Friday, August 31, 2007

Yarn Doodling

I have been 'yarn doodling' the past few days. I have come up with some pretty funky things. I don't know if I will be able to use any of them! When I doodle, I just take a yarn that calls to me and a big-ish hook, like a J or K, and I see what happens. I was doodling last night at soccer practice. A few of the mom's have started to ask what I'm working on, maybe I'll be able to recruit some more crocheters! The world cannot have too many crocheters!
I had to add a photo of Charlie. This new blog location just doesn't feel like home without him. As you can see, he has been particularly devilish lately. He usually leaves my yarn alone (unless it's wool, he loves wool). But I remembered now, when I lay out a bunch of motifs on the floor, all nicely placed so that I can see how they will go together, he loves to dive into them, under them, and roll in them. He has been attacking this project I'm making for Chickee so much, that I'm going to have to wash it as soon as I get it complete, before I let her use it. He is very drawn to it.
I have been thinking alot of our neighbors down in Mississippi, and Louisiana. There are many little towns outside of New Orleans who got slammed by Katrina, but have gotten less attention. One little town in particular is Pass Christian, Mississippi. The residents down there are still struggling to rebuild their homes, businesses, lives. Suicide and depression is very common in these affected areas. I mention them because I'm trying to keep them present in my mind and prayers.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

What Chickee Made and Book Review

It's a scarf for her Webkin! Chickee started out making an afghan for Charlie. Though, she seems to be just as patient as I am, and quickly changed her plans. She sewed the scarf together at the neck with needle and thread.

Here she is starting her next project, It ended up being a hat for her stuffed bunny. Mostly because she forgot to turn at the end of a row and ending up going up the sides of the small rectangle and all the way around, making a bowl shape. If she's happy, I'm happy. :) At this point, I am most thrilled that she is able to hold the working yarn and hook at the same time. For a few months, I had to hold the yarn while she used the hook, and now she is doing both. (I'm very proud)

Now, have we talked enough about my kids? Do you want a book review?

This is "200 Crochet Blocks, for blankets, throws, and afghans" by Jan Eaton. First, what's the difference between a blanket, a throw, and an afghan? Size? Anyway, this is a 2004 Quarto book, a division of Interweave.

I admit, I have seen this book several times at the store, at the library, on the internet, and I have always passed it by. I don't know why, mostly because I design my own squares I guess. But when I opened it up, there were some very appealing qualities about it. I love the Contents page with all the thumbnail photos of each square that goes along with each name. It almost looks like a crochet version of hieroglyphics. Jan's introductory chapters are very good about how to use the book, mixing and matching blocks, and mixing textures. I love how turning the motifs change the illusion you get for the overall product. Jan describes this well on pages 18 and 19. The block directory itself is nice, it's best features are the gorgeous colors and if you look close, they are little "samplers" of many different crochet techniques, filet, tapestry, intarsia, rows and in the round. Overall, I found it to be entertaining to read. I thought she "fudged" a little, it seemed some of the squares were the same only with a slight change from a previous one, but she included 209 squares instead of 200, so I guess she makes up for it with the bonus blocks. Still, 200 is a huge number of squares to come up with that all end up the same size and can be mixed and matched with any of the others in the book. That in itself is quite a feat! If you love to make squares for charity, you need this book! I would most likely use this book as a reference for "inspiration" the colors, the techniques can be translated into bigger pieces. For example, the "row" blocks and be made into full afghans themselves! Just look outside the square!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A new guild?

Chickee (in the flowered dress, she's always in a dress!) frequently invites her friends over. Of course, I am always crocheting. They have started asking what I'm making, how much progress have I made since yesterday. Friend in the dark pink asked me to make her a coaster for her water bottle that she has on her desk at school! So I whipped up a little pink and green circle with picot edging. So then they finally asked, "Can you teach us?" and I said, "YES!". I conveniently had 4 "starters" ready for them and out to the deck we went! (We don't have any deck furniture yet!) Chickee just continued to work on her "afghan" she was making for Charlie. Chief said that he wanted to learn too, but quickly lost interest. He's 4 and a half and is trying to decide what he likes because he likes it and what he likes because everybody else likes it. Tomorrow I'll show you want Chickee made.

The "starters" are just small balls of light colored acrylic worsted yarn in a reclosable bag and I have already done 3-4 rows in sc with a large hook. I do think it is important to let students choose any color yarn they want, so they can feel more excited about the project, but I wanted to "jump" on their enthusiasm, and I only had a few minutes until I had to start making dinner. I think that it is easier to get them to feel success if they have something to "hold on to" while they are learning how to hold the hook and learning how to form the sc. I did show them once how to make a slip knot, make chains, turn, work into the foundation ch. But all of that, I will let them practice later. I had the "starters" leftover from a 'Crochet and Cocktails party' I threw back in March. I keep a mental list of everyone I encounter who says, "I'd like to learn how to crochet" and then when I have time, I invite them all over to learn. I provide starters for those who need them. I lie cool crochet magazines around, set out a few of my collectible hooks, I make a great dessert, serve a little wine, set up the computer for those who want to see tutorials, and take it from there. Last time a few wanted to bring their kids, but we made it adults only that time, and next time, maybe we'll do a 'Crochet and Candy' party and omit the wine.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

An under-used yarn

Lion Brand “Landscapes” (chunky) weight Art. 540 (1.75 oz/55 yard ball) 50% wool, 50% acrylic.
I love this yarn, the problem is, that I haven't been able to figure out too many uses for it! It is a bulky, close to super bulky weight yarn, and comes in several gorgeous variegated colors. I have designed 2 items using it, (and I'm awaiting a reply), but in general, I have not been able to find a satisfactory home for this lovely yarn. The Lion Brand catalog shows a delicious toddler sweater in this yarn, and I think it is more "jacket-like". Which is probably a very good option for it.
Being 50% wool, I tried to felt it once, and because of the 50% acrylic, it didn't really work, It fuzzed a bit. Still, if you were to make a garment out of it, I would be careful when washing it (I think it's suggested to be hand washed) so that it doesn't lose it's luster.
I don't recall seeing any other designs using it... have you?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Chickee wants a blanket

Chickee reminded me that I haven't made her anything lately. I took her up to my crochet office and directed her to the drawers she could choose yarn from, and this is what she chose! I was going to show you what I'm making, but you know I do this all the time... I start a project totally just making something just for fun, and then I start to like it, really like it. And this one is turning out to be kind of innovative. So then I start thinking...maybe I could sell it. Because once I sold my first design, I'm totally hooked. I am addicted to the thrill of selling my designs. So now, I'm making this project for Chickee, and I'm thinking, how can I make this for her, and sell it at the same time? I guess I'll just have to propose it with photos instead of the swatch, write out all the instructions so that I can make it again (if it sells). Oh, and I'm thinking I'm going to conveniently "forget" one of the colors! Which one? One of them screams out to me, "one of these things is not like the other, one of these things doesn't belong!" Where is that quote from? Does anyone know? Is is Sesame Street?

Anyway, because you have been so patient, I will let you have a sneak peek of the project that I just shipped on Friday.

There it is :)

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Thank you for making the switch to my new virtual home, Go Crochet!
More later!