Chevron Convert

IMG_2202 zvcWhen chevron was blowing up a few years ago, I didn’t get into the trend right away. But after I tackled a couple of projects that used it, I really liked the look of it, colors depending.

Last year, Jeanne from The Crochet Crowd designed this chevron “hugs and kisses” blanket using Caron Baby Cakes. I liked it as soon as I saw it. My transfixed inner voice said, “I must make the thing.”

It took me longer to complete than I would have liked, but largely that was due to my getting sidetracked with orders, work, and other life goings-on. It is not a difficult pattern.

For my blanket, I decided to blend two different colorways, Dreamy Mint and Frosted Pansies. I wanted a pop of yellow in there to break up the teal, grays, lavender, and cream. I liked working with this yarn, for the most part, but it can split at times. It is very soft and warm, though, and I like how easy it is to wash and dry it.

I found this project relatively soothing to create, although I had to keep careful track of my rows, since it the pattern repeat consists of 8 rows. For the bobble stitches, I switched from my usual comfortable Clover hook to my Furls Odyssey hook, which has a nice long neck, ideal for working with a fluffier, thicker yarn such as this one for bobble stitches. Because you alternate with something different each time, it keeps you on your toes. It is not dull or mindless to complete.

I ended up not using all four cakes, since I did not chain as many initial stitches, opting to make something slightly smaller than the pattern calls for. (I believe it calls for 6 cakes.) Because I didn’t want the blanket to be overly taller than it is wide, I stopped with the cream color of the fourth cake. I had enough to do a single crochet border in cream around the entire blanket, which gives it a nice finished look. My blanket is roughly 31″ wide and 36″ tall.

I didn’t have an intended recipient for this blanket, so I’ve listed it in my Etsy shop. It’s largely neutral and I think the colors pop so nicely with the chevron pattern. Jeanne did such a nice job with the design.

Have you tried your hand at this one?

 

Project Pillow Cover: Colorful Tunisian Triangles

I have wanted to dip my toe into the graphghan game for a while now. If you don’t know what that is, check out this image search for Tunisian graphghans. Some of them are completely mind-blowing.

Essentially, each Tunisian simple stitch creates a square-like stitch that is denser than a standard crochet stitch, which makes it easy to plot “graphs” of more complicated images into a blanket. Some people do opt to make these projects with single crochet stitches, which works fine and I have seen some stellar work with single crochet, but in my opinion, color changes are much easier in Tunisian crochet. It has to do with being able to simply “loop on” your new color and move on. Other designers have also used the box stitch to create graphghans in the C2C (corner-to-corner) method — see Repeat Crafter Me, who has really perfected this technique.

What stopped me from attempting a graphghan was using 50-100 bobbins for a project right off, so I thought I’d get my start with a smaller project that still involved enough color changes to make it interesting and challenging. (Also, learning to use bobbins.)

Enter Poppy and Bliss! This designer is similar to Felted Button with her use of color. She definitely knows her way around Tunisian crochet and has created some beautiful designs. I purchased the Tunisian triangles pillow cover pattern ten months ago and promptly bought the yarn I would need, and that yarn has sat in my yarn cart for the better part of a year. Here’s how far I got: I wound four bobbins of the eight colors.

(By the way, in case anybody is wondering, I opted to use Paintbox yarn (acrylic) in the DK weight, which can be purchased from Love Crochet. This acrylic yarn is made in Turkey and despite it being DK with a yarn weight of 3, it is very fluffy and soft with a gorgeous array of colors. I was very pleased with being able to match up the colors quite nicely for the bright pastel version of the pillow. I would say my only gripe is that instead of the name of the color, they print the number of the color on the label.)

In addition to being a smaller and more manageable project, the pillow cover also means I don’t have to weave in the ends from the color changes. I took the designer’s advice and have knotted them together along the way so the color changes don’t create any loose or holey stitches, but otherwise, I have found this pattern to be relatively easy. She gives instructions on the color changes and how to read the chart.

If reading a chart intimidates you, trust me, I have been there. This is also an easy enough “advanced beginner” pattern that allows you to get comfortable with reading a chart without being overly confusing. It is not the same as reading a fair isle chart, which is something I’m working on learning.

I will caution anyone who wants to try this pattern that you will need to know a few basics about Tunisian crochet and having practiced those techniques on easier patterns will benefit you. For example, creating a selvedge, the return pass, tension, etc.

The most tedious and/or difficult aspects to the entire project thus far have been swatching and finding the right gauge to fit my 16″x16″ pillow, winding the bobbins, and getting started with all the color changes from the chain/foundation row. Once you get all of the colors onto your hook, off you go! (More details on this project can be found on my Ravelry projects page, but I am having to use a 4mm hook to get the right gauge vs. the 6mm hook the pattern calls for.)

One other difference for me with this project is that I am making two sides of the pillow with the pattern; I am not creating just one side and sewing it to fabric on the other side. It may seem daunting to do two, but I’m already 1/3 of the way through after only spending two nights on it in my free time.

I will post again when I’ve finished the project and will continue to put up photos as I go along — places to find me on social are below!

😀

 

 

Finished! First Joined-Motif Blanket

Last we spoke, I was struggling hardcore to finish a blanket. This thing took over six months of my life, once I had done the research and bought all the yarn, etc. Realistically, we’re talking nine months in total.

I became stuck when I had a stack of squares to finish with weaving in all the ends (I counted–almost 300 of them). Thankfully, I had woven some in as I went along, but the task was still daunting by the time I had to finish those up before moving on to joining.

Joining.

That’s another chapter of the tale that I thought might make the whole blanket go down in flames. I had already started, frogged, and started over a Join-As-You-Go owl, with the extremely popular African flower motif pattern that Heidi Bears uses for her intricate designs.

I think that trying a JAYGO pattern before I had ever successfully done even a simple motif blanket was definitely putting the cart before the horse.

Fortunately, I had been inspired last year to purchase access to a wonderful class on Craftsy, called Joining Crochet Motifs with Edie Eckman, who is a fabulous teacher. If you have ever wanted to learn the intricacies of creating granny squares and want to know more than one way to join (and finish) a blanket, absolutely download that class! They go on sale pretty frequently and you get lifetime access. Just that one class has been a lifesaver for me, and in fact, it’s what helped me finish my blanket.

I had done some of the “homework” from the class last year, but needed a refresher. (The instructions on this particular pattern simply said “join by slip stitch,” which was not helpful at all. It assumes that one has already mastered joining squares together.) I simply went to the Slip Stitch Seam part of the class to get tips on what to do, and the joining up of the squares flew by so much faster than I thought it could. It still took me several hours on and off on a Sunday, but once the joining was finished, I was able to weave in the ends and focus on the border.

When it came time to do the border, I ended up doing the first two rounds as directed by the pattern. Then I did a cluster of two half-double crochet stitches in the chain space of the previous round. Lastly, I did a double-crochet picot stitch all the way around. It was the first time I’d done a picot and it took me a while to get the hang of the technique. I wound up doing two double-crochet stitches, a picot, and two more double-crochets.

I put the blanket in a mesh laundry bag, threw it in the washer on gentle, and after laying it flat while it was damp, I put it in the dryer on low for about 20 minutes. It came out extra soft and cuddly, ready to wrap around some playful kids.

The blanket was sent off to my friends and they sent me some adorable photos of their kids goofing off with the blanket as the backdrop. A couple of them are below.

I couldn’t be happier with the end result, especially knowing my friends will get a lot of use out of this blanket for years to come!

❤ ❤ ❤

Tunisian Color Block Throw

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The Blanket That Won’t Make Itself

I’m struggling, you guys.

I had (and still have) the best intentions when I excitedly told my friends that of COURSE I would make their children a new blanket, since the one they’ve had prior to now only fit them as babies and it was more of a stroller size.

When I got the request, I did all of this research to find the “perfect” blanket and ended up choosing this one from Red Heart, which uses honeycomb squares in Tunisian crochet surrounded by standard crochet borders that you slip stitch together before adding more lovely border.

I got all of my squares done in the requested colors and then the daunting task of doing the bordering began. I only have eleven three more of these to do and it feels like Mount Everest.

I thought I’d have this blanket finished by now, honestly. We’re into June and this thing is not even halfway finished.

I feel like I’m allergic to bigger projects or something. How can so many people whip out blankets left and right and I’m STUCK?

Don’t get me wrong: I’m  determined to stick this out and finish it. I just hope my friends’ children aren’t teenagers by the time I’m done with it.

I posted my progress in a group I’m in on Facebook, and a woman said she’s made TWO of these already.

O_o

Once I finish the remaining three squares, I have to weave in All the Ends, have a drink, and attempt to tackle the joining (using the slip stitch join).

Here goes nothin.

Any seasoned crocheters out there who have joined motifs and have any words of wisdom or encouragement for me–please leave some!  ❤

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Sunnyside Preschool Halloween Carnival and Auction

It’s autumn. At last! Probably the most favorite season of all seasons. With it comes the cooler temps, the leaves bursting into color, sweater weather, the smell of wood smoke in the air from fires being lit, hot beverages (with marshmallows), Pumpkin Everything, crocheted accessories like scarves and fingerless mittens, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the pre-Christmas festivities and anticipation. Oh and don’t forget the millions of pins that will be pinned on Pinterest with all the autumn excitement.

There is a lot packed in to three months!

Autumn also brings fun festivities, like Halloween carnivals! A friend of mine who lives in California reached out to me to ask whether I could donate  some items for a Halloween carnival and auction to raise money for her son’s preschool.

I was delighted to help out and checked my stores for some things I could give away. I happened to have some things that I thought would make someone very happy if they bid on them; I also added an amigurumi to round out the package.

So here is what will be up to win and/or bid on!

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IMG_1178 zvcIMG_1171 zvcStarburst blanket
Stuffed whale
Striped baby hat

In addition to the items, I also included a card with a special discount code for any purchase in the shop.

 

 

 

IMG_1182 zvcIf you have any questions or comments about the items I donated, please leave me a comment below.

Happy autumn and Halloween season!

Farewell to Summer and a Few Amigurumi

Happy post Labor Day weekend! I hope it was relaxing and a bit cooler than ours was in the middle states. Summer is still going strong but thankfully, cooler weather is on the way, so it won’t feel quite so ridiculous to be focusing on hats and blankets and scarves and other cozy items.

The weekend saw me  whipping out amigurumi orders, one after another–pictures below in a bit. On a whim, I listed this gorgeous blanket on Sunday and it ended up selling right away, which was a terrific feeling. It really is a beautiful blanket and I hope the new owner falls in love with it like I did when it was finished.

Corner to Corner Jewel Toned Blanket - Folded
Just before Labor Day when All the Toy-Making was happening, we had friends in town and the only thing I had out was some Chroma Worsted yarn from Knit Picks and a Tunisian crochet hook. By the end of the weekend, I had whipped up this ribbed hat :

zv hat
For what it’s worth, I do like the pattern, and the variance of knit and purl stitches keeps the hat from curling, which is really nice, since Tunisian loves to curl up on itself. My only gripe with it is that the top is a little bit holey when it’s all said and done. I think that’s why it’s pretty critical to put a pom on top–something I have yet to try. If you’ve made this hat and have comments, I’d love to hear!

Now on to the amigurumi. I’m currently coasting into the final toy of the final order I’ve received since late August, which is a cow. But over the weekend, I ended up producing:

  • One whale
  • One baby bunny (and a practice bunny)
  • One cornflower blue hippo
  • One chocolate brown elephant

It may not seem like a lot but trust me when I say making four (technically five) animals  is quite a bit from Friday to Monday, not including eating, sleeping, going to Zumba, Netflix, etc. Here are a few photos, some of which are not the best, admittedly. I’ll have more when I’ve finished the cow and I can take some ultra cute pictures of the finished trio.

Hoping to be able to work on some more wearables and holiday items now that we’re in the last few months of 2015 (where has it gone?!). More to come!

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