Wednesday, July 25, 2007
A long needed break!

Tomorrow, in the wee hours of the morning, hubby and I leave for a long weekend vacation!

Work and life have kept us from having any type of vacation since we've met - we never even had a chance for a honeymoon! So tomorrow we fly to Buffalo. Not the most popular vacation site in the country, but a chance to see a dear friend, visit Niagara Falls, get away from the heat and humidity of Florida, and see some of the beauty of Upstate NY.

Life has been very stressful for the past few months - lots of demands and deadlines, and it's taken it's toll on me physically and emotionally. My hubby is a saint - he's been so supportive! So this weekend will be a chance for us to get away and recharge, and then when we get back, it'll be the start of a happier and less-stressful rest of our lives.

I see lots of change in our future, and I'm so so ready for it!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007
MZ Cap

This is a new pattern that I designed as a charity chemo cap. Depending on the colors used it can work well for men or women. It works up very quickly, too.

MZ Cap

Worsted Weight Yarn ( I used Bernat Denim Style) 2 colors
5.5mm hook

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

stitches used: ch, dc, hdc, sc, reverse sc, slip 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, 2 dc in next, * dc in next stitch, 2dc in next* repeat around, slip stitch to join (36 dc)

4) Chain 3, dc in next dc, 2 dc in next, * dc in next 2 stitches, 2dc in next* repeat around, slip stitch to join (48 dc)

5) 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 (60 dc)

6) Chain 3, dc in each stitch around , slip stitch to join (60 dc)

7) Chain 3, dc in each stitch around , slip stitch to join and change to color b (60 dc)

8) with color B, ch 2, hdc around, join w/ slip stitch (60 hdc)

9) ch 1, sc around, join w/ slip stitch, change back to main color (60 sc)

10) with main color, ch 1, *sc in first 2 stitches, long sc in next stitch, repeat * * around, join w/slip stitch (60 sc)
(for long sc, do the stitch in the previous row)

11) chain 2, sc around, join w/ slip stitch, change back to color B (60 sc)

12) with color B, ch 1, *sc in first 2 stitches, long sc in next stitch, repeat * * around, join w/slip stitch (60 sc)

13) ch 2, hdc around, join w slip stitch, change to main color (60 hdc)

14) w/ main color, chain 3, dc around (60 dc)

15) ch 1 reverse sc around, join w/ slip stitch and finish off (60 rev sc)

This (clickable) photo shows the hat made in Caron Simply Soft Brights. For the Mango/Red version I followed the pattern, but used an H hook for a child sized cap. I used an I hook for the Peacock/Grape hat, but the bright colors make it look very different from the original "manly version".

This is an original copyrighted pattern. Please feel free to use it for personal and/or charity use. You may link to this pattern, but please do not post it elsewhere without permission. Thank you.

Monday, July 23, 2007
My Mile-a-Minute took a detour!


I finally tried my first mile-a-minute blanket. Fast, easy, I like it!

Whoever decided that mile-a-minutes are fast, lied - they take some time.
Silly me - I completed 9 out of 12 strips and finished 2 before I layed them out. They're all the correct number of stitches. They're all a unique length.

What a waste of yarn.

Thursday, July 19, 2007
Chemo Caps
I first began crocheting for charity when a dear friend of mine was being treated for a brain tumor. I didn't know how to help, so I started sending chemo caps to the hospital where he was being treated. I've been sending things to Roswell Park Cancer Center ever since. They're a very large institute with many patients and a large pediatric ward, and it makes me feel good to send things there.

Today I heard that after a few years in remission, my friend's tumor is back and he'll be going back for some strong chemo treatments. I'm beyond sad for him, and I don't know what to do.

I've met so many wonderful charitable crafters on-line, so I wanted to put out a request for chemo caps. I know my friend would be thrilled to see all the kids in the ped's dept wearing new caps.

If you would like to join me in sending things to Roswell Park, the address for donations is:

Roswell Park Cancer Institute
Volunteer Services - Room 120
Elm and Carlton Streets ·
Buffalo, New York · 14263

If you don't send to Roswell, please consider sending hats or lapghans to your local cancer hospital.

Sunday, July 15, 2007
Hip to be Square

I finally found the time to join my squares! I think this lap-ghan is cheerful! Together with the matching chemo cap, it will be going to Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY.

There are so many great places to donate, and it's hard to support everyone. Lately, I seem to be dividing my energies between Roswell Park, Project Rest Assured and Marine Corps Kids.

Roswell Park is a huge cancer center in upstate NY. A dear friend of mine was treated there, so it is a place that will always be close in my heart. I've never been to Buffalo, but I hear great things about Roswell, and I'm glad to be able to support the patients in this tiny way.

Project Rest Assured is an effort that I heard about a few months ago. It is a charity group that donates afghans to children in foster care in the Cleveland area. It is run by a wonderful woman who has worked with foster care kids. She is doing remarkable things. Many of the kids who receive blankets are in a special home for severely autistic children.

Finally Operation Marine Corps Kids is a charity that I started with my dear friend Deb. If you've read my blog you know that we are sending hand-crafted baby gifts to children who are born while their daddy's are deployed.

I try to support other groups as I can, but these three efforts seem to have wormed their way into my heart.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Disgusted and Depressed
There have been times in my life when I have been overwhelmed with my own insignificance. I have neither the wealth nor the wisdom to make a real mark on the world, so I try to take as many tiny steps as I can to leave this earth a bit better than I found it. I donate money as I am able, I get involved in charitable causes and I comfort myself by thinking that these things may not matter on a global level, but just might make a big difference to just one individual.

Yesterday I read a story that has left me shocked, disgusted and depressed. It has me questioning things that I accepted as true, and looking at our society through a new set of eyes.

In a housing project in West Palm Beach, Florida – in the shadow of the mansions of some of the richest people on earth – is a poor housing project. In that housing project, a mother and her 12 year old son were held hostage by a gang of teens and adolescents. For three hours the son was beaten and the mother was repeatedly raped and sodomized.
After three hours, their assailants reunited mother and son. At gun-point the mother was forced to perform fellatio on her son. The two were then doused with household cleansers, burning the boy’s eyes.

Their screams for help were not answered.

After the attacks, when word got out, the reaction from many of the neighbors was ambivalence. Many of them had been raped themselves, and this crime was just another day in the projects.

I read the story and felt physically sick. I read the story and felt the same sort of shock and horror as I felt when I watched the towers fall on 9-11.

I don’t understand how this type of thing can happen in a civilized society. I don’t know what kind of environment children can be raised in that would lead them to behave in this horrific and brutal manner. I don’t know what kind of poverty and despair can lead to this form of ambivalence. I don’t understand how today in America, a stones throw from the Palm Beach mansions, a housing project (the words neighborhood or community certainly don’t fit) can exist in which this type of horror is the norm. The only conclusion that I can reach is that we don’t live in a civilized society. The assailants in this case aren’t the only villains. We who turn a blind eye to the poverty and despair that can foster this type of behavior are all guilty.

We as Americans talk about bringing peace and democracy to the world. Our troops are fighting for democracy in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. Our celebrities remind us to speak out against the horrific brutality in places like Darfur and Rwanda. We need to do something to stop the horror in Darfur and Rwanda and numerous other places, but we need to open our eyes to what is happening here.

This mother and son came to America from Haiti looking for a better life. I don’t think they found it.

We talk about stopping illegal immigration, but what do we do to assimilate the legal immigrants? This country has a long history of opening our doors to immigrants and offering a chance as “the good life”. When did we close the door? When did we stop caring?

This country was founded on the rights individuals to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but people living below the poverty level are denied all of these. Where are the jobs, the social service, the education system that gives families like this one a chance? Where is the public outrage that should be directed towards the horrific living conditions of many of our citizens and immigrants?

Have we become a society so obsessed with money and with capitalism, that we have allowed the chasm between the “haves” and the “have nots” to swallow the less fortunate amongst us?

I am disgusted and depressed. I don’t know how to process this story. I don’t think that there is any amount of money that can right what has been wronged here. I don’t know how this boy can be given his life back or how his mother can live in hope.

I am disgusted and depressed.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Another blanket for Roswell

My Hearts and Hands Charity Group is focusing on Roswell Park Cancer Institute this month. I try to send things there throughout the year, but want to get a lot made for them this month.

This is another fleece edgerydoo blanket that I'll be sending.

Thursday, July 05, 2007
My new favorite square
I remember my first granny square. It looked like a snail. It was so pathetic that I mailed it to my friend Bridgette. She is the one that taught me the basics of crochet, and I thought she would get a kick out of it.

It didn't take too many tries before I "got it", and that first granny square was such a rewarding accomplishment. Since then I've made lots of square, but I lose patience for them. Anything over a six inch square starts to feel like torture - and then they need to be joined!!! Oy!

But I do love the look of afghans made from squares, so every now and then I commit myself to the square.

Recently I bought some Caron Simply Soft Brites. I love the colors and think it'll make a really great lapghan to send to Roswell Park Cancer Institute. I found this square pattern in Leisure Arts 63 Easy-To-Crochet Pattern Stitches, and I just love the way it looks.

I have 3 more squares to make, and then I have to wait for the bright yellow yarn that I ordered to join with, but I'm anxious to see if this comes out as cheery as I'm hoping.

So this is my new favorite square pattern!

Of course there are 62 others in the book, and eventually I'll need to try them all.

WW Week 2
Week 2 weigh in at weight watchers, and I'm down another 2 pounds.
Happy happy joy joy.
So far so good - and it's been easy!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007
O Baby Hat

This is a hat pattern that I developed months ago. I offered it as a free pattern to anyone who would donate a finished cap to Operation Marine Corps Kids. Now that Marine Corps Kids is up and running, I am posting the pattern in hope that even more people will enjoy it and send a donation to the cause. Many thanks to all of the generous crocheters who already sent caps for the babies.

O Baby Hat by Wormie

Using a G Hook and baby weight yarn.

Ch 4 - sl stitch to make loop
1) ch 2, 8 hdc in loop (9 hdc) join to first hdc in back loop only (blo)
2) 2 hdc in blo in each st – 18 hdc total – join blo
3) ch 2, 1 hdc blo in same stitch, ( 1 hdc blo in next, 2 hdc blo in next ) around – 27 hds total join blo
4) ch 2, 1 hdc blo in same stitch, ( 1 hdc blo in next 2 stitches, 1 hdc blo in next stitch) around – 36 hdc total, join blo
5) ) ch 2, 1 hdc blo in same stitch, ( 1 hdc blo in next 3 stitches, 1 hdc blo in next stitch) around – 45 hdc total, join blo
6) ch 2, 1 hdc blo in same stitch, ( 1 hdc blo in next 4 stitches, 1 hdc bloin next stitch) around – 54 hdc total, join blo
7) ch 2, 1 hdc bloin same stitch, ( 1 hdc blo in next 5 stitches, 1 hdc blo in next stitch) around – 63 hdc total, join blo
8) ch 2, 1 hdc blo in each stitch around – 63 hdc totals - join
9) ch 3, 4 dc in same stitch (1st shell), skip 1 stitch, 1 hdc in next, skip next stitch shell (5 dc) in next) continue around ending w/ 1 hdc, join to third ch or first chain 3
10) slip stitch to middle dc of 1st shell, chain 1, 1sc in same stitch, V stitch (dc, ch1, dc) in next hdc, sc in 3rd stitch of next shell, continue around, join
11) chain 2, shell in V-stitch, hdc in vertical bar of sc, continue around, join w/ slip stitch to first chain 2.
12) chain 4, dc in same stitch (1st V-stitch) 1 sc in center of next shell, V stitch in hdc around, join w/ slip stitch to 3rd chain of 1st chain 4
13) shell in V-stitch, hdc in vertical bar of sc, continue around, join w/ slip stitch to first chain 2.
14) repeat row 12
15) repeat row 13
16) ch 1, sc around edge

Basic pattern notes:

The crown is made of rows of hdc in the back loop only
Start with 9 hdc, and increase in each row for 7 rows
8th row is hdc around in blo

Then the pattern starts
It alternates between two rows – a shell row and a v-stitch row.

Shell row is shell (5dc) skip one stitch, hdc, skip on stitch – repeat around
V- stitch row in V-stitch (dc ch 1 dc) in each hdc, and 1 sc in center of shell around

Alternate rows for total of 15 rows – then finish the hat with a row of sc around.

Please feel free to use this pattern for charity and/or personal use.
I ask that if you use this pattern you donate one baby sized hat to:

Marine Corps Kids
2532 N Skyline Drive
Bloomington, IN 47404

Holy Giant Leeches, Batman!

They say that rain can put a damper on your Fourth of July celebration. It's true, but in S. Florida you're foolish is you don't anticipate some serious afternoon rains on July 4th. If we're lucky it will clear up in time for fireworks. If you're realistic, you won't count on great fireworks.

I woke up this morning and did several hours of work. Then I decided that its a holiday and a time of celebration. Hubby and I decided we were going to get out and do something fun. Knowing that is WOULD rain at some point, we decided not to go on a big adventure, but just to get out and do something fun and different. I decided that hubby has been in Florida too long to not have taken an airboat ride in the Everglades - so off we went. He wasn't super enthusiastic, but thought it would be fun. Much to my delight he LOVED the airboat - and would now like to buy one. Getting back to reality, that's not going to happen. In any case we had fun and did see one lady alligator. She had been in a fight and had a wound on her snout, but stayed around long enough for us to enjoy her. Also saw some nice birds and enjoyed a fun ride.

When we were done with the ride we could tell that the rain was moving in, so rather than go far for some lunch we went to a favorite restaurant at the Sawgrass Mills Mall. For those of you who have never had the pleasure, Sawgrass Mills is 2.5 million square feet of retail hell. The largest tourist attraction in Florida after Disney, and a place that I generally avoid at all costs. There are, however, some great restaurants there - ones that don't actually require you to go into the mall, so we decided to lunch at the Grand Lux cafe. We had a great lunch! By the time we finished, the rain had started. Not just rain though - collect your animals and build an ark rain. Like any sane people we did the rational thing - ordered coffee and dessert. Yum.

After coffee and dessert the waters were rising, the lightening was striking, the thunder was booming and there was no real way of getting to the car. We decided to run into the actual mall and browse the bookstore. Just as hubby opened the restaurant door, a bolt of lightening struck, the roar of thunder boomed, and TheWorm screamed! Loudly. Loudly enough to scare an old lady in the restaurant lobby. Hubby grabbed my hand and we ran towards the bookstore. Mulch was blocking all the drains, so we waded through the waters and arrived soaked and cold.

The bookstore was inhabited by many more wet folks like us. Several racks of books were covered with plastic tarps to protect them from the rain dripping steadily from the ceiling. The A/C was on and it was COLD. We did some shopping. Bought some books for my nephew, and decided that the rain had died down enough to get to the car.

We walked back towards the parking lot, keeping under the roofs as long as possible, then set out into the rain. When we got near where we had parked, we were in ankle deep water. Much of the parking lots were flooded to knee height. It was sad!

Then I turned around to see a man whose car had either floated or been driven over the cement parking curb and into deep water. I was horrified for him. His car must be totalled - the water was well above the engine block. I walked into deeper water to ask him if he needed to use my cell phone. He said that his wife had gone into the store to call AAA. Hubby was right behind me and I turned to ask him if there was anything we could do to help, when he looked down and said "Look, Honey - a fish". Sure enough, what looked to be a five inch catfish was swimming near his ankle in the parking lot. Two young women were standing nearby. They said, "No, that's not a fish, there are leaches in the water".

That's when I told the poor man with the ruined car "Sorry, I hope your car is ok and AAA gets here soon, but I got to go!" Leaches! Giant nasty leaches in the parking lot. You can say I don't skeeve easily, buy you would be a bold faced liar! Ick!!!

The ladies said that they had seen many leaches swimming in the water. I don't know where they came from, but I wasn't hanging out long enough to find out.

Luckily, we took hubby's truck and not my little Snorkadoodle. The truck was just fine, and after driving through flooding that would damage a shorter vehicle, we came home, safe, sound and soaked to the bone.

Fireworks tonight? I think not!

Loopy Edging

The loopy edging on this blanket seems to be well received, and I had fun with it, so I wanted to share the pattern - it's quite fast and easy!

This blanket was made with the Edgerydoo. You can use it for any edging project with or without Edgerydoo (though I don't think I'd have the patience to do one without!)

Pierce the holes in your fabric and do a simple single crochet and chain one in each hole. At the end, join with a slip stich to complete the round.

For the next row, HDC all the way around and join with a slip stitch.

Finally for the loops, chain 8, skip 3 stitches and do a sc in the next stitch. Then *chain 7, skip 3 stitches and do a sc in the next stitch. Follow the pattern** around to the end and slip stitch into the first stitch of your first chain 7. At the end of this round you will have loops or arches all away around the piece with 3 "not used" stitched under every arch.

Now, slip stitch into the next two stitches (so you are in the middle stitch under the first arch). *Remove your hook and pull the empty loop through the arch to the back of the project. Put the hook back through the loop, chain 8, pull the chain back to the front of your project and sc into the empty center stitch under the next loop.* Repeat ** pattern all the way around, and join to your first stitch to finish.

Cut your yarn leaving a 3 inch tail, and weave the end back and forth through your work. You're done.

In the end you will have interlocking loops. By going from the front of the project, through the "arch" and back to the front, you interlock the loops so they form a loose twisted look and aren't too loose and floppy (don't want tiny fingers getting tangled).

Hope you like this look!

The blanket shown above (and a matching hat) were donated to Operation Marine Corps Kids. If you like this pattern and enjoy using it, please consider donating an edged blanket or hat (and any other baby item) to this great cause.

Please feel free to use this pattern for charity and personal use. You may link to this pattern, but please do not post it elsewhere without permission.

August 3, 2007

Shelly left some comments asking me to better explain the last row of this pattern. I asked my hubby to take some photos that I hope will help to illustrate how to do the interlocking arches. It's quite easy when you get the knack of it.

What Shelly was questioning was how to keep the "feeder yarn" behind the pattern, when you're working the loop from the front of the pattern. Basically, just hold the feeder yarn behind your work and it works. I did a simple edging to show the process, I hope these illustrations help (the photos are all clickable)....

When you start the last row you will have a row of arches like this:

Holding the feeder yarn behind the arches, slip stitch into the first stitch,

then do a sc into the next stitch (which is in the middle of the arch). Remember to work from the front, but keep the feeder yarn in the back:

as you can see, you are working the sc through the arch from the last round. Pull up your loop from the back to the front. Elongate the loop:

Now, remove your hook, and working from the back of your work, put the hook under the first arch, reinsert the hook through your stitch loop, and pull the loop to the back of your work:

now, working from the back, do your seven chain stitches:

working again on the front side of your work, sc in the middle stitch under the next arch. Repeat this all the way around your work

when you're done, your loops will interlock.

Hope that helps!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Jungle Baby

These little jungle babies made for a cute Edgerydoo blanket. I tried something new for the edging and wasn't sure I liked it, but now I think it came out well. I interlocked loops for this open braided look. It's a bit ruffled but not too girly, and with this tiny blue cap, I think this is a cute set for a newborn boy.
This set will be going to Marine Corps Kids.

Sunday, July 01, 2007
Operation Marine Corps Kids

I'm so happy to announce that Operation Marine Corps Kids is finally in full swing. We just packed up our first gift set for a new baby girl in California, and we have identified many expecting mom's who are due this Fall.

You can keep up with Operation Marine Corps Kids here.
Donations are welcomed and appreciated! And please do spread the word. We owe our troops so much, and remembering the wives and new babies at home is just one tiny way of showing our appreciation for their service and their sacrifice!