Paulina’s blanket

Paulina's volleyball blanket

Paulina’s volleyball blanket

This is the blanket that I gave Paulina for her big 21st birthday. She chose this piece of fleece a few years ago. I am thinking she was a senior in high school, she thinks it was earlier, I can’t say and don’t really care anymore. We had decided not to tie this one, but make a blanket that would be a little lighter in weight. I have been reading articles and pins about how to crochet around material, especially fleece in the past few months and decided to give it a try. Results were interesting. First I found that it isn’t that easy to poke through the fleece with a regular crochet hook. In fact it is pretty much impossible, so no yarn or regular size g, h, i or j like I normally use. Next I decided to try the crochet thread and a smaller sized needle.

Now it seemed that the thread was just too small and really wouldn’t give me the look I wanted. I also was having a time getting through the material, well brainstorm, let’s run the edge of the fleece under the sewing machine without any thread in it to make holes. I was convinced this was the ticket. I put the machine on my largest stitch length and ran the fleece through. Not a good plan. The very next time I tried to sew everything was jammed. Although this wasn’t completely the fault of the fleece, it sure didn’t help matters. I couldn’t use my sewing machine again until I took off the plate under the presser foot and cleaned out all of the fuzz. I suspect that it has been building up since 1984, and this was the final straw.

Eventually I came across a wonderful light weight yarn in my stash and a larger of the small sized thread crochet hooks. It happens to have a rather pointy top and works exactly as I needed it to. I have since this incident read about crochet hooks that are specifically made to do this, but have yet to locate one where I usually shop. We are headed out of town on Saturday, and I am hoping to find one at a fabric store then. In the meantime, I have another blanket to do for Jaxon. I figured since he doesn’t read my site, it is safe to tell about it. The fleece I am using for his is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Just so Jessica doesn’t try to steel it from him. HA!

Sewing on the binding.

Sewing on the binding.

So, as you can see I only crocheted two sides of the fleece and put a binding on the other two sides. I maybe could have gotten by with a binding that wasn’t quite as wide, but I think it works ok on this blanket. The reason I did two of each was that the fleece has so much give on two of the sides that the crochet work looked funny to me, so I put the binding on that side. It was fairly easy to do that, and I love how the machine works since I have cleaned it, changed the needle to a jersey knit needle and put in a good quality thread. I cannot recommend those three steps nearly enough. It saved me from purchasing a new machine and from spending big bucks on a professional cleaner, though it probably will be a good idea to do that sometime in the near future.

More information on Paulina’s blanket and her birthday can be found on my lucindalines site.

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Walnut fire starters

Fire starters

Fire starters

It is always such a pain to get the fire started in our fire pit in the summer. As I was making candles a few days ago, I decided to recycle the walnut shells that I had saved this winter. I also used the tiny bits of wick that came from the candles I had melted down in my candle recycling efforts. At first I was just discarding the wicks, but here I was able to reuse a few. I set the walnuts into a plastic tray that I saved from a gift of candy that James received at Christmas. All this from trying to limit the amount of trash we generate. I will admit I haven’t tried them out yet, but no doubt they will be better at getting the fire to start than using a piece of newspaper. Happy Crafting to you all!!

Sewing again

Nearly all connected.

Nearly all connected.

Hurrah! Hurrah!! I got my sewing machine back in action today. Amazing what happens when you clean out the fuzz and put in a new needle plus use some real thread. I had been using a universal needle and some extra cheap thread. Those things work fine on cotton material, but not so much on anything with a stretch. I have been trying for so long to sew up the t-shirt strips that I cut up to crochet a rag rug.

sewing the strips

sewing the strips

Finally today, I got all of it sewed together and rolled into one large ball so that I can get this thing crocheted.

I was having so much trouble with my machine, but as I said, a change in needles was a big part of fixing my stitching problems. I put in a size 12 Jersey needle and used a good quality thread. I am mostly so excited that the machine works as it should. I worked on another project that I am not quite ready to share, and it was really great to be able to just guide the material along while the machine did all the work. Oh and this rug is being made with the sleeves that Paulina cut off her t-shirts to be more comfortable in volleyball practice. One thing I would and will do in the future is run a seam down the side of the item before I cut it. I had problems with the original seems giving out as I pulled on it to make it stretch. Happy crocheting and sewing to all of you.

Craft area cleaned

Sewing area.

Sewing area.

I am so excited about having taken the time to clean up my craft area, I just want to get started working on something. I was in school substitute teaching for the first time this year and I was listening to another substitute talk all about how she is having an unused bedroom converted into a sewing room with built in shelves and cabinets and on and on, and I was almost drooling, when I realized that will never be me. As much as I would love a devoted craft room, I am going to be content with a devoted office where I can come to blog and work on my messages and read and study and such.

Under the table

Under the table

My craft area will just have to be a part of my bedroom/sitting room and I am good with that. Besides it has cable and my stereo and that means plenty of entertainment while I am at work. I also don’t have neat wonderful cabinets that allow my to close the door on whatever I am working on. I guess I will just have to live with that. I like to make due with what is available. And actually my goal is to down size the amount of projects that I am doing. I have this idea that what is here needs to be completed, and if there is time (left in my life) we will talk about adding more. For now it is about finishing what is already here. And as you check out the pictures below you might notice there is more than enough here.

Yarn tower

Yarn tower

The yarn tower now stands outside of my closet instead of inside it. The ironing board and a few other boxes and popcorn tins are inside full of yarn and needles and material and all sorts of things. I need to finish up by labeling the tins so I don’t have to open them each time I am looking for something. The tower is really an unorganized mess but only so much could be accomplished in one day. I do plan to empty it, lay it on the table and refill it in a better color coded manner. In the meantime I will try to use up some of the yarn so there is less to sort.

The doorway is cleared.

The doorway is cleared.

 

This is probably my favorite part of the room. The item on the tin is a storage unit for the old fashioned rolls of film that go into a manual slide projector. I bought it at a school auction years ago. I use the top drawer for my thread and a lower drawer for a set of acrylic paints. I will add things as I figure out what fits. Before I cleaned out yesterday, I had an old baby changing station in this area and all of the items were stored there (oh yes, I need to call my sister and ask where she wants me to deliver that). It was actually a fairly good idea at the time, but I began to find that it was hard to access items. The sorting and rearranging of yesterday should help me find what I need, and make it a little easier to get some things accomplished. Besides, the plants have been crying for a little more light, and sitting in the doorway should give them just what they need. Now if spring would only hurry, I will get them outside and have even more room. Happy crafting to you, and Happy Valentine’s Day. What have you been crafting that you can share????

Projects complete…next

Finished dishcloth

Finished dishcloth

So this version of the dishcloth is finished. I was disappointed in how the two ends are not exactly symmetrical. I guess I may just have to live with it. Perhaps it is best that I am making these to be given away. I don’t know who will be the lucky winner yet, but after I have a stack ready, they will have to disappear. That is my new phrase, “Make it disappear.” Love it. I tried that last night in church (Ash Wednesday), but it only worked a little. I brought some of the candles that I have been melting and re-molding to the service to use as decorations and then as gifts to those who attended. Some thought they should be left for the next few Wednesday evening services, but a few followed my orders to take them home. What they don’t know is that I will make more and keep replacing those that are taken. HAHA. For pictures of the candles and the service set up check out my post on lucindalines from today.

Finished hot pad

Finished hot pad

The other piece of needle work that I have been testing out is this Tunisian crochet piece. I just made it into a square and will likely use it as a hot pad. This one I plan to keep. Some how the sides are not straight. It is hard to see the warped sense of it on this picture because it isn’t blocked yet and it really wants to curl so I set some candles on the edges to hold it in place. I like this stitch, but it is much harder on my wrists than regular crochet or something that I would knit. I do like the hot pad idea in this stitch and may have to find more of the thicker yarn in my stash to make these. I also think this would be a great way to use up scraps of yarn that are knotted together. I think this stitch would be more forgiving and easier to hide the knots, and if you are using it as a pot holder or a hot pad, a knot or two here or there wouldn’t really be a big deal.

So what projects have you completed in the past week? I would love to hear what you are up to.

Real dishcloth in progress and more

half way on the dishcloth

Half way finished with the dishcloth. The pattern is in my previous post, “Dish cloth finished. “

So, after figuring out the pattern with the yarn over to make a dishcloth, I splurged and bought some cotton yarn to make real dishcloths. I never thought I would like them, but there are a couple at my mother’s house and I have used them in the past year and really like them. I should look at one of those for another pattern idea as they are a little different than the ones here. Oh well, one thing at a time.

Tunisian crochet

Tunisian crochet

I have also been teaching myself to do the Tunisian crochet. It is a blast, though a bit harder on the hands than knitting or regular crochet. Part of it is probably because I chose to use up some bulky yarn as I was doing a test piece. I am thinking that I will turn this into a hot pad. Because I switched colors there is a mess of yarn going up the side. Maybe if I sew some material on the back to help with the heat absorption, I can cover that up a bit. I will share when it is totally finished. I do like the stripes. I didn’t have enough of either color to do much of anything, so this was a good compromise.

So, what is on your needles today??? And check out lucindagardens and lucindalines to see what other things are going on around my place. Have fun crafting!!!

Dishcloth finished

Dishcloth #1

Dishcloth #1

While we were at Jessica’s place on Friday night, I finished up this dishcloth. It looks like the white is dirty towards the end, but it was really just a yarn change and a bit different color. I washed it up a bit and left it hanging on the sink for her. I don’t think it will be a great rag to wipe up anything as it was done with acrylic yarn. It might be better for scrubbing dishes or such. At any rate, I was excited to have learned the pattern, and because I learned it. I went out and bought a large skein of cotton yarn and now am knitting the real thing. Progress post in a day or so. Just saying….

Oh yes, the pattern I used was: Cast on 4. Row 1, knit 2 yarn over, (it means put the yarn to the front of your needle like you will purl, but instead put your needle in just as you do for a knit stitch. Because your yarn is in front you will have to wrap around to finish the knit stitch. As you do that, you create a loop on the right needle. Finish the row by knitting to the end. Row 2, starts with 5 stitches, knit 2 then do the yarn over and finish the row with knit. Row 3-?? Continue exactly as the first rows, always knit 2 then yarn over and finish the row by knitting. This gives you an increase of one on each stitch. I did this until I had 35 stitched. The suggestion was 45, but I wasn’t sure about how it would go so I stopped early. At this point it is time to decrease. This is a bit harder. All rows of decrease: Knit 1, knit 2 together, yarn over, knit 2 together. knit to the end. Do this until you are down to 4 stitches then cast off. Hope this makes sense.

 

Works in progress, 2-5-16

Dishcloth

Dishcloth

I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am that I have learned how to do the yarn over (yo) method of adding stitches. One of my big goals a couple of years ago was to learn increase and decrease more efficiently and the correct way. To finally have this method mastered is way exciting for me. I can’t even tell you where I went to find a tutorial except that I was in Pinterest and wrote knitting yarn over in the search area, and viola! The tutorial was great and I had it in no time flat. I realize these dishcloths are supposed to be with cotton thread/yarn, but I only have acrylic at the time, and I just want to practice. I used up all of an old ball of gray so decided that would be the place to start the decrease. The pattern I am following says go until you have 45 stitches. I was only on 35 stitches, but for a practice one this will do. I am most excited to know about how the yarn over increase method leaves the little space, and so I should now be able to make some of the fancier looking shawl patterns that I have pinned for myself. Yippee!!

Rag rug

Rag rug

Next item to show, again in the gray and white tones, is the crochet rug that I have been working on for a couple of years. I am planning to give this to Paulina if I ever get it finished. I watched a video tutorial this morning of how to use your ironing board to cut a T-shirt in one long continuous t-rope for this sort of crochet. I had to laugh because this rug is being made from the sleeves of t-shirts that Paulina converted into the cutout shirts that she and other teenagers would create to wear during athletic practices. Any of you with young athletes know exactly what I mean. I was always pretty argumentative with Paulina about her shirts and said she could not cut the holes so large that everything was exposed and I usually forbid her to toss the cut out sleeves. I have all of them cut and rolled into balls waiting to be crocheted into this rug. My big issue is sewing the ends together. Oh well, one of these days. Perhaps I will have to hand stitch them as I cannot get the machine to work on this type of material. I am thinking the problem is the needle I have in the machine.

So what is the latest, most fun thing you have been creating????

For more post by LuCinda, check out lucindalines or lucindagardens

More on the church quilts

Quilt that might be raffled

Quilt that might be raffled

I thought it was time to post an update on the quilts we made at church. We have nearly finished our work for the year. We ended up doing 11 quilts. I am not quite sure where they will end up hopefully with someone who needs and is happy to have them.  We may want to raffle the one pictured off to the left. I really like how it has turned out.

Bambi quilt

Bambi quilt

We all think this Bambi themed quilt is just too cute. The picture on the bottom is the backside, and I am guessing the blocks on the top were made from another version of the set of sheets. Our church secretary took the time to put the back together as close as possible to matching up fairly well.

Backside

Backside

Not much else to explain on these quilts. We tied them, or at least we will be tying this one soon. There is a wonderful short drama by Susan Glaspel set in 1916. I just found out it is part of the public domain. My students in Jud did it as a contest play many years ago. It is a murder mystery and the men can’t figure out the motive for the killing, but they are sure the wife killed her husband. They refuse to look at any of the evidence that the women have found, which they consider to be mere trifles. As it turns out they find some sewing items with the motive wrapped up in the quilt pieces and in the end they ask if the lady being charged with murdering her husband was going to quilt it or knot it? She was going to knot it and that is the answer to the drama question. I learned at a workshop many years ago that all good dramas answer a question. When you figure out the question as a cast, you are then able to perform the drama correctly. Anyway, hope you enjoyed the quilt pictures.

Finished headband

Here is a headband I crocheted last February. It was a fast and easy project, and one I may need to try again soon. Hope you enjoy it.

lucindalines

Last night at the basketball game, I finally finished the headband I was making for Alyse. I hope it fits. I could have sent it with Paulina, but I know how the sister thing goes. I am not finished with the scarf for Kenlee, and so they will wait until both are finished.

Close up with sparkly button. Close up with sparkly button.

Purple headband. Purple headband.

This was a simple to make headband. I worked it in double crochet. It is about 12 double crochet (dc) wide, so I am thinking that I started by chaining 15, turning and using the one on the hook plus the next two as the first dc. I did double crochet in the next 11 or so across, not sure what was left in the chain, I probably couldn’t go into the last one and that is too tight when I crochet. I just kept going back and forth across the rows…

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