Sunday 8 March 2015

Yarning Along - 08/03/15

Probably about 7 years ago, I began a Bobble Afghan and a Sweet Baby Hoodie in the same yarn for the new great nephew of the man I was dating. Well, that relationship ended and so did the progress on my crocheting. Moving more than once, buying my own house, working full time and studying for my degree intervened. Then about 3 years ago, I learned that my daughter was going to bless me with a grandson. And I hoped to finish both the afghan and the hoodie for him. But first I was determined to make him an afghan using the same Rainbow Afghan pattern that I used for her. I made hers with a white background and pastel colours, but since this was going to be a boy, I wanted something more bold and boyish. And I did get it finished:
In addition, I made him a quilt:
And finally finished the hoodie for him.
But the afghan was still lanquishing in a box in the basement. 
Last year, I learned that I was to have a new great niece or nephew in February. I already had a girl's quilt finished, Scrappy Shine
The quilt top is neutral enough that it could have been for a boy or a girl, but I had intended it for a girl and I bound it in pink. So I purchased fabric to make a boy's quilt as well, so I'd be ready for either gender. 
I had other quilts on the go and put off starting it as I had until February. Then I decided to renovate the sewing area in the basement. And those renovations are ongoing and most of my sewing/quilting supplies are piled up in the living room. As I'm sure you can imagine, there's no quilting being done. So I decided that I'd better get to work on that afghan in case it was a boy. 
As mentioned previously, that pattern is quite dense and the yarn is frustrating to work with as the shimmer strand keeps separating from the rest of the yarn, so it was really slow going. I was kind of hoping that the baby would be a girl (even though the parents were hoping for a boy). Then baby Seth was born and it became imperative that I finish that afghan. And I did.
Just last night I finally worked in the last of the ends, and it will get mailed off this week. The border ended up a little ruffle-y. I probably could have worked that out with blocking, but I doubt the parents (or the baby) will care. 
By the way, Mystery was so very good when I was taking the pictures of the afghan. I told him, "Don't get on the afghan or you'll be in trouble." And he only stepped on it once accidentally as he was skirting the edge of it. See how nicely he poses in that top picture. Such an awesome cat! (You'll also notice his tail in the bottom left corner of the picture of the boy's quilt fabric).
Meanwhile, I got my yarn for Sophie's Universe
And got started on this awesome pattern. Other crocheters were sharing pictures of their Sophie with the men in their lives, so I shared one with the Important Male in my life.
There were also pictures of Sophie outdoors, so I added a couple, including this one that shows how mild our weather is lately by including the water lying at the side of the street. I've actually got a bare patch of grass at the other end of my house.
And here's Sophie currently, done to the end of Part 3:
As she progressed, I realized that she was going to be bigger than the pattern stated, in spite of the fact that I'm using a 5.0 hook instead of a 5.5. I don't mind her being bigger, but I was concerned about running out of yarn, so I added a couple of colours: black and the blue that's on the last round in this picture. I wanted to add the black before I started a repeat of the colours, and remembered that I had some "in reserve" for the Cathedral Rose Window Afghan, so I "borrowed" some from that stash. In addition, while I was rummaging in the basement, I came across this mound of yarn, which is also in reserve for the Cathedral Rose:
That's 29 balls of green/purple variegated. This yarn came in those 1 pound packs of mill ends at Walmart. I have previously not purchased enough of these packages to finish a project, and when I went back, there were none left. So when I bought these, I was determined to make sure I had sufficient for everything I wanted to do and bought every package they had. There was more than this to start with, but I have completed drapery tiebacks
and the Lace Enchantment afghan in the meantime. 
While this is a pretty yarn, I've actually gotten rather bored with it. I'm kind of wishing I'd gone with the blues and purples in the picture on the Cathedral Rose pattern instead of the greens and purples. But I have this mountain of yarn now, so I need to use it. And it does go with my chosen decor better than the blues. Plus I also have the plain green I need. I thought I had the purple as well, but didn't come across it in my basement rummaging. Maybe I just thought about buying it. It will either turn up, or I will just have to buy some. Terrible thing, having to buy more yarn... LOL!

The yarn and needle I ordered for Red Heart's "Learn a Stitch, Make this Cowl" project arrived this past week.
That's Red Heart Medley in Eclectic for the Twisted Cowl (crocheted) and Red Heart Soft in Lavender for Candi's Checked Cowl (knitted). The Lovable Cowl pattern (knitted) was posted for March, which is made from Unforgettable yarn. I knew they had some in great colours at my local Walmart, so picked up a skein in Parrot, plus the needle I need, along with the blue yarn for Sophie. This cowl is lighter weight, so only requires one skein.
While I was there, I noticed that they had 3 skeins of Super Saver in blacklight. When I first saw the blacklight yarn, I fell in love with it. I love bright colours, especially set off with black, so this yarn was just awesome to me. And I resolved to make a project with it some day. Then when the Yarnspirations CAL came along, I decided to use blacklight as my main colour. I needed 5 skeins, preferably in the same dye lot. I'm not obsessed with dye lot, especially not in a variegated yarn, but would prefer to keep the same dye lot if possible. My local Walmart had only 2 skeins of blacklight and they were in different dye lots, so I had to choose alternate yarn. Later, even those two skeins disappeared and the blacklight slot on the shelf remained empty for a few weeks. So when I saw these 3 skeins, all in the same dye lot, I scooped them up. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them yet, but I wasn't going to miss out on them again. I am rather puzzled, however, as to why my Walmart would only bring in 3 skeins. Had someone bought them and returned them? Or is that all Walmart thinks someone will use? I have actually emailed Walmart to find out why their yarn stock is so depleted, both in the store and online, but I haven't heard back from them yet. 
I added a ball of the orange as it, too, was the only one left, and if I decide to do something with the variegated plus other colours, orange is one of the colours I can add. 
Now, the ex is coming over this afternoon with a bucket of drywall mud to help with my renos. Before he got into truck driving, he worked in construction. And if there's anyone that can do drywall well, it's definitely him. So I need to get on with my day before he arrives. 

Sunday 1 March 2015

Hook & Needle News

The Crochet Crowd Mystery CAL (Crochet-A-Long) is not turning out as I had hoped. So far anyway. But it is a mystery, and it certainly looks like one, so I'll just have to wait and see how it turns out. We started with a basic granny square, all one colour of yarn, which is not ugly, but it is kind of boring.

Fortunately, I was using a variegated yarn, so it wasn't quite so boring. In Week 2, we added an X to the granny square.
And I thought, "Oh, that's different." For week 3, we added one round each with the remaining two colours. First with colour C:
Is it supposed to be that sloppy-looking? Because no matter how neatly and evenly I try to make my stitches, it still comes out looking unkempt. By this time, I'm beginning to lose my motivation. I have a hard time being enthusiastic about working on something that I consider ugly. Besides, baby Seth has been born and I really need to focus on getting his afghan finished. So I decided to set this CAL aside to get the Bobble afghan done. That way I can see where the clues are taking the CAL and decide if I want to actually complete the afghan. I'm not a quitter, but I also don't believe in wasting my time making something I'm not enjoying. 
I finished Clue 3 on one square just so that I could share a picture of it:
I have christened this 'Frankensquare' (as in Frankenstein) because to me it's an ugly monstrosity. Well, maybe that's being too harsh, but it is incredibly weird and funky. One of my friends is working on the KAL (Knit-A-Long) and the KAL is totally different from the CAL. Her squares are looking great and when she saw what the CAL is looking like, she commented that she's glad she's doing the knitted one. 
I actually considered working on the knitted one as well. I haven't knitted in years. I only ever finished one sweater. I started other projects, but life got in the way. But I wasn't sure if I was ready for a whole afghan project, especially one that might be a little challenging to an inexpert knitter. But as I rummaged around in my hook and needle drawer to see if I had the needles required for the KAL, I thought to myself that I'd better get back into knitting or get rid of all of those needles. In addition to the ones I had purchased when I started knitting years ago, I have since acquired more through a yard sale purchase or somewhere that I don't recall. As I was considering different yarns and different projects, I found that Red Heart is offering a free cowl pattern each month this year. January's was a crocheted cowl and February's is knitted. I'm not sure if they're going to alternate all year between knitting and crocheting, but I figured a cowl is a small enough project to use to get back into knitting. And I decided to do all 12 cowls. Initially, I thought, "What would anyone do with 12 cowls?" I'm not into selling my work and I'm not such a fashionista that I think I need to own 12 cowls. But I do have 5 sisters, a sister-in-law, one aunt that's still living, and 3 nieces. That leaves one for me and one for my dear friend Neva, the friend that moved to BC last October. So guess what everyone is getting for Christmas? I don't always get all of these people gifts. It depends on if I have time and money. But I like a challenge and doing a cowl a month sounds like a fun challenge. I will probably get bogged down part way through the year and might not get them finished, but I'll give it a try. Since my sewing studio is a long way from being finished, I have to have an alternate creative outlet to quilting. Crocheting and knitting fits the bill because I can do that almost anywhere. I have ordered the yarn for the first two cowls and the circular knitting needle that I need for the knitted one. I also placed a second order which I will discuss shortly. The merchant I ordered from has good selection and prices, but I definitely am not impressed with their customer service. So I'm pondering whether or not they will get any further orders from me. 
While on the facebook page for the Mystery CAL/KAL, someone mentioned another CAL, Sophie's Universe and shared the Crafty Crochet Community facebook page. Wow!!! Just check out these links. This is such an awesome, beautiful afghan that I had to join in. So that was my second yarn order. It's supposed to arrive Tuesday. And I can hardly wait! (Oddly enough, the cowl yarn order, which was placed about a week prior, won't arrive till Thursday). I really need to get the Bobble afghan finished so that I can start in on Sophie.
And here's the bobble afghan:
It's about 32 inches long right now and I need to get it to 45" before it's ready for the border. So, I've still got quite a way's to go, especially since this afghan progresses slowly. Here's a close up:

It's an attractive afghan, but I don't ever want to use this yarn or this pattern again. Although I will probably have some yarn left over that I will likely use in some of my Bavarian crochet and crocodile stitch projects that call for 3 weight yarn. And on the subject of Bavarian crochet, I'm nearly half-finished this scarf:
Selection of 3 weight yarn is limited in my town, and that's why I ended up with "baby colours." Actually, yarn selection of any sort is limited to a meagre collection at the local Walmart. And it's an hour's drive to the nearest Michael's. That's why I'm more likely to order online. But I'm not always that patient. When I want yarn, I tend to want it NOW! LOL.
I've actually managed to add a couple of rows to the Christmas Tree skirt I'm working on. It now measures 39" across at the points or about 35" midway between points. I'm not sure how big I'm aiming for - maybe until I run out of yarn?

And when I finally get it big enough, I'll add some poinsettias and/or holly and probably a border of the variegated red/white/green yarn that I have. It's a pretty low stress project. You can't really tell from this picture, but there's a bit of sparkle to this yarn.
Hidden away somewhere is a zippered cardigan that I haven't worked on in a few years. I should get that out and finish it as well.