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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