Year of Projects: Crochet Master Class – Bullion stitch blocks finale

(This post is part of my Year of ProjectsCrochet Master Class series. You can read the other posts in this series here.)

I missed my YOP post last week (only the second time I’ve done that), and that was a real bummer.  But today I’m back with some more bullion stitch blocks!  These will be going to the Binky Patrol in Arizona by way of the Crochetlist April charity challenge.

This one was really fun.  I used the Granny’s Gone Bull-istic pattern by Donna Kay Lacey.  As you can probably tell, it’s a variation on the standard granny square patterns using bullions instead of double crochets.  She is a really inventive designer, and if you are at all interested in the bullion stitch, you should check out her tutorial, which is available as a free Ravelry download.  I think my bullions have become much more even as a result.

And, I decided this exploration of the bullion chapter wouldn’t be complete until I made a few squares by the featured crochet master, Bonnie Pierce.

This is her Amazing Grace pattern.

And this is her Katie’s Bliss pattern.

I had a lot of fun with these and I’m definitely going to be playing around more with the bullion stitch.  I can see why the freeform folks love it so much.

I’m up to 38 (!) six inch squares to donate, so I’m rushing off to make two more.  I figure since I’m this close to 40, I should just make two more before I mail out the box tomorrow.

3KCBWDAY7 – Crafting Balance

I know how to do most needlecrafts, but if you’ve been following my blog you will already know that crochet is my true love.  Not only is crochet versatile and fast, but, since it is the one craft that I’ve done pretty much continuously since I learned from my grandmother back when I was 9 years old, I’m much more skilled at it.  For that reason, I haven’t (yet) found a crochet project I really wanted to make that I couldn’t tackle.

In the six months, I’ve been trying to give a bit more of my crafting time to knitting.  Last year, I dabble briefly in embroidery and even tried to rekindle my quilting mojo.  For this year, though, I know I’m going to need to devote more time to photography.

My newest toy, er, I mean, tool: the Canon PowerShot ELPH300HS.

I really need to step up my photography skills.  Photography allows me to show off my creations to their best advantage, makes my blog more interesting to read, and is helpful in marketing my patterns and projects.  I have been taking out a few minutes everyday to take pictures since I got the camera.  I’ll admit, most of these pictures are pretty boring so far :).  But I’m learning a lot about composition this way!

3KCBWDAY6 – Improving Your Skillset

I’m an advanced crocheter, but there’s always more to learn – and more people to learn it from.  As a crochet teacher, I consider it part of my own continued development to learn from other teachers.  Since last July, as part of the Year of Projects hosted by the Come Blog-a-long group on Ravelry, I’ve also been crocheting my way through the book Crochet Master Class: Lessons and Projects from Today’s Top Crocheters in an effort to improve my skills and share my love of crochet.  (You can read my original inspiration for doing this here and find my posts on the topic here.)

The one crochet method which I’m still apprehensive about is Hairpin Lace.  In all honesty, I have no real reason to fear hairpin lace.  But there seems to be a cloud of doom hanging over me whenever I try to learn it, which only increases its mystique.  On two separate occasions, I’ve attempted to take hairpin lace classes.  For the first class, held at the library, the teacher went off on a tangent about other lacemaking techniques and only taught broomstick lace and Tunisian lace, which I already know how to do.  The second class, with hairpin lace diva Jennifer Hansen, was supposed to be at Vogue Knitting Live but was cancelled :(.  I will definitely tackle my fears of hairpin lace before the end of this cycle of YOP in June, though.

As for my knitting, well, that’s another story.  Although I have a good command of the basics and even teach beginner knitting, there are many gaps in my knitting skills.  I don’t feel as motivated to expand these skills, though, since I don’t find knitting as pleasurable as crocheting.  I’m also the world’s slowest knitter, so it would take me too many lifetimes to tackle all the major knitting skills in depth.

I would like to knit a pair of socks at some point, if only because I don’t understand why everyone is so fascinated with knitting socks.  Surely, there must be some exciting thing that happens when you make them??  I have two books in my collection that have inspired even me to consider knitting socks, which are Socks a La Carte: Pick And Choose Patterns To Knit Socks Your Way and Toe-Up 2-at-a-Time Socks: Yet Another Revolution in Knitting Two at Once on One Circular Needle!  I won’t set a deadline, though.  (World’s slowest knitter, remember?)

3KCBWDAY5 – Something a Bit Different

So different that there was a delay in posting it  :).  If you like it, please consider nominating my post for some groovy Knitting and Crochet Blog Week prizes here.  For other unusual posts, search for the 3KCBWDAY5 tag on Google.

Thanks to MC for his amazing technical skills.  And no, I don’t normally crochet that slowly, but the video was originally made to be a tutorial.  Can any one guess on what stitch?

FO Friday: Granny mania

Since last week, I’ve finished another 17 (!) six inch squares for Crochetlist‘s April charity challenge.  These will eventually become blankets for Arizona children through the Binky Patrol.  I can definitely see how people get excited by granny a day projects.  Once you get on a roll, it is pretty hard to stop!

I made three blocks from Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs by Edie Eckman.

Motif 105 (Ravelry project page)

 

 

Motif 114 (Ravelry project page)

 

 

Motif 115 (Ravelry project page)

I personally have trouble naming patterns, so I totally understand why Eckman went with numbers.  But it does make the names less than memorable :).

 

I also rescued two more squares from 200 Crochet Blocks for Blankets, Throws, and Afghans by Jan Eaton.  These were started back in 2007 for class samples.  They’ve been sitting in plastic sleeves and needed to be put to better use.

Begonia (Ravelry project page)

 

Willow (Ravelry project page)

 

I also made two squares from 99 Granny Squares to Crochet.

8 by Carole Prior (Ravelry project page)

 

90 by Mary Jane Protus (Ravelry project page)

True story: When I first ordered this booklet used on Amazon, it arrived missing about 6 pages in the middle.  I was fuming!  But Amazon promptly refunded it and I was able to find another used copy for the same price a few days later.

 

I also picked up Contest Favorites Afghan Squares and chose two squares.

10 by Mary C. Abadir (Ravelry project page)

13 by Martha Sadler (Ravelry project page)

 

I even returned to two other books I used to make my first batch of grannies.

Paula’s Pendant by Margaret Hubert from The Granny Square Book (Ravelry project page)

Pick a Posie by Ellen Gormley from Go Crochet! Afghan Design Workbook (Ravelry project page)

 

At this point, I was determined to make blocks from as many sources as possible.

Squared Circle by Melody Griffiths from 201 Crochet Motifs, Blocks, Projects and Ideas (Ravelry project page)

April Square by Julie Bolduc from JPF Crochet Club (Ravelry project page)

 

And these last four were transformations of swatches or patterns from my brain.

Alternating Stripes

 

Double Treble Granny

 

Granny

 

Grit Stitch

 

I had to make some modifications to almost every pattern to get the squares to be six inches.  You can find the details on my project pages.

I was originally planning to mail these out on Saturday, but I found some awesome bullion stitch patterns online last night, so I thought I’d make a few of those to share in my year of projects post on Sunday.  Now that I’m extending my deadline until Monday, there is time to make even more grannies!

I had a lot of fun making these and going through all of my granny books looking for the “perfect” grannies.  (You can read reviews of most of my granny books here.)  And, so far I used up about 2-1/2 skeins of stash yarn.  Every little bit helps!

For more Finished Objects, visit Tami’s Amis.

Thursday craft goals update – Week 52

I’m coming to the end of this round of my craft goals, which I planned to complete by May 1.  Next week, I’ll share a final round up of what I finished (and what I never started!)  and I’ll also share a new project that should take me through the end of 2012 :).

Since my last update, I’ve managed to get quite a bit done in spite of hectic times at work.

  • I’ve been making charity squares like crazy (expect a post sharing 16 or so of them more tomorrow for FO Friday) and using up acrylic stash yarn in the process (personal crafting goals #5 & #6).
  • I’ve been participating in Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, which has been fun (professional crafting goal #4).  (My posts for Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, and Day 4.)
  • I’m still reading my camera manual.  I’ve been taking pictures every day since I bought my new camera (professional crafting goal #9).

I’ve neglected most other craft projects in favor of these charity squares, which I expect to mail out Saturday.  After that, things should be back to normal!

3KCBWDAY4 – A Knitter or Crocheter For All Seasons?

Seasonality doesn’t have much of an effect on my crocheting and knitting.  I probably make more blankets than anything else, and these are usually in response to events (new babies, new homes, engagements, etc.) that happen year round.  In years past, I was very good about planning ahead for the winter holidays, and actually made gifts for people as early as January so that I wouldn’t be a crocheting my fingers to the bone in December.  (Obviously, that didn’t happen last year!  But I do have an exciting plan for starting up my holiday crafting early this year.  I’ll be sharing details soon.)

This year, I am attempting (for once) to make more projects for myself.  This idea started with support from the nice folks in the 12 for myself and Selfish Knitters & Crocheters groups on Ravelry.  I realized that I give away (or sell) almost everything I make.  Since January, I’ve been following two amazing blog series, Crochet Concupiscence’s 365 Ways to Wear Crochet and Thornberry’s What I Wore.  I really have almost nothing crocheted or knitted in my wardrobe, except for the few cold weather scarves that are a must for Northeastern winters.  Seeing these two ladies incorporate their own creations into their wardrobes has made me really want to make more wearables.

For the first time, a little bit of seasonal thought has been floating into my mind.  If I start making more wearables for myself, I will have to think seasonally.  (I don’t have to make the item during the season I will use it, but I will have to think about the season when I will wear the item when I’m choosing yarn and pattern.)  I know there are crafters who focus on certain types of projects during certain times of the year, or even those who (gasp!) put away their crocheting or knitting altogether for the summer months, so I’m interested in seeing how other people respond to today’s prompt.  Perhaps I’ll pick up some tips to encourage me to make more for myself this spring!

WIP Wednesday: Blocks, blocks, and more blocks

I’ve been working on six inch squares from stash yarn as part of the Crochetlist April charity challenge.  These squares will end up going to the Binky Patrol in Arizona.

What started as an effort to work through my stash while also working towards my charity crafting goal has turned into a slight obsession.

Twenty-six blocks... and counting.

The past two weeks at work have been totally stressful, and I’ve retreated into the comfortable haven of following other people’s patterns.  With some stash yarn and one of my many crochet books in hand, I can usually make 1 or 2 on the commute to and from work.  On Sunday, my only day off last week, I only had the energy to sit on the couch and crochet (and do one load of emergency laundry).

Right now, the count is at 26, but I’m hoping to get it up to 30 or more blocks by Saturday, when I plan to ship these out.  So far, I’ve used up about 870 yards of yarn, which sounds like a lot until you realize that it only amounts to about 2-1/3 skeins of Red Heart Super Saver, which is what I’ve mostly been using.  Nonetheless, I’m feeling satisfied – I’ve made a small dent in my stash and these blocks are going to a good cause.

My favorite block so far.

We are supposed to leave a long tail at the end to make it easier to join the blocks.  I have been good about weaving in the ends as I go, so as not to end up with a nightmare of ends on Saturday morning :).

For more Works in Progress, visit Tami’s Amis.

3KCBWDAY3 – Wildcard

Today’s topic is knitting and crocheting heroes, and I think it is well known that mine is my grandma.  However, I’ve been under a lot of stress at work these days (still on that 10-12 hour a day kick) so I decided not to write a dramatic post about missing my grandma and instead fantasize about the wild card entry: crafting a perfect day.

I’ve been thinking for a while about taking some time off from work and getting away from the City (and the commute, and the daily grind, and the lines of Allman Brothers or Further fans who have been invading the neighborhood to party near the Beacon Theater for the last two months).  MC thought I should take a few days alone, without my phone, away from it all (even from him!).

Back in my first round of grad school days, I had a scholarship from the Roothbert Fund.  We were invited each year for a meeting at Pendle Hill, a Quaker retreat center near Philadelphia.  I think a short retreat to Pendle Hill would mark the start of a wonderful crafty getaway.  It would be easy for me to get there, via public transportation, so I wouldn’t have to stress about flying or spending tons of money on cabs or anything outlandish.  I remember the rooms being simple yet comfortable, and the food as being healthy and tasty.  The grounds are also beautiful.  I imagine myself bringing up a few stitch dictionaries, some of the unusual yarns in my stash that I haven’t yet dared to experiment with, and a full selection of hooks and needles.

Each morning, I would rise naturally, instead of in response to the alarm.  After breakfast, I would take a brisk walk on the grounds and look for the ideal place to crochet for that morning.  I might attend a Quaker worship service if I felt moved to do so.  And then I would spend a few hours working on a spontaneous project.

In the afternoon, I’d take another walk, and then I’d venture into Philadelphia to (what else?) check out the yarn shops.  I’ve been pretty good about my yarn diet so far this year, and I’d only buy something which seemed appealing for an immediate project.  I haven’t been yarn shopping in Philly before, but it seems like there are quite a few options (suggestions, anyone??).

In the evening, I’d settle down in my room for writing.  I’d use the time to work on some book ideas I’ve been trying to write up into proposals.  I would have my laptop with me, but I’m not sure yet if I’d allow myself internet access.  As much as I love blogging and reading other blogs, sometimes you just have to turn it off!  I’d also bring up my Kindle Fire loaded with books, so that I could spend some time reading.

After a few days, the joys of solitude might wear off (at least in regards to missing MC and my cat) and I’d venture back to New York City.  But until then, I’d explore my creativity in a beautiful environment with healthy inspirations at every corner.

3KCBWDAY2 – Photography challenge

 

 

 

The backstory: I usually schedule my posts during the week, but I thought it would be more fun if I posted during each day for Knitting and Crochet Blog Week.  Photography is something that I’ve been working on since I started this blog, and today’s challenge definitely had me stumped.  (I’ve already seen some great, elaborately staged pictures like Faith‘s, and wonderful collections like this one of awesome crochet fashion photography from Crochet Concupiscencethis morning.)

After following yesterday’s theme around the blogosphere, I started to notice that quite a few people were reluctant to use (or even fearful) of orange yarn.  Naturally, my stash hoarding self wanted to run out and buy some orange yarn to rectify that, and that’s where the orange monster (formerly of Weight Watchers fame) came in.  You see, I actually had my very own orange yarn that I’ve never even used sitting in my stash.  Yep, that’s a skein of Malabrigo Rios in Glazed Carrot that I bought at Knitty City last year.  So there’s no need to buy any more – yarn diet preserved.