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Craft Yarn Council – Level II

So I just received my email instructions for level II of the Craft Yarn Council’s program. Umm…it looks tough! I just glanced over the assignments and there are a few things in there I’ll have to learn in order to complete the swatches. Like what’s a Flame Stitch? I looked on YouTube and it doesn’t look at like the diagram in the assignment sheet! The instructions are confusing too. That’s ok, I think I figured it out.

Then for the final assignment, I need to follow the pattern for a baby sweater without deviating from the pattern and making sure the measurements match. I think that’s the part that has me the most nervous. I hate following patterns. Their is a second option: making your own design making sure to include all the requirements. Normally I would choose this option but making clothes isn’t my strength in crochet.

I can make clothes but I usually just measure off of my own body or the body of the person I’m making clothes for (which isn’t very often) so I don’t think I want to do that. I can follow a pattern so I will do theirs. I just need to make sure I follow gauge and we all know I hate doing that. LOL

I’ll probably have to buy yarn because the pattern and some of the swatches call for yarns I don’t think I have. I don’t think I have baby yarn in my stash, although I might actually have some. How sad that I have so much yarn I don’t even know what I have! If you know me, you also know I hate wasting money and although I love buying yarn, I hate buying yarn to make something I have no use for. {What a whiner}. I will make the baby sweater and then make a big baby doll to put it on. Or better yet, I will pick the size that fits the life-size doll at work. She will now have a new sweater. 🙂

Overall, I’m excited to start this level. It looks like it will push me to learn some new things and test my skills.

Here goes…

Swatches.jpg

Confession time, I already started! That’s the flame stitch in the middle. That one gave me some trouble. The one on the left is giving me trouble now. I can sort-of cross stitch but the way they want me to do it is new to me. It’s a learning curve for sure. The bottom one is my practice swatch. I kept having to undo the cross stitches. I think I have it figured out now but we’ll see. 

The Crochet Coats – Sweaters So Far

My three sweater coats

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This was the first and is my favorite in the ‘looks’ category. I’m still working on this one.

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This is the second one and I love the star stitch but I had a few mistakes that were bothering me. This one went to my sister.

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Here’s the current one. This one is my favorite in the ‘how it feels’ category but it’s not my favorite to look at. But I do like it a lot overall. I might add pockets and I might, might I say, give this a friend who likes it.

So now I’ve finished three coats but the first of the three is still waiting to be plugged up. As a reminder, I finished that first one ages ago.

It’s the only one that had a hood. It’s the only one I bought special yarn for (and by 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.

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. 😉

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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New Sleeves for Crochet Bavarian Coat

I know I was supposed to set the unfinished coat aside and contemplate its sleeves at a later time with a clearer head. I was to use that time on other things and come back to it with all kinds of ideas and possibilities. That lasted 24 hours.

Bavarian sweater sleeve

I’m trying out star stitches and I’m working both sides simultaneously so I can see the progress and so that I don’t forget what I did from one sleeve to the next. I know, I know, I should be writing it down and I tried. But I’ve written things down before, only to go do the second of whatever I was making and it didn’t turn out the same. I know I wrote it down right! Sooo, I reasoned that if I do them at the same time, there’s more chance of success. I can try on as I go and if it’s not working, I can rip it back before I get too far.

I think I finally found the solution I like. They look good to me so far. Hopefully they will look good all the way to the end.

 

 

Crochet Fail – Bavarian Sweater/Coat

I normally have no qualms about ripping back work when it isn’t right, but this time, this time, I have a lot of qualms about it. I had set aside my Bavarian square sweater in lieu of other projects. Why? Because it got hot! Who needs a thick and cozy sweater when it’s bloody hot outside! Plus, I couldn’t figure out what to do with the sleeves, so it was easily abandoned.

All my other projects are complete and there aren’t any crochet fires I need to put out, sooo… I picked up the sweater and continued work on the sleeves. One of the problems of working off-the-seat-of-your-pants, on-the-fly, make-up-as-you-go type of creation, is that you don’t always get what you envision in your mind (or is it only me?). I’ve been working the sleeves separately from the main coat in Tunisian Crochet. I ran out of black awhile back and was too busy (lazy) to go buy more. PLUS, I had so much of the grey yarn I’d already used on the sweater (and spent good money on already), I thought it would be good enough. The panels themselves I like. Once I finished them (after trying out different solutions), I sewed one of the sleeves onto the sweater last night and tried it on to see my handy work. Yuck! I didn’t like it.

Tunisian crochet sleeve

Doesn’t look so bad here, but trust me, it’s no good! 

First of all, the sleeve didn’t drape right. I  was still going to make a few rounds of half double crochet with deeper decreases for the cuffs, but after trying it on and not liking the drape, I didn’t proceed with that. No matter how much I tugged and pulled on it, it still looked bad. The problem was that I needed more decreases further up on the sleeves. The sleeves were too big. Second of all, the color just didn’t work. I kept squinting and looking at it from different angles, but I couldn’t make myself like it. Fail!

The only good thing was that I only attached one sleeve. Now I needed to take the sleeve off and rip back both sleeves. That’s when the qualms hit me. I didn’t want to rip back all that work! I don’t usually struggle so much with frogging my work. I’ve ripped back entire queen-size blankets. But I just couldn’t do it. In the grand scheme of things, they are tiny panels that no one would miss (except me apparently).

Tunisian Crochet panel

I suppose it could be a skirt or top instead.

And yet…

Instead, I played with the unattached sleeve (I hadn’t removed the other one yet). I held it up to my chest to see if I could turn it into a top of some sort. I held it like a skirt. Hmmm… nope. Maybe.

I’m trying real hard to turn those panels into something else so I don’t feel like I wasted my time. I’ll probably just set the panels aside and think about them later. That way I’ll have some distance from all the work and I won’t be so torn about undoing them. In the meantime, I’ll start some new sleeves. This time, I’ll might start them straight on the arm holes, in black. I have black now. I probably should just make more granny squares for the sleeves. I was resistant to do that because the coat is already so dense. I thought it would be granny square overload. Maybe I’m over-thinking this. I’m most definitely over-thinking this.

I have until next winter to decide…😀