Archive for May 29, 2012

UFO Time

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Poor little unfinished dollies


I feel like I’ve been working for so long on afghan squares, it may be time I take a ‘bear break’. I have completed bears that I need to pack and mail, partially finished bears, bears on the needles, and dolls, dolls, and more dolls in various stages. I’ve bought so much new yarn lately…. and never enough time to make all the things I’d like to. So, I’m designating June the month of the UFOs! Time for me to dig out all those Un-Finished Objects and make some serious progress! Who knows–I may even dig out that pink sweater that I was supposed to have completed by last Christmas. Ha-ha-ha!! NOT!

Also, it’s not a bit too early to start thinking about Christmas presents. So….. CHOP-CHOP, Dodie!!

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I can't believe how many unfinished bears and dolls I discovered. I'd better be doing a little more finishing and a little less starting!

On Their Way!

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All packed and ready to head to the post office. I can't believe I got all 20 squares in this tiny box. I hope they're not squished flat when they arrive!


Not much to report today except:

My beige blocks are on their way to California!!

Sure wish I could go with them! I think most of them turned out quite well. I hope the recipients enjoy them! I think I’ll take a couple of weeks to work on other projects and then, it’s back to making afghan blocks, this time in peacock colors.

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All done.... It was fun!!!

Almost There

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Ever have one of those ‘no-inspiration’ days? For several days I’ve been fiddling around with my yarns, trying to come up with one more idea to finish off my last beige square. Not having much luck. So today, I began doodling, using afghan stitch. No plans, just playing. I can’t say I would recommend this approach, but I did come up with a square. Looks like it wants to be a picture frame! But, it’s almost 12″ square… so I might as well use it.
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Let’s see… what if I could make a smaller square and insert in the center? And what are the odds that this second square will turn out to be the right size, especially if you’re just doodling? Astronomical! Ha-ha! But, surprise, surprise–it’s perfect!! What are the odds?!

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Just a bit of stitching


A perfect fit! And after a number of vain attempts at using slip stitch, single crochet, and other various stitches, I hit upon a brilliant idea: I’ll just sew it!! Worked like a charm, and I must say, I am thrilled to have this one finished! Now… I’m off to line up all the squares and photograph them before mailing them off! Yea! Project #1 completed and darn near on time!!

Spiral Resolution

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I'm not sure.... it's starting to 'ruffle' again....


Alrighty! Maybe this time…… After setting that evil spiral aside for a few days and not thinking about it, I’ve decided to try again. And after quite a bit more trial-and-error, I think I’ve finally conquered it! I’m still not sure why I had so much trouble. But one thing I learned: If you want to make the spiral bigger than the one in the book, you cannot just keep adding more rounds. Adjustments must be made. Increases must be made farther and farther apart. Now, if only I could remember how I did it! :/

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You’ll notice that this time, I placed markers at the beginning of every round. This way, a whole lot of confusion was avoided! And after blocking, I think it’s going to work!!

Sure enough–a couple of rounds of ‘filling-in’ stitches to complete the square and it’s looking better than I ever could have imagined a few days ago. Once again, I AM the ‘Crochet Queen’!! :)

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Block #20 completed--only one to go!

Groovy Granny

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An old Herrschner book I was lucky enough to find on Amazon!


Well, I’m not a granny, and I’m sure I’m not very groovy…. but maybe I will be soon. The UPS man just delivered a book I’ve been eagerly awaiting, called “Blue Ribbon Afghans”. It contains the pattern for the awesome ‘Groovy Granny’ afghan I discovered the other day. After studying and studying the pictures, I determined that, ‘No way am I going to be able to figure this out!’ So I made my way on over to Amazon and sure enough, there it was, and at a nice little discount too!!
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This is definitely NOT your typical old 'granny square' afghan!


The pattern says: “Create a funky new look with a traditional stitch. The secret lies in the unusual–but easy–joining technique.” I sure do hope they’re right. After studying the closeup photo from every angle, I threw up my hands and decided I might spend the rest of my natural life and never get this one figured out!
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Here's a larger view of it. Yep, pretty neat!


I haven’t made afghans for many years. I burned myself out on them a number of years ago when I was trying to create designs to sell (Note to self: Dig those out and post them on your blog one of these days….) But this book has a lot of really great designs–interesting, complex designs, and lots and lots of texture and raised stitches. Even if I don’t make very many of them, they’ll give me some great ideas for my afghan square swaps.
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This is definitely an intriguing puzzle!


So, here I am, looking a whole lot happier than I did last night after spending an entire evening working on that silly spiral square that I ended up ripping out! Hopefully tonight it will go a little better. Perhaps if I turned off the television, so that my brain could work…..

Meltdown!!

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Defeat, staring me in the face!!


See that tiny little four-color innocuous-looking round thing, towards the bottom center of the photo? Yes, that’s the one–the one labeled EVIL EYE!! This thing has had me tearing my hair out for the better part of an evening!! Yes, it can be made. See the photo above it, in the pattern book? That’s how it’s supposed to look. I know it’s possible–I see the photo. I’ve seen photos online. I’ve even done one before. And as I recall, I had about this much difficulty the last time! But still, I decided to take it on. (Good sense is not what I’m famous for!) How hard could it be the second time around, right? HA! If it wasn’t for sheer stubbornness and determination not to let this thing get the better of me, I’d pick it all up and dump it unceremoniously in the nearest trash can right this second! Instead, I think I’ll pick up the pattern book and toss it across the room! Maybe I’ll have better luck figuring this out on my own!!

The first couple of rounds went well. About round three, I wondered, ‘Shouldn’t I be placing the decreases one stitch farther apart each time? After all, this thing is basically a circle. And I am an expert at circles!!’ But no, the pattern says to continue each round in the same way, increasing every other stitch. Well, sure enough, about five rows into the thing, I could see that I was creating a ruffle, not a flat piece. So….. back to the drawing board.

I started over again, this time (despite what the pattern said to do), spacing my increases as if I were making a plain circle. All was going well when I began to notice my stitch count was off, and I was running out of stitches, before I got each segment of color worked. (It’s a spiral, you have to drop the yarn four times per round and switch colors–YIKES!!). So I thought, no problem, I’ll just ravel out one round until I find where I made my mistake and pick up from there. Hopeless, hopeless, hopeless. In this endless round of color change upon color change, it is absolutely impossible to determine exactly where the beginning of each round is supposed to be, never mind where each color change is supposed to occur. By this time, the blood pressure has bumped up a few pegs, and my head is beginning to throb.

Okay, so no big deal…. I’ll go all the way back to round 1, start from scratch, and figure out what I did wrong….. By now I’m so hopelessly confused, even round 1 is a puzzle to me…….So I began digging through all my pattern books, freeform books, searching the internet…… Help!! I can’t take it any more!!!!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Okay….. I think I’ve figured it out: ‘What I did wrong was……
trying to make this blankety-blank spiral in the first place!!’ Gr-r-r-r-r-r….

TO BE CONTINUED…….

Knotty, Knotty!

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What a sad little mess!


Oh dear, oh my! What a crumpled up mess this has turned out to be! Whatever happened to my lovely Celtic ‘doily’ from yesterday???

As I began the border on this piece I knew I would probably have a lot of blocking to do! The more I worked, the worse it got! Good thing I’ve been through this before! I remember in the good old days, when I was trying to teach myself to crochet. I almost gave up on ever getting anything to look right.

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All it takes is a little manipulation and a lot o' steam!


And then I discovered:

He-he-he!! It’s the magic of straight pins and a steam iron!!

I sure wish I had known this back when I was young and frustrated. People told me, ‘Only wool needs to be blocked. Synthetic yarns shouldn’t be!’ These days, I don’t believe everything I’m told! ;)

So here we are, after a good soaking with hot steam and drying overnight, my newest masterpiece:

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Next up, a blue one for Grace's big shiny blue vase to sit on!


I will be making more of these, definitely!

Celtic Fun

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The beginnings of block #18


I’m off on a new adventure: Celtic knots, crochet style, and some interlocking circles. I happened across these two squares in my new favorite book, “201 Crochet Motifs, Blocks, Projects and Ideas”.

For the interlocking rings square, after several attempts at reducing the size of the hole in the center of the rings, I actually gave up, and followed the pattern!! It turned out to be only about 7″ in diameter, so I am still experimenting with creating some sort of border for it. Hopefully it will be completed soon.

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This turned out to be surprisingly easy!


When it came to the Celtic Knot square, I took one look at the instructions and said, ‘No Way!’ It says to make the beginning chain, tie the knots, and then join with a slip stitch and work in rounds, going through each knot with the ball of yarn! Insert that big ol’ one pound skein of off white through that little teeny hole? I think not. So, instead of joining, I worked the first three rows back and forth, then tied the knots and then sewed the two ends together. Hardly noticeable at all, and I hid the seam behind one of the knots. It looks so nifty at this stage, I almost want to just stop here, and use it as a doily!!

Texture Time

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This yarn has become one of my favorites


This is such a luscious, creamy color! Caron One Pound, off white #514. I have no idea where or when I bought it. So I guess when it’s gone, it’s gone. :( I don’t normally go for neutral colors, but this one really caught my fancy. I’ve been using it quite a bit in my beige squares. Not only do I like the color, but it is very soft and easy to work with.

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'X' Marks the Spot


I decided it’s time to concentrate on texture, and one color, so today’s square uses a number of stitches, and just this off-white yarn. Long, fully extended treble crochet stitches (instructions for this stitch included with the pattern), crossed, and featuring the back side of the stitch as the ‘right’ side gave a nice ‘pebbly’ effect. Just enough open space to keep it nice and flexible, I think this one would still provide quite a bit of warmth. I ended up doing a couple of rows of single crochet for the border, to bring it up to 12 inches.

If you’d like to try this one, the pattern is here

Neutral Circles

Since I have five more beige squares to finish, and a deadline of June 5, and because I am really s-l-o-o-o-o-o-w, I’ve had to reluctantly pull myself away from the colorful yarns and bears. I decided to try out the ‘circle-square’ from last time, using some neutral colors. It’s amazing how colorful this one turned out!

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A little sandy colored mesh


First the mesh, which was made using Red Heart Yarn called “Sandy Print.” Why I thought I needed a 12-oz skein of this yarn, I’ll never know! But it did work out nicely for this square. Perhaps when this square exchange is over, I’ll use the rest of it to make some ‘fair-haired bears’. :)

Block #16 completed!


Unlike the first circle-square, I chose a variety of colors for the circles, to liven it up a bit. I rather like the effect. Could have used one more teeny-tiny circle at the bottom center. Maybe I’ll add that later….
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Peacock colored circles


Since I’ve become addicted to these circles (and because I’m missing my bright colors), I next made one for the peacock color swap using a yarn called “Songbird Stripe” (Hobby Lobby’s ‘I Love This Yarn’). This yarn produced a bit of a ‘stripy’ effect, and the color segments were long enough I could create entire circles with one color (with a bit of piecing for the large ones). I wouldn’t mind having an entire afghan using these colors. But, that’s enough circles for today–I’m getting a little dizzy!