Friday, February 28, 2014

Snowdrop Shawl - Ta Dah!

 Red Heart Boutique - Unforgettable. Colorway: Dragonfly

This yarn is a little on the fuzzy side - so if you don't like working with fuzzy yarn, you might want to avoid it.  For a warm winter wrap, I think it works well.   To me, this pattern came out more like a scarf than it did a shawl, but that doesn't really matter.  

Don't you love these colors?  Dragonfly is a great name for this combination of greens, blues, and purples.  Vibrant! 

When I compare my end result with the original pattern, I think mine came out longer and skinnier. And there is definitely a tendency to pull on the edges. I'm thinking that's probably because I was lazy in the beginning, started this with too small a hook, and instead of ripping it out and starting over, I just kept going. I finally increased the hook size about a dozen or so rows into the project. Yes, I should have started over. I just didn't feel like it! Confessions from a lazy crochet queen. 

Here are a few more pics.... yes it needs to be blocked. No, I probably won't bother.  (Lazy - remember?) For a scarf, I don't want to be bothered!  It's going to be wrapped around my neck, so it shouldn't really matter. 

Quick note - the pattern did not call for a border, but I went around the whole project with a round of single crochet.  I thought it would give the points a little more stability and help with the waviness. 

I'm satisfied with the results! This was definitely a deviation from my usual solid colors. I'm not sure I'll do a lot with variegated yarns in the future, but it was a fun change.  We will have to wait and see how the mood strikes me! 

For more details, and a link to the pattern, visit my project page on Ravelry

Thursday, February 20, 2014


Love-Squared is an amazing organization in my community.  It provides an opportunity for people to donate 8 inch crocheted or knitted squares that are then combined with other squares and made into blankets for homeless children.  

This summer, we were challenged to donate 1,000 squares by the end of September.  But people are awesome, and we doubled it, donating over 2,000 squares.  Yesterday, the organizer of Love-Squared posted pictures of the 87 afghans that have been completed to date.  

Take a look at what we did!  

Fantastic! Amazing! It makes my heart sing!  You can see lots more pictures on the Facebook page for Love-Squared.  And HERE is a link directly to this photo album.  

Many, many thanks to Leah, for creating this organization and opportunity for "yarnies" (as she calls us) to help make winter a little less harsh for kids in need. If you want to contribute squares, information is available on Facebook.  

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Crochet Hook Case

Well, this isn't the most beautiful thing I've ever made, and it would definitely benefit from blocking, but I'm probably not going to bother.  It is functional, and does what I need it to do! Let's talk tools.

I love Susan Bates hooks. Boye hooks irritate me. It's all what you learn with, I suppose. Being a good mom (and Girl Scout leader), I taught my daughters, and all my Girl Scouts to hook with Bates as well.  At one point I had four identical sets of the main 6 hooks - 3.75 mm (F) up to 10.5 (K), plus a handful of extra I's and J's.

I've been good - Thing One and Thing Two each has her own set, and a set went home with one of their friends. Every girl in my troops received a hook and skein during one of our camping trips. I give away the extras at every opportunity, along with a quick lesson or two, whenever someone says she wants to learn. This got me down to my regular pack, plus a pack of 6 tiny hooks - 1.15 to 2.55 mm.

The sets come in a plastic case that worked fine for a long time. They kept them together, made them easier to find and store. Recently, I noticed the plastic was starting to tear. Time for a replacement. It seemed only appropriate to crochet the answer. I spent a lot of time searching for a pattern I liked. No need to reinvent the wheel. I knew I wanted full "pockets" to slide the hooks in, not just loops.

Choices available include pockets or loops, roll-up cases or folding. The folding cases have plastic canvas embedded to create firm sides.  While I like the look of the folding cases, I didn't have plastic canvas on hand, and I certainly wasn't going shopping.  Roll-up it is!  So here's what I came up with:

I followed THIS PATTERN for the basic shape and to make the pockets, but of course, I made changes. The pattern is written for worsted weight yarn. I used DK from my stash, so I added a few stitches to compensate.  My case has 14 tubular pockets for hooks.  

The little fish shown in the top picture is not attached. (You can see him in the basket, below.)  I don't remember where the pattern came from, as he was hooked many months ago. (See what I did there?) The fish holds my needle for weaving in ends, keeping it safe and easy to find. The yellow tie is nothing but chain stitches. It is not attached to the case, since I wasn't sure where I wanted it.  Unattached is working fine.  

At some point, I may make some improvements to this case, but for now, it's doing a fine job. Have you made a case for tools that you really like?  Let me know!  

Monday, February 17, 2014

It's Snowing! Again!

68 inches of snow this winter with 4 more expected today.... one inch short of a record breaking season. Everyone's complaining.... kids have been out of school a ridiculous number of days and all my friends are losing their minds. I don't know how they are going to make up for all the days they've had to take off. I'm thankful my kids are grown.

The first big snow hit early in January, before the new semester started at the University, so I was lucky to have my girls home. We had a great time - lots of tea, baking, knit and crochet projects, and a Lord of the Rings marathon. There's something wonderful about snuggling inside with your favorites while the storm hits.

Just to give you an idea of the amount of snow this is, here's a picture of Gertie, my Newfoundland - Golden Retriever mix, next to the ever-accumulating pile of shoveled snow.  And the little dog is Izzy, also known as the varmint.  We think she has some border collie or sheltie in her (notice the party pants on her backside!) She is smart as a whip - and absolutely obnoxious.  My Golden, Ellie Mae, is hiding in the house - smarter than both these beasties.

See the white fence/railing from the back porch, behind the snow?  It's 4 feet high. Crazy!

The snow doesn't bother me. It's much better than our typical Toledo winter, which is gray and bleak. A weekly dusting (or dumping) of fresh, sparkling, white stuff has made January and February brighter.  It's the super cold I can do without.  It's not bad this week, but January saw several episodes of 25 to 40 below wind chills. Enough of that!

Lots of random projects going on now....

This weekend, I started the Snowdrop Shawl.  I needed something simple and mindless to use up the Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable yarn in my stash.  Originally, I picked up the yarn for my beginner knitting projects, but I found it very fuzzy.  Not good for learning!  It's the yarn I used for my first knitting project 22.5 Degrees, but I'll talk about that one later.  Back to the Snowdrop Shawl...

Because I had a 4 mm (G) hook in my hand, that's what I started using for this project. Well, I knew it was going to be too small.  Consequently, the beginning of the shawl curves a little. I debated about starting over, but didn't feel like it. Tried just crocheting loosely, but that wasn't cutting it so I gave in and changed hooks, increasing to a 5 mm (H). Curling has stopped.  Why the delay? The hooks were upstairs; I was downstairs. I was lazy. There it is. The truth.

This pattern is very easy. Once you get the rhythm down, it just goes. It's a good project to have on hand for those times when you are waiting, and annoyed, because you are waiting. You know what I mean!

The colorway is Dragonfly. I usually stay away from variegated yarns, but I really like the way this looks. It makes me want to experiment with more self-striping yarns.  For this project, the Unforgettable yarn is fine. Like I said earlier, it's fuzzy. Good for a scarf or thick shawl.

I'll have an update on my Crochet Mood Blanket soon, and pictures of another project I've been working on... here's a preview:

Happy President's Day! Time to put the kettle on, and watch the snow fall.