The Perfect All Hallows’ Eve

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Hello and Happy…Halloween!

The weather is just miserable for trick-or-treating,

and just perfect for crochet!

The moment I am done with this post you will find me snuggled under a pile of blankets with hook in hand. 🙂

And, adding happiness to happiness…

I have a new CAMERA!!! Sqeeeeeeeeeee…

I have despaired of ever hearing back from the tablet repair shop (the third shop I’ve tried, mind you). That optimistic estimate of two days turned into a call a week later– us to them, not the other way around!– only to hear, “Oh, we haven’t started on it yet, still waiting for a cable,” WHAT?!?

So I capitulated to my need to record precious family moments and shelled out the cash for an inexpensive digital model. Sigh of relief. The blog continues.

Even more happy news: we got to see our precious twins this week! Well, the children did. They stopped by to visit while I was at work, but the children were home from school and, oh, happy reunions all around.

Their daddy was here to request a repair job on a hat they had. Not my work, I always sew my ends in TIGHT (well, except for that rainbow daisy afghan but I learned my lesson on that one, now didn’t I?)

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I easily saw where it had come apart, but could I re-crochet the loops or was it a sewing job? I did manage to hook and loop it back together, hurrah! They will be so pleased.

It is the most darling owl hat. I use this pattern when I make them:

http://www.repeatcrafterme.com/2012/09/crochet-owl-hat-pattern-in-newborn.html

Fun with the new camera: I just love this shot I caught of my V-Stitch, playing with settings on my new camera. COLOR.

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Updates on a few projects hanging around the house…oh, bliss!

  1. The African Queen

With just a few rounds to go, I have decided to scrap this design and rework it as hexagons instead of strips. I don’t like it as it is, and I don’t think the intended recipient will either. Stay tuned for a colorful mass of hexies, reworked…

See more of her story here:

https://thesparklytoad.wordpress.com/2015/09/07/protea-or-osteospermum-the-lovey-african-flower/

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Some fun options for making your own hexagons and African flower motifs:

http://www.mooglyblog.com/free-crochet-hexagon-patterns/

http://attic24.typepad.com/weblog/hexagon-howto.html

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/african-flower-hexagon-crochet-tutorial

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2) The South Bay Shawlette in gorgeous fall colors

I am in a bit of Unforgettable frenzy…I made a special trip to the city a few weeks ago and bought a dozen skeins of color I can’t get in town: Stained Glass, Echo, Sunrise and Polo.

This is Sunrise, with a J hook:

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Pattern here:

http://www.lionbrand.com/patterns/90489AD.html?ss=

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Just gorgeous.

3) Priscilla Hewitt’s Polka Dot Stockings

My third daughter picked her colors for these…I have hopes of making one for each family member, but after two evenings of trying to assemble them, my hopes are rather dashed that I will be able to complete even one. I need to google this…the toe just isn’t quite right and the directions on assembly are little or no help.

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Pattern here, let me know if you figure it out: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/polka-dot-christmas-stocking

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4) And the owl hat, all fixed up!

Isn’t it precious?

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Happy Halloween! I am off to crochet. 😀

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The Lovely African Flower Afghan, part III

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Hello, hello and happy…yes, well, it isn’t even close to Friday, in fact, it’s the Wednesday after next.

I’m beginning to find my sea legs at our lovely little pre-kindergarten.

The teaching absolutely delights me and I thrill to their little sea of faces gazing up at me, hanging on every word.

We are having so much fun.

The home life– meals, clean clothes, nurturing the children– has not suffered nearly as I had feared.

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Though I am pretty tired! At least during the week.

I’ve bounced back quickly on weekends now that the first few days are past.

I have had exactly ZERO energy to crochet. I was afraid of this. The good news is, I went a bit crazy at summer’s end and made piles of projects, photographed them, and will continue to dole those out week by week on the blog until my cro-jo (crochet motivation) returns.

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Not the first time I’ve had a dry spell, and likely not the last.

Today I’d like to share the joining on my lovely African flower afghan. Like the majority of my projects, here I go winging it again. I’ve had some miscalculations, but mostly managed to get it right the first time on this project, always a good ting!

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I’m edging each set of seven hexagons with two rounds of complimentary colors.

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Joining as I go, of course, you know how I dislike sewing. 🙂

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The brighter, more contrasting the yarn, the better!

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The aqua is my favorite of all the colors. I love how it looks with the salmon (officially called strawberry on the label, but I never saw a strawberry that color in my life…)

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I love the rainbow zig-zags!

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And my little dear-heart, who has started tap dance this fall with a wonderful studio…showing off her precious new (to us) shoes!

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May you have a lovely week!

We’ll chat again soon. 🙂

The Lovely African Flower Afghan, part II

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Hello and happy weekend to you!

Week two of my fabulous new job complete and I am ready for some crochet time! ❤

I showed you the start of my pretty flower blanket last time (if you missed it, see here: https://thesparklytoad.wordpress.com/2015/09/07/protea-or-osteospermum-the-lovey-african-flower/ )

Piles of lovely flowers:

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Adding the contrasting edge…and the beginnings of a layout design…

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I mulled over the possible hexagon pattern design for several weeks before choosing a simple granny hexie. Transitioning from the African flower motif to a circle, square or hexie for joining is NOT easy and I have been foiled before. Often, pattern options look nice on paper but do not lie flat or come out evenly.

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I must have a join-as-you-go motif, too, as my patience is severely limited in the sewing department.

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I am quite pleased with the result, a modified hexie granny of my own design, easy-to-count stitches and easy joining.

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My family appreciates it when I develop crochet projects that do not make me crabby over excessive stitch-counting or joining. 🙂

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All laid out on a big sheet on the floor, no two colors adjacent. Not an easy task! This part is a bit like quilting…you lay it out, then have to keep track of your pattern pieces as you join.

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I stacked mine in order and laid the vertical pile in a box.

Easy to know which was next! The one in front.

 

 

It was an ugly box, or I would have taken a photo. 🙂

The joining is all finished now, and I am working on the borders. More next time!

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In family news, I took my little butterfly to the park this morning for our local festival. ❤

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It is a gorgeous day.

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That, and my computer misbehaving caused a bit of a posting delay, sigh.

I shan’t complain, the dryer died this week and my husband fixed it for $4.33.

For a family of six, a working dryer is no small miracle.

So we are counting our blessings. All of them.

See you next week!

Unveiling the Universe

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I have lost it…can’t find it anywhere. 😦

Have you seen my crochet time?

It is my own fault, I know…I said yes to far too many things…or perhaps it is all these children everywhere, or the school schedule, or just a seasonal quirk of the relentless calendar…
I just can’t find my free time!

I know– I shall blame the weather. The past several years we had SNOW DAYS! This year it is our friends out east that are snowbound, and we have had nary an inch at a time. It has been nice for travel, but oh, I would like to curl up for the evening and get hooking.

In typical ‘Toad fashion, the precious little time I HAVE had since we met last week went to an entirely new project. In case you haven’t heard…a little design called Sophie’s Universe has many of us in crochet world a bit excited.

She started out as a garden on ravelry.
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/sophies-garden

But now she is a crochet-along and the results are stunning!
http://www.lookatwhatimade.net/crafts/yarn/crochet/sophies-universe-cal-2015/sophies-universe-part-1-cal-2015/

So here is my Sophie, or at least the beginnings of her. My color scheme is muted rainbow, with some white for contrast and/or emphasis:

In the beginning:
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Choosing, adding and designing…
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Picking the next grouping:
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Greens and blues…
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And a few more rows:
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Gorgeous corner flowers…
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At this point I was forced to a halt. Horror of horrors, I COULD NOT FIND any more of a blue I used in the center flower! I cannot tell you how serious this is…it would mean starting over, as there would be no other way to tie the color scheme together with that one odd blue RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE…I had just a bit left, but each round requires more yarn to complete and I had only a tiny ball…

After rummaging (messily, of course, now I have more to clean up= less crochet time) through my stash several times, I gathered the four colors I  had run short of but wanted to continue using.

I found three at the first store, but…

That lovely electric blue-aqua eluded me.

Until yesterday.

Ha ha!

I have found you, my BLUE HAWAII, you are mine!

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NOW I shall resume my Sophie. And perhaps finish a few other things as well.

I WILL discover my free time again…she tends to appear when I am not looking, with serendipitous grace.
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I shall keep my hook at the ready.

African Lace

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Hello and happy…oh, wait, it’s Wednesday! Already?

With my long to-do list this week, I seriously considered waiting until Thursday to post. Or even next week…but if you don’t mind a few loose ends and unedited pics…here’s a sneak peek at my latest project!

It started over a year ago, here:
https://thesparklytoad.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/pretty-flower-mandalas/

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I had seen a gorgeous photo and just had to try my hand at recreating the blooms…isn’t that how most of my adventures start? 😀

The flowers were so pretty! And I cracked the construction code pretty quickly. I even posted a free pattern, here:

https://thesparklytoad.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/bursting-blooms-flower-mandala-free-pattern/

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But production came to a screeching halt when it came time to join. All of the techniques I tried SQUISHED the flowers. Is that a technical term? 🙂 And I tried! I have a sweet friend waiting for this pretty blanket…thankfully my friends know me well enough to be patient, right?

My second issue was the yarn. I was using Caron Simply Soft for the flowers. But she wanted a black background. Enough for a blanket would be expensive! I tried Red Heart, but it was too scratchy and bulky for this project. As far as local fiber options, that’s pretty much it for me. So I packed up my blooms and moved on.

Then came vacation! And a gift card for the holidays. So, recently, I treated myself to a little shopping spree and picked up a half dozen skeins in black, as they were on sale! And here we are. Unfortunately, black is dreadful to photograph, and most of my freetime is in the evening lately. And I cannot make myself weave the ends until Thursday, my anti-procrastination sewing day. But I think you can get the idea…

My newest creation, the African Lace Afghan!

Joining the squares in front of the TV one evening…
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Time for the last hexie!
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Experimenting with edging…
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And a fun border, on a cloudy afternoon

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I will be crocheting this in white next…I can’t wait for you to see the “lace” hexigons…and if the sun ever shines again I will take some real pictures. 😉 Pattern coming soon to Ravelry!

Happy “hump” day ❤
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