National Crochet Month 2014

So … National Crochet Month 2014 has come and gone.

I had projects from the bucket list that I thought I could start on in March … they’re still lined up.

I had special yarn lined up (‘Romeo and Juliet’ from Expression Fiber Arts), waiting for that special pattern to work on, to commemorate National Crochet Month 2014 … I’ve gotten as far as winding it up.  I still haven’t found that one special pattern that calls to me to work with this special yarn.

 

I had signed up for CALs, and for sure I thought I would be able to start on one of them … I got as far as digging through the stash for possible yarn and colour combinations …

Nothing really worked out the way I wanted to last month.  It was a chaotic, hectic and stressful month.  My head wouldn’t stop spinning around and settle down long enough to concentrate on any pattern, and my attention span was shorter than a two-year-old’s.

But I needed to pick up hook and yarn and work on something, anything.  So I settled on quick, easy, and mindless project patterns to work on.  It satisfied the craving for my fingers to be playing with hook and yarn; and it was quick and simple enough that even with my brain spinning around, I could finish the project before my attention span wandered off again.

This is what I came up with.  Earwarmers for the the 2015 Special Olympics Scarf Project.  SO Arkansas and Tennessee wanted earwarmers.  And since I had the colours in the stash already, I didn’t have to spend any time choosing the colours.

so tennessee earwarmers3
This is my favourite earwarmer (so far).  All the others were semi-experiments with stitches and patterns.

 

 

I also started on scarves for SO Delaware (red, grey and white) and SO Indiana (red, blue and yellow).  I had to frog the SO Indiana scarf, though.  Crocheting with two strands of yarn together requires a larger hook, to give the scarf a little drape.  This one turned out a little stiff.  The scarf for SO Delaware came out shorter, because of those waves.  I’m just adding fringes at the end – I don’t want to frog that, seeing as how it came out so nice.

 

And I was still in the Augusta Shawl mood, and finished what I’m calling the Neon Playtime Rainbows version.  It’s made from Lorna’s Laces in Playtime, which was an exclusive colourway for Craftsy.  And of course, I only bought two skeins, which wasn’t enough for the shawl.  Digging through the stash, I came upon Lion Brand Microspun – and it had colours so close to the Playtime!  So I just crocheted around to give the shawl a little more length and width.  It’s hardly noticeable, isn’t it?  hmmm … maybe I’ll make another one with the rest of the Microspun.

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And there you have my National Crochet Month for 2014.

As I write this, my head is spinning again … with more ideas for projects …

 

Hooking to Relax

How do I know when I’m stressed out and anxious?

Because I just want to sit and play with yarn … crochet … knit … go through the stash … several skeins of yarn out so that I can work on several ideas at once, if that’s possible … start on the CALs and KALs …

It’s been a hectic and stressful week … late nights and early mornings. Hubby has left on a business trip … for one year … oh, that’s not a business trip anymore … ok, it’s a work assignment. We’ll see each other every three or four months, but the stressful days leading up to his departure has suddenly caught up to me. You know that feeling when some kind of weight is suddenly off your shoulders, and you’re left with a feeling that you need to do something? anything? Well, that was it for me.

I had been planning to start something new for National Crochet Month, but haven’t gotten around to it. So I think I’m just going to start small first, and eventually get inspired for the project for National Crochet Month.

So, I picked up hook and yarn, and was determined to relax … make something, anything, and create. And this is what I have come up … earwarmers for the Special Olympics Scarf Project.

Red and White for SO Arkansas.

Black and Yellow for SO Tennessee

I’m on a roll … and I’ve got ideas scrambling around inside my head.  I just can’t crochet fast enough to finish one and start on another idea … I think I’m in one of those frenzy zones, when I have to crochet something before the energy and the adrenaline runs out and when it does, working on projects slows down … 

Am I relaxed yet?  Nope …  my brain just flashed another design idea and my fingers are itching to pick up hook and yarn again …

Special Olympics 2015 Scarf Project: We’re Off and Running!

Yes … the Special Olympics 2015 Scarf Project has started!
I’m excited for this, and for the first time, optimistic that we will meet the state program goals for the items they requested.  With the previous years, I knew that we would meet the goals for two or three state programs, and certainly not for those with the large amounts requested.

But this year is different.  Seven – yes, seven! – state programs have announced their colours early!  Oh, it is so good to get started on these … before the summer holidays start … the new school year begins … the crafting for Christmas gifts … then the holiday chaos starts … and before you know it, the new year has started, and the deadlines are upon us.  At least, with these seven – and maybe more will announce colours before the summer starts – we can work on these all year long.  If others announce their colours later in the year, we’ll have enough time to work on those.

2015 KC4SO March 2014

 

 

 

So, if you’re in between projects, or want to make something quick, or need a portable project to take with you … here’s one that’s no stress.  Knit or crochet a scarf or headband for a Special Athlete.

Join us over on Facebook or Ravelry, and post your pictures.  It’ll be fun.

 

Special Olympics 2014 Scarf Project: All Done !

The last of the 2014 Special Olympic Winter Games were held last weekend, and with that, the 2014 SO Scarf Project is done!

Thank you to all the crafters out there who generously contributed your time and skills to make a scarf for the athletes!

Looking forward to seeing you back for the 2015 Scarf Project … Yes, we’ve started that already, with five states already announcing their colours!  More on that later … for now, we’ll take a break and a rest …

2014 Special Olympics Scarf Project

The Year of the CALs Continues …

Last year, I ventured out of ‘solo’ crocheting and joined challenges and CALs. I completed two challenges, and 1/6 of two other CALs.

I think I’m addicted, because this year I signed up for three more CALs and a KAL this year. I have no idea why I did that, when I really should be working on finishing the other CALs. Hopeless, hopeless, hopeless …

After much internal debate, I signed up for the Jane Crowfoot’s 2014 Crochet Club.  janiecrowfootOnce again, I was intrigued with her designs – this year it has a 60′s flair to it.  I opted to just purchase the patterns, instead of the full kit, hoping to cut down on the costs.  I thought that purchasing the yarn here locally would be much better, and I could choose my own colour palette.  After going online to order the yarn, it did come out at a lower cost than if I purchased the kit, but not by much.   Or maybe that’s because I added some extra balls in there … Anyway, the yarn arrived two weeks ago – and I haven’t had time to even open up the box.  Suddenly, there are soccer tournaments to run – and the season hasn’t even started yet!

Earlier this year, out of the blue, I thought of kaleidoscopes

kaleidoscope-crochet-blanket-club-2014-391-c[ekm]300x146[ekm]and decided that I should come up with a kaleidoscope pattern to crochet.  I ended up on Ravelry and Pinterest looking for kaleidoscope inspiration and stumbled upon the Kaleidoscope Crochet Blanket Club by Amanda Perkins instead.  So I joined that too.  The yarn arrived three weeks ago.  I still haven’t wound the skeins into balls yet, and have not started on the first motif yet.  There’s over 600 motifs to complete the blanket …

hexagon projectFrom the bucket list, a hexagon project has been on my mind for some time now, and was planning to start up one this year.  I was thinking of using the African Flower pattern.  But then I started browsing in Ravelry (which I shouldn’t have done) … because now I’ve come across The Hexagon Project by Agrarian Artisan.  This is by far the cheapest of the CALs – $1.71 for the patterns.  There are no yarn purchases – unless you absolutely have to – but this yarn is coming from the stash.  I’m going to have to dig through the stash again to look for yarn for this CAL … and for the KAL as well.

Halfway through knitting the first square, I didn’t like the colors I had chosen for the Sage Yarn KAL.  So I’ve stopped knitting, and am now four weeks behind!!  So it’s back to the stash for colors that I want to work with now …

I think my big projects are pretty much set for the year, with these CALs and KAL.  In between I’ll be making hats, scarves, cowls for instant gratification or to fill in the time before the next pattern comes out … if I ever catch up with the patterns … *sigh*

Sunrise Sunset Shawl

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I finally finished the Sunrise Sunset Shawl, using a pattern inspired by the Augusta Shawl.|

I’m so in love with these colours, ever since I saw a sunset in Entebbe, Uganda two years ago in oranges and purples.

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The one additional ball of Drops Big Delight in Sunrise added just another inch to the width and length.   I could wrap around the neck, but the tips were ending just below my shoulders.  Opening the closet door, I saw the newly acquired Viking of Norway Odin Superwash – in pinks and purples.

Aha!  Big Delight had some purple in it, and the Odin purple was very close to the same shade! Wonderful coincidence, isn’t it?  So I continued on for another three inches and then finished it off.  Ta-dah!

It’s big enough to wrap around me, and it’s warm.  I think now that I should have used a bigger hook, so that the stitches are a little looser and lacier.  Right now, it’s a bit thick and bulky and doesn’t really drape on the shoulders.  But with this current weather we’re having, I just wrap it around my neck and cover half my face, and I’m good to go.

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Wonder if there’s a lighter weight yarn in these same colours ….

My Crafty Bucket List

As my mind whirled around and around with all these ideas that I had on how to modify that pattern, or that I had to download or print this pattern and try it out, and how that pattern would look so good in that special yarn I bought that’s still in its original packaging and tucked away, and how I have all these colour combinations in the yarn stash that I would like to put together for a nice big project, and …

So why don’t I just put together a bucket list of what I really want to do? Not just a list of ‘I have to try that sometime’, or ‘Add it to the to-do list and there it’ll stay list’, or ‘Really nice, for inspiration/eye candy list’.

This is a list of what my eyes and mind always comes back to after wandering around the internet or looking at magazines and the patterns that my fingers actually itch to start on, but for some reason or not the timing isn’t right.  So let’s see … The Crafty Bucket List (in no particular order):

1)  Entrelac – learn how to knit and crochet entrelac correctly.  I already downloaded the Craftsy class on this, and actually knitted the first two rows … then frogged.  I also tried the crochet version, from a tutorial on the internet.  Perhaps now, a year later, I have a better understanding of knitting and of the concept/construction of entrelac.  These are what I have been doing in the meantime when I can’t get the entrelac stitches to work out right …

manta hueco zigzag

Photo courtesy of Buscado Comienzos

2)  Granny Squares with a Zigzag Twist  -  I’ve already done a sample of this last year, but I didn’t like the colours, so it was put aside.  I think I’m over-thinking this again – you know, like the colour sequence, the design … it’s that analytical part of my brain that has to put things into some kind of structure … There’s really no reason why I can’t get this started yet … This is where I found the tutorial.

apache tears

Photo courtesy of Sarah London

3)  Apache Teardrops - another pattern that is perfect for using up all those scraps of left-over yarn.  It’s all crocheted on one side, no turning.  Again, my brain is liking that pattern with a zag that breaks the pattern … This particular photo is from Sarah London, but The Groovy-Ghan from A Creative Being, which also has a good tutorial, is what caught my eye first.

4)  A hexagon project – in the early days when I started crocheting, I had actually started on a hexagon project.  But I was using different types of yarn, and it was bunching up when joining them together, so I would try to improvise and make it work, and it didn’t look good.  It’s still in a bag in the closet … maybe I should take it out and see what I can do with it, now that I know a little more about crochet.

Image courtesy of Annie’s Attic

5)  The Cathedral Rose Window Afghan – Stained Glass Afghan – Kaleidoscope Afghan – yes, all time consuming, with numerous colour changes and a million pieces to crochet and then join together.  And yet each time I see the picture, I want to start one right away.  I already have a stash of Caron Harlequin and Black for the Cathedral Rose Afghan … and I signed up with a Kaleidoscope Crochet-Along … so it’s looking good for these two projects to get started on …

6)  Kitchener stitch and seamless grafting – yes, I also downloaded the Craftsy free class on this.  I think I’m ready for this … I keep thinking of how to seam the cowls so that you don’t notice the bind-off edge.

7)  A lacy beach coverup – for the first time, I’m actually thinking of making an article of clothing.  Knitting or crocheting sweaters, cardigans, skirts, etc has not appealed to me.  My mother crocheted matching dresses for my sister and I when we were younger.  While I didn’t mind them one way or the other, making clothes has not interested me at all.  Maybe because Hubby keeps telling me to make something useful, like a sweater (his sister knits them up nicely – and fast!), and why do I keep making accessories and afghans.  But sometime late last year, it suddenly entered my mind that I could crochet myself a beach cover-up for the summer … That should work up fast – I’m thinking that it’s going to be a mesh or filet pattern.

8)  A fine-lace/fingering weight project.  hmmm …. at this stage in life I think about working on a lace project when it looks like I will have to be regularly wearing glasses soon.  On the other hand, maybe I should start, before my eyes go completely. lol

9)  A Japanese pattern – any pattern – doily, scarf, shawl, etc. pineapple_doilies It was actually the doily and flower designs that hooked me, and I already bought the Japanese crochet books some years ago.  There’s something about their designs that just appeals to me … maybe it’s the Far East Asian connection.  Maybe it’s the delicateness of the designs and finished product.  Maybe it refreshes my eyes, seeing the same patterns from a different point of view.  Whatever it is, my eyes are always drawn to these.

10)  A woven blanket made with the Cricket loom.  Yes, eventually, with all the patterns and colour combinations that have been running through my mind.  Right now, I’m still fussing about the loom and experimenting …

So that’s my bucket list.  For some reason, my brain thinks I can work on several of this during this year – all at the same time.  It’s really all a matter of timing on when I can start on these items in between everything else, as well as how often I can work on the project without it being a WIP for so long.  But I’m liking this bucket list, so this will be it … for now …