Join-As-You-Go Baby Blanket Reveal

A while ago I wrote about a granny square afghan I started, but I got busy and never got around to posting the big reveal.  My first granny square blanket!  I really love the way it turned out.

The colors in the photo are a little off.  I didn't notice it until I started writing the article.  I promise, the green is not neon and doesn't glow in the dark.

I am in love with granny squares.  I grew up with a granny square afghan that lived on the back of the couch.  It was mended and worn.  We used it to build forts in the family room, wrap up on a cold day or when we were sick.  It was a classic 70's afghan.  Black squares with bright, neon centers.  I love that afghan.

I have wanted to try granny squares for a while.  A baby blanket seemed the perfect place to start.  A traditional afghan design, but with some more modern colors.  It's really too big to be a true baby blanket.  It's about the size of a lap blanket.  It's so easy to get distracted by cute, adorable baby things.  But, the reality is (much to my great dismay), that they don't stay babies.  They start growing from day one.  No matter how many times I tell my boys to stop growing, they just keep getting older and bigger.  Sigh...  By making the afghan a little bigger, it's something this little boy can grown into.

The colors were not completely random.  I came up with a couple of color combinations and rotated through them so no two squares are the same. 

I used a ratio of 60-30-20-10.  In other words, 60% blue, 30% white, 20% green, and 10% yellow.  This was not an exact calculation.  As I wrote out my plan for the squares, I made blue the majority of the rounds.  I knew I wanted to join them with white, the next largest amount of yarn.  Next came green.  I used the yellow as a highlight.  Yellow is a dangerous color.  It can overwhelm the other colors if you aren't careful.  I used several different blues, and greens.  I kept the ratios the same, but I think it added a little more depth to vary them.

The border is a combination of different pictures I saw on line.  I tried to use the yellow for a tiny little pop. 

I am always surprised how much the border can change the feel of an afghan.  Without the border, it doesn't look finished.  I struggled to try and find the perfect border because it is so important.  I decide to go simple, and I think it worked out well in the end.

I gave it to my neighbor at a baby shower the ladies in the neighborhood and I threw for her.  It's always good to give someone a gift in front of an audience.  That way she has to say something nice!  But, I think she does like it.  I assured her it's machine washable - which is really what all moms want to hear.  I hope she and her sweet little boy enjoy this for years to come.

Mother's Day in California

This is a little delayed - we moved into a house last week and we still don't have interest.   But, we do have sheets and towels now.  Small victories. I just wanted to share some pictures from Mother's Day weekend.

I had a wonderful Mother's Day weekend.  My boys took me out exploring.  On Saturday, we headed south towards Monterey just to see what we could see.  On Sunday we headed north to Muir Woods to see the redwoods.  All in all, it was a fantastic weekend.  We were outside almost the entire time.  Since Christmas, my husband has been trying to pitch California in the best light possible.  He has been telling me that California is all about outdoor living.  A funny marketing plan from someone who only wants to gaze on the outdoors from the comfy indoors. 

But, this weekend, he humored me.  It was rainy here.  I have to admit, it was a legitimate rain on Saturday morning.  I'm told that this is unusual.  The rain is usually over by now and my not be back until October.  Yup.  October.  So, we just decided to get in the car and head out.

That's me getting pantsed by a seven year old.

That's me getting pantsed by a seven year old.

We headed south right after lunch.  We just pulled off at any little sight seeing signs that popped up along the way.  That's how we found this awesome beach.  We ran races and did cannon balls in the sand.  There were lots of smiles and laughs.  We also learned a valuable lesson; keep towels and a change of shorts in the car.  The boys just can't resist the water and the sand.

As we were leaving the beach, we were trying to figure out why so many people were hanging out taking pictures.  Then, we figured it out.  Sea lions!  They were just out resting and relaxing.  (They seem to do a lot of that.)  We also saw some sea otters playing in the water.  Pictures of sea otters are not very exciting - just a dark blob in the water.  But we had fun watching them chase each other and play in the water.  They were almost having as much fun as we were. 

In Monterey, we found the lighthouse beach.  The boys and I climbed all over the rocks.  We had a grand time.  My husband...well, let's just say he was happy that we were happy. 

This was my big find while climbing the rocks.  I don't know what it's called, but it's beautiful.  It was empty, so I slipped it in my sweater pocket.  It made it all the way back to the apartment without breaking. 

My oldest might as well be a little spider monkey.  He absolutely loved climbing and jumping on the rocks.  He outpaced us all.  Just two years ago, he would barely leave my side.  Now, he is fearless.  I'm so proud of him.  I wish he keep being brand and stop growing up, all at the same time.

As we were driving, I worked on a new project.  Something for my mom.

Crocheting My Way to California - Part 3

Garden Blanket

As I was looking around for anything to do not related to moving - the world ending - or packing - the world ending again - a lightbulb came on.  I decided to make a garden blanket inspired by California.  

I started this in Virginia, worked on it through out our whole journey, and finished it in California.

I started this in Virginia, worked on it through out our whole journey, and finished it in California.

I was basically trying to think as many positive thoughts about the move as I possibly could.  Trying not to think:  earthquakes…California is as far away from Virginia as we can go without falling into the ocean…earthquakes…  You know, things like that.  What positive thoughts could I have about California?  Flowers!  Yes!  Bright, colorful, happy flowers.  Whatever I ended up with, it would involve flowers.  

One great idea led to another.  I decided to use up some of the scraps and remnants of yarn in my stash.  It gave me a project to work on and would use what I already had.  I wouldn’t have to buy anything.  

Perfect plan, right?  Just start making flowers with scraps and turn them into something.  As you can see, I’ve had a little trouble thinking past the big picture that my life is turning upside down.  I started approaching my crochet the same way I did the move.  One tiny little step at a time.  Make flowers.  Turn them into something.  Ready, set, go… 

Organized Chaos

Organized Chaos

My first attempt didn't turn out very well - at all.  The flowers grew into granny squares and then into a blanket.  I used a very bright, almost neon green.  I used it for the leaves and granny squares.   It was so overwhelming and flat.  I absolutely hated it.  It was hideous.  (I’ve been struggling with the positive thoughts, just a little bit.)  I ended up frogging most of it and redoing the squares.  

I kept all of the flowers I had already made and added a few more.  I made a bunch of flowers.  Twelve to be precise.  I used patterns from lots of different places.  

Bright, colorful, happy flowers.

Bright, colorful, happy flowers.

As I started pulling everything together, I was thinking about my niece, who is 18 moths old and curious about everything.  I started to think about adding some animals to complete the garden. I thought she would enjoy finding little hidden treasure in the flowers.

The boys and I took this blanket out on one our walks and took some photographs.

The boys and I took this blanket out on one our walks and took some photographs.

I worked on this as the movers were packing up our house.  I sat at the kitchen table with my survival pack…Jane Austen and a bag of crochet.  It was everything I could do to keep it together.

Ignore the men with boxes.  Read.  Crochet.  Ignore.  Repeat... 

All four greens that I ended up using are Caron Simply Soft.  I love this yarn.  It is so soft and easy to work with.  It also isn’t very expensive.  It fits right in my comfort zone for workability and price.  I used the join as you go method that I learned in _____ to pull all of the squares together.  

The edging was completely guess work.   I just kept adding rows using the same colors I used in the flowers.  It's a ripple made out of single crochet in the back loop.

The dragonfly and butterfly patterns were from ______

I found the bumble bee on line at _____

I almost stopped with the butterfly and dragonfly.  I wanted to get it in the mail, but I just couldn't do it.  It needed the bumblebee to feel finished.

I almost stopped with the butterfly and dragonfly.  I wanted to get it in the mail, but I just couldn't do it.  It needed the bumblebee to feel finished.

As I was making the animals, I thought about my niece finding little surprises hidden among the flowers. 

Doesn't she look like the type of girl that will have fun with a garden blanket?

Doesn't she look like the type of girl that will have fun with a garden blanket?

The boys made cards and we packed everything up.  We sent it to her with lots of love.  It was a struggle for me to get through to the end, but it soothed my nerves and helped me to focus on positive thoughts about flowers, opportunity, and my precious niece.  I hope it can soothe her and bring her some joy.

Crocheting My Way to California - Part 2

Fletchling and Fletchinder

 (Fletchinder Pattern)

I’ve heard of Pokemon.  I know it exists.  That’s about it.  During the move - I admit it - the boys and I have watched (much) more Netflix than usual.  During this time, they discovered Pokemon and started speaking in an entirely different language.  

Fletchinder is on the left.  Fletchling is on the right.  Got it.  Good.

Fletchinder is on the left.  Fletchling is on the right.  Got it.  Good.

One day, my oldest showed up at my side with a diagram he made of a pokeball.  “Mom.  I have a great idea for your next yarning project.  What do you think?”  I had no idea what it was, so I searched on-line.  Little did I know how active the Pokemon world is in crochet.  When all of the images of different Pokemon characters started showing up, he changed his mind.  He picked Fletchling.  For those that don’t know…it’s some kind of a bird…thing…  

I found this pattern on-line by Heart In Flight Crochet.  The pattern is well written and easy to follow.  

This is one of my first amigurami projects.  It’s very different form working on a flat project, such as a blanket or scarf.  I found myself getting frustrated with all of of the little pieces and having to sew them together afterwards.  I was constantly thinking that there had to be a better (and faster) way.  I think the pieces are just part of the process working with animals. I think the pattern I found was good, but I realized there are techniques used for snowflakes that could be used to simplify the tail at least!  

Fletchinder likes to fly.

Fletchinder likes to fly.

Well, one thing led to another.  My younger son, immediately asked if I could make him Fletchinder.  Since I know you’re dyeing to ask, Fletchinder is the next level of Fletchling.  (That’s all I’ve got, for you.  Seriously.)

I couldn’t find patterns for Fletchinder on-line.  I started with the pattern for Fletching I found at Heart In Flight Crochet and came up with my own for Fletchinder. 

I wrote out the pattern I created.  (Fletchinder Pattern)  This is the first time I’ve written a pattern for other people to use.  If you have any question, please just ask!!  And please be forgiving.  I’m running around in a place I don’t know, living in a small apartment, with nothing familiar to me, trying to teach and entertain two very good but bored boys.  I can’t even put together a grocery list right now.  The only thing I have that’s familiar is my crochet bag(s) and my family.  So, I put my head down, ignored the laundry and everything else, went to Joann’s at least twice, and wrote out a pattern.

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A Little Something For Myself

Fall is in the air! I haven't written anything in a while because we have been outside riding bikes, playing baseball, and doing anything else we can outdoors. The weather has been glorious! Cool mornings and evenings, sunny, warm afternoons. We were even able to sneak in a little apple picking this past weekend...

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My fingers have been flying through Pinterest looking for apple recipes.  Last year, I tried to be healthy and make applesauce.  The boys hated it because the texture wasn't the same as what comes out of the jar.  So, I figure why fight it.  We are going to make apple pie and maybe another dessert...or two.

The trees are really just beginning to change, but there are so many ways that fall colors shine.  I have some orange and green yarn in the drawer.  I may be getting inspired for a new project...

Even though school has started, we've had a few colds, and we've been spending as much time outside as possible, I have managed to crochet a little along the way.  I'm so worn out in the evening that I don't have much energy to do anything else.  So, I have been trying to get a few rows in at a time.  And this time around, I went bold!  I'm made a little something for myself (Really?) and it is so colorful!

My friends are probably wondering who this woman is with her crazy, bright pink and yellows!  

I was inspired by Purl Bee.  This color combination just called out to me for some reason.  (Plus, I had some skeins of yarn in pretty similar colors, so I didn't need to go shopping!)

The colors are beautiful in the granny stripe scarf, so why not in a shawl?

I followed the color sequence in the scarf pattern, and used a typical granny shawl pattern.  I love the granny pattern.  There is almost no counting involved!

I added a little of my own twist with a couple of rows of double crochet near the end.  I was planning on doing a more dramatic edging detail, but I was low on yarn, so I used a simple shell.

The gray is exactly two skeins of Vanna White Choice, Gray Marble.  The rest is a combination of things I had leftover from other projects.  

I finished it at the end of last week and showed it off to the boys.  They were very sweet and said lots of nice things.  Then, the youngest started commenting on how cold he was, and if he had my new triangle blanket, he would be warm.  So, a few nights it went to bed with him.  Now I have reclaimed it and I'm enjoying it on the cool evenings.