Tuesday, June 23, 2015

So precious I could throw up

I have been having a great time with the crocheting.  Thankfully Michaels and JoAnn's have coupons all the time, and thanks to RetailMeNot, I always have coupons handy if what I want is NOT on sale.  JoAnn's had a 60% off coupon last week.  You KNOW I went back every day!!!! 

So I am stocked up yarn for my next two projects, and I have finished THREE since I last posted.

I finished the ones for my older kids, but I'm not posting those until they arrive in their hands.  Because I want it to be a surprise, but my daughters blanket is white and shades of tan.  It's very soft and I think she will like it.  It's not the colors I originally picked out- but I really think she will like it.  The one for my oldest son is in bright camouflage colors.  Sure a little typical, but it needed to be a manly blanket.  It's thick and warm. 

I asked the oldest, before I made it if he wanted one.  I didn't want him to get his ass kicked for having a blankie from mommy, you know?  But that kid, he's so awesome.  He said, "I don't care what anyone says mom.  I think it's great.  I'd love it!" 

Yes folks, that's my son.

And lastly, I just completed something a little more challenging.  Something delicate and regular size yard, single stranded.  It was challenging, but I am really proud of it. 



Blanket, hat and booties
Seriously, is that not the most precious thing???  The blanket was the most challenging but only took me about 12 hours.  The hat and booties took about 30 minutes each.  And that flower?!?!?  OMG I was to die from the sweetness of that flower.  This set is being sent off to a friend of ours in Australia who just had a baby girl.  International, y'all!!!!
Now I'm working on Jerkface's blanket.  He wanted red and black. 
I'm trying to challenge myself with each project and doing a new pattern each time.  What I'm learning is that it's only challenging until you get the stitches memorized.  Then it's pretty easy.  I think tension will always be a challenge for anyone- but I had a brainstorm idea.  They really should sell starter chains.  If I knew that I could get a starting chain that I could take down to whatever size I needed, in the color I wanted,  in a reasonable price- I would buy that.  The starting chain is the foundation that often has to be restarted two or three times before you get it as close to right as it's gonna be. 
I'll post a picture of the red and black blanket when I get far enough along that you can appreciate the pattern.  But for now, I keep going. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Becoming my mother, one stitch at a time

So a few weeks ago I was feeling down.  Stressed about money and food and the things that stress out women my age, and above, and below. 

I'm not sure what made me think of it, but I decided I wanted to learn to crochet or knit.  My mom used to do it.  I have very vivid memories of crocheted blankets on the couch and my mother often sitting with her basket of yarn and her fingers working the needle so fast.  She tried to teach me, at least once, or probably twice growing up- but it didn't take.  I never got past the second row.  Tension problems and I would get frustrated and give up. 

My mother of course can crank out a blanket in a day.  To be honest, it may be TWO days, but it felt like a day.  I was always kind of in awe of that.

I have a blanket that my mother made for me when I was younger.  She made blankets for all of us kids.  I don't know if she ever actually finished mine, but when I moved out- I took it with me.  It's lots of colored squares.  Maybe 3x3.  Probably took forever to make.  The center is 4 squares, surrounded by a different color squares, surrounded by different color.... around and around.  It's huge, and very warm and very colorful.  I think it's missing half a side of the final color, but you couldn't tell cause there's so much color.  It's always been special to me, because she made it.  For me. 

I remember now.  My daughter graduated from college last month, and she will get getting a job and her own apartment soon.  I wanted to give her something for her new place.  Something special from me.  I purchased some yarn for my first project, which I decided would be a blanket for SR, and I set out to you tube to find what I wanted to make. 

I found this blanket on Pinterest, and the webpage had the pattern, which is really really easy.  Single crochets forever.  I started and then stopped and unraveled, because I didn't know what a single stitch WAS apparently, then I started again.  I used black, purple and white.  I ran into a few snags, no pun intended.  For one, I made it incredible wide.  Measuring the first chain is not an accurate idea of what it will be once you get the first few rows on.  So I turned it and instead of working top to bottom, I was working sideways.  Also, it's incredibly easy to add stitches on the ends, or drop them off.  If you look at the finished blanket, I'd say the 8 rows, you can see that it started even wider than it ended up.  the "width" issue turned out to be ok, because that width is perfect to wrap completely around SR's shoulders. 

I'm not a huge fan of the granny squares with the flowers.  Nor do I like a lot of holes in the blankets because your toes get stuck.  Nice thick blankets, that's what I like. 

A great thing about this pattern is that it's pretty forgiving.  If there are mistakes within, you can't really see them because with the colors, there's a lot going on.   This is how it turned out. 


Not bad huh???

I have started the blanket for my daughter.  That one also had a few stops and starts for various reasons.  I'm back on it now, and I have learned a few lessons for myself.

1.  Have enough yarn when you start.  The store, or a FEW stores may not have the yarn or the color when you go back.  And if you DO have to go back for more, make sure you know the color or have a piece with you.  What looks like the same shade of blue, may not be- trust me. 

2. Buy it on sale.  Its not TERRIBLY expensive, but the blanket above used 15 skeins of yarn.  Purchased with coupons it was only about $2 per skein, but without it would have been closer to $3.

3.  For me, single strands of yarn and a small hook does not build your fabric very fast.  If you are an "instant gratification" person, using 3 strands of yarn, or thicker yarn makes it go much faster.  Also the larger crochet hooks are easy for me to use. 

4. Learn the lingo.  There are a TON of free patterns out there, not just on you tube, but one websites for the yarn companies as well as the people who make the stuff.  So being able to read a pattern is helpful.

5. Practice.  A lot of the YouTube videos will walk you through it.  Seriously, "Now finish this row and meet me back here" so you pause the video- finish your row- hit play, and move along.  YouTube is really a great thing.  Work on the first few rows again and again.  Tension is a bitch- a really vengeful and pretty unforgiving bitch.  Look back on every row and if it's too tight or too loose, unravel and do it again.   

I am not jinxing anything by posting any pictures of the new blanket I started for my daughter.  It's been a crazy start and stop and start again process and in the end I was.... resentful... of the blanket and frustrated by my mistakes.  I really want to make it with love and all that.  I didn't want to pour frustration in every stitch, I feel like she would KNOW.  So I started something new that I'm pleased with.  I'm taking my time and really enjoying the process.

And yes, I will be making blankets for each of my kids.  I want them to have something special that I made for them.  Like my mom did for me.