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Craft Yarn Council Certification- Pass or Fail

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I passed! I passed! I had my exit call with my master teacher. It was a great phone conversation. Right off the bat, she was really nice. As the time drew nearer for our scheduled talk, I got more and more nervous. Was my portfolio any good? Did I make any mistakes that would cause me to fail? Were my lesson plans too long or not clear? Was she going to ask me something I didn’t know how to answer? This call could be disastrous! Yep, I was getting pretty wound up there.

But none of that happened. She put me at ease right away and was very conversational and friendly. She told me my portfolio was beautiful and very impressive but that I must know that already. I did not! It was very organized, that I knew. I did the best I could with the swatches but you never know what someone else might think but I knew I could present my work in the best light possible. So it was nice that she noticed. Continue reading

Crochet Mermaid Puppet

Deviation from the plan

I went ahead and kept working on the mermaid puppet when I should have been finishing up my lessons from my certification course. I was rewarded with an ugly puppet. She was turning out so hideous! I didn’t like her. I made a few faux pas along the way that translated into a not so pretty crochet mermaid puppet. I set sail on the wrong course and kept going down the wrong channel.

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Why you keep calling me ugly?!

What had happened was…

Let me start by saying my intentions were good. I had good ideas. It was the Continue reading

Crochet Goals For July

July is here and I can’t believe I’m halfway through the summer already. That means I only have one more month to finish all the goals I had for the summer before I go back to work. Having said that, I did accomplish a lot so far, crochet and otherwise. I have ticked off a bunch of tasks off my summer list (like getting the leaky outdoor water faucet fixed), so I’m very proud of myself.

Now, I just have to get the house painted, get a new fence installed (our backyard fence is literally breaking apart and is on the verge of tipping over!), re-organizing our garage, getting our sprinklers repaired and getting some plumbing issues taken care of. I think that’s all of it! Wait, I need to clean up my desktop and back up everything. That’s actually a monumental task. Oh, and lose 15 pounds. Nah, I’ll leave that for when I go back to work.

On the crochet front, I want to finish the first level of the certification course this week and have it sent off by Saturday. I’ve finished the last project in lesson five. I needed to find or design a beginner project to go with the three lesson plans I have to turn in. I was going to make some slippers but slippers don’t quite reflect my personality. Instead, I wanted to make a toy. I decided one of my square rag dolls would fit the bill.

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He’s ready to go!

There’s quite a bit of sewing, so hopefully that doesn’t disqualify it as a ‘beginner’ project. It’s nothing but single crochet squares and rectangles. If I pass the course, I’d like to sign up for level two and maybe finish that off before I go back to work in August, but I’m not holding my breath on that one.

I finally started the mermaid puppet while in San Diego last week.

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This might be a project I do for level two of the certification course.

Continue reading

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.