Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Hook & Needle News 15/04/15

I've been feeling very tired lately. Not sleeping well and having very vivid dreams. Not enough energy to do anything when I get home from work. Except crochet, of course. So, no further work done on the renovations. I know I should be exercising and maybe now that the weather's finally better, I'll be able to get out and walk. If only I could find shoes that would keep my feet from aching. A life-long problem for me...
So, I've finished Part 6 of Sophie's Universe.
It now measures about a metre across. Here's a close up:
Remember the Yarspirations CAL that I wasn't enjoying?
Well, I've seen people's almost finished product and I'm still not impressed, so I don't intend to finish this one. But what to do with all of that yarn? Someone had posted a link on facebook's Crafty Crochet Community to "A Blanket of Roses Afghan" pattern and I had saved the link to my favourites. I wasn't sure about doing it in aqua/teal, so decided to try a sample and see what I thought. So, I began. However, I was not really happy with the darker (bluer) yarn in the picture above. After I purchased the yarn for this CAL, Walmart got in a different colour, which is a darker teal, instead of the aqua and it actually blends with the variegated better than the aqua does. 
See what I mean? While the aqua may not look terrible, it doesn't look as awesome as the teal does. And it bugged me. But I didn't think I could justify spending the extra money on another ball of yarn and tearing all of the aqua out of the squares I had already completed. And what was I going to do with the aqua anyway if I didn't use it in this CAL? But when I decided to use the CAL yarn for a different project, and after starting with the aqua and not really liking it, I decided to also invest in the teal yarn. Here's my first motif:
A couple of people I shared this picture with said it reminded them of the movie, "Frozen." And I, too, thought it looked somewhat like a snowflake, so I'll probably call it something like Crystal Roses. Three hexagon motifs and one square done so far. And I'm loving this one much more than the CAL. Meanwhile I still have to decide what to do with all of these squares I started.
I have some ideas, but I'm going to wait till I finish the Crystal Roses and see how much yarn I have left over. But all of that layered aqua and white yarn has got to go... Yuk!
One day while perusing the yarn in Walmart, I discovered that they had some more blacklight yarn.
I'm still not sure what I'm going to do with it, but I bought this green to go along with it. Plus the aqua I'm not using in the Crystal Roses afghan blends with the blacklight as well. The big white ball is for the Crystal Roses afghan. Since white is the main colour in that afghan, but I wasn't planning on it being the main colour in the CAL, I needed more. 
I finished April's Drop Stitch Crochet Cowl from Red Heart's "Learn a Stitch, Make This Cowl" project. This cowl required a large 19 mm knitting needle to make the drop stitches. I don't have one and couldn't find one locally. And I was impatient to get started, so I went into Canadian Tire and bought a 19 mm dowel.
So I nicknamed this the "dowel cowl." Necessity is the mother of invention, as my mother said. And it worked!
Here's the finished product. It called for Red Heart Medley yarn, but I decided to use Bernat Big Ball Chunky in Intrigue instead. I really like this colour combo. And it was available at Walmart, so I didn't have to wait for an order. 
This is the first cowl not made in the round, so I had a seam to sew.
I was quite happy with how this stitch worked up.
Last evening, I went to Walmart craving something sweet. They still had some Easter goodies at 75% off, so I picked up a couple of items. Normally, I eat a very healthy diet. And I'm also trying to be more conscientous about my eating and lifestyle. And most chocolate is not something that can be eaten conscientously as it is produced using slavery, including child slavery. So, if your chocolate is not Fair Trade, it's not fair. So, I thought, "If I don't buy the chocolate, I can have some yarn." The yarn won. 
This will be the main colour in the Choo Choo Train afghan that I will make for my grandson. He loves this colour. And he loves trains. It's Red Heart Super Saver in flame.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Hook & Needle News 01/04/15

I see it's been nearly a month since I last posted and I have been busy. I posted previously that I am doing Red Heart's monthly "Learn a Stitch, Make this Cowl." I'm all caught up now. Here is January's Twisted Cowl, which is crocheted, and I actually finished it just last night.
This one was made with Red Heart Medley in Eclectic.

Since my goal had been to get back into knitting, I started with Candi's Checked Cowl for February and was quite pleased with the results. 
This was made with two strands of Red Heart Soft in Lavender.

March's Lovable Cowl was a bit more of a challenge for me. I really didn't like the appearance of this one as well as the other two.

But appearance wasn't the only issue. I kept losing count and made a lot of mistakes in this one. Fortunately, most of them are hidden under the rolled upper edge. Somehow mine ended up shorter and wider than the one in the picture with the pattern. But honestly, my count wasn't that far off and the number of rows is correct. <shrug>
I made this one out of Red Heart Unforgettable in Parrot. And every time I looked at the name of the yarn, I kept thinking of this song:

For April, it's a Drop Stitch Crochet Cowl, which is supposed to be made in Red Heart Medley again. I think I might try an alternate yarn. I enjoyed using the Medley in the Twisted Cowl, but I'd have to order it online or wait until I can get into the city as it's not available in town. And I want to try different yarns. Meanwhile, I'm continuing with Sophie's Universe CAL. I've finished to the end of Part 5.

In addition to the original colours I had chosen, I have added some Red Heart Super Saver in black, blue, cornmeal, hunter green and carrot. Aside from the tulips/leaves rounds, I decided to to rounds 33 through 46 in rainbow order. Only round 46 is left to be completed of the rainbow section, which will be the Lavender. Here's a close up showing all the colours.
Unfortunately, the purple (tulips and last round) looks more blue in this picture, at least on my monitor. And the hunter green (tulip leaves) appears almost black.
I've also gotten a little more work done on the Bavarian crochet scarf, but haven't taken a picture. 
That's my crochet progress to date. This evening I did a little taping and mudding in my craft studio in the basement. I need to get that finished as I've got quilting projects to get caught up on. 

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
 project
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. 

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Here's Your Sign

As some of you are aware if you've been reading my blog, I've been trying to de-clutter by either selling or giving away stuff I no longer need or want. (Not sure if I ever "needed" some of it, but that's a topic for another post). And I've been doing most of it on facebook. There are a couple of buy and sell pages, a silent auction page and a freecycle page for my community where I've been advertising. Some of the responses have given me some insight into human nature that I would rather do without. This morning a woman came to pick up the item that she had successfully bid on. It was a vintage "Lucky Elephant" enamal ware bowl with lid. This: 
I try to be as accurate as possible in my descriptions, so I stated that this was 7.5 inches in diameter. Someone asked for a picture of the inside of the bowl, so I posted this:
And added a picture of the trademark on the bottom of the bowl:
If you collected elephants, what about this bowl would compell you to buy it? The woman decided not to buy it. She said that that wasn't a very big bowl for $15, that she collected elephants and I assume that's why she bid on it...??? I did post the diameter, so what about the size didn't she understand? I see roses on this bowl. The only elephant is in the trademark on the bottom. And it is a vintage bowl. You're paying for vintage, not the size of the bowl. I'm still scratching my head over that one. As I am about another one. I posted this picture:
In the description, I said "Brass containers/planters" and stated the diameter and height of the largest and the smallest. A woman placed a bid and then a young man counterbid. Then he started messaging me with questions. Hmm, do you think maybe he should have asked his questions before he bid? Maybe the lady with the bowl above should have asked questions before she bid as well, like "what does this bowl have to do with elephants?" Technically, once you bid, you're committed. And a bidder with integrity will follow through with the deal even if they decide they really don't want the item. At live auctions, you'd be invited to never return to the auction house if you refused to buy something on which you were the winning bidder. This young man still had the leading bid (which was only $1 higher than the other bidder) when he asked me if they had lids. Lids??? "Why would you want lids on planters," I responded. He had not read the description and thought these were cooking pots. But he obviously had seen the picture and those "cooking pots" definitely have legs in that picture. How well does that work on your stove? 
Then there is the dog kennel:
My reserve bid was $20 and I had someone offer $15. After 24 hours, no one else had counterbid and I wanted to be rid of it, so I accepted the $15. The bidder gave me his phone number and I called and left a message. He's the one that returned my phone call without checking his messages first, so he just called and asked who I was and what I wanted. And he actually asked if I could deliver it, saying that he didn't have a car. Perhaps he should have thought of that before he bid on it. I was actually going to deliver it today just to get rid of it, but again, he didn't answer the phone. Message left, but I'd like to know why I should deliver something when I already accepted a bid for $5 less than my reserve. So now I expect him to come and get it or I'm reposting it. I already reposted the "Lucky Elephant" bowl, though I added the height of the bowl and said it was probably 1950s/1960s. However, it seems people don't actually read the descriptions or look at the pictures very carefully anyway. 
And yes, I'm still trying to sell the Pavillion dinnerware. I think I might see if I can "divide and conquer," sell the serving pieces separate from the actual dinnerware.