Sunday, November 3, 2013

Crochet Diary Entry 5: PND Sampler Part 3

With all the changes I made to the interior squares of this pattern, I thought that the border would take some serious working and reworking to make it look right. However, I was pleasantly surprised that beyond some extra stitches and a little fudging in the # row, it was really simple.

Round 1: 3 sc in each corner, 143 sc across top and bottom, 183 sc across left and right sides.

Round 2: No real change, just more rep.

Round 3: No change.

Round 4: Depending on where you joined on the last Round, you may have to sl st. into two sc to get to the corner instead of one.

Also, with the added length and width, the skip 4 sc between the shells and the sc does not work out right. I skipped only 3 sc, which worked except for a little fudging when I skipped 4 sc two times (on either side of a shell towards the middle of the side).

Round 5: No change.

Round 6: No change.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Crochet Diary Entry 4: PND Sampler Part 2

After I had completed 11 of the original 12 squares (see my previous post) on the Crochet Sampler Afghan, I needed a replacement for Square 5. I turned to Jan Eaton's 200 Crochet Blocks for Blankets, Throws, and Afghans to find it as well as 8 complimentary additional squares to make the afghan larger and because there was quite a lot of yarn leftover.

To replace Square 5 I wanted to find a solid square with a raised pattern to very keep the same feeling of the original square. After leafing few the book for awhile, I found Block #17: Alternate Bobbles. I thought the bobbles would be an interesting addition and compliment to the original Square 7: Waves and Bobbles. I started by making the square as written, but it wasn't quite long enough. I frogged it and added 10 ch making the foundation chain 38 so that there were 37 sc in each row. I made a total of 44 rows.

After choosing the replacement square, I kept flipping through the book and found the following 8 squares to add to the afghan making the grid 4x5 instead of 3x4. I chose a mixture of blocks that are worked in stripes (3) and in-the-round (5).

Block 30: Shell Lace
Color A. Foundation chain of 38 to add to the length, meaning there are 6 shells in Row 1 instead of 5.

Block 47: Queen Anne's Lace
Color D. I repeated Round 7.

Block 48: Danish Square
With colors D, A, E, and C as Eaton's A-D. I repeated rounds 9 and 10 after the first round 10.

Block 51: Bright Flower
With colors A, C, and B as Eaton's A-C. I repeated round 5 before Round 6.

Block 54: Framed Flower
With colors A, B, and D as Eaton's A-C. I repeated round 7 before Round 8.

Block 70: ZigZag
With colors A, E, and C as Eaton's A-C. Foundation ch of 37. I added 3 sc to both the A and C sides of the grid and 2 sc to the B stripe. Total of 36 rows.

Block 76: Granny Stripes
I made it with 9 granny stripes, but no extra width. The stripes color pattern is as follows: A, B, C, E, D, E, C, B, A.

Block 145: Chocolate Box
With colors B, D, E, C, and A as Eaton's A-E. I repeated round 7 after round 8, followed by a modified round 9: sc in each dc and ch-1 sp with 5 sc in corner sp.

Here are all the squares laid out before joining, for which I used an invisible seam, but the pattern suggests a whipstitch.

My next (and final) post on this project will be about the border because I had to do some modifications due to the added length and width.

Crochet Diary Entry 3: PND Sampler Part 1

For the past two years, I have donated a number of afghans to my high school's annual auction to raise money for the school.

I try to make at least one  per year that reflects the school colors (navy, white, and Kelly green), and this year I chose to make Marianne Forrestal's Crochet Sampler Afghan. I really like the patchwork look of the afghan, plus using one stitch for an entire throw can be a bit monotonous.

There were some issues with the individuals squares of this project. Not all of them matched the sizes of Square 1, some were lopsided, and one was unattractive. I ended up making 11 of the listed 12 (with some modifications) and adding another 7 from Jan Eaton's 200 Crochet Blocks for Blankets, Throws, and Afghans. 

Here's a breakdown of how I made the squares from the original pattern. My next post will detail my additions.

Square 1: Checkerboard
I added two rows to the square to make it more square and less rectangular, so Row 15 becomes Row 17.

Square 2: Shell
I added 6 ch. to the foundation, so that I ended up with 6 shells in a row instead of 5. This matched the length of Square 1 much better. I did not add any rows.

Square 3: Network
I made no modification to this square. I used it as the size template for all the other squares to be consistent.

Square 4: Wavy Rib
I only made 20 rows in this square to match size. I really like the pattern, but you can't really see it because of the dark navy color, even in person.

Square 5: Double O Double V
This is the square I did not make because as I was in the process of hooking it, I found I did not like how the pattern was turning out. I substituted it with a new square from Jan Eaton's book.

Square 6: Crochet Cable
I actually made no changes to this square, but it turned out a bit lopsided. Joining it to the others helped straighten it out. I will caution you to be VERY loose with the Cable St. If you make it too tight the pattern looks a bit like sheaves of wheat, which could be interesting if you were going for a harvest look.

Square 7: Waves and Bobbles
I only followed the pattern to Row 18.

Square 8: Wagon Wheel
The 1st attempt of Square 8.
This one gave me quite a few problems. The first time I made it I followed the pattern with the exception of adding a couple of rounds before the written Round 9. It came out very strangely, it was almost as if the center rounds were looser/bigger than the outer ones. It almost made a pyramid shape if I picked up the center.

In any case, it would not lay flat, especially after I joined it to the surrounding squares. I frogged it and started over, but the problem kept coming up after getting past Round 6. So I stopped following the pattern after Round 5 and started with the following pattern.

  • Rnd 6: Sl st in next ch-3, (PS, ch 3, PS) in same sp (first corner), *ch 1, (dc in next sp and next dc) to next corner, **, (ch 1, PS, ch 3, PS) in corner ch-3 sp; rep from * twice more, then rep from * to ** once more; ch 1; join with sl st in first puff st.
  • Rnd 7: Ch 3 (counts as dc), *5 dc in next ch-3 sp, dc in next PS, dc next sp, dc in each dc, dc in next sp, dc in PS; rep from * 3 more times, sl st in 3rd ch on ch-3.
  • Rnd 8: Ch 3 (counts as dc), 2 dc, *3 dc in next dc (corner made), dc in each dc to corner; rep from * 3 more times, sl st in 3rd ch on ch-3.
  • Rnd 9: Ch 1, sc in same space, 3 sc, *3 sc in next sc (corner made), sc in each dc to corner; rep from * 3 more times, sl in 1st sc. Fasten off.

The square lays much flatter than it did, but not still not entirely flat.

Square 9: Radiant
I added one more round before Round 8 in color C.

Square 10: Twinkle, Twinkle
I made the square as written.

Square 11: Slipstream
I first made the pattern as written, but as I went along, I noticed that the width started to shrink/tighten up do that it didn't match size. I frogged it and started over.
  • Ch 45.
  • Round 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc (sk 3 ch, 7dc in next ch [shell], sk 3ch, sc in next 3 ch) 4x, sc in last 2 ch. (4 shells total) Fasten off.
  • Round 2: Join w/ch 3, Dc3tog, ch 3, 3 sc in next 3 dc, (ch 3, Dc7tog, ch 3, 3 sc in next 3 dc) rep 2x; ch 3, Dc4tog in last sc.
  • Round 3: Ch 3, 3 dc in first st, (sk ch-3, 3 sc, sk ch-3, 7 dc in next st) rep 2x, sk ch-3, 3 sc, sk ch-3, 4 dc in last st. Fasten off.
  • Round 4: Join w/sc, sc, ch 3, (dc7tog, ch 3, 3 sc, ch 3) rep 3x, 2 sc.
  • Round 5: Ch 1, 2 sc, (sk ch-3, 7 dc in next st, sk ch-3, 3 sc) rep 3x, with only 2 sc in last rep.
  • Rounds 6-9: Rep. rounds 2-5.
  • Rounds 10-13: Rep. rounds 2-5.
  • Rounds 14-17: Rep. rounds 2-5.
  • Rounds 18-20: Rep. rounds 2-4. Fasten off. 

Square 12: Lace Ripples
Made as written.

Here is how the completed squares look in the suggested arrangement, with the exception of Square 5 and the first attempt of Square 8.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Crochet Diaries Entry 2: Kuhl Tetris

In mid-October two of my friends got married and as their wedding gift I decided to make an afghan for them. Since they're both gamers I decided to design a Tetris pattern for them. It's an idea I'd been kicking around for awhile, since the Tetris pieces are in blocks of four.

I started by finding a plain granny square that was completely solid. So many of the granny patterns I've seen have spaces, or tiny corner gaps that would not mimic the look of the Tetris blocks to the extent I wanted. I lucked out when I found the "Simple Solid Granny Square" by Krisite-Beth on my Pinterest board "Grannies & Blocks" (I swear I should never have to buy another crochet book or pattern based on the shear number of things I've pinned).

I then needed to decide on the colors for the different Tetirs blocks. I modeled my design off of those found on Free Tetris, although an image search will show quite a few variations on what color is assigned to what shape. I tried to match the colors as closely as I could, so I chose Red Heart Super Saver's Aruba Sea (light blue), Bright Yellow, Blue, Hot Red, Tea Leaf (green), Pumpkin, and Medium Purple for the shapes and Grey Heather as the background.

Planning out the actual design came next. Using graph paper I laid out my design to find a good arrangement and figure out approximately how many skeins I would need. I drew it a few times, but ended up going with the following layout (slightly wrinkled).

I tried to balance the colors, but keep a fairly random feel to the pattern, again to mimic the game as much as possible. I also wanted to make it look like the game was still going on, so I had one piece appear to be dropping down from the top.

Each square is approximately 6 in. across and made up of 6 rounds. They are laid in a 10 x 12 grid making the total number of squares 120 with the following breakdown.

Red = 12
Yellow = 12
Blue = 12
Purple = 12
Orange = 11
Green = 8
Light Blue = 8
Gray = 45

After making most of the squares I laid them out to check how large the blanket would be and decided to nix the topmost row because it was getting too long, making a 10 x 11 grid. I under estimated the squares size, but I figure it's better to have too much yarn than too little.

For joining purposes I used an invisible seam to again mimic the game as much as possible. The border was very minimal, just a round of single crochets, a round of double crochets, and a final round of single crochets.

Here's the final product. For more information check out my Ravelry project page at

And a close-up.

I have to say it turned out very nice, though I haven't heard anything from the happy couple quite yet. Also, after showing my little brother the afghan, he has requested an 8-bit Mario design for Christmas or his birthday.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Crochet Diaries Entry 1

I started crocheting almost three years ago.  My preoccupation with the craft, along with a succession of senior year, grad school, and job hunting, has taken me away from blogging, but now that I have some more free time I'm ready to start back up again.  To help me keep on track, I am beginning a crochet diary with this post.

I mainly make afghans because there are so many different types and they take longer to make, meaning I'm busier longer.  Also, they're easy to donate, which is what I usually do, mostly for Project Linus and the PND Auction. Sometimes I make gifts for others, which is what my current project is.

A friend of mine from high school had a baby girl last December and I am finally getting around to making her a blanket. I found this one and in addition to being easy and quick it is also incredibly cute!  I liked the neutral mix Monica used, but at JoAnn Fabrics I found this adorable variegated pink and couldn't resist.

Jiffy Variegated, Weight: 5, Color: Rose Spray
I then mixed it with this minty green and an off-white, butter cream color.

Patons Beehive Baby Chunky, Weight: 5, Color: Quicker Clover; Caron Simply Soft, Weight: 4, Color: Off White

Here's what I've got after 31 rows.

I was a little worried that the mix looked like pickle and pimento loaf or something, but I think I was just staring at it up close for too long.

I bought 3 skeins of the pink and green, but only one of the butter cream because the pattern only called for 3 skeins of each color 200+ yards each, but it isn't enough.  I'm going to have to go back and get another set of skeins because I'm about half way through and have run out of almost all of them.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Review: Judging a Book by Its Lover: A Field Guide to the Hearts and Minds of Readers Everywhere

Judging a Book by Its Lover: A Field Guide to the Hearts and Minds of Readers Everywhere
Judging a Book by Its Lover: A Field Guide to the Hearts and Minds of Readers Everywhere by Lauren Leto

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book made me feel like a bad English major. I only recognized about half of the authors and titles that Leto mentions (one bit of advice is to keep paper and pen with you to take notes on all the books she references). It might be the fact that the vast majority of the books are "contemporary literature" and I haven't really read "literature" published in the last 50 years or so. My literary education focused on eras before modernism, probably because I like a linear plot and I am not apologizing for that.

It's just that after reading Judging a Book by Its Lover, I feel that there is so much I missed and now have seriously make up for lost time. However, I've gotten used to reading fun books, or commercial genre fiction (lots of paranormal fiction at the moment), so I'm out of practice with that kind of reading. I've been meaning to stop reading such fluffy books (usually with quite a bit of sex), and start on books that really make me think, but again I place some blame on my English and liberal arts classes for the sheer amount of reading they forced me to do. After all that scholarly reading I just wanted to turn my mind off, and thus fluff books and tv took over.

So I will make a resolution to start reading books that make me think. I'll start slowly and intersperse them with other types of reading as I have wanted to get back into more epic fantasy and there are quite a few nonfiction books that I think look interesting. Let's see how this goes.

On other notes Leto is pithy and acerbic at times while warm and touching at others. I'm sure that her insights into the authors and books would be more meaningful if I had read more of them, but at the same time she is often a little too critical for my taste.

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