The Flu is Good for Something, I Guess

So this year I managed to get the flu. Not just any flu, the new one that’s making people super sick. Good old H3N2. I was so sick, in fact, that I was stuck at home for two weeks and spent another week attempting not to cough and terrify our clients. However, I did use my time wisely. I got addicted to Gotham, watched all of Romero’s zombie movies, and rediscovered my love of filet crochet!

If you don’t know what filet crochet is, it’s a type of crochet done with tiny steel hooks that are measured in millimeters, and thread. It’s actually easy once you get the hang of it and looks very pretty. The hard part is reading the patterns, if you have a short attention span like me. Thankfully they’re almost always symmetrical. This is an example of a filet crochet pattern:

I found this one on Pinterest and would love to try it at some point! This is the one I did, though, and it took me exactly 3 weeks to finish!

I also included one with my obnoxious but adorable teenage cat Lemondrop for scale. It was a beast! And also very educational. I learned that a) filet is like riding a bike and b) ALWAYS look at the size of a pattern before you buy the damn thing.

I’m working on a new one now with lilies that’s much smaller and plan to share some progress pictures here so if you’ve been missing my crochet updates, you’ll be pleased!

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Lazy Lazy Week

Happy New Year! I hope 2016 is super for you – it’s going to be exciting for me!

I have been so incredibly lazy this last week, due to my sinking myself into a side project and being completely engrossed in the Flawed series, so I don’t have a finished project to show off. Instead, I have a couple of halfway made WIPs that I am embarrassedly showing you.

Pastel Sweater

First up, half of a baby sweater. I decided I was going to make another one in pastel because I have a ton of purple and white yarn left over from the polka dot baby blanket and I thought it would be fun to make one in a smaller size. This is what I finished a couple of days ago before I threw everything aside to read Outsider.

Scarfy

Second half-finished project is a super-chunky scarf that I’m crocheting for a gift basket! It’s really bulky and warm, and I can’t wait for it to become someone’s new favorite scarf. I like crocheting with bulky yarn because it works up quickly and you can see the detail in the stitches, which makes double crochet look totally fancy.

I’m going to finish these projects over the weekend with any luck (definitely the scarf, maybe on the baby sweater) so I can move on to working on the Christmas Exchange blanket…a week after Christmas.

I never said I was punctual.

Next week my crochet posts move to Wednesday, my Open Book posts to Monday, and I’m going to really try to do a Friday writing post. Thursdays are going to be book review days. One of my 2016 goals is to read a book every week, so I’ll be on the lookout for new stuff. I don’t like to be pinned to any one genre, so there’s always the possibility that I’ll tell you all about Stephen King’s newest at some point. You’ve been warned!

Granny Square Christmas Stocking

I fully planned to do some work on my Christmas exchange blanket last week so I’d have some cute squares to post here but something else got in the way!

You see, my day job has a Christmas tradition where everyone decorates a stocking and we hang them on the wall. All month long coworkers and management are encouraged to put small gifts and items into the stockings, and we take them home the day before Christmas Eve (we are closed the 24th through the 27th this year). A couple of my friends asked if they could use their stockings from last year. I asked if I could make my own.Christmas Yarn

It turned out that small skeins of yarn were 2/$5 at Michaels so I bought some bright holiday colors and went to work. I made sure that the green I bought was much greener than the one I used for the exchange squares because while they were pretty, they were a lot darker than I planned.

Stocking Square

I used this pattern from Ravelry to make the stocking, and chose to follow another user’s color scheme. The pattern called for 8 squares and I wanted it to be a healthy size, so I used an I hook and it came out kind of chunky.

Stocking Squares

Rather than single-crocheting around the edge like the pattern stated, I sewed it together with red yarn for more of a patchwork look. I also decided to enhance the Christmas stocking effect by adding a white cuff at the top and a small red loop to hang it on the wall. I kind of wanted to make the cuff larger but my hands were tired and I wanted to take it to work Thursday, since I had a three day weekend.

Christmas Stocking

Here’s the finished product! To be honest I’m not totally in love with the way the toe looks. It’s kind of blocky, and if I had it to do over I might just make 7 squares, fold the bottom one in half, and make a shorter toe. It looks good on the wall, though, and everyone really likes it. And of course, it holds goodies quite well.

I’m Seeing Spots!

I’ve been a busy bee when it comes to crocheting! I thought this blanket was going to take longer, and I fully intended it to be a relaxing if somewhat more challenging project before NaNoWriMo. Then disaster struck. Well, not really disaster. Our swapmaster decided to do a mystery crochet-along for the holidays, starting November first. It’s supposed to be relaxing and non-challenging but trying to do two projects at once? I don’t have a good track record with that. anyway, on to the squares! 
The blanket is made of 25 squares that are supposed to be 7 inches but mine ended up being 6 and a half inches because I crochet tightly. There are going to be 12 of this color combo…

  
…and 13 of this one! They kind of aren’t exactly square, which I kind of think is a flaw in the pattern because if you use double crochet in the corners instead of treble it comes out square. But much like Hermione in Half-Blood Prince I was determined to follow the instructions.

  
And here are 20 squares that I finished last week! The blanket is supposed to be a polka dot patter but I swear they look like turntables to me. Anyway, I measured what I have so far and it’s going to be a bit smaller than the pattern but I can make up for it with an extra row on the edging. Once I sew them together they’ll be a lot flatter and more even, so I think it’ll come out really cute.

I actually made a couple more squares last night but 20 make a much nicer picture than 22 so you’ll have to wait for next week’s update to see the finished project! If you want to try this pattern yourself you can find it on the Michaels website under projects. It’s fun!

The Scrapghan, Completed

Here it is, the last scrapghan post. I hope you’re excited to see the finished project as much as I am!

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Here we go, seven rows all joined together (please ignore the tiny bit of my toe at the bottom). This was the row where almost all the squares were the exact same size so I didn’t have to do any fudging, which meant it went together faster than any of the other rows.

Scrapghan 8 rows

And here are all the squares joined together! I took a little while to admire it at this point. It looks pretty good just like this but I was excited to put on the edging and make it into a real blanket!

Finished Scrapghan

Finally, the finished scrapghan! 48 granny squares of various colors and yarn types/sizes made by 8 sets of hands all around the country, joined and edged by me. I’m really loving the way the coffee yarn I used for joining and edging it makes it look a little funky, and the dark color makes the neons pop. It puts me in mind of a vintage afghan you’d see on your great-aunt’s couch and I love it.

Scrapghan border

Here’s a little close-up of the edging. I had some turquoise yarn hanging out from a thwarted project and thought it would look good with the brown and it turns out I was right! My husband loves the way this combination looks. I intended to put a row of double crochet above the two blue stripes but this way it looks like the second stripe is thicker and it looks really classy.

I am completely thrilled with this scrapghan. It took me a little under a month to put it together which is way faster than I expected considering my first one took a month (I was being lazy). I’m considering making another one once I get enough scrap yarn in the old bin, but I doubt it’ll be as much fun doing it on my own. Part of the joy of doing these friendship afghans is seeing what everyone else comes up with. Looking forward to seeing how the Christmas squares come out!

Scrapghan Round Two

I thought for some reason that I was slowing down on the progress of my scrapghan but it turns out I was wrong. I got almost the exact same amount of work done on it this week as I did last week!
4 rowsAt this point the joining of the squares is officially halfway finished! I’m going to have eight rows of six squares, which should make a nice sized rectangular blanket.

I’ve been taking pictures of each individual row as I complete them but I didn’t want to put them all on here and completely spam you with pictures. It’s really looking cool now, though, and the slideshow on my phone is this neat time-lapse thing.

5 rows

Five rows now, and you can see that the square in the upper right hand corner is joined a little differently. That’s because the squares are quite a bit smaller than the others. I think this is due to the fact that one of our swappers was an 11 year old who had just learned to do a granny square, but the ones she did are cute and bright, and all I had to do was crochet an extra round onto it to join it.

6 rowsAnd this is what I finished just last night! Another cute square from our youngest crocheter and a black and white one that is my husband’s favorite. Only two more rows to go, and I was able to edge a couple last night as well. The joining part will definitely be done by next weekend and maybe a little of the edging. I’ve got something cute planned for it, so I hope it turns out. My cute ideas have a way of not panning out.

Since I’m almost out of that nice coffee yarn, I went to Michaels with my coupon in hand (well, phone) and picked up another one-pound skein. While I was there I found what I think is going to be my next project while I wait for the squares from the Christmas exchange to get to me. Speaking of, those are going to be sent out soon. Anyhow, they have free patterns in the yarn section and one just called out to me – it’s done in squares! Here’s the pattern, it looks cute! What color, though? I like the blue but I’d really love purple or green…

Now, back to the squares!

Happy Labor Day!

Happy Labor Day! I celebrated by staying home and working on a crochet project. Exciting, huh?

I’m a member of a crochet group that makes friendship afghans, which means that we each crochet a set number of squares, divide them among the members in the swap, and mail them to one very patient person who reboxes them and sends them out to us. It’s a lot of fun to see what everyone else comes up with, especially in our most recent swap where we used up our old bits of yarn. I’ll include pictures of those squares in another post because I really want to share what I’m working on right now.

The current swap is a Christmas-themed one that runs through October (though arranging them in a blanket and getting it put together in time to be a Christmas present is beyond my skills), which means our colors are red, green and white. I’m going with a simple granny square in two color patterns and it’s a lot of fun.

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This is the center I’m working with. All of the squares are going to have a white center. We don’t know the exact number yet so I’m making 40 and will adjust it later for my own blanket.

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Two rounds of green go around each center. I promise you it’s green, it just doesn’t really photograph well.

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Finally, two rounds of cherry red for a real Christmas feeling!

So far I’ve got about 15 squares done so I need to get in gear if I’m going to finish on time. I may sit out the swap after this one, though. I’m going to have two blankets to assemble from the scrapghan squares and this one and I’m going to need a little time to do that. Unless it’s a purple or green swap, I can’t resist those colors.

Writing-wise, I’ve got a wonderful book manager and project manager and I’m in contact with an editor that I think will be a great asset to my team. After that I need to start looking for a cover artist. One step at a time, though!