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. πŸ™‚ 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.

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Break-A-Leg

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Another lovely weekend…and nary of stitch of crochet.

I mustn’t complain! Really. Those bitter winter nights will be along soon enough.

With errands and children and a calendar-full of events, I haven’t managed to photograph my latest work. I have a certain afternoon light in mind, and haven’t been able to catch it.

Daylight savings time doesn’t help…

I featured this shawl previously here (https://thesparklytoad.wordpress.com/2015/10/31/the-perfect-all-hallows-eve/)

and have made four companion works in various shades and patterns.

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I look forward to sharing those with you when the light is right!

In the meantime I have tackled a few home projects, such as cleaning the porch and sorting boxes in the basement.

My cookie cutters had been AWOL…I found them with a vengeance as I had added a few dozen more to my collection over the summer. πŸ˜€

All gathered and washed…now to find a box that large.

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This weekend was mostly taken up with the school play…over 100 children were in it, a novelty for this-size town!

Here are my three: Snow White, Miss Muffet and one of the Blind Mice. πŸ™‚

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It was quite a bit of fun to have them all participate and they did so well.

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Wore the mouse out…

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Sweet.

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And sassy…

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I think we all need a nap.

Time to get ready for my week.

I look forward to chatting again soon!

Oh, Glorious Autumn

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The weather has been simply glorious.

At any moment the temperatures will drop, so we savor every bit of sunshine and balmy breeze. I’ve been busy with family activities and nary a moment to crochet, but I won’t complain. The memory-making is precious.

Bought a bit of self-striping yarn and worked up a cardigan one evening. Didn’t like it.Β  Already ripped it out and made a pop-over dress in the round. Not sure if I like that either…

Here’s the pattern for the dress (not pictured) if you’d like:

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

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With the streak of glorious weather we had a lovely field trip to the Christmas tree farm for wreath-making. I’ve done this several times with the older girls and always enjoy it.

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Dad came along too, a special treat.

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All finished:

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I had fun with my new camera in the beautiful sunshine.

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We even found a Charlie Brown tree!

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The golden colors of the autumn countryside made my heart ache just a bit– so pretty.

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The sight of these pine cones put me in the Christmas mood…

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Where we live, this weather isn’t taken for granted. Yards have been put to rights, lawns mowed a last time or two, and winter gear washed and hung on the line to dry.

We are feeling a bit spoiled.

I hope it lasts a bit longer…

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. πŸ™‚

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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. πŸ™‚

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!

The Hawaiian Volcano

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Midsummer, next to chill, dark winter days, is my favorite time to crochet, cool and quiet in the air conditioning. All the extra sun I’ve been getting increases my energy level significantly…and the creative juices are flowing!

I was working on two or three other projects the other day, chatting with my neighbor who had dropped in, when I suddenly dashed into my office– otherwise known as the yarn cave– and began pulling out armloads of skeins.

In a sudden fit of color-coordination I had decided I needed to make something in an ombre rainbow of hues– immediately!

To my neighbor’s amusement I began to lay the skeins out on the floor, muttering to myself and springing between rooms as I would think of another box or bin that had just that wanted, next certain color.

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I stole shamelessly from the five foot laundry-sorter that holds the skeins for my worsted-weight rainbow Sophie. See her here: https://thesparklytoad.wordpress.com/2015/03/03/unveiling-the-universe/

Goodness, has she been lying neglected since March?

I shan’t apologize a bit when I go to the store for more yarn for her! The VOLCANO is worth it!

Here are my gathered shades:

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And her humble beginnings:

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The pattern is known in some circles as THE mypicot. There are a few patterns on the mypicot site, but this one seems to be the most popular, or perhaps it was the first?

It can be a bit confusing, but the pattern is here:

http://mypicot.com/4025.html

If you have trouble finding the download link, here is a clue…Find the words in BLUE that say “How to follow a crochet diagram” and click on the phrase AFTER that, in italics.

Better yet, use the ravelry link, it is much simpler. πŸ™‚

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/beautiful-shells-blanket

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I worked on this one on and off all month, while my oldest sweetie was gallivanting about Italy on a scholarship. I missed her, and worried not a little, so it was nice to have a project!

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I showed my latest projects to her upon her return as we were exchanging all sorts of stories catching up, and she exclaimed over this rainbow beauty.

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She declared it tropical and said, “The middle looks like a volcano!”

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And so she was christened, my tropical delight.

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It’s fun to start this sort of blanket, but it begins to wear on me as the rounds get longer! It takes over an hour to go around her now, making shells.

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I put in a good crime show DVD and double-crochet away.

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Just the lavender left and then I must decide…do I start over? And with which color, pink or brown?Or white?

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She’s about 3×3 ft now…I’d like her to be a bit more than that, but not double the rows of color? And then there is my yarn stash, which is SERIOUSLY depleted by my summer color craziness.

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In fact I am hoping to get to the store later this week.

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I must decide which project to bring on vacation soon.

Never an easy choice for me!

I will definitely need more yarn. πŸ˜€

Oh sorrow, cresting the halfway point of summer…the second half slips too quickly away.

Happy hooking!

Update (November 2015):

The Hawaiian Volcano has been donated to a cancer charity auction benefit to help raise funds for expenses. Please take a moment to read abut this worthy cause, donate and say a prayer or two, thank you!

http://www.communitybenefittree.org/broeniman-family-fund.html

and follow the story on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/Broenimanfamilyfund?hc_location=ufi

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Giant Granny Goodness, Part II

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Hello, hello and happy…well, you know. πŸ™‚

My giant grannies are coming along nicely! In fact, I am on a bit of a crochet jag and have started a dozen projects– or more– in recent weeks. Oh, my, I am having fun! And I haven’t skimped on the housework; in fact, I am also on an organizing crusade and attacking areas that have been neglected for, well, maybe years?

I am simply on a color spree: combining, mixing, matching, layouts, rainbows, ombre, triads, contrasts…it is a good thing I have a bit of a container fetish, because my cleaning frenzy means more empty bins to collect my color nonsense and project dreams.

Here’s the one for the grannies, rounds 7-12 or so:

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I tend to be a bit matchy-matchy…so the challenge of putting dissimilar colors adjacent entertains me particularly.

The lovely afternoon sun…my favorite time to crochet.

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A trio of riotous color contrast:

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And the real challenge begins! A preliminary layout:

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The burning question…how many more rounds???

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I like it as is, but it isn’t very afghan-size, yet…only about 3×3.

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Twenty rounds– my original plan– will be too much?

Perhaps fifteen. And then a kitschy border, for certain!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KitschΒ Β Β  πŸ˜‰

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The more garish color to chew, the better! So rainbow-y and satisfying.

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And just for fun– my little crochet-hinderer, below. I was able to complete my latest set of rounds because she went off to the neighbor’s and asked to bake something. πŸ™‚ My sweet neighbor was happy to comply and home she came, several hours later, with yummy chocolate treats to boot. Happy summer!

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An update on another project, too…the edge is finished, and the little gift set sewn!

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For blanket information, see here:

https://thesparklytoad.wordpress.com/2015/07/14/baby-victorian-dreams/

And for the dress pattern:

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

Happy day!

Baby Victorian Dreams

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Hello and happy Tuesday!

Something pretty and sweet, this sultry summer July day…

The kidlets are in the pool, splashing and shrieking up a storm.

There is a lovely breeze.

Today’s pretty is a soft, colorful baby blanket for a special someone!

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I have been longing to try this pattern:

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/victorian-lattice-square

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I’m using Caron Simply Soft in Blue Mint, Strawberry and Lime with a 3.5mm hook.

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The edging is my own design and NOT quite finished yet. πŸ™‚ I am a bit obsessed with pineapple patterns these days, and based it on that. I have been downloading quite a few doily charts!

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The free pattern for the square includes both the written pattern and a chart (Oh, I love using charts, they are much faster for me).

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Such vibrant colors, and the feel is out-of-this-world soft.

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I may have to make this one again. I love the look of the square.

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For joining, I used the braided join technique– or at least my own twisted version of it! πŸ˜€

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I learned this join while participating in The Crochet Crowd’s Crochet-Along earlier this year:

http://thecrochetcrowd.com/2015-knit-crochet-along-mystery-afghan/

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I see that Moogly has also featured this square recently, on Hookin’ on Hump Day, and another nifty way to join these pretty squares…you can check that out here:

http://www.mooglyblog.com/hohd-98/#more-16604

http://aureliaslittleroom.com/tutorial-simple-joining-square-technique/

Well, it is time for snack, here at home. They are happy to play nicely as long as I feed them. πŸ™‚

May many happy hours of crochet be in your future. ❀

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