Thursday, February 28, 2013

Granny Patchwork Blanket Reveal

Here is the TA DAH moment for my Granny Patchwork Blanket.

And one a bit more full view.  The blanket is stretched out on my queen sized bed to give you a bit of an idea of its size.

This blanket project was made with Stitch Nation by Debbie Stoller a Bamboo Ewe yarn.  It's a worsted weight bamboo and wool.  The yarn is soft and warm.  The blanket is a decently heavy weight even though the granny patchwork is not a densely hooked blanket.  It was hooked with a size G.

The blanket has 110 square of 5 rounds in each granny square.  I used the JOIN AS YOU GO method as shown on Lucy's blog at Attic24.

For the finished edging, I had to use the remaining balls of wool that could make it all the way round the blanket so I didn't have a lot of design freedom.  There are several rows of granny stripe followed by a bit of a linen stitch in single crochet.  I didn't follow a specific pattern for the edging - just winged it as I thought the yarn would last.

The overall color pattern was as random as I could make it.  I tried not to have a pattern at all and tried to space colors randomly to give the blanket a bright color mix.  The colors I used were: Twilight, Mermaid, Buttercup, Eucalyptus, Geranium, Periwinkle, Mercury, and Sprout - 2 blues, 3 greens, a red, yellow and grey.  I just wanted something bright and happy to liven up my living room.  This blanket will hang out with us on the couches as we snuggle in the living room.

What you can't see on the photos above is.....

Now I don't feel quite so bad that I have started a new ripple blanket since the granny patchwork has gotten its due! See the RIPPLE BLANKET PROGRESS here.
There is still the matter of a few ends to weave in!  Happy blanket snuggling where you are!

Teeny Tiny Tea Light Tutorial Part 2

Okay - I'm sure by now you are ready to move on to the steps of creating a Teeny Tiny Tea Light Cozy.

If you don't know what a Tea Light Cozy is, check out THIS POST and then head over to Tea Light Tutorial Part 1 to get the details about the materials being used for this project.

The pattern is not difficult but if you are a complete beginner to crochet, working with a very thin yarn that doesn't have a lot of "give" may be a bit tough for you - so, consider making the cozy in a somewhat bigger yarn for practice and then trying it with the very thin carpet warp.

The pattern has 14 rounds.  This Part 2 tutorial takes you from Round 1 through Round 9.
This pattern is written using American crochet terms.

st - stitch
sk - skip
sl st - slip stitch
ch - chain
sc -single crochet (UK dc)
scblo - single crochet in back loops only (UK dcbl)
decr - decrease
dc - double crochet (UK tr)

Here we go:

First.  Begin the round as you would any motif worked in the round.  I prefer using the magic ring technique as I like the middle of the circle to be closed very tight and the magic ring is perfect for doing just that.  If you aren't familiar with the magic ring - just google Magic Ring or Magic Circle Crochet or Adjustable Ring (it has a lot of names).  There are a ton of tutorials and youtube videos for how to do it.  I admit when I was learning it- I had to view quite a many tutorial before I found one that made sense to me - so if you don't understand one explanation - hunt down another!

If you don't know or don't like the magic ring, simply chain 4 and join with a slip stitch to form a ring OR chain two and perform Round 1 in the 2nd chain from the hook (the latter of these probably being better in this instance).

Okay - moving on:

Round 1. ch 1, 6 sc in magic ring.  Join to first stitch with a sl st. (6 stitches)  With the carpet warp and the B-sized crochet hook, I got a measurement of about 1 cm after joining Round 1.

Round 2. ch 1, 2 sc in ea sc from round 1, sl st to join with first st. (12 stitches and ~3/4")

Round 3. ch 1, *sc in next sc then 2 sc in next sc.  Repeat from * around.  Sl st to join w/ first st. (18 stitches)

Round 4.  ch 1, *sc in next 2 sc then 2 sc in next st.  Repeat from * around.  Sl st to join w/ first st (24 st and 1.25")

Round 5. ch 1, *sc in next 3 sc then 2sc in next sc.  Repeat from * around.  Sl st to join w/ first st. (30 st and 1.5" or 4cm)

Round 6. ch 1, scblo in ea sc from Round 5 (30 st)

NOTE:  You will notice that going into the the back loop only causes your work to turn upwards slightly.  This is intentional.

Rounds 7 & 8.  ch 1, sc in ea st around.  join to first sc w/ sl st. (30 st)

Round 9.  ch 2 (counts as dc), dc in next sc and in all sc to end of round.  join w/ sl st. (30 st)

NOTE:  At the end of Round 9 your project should look like a little bowl.

Okay - go have a cup of tea and something lovely and sweet to eat and I'll be back as soon as I can with the final rounds of the Tea Light Cozy Tutorial!

Continue to Part 3

Monday, February 25, 2013

Ripple Gets Going

In Knit Picks fashion - the yarn made it here even earlier than expected.  In fact, I was out when the package was delivered and my hubby carried it in from the porch.  It was hours before I noticed it!~  But once I did, my box cutter leapt into action!  I'm so excited to get started on my Crochet A Long Ripple Blanket with Melissa at One Crafty Mumma.

The colors are JUST RIGHT.  Here's how they look:

The Brava acrylic yarn is soft and squishy.  I've lined it up in forwards and backwards color order by how it will appear in the blanket.  See this post HERE for my yarn and color planning.

Don't you love to just line up your yarn and perform a little happy dance when you see it just because it's so YUMMY?

Here the yarn is having a little sunbath in the window - beauteous don't you think?

Ok - now for the math and number details.

I'm using an H-sized hook (5mm) with Knit Picks Brava Acrylic worsted yarn.
I chained 185 stitches.
31 stitches is about 8.25" (worked in the ripple pattern)
2 rows is about 1.25" (worked in the ripple pattern)

My plan is to do 96 rows which is 4 repeats of my 24 row pattern.  I am changing color after every two rows.  2 rows of the brown color will be hooked between every bright color.  The bright colors will repeat in the same order on every 24 row pattern grouping.  My finished blanket should be about 4' X 5' or thereabouts.  I will add a border.  No border choices made as of yet.

The colors of yarn I have chosen are named thus:
Brown - Camel Heather
Pink - Fairy Tale
Yellow - Canary
Green - Peapod
Blue - Cornflower
Purple - Rouge
Red - Red

I am using the Neat Ripple Pattern from Lucy at Attic24.

Melissa is starting the CAL today (Feb 25th, 2013) and it's officially running 5 week.  My proposed hooky schedule is listed below.  There's still time to squeak in and join.  Let Melissa know so she can add you to the list.

Week 1 - 30 rows (16 so far.... more more more)
Week 2 - probably none : (  (traveling YAY)
Week 3 - 30 rows
Week 4 - 20 rows
Week 5 - 16 rows plus edging/border

Hoping your day is "rippling along!"

Friday, February 22, 2013

Backwards Blanket Blogging

I guess it's customary to talk about the blanket you plan to make to your blog community.  Then, as follows... you post pictures of your progress.  Finally - you do a big TaDah moment.  Sometimes you follow-up with a pattern, tutorial, link or details about your project.  I guess, I don't always do stuff in order - tho. I do consider myself a very orderly person.

That said, this past fall, I started a granny patchwork blanket.  I was inspired by all the granny patchworks I was seeing on pinterest in and in the blogs I follow.  Here are some of the inspiring blankets: This one and this.  Also go here and here and here.

I also started the granny patchwork mid-way through a 6 week crochet class that I was teaching at our local adult school.  I wanted to show the ladies what they could do with their granny squares and also teach them the join as you go method by Lucy at Attic24.  Further, I taught them about crochet blogs and how they might find and enjoy the crochet community as it exists in blog-land.  Several of the students made or started granny patchworks.

I had to search back through my photos (thank goodness they are organized thanks to my fabulous Memory Manager 4.0 software) and it wasn't too hard to find them.

So here is a photo excursion through my patchwork blanket.  Pretend you are watching this week by week by month on my blog...

Last night I finished the final row of the border.  I like the border, I don't love the border.  I was running low on yarn and had to opt for border stitches that worked with the colors of yarn that would make their way around the entire blanket.

I took some photos this morning when the sun was wafting through the windows of my bedroom and I'll share those ta dahs in another post.

That said... I started another Crochet A Long LAST FALL (aka fall 2011) - I stayed on track with the CAL and again, I'm sure there are photos of some progress rounds, but I never blogged about it.  I also never finished that project.  More about that in yet another post to come!

OH.. and I haven't forgotten the Tea Light TutorialPart 1 is already up.  Part 2 is coming later today.  Stay tuned!!!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Tea Light Cozy Tutorial - Part 1

This lesson is Part 1 of the tea light tutorial.  This lesson will cover information about crochet yarn/thread and carpet warp.  It will also give the other tools needed for the project.  I hope this lesson is helpful.

For this project I used a very thin cotton crochet thread.  However, it isn't really crochet thread at all, it's carpet warp.  I first discovered carpet warp when some crafter posted a photo of their craft room.  Amongst all the shelves of crochet supplies were big spools of carpet warp.  I was able to just make out the name Maysville on one of the spool tags and looked it up to see what it was.

So - get yourself some cotton carpet warp!

Here's some info about cotton carpet warp:

My product is called Maysville Carpet Warp 8/4 from Webs Yarn Store (online or in person in Northhampton, MA).  I got mine online and had no trouble with their ordering process, delivery or customer service.  Although they do ship internationally, I'm sure there are stores that sell cotton carpet warp in plenty of other countries, so check your local listings if you are outside of the USA.  Carpet warp comes in several sizes.  What I used is sized 8/4 tho. apparently that is termed 4/8 outside the USA.

The site states: we offer a wide range of colors of 100% cotton Maysville 8/4 carpet warp. Use carpet warp for creating rag rugs and lots of other weaving projects.

I also found an article about carpet warp on Craft GossipAnother source for carpet warp here.

Cotton Yarns

If you get confused about yarn that falls in the finer ranges - you are not alone.  This chart MIGHT help you.

The carpet warp is just slightly thinner than Aunt Lydia's Crochet Thread #3 and definitely thicker and more sturdy than a size 10 crochet thread.  I wish I had a skein or fingerling/sport or laceweight yarn to compare to the carpet warp.  The carpet warp is 100% cotton and feels like more of a sturdy string than a soft yarn.  Crochet thread has a sheen to it that the cotton carpet warp doesn't have.  I like using the warp because it doesn't slip and slide as much as crochet thread.  Also, the twist of the carpet warp is much tighter than the twist of the crochet cotton.

If you are going to use a fingerling weight yarn, I'd suggest a sturdy cotton for the utilitarian nature of the project - and I'm guessing you'll want a more string-ish and less hairy fiber so that when your tea light cozy is near a flame, there will be less chance of danger.  I'd also suggest creating the first three rounds of the project and making sure your guage gives you the same result as mine.

One thing I didn't realize is that the Maysville cotton that I have been using is maybe not colorfast.  I did have an instance where I sprayed my carpet warp with some Stiffen Quik and the red ran a bit into the white.  Apparently the cotton 8/4 carpet warp sold by Camilla Valley Farm may be a better choice for you - they state that their cotton warp is colorfast.  If I'd known, I'd probably gone that route when I bough my supply.

That said, the warp comes in huge spools and it will take a long time to use up your supply so your investment is probably pretty long-term use.

Some other tools you will want to have for this project are a size B crochet hook, a darning needle for the ends (I used my regular darning needle as the tapestry needle I tried was a bit small for taking the warp through the eye) and a pair of scissors.

Next, you'll want some tea lights.  The ones I'm using are a really inexpensive pack of lights.  I purchased it years ago on the clearance rack of a 5 and dime type store after Halloween.  The pack contained 100 tea lights!  It was a whopping $1.  I've also seen them at Ikea in big packs at a low price.  I would guess that tea lights are a somewhat universal size, but I don't know that for fact.

So, assignment number one is to gather your supplies.

For my tea light cozies, I created just about the entire cozy in one color of warp and then did the final round in white.  You could of course make a striped cozy - switch colors on any of the rounds if you opt for stripes.  I didn't want to bother weaving in all those ends on such a tiny little project so I left mine mostly in single colors.

Click HERE TO MOVE ON TO PART 2 of the Teeny Tiny Tea Light Tutorial - we'll start right in on Round 1.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Ripple C-A-L with Melissa Goodsell

I've decided to join in on a Crochet-A-Long with Melissa Goodsell from Day to Day/ over at One Crafty Mumma. 

This CAL is for a Ripple Pattern Blanket.  As I'm in a blanket making mode and I've never done a ripple, I decided to join.  I'm just about finished with a granny patchwork - can you believe I've never blogged a breath about it?

The ripple begins in just 6 days.  AND... during the CAL time period I'm going to be out of town for five of those days.  My travel time will NOT include crochet, so I'll have to play a little catch up with one of the weeks.

I spent the day envisioning how my ripple would look.  I'm excellent at determining if I like a blanket color-scheme or not but not so good at choosing colors for myself.  I have to SEE the outcome before I dive in.  So today, I first looked into yarn types.  I decided to go with a worsted weight acrylic.  But, I'm kind of picky about acrylic yarn.  It doesn't tend to be my favorite for blankets unless it is a cut above the typical big box store acrylic.  I first looked to Hobby Lobby's "I Love This Yarn," (which I DO love) but they are out of stock of what seems like 2/3 of their big color selection and I just couldn't make it work!

Dark Denim I Love This Yarn Solid Yarn
Hobby Lobby skein's of acrylic are BIG - at about 198g and 355yds

Then, I went to the new Brava line by KnitPicks.  I like KnitPicks yarn and their customer service in general and they offer FREE shipping, so I pulled up the color selection for the Brava worsted line.  Unfortunately, they were out of  MOST of their blue hues - bummer.  So, I re-envisioned my blanket just a bit.

Here's a review of Brava worsted - most reviews I read were very good!
Bottom line, I knew I wanted several colors with one single color running through it.  I decided that a rich and creamy camel-like color would be the one to run thru which left me with tons of options for the "several" colors I'd combine it with.  I finally picked out what looked pleasing in my cart but then had the idea to see my selection a bit more graphically and this final step REALLY helped.

I popped into my Storybook Creator 4.0 software (normally used for digital scrapbooking) and created a blanket complete with the album colors from my cart and it looks JUST like I wanted it to! YAY!

Product Image
A 30 day free trial of this fabulous software is available here!

I knew from the get go that I would use the NEAT RIPPLE pattern by Lucy at Attic24 - I've wanted to ripple along with Lucy for some time and haven't hopped on that bandwagon as of yet.

Now all I have to do is wait for the big brown truck (aka UPS) to wheel its way up to my house and drop off my yarn.  Oh yeah, and do a bit of math to determine the blanket size, ripple pattern more specifically etc etc - not the fun part when it includes math. At least for me.

If you want to join the ripple-along - let Mel know, she's keeping a list and marking updates on progress.

Monday, February 18, 2013

A TINY LITTLE Crochet Tutorial on the way...

I just finished creating these cute little tea light cozies in crochet.

Aren't they super cute?  I'm so pleased with them.

I've designed and re-created the pattern a few times now - so once I get the photo tutorial up and ready, I'll post it here and put a pdf on MY RAVELRY PAGE. (the tutorial is NOW available on ravelry and as a photo tutorial in 2 parts - see links below)
Stay tuned for the tutorial (follow me and leave a comment if you like this design!)

UPDATE:  Part 1 of the tutorial is up - go HERE FOR PART 1
UPDATE:  Part 2 of the tutorial is up - go HERE FOR PART 2

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Visions of Valentines

Another Valentine's Day has come and gone.

After weeks of crocheted heart patterns from pinterest and a LOVE WREATH ringing the door, the one special day of Love has passed for another year.

Some folks don't particularly like Valentine's Day - but I do.  In fact it's the day I said, "I DO!"  I was married on Valentine's Day in 1989.  It was a Tuesday.  Valentine's Day 2013 marked my 24th Anniversary to my lovely hubby, Jay.

Here is a photo-visit to my Valentine's Day:

The view from my kitchen window early in the morning is of the sun just beginning to make it's rise.

The day began as usual - making lunch for my youngest - the only one still not yet graduated from high school.  In hope that it would bring humor, I cut his peanut butter and fluff sandwich into a heart.

The sun continued it's climb into the daytime sky.  It looked like a huge red ball by the time the lunch duty was complete.

A light layer of fresh snow coated the grass and the dog enjoyed a frosty sniff around the yard.

Inside, the house was toasty warm and my spray roses were just beginning to pop open.

I spent the first few hours of the morning with a few cups of coffee, some fuzzy yarn and a crochet hook.  I was overcome with a last minute desire to add a bunting to the fireplace for some Valentine charm.

Valentine's dinner is often an "at home" affair even tho. it's our anniversary.  We like to fancy up the table and avoid the restaurant crowds.  I like to add a little love to our meal and I did so here with my favorite crustless spinach quiche.

A few little Valentine's greetings had come in the morning post and adorned the window ledge.

A few favorite pieces graced our table full of red and brown decor.  The candle holder is a favorite.  It's handmade by our good friend Smyth Boone, a professional wrought iron artist.  The special bees wax candle came from the Locust Grove gift shop and the woven tapestry on the table was a gift from my daughter on a trip to Chiapas, Mexico.  The vase and mini pottery candle holder are some favorite thrift store treasures.

The Valentine's Day gift for my son was something he'd been bugging me for a while - homemade chicken noodle soup - entirely organic and ridiculously yummy  - even I thought so and I don't like chicken.

Don't you love the brown Royal Staffordshire dishes?  The whole set of 12 place settings was found at a favorite thrifting place for a mere $10 - I love them.

Add some bubbly water and some bubbly champagne and a celebration for two is sure to ensue!

Our son was kind enough to take a Valentine's photo of the two of us - but an extra head and tongue made it into the photo shoot!  FUNNY.

Tho. our humble dinner took place without hoopla at our own dining table, we decided to head out to a favorite local restaurant bar for the bit of dessert and a final libation.

We finished the night with a bit of fun and the bartender was kind enough to snap this final photo with my phone.  A lovely day to celebrate 24 years of marriage.  Next year is a big one! #25!  AND... we have big plans too - but that post can wait for another day.
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