Sunday, December 10, 2017

Bethlehem stars and tiny baby hats...

Guess what.  No squares this week!   It wasn't my intention to give no attention to my Last Dance blanket, but when I saw these Bethlehem Stars posted to Ravelry early in the week I just had to make some.

The first one I made with Stylecraft Batik:

It turned out cute, but a bit floppy made with mostly 80% acrylic, 20% wool DK yarn.  A little spray starch just before steam-blocking helped, though.

Then, remembering that I was wanting to make a project for the December Red Heart Lovers CAL, I got the idea to use my Aunt Lydia, size 3 crochet thread.  Coats and Clark produces both Red Heart and Aunt Lydia's threads and somehow that makes Aunt Lydia products eligible for using for the Red Heart Lovers CALs.  So I guess maybe the CALs are actually sponsored by Coats and Clark.  I don't totally understand how all that works, I just participate because it's a great group of people.

Unfortunately, the colors are limited in this size thread, but for some reason I was attracted to the red and brown. I decided to crochet one double-stranded.  Can you see the mistake I made?

I crocheted two rows of the red and tan color on only two points (the two points on the right side of the picture).  Starching, steaming and stretching helped, but it makes me a little nutty knowing I did that and didn't even take a good look at it until after I had woven in all the ends.

Then I wondered what the stars would look crocheted with just single a strand of each color:
Actually, I think might like them better. Though I'm not sure about the tan color.  It turns these a bit too...  I don't know...  rustic, maybe?  For my liking anyway.  They are a little smaller than the first one (they are between 4 1/2 and 5 inches from point to point).

By the way, all I did to "block" these was spray some starch on them, work the starch into the fabric and lay them to dry.  I steamed them for good measure, but I didn't need to pin them at all - and they dried just perfect.  Ready to hang.

Then I wondered what would happen if I added pink to the red and brown.  Remember, my choices are pretty limited here.
Hmmm...   I kind of like these colors together  Maybe a garland of these would be fun?

I'm honestly not sure what I'll do with these stars, but they are seriously addicting to make.  Something tells me I haven't made my last one yet.    As is, these would make nifty Christmas tree ornaments, or as I said, I think they'd make a fun garland.  I just don't have a place to put a garland of red and pink stars...

I would have kept making stars, but I remembered late in the week I was supposed to host a CAL in the Our Happy CAL Place on Ravelry this weekend.  The theme this week is Charity, so I set myself to making a baby hat.  This tiny Knot Hat measures only 10 1/2 inches in circumference:
But I ask you...  is there baby head anywhere that is that small?  I know I've lost all perspective on the sizes of baby heads, but I'm thinking this is surely too small - even for most preemies.  Also, the pattern said to slip stitch around the edge.  That was a huge mistake, but I didn't realize it until my ends were all woven in and snipped.  The edge of the hat is so very small and the slip stitch edge makes it not stretchy - at all.   I'm afraid if someone actually managed to get this on a baby's head, it might not ever come off.   

So I'm thinking this hat is a fail.  But before I try it again, let me ask...  is this top knot style even cute anymore?  If you never thought it was cute, spare me, but if you once thought it was, or if you think it still passes for a cutie-pie baby hat, I'd like to know before I summon up the gumption to make another, bigger one.  That long skinny tube that makes the topknot was actually the hardest part to crochet.   I love the idea of something on top and since embellishments on charity hats are discouraged, a little flair that's part of the "fabric" feels like a fun thing.

Since the hat above was a disappointment and took longer than I wanted to spend on a second one, I tried another pattern. I had had success with the Snowfall Slouchy this autumn, and I figured I could size it down for a newborn.    I kind of love how it turned out:
And I love how the snowflakes look like little hearts.

This hat is only about 11 inches around, but the ribbing stretches.  I love the top knot on the hat above, but this second hat was a more satisfying finish.  I'm not sure I'm really up to making more hats this year, but this pattern is definitely a keeper.

And that's all she wrote!

To see what other YOPPERS are up to, visit our group on Ravelry.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

More Squares...

Short and sweet is this week's post - with my only crocheting being finishing and blocking the two designs I was working on last week.  This puts me exactly at the half-way mark for finishing the squares for my Last Dance blanket.

This first one is Week #8's square:
I loved doing this waffle stitch

And this second square is a replacement for another square in the collection I didn't care so much for:
This slightly puffy pattern is made by crocheting a series of double crochet cluster stitches.  I loved this stitch, too.

Slowly, but steadily I'm working my way toward a complete blanket!    

To see what other YOPpers are up to, visit our group on Ravelry.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Feeling Thankful...

I hope you all had a good week.  We had a nice Thanksgiving with our sons and a yummy meal  More on that later, though...

All the crocheting I have to show for the past week is stitched up into this small pile of new squares that will be going into my Last Dance blanket.  They aren't blocked and I'm still working on the last one, so here's where I was on that task Saturday afternoon:

Boy, that's a busy background.  Oh well...  it's the cloth on my dining room table at the moment.

Once the ends are woven into these eight squares and they are blocked, I am half-way done.  Twenty-four squares down, twenty-four squares to go.  That may sound like a big job ahead of me, but really...  because each square is made four times (and they are usually a breeze after making the first one), crocheting these is fairly quick work.  I'm still hanging onto the hope that I'll have this finished shortly after the end of the year.

And since I asked for help last week about how to cook venison backstrap, let me report that after much research, I ended up marinating the meat for 24 hours in Allegro Marinade.  There are lots of purchase options for marinade, and plenty of ideas for making your own, but I decided to use what I could find locally and this was it:

Oh my goodness - it made for the most delicious pan-seared and cooked venison steaks; and we also sauteed strips of meat for eating fajita-style with sauteed peppers and onions.  It was fantastic!  I'm only sad that I don't have any more venison backstrap meat to prepare like this.  I have some various cuts of venison in the freezer that we've been given so I'll put the marinade to use on those.  And I'm going to try this product on beef as well.  I can only imagine it will be delicious.   I found this at Meijer, but I think Kroger may carry it, too (for whatever interest that may hold for anyone).

And starting Friday morning, it has been back to my sort of unpredictable, kind of newly busy-crazy life.  Since mid-summer I've been doing elder companion care, and it's feast or famine in terms of the work (because the husband of the couple I work for has a sporadic, on-call work schedule).  I never would have believed it until I took a chance and tried it, but I kind of love doing this type of work.  Though truth be told, I fear I've been spoiled by the sweetest lady in the world who's in need of this kind of care, and honestly can't imagine doing it for anyone else.  But that's okay, really.  I wasn't even looking for work when this opportunity presented itself, so I'm just thankful for what it brings to my life in this season.  Not only does the work feel worthwhile, but I'm grateful for the friendship that has grown with this couple.

So I'm out the door in a few minutes, and if you're reading this on Sunday, I'm either at church running the sound board for morning worship,  taking the sweet lady mentioned above out to a nice lunch (compliments of her husband) or tucked in at her home spending a quiet Sunday afternoon in her company.  I imagine she'll nap a bit after a busy morning and a yummy lunch, so maybe I'll get a couple more Last Dance squares crocheted up. 😊

As for the week ahead... I'm hoping my first-ever computer glasses come in (and hoping they work well for me), I'm getting fitted for a mouth guard on Monday, helping with the Little Dresses project on Tuesday and am seriously looking forward to some unseasonable 60-degree days later in the week so I can clean my windows before winter sets in!

To see what other YOPPERs are up to, visit our group on Ravelry.

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