blanket and baskets done!

Hello everyone!  How are ya’ll doing?  Idk about you but I’ve been crafting up a storm since I’m spending more time at home by myself, so I’ve got some stuff to share with you.

Firstly, I finished my Big Beautiful Basket:

big beautiful basket #1

 

I really like it, so I decided to make a second one!  I finished that one, too, although it was a bit more tricky — I thought that to stabilize the bottom of the basket a bit I would crochet around a thin wire, but it kinda made things funky and I had to add some decreases on the sides of the basket, leading to a rather lumpy looking finished product:

big beautiful basket #2

 

I’m using it as a laundry hamper.

And since I still had plenty more of the Lion Brand Mandala yarn I decided to make a third one, but this time I’m using a 9.0mm hook in hopes that a smaller hook will make the fabric a bit more stiff.  Here’s the progress I made before I decided it was too big and ripped back out to take a couple rounds off of the base:

big beautiful basket #3

 

And yep, I’m keeping this WIP and its yarn in my ottoman, hehe.  It’s quite convenient.

Okay, now for the finished project that’s got me most excited: the Kim Taehyung blanket!!!  First, a reminder of my color palette inspiration (read: an excuse for me to post about a BTS member):

Kim Taehyung

 

And now for the finished blanket:

Kim Taehyung blanket

 

The colors are more accurate this time so you can see how they match with the original photos.  I’m really pleased with the yarn (Paintbox Wool Mix Aran), the pattern (the standard Attic24 ripple), and the size!  Above it’s laid out on my king size bed, although it wasn’t made for the bed — this is just so you can see the size — it’s really just a giant throw blanket for the couch.  Now my dog can cuddle under it with me (he likes to get under blankets) and I’ll still have plenty of room!

I haven’t felted it yet — I was trying to decide whether or not to do a border first.  I have the yarn for it, but since this is a decently stretchy blanket I’m not sure I wanna crochet all around the edges, because what if the edging isn’t as stretchy as the rest and it ends up looking weird after a bit of use and a few washes?  I dunno.  What do you guys think I should do?  Border or no?

Please continue to take good care of yourselves — people weren’t that great about preventative measures in my state in the first place, but now that things are starting to open back up I think we might just see a spike in virus cases.  Heh, and speaking of my state, I have this upcoming Monday off for Confederate Memorial Day, which is pretty much the stupidest holiday I’ve ever heard of (sorry, not sorry, it’s really the worst).  I’ll try and get some crocheting done, I guess.

Thanks so much for stopping by!  Take care, and see you soon!

if your majesty doth ask it

I will tell about the basket!  (Sorry, watched “The Court Jester” recently, couldn’t resist.)  So yeah.  I’m making a basket.  BUT FIRST:

How are ya’ll holding up?  I hope everyone is crafting lots to stay sane at home.  Many of the lovely ladies in the knitting/crochet group at work are meeting via video chat since we can’t meet in person, which I’m super-duper grateful for.

In fact, these group members are the ones who inspired me to make a basket!  It’s made using the YouTube video tutorial from Jayda in Stitches for the Big Beautiful Basket (although I’ve modified it a bit to suit my yarn adjustments and favored techniques).  It’s extremely simple and quick, as you use 3 strands of #4 yarn held together with a 10mm hook (I’m using 4 strands of #3 yarn though, because I have quite a few Lion Brand Mandala cakes):

Big Beautiful Basket

I started this today, and here’s what I’ve got now:

Big Beautiful Basket

It’s slightly over a foot in diameter and is being made to hold my other WIP as I work on it (well, one of many other WIPs, actually, but we don’t talk about that), the Kim Taehyung blanket.

I have a feeling baskets could be addictive.  That’s what the other ladies in the work group are telling me.  I don’t need a ton of them though — I barely have room for 1 (and this will probably find a home underneath a side table, tbh), so if I do more they’ll either be a good bit smaller or they’ll be gifts for others.

So yeah, that’s about it.  Thanks for stopping by, everyone!  See you soon!

new project & things to share!

Hi everyone!  How are you all doing?  These past few weeks have been nanners, and I hope you are staying safe and healthy along with your loved ones.  It’s a good chance to get some good crocheting/knitting done!

I’ve been working on a “new” project (read: new as in it’s the first time I’m posting about it here, but it’s actually been on the hook for months) and I’d love to share it with you all!

Kim Taehyung blanket(Turns out neon colors are hard to photograph — the fluorescent yellow is less green in real life than it looks here, and the bright orange is actually more pink-ish.)

It’s yet another rendition of the good ol’ Attic 24 ripple pattern.  I swear, I never get tired of this — it just flows more easily than chevrons, if that makes sense, it’s soothing and doesn’t require that you count higher than 4, and you can kind of mindlessly do this while doing many things, including watching TV (even while reading subtitles, unless they’re really fast).

My first ripple blanket, made back in 2011 (WOW), was done with Berroco Vintage Chunky, and it is one of the few blankets I’ve made that I actually use as more than just display — it has survived through many moves, a careless husband, and two dogs, and it’s still going strong!  Most of that is because of the yarn, since I was able to felt it in the wash just a bit and get it to the point where my dog’s claws don’t snag it, even when he paws at it, but this particular blanket is slightly dissatisfying in that it’s quite skinny.

This time, I’m using another wool blend so I can felt it the same way (but I’m using the slightly cheaper Paintbox Yarns: Wool Blend Aran, which was actually chosen because it has a wider selection of colors and I was trying to match the colors to a certain picture I like — more on that in a sec), but this blanket will be much bigger overall.  It’s already quite large — I’ve got maybe 20-30 rows left and I’ll be ready for the border!

With my classic ability to come up with only non-imaginative names for projects, I have temporarily (?) dubbed this the Kim Taehyung blanket, named after the guy whose picture made me go “ooooo, pretty colors!”

Kim Taehyung
I feel like I need to put some kind of warning or something here… Umm…  “Fangirling Ahead!  Feel Free to Skip (but at the Same Time, Please Don’t)!”  There.

OK.  So.  Kim Taehyung (stage name: V) is a member of the biggest musical group in the world: BTS.  If you don’t already know, BTS is a K-pop (Korean pop) band that stands out from all other artists in that genre thanks in part to their unique entertainment label, which allows them to truly express their versatile talent and brilliance by being their own main content creators and talking about things that other artists rarely tackle, such as societal issues (they even spoke at the UN) and learning to love ourselves (and in fact their entire discography is centered around themes/concepts in Jungian psychology relating to how we can both find ourselves and learn to love what we find, which, of course, as a counselor I absolutely love).  It also doesn’t hurt that they are the most amazing dancers ever, their style cover a wide span of genres, their songs are super catchy, and they’re pretty funny.  Their music, alongside special people in my life such as my wonderfully supportive parents and the amazing friends I’ve found in other ARMY (the fanbase name), has helped me gather and keep the courage to make some difficult life changes (divorce) and to start moving towards being a more authentic me.  I could literally talk about them for days, but I’ll let the links above speak for themselves; if you’re bored during quarantine and curious, I don’t think you’d regret watching and becoming more familiar with them.  I truly believe they have something to offer everybody.

Whew.  Ok.  That was actually minimal fangirling.  Are there any other ARMY in my readers?  I will give you SO MANY LONG DISTANCE AIR HUGS!!  I saw them live last year at MetLife, and will be going again this year in Atlanta whenever they reschedule the dates, so if you’re in the area hit me up!

And as always everyone, thanks for stopping by.  I’d love to hear from everyone in the comments — what are you working on to keep busy during quarantine?  What have you just ben up to in general?  I hope to see you all again soon! 🙂

top 16 all-time favorite patterns!

Hey everyone! It’s been a loooooong time, because I honestly haven’t been crafting very much this year. Even so, I wanted to share my top 16 all-time favorite knitting and crocheting patterns (there’s a healthy mix here, gathered from years and years of crafting; and no I did not include all of my own self-published patterns 😉). I hope you enjoy, and let me know if any of these are your favorites too down in the comments, or if you have other favorites I didn’t mention! And in no particular order, here we go!

1. Neat Ripple (crochet)

Many people think this pattern from Attic24 is a classic, and I agree. I’ve made 2!

2. Color Kaleidoscope Blanket (crochet)

I’ve only made one so far, but this quick and fun textured pattern is really easy and would be great for all kinds of variegated yarn! It’s also pretty cozy!

3. Chunky Circle Scarf (crochet)

I love this thing so much I’ve made 7 and am not planning to stop anytime soon. Quick to work up, they make great cozy squishy gifts!

4. African Flower Potholders (crochet) (square, round)

not your average crochet - african flower potholder

not your average crochet - african flower potholder

While these are technically separate patterns, the idea is the same. I like to put a simple backing on all of my potholders for both looks and function. I’ve made around 15, as they also make good gifts.

5. Giftie Slouchie Beanie (knit)

These are quick to make and are what I traditionally give to people in my family when they are in the hospital (except my Dad, who got one for Christmas one year and was totally not in the hospital). I think I’ve made 4.

6. Thai Crochet Cowl (crochet)

Thai Crochet Cowl from Not Your Average Crochet

Ok so this is one of my originals, but I love it because it’s a good stash buster and it produces a supremely plush and toasty fabric!

7. Ribbed Waffle Hat (knit)

Ribbed Waffle Hat

I love this because it’s quick, cozy, and will fit even the largest of heads (but I also go up a needle size from what’s recommended, as I tend to knit tightly). I’ve made 9.

8. Recuerdos de Infancia (crochet)

recuerdos de infancia crochet shawl

I made one in lace (pictured) and one in fingering weight, and I love both.

9. The Olympia Cowl (knit)

the olympia cowl

Another one of my own design, I love this thing and am currently making more.

10. No-Purl Ribbed Scarf (knit)

This photo is of one I have in the works now, not my completed one, and I will actually seam this one to make an infinity scarf. I love the cozy squishy texture this stitch pattern makes!

11. Springtime Satin Balls (crochet)

I made 4 of these ornaments for Christmas gifts. The pattern is not available online, only in a booklet called “Springtime Satin Balls” that I found on eBay, but I’d say it’s worth finding; the author made other booklets with similar ornament patterns as well, if you can’t find that one.

12. Arlequin Shawl (knit)

I’m on my second one of these asymmetrical beauties now. Love it.

13. Sunburst Flower Granny Square (crochet)

Probably my favorite granny square. Makes a fun but beautiful puffy square. I plan on making more of these.

14. Aspen Blanket (knit)

I affectionately named mine “the blanket everyone wants” because these super chunky cable knit throws were (are?) so popular. It was really fun (and warm) to make and I’d totally make another one!

15. Black Cat Slouch Hat (crochet)

not your average crochet pussyhat project

While I did make a black one for Halloween one year, I’ve made 8 pink ones for the Pussyhat Project (a feminist movement). In fact I’m making more now for the Women’s March in DC at the beginning of 2019, and if you want to make some to send my way to distribute, I would be very grateful!

16. Quick and Simple Granny Shawl (crochet)

not your average crochet granny shawl

This is another of my patterns; well, I wrote out the details, but it’s just a granny triangle. In this yarn it worked up cozy and gorgeous! I’ll be making more.

Well that’s it folks, what do you think? Are some of these on your favorites list, or did I miss your fave? Let me know! As always, thanks for stopping by!

“Design Your Own Crochet Projects” book review and giveaway!

Hello everyone!  I have something really cool to share with you today, I hope you like it!

Design Your Own Crochet Projects

about the book:

This is a new book that came out in October of this year, and it’s unlike any crochet book I’ve seen before because it takes the guesswork out of designing your own items without limiting you to any specific yarn weight, stitch pattern, or item size.  When they say “Magic Formulas for Creating Custom Scarves, Cowls, Hats, Socks, Mittens, and Gloves,” they ain’t kiddin’!

In the introduction of the book, the author Sara Delaney (click here for her Ravelry page) reviews guidelines for choosing yarns for your projects, and even though I know a good bit about different fibers simply due to how long I’ve been crocheting and knitting I still find this section useful as a reminder of not only how different fibers act (protein vs. cellulose vs. manmade, etc.) but also how the yarn construction (roving vs. plied vs. constructed) and weight effect your projects.  The introduction also emphasizes the importance of the gauge swatch — I know, I know, I don’t like making gauge swatches either, but it does take the guesswork out of things and saves you time in the end.  Sara goes on to explain how to create a swatch properly and what to look for in your swatch.

An entire chapter is devoted to each type of item the book discusses (scarves, cowls, hats — both bottom-up and top-down, fingerless mitts, mittens, gloves, and socks — both cuff-down and toe-up).  Each chapter has standard measurements for the item and useful instructions on how to measure a person properly for the item.  The super cool part of each chapter, though, are the pages you are allowed to photocopy and fill in yourself to keep all of your measurements and information organized.  First, there’s the basic data that includes all the measurements you’ll need to plug in to the formulas:

Then, using those measurements, the book tells you exactly how to calculate the yardage you’ll need:

The book then provides a pattern formula as well as an extended pattern formula for when you are making a pattern with specific stitch multiple requirements (they really thought of everything):

And last but not least there’s a pattern template.  I like this because it has everything you may need to replicate the pattern again later if you want to, instead of having to borrow the gift you gave to someone and squint at it for hours to try and figure out how you made it the first time.  It keeps everything on one handy page:

Sara also included some pre-made patterns in the book, and she goes so far as to show the worksheets above filled out for the patterns so you can see how it all comes together.  These are great examples of how good patterns are made!

This isn’t all there is to the book, though.  There’s a stitch dictionary at the end with gorgeous stitch patterns to get your creativity flowing, and there’s also AN ONLINE CALCULATOR.  You know, in case you don’t want to write everything out or aren’t too confident in your own math skills (like me).  I love this feature.  While the calculator includes all of the formulas you’ll need to make an awesome pattern, obviously it doesn’t cover everything there is to learn in the book so I’d still recommend having the book itself, but I really like that the calculator largely reduces the possibility of human error.

my thoughts:

Obviously, I like this book and the online calculator.  I’m already using it to help me plan out pattern ideas and it’s taking a lot of the frustration out.  It’s worth noting that it uses US terms.  Another really cool thing about this book: the formulas work for making knitting patterns, too!  I don’t know if Sara intended the book to be used for knitting in addition to crochet or not, but it’s equally helpful.  Like for realsies, this book has everything you need and I’m so glad I have it.  Click here for the book’s Ravelry page.

giveaway:

And now for the giveaway part!  This particular giveaway is open only to US residents (but many of the other giveaways I hold are open worldwide).  A lucky winner will receive their own free copy of Sara Delaney’s “Design Your Own Crochet Projects” and all you have to do is comment below with your name and the State you live in (one entry per person please)!  I’d also be grateful if you subscribed to this blog.  Winner will be chosen by a Random Number Generator on Monday, November 13th.  If chosen you will receive an email from me requesting your mailing address; make sure you check your inboxes because after 24 hours I will draw again if I receive no response!  Winner will be announced as soon as one has been confirmed!  Good luck everyone!

Please note that while Storey Publishing did provide me with my own copy of this book as well as the giveaway copy, the thoughts and opinions shared are genuine and entirely my own.

Thanks for stopping by, see you soon!

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