Troy Needs Yarn Too

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Mardi Gras Crochet Bunting

“How’s ya mama an’ them?”

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Before I lived on the Gulf Coast, all I’ve ever heard about Mardi Gras was the dire need (if you dared to go) to look out for pickpockets, charlatans, drunks, and weirdos. Mardi Gras was the boogeyman of dissipation. Well, that was specifically for New Orleans. At the time, I didn’t imagine Mardi Gras taking place anywhere outside of New Orleans. We live and learn. There are often Mardi Gras celebrations in the cities of Mobile, Alabama; Lake Charles, Louisiana; Lafayette, Louisiana; St. Louis, Missouri; Biloxi, Mississippi; Pensacola, Florida; Galveston, Texas; and last but not least, La Crosse, Wisconsin.

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Heather would get so many strings of beads (throw) when we went to Mardi Gras parades in Pass Christian, Mississippi and Long Beach, Mississippi. Afterwards, I wouldn’t know what to do with it all. We had bags full. The parades were often in the middle of the day and Heather’s Girl Scout troop would march in them dressed as some theme. One year it was electronics: televisions, radios, etc.

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I started thinking about the colors of Mardi Gras, –purple, green, and gold and wanted to crochet something. No one on the Gulf Coast will ever need a scarf (made of yarn) during late February. That’s why I was happy to learn that Mardi Gras is celebrated in Wisconsin too. Maybe, a nice scarf will still be needed in late February there. Anyway, as a substitution for a scarf, I thought what about a festive Mardi Gras garland.

Isn’t it so cute!?

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Oh, and I dug out an old brooch that I bought from a woman in 1990 who made them every year and sold them at work. The longer and bigger the feathers were, the more people wanted them. LOL! You can see that Troy was curious at what I was photographing. I should put him on a float with beads around his neck.

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For the triangles, I used Sue Rivers pattern here.  <— click link.

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Crochet Black and Platinum Cowl, and Blog Reader Habits

Jack modeling a non-sex specific cowl.

Jack modeling a non-sex specific cowl.

We have a reluctant model here.  But, it is a good way to show his before and after haircut.  Jacques was beginning to look like Shaggy.  Ashton says he wants to keep his hair longer.  I asked him if he wants it as long as Shaggy’s and he said, “Not that long.”  When Jack came home with his new hair cut Ashton’s mouth literally fell opened.  Now, he wants his hair cut as soon as possible.

This black and platinum crochet cowl was a long time coming.  I first started it in California back in January 2015.  Black yarn, at least for my poor eyes, is hard to work with.  Only a precise light will do.  The perfect light was in California, outdoors.  But, I didn’t like crocheting outside. Here, the lighting is okay in the house in the daytime, but not ideal.   Determination has gotten me through to completion, however.  I am adamant about concluding unfinished projects.    My friend in the North mentioned something about Mercury Retrograde and it being the right time to complete projects, so I’m going with that.

Cowl in morning light.

Cowl in morning light.

Spring is fast approaching.   Looking at my blog stats, crochet posts start getting attention around mid-November and garner many visitors daily until around mid-February.  I find people in search of crochet posts to be stingy with their love.  Although my crochet posts get hits at a rate of 5:1 to other posts, I never get any “likes” or comments for those posts.  Instead, I get poachers.  The thing is, if I get an idea from another crochet[er], I will always link back to her, including when I use a crochet book. Once, I had a a comment[er] on a crochet diagram post, demand a written pattern. The nerve.  I deleted the comment.  Rude.

I find food bloggers to be the most generous and supportive, followed by photographers.  Meaning, my food posts get several “likes,” and posts labeled photography get the second most. People routinely google my television posts, but hardly ever comment, and never “like.”  Occasionally, I get what I suspect is a college student looking for essay thoughts with a few of my posts on novels.  Whatever I post on children’s books mostly go unnoticed (no “likes”).

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The black yarn for this cowl is Caron Simply Soft Yarn, in Black.  The trim is Patons Metallic Yarn in Platinum.  The Patons is a little ornery to work with, so I only used it for the trim.  The platinum color is very beautiful though.  My photos do not show the satin- shine of the platinum.  It’s very soft too.

I didn’t set out to make this a cowl.  I wanted a scarf.  For some reason when I finished the first skein, I had thought it was the end of the second and the scarf was very short.   I assumed the stitch took up more yarn than I estimated.  Instead of buying another skein, I had to convert it into a cowl.  Murphy’s Law, after I did so, I found the second skein of black and realized my mistake.

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Crochet Infinity Scarf

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Another scarf finished. I started this one in California. As I’ve mentioned earlier I have at least 6-7 unfinished scarves and 3 blankets. I’m determined to finish everything and use up the bulk of my yarn stash before I consider anything else. Also, I want to have at least 10 items to start an Etsy shop. Or, if you ever see anything here you would like, you can always donate to my GoFundMe page. Just leave me a comment and we can work it out. I can use every penny I get, and I am quite frugal.

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If my Etsy shop doesn’t pique any interest (there is a lot of crochet on Etsy), I will save up and participate in next winter’s craft fair (providing doing so is affordable). I know eventually I will get away from the anxiety about money that I developed while living with a financial abuser.

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Anyway, this infinity scarf was made with the same yarn I used for Danielle’s scarf here. The pattern is my own design. I love making different scarf designs, especially ones that are fun but not over-complicated and time consuming.

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Crochet Scarf and Networking

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For this scarf, I used Lion Brand, Vanna’s Choice Yarn, Kelly Green.  I am giving it to a woman who has helped me network for future employment prospects.   I appreciate her hard work and dedication so much.  She didn’t have to help, but she did and still does.  Not everyone appreciates handmade gifts, but I am sure she will just because she is a decent person.   That sounds like I’m throwing shade at someone.  I guess I am in a way.  Because I have met people who really think handmade is inferior to what is produced in a sweatshop overseas.

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The thing about professional networking, or what I would say if someone asked me, is always cultivate your garden.  Be professional and kind and most of all don’t go in it expecting anything.  That’s what makes it all the better.  I believe, and I believe this because I can feel it showing on my face when I am false, that most people can see through obsequiousness, false flattery, and/or blatant opportunism.  Unfortunately, there are situations in which being a sycophant pays off. In those cases, I’m not sure what to tell you other than truth will out, as well as good work ethics.  Moreover, when it doesn’t pay off, you have to access your situation and move on, with moderation of course.

There’s a whole other subject to discuss about how many 22-year-olds come out of college expecting to be able to buy cars, houses, and have the career status equivalent to a 55-year-old who has been working for years.  Therefore, moderate expectations are always keen.  Most importantly, again, kindness is essential.  Genuine kindness.  Being a doormat is not kindness and expecting a reward is not kindness. Exercising and accepting dignity and equality is kindness.

Anyway, I discovered while photographing this Kelly Green scarf that the color green can be difficult to photograph.  I tried different light and angles within that light and at times a rust and lime color wanted to join the photo.   Eventually, I gave up.  I chose green because it is the favorite color of the recipient.  I hope she enjoys it.  She wears a lot of scarves.

For this scarf like the one here, I used a diagram pattern.  However, I went with the vertical instead of the horizontal.

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The Earth Day Butterflies in the Garden Infinity Scarf

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My yarn-busting is coming along in between and around my school work, my grandchildren, my career development, negotiating the dynamics of living in close proximity of in-laws, fighting off old habits, recognizing and living with the reality that my family’s anxiety with each other has originated from one long continuous bout of avoidance-coping, actualizing my gregarious artist temperament with my own stifling mediocrity,  and walking through the college prep process with my teenage daughter.

Yes, I am determined to use most, if not all of my yarn before I buy any more.

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Earth Day isn’t until April and I am sure by then no one will want to wear anything but a super lightweight scarf, but because of this scarf’s colors, the name fits perfectly.

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Therefore, my latest crochet project completion is an infinity scarf that I like to call “Butterflies in the Garden.” The inner light green portion was completed back in 2012 before I returned to school fulltime.  I didn’t set out for it to be an infinity scarf, just a long scarf with an interesting pattern.  I used a slight deviation of bynumber19’s Papillion (Thank you!) scarf (papillion is butterfly in French, isn’t that lovely?)

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For the longest I left the scarf with just the lighter green (it’s a green between lime and green apple), but it never felt complete. So the other day when I decided to give it another go and thought about trimming it, I couldn’t find any more of the original green.  I considered trimming it in a nice black, but the combination felt like a 1990s throwback .  I held up a few other shades of green and nothing stood out.  Finally, I decided to try mixing yarns with different thickness.

The seam

The seam

I have three or four skeins of Lion Brand Homespun® Yarn: Herb Garden, so, I am keen to find uses for it.  In my photos here, the trim looks browner than it is, even though I tried taking photos in different rooms with different light. There is brown in the “Herb Garden” yarn, but there is just as much green (actually green and red makes brown, which would explain the perception of brown dominance). The Lion Brand website describes “Herb Garden” as “Painterly’ color cool medium green with red and brown.”

Folded side view.

Folded side view.

The daughter wants it, however she wants every scarf I make.  I plan to add this one to the other six that I have almost finished and sell them in a craft fair next fall.  Unless someone wants to buy it from me now.

I crocheted in the vertical then joined the two ends together.  From there, I did the trim in the round. One side first, tied off, then the other side.

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Crochet Valentine’s Day Tree

Valentine 2016 020With this project I was determined not to buy anything or even consider buying anything.  I was settled to think of ways to use what I had on hand.  I’m sure it would’ve been prettier had all the hearts been pink, white, red, purple, maroon, and/or burgundy.  But, like I said I wanted to use what I had so I used little tiny balls of yarn that I had left over from previous projects.

That yellow heart in the back left is from a baby blanket I made for Danielle. The violent center of the violet and white heart in the front is from Violet's baby blanket.

That yellow heart in the back left is from a baby blanket I made for Danielle. The violet center of the violet and white heart in the front is from Violet’s baby blanket.

To get the twigs, the kids and I went to Mohegan Park and found them after I made them take all the empty water bottles back to the store.  In which they made $18.50.  Danielle got $9.00, Jacques got $9.00 and Violet and Ashton got a quarter a piece.  They usually get two quarters a piece, but Danielle and Jacques said Ashton and Violet refused to help and instead hopped around the bottle return room like banshees.

Awww, that caramel brown is from Ashton's baby blanket. The pink heart in the back was from a scarf we made for one of Danielle's teachers who was retiring about 7 years ago.

That caramel brown is from Ashton’s baby blanket. The pink heart in the back was from a scarf we made for one of Danielle’s teachers who was retiring about 7 years ago.  The blue heart at the top is from a blanket I made Jacques about 5 years ago and a scarf I made for my friend Maren.

I had clear beads that have been sitting in my crafting box forever.  I don’t even remember where they came from now.  The vase came from flowers given to me in the past.  Recently I read that if you want to declutter you must get rid of a list of things.  On that list were vases.  I scoffed at the thought at first when the article mentioned that people had way more vases than they needed, particularly the kind that come from flower deliveries.  Well, I went and looked and I have about ten, so I will be giving a few to Goodwill on my next trip.

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The other pertinent thing on the list was novelty coffee mugs.  Again, I didn’t think I was guilty.  Sure enough, I have quite a few gift-coffee mugs.  Those will be harder to purge, because many of them were given with love.  Awww. Actually, I have one right now for Uncle Sidney that Jacques bought.  I have to get it in the mail.

More hearts.

More hearts.

I cannot remember what projects all the yarn is from; nevertheless, I know some of the more precious ones such as baby blankets and a few scarves.

I made this garland about 5 years ago. I crocheted a long rope. Then tied inexpensive Valentine theme fabric strips into bows until the rope was covered from end to end.

I made this garland about 5 years ago. I crocheted a long rope. Then tied inexpensive Valentine theme fabric strips into bows until the rope was covered from end to end.

Playing with light.

Playing with light.

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Beautiful Crochet Scarf

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What a beautiful infinity scarf I just finished.  It’s so nice.  Soft and textured and long enough to do a double twist loop around the neck or worn as a longer single loop. I made it for my daughter who cannot wait for it to turn cold so she can sport it at school.

I crochet(ed) in the vertical, then stitched the ends together.  After that, I trimmed both lengthwise edges separately in the round.  That lovely stitch you see there is Hubert’s “Cross Hatch.”

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CROSS HATCH

Ch a multiple of 7 plus 1.

Foundation Row:  Work 2 dc in 4th ch from hook, skip 3 ch, 1 sc next ch, *ch 3, 1 dc in each of the next 3 chs, skip next 3 ch, sc in next ch, rep from * across, turn.

Row 1:  Ch 3, 2 dc in first st, *skip next 3 dc, [1 sc, ch 3, 3 dc] in the next ch-3 space, skip next st, rep from * across, ending skip ast 2 sts, sc in the top of turning ch.

Rep Row 1 for pattern.

I don’t really read patterns well.  I just follow the visual which is so much more comforting.

Then, I did a 5dc with 1 sc in between all the way around the edges.  Lovely.  Just lovely.

One thing about the yarn color, I used  Red Heart Soft Grape, although the photos are lighter and look more like the Berry.  In person, the Grape is darker.  I tried to adjust the color but it was a no go and I didn’t want to wait to take an outside photo before I posted this.

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A Lesson About Perfection: The Little Red Rocking Chair

You know that commercial, I don’t know what’s it is advertising but it is about a mother who will not let any germs touch her first newborn baby. But, by the time she gets to the second or maybe it is the third baby she is letting the baby touch all kinds of icky looking things.

When I first bought the unfinished rocking chair my 15 year old daughter was only 2-3 years old. Because I knew that a proper finish would require sanding, priming, and the perfect application of paint, the rocking chair sat in the garage until the perfect time came to do that project. Eventually she outgrew the chair and it began collecting cobwebs. A little boy we fostered for a while also outgrew the chair before it was taken out of the garage.

Then my oldest grandchild outgrew the chair. Finally, the other day, I was thinking about buying a chair for the Gremlins (twins) to sit in and I was like, “Hey, I have that rocking chair in the garage, why should I spend money on a chair.”

I decided I was going to simply wash the chair off, let it sun dry and then paint it using spray paint. End of story. I did just that. I washed it with the water hose. Let it sit outside and dry for a day. Painted one side one day. Let it sit outside all day and then brought it into the house to avoid the evening/morning mist/dew. Took it back outside and sprayed the other side and then repeated the day before. Now it is done and the Gremlins have a chair.

Yes, it probably could’ve been sanded,  maybe primed, and even hand painted, but, I don’t care, it is no longer in the garage but in the house and  being used. Everyday use.

Posted in #LOVE, California, Chair, DIY, Grandchildren, Paint | Leave a comment

Crochet Sugar’ n Cream Yellow, White, and Daisy Colored Flower Coasters

 

Okay, another WIP completed.  Well, I cheated a bit.  I changed directions.  When I mentioned this WIP before, I thought I had 13-14 flowers.  It turns out that I have 18.  My original intent was to put the flowers together to make a lightweight cotton throw.  Now however, I cannot.

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First, I no longer know what pattern I used to make these flowers.  I also cannot remember the hook size.  I can foresee enough to know how frustrated I will become if I continue to make flowers that are larger or smaller and with varying shapes than the 18 I have at present. I do know I remember how happy I was when I was making these  yellow, white, and yellow and white beauties.  I used Sugar’ n Cream, Yellow, White, and Daisy.

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I have decided to give them away as coasters in sets of 4.  I will have 4 sets with two single flowers remaining.  I crocheted a ribbon of 25 chain stitches to tie them together.  Although, I am afraid the “ribbon” sort of looks like shoestrings.  The sets will be mixed except the set for my mother-in-law.  Hers will be all white.  I think the sunny-ness of the yellow and white may be too overwhelming for her particular aesthetic.  I note, because I love.

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Lesson learned.

From this day forward, I will begin a crochet journal.  With all new projects, I will include a copy of the pattern (or a reference to where it can be located), the hook size and type and color of yarn.

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