Sunday, December 16, 2012

Mixed Stripes #3

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In the last post, I had just started the yellow and plum chevron stripe.
Next, there are ten rows in seven colors - I started with 1 hdc of Aster, 1 hdc Turquoise, 1 sc - Cloud Blue, 2 hdc - Spring Green, 2 hdc - Sherbet, 2 hdc - Clematis, 1 hdc Wisteria.  I have no idea why I decided to do the Cloud Blue row as sc. You can hardly see it. 

The next section is the popcorn stitch with Lipstick as the background color and the popcorns in Aspen. I followed the tutorial from Tales from Cuckoo Land, as recommended by Jules. 

This is followed by 5 rows: 1 row hdc each in Sage, Plum, Fondant, and 2 rows hdc in Cloud Blue.

Next pattern - 4 dc clusters, with a row of hdc in between.
4 dc clusters - Pomegranate, hdc - Saffron, 4 dc clusters - Aspen, hdc - Wisteria, 4 dc clusters - Shrimp

2 rows hdc - Turquoise, 1 row hdc - Magenta, 1 row hdc - Clematis

New pattern: star stitch.  This is not included in the stripe blanket on Little Woollie. She has used it for an entire blanket, because it has a vintage feel.  I liked it, and wanted to try it out, so why not include it! I used Wisteria for this. It takes 3 rows to complete a star stitch pattern.  I followed Jules' advice and used the tutorial at the Crochet Spot.  

Next - 1 row hdc in Plum and 1 in Spring Green.

Catherine Wheel - Aster & Sherbet.  Jules has good instructions for this here. No need for me to write it out again! I do think it helps to look at the Catherine Wheel close up, to figure it out.  

Now I'm completely caught up with the crochet-along and I have a decision to make:  wait for Jules to post an update, or keep going and make my own decisions. I tend to be rather impatient, so I doubt I'll wait!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Mixed Stripe Update #2 - Beginning Details

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Slow going, but making good progress.  
From left to right:
  • 5 rows of all half double crochet in various colors
  • 3 rows of granny stripe (red, pink, red)
  • 2 rows hdc, in 2 shades of blue 
  • The zig zag section, or "chevron" is meadow green and shrimp
  • 1 row single crochet - plum, 1 row hdc - magenta, 1 row sc - plum, 1 row hdc - light pink
  • Next row - dark blue - 4 double crochet clusters
  • hdc - spring green
  • 4 double crochet clusters - medium pink (fondant, I think)
  • 3 rows - 2hdc, 1 sc -  yellow
  • Bobble stitch section - light blue and dark pink
  • 5 rows of various colors - all in the pink/purple/red family, some sc, some hdc
  • Outlined Cluster Pattern, dk blue green and spring green
  • Another section with rows of hdc - various colors - 6 rows total
  • The Catherine Wheel - dark pink & light pink.* (Next time I do this pattern, I'm switching to one size larger hook. I tried to make it loose, but it pulls in a bit. Frustrating!)
  • 8 more rows - various colors - hdc and sc
  • 5 rows - granny stripe - medium green, lipstick, magenta
  • 4 rows hdc - various colors
  • 2 rows sc - blue
  • Beginning on another chevron stripe - yellow and..... the center will be plum

Okay - that's what we've got so far.  For details on the stitches, please visit Little Woollie, as I'm mostly following her crochet-along. My only deviations have been in the number of sc or hdc rows between the various patterns. 

Quick comment about using sc or hdc rows - you can do whatever you want. I find the sc rows to be slow and very thin, so I tend to favor the hdc - however - there are times when I want a really thin stripe of a color, so I'll use it.  And sometimes I use it for two rows of the same color because it gives a little different look - denser, maybe? than using the hdc.  Bottom line - it doesn't matter! Do whatever strikes your fancy at the moment. Your choice might be dictated by a small ball of leftover yarn that needs using up, or by a desire to have a bigger block of color. There are no wrong answers. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


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This is a great way to use up odds and ends of yarn from other projects, while trying out different granny square patterns.  To pull it together, I connected all the squares with white yarn and single crochet. This picture was taken before adding about a 2 inch wide ruffly border - comprised of a few single crochet rows and ruffles made by chaining 5, then slip stitch to the single crochet, repeat. Easy and pretty!

The bottom picture shows another scrap-ghan, complete with ruffly border. I love incorporating 3-dimensional squares like the flowers, and textural elements like popcorn stitch.

Both of these blankets were donated to children in poverty here in Toledo, via Love Squared.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Paradoxical Commandments

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by 
the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

© Copyright Dr. Kent M. Keith 1968, renewed 2001

Monday, December 3, 2012

Isabelle, the Varmint

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Yarn Love

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Testing Picasa.  I kinda like it.
Edited:  It occurred to me that I should add more commentary to this picture. The yarn is Stylecraft DK, special colour pack of 17, chosen by Lucy of Attic 24.   It is lovely to work with, colorful, and soft. I ordered mine from Deramores, with free shipping to the US. I always use the coupon code from Ravelry (RAV2012 right now) to get a discount. 

So far, I've used this yarn for two projects that are splashed all over this blog.  The Groovyghan is a collection of grannies connected with various stripes.  It's huge and I love it. 

Now, I'm working on the Mixed Stripey Blanket, using the remaining Stylecraft yarn. You can read about it in other places on this blog, or look for me (Meowmmy65) on Ravelry and look at it there.  I'm enjoying the project, but as usual, I'm anxious to see huge developments in progress.  I might be a little impatient. More updates to my stripey blanket will be posted soon.  

Blog Envy

This weekend, I figured out how to customize the appearance of my blog a bit.  Yes, it was boring. Now, I'm quite sure it's too busy.  Before long, I'll be tired of it and change it again. Change is good. Color and chaos - GOOD! (Nine hours after publishing, and I've already changed it. Shocking!)

I spend a bit of time looking around at other blogs - following pinterest links to instructions on how to do this or that - usually driven by food or crochet projects. And yes, I'll admit it. I have Blog Envy.

Why do so many blogs out there look so darn perfect? It's like these people live in a Better Homes & Garden magazine, not in reality. The colors are balanced and beautiful, photography looks professionally done.  The projects are lovely and displayed to make them even more lovely, and the entries are well-written, amusing, entertaining, yadda yadda.  They are not the ramblings of a woman who's life is filled with organized chaos and stress.

Confession - my home, my blog, my life - will never be so beautifully organized and perfect. My photos are taken with the camera on my phone - because I don't know where the "good" camera is right now.  I have to clear away a spot on the table, the couch, or the chair to lay out my crochet and get a picture. (I work hard to get a photo that doesn't show the clutter nearby.)

We aren't hoarders, not by any stretch. I'm constantly tossing things out, donating, putting things away. But I always seem to be in the middle of a project (bulk mailing appeal letters for work, crocheting a giant blanket, handmaking holiday cards) and these projects make things look messy! The house is clean.  But the house is 85 years old, small, and lacks sufficient storage space.

And dangit - we LIVE here. There is STUFF around. There are dogs and there are kids. (Okay - the kids aren't little anymore - but anyone with college students in their life knows they are just as - or perhaps messier - than toddlers.)

The dogs: Ellie Mae, Fat Gertie, and Isabelle the Varmint, track in dirt and debris. They shed and shake that dirt everywhere. My husband spends about 2 hours a day sweeping it up. Not even kidding.

The girls come home from university and drop their things in the entrance hall.  Bags of laundry, heavily laden backpacks, shopping bags - whatever they have on hand - placed everywhere except where they belong.  It generally only lasts a few days, and then they return to school, but those days are ridiculous.

When I look at these blogs of perfection, I used to feel inadequate. But no more.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Stripe Updates

stripey7 by ElizabethTore
stripey7, a photo by ElizabethTore on Flickr.
A little more progress, and a photo with better lighting and color. :)


001 (2) by ElizabethTore
001 (2), a photo by ElizabethTore on Flickr.
I've started working on a new project, using the leftover yarn from my Groovyghan. My yarn is Stylecraft DK, ordered  from Deramore's in the UK. It's the seventeen color special pack, put together for Lucy, of Attic 24. For this project, I'm mostly following the instructions from Little Woollie, for her mixed stitch stripey blanket. There are a few places where I've deviated from her design a little, by changing colors or adding in extra stripes.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Hello Kitty Hats

hello kitty hats by ElizabethTore
hello kitty hats, a photo by ElizabethTore on Flickr.
This was a quick, easy hat to whip together. I used a J hook for the larger hat, which is large enough to fit an adult. The smaller hat is for a 5 yr old, and I used an I hook.

The pattern is from Crochet in Color.

groovyghan again

groovyghan again by ElizabethTore
groovyghan again, a photo by ElizabethTore on Flickr.
Almost done! Still thinking about adding a little more border.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Abbey and Penny

Abbey and Penny by ElizabethTore
Abbey and Penny, a photo by ElizabethTore on Flickr.
Our Lucy ended up hatching two sets of babies this summer. Abbey and Penny were from the second group, born mid July. (Think Abbey Road and Penny Lane - keeping with our theme of female names inspired by The Beatles.)

Unfortunately, the other four chicks that hatched that day didn't make it. Two were accidentally killed by our dog who doesn't understand how fragile baby chicks are, and the other two disappeared. We firmly believe a hawk got them.

These two lovely ladies definitely show their blue marans heritage. They aren't pure bred, and that's okay. They are very pretty, and have great dispositions. I'm looking forward to seeing the rich, dark brown color of their eggs, although I don't expect them to begin laying for several months.

And yes, I had no intention of keeping these girls, but of course, I did. They look so different from all the other hens we have, they are a nice addition to the flock. But that's it! No more chickens. (Famous last words?)

Hello Kitty Scarf

Hello Kitty Scarf by ElizabethTore
Hello Kitty Scarf, a photo by ElizabethTore on Flickr.
Finished this cute scarf for my niece, following this tutorial by K.

The pattern was fairly easy, with good instructions.

Groovyghan progress

Groovyghan progress by ElizabethToreGroovyghan progress, a photo by ElizabethTore on Flickr.

I'm kinda in love with yarn. Can't help it.  And I have a tendency to become obsessed with projects while I'm working on them. This one has been taking a long time, but I'm happy with the results overall. Still contemplating the border. It needs something wild and fabulous. 

Edited to add - the whole thing took just 2 1/2 months.  I guess that isn't so long for such a huge project!  Apparently, I'm a little impatient. :)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Chicken Drama

Apparently, feather-sexing in mixed breed chickens does NOT work.  Two out of three babies turned out to be roos.  At eleven weeks old, one of the roos viciously attacked the little hen. Poor Rose lost all the feathers, and much of the flesh, from her head and neck.  She is now in isolation, trying to heal.  While I tried to catch her, the roo continued to attack.  I had to hit him with a broom a few times to keep him away.  Awful!

It's been a few days, and Rose is doing well.  She is alert with no signs of infection.  We continue to keep her isolated from the other hens to keep them from picking at it.  The roos have been evicted, and are now living at a friend's farm.

In the meantime, Lucy has gone broody again. She is sitting on eight eggs, due to hatch around July 17.  I have no intention of keeping any of the babies.  At about 5 or 6 weeks, whenever she is done "mothering" them, all the babies will go to the farm.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Baby Chicks

Lucy, our gorgeous Salmon Faverolle hen, went "broody" in March.  She was obsessed with sitting on eggs and trying to hatch them. Without a rooster in the yard, we knew her efforts would be met with failure. After watching her determination, we decided to help her out. A friend donated fertilized eggs, and on March 26, the incubation began.  Lucy faithfully sat on those eggs - leaving the nest only once a day to stretch and grab a bite.  Each day I'd check on things and usually found her with extras. Fortunately, we marked the 6 fertilized eggs and knew which ones didn't belong.  I'm not sure if the other hens were laying them in the nest with her, or if she was stealing them from the other nesting box, but I consistently found 7 or 8 eggs in Lucy's care.

April 14, we noticed a little hole in one of the eggs. We could hear the little baby chirping inside! After about 4 hours - our first little chick, a French Blue Copper Maran, had hatched.  In the morning, we found another freshly hatched babe, and an egg pipping.  We ended up with just 3 out of 6 hatching - but all 3 very healthy.  

If feather-sexing techniques work, we are quite certain they are all girls. Lucky us! Living in the city, we are unable to keep roosters, so any boy babies would have been re-homed after a few weeks.  In a few more weeks, we will know for sure.  Preliminary girl's names have already been chosen - Rose, Donna and Amelia. Yes, Doctor Who fans, these are three of The Doctor's companions. 

It has been fascinating to watch Lucy care for her babies. She's a great mom, and of course, all of this is natural instinct.  

You can watch the series of videos with Donna hatching here:

Saturday, January 21, 2012

It's a snowy day - time to write!

Lately, I've been "bitten" by the Pinterest bug.  I thought StumbleUpon was the devil - until I discovered Pinterest. Holy Cow!  LOVE IT.

I've filled boards with gorgeous, colorful pictures of things I like - food, crochet projects, artsy-craftsy things I will never have time for but wish I did.  It's a dream and a nightmare all in one. (But more of a dream, for sure.)