Archives for posts with tag: Lily Sugar & Cream

Did you  know that April 26 is National Pretzel Day?  The weird thing is..I didn’t when i started making this. Is there such a thing as a crochet coincidence?

Pretzel

I had been staring at a ball of brown cotton yarn that I had used in the bunny dish cloth. There was a lot of it left and it is really not a color that I would want to use for more than accents. Since we had been playing with amigurumi in crochet class, I got inspired to see if I could figure out how to make a pretzel from it. I’m from Philadelphia where a soft pretzel can be considered a legitimate breakfast, or even lunch.

I haven’t done much, if any, making up of my own patterns before.  But this was so simple it really doesn’t seem like a true pattern. I’ll try to describe it the best I can.

Yarn used: Lily Sugar ‘n Cream in Warm Brown

Hook: Size G/6 (4mm)

Chain 3, join to first stitch with sl st to form circle

Round 1: 6 sc in the loop

Round 2-?: Without joining, continue to sc in each sc until your piece measures about 14 inches (36cm)

Final round: sc dec 3 times, fasten off.

Assembly: Fold into pretzel shape, stitch the “legs” of the pretzel onto the body and put one stitch in the part where it crosses to hold it in place.

For some reason, granny squares have intimidated me. I took a class in grannies several years ago, and while I was able to make them, I still shied away from any granny square pattern I saw. Maybe it is because I am left handed.  I can translate every other pattern easily, but I just kept getting all wound up when it came to these.

Bunny

But sometimes you see a pattern that is just so cute, you have to try it.  I know I swore off dish cloths for a while, but this pattern pulled me back in.  I think it was the round of carrots that got me.

I have a granny square lap throw that my great grandmother made. It is one of the few items I own that I have deemed “too precious to use.” I also have  a bed-sized afghan from my grandmother that does get used, and has for years.  I remember her making all of the squares, using up the ends and bits from other projects. Each time I would visit her, I would lay them all out on the living room floor in different patterns.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but her comments about how to place the colors so that you didn’t have the same ones too near each other were my first lessons in design that would come back to me when I started quilting.

Someday, I may even start on my own granny-square afghan, and continue the legacy.

People are so creative.  I occasionally fool around with designing a crochet piece that is not from a pattern, but usually I follow the guidelines someone else created.  It constantly amazes me how people figure out how to work out shapes and fit things together.  Here’s a simple example.

scrubbie

I make these spiral scrubbies out of cotton yarn to use instead of sponges in my kitchen. I got the pattern here.  Before this becomes the small round ribbed scrubbie it goes through 2 other different shapes.

Paralleagram

First is the parrallelogram. This is quick to stitch up. It’s on a chain 21, then 21 single-crochet, back-loop-only  rows with each row getting an increase at the beginning and a decrease at the end (or vice versa depending on if you are on an even or odd row).  The BLO stitch gives you the nice ribs.  I have forgotten to do BLO once or twice, and it just doesn’t work the same way.

tube

Then you stitch the shape into a cylinder. Completely different shape. Still not looking like a little round scrubbie, but closer.

Finally you sew around one end of the cylinder, and pull it taut, then thread your yarn through to the other side and and pull taut. Finally, tie the yarn to your other end of yarn and suddenly, you have a whole new shape–a circle.

When I look at complicated patterns for crossed cables, or see a basket weave, it always makes me think about those early crochet pioneers who had the same tools as I do…a hook and some yarn…and thought “what would happen if?”

Bag

After the snow last week, the past 2 days have been beautiful. We went to visit friends yesterday so I did not get a lot of chance to work on anything creative, but I did make sure to put a few stitches into the handles of the bag I’ve been hooking.

This morning though, before taking a beautiful walk in the warm sun amid the melting snow, I was able to finish it. Finish the handles, attach them to the bag, add some flowers that I had sitting around from an old project and yeehaw it is done!

I can’t wait to send it off, maybe I’ll tuck a few skeins of yarn into it first as it is going to another crocheting friend. I think it will make a fun project bag for her.

Those first few rows of crochet always twist on me.

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I’ve been told that is because I crochet too tightly, but I have really been trying to “loosen up.”

Yarn is such an interesting medium. Depending on the fiber content and the weight it can look light and lacy or thick and cozy.

One of the things I look for when I am out at thrift shops or flea markets is antique lace doilies.  Some of them seem spider-web fine, and I am amazed at the patience the women (I assume they were women) must have had to work with the tiny hooks finding the loops in that super-fine thread. I am more amazed that they can often be had for 25 or 50 cents.  Knowing the amount of work that must have gone into them, they are one of the greatest bargains you can find.  I like to think when they come into my life that the spirits of the women who originally created them are at least happy that they have found a home with someone who truly appreciates them.

I woke up to this today.

Snow

And then it proceeded to snow for 10 more hours.  We got 8 inches (20 cm) of snow. In March. Sixteen days before the start of spring.  It was falling too steadily to even think about shoveling until late afternoon. And truth be told, I was hoping my neighbor with the snow blower would decided he needed to break out his toy at least once this winter.  (He did, and took that magic machine down the entire length of sidewalk past 4 houses and up our shared driveway leaving me with only our walkway to clear. )

After getting some business done in the morning, it seemed like the perfect day to hunker down and do some hooking.

Bag

This is the bag I started yesterday, and for some reason, it has worked up much faster than I thought. Maybe it was having 2 days with several hours to sit and work on it, maybe it was the stripes which left me feeling with a sense of accomplishment each time I changed color. I don’t know.

All that is left are the handles and weaving in many ends.  Each time I work on something striped, I swear that it will be the last time, but the stripes seem to call me…

There is a flower show in town this week, and tomorrow I may take the train into the city to see it and breathe in the scent of hyacinth. But today…today was a day to play with yarn. And make waffles for dinner.

At the beginning of 2015, there was a thing going around Facebook called the “Pay it Forward” initiative. I joined in after I saw it a time or two, and got this message to post on my FB wall:

I’m participating in this ‘Pay it Forward’ initiative: The first five people who comment on this status with “I’m in” will receive a surprise from me at some point during this next year (2015). There will be no warning and it will happen when the mood comes over me, and I find something that I believe would suit you and make you happy. These five people must make the same offer on their Facebook status. Once my first five have commented “I’m in,” I will forward this message to you privately, so that you can copy and paste it, and put it on your status, (don’t share it) so that we can form a web of connection of kindness. Let’s do more kind and loving things in 2015, without any reason other than to make each other smile and show that we think of each other. Cheers to a more festive and love-filled year.

Being who I am, I feel the need to make at least part of the surprise.  Since it is March, I need to get started. Today I began building the base and sides of a crochet tote that will go to one of the people who responded with “I’m in.”

Bag start

I am lucky I have some crafty people playing along who will like something hand made. I had fun playing with the colors I already had and mixing in 3 new ones to make these stripes along the base.  I do fear that I have made the base too big and this will end up being enormous. I may do some random decreases as I build the sides.

blue scarf

What a difference a day makes. After yesterday’s sleepy, no energy day, I was back to normal today. I decided to take another crack at this loom I’ve gotten.  I figure I need to keep using it otherwise the one item I made is going to be the most expensive craft item ever.

I decided to warp the loom in stripes. I am still just trying to get the hang of basic weaving, so visual interest is not going to be had with fancy stitches.  Warping a loom, not unlike prepping a room for painting, is long and sort of tedious. Part way through I was getting annoyed with it. Then I tried to go all zen and enjoy the process,  the preparation. I needed to curb my impatience to be able to start, and concentrate on each step of the journey.  It helped a little, but I am still an impatient crafter who like to get right to the creating part.

Today I used cotton yarn.  My test piece the other day seemed sort of stiff, and I wanted to see if using a different yarn would make a difference. I am also not beating it down with as much intensity as I did the other day.  You can see I still have a ways to go.  My edges aren’t loopy, but they don’t seem to be as even as they could be. Overall though, I’m happy with how this is progressing.

At the beginning of the year when I decided to try to work on something creative everyday, I knew there would be days when it would be more difficult than others.  I didn’t expect it to come so soon.  For some reason I woke up at 3am, and could not get back to sleep.  I finally got up at 4:30, but for most of the day I felt stupid-tired. Stumbly and out of sorts.

The afternoon came, and while I had gotten some things crossed off my to-do list, it was nothing that could be called “being creative”.  I decided that some simple, mindless crochet would be just the thing. Nothing I needed to concentrate on, and a project that only required some yarn and a hook–no searching for supplies.

My go-to mindless project is to crochet dish clothes out of cotton yarn.  I started this a few years ago on Earth Day to reduce my use of paper towels, and now I have a drawer bursting with them.  They are quick, easy, and since I just throw them in the wash with my other towel load, they don’t take any extra resources to get them clean.

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I used Lily Sugar and Cream yarn.  I have had this skein for a while.  I normally don’t like the way the variegated color ends up looking clumpy when I crochet it, but I am trying to use what I have whenever possible. I’ve gotten a square done and just need to add a border.  And i am glad I pushed through the apathy to create something.

scarves

No,  I did not crochet these today. But today I finished all of them today, even if finishing just meant weaving in the ends.

Six infinity scarves made from Lion Brand Homespun were hooked in December, but not joined. Today I sat down and connected the ends and wove in the ends so now they are ready to give away. (I may keep one for myself.)  I love the infinity scarf double looped to make a warm cowl to wear during the day, and this yarn is soft and cozy.

The 2 smaller rectangles are dish clothes made from Lily Sugar and Cream. I’m not sure when I made the teal-colored one. It has been sitting around unfinished for a while.The more funky tie-die inspired one was made on Tuesday when i was out of the house and needed a mobile project to keep me busy.

So more large, plastic needle work today than crochet, But 8 more finished WiPs.