Fun crochet, cross stitch, and a new book from Erik Larson

By now, you know that sometimes I find something on the Internet that I must share immediately. Today is another one of those times. They are completely random, but I think all are pretty awesome. šŸ™‚

Quick-and-Easy-Crochet-Cowls-600x3381. Petals to Picots is sponsoring a giveaway for an online cowl class from Tamara Kelly at Moogly. Quick and Easy Crochet Cowls includes seven lessonsĀ for three beautiful projects.Ā The cost has been reduced from $29.99 to $19.99, and the first 1,000 people to sign up receive a free skein of yarn. However, you may also try to win it for free from Petals to Picots.

Designed by Backstage Stitching

Designed by Backstage Stitching

2. I was reading through one of my blogrolls and found this great post at Backstage Stitching. She has graciously made this available in the Free Patterns section of her blog. This is such a cute and hilarious design that I just had to share it. I think a lot of my fellow stitchers will enjoy it.

dead-wake-larson3. And for something completely different — Erik Larson has a new book coming out on March 10: Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania. BookPeople’s blog features a great review and you may purchase it through their independent book store in Texas (link provided in the blog post). It’s been difficult for me to find time for my needlework and reading, but I’m definitely going to make time to read this. I enjoy his books very much.

Throw Back Thursday

Ewephoria

This is a piece I made a few years ago. It was for a class I was teaching about stitching on linen at Rittenhouse Needlepint. The finishers there made it into a cute little hanging pillow, about six inches wide. They have it hanging in the shop as a cross stitch sample. I may make it again for myself, it’s so darn cute! I thought that it was a good time to post a reminder of spring, as so many of you are inundated with snow and ice at the moment.

Ewe-phoria is a free chart from Mosey ‘n Me, and is still available online if you want to download it. This chart may not appeal to everyone, as it has symbols but not a color scheme. I loved picking my colors from threads I already had in my stash. I don’t remember exactly what I used, but I know it was a combination of Gentle Arts Sampler Threads and Weeks Dye Works threads. You can see that there is a subtle variegation in the threads. I just chose a piece of fabric that I had in my stash, but I think the pink gives a niceĀ spring/Easter feel.

She was a very fun and quick piece to stitch.

New Year, New Projects (and a lot of old ones)

Ginger

Don’t let this picture deceive you; Ginger is an adorable holy terror, lol.

Happy New Year, a few days late! Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas (if you celebrate), and a great New Year’s Day. I spent Christmas with my parents and crazy one-year-old Jack Russell/Red Heeler, and New Year’s at my friend’s home as my partner Tim was working. Good times all around.

I have already started planning my projects for the upcoming year. I have some new ones, of course, but am also working on finishing some older projects. I have the feeling I’m not the only in in this predicament. Now that I’ve recently expanded my needlework skills, I find it difficult to decide on what to work on. I think I need to come up with a plan to work on one craft each week. It isn’t spontaneous, but spontaneity got me into this, lol.

Temperature-Scarf

One project for the new year – and I’m already behind because I need to purchase the yarn – is theĀ Temperature Scarf. The great thing about this is choosing the colors and the temperatures for each color. Depending on where you live, and the amount of colors you want in the scarf, you will want to choose a large temperature range for each color or a small one. I want to use several colors and in the Northeast it can get very cold in the winter and very hot in the summer (depending on the year), so my temperature range is from zero to 107. Frankly, it doesn’t usually get down to zero above 100 here, but I wanted to cover my bases. Here’s what I’m using, once I buy the yarn. I’m going to make mine colorful, but it could also be very pretty in several shades of the same color. The colors in parentheses are the color names from the Caron Simply Soft line I will be using. I’m also going to make it simple, just using single crochet. I figure that 365 rows could be a pretty long scarf, so I better keep the height of the stitch small.

0-11 – dark purple (purple)
12-23 – med purple (lavender)
24-35 – med blue (country blue)
36-47 – light blue (lt. country blue)
48-59 – green (green)
60-71 – light green (limelight)
72-83 – yellow (lemonade)
84-95 – orange (orange)
96-107 – red (harvest red)

There is also a SkyĀ Scarf. The pattern is for knitting, but the basic idea can also work for crochet. I won’t be working on that this year but it’s another interesting option. It’s similar to the Temperature Scarf except it’s based on if it’s sunny, cloudy, raining, snowing — you get the idea. I’m sure there are other “journaling” scarves we could create; There already is a Mood Scarf (that could be dangerous!), and maybe you could create an exercise scarf (based on how many minutes you moved that day), TV or movie scarf (different colors for your favorite show that day), etc. I’m really making these up as I go along, but the options are endless.

2015-Afghan-CAL-Main-GraphicAnother project I’m looking forward to is Tamara’s 2015 Afghan Crochet AlongĀ on her Moogly blog. I heard last year’s was a lot of fun and it’s something new for me. Every two weeks she’ll share a new free afghan block crochet pattern for a 12-inch block. By the end, you’ll have blocks for an afghan that is about 4×6. I think some people use it to make two small blankets. You choose your colors and then follow along. Seems like a great way to end up with an afghan at the end of the year. Some people piece the blocks together as they go, but I think I want to see all the blocks at the end to decide how I want to place them.

1116141535 (1)

This week I started my Mirabilia 15 in 15 by working a little on my Angel of the New Dawn. I haven’t made a lot of progress on her this week, and this photo is from before this week, but will stitch more tomorrow. I am not starting one each day the first 15 days of the year, but will start or stitch on 15 over the course of January. The idea is to finish them all by the end of the year. I don’t know if any of us will be able do to that, but I think it will help me to make progress on some that have been languishing a bit.

What new projects are you starting this year, and what old projects are on your goals list for finishing? I love to see what other people are working on. šŸ™‚

Cluster Stitches – The Mindless Scarf

Mindless scarf

Photo of Mindless Scarf by Nicole Ross, who also created the free instructions found at http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/mindless-scarf

I really like cluster stitches that are easy and quick to stitch, especially this time of year. These types of projects are great when you are trying to finish holiday gifts that sneaked up on you while also finishing a last-minute baby blanket – for which I’m using a different but quick-to-stitch cluster stitch. Even a beginner can stitch The Mindless Scarf pretty quickly, only need to know sc, dc, and ch. The first row is stitched into the starting chain, so that has to be counted. After that, you simply create the cluster stitch in the ch2 section of each cluster. The first few rows may look a little off-kilter because of the scalloping on the sides, but don’t let that deter you. After a few more rows, that scalloping will take on the look of the pattern and is very pretty.

variegated mindless scarf

Mindless Scarf by cuddlelump at Ravelry:. Click picture for link.

This pattern will leave you with a straight edge on end of the scarf where you began stitching. Some people immediately turn it around and stitch the first row on the outside of the turning chain to give it that scalloped effect. Others will wait until the end and add a row there. I’m going to add a row there when I’m done, attaching it to the beginning tale. I will post about that when I do it.Ā I’ve also seen this stitched with variegated yarn, and the effect is spectacular. The picture to the left shows the scarf stitched in Knit Picks’ Chroma Worsted in Impressionist, and can be better viewed at Ravelry. Ā Impressionist doesn’t appear to be available any longer, but there are other beautiful colorways. Lake Front is pretty close to Impressionist – close enough that I wonder if they just changed the name of that color.

Mindy mindless scarf wine

Just a few rows of my Mindless Scarf using Knit Picks Brava Worsted in Wine.

Since I’ve been only working a few part-time hours over the past two months, I am currently making projects from my “in stock” yarn. Thank goodness for taking advantage of sales! I’m using Knit Picks’ Brava Worsted in Wine. Knit Picks has great yarn of different varieties at very reasonable prices, and if you purchase $50 or more from their site you get free shipping. They also have fun sales throughout the year, including all green yarn on sale near St. Patrick’s Day, all red/pink yarn on sale near Valentine’s Day, etc. I’m not an employee or partner, just a very satisfied customer. It only took me about 20 minutes to stitch what is to the right, and I’ve been crocheting just about two years. I’m betting others can whip this project up much faster. (Please ignore that stray piece of yarn that looks like an errant stitch near the top left of the scarf. It’s just the ending yarn that I didn’t get fully underneath the scarf.) I like how this creates a nice V pattern.

Do you have favorite scarf patterns that you tend to use over and over for those last-minute gifts, or just because you need something to be easy?