Sunday, 11 March 2018

March Intentions

Hello friends. I'm a little later with this post than I had planned, but better late than never.....
February certainly flew by, but in and among all the busyness of life I managed to fulfill some of the intentions that I set out at the beginning of the month. I did a minor clean out of my closet, getting rid of worn out clothes or ones that don't suit/fit. I baked a plant based dessert - Pistachio Coconut Bars - and they were delicious. We have a cottage booked for a week this summer, right on the lake, and I can't tell you how excited I am to sit by the water or on the porch and crochet. A financial goal of ours was reached. And I have made a few comfy additions to my crochet corner and spent some time tucked up there working on my latest project - the colorful stripes in the above photo.

As for my scarf pattern - it's out in the world, have you seen it?

Having set intentions in February and then having met them was incredibly satisfying for me, so I'm doing the same for March:
  • clean out the girls' closets
  • finish my Blooming Flower Cushion (it's going to be gorgeous!)
  • buy tulips
  • get summer camps organized for the girls
  • go for walks 
  • read two books
And I think I'll leave it at that...a manageable list.

What are your intentions for March? I'd love to hear. 

Sunday, 4 March 2018

The Seaside Scarf

I feel a bit like I am stepping out from behind the curtain here, and there are definitely butterflies in my stomach, but today I am very excited to share with you the very first crochet pattern that I have ever designed....The Seaside Scarf
I know, right? So exciting!!!!!

Designing a pattern is something that I have wanted to do for a long time, but for one reason or another it never happened. And to be fair, as fun as the idea sounded, it also seemed incredibly daunting. But sometimes you just need to get over yourself and do it, know what I mean? And the results of doing that can be so rewarding and fulfilling.
As someone who has not crocheted many wearables, I was surprised that I was drawn to design a scarf. I always thought that if I ever got to designing a crochet pattern that it would be an amigurumi friend...who knows, that may still come.
This scarf is textured, yet the stitch pattern is very simple. It is a great project to work on while watching television or while waiting for/watching your children participate in their lessons. Best to keep those hands busy, and fill every spare moment with a little creativity, am I right?
I've used a multi-colored yarn for my scarf (Caron Tea Cakes in Pistachio Macron). The colors remind me of the seaside and I think the texture created by the stitches resembles the patterns left by the the waves as they roll in and out along the shore - hence the name: Seaside Scarf. That being said, I do think this scarf would look lovely in a solid color, a color that speaks to you and makes you incredibly happy to have wrapped around your neck.
I've written the pattern for the Seaside Scarf below should you wish to make one of your own. I hope you enjoy it, I really hope you do.

The Seaside Scarf

Caron Big Cakes in Pistachio Macron (1 cake)
Size H crochet hook (5 mm)
Tapestry Needle

Gauge: 13 dc by 8 rows equals a 4 inch square

Dimensions: width: 7.5 inches; length: 62 inches without fringe, 80 inches with fringe

1 ch = 1 sc
3 ch = 1 dc

Abbreviations (US terms):
ch - chain
sc - single crochet
dc - double crochet
sk - skip
fpdc - front post double crochet

ch 216

Row 1: sc in second ch from hook, sc in each ch across, turn (215 sc)

Row 2: ch 3, sk 1 sc, dc in next sc, *ch 1, sk 1 sc, dc in next 2 sc*, repeat across ending with 2 dc, turn (72 2dc groups) (Note: when repeating row 2, end with 1 dc in top of turning ch from previous row)

Row 3: ch 1, sk 1 dc, *sc in next dc, 1 sc in ch 1 space from previous row, *sc in next 2 dc, 1 sc in ch 1 space from previous row*, repeat across ending with 1 sc in top of turning 3ch from previous row, turn (215 sc)

Row 4: ch 3, sk 1 sc, dc in next sc, dc in each sc across ending with 1 dc in turning chain from previous row, turn (215 dc)

Row 5: ch 2, sk 1 dc, fpdc in next dc, sc in next dc, *fpdc in next dc, sc in next dc* repeat across ending with 1 sc in top of turning 3ch from previous row, turn (107 fpdc)

Row 6: ch 3, sk 1 st (the sc that ended the previous row), dc in next stitch, dc in each stitch across ending with 1 dc in top of turning 2ch from previous row, turn (215 dc)

Row 7: ch 1, sk 1 sc, sc in next dc, sc in each dc across ending with 1 sc in top of turning 3ch from previous row, turn (215 sc)

Repeat rows 2 - 7 two times.
Repeat rows 2 and 3.
Fasten off and weave in all ends.

To create the fringe: cut 100 pieces of yarn 18 inches in length. Holding five 18 inch pieces together, fold them in half, holding a loop at one end. Feed the loop through the end of a row, pull the open ends through the loop and pull snug. Repeat along each end of the scarf, adding as much or as little fringe as you would like.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

A Canadian Toque and Scarf

Standing in the snow, wearing boots, sweatpants, and my newly crocheted red and white toque and scarf, made me feel like the All-Canadian-Girl.
I am quite proud of my hat, as in all my years crocheting this is the first hat that I have ever made. The pattern is from Megmade with Love, a free pattern on her website. I used a thinner yarn than she did so I needed to play with the number of pattern repeats a bit to get a hat that fit my head, but it all worked out in the end.
My scarf is made with a new-to-me stitch pattern, the Millstone Stitch. Once you get the hang of it, this pattern works up quite beautifully and is very rhythmic to work on.
After many years of putting it off, I finally bought a new winter coat for myself, and this scarf and hat look perfect with it. We've had some hints of spring the last few days but I know better than to declare the end of winter; with a few more months of cold and snow ahead of us, I'm glad to have a lovely toque and scarf to get me through.
Patterns: Hat, Scarf
Yarn: Stylecraft DK in Cream and Claret
Photo Credit: my husband and his 50mm lens

Thursday, 1 February 2018

February Intentions

I don't know about you, but for me January felt like the longest month ever and generally speaking I've been feeling a little blah and unmotivated. I don't know what it is, but I just can't seem to get into the groove of things. I have ideas and things I want to do, but actually doing them seems incredibly difficult. I'm not sure what is causing this, though one guess is the weather. Grey days and only tiny snippets of sunshine here and there just make me want to curl up in bed.

But enough is enough, so with a new month upon us, I thought I would set a few intentions for myself, a list of things to get at in February in the hopes that it will pull me out of my funk just a bit. Here goes....
  • write up and release to the world the scarf pattern that I designed
  • make summer holiday plans 
  • bake a plant based dessert
  • collect tile samples for our kitchen back splash
  • check off a financial goal
  • minor closet clean out
  • update my crochet corner
And I'll leave it at that, a manageable list. And I'll report back at the end of the month to see how I do. Funny thing, I'm feeling better already, knowing that my intentions are well defined and expressed. Bring on February....we can make it through these dark days of winter....

Photos: carnations that last forever and brighten my days, my favorite blanket that I've made, a little project I've started working on again.

Friday, 26 January 2018

Right Now

  • I'm trying to get my head around the fact that January is almost over
  • My feet are cold
  • I am baffled by the fact that someone stole stationary supplies from my desk at work - why?
  • I am psyching myself up to wear a swimsuit on the weekend. It's Bridget's birthday party on Saturday and as per her wish we are going swimming. I want to celebrate her birthday, I do, I'm just not excited to put on a swimsuit in January.
  • The days are getting a little bit longer - have you noticed?
  • I have a craving for brussel sprouts - how weird is that?
  • I need to remember to make a hair appointment....
  • I'm designing my own crochet pattern for a scarf and after only a handful of botched attempts, it is going well and looking just like I had envisioned.
  • I'm wishing for spring, like I do at this time every year
  • I'm enjoying the sun and blue skies outside my window
  • I'm happy to be at home on this beautiful day
  • We just got home from skating and it was awesome
What are you up to right now?

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

A Big Chunky Blanket

I made a big, chunky, granny stitch blanket.
I hadn't really intended to make another blanket, as we certainly have enough in the house, but this blanket seemed destined to be made: the yarn was on sale for an incredible price, the colors coordinate with my living room perfectly, I had been thinking of working with chunky yarn which I've not done much of, and the free pattern on the label was the perfect project. See, meant to be; it would have been disgraceful for me to walk away from all these positive signs.

The yarn is Caron Tea Cakes. I love that this yarn is variegated and that the colors blend from one to another as you crochet so that when you're done you have a gorgeous, multicolored blanket without many ends to darn in; that's what I call a win-win.
I stumbled across the yarn at Michaels around the beginning of December when they were having a huge yarn sale. The yarn section of the store was full of ladies picking out yarn and chatting with each other about their projects. One lady told me all about how she was going to crochet octopuses for her grandchildren for Christmas and she wanted me to help her pick her colors. It was so inspiring to be around so many people who were excited about yarn; that does not happen every day.

Like I said, the pattern for this blanket was on the yarn label. It was a simple pattern - easy to work on while watching Game of Thrones - and I even learned a new-to-me trick. Because it is a rectangular blanket, you start by making a chain and then crochet your groups of three around the chain. Having the solid chain in the center keeps the design straight. I've often made granny square blankets and the center has gone off and not been straight at all, even after blocking, which really bothers me. Starting with a chain adds some stability, its' a little tip I'll have to remember.
It's been very cold and damp around here lately and having an extra blanket in the living room has been welcome. Pajamas, this blanket wrapped around me, a cup of tea, and my next crochet project in my lap - this is what my evenings are all about. Life is good.

Yarn: Five Balls of Caron Tea Cakes in Oolong
Pattern: from the label

Monday, 15 January 2018

Three Things

Hello Monday!

Three things that are making me happy today as I start the week:

A day off work. I sometimes have to work weekends at my job, and it is not my favorite. On the plus side, I do get two days off during the week in lieu, which is not all bad. I have several hours to myself today while my family is at school and work - time to get caught up on some house stuff, do some errands, and then hopefully fit in a little crochet.

Loose leaf tea - I have been converted, tea in bags is just dust in comparison. Brewing tea from loose leaves has changed my life. It's delicious.

Recommitting to clean eating. It is a lot of work to plan meals and chop veggies, but I feel so much better physically, and feel more content with how I am providing for my family, that the extra effort is worth it.

What is making you happy as you start another week?