Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Constructive Criticism, please

As I've blogged, I'm involved in a very exciting new charity group called Marine Corps Kids.

My dear friend Sara designed our logo, which is pretty darned adorable!!!

I've been working on a graph chart for crafting (crochet, knitting, cross stitch, canvas art, etc) using the bulldog pup logo, and it's been a challenging project. I've only actually done 2 very simple 2 color graphs before. This is the first that I've done on my own, and, while still a fairly simple design, the most complicated I've done.

This is the third version, and I think it's a fairly decent image, but I'm not sure if it really reads as the bulldog pup in the logo.

Opinions, constructive criticism, and advice are welcomed and appreciated.

Sunday, January 28, 2007
Warm and Cozy

This is another fleece blanket that I finished with a crochet edge using my Edgerydoo. This one is edged with Bernat Lulu yarn. Luly has been discontinued, and I bought a bunch because it's so soft and cuddley. Unfortunately, it's incredibly hard to work with. It's very fluffy, and I find it almost impossible to see my stitches and keep track of where I am. It's perfect, however, for edging blankets! It gives a really soft and snuggly egde to a soft fleece blanket. I tried, but just couldn't work this yarn well enough to make a matching hat.

I have a lot of Lulu, so I guess there will be many more Lulu edgerydoos.

This one will be going to Operation Marine Corps Kids.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Ribbed Baby Cap

Last night I was exhausted. I wanted to relax and crochet, but I was too tired to follow a pattern so I just started hooking, and ended up with this ribbed baby cap. I can't call it an original pattern because someone else came up with this ribbing, but it was fun to make, and I think it's cute.

I'll bo donating this hat to Marine Corps Kids.

O Baby Hat - charity pattern

"O Baby" is my new hat pattern. It's a quick and simple pattern to make, and I think it's rather cute if I may say so myself.

I designed this hat to help launch Operation Marine Corps Kids a new charity that is being formed to send hand-crafted items to babies and children of deployed marines.

I'll be happy to share this pattern with anyone who is interested. In return, I ask that you donate one finished hat to Marine Corps Kids.

If you would like a copy of the pattern, please e-mail me at wormswords@gmail.com, and I'll be glad to send you a copy of the pattern.

Monday, January 22, 2007
O Baby
Last week I was playing around with a hat pattern. I recorded what I was doing, but half way through I decided it was "odd" so I stopped writing the pattern, but finished the hat. When I tried it on, it was sort of cute! I didn't like the yarn I had used - it was too heavy, and I think the color doesn't work well with the pattern, but I liked the shape and fit of the hat.

I thought it would be a cuter hat if it where done in a darker yarn - something varigated, and if it were made in a smaller size for a child or baby. Last night I made this version:

I like the way it came out.

While the pattern is rather simple, I had a heck of a time putting it into writing. I have a few crocheters from Crochetville testing the pattern for me, and as soon as they give me their thumbs up I'll share this pattern.

I've named this one "O Baby Hat" for a special Baby O that I love very much.

Sunday, January 21, 2007
Some recent projects

Lately I've been fighting some fatigue and have just wanted to do some quick and easy projects. I made these. '
The first two hats (with the ribbon trim) were made from my Ava Hat pattern.
The next hat is something that I just made up as I went along. I started to record the pattern, but decided that I didn't like it. Then when I finished and tried it on, I actually thought it was a cute hat. I'm going to go back and try to write up the pattern. I think it would be cute in a child size.
The last hat is just a simple preemie cap that I made. I didn't use a pattern - it's just a quick plain hat so I made a little flower to sew on.
All of these will be donated to charities.
I also used my Edgerydoo to trim a few baby t-shirts. These were so fast and easy, I can't even call them crochet projects. I saw the little camo shirts at the store, and thought they would be perfect for Marine Corps Kids, so I added a little trim to make them a little more cute.

Thursday, January 18, 2007
A tear jerker with a happy ending
One of the members at Crochetville posted a link to this story, and I had to share it here. Warning - you may need some tissues to read it- it's a sad story, but it's also a happy one. It's a story about what horrible things people will do - in this case to an innocent animal, and of how there is so much love and healing in the world.

When my Birdie died, my husband and I adopted Tater because we wanted to DO something. We wanted to focus on what we could do and not on our sadness. It was a smart decision - Tate is a delight!

The doggie in this story, Noel, had a rough life. The story might make you angry or sad. The photos are horrifying - until you get to the last photo - a photo of Noel with her new mom. There is so much love there - it's heartwarming.

If I may quote Bernie Berlin (the writer of the blog):
Blame is so easy, forgiveness is hard.. What I've learned is. to focus my energies on what I can do..How I can make the future of these animals better. The stories read here on this blog, prove that we all can make a difference together, each one of us doing our part.You who read, who care, who love are all a part of this journey and with the intention of love that we all share and send out to the world, change will happen.. I believe this with all my heart. Not fast enough, but we cannot ever give up hope.. Someday, things will be different and the world will be a better place..

Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Chocolate Mousse
Ok. This has nothing to do with Crochet or anything else that I talk about here, but I love chocolate, I love moose, I love mousse, and I love this sketch and song!!!!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Marine Corps Kids

I am very excited to be involved in a new charity project called Marine Corps Kids. My friend Deb and I are creating this charity group to work in conjunction with the Marine Corps Family Foundation. This charity will collect hand-crafted items - baby hats and blankets, stuffed toys, hats, sweaters, afghans, accessories, etc, to distribute to the children of deployed marines. Many babies are born while their daddies are overseas. Many other children have to say goodbye to parents or older siblings who are deployed. They all deal with a lot of sacrifice and uncertainty, and they are, in my eyes, some of our tiniest heroes. Through Marine Corps Kids, we hope to be able to send these little heroes a little bit of love and let them know that their sacrifice is appreciated.

Deb’s son is a marine who has served three tours in Iraq. She started a blog called "Marine Corp Moms" where she and other Marine Corps family members could share their thoughts, pride, fear and support. It's been a wonderful and active blog. She has been very involved in the Marine Corps Family Foundation and spearheaded the Operation Santa project that sent holiday stockings to thousands of deployed marines during the holiday season.

Deb has done so much for Marines and for their families, and I am in awe of what she has accomplished. I am passionately involved with crafting for charity, and have been crocheting for various groups for the last few years. Deb and I are combining our know-how and our passion to create Marine Corps Kids.

There is a contest right now sponsored by the VA Mortgage Center for the top military blogs. The winner will receive a cash prize and some well deserved publicity. Deb has generously pledged to donate any winnings to get Marine Corps Kids off the ground. The money will pay for the postage to send our handcrafted items to kids throughout the country.

Please help by voting here for “Marine Corps Moms”. If you click on the blog and read through some of her many entries over the past few years, you will see just how much good Deb has done.

Your vote will be very much appreciated.

Monday, January 15, 2007
Preemie Cap and Edged Fleece Blanket

I just finished this little set.
The blanket is a piece of mint green fleece that I edged in Bernat Softee Baby Her Jeans Ombre. I used my EdgeryDoo for the first time. I need to buy a cutting surface so the edges will be cleaner, but honestly, after I crocheted the trim, I don't think the imperfections show.
The blanket, to my surprise, took almost a full skein of yarn, but I had enough left to make a matching preemie cap.
I think that this set will be going to a friend of mine who works in a NICU unit and can donate it to one of the little ones there.

Saturday, January 13, 2007
Textured Mesh Scully Cap Pattern

This is what I've been working on for the last two days.
It's a very simple cap pattern that works up quickly.

Textured Mesh Scully Cap

Worsed Weight Yarn (I used cotton Sugar ‘n Cream)
G hook (for small child/large baby size)
H hook (small adult, large child)
I Hook (for adult average)

Chain 4, join w/ slip stitch to first chain to form a loop.
1) Ch 2 (counts as first dc), 7 DC in the loop, join w/ slip stitch (8 dc) chain 3

2) 2 dc in each stitch, join w/ slip stitch (16 dc) chain 3

3) DC and TC in first (joining) stitch and all the way around (32 stitches). Join w/ slip stitch to top of first DC, Chain 3, TURN

4) TC and SC in next stitch and all the way around (62 stitches). Join w/ slip stitch to top of first tc. Chain 4, turn

5) Skip the TC and dc in the next sc, chain 1, (dc in next sc, chain 1) around. Join w/ slip stitch to third chain of the chain 4 at the start of the row. turn

6) Chain 4, sc in first space, TC and sc in each space around. Join w/ slip stitch, chain 4, turn

7-12) Repeat row 5 and 6 (3 times) 7 8 9 10 11 12

13) repeat row 5

14) sc in each dc and each ch1 space around – join w/ slip stitch

15) chain 1, sc around

16) chain 1, reverse single crochet around. Finish off.

These images are clickable. Believe it or not, they're the same hat - just different lighting. I'm showing both because my styrofoam head is really petite (or I have a really fat head) so that the hat looks quite different on her. It's a fitted cap, not a bucket hat.

Note – I made the adult cap version with an I hook and worsted weight cotton. Had I used another fiber yarn that has more stretch, this hat would have been too large for me. For Acrylic, wool or blends I would recommend an H hook for an average adult.

Monday, January 08, 2007
1-8-06 Rant du Jour - Driving
Drivers stink.

It's not just that people drive badly - they're rude.

I've been thinking about it. We, as a society, spend bazillions on trying to make cars safer. Air bags, roll bars, child seats, crumple zones, etc etc. this is all good stuff, BUT.....

I have come to the conclusion that we could have fewer tragic driving accidents if we invested just a tiny bit more in drivers-ed and safety.

I'm 43 years old. The last time I had a behind the wheel drivers test, I was 17.

As unpopular as it will be, I have come to the conclusion that the BEST thing we can do to reduce accidents is to make people drive better and be more courteous. SO....

I think:

- EVERYONE - I don't care how old you are - should have to take a yearly drivers test to get a license renewed. Of course I think that the DMV will need to revise their scheduling and increase hours of operation, but this small PIA can have a big impact on safety. If you can't pass the test - no license!

- We need reasonable "rules of the road" and they should be enforced. If you speed - you get a ticket. If you don't signal lane changes - you get a ticket. If you cut people off - you get a ticket.

- Driving should be a task - not a thing you do while you do your hair, make-up, read, eat, drink, talk on the phone, discipline your kids, etc. Now don't go nuts - obviously you may have to discipline your kids while driving, but there are things you can do while driving and things that you should pull over to do.

I do think cars should be safe. I do think kids should be in safety seats. BUT - I really think that if people took driving more seriously and that if people were better, safer, more considerate drivers, we would have a lot less problems on the road. Good driving habits could save a lot more lives than airbags!

And while I don't want to get into the whole thing about whether or not we should have seat belt and/or helmet laws (and regardless of what you think about that issue - if people drove better it wouldn't be such an issue), but I can't for the life of me understand how any state can require seat belts but not helmets. Maybe neither should be required, but how can you justify enforcing one and not the other?

And how the heck can you allow people to ride unrestrained in the back of a pick up truck?

What the heck has happened to common sense?

Sunday, January 07, 2007
Preemie Girl Set

I was working on squares for the for the EACares preemie blanket project, after making a bunch realized that I left out an entire row of the pattern. It's fine, but my squares are smaller than they should be - which means they won't work with everyone else's squares.

I decided to make a preemie blanket from them anyway - I can donate this one to another NICU, and then when the group completes all our squares, I'll have had practice in joining and edging them.

I loved the Angelcraft patterns that I used for the preemie caps and sweaters, and got permission from the designer to use the hat cuff pattern as a blanket border. I think that they make a nice and cheerful preemie set.

The caps and sweaters will go with the EACares group package to the twins in Texas, and we'll make similar polka dot blankets to go with them. I love the flower edging for the blankets, but think that perhaps using slip stitching for joining might be beter than the flat braid method.

Friday, January 05, 2007
There is a feeling that has been creeping up on me for a few weeks now. I feel like I'm sloppy.

I can see that my crochet skills have really improved over the last year, and I'm very proud of my progress and things that I've made, but I think I'm sloppy. I looked through images of my work, and I look at images of other people's projects, and I need to improve mine. Not the basics - the finishing. I don't like the way my ends don't look neat. I weave them in as I go, and I wrap the ends through my stitches, but they don't look professional.

And joining squares - Oy!
I like the flat braid method - love it in fact. I love the way it looks, but I want mine to be more perfect - more even - not pulled. I want my ends to be woven in without fuzzies sticking out or joining showing.

I'm not sure how to achieve this. A bit more time - a bit more patience. Maybe I need to explore more joining options. I think I need to leave longer tails and weave things in much further.

This is not a "woe is me, my work is icky" thread, but honestly, I can do better. I think I need to block my work and really pay attention to the finishing.

I love the little preemie sweaters that I just finished, but the fronts don't line up perfectly straight. I'm really not sure if that is me, my tension, or just a need for blocking.

My comment section is open for anyone with advice or helpful hints.

Cease and Desist

I mean cease with da cyst!!!
Some of my dearest friends are e-friends. I'm so lucky to have met wonderful folks through message board groups.
One of my friends' daughter is active on the board, and I have adopted her as my e-child. This is a wonderful relationship - she's in college and I don't have to pay tuition! I can just beam and be proud!
Well, the e-child had to have not one but two pesky cysts surgically removed this year. Not a fun thing for her or her bio-mom! It is time to cease with da cysts!
Since I won't pay her tuition, and I can't do cyst removal, I did what any respectable crafter would do. I made her Lumpy D. Cyst - a cute and cuddly plush cyst to be the last cyst in her life.
The photo doesn't do Lumpy justice - it's really rather lumpy. She (he?) was fun to make and brought a smile to the e-child's face.
I love crochet!

Thursday, January 04, 2007
Preemie Sets

It's really hard to imagine that these babies are so small. I hope they grow quickly and use these sets for their dolls!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Tiny Preemie Sweater

After making the cap that I posted yesterday, I looked through some of Lyn's other designs at Angelcrafts and saw this adorable sweater! Another GREAT pattern!!!

This pattern was designed for a 2-3 pound preemie. Until I made the sweater, it was hard for me to visualize exactly how small these babies are. I included the crochet hook in the photo for size reference.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Flower Preemie Cap

I just made this tiny preemie flower cap from Lyn's Designs, and I fell in love with the pattern. It's so simple and so incredibly girly! I think the parents of any tiny one would love this little cap, so I felt the need to advertise the pattern! You can find it here.

Monday, January 01, 2007
Original Pattern - Child's Striped Cap

After my last scary ugly design attempt, I felt a need to redeem myself. Today I worked on this child's cap. A very simple and versatile pattern that can be easily adjusted for adult and/or baby sizes.

Child’s Striped Cap (with instructions for adult and baby sizes)

3 colors of worsted weight yarn ( I used Caron Simply Soft)
H hook

Stitches used:
Slip stitch (ss)
BLO (back loop only) DC
Reverse SC

Basic Child’s Version

With Color A (main color)
Chain 4, slip stitch to first stitch to form a loop
1) chain 2 (counts as first hdc), 9 HDC in loop, ss to join (10 hdc including first stitch)
2) chain 2, hdc in same stitch, 2 hdc around, ss to join (20 hdc)
3) chain 2, hdc in same stitch, *hdc in next stitch, 2 hdc in next stitch*, continue pattern in * all the way around, ss to join (30 hdc)
4) chain 2, hdc in same stitch, *hdc in next 2 stitches, 2 hdc in next stitch*, continue pattern in * all the way around, ss to join (40 hdc)
5) chain 2, hdc in same stitch, *hdc in next 3 stitches, 2 hdc in next stitch*, continue pattern in * all the way around, ss to join (50 hdc)
6) chain 2, hdc in same stitch, *hdc in next 4 stitches, 2 hdc in next stitch*, continue pattern in * all the way around, ss to join (60 hdc)
7) chain 2, hdc in each stitch around (60 hdc). SS to join in back loop only – change to color B
8) Chain 3, BLO DC around ( 60 dc), ss to join in back loop only – change to color C
9) Chain 1, BLO SC around (60 sc), sc to join in back loop only – change to color B
10) Chain 3, BLO DC around ( 60 dc), ss to join in back loop only – change to color A
11) Chain 2, BLO HDC around (60 hdc) ss to join
12) Chain 2, HDC through both loops around (60 hdc) ss to join in back loop only – change to color B
13 – 15) repeat rows 8,9 and 10
16) Chain 1, BLO SC around (60 sc) sc to join through both loops.
17) Reverse sc around bottom edge to finish off. Weave in ends.

This basic pattern can easily be altered for different sizes and color combinations.

This adult size version was made in solid blue.
I started this hat by doing 12 HDC in the initial loop. Then I followed the basic pattern but added one additional row of HDC between the two stripe sections (do row 12 twice)

This baby version was done using Bernat Baby Coordinates and a G hook.
I started this version by doing only 8 HDC in the initial loop. I used just 2 colors and only did the striped pattern once (I omitted rows 13-15).

This is an original copyrighted pattern. Please feel free to print out a copy for personal use and to link to this pattern. You may use this pattern for personal and/or charity work.