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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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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ˜€

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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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ˜€

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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. ❀

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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