Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday Mini

I downloaded a little booklet to my Nook called "Garden Friends Crochet Pattern Embellishments." The author is Sharon Santorum. I'm not sure it's available other than as a Nook booklet (it only cost 99 cents) but there are some cute designs that make it worth trying to find.

Here is a little dragonfly I made today. He's barely 3 inches tall. He'll be a cute addition to a future baby outfit or blanket.

I like this quick projects!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Another day to veg and crochet

This is the view outside my back door this morning. We got another 17 inches, bringing us about halfway to the record of 75 inches for the winter of 94-95.

Yep, I'm glad I'm a crafter and I have reading, too--or I'd have cabin fever by now. I'm not even sure if I'll have work tonight!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I just finished the pair of socks I started about a year ago! The last 25% went by really quickly. I'm sure I'm like a lot of people when I say I'm motivated to get something done when the finish line is close.

As I said in a previous post, I sort of 'get it' now. I actually started a second pair last night, even before these were finished. I divided the yarn I have into 2 balls and I'm alternating between each sock so they will be done together. Can you believe that in one evening I've already gotten them to the heel part? Okay, full disclosure: for these I'm using medium weight yarn and a slightly larger hook. They may end up being slippers if they are too thick for shoes, but I'll have fun with them.

The pair above are from the booklet "Paton's Stretch Socks: Sweet to Your Feet." Honestly, I got impatient with the tiny little single-crochet rows. You can see where I switched to half double crochet. You (the handful of faithful readers I have) know me--I never make anything 'exactly' the way it is written out.

BTW, yesterday was my 55th birthday. Mike and the kids took me out to a Chinese Buffet. And...they bought me a NOOK color! It is awesome! I've already downloaded things onto it. LOL, I can even read this blog on it, since I can get on the internet.

My first download? "Food Network Magazine." I also found a slow-cooker cookbook for about a dollar. How cool is that? it sox, or socks? Oh, never mind--"sox" gets a squiggly line.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The end is in sight

The end for the socks I started about a year ago, that is! I'm about 2 rounds away from decreasing for the toes.

The second one has gone together a lot more quickly than the first and I'm really starting to 'get it.' Now I can't wait to start another pair. I've learned a few things along the way. For instance, no matter what the pattern tells you, it's a good idea to try on as you go to make sure the sock fits. I had to tear out about five rounds because the sock was waaaay too big around. Now it fits just right.

I think I've said this before, but I'm jealous of anyone who can knit or crochet a whole pair of socks in an evening.

I need to go out and buy yarn for some projects, including a baby blanket I started a few months ago (and put away to make Christmas things) and the white and pink baby outfit. But it is 13 degrees outside and I'm not sure I want to go anywhere. Brrrrrr!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Frugal Friday: Save on printer ink

No, not on buying it. You save here by using less in the first place!

What does this have to do with creativity? Well, you know you print out a lot of instructions and recipes, right? All those pages take lots of ink, and (of course) the colored ink is especially expensive.

So this is what you do:

1. Highlight exactly what you want to print by left clicking at the start, then dragging the mouse until you get to the end. You don't really need to print out 37 comments, do you?

2. Open up "Print" then, under "Print Range," click on "Selection"

3. Now, under "Properties" click on "Fast" and "Grayscale." Grayscale means you won't use colored ink. Really, unless you want to keep a permanent copy (and why would you until you have made a test run?) you don't need this in color.

I hope this little Frugal tip helps! I am going to join in "Frugal Friday" over at "Life as Mom." Go check it out--lots of great tips over there!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A few projects & Housework

An afghan I've been working on here and there. It's about 4 feet wide by (as of now) 3 1/2 feet long. I found the multi-color on clearance and bought the solid to match. It's a dusty blue that is a bit darker than this picture shows. The repeat is one row of 5 chains and 3 single crochets in one row, then 7 doubles in the chain space (for the shell) and one single in the middle single crochet. It will be like this when done: a section of multi-colored, a large section of blue, another section of the multi, then finished with either just the blue or multi if I have any left.

Close up.

I took out a project I'd started before Christmas: a little boy's bucket hat. This is flannel which I've lined with some interfacing. This will probably be the inside, although it should be reversible. I don't know what I'm doing for the outside--maybe denim. When it's done, it goes in my giftie box.

The fabric is a remnant of moire that I found on clearance. It has a shine to it. It's just one of those things I picked up because it was cheap and pretty. Then I realized there was enough to make new curtains for my office/sewing room. I have finished almost all the edges and now am at the point where I have to break out the ironing board.

Housework? Not my favorite, but ya gotta do it. My big project of the day is straightening up the laundry room. Mostly because I have exactly one of every sock that I own! So I gathered up all the socks I could find and threw them in the wash. I'm also sorting out things by categories, like towels or things that need to be ironed. Hmmm, I guess I will be taking that ironing board out soon!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Gloomy, rainy day

It's been raining all day. That's fine with me if it washes away most of the snow. Trouble is flooding that makes big puddles that will freeze. Right now, it's all yucky slush out there besides big piles of snow.

My squirrel babies came to visit and looked terribly pathetic with their wet coats. I gave them lots of peanuts. Of course, the birds got their seeds, too.

This was a good day to blog hop and crochet. In between blogs I'm working on the socks I started a million years ago. So far today I think I've done 10 rounds, which makes about 600 stitches. I am jealous of these people who can turn out one pair after another. This is my first and I'm only working on it a little at a time.

I took a break from hopping and crocheting to write in my own blog, before the laptop battery runs out. I'm sitting on my bed with it.

Don't you think if someone is meant to be portable and on your lap it would have a battery that lasts longer than an hour?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Valentine Scrubbie & Tutorial

Here is a quick project. It measures about 5 x 4 inches.

I used an "H" hook here.

Make about 20 chains. This will be the width of your scrubbie from corner to corner, so make it as big as you like. You can do single crochets if you want, but HDCs are faster.(BTW, there's a name for this type of crochet, but I'm darned if I know what to call it.)

Half Double Crochet (HDC) in the 3rd chain from the hook, then all the way to the end.

Now, instead of going back in the other direction, continue around the back of the chain.

Keep going around and around like this. As you work, you will see little triangular 'pockets' forming at each end.

Once the 'pockets' meet each other, fasten off the yarn, leaving a long tail.

I save mesh bags from produce, and cut lengths of this for the heart. I actually sewed the pad shut before doing the heart, but I'd recommend doing it first because then you won't have a weird-looking back.

The cool thing is that you have diagonal rows that you can use as a guide for sewing the heart. You can use either a hook to pull the netting through, or one of those plastic needles with a gigunza eye.

After you embroider the heart (remember, it's a scrubbie, not haute couture. Nobody says you have to be a talented needleworker!), sew the pad shut with that long tail.

Now you have a little Valentine Scrubbie!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Live & Learn

Here is a picture of the baby jacket in progress. When I had finished up one sleeve, I realized that I had crocheted too many rows on the jacket bodice. This is why the neckline didn't look right. I must have repeated the last step. It was easy enough to tear out.

What wasn't easy was tearing out the row on the blanket that I messed up. It is a pink row like the one on the jacket. The repeat is this: single, four chains, puff stitch. Well, I got so caught up in making sure I counted right for the puff stitch that I missed counting the four chains in numerous places.

So I decided to unravel all the pink. I just couldn't get it to work, and it's usually very easy to pull out crochet stitches.

Then I realized I was pulling it out from the wrong direction.


Yeah, after I used scissors to cut apart the 'stuck' stitches, I decided to work from the other end and pulled it out with no trouble at all. Now I have a bunch of fuzz to cleanup. Glad I have a Kone vacuum, LOL!

This time, I stopped every few repeats to be sure nothing was 'lost.' It probably isn't a good idea to watch shows like Animal Precinct while doing work you should concentrate on. Yelling at jerks with emaciated pit bulls messes up my concentration.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tiny Potholder & Tutorial

Here is a little potholder I made last night. It took me about a half hour. As you can see, it is only about 4 inches square! It will be part of a set I'm designing for a child's gift. (Today I'm going to try an oven mitt.)

Here is the basic pattern, but please don't hold me to the numbers. Just wing it if you want to make it--I wing things all the time, LOL!

I chained about 15 stitches using cotton yarn (Sugar N Cream, for example) and a size G hook.

Then I did a half-double crochet (HDC from here on) in the second chain from the hook.

Then I skipped a stitch and did a single crochet (SC) and a HDC together in the next stitch.

Keep going across like that: skip a stitch, then SC and HDC in the next. You might have to do a single crochet in the end to even it out depending on how many chains you started with.

On the next row (row 2), you will start with a chain 2, then you'll do an SC and HDC in all the single crochets across. Frankly, I just looked for the biggest gap and used that. You won't be skipping any stitches now, btw.

Keep on repeating row 2 until you get a square, then fasten it off.

Now take a coordinating color and do a single crochet all around the square. Make 2 SCs at each corner to make it 'bend' easier.

You make the ruffle like this: slip stitch in one SC then do 3 double crochets in the next stitch. Keep alternating like this until you are done.

I think if I had started the ruffle at a corner, then ended there, my loop would have worked out better. As it happened, I had to make it separate.

I will post more 'tiny kitchen' projects as I make them! Meantime, of course I'm still working on all my other projects! Not much else to do with all that snow outside. If I don't have to go out (and I don't) I'm not going to!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

ABC of me

I guess it counts as being creative to come up with answers to these. I don't know where this originated exactly.

A - Age: I'll be 55 on January 25th

B - Bed Size: California King--which is narrower but longer than a regular king. And a pain to find sheets for.

C - Chore you hate: housework in general so I do a little here and there and it manages to get done

D - Dog's Name: Shadow Dante

E - Essential Start of the Day item: Coffee with flavored cream such as French Vanilla. Give me all your caffeine and no one gets hurt.

F - Favorite Color: Red

G - Gold or Silver: Silver

H - Height: 5 foot 2

I - Instruments you play: I still play piano but I'm not that good at it

J - Job: Secretary, File Clerk, Receptionist and chief-cook-and-bottle washer to a wonderful pediatrician. (Okay, I don't cook or wash bottles.) BTW, I used to be a writer and hope to someday finish the mystery novel I've been working on forever.

K - Kids: My sons are 20, 24 and 28. My daughter is 26.

L - Living Arrangements: We own a house which is a high ranch.

M - Music You Love: A lot of old things, like Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald, show tunes and anything else that sounds good to me. I really don't like country, though.

N - Nicknames: None, thank heavens.

O - Overnight Hospital Stay: For myself, when I had 4 babies. Not all at once, as you see from "K." Also slept overnight for most of 42 days when the 24-year-old (then 7) had been hit by a car.

P - Pet Peeve: People who don't signal, or signal as they are making the turn. Hey, doofus--it's supposed to be an alert for the people behind you!

Q - Quote from a Movie: "I'm older and I have more insurance." From Fried Green Tomatoes, right?

R - Right handed or Left: Right handed

S - Siblings: 2 sisters and one brother living, 2 brothers who passed away.

T - Time you wake up: whenever I feel like it unless I have to get up for work, then by 8 at the latest.

U - Underwear: nothing terribly exciting.

V - Vegetables you dislike: Asparagus makes me gag. Beets and lima beans are yukky. I recently tried turnips for the first time and they aren't bad. It is faster to list what I like: salad stuff, broccoli, cauliflower, corn and mushrooms.

W - Workout Style: My Wii fit rocks!

X - X-Rays You've had: wrist, neck, teeth, back. Nothing exciting. MRIs are cooler.

Y - Yummy Food you make: Mac & Cheese, Vegetable Soup, and something called "Western Hospitality casserole" which takes 4 hours from start to finish but is soooo worth it. Oh, and corn bread!

Z - The best place to Visit -I don't travel much except to visit my mom in Ohio. I loved London and Paris but that is in the past and will probably never go again.

All in all, I'm not very exciting...but I'm nice, LOL!

I hope some of you will copy and paste this then change for your own answers! Nosy minds want to know about you!

Here is a baby hat I am almost finished with--just have to weave in some ends. It is part of a set featured in the August 2008 of "Crochet World."

I'm making the whole set. I have 2 rows done on the afghan, and most of the jacket done. There will also be booties for it.

I have to say that I find following directions for jackets difficult. The neckline of the one I made looks nothing like the picture. I hope that it will turn out 'wearable.'

Not that there are any babies due soon! But you know I like having some things 'ready to go.' This will fit a 3-6 month old. It is only taking 2 balls of yarn, which is nice!

The little hat is a quick project that could easily be finished in a sitting or two if you are ambitious.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Hexagonal Potholder

I've been trying to make one small thing a day and this hexagonal potholder fits the bill. Projects you can finish quickly are very satisfying.

The orange and white parts are cotton yarn, but the purple center is from some leftover regular (worsted weight, I guess) yarn I had from other projects. You know you always end up with that little bit that you really can't do much with? This is a good way to use some of it. It's just a decorative touch because the real absorbency is in the cotton part.

Here's the link if you'd like to make this. I did it up in less than an hour, which is pretty good for me:

Thursday, January 6, 2011

It's good to be back... projects that have nothing to do with holidays, that is. Here's a little hat I just made. It's supposed to have a stiffer brim but I like it like this. It was also supposed to be adult sized. I really do need to figure out that whole 'gauge' thing. But it will be cute for a little kid. It's basically just a beret with a bill on it. If it make it again, though, I'm going to add a second string of yarn when I make the bill so it is twice as thick and therefore stands better.

Yesterday I used some of the Barnes & Noble gift card Mike gave me for Christmas and got myself two new magazines--one crochet and one knit. Most of the knit stuff is way beyond me, but there are techniques in it that I'm practicing. I see lots of stuff in the crochet magazine I want to make.

I'm hoping to actually crochet and finish some kind of structured garment, probably a sweater, for myself this year. I've tried this before and failed, but I think I know what I did wrong. We'll see how that goes.