Sunday, 22 January 2017

Baby Bobble Blanket

Today I finished a Baby Bobble Blanket using yarn from my stash. A few years ago, I bought ten balls of 100% cotton yarn in yellow because it seemed like a good deal at $2 each. Without a specific project in mind, it was simply added to my stash. 

This project used all ten balls, but then I bought three balls of white yarn to make a contrasting border. It was also a bargain at $2 each. In the end, I used only one ball for the border. Now I have to think of something to make with the remaining two. At least I am still down eight balls overall.

This year, I am challenging myself to make more things from yarn accumulated over the past six years. So far, I am doing rather well. Both the 5 Star Beanie and this blanket were made using yarn from my stash.

I love how this blanket turned out. The cotton is very soft, yet the bobbles add interesting texture which babies love. Take a look.
Blanket Details:
Finished Size - 36"x35"
Starting chain 144
39 bobble rows total
120 single crochet rows total
18 bobbles per row alternating with 17 bobbles per row to offset bobbles creating a diagonal pattern
3 rows of single crochet at the beginning, in between each bobble row and at the end

Border - 4 rounds of single crochet (3 sc in each corner)

Time to complete 3 rows of single crochet + 1 bobble row = ~30 mins
Total time to complete blanket = ~22 hrs (approx)

Materials used: 
10 - 50 g balls 100% cotton yarn in yellow (fine #3) 
1 - 50 g ball Patons Venus yarn in white (medium #4)
4.0 mm hook

I am very happy with my choice of Patons Venus yarn for the border. The unique thick and thin texture worked in a single crochet around complements the bobble blanket nicely.

If you would like to make a Baby Bobble Blanket too, there are more detailed instructions in this post from July 2014. 

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Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Making Mornings Special

I love Making Mornings Special on weekdays. I usually try to get up early enough to fit in a few of my favourite things before heading off to work.

Recently I started drinking matcha tea lattes made with frothed almond milk. It's my new favourite morning drink and oh so delicious.
I love oatmeal, but not just plain. I add hemp seeds, chia seeds, raisins, dates, pecans, sliced bananas and cinnamon to create a bowl chock-full of goodness. Lighting a beeswax candle adds a pleasant ambiance to the start of my day. I am careful to blow it out as soon as I finish eating.
I usually eat breakfast sitting on the floor by my laptop with our poodle snuggled on the sofa behind me and our cat sleeping on the chair across the room. I love how these two follow me everywhere in the house. 

After breakfast, I blow out the candle before spending some time on my current crochet project. I usually manage to finish a row or two or maybe even three before I really must get moving to get ready for work. 
I love how these images capture the simple things making my mornings special. How about you? Do you like making mornings special too? 

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Monday, 16 January 2017

Boo Bear Inspired Dolls

I was thrilled to receive photos from Marilu Morales who lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth Texas area. She created these adorable crochet dolls using my Boo Bear pattern before it was voluntarily removed. 

I love how Marilu's yarn choices combined with various decorative details create six very different looking dolls. Marilu mentioned she likes to work the head from the neck up instead of as a separate piece because it seems to give the neck a firmer feel and keeps the head from wobbling. What a great idea. I just might give that a go. Thanks for the tip Marilu. 

At the moment, I'm totally into making crochet blankets. When I feel like a taking a break, I could work on creating a new and improved pattern based on these adorable Boo Bear Inspired Dolls. Me-oh-My! Crochet never gets boring. The choices are endless. 

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Sunday, 8 January 2017

5 Star Beanie

Yesterday I crocheted this hat using a free pattern on Yarnspirations called "5 Star Beanie". I actually started the bottom band early in the week crocheting a bit each night, but was not happy with my work. 
I was having trouble finding the back loop on the last stitch in each row. At first I thought it was me, but then realized it was probably because of my yarn choice. Instead of using Caron Simply Soft, I used Patons Bamboo Baby yarn. It is luxuriously soft and squishy, but also very slippery. The back loop of the first slip stitch in each row would disappear as I did the second slip stitch. I finally figured out how to fix this problem. 

After working the second stitch in each row, I used a tiny 2.0 mm hook to pull up the 'disappearing' back loop making it easy to find. With this simple trick my edges straightened out beautifully.   

Even though I had completed 16" of 18" on the band, I decided to start over. I knew I would never be happy with wonky edges. It took all day working on and off, but I finally finished.
I wanted to model this hat outside. It was snowing heavily and cold, so my husband stood in the garage to snap a couple shots.  
In the end, I am happy with the look of feel of this 5 Star Beanie. It is a fun and relatively easy project. 

If you would like to make one too, you can find the free pattern here along with lots of helpful instructions. I used two (50 g) balls of Patons Bamboo Baby yarn in royal blue. No pompom was added because I prefer a simpler look.

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Thursday, 5 January 2017

More Crochet Dishcloths

In December I bought three large balls of Handicrafter cotton yarn in white, off white and fruit punch (mix of purple, blue, green and white) to make More Crochet Dishcloths. After spending several months practicing floor sitting at home, my supply of hand-made gifts was running low. Floor sitting helps increase functional strength, but I was never comfortable enough on the floor to feel like crocheting. 

It took me four weeks to crochet my way through all three balls from the comfort of my comfy cozy couch. Two folded dishcloths tied together with twine make a pretty little hand-made gift. 

I made 17 dishcloths from each of the larger 14 oz (710 yd) balls and 14 dishcloths from the smaller 12 oz (608 yd) variegated ball for a total of 42 dishcloths or 21 gifts. Sometimes people ask if I intend to sell things I make. It is difficult to place a value on hand-made items. In this case, the yarn cost $33 total, so only $1.55 plus two hours of my time for each bundle. If I were to sell these, my time would be worth very little.  

I read this quote by Pablo Picasso recently: "The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away." No wonder I enjoy crocheting things to give away. 

A few of these dishcloths were given away over Christmas. I took photos of the rest to show you. I am happy to have topped up my supply. I am truly happy to be crocheting again, even if it means less floor sitting.
A pattern is provided at the bottom of my post titled Back to Crochet if you would like to make some dishcloths too.

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Wednesday, 4 January 2017

2016 In Review

I have been blogging consistently for three years now. For the first two years, I more than surpassed my initial goal of one post per week writing 63 in 2014 and 76 in 2015. This past year, I decided to focus on activities involving more movement. I did not set goals preferring to do as little or as much as I wanted. My plan was to focus on fun.

In the end, I wrote 45 posts in 2016 which is amazing considering we spent four weeks 'tech-free' in Cuba. I also made a few minor changes meant to improve the look and feel of my blog. 

I added a TOTAL PAGEVIEWS counter. I like seeing this number increase as it's nice to know people really do visit to see what I write. Total page views in 2014 were 17,000, 2015 ended with 45,200 (28,200 in 2015) and 2016 reached 185,500 (140,300 in 2016). In tracking these stats, it is interesting to note views have increased significantly in the last year. This increase can be directly attributed to free patterns I created and shared in 2015. I have referenced free online patterns to crochet various things over the past five years, so am thrilled to give back in this way.

To make it easier to find previous posts, I added a separate page listing my "Previous 150 Posts" by title and date in reverse order. My BLOG ARCHIVE listing ALL previous posts was moved to the left sidebar with BLOGS I LOVE below that. POPULAR POSTS appear on the right sidebar displaying only a title and image. Since my free patterns are my most popular posts, pics of my crochet creations are featured. I also added pattern PDFs for all my free patterns making them easier to print.

I admit I was not looking forward to writing "2016 In Review". I knew it would take time and effort. I spent three evenings creating these monthly collages and another evening writing. I am so happy I finally did it. Although, it often feels like I do very little day-to-day, this blog and these photos remind me it was a year focused on fun like I planned. 

Check out this series of collages providing a visual overview of 2016 at meo my crochet. I hope it brightens your day.

January (winter bog walking, prepping for 4-week Cuba trip, more Boo bears, fox hats for our grandchildren, designing fox)

February (Reddy Fox pattern posted before leaving for Cuba for 4 weeks)

March (wrote about our 4-week stay in Marea del Portillo, Cuba including biking and hiking there)

April (teal dreams ripple blanket, little crochet mouse, stash-buster ripple blanket, April birthdays, moving day for our son)

May (our son's new place, 8-hour mountain bike relay race)

June (healthy sitting, flats, copycats complaint for boo bear and reddy fox, happy birthday wishes to our son)

July (Canada Day, son's birthday, my birthday, my mom's birthday, organized spices and stuff, cracked handlebar stem)

August (new dumbbells, more on flat shoes and nutritious movement)

September (hamstring attachment injury, cleaned patio cover, son's new puppy in training, husband's birthday)

October (2-week family visit, Thanksgiving, niece's wedding)

November (reading books, Dorchester Mill Pond, first snow fall)

December (Christmas decor, crochet dish cloths, holiday housewarming at our niece's, Christmas)

To read "In Review" posts from prior years, click on links below:

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