochet gifts for my ‘All About Hearts’ themed Swap Swap Gals package.  This cute little penguin has got a lot of character to him.  Must be the eyes. 

From foot to hat he stands about ten inches tall.   I like his heart-shaped tummy; that is so creative!  Plus, the scarf he’s wearing is really pretty.  Anyone know what yarn it is?   

These heart coasters are really pretty.  They are serving as a center piece on the table right now.

On top of all the crochet goodies, I got a bunch of gummies.  Yum.

Thanks, Zarah, for the fantastic Swap Swap Gals package!

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Pretty baby blue

I got my first RAOK in the mail from an anonymous fairy godmother on Crochetville.  (Thank you, thank you FGM!)  The package had a sweet little note and these ribbons.  There’s a handful more, including some pretty baby blue and sage satin ones.  All of them are beautiful and will be used for sure.  And I’m so excited to have a ribbon stash now!

I also received my Swap Swap Gals package today from Zarah.  (Thanks Zarah!)  Here’s a little sneak peak of what I got:

 

There wasn’t enough time today to get Zarah’s swap gifts blog-ready.  I’ll get everything photographed tomorrow ASAP. 

Meanwhile, I’m putting the finishing touches on my own Swap Swap Gals package for Katrina.  All the knitting/crocheting is done, but I am forced to sew a few things so it is going slowly.   

And for those select few that are waiting, I’m working on the Through Any Window Baby Blanket tutorial also.  

*That’s cool* a random fact

Pabst Beer is now called Pabst Blue Ribbon beer because it was the first beer to win a blue ribbon at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893.

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I’ve been making these scrubbies on and off for a while now.  The pattern is a no brainer, so it’s a great project for the hands when your mind is occupied.  I put all my Lily’ s Sugar and Cream scraps in a little basket with a hook, ready to crochet when I’m on the phone.

These scrubbies are also perfect cotton stash-busters.  There’s very little yarn needed, and the pattern is exceptionally easy to modify.  Subtracting a few rows or reducing the foundation chains does little to alter the finished product. 

I picked up too many stitches to gather together in my first few scrubbies.  It’s best to thread through less than half the stitches on the side, otherwise you’re left with an open hole that is difficult to pull closed.  This is what happened with the bottom right scrubbie.   

The photo mosaic shows my four favorites out of a batch of eight.  If you’re interested in the other four, I made a slide show of the complete set over at slide.com

Another free pattern with a similar design is the baby swirls hat, which is basically a giant scrubbie with only one side cinched together.  It’s a great hat for beginning crocheters and makes a cute hat for newborns.   

*That’s cool* a random fact

Cottoncan absorb up to 27 times it’s weight in water and the absorbent fibers get stronger when wet.

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More dishcloths today.  These are a quick distraction from other projects I’m working on, but can’t show.  First of all, I’m crocheting some top secret items for my Swap Swap Gals appointed recipient Katrina.  We’re not technically swap partners since each person delivers to next down a list.  Most of the projects for Katrina are crochet, but there’s also an intermediate knit piece that I’m excited to finish. 

Also, I’m spending some time on a picture tutorial for the Through Any Window Baby Blanket.  I’ve got about half of it photographed and, as usual, I’ll have left and right handed photos included. 

And there’s good news about the camera: my brother had a look and ‘broke’ the lens back into place.  Was that all?  In any case I’m happy to get my little PowerShot back in working order!

So, about the dishcloths.  This Sunshine Dishcloth by Drew was interesting to crochet.  I like the multi-layered effect and the unique shape the border forms using shells.  I had to block it lightly to get the ‘pointy’ effect, but this turns out well without any help.  I want to make another in a variegated cotton like Andrea on her blog Knits and Knots.   

James G. Davis adapted this design for a twelve inch Sunny Skies Square.  So, if you’re not a dishcloth kind of person, you could still try this pattern to include in a blanket or comfortghan.

 

Here’s another design by Drew called the Pentagon Dishcloth that does require blocking to get the right shape.  In it’s unblocked state, the pentagon looks more like a miss-shaped circle.  

The dishcloth is made with Lily’s in Soft Teal.  (Can you tell I have a lot of Sugar and Cream in my cotton stash?)  The pattern itself kept me on my toes, but I like the overall design and I learned a few crochet lace tricks along the way.     

 

The Lacy Honeycomb Dishcloth is made with Lily’s Sugar and Cream in Over the Rainbow and Hot Orange.  I’m thinking that this color scheme would have worked better if I used the orange as the main color.  The pretty crochet design is lost in all that mishmash of color in the center.  This dishcloth  is on the small side (not necessarily a bad thing) but turned out to be a satisfying little project.     

 *That’s cool* a random fact

The bumblebee moth has transparent wings and a black and yellow body that makes it look like an ordinary bumblebee.  This disguise allows the moth to infiltrate a bee’s nest and lay it’s eggs in the honeycomb.

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My Canon PowerShot A530 took a turn for the worst. While attempting to replace the batteries, I dropped my camera (again) and it broke. I was actually surprised, since this point-and-shoot model is really sturdy and has survived some pretty traumatic falls. This time the height of the plunge wasn’t astronomical, but the retractable lens took the brunt of the impact. Apparently, lenses are really integral to camera functions, so I’m dumb out of luck. A new camera is in the mail but, for now, I’m stuck sifting through my Flickr account for old project photos like this baby hat.

There’s no pattern for the newborn beanie since I just made it up as I went along. I used a partly filled party balloon and Bev’s sizing list to determine the number of increases. The hat is half double crocheted with a size G hook and a row cluster stitches. I used some scraps from my Grandma’s old wool stash so I don’t know the yarn brand. Most likely it’s virgin wool from the Mill End store, though.

This Boy Beanie v2.0 was made for my brother. Shh, I haven’t tucked in all the ends! The hat is a revised edition of the Boy Beanie published in Stitch ‘n Bitch: The Happy Hooker. I wasn’t impressed with how the pattern was written. For one, I was never sure which rows were meant to be made in the back loops only. Plus, there’s an odd ch 2 maneuver that I didn’t like since it made the seam stiff and shorter than the rest of the hat.

I do like the color changes and overall style of the hat, though. There’s not a lot of yarn required and with all the double crochet it takes very little time. And free is a very good price for a pattern.

My brother has requested a ‘less holey’ version that fits his head. He does have a big noggin so I can’t blame the pattern for the size issue. One of these days I’ll get around to making him a custom, single crochet version.

Another pattern pattern designed with guys in mind is The Husband Hat, available for free at Crafty Christina with a folded brim and minimal single color trim.

*That’s cool* a random fact

The first passengers to ride a hot air balloon were a sheep, a duck and a rooster in 1783 as a royal demonstration for the court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

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I finally got to make this Starburst Hotpad. Ever since I saw Angela’s orange and pink version on Ravelry I have wanted to crochet my own. The only thing stopping me was the lengthy assembly directions. They seemed complicated, but the hotpad isn’t as daunting as I predicted. The hotpad makes sense once you have the pieces made and it all pulls together for the final step.

I tacked down the petal edges when I wove in the ends. Next time I would do this with a little more ease since there are visible creases. I used Lily’s Sugar and Cream in Bright Navy and Over the Rainbow. With the granny square holes, I’m not sure if I would use this as a hot pad, but it makes a sturdy trivet.

The Circular Cloth pattern is very simple and easy to follow. Perfect for the beginner wanting to practice increases in the round before tackling a hat. I used half a skein of Lily in Summer Splash.

In hindsight this dishcloth would have looked better with a contrasting border. The picture for the free pattern even has an orange border around a white center, but by the time I realized this I had already tucked and cut the ends. The back-loops-only do make nice ridges for scrubbing though.

The Crochet Hexagon Dishcloth is adapted from a Japanese pattern and the origin shows in the writing style. It took a few tries before I understood the notation.

My real problem was the recommended size G hook made this dishcloth bend in a cup shape. I had to use a size I crochet hook to get it relatively flat, and then I blocked it to keep the shells down. The blocking wasn’t really necessary though, and it made the shells look more pointed than they were originally crocheted because I’m still learning to block well.

The dishcloth is crocheted in Lily’s in Soft Teal. The simple, solid look of this pattern is really pleasing and a few of these in coordinating colors would make a nice gift.

Finally, in lieu of a random fact, I give you a YouTube video. Compliments of Geckogrrl, here’s a music video from the Canadian group Tricot Machine.  All the frames are knit!

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I found these photos of this Flower Garden Scarf motif blanket buried in my Flickr photo collection. I’ve been working, little by little, to get my Flickr account pictures updated with pattern and blog post links. I find it’s really helpful when others put these links up, so I’m trying to do this myself, but the process is really time consuming!

I’ve had to space it out, working on a few photos at a time. The job is pretty much complete. Now I’ll just have to keep up with all the new blog photos, not to mention Ravelry notebook upkeep. (How did a little hobby get to be so time consuming?)
So, about the actual blanket. The Flower Garden Scarf pattern from Stitch ‘n Bitch: The Happy Hooker is the basis of the whole blanket. Basically I made the scarf and just kept going. I learned the join-as-you-go technique crocheting the flowers together and I am convinced this is the best way to put together motifs.

I’d like to try the Prairie Star afghan at some point, and that’s joined the same way. The Moonstitches blog has a great tutorial on join-as-you-go piecing, using photos from her beautiful hexagon blanket.

Another project I worked on last summer was the Daisy Flower Charity Square for Krochet Krystal.  I used Krystal’s photo from her blog because I never took a picture for myself.  (Thanks Krystal!)

The pattern is free, but you are required to join a Yahoo! group and she asks that you donate a square to her cause as well. The top four are mine and each one took about 20-35 minutes to make. These squares are challenging to work, but the finished square is solid and very striking.

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The front post dc and shell stitch combination in this Divine hat really caught my eye.  The pattern uses asymmetrical shells to force the front post stitches in one direction, making the spiral effect.  To me it looks complicated, but the pattern stitch is surprisingly straight forward and very easy to create. 

If you’re a knitter, the Odessa from MagKnits is a similar design.  I like how the beads are knitted into the spiral.  If only I was that advanced!  For my hat, I used Caron SS Heather in Denim.  The color is closer to a bluish silver than a denim, though. 

 

I made the Cable hat, below, for myself.  My double crochet hat is starting to show signs of wear after several loyal years.  Plus, with all this snow and freezing wind I needed a sturdy hat.

Compared to my old RHSS hat, this thing makes my head look huge!  There’s front and back post stitches, so it has the thickness of three layers of crochet.  My brother thinks it looks like those Russian Ushanka hats, especially if I added ear flaps.  I tend to agree, but it’s very warm.  And the hat is made with Caron Simply Soft Heather (in Charcoal), so it’s soft too. 

I learned a new technique for a nearly-seamless front post stitch join with these hats.  The pattern calls for a ch-2 before making the first front post stitch in the round.  When you come to the end of a round, you ignore this ch-2 and join directly to the front post stitch. 

This means that instead of chaining for a stitch that should be a front post, you hide this chain behind and there’s barely any difference between the join and the rest of the hat.  You can see the seam of the hat in the picture below, on the left of the cable.   

 

These patterns are both from the same designer, which are written with minimum detail.  They’re easy enough to understand if you’ve ever followed a hat pattern and there’s a stitch count at the end of every row.  Don’t be scared off by the cables in the second hat either.  The directions for cables are really clear. 

I ran into some problems with gauge and my yarn selection.  I originally used Red Heart Super Saver, but the connected front post stitches looked jilted.  Not that you can’t use Red Heart, but the cables really shine when you have a smooth yarn like Caron SS. 

The other problem was gauge.  I had the gauge with the suggested hook size, but it was mammoth in size.  The gauge is based solely on the width of the front post cable.  What I found was this gauge could be true with about three different hooks.  

Also, the cable hat especially, really stretches because of the front post stitches.  So if the hat does feel a little snug, just remember that it will ease up a bit with use.  If you want to use the official gauge, I would go with the smallest hook size possible.  I ended up using a size H crochet hook with a gauge of  13 dc and 7 rows = 10″.   Even with the size H hook, it’s still the teeniest bit loose, but I’m glad I have it for this snowy Northwest winter. 

*That’s cool* a random fact

Russia has twice the number of chess Grandmasters as Germany, its nearest competitor.

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I finally settled on a shawl pattern from the Spring/Summer 1977 edition of Good Housekeeping Needlecraft.  There’s no picture of the magazine on the Internet that I can find, but the cover looks similar to a picture on Flickr.  I’ll get a snapshot of my copy posted later on.

I’m halfway through the first part of the center panel and I really like the way the shawl is coming together.  You make three circles and two oval shapes chained together in four rounds and then a mesh is crocheted around the motif. 

The pattern is called the Doily Shawl and I’d rate the difficulty as advanced for the odd directions and construction.  When I first saw the project photo, it reminded me of the Wild Rose Shawl from the cover of the Winter 2007 Interweave Crochet, minus the flowers. 

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