Sunday, October 11, 2015

Success with the WIPs

Finishing a WIP is just plain satisfying. Nothing like making that last stitch on the round, or the border, of a WIP and knowing you're done. Especially if that WIP has haunted, um, sat around for a bit.

Two WIPs are happily folded and available for use now, and one is receiving some much needed attention.

This small lap robe is one I haven't featured on my blog before because quite honestly I had forgotten about it. Yup, it's been that long. I was rummaging through the current WIP projects looking for a yarn color and discovered it quietly waiting for some attention.

I pulled it out and started working on it as an away-from-home project. The pattern was enjoyable, although I couldn't quite memorize the pattern and had to refer to the first few stitches of every row throughout the entire lap robe. I likely won't stitch this one up again.

Details: Red Heart Pattern LW3973 Rainbow View Throw. Yarn - I Love This Yarn in colors Forest, High Sierra Ombre and Light Taupe.
This next one I started as a mood afghan in 2014, but the block size as prohibitive as a daily block. It was put away until earlier this year when I had a plan to redo the afghan. I was doing well until life began getting hectic.... alas, it's finished!

I used the flat braid joining method. I had originally joined with a slip stitch every so often, but I didn't like the gaps that method left. Since I was ripping the blocks apart, I changed my mind and am much happier with this join. It's a bit fussy, but the finished product is worth it!

I used Red Heart and I Love This Yarn for the blocks.

I could've never finished this as my mood blanket. Each block takes almost two hours to complete. The pattern is beautiful, and can be made to different sizes. It's Arches by Dayna's Crochet.
This has now become a WIP, I'm sad to say. It's the CAL from Zooty Owl. I am time challenged, and was doing okay in keeping up.... until the block strips weren't the same length.

There was some stress in life, and I just didn't want to deal with it. When I went to pick it up, still didn't want to deal with it. Luckily, I didn't have to! A fellow crocheter helped me with joining the naughty uneven strips!

So I'm working on the blocks to finish joining the parts together. the colors are absolutely beautiful in my living room and go perfectly with my curtains. All yarn is I Love This Yarn from Hobby Lobby.... so very soft!

I'm excited to continue this trend... but I've started another CAL. This is from Sandra at Cherry Heart. I'm already behind, but it's okay with me. Details in an upcoming post!

Enjoy the fall weather. Curl up with your crochet project when the weather isn't so nice outside!

Happy on the Hook!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

#MandalasForMarinke: With love from across the world

My mandala is done. It didn't take long, just one night, but it took me some time to determine pattern and yarn colors for the mandala I would contribute to the #MandalasForMarinke project. I was trying to determine what color palette and what pattern I wanted to use, and that was a process. I decided on her Summer Hearts Mandala, and the color scheme is meant to reflect peace.

I didn't know Marinke Slump personally, but I had followed her blog for a few years and enjoyed her creative style and love of crochet. For her, crochet was a way to manage depression. Sadly, Marinke took her own life the end of July. Kathryn Vercillo of Crochet Concupiscence started a project to honor Marinke and raise awareness of depression. The crochet community was deeply impacted by this loss, and aim of this project is to gather mandalas and stories from the crochet community. It will be a wonderful explosion of yarny color, celebrating a young woman who touched so many she never knew.

The mandalas will be posted on Kathryn's website with the #MandalasForMarinke tag and promoted through social media. Each post will include at least one fact about depression to help raise awareness. All of the crochet and written work will be curated into an art show in San Francisco in late 2015/early 2016. In addition, all crochet and written contributions will be compiled into a book associated with the art show, available for sale online for those who cant attend the show. A portion of all sales from the art book will go to raising awareness about depression. The mandalas will be donated after the art show, how/who is still to be determined.

Deadline to have mandalas postmarked is Aug. 31, 2015 October 15, 2015.

My mandala is done in soft hues, representing the peace I hope Marinke (Wink) has finally found. I decided to contribute after hearing the news of Marinke's suicide. Crochet has always been my way to relax, de-stress, cope with all the things that pile up in life. I want others to find the peace I have found in crochet, the peace Marinke found in crochet. That's why I chose to contribute to this project - so others will see how much it means to me.

Rest in peace, Marinke.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Hooks and etiquette

I was trolling the social media world today and came across another blog post about knitting in public. The post questioned whether it was considered rude to knit in public or "perfectly reasonable to do so." After reading the entire post, I tend to agree with the final 'rule of thumb.' Generally speaking, if you're in a public space and your knitting (or crocheting or other activity) may imply lack of interest or attention, put the hook down. It's only common courtesy and we would expect it as well.

This post did make me stop and think, though, how my crocheting in public may appear to others. Would anyone think I am being anti-social, or as this post implies - rude? I have never had an experience like that. In fact, most of the time when I'm crocheting in a doctor's office or other similar place waiting for something I have comments from fellow yarn lovers and even from those who ask what I'm doing. I find it's a great conversation starter, plus it passes the time and keeps me less stressed while waiting for whatever the reason may be.

My crochet doesn't always go with me, but if I think there is a possibility of getting some hooky time... a WIP is most definitely with me. Not only does crocheting or knitting pass the time, it's been proven to reduce blood pressure, relieve stress, calm nerves, etc. 

I would have to agree, however, that I would not crochet during a presentation, poetry reading, meeting, etc. where my attention should be fully on the task at hand (no matter how uninteresting the topic may be!).

So, the Golden Rule applies here as well. Do unto others as you would have done to you. If you wouldn't want someone knitting or crocheting or whatever during/where you are at, then it probably isn't appropriate to be doing it yourself!

Happy on the Hook!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Tackling the WIPs.... again

I'm loving how the colors are going together for the CAL hosted by Zooty Owl, but it's taking longer than expected. I have all the blocks sewn into strips, and I just finished the first center panel. Now...... none are the same length! So this project is going on hold for a bit until I'm ready to deal with varying lengths.

As I was straightening up the house, I found the project totes and found a WIP to pick up instead. It's a Corner to Corner using Baby Bee Sweet Delight on a G hook.

And I'll always know it's on a G hook because the project is marked. Look in the top corner...

This is a new idea within my crochet group. Using alphabet beads and a safety pin, every project is now marked with the hook size - eliminating the guess work when a project is set aside for any length of time. The trick now is to figure out the hook size on some of those projects already set aside!!

What trick have you come up with to keep track of hook sizes, and even yarn color/brand for your WIPs? Digital or paper? I'm trying to organize the existing WIPs as well as have a way to identify important details on new projects. We all have this problem, so I'm curious what works for others!

Tonight's crochet group, so it's time to cook and clean a bit. Until later..

Happy on the Hook!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Stress, sadness, moving on

More than a month has passed, and even longer than that I struggled with little or no Internet. It is so nice to sit at my computer and have access to the World Wide Web. No longer struggling to surf on my phone, or do all my personal business at work. One less stress in my life.

Not to say, there has been stress in my life. The 'pile' got higher the end of April. Things are settling out now... four events I was involved with the planning are over, a surgery was successful and other things are starting to look up. But it's hectic still. Sigh.

Among everything, I still was able to do some hooking.... not much, but some. I haven't kept up on Zooty Owl's CAL, but I'm okay with that. I am loving the colors I picked and enjoying her patterns.

The news came yesterday that we lost a truly talented blogger, Wink, to a very real disease - depression. We are all so saddened and our hearts are heavy with the loss. Such a talented and beautiful young woman who struggled with a dreadful, dark disease that so few understand. We will all miss her beautiful work and fun style. Prayers to the family.

This news has affected me deeply. I read Marinke's (Wink) blog for several years, and felt such sadness in her blog this last year. I will be taking part in a project to raise awareness about depression - #MandalasForMarinke. Crochet Concupiscence is launching the project and details are on the site. The project is a collaboration of contributors all over the world to create a mandala in honor of Wink, to celebrate her life and creativity as well as raise awareness about depression.

All my best,

Monday, April 20, 2015

New projects...

I must admit, I've taken a break from the WIPs for a bit. I needed a bit of a break. I needed something new to keep my mind engaged and excited. As spring is shining through the winter doldrums, my time is getting thinner and thinner... so when I crochet I really want to spend it doing something I enjoy.

This is the new CAL from Zooty Owl - Wade's Blanket. Zelna is releasing instructions every two weeks for the CAL (crochet-a-long). Here is the introduction to the CAL. It's an easy CAL so far, not too hard to follow and wonderful to relax with - just my style as the spring hectic schedule kicks in!

The first part is Circle in a Square. I'm matching my living room colors on this project, and so far I'm in love with the colorway. I'm using I Love This Yarn from Hobby Lobby in Sagey Tweed, Pistache, Terra Cotta, Light Taupe, Cream, Autumn Stripes and Dark Olive.

The second set of instructions is a granny square, with a twist. I've worked this style before, and I love how it turns out. The granny square is turned after every row (in this case, turned every row except the first). By doing it this way the square lays flatter. I'm still on the second set of instructions, even though the third set was released on Friday (and it looks like fun!)

I've also finished one of the small blankets for a nearby neo-natal intensive care unit (NICU). Others in the group have crocheted small dresses and burial pouches for the dear angel babies. I'm getting ready to start one of the dresses as well, my first piece of clothing with a crochet hook...

This is one of the most rewarding projects I've been involved with. It's comforting to know that I can do something for the NICU and the families who need its services.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Technology hasn't been my friend...

I find myself way behind in posting here, but not from a lack of trying. Internet has been lacking at my house, and recently absent entirely. I've resorted to using my phone as a hot spot, and I'm not sure when things will improve.

As the weather has started to improve outside, my mood and energy levels are improving as well. I've begun the spring cleaning - inside and out! It feels good to clean out the flowerbeds and rake up the debris from the winter, and I suppose even sore muscles are a positive sign of spring!

I've accomplished several little projects around the house, and oh does that feel good. To get those little nagging projects that I've put off for so long done is just so rewarding! The squeaky door doesn't squeak anymore, and the desk organizer is put together. Light bulbs are changed, shower curtain changed, carpet cleaning in process.

First of all, I apologize for the photos. Weather has not cooperated and sunshine is lacking. The couple of days we did have sunshine, I was outside in the yard and didn't even get close to the crochet hook or think of taking photos... so the color is a bit off. The redo of the mood blanket is progressing, albeit not as fast as I would want. The joining method I chose is taking a bit longer than I had hoped, and the squares are not all the same size. I'm using the flat braid join, but I do like how they are going together. It will be beautiful when it's done, and will be a relief when it's done as well!

I needed a break from working on WIPs so I picked up a quick little project - the Little Spring Mandala from Made in K-Town by Barbara Smith. I love this pattern - it's ease in working up, the subtle changes in pattern and how quickly I can finish it!

The next project my crochet group decided to work on is for a neo-natal intensive care unit (NICU). Each of us will crochet items the unit has listed on its wish list - blankets, hats, booties, gowns as well as gather other items for families who end up spending time there such as journals, stuffed animals, tissue packs, disposable cameras, puzzles ISudokku, crosswords) baby/children's books), hand/foot molds), candles/lighters), etc.

We've crocheted three or four small blankets to date, plus started on some booties. The list also has dimensions for plain white memory boxes for families to decorate.

I've enjoyed working on the blanket. The size is small and easy to carry. And the reason touches my heart.

For more information, visit the website here

Until next time, and hopefully better Internet service!

Happy on the Hook!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Progress, progress, progress

Another project finished! This one is a cuddly laprobe using Lion Brand Homespun yarn in Colonial, Windsor and Baroque. 

I started it to use up the Homespun yarn, and to have a cuddle blanket for the couch. I still have quite a bit of Homespun yarn to use up, but this was a good stashbuster!

It worked up beautifully, and was such an easy pattern - one row of single crochets, one row of double crochets in each color.

The border is a 5-double crochet shell pattern with 7 double crochets in the corners. 

It turned out just lovely! I used a size M hook, and the finished product has nice drape and feel.

I've moved on to another WIP, one started at the beginning of 2014. It was the first go at a mood blanket. I knew it was going to be big, so I planned it for a queen-sized bed - 11 blocks across with the blocks measuring nearly 12 inches. The pattern is just beautiful, but each block took about two hours to complete. Needless to say, I didn't get very far - about two and a half rows done before the WIP was silently hidden away...

I took the squares apart, no minor task since I couldn't find where I tucked ends, and found I had exactly 24 squares. I laid them out into a 4x6 square laprobe, alternating plain and variegated evenly.

I'm using a join-as-you-go method, and it's going together quite quickly. I'm using an H hook, and it's everything I can do to not spend every waking moment working on this WIP. I never thought this project would see completion!

The other project in the works is the reorganization of the yarn room. It started with tackling a room I haven't set foot in for two years - long story. Needless to say that room has been cleared out, cleaned, carpeted and repurposed. The items put in that room cleared out another room I now call the yarn room. All the yarn is in one room, organized by color in totes. All the crochet books and magazines are on a bookcase in the room along with all my WIPs. I even have a file cabinet for the loose leaf patterns. So very excited!

Happy on the Hook!

Friday, February 6, 2015

2015 Goal: Tackling the WIPs

After creating my 2014 Year In Review, I realized just how many WIPs I had and it was a bit disturbing. The most disturbing part was the photos I posted detailed only about half of the works in progress I have stashed about my house.

The month of January was a whirlwind of cleaning, both at work and at home. Part of this process was organizing the Yarn Stash. Now all the yarn is first sorted by weight. The #4 yarn is sorted by color. The crochet cotton is sorted by color as well. And it's all in one room, all together, with the crochet books!

During this process, I discovered all the other WIPs hiding amongst the Yarn Stash - yarn purchased for a project and sitting snuggly in its bin, waiting for some loving attention. Or the other projects in totes with yarn purchased and pattern ready to go.

The corner-to-corner afghan is the first completion in my 2015 Goal: Tackling the WIPs. This afghan is destined for the Blankets for Barracks Soldiers project. This was a great project, used up a lot of yarn (stash buster!) and it's something I felt connected to. Every time I sat down to work on a few rows, I thought about the soldier - man or woman - and hoped it would bring some cheer into his/her day, knowing that someone spent quite a few hours thinking about them and thanking them for their service.

This new year has been a bit strange on the outside of the house as well...
We had hardly any winter in December - in fact temperatures reached almost 60 degrees at one point. January and the beginning of February have been a mixture of rain, fog, rain, fog, a peeking of sunshine and yes, even snow.

On one of the mornings, I woke to snow - or a dusting of snow. I haven't missed it much... don't care for shoveling. Wasn't thrilled with the arrival until I stepped out my back door and saw this...
I made the dogs hold still long enough to grab photos of these wonderful tracks. They brought a smile to my face as I imagined all these birds scurrying around my yard, unknowingly leaving their mark for me to find. I didn't want to walk anywhere and disturb these little bits of birdy fun!

So here's to tackling the WIPs this year and taking time to enjoy the beauty of nature!

Happy on the Hook!

Monday, January 12, 2015

2014: A year in review and a New Year to ponder...

2014 was definitely a year of mandalas for me. As I created the collage, I was pleasantly surprised how much I really did accomplish. I tackled several projects I had never done before - mandalas, fingerless mittens and coasters. But most of all, the afghan is by far my favorite.

As I review the last year in crochet, I look back and think what the year was like. I spent a good deal of time crocheting on my Blankets for Barracks Soldiers afghan, and it's almost done. We're nearing the time to ship the blankets off. It looks like we'll have 4 from our group of three crocheters and one that was just donated today. I've picked up a few WIPs and work on them off and on - I've found I like to have a couple on the hook at the same time to keep from getting bored. I've spent a good deal of time looking at patterns in 2014, and not just ordinary patterns. These are ones that will challenge my abilities and skills, learning new techniques and stitches.

Before I get into that, just a quick peek at my Christmas this year...

This was a special Christmas for me and my family. My mother and I cooked three Christmas dinners for family. We love cooking side by side, and each of these meals had nearly completely all new recipes - another love for both of us. This Christmas was spent celebrating with family and sharing laughs. Shortly after one family dinner, a cousin accepted a marriage proposal.

In my own home, each Christmas decoration has a special meaning. Most were made by my father, mother or myself. Some were passed down from my grandparents. Some were given as gifts. Growing up, my family would always give gifts we made and a good number were Christmas decorations. My father's skill in the wood shop were phenomenal. My mother continues her talents with paper crafting, sewing, crocheting, crafting, quilting and more. I so strive to be like her.

Dad's woodwork is shown above - the reindeer, the tree and the gingerbread family in front of the clock. Below is a combination of both parents - the cloth angel is mom's and the wooden one is dad's. Mom created the nativity scene. Underneath the tree are packages created on Cricut, a paper laser cutting machine.

My tree is the most precious this year. I haven't put up a tree larger than the one you see in the above photo since I've been in this house, mostly because of the fur monsters. This year I decided to try it and see.

The tree is in the same place as my grandparents had it when they lived in this house. As I was decorating it, I was filled with memories of Christmas Day with them as a child and I could feel their spirits fill the house. Some of the ornaments are hiding in this photo, but they are the old painted glass ornaments. I also have some ornaments my grandparents hung on their tree as well.

It was this tree that got me to making crocheted snowflakes this year, by the way....

Now back to new patterns and WIPs. Of course, as I was looking through massive amounts of patterns this year there are those normal afghan, doily, scarf and shawl patterns. But I have found some with unique stitches and uses of colors that I am anxious to get started on. I am hesitant to dig out a new pattern, however, looking at this:

You guessed it -  WIPs! From the top left: Mood blanket, temperature blanket, Blankets for Barracks Soldiers, baby blanket, Stitch-Cation and lap robe. I have kept current on tracking my mood and temperatures for 2014, so I can pick that project up at any time - really! The Blankets for Barracks Soldiers is almost done. The baby blanket, well, I don't like the pattern so I'm not sure what to do there. The Stitch-Cation came at a bad time when I was horribly busy, and I didn't want to fight squares that weren't the same size. The lap robe is meant to pick up when I just want to relax, and it's nearly done. So all in all, not too bad.

Good thing I'm okay with that list, because I am starting a new project - the 2015 Moogly Afghan Crochet-Along (CAL)! I have chosen my colors using I Love This Yarn from Hobby Lobby:

Sagey Tweed, Cranberry, Cream and Dark Olive.

A new pattern will be released every two weeks on Thursday, for a total of 24 12-inch blocks by the end of the year.

The month of December is for joining and borders.

The best part is the author of the Moogly blog has recruited 24 crochet bloggers to design the 24 blocks for the year, which will guarantee that the blocks will always be free and available for the CAL.

The schedule is as follows:
January 8 & 22
February 5 & 19
March 5 & 19
April 2 & 16 & 30
May 14 & 28
June 11 & 25
July 9 & 23
August 6 & 20
September 3 & 17
October 1 & 15 & 29
November 12 & 25

More information is available at with additional information at  

Here's to ringing in a New Year, full of hope and yarn!

Happy on the Hook!