Category Archives: Crochet

Mixed-Stitch Madness

Hi, my name is Katie. I’m a yarn addict, and I’m constantly hooking to feed my habit.

P1020310.jpgBut in all realness… when I look back on the sheer volume of what I’ve crocheted in the past four months, I’m stunned. I’ve completed a total of 3 afghans so far, with a fourth one 3/4 of the way done. And that’s having taken a break to make the oh-so tedious dragon for my Halloween costume. That’s a LOT of crocheting. If I had to make a guess, I’d say that’s at least 40 skeins of yarn (you’re welcome, Hobby Lobby). People always ask me how much time I spent on each piece, and that’s really hard to say. The first blanket took me at least two seasons of House of Cards, plus other miscellaneous time when I picked it up at work or while watching something else. I don’t know! It does make me curious though; maybe next time I start a project I’ll punch in on a timer and see.

Like so many awesome, crafty ideas, mixed-stitch crochet found me by way of Pinterest. A long time ago I stumbled across pictures of the colorful, seemingly random, chaotic patterns that somehow looked so neatly designed. I took a stab at it on my own and failed miserably- the edges were beyond warped, and I put it aside for a while.

I picked it up again a few months ago, this time sitting down with the amazing instructions I found here. Having never mixed random stitches before, I didn’t realize that different ones required different hook sizes to make the edges straight. It took trial and error– and a whole lot of frustration with counting to 24 eight times plus 1– but I finally got it.

12105882_10100165885880739_4457990446597664563_nThe first blanket I made was for Micah, the little girl I nanny. She actually went to Hobby Lobby with me and (with some guidance) helped to choose the colors. When she saw me working on it she would ask, “is it almost done?” which I jumped on as an opportunity to teach her what “patience” meant. I decided it looked best without a border, since the edges were a little off.

To correct for the zigzagging edges on Micah’s blanket, I started using stitch markers to make the counting process a little more diligent and learn how to work each row of stitches onto any other. Once I got it down, the edges were as straight as any could be. The second blanket got a black border on all four sides, which I thought would really tie its color scheme together. I gave it to Jewel 🙂

2015-09-23 21.18.07.jpgThe next two blankets are for me and my dad; I put mine aside to try and finish his in between his birthday and Christmas. I got it done the day after Thanksgiving, so I succeeded! It is extra big, based in greens and purples, and it has a border on the two long sides. He loves it so much he doesn’t want to use it, and freaked out when my dog was sitting on it. Little does he know, Duchess was using that ol’ rag as a bed from the moment it was big enough. But I washed it (even though that freaked him out too) and the blanket is as good as new– and as good as it always will be. It might be the most perfect thing I’ve made yet.

But wait until I’m done with mine!

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Ginger Blood

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I finally got a juicer! My dad bequeathed to me both a machine, and the “recipe” for his signature breakfast concoction. I use the term recipe lightly– this is my dad we’re talking about. I gathered my intel by following him around the produce section, and listening. “You want a bit of that, but not more than that much, or maybe that’s fine, no, wait–” and “you can use this, but you don’t have to, but if you do, remember to–” and other equally ambiguous instructions. While the proportions may be tricky, the ingredients are simple enough:

  • Greens (kale, spinach, etc)
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Apples
  • Lemon
  • Ginger root

The beauty of a drink like this is that proportions don’t really matter. Make it to your tastes. Two things I’ve slightly altered from the way my dad does it, are using baby salad greens instead of mature kale (way juicier) and to DEFINITELY peel the ginger, lest it wind up gritty.

IMG_20140607_195843I love this drink. It’s fruity, earthy, sweet, and HOT. I love the hotness of the ginger, and the redness of the beets. I’m tired of referring to it as “Larry’s juice thingie”, and a beverage this good deserves a name. I cant think of anything more fitting than Ginger Blood.

On a side note, one awesome thing about juicing is all the vegetable and fruit pulp waste you can collect. I hate letting things go to waste, so luckily my chickens absolutely LOVE it when I throw this stuff out back for them. Happiness all around!

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Also, I went into Houston this weekend and gave my dad the afghan I made. Happy father’s day Dad!

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Granny Square Baby Blanket

I’ve always wanted to make a baby blanket. They’re soft and pretty and small, so they work up quick. But I’ve never had a baby to make one for, until now! Someone I know is expecting, and I couldn’t resist grabbing the crochet hook.

IMG_20140508_191157The past two blankets I made were both variations on the granny stitch: one a patchwork of granny squares, the other a chevron-granny pattern. For the baby blanket I decided to use the square pattern, but make one giant square instead of a patchwork of small ones.I did broad stripes of pastel yellow and lavender, and for the final touch added a fringe. I’d never done a fringe before, and I thought it would be time-consuming (like working in the end pieces) but it was rather fun and quick. Here’s a picture of it on my bed, so you can see the size:

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I’m rather happy with how it turned out 🙂

Crochet Project: Infinity Scarf

Melissa keeping warm in her diamond infinity-scarf

Melissa keeping warm in her diamond infinity-scarf

Somewhere in the middle of stitching together my two afghans, I took a break and made this cool infinity loop scarf. My friend Melissa was asking for one, so I told her to find me a pattern and consider it done. She sent me this cool Diamond Lattice Scarf pattern from Classy Crochet, and I really love it. The pattern is easy enough for beginners, using simple chains and slip stitches to create a stretchy, lattice-shaped texture. Beginner, but totally new to me! It’s also highly adaptable to any hook size or yarn gauge, and I went ahead and used the basic idea to make a matching headband.

About that Crochet Project…

IMG_20131118_230634About that crochet project— you know, the one I started about a month ago? My goal was to stitch together an afghan for the winter. And so I dove headfirst into doing just that. But as it turns out, afghans are no easy feat. Big, knit blankets are among those things in life that can be simple enough when you first begin, but the idea of completion seems increasingly impossible as time goes on. After whipping up a seemingly endless amount of squares– only to then realize how many squares I still had yet to make– it dawned on me: I was climbing crochet mountain. Making this afghan was a long and uphill battle, but there’s nothing like the view from the top. It took a lot of time and work, but I couldn’t be more proud of the blanket that I made.

Here are some pictures of Duchess, who has already claimed the blanket for herself. Even when I’m still working on something, she’ll take any opportunity to curl up in softness that she can. And how could I complain? Look at that faaaace.

I’ve been crocheting for as long as I can remember, and then some– I don’t even remember when I learned to use a hook. Every couple years I get the yarn bug and pick it up again, each time learning new skills and improving my technique. This was my first time making granny squares, and my first time joining separate pieces together (and yeah, there was a lot of yanking out the previous row to fix mistakes.)

IMG_20131102_205423But the most important lesson I learned this time around is this: do not mix yarns. They may be identical in color, and appear similarly thick to the naked eye– but they aren’t. Stick to one brand of yarn, especially when making multiple pieces for a blanket. I learned this the hard way, and even though the two yarns appeared to be identical, the slight difference in their gauges made the squares way larger than the other ones, and thus out of place in the afghan. I had to remake roughly 16 of the 89 squares AFTER I had already completed them, because the size discrepancy was too large for the perfectionist in me to let slide.

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If you want to make an afghan of your own, I highly recommend the book 200 Crochet Blocks. Unlike most crochet books, where you might only find a few patterns that appeal to you, every page of this book is a winner. I have come back to it again and again. Its all square block patterns, and lots of them too. But its also the book that taught me how to crochet in the round, make flowers and designs, and think “outside the box” when it comes to stitching design. There is also a great guide to designing the layout of squares in your blanket, as well as fringe patterns and a basic stitch reference in the back.

My First Ever Vine Video!

I’m in love with funny Vine videos. Joke all you want about the digital generation’s short attention spans– I think imposing limitations is what makes creativity thrive. The less you have to work with, the more creative you have to be. Six seconds isn’t a very long time to get someone to laugh– you’ve got to get innovative with your comedy, or be lucky enough to capture a genius moment. If you haven’t already, you should definitely check out this or one of the many other vine compilations out there. You will laugh your socks off.

So, I finally downloaded the app and signed in. Luckily it links with Twitter automatically, which is my social media of choice these days. I love how the videos are embedded, and run in an endless loop. I made my first Vine the other day. Don’t worry, I didn’t try to be funny in it. Its just of me crocheting one of the squares for my afghan out in the daylight. I thought all of the colors looked pretty together. Here it is:

I finally finished the afghan– it’s so huge, soft and comfortable and I am SO proud of it. It’s the first project of any magnitude that I both completed, and completed well. I can’t wait to post it up here, but I have to take some good pictures first.

I’ve finally started a crochet project!

I’ve been itching to pick up crochet again for a while. It’s something I’ve done since I was so young I never remember learning. But every few years I go into a manic-yarn phase and teach myself new stitches and techniques. It’s something I find calming; I can do it while I’m listening to music or watching TV. It keeps my hands busy, almost like a nervous twitch. Only when it’s all said and done I have something to show for it. In other words, its a productive waste of time.

IMG_20131002_204407Sometimes its hard for me to choose a project. There are so many patterns out there for things I’d like to make, but sometimes I’m not in the mood to follow a tedious new pattern. That’s why I recently decided to start making squares for an afghan. I know the pattern for each square well enough that it takes hardly any focus. I can makes squares whenever I’m in the mood, and if I find another project to do I can just put the squares aside for a bit and pick them back up later. Once I have enough, I can stitch them all together and be super proud of myself. I’m not sure yet how big I want to make it, but I’m thinking I’ll need at least 81 or 100 squares. I’m also not sure yet how I’m going to stitch them together, or what border to stitch around the edge. This is why I’m making a handful of tiny squares so I can make a “practice” blanket first. I can’t wait to see the end result. Patience is a virtue… is what I keep reminding myself!