Sunday, October 8, 2017

Wonky WIPS, Baby Gifts, and a Humongous Haul!

Hello again all!

I'm so excited and grateful for your interest in my crochet adventures. I’ve had a particularly yarny month, so here goes!

As for works in progress, I’m still slogging through my Granny Stripe wrap. The yarn I’m using is Bernat Pop in the Pop Art colorway. I’m working with a 6mm hook. 
I’m sad to see how little progress I’ve made on this project. I wouldn't have thought it would be difficult and need repeated frogging, but is has been. I’ve frogged it at least three times attempting to make the ends square. I watched and rewatched two different videos: How to Crochet Granny Stripes by Fiber Flux and Super Easy Crochet: Granny Stripe Blanket/Scarf by Blossom Crochet but my row ends were still coming out wonky. In desperation, I scoured the internet for a written pattern. I found clearly written instructions in a blog post by Luakrug entitled Crochet Granny Stripe Afghan Tutorial Rewrite and finally learned the trick! It’s a dead simple, yet tricky, trick. Once the foundation chain and a row of double crochets is finished, each odd row of the granny stitch pattern - row 1, row 3, row 5, etc. - begins and ends with two double crochets. Then each even row - row 2, row 4, row 6, etc- begins and ends with one double crochet. Ah-hah! Now I understand. The trick is remembering what I did at the beginning of the row I’m just finishing, and seeing the difference between one stitch and two. Maybe my eyes are worse than I realized! I’m still not completely sure I’m getting it right, but I figure I’ll have the trick mastered by the time I’m finished with the wrap!
Another work in progress is all those neon hexes I’m blocking and joining. I must confess I’m getting bored with blocking. Who knew it would be such a tedious chore? Each one must be hand washed, then partially dried by rolling in a towel, and then pinned out to dry completely. The pinning takes me forever!

I have well over half of my hexes still to block, but I’ve joined two in Red Heart Black, to decide whether I want that much contrast in the finished blanket. My other joining option is Red Heart Bright Yellow. (I bought way too much yellow!) It would blend fine, but do I want blend or do I want bang? I can’t decide. What do you think? Please comment below!
Next, here's my attempt at the Crovontuli shawl from a free pattern by The Yarner. I haven’t done it right and I’m still deciding whether or not to frog it and start over. As you can see from the photos in the pattern, I’ve put too many points on it. It’s going to come out an entirely different shape than the pattern intends.

The yarn I’m using is Lion Brand Landscapes in Boardwalk. This is probably the most unique yarn I’ve used so far on my stitching journey. It is worsted weight, 100% acrylic, but it’s a single ply roving yarn with a shiny finish and captivating gradients from one hue to the next. It is breathtakingly beautiful, but its roving texture makes frogging a knotty chore, if not an impossibility. Sad to say, if I do decide to start again instead of just forging ahead mistakes and all, I’ve probably wasted most of my first skein. Lesson learned.

As if I needed another project, (I have four others in various stages of progress/neglect/abandonment I haven’t even shown you!)  I’ve started a cover for one of my mom’s neck pillows adapted from a pattern I found on the JPF Crochet Club website designed by Julie A. Bolduc. Mom uses neck pillows constantly, but the covers they come with are flimsy and come apart in the wash. I have three naked memory foam neck pillows now, so I plan to crochet new covers for them. I don’t have much to show yet; I’m just a few rows in. But I thought someone might enjoy and benefit from the pattern. I’m using a 3.25 mm hook and Lion Brand Mandala in the Thunderbird colorway.

The only finished object I have to show you isn’t mine, but it’s very special.

This is the baby blanket Mom just finished for her newest great-great grandchild, coming in November. Mom has used the Granny Stripe pattern, Premier Yarns Sweet Rolls in the Birthday Cake Pop colorway, and a 5.5 mm hook. Our family cherishes all the gifts she’s crocheted for each of her five grandchildren, seven great grandchildren, and six great-great grandchildren! Thank you, Grandma, we love you!

I went on a yarn buying spree last weekend! My excuse was the opening of a Tuesday Morning store in my neighborhood. I had heard from Hannah, on her Cozy Cottage Crochet Youtube podcast, that I could find beautiful yarns there for very reasonable prices. Boy was she right! I loaded up at Tuesday Morning, and then I couldn't stop. I had to check Michael's because I'd heard rumors of their Expanded Caron Cakes line. I picked up some beauties there, and, since I had to grocery shop at Walmart, I couldn't ignore the pull of their yarn aisle. The gorgeous Mandala yarn cakes just lept into my arms!

On the left in this picture is Caron Big Cakes in the colorway Plum Pudding. Big Cakes are worsted (4) weight, 100% acrylic. You get 603 yd/551 m in 10.5 oz/300 gr.  Plum Pudding's delicious autumnal color changes consist of a deep teal, a denim blue, a warm cranberry red, a cool raspberry red and a greenish brown.
In the center is Caron Tea Cakes in the colorway Spiced Cider. Tea Cakes are chunky (6) weight, 80% acrylic, 20% wool. You get 204 yd/186 m in 8.5 oz/240 gr. Spiced Cider's cozy wintery color changes consist of heathered shades of denim blue, mossy green, dusty raspberry, and smoky rust.

On the right in this picture is Lion Brand Mandala. I found several of their gorgeous colorways at my local Walmart. Each one is stunning. But after some deliberation I chose the colorway Thunderbird. Mandala is sport (3) weight, 100% acrylic. You get 590 yds/540 m in 150 gr. Thunderbird's vivid cheery color changes consist of cantaloupe, rust, brownish gray, teal, and bright green.

From Tuesday Morning:

Rozetti Polaris in the gradient colorway, Helios, is a light sport weight yarn from Turkey. Fiber content is 65% acrylic, 31% wool, 4% soft payette (a blend of acrylic and polyester). Its gradient runs from a pinky lavender to a soft gray and Helios is adorned with sparkling pink sequins! What a lovely spring shawl it will make! You get 191 yds/175 m in 1.76 oz/50 gr. I found Rozetti Polaris at and,

Premier Yarns DIY Gradient Yarn consists of five 72 yd skeins of worsted weight acrylic yarn shaded from dark to light. I chose the colorway Watery. I found DIY Gradient at and Walmart.

Cotton Sparkle by Euro Yarns in the colorway Navy is aran weight yarn from Italy. Fiber content is 90% cotton, 6% polyamide, 4% polyester in a rich navy blue with with metallic silver splotches.  You get 3.52 oz/100 gr in 218 yds/200 m. Unfortunately, Euro Yarns Cotton Sparkle is difficult to find online.

Lotus Yarns Mimi Plus in color 27 is fingering weight. Fiber content is 37% mink, 33% viscose, 18% cashmere and 12% wool. You get 300 m in 50 gr. Unfortunately, this lovely yarn is also difficult to locate online.
Lamb's Pride 100% superwash wool from Brown Sheep Co. Inc. is worsted weight. You get 200 yds/183 m in 3.5 oz/100 gr. I found the colorways Stonewashed Denim- a heather gray- Plum Crazy- a heather purple-  and Raspberry Punch- a tri-tone marl of red, coral, and fuchsia. This yarn is available on Etsy.

It would seem, dear readers, that I have done far more shopping this month than crocheting! Is that a good thing, or a bad thing?

Thanks for reading.
Hook on!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Socks, Crafting Groups, and Peg Looms! Oh My!

Hi everyone!

Oh my gosh, I have readers! I’m so excited and grateful to share my yarny adventures with so many of you, from all over the globe! Thank you so much for reading; I look forward to your comments!

Phew! July and the first half of August have been really busy and exciting for me. I didn’t intend for this post to be so late coming, but I’m suffering from a bad case of Science Camp Exhaustion. But that’s a topic for a whole different blog. I’ve had a chance to rest a bit over the last couple of days, so let’s get busy stitching!

Today I have one new Work In Progress:
I needed something I could stitch, almost without looking, on relaxed, chatty evenings with crafty friends. So I started this simple granny stripe wrap. It will have a shawl collar and beaded fringe. I'm using Bernat Pop yarn in the color Pop Art  and a 6 mm hook. There isn't a pattern for it, I'm just using the granny stripe stitch from Fiber Flux's video on YouTube. Then I found a technique in a video on the YouTube channel Häkelnmit Ratschebutsch for adding beads and fringes to your crochet work. This video is silent, but it demonstrates clearly an easy, attractive method of placing a bead on a loop of chain stitches and adding fringe below the bead with a lark’s head knot. Of course I’ll show you my finished fringed granny wrap in an upcoming post, so stay tuned!

This Finished Object I’m really pleased to share!
These are the Spiral Heel Socks from a free Ravelry pattern by Katherina Lerch who is“Ooh I Love It!” on Ravelry. I used Lion Brand Sock Ease in the colors Grape Soda and Cotton Candy with a 3.25 mm hook. I’m so excited over these cute and comfy socks; I know I’ll be using this pattern again and again.

In my June post, you read about my first pair of crocheted socks. They were a challenge to make, and have been a joy to wear. And they made me want more crocheted socks! I found the heel in Bag-O-Day Crochet’s video challenging, so as I looked for another sock pattern, I kept watch for a different sort of heel.

Boy did I find a different heel! The Spiral Heel Socks pattern starts with the heel which, as the name implies, is worked in a two-color spiral. The leg is then worked in one color of the spiral, and foot in the other. You can switch colors again, if it strikes your fancy, for toe and cuff.

I changed things up a bit from the original pattern, the most obvious change being my yarn choice. (The pattern calls for worsted weight yarn, but notes that it can be adapted to four-ply or sock yarn.) Another change I made was to intersperse ribbing sections along the leg and leave the top cuff-less.

Being a rare heel-out pattern, the Spiral Heel Sock is quite different. Easier? Maybe, maybe not. The heel involved a lot of stitch counting and marking, but the second heel was easier than the first, so I think another pair would be pretty easy. And they’re so cute! Worth every stitch (and every frog)! I’d love to read your comments and see your results if you try this pattern.

I recently joined the 21st century and made a Facebook account. You can find me there at Fascinationfor Crochet. I have to tell you though, so far that account is pretty bare. It isn’t yet second nature for me to post to Facebook every time I turn around. Proof I’m of that generation who grew up with pencil and paper instead of laptop or tablet. It really is an effort to “get with the program” but I will! I’m too eager to connect with other crochet and yarn enthusiasts not to. In the near future I’d like to start a group (When I figure out how. Gosh I’m old!) where we can all share our stitching lives. Stay tuned for that development!

In my brief travels on Facebook I found a local crochet group who gather twice monthly at the library. It’s been great fun to share our WIPS, FOs, and group charity efforts. This group makes lap robes for nursing homes, and newborn layettes for hospitals and clothing banks. I’ve not attempted baby items yet, but I’m looking forward to it!

Totally coincidentally I had opportunity to join two other crochet and crafting groups! My social calendar is suddenly filled with yarny people and fun! Do you belong to a crafting group, crochet circle or “stitch and bitch”? I’d love to hear about it, please comment!

In addition to my crochet travels in July, I discovered peg weaving (part 2, part 3, baby blanket) from Allison Russell’s Craft Channel on YouTube. I had tried weaving on a conventional lap loom in the past, and was unhappy with the results. I got frustrated trying to regulate the tension in my woven fabric. It bunched in the middle and was loose at the top and bottom. But peg weaving yields beautiful fabric easily and quickly. It has me excited to start stash-busting!

My birthday is coming up, so my mom gave me her credit card and said, “Go buy yourself the present I’m going to give you.” (Mom is elderly and doesn’t get around well anymore, so I do all her shopping. But she still crochets!) I bought one similar to this from Acorns and Twigs on Etsy. After a couple of false starts, I’ve actually got a rug on the loom, made of old, old, old yarn from my stash. I’ll be excited to post it here next month, probably in progress, but hopefully finished!

Here’s wishing you an exciting, fun, and creative yarny August. Stitch on!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Mastering the Art: Podcasters and the Crochet Community Online

Salutations, Stitchers!
Here are my current WIPS:

Left and center: Dozens of African flower hexagons for an enormous hexagonal blanket. I have about five more to finish before I can begin joining them. Still haven't decided what sort of join I want to use. I learned the african flower from a video on Oana's Crochet Channel entitled Crochet African Flower Square. Oana's square is beautiful, but I had to simplify it to match my skill level. Maybe one day I'll go back to the video and learn her advanced techniques!  
Yarns used: Red Heart Kids in Bikini, RH Shimmer in Purple, RH Super Saver in Bright Yellow, RH Soft Touch in G 15 (it's a neon pink), Caron Simply Soft in Neon Orange, Caron Simply Soft in Blue Mint. I'm using a 5 mm hook.
Right: Waffle stitch blanket in Caron Cakes Rainbow Sprinkles and Lion Brand Wool-Ease Avocado. 5.5 mm hook.

Today I’m thinking about the 2009 movie Julie and Julia in which author Julie Powell begins the Julie/Julia Project, a blog chronicling her yearlong goal of cooking all the recipes in
Mastering the Art of French Cooking by famous chef Julia Child. Over the course of her study, under the written tutelage of Julia Child, Ms Powell becomes an accomplished french cook herself. I feel about so many YouTube crochet podcasters just the way Ms Powell must have felt about Julia Child. I am in awe of their talent and willingness to share their wisdom so that, if I persist, I can one day master the art of crochet. This blog is the chronicle of my progress. I hope the things I learn and share will be of help, or at least entertainment, to you my readers.

One of the first YouTube channels I discovered and continue to learn a great deal from is Crochet Geek by Teresa Richardson. There you will find tutorials and instructions from basic stitches to a wide range of beautiful projects. While Teresa has several channels now, covering a range of topics, I still go back to her stitch and pattern tutorials on Crochet Geek for her clear and easy-to-follow instruction. Teresa is a classic.

The first actual podcast I discovered, with great delight, was The Potter and Bloom Podcast by Emma Potter. She is a UK-based crochet designer and knitter whose technical skill and creative eye make my heart positively thrum within my chest. For me, The Potter and Bloom Podcast is the highlight of every Wednesday. When I grow up I want to be just like Emma!

Many crochet podcasts are linked by friendship and admiration. I discovered Lorraine Pugh’s podcast when Emma mentioned her. Lorraine is another very talented crochet designer whose patterns display a fantastical grace with a captivating dark edge. Her autumnal color choices are the most distinctive feature of her unmistakable work. Her podcast provides a view into her unique creative process and her willingness to share inspires new avenues of creativity in my own crochet.

Just a few more favorites: (in list form or we’ll be here all day!)

Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of crochet podcasts is the great variety of styles and personalities evident in each host and their work. Each host’s approach and message is uniquely their own, allowing viewers to develop their own singular interpretation of the art of crochet. Isn’t it wonderful how the joy of our art stitches us all together into a fascinating, warm, encouraging community?

Hook on!

Sunday, May 28, 2017


I'm so glad you've found my little patch of the internet where I'll be sharing my adventures in crochet, crafting, and life in general. As my sidebar intro says, I share my home in the beautiful Ozarks with my elderly mom and my grown son. Mom and I raised my son together, and now that she's elderly and frail, he helps me care for her. The three of us enjoy spending time together at home with our little "taco" dog, Miga. 

I very much enjoy family time, but sometimes juggling the many tasks involved in homemaking and eldercare can be stressful and overwhelming. Part of my self care, which is of paramount importance to my continued physical health and emotional well-being, is making time for relaxing, fun pursuits that scratch my creative itch. Crochet is a natural choice to fill that need. 

I watched my mom crochet throughout much of my childhood and adolescence. Somewhere in my early teens I picked up a hook and learned the art myself. Until relatively recently I don't remember starting a project of much size, nor do I remember finishing a project of any size. Planning, starting, and persevering til the end of even a small project required a self-discipline I didn't possess until much later in life. In my early 20s I did start an enormous bedspread to match  my bedroom decor of peach and hunter green. I tired of that color scheme and changed it long before I finished the blanket. Now it languishes, sadly half finished in the bottom of a trunk in the darkest corner of my store room.

In picking up my hook again recently, I've been delighted to find thriving internet communities of hooking enthusiasts who re-energize my love of yarn, and encourage me on to greater heights of skill and accomplishment. Pictured above is my first finished object in many years, of which I am very proud: a pair of crocheted socks! They are something I made with my own two hands which I will actually use, and I'm so entirely pleased with them, I don't want to take them off!  

Reading crochet patterns has long been a bugaboo for me, so I was delighted to find hundreds of amazing, easy-to-follow tutorial videos on Youtube. After a fair bit of watching and swatching and trying my hand at the various parts of a sock, I ended up combining the techniques I learned from two videos. I started with the toe of Glama's Easiest His & Hers Crochet TUBE SOCKS Everrrr! When it was time to add the heel I used the one in Bag-o-Day Crochet and More's Cute & Quick Sock Tutorial as a general guide.

After quite a bit of trial, plenty of errors, and a terrible case of second sock syndrome, I ended up with two cozy socks, made by my own hands! 

I'm venturing into reading patterns now, and even writing my own a bit, so future posts will hopefully include tutorials as well as WIPS and FOs. But please don't mistake me for anything near a crochet expert. Much to the contrary, I'm really just beginning the endeavor of improving my ability and skill. I hope my fascination for crochet, and my efforts to become ever more skilled at this addicting art, are interesting to others because I want to keep learning and develop friendships in the process. 

Hook on!