The big crazy afghan

I’ve crocheted a lot of afghans in my life, but this one is special. It could be that I feel accomplished because I mostly made it up on my own, improvising a bit. I did get some help from Jan Eaton’s 200 Crochet Blocks, but I sewed my blocks together with my own ideas and improvised the “filler,” which are random stitch patterns. I even made up my own border for it on the fly!

It was really hard for me to photograph this, so I decided to include different angles on it, including draped over a door. I really wish I had a yard. So many of my blogging buds take a nice panoramic photo of their afghans in their back yards so you can see the whole thing. I live in an apartment in a pretty big city, and it’s just not feasible to drag out an afghan like this and try to spread it over some public space other people are using. I considered trying to get to a public park, but then there was the time factor. I don’t think it would have been a good idea, anyway, because even public parks are full of people using up just about anything that might hold a spread-out blanket.

As you can see from the last two photos, I made up an interesting border with different colored stripes, some lacy, others with a little texture. The most time-consuming task was the multi-colored bobbles with the dark blue background. I wanted to do them as I would with tapestry crochet, but the bright colors showed through the dark blue and looked pretty bad, so I had to cut and weave in ends for each color. I am so glad I did that, though, because it just adds that extra little “umph” I wanted for it.

This afghan will spend most of its time on our bed. I’m confident it will make its way to the living room occasionally.

Now that I’ve finished this afghan I only have one knit/crochet WIP going, which is a pair of socks. This means I’ll be looking for something new to start pretty soon.

Why not buy me a coffee?

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A cold and dreary day

It’s gray, rainy, cold, and I have no FOs. I didn’t post anything this week, so I suppose I can report on my progress on my afghan.

afghanwip

It isn’t far from being finished, which is cool. Right now I’m crocheting around the edges. I want a border that is as wide as any one of the squares in the main part of the afghan.

It’s been lots of fun to crochet this project which is no doubt why it hasn’t taken me long to finish it. I just consulted a book with afghan squares, chose a few patterns I liked and went with the colors I had. Everything is arranged in stripes. I’ve alternated strips of squares with randomly selected stitch patterns. I bought yarn especially for this, but I could imagine using scrap yarn for something like this. Of course, it wouldn’t look as planned as mine does, since I selected the colors for the different strips, but it would still look crazy and colorful.

It will be done when it’s large enough to cover my bed. So far it covers my sofa, so I’m pretty close to the end.

So distracted…

I’ve been so distracted by so many things. Most of them aren’t things I want to discuss here. However, I must say a major crafting distraction has been the sudden dipping of temperatures in May. I suppose to make up for the unusually warm autumn we had last year, well, spring has decided to be unusually cold here in May.

My spring idea was to get going on lots of thread crochet and cross stitch and really turbo up on that throughout the warmer months. Here at home we have enough sweaters each to last us hundreds of winters with even changes in fashion and body weight.

But then, the cold weather started up again. I put down the thread crochet and the cross stitch and picked up the St. Enda sweater I cast on ages ago. I’m working on the first sleeve, still. I had to rip it out and start over because I miscounted increases BY A LOT. It is the typical consequence of leaving a project abandoned for a month or two and forgetting what the numbers were supposed to be. That’s OK, though, because the sleeves work up pretty fast.

As you might recall, I finished an afghan. With the chilly nights I decided to start another one. I decided to take some crochet block patterns from Jan Eaton’s 200 Crochet Blocks and sew them together in strips, alternating those strips with other stripes made up of random stitch patterns. So far my favorite strip is of the multi-colored bobbles.

squaresandstrips

In two weekends of marathon crocheting and binge watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the series, not the film), I think I’ve got half of this done! I had some purple and gray yarn left over from the previous afghan I completed, so I just bought some random colors by the same manufacturer to make this one. I might have to go back to the shop and buy a skein or two more to create a border for it.

We really need another afghan for next year, anyway, so it’s a productive way to be distracted! It will serve its double duty of sometimes living on the bed and other times sneaking into the living room. I must lament that one of our afghans, which I crocheted a few years ago, is beginning it’s long, slow demise. It’s been dragged around the house from sofa to bed and from bed to sofa quite enough and is just coming apart and basically degrading. The best part about afghans that die is that you can make new living ones to replace them.

Some crochet finishes

Lately, it seems like my knitting and cross stitching blog buddies have been able to enjoy my blog posts more than the crocheters. Today, this one’s for you, my crochet friends. I’ve finished a few crochet projects.

At long last, my Tunisian crochet afghan is so totally done! I love it. This morning I spread it out on my living room sofa so we can have a view of it that will never be possible in its every day use, since it will be wrapped around somebody or scrunched up some other way. When not keeping someone warm, it will be folded up neatly and lurking in a closet somewhere in my house.

afghanentire

If you speak Spanish, you can create a baby-sized version of this afghan following this YouTube video:

I had a lot of fun working on this afghan. It’s really simple to do. I added more blocks and also Tunisian crocheted a border around it. So, it’s pretty easy to adapt the pattern to larger sizes. Just add more around the central design made of textured blocks. You could also make the blocks larger or smaller, depending on how big or small you want the blanket to be.

I also finished my larger bucket bag to accommodate my sock knitting habit. Now I can put washing and drying finished pairs of socks on hold a bit longer and just let them accumulate in the project bag. I used a canvas fabric I bought at the market a few years ago for the liner. The draw string is just a strip of single crochets.

The warmer weather got me in the mood for some thread crochet, so I made a pineapple doily I once created about 25 years ago. Yes, I still have the discontinued Better Homes and Gardens book. I have no idea who has the doily I made in my preteen years. The book in question is Forever Favorite Crochet, in case you’d like to find a second-hand copy of it. It’s a really complete book, and, although from the middle of the 1980s, it has plenty of things that will look in style now – even the clothes! It really helps that crochet clothing is creeping into the mainstream fashion industry these days. The amazing aspect of the patterns in this collection is that the clothes were so totally not cool to wear in the 1980s. If you dared walk around in a crochet sweater in 1987 – or earlier – people would think you were a bit nerdy or had recently emerged from a cave. Anyway, here’s the doily. In the book it’s called “Five-side pineapple doily.” It took me just a few hours to make. It’s super easy and a beginner could make it without a hitch.

foreverdoily

It’s so totally not difficult that I didn’t even bother to iron it before taking a photo. It lies flat without really needing to do much fussing.

Now that it’s getting warmer I need to get cracking on my cabled sweater and just finish it off before it gets too hot to hold it in my lap. Then I can spend the late spring and entire summer cross stitching as well as crocheting and knitting lighter, cotton projects. I really want to get a lot of thread crochet done this season.

This and that

It’s WIP Wednesday! I’ve continued knitting on a sock, stitching my Chinese dragon (I’m backstitching, actually), working on my winter biscornu with the snowmen, and crocheting my afghan. The afghan has got most of my attention. I got all the purple squares done so now I’m crocheting gray Tunisian simple stitch around the edges. I want to get ten rounds done and then I think I’ll switch back to purple and do some Tunisian purl stitch rounds to keep the edges from curling.

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I haven’t photographed my progress on the rest of my projects because they look quite similar to last weeks photos, although the Chinese dragon is starting to look pretty snappy with the backstitch details.

 

A lot of WIP activity

I’ve started rotating projects and crafts again, so it’s nice to show off progress on multiple items. It is quite satisfying to write up a post with so many categories and three different types of crafts. This kind of excitement (is that what it is? excitement?) doesn’t happen all the time on my blog.

Over the weekend I decided to return to my Tunisian crochet afghan. I only need to finish three more squares to get the outer purple stripe done and, after weaving in quite a few ends, I can get out the cro-hook and start Tunisian crocheting around and around.

Since I had some spare time to reflect over the weekend, I actually reflected, and then I was shocked and appalled when all my reflecting led me to the conclusion that I hadn’t bothered to cast on a sock since I finished my last pair in 2017. I immediately retrieved some self-striping sock yarn from the stash and perused some patterns. I had a gander at “Socks on a Plane,” and I enjoyed the photo and thought to myself, “Hmmm… that one little cable will take the boredom out of knitting multi-colored yarn like this rather dull color way I’ve got here.” I scanned the pattern directions, saw the sizing, and said to myself, “I’ll have to adapt it to my vanilla sock.” Further scanning revealed that the designer instructs you to start at the toe, make a heel flap, starts with more toe stitches than I usually care for, etc. etc. etc. so I just closed the pdf pattern and made up my own version with my favorite wedge heel and my 24 toe stitches. There’s nothing really mysterious or complicated about this. You just slap a cable on a sock so it goes up the edge of the foot. I’m going to continue my cable into the ribbing on the cuff (not sure if the “Socks on a Plane” pattern does that or not). Anyway, I’m calling these things here “Socks on a Sofa:”

notonaplane

As you can see in the photo, I finished the whole foot, got the heel wedged up and turned, and I’m on the leg now. If I ever do this again, I might make the cable travel across the instep.

My “Dragon of the Mountains” cross stitch project is also coming along nicely. As previously mentioned, I began to run out of Kreinik thread and discovered I hadn’t purchased enough of it for my other two dragons I’ve got planned, either. I ordered more and mistakenly went with the cheaper option of online shops. It was a store in Italy that was quick to take my money and very slow to send out my order. I figured out that they were dragging their heels because they were waiting to restock an item I asked for and that it would take 21 days (ACK!) for this item to be back in stock. I waited a few days and then wrote them, canceling that item, hoping that if I eliminated it from my order I would get my stuff already (HMPH!). It then took them another 24 hours to get my stuff shipped.  In all, they sat on my order for an entire week. I was also very irritated because I ordered A LOT OF STUFF and the total I spent was considerable. I felt I was deserving of receiving the things they had in stock now and then get the other item in a separate shipment later. Since I feel this way, I might not use them again, although who knows? The prices were really good and I could see myself ordering things I’m not in a hurry to receive. I’ll just have to be cautious and not order anything out of stock. Also, in all fairness, this on line shop looks like it’s a family business out of a little country house, so there’s that. This could give me all the more reason to order from them again. They’re fighting the good fight, this family, competing with Amazon and all.

Anyway, back to my “Dragon of the Mountains.” He now has his fireball flying out of his mouth and a border now goes all the way round him. I just have to add the Kreinik metallic X’s to the border and then I can get on with backstitching and adding the beads (yay! beads!).

dragonmountains

Also, I’m very happy to show you those spools of gold thread. I got my gold thread just in time! One is about to run on empty and I’ve got a recharge at the ready. Woot!

 

Nothing but crochet this week

My WIPs are moving forward and if I ever consider starting a new project I sit on my hands like someone who wants to quit nail biting. I currently have zero knitting projects and I’m keeping it that way until I finish my sweater and my cross stitch pumpkin.

Since the weekend I’ve been alternating between my hexagons afghan and my “Telegraph” sweater. Suddenly, the afghan seems considerably larger!

Yesterday I finished shaping the raglan on my sweater and joined the front and back sleeve seams together. From here it’s just round and round to the bottom.

lightgreentelegraph

I think the sweater will be done soon if I work on it diligently.