Saturday, January 31, 2015

OOPS!! Stuff Happens!

Well, it was bound to happen sometime.  How did I know?  Because it happens to everyone at some time or another.

You get this far into a project and realize you have to scrap the whole thing because you miscounted.

I'll be honest.  I noticed it a few rows ago, but there was that little part of my brain that tried to convince me "It'll work itself out eventually."  Uh ... no, it doesn't.

So what happened here?

At the very beginning, after I made the initial "ch 6 and join",  I miscounted.  Instead of starting row 2 (yes, it goes all the way back to row 2!), with 16 total dc's, I ended up with 17.  That resulted in me creating 17 of those "spokes" instead of 16.  That extra spoke gave me my little tunnel that you see in the photo. That one single extra dc in the original circle caused all of this trouble.

Why did it take me so long to notice?  Familiarity.  I make this same pattern so often (see my earlier blogs on making bowls using this pattern) that I no longer need to look at the pattern.  I just happily crochet away, almost absent-mindedly, while watching television and before I know it, I have an extra spoke that just won't fit into the design of the circle.

So as soon as I post this, I'll be spending some quiet time unraveling this so I can start over.

Lesson learned!  No matter how familiar you are with your favorite patterns, it is a good idea to to stop and then to count your stitches and make sure you are still on track!


Saturday, January 24, 2015


Another first for me!  My very first crocheted stuffed doll!

I love Elmo.  I think I'm pretty safe in saying my kids love Elmo, too. So with some extra red yarn laying around, I decided to try to make my granddaughter an Elmo doll.

I found the pattern on "Maggie Makes Stuff" blog.  CLICK HERE to get to Maggie's blog for the pattern.

It was an easy work-up.  I spent maybe two evenings making Elmo body parts, then a quick evening of sewing them together.

The funniest part of the process was seeing Elmo body parts laying on my bed and my tables!!!

Head and body with mouth attached

Making the mouth looks like it would be confusing but follow the directions and you'll be fine.  I used red yarn to sew the mouth in place.  You can see the difference in the look this makes by comparing my Elmo's mouth and Maggie's Elmo mouth.

When I got to rows 24-25, where the directions say "inc 4 times evenly", I didn't worry about counting the stitches.  I just pressed the work together to find the "4 corners".  Think of it as finding the 12-3-6-9 positions on a clock.

In the photo, my thumb would be 6 o'clock, making the needle position 12 o'clock.  The two points on each side then become 3 and 9 o'clock.  And I have the 4 points where I would do the increase.

As I crocheted the legs and arms, the tiny cylinder shapes were a slight challenge to my older fingers but I found if I stuffed them with cotton balls as I worked, that made it much easier on me. 

It sure was fun to start putting him together and watch him actually start to look like an Elmo!!

But of course the final reward to all of this work is seeing him being hugged and loved by my granddaughter, Miss Marci!!  Marci's mom posted on facebook, "She required Elmo to join us on our trip to Target today, and that was the first time she HAD to bring a stuffy.  I couldn't even trick her into leaving it in the car."

And that, my friends, is the sole reason we all do this!!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Crocheted Bowls

No matter how many years I have under my belt in the crochet world, it is always fun to try something new.  Here's a first for me: Shaped crocheted bowls.

Start with a basic doily pattern. I like the one used in this blog article (,  The reason I like it is that is works up pretty quick, it has nice open spaces but is solid enough to function as a bowl without most things falling through the traditional doily loops.

Here is the flat doily I made using the pattern in the above link.  I used standard size 10 crochet thread and size 7 crochet hook.  The width is about the size of my hand from palm to fingertips.

Using a product called "Stiffy", I coated the doily and placed it on a saran-covered overturn bowl.  Smooth the doily out flat and smooth over the bowl and let it dry.  It takes about 45 minutes (but I just do mine and then go to bed).

The finished bowl is a great candy dish.  I took this one to school and keep it on my desk with paper clips in it.

This Victorian Pink bowl is made with size 3 crochet thread and a size "1" crochet hook.  It turned out a bit bigger.  I think with this one, I would stop at the white stripe at the top or make a different border ... and by "different" I mean "smaller".

I can whip one of these doilies out in about three to four hours, a nice evening project while watching TV.  These make great gifts for teachers, casual friends, gift exchanges at work.  


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Day at the Beach

If you believe in divine guidance, then you will have no trouble understanding why I believe I had that kind of help in making this afghan.  It was requested by a cousin for her 83 year old mother, our Aunt Libby, who is starting to feel chilly pretty often.  As I type this, we are in the middle of a severe cold front with wind chill temps in the 35-below-zero range.  Schools have been closed for a couple of days.  So the fact that Aunt Libby is feeling a bit chilly these days should not be a surprise to any of us!

I call it “A Day at the Beach” because the colors blend so well and replicate beach colors.  Starting in the deep waters of the ocean, the bottom border is navy blue.  The colors then flow thru the ocean colors of teals, greens and blues, fading into the creams and final border of white, like the sands of the beach.

The photos do not really do it justice.  As I hold it up, the angle of the light makes it look different each time, the colors melting into each other so the individual stripe disappears and all I see if a beautiful flow of color.

I used standard yarn (meaning not baby yarn or anything special) and a size “L” yarn crochet hook.   To start, I chained 100, which makes the end result about the width of a single bed.  Two strands of yarn were used, making the afghan extra thick, extra warm, and extra soft.  The softness is enhanced by the stitch I just discovered a couple of days ago (again, claiming divine guidance!).  One row is dc-sc-dc-sc, etc., and the next row is sc-dc-sc-dc, etc.  This stitch pattern gives it a nice stretchy texture and adds an overall softness to the finished afghan.  Each stripe is 9 rows of color.

When I make this again, I'll probably do a chain-80 to start and make each stripe only six, maybe seven rows to make it more "lap" size.  My husband tried this out for me and sitting on the couch, he had significant afghan overlapping on the floor at his feet.  But .... as I tried it out, I found the size to be perfect when curled up on the loveseat, my feet tucked in under me, nice and cozy warm as I enjoy my favorite TV show or a good book.

I’m a pretty fast crocheter, but this was a record setter for me.  I started and finished this one inside of three days.  Or I should say, inside of three evenings. 

I set my yarns up in this box for easy access.  I’m fortunate that I had a box in the house that was the perfect size for these yarns, enabling me to carry it from living room to bedroom, depending on where I chose to work on it.

It is being shipped to Aunt Libby this week.  May she spend many, many happy hours snuggling on the couch underneath it, staying warm as toast as she enjoys her day!