Friday, January 24, 2014

More Blanket Progress and Icy Weather

Last night, I watched a wacky Australian flick called Griff.  Of course that meant I added a few rows to the stripe-y rainbow blanket that's been in progress the past few weeks.

It looks like this:

I've finished creating the entire pattern and now it's just repeat, repeat, repeat.  Well, that is with exception of the border - which it will have.

So a bit about the yarn and colors.  Here's what I'm using:

It's cold today - again.

16F degrees now, but it was even colder this morning when I went into the bathroom and looked out the window and saw this:

Although tomorrow is slated to be warmer (high of 32F degrees - up to the freezing point wow), we are also supposed to get a few more inches of snow.

Running group meets OUTSIDE at 7:30am.  It will be 19F degrees at that time with a 4F degree wind chill feeling.  I will be hunting down my warmest running apparatus tonight!  I'm dreading it but the big payoff will be that by 9am when the snow begins, I will be back at home drinking coffee after logging 3 miles in the out of doors.  I'm out for dinner with friends tomorrow night at a Mexican place and that means MARGARITAS!  OOOOH I love me some margaritas.  Coffee and margaritas, coffee and margaritas.  That will have to be my mantra as I run up hills in the below freezy weather!

Yesterday I visited my neighborhood salon to make the bits of grey disappear from my hair..  As it was WAY to cold to leave with wet curls (my natural albeit lazy hairdo), I had Alexandra blow my hair dry and straight.  It's fun to have straight hair every now and again.  I'd probably do it more if I had my own personal hair stylist as I WAY don't have the patience to go on about my hair for 20 minute sessions of blow drying.

Here's how I looked when I left the salon:

What do you think? I'm super terrible about taking selfies.

And just in case you were counting, it's officially ONE WEEK from today and I will turn FIFTY!!!!  My middle son's 20th birthday is today but he's 5 hours away at college, so I sent him a package full of munchies and gift cards and that will have to do.

Happy Day - it's off to do some long overdue photo work today!  Sher

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Weekly CAL - pretty squares!

A few weeks ago, I took note that Terri over at A Conversation With Moo was posting a weekly square.  She's using the book 200 Crochet Blocks by Jan Eaton.  Her squares looked so lovely that I decided I'd follow along.  I wasn't invited, I'm simply butting in!  I hope Terri won't mind.  Maybe if there are people following along with the squares, it will help Terri to stay on track too.

I started a pinterest board for Terri's posts.

AND  I will be posting the squares I make on this blog as well.

Here is Terri's Week 1 post and here is Terri's Week 2 post.

Here are my squares.

I'm excited about this- I hope to learn a few new techniques, and maybe even weave in my ends as I go!

Just a note about these squares: I'm using a dk weight yarn and an F sized hook.  The finished squares are 6inches.

A Second Snow Day

It's calm here.  We're all shoveled out and now we must enjoy the fire.  Enjoying the second snow day!

Stay Warm - Cheers! Sher

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Snow N Sew

It's snowing again this season.

That's okay.  It is winter after all.

The forecast changed yesterday from, "Hey there may be snow the next few days," to "By the Way...6 to 11 inches of the white stuff are coming your way beginning tomorrow morning!"

Of course, I hadn't grocery shopped on Sunday or Monday (my usual), so we were out of stuff that I would want - which meant facing the snow-crazed shoppers.  UGH..

The phone rang around 5:30am from the school.  No School Today.  The streets were totally clear at that time.  I got up, made coffee and decided to venture out to the grocery (I know, same idea as everyone else!) I arrived at the Trader Joes at 8:02am (it opens at 8am) and it was packed!!!  Apparently there had been an outdoor line before it was open.

No - the sidewalks at the shopping center are NOT blue, that's de-icing salt to pre-treat the sidewalks
I got in - shopped, maneuvered my cart around piles of people and all sorts of lines and the poor workers trying to stock the shelves and empty boxes.  Yellow tulips - $1.99 per bunch.  Yes, that's certainly a necessity.

Then it was off to a doctor appt.  Could I squeeze it in before the white stuff really got to be a problem?  Maybe.  I ventured out again.

Not too bad yet - snow just starting to coat the roads.  Sure I'll make it to the doc and back in time.

From the doctor office window I could see my little car atop the garage (only level with spots remaining).
45 minutes later, goodness it's really coming down!

Slow driving, bad streets and traffic

SUVs swerving all over the road, giant salt truck just ahead, yay, I get to turn at that light!

Geez, the neighborhood hasn't gotten a plow at all.  Very slippy and slow.  All the way to the lowest gear now.

Almost there, just another few blocks.

Little pink dot is a snowsuit of a little neighbor girl.

And I'm parked!!! YAHOO.

Made it back to the house all in one piece and the mail has even been delivered already - wow.

Snowy boots emerge from the car.


Whew - made it home.

Lovely flowers, a happy yellow mug of coffee, a view of the snow from inside.  The fire going in the next room (hubby's office today).  I feel crafting materials calling me, I feel the pull from the crochet hook sucking me in. Yes, it's bound to be a good day! Now to decide whether I continue with the hand quilting on the table runner I sewed yesterday?

Curved piecing table runner from a lesson taught by Sujata Shah when I was in the Philly Modern Quilters group.

Yesterday in honor of my ASG meeting, decided to stitch up a backing and finish off this project.

All pinned in a quilty sandwich and now ready to receive some nice hand perle cotton stitching -Gees Bend look I hope.
Certainly am glad the Swim and Dive Team dinner happened on Sunday and I don't have to worry about the impact of the weather on that event.

Can't believe it looked like this only this morning as the sun was just coming up!

Happy Weather in your neck of the woods - Sher

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Happy Heart House Bunting TA DAH!

A bit before Christmas, I had the idea for a holiday house bunting (hopefully it is an idea that will remain in my brain and be created for another Christmas).  HOWEVER, this year it never came to be.  The idea was still in my head when the holidays were over, and the designs I had played around with a few months ago were still pushing themselves at me and begging for creation with a hook and yarn.

So, I devised a heart house bunting for Valentine's Day.

I had first created a cute little house for my bunting a few months back.  I was happy with my pattern and so, that part of the bunting I kept.  Because it's typically cold and sometimes snowy here in the northeast USA around Valentine's Day, I searched around the internet for inspiration to add a snowy rooftop to my little house.  (More about that find - later)

I also wanted LOVE to join in with my house bunting.  A house full of love for Valentine's Day?  A little snowy house full of love with a fire going inside?  A yarny love house with a warm fire and snuggly blankets inside...yes, yes and yes.  These are the inspirations that my Valentine's bunting would portray.

So I got to work, trial and error, and what happened is my Happy Heart House Bunting!

I'm super pleased with it.  And of course, I must share the pattern with you so that you can make one too! Here goes the photo tutorial (American Crochet Terms):


I used Knit Picks Dishie yarn (one of my faves).  It's 100% cotton and a light worsted weight.  It comes in a decent variety of colors.  I order it online and use it often.  For this project, I chose a size G - 4.25mm hook, tho. this size is less common than the size G - 4.00mm hook (either will work fine).

The first items to create are the houses themselves.  You will make two houses from each color.  My bunting has 5 houses (it could easily have more or fewer).  I'll start with the orange house.

Foundation Row: Chain 13, turn. (12 ch plus 1 turning ch)

Row 1: sc in each stitch across, ch 1 turn (12 stitches)

Row 2 thru 10:  Repeat row 1.

At this point you have 10 rows of 12 sc each

I photographed this over a few very cloudy days - photo colors vary, sorry.
Now for the roof.  You will begin and end each row with a decrease until you reach the roof point.

Row 11:  sc2tog, 8sc, sc2tog, ch1, turn
Row 12:  sc2tog, 6sc, sc2tog, ch1, turn
Row 13:  sc2tog, 4sc, sc2tog, ch1, turn
Row 14:  sc2tog, 2sc, sc2tog, ch1, turn
Row 15:  sc2tog twice, ch1, turn

You have now built one house side, but you will put a sc border on it to smooth it off.

Starting with the last stitch you made, and continuing down the left side of the roof (front side is facing), sc in each stitch around.

When you get to the stitch where the roof joins the house, make 2sc in that stitch

When you get to the bottom corner of the house along the bottom, make 3sc in each corner.

When you get back up to the top of the roof, make 2 additional sc right there at the roof peak (where you made your first border stitch).

slip stitch into the next stitch and finish off.

Now, using the same color yarn, make a second house just like the first.  GREAT!

Continue on, making two houses from each color until you have as many houses as you plan to add to your bunting.

As you can see in the photo above, I have only one more orange house to create!

Once you have completed your house, it's time to make a heart for each house.  I made 5 red hearts - one for each house.  You could of course make any color heart or make lots of different color hearts depending on the look you want for your bunting.

I used a heart pattern from Maggie's Crochet Blog I got permission from Maggie to link to her heart pattern here. (the pattern may appear to be unavailable but it's not, just scroll down for the directions).  I have an entire pinterest board of crochet heart patterns.  Maggie's is on that board as well.  I like the Maggie's heart pattern because it was very simple and made in two rounds.  I used a magic ring when I started my heart, Maggie's pattern calls for a ch4 with a sl st join to begin.  Either method works fine.

Remember to leave 1 or 2 long tails on your heart.  You will use the tails to sew the heart onto your house.

While I was rummaging around for a pair of scissors in one of my drawers, I came across a little package of heart buttons.  I ended up stitching a button onto the front of each heart as well.  You can add a heart button embellishment or skip that step - up to you!  If you add the button, stitch it on BEFORE you go on to the next step of joining the two sides of the house.

No need to make it look pretty on the back, this will all be hidden.
Once you stitch on the heart, the button would go next.
Once the heart (and button) are attached, you will join the two houses.

Line up the houses with their wrong sides together.  Then, starting with the heart house facing you, join the two houses together using a single crochet.  I started just to the right of the heart on the right hand side of the house.

Make 2sc in the same stitch where the house joins the roof.

At the roof peak, sc in the topmost stitch, then, ch3, then sc in the same stitch again.

Continue down the left slope of the roof, make 2sc in the same stitch where the house joins the roof.

Continue down towards the bottom of the house and make 2sc in the same stitch at each bottom corner.

Continue around to the place where you started joining and slip stitch into the first stitch made, finish off, weave in ends.

Repeat the same steps to join the two sides of each house.

Next - let's add some snow to the roofline!

Using the same hook and some white yarn, push the crochet hook into the house into the stitch just below the joining row you made (see photo).  Do this about 1 or 2 stitches below the point where the house joins the roof.

Pull a loop through.

Make a single crochet that goes over the entire join row you made.

You want about 11 sc stitches from your starting spot to the peak of the house (count back down from the house peak towards the house side to see where to begin - if you prefer to make 12 stitches on each side, that can work as well).

Note that where the arrow is shown in the photo above, I crocheted the white sc in front of the 3ch loop at the top of the house.

This first row of white is what will hold our little piles of snow onto the top of the house.

Ch1, turn.  Peform the following stitches going up the left side of the house towards the peak and back down the right side (the opposite direction of how you just put the first white row on).  Yes, the back of the house will be facing you while you make the snow piles.

In the diagram above, you will see the back of the house.  The little white ovals represent the sc stitches you made with the white yarn.  The black text along the slopes indicates what stitches are to be made in each of the sc you made in the previous row.

The starting point is indicated.  The starting point is where you ended the first white row and did a ch1, turn.  You are ready to begin the stitches listed in black.  I hope you can understand the diagram.  I am a very visual learner and I felt the written explanation would be too lengthy and confusing.  If you have any questions about this part, contact me.

Here is the blue house with the snow piles on the roof.  Keep in mind that it was just after I made this house that I decided to add the heart buttons to the bunting so I had to sew the button on this house after it was already joined.  You should not sew on the button after joining.  The rest of the photos show the button sewn on at the correct time.

Now that you've finished adding snow to your first house, you will want to continue adding snow to all of your houses.  Here are some photos of adding snow to the yellow house to assist you if the photos above don't do the trick.

Keep working (get a nice cup of coffee or tea to get you through) until you have added snow to every house.

Now - get up and do a little happy dance!  You are nearly finished with the bunting except for the joining together so this deserves a bit of celebration.  Here you see the snow on the houses from the back sides.

Most assuredly, you will want to arrange your houses in lots of little configurations and take loads of photos just to please yourself - and you would be right by doing so!

Lovely - happy - fabulous!

Okay, now before you get too over the top with your accomplishments, you need to attach the houses together to form a little bunting.  This process is very easy and painless and it really takes very little time.

First - decide the order your houses will go in.  Then, note that with the house fronts facing you, you will join the houses right to left.  So if this were to be my final order, I would first join the orange house.  This is not the case with my bunting - in fact, this little configuration is exactly backwards from how my final bunting will look - no worries, I rearranged it before joining as you will see in the remaining photos.

Here goes the joining.

Using your joining yarn and the same size hook (I am using red) ch20.  Slip stitch in the first chain from the hook.  You have just formed a loop - this will be your hanging loop.

ch 30.  Now you will join your first house.

Pick up the first house (the house that will be all the way to the right side of your bunting).  With the house facing you (heart in front), make 3sc into the loop at the very top of the house (the loop was formed when joining the two houses).  See photos below.

A: ch 25.

B:  Make 3sc in top loop of next house.

Repeat A and B for each house that will be in your bunting.

When the last house is joined, chain 50.  Then, sl st in the 20th chain from hook to form the second hanging loop.  Weave in ends.  DONE!

Okay - another happy dance is in order, or a glass of something that will make you tipsy if you'd prefer.

Your Happy Heart House Bunting is complete and ready to hang it up in honor of Valentine's Day!  YIPPE.

Hope you enjoyed my bunting tutorial.  Let me know how you like it.  And, if you make one, feel free to share your photos on my ravelry page or in my facebook group.

Next up - in my search for rooftop snow, I uncovered the cutest little tiny version of my little house created by another crocheter.  So, I made a mini chocolate candy version of my heart house.  As soon as I get permission to link to her pattern, I will certainly add a photo tutorial for that adorable and yummy little Valentine's Day bunting as well - stay tuned! Cheers, Sher.

NOTE:  I made a similar bunting with a photo tutorial.  I'm calling it Chocolate Heart House Bunting and you can find the TUTORIAL HERE.

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