Thursday, March 31, 2011

[2KCBWDAY4] Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2011: Day 4

Today's topic is a question we are to ask ourselves: whatever happened to your _____ ...

Ya know - I racked my brain on this one and realized that there is one item that I do wonder what happened to it, but I really don't think that I will ever know. What I can do is tell you the story of my first afghan.

Around age 5 I joined little league - yup, baseball. I was the only girl on the league and took a lot of flack from the community for this, especially the parents of the boys. After a couple years I landed myself on a team with a fabulous coach. There were a couple awesome coaches, but Mr. S really stood out to me that year. I was maybe 8 years old. He was a special education teacher at my school and spent the evenings coaching a little league team. He was a very nice man and a very very VERY patient man.

The end of baseball season was approaching and I decided to do something for Mr. S. That is when  I sat down, hook in hand and started crocheting red and black granny squares. I genuinely had no idea what it would turn into. My parents bought the yarn for me and with the last skein of red, they accidentally bought a darker red. I noticed but needed to make the squares. What I had was just enough of the darker red squares to make an afghan with a big S in the middle.

I gave it to him and he loved it. I am pretty sure it was the only afghan he would ever have been given by one of his players.

I sometimes wonder how Mr. S is doing... and sometimes, when I think of him, I wonder if he still has that afghan.


If you are interested in reading other peoples' blog posts for Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2011, just head to google and search for 2KCBWDAY4

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

[2KCBWDAY3] Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2011: Day 3

Today's topic is all about how I organize my yarn .... well, this should be a relatively short blog *laughs*

Until about a month ago all of my yarn was in boxes. Oh, and some was in bags because it was considered a "WIP Bag" - then my beloved took pity upon my mess and bought me a very large basket. This is my first attempt at organizing my yarn so while I still have a lot in boxes, I am pleased with my basket of yarn.

It isn't much, but it's mine.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

[2KCBWDAY2] Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2011: Day 2

Today's topic is one of reflection - to look at myself and see how I have grown; compare myself knowledge and skill-wise.

I know it may sound impressive when I say I've crocheted for a good 30+ years; however, part of becoming better is knowing there is always room for growth. I know that while I am good at what I know, there are so many more stitches and techniques that I can learn.

Looking back at the last year, I think I have spent a lot of time being more creative - making my way away from patterns, mine and others', to just feel free to play freely with the hook and yarn. I have come up with an interesting stitch that I am still working with before releasing it on my blog and in patterns.

As for what I create, I have to admit that previously I tended to shy away from wearables beyond the basics; however, recently, I have taken a turn in making more items like shrugs and shawls and am hoping to tackle some sweaters and socks. It may seem like something every crocheter would make, but honestly - in the 30 years I have crocheted, I have shy'd away those types of patterns and spending more time on other things more focused on household.

So there you have it - my personal reflections on my crochet life in the last year. I would love to hear about yours so please either comment or leave a URL where I can go to read your entry.

Monday, March 28, 2011

[2KCBWDAY1] Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2011: Day 1

Today's topic is a simple one - tell readers about two yarns, perhaps one I like and one I do not. This is simple enough because yarn is the .... foundation .... (get it?) ... of crochet. I don't know if it is inherent to knitters and crocheters, but I am a very texture based person. I really enjoy touching things - and with crochet, that means I get to run my hand over so many different fibers. Simply put - texture is important.

So what yarn do I enjoy? I know there are a lot of expensive yarns out there: silk blends, cotton, bamboo - all so lovely to touch. But while texture is important, I have to consider cost. I do a fair amount of charity crochet and I go through a lot of yarn just crocheting other types of items for personal use and gifts. I like to use expensive yarns, but I'm just a regular ole person - I can't afford to put 10$ or more into a skein of yarn, and then make something that takes 5 or 6 skeins.

my cowel in ILTY oatmeal
This is why my favorite yarn is "I Love This Yarn" brand yarn. I will buy other acrylic yarns, including Red Heart, but you will find a lot of my projects use ILTY. I like that it is rather affordable and for an acrylic yarn, it is relatively soft. If I have to choose a specific color from this brand, I love the tweeds and even more specifically, "oatmeal" would be my favorite. I keep several skeins on hand for emergency use and have made several items out of it already. The price just makes it even more appealing than it is already.

There is one yarn that was deceptive. I was visiting my mother and my husband went to Walmart for some random items. He came back and had a bag of this yarn. It was absolutely gorgeous and the texture was lovely. I was actually surprised he picked out such a nice yarn. When I went to crochet a scarf out of it, it was a nightmare. The crimped nature of the yarn and the fiberous nature of it made it hard to count stitches and stay on track with the pattern. I ended up frogging as much as I could until the yarn got tangled into itself. At that point, I threw away the remaining portion.

Unfortunately - I had 3 skeins of this stuff!

Well - the story does have a happy ending. I stuck the yarn in a bag and shoved it into a drawer. Out of sight, out of mind. One day I was watching YouTube videos and came across a pattern that I wanted to try. It was a loom knitted caterpillar scarf. I started it with regular yarn (probably ILTY hehe) and didn't like it. I frogged it. I conceded I would most likely need to go buy yarn until, for some reason, a lightbulb came on and I went and got the frustrating yarn. The yarn worked into the loom beautifully and did wonders for the pattern. I was glad I had it, even if it made me angry months ago.

Scarf made with Lion Brand Homespun
So what is the yarn - the yarn was Lion Brand Homespun yarn. The color I had was called Colonial (which reminded me of peacock blue). It has a silky texture to it, it is affordable, and it is hard to work with.

This yarn was truly a lesson in buying yarn that fits the project. Not all yarns can be forced into a certain pattern.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

[Video] Granny Square Beret Tutorial

The videos below walk you through the entire 'granny square beret/cap' pattern found on I have written permission from Sue of to do this tutorial. is a charitable program that brings crafters of all kinds together to create hats and get them into the hands of people going through chemotherapy, which causes the individual's hair to come out. The belief of is that the person has enough to worry about with worrying about their head being cold.

In order to follow along with these videos, you will need to use the written pattern located here (will open in a new window):

Hopefully this pattern will help those struggling with the pattern get through it and have a wonderful hat suitable to give away to someone who can use it.

Video 1: Creating the Granny Hexagon

Video 2: Creating the Granny Square

Video 3: Joining the Granny Pieces Together

Video 4: Adding the Brim

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

WIP Wednesday

And here I am again - with many of the same projects on hook and only a little headway. I have been crocheting, but my project list will ebb and flow through the week and it just seems that it misses WIP Wednesday.

So let's get crack-a-lackin' on my projects:

1. The new and improved baby blanket for a friend
Still going stong on this baby blanket

I was only able to put an hour or so into this one. I am hoping that I can really focus on it this weekend and maybe even finish it. I do have some homework due since Spring Break is over... so I guess I'll have to play it by ear.

2. Legwarmers for friend
These don't seem to be going anywhere and I'm not sure why. I think I'll touch base with her again tomorrow and find out where we were. I think I was needing some more measurements but she may have forgotten or think we are on a different page than what I think.

3. Scrapghan #1
Still there... still eating all the leftover yarn.

4. Scrapghan #2 (on hold)
Still on hold.

5. Kitty Toys
I'm still fiddling BUT I did get an order from a coworker for 2 more kitty toys. I had given her an early design and apparently her kitties like it. Perhaps the earlier design will work for my needs.

7. Dishcloths
This is just one of those things I'll always be working on.

I have really been putting some focus into my blog. I was able to do the tutorial for the head hugger pattern for and have put some time into creating an abbreviation page. I am also putting some time into getting a list together of good charitable projects. I was thinking of having an open list but the more I think about it, I'm leaning towards having it be charitable projects I've worked on personally... perhaps I'll find a happy median.

I got a new book of crochet and am looking forward to delve into it... and I think I may go do that right now.

I wish you all the best. God Bless and Happy Hookin'
- Cris

PS: If you like looking at what others are working on, then I'd suggest heading over to Tami's Amis blog.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

[Video] HDC Turban Pattern Tutorial

The videos below walk you through the entire 'hdc turban' pattern found on I have written permission from Sue of to do this tutorial. is a charitable program that brings crafters of all kinds together to create hats and get them into the hands of people going through chemotherapy, which causes the individual's hair to come out. The belief of is that the person has enough to worry about with worrying about their head being cold.

In order to follow along with these videos, you will need to use the written pattern located here (will open in a new window):

Hopefully this pattern will help those struggling with the pattern get through it and have a wonderful hat suitable to give away to someone who can use it.

ROWS 1-3

ROWS 4 and 5

ROWS 6 and 7

ROWS 8 to end

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Lesson's Learned - not just for IT anymore

Take 2
I work in IT - information technology for folks not 'in the know' hehehe After a large project is implemented or a very rough release, everyone on the project will sit down and go through a Lesson's Learned meeting. For some this is a breeze, and for others it can be a little more time intensive. What this does is allows the group to identify what went wrong, what could be improved, and know what was done that was right. Once identified, we look for process improvements and implement those for the next big project or software release.

It sounds blah because it is - but you have to be willing to be critical of yourself and not take it personally. You have to be able to look at the finished product and all the effort it took to get there and know what was good and what was not.

And yes - I have found this to be applicable to many areas of my life, both personally and professionally.... including my crochet.

Last month I finished a hat for a co-worker. You may remember it as the Illini Stocking Cap. I was relatively happy with the results; however, there were definitely some elements that I did not like. When working up your own pattern this will happen. After giving him the hat, I couldn't help but keeping thinking "what could I have done to make _____ look better" - and one morning, it finally came to me.

Granted, I was going to re-do the hat anyway, but I was lucky enough that he came to me a few days later saying he did not want to seem ungrateful, but he was a little worried the hat may be a little too big. I was so excited that he was giving me an opportunity to correct the flaws that I saw. Obviously, they were not big flaws. He probably didn't even notice. But, I have a feeling that with the hat re-created, it will make those tiny flaws stand out. That's ok though - no one is perfect and it was a first go at a made up pattern.

I truly wish I had taken a few more detailed pictures of the first hat to allow you to compare them visually here.

Back to topic - I have found that lesson's learned are invaluable to my crochet. I may have been crocheting for a rather long time, but this does not mean I am invincible to mistake or being able to better myself or my skill.

I think that is my lesson of the day. I do not remember when I was having problems with tension - I am sure that I did. I am sure that I struggled with reading those first few patterns. I know I had to split yarn and pull up bubbles with every stitch.... Just because I don't remember them does not mean they did not exist.

The truth is - those days exist for anyone who is attempting to learn a new skill. For anyone, the beginner or the expert, do not lose sight that you can always learn something new - you can learn something in the most unexpected of places, and if you allow yourself to see your work as something not personal, you can also learn something new from yourself. And most importantly, we shouldn't be embarrassed to share those observations with others - knowing others struggle with certain elements or techniques only allows someone else to know their struggles and frustrations are perfectly normal and can be worked through with enough patience, practice, and time.

God bless and happy hooking
- Cris

Friday, March 18, 2011

Finally Finished Friday

Ahhh it's Friday - I look forward to spending the weekend with my family and getting out in the wonderful promised warm weather -

But Friday means something else - it means I get to post all the items I finished this week!

Now... it may seem like I was not that productive but I was, for some reason it just didn't show in finished crochet pieces.

What I did finish were a field of shamrocks.

I wanted to do the review of shamrock patterns for my blog, which I successfully completed (to read it, click here). But it left me with a lot of little shamrocks. The reason I started with the shamrocks was to make two pins for my kids. After seeing so many patterns, I thought the review would be good. And the review left me with a LOT of shamrocks. I decided to convert all of them into pins and put them on my desk at work. I then thought "why not make the money back for the pin backs I had to buy" and sold them for 50 cents each. I sold 9 of them! I was so surprised. Those that bought them really seemed to enjoy them, and all were worn on St. Patrick's Day.

So, these are pretty much the only finished objects I have. I am still midway through the stocking cap, the scrapghan still bellows for more yarn whenever I walk passed, and the others sit in a stagnent state, waiting for me to finish something else.

I did join a weight loss contest at work so I know I will have less time to crochet for the next two months, but hey - do whatcha gotta do, right? I figured I was already losing weight, why not ramp up the exercise a bit more and win a contest in the middle of my weight loss journey *grins*

So - with that I will digress back to the workday and .... darn it. My ipod just died.

I really should be better about charging that battery.

Anywhoozles - break is over and I am headed back to the work day. I wish you all the best.

God Bless and Happy Hooking!
- Cris

PS: If you like reading about what others have done, visit Tami's Amis blog and the Sugar Plums Blog to check out everyone else's FOs

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

WIP Wednesday

Oh boy - it's the time again! It truly feels like I just wrote about what I was working on last week and here I am, again - writing about my projects.

I finished the shrug that was on my list last week and in some ways, finished the baby blanket that had been giving me fits. Granted, the shrug is wearable - the baby blanket is a ball of yarn because I frogged it and started over with a new pattern.

So let's see - what's on my hook(s) right now....

The color is baby green (does not show well here)
1. The new and improved baby blanket for a friend
Yup - after frogging the Bernat Baby Bobble Blanket, I began work on another baby blanket. This one is relatively simple using the basketweave stitch. It is not quite as slow as the bobble blanket but it is a pattern I can get behind. I know once I get a good 3 hours dedicated to this project, it'll be done.

2. Hat for Coworker
Yup - this one has creeped back on to my radar. I finished the hat a week ago; however, he finally came to me and said it feels a little big. So I'm going to make him a new hat and he is going to give the other to his son (who has been oggling the first one I made). I reassured my co-worker I don't mind. Besides, what else am I going to do with all this blue and orange?

3. Legwarmers for friend
Ok - this project has stalled a little but I did get some elastic last week so I'm ready to get it geared up and finished off. I don't know if it'll be this week but I'm sure going to try!

Large Scrapghan Granny Square
4. Scrapghan #1
This is the biggie. A few folks are wanting to see pictures of it. I figure there is no harm in sharing, so here it is. I'm making it with 4 strands of yarn at once. It is very thick and so comfy, cozy to be under. Again - it keeps making me fall asleept! The plan for this bad boy is to rest comfortably on my queen size bed .. ya know, so I can rest comfortably too!

5. Scrapghan #2 (on hold)
I've decided to put this scrapghan on hold until I finish the first one. The first one is eating yarn like nobody's business so hopefully it won't be too long before I can get this one moving forward again.

6. Kitty Toys
I'm still fiddling with designs. I know there are several patterns out there, but I specifically am wanting the cat toy to have a certain look and functionality. Sounds mysterious, doesn't it? *smiles*

7. Dishcloths
This is just one of those things I'll always be working on.

8. Shamrocks
These will definitely be in my FO Friday post simply because St. Patrick's Day will be over. If you haven't seen already, I did a pattern review for several shamrock patterns I found online. There are a lot of patterns! Some work up faster than others - I just wanted to get my personal opinion in on them and help people pick a pattern that is good for them and their skill level. I have made 18 shamrocks/clovers and glued pin backs to them. They are really cute! I'll get a photo and post it for FO Friday - the reason I'm putting them in WIP Wednesday is that depending on if anyone at work wants to buy one for 50 cents. If I get a lot of buyers, it may be in good form to crochet some more and have them available on St. Patrick's Day at work.

With all that - this week is spring break from school. I don't get the break though because I'm still busy being a mom and full time employee and artist.

I wish you all the best, Happy Hooking, and God Bless.
- Cris

PS: If you like looking at what others are working on, do visit Tami's Amis blog and happy reading! (will post link after she gets her page updated)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Luck O' The Irish: Multiple Pattern Reviews

Hi and welcome to a St. Patrick's Day installment of Crochet With Cris - I decided to make small lapel pins for folks at work and was looking around for a tiny shamrock pattern that would suit just my purpose; however, I found a LOT of shamrock patterns. I decided that since I couldn't decide, I should make lots of them - and what better way to work through them than to review each for my blog.

Now, in all fairness, not all of them asked to be made with worsted weight yarn - I decided to make all of them using Red Heart Super Saver yarn in Paddy Green and a US 7 hook (given to me by my wonderful Crochetville friend, Deb).

So, please do remember that not all of these are originally intended for use with yarn - I just decided to do it this way.

Shamrocks By Allison Weaver
Pattern Link:

Allison's pattern includes instructions on how to make 4 different shamrocks. Shamrock 1 and 2 in her pattern are pretty much the same other than the number of times you chain for the leaf of the clover.Clovers 3 and 4 use a cluster technique that I ended up (surprisingly) preferring on the 4 leaf clover.

I will say I did not like that shamrock 3 had a "ch 3 or 4" listed as part of the actual pattern. I think she should have given a definitive number and then included, as she did, in the notes on how you can go up a chain for the loop if you have problems with working into a smaller circle.

I am not convinced that I like how the stem of this pattern works up; however, if you weave your ends right and make sure you work the last chain closest to the clover on your return of slip stitches, then the stem looks great. If you miss the last hump or do not weave your ends in appropriately, then the stem has a weak spot up by the clover and it kinda flops around a little bit. I just made sure to weave my end around the center stitches and all was well.

What I definitely liked about this pattern file was the notes section. Allison took some time to let you know how you can use these little shamrocks. I personally will be making pins for my coworkers *smiles* Of the 4 shamrocks in her pattern, I definitely preferred the 4 leaf clover with shamrock 1 coming in a close 2nd.

Oh - as for time, I worked all 4 of these lovelies up in about 15 minutes.

I give this pattern 4 out of 5 balls of yarn (mostly cuz I adore the 4 leaf clover)

Tiny Four Leaf Clovers By Julie K
Pattern Link:

Julie posted her pattern on her blog in February of 2010. I have to say that perhaps if I had some more practice in making these, I may enjoy it a little more; however, with that said - I must admit I was not a terrible fan of this pattern.

I was looking for quick and easy and got a pattern that started with using the magic circle. Granted, the magic circle is something I can do it is just not something I "prefer" to do and I recognize that not all crocheters are familiar with the technique. Heck, I've been crocheting for a while and I rarely use it (in fact, I avoid using it as much as I can).

As for technicalities, I think it is a very tight squeeze working all the stitches requested into the 5 stitches created by the magic ring. Things got tight. My other complaint was the stem just gets lost in the entire design. If it were a little longer, I think it would stand out more and really add to the overall appearance of the clover.

This was not a quick and easy pattern in comparison to the others I tried although I do give props to Julie using a little different technique for her pattern. I would have to rate this one 3 balls of yarn out of 5.

One Piece Crochet Shamrock By Jan
Pattern Link:

After turning around and saying I detest the magic circle, I was thrown another shamrock pattern using this vile technique *laughs* Oh well, serves me right, eh?

I think the biggest difference between this pattern by Jan and the one above by Julie is this one allots one more sc into the magic loop. I was a little concerned when I started the first leaf on this one because you are working 6 stitches into one; however, it did turn out for the better.

I wish the stem had asked for the slip stitch to go into the back loop of the chain, but it did not. This is one adjustment I will probably make for my pins; however, this clover was well received by my husband and for that, I give this pattern 4.5 balls of yarn out of 5 (it would have been 5 if it weren't for the magic circle and the stem not slip stitching in the back loop)

Shamrock Pin or Fridgie By Catherine

Pattern Link:

I was glad to see this pattern did not use the magic circle; however, I have got to say that Round 1 left me scratching my head. You see, it says to repeat a pattern 3 times but at the end of the row it says you should have 4 ch-3 spaces. This was not so if you follow the pattern directly. I had to modify to adjust for this considering the picture shows a 4 leaf clover.

Another issue, while you cannot tell by any of my pictures, is that this clover was HUGE compared to the others. It was a good 3 inches across while all the others are around an inch. Obviously, this one is not going to make it as a small pin. This may have a lot to do with my using regular yarn and a larger hook. I just think it would have been nice to give a size on this one.

I had issue with the stem - you are to chain 8, per the pattern, and then sc into 6 stitches, skipping the first chain from the hook. Well, 7 is less than 8 which leaves you with a gap between the clover and the thicker portion of the stem. I went ahead and did the final sc to close the gap; however, this is something that should have been addressed before posting the pattern (unless they were going with the gap as part of the desired look).

My final issue with this pattern is that the stem and leaves are curling. This is partially due to size and then the combination of stitches. If it were blocked, perhaps it would lay flatter, but for this quick project, I was not wanting to block anything.

This review may sound negative but its not. This pattern does not fit my needs for the mini pin creation project I'm working on, but it does look nice. I think that there are a few flaws in the pattern which causes me to rate it a little lower, but a beginner crocheter could correct the math on this pattern and get a nice looking shamrock.

I rate this one 3 balls of yarn out of 5.

My Irish Baby Shamrocks By Cheryl
Pattern Link:

I must admit, I was hesitant to work so much into a magic circle (yes, ANOTHER magic circle). Instead of starting the pattern with a row of single crochet stitches, this one jumps right in and asks you to build the entire shamrock into the circle and then pull the circle tight when you are through.

I was hesitant but somehow it worked. I think it would have been nice if the pattern let you know you should leave a larger circle to work into, although if you read your patterns before you start working them, you would have known you'd be working a ton of stitches into it. Of course, when you go to pull it tight, there is a bit of a moment when you aren't quite sure it'll close. I had to pull my circle's yarn out using a hook to give it a good tug. It finally went (with a sigh of relief).

Of course, when you pull it closed, all the stitches on the ring ruffle up. I'm not sure if this is the desired appearance by the pattern designer, but I must admit, it takes away from the definitive shape I'd expect my shamrock to have. I do like that the stem is worked with a thicker stitch at the tip and a narrower stitch near the clover leaves. It reminds me more of a clover stem than the other patterns I have worked.

I believe this pattern is worth 3.5 balls of yarn out of 5 simply because I was not a fan of pulling a magic circle closed with that many stitches on it and I would have preferred the pattern to maintain the shape rather than have ruffled leaves. I am considering going to 4 out of 5 balls of yarn because of the creativity of the pattern being so different in technique from all the others.

Crochet Shamrock Magnent By
Pattern Link:

This pattern had me going back and forth throughout the 5 or so minutes it took to make it.

It is slightly larger than many of the shamrocks I have made; however, it was not so big to be a negative. I actually like the size in the end.

This one works up by dc'ing in the round and then adding a second row which combines hdc's and sc's to make the bumps of the leaves.

There are a couple things though that caused me to rate this pattern a little lower than I originally thought I would. I am not sure that this shamrock is quite defined enough. If it weren't for the green and being close to St. Patrick's Day, I'm not sure people would recognize this as a shamrock. The overall shape, if you take away the St. Paddy's day element, looks more like a flower (and I do think it would make a lovely flower).

I did not like how the stem worked into it. It almost felt like an after thought - such as it was a flower converted into a shamrock.

So, while I like the size and overall speed of how this one worked up, I am going to have to rate this one 3 out of 5 balls of yarn.

Four Leaf Clover By Karrie
Pattern Link:

Ok - this one leaves me perplexed. I wouldn't think that something so small could be made as complicated as this. I think the complexities stem from reading the pattern. There were a few things I found was not easy to read on the pattern.

Karrie said it was intermediate, and I would agree - but not because it uses the magic circle.

I really was not overly happy with the shape and would like to think it is because I made my stitches too tight or made a mistake in the pattern. I don't think I did but it is possible. I also gave afterthought that perhaps Karrie is from the UK and her treble should have really been a double - this could have set the shape off oddly.

What I do like about this pattern is what goes into the magic ring. Karrie used a combination of sc/ch to create small spaces which allows for more of a floral appearance in the center. I liked the effect of the spaces as opposed to straight stitching into a ring or the magic circle.

Because I'm not sure of this, I think I can safely give this pattern 2.5 balls of yarn out of 5. If this were a UK written pattern (which I looked all over the website for some indication of Karrie's origin) then I would up it to 3 balls of yarn.

My Shamrock Pin By Suzetta
Pattern Link:

This is my final shamrock pattern review and I do think it may be the oldest posted and perhaps in my top 3 of all the patterns I worked for this review.

I did not like the little bit of extra space on the leaves and I think the stem could have been a wee bit longer; however, I like the stem was worked with sc near the tip and sl st back down towards the main piece, making for a more triangular, realistic stem shape. I just wish it were longer.

I liked that it worked up quickly and required no expert or intermediate knowledge to complete.

I think that this pattern is worth 4 balls of yarn out of 5.

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog. If you have a pattern you would like me to review, please contact me via email. I would love to hear from you!

Do you have your own comments to make about these shamrocks? Drop a comment below and let us know what you think.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Review of Bernat Baby Bobble Blanket

I have blogged about this baby blanket before and if you must know - I finally finished it. Yup... I did. This is the finished product of all the hours I put into it....

Yup... after putting 8 hours into this blanket, I frogged the whole thing. Having gotten such little return from the pattern in so much time, I couldn't get into the pattern and I decided to start over with a different pattern.

Photo By Bernat
Here is a picture of the "real" pattern posted by Bernat.

It's a lovely pattern and I fell in love with it visually. Unfortunately, I didn't consider time and functionality of this blanket. I say functionality because I am not sure how much good a blanket with so many little bobbles all over it is going to do - especially since a baby could very easily get his or her finger snagged in the blanket, either warping the blanket or hurting the finger.

I spent around 8 hours or so and only got an 8 or so inch return. I was not a fan that the back of the blanket did not match the front. The back seemed "unfinished." I wish I had taken a picture of mine before I frogged it - but honestly, I was ready to be done with it.

I think the blanket would make a stunning heirloom type blanket but not one that would be used regularly. I think Bernat saw a pattern that was lovely and took full advantage of it; however, I think the pattern would have been just as stunning if they had done a diamond pattern using the bobbles around the edge of the blanket and left the middle flat and functional.

I personally think that if you are wanting to make a blanket that is great for photo ops and heirloom purposes, it's a fabulous pattern - just expect to put a lot of time into it. If you are looking for a functional baby blanket, then steer clear of this one.

I rate this pattern 2 and a half balls of yarn out of 5 mostly because it is such a slow pattern to work.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

[Video] Shamrock Fringe for Shamrock Shawlette

Crochet Spot has graciously given permission for me to make a tutorial on how to make the shamrock fringe for the Shamrock Shawlette (click for pattern).

If you are watching this on my blog, then mention of the link bar is not applicable to you. That is for YouTube watchers only.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Finally Finished Friday

In addition to WIP Wednesday, I've decided to partake in FO Friday (or Finished Objects Friday) although I'm going to call mine Finally Finished Friday. The premise of the post is to post items that I finished since last Friday.

So - why wait? Let's just right into it.

I have finished one item since last Friday that I have not already blogged about. This is the shrug for my youngest daughter. She is constantly wearing short sleeve shirts but with it being winter, I want to make sure she stays as warm as possible. I had some alpaca/wool blend laying around. I personally did not like the yarn. I ordered it from ebay and as it turns out, it's like a #10 thread - and anyone who knows me at all knows I do not like crocheting with thread (I will, but it is not my favorite thing to do). I made a wash cloth out of it and stuck all 10 skeins into my stash, figuring I'd never need it again.

I got the idea to make her a shrug mostly after being told a close family member passed away. Having panic disorder, I needed something to work on and since all her dresses were short sleeve, a shrug would be a good road project. I didn't want to buy more yarn and the ash grey alpaca popped into mind.

As expected, the shrug worked up quickly using 4 strands at a time.

I was planning on doing little empress sleeves but she decided she wanted nothing but the sleeve to "just end." So - that's what I did. I got it stitched together and all ends weaved into the seam. I did make it about an inch larger than needed just so it would have some grow room over the course of the next couple months. You can see a little "buckle" on the backside. This is that extra space.

I'm guessing she likes it considering I snapped these pictures as she was getting her lunch ready - the shrug was on and part of her school outfit for the day.

It is always a good feeling to create something for someone and they appreciate it and use it.

If you like seeing projects that people have completed, visit Tami's blog and check out the list.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

WIP Wednesdays

Greetings, readers - it's Wednesday and as promised, it's WIP Wednesday.

For those of you not familiar, I declared Wednesday a good day to dedicate to sharing my WIPs, or works in progress. So let's take a look at last week's post and see what I finished:

- Hat for a co-worker: This is done done done. He loved it.

Yup - that's it. I got the hat done (and even blogged about it here). I did finish a full size shawl. I saw the pattern last Thursday and decided to make it. It worked up so fast that it isn't hitting any WIP Wednesday post. I just wanted to mention it because I didn't want to feel like a crochet slacker. *smiles*

So with all that said - here is my WIP list for this Wednesday and a little update on each.

1. Baby blanket for friend on West Coast
ok, seriously - I don't think this one is going to get done. I said last week I wanted to put a good hour into it but I just can't get into this pattern. I don't like working on the pattern because it goes so slow and the more I think about the pattern, the less I see it as functional and more as just fun. I think I'm going to frog it tonight and get the yarn balled up and ready to go. I have quite a road trip tomorrow (3 hours one way) so I may start a newer pattern, one I can really get behind, on the trip and maybe finish the blanket tomorrow since we are making the round trip all in one day.

2. Dishclothes
I think these will be on my WIP list for a very long time. That's ok though - I really just want to focus on getting a few sets for sale in my etsy store.

3. Scrapghan #1 (the big granny)
I fed a few balls of yarn into this one last week. It is growing slowly now but the more it does, the more I know it'll be a unique blanket with a lot of personality.

4. Scrapghan #2 (the small granny)
I really don't know why I do this to myself. I should only have one scrapghan going but the bigger one is giving me fits considering it makes me fall asleep under it because it's so toasty. I decided to start a small granny square scrapghan, which of course takes yarn away from the bigger one, slowing both projects down. I really don't know why I do this to myself.

5. Legwarmers for friend
I have made no progress on this one. I don't think it'll take more than a couple hours to get them done but it is a matter of creating the pattern. She liked the other pattern I did but she wasn't a fan of the flare. I'll probably post that pattern up here soon and then move forward in getting a new pattern together.

6. Kitty Toys
This is still in concept phase. I've crocheted a few cat toys already and haven't found a design I really like. Once I get the pattern perfected to what I like, then I'll be able to move forward with the idea of selling these little toys for money to donate. I am still needing to write a letter to the organization I chose to donate to (to meet etsy's charitable sales policy).

7. Shrug for daughter
I decided last night I wanted to crochet a simple shrug for my youngest daughter. I would like to begin working on it tonight and possibly even finish it. She's not very big so it shouldn't take more time than a standard scarf and if I use an open stitch, then it shouldn't be an issue at all.

Not technically on a hook, a couple of my friends love the shawl I made and are asking me to show them how to do it. We are going to meet up soon over lunch, with hook in hand, and I'm going to show them how to do the shawl. I think it'll be really fun and am looking forward to it.

So - other than that, this is my WIP Wednesday list. Hopefully by this time next week we'll see some items leave the list, new items show up on the list, but most importantly - get that baby blanket off the list!

If you enjoy reading what other people are creating, then I suggest going over to Tami's blog and checking out her WIP and the list of other people who post their links on her site:

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Super-Size Shamrock Shawlette

This is a picture of my shawlette.

Now, before you say "Cris, how can that be a shawlette - it's covering an office chair!?!" .... well, I know.

I saw a pattern posted on Crochetville from The Crochet Spot blog (link to original pattern: here). The pattern caught my eye and I knew I had to make it. I read the measurements and for some reason it didn't sink in with me about how big (or small) it was going to be. This didn't really matter because after I got it started I knew I was going to extend it to a larger size.

So this is the final result. I thought the pattern worked up quickly until it came time to do the shamrock fringe. Oh boy, was that time consuming! I used the L hook as recommended in the pattern and while the shawlette size (the 18 rows it would have ended up) ended up smaller than the dimensions given on the pattern, it didn't bother me - again, because I was making a full-size version. If I were making the actual shawlette, I would have used an M or N sized hook because I do crochet tightly.

showing the shamrock fringe up close
For the shamrocks, I stepped down to an I hook because I didn't like how they looked using the larger hook. I was much happier with the fringe using the smaller hook.

I did attach a cute green button to the front of it in case I choose to fasten it, but honestly, it's pretty heavy and stays put very well on it's own. For the technical on the yarn, I used "I Love This Yarn" brand yarn in the color mid-green. 

So, this is my new shawl.

I wore it all day today (my office is cold!). I was very pleased with it and a lot of people made a comment about it. They loved the color. I am very glad I picked up this pattern and decided to start the project. I would highly suggest it to anyone - the pattern is written rather clearly and is easily increased or decreased in size. If any difficulty would be had by a new crocheter, it would be in making the shamrocks. It would have been nice to have a little more instruction on how to work around the ring at the center of the shamrock, but it doesn't take long to know how to do it, and do it consistently.

So, considering all of this and the general enjoyment I have gotten from my new shawl, I give the Shamrock Shawlette Pattern 4.5 balls of yarn out of 5.

Crochet Spot Website
Shamrock Shawlette Pattern

Monday, March 07, 2011

Secret Craft Admirer

I am not sure what I have going on at work but it has something to do with crafts and making me curious as a cat.

Last month I walked up to my desk and noticed an interoffice envelope in the chair. I was excited because this would mark my first official piece of mail at work. I opened it up and there was a craft book inside. And not your average craft book - the book was about how to make little animals out of walnuts. I will admit that I was completely confused. Was this person trying to send me a message about how nutty I was? Maybe that I'm weird like this book? or perhaps just that they know I enjoy crafts.

I don't know. There was no name to give me a head's up on who sent it. I shot an email to all my friends who work there and everyone kinda laughed at me (and stopped by my desk to check out this book on nut animals).

Fine - no one wanted to fess up. I could deal with that (although it did bug me who would send it to me and not tell me).

Since I got the book - I didn't think much more about it. Well - until this morning.

I got to work and did my normal routine getting water and getting my PC booted up. I stood up to talk to my cube-neighbor when I noticed this little gem of a bug.

Sitting on my desk, this little buggy is made of a styrofoam egg shaped belly (painted orange), a puffball head and nose, googly eyes, pipe cleaner antennae, felt wings, pipe cleaner legs and felt feet.

Perhaps whomever left it made it themselves or they bought it or got it from a creative child. No clue - but it did brighten my morning to find it on my desk.

I just don't understand why and I really want to know who. It is sweet someone is thinking of me, be it for a laugh at my curiosity or just trying to make my day a little better through these craft related surprises - but it is sweet in it's own, odd little way.

I just wanted to share with you this (for what seems to be at this moment) random act of kindness of what appears to be a secret craft admirer.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Stocking Cap Done

When I'm faced with needing to make an item for someone, I really don't prefer to re-invent the wheel. I had made a scarf for a co-worker which prompted him, within 5 seconds, to request a matching stocking cap. While this normally is no major challenge, I was faced with making a hat in blue and orange. Yup - Illini colors strike again. If you remember from previous posts, I had made an Illini lapghan for my husband. Those colors excited my co-worker who asked for a scarf who has since asked for the hat. I cannot seem to escape the blue and orange!

my finished Illini stocking cap
So, to make life a little easier, I want on a hunt for a stocking cap pattern that would be somewhat modifiable to address the two bold, non-complimentary colors I needed to be using. I found this gem: Easy Crocheted Hat.

I read through the pattern and it seemed doable other than the two color situation I was facing. What I chose to do was half double crochet in back loops in blue for the main portion of the hat, just like the original pattern. The main modification I did here was to cut back how long the piece was. I made room for the brim which was added in orange as half double crochets, not in back loops only. I edged the orange in a little blue, added a puff ball to the top and called it a night.

I can't say that I'm 100% happy with the results but it turned out well nonetheless.

Do you do the same - modified patterns to fit your needs? Start from scratch, making your own pattern as you go? Find an exact pattern that fits your needs?

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

WIP Wednesday

I definitely am needing to get a little more regular in my posting. Once I got the initial flow of "how to" videos up, I kinda had a break in my blogging. I figured one great way to make sure I have a good, regularly-updated blog is to share my WIPs with those who care to know. I'm at work right now but I'm sure I can take some pictures later and update the blog post.

1. Baby Blanket for friend on west coast
Ok folks, this one isn't going anywhere fast. I blogged out the Bernat Bobble Blanket that seems to be dragging on forever, but I have a feeling one of the reasons its not moving forward fast is because I'm not getting as much hook time on it as I wish I could. I'm going to make a conscious effort to put a good hour into the blanket before next WIP Wednesday. I want to be able to update my ravelry project listing at least by 10%. If I don't work on it, then I at least need to just frog it and make a blanket I will definitely finish.

2. Hat for coworker
While this one has not technically started, it needs to be listed because it was officially put on order yesterday. On request, I made my coworker a scarf. I delivered the scarf yesterday and within moments he had money in hand saying "I need a matching hat" - my plan is to bring my tape measure tomorrow and get his dimensions so I can make a good stocking cap for him - one that matches his scarf.

3. Dishcloths
I bought two cones of cotton yarn from walmar to make disclothes. My original plan was to make them and sell them in pairs on etsy. So far, I haven't gotten any put up for sale but I have made a few for myself, in a spiffy stitch I have never seen in a pattern before. Yes, I do plan on eventually sharing the stitch, I'm just working out all the "things to know" about it first... oh, and a spiffy name!

4. Scrapghan
Yea.... I can't put much time in on this one because it makes me fall asleep. It's so toasty warm and sooo nice to lay under. *chuckles* I blogged about this monstrosity too. I really think it'll be pretty when I finish it.

5. Legwarmers for friend
She requested a knee-length leg warmer so I'm currently working on that. I have finished one and brought it in as a prototype. Seems there are still a few things about it she would like changed so I think the one I have will be put up as a free pattern here on the blog. The new one (I have not made yet but will have all the changes) will most likely not be put up as a free pattern. I may even try to make it into a sellable pattern - we'll see though... we shall see!

6. Kitty Toys
This is still in the prototype phase. My thoughts are that I want to either sell cat toys in my etsy store with 50-75% going to some animal rescue organization (not yet determined) OR donate the toys so they can be sold at the organization office. Either way, I have made a couple and my kitties are in testing phase - they are my pilot study group. *laughing* I have a video that I may post tomorrow, provided I can get my new video editing software to work. *smiles*

I think that's pretty much all the projects I'm working on. I have a couple "in the hopper" but because they are new patterns I don't want to spill the beans.

I want to say thanks to you all for following my blog. I hope you find it informational, enjoyable, and/or entertaining. Do leave a comment below because I love hearing from you!

- Cris