Autumn Beauty

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I confess, I’ve started another project…

No, I didn’t finish any of the others, yet. 😉

It’s just that I had the most brilliant idea for a glorious autumn afghan. So of course I had to try it before I forgot…

I actually took apart separate sections from another old project…it was sitting there looking at me. I decided I didn’t like it and it had to go. Besides, I needed those exact colors for this one!

You can see those mitered squares (from before I unraveled a few) here:https://thesparklytoad.wordpress.com/2014/09/16/mighty-mitered-crochet-squares/

Don’t worry, there are lots left! Who knows what else I might decide do with those eventually…

This design began with a picture I saw on the internet, of course. Pretty pretty daisies in a mitered granny. It was easy to make!

The hardest part was deciding whether to make the centers of the flowers all the same color? 

It was a yes. And then the colored rows…same, or different? Two, three or four colors? I hope you like what I decided!

The same center, subtle color variations in a pretty autumn range of tones. Beautiful colors for a special October baby to be. ❤

I got to work making the squares, fall comes quickly here!

Then came my favorite part, laying them out.

This way? Or that?

I studied several photos to determine what I like so well about this particular design…and decided it’s the border.

The white makes it color so beautifully.

Halfway done, but I need to get busy on another long-legged amigurumi. This one will be a monkey!

Until next time! Happy crocheting.

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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.

Giant Granny Goodness

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I saw something not too long ago that I simply had to try.

Large granny squares– sewn into an afghan.

It was made by a talented designer, with fancy yarn, in marvelous earth tones, but the basic concept delighted me- giant grannies!

Compared to a typical 4-5 round granny afghan, there will be less joining– I will make nine squares– although the ends sewn will still  be numerous, as of course I must change color every round.

I love color!

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And as I must also put a twist on everything I make, I started with circles. 🙂

 

 

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This is a scrap-ghan…which means I am using all kinds of bits and pieces from my current yarn stash, not purchasing new, although as my rounds get larger I require more and more of a skein to complete them. Eventually I will be forced to pick up a few final colors to complete it. Yarn shopping(!), oh, how sad… 😉

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I see that I forgot the cardinal rule of granny squares (I was making these rather late at night last week and was distracted for various reasons), which is to TURN your work after each round or your granny square will begin to show the dreaded, “granny twist.”

It isn’t too late. I shall start flipping them over and work alternating sides for the rest of the rounds. I believe I am on number nine? Going for twenty, unless they start to get too big.

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I’ve gathered several of my random unassigned skeins of yarn into a tote for easy pickings. Makes for easier clean up, too, when the little ones are coming by.

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If you prefer a more uniform theme or specific color design, I recommend a marvelous free web tool– the granny square pattern generator:

http://granny-square-colors.com/

I have had far too much fun with it– on more than one occasion 😀 …so many options! You can choose dimensions (by number of squares), number of colors, infinite color shadings…the possibilities are endless. I especially liked using it to vary the light and dark tones to see how that changed the overall look. I would think it would be very helpful for quilters that way, too.

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And, just for fun, as I missed you last week (all of my cameras were dead or AWOL and what is a crochet blog without pictures?), a sneak peek at my cutest little 4th of July project– the popover smock, done Star-Spangled Banner style!

 

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For the dress pattern, see here:

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

Such a lovely, lovely day. The children have been to the park and are now in the pool…I shall grab myself a bit of yarn and hook it ’til dinnertime.

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Happy Tuesday!

Summer Fun and Triple the Afghans

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I love these days! This one has a cooking class and basketball, that one is off to camp…another has baseball and of course there is lots of time for fun in the pool when the weather is glorious, too hot for me but perfect for a pool party.

I am busy making three afghans for a friend…I have two weeks left before I see her, and REALLY hope I can finish in time. I kept the designs simple in hopes of completing all three during this busy season!

Afghan #1:

C2C (Corner-to-corner)

http://www.redheart.com/free-patterns/crochet-corner-corner-throw

This is a fun, easy stitch worked diagonally. Since it is for a little girl, I am planning a lacey border.

If written patterns aren’t your cup of tea, there are several good video tutorials out there also.

Crochet Corner To Corner Afghan Project – YouTube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNrS4s5C8vc

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Afghan #2:

Just A Granny Square

This one is simply a giant granny square. I join at the end of each round, ch 3, dc 2 for the first cluster, and off I go again. I had fun choosing the colors! See the funky twist? I had no idea it would do that…I read up on it afterward and discovered the remedy is simple, just turn your work every round and crochet the opposite direction. I rather like it this way…so you can do as you prefer! This one comes with a little friend–an amigurumi tiger– if I can manage!
I’ll use my favorite Little BigFoot pattern for that:
http://www.amigurumitogo.com/2012/06/hippo.html

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Afghan #3:

Drop In The Pond

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/drop-in-the-pond-lap-blanket

I love the look of this pattern, and couldn’t wait to try it out! I have a bit to go yet, but I’ll get there.This one will have an accompanying penguin friend, too. For that I will use a simple crochet egg pattern and add embellishments. 🙂

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Here is a picture of a finished one by craftycreativekathy@wordpress.com:
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Off to hook! So many fun projects, so much fun in the sun to be had!
After nine months of winter…it’s about time…
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Pretty Japanese Irises on our family hike last week.
Have a lovely day!

Baby Jungle Afghan

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Making progress! I have meeting the rest of today, I’m afraid, but here is a sneak peek at my solid granny, some of the animal appliques and just my general advancement in what is surely one of my favorite projects to date.

The square:
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Pattern link here:
https://thesparklytoad.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/super-solid-circle-to-square-granny/

And the borders…
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Then a few baby animals:
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Now some neutral squares for the appliques, for a total blanket count of 25– not including the border:
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I’m ready to join! But probably not until the weekend…sniff…
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Happy Tuesday!!!

Some yummy snacks we made with the little ones this morning:

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