Friday, May 30, 2014

Audiobooks Two Free Titles Each Week from SYNC

I like to listen to audiobooks while I am crocheting. It's combining my two loves, crochet and reading! I found about this fabulous offer from SYNC through my library. Each week they are offering free downloads of two audiobooks. One is a current young adult title and the other is a classic. This summer a total of 26 titles will be offered. The MP3 files are downloaded through the OverDrive Media Console, but are yours to keep with no due dates.

This week's offerings:

Click HERE for more information. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Week 13: Find a New Crochet Tip to Try This Week.

The Challenge for this week is to find a new crochet tip to try. I also suggested Crochet Pattern Central: Tips and Tricks as a good site to look for tips and suggestions.

One tip that I think is really clever is about cutting yarn that I found on this page. The anonymous poster suggested using the cutter in a dental floss case to cut yarn in a pinch. A blogger, Whimsy Space, made a floss case into a small sewing kit!

I also read a tip on Crochet Pattern Central to use reusable wine bags that you get when you purchase several wine bottles at stores as project bags. My sister-in-law had given me a few of these wine bags awhile ago (thanks Debbie!), but I haven't used them yet. I am currently working on a star blanket and using six different yarn colors, so I got the idea to use the wine bag as a yarn organizer inside my open topped tote bag! It really keeps my yarn neat, organized, and easily accessible. It's a great tip, and if you're a wine drinker, it's all the more fun ;)

This week I enjoyed reading lots of tips from fellow crocheters and these two are ones I can see myself using all the time. What new tip have you experimented with this week?

Thanks for joining me for Week 13 of the 52 Week Crochet Challenge! 
It's never too late to join in the fun and there's no need to catch up, just jump right in:

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Week 12: What is the Best Crochet Tip You Use All the Time?

The best crochet tip that I learned is to crochet into the back loop (back ridge) of the beginning chain for the first row of your project. When you turn over the chain, you can see the "bumps" and this is the loop you work your stitch into. What you then end up with is a beginning edge that looks the same as the last. I also find that it creates a nicer looking edge if you are going to add a border.

I remember when I learned this, I was starting a new project and the designer had this in her instructions. I thought it was so clever! Unfortunately, I don't remember what pattern, or who the designer was. But it is a tip I use all the time, and in fact, I also include it in my own pattern designs.

I hope you find this tip useful, it's one I've used for many years now, and I will continue to do so. What is the best crochet tip you learned that you use all the time?

Thanks for joining me for Week 12 of the 52 Week Crochet Challenge! It's never too late to join in the fun and there's no need to catch up, just jump right in:

52 Week Crochet Challenge
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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Week 11: What Kind of Crocheter Are You?

What kind of crocheter are you? Do you like to follow a pattern exactly as it's written? Do you like to "wing it" and make things up as you go? Are you a little of both?

When I began to crochet I chose as many different types of patterns as I could because I was so curious as to how they were constructed. For me, it was (and sometimes still is) like figuring out a puzzle, and I really enjoy that "Aha!" moment when it begins to make sense. I also appreciate a clever pattern and projects that look very technical but are quite simple to accomplish.

At this time, I would follow patterns exactly as written, but eventually I began to incorporate techniques I had learned into them. If I knew of a simpler way to accomplish something then I would do it. From there I began to design my own patterns. I could visualize the finished project in my head, as well as the necessary steps to take to get there. That sounds really simplistic, and it's not as easy as that, but I do love the challenge! It's been a great learning process, and I'm still learning, which is another reason why I love crochet so much - there's always something new or different to try.

Thanks for joining me for Week 11 of the 52 Week Crochet Challenge! It's never too late to join in the fun and there's no need to catch up, just jump right in:

52 Week Crochet Challenge
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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Week 10: What Was Your First Completed Crochet Project That You Made?

The first complete crochet project that I finished was a baby blanket and a stuffed bear to go with it in. This was in June of 2002. This was also the beginning of my pattern organization (which you can read about here).

I have absolutely no idea where the blanket pattern came from, but it is a basic rectangular blanket. I think the stitch pattern is probably something like the cobblestone stitch (sc in next, dc in next, working on an even number of stitches). It has that look to it also. The bottom chain is much tighter than the last row, which is common for newbies and this made the blanket crooked. But I was (and still am) terribly proud of that blanket. It was a gift for my newborn niece and I made it with my own two hands. I loved every minute of making it (maybe with an ounce of frustration in there somewhere!), but I FINISHED it. I had a big sense of accomplishment, which made me want to make something to go with it.

The bear is an even bigger accomplishment for me because I think it was quite complicated for a second project. The pattern is Boo-Boo Bear from Irene's Crochet Class website, which sadly, is no longer available. But, I have my copy that I printed out and made notes on.  I think it turned out really cute, and I made a bib for the bear too.

Here's a picture that I had to scan because the original was photographed on film (remember that? lol).

I've crocheted hundreds of projects since then, but I won't ever forget my first (and second). Not only was it special to me because of that, but it was a gift for a loved one, a new life in our family, and what a happy celebration that was!

Thanks for joining me for Week 10 of the 52 Week Crochet Challenge! 
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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Week 8: Unfinished Projects and Week 9: Organize Your Patterns

Week 8: 

This weeks challenge is to go through any unfinished projects you've had sitting around and either work it or frog it.

Boy, oh boy, was this a challenge for me! I really wanted to take my time on this one and do it right. This is the second major project purge that I've done, and I'm really proud that I didn't have as many UFO's (unfinished objects/projects) as I did the first time. So, the good news is that I'm getting better about finishing my projects. No, really it's true ;)

Here's the list of what I'm keeping and working on finishing:
A baby blanket - FINISHED 5/3/14. It was near completion, but stuffed in a closet, which is not a typical place! So it's no wonder I had forgotten about it.

Another baby blanket for charity. This one is my Bright Striped Blocks pattern. The blocks are completed, one needs the ends woven in, and then it'll be ready for assembling.

A tire cover for my Jeep. Yep, you read that right. It's almost finished, just needs the final few rounds.

Folk art doll. She needs some ends woven in on her apron, and some hair, then she'll be complete.

A sweater for me. This one I had completed, but I needed some seaming examples for my book Crochet-opedia, so I undid some of the seams and took photos. It's been sitting unfinished since then.

I'm still working on my scrap afghan too. I'm so happy with it, but I think I'm enjoying the crocheting part the most :)

Oh yeah, and I'm working on a new design too. A scrunchy hat and cowl. The pattern and samples are almost done. I've got to proof the pattern and take pictures then make the pdf file.

I decided to frog a motif runner. The runner is made up of triangles that are sewn together to form a quilt like pattern. I probably had 25 finished, but this project had survived the first purge, and hadn't been touched since. Too much work, and I'm not even sure what I would have done with it. It was a really cool pattern though!

As you can tell from my UFO's, it seems that I lose steam near the completion of a project. I wonder why that is? I should really attempt to reward myself somehow when I've completed a project. Or maybe I need to tell myself I can't start another until I've finished one. Hmm, it's definitely something to think about. Overall though, I have to say that I feel so much better now that I've finished this challenge. It's great that now my yarns, patterns, and projects are all neat and organized. It's been inspiring and I feel like I will accomplish so much more!


Week 9: 

Organize your patterns this week. Do you have a special system for your patterns? Can you find a specific pattern easily?

I find that I am starting to rely much more on the computer for organizing my patterns. I used to print out or make copies of patterns for my personal use, and store them in a file cabinet. I had two drawers full at one point. This would have been okay, if I had used them more than I did. I finally realized that it was a waste of space, not to mention paper, so I have since recycled them. These are only the patterns that I had not made. The ones I had made projects from, I kept the copies because I typically make notes on them as I go along. If I ever want to make the same pattern again, it makes it much easier because of my notes. I also like to write down the start and finish dates. It's sort of like a scrapbook for me too, and it's fun to look back at the patterns. When I've finished the project I put the pattern in a clear plastic sheet protector and file it in a large 3 ring binder that I have that is organized into sections.

I have considered scanning these patterns and keeping them as computer files only (and of course, they are only for my own personal use). It would be a pretty big project to do so right now, but maybe I will try doing that with my future projects. Right now I keep separate file folders on my computer; works in progress, things I'd like to make, charity patterns, etc. I try not to add too many files. If I'm looking for a new project I'll check out what I have saved on my computer and if nothing catches my eye then I will check out my Pinterest boards or other crochet pins for inspiration. From there I can easily keep track of pattern links with Evernote. I'll make a new note for a particular project, like an afghan, then when I am searching the web it's easy to add links, photos, and even a pdf file if one is available. Once I've decided on one particular project, then it's simple to delete my note. Easy peasy.

Thanks for joining me for Week 8 and 9 of the 52 Week Crochet Challenge! 
It's never too late to join in the fun and there's no need to catch up, just jump right in:

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