Wordsmiths

Even though it wasn’t finished I gave my daughter the Fandom blanket I’ve been working on. It was her birthday (back in January); I wanted to give it to her for a special occasion and there was no way I was waiting until next Christmas. So instead she got a P.I.P…Present In Progress. Which sounds a bit like RIP so I made a tombstone to go with it…

Which apparently I did not get a picture of. Hey, I was super exhausted that day.  Her birthday fell on a week that I was working extra shifts And the kids had extra appointments and activities. Really it was just an outline of a tombstone that I printed out and wrote on, nothing spectacular. I wrote the dates Fall 2015-Winter 2017 (because this will be finished this winter) on the tombstone. My daughter was impressed with how long I’ve been working on this. (My first post about this blanket-to-be is here.)

While I’ve shared some of the squares as I made them. (Like this and this.), there are a couple that I’m especially proud of that I haven’t yet.

These four are the latest additions.

From left to right is Wesley from The Princess Bride (she’s a huge fan of the book and the movie), Shakespeare, a quote from the musical Hamilton  (the daughter literally knows all the words. To the entire show, no joke.), & a horse (that’s pretty self explanatory).

I found both the horse and the Princess Bride pattern on Ravelry (here & here respectively) but had to get creative to make squares that represented her two favorite wordsmiths (Shakespeare and Hamilton in case that wasn’t clear).

After scouring the Internet I came to the conclusion that no appropriate Shakespeare patterns existed. So I did what any good crafter would do and made one myself. There are websites to help with that. Basically you import a picture as a JPG or whatever, set the parameters (how many pixel/squares for example), and a pixilated picture is generated.

It took some playingaround to get Shakespeare’s face to look even close to right and that resulted in a square I knew wouldbe way too big. To par it down I took a screen shot of the pattern on my phone and cropped it in. I followed the screen shot (shown above) as a pattern. Even though I cut a row or two from the Bard’s forehead region he’s looking a bit long in the face.

Oddly enough I had trouble finding a Hamilton related crochet square and that was including a thorough search of Pinterest. I tried putting the logo, the one with the guy on top of a star, into the pattern generator but couldn’t get a clear picture. The guy looked like a jagged rectangular nothing. It was not good.

What I did find on Pinterest was more than a few images of Hamilton cross stitch projects. And guess what….

Cross stitch is also made of pixels!

Who knew? So, once again I took a screen shot on my fancy-dancy phone and used that as a pattern.

After some zooming in and lots of little black square counting I’ve got a pretty decent Hamilton square. (My daughter pointed out that I could have just made one that said “And Peggy!”. It would have been more simple but the quote I made is pretty cool as well.

And of course my girls was super excited about the quilt squares.

She suspected that I was making something for her birthday but had no idea what it was. She’s wanted a “Fandom blanket”, as she dubbed it, ever since I made this one for a friend’s baby almost two years ago now.

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I also got my daughter tickets to see the Lumineers in Grand Rapids. That’s what I call a present with a bonus. She was excited and I got to go to a super cool concert with her. It was a win win win.

The Mockingjay

Now that I’ve finished what my daughter calls The Fandom blanket for one of my friend’s baby girl I thought I’d share some of the squares that give this blanket it’s nerdy awesomeness. The focal point of the blanket is….

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The Mockingjay.
Before you get too impressed I did not create this, I merely followed a grid pattern found on Ravelry. Most the squares in this little blanket are pretty close to 4×4 (inches) but the Mockingjay is considerably larger. I knew when I found this pattern that it would be but it was just so cool and so perfect for this blanket that I couldn’t resist. I figured there would be a little stretching to accommodate it but it wouldn’t be a big deal. When I was arranging squares trying to decide on the best layout I realized that Mockingjay here was as tall as two of the other sized squares. Thus the center of the blanket was born.

wpid-20150816_232747.jpg Except I had originally planned on this being a five square by five square blanket. With Mockingjay in the center width wise it was clear I needed to add another row. It just wasn’t quite right any other way.

I improvised two more themed squares and made three more of the background squares real quick and the Mockingjay was appropriately centered.

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Because my daughter likes this blanket sooo much and has broadly hinted at wanting her very own Fandom Blanket, I made another Mockingjay square. This time I used higher contrast colors. image

The second version came out a little bigger but I’ll probably make most the squares in the second fandom blanket bigger so it’ll work up more quickly. Really I don’t have a distinct plan yet though so we’ll see.

wpid-20150913_030355.jpg  Using two colors with more contrast made the second version look even cooler than the first. I didn’t think that was possible.

Granny Square Sudoku

I’ve been working on a baby blanket with (awesomely) themed squares scattered throughout it.

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Some of the squares that give this WIP its character.

I’ve finally reached the point of connecting all the squares to form the blanket. As I was laying all the squares out and trying different arrangements it felt oddly familiar. I’d think “Eureka! This is it.”, step back to take a look, see two green rimmed squares next to each other (or some other visual faux paus), move things around and repeat the process all over again.

For example there was this…..

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Then this…image

…and this.

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Trying to find the “right” arrangement of these babies was like trying to solve a Rubik’s cube. I’d move one square that looked out of place and end up having to shuffle the whole row then the next and the next. It reminded me of the first couple times I tried to solve a Sudoku puzzle. I’d put a number in one box just to realize that I then had to change all the numbers that I thought were right in that row and then each of the boxes that the row was a part of had to be changed as well. It was a rolling wave of number changing confusion…until I saw the pattern.

Putting together a “random” granny square blankets is like that. The layout changes and morphs from one subtly different form to another. After a bit you just pick something and go with it. Usually it starts to look like the “right” set up after a bit. Of course this one had to be different and a little tricky. After connecting all the rows and columns I realized that, for the sake of symmetry, this blanket needed one more row of five squares across the top.

At least when those are finished arrangement options will be much more limited. In fact, I may even make the five squares with a plan in mind. That would be something new & different.

Some Not-So-Recent Makes

While crocheting has almost been at a stand still for me lately (except for one tiny little baby hat I started and almost finished over the weekend that I’m hoping to write down a pattern for…and then, of course (eventually) blog about.) I realized I’ve made some things over the past few months  year or so that have not found their way to the blog.

Also, my co-blogger has posted twice this week…WTF? Twice! And it has awoken my mildly competitive side. No way she’s showing me up! (Yes, yes, I know, this is not a contest and we’re all winners here (Pffft!))

So even though it’s 5:30 and I ran but haven’t showered yet and really should be making dinner so we eat sometime before 8pm tonight, I thought I’d write a real quick picture heavy crochet based post. I think it’s been a while since we’ve had one of those around here.

First here’s a pair of fingerless gloves I made as a birthday gift for one of my daughter’s friend’s birthday back in October. Well, her birthday was in October, I’m pretty sure I made these sometime in November.

granny square fingerless mits panda hat mid make panda hatThe hat was made as a later part of the gift as it was finished just before New Year’s Eve, Hey, I got it done within the year of the kid’s birthday. That counts for something right? I didn’t use a pattern for either of these though I keep thinking I’m going to write one down for the gloves (in all my spare time). I’ve made a few pairs of these and they always turn out nice.

Sometime this past fall (or early winter) whenever it started getting chilly and I pulled out my collection of scarves and hats and such, I made myself a hat. I had one baggy hat that I was wearing all the time; I was getting a little tired of it. SO I made the “Falling Leaves” hat pattern from Ravelry that I’ve made a couple times before (for other people). It’s been one of my favorites since I finished it.

Kind of an odd picture but it gives you an idea of the texture and a view of the back.

Kind of an odd picture but it gives you an idea of the texture and a view of the back.

Lastly and ,frankly, most embarrassingly, is a blanket I made last spring and summer as a baby gift for a high school friend of mine. I say embarrassing because I finished it last June and took these pictures but somehow failed to get it to her. Yup, this adorable little blanket is still sitting in my Finished Projects draw. Her baby just turned one last week…hmm. The fact that I have a Finished Projects drawer says something too.

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Aaaandflower square 1 flower square 2 flower square 3 flower square 4 some close ups of some of the squares.

Note to self: Must mail baby blanket soon  ASAP!

Birthday Hats All Around

Sometimes I post something with this great idea of doing a two-part post.
I’ll write about a WIP or something that’s part of a bigger piece thinking I’ll write the follow up post later that week…or within a couple days….or sometime that same month. You know, close enough to the original post that readers remember it and are still interested. It’s a great idea.
Ideally the two part post builds suspense and generates interest.
But what happens when suspense builds too long?
It crumbles and dies.
(Maybe I’m flattering myself to think people are actually waiting in suspense to read my posts….
Maybe they (you?) are though.)

If you were reading sometime back in January you might remember the turtle granny squares I made as part of a birthday gift for one of my daughter’s friends.
Well, after much suspense which has since disintegrated, here is the hat that they became.

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The hat & gloves were a big hit. The girl loved them and the mom oohed and aaahed over my craftiness and talent. Then we had a fun conversation about crocheting. Plus since they were made completely from my post-holiday yarn stash the gift was technically free too. It was an all round win!

My lovely daughter’s birthday was just a couple weeks after her friend’s so when I saw how cute the turtle hat came out I set to work on an owl version. She loves owls. Two years ago I made her this hat for her birthday.

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She still loves it but it’s getting a little small.

I already had an owl granny square pattern from the owl baby blanket I gave my friend this past summer so the owl version of the turtle hat was pretty quick & easy.

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This is made the same way as the turtle one but I finally figured out how to end a hat this shaped without getting the pointy end (which I call the nipple effect).

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To make these squares into hats I started by joining the four squares in a circle. The I single crochet around the top edge to make it nice and even. The following rounds were half double crochet with a front post hdc at the corner of each square. At the very top of the hat I switched to single crocheting and went around until the hat was closed. The bottom edge is just a couple rows of half doubles or singles finished with a picot stitch.

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Some complimentary granny square gloves and I had another great birthday gift.
I’m planning to do a separate post about granny square gloves and maybe even write a pattern. Don’t hold your breath though… I would hate to make you pass out.

Turtle of Traditionalism Granny Square

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As a parent I’m glad my kids have friends. But, gosh, do all their friends have to have birthdays? Jeez, so many presents to buy; some for kids we really don’t know all that well.
For example, my daughter was invited to a birthday party for a girl who was in her inner circle of school friends last year. The Fab Five they called themselves. But this year this particular girl is at a different school. My daughter hasn’t seen her since last June but, of course, is excited to go to her birthday party. And, of course, I’m not saying no to this. But, ee gahds, the thought of wasting spending hard earned money on some generic gift that’ll be cast aside with a pile of other generic gifts in like two minutes does not appeal to me.
Enter the turtle.

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Since I have a lovely little pile of coordinating yarn in soft, fun colors already on hand due to Christmas gift over estimation (or maybe holiday yarn retail therapy but that’s another discussion for another day), I thought I’d just make something for the birthday girl.
I asked my daughter “What does Emma like?”
“Um, I dunno. Soccer, turtles, & RianbowDash” was her answer…
Uh, okay, let’s go with turtles then. I can do something with that…something granny-squarish.
So I Googled. And, sure, I found some turtle granny squares but nothing that was quite what I had in mind.
I was looking for a square with a simple turtle center and the traditional granny square outside.
Why traditional style?
Because it’s fast & easy, baby, Fast and Easy!

This site was the closest to what I wanted. The little turtles in the center were perfect but the outside rows weren’t. Plus the pattern was a little confusing for me.
So I did what I usually do in this situation…
I modified.
And here is what I came up with (after a more rectangular attempt).

Center Turtle:
-make magic ring, ch 3 (counts as first dc), dc 11 times, join with sl st in 3rd st of the ch3  (12 dc)
-ch3, dc in same st, 2 dc in each stitch around, switch to light green to join in top st of the ch 3 (24 dc)
-with light green ch 3, 2 dc in same st, ch 2 skip 2 st, 5 dc in next st, ch 2, skip next 2 st, 3 dc in next st, ch 5 skip 5, 3 dc in next st, ch 2 skip 2, dc in next st, ch 2 skip 2, 3 dc in next st, ch 5, join in top st of ch 3 (17 dc, 18 sc)

The center turtle is complete. Now to get your granny on!
-sl st in next st to change color (I used a light blue but anything with contrast works)
-ch 3, 2 dc in same st, ch 2, 3 dc in next st (granny corner #1 is done), 2 hdc in ch 2 space, sc in back loop only of next 2 st, sl st in back loop only of next st, sc back loop only of next 2 st, 2 hdc in ch 2 space, 3 dc in next st, ch 2, 3 dc in next st (top side & granny corner # 2 done)
– ch 1,  2 hdc, 1 sc, 2 hdc in the ch 5 space, ch 1, 3 dc in next dc, ch 2, 3 dc in the next st (3rd corner done)
-2 hdc & 2 sc in ch 2 space, sl st in dc (tail), 2 sc & 2 hdc in ch 2 space. Make a granny corner in next 2 st (3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc)
-ch1, 2 hdc, 1 sc, 2 hdc in the ch 5 space, ch1, sl st into top of ch 3 to finish the round.
Granny round 2:
– sl st over to ch 2 corner space. Make a corner in the corner space (3dc, ch2, 3 dc), skip the 3 corner dc and dc in each of the 2 hdc , ch 2, skip 4, dc in next 2 st.
– 3dc, ch 2, 3 dc in corner space, 3 hdc in next space, ch 2, 3hdc in next space, make a corner in the corner space, skip 3 corner st & dc in each of next 2 st, skip 4, dc in each of next 2 st, skip 3 and make a corner in the corner (3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc), 3 hdc in next space, ch 2, 3 hdc in next space, sl st in top of beginning ch 3.
Fasten off.
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I also edged these in a dark purple by sc in each stitch or space around.
Congratulations, you’ve (hopefully) just made it through my first attempt at writing a pattern.

If you did try this please comment below and let me know how (if?) I can improve anything.

Oh and, in case you’re wondering, I’m going to make a couple more and put them together in some kind of hat or headband for the birthday gift. I’ll try to blog about that when it’s complete…which had better be before Friday afternoon.

Whew! It’s the Day After Christmas!

Don’t get me wrong I really like Christmas. But, WAHOO, all the projects are done, presents bought and opened and now I can work on ANY crochet project I want! I actually have no projects on my hook at the moment. It’s like a clean slate. I can’t wait! Here’s what I was working on before Christmas….

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This was a take on the Groovygan I was making for my sister. I totally ran into trouble stitching it together. I must have stitched and frogged each piece at least once! Argh!

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How did that happen?!?! I couldn’t even tell you. I was getting so frustrated. But…

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It finally came together.

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The piles of works in progress on my treadmill. Nice use for a treadmill, eh? Well, this year I’m working on clearing stuff out and the treadmill has been cleared of works and the treadmill itself has left the apartment. Clearing up some much needed space, according to my boyfriend, anyway. The irony is now that I’ve finally gotten rid of it my co-blogger wants me to do a 1/2 marathon with her this year. Quite a lovely goal.

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I didn’t get a finished picture of this scarf. You’ll just have to take my word for it that it turned out quite nice.

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This was my box of Christmas presents. Slayer, my cat, LOVED the box. It had just the perfect amount of cat-space.

Here’s the finished blanket. With border and all. It turned out quite nice- if I do say so myself!
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Also just because I’m picture crazy…
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That basket was made by my mom. She is taking a basket-making class this winter. She’s made some really great ones.
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I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and got all your projects done in time. I know I’m super excited to pick up the hook again and start some new projects!!