English Garden

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It is sunny today, but dreadfully cold.

Days like this make me thankful I can create my own sunshine with yarn, or at least some flowers!

Lover of granny squares that I am, I collected a soft pallette of pink, green, cream and brown and followed my heart.

It began with a log cabin center, something I have attempted several times with mixed success.

I’m not convinced that crochet lends itself well to this motif…

Nevertheless, I forged ahead, dreaming of roses and diamonds.

The log cabin edged with cream to set it off. Then diamonds, first, one round of one color, two of another…the variations possible by adjusting color and round delight me! The more she grows, the better I like the center.

Another band of cream, then rounds of ombre stripes.

Next…A round of posies in pinks. I can’t wait!

May you be safe and warm this January day. ❤

Happy hooking!

The Long Road Home

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It has been a season of change.
My school year has ended and I’ve started my summer job.
My beautiful daughter has graduated high school and started working as well.
The little ones have their last day of class today.

Add to that some glorious late spring weather
and you might imagine I’ve had neither the inclination nor the hours
to crochet.

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I did find the time to work on this a bit, as I mentioned in my previous post.
My stash-buster, Flowers in the Snow: I just love all the scraps of color on a white background.

Now I need more projects, as I am out of scraps and it isn’t nearly big enough yet. 🙂

I also found a bit of time to make this cute set:

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For a new baby and sweet big sister…
Patterns can be found here, at http://www.repeatcrafterme.com
I adapted them for my purposes but the basics are there.

And finally, FINALLY, I found my cro-jo yesterday (read crochet motivation)

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and started a little something.
Find the pattern here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/paw-print-cardigan

I modified the pattern in two ways…the first ten rows of hdc are in the back loop only, and after skipping the stitches for the sleeves, I changed to a v-stitch, for a lacy look.

Sigh.

I get so sentimental through these rites of passage.

My babies have grown so tall and beautiful.

It seems just yesterday they looked like this…

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And now the eldest is working and we count down to college in the fall.

My precious girl.

Now off to more sorting!
I am making good progress digging out my home office while school is out of session.
Of course the first thing I tidied was my yarn collection. 🙂

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Happy crocheting!

Just Horsing Around, Part II

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It’s been a busy few weeks! Spring is in full swing here, and just lovely.

I’ve finished the horse scarf! A fun, well-written pattern.
Find it here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/horsin-around-scarf

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Here he is, before mane and tail.

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And after! Fun, fun.

I was concerned about the level of difficulty, and assembly; I can never seem to get things sewn evenly. Fortunately it went well!

I did sew the white face accent on upside down at first…thankfully it came off cleanly and I was able to remove it without damaging the stitches underneath!

As a reward for completing this order, I treated myself and returned to an old favorite, my sunburst scrap-ghan.

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She’s been sitting on my shelf for what, two years now?
Yep.
See her start here: https://thesparklytoad.wordpress.com/2014/02/14/snow-bound-stash-busting/

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Evening pictures, sorry…but here is a great shot of the join as you go technique I’m using. I do it a little differently, inspired by this post: https://babylovebrand.net/2013/08/27/continuous-join-as-you-go-again/

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I now have two sections of four (by ten) rows finished and a third piece with two rows joined!
Time to make more circles. 🙂
Contented sigh. Crocheted loveliness.

May all your joins lay smoothly and your families be peaceful and blessed.
Until next time!

Oh, Nativity

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Hello and Happy…!

I know that I promised you a mini-stocking this week.

But I gave them all away and forgot to take a picture. My hope is to make more, and do a cute photo shoot– but it IS Christmas week and I will have to see how the time goes.

In the meantime, my husband and I ran away to our favorite BnB (bed and breakfast) this week for a little RnR (rest and relaxation). 🙂  I have found that a short get-away significantly increases my enjoyment of the holiday season and finds me much more peaceful during the inevitable stress and family squabbles.

We had a fabulous twenty-four hours, and capped it off with a little antique-ing, browsing several local shops and enjoying the time spent.

And I found something so marvelous! I entreated my sweet husband to capture it on film so I could share it with you. Well, digital, anyway, since he has a smart phone…

The most fabulous crochet nativity! And in such colorful thread…I love nativities, and every year I browse patterns and consider making one. I haven’t found the time yet, but one of these years…

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I had him take several close-ups so that I can reverse-engineer the patterns. I love Mary’s braids!

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I think the angel is my favorite. I love angels.

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A detailed close-up of the angel halo and wing. A simple wagon wheel and shell.

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And the sweet babe, wrapped in a solid granny square, on a double granny cushion.

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Not crochet-related, I also had him capture the lovely embroidery on this old lampshade. I often add a bit of sewing detail to my projects.

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And last but not least, the special project I have been working on instead of making more mini-stockings– a last-minute request for a one-of-a-kind Christmas dress for a real-live little angel.

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I used this Bernat pattern as a base

http://www.yarnspirations.com/patterns/i-heart-my-dress.html

but worsted-weight yarn (Caron Sparkle) and an H hook (5mm). Since the pattern called for an E hook and sport-weight yarn, it ended up coming out as a size 18-24 months when I followed the instructions for the 6 month size. Perfect!

For the trim (hem and sleeves), I used the edging found here:

https://thesparklytoad.wordpress.com/2015/05/27/mais-oui/

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I also made the flower pattern listed in the blog above for the accent rose. I gave it a Christmas-y twist by chaining 2 or 3 stitches mid-petal (3hdc, ch-2, 3hdc) for example. This made the petals a bit pointy, more like a poinsettia.

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I can’t wait to see pictures of her in it! I love making dresses.

May you have a blessed Christmas, and be surrounded by love, regardless of circumstances. I am grateful for the Babe that came.

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Until then, happy hooking!

Oh Dear and Aha!

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I’m having one of those moments.

A bit sheepish and disgruntled.

I just had the most marvelous idea…about a project, of course…but the beauty of sheer simplicity means I have wasted dozens of hours crocheting work I will now proceed to rip out.

I can do it.

I will forgive myself and move on…

I mentioned in this post

https://thesparklytoad.wordpress.com/2015/10/31/the-perfect-all-hallows-eve/

I was planning to rework this afghan

https://thesparklytoad.wordpress.com/2015/09/23/the-lovely-african-flower-afghan-part-iii/

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And then tonight, sorting pictures, I realized that THIS photo (below) looks exactly like the blanket I was making in my head.

 

Instead of adding rounds of granny color

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All I needed to do was single crochet the strips together.

Argh.

 

I shall do so directly.

Let the holiday season begin.

Please feel free to chime in your opinion as to colored granny stripes or no…

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I have the most fabulous mini-stocking ornament pattern to share with you next week.

On a personal note: my beloved grandmother passed away last week and we will be celebrating her life with family and friends tomorrow. I thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

 

Circling Lovlies, Part II

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I have been distracted by other projects (imagine that!) and neglected to give you the long-promised update on my Circle Of Friends afghan.

It was back in October I first shared with you:

Circling Lovlies with TheSparklyToad

I promised squares from the circles for the very next week…and then I was of on another tangent crochet adventure or two and did not return…until now.IMG_5240

And I have such cheerful news. I bought a little camera!

I have had a nightmare of dead and dying technology around here, that left me nice-new-tablet-, old-used-iPod- and digital-camera-less. Awful!

I prefer us to be a frugal, low-tech family, so I really tried to make a go of it without…but to not be able to take ANY PICTURES AT ALL was really too much for this mother.

It is my eldest’s final year in school, after all. She plans to attend university next fall, and you can imagine how many LAST school things I was longing to capture as we go along.

I caved and bought the camera a few weeks back. I am having a bit of a love-hate relationship with it, as it isn’t as nice as my previous one, and I can’t seem to get the right combination of lighting and shutter — it doesn’t seem to have adjustable speed and the flash is much too harsh. At least to please me…I am a bit particular…

Hopefully I will learn a few tricks. I have yet to read the directions. 🙂 If it turns out to be the camera, not operator-error, well…then perhaps it will be visiting the dustbin!

Now, onto the lovelies…

I just love this pattern, and the satin gloss of the Caron Simply Soft highlights it beautifully. I think I used my E hook (3.5mm) for this one.

If you’d like the free pattern, it is here:

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/circle-of-friends-square

I do love Priscilla Hewitt designs. They are always so nice and texture-y, but never too tricky. Just double-crochet and single in this one! Can you believe it?

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Pretty, pretty, pretty.

I bought a half-dozen skeins of light grey for joining. Now to toss around which method to use: flat-braid is a little too fancy, and also too flimsy for these thick, dense squares. Plain double-crochet might be nice, but can I make myself complete that many boringly-same stitches??? Likely not…perhaps granny clusters…or something else I haven’t thought of yet.

I must experiment. How fun!

Off to bed for me, a busy day tomorrow.

Lovely crochet blessings to you.

Circling Lovelies

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Hello and happy weekend.

The weather has turned colder after an unseasonable warm spell that made the start of school a bit more cruel than usual.

Nothing like baking in the classroom, thinking of the beach!

The children suffered more than I did, as I was so excited about the start of the new year with my new job…and my classrooms have air conditioning. 🙂

Today’s pattern is one of my favorites. Tried and true. Simple, well-written, and deceptively intricate. When it looks difficult, but is surprisingly easy to make…

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Priscilla Hewitt is a master designer, in my humble opinion.

I love her Matelasse. All of them. ❤

This one is sweetly named: Circle of Friends. Find it here:

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/circle-of-friends-square

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Rounds of sc or dc, then a fun trp-sc to make the fabulous textures!

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I used Caron Simply Soft and my F (3.5mm) hook.

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Started in a fit of need for bursts of random color, and whipped up over the course of a few days, as the pattern is really quite simple.

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I’m so glad I did, for now I have news of babies on the way and will finish this blanket in plenty of time to gift it.

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I changed colors each round, choosing the most contrast I could find…and trying not to duplicate any.

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I love my spring brights. Good old V-Stitch in the background makes me smile, as it is still waiting for me to sew in those ends…and back with flannel. 😀

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I plan to join my squares with a beautiful silver gray in a boring double crochet band…anything with braid, lattice or texture would be too much, and fail to highlight the gorgeous bumpiness of this pattern!

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See the circles turn into squares next time!

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Until then…

May you have a lovely week. ❤