Monday, May 16, 2016

May Mandala

This month my Mandalas for Marinke were featured on Immediately I wanted to make another one. So here it is! The variegated yarn is Nicole Stitch Studio from A.C. Moore. These are one-off yarns in a sale bin, and I always look them over when I'm getting my other yarn.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Today's WIP

I'm calling this today's WIP for the simple reason that I have a good picture of it. I'm not working on this one today because I have two others that are online CALs (Crochet-A-Longs), and I want to keep up with them. One, I could do easily but two requires me to really focus. Plus my Mandalas for Marinke were just featured on, and I started another mandala. Today I have to get more yarn. Well I am rambling now.

This blanket is going to be for my eldest. I am joining as I go, and what you see here is the top four rows. There will be either eight or nine rows so that it will fit nicely on a twin bed. The blocks are coming out wavy so I thought the join would flatten, but I am going to have to massively block the thing once it's done. Or not! I am not a fastidious blocker.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Thrift Shop Yarn

I got this awesome yarn in a $2 bag at the Good As New Shop where I work on Wednesdays. Dark green, very pale green, and two gray green. And the grass is green too.

Monday, March 21, 2016

March WIPs

These are only a few of the WIPs that I have going on now. There are quilts in progress, knitting in progress, charity blankets, CALs, presents, etc. It is just insane, and one reason I'm not posting here more often.

This lovely arrangement represents the colors of a blanket that I'm making as a surprise for someone. I learned this method from Attic 24, on her blog. Before I would have added purple and pink, but that would have made the composition garish rather than colorful and just lovely. Now if only I had an extra 40 minutes every day, I could crochet one stripe a day and be done on time.
This is one of the CALs. (The other one hasn't started yet.) It is by spincushions (A.K.A. Shelley Husband) and it's called the Fran Mystery Crochet-a-long. I bought this heavy cotton yarn from a company in Australia. The yarn was not cheap and neither was the shipping. But the outcome will be just awesome. Also going to be a surprise for someone.
Finally here is a sweater I'm making for my big kid Carter. I had given them a sweater of mine that they loved, but they had to give it back because they grew out of it. This kid of mine (21 years old) is very tall. I got this lovely Noro yarn discounted at WEBS, the yarn superstore. It's enough to make a very large sweater for a very tall person.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Colorful Mandala

About three years ago I made this knitted blanket. I knitted it straight across from start to finish, carrying all the colors across the row and twisting strands when I changed colors. At some point I estimated how much yarn I would need for each color patch, and I cut all the lengths of yarn that I needed to finish.
I ended up with this basket of yarn ends, which decorated the short wall between the kitchen and living room.
I decided to crochet the bits of yarn into a mandala. These are the first five rounds.
The finished mandala had ten rounds plus the shells. Towards the end I added some yarn ends from other projects, that were a little bit larger. The outer shells are a single variegated yarn, not ends.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Golden Apples in Silver Filigree

"Like golden apples in silver filigree is a word aptly spoken." Proverbs 25:11. Maimonides said what this meant was the truth is the golden apple, but nobody will get it unless it is presented in a way that people can understand, which is the silver filigree.

Anyway I think golden apples are a better description of this mandala than barnacles, which was my first thought.


First of all, all my joins are invisible joins. I don't start with a slip stitch and I don't end with one. I start with no loop at all. I start the first stitch with nothing on the hook. Insert hook, YO and pull through foundation only, then one more ch for sc and 2 more ch for dc. Then after I complete the last stitch, I cut the yarn to about 6 inches, pull the loop on the hook out, thread the yarn onto a darning needle, wrap it around the top of the first stitch, and thread it back through where I pulled it out. If the round is sc then I just carry the yarn to the back, tie it to the start piece with an overhand knot (first half of a square knot), and weave the end in. Then I weave in the other end. Other ways are possible, but that's how this was made. In the case of dc, I have a tutorial here about how I make the invisible join. It's my own idiosyncratic method, so of course there are other ways to do it.

Yarns used: Vanna's choice linen, white, charcoal grey, silver grey, toffee, grey marble, and mustard, and a couple of scrap bits that I have no idea what they were originally.

Step 1. Make a mandala that ends with 72 stitches, and then make 12 shells around.

Directions for this mandala are:
Round 1: Puce (a bit of yarn I've had forever) Start with magic loop, ch3, then 11 (dc, ch1), ending with invisible join around 3rd ch of ch3. Pull loop tight. 12 dc and 12 ch1 sp.
Round 2: Gold (also yarn I've had forever, in fact the first yarn I ever bought for myself) 2 dc in each ch1 space. 24 dc.
Round 3: (Linen) 1 hdc in each dc. LOOSELY. This stitch was not the best choice, because it was too tight, but if crocheted loosely, the next round will spread the stitches out and flatten them. 24 hdc
Round 4: (White) 2 dc in each hdc (48 dc).
Round 5: (Charcoal grey) 1 sc in each dc (48 sc).
Round 6: (Silver grey) dc 2 tog, ch 2 around. (24 ch2 sp).
Round 7: (Toffee) 3 dc in each sp. (72 dc).

An alternative is to make Wink's standard mandala up to round 6. Round 6 ends with 72 stitches. Her directions also illustrate magic ring and another way to do an invisible join.

Then make the shells. I used grey marble. Because of the way I join, I start with half a shell. Pull a loop through, ch2, 2 dc. Then (skip 2 st, sc in next, skip 2 st, 6 dc in next) 11 times. skip 2 st, sc in next, skip 2 st, 3 dc in first st, end with invisible join.

Make the first small circle. (Mustard) Start with 12 dc in a magic ring, and pull tight. As described above, my first dc is 3 ch, then 11 dc, then invisible join.
(Charcoal Gray) 2 sc in each dc around; join. If you would like, repeat steps 1 and 2 11 more times, to make the insides of all 12 little circles.
(Linen) LOOSELY, or using a larger hook, make 1 sc in each sc around. Join.
Make second circle and join it to the first. Make rounds 1 and 2 as for first circle, then make just 2 sc of round 3. Pull the loop out slightly and remove the hook.
Insert the hook into any stitch of the first circle and pull it through. Tighten it only enough to take up the slack (remember this round needs to be loose on all the small circles).
Complete the sc in the next space of the second circle.
One more time, remove the loop from the hook and pull it through the next st on the first circle.
Complete the second join and continue with sc around LOOSELY. Join to the first sc.
Make third circle and join it to the second. There should be 11 stitches between the two joins on the outside of the loop of circles and 9 stitches between the two joins on the inside of the loop of circles. So the first loop of the joining stitch should be pulled through the second circle 10 stitches from the previous join, counting from the bottom of the loop of circles.

One more time, remove the hook and pull the loop through the next st of the previous circle. Complete the sc and then sc around, joining to the start of the round. Repeat the previous step for circles 4 to 11.

Join the last circle to the previous circle. Then make 11 sc in the next 11 st, and remove the hook. Counting back from the first join along the inside, pull the loop through the 11th st. Complete the sc and pull the loop through the next st, sc to the first st of this round and join. Now the ring of circles is complete.
The next round will be worked on the inner mandala. The ring of circles will be attached by pulling loops through the inside scs of the ring of circles. However, it is more convenient to start the process by pulling a loop through one of the small circles first. Pull a loop through the second sc from the right on any small circle.
Make a dc in the fourth dc of any shell.
Remove the hook and pull a loop through the next st of the inner circle. sc in the next st of the inner mandala, 5 times. Remove the hook and pull a loop through the next st of the inner circle. dc in the next st, which should be the 3rd dc of the next shell. Remove the hook.
Pull the loop through the second inner sc of the next circle. Make a dc, and repeat the previous step.
Repeat the previous step 10 more times. Now the way I joined this round was as follows. I cut the yarn to 6 inches and pulled out the last loop. I threaded it onto a darning needle and carefully joined to the first stitch by replacing the original top stitch. I did this by threading the yarn around where the top stitch was and removing the top stitch afterwards, and then poking the two ends behind the mandala and weaving them in. Alternatively, a slip stitch judiciously placed would work, but I didn't do it that way, so I can't say how to do it.

Finally, add a round in linen to the entire mandala. Start at the top of any small circle. Work 2 sc into every sc until 1 st before where it's joined to the next circle. Skip 1 st on this circle and skip 1 st after the join on the next circle. Then 2 sc in each sc, 9 times, always omitting one st on either side of where two circles are joined. Finish with an invisible join.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Afghan for the New Year

I finished the inside of this afghan last month (last year) using the continuous flat braid join from the tutorial on cypress textiles (here). I had to wait a few days into the new year for the border book (Around the Corner Crochet Borders by Edie Eckman), but it was worth the wait. This border was exactly what I wanted, and I finished it today. I love this afghan and it's mine! I made it for myself. I'm sure more creations will ensue to give to family and friends, but for now I've made myself a very nice present.