Crochet

Crafting On – Starting Point at the End Point

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Ah, this time last week we were just arriving in sunny California for the E3 conference. Myself, I’m not a big gamer. I dabbled in a little World of Warcraft, but I got bored with that, and I’m just not coordinated enough to play shoot em up games. But, for my husband and stepson, going to E3, the video game industry’s yearly conference at which they unveil all of the new games and gaming gear for the upcoming year, was like winning the Golden Ticket to Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. it was like three straight days of Christmas.

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We did do the touristy things of course, like going to the Griffith Park Observatory, and hitting the beach and the pier at Santa Monica.

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I was sorely disappointed when we went to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and I actually got to visit the Dolby Theatre, home of the Oscars.  It’s just a strip mall!  All of the glamour, gone.  Oh well.  Unfortunately, the last few days of the trip were hampered by Joe catching some kind of a horrible cold (I had something before we left, but I find it hard to believe that he would have developed it over a week later), so we didn’t get to go on our Hollywood Homes tour, as recommended by the Ellen DeGeneres show, darn!  And, we didn’t go to Venice Beach.  Maybe we’ll be back, maybe not.  I feel like we packed in a lot before Joe went down.  Gamer down!

Anyway, needless to say after listening to him hack up a lung for two days, I was ready to be home, and as soon as I got home, I got to work finishing up the last clue of the Joji MKAL, Starting Point.

Brilliant finish – no grafting!

 

I guess the question to ask at the end any MKAL is, would I have knit this if it weren’t an MKAL, if it had just been released as a stand alone pattern?

In this case, it’s difficult to say.  I used all stash yarn – I don’t know if I would have gone stash diving had I knit this with true intention.  And, I don’t know if I would have wanted to make the big investment in yarn that this gigantic thing calls for.  So, I’m really happy with the end result, I’m pleased with my stash busting, but I’m not sure if I would have looked at this and said, yep, I want to spend $150 to make this.  I don’t know.  But, I’m certainly not sad it’s now in my wardrobe.

After that big knit, I found myself ready for some crochet.  I didn’t know it at the time, but when I was wandering through Michael’s while Joe got his hair cut (I’ve convinced him that the Hair Cuttery next to Michael’s is so much better than the one next to Whole Foods), these Caron Cakes were on sale, 30% off – and my curiosity got the best of me.  I don’t knit with acrylic, so the project was going to be crochet, and I thought, yep, that is actually what I’m in the mood for – crochet it is!  Caron Cakes is actually 20% wool, and that bit of wool really makes a difference.  If you put this yarn in a bag with pure wool, and I were blindfolded, I’d probably have a tough time identifying the fakery.  Unlike a pure acrylic, this doesn’t feel stiff, nor does it squeak like the Caron pound skeins.  Because of the color changes, I really wanted to do something that just went round and round, so here is the beginnings of my shell blanket:

Easy peasy.  Round and round.  Of course, while I’m doing this easy peasy thing, I have my eye on something harder, the Nuts for Squares CAL, but I’ve promised myself I’m going to finish this first, or at least finish off the four skeins that I bought of the Caron Cakes, before I invest in another project – gotta keep that wandering eye looking firmly straight ahead.  It’s so easy to get distracted, and you have too much Ravelry time on your hands.

So, that’s what I’m crafting on about, hope your summer crafting is moving right along was well.  Linking up with Linking up with Frontier Dreams, Crafting On!

Not Yarning Along, Crafting On!

Hello Wednesday!  Is it really you!  Good to see you, my time suck of a calendar day.  Before the day goes poof, here’s a run down of the knit/crochet happenings since February –

The Ambah MKAL

As you may recall, my knit started out looking like this:

But I hated the cartoony speckle, and ripped it out – then it looked like this:

I was kind of meh about it, but I did finish it.  It looks like this:

 

I guess it turned out ok – I haven’t even blocked it, or weaved the ends in.  I guess I’m still meh about it.

Buzz the House Fly

So, to cheer myself up about my meh-ness, I decided to crochet a Lalylala critter – looking through my stash, I didn’t have the best combo of solid finger colors, so I went with some purple Koigu and Buzz, the House Fly:

 


I think he turned out super cute!  Emboldened with my amigurumi prowess, I decided to finally try an Octopus for a Preemie.

Octopus Fail

I joined this Facebook group probably the week it started, as I had seen an article about the program, and thought, well, since I like crocheting critters, and my husband doesn’t appreciate them, and my nieces and nephews are really getting to old for stuffed animals, this seems like a good idea.

I waited to crochet a little guy, though, because the group was just getting organized, and in the beginning, there was a lot of confusion, and a lot of failed Octopi.  Then, the group came up with a system of becoming a certified crafter – in order to ensure that the Octopi complied with the strict guidelines, you had to upload photos of your Octopus passing certain tests to show that the the tentacles weren’t too short/too long and that your stitching was tight enough.  So, after finishing my bug, I decided to give it a go –

On the face of it, it looks like the little guy passed.  But, alas, after it went to an Octopus Ambassador, who again threw it in her washer/dryer, the holes opened up, and the tentacles stretched out, and the head got smooshy.  I didn’t even bother to mail in my second one – I just gave it to my dog.  Later, it was revealed that others had problems with this yarn – I think it’s Caron, and while still approved, since it is cotton and it doesn’t bleed, it was kind of use with caution.

So, I pondered whether I wanted to go back to the drawing board, maybe with a different yarn, and the answer was no.  I broke every nail on my fingers, crocheting so tightly, and with the required yarn under method of crocheting – and my nails were not long to begin with – so they were broken down to below the tips of my fingers.  And, I had also managed to stab myself under the nail with the hook a couple of times, and I was literally sore for a week after finishing one.  So, while this is a good cause, there are over 13,000 people in the group, and they are much better crocheters than I.  And, I had already washed and dried the little guy above, and my machinery just doesn’t have the juice that the official tester had – or I would have already seen the problems, and never mailed it in in the first place.  I tried, I failed, I’m not going to beat myself up.

Which brings me to my current knit, the Joji Mystery Wrap

 

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When I first saw this MKAL, I wasn’t even on the fence, it was just a big no! I had no desire to knit a gigantic rectangle. It seemed like way too much boring knitting. But, then I went to Maryland Sheep and Wool (more on that another day), and it was kitted up everywhere – every booth had some kind of Joji MKAL kit, and I was mesmerized. But, I didn’t buy yarn – five skeins of fingering yarn is a big investment – the Miss Babs kits were $132, the Bare Naked Fibers was even more. Of course, it’s fantastic yarn, and for a project that wasn’t a mystery, reasonable. But, for a mystery … especially after the meh Ambah MKAL . . . So, I pulled random fingering Shetland out of my stash, and said, not perfect, but good to go.

It’s a really easy knit; it’s mostly garter, and fantastic t.v. knitting.  I’m relieved that it’s not developing like your typical rectangle.  And at this point, there are no live stitches on a holder, so that says to me no grafting – hopefully these two pieces will come together some other way, because I hate grafting.  We shall see.  Two more clues to go!

And there we have it, all of the yarning since February – I think.  I feel like I’m missing something – oh yeah, my Kate Davies’ sweater.  That’s on the back burner, maybe never to return – it was turning out pretty small, and I have to totally reknit a sleeve that turned out wonky.

 

 

Oh my!  I just went to link up with the Yarn Along and discovered it ended in March!  All of that Waiting for Wednesday and there wasn’t any Wednesday left!!!!

So Godot, really . . .

Go figure!

Linking up with the suggested alternative to the Yarn Along, Nicole at Frontier Dreams – Keep Calm and Craft on my friends!

Yarning Along- A Crochet Catch Up and the Fresh Stitches Ami Club

I know, I know, I was all smug about really truly posting yesterday, but I figured that if I waited a day, I could link up with Small Things yarn along – rationalization will get me every time!  If you are popping in from the Yarn Along, and want to read about knitting catch up and the new Kate Davies club, click here.

But, now, crochet!

So my knitting bud KnittyD, she of the knit hippo, who doesn’t want to learn how to crochet, ordered a crochet kit.  And guess who she asked to do her crochet bidding?  You got it, crochet hippo girl.  Eh, ok – I love me a good amigurumi!

How cute, right?  Who wouldn’t want to spend their hygge evenings crocheting a Bumble??  By the way, I’m all about the hygge and the hygeligg after reading this article in The Times.  I feel secretly Nordic in my soul, actually, as if what I’ve known all along is finally going mainstream.  I’m sure it’ll be wrecked now.  Darn that secret sharing!

Anyway, you can get kits like these – Rudolph, Star Wars, and Marvel Avengers at your local BJ’s – I picked up a Star Wars kit – and now, of course, I’m going to have to make a memorial Princess Leia  – damn 2016, really.  Soooooooo ready for 2017!

Let’s forget 2016 and take another look at Bumble and Rudolph –

I had a lot of trouble with the felt that came with the kit – a stingy stingy little square – and of course, I didn’t have any felt in my stash, so this is actually quilt batting.  It got the job done, so it’s all good.

Anyway, Bumble and Rudolph put me in the ami spirit, so I went off to the Fresh Stitches website to poke around, and discovered that she has a new club as well, the Ami-club.  A few years ago, I was in the first iteration of the ami club – every month you got a pattern, yarn, and a goodie, like stitch markers or tiny scissors.  I have to admit, I didn’t love it.  I ended up tossing most of the kits aside, not motivated to make a leaf, or a snowflake, or a maybe a fish, and I eventually cancelled my subscription.  This time around, the club is completely digital.  Each month you get a pattern, a few e-guides (this month we received a guide to traveling with crochet, a guide to crochet hooks, and a guide to charity crochet), access to a club forum, a crochet-a-long, and a swap.  For I think $6/month I was in – no worrying about not liking the pattern, or the yarn that came with the kit – if I don’t like the pattern of the month, there’s still plenty to do for my $6.  Unlike the Kate Davies club, to which its forum calls Ravelry home, Fresh Stitches is trying to move her base from Ravelry to the Ami-Club Forum hosted on her own website.  I’d say there’s a bit of resistance – the Ravelry forum is still much more active than the club forum.  I’m not sure what she’s going to do to about it – the Ravelry forum is pretty much self-sufficient, organizing it’s own swaps and cal’s.  I think she’s going to have to release some really special club exclusive patterns and sales if she wants to put a nail in the ravelry forum.  But you know, I have no idea what her business model is – maybe she wants the Ravelry forum to keep on keeping on, and selling her larger patterns through Ravelry.  Maybe her business plan accounts for both bases.  I really don’t know.  But, I do know that I’d like to see more activity in the forum, and more people participating in the events.  For instance, the first swap was an easy one, a holiday card.  I made this:

The card pops open, and there’s a hanging circle in there stamped with Cheers and a message.  I mailed it last week with my own holiday cards, and I know that the card was delivered because it has tracking on it, and no one has even gone on the forum and thanked me.  It’s a handmade, crocheted card!  Now, I don’t make cards to get a thank you – that’s not my meaning.  My meaning is that if this were a truly active community, there’d be tons of cards and thank you’s posted.

And, while I loved the first pattern, Bentley bear:

I don’t know if this was the super special thing you wanted to get the club started with.  But, again, what do I know?

The bottom line is I really like the concept – I loved the bear, I like the new forums, I like the organized swaps – everything – I just hope more people get on board once the holiday season is over.

So, that’s the crochet in my world right now.  Once I finish the Kate Davies cardigan, I’m going to spill out my Lotus Moon Tiles , figure out what yarn I need to get moving, and well, get moving.

On the reading front, I’m reading The Nix:

I love this novel.  Its about a failed novelist, bored college professor, who is addicted to a game that is essentially World of Warcraft, as he’s sucked back into his own life when his mother, who abandoned him at 11, suddenly becomes national news when she commits an act of political protest, sort of.  Anyway, the novel moves in time, and the characters are really richly drawn.  The chapters are not stand alones, but are short stories in a sense – I read this book a chapter at a time, and when each chapter is done, I feel really fulfilled – like a just ate a piece of really good chocolate.  Anyway, that’s what I’m reading now, and I highly recommend it.  Hope it doesn’t have a crap ending, like this year.  Buh bye 2016.

Thanks for stopping by!

It’s All Over But the Zapping – Eclectic Beaded Crochet Jewelry

As I’ve mentioned a few times, I signed up for Robin Dudley-Howes Eclectic Beaded Crochet Jewelry months ago during an early bird special.  At the time, I had just – and I mean just, I think I got the email about this class maybe a day after I watched the other one – watched a beaded crochet video on Creativebug, but I had problems with it, and while I became intrigued with the technique, I wasn’t inspired.  The woman who taught the class did not know how to crochet – which is fine, I guess – do what works for you.  But, it was very hard for me to watch her hold the hook wrong, and pull the cord through incorrectly as well.  I hate to use the words “wrong” and “incorrect” when it comes to craft – I’m a believer in doing what works best for you, but for me, at least, it was painful to watch, mostly because she was doing it a harder way than the technically correct way, and I felt she was sending her students down the wrong path.  If you were taking the class, and wanted to actually learn how to crochet, you probably could get away with doing the weird chain stitch she was doing, but you wouldn’t be able to build on it – that would be the only stitch in your toolbox.  Someone actually posted something about it in the comments, and the Creativebug staff did jump in and say, this is not the traditional crochet method.  But, in any event, I didn’t mean for this to be a negative review of the Creativebug class, I just wanted to give a thumbs up to the Robin Dudlley-Howes class, hosted on Jeanne Oliver’s ning, which I had been anxiously awaiting, hoping it would be the class that the Creativebug one was not.  And, I was not disappointed!

The class consists of two wrap projects (one that’s a simple bracelet, and one that could either be worn as a multi-wrap bracelet or a necklace) from start to finish, as well as some extras, adding chain to your bracelet, creating a tassel, and sculpting charms from Apoxie Sculpt.  What makes this class special are primarily two things.  First, Robin teaches you how to do what she calls a bridge over the larger beads, and second, she has a really effective, three part method of securing her closures, which thankfully does not involve Super Glue.

This is the bridge –

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The top bead is the method she teaches in class, the bottom bead is my variation.  I’m not going to tell you how to do it, and reveal her secret sauce, but for an experienced crocheter, it’s easy peasy, for an ok crocheter like me it was easy, and for an inexperienced crocheter who is just learning to chain, it would take a bit of practice, and be a bit fiddly, but no more than actually what it would take to learn to chain.  Anyway, this element is such a nice touch in the finished piece – it just makes it look more polished, as you no longer have the cord showing while it’s awkwardly stretched over a large bead.  And because she films the whole process of crocheting the wrap, this technique is repeated enough times you don’t have to keep replaying the video, or slow the video down, or remember the exact tic of the video where to watch it, it’s going to come up again and again, which is great for learning.

The beads, by the way, are part of a custom made kit I bought from Robin through her Etsy shop.  This is the kit I received:

 

I told Robin the color family I was interested in (pink) and that I loved butterflies.  And here is my kit, with two butterflies!  I really appreciated the fact that she was able to go through her stash and find something that was exactly what I was looking for.  Perfect.  This kit also included the recommended hook, a Size 6 metal hook, as well as some C-Lon cord.  Mine was hot pink.  I wasn’t so into that, but you never know, I might use it.  Along with the beads and the hook, there was also a little packet of crimp beads, head pins for dangle making, and toggle closures.

How much nicer is this selection than my paper beads!  I’m so over the paper beads, now – spoiled.  I don’t think I can go back.

Anyway, after watching the videos, I got to sorting my beads:

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And arranging them how I wanted them on the cord.

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In the class, Robin doesn’t use a bead board, but (and that’s not to say she should, obviously, I just like it) she goes through her thought process in picking her beads, and how she strings them on her cord.  As she’s creating the longer wrap, there’s not a lot of skipping over steps just because they’re repetitive, and you see her crochet the entire thing over the course of several videos.  I found this really helpful; sometimes when I’m watching a speeded up video I’m disappointed – it may be boring to the teacher, having done it 50 billion times, but it’s new to me.  So, I appreciated that the whole process was there.

Then I had a choice, string up my pretty beads, and start crocheting, or wait because I didn’t have the final, necessary tool to wrap up the three part closure process, the ThreadZapper II.   Of course I couldn’t wait, and I whipped up my wrap bracelet:

At the beginning and end of the wrap, I used a vintage pearl bracelet, just by opening up the jump rings and splitting it in two.  So, I already had a ready made large jump ring on one end, and a clasp on the other.  The buttons are from my own stash, as was the Eiffel Tower charm, but the rest is from the kit.

I thought about using this rhinestone piece as a closure, but I really wanted the rhinestone bling in this one, so I used it.  You can’t see them so well in this photo, but there are these super cute pink, rhinestone rhondelles (next to the Eiffel Tower) in there too – love them.

And the butterfly!

I love it, but can’t wear it yet – not until the closure is complete.  I’ve completed steps one and two of the process, and now I just need the ThreadZapper.  Most videos that involve creating a loop, or securing a thread, or ending a bracelet like this, or perhaps a ladder bracelet like the one I posted about earlier in the week, use SuperGlue, or some kind of glue.  This does not work for me – not only do a make a mess, and end up glueing my fingers together, but it just seems to get stiff and brittle on the cord without actually securing it.  I’m not a fan of the glue, so I’m anxiously awaiting the arrival of my ThreadZapper.

Of course, I’m already planning my next bracelet!  This time, I’m going to do a button closure, with that big brass button with the pink stone in the middle (photo of the kit).  There are plenty of beads left to string up at least one, maybe two more bracelets, and I have plenty of head pins in my stash to make more pearl dangles.  And, I may have ordered some beads from Etsy as well.  Yeah, I did.

Of course.

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Yarn Along – Head to Head Hippos

Of course, you’ve already met my Ravellenics Hippo, and now meet the knit version, Knit Hippo!

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How cute are they? KnittyD did an excellent job with her knit hexagons and pentagons – the colors are really beautiful in person – they really sparkle like the jeweltones they are.

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As you can see, there’s quite a size difference, but I don’t think that’s the pattern so much as the yarn choices and gauge. Both are fingering weight yarn, but KnittyD knit hers on size 1 needles. I don’t remember the size of my hook, but the fabric is like the equivalent of being knit on a 3 or a 4.

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Photos don’t really do these guys justice. They are so squishy! Someone at the yarn store asked what we were going to do with them, and we just stared at her – what do you mean, what are we going to do with them? Love them, duh.

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What are we going to do with them, please.

On the current knitting front, I finally wound the Miss Babs that perfectly matched my already underway Islay cardigan.  Unfortunately, when I tried to figure out where I was in the pattern, I had no idea – totally lost.  When I had some non-t.v. quiet time to spend with my knitting and the pattern I realized that I couldn’t figure out where I was because I had knit the decreases for the wrong size, and I didn’t have enough stitches between markers.  Oospy.  So, I unknit back to the right number of stitches, and I should be able to go from there, hopefully.

On the crochet side of things, as predicted, I did run out of yarn.  I thought I had enough to get through all of the Lotus Moon Tiles, but alas, I ran short on the second to the last row.  So, I have 9/12 Tiles complete.img_2014

 

And, in a moment of success, Dark Matter finally became available from the library.

The beginning, at least, is edge of  your seat excitement.  The only reason I put it down last night is because I just had to go to sleep, I was head bobbing into my Kindle screen.

So, that’s that the fiber/reading report for the week!

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Yarning Along – Lost in a CAL

I am a machine.  A crochet machine.

I just keep cranking out round after round after round.  Very relaxing.  I have no idea where I’m supposed to be in the CAL, but I think I’m working at a good, steady pace – on pace to run out of yarn, again.  And that’s not to say that I’m not checking in on the CAL, and looking at everyone’s pretty pictures.  I am, and Polly has a really nice intro video every week highlighting some challenging parts of the pattern, it’s just that it’s a pretty relaxed CAL, everyone is working steadily, and I seem to be about where everyone is.  I’m just not on a timer – like the Ravellenics Hippo.  And, since it’s not a mystery, I don’t have to wait for the next part of the pattern to come out.

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I should finish the tiles without any yarn shortages, and then I’ll have to wait for a replenishment shipment to start the connecting squares and corner triangles.  But, it’s all good.  As you can see, I have plenty of ends to weave in, uch, and I also have my knitting to go back to, since my Miss Babs was a perfect match.  Plenty to do while I wait!

On the reading front, I downloaded a mystery from the library, thinking that since I was next up in the library queue for Dark Matter, I just had a bit of time to kill.  But, I’ve been next in the queue for about a month now – I think the Dark Matter borrower must have turned off their WiFi to get the book finished, because it should have been returned by now – drat!  Anyway, so I’m not reading that planned next up book, I’m reading Elizabeth George’s A Banquet of Consequences.

A Banquet of Consequences: A Lynley Novel (Inspector Lynley Book 19) by [George, Elizabeth]

It’s 19th in the Inspector Lynley series, which of course I didn’t know when I downloaded it.  I have not read the previous 18, and I usually don’t like to start a series in the middle (or at the end, as the case may be), but oh well.  So far, I haven’t encountered any historical nugget that harkens back to anything other than the ramifications of the last book on one of his fellow detectives. I’m not that far into it, it’s ok, but I just love the title.  There was a prosecutor in Pennsylvania who recently died who always closed with the defendant now sitting at the feast that he had prepared for himself – and I when I saw “banquet of consequences” I thought what a better turn of phrase.  If I were a prosecutor, I’d definitely use it – but as a defense attorney, it doesn’t quite fit.

Speaking of defense attorneys, as some of you may know, I’ve been a public defender for 20 years.  I just finished watching HBO’s The Night of, and once again, I am just horrified by the portrayal of the woman defense attorney.  Just like that show on Lifetime, where they had the Innocence Project woman lawyer taking her top off on death row to impress a client, and later hooking up with a client to kill another suspect, this defense attorney, Chandra, falls for her client, and does beyond belief things.  Why? Why? Why?  Why can’t women defense attorneys be portrayed like their male counterparts, and not sexualize their clients?  I go to work, and I’m a professional – I treat my client’s the same way the male character on the show, the John Turturro character, treats his clients – with humanity, but not anything else.  I don’t even worry about crossing the line – because the line is so far off on the horizon it’s unimaginable.  At least the show’s one fantastic lawyer, the prosecutor, is a woman, so at least there was that.  So, just my two cents.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Moogly’s Hookin on Hump Day!

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Yarning Along, Again With the Hook

When last I left off, I had run out of yarn for my Shetland Trader, Islay. While I sweated it out (literally and figuratively, as the weather has yet to get the message that summer is winding down) waiting for my yarn to arrive from Miss Babs, I decided to do a stash dive, and once again, attempt to finish a crocheted afghan.

Enter the Lotus Moon Tile CAl from Polly Plum. I’ve been an admirer of Polly since the Sophie’s Universe MKAL, when I cribbed her RBG colorway scheme. I like her aesthetic, and I was happy to find a project to distract me from the “will it or won’t it work” thoughts/dread surrounding the pending arrival of my non-dye lot skein of Rainforest Yowza What A Skein!

Of course, stash diving into a work in progress stash means accepting that the first project is no longer a project but a fail. And, I’m ok with that. I did enjoy the mystery/round by round aspect of Sophie’s Universe, but in the end, I didn’t like that it wasn’t really done when the MCAL was done, unless you wanted a finished small square. The pattern totally provided alternatives for borders, additional blocks, growing the project, etc., but I didn’t realize that’s where it was going when I started, nor how much additional work it would be. Eh, excuses – I just know in my heart I’m not going to finish either version, so I might as well use the yarn.

So, here is the baby produced by my two attempts at Sophie’s Universe, which is a mix of Valley Yarns and Michael’s Impeccable.  Yep, wool and acrylic, call me crazy.  The Valley Yarn wool is sooooo much easier to crochet with, and much easier on the hands.  Also, as you can see I’m using a generic metal crochet hook, and I’m really feeling the difference after I spoiled myself with the Clover Soft Touch with the hippo.  I may just suck it up and buy the whole set of them, we’ll see.  Crazy talk again.

Unlike Sophie’s Universe, which was a mystery CAL, Lotus Moon’s entire pattern is available from the start. The CAL is set up in weekly bunches of rounds, with accompanying video tips and tricks from Polly. You can work at your own pace, or work on the CAL schedule. I aspire to catch up to the CAL since I started a week late. The CAL is into week three, and I’m halfway done week 2, so pretty good progress!

I feel like if I went to the store, and actually picked my colors, I don’t think I would have gone with the rust color that I’m working with now, and instead of the lighter grey, I would have used a cream maybe. But, that’s about it.  Hmm, maybe I’d trade in the dark grey too, I’m not sure.  Polly just started another that uses cream for the big petal round, and I like that as well.  Doesn’t really matter though, does it – it’s well underway!

I may run out of the rust, but that’s easily, stressfree replaceable, and I may run out of the forest green, but again, an easy peasy color to get another skein.

See, Junie B isn’t worried at all!

Actually, she looks a little worried.  Huh.

And, drum roll! My Miss Babs arrived and its PERFECT!!

It’s so identical I’m wondering if this was a color they just did for Sheep and Wool and this was the last of it. But, I’m not going to wonder too long – I’m just going to wind it up, and get a move on!

 

As far as reading goes, I have nothing really to report. I had started Outlander on Starz, but then we cancelled our Starz subscription. So, I thought I’d try to get back into the books, but that meant rereading the first book, which I read over twenty years ago, and I’m not feeling it. While I was enjoying the show to a certain extent (not as much as a LOVED Stranger Things, poor Barb), I just don’t think these weighty historical romance tomes are for me anymore. But, today is payday, and I’m heading to the Amazon store, I think to buy the new Jeffrey Toobin book on Patty Hearst – I think I’m committed, but I may change my mind before I hit the buy button. Especially since I’m only one person away from securing the library’s digital copy of the new Blake Crouch novel, Dark Matter. We’ll see what happens first.

Until next week!

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Thanks for stopping by!

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Yarn Along, or Is This Mystery KAL Right For You?

Scroll down for the Moogly link up!

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Hello and happy Wednesday!  This week finds me still chugging along on my Fiddleknits Mystery Knit-A-Long, Earth.

The first Earth Clue was released during the first week of April, and we’re now up to Clue 3, with the fourth and final clue being released Friday.

I’m almost done Clue 3, and by Friday I should be all set for Clue 4 – woo hoo! This may be done in time for Mother’s Day, and wouldn’t that be easy peasy!

I love how unique this design is, how the branches grow and spread across the fabric. Love it!

But, the question really is, how do you know you’re going to love a Mystery Knit-a-Long MKAL before you start it? You just don’t, it’s a crap shoot.

My first MKAl was, I thought, called Spring Surprise – or at least I thought it was, because when the first clue arrived in my box it was called Spring Suprice – because English was not the pattern designer’s first language.  The pattern was rife with errors (some of which were translation problems, but most of which were editing problems), and the second clue ended up being a lace pattern I abhor, with really complicated, unrewarding lacework on both sides.  It was a long time before I jumped on an MKAL bandwagon again.

And that bandwagon came to my door several years later with an Ysolda Teague MKAL, Follow Your Arrow.  I was confident dipping my feet back into the mystery pond because I love Ysolda’s patterns, and I had confidence in her steering the ghost ship safely to shore.  An,d the concept was fun and fresh – two clues each week, you pick which way your shawl is going to go.  I ended up with two fab shawls, and itching to do another KAL.

So, I found this group on Ravelry, KAL Fanatics, which has a calendar, and a forum post for every KAL and CAL out there.   Ok, so I found the list – now what?  How to choose?  I started sifting through my choices, looking at the KAL designers previous work, and asking myself the following questions:  had she hosted a MKAL before? did I like her previous patterns?  In her MKAL forum, did people seem to have problems with the previous pattern? In the shared photos section of her forum, did people seem to be finishing her projects?  The bottom line – could this designer deliver a successful KAL?  And then, if the answer was yes, I evaluated the description of the project.  No mystery sweaters – that was a total nonstarter.  Did I have the yarn in my stash or was I willing to buy something similar?  Lace or cables?  Miles of garter stitch, oh no.

In the end, I went with Fiddleknit’s Bonnie’s Wish, based on her active forum,  her previous patterns. and the description of the techniques used in the project, along with the fact I had yarn in my stash that would work fine.  No investment, other than time.

And, yeah!  I loved it!  There was a bump along the way – the yarddage requirement varied (f you didn’t swatch) – and I couldn’t blame the designer for my failure to swatch.  A lot of people ran out of yarn, I among them.  Luckily, I found a perfect contrast to my discontinued yarn, and my finished shawl was beautiful, and kept me warm and snug all winter.

So, when Fiddleknits advertised her Elements Series – which will be this one, Earth, the next one Water, followed by Air, Fire and the Philospher’s Stone, I knew I was in.  And now that I love Earth, I’m up for Water.  I even know what yarn I’m going to use – another Quince and Co. Yarn, Finch, in Peacock. It’s such a great color!

And that about wraps up the knitting portion of the post.  Maryland Sheep & Wool is this weekend, and I’m plotting my shopping strategy, which involves Miss Babs, so of course that’s always a duke ’em out at her overcrowded festival booth.  More on my purchases next week!  But, if you are interested in my buying plans, or what happened to my purchases from last year, I talked about it extensively in my video post here.

Now to the crochet.

No Sophie this week. This week, I pulled a project out of the WIPS pile. At Christmas, I crocheted a bunch of Elsa’s, and got really overloaded with crocheting stuffies. So, I had started a bunny for my newest niece for her first Christmas. I did the head and the body, and went uch, not another stitch, and back in the basket it went. With her birthday approaching, and no clue from her parents what to get her, I pulled out Miss Bunny, and finally finished her.

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How cute is she. She’s the basic Lalylala pattern, with her free Bunny modifications. I already made a Sheepy, so I had the main body pattern.

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Once she was finished, and I had to part with her (sniff), I put her in a box, and wrapped her up. Here she is unboxed and with her little girl –

First, there was a get to know you process –

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And then she went straight to trying to rip her eyeballs out:

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When that failed, there was a sweet hug, but she was turned away from the camera, and I missed it. Sneaky girl!

As far as what I’m reading – I haven’t made much progress on A Little Life.  Last week, I was signing it’s praises because of it’s fine writing – but now, I’m bemoaning the fact that there’s all there is – rich sentences, no plot.  Nothing has happened.  Nothing.  I feel like by next week, it may have gone into the hibernating pile, we’ll see.

And that wraps up my yarny adventures for the week! Make sure you drop by the Yarn Along!

Knitting on the Porch – Countdown to Sheep and Wool

Happy Monday everyone!  At first, I thought I’d publish my video posts over the weekend, but that was unrealistic – it’s hard enough to get it together to film it, but to edit and upload on the same day – eh, maybe.  So then, I thought, I’ll publish on Wednesday, and link up with the YarnAlong.  But, that’s really not realistic either – there are so many blogs to visit, posting such awesome things, that it just doesn’t seem right to ask people to stay at your blog any longer than anyone else’s.  Everyone gets a turn on the Yarnalong, and I wouldn’t want to be greedy.  So, I’ll continue to link up and visit on Wednesdays, but I’ll keep it to photos.  So, I think, Monday is a good day for a video post – a good way to start the week for all of those procrastinators out there, who still want to chit chat about yarn and what not.

So, here’s this weeks video, with linkage below.  But, before you click watch, I must warn you.  Last week, I realized that sound was pretty low, so I ordered a lapel mic.  It has not arrived.  This week’s solution was to practically sit on top of the ipad – which means most of the video is my big head.  BIG HEAD.  Sorry about that.  Watch it on a small screen, I guess.  Hopefully, I will have my new mic next week, and all will be well.  Thanks for watching!  Oh, and if you do watch – notice the window behind me.  Someone decided to photobomb my video!

In this video, I talked about:

The Earth KAL
Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival
Kate Davies Designs
Bliathin
Color Affection Shawl
Miss Babs
Twist Collective
Wickerwork Cardigan
Marsa Alam
Lalylala
The Lalylala Bunny
Embroidery at Creativebug
Rebecca Rinquist

Have a great week!

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Yarning Along

Yesterday, I began sketching out a schedule for the blog, and today, I’m linking up!  Crafting community, I’m coming for you!  I will find you!I found this link-up through the Love Your Blog Challenge – I love when a challenge leads to you spiraling free fall through the web, finding other lovely things on your way down the rabbit hole.  As I mentioned in my video post on Sunday, I think I’m going to post my yarny videos on Wednesday, but since I just posted one on Sunday, and I’m waiting for my lapel mic (see – working on that improving thing!) to arrive from Amazon, today will just be a photo-y post.  And boy do I have a photo for you – little Olive was feeling like a blog star, and did a little posing. But before we get to little miss Olive, I have some knitting to show you. As I mentioned in the video, I’m doing another Fiddleknits Designs MKAL, Earth and I’m loving my yarn, Tern, from Quince and Co.

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 As you can see, the cable definition is fab. I’m halfway through Clue 2, and I’m really loving this design. I haven’t posted a photo of the whole thing because it is a mystery knit, so I guess it should be a bit mysterious. All will be revealed in time – and probably on a Wednesday! So, that’s it for the knitting. Now for the crochet.   Gosh, I’m still trying to get used to saying that!  And for the crochet, look – another Wednesday link-up!  Moogly’s Hookin on Hump Day!

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I’m still hooking away on the Sophie’s Universe CAL, as is half of the crochet blogosphere – maybe even more than half.  Anyway, my first Sophie is one week behind the CAL, so I haven’t done the butterflies yet.  Which is strange since I’m such a butterfly girl, but you can only hold one project in your hands at a time, and I was busy with Earth, and with my second Sophie.  But, before we get to Sophie #2, here’s Sophie 1 –

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I know that this Sophie is beautiful to some one, but to me, that periwinkle is an eyesore – especially in conjunction with the hot pink. The dangers of buying yarn on line – colors that don’t play well together. This Sophie is definitely going to be gifted, because I’m
keeping Sophie No. 2. Olive is going to be sad about this. She loves Sophie 1 –

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Or she just wants me to throw her ball.
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Look at that intense little face -she definitely just wants me to throw the ball, to heck with Sophie. And she certainly doesn’t care about Sophie 2 – her ball isn’t sitting on it.
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Before I started Sophie 2, I did some real soul searching. Sophie 1 is knit in Valley Yarn’s Northampton. I flipped back and forth between Knit Picks and Valley Yarns, and since I had used another Valley Yarn before, I went with Webs. Both Knit Picks and Valley Yarns are affordable options for embarking on a project that sucks up yarn like an afghan, however, unless you order a color card, picking the perfect palette is a crap shoot. How was I to know Baby Boy Blue was really Periwinkle Peril? So, I struggled – try to order online again? splurge like a crazy pants person and my LYS. I had visions of a Silk Garden blanket – but to make that would have taken over 30 balls of yarn, for a $300+ price tag. Eek. And then third option, an acrylic. I’ve never knit a big project in acrylic – the only thing I’ve knit in acrylic are amugurumi. And, while I appreciated that acrylic does have it’s place in the world, I was put off by what I heard as an audible squeek when the yarn rubbed together not quite the right way. Well, it is plastic after all. But, a big project?

When we cleaned out Joe’s grandfather’s house after he passed away last October, I found Joe’s grandmother’s crochet basket in the attic. In it, she had her crochet patterns, including the chevron blanket pattern that she had made for all of her grandson’s in their favorite sports teams colorway. Joe’s blanket is in Chargers’ colors – blue and yellow, and it’s still on our couch in his man cave, in perfect condition. And, there in her basket, were skeins of Red Heart yarn that she had never gotten to, left unknit or unhooked. And while they were dusty, they were in perfect condition. They went in the garbage after all of those years in the attic, but the bottomline is, that yarn is indestructible, and in truth, it’s perfect for a blanket.

Once I made the decision to go with the acryllic, it was then time to plan colors.  I must have looked at every Sophie in Sophie’s Universe.  In the end, I picked a colorway that’s not only beautiful, but easy – Pollyplum’s RBG color scheme.  And, for someone clearly color challenged like me – periwinkle and hot pink, geez! – this design was perfect because she’s written out every row of color.  Thanks so much Pollyplum!!!

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I’m not sure why that one green is reading mustard. I played around with my temp slider in Lightroom, but I couldn’t get it it’s true color, which is a green. Or maybe it really is mustard, and I’m blind as a bat. Maybe it’s like that episode of the Partridge Family, where David Cassidy is in love with this girl who wants to be a singer. He wants to put her in the band, but the truth is she can’t carry a tune. So, the family records her, and has him listen to her way off key vocals, and it’s only at hearing her objectively, without seeing her pretty face, that he can admit she’s terrible. Maybe I want it to be green, but it’s really mustard. Nah. It’s green.
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Really!

And finally, to wrap things up,   Ginny, the author of Small Things, and the host of Yarn Along, would like to know what we’re reading.  Sadly, I can’t take a photo of the cover of my book with my yarny projects – I’m all digital there.  Frankly, at my age, it’s to have the ability to change the font size since my sun glasses don’t have a bifocal, and it’s the only way I can read outside.  In any event, I’m reading A Little Life by Hanya Yanihigara.  A Little Life follows the lives of four college friends as they find their way and themselves post graduation.  After the initial introduction of all of the characters, the story focuses on Jude, who suffers from debilitating pain and seizures from a childhood injury.  From what I’ve heard, this story is going to go really really dark, and graphic, and it’s not for everyone.  But, what I can tell you from what I’ve read is that once you step into this book, you step into it’s world, the writing is that good.  And, if you don’t want to step into the world of child abuse – this is not the book for you.  I’m about 120 pages in (the book is long, 700 or so pages, I think), and I sit down and read a chunk, and then absorb it.  It’s that kind of book. So, that’s what’s on the needles, on the hooks, and on the Kindle!  Thanks for stopping by! Basic CMYK [wc_divider style=”solid” line=”double” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=””]