Archives for posts with tag: caron

Pumpkin

Most pumpkin patterns I’ve found use amigurumi, but sometimes, life makes it impossible to keep track of all the rounds and increases. If you find yourself in this situation, no fear, you can still crochet up a pumpkin with no counting or keeping track of rows.

Last year I made a bunch of these fabric pumpkins. Since I needed a project to bring to the rehab facility, and a sewing machine is tough to lug around, I decided to try a version in crochet. It was really simple to translate the instructions.  For the shorter, squat pumpkin which I made, you need a piece of crochet that is approximately a 1:2 ration. My piece of crochet  “fabric” was 4.5 inches by 10-ish inches of single crochet. You can see the start of it here.

Next, you join the short ends together to create a tube. I left long ends of yarn and wove them around each side of the tube,  After that, you cinch the one side, stuff it, and then cinch the other side. I made ribs by running a piece of yarn down one line of the crochet, and pulling the needle back up through the center repeating until it looked pumpkinish.

For the bottom, I crocheted a small circle of brown and sewed that on. On the top, I crocheted two leaves and attached them and then rather than crocheting a stem, I used a cork I had in my stash.

While I am not ready for summer to be over, I can already feel the transition to autumn, but at least that brings good crafting weather.

I may have made peace with single crochet, but it still goes slowly. I’ve got to do only 11 more rows to finish this so the end is in sight.

52 rows

52 rows

I usually work on patterns that don’t require too much keeping track of repeated rows, maybe up to 20, and I usually just do that in the margins of the pattern printout. For this many rows though, I am using the tried-but-true pencil and pad method. I also hide this pad when I’m not working on it so it doesn’t wander off. I hope someday to find a stitch counter that you can just click to keep track. It is trivial, but having to set down the hook to pick up the pencil knocks out my rhythm sometimes. I think those twisty ones you often see knitters using would do the same thing. Crochet world problems.

One thing I have noticed is that when I am making something for a friend is even the slow going, the part that might cause me to set it aside, doesn’t get in the way. It is nice to have motivation to pick it up every day even if there is just time to do a row or two.  Perhaps I need to designate all my WiPs to be for someone, although I think life without several projects going at once would feel odd.

SC

I am impatient. When I first learned how to crochet a few years ago, I did almost everything in some form of double crochet (treble if you are in the UK). I liked the way it made the projects go so much quicker.  Single crochet seemed to take forever to build any sort of progress. I thought of it as my least favorite of the basic stitches.

The past few months, I’ve worked on a few projects that are all single crochet.  There was the fish hat, the VW van pillow, the little bird, and now the cat pillow.   That’s a lot of single crochet stitches.  I don’t know what happened, but I might be getting into the zen of single crochet.  After a rainy morning, the sun came out around 3:30 and I took the opportunity to sit outside and put in a few rows on the cat pillow back. I may have broken out an early adult beverage as well, it was Friday after all. At one point, I looked down at the piece I was working on and saw how nice single crochet can be.  It is a very orderly stitch. It’s denseness does serve a good purpose on certain projects. The repetition of doing it was just what I needed, and I liked being able to see something end up neat, and not need a lot of concentration.

I still love the speed double crochet provides for projects like afghans, and the airiness it gives to scarves, but I am now willing to admit that single crochet has its good points. too.

pillow front

It was a day of  running around this morning. I needed to tie up some of my father-in-law’s tax return info and get to the post office to have everything mailed with today’s post mark on it. Nothing like waiting until the last minute!  While out driving, I got a message from my car that the head light was out.  I thought I had a bulb in our garage at home, but it was a spare for my husband’s truck, so back out to the auto parts store and home to change out the bulb. Before the day got completely away from me I thought I’d sit down and work on some more of the cat faces.

By the time I reached the sixth one, I was starting to think that I might be OK with having different faces on them.  None of them were turning out the same anyway. A comment on yesterday’s post suggesting the same thing sealed it for me.  No two cats look exactly alike anyway. After finishing the last one, I thought I might try seaming two of them together to see how that looked. And then I  finished a row.  And then went on to join the squares in the second and third rows. And having gotten that far, I figured I would sew the rows together. And so the top is put together. And nothing else in my house got done.

I can find a lot of ways to put things off, but getting caught up in something crafty is by far my favorite.

Cat squares

I finished the main crochet of  the 9 cat squares I need for the pillow.  I still need to embroider their faces for them to be truly done. Since the edges of my squares tend to curl up from a tight gauge, I pinned them onto a piece of foam core to see if the grey seems to blend too much and the cat shape gets lost. I am still trying to decide if they each need a colored border. I may have to live with this for a day or so before I decide and meanwhile, I will try adding the faces to see if that makes any difference.  I might also play with joining them with a whip stitch vs. crocheting them together thinking maybe the ridge formed by crocheting them will give them more structure. So many decisions!

This will hold up my starting the back since I will need to add rows if I do add a border, but I am sure I can find something to work on while I go back and forth on it.  Today I also experimented for the first time with metal stamping. Apparently cheap dollar-store spoons have one thing going for them; they are rock hard. I managed to get a few smudges that might have been letters stamped, but the curved spoon and my need (as a weakling) to hit the stamp repeatedly causes it to move quite a bit. I’m going to play with ways to secure the spoon and maybe a sturdier surface under it to see if that helps.

I cranked out a few more cat squares today.  I only have 3 left, but I have a feeling the back of the pillow is going to take some time as it is just row upon row of single crochet.  I’ll have to put on a movie, or find some marathon on TV for that.

IMG_0456

I looked down at my yarn and I’m hoping the grey holds out. You can see how hollow it is becoming. I don’t use a traditional yarn bowl because I am lazy and when I buy yarn in a skein, I leave it that way and pull from the center. That doesn’t fit into the shorter bowls I have seen.   I have not hit the point where I buy too much yarn that comes in hanks and needs to be rolled into balls before it can be used, but this crock holds them as well without them bouncing out.   My biggest problem with working from the center of a skein is that I have a hard time judging how much yarn is left. Until the outside completely collapses, it sort of disguises itself.

I am guessing this will be enough for 3 more squares. Best case scenario is that the yarn runs out just as I finish the last one….but how often does that happen? This yarn does not have a dye lot, so at least if I have to make an emergency run to JoAnn’s, I don’t have to worry about matching.

I started a new project today. I procrastinated about it for a good portion of the day and I don’t know why.  It was a drizzly day here. Perfect for getting cozy with some yarn. Sometimes when I step away from something for a day or two it seems so hard to get back into it.

Cat square

I am using this pattern (there is a puppy version there too), but changing up the color scheme.  I  am trying it with the cats all being the same color and the backgrounds will be in the  pale golden color and the deep red. Hopefully, the cats won’t blend together too much.  If that looks like it is going to happen, I may border each piece with the background color.  I’m hoping it works out so I don’t have to start from scratch! I’m also getting more comfortable with carrying a second color of yarn while working, although having the second color still attached to the piece does get me tangled up sometimes.  I just keep telling myself that it will mean less to weave in later.

There will be 9 of these squares altogether, each about 4 inches, so this should work up fairly quickly.  I decided to use Caron Simply Soft for it mainly because they had the shades of color I was looking for, but I love the way it is working up.  For an acrylic yarn, it has a really nice hand feel and should make a cozy pillow.

I’ve always…well as long as I can remember…been a crafter.  My mom kept a box filled with all sorts of supplies in our family room and I remember turning paper towel rolls into spaceships for my fisher price little people, gluing leaves onto cardboard, and many hours painting at the easel my dad made for us kids probably before I was born. Until a few years ago, I never had to worry about yarn.

My mom was a knitter, and I still have a pair of argyle socks she made me when I was in high school. The harvest-colored ripple afghan was on the back of the sofa, and my dad still has a sweater she made him when they were first married back in 1956–and yes, it still fits him.

I do not knit. and for the longest time, I did not crochet.  The yarn section was always the ‘safe zone’ for me at the craft stores. My grandmother tried to teach me, many friends tried as well, but it never clicked.

Several years ago, I decided to take a crochet class during the local public school’s adult learning evening sessions.  It was there I met the one person who got me to understand the process.  I have taken classes with her for the past 4 years or so, two sessions a year. There are a core group of us who would take the class even if she didn’t bother to try to teach anything because those Monday nights have become a sort of therapy. support group for us.

Can I say that the women in this core group–my friends–surprise me. They are not people I would have known or sought out in real life. We are all at different places: retired, unemployed, unhappily employed, single, widowed, married, but I treasure them.

So we have decided, sort of as a group although there was no formal discussion, to create squares for “The world’s biggest stocking”.   It is to be made up of 36″x 36″ squares, and once assembled, and documented for Guinness, each of the squares will be given to military family in need.

I started mine today. It helped that Miss Blondie Cat decided it was a perfect, cold day to find a lap and hunker down for the afternoon.

photo (4)

Fish hat is done! The end took some adjusting as it was going to be too small, but I increased and added rows. Not sure I would make another one, but this was for a friend.  I ended up using some stash scraps for the tail and fins, and almost, but not quite,  a full skein of Caron Simply Soft for the main part.

It also helped today that the kitty cats were more in nap mode than play mode today. yesterday was a different story and they made it hard to count.

fish hat

A friend of mine sent me a knitting pattern for a fish hat in her Christmas card. (http://www.deadfishhat.com/) and said she would really like one.  She’s rocking the hats these days after a second round of chemo treatments, so I wanted to help out, but I don’t knit.

The website above has a crochet pattern on it, but the stitches were non-standard and I worried about trying to follow it.  Or wanting to follow it. I really didn’t want to get frustrated and quit part way through this. A little googling later, and I found a pattern for a shark hat I thought I could modify.  One problem…it was on Ravelry.   Ravelry is a site I have avoided joining because my stash of unfinished projects is already larger than I would like it to be, but I decided to take the hit for my friend and join it in order to get access to the pattern. So far I have avoided getting sucked into the rabbit hole, but that is mainly because I’ve been hooking all day. It has helped that my husband has been home sick with a man cold and I’ve tried to do quiet activities to make sure he slept as much as he could. (our house is small and old and the floors are very creaky)

Here’s the progress so far.  I’m on row 26 of the body of the hat and have 17 more rows to go, plus making the fins and eyes. This would be a good scrap buster project making a colorful striped fish, but I didn’t feel like weaving in dozens of ends, so the body so far is from one skein.  The tail is from some left over yarn I had from doing scarves for Special Olympics a few years back. I am not sure yet if I will go for different color fins, or stay in the blue/green color family.

It is done in amigurumi-style crochet so there has been a lot of counting. A. lot. of. counting.  But I like it so far and I think it even looks like a fish.

Fish hat IP