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Posts Tagged ‘Crochet’

My modus operandi for knit and crochet projects seems to be biting off more than I can chew, usually in the form of enormous blankets that take me months, or even years, to finish. I decided that I should maybe take a different approach and try a few smaller scale projects here and there, especially stash-busting efforts that would slowly nibble away at my modest stockpile of odds and ends.

Way back in June, I mentioned that my goal for the month was to try some amigurumi toward this end. I don’t know if there is a specific definition of amigurumi, but I take it to mean the crocheting of cute, small, and sometimes eclectic items, particularly animals and sometimes objects. I don’t know how small amigurumi is technically supposed to be, but I fell in love with this adorable giraffe, which claims to be amigurumi but is a bit large. Amigurumi or no, I decided I wanted to try my hand at whipping up a stuffed animal in crochet, starting with this one.

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June is already here, and it is already shaping up to be a busy and eventful month. May went slowly and quickly at the same time. Initially, I didn’t have a grand plan for a May monthly challenge, but it ended up being a month for wrapping up a ton of projects that we’ve had on our agenda for quite a while. From putting the final touch on our room renovation to installing a spice rack, we made significant and satisfying progress on our to-do list. It’s still half a mile long, but progress nonetheless.

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So, funny story…

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For my second Furlough Friday, I imagined making grand plans for a spectacular activity that would really amaze and impress you. However, I didn’t actually come up with anything like that. The best I could do was to string together some moderately interesting alliterative items that still made for a fruitful furlough.

  • Fancy Flowers: technically I accomplished this yesterday, but I just considered it a prelude to my FF festivities. I’ve kind of wanted an orchid since we moved here; I have seen them every single time we’ve gone to Home Depot in Rockville, and I’ve been tempted numerous times. For some reason I decided today was the day for one. So Bart helped me pick out an appropriately fabulous one, and now it’s gracing our dining table. Now to figure out how to care for it…

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  • Furniture Finds: today I wanted to check out ReStore, the Habitat for Humanity thrift shop up in Gaithersburg. People donate lots of junk that gets resold, and the proceeds go toward Habitat. I just knew I was going to find an awesome piece of vintage furniture just waiting for me to upcycle it into some unique statement piece for my home. It didn’t quite work out that way, though a couple of items caught my eye. One was a salt and pepper shaker set of two silver birds, very quaint and vintage. The other was a mid-century cedar chest with an interesting wood grain. I passed on both today, but who knows…I may get a notion to go back tomorrow with Bart and see if they’re still around.
  • Foaming Facewash: A boring, practical need, but I successfully accomplished it while packaging it with an overall fun trip to Target.
  • Funky Flats: I also hit the shoe store with great expectations, as I saw a cute pair of kelly green flats that really caught my eye on an advertising email they sent out this week. I was just sure I needed them. However, they had neither that color or my size in the store. Alas.

Very green…..very not quite going to happen I guess.

  • Feathered Friend: surprisingly, my most successful accomplishment today was just playing around with yarn scraps from my recently completed mitered square blanket. Armed with my new mad crocheting skills, I’ve been thinking of trying some of those cute little amigurumi animals. However, I look at the patterns and realize I don’t actually have crochet skills; I just know how to single crochet. While it is my modus operandi to dive in way over my head with a new crafting skill by taking on a project way beyond my faculties, I decided I should take a step back this time and ease in with a simpler yet still adorable project. So I made this little guy:

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He actually turned out super well! I learned how to crochet in the round with the magic circle, and I learned to increase. Plus, small projects that you can finish in two hours are quite satisfying after spending multiple years working on that dang blanket.

So, my Furlough Friday wasn’t Fabulously Flabbergasting, but it was Fun and Fulfilling. While nobody enjoys being furloughed, taking the time to do some cool things makes up for it a bit.

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It’s done. It’s finally done. All the squares, all the stitching together, all the weaving in ends, all the border. I’m going to go bury my knitting needles now.

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Oh wait, is that a hole where my woven-in ends have come undone?…. Dang it.

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For my sister-in-law’s baby shower last weekend, I finally finished a baby blanket I had been working on for a few weeks. This was actually my first real crochet project ever, and despite a few boo-boos it doesn’t look too bad. While it was only one solid sheet of single crochet, I consider my long-standing goal of “learning to crochet” finally completed.

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I’m primarily a knitter and am fairly advanced in what I can do, and so far I still feel like I prefer it to crochet, but I would like to say one day that I am proficient in both. I do plan on expanding my skills to advanced topics such as double crochet, increasing and decreasing, and working in the round in the future. However, for the immediate future regarding my crafting, I have other plans.

There’s this blanket I’ve been working on for quite a while (but I am no longer admitting to exactly how long; it’s embarrassing). I made a blanket just like it a few years ago; if you have come to stay with me before, you will recognize it as the bedspread in our spare room. I am somewhat infatuated with it, but for some reason I decided I needed to make another one.

This is no piddly little baby blanket, though; it’s a full-sized, intricate object with a complex color scheme that requires meticulous planning to make sure that no pattern is repeated and that I don’t run out of yarn, the amount of which I carefully calculated with a small amount of wiggle room. It also requires careful arrangement of squares so that no larger unit repeated the same color and no color was touching anywhere, except maybe at a corner. For those interested knitters, this is the classic “mitered square blanket” from the book Mason-Dixon Knitting (pattern here on Ravelry ).

It has languished for many moons as I have gradually knitted the 36 separate small mitered squares required for it. Last year before we moved, I finally completed all the individual pieces and laid out the placement of the squares, but the move interrupted the final seaming of it all together. Actually, moving was just an excuse to avoid it; seaming and weaving in all those loose ends is practically the worst thing ever. Here is the layout:

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Daunting, no? There are 36 individual squares requiring 36 separate, small seams to generate nine larger squares, which in turn must be seamed together as well. Not to mention that when it’s all done, I intend to make a black border around the entire thing, which is something like four feet on each side. So now you know why it’s taken so long.

No more excuses, however. I’ve decided to create a monthly challenge for May to completely finish this blanket, seams and border and all. It’s time to get it done, and making a conscious and public goal will keep me on task for completion. I’ve found monthly challenges to be an excellent way to tackle projects that need some focus and a little time. Paired with a goal of the week, it helps me be so much more productive at home, and even at work. So hopefully I will be able to share the finished product with you in a few weeks…wish me luck!

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