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  • Head 'Em Up, Move 'Em Out

    I am still knitting the Franco's Muffler pattern from Knit Along with Debbie Macomber: Debbie's Favorites.


    I am still working on.... a lot of things.

    This isn't my usual start-itis, which is probably a real thing recognized by crafters and Doc McStuffins alike.  We're very much a Doc McStuffins household right now, and we're also a household in very real danger of being completely overtaken by my WIPs.  This is such a serious problem that I considered piling all of my projects together for the cheap purpose of a photo op and then I got embarrassed by the sheer volume of not-follow-throughness.  I swear, I really know how to diagnose 'em now!

    So I'm trying to clean out my stash of projects.  You may have noticed my attempts to wrap a few things here and there.  Some of my projects are hanging around because they're large or time-consuming, but some are just being neglected because it's more fun to try something new.   So now I'm going through my projects and figuring out what I want to finish up and what I want to just write off.  It's like trying to clean out your stash and you put all your yarn out in front of you, only I'm talking about my works-in-progress on the Internet.

    I know, I know.  I'm questioning this logic myself.  But it's nice to have a plan, and I'm hoping reviewing my posts about my projects will be helpful.

    Okay, first up!  The Colorful Hexagon pattern from Motif Afghans.  I thought it would be fun for this to be the Yellow Hexagon pattern and have a nice honeycomb-looking blanket. 

    And then all of the sudden, I just didn't want to anymore.  I don't have very many hexagons crocheted up, so I'm just going to throw these squares into the 'maybe I'll do a yarnbombing sometime' pile where my failed projects go.  If I do make this pattern someday, I'll probably use some different yarn.  It's Caron's Simply Soft yarn, and I think something that feels more substantial would work better.

    Sadly for this poor attempt at the crocheted Baby Surprise Jacket, I was also using some Caron Simply Soft.  And I don't remember what size I was making.  And my nephew probably outgrew this before warm weather got here AND before I ever got to the sleeve increases.  So this will be unraveled.  Goodbye, little jacket!  We'll try this again soon!

    They're based on the Colorful Circles pattern from Baby Afghans, and I'm starting to wonder why I'm taking multi-color patterns and making them yellow.  Anyway, the gray squares have almost all been used up and the yellow ones are resting comfortably.  I'll make some more in the next month or so and then I'll have another baby blanket!

    This little bookmark is from Thread Bookmarks.  I liked it when I got started, but then I realized it's a bit beyond my skill set.  So it's gone.  I'm going to make a pattern from Thread Bookmarks that's a little more at my level, and I'm going to make it very soon because I still want to mail it off to my mamaw for Mother's Day.

    The Basic Stocking from Crocheted Christmas Stockings?  I will finish it!

    But I'm obviously in no rush because Christmas is still a little ways off.  Awesome!

    The Ripples of Joy attempt from Baby Afghans is getting frogged.  I wasn't actually crocheting the Ripples of Joy pattern!  I was doing my increases wrong even though I've made this once before.  I don't know what happened and I don't care.  Crocheting this in one color would have been boring anyway, and I'm starting to creep myself out with my near-pathological tendency to take a beautifully colorful pattern and turn it yellow.  (Please someone stop me from making a yellow Christmas stocking if it comes to that.)

    And finally, the Mitered Eyelet Blanket from Baby Blankets Made with the Knook.  I'm actually knitting it.  I'm about two-thirds of the way through with the seaming and then I'll weave in a hundred or so ends.  And then!  My daughter will have her blanket!

    This project is the one I'm least looking forward to, and it's probably because it feels the most important.  I'm concerned about sewing squares together wrong, or out of order.  And I know I'll need to block this.  And, and, and.  I need to finish this up because I know having this project completed will make me happiest out of all of these projects.

    Okay! (Dusts off hands.)  So I have two blankets to finish, and only one is urgent.  I have a scarf and a bookmark to look forward to.  And I'm scrapping four projects and using the yarn for something more fun.  Now that I've culled things out a bit, I'm more excited diving into my remaining WIPs and getting them out my hooks and needles and into the hands of people who will love them.  Hooray!

    How do you sift through your unfinished projects?  Do you pull them all out and stare at them?  Do you have a list that you like to consult?  Do you wait until you can't bear to think of all the piled-up attempts and then you swear off crafting for a while?  I'm just asking for a friend.


  • Learn to Crochet: Whipstitch Inside Loops (Left Handed Video Tutorial)

     Let's talk about seaming, okay?  It's important!  It's simple!  If I didn't do it, I would just have a pile of squares instead of a halfway-done project from Baby Afghans!  It can even be done by left-handed people, but you can probably still get the idea by watching this video even if you're right-dominant.

    I typically seam my work together by facing the right sides together.  I'm not really sure why, other than I might be thinking about sewing with fabric.  But! There's no raw edge with crochet, so why do something that makes your squares (or strips or hexagons or whatever else you want to join together) bend and warp?

    Stitching inside the loops even seems to make a tiny bit of difference in how large my squares appear.  Or so I think.  It's all very, very gray.  I had originally planned to alternate gray squares with yellow ones, but then I changed my mind.  So now I need to make 13 more gray squares with yellow centers.


    As for those yellow squares with gray centers I already crocheted?

    Well, I'm just going to crochet 12 more of those at a later date.  For now, I'm focused on the gray blanket because that's the one I plan to give as a gift at a baby shower I'm attending.  On Friday.

    I might have finished a little sooner if I hadn't been distracted by other cute square projects, but oh well.  This is my second time making the pattern, and it's a pretty quick project even if you're not familiar with it.  I'm still going to make an extra strip so that the blanket will be a square, and I'm going to continue to be pleased with stitching the inside loops.  I'm halfway there!

  • Knitting a Muffler!

    I'm knitting a scarf!  It's Franco's Muffler from Knit Along with Debbie Macomber: Debbie's Favorites.  Actually, it's from my inbox because I got this a while ago as a Free Pattern Friday pattern.  But hey, if you'd like to try this then get yourself a copy of the book!  It's been marked down and there are ten other patterns that sound delightful!

    And please note that I said I am knitting this.  Not that I have knitted this.  I brought this along for a few hours of traveling last weekend and I really felt like I was really making progress.  After all, I had some #8 needles and some bulky weight yarn.  The main body is two rows over and over.  I'm kind of a fast knitter.  I could finish this in no time, right?


    I haven't knit a scarf in several million years, and so I'd forgotten that scarves are a million feet long.  Those numbers aren't exact, and I might be guesstimating on the conservative side, but this will be a nice project to pick up and work a few rows on when I'm in the mood for something simple.  There's just enough seed stitch in there to keep this from being a boring stockinette project, soI think I'll go until this seems long enough or I run out of yarn.

    The pattern calls for 500 yards or so of bulky weight yarn.  I'm using some Bernat Softee Chunky--the older discontinued kind--but there are plenty of other yarns out there that are just as soft and just-fluffy-enough.  I'm already wondering what this would look like in a chocolate brown.  I bet that would be nice.  I may try this again in that color!  I also think I might knit this up in a wool blend next time, or with 100% wool.  The stockinette stitches are really rolling the whole thing up.  Wool would holds its shape a bit better, and would block more easily.

    The pattern also calls for #9 needles to get a gauge of 14 stitches and 23 rows to get a 4" square.  You could go up or down a few needles sizes just to suit your own preference.  It's a scarf, so it should fit just fine and I think the stitch pattern will look fine no matter what.  Just use whatever you have already, or what's easiest on your hands.  I was initially worried about #8 needles making this too dense, but it's knitting up fine and I think it's going to be a really soft and solid-feeling scarf!

    Now I just need to finish it....

  • I Got a Project Bag Full of Sunshine

    I'm crocheting the Ripples of Joy afghan from Baby Afghans again and I love this sunshiney little work in progress.

    This is looking a little different from the project I made with this pattern last time.

    For starters, I'm using one color instead of five, and I don't think I'll be making this nearly as big as I did before.  This is, after all, a baby pattern.  And I am making this for a baby this time around.  I'm using Caron One Pound, so I know one color should take care of the whole blanket.  This is actually my second skein of Caron One Pound for just this year.  I want to tell you that, but I don't want to really think about what that says about me because I'm not quite sure.

    Moving on.

    I love how this is going and I still love this pattern and I love the yarn and I love that the blanket will look like a sun in a children's book when I'm finished.


    I decided to skip the process of working through the back loops.  Here's a post that describes what that means and has a tutorial, and here's a left-handed equivalent.  But basically working in the back loops every other row is what makes the blanket look so ripply.  I don't know how ripply I want my sunshine to look, but I'm not convinced that this is the look that I should be going for.  Like most pattern mods, it seemed like a really great idea before I was actually doing it.  

    But now I'm just not sure.  Maybe it's just because it feels odd to follow this pattern while doing nearly everything differently.  Or maybe I would like the look of these ripple rows being worked in the back loops more than I had realized.  

    Maybe this is completely fine, though.  The points will become more pronounced as I keep working, and this is going to make a very cheerful and solid baby blanket.  I think I'll work this for a few more rows before I make a decision to rip back or keep going. 

    I hope your projects don't make you feel so conflicted.  Happy crafting!
  • Crocheting a Christmas Stocking. Why Not?

    Hello, friends.  It is April 9, we are ten days away from Easter, and I am crocheting the Basic Stocking Pattern from Crochet Christmas Stockings.

    I mean, why not?  I know plenty of smart people who begin their Christmas crafting some time in June or July, but I tend to get taken by surprise even when I do plan ahead.  So this year, I'm getting a jump start on my holiday crafting by starting now.  I don't know why I didn't think about this back around Valentine's Day.  Valentine's Day is probably a perfect time to start Christmas crafting because January is devoted to recovering from Christmas crafting-related burnout/selfish knitting and crocheting.  I bet that's what I'll do next year.

    But for now, I'm feeling pretty good about starting my crocheting in April.  I don't even know who this stocking is for!  But when Christmas comes, I'll be ready.

    This is the first pattern I've tried out of Crocheted Christmas Stockings, and I thought the Basic Stocking Pattern would be a good place to start.  Most of the patterns specify a yarn weight and hook size, but are based on the Basic Stocking Pattern.  So I just started this with a G hook and worsted weight Red Heart yarn.  I think this will be an excellent container for a hostess gift.  Or it would be a great decoration.  Or .... something.  I like how this simple little stocking looks, so I think it's going to be great regardless of what its use is.

    There are no instructions on where to stop working for the cuff on this version of the pattern, so I just started working with red yarn when this looked 'right' to me. 

    It's fairly mindless single crochet stitches worked in the round, with a few decreases here and there.  I've plenty of time to think about how sweet an initial would look on the cuff if I sewed some buttons into the shape of a letter.  Or about how I'll probably use a different color for the heel and the toe because I may run out of scraps for this.

    I was enjoying the excitement of feeling like I was productive and an efficient planner, but now I have that extra thrill of terror that comes from trying to figure out if the yarn will outlast my pattern.  Really and truly, this is where I think the project gets exciting. It doesn't take much for me, and that's okay.

    I hope you're enjoying your own projects!

  • Don't Let Me Down, Thread Crochet!

    You know what I need?  More unfinished projects.  I'm not kidding.  That's why it's absolutely and definitely a great idea for me to start trying out the patterns in Thread Bookmarks.

    I need new projects to distract me from my unfinished projects that just sit around the house, judging me.  As of this writing, I have at least THREE projects that are thisclose to being finished except for seaming.  That I can recall. There may be more, and I just don't want to think about them because I don't want to even think about seaming, much less actually doing it.  DON'T WANNA, DON'T WANNA, DON'T WANNA!


    So.  This time I was at least smart enough to start a project that is worked in one piece.  And I'm getting a little more experience in thread crochet and reading symbol crochet patterns! 

    The Crowning Touch pattern calls for lace weight crochet thread that's a Size 10.  I'm not really sure what size yarn I'm using because this was inherited without a label, but it seems tiny enough and is working up nicely with the Size 10 steel hook. 

    For the record, Size 10 steel hooks are very, very different from Size 10 knitting needles.  Oh my goodness.

    I like this little project.  As long as I have good light, this is actually an okay project to work on while watching TV.  Obviously, I mean "watching TV after my little girl goes to bed."  If I had pets or anything, I would hide them while I worked on this.  This bookmark is mostly made of up simple little stitch repeats, but I'm not about to get wild and crazy and actually pay attention to another living being while I work with these itsy bitsy tools just yet.

    I think this will be a present for my Mamaw when it's finished.  She reads a lot, and has crocheted at least 30 snowflakes for my family, and about a dozen angels, with this tiny thread throughout the years.  Someone should definitely crochet something for her, and I'm just delusional enough to think that someone should be me.

     I am also delusional enough to believe that I will someday--like, in this year--finish up the seaming on some of my other WIPs before starting anything else.  But we don't have to talk about that nonsense for at least another week.  Until then, I can happily work three more rows on this lovely, singular little bookmark and only two ends to weave in when this is all over.


  • A Tote to Keep Me Trying. Or a Tote that is Trying Me.

    I'm working on the Granny Square Market Bag from Totes & Bags.  Yes, still.

    This is going to be a lovely finished object, but I'm getting a little impatient with it.  There are just so many little squares.  The very thing that initially made me want to make this bag is now what's driving me crazy.

    So. Many. Little. Squares.

    Also, working the side panel got me flustered because I had six balls of yarns getting tangled up all over the couch.


    Also, I got flustered because I'm terrible about working half double crochet stitches and that's all you do on the side and bottom panels.  I know the wonkiness won't show once everything's stitched together (or so I pray), but it's currently really getting me down and I'm in no mood to make a second side panel.  But it would seem I'm also in no mood to finish the bottom panel because that's super boring.

    And the squares!  All those little squares that are three colors apiece!  All those ends to weave in!  Sixteen squares on either side that have to be stitched together!  All these ends to weave in on all these parts and the sewing and the stuff!
    Why am I even doing this?
    Uh, well, because I still sort of want to!  These squares are too small for me to turn into a banner, so I can't just repurpose the pieces.  And I want to finish this bag since I tried once before to make it and kind of lost steam.

    Also, this is going to be a beautiful bag once it's finished!  My desire for a beautiful market bag is outweighing my frustration with the project.  And I have to say that my frustration isn't due to some kind of problem with pattern.  I'm just kind of tired of working on it.  
    But!  Motivation has arrived! Our farmers market is re-opening this weekend and that means we'll have some produce to haul around.  And I really want to haul it around in this bag.  The colors are so bright!  The acrylic is going to be so sturdy and easy to wash!  Plus, granny squares!    
    Granny squares are always a good enough reason to try a project.  And to finish it.
    I don't think I'll have this finished in time for my first farmers market trip of the year, but maybe I will next week.  I do know it will be finished very soon, and I'll be carrying this lovely creation around everywhere and considering making another one.


  • Crocheting A Blanket's Worth of Colorful Circles

    I made the Colorful Circles afghan from Baby Afghans last fall, but in gray and yellow.

    I'm doing that again.

    But slightly different.

    Circles inside of squares are pretty striking, and I wondered what would effect I would get if I switched out Color A and B.  About half of these squares will have gray circles and yellow border, and the other half will have yellow circles and gray borders.  I'm not sure if I'll alternate the squares, or if I'll have alternating strips.

    Alternating squares:

    Alternating strips:

    The blanket is made of four strips of five blocks, but I think I have enough yarn for five more squares.  Another row would give me more chances to play with the arrangement.  This is a nice bold pattern and I think it's great for little baby eyes to focus on!  Maybe kind of like this:

    There are a lot of possibilities even though I'm just making two types of squares with two colors of yarn.  I'm using up a leftover skein of Red Heart Super Saver in Grey Heather, and some Caron One Pound in Sunflower.  I'm getting gauge just fine with the recommended H hook, and so my squares are 5.5".  And I'm really excited to be playing around with the designs in this sweet little pattern again.

    I love this pattern, and I'm excited to be working on this little blanket.  I don't even know for whom I'm making this, but I am really excited about having this in my blanket stash.  I love making these squares.

    I have nearly half as many as I need, and then the real fun of arranging begins.

    I can't wait!

  • Definitely Your Grandma's Potholder

    I'm crocheting a potholder!  When I first saw the cover of Towel Toppers and Potholders, I immediately thought, "That is a really grandma-looking craft."  Obviously, that would mean I would have to try out some of these patterns.


    I feel kind of sad whenever someone declares, "This ain't your grandma's knitting book/crochet pattern/canning recipe/orthopedic shoe/brand of cigarettes!"  Because firstly, no one should say "ain't" ever.  I understand that most peoeple are just doing it for added emphasis, but it sounds terrible.  And secondly, grandmas are great.  Why wouldn't you want to emulate them?

    Maybe I've just been very lucky to have some amazing grandma figures in my life, but I think grandma style is pretty timeless.  Acrylic afghans, bird-watching through the window, homey kitchen decor, super secret strategies for betting on horses--these are just a few of the great things I think of when I think about my grandmas.  It's been awesome so far to see my mom and my mother-in-law magically transform into all-knowing masters of gardening and puzzle-building around my daughter.  I can't wait to see what else she'll associate with grandmas when she's older.  Because I know for me, towel topper = grandma. 

    And I love it. 


    I have a couple from my Mamaw, and I was so excited when I rediscovered them in the back of a drawer last week and realized my daughter was no longer a crawling infant who pulled up on everything.  So back onto the oven-handle my dishtowel with herbs went!  It's a pretty simple design, with a neat little wooden fob to button the strap.  I wanted to make one myself as soon as I put it up.

    But we have plenty of towels.  So I'm going to hold off on making a towel topper with a flower on it (I'm clutching my heart and nearly swooning a little thinking about how great this is) until a loved one needs a housewarming gift.  I hope they love grandma style!

    So for now, I'm working on the Sunflower potholder.  My husband has set a few potholders on fire in the past year, and a nice sunflowery potholder would look so adorable hanging up on our kitchen wall.  He's the main cook in our family, but since we've been married 7 years and he still doesn't know our toaster cover has a cat on it, I think I can get away with having him use a sunflower potholder.


    Anyway, I'm having a lot of fun making this.  The sunflower pattern is one of the simpler designs in the book, which is why I wanted to start out with it.  You just crochet two circles and then make the sunflower separately to stitch on later.  I also don't have insulation to place between my two circles just yet, either.  But hey, this work is still in progress and I was too excited to get any farther along in it before I told you about it. 

    The main part of the body is worked in single crochet stitches, so the crocheted fabric is really dense.  I think this will be really excellent at protecting hands from hot surfaces.  I decided to use cotton yarn because I have a ton of it, and also because I've melted a few handmade potholders made with acrylic yarn.  Frozen pizzas cook at a pretty high temperature and I wanted any potholder I made to be able to withstand the heat. 
    I have a good feeling that this potholder is going to be very cute and very practical.  Just like a grandma.

  • I Still Dream of Garter Stitch. Sweet, Simple Garter Stitch.

    I'm still knitting squares for a blanket from a modified pattern from Baby Blankets Made with the Knook.  Lots and lots of squares.

    You know how it is.  I'm just a few squares away from having enough, and now I'm slowing down a bit.  I guess I feel comfortable that I'm going to finish this, and so now I'm not rushing.  I'm just knitting my way through this Knook pattern and enjoying the simple pattern.  By the way, if you're new to Knooking I think this would be a wonderful starter project!

    I'm starting to play around with my color combinations in earnest.  I still think that 6 rows of 7 blocks a piece should still make a nice little blanket for my toddler.  I'm going to make a few more squares with some light brown yarn, and that's going to be the yarn I use for piecing the squares together.  I had thought about doing a simple single crochet stitch border, but I think I'll leave the edges bare in case I want to add more squares in a few more years.

    I love the idea of this blanket growing with my little girl, and I love the colors together.  Using up some of my scraps simplified the process for me.  How many squares should be yellow?  Well, I have enough yarn for 5 squares.  So that's how many I should have.  I used full skeins of the blue and red yarn, and nearly a full skein of the off-white yarn.  The dark green makes me think of quilts and afghans I see in the backgrounds of WWII movie sets.  It's homey and scrappy and kind of earnest-looking. 

    That seems like a nice gift for a mom to make for her daughter right before a third birthday.  She already knows that knitting takes time, and she knows that handmade things are important.  I love every one of these little mitered squares, and I already love the idea of wrapping up my daughter in this blanket. 

    I'm enjoying myself very much as I work on this project, and I hope you're having a great time with your WIPs this Wednesday as well.

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