Archive | June 2017

Crocheting at Disneyland

After a hiatus from Disneyland, we have once again purchased passes. It’s been a few years but we can return to the magical kingdom and it’s overcrowded premises any time we want (blackouts and restrictions apply 😜). But I’m not complaining (maybe just a little) because we knew what to expect and got passes anyway. Having passes makes it easier to strategically plan our visits. We don’t have little kids to worry about anymore so we can be stealthy and hit just the rides we want to get on and then skedaddle.

Which is exactly what we did on Sunday. We wanted to ride the new Guardians of the Galaxy ride (formerly the Tower of Terror) but the wait times have consistently been over three hours! So we planned our sneak attack. We would get up really really early and get there before the line grew too long. We did manage to get up early-ish and made it before the line got to two hours (it took us a mere hour and 40 minutes). It wasn’t the dream scenario (an hour or less would have been better) but at least it wasn’t three hours. It didn’t help that it turned out to be a very hot day and I didn’t take any sun block. I didn’t think I would burn in the short time we were supposed to be there. Boy was I wrong! And half the time we were in line, we were in the shade! Woefully unprepared!

I concocted a plan that involved taking my crochet along with me to make the time pass more quickly while we were in line. I did feel a little guilty that I might embarrass my hubby and my 17-year-old son but I went prepared anyway (and they didn’t care either way). I pulled out my hook and yarn and started crocheting a Mickey-ears headband. While I was busy keeping myself entertained with crochet challenges, my son noticed a sign behind me.

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It says Yolanda!

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I’m Yolanda! You can see the hook and yarn in my hand too. 🙂

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Craft Yarn Council Lessons 3 and 4

Now that I’ve started blocking, I’m blocking everything! I kept a big, rectangular piece of foam board that was part of the packaging for my standing desk. I thought it might work well for blocking my lesson swatches. I like it so far. I have a spray bottle on my desk and am looking around my office looking for other things to squirt, I mean block. Blocking is fun! Waiting for the pieces to dry, not so fun. ☹️ Running around squirting my family, fun🙃

Not sure I’m blocking right. I know I’m wetting and pinning right, I’m just not sure I’m shaping them right, but it’s the first time I’ve blocked anything so I’m sure I’ll get better.

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The hardest part of my swatches is making a perfect 5″ square. I’ve had to adjust all kinds of things to make the squares come out the right size but it’s been fun figuring it out. I’m totally committed to making this work.

The hardest square for me was the popcorn stitch. The pattern calls for two rows of double crochets, seven rows with popcorn clusters and two more double crochet rows. I had to use medium weight yarn. I just couldn’t get 11 rows and I went down to an F hook and crocheted very tight!

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My toughest swatch!

I got up to nine rows so I went with that, one row of double crochets (instead of two) at the ends with the seven rows of popcorn stitches. My other alternatives were to use a bigger hook and skip some of the non popcorn rows (only seven rows total) or still have the two rows at each end intact but  eliminate some of the rows with popcorn stitches. I think my solution was the best one. I kept the integrity of the popcorn stitch design. The directions say you can alter the stitch count and hook size to attain gauge but hopefully what I did falls within the parameters of what I can change to make it the right size.

The last thing I need to do for lesson 4 is create or use someone else’s pattern for crocheting in the round without joining. It has to be something a beginner can make. I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to make but settled on making a handle cover for a pan. I have cast iron skillets and actually need handle covers so this is perfect. I finished it and realized I don’t want to send it in as an example of my work. It’s going straight to my pan.

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Instead, I made a small happy face emoji keychain instead.

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Now that’s something more up my alley.

Lessons 1 and 2 – Crochet Certification

Hmm. I started my first lessons of the Craft Yarn Council Teacher Certification Program. I thought it was going to be easy. After all, how hard can be to make a 5 inch square of each basic stitch? Not hard, right? I can make a stinking square. I make squares all the time. But it has to be a perfect 5 inch square with even tension throughout. And the double and treble crochet has a color change exactly halfway through. Again, I can DO color changes. I have to  block too (pouting and whining).

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Lesson 1 on top (sc, hdc, dc, tr) and lesson 2 on the bottom (sc, hdc, dc, inc and dec). 

Lesson 1: Basic Stitch Swatches

The assignment: 5″ squares in the basic stitches, not too loose and not too tight, in a light color yarn, medium weight. Block as needed.

So I’m limited to medium weight yarn which means there are only so many hook sizes I can choose from when I have to adjust for gauge. The single crochet square was pretty easy to figure out. I think I have that one covered.

Then I got busy with the half double crochet…and that’s when I ran into problems. Getting the right stitch count was fine, until I grew the rows, then it seemed to get wider. I undid and redid quite a few times to get the right number of stitches. I also needed to work on keeping my tension the same. I’m an experienced crocheter here! What was going on? I knew I hated gauge! The number of rows were fine and I finally got the square right.

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single crochet swatch and half double crochet swatch

Moving on to the double crochet square had me extremely frustrated but it was the treble crochet swatch I kept having to redo. I couldn’t get the right hook to get the perfect height on the stitches to have half the square in one color. I tried moving up in hook sizes to make the stitches taller, but I couldn’t make them tall enough to get the right number of rows to reach the mid point without going over or under. I tried going down in hook size so I could get more rows in but that wasn’t working either. In the end, I went with an F hook with a tighter tension. I was worrying about this because the instructions stated not to crochet too tightly. Oh well, I had too! It looked good and not too tight so I’m going with it.

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double crochet and treble crochet swatches

Lesson 2: Increases and Decreases

The increase and decrease swatches seemed easier. I only had to reach 5″ with the width. Not too bad.

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single crochet increase and decrease swatch

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half double crochet increase and decrease swatch

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double crochet increase and decrease swatch

Now I have to write up all the information on paper and put them in plastic sleeves (after they dry from their blocking of course).

Learning

Did I learn anything? Yes. I didn’t necessarily learn anything new but it’s more about showing that you can follow directions and showing that you know what you’re doing. I did learn more about my shortcomings. Namely that I need to work on my tension to get more even stitches throughout my work. And it’s forcing me to face gauge and blocking. I’m mean, really, I shouldn’t shy away from these things. I’m glad I’m being forced to do them even if I don’t usually need to use them with the things I make. You can never have too much knowledge and knowledge is power and all that. 🙂

Clean Office Space

My office is a mess. It’s cluttered and I’m tripping over yarn balls and craft bags full of more yarn balls. I’m getting entangled in works in progress and I’m moving piles of papers around and around on my desk, hunting for some other paper.

 

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This is after a few hours of clean up!

It’s time to clean my room! I started yesterday and focused my energies on fixing my space. Half of what’s in here can probably go and I wouldn’t miss it. The hard part will be to actually let it go, but I’m determined to make it happen. I bought a standing desk contraption that you place on an existing desk and that’s what sparked this cleaning frenzy. I wanted to set it up right away but my desk was a disaster zone. I started thinking that it would be nice to set it up in a nice, clean room, as opposed to just dumping all the stuff on my desk on my photography table (which is what I did anyway).

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Not bad. It’s starting to look good.

Once it was set up and I was trying it out, the clutter was just poking me in the back so I tackled the mess with single-minded determination. I’ve even tossed out a few things (I donate, I toss nothing!). My room is not done but it’s getting there. Now, do I even like my standing desk? I do! At least I do for now. I am so relieved! I was worried I was going to hate it. I also bought a funky chair that you can lean on or sit on if standing becomes tiring. That may have been a waste of money because I’m preferring the standing but we’ll see.

I’ll post the clean results as soon as it’s all beautiful. I’ll take a picture right away because I’m sure it won’t last long. 😉

Freebie Friday – Crochet Mermaid

I’ve been thinking about mermaids lately. I want to make a really cool crocheted mermaid. There are lots and lots of pretty crochet mermaid patterns out there but I want to create my own. Hey, maybe a mermaid puppet! Anyway, that doesn’t stop me from admiring what’s out there. While I was ogling the available pictures, I came across a few I couldn’t resist sharing.

These are NOT my patterns. They are courtesy of a Google search.

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Adorable! And if you’re mermaid crazy too, here’s the link to these mermaid patterns.

Craft Yarn Council Certification

I finally did it. I signed up for a teacher certification course with the Craft Yarn Council. I’ve been looking at this for years but never pulled the trigger. I wasn’t sure I needed it nor did I want to spend the money. No more stalling. I kept going back to check it out and decided this was the summer I would try it.

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Ready and eager to learn. 🙂

I’m not sure what to expect exactly, but hopefully it will be a fun experience. I’m excited and a little nervous. There’s talk of gauge and blocking, both of which I avoid like the plague! I saw something about the Aran technique. I don’t even know what that is! I know a simple google search will help me here but then I can’t complain. LOL But I guess that’s why I’m taking the course, to become better at my craft and a better teacher.

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I just asked who wants to learn to crochet! Stop stabbing things!

Keep your fingers crossed that I survive this. 🙂

If I enjoy this type of homeschooling, I want to do the Masters Program from the Crochet Guild of America. One step at a time, though. That program is more expensive and looks even more challenging, so I’ll wait and see how this one goes.

Playing With Stitch Markers

I was spending a few minutes (turned into hours) reading blogs and came across a post by Katie at Creating Time about some stitch markers she made. I’ve tried making a few stitch markers from time to time but nothing I was happy with. In my day to day, I use clasp earrings that open and close easily but are secure when they are perpetrating as stitch markers. They work great, but then I saw her post and I was inspired to pull out all my little pendants I never wear because they are little and any little charms that were just floating around. I dismantled my terrible, DIY stitch markers I had made before to salvage the clasps and got to work.

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I pulled out my handy dandy pliers and my reading glasses and rummaged around for round circles I could use to attach my pendants/charms to the clasps. I found a little broken chain that was perfect. I’m a little concerned that the rings are too flimsy but only time will tell.

I don’t know if my handy-work will stand the test of time but they sure are pretty.

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Blue Sky Tag

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I went hiking and found these on the trail. I tried to capture the flowers AND the sky. It was hard but I got it by getting really low. 

The Blue Sky Tag is a fun June event for bloggers, and I’ve been  tagged (nominated) to participate by Robin at Imperial Crochet. I love getting inspiration from other bloggers and Robin has a great blog.

My being tagged means I’m “it” and it’s my turn to answer some questions and nominate eleven of my favorite bloggers.

The Rules:

• Give 11 questions.

• Tag 11 people.

• Answer the 11 questions given to you.

• Don’t forget to thank the person who tagged you.

Questions Given To Me

1. Why did you choose the name of your blog?

Yolanda + Crochet = Yochet

2. Which of your own blog posts is your favorite?

This is a hard one. Let me take a look (I don’t remember half of what I written)…this is hard. I’ve narrowed it down to about 10 of them. I think I’m going to pick the one about my black thumb. Ironically, it has nothing to do with crochet. It’s the one titled ‘My Weed Garden’. I love it because it makes me laugh, reminds me of my mom, and I still use the plants as my backgrounds for my crochet pictures. I guess it does have to do a little with crochet after all. 🙂

3. Do you have a set schedule for blogging? morning, evening, daily, weekly?

Nope. I probably should though. I write when the muse strikes me. In the beginning, I had a tough time coming up with topics, but now, I feel them bubbling to the surface all the time. So if the muse strikes and I have time, I start writing.

4. Have you ever done any published writing outside of blogging?  Books? Articles?

I feel like I have but I can’t remember. Let me think…does poetry in a high school journal count?

5. What is the title of your most useful book?

This is another tough one. I’ve read a ton of books in my lifetime that have been very useful. (Time is ticking while I think). I guess I will narrow it down to the most useful in my crochet. I’m going to pick Crocheting for Dummies. I picked up a used copy when I was trying to learn how to read patterns. I already knew how to crochet but I found the book very useful in learning to read patterns.

6. What is the title of the last book you read for fun?

The Witch’s Catalyst – Book 1 The Risen Lands Duology by J. Cain McKrell. I discovered this one on a post from one of my favorite bloggers.

7. Who is your favorite celebrity?

I’m going to change that to ask which celebrity I’ve salivated the most over. That would be Tom Welling from Smallville but Jarod Padaleki from Supernatural was a close second. Henry Cavill from The Man of Steel was a close call too. Hmm, I’m starting to see a pattern here.

8. What is your favorite song?

I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor although can there really be just one favorite song?

9. Where would you love to go on your next vacation?

Hawaii! I want to go back so bad. I’ve been twice but the second time, my son was sick and it was hard to enjoy it.

10. Is there a skill you’d like to learn?

Probably gardening and landscaping because I’m so bad at it!

11. Cats or dogs?

Cats. I love cats. Although I have nothing against dogs. In fact, I had a dog for 14 years that I loved very much.

Questions to my nominees

1. What would your dream job be?

2. If money were no object, where would you like to live?

3. What is the goal of or for your blog?

4. Would you like to make money from a craft or hobby? If so, what is that craft or hobby?

5. What is your favorite thing about where you live?

6. What is the least favorite thing about where you live?

7. What’s the best place you’ve traveled to and why?

8. If you could hire someone to do something for you (money is no object), either ongoing or just once, what would it be?

9. What’s the one thing you can’t live without?

10. Messy or neat?

Tag! You’re it!

Half the people on the list are people who were already tagged by my nominator. I’m going to tag you again because I think you’re great but obviously you don’t have to keep doing the same thing or even at all.

  1. Shells & Bobbles
  2. Tanglewood Tapestry
  3. Nature Inspired Mom
  4. Crochet 539
  5. Sanseilife
  6. Rachelmankowitz
  7. The Yarn Blabber
  8. Stroke(d)
  9. My OBT
  10. creating time
  11. Landscapestylist (I can’t read this one but I just love the pictures).
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A day I spent in San Diego. I thought the blue sky in the background would be perfect for this post.

Scary Saturday – A Sign From Above or Beyond — Tanglewood Tapestry

Today I’d like to share a post over at Tanglewood Tapestry featuring one of my stories of loss, that ended in a little bit of sunshine.

I have named this series Scary Saturday because it is human nature to be afraid of things we do not understand. Paranormal events are most often scary, unnerving, and unsettling. But not every experience with spiritual energies is frightening.

via Scary Saturday – A Sign From Above or Beyond — Tanglewood Tapestry

Student Corner

It’s been awhile since I’ve written about the wonderful crochet projects my students were working on and I thought it was about that time. I meant to get this out before the school year ended but better late than never, right? The kids had  really been inspired and their work deserves to be seen.

Student Work

4th Graders

One 4th grade girl made a cute book cover. She asked me to teach her fancier stitches. I taught her how to do alternating single and double crochets and then alternating them in the next row. The book cover came out very cute.

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Crochet book cover pouch_1

After that, she felt ready to make a doll. She’d already tackled working in the round by making emojis so she was definitely ready. She finished the head and body and started work on the hair. She had definite ideas of how she wanted her doll to look.

crochet doll head

I let her know that how the doll looks it’s totally up to her. That’s the fun part of making dolls, they are totally unique to us.

Look at that hair! She’s good. 🙂

Another 4th grade girl has made several scarves but she wanted a pencil case for her brother. She asked me a few questions and then set out to make it.

Crochet pencil case

This will be a pencil case.

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Now It’s starting to look like a pencil case! She was adding a Batman symbol to the yellow part before we left for the summer. She even sewed it together to form pencil pockets. I didn’t teach her that!

5th Grader

A fifth-grade girl wanted to try a doll as well. I taught her how to crochet in the round and I don’t doubt she’ll have her own doll pretty soon. She managed to finish the head before we left and hopefully she won’t abandon it now that she won’t be returning (5th graders move on to middle school).

I recently learned about finger knitting and I was able to teach one of my Kinder girls how to do it. With a little guidance, she was able to make herself a scarf. She was very proud of it and I was very proud of her. She wore the scarf all day. 🙂

Kindergartner

Lastly, I’d like to feature one of my transitional Kinders who has mastered the chain in her own way and is itching to move on to the single crochet.

She wants to make so many things and is frustrated that she can’t yet. So far, I haven’t managed to teach a Kinder how to do single crochet. Mainly because they are happy learning how to chain stitch and get impatient that they can’t pick up single crochet quickly. The youngest I have been able to teach that far is second-grade. Even then, that second-grader didn’t master single crochet until she was in third grade. However, this child is so determined, I think she can actually do it. If not this year, I’m pretty sure she’ll be able to do it next year. Transitional Kinders get two years of Kinder. So next year, she will still be a Kindergartner. We will both feel a sense of accomplishment if she manages to learn the stitch. She’s really sharp so I have no doubt she’ll get it.

I am soooooo proud of them all! Watching them make their projects was a revelation to me about how good they’d gotten. I’m constantly harping on about how you can make anything once you learn the basics. If you can dream it, you can make it happen, and they did! I was actually giddy when I saw how little they needed me for these projects. Sure, I guided them, but the ideas and implementation was all their own. So proud.