Saturday, September 30, 2006
Krystal's Daisy Cap

A few weeks ago my hubby and I were eating out, and I saw a decorative plate with a daisy in the center. I thought, what a cute hat that would make for a little girl. I was determined to make one! My design skills are rough at best, and after thinking about it I realized that I had no idea how to go about making one. It became a project for the future.

Then, a few days ago, Krystal posted her amazing design for a daisy square (see my previous post). It's an intricate design and a really beautiful one. I've made 3 and I've really enjoyed the pattern. I realized that Krystal had already designed the cap for me! I can't take credit for the design - it's all hers, but by making Krystal's square and leaving off the corners, I was able to make what I think is a cute and cheerful chemo cap for a young girl.

The photos show my first try. I'm sure I'll make more. This one I'm going to mail to Krystal, along with one of her squares, to go to her charity of choice, but I'll be making more of these to send to Roswell Park Cancer Center and to other charities for kids in need.

Thanks, Krystal!

Monday, September 25, 2006
Krystal's Daisy

It's fairly obvious that I love to crochet and that I love to crochet for charity. No news there. Today, Krystal at Crochetville, did something that I think is really amazing. She designed a daisy square for afghans, but rather than selling the pattern, she's offering as a "trade". She'll give it to anyone who asks, and all she asks in return is that if you take the pattern you send her a completed square for her to include in charity afghans that she makes. I am blown away by her generosity.

I am also blown away with her design. You can see her original square here. I think that I may have made a few mistakes, and that my square isn't as beautiful as hers, but I love this design and feel that I really accomplished something by making it!

I'll be sending this one to Krystal (looking at it now, its a tad smaller than 8" so I hope she can use it) for her charities, and I hope to make more for some charity projects of my own.

If you're interested in this pattern and in participating in Krystal's project, the link above will show you how to contact her.

Sunday, September 24, 2006
new cap designs

I've been working on some more hats for the kids. The yellow and purple hats above are caps that I just designed as a I went. The purple cap with the ribbon I'm calling "Ava". The pattern is below. It's not tested, but it's fairly simple. Feel free to make it for personal or charity use.

Ava Hat
Worsted Weight Yarn ( I used Caron Super Soft)
5mm hook
Start with chain 6 - join w/ slip stitch to make a loop
stitches used: ch, dc, back loop only dc, bpdc, slip stitch, x stitch
note: chain 3 at beginning of each row counts as one dc.

Start with chain 6 - join w/ slip stitch to make a loop

1. 12 dc in loop (12 dc)
2. 2 dc in each dc of previous row (24 dc)
3. Chain 3, dc in next dc, 2 dc in next, * dc in next 2 stitches, 2dc in next* repeat around, slip stitch to join (32 dc)
4. Chain 3, dc in next 2 dc, 2 dc in next, * dc in next 3 stitches, 2dc in next* repeat around, slip stitch to join (40 dc)
5. Chain 3, dc in next 3 dc, 2 dc in next, * dc in next 4 stitches, 2dc in next* repeat around, slip stitch to join (48 dc)
6. Chain 3, dc in next 4 dc, 2 dc in next, * dc in next 5 stitches, 2dc in next* repeat around, slip stitch to join (56 dc)
7. Chain 3, dc in next 5 dc, 2 dc in next, * dc in next 5 stitches, 2dc in next* repeat around, slip stitch to join (64 dc)
8. Chain 3, dc in each stitch around , slip stitch to join in BLO (64 dc)
9. Chain 3, Back-loop-only DC in each stitch around, slip stitch to join )64 dc)
10. Chain 3, X stitch around (32 Xs)
11. Chain 3, dc around, slip stitch to join in BLO (64 dc)
12. Chain 3, Back-loop-only DC in each stitch around, slip stitch to join (64 dc)
13. Chain 3, dc in next stitch, *bpdc in next 2 stitche, dc in next 2 stitches* repeat from * to* around slip stitch to join (64 dc)
14. Chain 3, dc in next stitch, *bpdc in next 2 stitche, dc in next 2 stitches* repeat from * to* around slip stitch to join (64 dc)
15. chain 1, reverse sc around, slip stitch to join, finish off (64 sc)
weave in loose ends

weave a strip of 1/4" ribbon through X stitch row and tie with a bow.

X-Stitch: DC in previous stich of last row, dc in next stitch (forms an X)
skip next dc and dc in next stitch, go back and dc in skipped stitch.
dcs will cross to form Xs.

If you use this pattern and find any problems, please let me know.

edited 2-19-12: So many comments on this post are asking for he pink hat pattern shown in the photo. That is not my original pattern - it was designed by Auntie M. You can find the pattern here

Wednesday, September 20, 2006
More Caps for the kids

These three caps will be going to the kids at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. The rose and blue hats are patterns that I found online.

The purple and butter colored cap is one that I tested for designer Crochetgoddess from Crochetville. It was a really fun and easy pattern to make. It has a wonderful texture across the crown and around the brim. Thanks for letting me test it!!!

Sunday, September 17, 2006
Design Den - Carole's Embrace

For the last week I've been working on a project that is my first "real" design (not just a kitty pad). My mother-in-law is having hip-replacement surgery this week, and I wanted to make her something to take with her while recovering. I knew that I couldn't make a sweater for her, because she doesn't live nearby and getting something to fit properly would be a big challenge. Then I thought I'd make a shawl, but I didn't want anything loose that could slip off her shoulders and get in the way when she uses a cane or a walker.

What I came up with is a cross between a vest and a shawl. Something that would be loose and "one size fits most", but that would close in front and under the arms so it couldn't fall off, and that would have pockets. I called it Carole's Embrace. While working I altered the pattern a few times, and in the end it came out pretty well.

Of course, once I finished I realized that it was too large for my mother-in-law and that my front closure, while a nice idea, just doesn't work well. So, I'm back to the drawing board. I've already started working on a revision that I think will work better. In the meantime, I'm enjoying the design process.

Thursday, September 14, 2006
Back on the hook

Enough of politics - time to get back to crochet.

Today I took a break from my current big project to try my hand at my first pineapple crochet. I've always admired the lacey detail of pineapples, but they sort of intimidated me. Who knew that they were so simple!

My first one came out too tight and curled, but I realized my mistake and went on to a second. Silly me - I did them connected and then tried to unravel the first, so it's a bit cockeyed, but I think it's not bad for a first attempt.

I see a lot of thread crochet in my future!!!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006
I break from my normal crafting comments
for a rare political statement.

While my beliefs run strong, I generally try to stay out of political debates and commentary. I don't think that I'm the best at expressing those thoughts. So, when somebody else makes a strong and powerful statement, I take notice.

Last night on Countdown, Keith Olberman made some editorial comments about the last five years since 9-11-01. Some people won't like what he says, but I think he has spoken courageously and with conviction.

If you care to watch the video or read the transcript, you can do so here.

Monday, September 11, 2006
Images of 9-11-01 are branded in my memory. I’ll never forget the sight of the planes flying into the towers, the crash at the Pentagon, the crash site in Pennsylvania. I remember the shock of hearing about the first plane, and the horror of hearing about the second. I can still feel the pain when I realized what was happening and that my world would never be the same. I remember thinking about all the victims on the planes and in the buildings and what they must be thinking as they ran for their lives or perished in the fires. Waiting for survivors who were never found. Hearing about fallen heroes. So many lost.

For me, the world changed on 9-11-2001. I knew that there was horror in the world. My family survived the brutality of Nazi Europe. I grew up knowing about terrible things, but they never affected my small oasis of safety – until 9/11.

In the days and weeks to follow, it seemed that people were in a daze. Everyone was touched by those events except for the very young that were spared an understanding of the horror. Flags appeared on homes and cars. People talked of Patriotism and Brotherhood. For a brief time, I felt that we in the United States had a new sense of community. No matter what else we were, we were Americans. We would work together to protect America and her people. Together we would heal, and rebuild, and be stronger and safer.

Five years later, what has happened? As if the losses we suffered that day weren’t enough, we’ve chosen to lose more. Where is that sense of community? Where is that idea that all Americans stand together on common ground?

Our country is divided on so many levels: Politics, Religion, Race, and Sexual Orientation. Five years ago, we all stood united as Americans. Today, schisms divide us. Do you support the right candidate? Do you worship the right God? When did an individual’s private sex life become anyone else’s business?

America is supposed to be a country that opens its arms to others, but lately we can’t even open our arms to accept the natural differences that are to be expected in a free society. I love America, but I’m so saddened that the grief that brought us together five years ago couldn’t sustain us as one community standing for liberty and justice for all.
“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

We are a country at war, fighting for democracy and an end to terrorism. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we, at the same time, could be a country fighting for understanding, acceptance, and equality for all?

Sunday, September 10, 2006
First Original Pattern: Kitty Lay and Play

While procrastinating on my next big project, I decided to make a few quick cat things to send to the cat shelter in Anchorage. While making a nice soft cat mat, I started to think about what my fur-babies love, and that gave me the idea for the Kitty Lay and Play – my first original design!

This is so simple that I hesitate to call it a design, but I think it’s a good cat item and wanted to share it. It's basically a cat blanket with an attached tassel toy.

My kitties love rough textures. They rub themselves on mats and sisal whenever they can, so I thought that a textured blanket might be better than the nice soft one I was working on.

I used Lily Sugar and Cream with a G hook, but you can use any worsted weight yarn with the hook size of your choice. You can also make this as big or as small as you like depending on the size of your furry friend. Mine is rather small – about 11” x 14”.

Stitches used: CH, SC, DC, FPDC, BPDC
This is a very simple pattern. I would call it advanced beginner - only because of the front and back post stitches.

To make one:

(throughout the pattern your turning chains count as your first DC)

1) Chain 57 (or any odd number of stitches to match the width that you want). Double crochet in the second stitch from hook and across to the end.
2) Turn and Chain 2 (this is your first DC). * in next stitch FPDC, DC in next stitch * Repeat this pattern across to end. You will end on a DC
3) Turn and chain 2. * In next stitch BPDC, DC in next stitch* Repeat pattern across to the end. You will end on a DC

The DC always goes in the DC of the previous row. The BPDC goes around the FPDC of the previous row.

Repeat rows 2 and 3 until you reach the size that you would like.
This pattern creates a ribbed texture across the blanket.

To finish: do 3 sc in the corner where you ended. SC in each stitch down the side.
At the next corner: 2sc, chain 5, sc in same sc, sc (three sc with a loop in the center)
Continue sc all the way around the piece and finish off. Weave in end.

For the tassel:
Leaving a 3 inch tail, Chain 35
Attach to the corner loop that you made with a sc
SC back down the length of the chain
End off leaving a 3 inch tail
Tie the two tail ends together.

Wrap the yarn around three fingers about 30 times (more will make a fuller pom pom, less will make a looser tassel). Slide the yarn off your fingers and thread the chain tails through. Tie ends tightly through the loop. Cut loops on the opposite side of the ties to create the tassel/pom pom.

This is a very simple pattern, but it is my first original. Feel free to use it for personal pieces and for charity, but please do not copy and post it elsewhere. You can post links to this pattern if you’d like to share it.

Cute bag tested

I love testing patterns for designers!

This bag and cell phone cozy is from a pattern that I tested for "Mommahooks" at Crochetville. It's a cute bag for a young girl.

The cell phone cozy is supposed to have a flower on it. I had some trouble making the flower, and in the end left it off, not because I couldn't make it, but because I selected autumn colors for the bag and a bright pretty flower just didn't go.

Thanks for letting me test!! It was an easy pattern to complete.

Friday, September 08, 2006

When I first heard the term "pillowghan", I couldn't even imagine what it was. I know what a pillow is, and I know what an afghan is, but pillowghan....what the heck.

Well, once again Crochetville is giving me an education. A pillowghan is an afghan that can fold up into a self contained pillow case. It's an afghan - it's a pillow - you got peanut butter in my chocolate!

Anyway, my mother-in-law will be going in for a hip replacement later this month. Bless her heart she is a trooper. She's obviously uncomfortable and in some pain, and she's facing major surgery and a tough recovery, but she's dealing with it all with strength and practicality. I'm so proud of her!

After the hospital she'll have to be in a rehab center for a few weeks to learn how to walk on her new hip. Hubby and I don't live nearby so we won't be able to visit. I wanted to make a few things for her to take with her - things that will remind her that we love her, but also things that she will be able to use. My first project was a pillowghan. She can use it as a lap blanket if it's cold or a pillow to help her be more comfortable.

This is the first pillowghan I've ever made, and only my second adult sized afghan. I'm pleased with how it came out. The colors don't show well, but it's a very pretty pastel lavender with a pink variegated edging.

Tomorrow I start on project number two. I'm really excited about this one because it will be my first original design! Maybe it will turn out well, maybe it will be a disaster - either way it will be fun to try!

Important lessons
Today I learned an important lesson.

I've been waiting for some good news. There was a great opportunity that I thought I could take advantage of. I was so very excited about it. Making all sorts of plans. Well, things didn't go like I had hoped. I'm incredibly disappointed, and yes, I shed a few tears, but overall I feel ok.

Now, I am a Worm of strong emotions, and I don't generally deal well with great disappointments, but somehow I'm able to keep this one in perspective. I didn't get what I want, but I am married to an amazing man, I have my health, I have family and friends, and in the big picture this lost opportunity isn't earth shatteringly painful.

A few months ago this probably would have had me spending a few days moping. Instead, I'm disappointed but hopeful. I know that there will be more opportunities. I know that its not a good idea to count chickens before they hatch. I know that even when I want something so badly that I can taste it, not getting it won't ruin my life.

So I'm sad, and I'm sure I'll shed a few more tears, but life should be a celebration of accomplishments and love - not a mourning of things lost or unattainable.

So does this mean I'm growing up? Nah. I'm still a kid at heart, but maybe, just maybe, I'm getting a little bit healthier in my outlook.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Back to Normal
Well, the baby shower is over. It was wonderful. My niece looks beautiful and she received so many wonderful gifts! It was a really fun day and I'm so glad that I was there (Tropical Storm Ernesto tried to mess with my travel plans, but it all worked out in the end).

Until this little one is born and we know if it's a boy or a girl, I'm taking a break on baby things.

My Mother-in-law is having a hip replacement later this month, so I'm rushing to finish my first pillow-ghan for her. Very simple pattern - it's actually a solid that I hope to embellish with some flowers. When I finish that, I have drawn out the design for my very first original pattern. We'll see how that goes.

Other than that, I'm trying to get some charity projects in. I sent out another batch of cat toys to the shelter in Anchorage. I've made a few soap savers and when I've made a few more will send them to a friend in my hearts and hands group to send to her son's marine unit. Also working on more hats and lap blankets for Roswell Park Cancer Center and some baby things for Cyndi at Hearts and Hands.

It's been wonderful making things for my grand nieces (or nephew) but its just as rewarding to make goods for charity. :) Not sure when I got so hooked on crochet, but I'm hooked.