Category Archives: crochet
I love the Knitting Fever Painted Desert yarn that I bought in Chesapeake City last week! It took me a while to come up with a project since I only had one skein of 437 yards. It wasn’t enough for a shawl but really a bit much for a scarf. Since I haven’t done much with lace crochet, I envisioned an airy all-season scarf with a non-perpendicular stitch pattern. I toyed with the idea of using the same pattern that is featured in that oh-so-beautiful Alpine Frost Scarf by Amy O’Neill Houck but I wanted to design my own.
Finally I settled on the star trellis stitch pattern. That decision led to another whole issue. I didn’t find this pattern in my stitch dictionary but in one of my other books. I suddenly realized how completely inadequate my stitch dictionary was!
I had purchased it years ago at a used book sale and it contains knitting as well as crochet stitches. The number of patterns is limited, the instructions are not well written, and there are no charts. I have been limping along with this thing for too long! So I decided to treat myself to this dictionary. It contains 500 crochet patterns, which should keep me happy for a while.
My new dictionary does not squeeze instructions for four or five stitch patterns onto one page. It shows no more than 2 stitch patterns per page and always includes a chart. I love it!
But I digress…I love the way that this yarn shades from deep magenta to deep blue. The colors are much darker than in the above photo. One problem I am having, which I seem to ALWAYS have when making a lacy scarf, is that my edges are looking a bit funky. I had to restart this project 4 times because if I followed the instructions for the edge stitches, I ended up with gaping holes on each side and the sides of the scarf were bowing outwards significantly. After a bit of trial and error I came up with a set of end stitches that I could live with but the edges still seem crooked to me. In the end, I will probably run a row of stitching along the edges, we’ll see. Maybe once it is blocked it will be straight.
I am completely smitten with the lace edging on this scarf and this scarf. I could do something similar to second edging by designing a half-circle motif for the ends.
Crochet Today is a great little magazine. The patterns are usually in the “Easy” to “Intermediate” range and they make use of some of the more popular yarns that can be purchased at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby. I’ve made many great projects from Crochet Today. But recently I’ve decided to limit myself to one magazine and I chose Interweave Crochet. I have many back issues of Crochet Today and some of them contain projects that I will never make. How in the world do you get rid of them? My local Goodwill will not take them. I would send them out as give-aways but the postage is getting too expensive to do that for all of them. The local senior centers don’t want them. Oh I hate to just throw them away!
I was casting about for a good pattern for the two balls of sock yarn that I had. I had tried an openwork scarf but did not like the way the colors pooled. Then I noticed a little triangular shawl (more of a scarf really) called Bonsai Shawl in Interweave Crochet Accessories from 2011. This pattern is so easy, a simple trellis stitch with decreases on each side that culminate in a point at the end. What really made this pattern work with the sock yarn was that the decreases on each side effectively moved the colored sections slightly with each row. I had no pooling at all! I made the purple scarf up according to the pattern but increased my trellis chains to 5. This opened up the fabric a little. On the green scarf I used the 3-chain that is called for in the pattern and added a loopy border. Then I blocked the h____ out of it!
They both turned out very well. Neither scarf is heavy. In fact, they are so lightweight that they are more suitable for spring and summer than winter! I’ll have to remember this little trick when working with variegated yarns. If you have a short color repeat, then it is best to choose a pattern that will increase or decrease on each side.
I have good intentions but no matter how many times I try to finish one project before I start another, I have a bad habit of abandoning a boring pattern! I really love my Tunisian Cardigan project and the pattern writing has been a bit of a challenge but this thing is SLOW! The thin yarn makes it seem as if I am making very little progress. I’ve decided to revisit this whole effort in the fall when I will be more anxious to actually begin wearing sweaters again!
The yoga mat bag project is just plain boring. Around and around I go, alternating mesh and single crochet bands. Ho hum… I am actually pretty keen to get this done since I really need the bag but I am just not inspired at all!
And what about the Crop Circles project I was so excited about a few months ago? I still want to do something with this but I have hit a real snag. To get a good graphic in tapestry crochet I must use sport weight yarn. But working with sport weight yarn is also agonizingly slow.
Are you detecting a theme here? If I can’t finish a project within a reasonable amount of time, I lose interest! This must be why I have never become a knitter even though I now know how to knit. Knitting is so slow and picky!
Picked Eggs and Beets With Goat Cheese
I was recently inspired by an advertising flyer that came in the mail. It included a recipe for pickled eggs. However, I reasoned, why not simply buy the jarred pickled beets and marinate the whole boiled eggs in the juice? I started 4 days before I planned to serve this dish and placed 2 jars of the beets with the juice into a covered casserole dish. I added 8 eggs and let the eggs marinate for the 4 days. Once a day I turned the eggs.
Before serving, I drained the beets and eggs and placed several leaves of iceberg lettuce on the luncheon plates. The beets were spooned on top of the lettuce and the sliced eggs arranged on top of the beets. Then I cumbled some goat cheese and sprinkled it on top. Some fresh asparagus and a slice of Texas Toast completed the meal!
In The Yard
Well, it’s time for me to post my annual photos of my rock garden and my Dogwood tree. Funny how I never get tired of seeing the yard revive after the winter. Our dead trees along the back fence have been felled and new ones will be going in this week. The Dogwood is particularly beautiful this spring. And the rock garden, slumbering under its blanket of dead leaves and debris from winter will soon come into its own again!
And what do you think I will be working on in the evenings? Will it be the Yoga Mat Bag or the Crop Circles project? No way! I am starting a brand new pattern with the yarn I bought in Chesapeake City last week!
If there is one thing you learn when you are an RVer it is that you can never anticipate what will happen next! You make all kinds of plans and keep your fingers crossed but every once in a while all the plans go out the window. I had posted previously that the battery light had come on in our truck. Paul went out at 4:30 PM to get diesel and the truck died at the service station. The alternator was the culprit. It took about an hour to get the battery recharged so that he could get back to the RV.
The storms were fierce that night but we did not have any tornadoes. That’s the one thing I don’t miss about traveling in an RV. The weather issues we faced as we toured the country sometimes left me feeling very stressed and anxious.
The next morning, we were lucky enough to get a lead on a mechanic who worked on Saturdays and had an opening for us. The alternator was replaced and we were on our way by 9:15 AM. We thought we would have to spend another night in Selma but as it worked out, we had only lost about an hour of travel time.
I finally managed to start a scarf from a ball of sock yarn. I don’t like the color pooling so I am not at all sure that I will finish this. The pattern is beautiful but this yarn is really not made for anything but socks! The pattern is free on Ravelry here.
We arrived at home at 5:30 PM. After 2 weeks in the RV, my modest little house seemed enormous! Our good neighbors, Kim and Bob, invited us out to dinner since they knew we didn’t have anything in the house to eat. We spent a very nice evening with them and their two daughters and then got back to work. The sheets and blankets all had to be laundered before we could go to bed. All the food had to be removed from the RV and the freezer defrosted.
Today we will unpack the remaining items, thoroughly clean and restock the RV, and finally, take it back to its place at the storage facility. Paul promised me a steak dinner at Hoss’s tonight. Now let’s see…how long can I put off that grocery shopping!
This is the second night in a row that I have not had WiFi on this trip. I will post and answer comments when I finally get connected again. Come on folks, it’s the 21st century!
I have been doing the Silver Sneakers Yoga Stretch Class for over a year now. My muscles have stopped aching and I do believe that I might finally be kicking this fibromyalgia! I can feel myself walking much more upright too. One thing with which I still have a problem is balance. There are 80 year-olds in my class who can stand on one foot with their arms lifted and not topple over. So far I am still very unsteady and usually must grab the back of my chair. But because I enjoyed my Yoga Stretch Class so much and wanted another day in the week for Yoga, I joined the Beginning Yoga Class.
This class is for any age. It is held during the day on a weekday so attendees still number mainly among the 50+ group. But going from Yoga stretch to Beginning Yoga ia a huge…um…stretch! Now we are positioned cross-legged on a 1/8″ thick mat that covers a hard tile floor. Even sitting upon this mat cross-legged is a challenge! Then we proceed to get into various positions and hold them for what feels like hours! Yoga is meant to be a spiritual practice but believe me, there is not much presence of spirit among the folks who are grunting and groaning their way into those positions! You can hear joints popping and butts flopping as we all do our best to maintain those postures.
Yoga comes with many props. You have the mat, the blocks (these raise your hands off the floor if you can’t reach your toes), the strap, and all kinds of sticky-bottomed socks, shoes, and gloves. For now I just practice in bare feet but I can see myself buying those sticky socks before long because the floor in the Yoga room is very disreputable-looking. So to make a long story short…what does every crochet fiend need when they practice Yoga? Of course, a crocheted Yoga bag mat!
The nicest bag that I have seen on-line is by Sara at Sans Limetes Crochet. Sara employs the Tunisian method to fashion a pattern of diamonds, circles and arrows on the fabric of the mat. Her pattern is available here. Since a yoga mat is very long, this must have taken quite a while to complete.
Photos used by permission of Sans Limites Crochet
I happen to have a few balls of purple size 3 thread in my stash so I thought I would take the easy route and make a bag that is a combination of mesh and single crochet rounds. I would love to make Sara’s bag another time but I think I will wait until I see if I can have enough perseverance to continue my class!
This will be my last update on this project until I get the pattern written up. I have been progressing very slowly and I have to admit that I don’t pick it up every day. I do enjoy working on this cardigan but it is going to take me quite a while to finish it. I am up to the shoulders on the back so I must now go to one of my crochet books to review how to do a neckline in Tunisian crochet. I plan to take this with me to Florida since it is light-weight and will give me something to do on the drive down and back. If I am lucky, I will have this done in time for fall!
Earlier today I posted about my dad and Alzheimer’s. After speaking with other members of my family, I decided to save this post for a later time. My intention was to give another side of this dreaded disease. Thank you for all your gracious and supportive comments.
I wish I had an interesting post to share with you this week but the truth is that I have been very busy taking my Pattern Grading Class with Kim Guzman and working on my Tunisian Cardigan. I would like to let you in on the progress that I made this week. I know it doesn’t seem like much but my yarn is very thin and it takes me a long time just to finish one row!
Below you see how the partially completed back matches up with the back of my prototype. I’ve laid both my pieces on the bed and pinned one on top of the other. It appears that the sleeve increases have worked well so far. I left myself a little room on each edge to add trim. I just have a few more rows to work before I begin my decreases for the shoulders.
The hem is extremely wavy. Not only does it curl up, which is what I expected, but it seems much looser than the body of the sweater. I am hoping that working some traditional single crochet around the hem once the parts are seamed together will solve this problem.
The Next Step
I am now very tempted to begin using the pattern grading information that I learned in Kim’s class. I think that I will play around with it a bit just for practice but in the meantime, I will continue with my drawings and my high school math. The measurements in the photo below illustrate the numbers that I must consider when working the shoulders. I must decrease from 33 inches across the tips of the sleeves to 16 inches at the top of the shoulders. I have to do these decreases on 7 inches for the back to get to the bottom of the neckline which is also shoulder-level.
So my calculations must be as follows:
Gauge: 20 stitches and 20 rows = 4 inches or 5 stitches and 5 rows = 1 inch
First off, I must deduct my trim since I measured from tip of shoulder to tip of shoulder. My trim accounts for about 1 inch of total width so I will deduct that from my 33 inches to come up with 32 inches. I have to decrease the width by 16 inches or 80 stitches. I have to make these decreases in 7 inches or 35 rows. I can see already that I am not going to be able to meet my target of 80 decreases in 35 rows. After working 35 rows and decreasing one stitch on each side, I will only have decreased 70 stitches, leaving 10 stitches or 2″. This means that at a height of 7 inches, my shoulders will be 2 inches wider than the prototype or 1 ” on each side. If I work the fronts the same way, then my sweater will be 4 inches wider in the shoulders all the way around.
I am not sure how to resolve this issue. Since the tops of the sleeves slope upward evenly until the shoulders and then level off sharply, I wonder if I can just simply keep decreasing one stitch on each side until I get to the back neck. I have examined this top and it appears as if the decreases are done evenly all the way up. I’m wondering now if the bulge I see as forming the shoulders is actually “hanger bulge”.
At this point, I have decided to try decreasing evenly all the way from the tip of the top of the sleeve to the edge of the back neck. This encompasses 9″ of height which will be (9 x 5) or 45 rows. Then I can decrease 42 times (once on each side) over a course of 45 rows. Much better! It remains to be seen whether this will end up being the correct shape. I’ll distribute the increases, work feverishly on my project, and get back to you with the results, good or ill!
You can see here that I am making progress on my Tunisian project. The increases have become so numerous now that it is taking me a while to work just a single row. But the up-side is that I will not have to bother with making individual sleeves. I am using a lot less yarn than I thought so I will have some left over to perhaps make a matching shell.
I mentioned last time that I am enrolled in a class for pattern grading taught by Kim Guzman. Kim is an excellent teacher and I am learning so much! For some reason, I’ve always had a mental block against Excel and spreadsheets. But this class teaches you how to make up different sizes of a pattern by using a spreadsheet. It’s very time-consuming but the best part is that I actually get it! So I am anxious to get started with grading my Tunisian Cardigan pattern. However, my class runs for a full two weeks so I will restrain myself until I have soaked up all the information I possibly can!
Neat Little Stitch Guide
I hope that the copyright police don’t get me but I just had to show you my new copy of this handy little stitch manual. Many of the stitches in this book have never been published. Indeed, I believe that they are original to Kim Guzman. The book contains descriptions, graphs, and color close-up photos of each stitch. What a great tool for anyone who is interested in the ever-expanding field of Tunisian crochet! I bought my book at Amazon for $6.42. It seems to be sold out right now but they are expecting more copies to come in in a few days.
Just an addendum: My friend Patrice has made me aware that Amazon does not expect to have this booklet before the middle of March of next year! It seems that they sold out so quickly that it must go into a second printing. But jot down the name and keep checking. This little book is really worth the money!