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!

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! 🙂

progress: chevron blanket

It’s been hard to do much crafting lately.  I’ve been really busy with other important life stuff.  Some progress has been made on the king size chevron blanket though:

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I know it’s not much, but it’s better than nothing.

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Don’t know why I’m in such a crafting slump.  I just don’t feel like doing anything.  I’ll think ‘oh, it would be nice to work on that blanket or that shawl,’ but then I just… don’t.

Bleh.  Do you get in really long phases like this too?

Aspen blanket: ta-da!

First I want to say a brief thank you to everyone across the world who commented on my last post.  I no longer feel so alone and afraid and have been brainstorming about things I can do to make a difference.  Your support and kindness are so much appreciated.

In knitting news, I finally finished my Aspen blanket and I LOVE it!  I started it in January but due to a yarn shortage I had to put it on hold for a while, but I got it back out a couple of weeks ago and thoroughly enjoyed finishing it.

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It’s a great size and is nice and stretchy (which also makes it hard to take a good measurement).  I do kind of wish I’d just made up a similar pattern on my own because to me it turned out to be a very simple pattern for $6, but oh well.

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I used 24 skeins (2520 yds) of Garnstudio DROPS Andes (super bulky, 65% wool, 35% alpaca) in 0100 Ecru.  The pattern actually calls for 2 strands of bulky weight held together but 2 strands of the super bulky held together was fine.  Actually, even with the recommended needle size (US 50/25 mm) it still looked pretty loose, so I went down 2 needle sizes to US 19 (15 mm) and added 2 pattern repeats to make up for the change, and I like it much better.  I used the long-tail cast-on & Elizabeth Zimmerman’s sewn bind-off to keep things nice and elastic, and I slipped the first stitch of each row purl-wise to make a neater edge.

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One thing I really love about my blanket is that there are no knots in the entire thing.  I used the spit-splicing method to join new balls of yarn so that there wouldn’t be messy sections of sewn in ends.  Basically you just cut a couple of inches off of half of the plies (in my case, 1 ply, since the yarn itself was just 2 ply) on both the tail end of the current ball and the beginning of the new one you’re joining.  Then you dampen the ends with spit, wind the plies together, and rub it quickly between your hands or on a sturdy fabric.  It sounds gross (and kind of tastes gross and fuzzy), but there’s something about spit that works better than just plain water.  Essentially you’re felting the ends together (making an undetectable but very strong join), meaning that this method only works with yarn that has a high content of animal fiber.  Because it’s feltable, though, it has to be laid out to dry after washing, which will be fun (I have no idea where I will do that).  It will also be heavy, and it’s heavy already without being wet!

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All in all I’m very happy with this plush, toasty blanket!  I just have to be careful not to leave it lying around when I’m not using it, or the dog will likely lay on it and snag the yarn with her claws.  Maybe felting it in the wash just a little teensy bit might not be a bad idea.

Also, I got a haircut yesterday.  This week has been so terrible (on top of the election, I also immediately got sick afterward, and I was so despondent that I’m not sure the two aren’t unrelated), so I figured I’d pamper myself just a tad.  I love it.

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OK, that’s all for today.  Thanks for stopping by everyone, see you soon!

giganto blanket progress

It’s been over 2 months since I’ve shared an update on my Aspen blanket that I have lovingly dubbed “the blanket everyone wants” (well, they seemed to be all the rage this winter).  You hold the yarn double so I don’t know why I got an odd number of balls, but I’ve finished 16 balls of Garnstudio DROPS Andes in 0100 Ecru and this is what I have:

Not Your Average Crochet's Aspen Blanket

Far from my estimated 60″ wide, it’s about 45.  Granted, I wasn’t stretching it at all and I think it will grow over time, but still, I was off on that guess.  Also, I thought 16 balls might be enough to finish the blanket.  It is not.  It’s only about 36″ tall (again unstretched).  I MIGHT be OK if this was 2/3 of a blanket, meaning I might be happy if I ordered 7 more balls to go with my extra 1.  At $7.15 a ball, though, that’s $50.05 not counting S&H, and I just can’t do that right now.  That’ll put this blanket at over $150 worth of yarn.  I hate putting that much into one project because I’ll be so worried about it getting messed up that I might not use and enjoy it, but this was one of the cheapest super bulky yarns in wool that I could find.  Maybe I should keep blankets acrylic, but wool blankets are so much warmer!  Guess there are pros and cons to both.

Not Your Average Crochet's Aspen Blanket

I’m really sad but I guess this will have to go into hibernation mode for a while until I can get the yarn.  The plus side is that I still haven’t broken my New Year’s Resolution to not buy yarn (although when I do buy the yarn to finish this I’m not sure it’ll count against me, since it’s to finish a WIP that I thought I had enough yarn for).  Also, Chris and I both needed a pair of new shoes this month so unfortunately that has to take precedence over yarn, hehe.  We got Chris some new kitchen Crocs because his current ones are old and literally falling apart (they’re heavy duty Crocs made specifically for working in kitchens, without holes in the top and with extra tread on the bottom and padding on the inside), and I finally had to replace my Rainbows sandals after about 9 years of constant wear.

My Wing Chun lessons are going great — we got to stay about 20 minutes extra last time and our teacher taught us the first 5 steps of the wooden dummy form, which was really cool.  I’ve been trying to practice at home on a wall but it has corners, which hurt my arms, and it doesn’t have arms for me to practice blocks.  I’ve looked at practice dummies but even the ones made with PVC are over $500.  Why does everything from yarn to shoes to practice equipment have to be so expensive?  Ugh.

Sorry, I’m a bit grumpy, so I’ll sign off for now, but I do appreciate you stopping by!  I have plenty of other WIPs going too so hopefully I’ll see you soon with updates on those, or maybe something even cooler!

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