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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…

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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. 

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Freebie Friday – Double Crochet Reversible Square Pattern

My mom used to love making us all (my siblings and I and our children) beautiful crochet blankets. We all have a variation of one in particular. It is a reversible blanket that looked like a series of little squares made using double crochet where the posts are interlocked, woven, interlaced or what ever other language you want to use.

When my mom passed away a few years ago, I kept a little swatch of this pattern in case I ever wanted to try to make it.

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Mom’s swatch

I had made one of these blankets with her guidance 29 years ago.  I was pregnant and I was trying to get it finished before my baby was born. It was one of thee most frustrating experiences of my crochet life up to that point. It’s a super simple pattern to make once you get going. After all, it’s just double crochets. But if you mess up, it’s like ripping back two blankets because of how it works up. Equally, it took me a long time to make it because it’s like making two separate blankets at the same time.

So it took me forever to make it and when I messed up, it hurt even more to rip it back. And it was only a baby blanket so it wasn’t that big. Admittedly, I was a lot slower then than I am now and I didn’t know how to fix my mistakes. All I knew how to do was rip back to fix a mistake. Now, I would finish much more quickly and I would know how to fix it and keep going without having to rip.

Needless to say, I felt on the verge of tears when I was working on it, thinking I would never finish it in time. I did though. I didn’t give up and I finished it right before my daughter was born (I think she still has it lying around somewhere). The satisfaction I felt when I finished it can’t be described but lets just say I was extremely happy it was done and I never made another one.

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This is my daughter’s blanket. It’s a little beat up because it’s 29 years old!

Fast forward many years and my mom started making them for everyone. My daughter got several new ones and my son got one.

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This is my son’s. He loved orange and picked the colors. He was about eight or nine. He’s 17 now and he’s still using it. 🙂

We all loved (and continue to love) them. When mom passed, I had no desire to make any. I’ve since figured out how to make other blankets she’d made but not the ‘squares’ one even though I have the swatch.

More recently, I’d say within the last two years, I went on an internet search looking for the pattern. I tried all kinds of language looking for it and never found it. I always told myself I could probably figure it out from her swatch but I wasn’t 100% sure I could. What if I undid her work in an effort to make one and couldn’t? Her work would be unraveled and I wouldn’t have the swatch anymore. Then it would be lost! So I never undid it and kept searching the internet.

Then one day within the last six months or so, a blogger I follow wrote a post about that same pattern! I was so excited. The name for it was so simple that I thought I would never forget it. I was going to respond but I got distracted and forgot about it. Then when I remembered, I couldn’t remember which blogger it was. I spent hours and hours searching through all the blogs I follow looking for it and never found it (if you’re that blogger, let me know who you are!). At first, I searched the ones I thought most likely to have posted it and then I searched through all of them going back months, to no avail. I finally gave up and tried to remember the title she used to describe it. It was something like interwoven double crochet but that didn’t bring up what I was looking for.

Then a couple of days ago, I tried searching the internet again, using as many descriptive words as I could and I found one video on YouTube! It’s mostly the right pattern and I got busy working up a swatch.

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My swatch

Then I went looking for my mom’s swatch to compare and I couldn’t find it! Oh no! At least I know it’s here somewhere. I must have put it someplace safe, so safe I can’t find it. Heh! But at least I know how to do it now. Luckily I took a picture of the swatch and used that to compare to my swatch.

Mine is slightly different. Mom’s edges look better and neater. I need to find her swatch so I can make the adjustments. I think she started her’s a little differently than what I found.

I am so grateful for that video but I think I’m going to make my own version. Her video is very long and I think I can make one that is a little more condensed but still useful. I also want my video to match my mom’s pattern (as soon as I find her swatch). Plus I worry that the video could disappear and I  would be out of luck again. At least if I shoot my own, I’ll always have it. It certainly can’t hurt to have more than one tutorial on the pattern.  🙂

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.

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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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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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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.

Freebie Friday – Crochet Puppets

I assume not everyone has a need for a crochet puppet, but since I was entrenched in puppets, I thought I’d share how I make them. I plan on making a video for a puppet or puppets soon, so if this post looks too wordy (I know it does to me), you can just wait for that. It will eventually happen, but if you want to get started right away, read on!

The Process

The body

I start with a tube that fits around a hand. Sometimes it comes out a little tighter and sometimes a little looser than I like, but it doesn’t really matter as long as it goes over your hand.

The tube can be made up of any color and any kind of yarn. This will be the shirt (or top part of a dress) and can be made out of any stitch or color combination. I’ve only made three puppets so far and they were made for my students so I kept the tube portion simple. I’m all about simple. I used single crochet in the round for two of them. For the third one (red and black puppet), I made a rectangle of single crochet rows and then sewed up the side to make a tube. You could even make two squares and sew up on two sides. I haven’t tried this yet.

Jeffy body

I’m just a tube (in the round).

crochet puppet body

Nothing but a tube.

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