Sunday, February 23, 2014

Crochet -- faster than knitting, but....

I've never knit, nor have any intentions of learning to knit at this point in my crafting career, BUT I hear quite often...."Oh my goodness.  Crochet is so much quicker than knitting."  Meaning:  in the same amount of time, a crochet project grows quicker than a knitting project.  **shrug**  I guess I have to believe those ladies because....I've never knit.  

While working on some new rows (top and bottom in the picture), each row was definitely taking longer than the previous shorter rows  -- obviously.  But, I was curious to know how long each pass of the top/bottom rows took....
Each ripple/chevron color requires TWO passes -- so, each color is taking approximately 25-26 minutes.  Let's just say 30 minutes for some nice calculations....
Each chevron/ripple section at this point takes about an hour and 45 minute.  There are two passes per color and then one final pass of the Aran (7 total passes).  
Each new side of the afghan gets TWO of those repeats...
According to my current pace, in another hour and a half, the top/bottom repeats will be finished as I crochet in the Coffee and final Aran rows.  
THEN---I definitely see another 2-ripple repeat for the sides, which will most likely end up being the top/bottom of the finished project... and those sides will match the length of my current top/bottom portion, so....
That'll more hours of crochet on this project to that point.  

How big did I want this to get???

LOL.  That's a bit too much mental math to take on right now.  
I want to get back to my project, so I'll think more about that then.
But first...some lunch.

Does this count as "slow" stitching, Kathy??? ;)
See what other ladies are doing with "real" slow-stitching this Sunday (2/22/14 Slow Stitch Sunday).  I'll keep puttering on my crochet-stitching....

Coffee-n-Cream Drop in the Pond progress [crochet]

As of yesterday morning, my Elizabeth Ham's Drop in the Pond afghan project has reached the published crib size, but I truly love this pattern, so I'm goin' bigger.  I tripled the amount of yarn required for the crib size, so I may not be able to quite double the size of each size, but we'll see.

Gotta love how math shows up so much in the crafts we do.  Did you know.... if you double the length of the original sides, the AREA of the new project actually increases by 4 times the amount?  Or if you triple the length of the original size, the area of the project increases to 9 times the amount?  ;)  There's your math lesson for the weekend.

For the crib size, this pattern has used almost a full skein of Red Heart Super Saver Aran, and still have about 1/4 skein left of Buff and Coffee.    Hmmm!  Maybe I will be able to double the side lengths of the original project.  I have at least 4 times the amount of yarn called for :)
AND, going back to the original product requirements:  Imagine using three coordinating 'baby' colors with the pattern;  what a simple, AMAZING baby shower gift!  Only three skeins of yarn.  Ya can't go wrong.

The nice by-product of a crochet project growing.... it eventually doubles as a work in progress AND a blanket :)    

The drift on our deck grew in size from all the blowing on Friday.  So, we (the girls and I) tackled it yesterday afternoon.  Oh.  Lordy.  Parts of it were nice to shovel, but MOST of it was so compact and covered with 'warmed' melted-snow top layer.  YUCK!  For an hour, we were mostly shoveling snow-bricks!!!!!  I was slapped in my face with how out of shape I've become;  I haven't run since.... August??  September???  LOL.

So yeah.... I'm finally jumping on the "I'm done with Winter" bandwagon! ;)

Happy Pre-Monday everyone!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Yarn ball winder?

Last night, I decided to do some research on a variety of yarn ball winders.  I YouTubed winders, and did a shopping search for prices.

It seems that of all the simple "home" ball winders on the market, the Royal ball winder was receiving the best reviews.  Prices I found on various websites ranged from $35.00 - $68.00 (crazy price range for the SAME model!)

I am always a bit reserved when it comes to actually hitting the "buy" button for just about everything I ever buy.  I'd love to have one -- it seems like a super fun and easy gadget to have available to take care of those deflated partially used yarn skeins.

Now, of course, I have balled up my excess yarns in the past -- but those pesky balls roll all over the place when working with them.  A tip that was shared to stabilize the balls from all of that rolling was to simply place them into a small bowl.  Done deal.  Ball stabilized.

A ball winder takes care of the stabilization because it makes a "cake" ball rather than a round ball.  And the "pulling" of yarn comes from the center, NOT the outside.

As with any search ..... MANY Do-It-Yourself sites flooded my search results.

AND,  some super straight-forward instructions on DIY Ballwinder were found -- of course I was going to give it a try.

 -- a center-pull ball of yarn..... that was just a wee bit too tight. 

Lesson learned:  Start winding looser, Amy!

Of course, just as with a new skein of yarn, after a bit of crochet, the center starts emptying  --- problem solved.

Naturally, when I tried my second ball.... the results were MUCH better because I started wrapping the yarn around the tube much looser at the start.

 So now...although I really really really still want a new gadget to play with....

I really don't need one.

{{And I can used the saved $$ to buy more yarn, right??}}

Snow - more of it; what else is new? ;)

As predicted, the snow storm hit.  I haven't watched any news to know our official amounts, but... obviously----A LOT.  LOL.
Definitely enough to cancel school today and most government offices in our area.
Sadly, Paul had to the work the nightshift --- and he's currently on the road on his way home right now.  Typically, it's a 50 minute drive (8AM arrival home) ---- I don't expect him before 8:30, if even then.

I packed my school work when leaving school yesterday (oh yeah...we were sent home early yesterday due to the incoming storm), but I have no intention of doing school work today.  Instead, laundry is on the schedule.  And probably some crochet -- MAYBE some quilting.

Happy Friday

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

LOVING my new crochet project! [Crochet]

Inspiration hits at the craziest times!  And in full-force!
I was out perusing Ravelry Sunday morning, and found this pattern: Drop in the Pond afghan [ravelry link].  There are currently 331 'projects' listed under the link.  I bet I spent a good hour looking through ALL of them, and looking through them AGAIN!  LOL.  There simply was something about this pattern that truly was scah-reaming at me to "make me, make me, make me."

I LOVE this pattern.

And....the moment I finished up the Baby Sage afghan yesterday, I started burning through the yarn for this new project (THANKS for buying the yarn during your Sunday shopping spree, Mom!).  If you have made a Granny Square before, the pattern is SUPER quick and easy to pick up.  

I will be making this a few rounds larger than the printed pattern.  Red Heart Supersaver yarn is being used.  Although I wasn't originally a fan of the Supersaver, it's starting to grow on me.  Recall Candace's afghan (the first afghan where I used Supersaver).  It is thoroughly used and loved and holding up so nicely -- plus, I like the heaviness that the Supersaver provides.  Once it had been washed, it softened up sufficiently.  So yah.... I don't mind the Supersaver anymore.  Besides... the cost is extremely friendly!

Speaking of weather...
((Okay, so we WEREN'T speaking of weather, but it DOES seem to be a topic of conversation with people lately....))
We're expected to be hit with yet ANOTHER snowstorm this Thursday.  Ask me if I'm really surprised anymore at the amount of snow that is coming down this winter!  LOL.
Despite the 5 snow/cold days we've had so far, we HAVE NOT needed to alter our school calendar.  (yet).  If we have one more snow day (Thursday???  Friday??? If we get the amount in the forecast, it's a possibility), then days will start getting tacked on to the end of the school year.

What'cha gonna do?

Truthfully, for whatever crazy reason.... I haven't been hit the Winter Depression (yet).
Sure, sure... we've had record LOW (CRAZY LOW!) temperatures this winter
Sure, sure... we've had record snow levels this year  (the mounds on the side of the roads are getting crazy tall!)
But.... I dunno.  I'm still "okay" with Winter right now.

ask me again at the start of April though....

Happy Tuesday

Monday, February 17, 2014

Baby Sage afghan [Crochet pattern]

Baby Sage - 32" x 37"
Last Sunday, I started "doodling" again...
...which lead to a test-trial swatch.
This pattern is another excellent BEGINNER project, with only two stitches being used (dc and ch), and a single repeated row pattern.

Size:  32" x 37"
Hook: Size J (6.0 mm)
Yarn:  Red Heart with Love - each skein: 370 yards/338m.  Two (2) skeins need for pattern as written. (color: Lettuce)
Stitches used:  dc (double crochet) & ch (chain stitch)

Chain: The pattern is a 6-ch repeat.  Chain multiples of 6, plus 4 (acts at 1 dc and 1 ch).
I chained 126 + 4.

Row 1:  dc in 5th ch from hook.  [*Skip 4 ch.  (dc, ch1, dc) in next ch**, (dc, ch1, dc) in next ch]   Repeat [ ] starting at * and ending last repeat at ** in last ch.  Turn.

Row 2:  ch 4 (acts as 1 dc and 1ch), dc in next ch1 space.  Skip 2 dc and ch1 space.  [*(dc, ch1, dc) in next dc**.  (dc, ch1, dc) in next dc.  skip ch1, skip next 2 dc, skip ch1.]  Repeat [ ] starting at * and ending last repeat at ** in 3rd ch of turning chain.  Turn.

Repeat Row 2 until desired length is reached.  


Happy President's Day!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

RSC-February and CS updates

After the snow/tractor/ditch excitement this morning, I was able to spend a couple of hours in the sewing room, tidying up the pink scraps that were scattered about yesterday.  My February RSC (I think Maverick Nines is a fitting name for this block??) can be added to my stack for 2014.  Go ahead and zoom in -- you'll find a few seams a bit "off"-- but I'm okay with that :)

And now for a little Celtic Solstice update!  I had been piecing the blocks as my leader-enders, but I moved piecing them to the forefront once I finished the RSC clean-up.  Another 20 Birthday Girl blocks were added to the pile...

...and the last 21 Birthday Girl blocks have been sewn into threesies. the time I reached this stage, I was ready to close up shop in the COLD basement.  Despite having my space-heater working,  my fingers were no longer responding like they should :\

My shelf of units has whittled down to only having the border units, and units for 20 more 54-40 or Fight blocks.  I no longer feel the urgency RUSH to finish up the quilt; I'll simply keep plugging away as time allows.   My Roll Roll Cottonboll is managing nicely on the new bed mattress for now -- it's simply sufficing and will continue to suffice until CS is finished :)

The school staff and students have a vacation day tomorrow for "Winter Break."  We don't get a Spring Break (other than Good Friday), so this vacation day is definitely going to be enjoyed.  With the weather report for our area, it sounds like it has the potential to be (have been) a snow day for us anyway.  Starting around 3AM, the snow should start falling, and will last until about noon.  Prediction:  4-6 inches of snow.   We are already living through a winter for the record books -- I'll be curious to see if it ends up being the COLDEST and SNOWIEST on record.  

Happy Sunday evening everyone!

Sunday morning neighbors!

setting the stage...
My mom arrived Thursday evening with plans to spend the entire weekend with me and the girls (Paul is working, afterall).
She parked in the side driveway "parking spot" that is out of the way of the rest of the driveway.
Three additional inches of snow fall on Saturday, adding to the already record-breaking amount.
Sunday morning arrives, and Gma wants to go shopping with the girls...

9:30 AM -- Departure
9:35 AM -- Amy (while sitting and crocheting in the glider rocker) hears the engine STILL revving.  
9:36 AM -- Amy peeks out the window to find Cassie pushing the front of Gma's car....

9:40 AM -- Amy gets dressed to head outside to assess the scene.
9:45 AM -- Amy searches over Paul's headboard area for the John Deere key
9:48 AM -- Amy texts Paul...."Where is the tractor key?  Mom's car is stuck."
9:51 AM -- Amy finds key....
9:56 AM -- Amy puts tractor in gear.....
10:05 AM -- Cassie drives tractor back to the tractor parking spot after Amy gives up trying to pull Gma's car out of the snow.  Our lil' tractor ended up spinning wheels TOO!!!!
10:10 AM -- Amy calls neighbor to see if the big "real" Deere could come to the rescue  

10:15 AM -- neighbor Jerry arrives

10:16 AM -- car safely pulled to the driveway, followed by neighbor Jerry saying...."I thought you said it was stuck."  
LOL.  Smarty pants!

10:20 AM -- Amy unhooks the tow rope

10:30 AM -- Gma climbs back into the car with grandchildren Cassie and Candace and continues on her merry way to shopping.

And now... I am thinking of hitting the sewing room!

Happy Sunday

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Pink scraps on a Saturday; detoured

I dug through all of my 2", 2.5" 3.5" 4.5" bins and pulled out all pinks.
Truth:  I don't have that many!  But I certainly have enough to fill up the spaces in my RSC14 9-patch/Maverick Star blocks...

I was able to get some cutting done, and a little bit of sewing, but I found myself quite quickly being pulled away in other directions.

Caitlyn needed some help with her Tiger cape she's making for her DI costume (Destination Imagination).  So, together, she and I pressed and seamed and cut.... 

I'd like to show you a V'iola!  But... I failed to take a picture of the final product :\  Whoopsies.

I spent a good part of the day getting schooled in a variety of games by the girls.  We played UNO, Skip-Bo, and I taught Cassie how to play Monopoly.  She clearly had a little bit of beginner's luck working in her field -- I ended up being bankrupt about 55 minutes after we began :-[

Candace has been trying her hand at crochet and has progressed through a full skein of yarn.  We purchased two more in order for her to make up a baby-sized afghan.  She's super proud so far and excited at her new craft.  I just smile and hope she keeps up her attitude.  She'll only keep improving :)

The other night, Paul and the girls made up a batch of banana bread -- it lasted all of a full day!  His recipe is top secret -- he's made some changes to it but has never written them down, so.... mine NEVER turns out as amazing as his.

I have two more days off away from work since we have a vacation day for President's Day.  Paul mentioned trying to get Monday off of his work -- no news yet on that though.

We've been watching the Olympics from time to time, but.... for some reason the Winter Olympics don't hold my interest as much as the Summer Olympics.  Although, the skating evenings have been enjoyable to watch.  

Otherwise...a lot of the same ol' same ol' is going on around the household.  

Happy Saturday.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Lori's Comfort afghan [Crochet pattern]

Lori's Comfort Afghan (50" x 53")

Approximate crochet time:  20 hours
Size:  50" x 53"
Yarn:  Lion Brand Vanna's Choice.  
  - Ten (10) skeins 123 Beige.  
  - Three (3) skeins 404 Dk. Grey Heather.
  - Three (3) skeins 101 Pink.
Hook:  Size J - 6mm
Level: BEGINNER!  
Stitches used:  dc and ch.  That's it!  Super pattern for a beginner :)

The sketch pictured above was drawn as a rough idea -- I am a much better visual learner than any other type of learner, however, here's my stab at the crochet written pattern...

Chain:  The pattern is a 8-ch repeat.  Chain multiplies of 8, plus 3 for the turning dc.
I chained 184+3.

Row 1:  2 dc in 4th ch from hook.  [*Skip next 2 ch, dc in each of next 2 dc, skip next 2 ch, 3 dc in next ch**.  3 dc in next ch.]  Repeat [ ] from * across, ending last repeat at **.  Turn.

Row 2:  Ch 3 (counting as a dc), skip first 3 dc.  [*3 dc in each of the next 2 dc (the dc are the individual posts from previous row).  Skip next 2 dc**.  dc in each of next 2 dc, skip next 2 dc.]  Repeat [ ] from * across, ending last repeat at **.  dc in 3rd ch of turning ch.  Turn.

Row 3:  Ch 3.  2 dc in first dc.  [*Skip next 2 dc, dc in each of next 2 dc, skip next 2 dc**,  3 dc in each of the next 2 dc].  Repeat [ ] from *, ending last repeat at **.  3 dc in 3rd ch of turning chain.  Turn.

Repeat rows 2 and 3 for the length of afghan desired.

Color pattern followed
14 rows Beige
2 rows Dk. Heather Grey
4 rows Pink
2 rows Dk. Heather Grey
14 rows Beige

If I were to do this pattern again with the same yarn and hook...
I would decrease the initial chain by 16-24 chains (2-3 'cycle' repeats), and add to the length by another Grey, Pink, Grey, Beige cycle.  
I used up all my Beige and couldn't find any in local stores over the weekend :\
I suppose I could always buy online...if I really wanted to make it a bit longer.

Happy Sunday everyone :)

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Beige/Grey/Pink afghan progress [crochet]

At various times throughout the week, I have been working on the Beige/Grey/Pink afghan.  Each row takes 10-12 minutes, so I'm estimating that about 17 hours have been put into this already.  Monday night while in the bleachers, a few rows were completed.  Thursday afternoon while at the dentist office waiting for the girls, a few more rows were completed.  (ALL good news from the dentist, too).
Today, I added another 30 rows -- (18 of those rows were completed since the picture was taken this morning).  
I fear I will run out of the beige before being able to completing another pattern cycle;  therefore, while shopping for shoes this afternoon for Cassie, I peered into the yarn section of Shopko, but they no longer have the Beige color on the shelf for Vanna's Choice yarn. :(
I guess I just keep going and see how far I get.  I want the pattern to be horizontal, not vertical.... I guess I don't know how to do anything small, because I REALLY thought my initial chaining row was plenty "small" to make for a reasonable lapghan.  **shrug**  LOL
I would love to finish this afghan so I can deliver it to a very special lady who recently was diagnosed with Breast cancer and has been undergoing treatments for a few weeks.   

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Speeding into another direction [Crochet]

Yesterday, while at Caitlyn's basketball tournament, I elected to work some more on the RWB corner-to-corner afghan.   It has been well over a month since it saw any progress.  Towards the end of the tournament yesterday, I decided that it had reached an adequate width, so it was time to start edging-off the corner growth.

I didn't have the pattern with me, but after a few trials-and-errors, I figured how to maneuver the corner edge.

And I was proud of myself.  I was able to figure it out without needing a pattern.

SO, that got me thinking....
and while driving back home, my mind started seeing possible crochet stitch patterns.  There was a vision that stuck...
And after sketching it the moment I got home....
okay.... actually, it was about an hour after getting home.  FIRST, the animals needed attention, the laundry needed to get started, a fire needed to be started and some groceries we picked up on the way needed to be attended to. 

BUT THEN, I sketched out the design, erased, sketched some more, erased....  
Quilting patterns are so second nature to me now, but crochet designs-----TOTALLY NEW TERRITORY.

With the excitement that ANY new project brings on, my crochet hook started smoking up a storm at 7:00PM.  I grabbed a bunch of yarn from my big purchase from the $1.49 sale at Shopko back in November.  Vanna's Choice - Lion Brand.  Colors:  123 Beige, 404 Dk Grey Heather, 101 Pink.

By 11:00, I was tired and had crocheted through almost two skeins of the Beige with ease.  SUPER easy pattern!  

Paul's alarm sounded at 5AM this morning.  
And NOPE, he didn't need to work.  SO, either he forgot to turn it off from previous mornings OR he had plans to get up to go ice-fishing.  Either way, he was back to sleep in seconds.  *I*, on the other hand, was awake.  
Toss-turn.  It's early Amy....go back to sleep.....
Psht.  5:18AM.  Climbed out of bed.

By 6:00, the crochet hook was back in my hand.  AND within moments, I could tell just how fast that yarn was smoking through my hands last night due to the yarn-burn I had on my index finger.
This is how I hold the yarn when I crochet.  I create my tension by having the yarn come between my pinky and ring finger, and then it hooks over my pointer/index finger.
LOOK!  After two hours of crochet this morning, you can see the wear of the yarn.  Imagine what my actual finger looks like beneath the bandaid!  The bandaid has worked as excellent protection--this yarn is a bit course coming out of the skein, needless to say.  

So far, I've completed 15 rows of Beige, 2 rows of Grey, 4 rows of Pink, 2 more rows of Grey, and am back to using the Beige.  The pattern has worked up quickly and easily.  And I'm geekily super excited to have created my OWN first crochet project/pattern.   

Oh, I'm SURE this design is out there somewhere.... just like if we were to start playing with 4-patches, 9-patches, HSTs....and lay units out.  Designs we make aren't "new".... but... they kinda are.  You have no pattern in front of you -- the design is from your own mind.  
Therefore, if any of my readers are also die-hard crocheters, let me know if this pattern has any official name. :)

Happy Sunday

Saturday, February 1, 2014


I agree 100% with this statement!  
Typically, on Saturday and Sunday mornings, I'm raring to jump out of bed and get the day started.  It's crazy how tired I seem on a typical weekday, yet... I'm getting the same amount or MORE sleep than what I do on the weekends.

Difference:  stress level

However, today.... I'm ACTUALLY tired.  I'm slowly waking up, and all I can say right now is... I'm glad I don't have to be the teacher-entertainer in front of the classroom today.  Instead, I get to be the spectator on the bleachers.  Again :)

Off to start the day of basketball, with crochet project in-hand.

Happy Saturday everyone.