Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Kingfisher Shawl - A Free Crochet Pattern

Kingfisher Shawl
By Jennie Ingram

The Kingfisher Shawl is soft, drapey, and generously sized for cuddling with your favorite book.  

Skill Level: Intermediate
Finished Size: 64" across the top; 30" from center back to point

Materials:
-2 skeins Lion Brand Heartland in Pinnacles (Turquoise, noted as color A in pattern)
-1 skein Lion Brand Heartland in Great Sand Dunes, (Tan, noted as color B in pattern)
-1 skein Lion Brand Heartland in Sequoia, (Brown, noted as color C in pattern)
-1 skein Lion Brand Heartland in Cuyahoga Valley, (Teal, noted as color D in pattern)
-6mm crochet hook
-Tapestry needle

Gauge: 7 rows of 14 dc = 4”

Abbreviations:
Ch: Chain
Dc: Double crochet
Hdc: Half double crochet
Sk: Skip
Sp: Space

Notes: At the beginning of each row ‘ch 4’ counts as dc + ch 1.  

Shawl
Beginning: With color A ch 4, sl st to form a ring.

Row 1: Ch 3, 2 dc, ch 3, 3 dc.

Row 2: Ch 4 (counts as dc, ch 1), turn work. Dc in same st, ch 1, sk 1, dc in next sp, ch 1, (dc, ch 3, dc in ch-3 sp), ch 1, dc in next dc, ch 1, sk 1, dc, ch 1, dc in final st. (8 dc, 1 ch-3 sp).

Row 3: Ch 4, turn work.  Dc in same st, (ch 1 sk 1, dc in next dc) 3 times, ch 1, (dc, ch 3, dc in ch-3 sp), (ch 1, sk 1, dc in next dc) 3 times, ch 1 dc, ch 1, dc in final st. (12 dc, 1 ch-3 sp). 

Row 4: Ch 4, turn work.  Dc in same st, ch 1, *dc in top of next dc, ch 1*. Repeat across to last dc on that side. Ch 1, dc, ch 3, dc in ch-3 sp. *Ch 1, dc in top of next dc*. Repeat across to second to last dc.  Ch 1, dc, ch 1, dc in last st. (16 dc, 1 ch-3 sp).

Rows 5: Repeat Row 4. (20 dc, 1 ch-3 sp).

Rows 6: Repeat Row 4. (24 dc, 1 ch-3 sp).

Rows 7: Repeat Row 4. (28 dc, 1 ch-3 sp).

Row 8: Change to color B. Ch 4, turn work.  Dc in same st. Dc in each dc and in each ch 1 sp across to ch-3 space. Dc, ch 3, dc in ch 3 sp. Dc in each dc and in each ch 1 sp across to second to last dc. Dc, ch 1, dc in last sp. (58 dc, 1 ch-3 sp).

Row 9: Change to color C. Repeat Row 4. (34 dc, 1 ch-3 sp).

Row 10: Repeat Row 4. (38 dc, 1 ch-3 sp). 

Row 11: Change to color D. Ch 3, turn work.  Hdc in same st. Hdc in each dc and ch 1 space across to ch 3 sp. Hdc, ch 3, hdc in ch-3 sp. Hdc across to second to last st. Hdc, ch 1, hdc in last sp. (76hdc)

Row 12: Change to color C. Repeat Row 4. (42 dc, 1 ch-3 sp).

Row 13: Repeat Row 4. (46 dc, 1 ch-3 sp). 

Row 14: Change to color B. Repeat Row 8. (94dc 1 ch-3 sp).

Row 15: Change to color A. Repeat Row 4. (52 dc, 1 ch-3 sp). 

Row 16: Repeat Row 4. (56 dc, 1 ch-3 sp).

Row 17: Repeat Row 4. (60 dc, 1 ch-3 sp).

Row 18: Repeat Row 4. (64 dc, 1 ch-3 sp).

Row 19: Repeat Row 4. (68 dc, 1 ch-3 sp).

Row 20: Repeat Row 4. (72 dc, 1 ch-3 sp).

Row 21: Repeat Row 4. (76 dc, 1 ch-3 sp).

Row 22: Change to color D. Repeat Row 8. (154 dc, 1 ch-3 sp). 

Row 23: Change to color C. Repeat Row 9. (82 dc, 1 ch-3 sp). 

Row 24: Repeat Row 9. (86 dc, 1 ch-3 sp). 

Row 25: Change to color B. Repeat Row 11. (174 hdc)

Row 26: Change to color C. Repeat Row 9. (92 dc, 1 ch-3 sp). 

Row 27: Repeat Row 9. (96 dc, 1 ch-3 sp). 

Row 28: Change to color D. Repeat Row 8. (194 dc, 1 ch-3 sp).

Row 29: Change to color A. Repeat Row 4. (102 dc, 1 ch-3 sp).

Row 30: Repeat Row 4. (106 dc, 1 ch-3 sp).

Row 31: Repeat Row 4. (110 dc, 1 ch-3 sp).

Row 32: Repeat Row 4. (114 dc, 1 ch-3 sp).

Row 33: Repeat Row 4. (118 dc, 1 ch-3 sp).

Row 34: Repeat Row 4. (122 dc, 1 ch-3 sp).

Row 35: Repeat Row 4. (126 dc, 1 ch-3 sp).

Row 36: Change to color B. Repeat Row 8. (254 dc, 1 ch-3 sp). 

Row 37: Change to color C. Repeat Row 9. (132 dc, 1 ch-3 sp). 

Row 38: Repeat Row 9. (136 dc, 1 ch-3 sp). 

Row 39: Change to color D.  Repeat Row 11. (274 hdc, 1 ch-3 sp). 

Row 40: Change to color C.  Repeat Row 9. (142 dc, 1 ch-3 sp).

Row 41: Repeat Row 9. ( 146 dc, 1 ch-3 sp). 

Row 42: Change to color B.  Repeat Row 8. (294 dc, 1 ch-3 sp). 

Row 43: Change to color A.  Repeat Row 8. (300 dc, 1 ch-3 sp). 

Border
Row 44: Ch 3, 2 dc in same, *ch1, sk 2 sp, sc, ch 1, sk 2 sp, 3 dc in next*.  Repeat to second to last dc of this side.  3 dc in last dc.  Ch 1, 3 dc in ch-3 sp.  Ch 1, 3 dc in next dc, *ch 1, sk 2 sp, sc, ch 1, sk 2 sp, 3 dc in next*.  Repeat across to end. 

Row 45: Ch 1, turn work. Sc in same sp. Ch 3, sk next 2 dc and ch 1 sp, *dc in sc sp. Ch 3, sk ch 1 and next dc. Sc, ch 1, sc in next dc (center dc of from previous round’s 3dc cluster), ch 3.*  Repeat from * to * across to last sc on this side.  Ch 3, sk ch and 1 dc sp, (sc, ch 1, sc) in next dc, ch 3, (sk dc, ch 1, dc), dc in center point, *ch 3, (sk dc, ch 1, dc), sc, ch 1, sc in next dc, ch 3, dc in sc sp*.  Repeat across to last sc sp on this side. Ch 3, sc in last dc. 

Row 46: Ch 1, turn work. Sc in same sp. Ch 1, *(2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in top of dc.  Ch 1, sc in ch-1 sp between sc sts of previous row, ch 1*.  Repeat from * to * across to last sc on this side. Ch 1, (3 dc, ch 1, 3 dc in point), ch 1. *Sc in ch-1 sp between 2 sc sts of previous row, ch 1, (2dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in top of next dc, ch 1.*  Repeat from * to * across to last dc on this side. Ch 1, sc in final sc.  

Fasten off, weave in ends.

Copyright © 2019 by Jennie Ingram * All rights reserved.  No portion of this pattern may be reproduced, transmitted, or distributed by any means, whether for free or for sale.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Elise Shawl in Turquoise Silk


This shawl was made for jemimah in the Use the Good Stuff Swap, on Craftster.  I LOVE the excuse to look through my treasured pieces in my stash, and make something lovely for someone who will truly appreciate it.  The pattern is the Elise Shawl, and is a free download on Ravelry.  When I first saw it, I was a bit intimidated, as it looks intricate, but after an initial setup of 6 rows, you repeat the same two rows over and over until you get the size you want, then add a simple picot border. 

The yarn is Darn Good Yarn's sport weight silk in Caribbean Current.  I decided I wanted to highlight the purple and deep teal splotches in it, so I added some iridescent glass beads along the final row, in the picots and the single crochet directly above the previous double crochet post.

Blocked it came to 44" across and 22" deep at the center back, and I finished with just 12" of yarn leftover!

Monday, May 20, 2019

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Hot Pad


This little hot pad/trivet was made as an extra for PerfectlyBohemian in the Great British Bake Off Swap.  I saw a version of it, and decided I just had to make one.  I mean, come on, how cute is a little pie made of yarn?  I used a free pattern from Yarnspirations for the overall look and the lattices, but I wasn't thrilled with their 'pie filling', so instead I used a Youtube tutorial by One Dog Woof about how to crochet the bobble stitch in the round. 

When I had what I felt was a big enough filling, I just crocheted a plain circle for the back, making sure I had enough increases to end my final row with the same number of stitches I had in the pie filling.  (Mine came to 80.) Then I went back to following the Yarnspirations pattern, reducing the number of lattices per side to 6, sewing the lattice pieces in place, and then crocheting both layers together and adding the fluted border.  It came out adorable, but I'll warn you, don't make it unless you like weaving in ends!  So many ends!

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Good Stuff Baskets


These baskets were made for jemimah in the Use the Good Stuff Swap on Craftster, hosted by craftylittlemonkey.  The idea of the swap is that life is short, so we should use the treasured craft supplies we would otherwise hoard, while we can. 

While digging through my stash of silk yarns, I came across these two bright skeins from two months worth of Darn Good Yarn's monthly subscription box.  I poked around Ravelry, trying to find some inspiration from other crafters.  I saw an awesome post from user marianheart, where she combined the same two skeins I was trying to, into some baskets, based on a pattern for a floor pouf. 

I decided I wanted to make something similar, and so I wrote my own pattern, using what I think is the same stitch (alternating spike stitch), but changing the base to one I've made a million times for bags and bowls.  I made a large and a small basket out of the two skeins, and would have made a medium sized one if I had more yarn.  The patterns for both the big & small, and the nonexistent medium size, are written out below. 


**LARGE BASKET**
Rounds 1-7: Start with the Begonia, and crochet in the round, with 6 sc increases per row. (42 sc at end of round 7)

Row 8: Change to Machu Pichu (without cutting previous yarn - the spike stitches and the abundance of colors in the yarns help hide the jog between rows, which will be on the inside of the basket).  Do a row of sc in **back loop only** to start the sides.

Row 9: Change to Begonia (without cutting previous yarn); do a row of [alternating spike stitch][1].

Row 10: Change to Machu Pichu (without cutting previous yarn); do a row of alternating spike stitch.

Row 11-22: Continue doing rounds of alternating spike stitch, changing colors without cutting yarn, in each row.  You will end with Machu Pichu.

Row 23: Add a round of [decorative slip stitch][2] in Begonia.

Finish off, weave in ends.


**SMALL BOWL**
Rounds 1-5: Start with the Begonia, and crochet in the round, with 6 sc increases per row. (30 sc at end of round 5)

Row 6: Change to Machu Pichu (without cutting previous yarn - the spike stitches and the abundance of colors in the yarns help hide the jog between rows, which will be on the inside of the basket).  Do a row of sc in **back loop only** to start the sides.

Row 7: Change to Begonia (without cutting previous yarn); do a row of [alternating spike stitch][1].

Row 8: Change to Machu Pichu (without cutting previous yarn); do a row of alternating spike stitch.

Row 9-12: Continue doing rounds of alternating spike stitch, changing colors without cutting yarn, in each row.  You will end with Machu Pichu.

Row 13: Because I had more Machu Pichu than Begonia left, I did a final row of alternating spike stitch in Machu Pichu (so 2 rows in that color). 

Edging: Thread the remaining end of the Begonia on a yarn needle.  Run the needle up through the back of rows 12 & 13, to hide this longer jog.  Add a whip stitch along the top edge of the basket. 

Finish off, weave in ends.


If I had more yarn, I would do a medium size version, so here's a pattern for a medium size basket.

**MEDIUM BASKET**
Rounds 1-6: Start with the Begonia, and crochet in the round, with 6 sc increases per row. (36 sc at end of round 6)

Row 7: Change to Machu Pichu (without cutting previous yarn - the spike stitches and the abundance of colors in the yarns help hide the jog between rows, which will be on the inside of the basket).  Do a row of sc in **back loop only** to start the sides.

Row 9: Change to Begonia (without cutting previous yarn); do a row of [alternating spike stitch][1].

Row 10: Change to Machu Pichu (without cutting previous yarn); do a row of alternating spike stitch.

Row 11-18: Continue doing rounds of alternating spike stitch, changing colors without cutting yarn, in each row.  You will end with Begonia.

Row 19: Add a round of [decorative slip stitch][2] in Machu Pichu.

Finish off, weave in ends.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Crocheted Car Accessories & Striped Seatbelt Cozies

My husband & I have been a 1 car family since we were dating.  Somehow, this always worked for us.  For a while we worked near one another during the same shift, later I walked to work and he took the car to his job, and after that I started working from home.  This helped us save money, and was good for the environment, but over the past year it has been hard.  With his job further away from the house, and me often handling our errands and things like taking the dog to the vet, it seemed time to get a second car.  He chose the Fiat 500e, an all electric vehicle which he can charge at home and work, and we could afford to buy outright.  That left me to inherit our cheerful little red Prius-C.


Since it became mine in August, I've been wanting to make it a bit more 'me' that I did when it was a shared vehicle.  So I have been working over the last few weeks to create some crocheted accessories for it, including a steering wheel cover, shifter knob cozy, and finally some seat belt cozies.  The steering wheel cover was made from Sylver Santika's Steering Wheel Cozy pattern with I Love This Cotton! yarn in black, burnt sienna & strawberry violet.  If you give the pattern a go, be sure to pay close attention to the pattern, which requires specific gauge sizing, and three different hook sizes.  If you're not careful about the gauge, you could end up with a cover that is too loose and slides around while you drive.


I made up the pattern for the shifter knob, without paying much attention.  The center circle is a granny circle, similar to the one found HERE. After that I worked a few rows of sc in the round, and finished with 2 rows of dc, in which I didn't connect the ends with a slip stitch, but rather simply turned the work and crocheted in the opposite direction, decreasing as necessary to try to get the right size for my shifter knob.  There was some trial and error, and frogging of stitches, before I got it to the right size.  Once I was happy with it, I put it onto the knob, then used the tail of the yarn to stitch those last two rows closed around the shaft.  The yarn was the same I Love This Cotton!, with the addition of the color pewter.


Finally there were the seat belt cozies.  Being very short, I often have problems with seat belts cutting into my neck, and so I created some nice soft cozies to keep from being scratched while I drive.  I went with a fun striped pattern and mismatched buttons to increase the crafty girl vibe.  I've written out the pattern below.



Striped Seat Belt Cozies

Skill Level: Easy

Materials:
-50 yards of worsted weight yarn in 4 colors (per cozy)
-4.5mm crochet hook
-yarn needle
-scissors
-five 1/2" or 5/8" buttons per cozy
-hand sewing needle
-button thread

Notes:
-Fits standard 2" wide seat belts.
-Written in US crochet terms
-When changing colors, you can stitch over the tail of the new yarn, leaving less ends to weave in.
-This pattern follows the color scheme for the black cozy pictured below.  You can make each cozy a different color, or keep them all the same to suit your tastes.


Abbreviations: 
Ch = chain
Hdc = half double crochet
Dc = double crochet

Color A: Black
Color B: Red
Color C: Grey
Color D: Purple

Instructions:
Row 1: With color B chain 22. Hdc in 3rd ch from hook. Hdc in each st across. (21 hdc)

Row 2: Change to color A. Ch 2, turn work, hdc in same st and each st across. NOTE: Ch 2 does NOT count as hdc from here on. (21 hdc)

Row 3: Ch3, turn work. Dc in same st, ch 1 and skip next hdc to form buttonhole. Dc in remaining sts across. (20 dc & 1 ch 1 sp)

Row 4: Ch 2, turn work. Hdc in same st and each st across. (21 hdc)

Row 5: Change to color C. Ch 2, turn work, hdc in same st and each st across. (21 hdc)

Row 6-8: Repeat rows 2-4. (21 hdc; 20 dc & 1 ch 1 sp; 21 hdc)

Row 9: Change to color D. Ch 2, turn work, hdc in same st and each st across. (21 hdc)

Row 10-12: Repeat rows 2-4. (21 hdc; 20 dc & 1 ch 1 sp; 21 hdc)

Row 13: Change to color B. Ch 2, turn work, hdc in same st and each st across. (21 hdc)

Rows 14-16: Repeat rows 2-4. (21 hdc; 20 dc & 1 ch 1 sp; 21 hdc)

Row 17: Repeat row 5. (21 hdc)

Rows 18-20: Repeat rows 2-4. (21 hdc; 20 dc & 1 ch 1 sp; 21 hdc)

Row 21: Repeat row 9. (21 hdc)

Finish off and weave in ends.

Sew on five 1/2” or 5/8” buttons. Fold over your seat belts and button closed.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Mistress Jennie's Guinness Stew


During one of the numerous years I spent working in summer stock theatre, several of us technicians ganged up to buy groceries and cook together.  We weren't making enough money to each feed ourselves, but if we all chipped in and bought in bulk, we could afford to eat a bit better, both taste & health wise.  We jokingly called ourselves The Commune, much to the unhappiness of some of our housemates.  We would get together to look over the grocery store ads, and plan meals based on what was on sale.  Everyone in the group was responsible for something, planning the meals, doing dishes, setting table, cutting up veggies, and cooking the foods.  Over the course of the summer everyone ended up calling parents to get favorite family recipes for us to share.  Of course being theatre technicians, there was always alcohol around, and this led to our foray into the world of Guinness Stew.

Later that year, for Christmas, I made everyone in The Commune a binder full of all the recipes that we cooked together.  I've been told by a few of them that they still have their binders and have kept adding to them over the years.  This time I branched out even further than our settled recipe, by adding bacon, and serving it over mashed potatoes.


Mistress Jennie's Guinness Stew
Ingredients:
2-3 lbs stewing beef
5-6 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
1 large sweet onion, diced
3 parsnips, peeled & diced
4-5 carrots, peeled & diced
3-4 cloves of garlic, smashed & rough chopped
2 cans Guinness
4 cups beef broth
1/2 cup flour
2-4 T tomato paste
1-2 tsp dried thyme
fresh chopped parsley
1.5 lbs gold potatoes
4 T butter
splash of milk

Directions:
Start by rejoicing in the fact that St. Patrick's Day falls on a Sunday this year, meaning you have the time to cook a slow delicious stew.  Invite friends over.  Get turned down.  Realize this just means more stew for you.  Find a good apron.  Not your cutesy-pie apron; we're not frosting cupcakes here.  A real apron, that will get dirty, that you can wipe your hands on.

Assemble your ingredients.  Chop the bacon. 

Decide that a lovely afternoon cooking is a perfect excuse to put on some Irish folk music.  Look through your phone or iPod and discover that none of your Irish folk is on it.  Try Spotify, and realize that just like every other time you've tried it, it doesn't want to work for you.  Remember that you still own CDs and dig through them to find something like the Chieftans, only to recollect that it's 2019, and you don't own a CD player anymore.  Put the CD in the blu-ray player, and congratulate yourself on being bloody brilliant.  Pour yourself a Guinness to celebrate your awesomeness.

Return to the kitchen, and place half of the chopped bacon in the bottom of a stock pot, over medium-low heat.  Stir frequently to avoid burning.  Dry the first batch on paper towels, while you cook the second batch.  Dry the remainder of the cooked bacon on the paper towels. 

Turn up the music.  Enjoy how nicely that stout is going down.

Pour off most of the bacon grease into a bowl of measuring cup, leaving a bit in the bottom of the pan.


Dust your cubed stewing beef lightly in flour, shaking off the excess.  Working in batches, brown the beef cubes in the bacon fat.  You don't need it to be cooked through, just nicely browned.  Keep an eye on it, so you don't scorch the flour to the bottom of the pot.  For reference, my 2 lbs of beef was cooked in 6 batches.  Take your time.

When the CD ends, dig out the Cranberries.  They're Irish, it totally works.  Notice that you've finished your beer.  Before you can pour another, bump into the remainder of that bottle of red wine from Friday night, and work on finishing that off.  Waste not, want not.  I'm sure my Irish grandmother said that... 

As each batch of beef finishes browning, move to a bowl, and add more of the bacon fat if necessary to keep the bottom of the pot from getting dry.  Bits of browned fond on the bottom are great, but blackened carbon is not. 

Once all the beef has finished browning, check the bottom of the pot, and add either more bacon grease or cooking oil if you're out of bacon.  Add in the diced onions, and stir to coat.  Cook for a few minutes until the onions soften a bit.  Add in the carrots, parsnips, and garlic, and continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes. 

Upon finishing the browning, recollect just how maudlin music was in the 90's.  Your day is going too well to be maudlin.  Find something more upbeat.  Maybe something by the Irish Rovers.  Or the Dropkick Murphys.  Your call. 

Once the veggies have cooked down, pour a little of the Guinness in the pot to deglaze, and use a spoon to scrape up any bits of fond from the bottom of the pan.  Add the beef and cooked bacon back into the pot, along with the tomato paste, dried thyme, remaining Guinness and the beef stock.


Bring to a boil over high heat, then cover and reduce to a simmer.  Simmer for 2 hours, stirring every 5-10 minutes. 

Sit down for a bit, while the pot simmers.  Finish your wine while checking Facebook.  Be saddened by Facebook, and decide you are going to close yours.  ...until you run into an uplifting and inspiring video about a dog who saved someone's life.  Cry a little as you long to pet that dog.  That dog is everything.  Facebook must stay!  Finish your last sip of wine.  Realize you should have some water.  Find water.


When you have about 10 minutes left on the simmering clock, chop the potatoes, and place in another pot.  Pour in enough water to cover, and bring to a boil.  Boil 10-15 minutes, or until soft & tender when pierced with a fork.  Drain the potatoes, and return to the pot.  Add the butter, as well as salt & pepper to taste.  Get some of your anger about the English out by using your potato masher to squash them good.  Add milk (or preferred milk substitute) to achieve your desired consistency.  Cover, and keep warm. 

Once your two hours of simmering has elapsed, remove the cover and simmer another 30 minutes, to let the stew thicken.

Place a ring of mashed potatoes around the edges of your bowls.  Ladle the stew into the center, and top with the fresh chopped parsley. 


Make sure everyone has a beverage, and give a toast to those gathered round your table.  Enjoy every moment with those good people. 

May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night, and a smooth road all the way to your door.  SlĂ inte!

Beannachtam na Feile Padraig!

Sunday, March 10, 2019

St. Patrick's Day Wreath

Since putting away the Christmas decorations, I haven't had a wreath on my front door. I usually always have something up there, and the lack of decor has made the front of the house seem sad and unwelcoming.  It has been too rainy and grey outside for my usual floral spring time wreath, and the lack of anything cheerful up there made the poor weather feel all the sadder.  So, time to make something happy!


The twig wreath base was already in my stash.  I bought it on clearance at Joann's back in December, for about $3.  It was labeled as an autumn piece, but the simple champagne gold color seemed good for a number of seasons, so I grabbed it.  Then last week I bumped into the laser cut wooden shamrock, also at Joanns (on sale for $4), and decided I'd make a St. Patrick's Day wreath to fill the empty door!  I painted the whole shamrock an emerald green metallic, then used a pencil to draw in where I wanted the knotwork strands to go over and under one another.  The over passes got a touch of metallic peridot for highlight, and the areas where the strands passed under got a bit of forrest green shadow.  Then the whole thing got a few coats of clear sealant.  I used some deep green jewelry wire to attach the shamrock to the wreath, and hung it with some ribbon from my stash.  Since all the paint, wire, and ribbon was in my stash, the whole project came to $7.


Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Violet Spill Shawl


I finally finished my Spill Shawl!  I fell in love with the pattern when I bumped into it on Ravelry.  It was written for a lace weight yarn with a very long gradient color change and a size 3.25mm hook.  I went up to a a very thin worsted weight (at least according to the package, I swear it feels more like a #3 weight), and a 4.5mm hook, which made for a bigger shawl.  The yarn is Lion Brand Shawl in a Ball (or now Shawl in a Cake), in Mindful Mauve.
 

I haven't measured mine to know exactly how much bigger it is than the written pattern, but she says hers is 14" at center back, and mine is more like 18" at that point.  I probably could have split the difference and tried a 4mm hook, but honestly I'm very happy with it at the size it is.  It makes for a warm, snuggly shawl, that wears well with a shawl pin at the shoulder.  I'm fairly certain I can wear in place of a light jacket in spring and autumn.  I've been wearing it everywhere for the last couple of days.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Vintage Market Tote


Quick little impromptu project.  I've been working on the Spill Shawl, but ran out of yarn.  Since I can't be without a project, I dug through my stash to see what I around the house.  I found 1.5 skeins of Bernat Maker Home Dec in my stash, that I had bought for a project and later changed my mind about.  I decided to use it up by making the Vintage Market Tote pattern I had seen on Ravelry.  The pattern works up simply and quickly, and makes for a nice gift.  This one is going to my mom for her birthday, along with some handmade dishcloths & scrubbies.


Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Double Layer Braided Cowl


This cowl was made for LeapFeetFirst in the Asheville Adventure Swap.  The pattern is the Double Layer Braided Cowl, and is available for free. The yarn is Nako Artist in colorway purple-green multi.  I picked it up on sale from Webs a while back, and had been waiting for the perfect project to use it for.


Purple Silk Sari Ribbon Bowl

This bowl was whipped up as an extra for LeapFeetFirst in the Asheville Adventure Swap.  It's made of sari silk ribbon yarn, that is made from worn out saris that would otherwise end up in landfills.  They are rescued, sliced, stitched, and dyed, and given new life as yarn.  Both colors came from Darn Good Yarn.  I'm not sure what the purple one is, since I bought it as part of a sample sale, and it didn't have any info with it, but the turquoise is their 'Indian Brushstrokes'.  The pattern was also from DGY, and came free in one of their yarn-of-the-month boxes.  It can be found in both knit and crochet HERE


Mermaid & Plant Beaded Suncatchers

Last year, in the summer term of the Harry Potter Craftalong, I offered to make a suncatcher for those who completed their 'extra credit' in Herbology, aka did some word searches and crosswords I made up.  Patty_o_furnitre and Audania1 took me up on it, but somehow the whole thing slipped my mind for AGES. Once I remembered, I asked them each what kinds of colors they would enjoy, and made up one for each of them.  Patty_o's is going in her craft room, which is mermaid themed. 


Audania1's is going in her kitchen, which is entirely white, and full of plants.  The prism on this one is actually a giant Swarovski crystal pendant, that I have been hanging onto for ages, waiting for just the right project. 

Monday, February 18, 2019

Dragon Egg Dice Bags


I have a confession....  I never seem to craft for my husband.  I craft for so many friends and family members, but I rarely make things for him.  This is partly because he doesn't care much for gifts or clutter, and because if there's something he wants in the world, he buys it for himself, leaving me little to do.  Over the course of our 15 years together, I've managed to make him 1 quilt, 1 laptop sleeve, and 1 cozy for his French press coffee maker.  But when I saw this pattern a while back, I knew I'd have to make one for him.  It's been sitting on the back burner for ages, but now that he's gearing up to go to Gary Con in March, the time was right to bust out my scales, and get to work.

So I stitched up a bag in some of his favorite colors.  Blue, black and grey.  All the items were in my stash, including leftover yarn, scales from The Ring Lord, leather lacing, and glass crow beads.  Gift completed, easy peasy.
Lion Brand Wool Ease yarn in charcoal with aluminum scales in black, carbon, and blue.
Only problem?  I had so many more scales left.  And tons more yarn.  And I felt like the pattern could use a bit of tweaking.  So I clearly had to make a second one to tweak the pattern.
Caron Simply Soft yarn in garnet with red & orange aluminum, and copper scales.
The second bag came out well, but the pattern could still use more work, so I tried a third with a few more alterations.
Caron Simply Soft yarn in deep sage, with black & green aluminum, and copper scales.
By now I had settled on how I wanted to alter the pattern.  So it only made sense to make another, with the new, improved shape.  But I was finally running low on scales.  Or at least colors that went well with one another.  So I ordered a few more colors.  The result was possibly my personal favorite.  It's not like I have a collection of dice to carry around, since I don't play D&D, but if I did, this one would be all mine.

Lion Brand Wool Ease yarn in charcoal with black & carbon aluminum, and violet titanium scales.
I loved the deep purple titanium scales, and found they went well with the warm sand and deep steel blue, so another bag happened.

Caron Simply Soft yarn in plum perfect with sand aluminum and purple & dark blue titanium scales.
 When I was putting away the yarns I had used thusfar, I bumped into a partial skein of deep brown Heartland, and realized it would go beautifully with the dark brown scales that had been in my stash, so why not make one more.
Lion Brand Heartland yarn in sequoia, with brushed brown, brushed sand, and brushed champagne aluminum scales.
After that some of the other titanium scales were calling to me, with their siren song.  "Jennie, come play with us!  We look like mermaid scales!"  This probably ties for my favorite.
Lion Brand Heartland yarn in pinnacles with purple, light blue, and green titanium scales.
And I had so many of the gold and champagne scales, it only made sense to create something lighter and brighter.
Lion Brand Heartland yarn in sand dunes with bronze & champagne aluminum and bronze scales.
And finally, as I was wrapping up the last of my yarn balls, I had a bit of the charcoal left over, and the green scales were just demanding that I create a Slytherin theme, inspired by my dear friend Zoe, who plays D&D, and somehow, despite being just about the sweetest person on Earth, thinks she's a Slytherin.
Lion Brand Wool Ease in charcoal with aluminum scales in green, carbon and brushed silver.
After finishing my ninth bag, I went back and actually remade my first two.  After all, what's the point of improving the pattern, then giving my DH a less than perfect version?  In this picture you can see a comparison of the two versions.  The original is on the left, and my version on the right.  The alterations created a better overall egg shape, and kept the bottom row of scales from twisting out of place as it sits on a table. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Dragon Wing Shawl



I finished my Dragon Wing Shawl!  This project worked up so quickly and easily.  The pattern is the Lizard Shawl and is free.  The yarn is Lion Brand Shawl in a Ball in Feng Shui Grey.  I would absolutely make this pattern again.  Possibly with something that will keep a more defined edge than the Shawl in a Ball does, though I did find the row of border to be a big help.  (So much so that I did a second round of sc border to really help define the edges.)  After doing some weighing and some weird yarn math, it looks like I used 1.57 skeins of the yarn, along with a 5.0mm hook.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Secret Path's Shawl

Finally finished my Secret Paths Shawl!  I started it back in August, and it ended up getting pushed aside so I could finish a graphghan for a friend's wedding, and then for holiday crafting.  While I do love how it looks, I probably would not use the yarn again.  It's Lion Brand Wrap Star, in the color Fergie.  It's a strange yarn; 4 individual strands of lace weight yarn, held rather than spun, together.  It starts as 4 strands of teal, and eventually one of the strands is replaced by purple, then later two and two, and on and on to create the gradient effect. It's a wool & acrylic blend that was very annoying to work with, due to the static that would build up.


I crocheted the entire first cake as is, then the second cake from the opposite end, so I could have the thick band of grey in the center.  Then I used 2 more cakes, that I alternated between so I could get longer runs of the gradient.  When I got to the end of the written pattern, it was no where near big enough to move on to the border, so I did another repeat of the pattern, which resulted in a rather large shawl.  I probably could have fudged it to leave out 3 rows of the repeat for a more average size, but overall I'm happy with how it looks.  And most of all I'm so happy to have this WIP finally done!


Sunday, January 13, 2019

Treasure Keeper Pouch

I received my Darn Good Yarn of the Month box yesterday. The pattern was so simple and cute that I whipped it right up after dinner last night!  It only took about 45 minutes while watching tv, and best part is that the yarn won't disappear into my stash since it was used right up.  I love how it accidentally stitched up with beautiful swirling stripes!  Sadly there wasn’t enough yarn to make the drawstring as the pattern indicated, so I used some purple leather cord and amber glass beads from my stash to finish it off.  Actually, I think I like the purple leather cord better than I would have liked the yarn chain.  The yarn is Darn Good Yarn's 'Darn Good Fancy Twist' in the colorway Pink Flamingo.  It's a worsted weight silk spun with a strand of black lace weight silk.



The pattern was in the box, and is simply called the Treasure Keeper Pouch.  It doesn't seem to be listed on their website, or I'd link to it.  It will go to a friend who has been playing D&D lately, to use as a dice bag.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Cream, Burgundy & Grey Woven Wall Hanging

As though I don't do enough crafts, I recently took it into my head to try weaving.  Since I wasn't sure if I would enjoy it or not, I didn't want to sink a ton of funds into a nice, serious loom, so I took advantage of a clearance sale Lion Brand was having on their Martha Stewart Weaver Loom.  I got one free, one on clearance for $10, and the extender kit from Amazon for $16.  Now I can put all three together to make a larger surface when I want to.  This was my first practice project.  Just a simple wall hanging, playing around with the tools.  I didn't follow any pattern, just making it up as I went along.


This was made from some yarns in my stash, and some my mom recently brought me.  Wool, wool-blend, and acrylics, all from my drawer of small scraps.  I'm looking forward to trying some different weaves and playing around with the scraps of beautiful silk sari yarns that are too beautiful to throw away, but too small to crochet with.


My only regret is that this didn't use up as much stash yarn as I hoped it would!  Guess I'll have to make some more.  :)