Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Last minute gifts...

Snowflakes are my latest endeavor. They are perfect right now, quick and easy projects for instant gratification and much easier to put down when my hand/wrist gets grumpy. I have always loved crocheted snowflakes. My mother made some when I was younger and they always went on the tree or in the window. Watching her hands as she made the snowflakes magically turn into dainty beauties was mesmerizing. I tackled a few snowflakes last year, but I wasn't using crochet thread... I wasn't comfortable with it yet.

This year I needed four small gifts and I happened to think of snowflakes. Now, mind you, this was about a week ago that I had this brilliant idea. But as snowflakes go, they are quick and easy little projects and I finished tucking ends last night.

Then, with the help of my mother since I haven't stiffened crochet before, I tackled the next step.

The stiffening mixture is 3 parts water, 2 parts white craft glue and 1 part glitter. The mixture is mixed in a glass jar by shaking it until well mixed. You will need a surface to pin the snowflakes on. We used a large cardboard box and cut down the sides to make a tray. Then we put another layer of cardboard in for easy of pinning. Next, the tray was lined with wax paper.

The snowflakes are dunked into the stiffening mixture, then squeezed to get the excess out of the snowflake. Don't wring or twist them, or you may end up ruining it. Then the pinning begins. Use rust-proof pins. The goal of pinning is to straighten out all the picots and loops in the snowflake (or other details of the crocheted item). But remember, however the item is pinned that's what it will look like when it's dried! Let the snowflakes sit overnight and tada...

I have enjoyed working on these snowflakes. Not only has my love of crochet thread grown, but working on something homemade for someone is so very special. As you stitch away, thoughts of that person are interweaved in the work. That's ultimately why I picked up the hook for these to give away... I wanted to give something of myself to these four special people.

The patterns are mostly from 100 Snowflakes to Crochet by Caitlin Sainio (2012). I also used the Baby Snowflakes patterns at Snowcatcher. I used Size 10, Size 5, Size 3 crochet thread and Knit-Cro-Sheen made by Aunt Lydia's, Red Heart and unknown (from the stash I acquired earlier this year) as well as a BonBon by Lion Brand.

I hope all have a truly blessed Christmas and don't lose sight of the true Spirit of the Season.

Happy on the Hook!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Slow but sure...

It's been a while since I've posted, and as I mentioned in my last post I had some pain at the base of my thumb. Well, around Halloween I tried to shut the tailgate of my car on my hand and boy did I have a bruise from it. That bruise hung around for over three weeks. I finally went to see the doctor (after I put two and two together - not being able to pick up bowls, glasses, etc.) and had it X-rayed. It's not broken, but it will take a bit to heal.

So I am just now able to get in a bit of crocheting, but not for very long at a time. And it's not easy with my 'friend' on my wrist. There is improvement though - I find myself going without the brace a bit more now and doing okay, but only when I know I won't be lifting or using my right hand much.

This injury has hampered my Christmas plans a bit as well. My intentions were to make snowflakes and ornaments for friends this year. So much for that!

My afghan for the Blankets for Barracks Soldiers project is on hold until I can lift the afghan without hurting my wrist. I'm on the last row before I start decreasing on both sides, so I'm excited to get back to it. The colors are really coming together nicely. And the yarn scrap pile is being used up as well!

Since I can't handle my main project right now, I started a smaller project. It's a shell blanket using Red Heart Soft yarn. Beautiful yarn to work with - soft, works well on the hook.... but it's a bear finding the end in the skein and getting it out of the skein! I end up pulling nearly half the skein out of the middle just to find the end. There has to be a better way, I just haven't found it yet. The 'Soft' yarn isn't like Red Heart's Super Saver yarn where the end is sticking out, easy to find. Nooooooo. It's hiding inside, buried where you can't find it. Very frustrating. Not sure I'll use the yarn after this project, unless I discover the secret to finding the end without pulling half the skein out of the middle!

Now that crocheting is gradually coming back I should be posting more.

I hope your Christmas projects are on task and you have some time for you!

Happy on the Hook!