Wednesday, July 1, 2009

So I'm suddenly super excited about this new pattern I found. Thanks to the magic of Twitter (my newest obsession), I have been able to follow the posts of Jocelyn Sass, a crochet designer from New York. She posted a link to the tutorial to this interesting pattern. It's not put together the way I thought it would be. Check it out! Looks like Mom has a new Christmas present on the way!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Prairie Star Crochet

Okay, so far one of my most enjoyable projects has been the Prairie Star pattern. I saw this in a book at Michael's on Thanksgiving Day and knew I wanted to make it for my parents for Christmas. (See? Learning the lesson. Big projects like this either brings in bigtime cash or stays in the family!) I would have bought the whole book for that one pattern, but it was Christmas time and I was broke. Besides, I knew if you dig hard enough on the internet, you can find just about anything for free :)

The project itself took me about 26 days, but that was me spending hours upon hours on it each day. I had to, I was on a limited time schedule. The very last bit of it had me up until 5:30 Christmas morning. Each diamond took me around 10 to 15 minutes to make, sometimes shorter or longer depending on how tired or motivated I was. What did I decide? There are in the somewhere in the neighborhood of 225 diamonds in this pattern. Each diamond consists of three rows, the first two rows are made independently and the third row is crocheted into the blanket. This was great for me b/c after making Kelsey's blanket, I got really tired of making piles of blocks and then going back to stitch them together. This project just moves along quite swimmingly if you ask me.

I have one change to the pattern included in the link above:
On the First Motif, Round 1. In the ring, I do the following stitches (ch1, sc, hdc, dc, tr, ch3, tr, dc, hdc, sc, sc, hdc, dc, tr, ch3, tr, dc, hdc, sc). I added the extra two sc on the end of each side b/c the way it's written doesn't allow the next row to have six dc stitches on both sides of the diamond.

And now for my pictures :)

Note about the yarn I used. The pictures were taken on my camera phone, so you can't really tell, but the tips of the star are Cranberry from the Vanna Collection. All of the yarn used was already in my possession at the time I decided to make this afghan. The brown and white were the giant balls of extra cheap Wal-mart yarn. The brown was a little scratchy for my taste, but the white actually turned out quite soft and lacy. The gold and both blues were a nice yarn that I got on super blowout clearance from Michael's months before. I was so proud of that purchase, too. Each ball was 50 cents! The problem came into view towards the end when I realized I didn't have enough of the light blue to continue the pattern. After much deliberation and searching Hobby Lobby and Micheal's for something that would work as a substitute, I ended up changing the pattern a bit and I think it turned out alright. My anal retentive side still doesn't like that it doesn't all remain symmetrical, but what can you do?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Look Mom! I'm a 15 minute Internet Star!

So. . .I've been reading other crochet blogs and have found that people often move away from the main topic to digress, and I feel like digressing. Here we go.

Teen Sues Tattoo Artist for an Allegedly Botched Tattoo

Not so long story even less long: 18 year old goes in for a tattoo. She says she wanted three stars by her eye, fell asleep while the tattoo artist was carving into her tender flesh, and when she woke up, she had 56 stars. The artist said she wanted all of the stars and loved it until she went home and got the opinion of her father and brother. He even has a witness that she loved it. I mean seriously, someone is tattooing you in the face and you fall asleep? Really? She said she woke up when he was working on her nose and was appalled at what she saw. Really? You didn't feel the jawline being done Right on the bone? And the temple? That escaped your notice?

Still the tattoo artist was generous enough to offer paying for half of the laser removal. Top notch, if you ask me. She is suing for the whole amount plus damages. Get over it. You're 18 now and legally able to make life changing adult decisions. Time to learn what it means to step up and take ownership of those decisions.

Side note. This is the guy that tattooed her.

Make your own side comments and leave them here, plz :)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Me and my big mouth

In the midst of making these extra fast fun animals and not so difficult scarves, I told this girl at work that I would make her an afghan for her high school graduation. I had no idea how long it would take, but I had just gotten this great book with so many ideas for creative granny squares.

I ended up loving what I came up with. This book has 200 block patterns and ideas for arranging squares into some amazing afghans. I picked out the squares that I liked and found really cool pattern for the overall blanket. I made each square and took pictures.

Then I did something that was an amazing help. I put these pictures in an excel spreadsheet and laid them out in the pattern I wanted. I couldn't decide between this:

Or this :

I decided that the mostly beige and brown squares were too light, so I decided to rethink it. I made this one instead:

It reminded me of candy corn, so I texted Kelsey and made sure she didn't have some crazy hatred for candy corn. She didn't, and I was glad, too. It turned out great on the spreadsheet. This was a option:

But this one that won out:

Seriously, this was a labor of love. I was so proud of this blanket. I loved the colors and the patterns. It was beautiful. Needless to say, I learned my lesson. These gigantic projects belonged in the family. This baby represented arond $100 worth of yarn and supplies and over $500 worth of my own labor. It was a massively expensive gift to give a 17 year old just starting out in her first apartment with a brand new kitten. I wasn't happy about letting it go, but I said I would, so I did. She has it now, has had it for over a year. *sigh* Well, she loves it and still talks about it.

The magical world of Crocheting in the Round

Not long after finishing the Christmas scarves, I was understandably bored with crocheting in rows. It seemed to take forever to get something that looked like I accomplished anything. Imagine how excited I was to start doing granny squares!

This opened me up to a whole new world, Amigurumi!!! For anyone who doesn't know, Amigurumi is the Japanese art of making super cute pointless things with crochet like animals, vegetables, sushi, dishes, and such. Look it up. They are pretty cute. My first amigurumi attempt was the lion brand best bunny pattern

In retrospect, I wouldn't stuff him so full if I did him again, but I loved the way he turned out. Instead of counting rows on his ears and making sure that the tan parts are even, I purposefully made a bigger tan portion on one ear than the other. I also decided to make a little shirt and scarf for him. I loved how I could sew the ends into the body of this little guy. So easy! It took me exactly no time to do it. I used the stiffer Sugar 'n Spice yarn for him and I'm really happy with him.

I burned myself out on the next little guy I attempted. Someone asked me to make a lion and I found this great yarn for a mane on sale at Wal-mart that I couldn't pass up. I made the lion head and tied on each strand for the mane. The turnout was awesome, but man, it took forever. I never ended up finishing him. He's just a head and a body with no arms, legs, or a tail. Poor guy. I should fish him out of my stuff and finish him for someone. I wanted to tame all that hair with a barrett and make it a pretty little girl lion, but girl lions don't have manes, so I was at a loss.

Apparently I don't have a picture of the lion so far. I'll have to get that later. I used the Sugar 'n Spice yarn for this one, too. I'm not sure I had a specific pattern for this guy. I think I used the same Best Bunny pattern for the whole of him and kind of made up the muzzle on my own.

I know I actually only made one and a half, but I feel like my amigurumi phase lasted much longer than it did. I bought lots of books and researched them online for so long, I have projects in my head that feel like they're real, even though they aren't.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


My first few attempts at crochet were scarves. The idea was that I had run out of student loan money and needed to give meaningful gifts to my family for Christmas. So they got handmade scarves. Bless them, they accepted them graciously enough, but I don't really blame them for not wearing them. Ever. Well, I did see my step dad wearing his blue and white scarf a couple of times. . . .

I was really proud of my mom's red and white and my sister's pink and gray scarves simply because I had just learned how to crochet in stripes. I had not learned yet how to end a stripe smoothly, but that came with time. They both only got one stripe on each end because I was in a hurry and did not know about the time saving tapestry needles.

Scarves were a great start for me. What you see in the picture were simple double crochet stitches. I found that it took less time to use double crochet because they were bigger stitches and got me a lot further in less the time.

This green scarf was completed for my sister's birthday, which was less than a month after Christmas.
The basket weave pattern was simple enough. I got the idea for it from a book, but of course there are plenty of video examples like the one I linked above online. The site I've linked you to is super beginner stuff, so just in case you don't know anything, she will show you how to start from a chain.

I really liked the look of this pattern, but decided to stop about five inches in just because (as the lady will tell you on those videos) it takes up a lot of yarn and a lot of time. I did the mid section with a new stitch I really liked called the half double crochet, or hdc. I liked this stitch because it's somewhere between a single and a double crochet and I just liked the way it looked. I ended up alternating rows between hdc and sc (single crochet). I think it turned out nicely.

As you can see from the photo, I still hadn't gotten a grasp on when to finish a row and when to turn. You can see it in the way the beginning hdc row seems to lean out over the basket weave rows. My frustration with ending rows prompted me on to my next step in my crochet journey, crocheting in the round.

It's not Knitting! It's Crochet!

People who aren't a part of the fiber arts world often mistake knitting for crochet. One of my favorite examples came in the form of a gentle chastisement from my manager at work. She left a friendly reminder on the refrigerator at the coffee shop where I am employed that there are any number of side jobs we could be doing instead of sitting around, reading, playing board games, or knitting. This last reference was pointed directly at me since none of my coworkers had picked up any knitting needles to my knowledge in the past. So I wrote a note and attached it to her note. "It's not knitting! It's Crochet!" I hope she didn't take offense. . . .

My obsession with crochet started during Christmas Break my first year back in college. I was home with nothing to do, so I got it in my head that I would learn to crochet. I had picked up knitting a few years earlier, but had lost interest because it's HARD. I decided to try crochet mostly because it looked a lot easier. I never thought I liked the look of it as much as knitting, but as time went on and I learned different techniques and uses for the craft, I fell in love.

I usually only crochet during school breaks since my brain is usually fried and all I really want to do at the end of my day is sit and watch t.v. or hang out with my boyfriend. School breaks are my time to shine (crochet wise, that is).

I have not attempted clothes as of yet. I'm nervous about becoming one of those people who make crochet sweaters for their friends as Christmas gifts. My main passions started with scarves, moved to Amigurumi, and now have settled in the Afghan realm. I will probably revisit the Amigurumi for the sake of my classroom. Those will come in handy. I actually made the bunny who now stars in my Rabbit Files blog. He took almost no time at all to make. I'll post pictures of my crochet adventures in the future, but for now, I'm Katie and I don't knit, I crochet.