Granny Square Afghan

I started on Granny Squares several months ago and then set it aside when my interest turned to Amigurumi. Well now that I found myself without a project, well for a purpose anyway, I decided to revisit the squares.

My intention is to make a Granny Square Afghan as I have never completed an afghan, I’ve started several but always ended up with new scarves!  My daughter and I had chosen the five basic colors;  Red Heart yarn in colors:  Medium Thyme 0406, Cornmeal 0320, Soft White 0316, Lavender 0358 and Delft Blue 0885.  We both liked each individual color and thought they would also look nice together.

So I started making basic granny squares, changing colors on every round.  As this is my first attempts at granny squares and (at that time) my first changing colorsI I was completely thrilled at how well it was going!  I had worked up what felt like a bunch of squares when I was distracted by Amigurumi projects.

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Squares without connecting color

A few months pass….

Looking back at my squares I was surprised to see I hadn’t really completed that many….hmmm, it sure felt like more when I was making them!!  I figured I better concentrate on finding a complimentary yarn color to bring all this squares together.  In my mind’s eye I saw a brick, burgundy or some shade of dark red.    Off to the store I went but no matter what shade of red I brought home, not one looked quite right with the squares!  I thought, maybe red isn’t going to be the right hue, so I brought home blues and browns and even greys…no good, no good at all!!  Well aside from my growing collection of yarn that is!!   Will I ever find the right color?  I decided to put it out of my head and just work up more squares.  Then,  just like that, in the same store I always go to, there it was Red Heart Claret 0378…I took it home and it was absolutely perfect!!  I felt it complimented all the other colors nicely, it’s just what I had pictured in my head!

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It looks so much better in person, I need better lighting!

I am about twenty-five squares in and I ran out of the new Claret color and wouldn’t you know it, there was none in stock!!  I fount it online and am having it shipped so what should I do until it arrives?

Well everything I’ve read says that blocking will make the whole process of connecting the squares easier.  So I better get to it!  With discount coupon in hand, I was off to Joann’s for a June Tailor Quilter’s Cut’N Press II Board. Another blogger suggested this board as the ruled lines make it easy to block on. So I purchased the board and started blocking my first squares. Since the board could only hold two squares at a time, I took another blogger’s advice and drew ruled lines onto my ironing board and blocked on that as well. This worked well and I was able to block out six squares at a time.  In retrospect, I could have saved money and not purchased the board, but I like I do like it and believe I will put it to other good uses in the future!  (Plus I nabbed it for half off! Gotta love coupons!)  I used my handheld steamer to steam the acrylic yarn and left them overnight.

Blocked on left, unblocked on right

Blocked on left, unblocked on right

Wow, what a difference! I mean I knew what to expect from reading other blogs and tutorials, but still I half expected them to bounce back to the original shape after removing the pins…NOPE, they stayed perfectly square…  Blocking is definitely worth the effort!  The way I hear it, the blocked squares stay square even after washing and drying, I wonder?  Maybe I should test…or am I just being a Debbie-doubter?   Maybe someone out there can answer that for me and save me from testing.

I just received a notification that my package of Claret yarn will be arriving shortly, so I’m off to get started on more squares.  Until next time, Have a Great Day and Happy Hooking!

Projects with no other purpose than to please me!

I started creating amigurumi to make my nieces and nephews happy and to fill birthday present “orders”. What do you make when you have no one in mind to make something for but still all the drive to crochet? Anything your little heart desires, that’s what! 

Here are a few items I made just for me!

Those cute little dolls that Vanja, of AmigurumiBB, makes are just too adorable!  I think they are all great so I just had to make one!  It was hard to pick just one, so I will probably make one of the other doll types in the near future!

If interested in making a doll like the one below, you can download a PDF of the pattern by clicking this link:  Little Karla Girl

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Little Karla Girl

The hat that I made in this pattern also fit my daughter’s dog perfectly, so I had to share a picture of the cuteness!

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Benji looking pretty in the Little Karla Girl hat!

I also love flowers and miss Spring!  So I found a lovely Spring flower on Craftsy by Josephine Wu of A Morning Cup of Jo Creations. If interested in making this pattern you can go here: http://www.craftsy.com/user/476288?_ct=fhezusj-tujqyb-kiuh-fhevybu-dqcu

Here is how mine turned out ( sorry the picture is a little blurry):

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Oh Spring where are you?

Last, but certainly not least, there is LSP!  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I enjoy Adventure Time, and my favorite character is LSP (Lumpy Space Princess) so it made sense to me to make her just for fun.  I will be making her again as I am not completely happy with the end result, I just feel she needs some tweaking.  Maybe I am too critical but she is not quite right, something is up with her arm area roundness. Anyway, here is my first attempt with the lumpy lady!:

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Lumpy Space Princess (LSP)

I enjoyed making all of these things, even if they have no other purpose than to make me smile!

Until next time, Have a Great Day and Happy Hooking!

What to do with all those balls of leftover yarn?

My friend, an avid afghan & scarf creator, has more yarn than any one person has a right to own!  I feel like I’ve entered yarn heaven every time I look through her stores.  She normally makes an afghan or scarf and hoards the leftover ends to make a “scrap afghan or scarf” once she has collected enough ends.  These scrap creations always turn out uniquely beautiful even if the name sounds like something you save for the dog!  Some of her leftover ends, though, are even too small for incorporating into these projects; that’s where I come in!

My friend gave me a handful of these small yarn balls and here are some little things that I made with them.

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Shorty the Snake, Teddy and Legless (the frog)

In return for sharing, I made my friend this cute little Ladybug as these are her favorite, little creatures.

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Ladybug

This rarely used mug (with an outdated, unwanted photo) was able to become re-purposed by adding a cozy sweater to hide the unsightly photo!  Now it’s a sweet tool holder for me!  YAY!

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All of the above were created using no patterns (which is probably obvious!) but I feel I’m doing pretty good to end up with a finished product that actually resembles the object I was going for!

This morning was -26 degrees F (or -32 C), so it is still very, very frigid here and only part way through winter. 😦  Boo!  I am so ready to be warm again!  So I will be back to work on my granny square afghan!   Have a great day and happy hooking!

Letting Go

I loved you as soon as I saw you, helpless and screaming your tiny head off.  You were my second child and another girl, just exactly what I wanted, a perfect little angel.  You watched the room with an awareness and scrutiny I never heard of in an newborn infant.  Something that would stay with you even to this day, we just called it “attitude”.  You have grown into a beautiful, young lady and are about to embark on your adventure far from home.  Oh how I will miss you!

ImageIt hurts so much to let go.  It’s not as though we will never speak to or see each other again, it’s the distance that’s the hardest pill to swallow.  I need to feel I can be there for you and help you whenever you need or want anything, but how can I do that when you’ll be so far away? That’s what I have problems with, letting go of my ability to help you instantly.  I will feel very powerless, but I’m sure I will figure that out.  This, I’m sure, is an age old pain for parents and just means I, too, am reaching a new stage in life.

The funny thing is I don’t want to keep you for myself, I want to share you with the world and show everyone what a beautiful, intelligent woman you have become. Of course, I was quite content just showing the locals, but hey, you have to take it farther, I can understand that!  I want you to spread your wings and fly; reach inside and find that adventurous spirit, hang on and soar!!  See the world and everything in it!  Go and do, because NOW is your time to shine!

Don’t let any little falters fail you, we all stumble and fall…brush it off!  Look back ONLY to learn where to better plant your feet!  I hope you know how very, very proud I am of you, Amie.  I hope when you fly away from me tomorrow that you will always feel my arms around you, holding you up and letting you shine!  I loved you instantly and unconditionally from that first moment and it has grown exponentially every day since.  Remember, even if we aren’t together, we are always connected and I will always be there for you forever!

I love you!

Mom

XOXOXO

It’s Adventure Time!

You may or may not be familiar with the cartoon Adventure Time; a cartoon set in the post apocalyptic future. This weird show has become a favorite of mine when my daughter watches cartoons in the living room. It’s has a lot of quirky, lovable characters but would not be a show I would allow young viewers to watch. It’s not “bad” just I think young minds should have entertainment with more “substance”. But if you want to watch something off the wall and somewhat weird and funny, this could be a show for you. My daughter will be turning twenty three in a couple weeks and with her disabilities will always live with me. She collects all sorts of characters from cartoons and she really likes this show and its goofy cast of characters. Jake is a dog and is best friends with Finn the human which are the main two characters and I made Jake for Ashli’s birthday (but I couldn’t wait and gave it to her early anyway!). I have the pattern I created available for free if you are interested, but be warned I am not a pattern maker, just trying my hand at it.

Here is Jake!

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Jake is a funny, talking dog that has the power to change shape and stretch, so he could be made a number of ways. This is his “normal” form.

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This project worked up quickly and easily as you can see there isn’t much difficult about his shape!

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Ashli loves her Jake and looks forward to all my projects being completed, I think she is my biggest fan!

I have plans to make my favorite character from Adventure Time, LSP (Lumpy Space Princess) and I’ll probably make Finn so Jake won’t be lonely! So check back for new Adventure Time characters!

The Day After Valentine’s Day

Well I made it through this Valentine’s day, whew! This year it was a hectic time, to say the least. We planned a bake sale to help raise money to bring my daughter home on break from AmeriCorps on the sweetest day of the year! All day on February 13th, I baked and then baked some more! I made 15 dozen sugar and oatmeal raisin cookies, seven devil’s food and yellow and cheese cakes, seven loaves of orange-cranberry bread and a slew of chocolate covered pretzel rods! Not to mention I made a batch of Rice Krispie treats just for my family to eat! Needless to say I was wiped out!! I forgot to take pictures of the cookies, but I did take these:


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The cakes were made from recipies from my Better Homes, New Cook Book. I’ve made these recipes a hundred times over the years and they always turn out great.

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The pretzel rods were the relaxing thing I did before going to bed. Just rods rolled in almond bark and the sprinkles or nuts, super easy!

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I really wish I had two ovens! I tested the bread as I never tried this recipe before, I tweaked it a little to accommodate my available ingredients and it turned out wonderfully! http://allrecipes.com/recipe/cranberry-orange-bread-4/. The tweaks I did, did not affect the ingredient list, I just didn’t have fresh or frozen cranberries. I soaked dried cranberries overnight and added crushed mandarin oranges to compensate for any moisture loss due to that change. I also drizzled a few lines of icing on top and the bread was really delicious.

The last thing I added to the bake sale fodder were these adorable little crocheted amigurumi hearts. They worked up quickly and easily and over the last week I made hearts before going to bed. I now have to find a new project just because my routine is all out of whack with no hearts to make!

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I added keyrings to them upon request and they became Valentine gifts for lots of people. The large red one, I made for my daughter and she loved it.

Small heart pattern: http://www.pepika.com/free-patterns/crochet-heart.html

Large heart pattern: http://mygurumi.blogspot.com/2009/02/pop-heart-pattern.html

On top of all of this going on, it was Homecoming and my son was on court in the running for King. Although he didn’t get crowned he is every bit a king to me! What a busy, busy couple days. Tonight will be more relaxing, I will see my son off to the Homecoming dance and finally get to go out for a romantic dinner with my hubby!

A Dragon’s Tale…

So another birthday is coming up and I got a good advanced start on this one, I am done and still have a month to go to gift it!  Yay me!  Anyway I was informed by her father that she was an avid Toothless fan, the dragon from”How to Train Your Dragon” ( a DreamWorks Animation ).  So I was happy to find this pattern:  Toothless   It is a clearly written and easy to follow pattern.

I did run into several problems with the making of this little guy however, but it was not due to anything but my own inexperience.  Let me tell you one thing I learned right away with this project….I do not like black yarn!  Possibly it’s my eyes but I had a really hard time distinguishing sewn yarn from stitches. You may wonder why this was even an issue and I answer that curiosity with the first thing I did was sew the head on backwards and had to remove it!!  NOT FUN!  It seriously took me forty minutes to decapitate it then reattach it to the body correctly!  So, word of warning, be very sure which side of your head is the face side before sewing it onto the body!!  Probably common sense there but this was a sort of odd shaped head. I think if I ever make this pattern again, I will put a stitch marker in at the row 12 increases as this is the section that builds up the “nose area”…then I will be sure not to make that mistake again!  So I not only removed his head but also both back legs because he wouldn’t sit up proper and the horns and ears fought with me at every turn!  So they too got removed and replaced a few times, you would think I would have learned to pin them or something…no, not me!  I’m stubborn like that!  Oh well, he is done now and I am glad that it turned out well!

Another thing I learned about black yarn, that I didn’t really care for, is that you can see the white stuffing. It would be nice to have black stuffing for this guy so those little white curly cues wouldn’t show up everywhere, I find them very noticeable and annoying! So before taking pictures I went over him with sticky rollers and tweezers… whew!

IMG_0096   His eyes are greener than they look in these photos.

IMG_0095 Turn to the right!

IMG_0091  Turn to the left!

IMG_0092  Back view to show the wings and tail fins.

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I do have a menagerie of various colored furry pets which unfortunately showed all their furry contributions to the project as well! I don’t think I could ever give my Amigurumi to a person with pet allergies!  Thankfully the sticky rollers removed that pretty well also! After all is said and done, this guy turned out really cute, albeit frustrating at times. I do believe he will be thoroughly enjoyed all the same when I give him to my niece.