Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Wednesday Wishlist






Have you ever really wanted to try a new product, but it's not in your budget?
Do you fall in love with projects, but you know you just don't have time to make them right now?
Would you donate an item to charity if it meant you got to play with the yarn for free?









Here are my picks of the week:

(Click the photos to follow the links!)





Red Heart Scrubby:


Image from redheart.com


  Described as a "uniquely textured yarn", Red Heart Scrubby is a 100% polyester yarn that is still a mystery to me. Okay, so it's scrubby... Is is coarse and itchy, or soft and nubby? A little of both? This yarn makes my list because I'm already planning on buying it, without a feel-y test first (gasp!). Red Heart has a neat contest going on - Design a pattern with Scrubby, and get entered to win the $150 grand prize, or one of three runner-up prizes. For the contest, I'll be taking the risk of buying it un-felt, unless it becomes available locally before I purchase it online. Wish me luck!


  *Note: This post was suposed to go up last week! The contest ends August 10th, and I still haven't bought the yarn! I'll be making my purchase today, so let's hope it gets here in time! Chances don't look good for me, but you'll still see a review.




Noro Silk Garden:

Image from jimmybeanswool.com


  Do you ever go yarn shopping, then turn into that little kid whose mom won't let him get the toy he wanted, so you start whining "but I waaaant iiiit"? That's me with this yarn. (But only on the inside. I'm not really whining.) Where can I start? First, the colors - Noro's beautiful colors! This yarn is hand-dyed in over 30 colorways, but the one you see here is the one I gotta have. It would be perfect for the orchid afghan I'm planning, but this yarn is too pricey for a project that big. (But I want it!)


  Then we could address the material: 45% silk... Ooo-oo. 45% kid mohair... Oh! And... 10% lamb's wool. Oh no. Why does my stupid skin have to be so stupidly sensitive to wool? (But I want ii-iit!) I... Don't... Care. I have to work with this yarn. It has a low wool content, so I'm hopeful it won't leave me feeling like I rolled in fiberglass. If it does, I'll finish the project with gloves on, then give it away. I just have to work with Silk Garden once. At least one time! Hopefully this colorway is still available when this yarn's turn comes around in my budget.




-  -  -  -  -




  So, that's it for this wishlist - Two mystery yarns! Is Scrubby coarse or soft? You'll find out soon! Will Silk Garden leave me feeling like I walked through a cactus garden? I would love to tell you to tune in next week for the conclusion, but the more expensive yarn has to wait! There's this teeny tiny thing I have to take care of first - called car insurance. Life sucks like that sometimes. I should pay insurance on my yarn stash, instead. I climb into my stash more often than I get into my ride. I think it might be worth more than that bucket of bolts.



   
Click the donate button in the right sidebar if you can help me out! I love to play with yarn, even if I don't get to keep (or make money from) the item I've made. None of your donations ever go towards a personal purchase. The Wednesday Wishlist is more about charity, and less about the things I want! All donations will support my Scarf of the Month program. Every month, a new scarf (or set) will be designed to donate to charity. As a thank you for your donations, the pattern will be provided for free the following month! For more information, check out the Scarf of the Month Page!


  


Saturday, July 25, 2015

How To: Modified Bobble Stitch






  Soon there will be a new free crochet pattern available using this stitch, so this time, I wanted to get a tutorial together before the pattern gets published. What you're about to learn is a double crochet bobble stitch that's actually more like a linked double-crochet-two-together (dc2tog) and dc3tog. If that sounds complicated, then forget that I said it, because it's just a dc5tog in one stitch, with one extra step.



  Did I create this stitch? It's probably been done before, but I've never seen it in a book or pattern. When you create a dc5tog bobble normally, it is slightly triangular and leans a tiny bit. I wanted a stitch that leaned less, plus with a rounded, more symmetrical side. This is what I came up with:






  It's very, very close to a normal double crochet bobble stitch. But at the end of the tutorial, I'll show you this modified stitch next to a basic bobble, and you'll see the difference.




  Follow along to learn the modified stitch, as well as see how I'll be using it in the upcoming free crochet pattern. If you want to use this stitch in your own designs, you can skip some of the beginning and the end of the tutorial, because you can use this stitch in any pattern you want. For those of you who need help with the Scarf of the Month pattern, keep going to see how the alternating mesh pattern is created. Let's get started!




The pattern row begins with chain (ch) 3, to count as the first double crochet (dc). (For following the Scarf of the Month pattern, you may want to mark this as your turning chain.)

Chain 3 more to continue the row. This will be for all odd numbered rows in the pattern.

For the pattern, skip the next 3 stitches. Yarn over, insert the hook in the next stitch, pull up a loop.

Yarn over, pull through 2 loops on the hook. (2 loops remaining.) - First time

Yarn over, insert the hook in the same stitch, pull up a loop. Yarn over, pull through 2 loops on the hook. (3 loops remaining.) - Second time

Yarn over, insert the hook in the same stitch, pull up a loop. Yarn over, pull through 2 loops on the hook. (4 loops remaining.) - Third time

Yarn over, insert the hook in the same stitch, pull up a loop. Yarn over, pull through 2 loops on the hook. (5 loops remaining.) - Fourth time

Yarn over, insert the hook in the same stitch, pull up a loop. Yarn over, pull through 2 loops on the hook. (6 loops remaining) - Fifth time

Now, this is where the stitch differs from a regular bobble. Yarn over, and pull through 2 loops on the hook. (5 loops remaining.) This is what turns the last part of the stitch into a double-crochet-two-together (dc2tog) before completing the bobble.

Now, yarn over, and pull through the remaining 5 loops on the hook to complete the bobble.
The stitch I created here is a bit sloppy looking, because I didn't keep my tension even while taking photos. Let me redo that one without taking pictures:

That's better! Now you can see how the stitch is very much like a regular bobble, but the left side rounds out symmetrically like the right side.

To continue with the Scarf of the Month pattern tutorial, you will chain 3, skip 3, then make another modified bobble.

In odd numbered rows, there will be three bobbles in the row. Chain 3 and end the row with a dc.

To make the pattern easier: Each modified bobble in the row will be placed in the center chain of the ch-3 between stitches. 

Even numbered rows will have four modified bobbles in a row. To begin the row, ch 4 (to count as a dc and ch-1).

Skip one and make a modified bobble in the next stitch. Remember, in case you have trouble counting the first stitch, make the bobble in the center chain of the ch-3.

Even numbered rows could seem a little tricky for beginners, because the row almost looks finished after the fourth bobble.

Chain 1, skip 1, and make a dc to end the row.

Here you can see a modified bobble and a standard bobble together. The stitch on the right is the modified bobble with the symmetrical sides. The stitch on the left is a regular bobble, made by pulling through all 6 loops on the last step. The modified stitch is a bit puffier and doesn't lean to the right like the standard bobble.

The standard bobble stitch is a bit of a yarn-eater to begin with, and the modified bobble uses just a bit more with its extra step. Although it looks neat all squished together in a solid pattern, I've combined it with some lacy chains to take up a little less yarn in this pattern. Even with the openwork, this stitch still adds a ton of texture!




  If you'll be using this tutorial for the Scarf of the Month pattern, then I hope it was helpful. We've skipped the beginning rows here, but they'll be written out in the pattern. Let me know if you need more help, and I'll put something together!



  And if you're just interested in using this stitch in your own design, then I hope you'll share your results! Because it's made into only one stitch, this modified bobble can be used practically anywhere in a pattern - just beware that your yarn will disappear quickly!





Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Yarn Tales Tuesday






It Came From a Man
From ignorant to ingenious...




  Guys (seriously, I mean any guys that might be reading), I hope you won't be offended by the "guys know nothing about yarn" attitude here. We know you exist. You're awesome. But please admit that crochet and yarn crafts are dominated by the female species. And when He-Who-Knows-Nothing-About-Yarn comes up with a great yarn idea, it's a major OMG moment.






  My other half is pretty clueless about yarn, crochet, and crafts in general. He can't see the patterns in filet crochet, he barely knows the difference between a crochet hook and a knitting needle, and the most excited he gets about yarn is when he's finally done helping me untangle a skein. So, I admit that I often have a "what do you know?" attitude about his opinions of my projects. That's why it was a major surprise when he came up with an idea... About yarn!




  First, let me say that this idea came about because of a major yarn accident. A big, stain-causing mess barely missed my yarn stash, but still got the carpet. My stash is (partially) stored in a fabric cube-style organizer. And while I was spraying carpet cleaner to take care of said mess, I didn't realize that over-spray was hitting the bottom of the fabric cube. So... some of my brand-new-never-even-had-the-tail-pulled-out yarn got a good soaking. Oops.




  I probably wouldn't have worried too much about it and just let it dry, if the colors didn't start to bleed because of the cleaner. Fearing destruction of perfectly good yarn, I ripped off the labels, rushed the full skeins to the sink, and dumped the whole mess in some water to stop the bleeding. It worked. And thankfully, the colorway that did start to run is variegated, so you can't really tell that it's any different. (Although it won't match it's dye lot anymore!) I was lucky enough that even though the one stray ball of white Bernat Pipsqueak was hit by the cleaner, it didn't come into contact with the color-running yarn.






  Problem solved, right? Nothing to worry about... Well, almost. Most of those skeins are the novelty eyelash yarn you see in the very first photo. Furry, fluffy stuff that soaks up a ton of water and weighs a million pounds when wet. And although those synthetic fibers dry quite quickly when worked up in a project, the still-rolled up balls of yarn that I have are just... Soaked. Even after rolling them in thick towels and squeezing out as much water as possible (I even sat on them), it's not going to dry this way. I don't want to have to unravel a bunch of skeins of wet yarn, just to roll them back into balls again. I wish I could put them in the dryer (delicate/low heat, of course)! How many of you are thinking that a lingerie bag would be a great idea? Yeah, me too. But after putting them into one and tossing it around a few times, the skeins started to unroll. Something tells me that's going to end up as a tangled mass in my dryer.




  That might make a good Halloween decoration... It's mostly brown, hairy-looking... Think "OMG, somebody left Cousin It in the dryer!"...




  Here comes the other half to the rescue! "Why not put them in some pantyhose?" he says. Hmm... The legs are stretchy enough to squeeze the skeins in them, and the material will stay tight around them to prevent them from unraveling. Imagine that - I even have a pair of ripped fishnet stockings that might work perfectly! Now, instead of throwing them out, they'll be my emergency yarn-drying tool... If this works.






  I started with just two skeins, in case of major yarn destruction. When nothing unrolled, melted, or disintegrated, I added the rest of them.






  The first time I put in a couple of skeins, the stockings held them with no problem. But when I added the rest of the skeins, I had to tie the tops of the stockings to keep the yarn inside.






  And the verdict is: Okay, I'll be honest... I had to run them through two and a half cycles on low heat, but they're dry! I threw them in for half a cycle by themselves, but they were thumping around in the dryer quite a bit. I added one of the towels that were used to help dry the skeins, and ran it through two more times on low.






  I know... The proper way to take care of this would be to unroll the skeins, spread the yarn out on a drying rack, then roll them all back up once they're dry. But I'm taking a "good enough" attitude on this one, because I have to deal with juggling the kid between family members over the summer, while making sure she gets her school done. I'm still behind on work after my mishaps with my World's Biggest Stocking projects, plus the Scallop Seashell Washcloth tutorial took longer than I expected. The weather has been wreaking havoc all summer, and that just throws the whole day off; especially when there's no electricity. On top of all that, there's still every-day-life to deal with: Getting the other half to work, taking care of the crazy cats and the dumb dog, keeping the house in somewhat-running order, and finding time to take care of myself once in awhile. You know - LIFE. I just don't have the time to deal with all these wet fuzzy balls of fur "the right way". I'm sure many of you can understand my "laziness" in using this trick to get my yarn dry.








  Would this work for wool? Probably not, but I don't deal with wool often... It makes me soooo itchy. Cotton? Absolutely. Other fibers like bamboo, silk, linen? Honestly, I don't know. I think bamboo would be fine. Are you ever supposed to dry silk? I think not. And linen yarn is a mystery to me, but I throw my linen kitchen towels in hot water and dry them all the time, so I think it would be okay. What I do know is that these synthetic fibers came out fine. It was a risk I was willing to take with some acrylic/polyester, especially the stuff I purchased on clearance for less than a dollar. Would I try it with my $25 skein of bamboo/silk blend? You can bet not! Take care of that stuff the right way. But this could be a way to save some yarns in case of emergency.



Just remember, it wasn't my idea. 

It came from a man.




EyeLoveKnots






Sunday, July 19, 2015

Making the Scallop Seashell Washcloth: Part Six






  Welcome back! There's one more tricky single-crochet-three-together (sc3tog) to make... If you've skipped ahead to this section, then you need to know that the hook you see me using in the tutorial photos is smaller than the pattern calls for. This section of the tutorial will finish the second round of the border - and the whole pattern! Are we ready to be done with it? Let's get to it!





Click here to open the pattern in a new window





Make a single crochet (sc) in the chain (ch)-1 space after the sc3tog.

Make 2 sc in each of the next 5 side-post spaces.

Make (2 sc, ch 1, and 2 sc) in the ch-2 corner space.

Make (2 sc, ch 2, and 2 sc) in each of the next nine ch-2 spaces across the top.

Make (2 sc, ch 2, and 2 sc) in the corner ch-2 space. 

Make 2 sc in each of the next five side-post spaces.
(Here's where there was a error in the pattern. Hopefully everybody could figure out the missing parenthesis. It's now been edited.)

Of course, I'm missing a picture here that would be very helpful. After you make the 2 sc in the fifth post space, the next 2 available stitches will be the 2 half-double crochet (hdc). Skip these two stitches and make a single crochet in the ch-1 space. 

To make the last sc3tog: Pull up a loop in the same space as the sc just made. Pull up a loop in the sc3tog. Pull up a loop in the ch-2 space before the join. 

Yarn over and pull through all four loops to complete the stitch. Breath a sigh of relief.

Join with a slip stitch to the beginning ch-1. Bind off and weave in your ends... Breath another sigh of relief!





   That's it! I hope the pictures were helpful... But if there's any area you're still having trouble with, don't hesitate to leave a comment or find me on social media! I'll do my best to help you out.



Links to previous tutorials:

Part One - Body - Tips for beginning the pattern, increases, and post stitches

Part Two - Body - Finishing the last row

Part Three - Border - Working up to the first sc3tog

Part Four - Border - The remainder of the first round after the first sc3tog

Part Five - Border - The beginning of round 2 up to the first sc3tog






Making the Scallop Seashell Washcloth: Part Five






  Welcome back - Don't forget that I'm using a smaller hook in the photos! In this section of the tutorial, we will work the second round of the border, up to the first single-crochet-three-together (sc3tog). Let's get to it!





Click here to open pattern in a new window




To begin Round 2, chain (ch) 1. Make 1 single crochet (sc) in the ch-2 corner space.

Ch 3, make 2 sc in the same space.

Make 1 sc in each of the next 13 double crochet (dc).

As you work the sc stitches across, the pattern will curl up a bit. It's designed this way for a little 3-D texture.

Make (2 sc, ch 3, and 2 sc) in the ch-2 corner space. 

The next stitch is that sc3tog. Highlighted here are the spaces you will use for the stitch.


I'll be pulling up the loops of my sc3tog with extra height so you can see it better. Make yours with proper tension. Pull up a loop in the dc stitch, then the ch-2 space, and pull up the last loop in the sc3tog.

And there it is!





Click here for the next tutorial

-Or, skip to the one you need:

Part One - Body - Tips for beginning the pattern, increases, and post stitches

Part Two - Body - Finishing the last row

Part Three - Border - Working up to the first sc3tog

Part Four - Border - The remainder of the first round after the first sc3tog