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  • Halloween Tote: Reflective® Finish

    My last blog entry told you about my trials and tribulations while learning how to crochet in the round. I shared with you my swatches and what I learned from each example.  I was very anxious to get started using the yarn specific for the project, Halloween Tote.  The project is one from Leisure Arts' item #75526 - Light-Reflecting Fashions.

    All projects in Light-Reflecting Fashions (Leisure Arts' #75526) use Red Heart® Reflective® yarn. All projects in Light-Reflecting Fashions (Leisure Arts' #75526) use Red Heart® Reflective® yarn.

    All the projects in this leaflet use Red Heart® Reflective® yarn.  October 31st is fast approaching so let me make one more review of my project instructions and off I go to get started!

    Having crocheted multiple swatches earlier, familiarized me to the pattern instructions, as well as setting my expectations of working with multiple strands of yarn. Not that some unexpected twists and turns couldn't happen, but I thought I was prepared. Oops; a snag!

    I'm so excited to start the bottom of the tote with Red Heart® Reflective® yarn. Uh-oh; there are two frayed, snagged areas so I'll be careful! I'm so excited to start the bottom of the tote with Red Heart® Reflective® yarn. Uh-oh; there are two frayed, snagged areas so I'll be careful!

    Both of these snagged areas looked worse than they were! I could easily tuck any loose fibers in between all four strands of yarn. I finished the bottom and was pleased that I did not have large holes in the composition of each stitch.

    The range of crochet hook sizes for the Halloween Tote project. I chose the middle hook marked Size P, 11.5 mm. The range of crochet hook sizes for the Halloween Tote project. I chose the middle hook marked Size P [11.5 mm].

    I chose to work with the middle hook as pictured above. The size stamped on it says Size P [11.5 mm]. This is smaller than the millimeter hook range as listed in the book's project instructions (SizeP/Q [15 mm]) but I was pleased with the results and the hook was comfortable to hold.

    As I approached Round 11 I took a closer look at my rounds and was pleased, except...except for the joining stitches! I couldn't understand why each stitch looked so loose on several rounds. Then I counted my most recent round and had one too many stitches! OUCH! I was very frustrated because I thought I marked the proper first single crochet stitch and managed the tension successfully while holding four strands. Quite the contrary!

    I did some research about the joining of rounds and what pitfalls crocheters experience. The reply by Karen of Colour in a Simple Life to one of her reader's problems addressed this issue. Karen showed a marked photograph, as well as a written explanation, which solved my dilemma; read it here in the blog entry, Colour in the Winter Blues from 2013.  Thank you, Karen!

    I do not have a picture of the ugliness of the five rounds before I ripped them out. But I was relieved to know that there was a solution -- and it really worked. I'll show you several pictures of the corrected rounds with their joining stitches looking neat and blending in with the other single crochet stitches quite nicely.

    The end of this round; now I clearly see my first single crochet marked with a stitch marker. The end of this round; now I clearly see my first single crochet marked with a stitch marker.
    The joining stitches for each round now look much tighter and blend more easier with the other stitches than my first try. The joining stitches for each round now look much tighter and blend more easier with the other stitches than my first try.
    Even looking at the joining stitches close up, they look consistent and neat. There could be improvement, but I am happy with each round. Even looking at the joining stitches close up, they look consistent and neat. There could be improvement, but I am happy with each round.
    Marked my first single crochet at the beginning of a new round. Marked my first single crochet at the beginning of a new round.

    I was happy to continue with my orange for the tote's body. Soon, I must change colors to black for the top section which included making handles. Another challenge since I had never done anything other than a flat pattern. It's tricky to work with dark colors because it really is challenging to see the stitches. Thank goodness I wasn't learning a new stitch on top of using a dark color for the first time!

    Almost done; I just joined the black yarn. Dark colors make it harder to see each stitch! Almost done; I just joined the black yarn. Dark colors make it harder to see each stitch!

    I did have to rip out the first handle once, but after that I "saw" the stitches more clearly and could complete the handles successfully. If I was an experienced crocheter, I might have opted to make the handles thicker. I say this because if this tote bag will be used by an avid trick-or-treater who might gather multiple pounds of candy, while swinging the bag to-and-fro, I might try to add another round to the handles.

    It really looks like a tote bag! Now for the finishing touches: the spider web and spider! EEK! It really looks like a tote bag! Now for the finishing touches: the spider web and spider! EEK!

    Okay - let's make this tote bag Halloween-ready...

    Voila; now I can more safely walk the neighborhood for trick-or-treat fun! Voila; now I can more safely walk the neighborhood for trick-or-treat fun!

    The spider web was not difficult to do. Just count the number of stitches/spaces to determine where to stitch your web in a fairly symmetrical placement on your Halloween Tote. Ta-dah, done! I love it, and not in a braggadocios way, but in an accomplished manner. It is a very compact and sturdy tote bag.

    Have fun getting revved up for October 31st by planning your decorations, costumes, and trick-or-treat travel route. Happy Halloween!

    Martha

     

  • Crafters - Make a Yarn Basket from Your Stash!

    I have always used yarn in some sort of craft even before I "learned" the basics of knitting and crocheting as an adult. Two memories encouraged me to crash-the-stash of yarn and get weaving! When I was a Brownie Girl Scout, my troop learned how to craft a God's Eye or Ojo de Dios; a cultural symbol showing a woven motif created by using several colors of yarn wrapped around twigs. That is the first time I recall being amazed how several objects by themselves look and function one way, but used together in a different manner created an entirely new object! It was a magical transformation of sticks and yarn into a beautifully patterned piece of art. When I was an older Girl Scout, I made a woven basket. It took two weeks of soaking and weaving, soaking and weaving, until the basket was completed. It's funny how images from a current book can take you back in time, inviting you to revisit a past passion. Whether you discover the uses of yarn for the first time, or rediscover the transformation of your supplies into new objects, it's time to create a yarn basket project!

    The small project that caught my eye was the woven basket on the outside front cover of Leisure Arts' item 6758 - Yarn Crafts. Not only was it cute (small, compact, and uncomplicated), I could fit this project in to my schedule of other items on my to-do list. Plus, I had [minimal] weaving experience -- come on, decades' old hands-on knowledge still counts, right? Right - I immediately jumped on to making this project!

    This cute woven basket on the front cover (Leisure Arts' sku 6758 - Yarn Crafts), looks perfect for some discontinued yarn I gathered from our yarn stash! This cute woven basket on the front cover of Leisure Arts' item 6758 - Yarn Crafts, looks perfect for some discontinued yarn I gathered from my yarn stash!

    Reviewing the directions in the leaflet, I decided to add some coloring to the cardboard base of my basket. After reviewing my various coloring book choices, I chose a page from Leisure Arts' item 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone.

    I have chosen the page I want to color for the cardboard base of my basket. The page is from Leisure Arts' item 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone. I have chosen the page I want to color for the cardboard base of my basket. The page is from Leisure Arts' item 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone.

    This added step of coloring a page to add to the basket's cardboard base was not the hardest step, but it did take the most time!

    After reviewing the steps on how to weave the Yarn Basket, I decided that my piece of cardboard used for the basket's base would be covered by a coloring book page. After reviewing the steps on how to weave the Yarn Basket, I decided that my piece of cardboard used for the basket's base would be covered by a coloring book page.

    Of course I wanted both the inside and the outside of the basket's base to have a colorful design, so I colored the whole page. I used markers for this part of project, then sprayed acrylic sealer on the page after it was colored.

    Oh, yes; adding my colored sections from a coloring book page will be the perfect addition to the cardboard base (two circles, one for the inside and the other for the outside of the basket). Oh, yes; adding my colored sections from a coloring book page will be the perfect addition to the cardboard base (two circles, one for the inside and the other for the outside of the basket).

    Once my colored pages were cut into circles the same size as my cardboard base, I glued them to each side of the cardboard using a spray adhesive. Next, I used a sharp needle to puncture holes through the paper (that would be the inside of the basket) into the cardboard. Remember my earlier picture showed the cardboard already had the punctured holes; this was done before I made a final decision to add some coloring to my project. After the colored circle was glued to the cardboard, it was easy to puncture a new "layer" of holes going through just the coloring book page into the prepunched cardboard.

    Following the directions outlined in the Yarn Basket project found in Leisure Arts' item 6758 - Yarn Crafts, I inserted toothpicks into each hole and used hot glue to hold them in place. Some toothpicks would not stand straight up so I amended the directions by placing a pony bead around each toothpick. Then I added a different glue that would remain flexible after drying; I used E6000.

    Following the Yarn Basket's directions, 37 toothpicks have been glued into holes into the cardboard. I chose to add pony beads thinking these might add extra stability. (My cardboard example has been covered with a coloring book page). Following the Yarn Basket's directions, 37 toothpicks have been glued into holes into the cardboard. I chose to add pony beads thinking these might add extra stability. (My cardboard example has been covered with a coloring book page).
    Here's a side view of the toothpicks glued into the base cardboard. Most stood straight in place. Here's a side view of the toothpicks glued into the base cardboard. Most stood straight in place.

    I gathered three different bulky or super bulky weight yarn skeins. All three colors used were from partial skeins of discontinued colors. I began weaving - it was so easy and the pattern developed so quickly I wished I had more 'reeds' as my toothpick frame was quickly becoming a recognizable basket. I decided to quit for the night and had no worries regarding "where to start" in the morning.

    The first stage of weaving. A third color has just been added to the basket's body or frame. The first stage of weaving. A third color has just been added to the basket's body or frame.

    I changed colors as often as I liked; I didn't have a master plan. TIP: It was very easy to unweave rows when I decided to change colors at a different location. That's a great bonus - especially if you run short on a yarn color since you might be using up your stash of partial skeins! HINT: As you are weaving, gently push the yarn down each toothpick sliding it as close as possible to the woven row below it. This was a technique taught during my Girl Scout basket weaving experience and I started doing this automatically when weaving my current project! Following this technique gives the yarn basket a compact and tightly woven look.

    After the weaving is completed, a finger crocheted chain was added to the top of the basket. I placed the back ridge of each chain around the tip of each toothpick. Use some glue to hold in place as necessary. Here's a close-up showing both the top and base of the basket. The top shows the crocheted chain in place and the cardboard base with some toothpicks and pony beads still visible.

    A sideview close-up of the basket almost finished. I decided to add E6000 glue (over the hot glue); E6000 remains flexible. A sideview close-up of the basket almost finished. I decided to add E6000 glue (over the hot glue); E6000 remains flexible.

    I made another finger crocheted chain and glued it to the base's ridge. I wanted to conceal the pony beads as much as possible; these were used as structural support rather than as embellishments. A piece of single strand yarn was used to wrap around the basket near its top. As shown in 6758 - Yarn Crafts, I filled my basket with a variety of whole nuts.

    Woven yarn basket is finished and sitting on my countertop! Woven yarn basket is finished and sitting on my countertop!

    What a perfect container for a small space -  but this one little extra container will add definition to any side table, countertop or shelf. I hope to have this basket for years to come. Oh, by the way; I still have that Girl Scout basket I made all those years (decades) ago in summer camp! Fiber art lives on to tell us stories and create memories. Make some art today - enjoy!

    Martha

  • Summer Yarn: Finger Crochet a Scarf or Necklace in Cotton

    I do love scarves as a great embellishment to most outfits. They can be fun and funky, or sleek and classic; chunky for coats, silky for dresses. Now that summer temperatures and humidity are looming, I don't want anything heavy, bulky or scratchy around my neck.  But I do want to wear a little extra color and pizzazz to more casual outfits. The perfect solution is a light-weight, airy Finger Crochet Scarf or Necklace in cotton yarn!

    After choosing my yarn colors, I was off making chain after chain. I did hold my yarn a little differently than demonstrated in Leisure Arts' Finger Crochet video, (this video is found as an additional video listed with the, "Learn to Arm Knit" video. Scroll down below the initial viewing window and select the Finger Crochet video). Once I got comfortable with how I was finger crocheting, I easily fell into a rythym.

    Make chain stitches one after another creating a long chain for your Finger Crochet Scarf or Necklace. Make crochet chain stitches one after another creating a long chain for your Finger Crochet Scarf or Necklace.

    I knew Leisure Arts had both a video tutorial and pattern associated with finger crocheting, so all I had to do was to rummage through my cotton yarn stash and choose some colors. When I learned how to arm knit, I remember seeing a bonus finger crochet pattern shown in the leaflet, 75517 - Learn How to Arm Knit. If you don't have a stash of yarn but are quite intrigued by arm knitting and finger crocheting, you might consider purchasing a kit that has all needed supplies included! The kit's contents found in 47134 - Learn to Arm Knit includes yarn, an instruction booklet with a finger crochet scarf pattern and tassel/pom-pom making techniques.

    My Finger Crochet Scarf or Necklace is growing. Finger Crochet is described in several Leisure Arts' items: 47134 - Learn to Arm Knit Kit and 75517 - Learn How to Arm Knit. My Finger Crochet Scarf or Necklace is growing. Finger Crochet is described in Leisure Arts' items 47134 - Learn to Arm Knit Kit and 75517 - Learn How to Arm Knit.

    I chose colors that were definitely summery that elicited thoughts of beach breezes, mild winds, shoreline discoveries, porch swings, bare feet...relaxed fun. Trying to look fresh and cool during the summer can sometimes be difficult. In order to remain comfortable while adding some relaxed embellishment to my outfits, I wanted to use cotton yarn. It is light-weight and breathable. Both of these characteristics were necessities for my scarf or necklace that I planned to drape around my neck during the summer!

    Lily Sugar 'n Cream cotton yarn in colors Cornflower Blue and Cool Breeze Ombre. The Learn to Arm Knit booklet that is included in the kit; note the Bonus items listed on the front cover. Lily Sugar 'n Cream cotton yarn in colors Cornflower Blue and Cool Breeze Ombre. The Learn to Arm Knit booklet standing next to the box is included in the KIT; note the Bonus items listed on the front cover.

    I knew I had to have a very long chain to loop multiple times around my head in order to drape properly. I just kept in the zone of chaining; it was much easier to keep going once I started rather than breaking my time up into crocheting segments. I never did measure my final length of chain; I can only guess how long it was if the inside loop measures 27" in diameter when I laid it on the table.

    Close-up of the length of chain looped around and around trying to determine the final appearance of the scarf or necklace. Close-up of the length of chain looped around and around trying to determine the final appearance of the Finger Crochet Scarf or Necklace.
    Finger crochet chain - chain - chain to whatever length you desire! The inside circle loop measures 27". Finger crochet: chain - chain - chain to whatever length you desire! The inside circle loop measures 27" inches in diameter.

    As I was crocheting, I thought of adding a little something more to finish the scarf a little differently than the examples that I had seen showing bulky yarns. I did not want to add weight to my project because that would defeat the purpose of the scarf or necklace being light-weight. I returned to my stash and found a solution!

    Other supplies used: 7-9mm Freshwater Pearls, Stretch Magic bead and jewelry cord (0.7 mm / 0.28 in), and a wooden button (1.5" in diameter). Other supplies used: 7-9mm Freshwater Pearls, Stretch Magic Bead and Jewelry Cord (0.7 mm / 0.28 in), and a wooden button (1.5" in diameter).

    I strung some Freshwater Pearls onto Stretch Magic Bead and Jewelry Cord before weaving into one section of my project.

    Fresh water pearls strung on the Stretch Magic cord to add a little glimmer to the chain. Freshwater Pearls strung on the Stretch Magic Bead and Jewelry Cord to add a little glimmer to the chain.

    I attached the scarf or necklace together as described in leaflet 75517 - Learn to Arm Knit or instruction booklet contained in the 47134 - Learn to Arm Knit KIT. Then, I added a wooden button as my signature - I love buttons, too!

    The final Finger Crochet Scarf / Necklace has seven loops, not six as pictured when the innermost loop measured 27" inches in diameter. The final Finger Crochet Scarf or Necklace has seven loops, not six as pictured when the innermost loop measured 27" inches in diameter.

    The Finger Crochet Scarf or Necklace is in summer colors and is a free-flowing pattern of loops. it is light-weight even with its added Freshwater Pearls and wooden button, and will feel cool hanging around my neck since it is made using cotton yarn.

    A snapshot at the end of the day; the necklace is a good length. A snapshot at the end of the day; the necklace is a good length.

    This is a great way to end a few long, hot days -- and summer hasn't officially begun! Until next time, stay cool!

    Martha

  • Crocheting a Curvy and Colorful Cowl

    I finished my Martha Cowl from Crochet Scarves and Cowls by Karen Ratto-Whooley!

    Martha Cowl

    I love wearing cowls, and I love making them, and I love giving them as gifts.  I'm not sure who I'll give this to, but I think it matches the personalities of plenty of women I know.  This cowl is a winner!

    Martha Cowls

    This took a little less than a skein of Loops & Threads Impeccable Ombres, and I was able to work a few extra rows for added height.  This will such a warm and fluffy present to wear, and I'm really happy with how the textured rows look.  The pattern calls for working some rows in the back loops and I always love how that changes the look of crocheted fabric so drastically.

    Martha Cowls

    I'm looking forward to building up my gift stash during the next few slow months, and I want to have lots of beautiful and warm cowls for the birthdays and holidays in the year ahead.  I feel like I'm off to a great start with this cowl!

    Crochet Cowl as Gift

  • Jack-O-Lantern Dishcloth

    I love Halloween. It is my favorite holiday. I love all the decorations. I like to drive around and look at everyone else’s decorated yards. I leave my decorations up until the day after Day of the Dead. I was looking for something quick and easy project to do. Something that I can work on in and out of the car this week while waiting in the carpool line at school or while waiting on after school activities. I went through all of my Leisure Art Books and found this cute Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkin dishcloth in a book called A Dishcloth a Month.

    I was just finishing tucking in all my ends when my friend asked me if it was a new coaster for our table at the new knit shop. I said I had not planned on it but why not. It is slightly big for a coaster but it is really cute idea for decorating a table. So I am in the process of making a few more for our knit/crochet table. I am even going to crochet some without the Jack-O-Lantern face. You just follow the pattern and as if you had changed your color from orange to black. My favorite part I will only have four ends to run in or tuck in. Whichever way you want say it. You can even use brown for the stem instead of the green. Since it is fall I can keep the ones without faces through Thanksgiving. It’s a win! Win! I hope that you have had as much fun with this Jack-O-Lantern pattern as I have. I used 100% cotton. I am going to check and see if Sugar n Cream has a variegated fall colored yarn for some of my solid pumpkins. I think that would be really cute.

     

  • WIP Wednesday: Taking a Cotton to this Cowl

    I'm crocheting the cowl pattern from the Textured Set in Hats & Scarves, and I'm taking a cotton to it.

    And I'm using cotton yarn.  I'm really sorry.  I'm so very sorry about everything.  But I had to do it.  I hope you understand.  Moving on!

    I like this Lion Brand Nature's Cotton yarn, and I think 'take a cotton to' is a cute way to say that you like something.  And in this case, it's appropriate.  Nature's Cotton is a soft and fluffy yarn, and it turns out it's a great choice for a cowl.  The cowl's texture comes from alternating single crochet stitches and double crochet stitches, and the rustic fluffiness of the yarn lends even more texture.  It's lovely.

    I love a good soft and squishy cowl, and this brown yarn feels pretty perfect to me right now.   This is a fairly small cowl pattern.  When it's finished it will be worn just like this--no looping around a few extra times.  It's pretty simple and adorable.  I think it will be a great accessory.

    I feel like I should be saying more about this, but that's it!  Sorry!

    I will review a little bit.  I like this cowl pattern.  And I like some other patterns from Hats & Scarves, let me just tell you.  No really, I can tell you!

    I loved making the Cuddly Cowl and wish I knew where my daughter has hidden this because I would LOVE to wear it this fall.

    I really like the cowl pattern from the Toasty Set and I can't wait to give it someone as a gift.  It was a quick project, and I love how huge it is.

     

     

    The Modern Chullo is awesome.  I wasn't especially great at my first attempt at crochet colorwork, but this hat is adorable and its intended recipient loves it.  I want to make one for myself because just look at this thing.

     

    This little booklet is full of winning patterns!  I think I'm going to try out at least one scarf pattern from this book, and I know for sure that I'm going to include this textured cowl as another great pattern when I finish it.  

  • Sometimes a Hat is Just a Hat.

    I made a hat from Hats & Diaper Covers.  Ta da!

    Which hat?  Uh, well, it started out as the Chick pattern but then I started running out of yellow yarn. So I switched to white yarn and hoped that this would look like a chick hatching out of an egg.  Then I realized that the baby I was crocheting for is made up of fatness and warmth and needed more warmth like springtime needs more pollen.

    So I just used my remaining yellow yarn and mixed it with the white for some adorable braided strings and called it a day.

    Sometimes a hat is just a hat.  I tend to forget that when I'm crocheting because embellishments are so easy to add and little babies looking like yarny animals just tickle me.  But a simple little hat can be cute also.  I like the bright yellow with the white border.  I like the braids.  I just like this hat pattern without eyes or ears or whatever else I typically add on.

    So here it is.  A very cute and simple hat that's obvious evidence of my Eastery weekend.  I was going to add this to the gift pile, but my daughter saw this and wanted to wear it (not pictured because she's a constant blur).  Once I tied the braids under her chin, she yelled that she was an egg.

    Oh.  Maybe this is a themed hat, after all!

  • Finishing an Imperfect and Perfect Chullo

    Well, I went ahead and finished it.  I finished the Modern Chullo from Hats & Scarves.

    Yes, the one that was incredibly messed up.

    I was already hesitant about unraveling this since I was seriously one row from finishing the main part of the hat.  (Ugh.)

    But then people left some really nice comments on this project.  And these crafters understood my troubles.  I know this because the phrase "I feel your pain" popped up a few times.  And because there were some stories to prove it, I tell you what: WIPs that were decades old.  Projects that were worked 2 or 3 times with different hooks and yarns.  So. much. ripping. back.

    I really appreciated and enjoyed everyone's comments, but two in particular really got me. One was this:

    Well, I like your "wrong" chulo. Most genuine chulos have lots of mistakes on them - they give them character.

    And the other was this:

    I was sitting next to my dad crocheting one day and ripping out a piece. He asked why I was taking so much out. I told him I made a mistake and had to fix it. He asked where it was and I showed him. Bless his soul he said to me that you know only you would see that or think that was a mistake. I looked at him funny and he explained the people who do not crochet or knit would not see any mistakes because they do not notice thing like that. Only you who do these beautiful things do because you are the creators. Geez I miss that man, he always made me feel so good about my work.

    Well, duh.  How could I forget that flaws can be memorable--in a good way?  And how I could forget that most people are not going to be as critical of my work as I am?  My husband, who could tell where I messed up on the hat but wasn't sure why I considered it ruined, had already pointed out that this looked like something his little brother would wear.

    (Because I still hadn't made all of my Christmas presents.  I KNOW, I KNOW!)

    Between my husband's reminder that his brother would be enduring the third round of polar vortex nastiness bareheaded and everyone's sweet comments (but especially those two up there I just quoted), it was settled:  I would finish the hat.  Most of the work was already done, anyway!

    So I did.

    I crocheted the rest of the body.  And then I added the ear flaps. And I worked a gray border around the bottom edge and added braids.

    Man, I love the braids.

    And if you look at the hat as a whole, it looks fine.  Not amazing, and not exactly like the picture in the pattern book, but fine.

    And actually, my brother-in-law thought it looked awesome. He didn't realize the hat was for him when my daughter first brought it to him, and later said his first thought was "Those colors are really cool.  I wish I had a hat like that."  Hooray!

    The pattern calls for a J hook and worsted weight yarn.  I used Red Heart Super Savers and an I hook and still had a gauge to fit a pretty large adult male head.  The ear flaps are huge, which I think is perfect.  The top is pointy and goofy-looking.  The colorwork is my first ever, and I think I'm a little proud of it. 

    And I think this is a great hat!

  • A Tote to Try Again

    I'm going to make a tote!

    Obviously I should make some more squares.  I'm trying out the Granny Square Market Bag from Totes & Bags.

    I tried to make this pattern once before, but I just wasn't feeling the cotton yarn for these little squares.

     

    Goodness knows why, because they were adorable.

     

    For whatever reason, I just haven't tried out this pattern.  But I cleaned up some of my stash this weekend and decided to use up some yarn I actually liked and here we are.

     

    Little pieces that will become blocks that will become panels that will become part of a bag.  I'm pretty excited about having a bag I made for myself, and I think this is going to look incredibly cheerful.

     

    I'm using acrylic yarn, mostly Red Heart with some Vanna's Choice and some sort of Michaels knockoff of Red Heart.  Yes, there is a store brand knockoff of Red Heart for when the real thing is just too fancy and pricey and I buy it sometimes.   It's great for larger projects and the scraps are great for projects like this.

     

    I've already crocheted all of the circles in the middle of the squares, and now I'm mixing up colors.  I'm using dark brown for my main color and I think this is going to be a great traveling toy bag/farmers market tote/storage bin type of bag.  I'm hoping to work on it a little bit more this weekend!  I think the overall look is going to be kind of like a kaleidoscope, and I can't wait to see this as a finished object.


  • Finishing and Wearing the Cuddly Cowl

    It's done!  I finished up the Cuddly Cowl from Hats & Scarves!  I don't know why Hats & Scarves isn't called "Hats & Scarves & Cowls," but it isn't.  However, there are some great cowl patterns in the booklet and I guess you're just supposed to consider them really great bonuses.  I do.

    Anyway, this cowl is very cuddly.  Look at it all up on my neck's business:

    I'm pretty happy with how this turned out.  I knew it was pretty small, but I didn't realize it would be so tight that I would need to take off my glasses to get this on and off my head.  Your neck will be good and protected in this thing.

    I don't mind the small circumference of the cowl because it's incredibly tall.

    It's only around 18" around, but nearly 12" high!  That's a pretty tall cowl to be so small, but I like it.  I'm not making a necklace and if I'm going to make something too small to loop around myself, I want my neck to be nice and warm.  And this really does kind of cuddle you!  You can fold it in half, or just kind of scrunch around yourself how you want.

    I think it looks a little bunched up in this picture because I have both my arms up in order to keep from dropping my camera.  Priorities.

    Besides, there are worse things than a cowl that's up close to your face.  It was warm enough to run outside for a minute in a tank top (I love you, Arkansas!), but I know I'll need winter accessories that keep me completely covered most of the time this winter.

    I love the patterning, which is just chains and single crochet stitches.  It would be great for a newer crocheter, but the end result is enough incentive for a more experienced crocheter to enjoy this.  The pattern was super-intuitive and I didn't zone out while working on it, but it didn't call for too much concentration.  It was a perfect weekend project.

    To sum up:  A++ cowl pattern, would make again.  I'm really excited about trying out other patterns from Hats & Scarves.  I am still in love with this almost garishly bright yarn.  I'm warm.   I really love cowls right now.  I hope things are a little warmer wherever you are!  Make this!

    Oh! Lastly, and probably most importantly, I should tell you that the stripes are made by loosely carrying your strands in the back of your work.  I meant to take a picture of this turned inside out, but forgot.  Just trust me when I say you won't have a hundred or so ends to weave in because I would never lie to you about that.  Never. 

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