Friday, June 24, 2016

Spring Comfort Throw

I took on this project back in September of 2015.  My goal was to have it completed for Christmas to give as a present to my Grandmother.  I didn't make it in time.  I had only been crocheting for a few short months when I found this Fall Comfort Throw on Ravelry.  It looked pretty and I decided to pick colors that would match Grammy's couch so that she could have it in the living room.


For my yarn choices, I wanted to find one variegated and three solids just like the pattern used.  Since Grammy's couch is tan with roses I decided on Red Heart Super Saver in Pink Camo.  When I had my variegated I just needed to find three solids that would match.  I'm not a super fan of the Super Saver yarn and I was actually a little disappointed that I couldn't find anything nicer in the color combination I was looking for, so I chose Caron Simply Soft for my solid colors since it was really soft.  For my solids I chose Soft Pink, Pistachio, and Bone.  The pink, green, and tan brought out colors in the camo yarn as well as matching the couch colors.

I was confused when I started this project since I had never seen anything like this stitch before and went to YouTube for clarity.  The directions were calling for triple crochet but the video showed double crochet, so I went with the video thinking I was reading the directions wrong.  After putting in HOURS of work and still only having a small square of work done, I looked back at the picture and how many rounds it took to hang from a chair to the ground...not many.  So it was supposed to be triples and not doubles.  It's okay, mine will just be more petite? The stitches sit tightly together and make it a very warm blanket.  Perfect for New Hampshire winters!  I later found out that the stitch was actually a Bavarian Square.

I had to put it down to complete other projects, but by the end of December, I was at 25" square with a goal of 40".

Progress Photos:

November 2015 - 3 rounds of each color

February 2016 - 4 rounds of each color


AND NOW IT'S DONE!!!!!
May 2016 - Complete


OMG!  That project felt like it took FOREVER!  I thought I would reach 40 inches by adding another set of each color, but I only achieved a final measurement of 32.5".  Plenty big enough for a lapghan. :)  I'm sure Grammy will love it!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Black Dragon Pearl Tea

So I was out at the King of Prussia Mall with my friend shopping for fancy dresses since she's my date to chaperone the prom this year.  She see's the store and says "We have to go in!  I need more S'Mores Tea!" which peaked my interest.


So the store is TEAVANA and it's very appropriately named.  They had neat looking Asian Tea Pots and all these cool tea accessories!  And their wall of teas is just...more than I've seen before.  My friend was just going to get her S'Mores tea and we would be on our way, but the extremely friendly girl at the counter asked her if she had everything she needed and then showed us the Perfect Tea Maker.  Even better, it comes as a Starter Kit!  Comes with the Perfect Tea Maker of course, the Grey or Gold Teavana Tea Tin for keeping your tea extra fresh, and either a pound of Rock Sugar or the Perfect Tea Spoon.

I was sold!  Sign me up for some tea, too!  I bought the starter kit and chose the spoon for measuring loose tea.  Now to choose my tea!  They're all individually priced per 2 ounces, which says will make 20-25 cups.  I know I like Black Tea but I didn't want to go with something as ordinary as Earl Grey so when I saw the Black Dragon Pearl on the shelf I knew I wanted to try it.  The friendly associate even let me smell it and I couldn't wait to get home and try some.


She labeled my tin and said two or three of the little balls would be enough in my tea maker and she explained how the little balls are actually a whole lot of leaves all condensed together.  I was really surprised after making my first cup!


These little balls of leaves expanded so much!



And I made two cups without needing any more tea leaves.

The Perfect Tea Maker really is perfect!  So easy to use and with no mess.  It comes with it's own little tray to sit on in case of any leaks (which there were none), then sits right on top of your cup to dispense the tea from the bottom.  No leaves in my cup!  Yay!  It says the lid and strainer can be removed carefully for cleaning, but the strainer wasn't coming easily so I just rinsed it as one piece.  I don't want to break it the first time I use it!

I won't say I wasn't a little shocked with myself when I had to slide my credit card for sixty-something dollars, but most of that was the tea which I think will last a while since my tin is about half full.  I did see a negative review for the tin on their website, but the customer said that the lid came right off.  I did a flip test and mine stayed on just fine.  I agree that the inner seal is not as tight as it could be so maybe I'll throw some plastic wrap on to make sure the tea doesn't get stale.

All in all I'm very excited for my delicious tea which I'm drinking while I post!!! :)


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Puppy Dog Peanut Butter Treats

My friend recently found out that her Great Dane has a terminal condition where he will slowly lose control of his limbs until he can no longer move.  That's obviously not the technical description, but basically what I understood from reading the information she sent me.  The same friend had recently given me a cookbook of organic dog biscuits so I asked her what his favorite flavor would be.  She knew Peanut Butter would be his absolute favorite so I went to the cookbook and found two recipes that called for peanut butter.  Puppy Dog Eyes was the winner!


I had the flours from a previous recipe. It calls for Oat Flour and Brown Rice Flour which I found at the local Giant Food Store.



It also calls for unsalted peanut butter which I easily found at Redners  (a local grocery store).


The ingredient that I couldn't find at my local store was the Carob Chips, but I didn't think they were necessary.  According to the internet Walmart carries them, but I wasn't making another stop, so no Carob Chips in my cookies.

I rolled them into balls, but instead of denting them with my thumb for the Carob Chips, I used a fork to flatten them like regular Peanut Butter Cookies for people!


My dog Tennessee loved them, so I'm sure his best friend Spot will also enjoy them.

A couple pictures of Tenny and Spotty together.  Tenny stayed the weekend at Spotty's house when we went to an out-of-town wedding.  Spotty's mommy sent us pictures throughout the weekend letting us know that they were having a great time together.  Tennessee is an 18 pound Chihuahua Mix; we're really not sure what he's mixed with.  Spot is a 150 pound Great Dane who was rescued from an abusive home.  They love to play together, Tenny running circles around Spot. :)



Monday, February 15, 2016

Katniss Fingerless Gloves

I was looking for some cute fingerless gloves to match my Katniss Cowl and I found Marley's Mitts on Ravelry.  I started them but I didn't like how the cables were coming out with my yarn, so I pulled them apart and decided to make gloves using the same stitches as the cowl.


This was my first attempt at Marley's Mitts.  There are three rows of single crochet worked into the front loops of the bottom three rows.  They're hard to see in the picture.  I even sewed the side together and added the mock cables but they just didn't look right.  The original pattern used Isaac Mizrahi yarn that was more wispy; probably why it looked better.

I've made a few pairs of fingerless mitts in the past, so I felt pretty confident in making my own. I thought the single crochet in Marley's Mitts was similar to the front post single crochet in the Katniss Cowl, so why not use the Katniss Cowl stitches to make some matching gloves?



Here's the directions to what I made using the same stitches from the Katniss Cowl.

Left Hand:
Ch20 and join to beginning chain with slip stitch. (Chain more or less depending on how big or small you want your gloves to be.  Use an even number.)
Rnd1: Ch2, DC in each stitch across
Rnd2: Ch2, BPDC in next stitch, FPDC in next stitch, alternating around
Rnd3: Ch2, BPDC in previous BP, FPDC in previous FP across
Rnd4: Ch2, DC in next 15 stitches, chain 2 and skip 2 (thumb hole), DC in next 2 stitches
Rnd5: Ch2, DC in next 15 stitches, DC two in ch space, DC in next 2 stitches
Rnd6: Ch1, FPSC around each DC in previous round, sl st to beg FPSC, sl st to ch1
Rnd7: Ch2, DC in each stitch across
Rnd8: Ch1, FPSC around each DC in previous round, sl st to beg FPSC, sl st to ch1
Rnd9: Ch2, DC in each stitch across
Rnd10: Ch1, FPSC around each DC in previous round, sl st to beg FPSC, sl st to ch1
Rnd11:Ch2, DC in each stitch across
Rnd12: Ch2, BPDC in next stitch, FPDC in next stitch, alternating around
Rnd13: Ch2, BPDC in previous BP, FPDC in previous FP across

Right Hand:
All rows are the same except 4 and 5 to create thumb hole and keep the seem on the bottom.
Rnd4: Ch2, DC in next 2 stitches, chain 2 and skip 2 (thumb hole), DC in next 15 stitches
Rnd5: Ch2, DC in next 2 stitches, DC two in ch space, DC in next 15 stitches

Weave in all ends and you have a pair of fingerless mitts to match your Katniss Cowl!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Katniss Cowl

My friend Holly found this pattern on Pinterest and saved it to our Crochet Clothes board because she knew I would love it!  I found it moments later and tried to pin it myself and was told it was already saved!  She knows me so well. :)

I went straight to the blog post to check out the pattern.  Then of course I needed to find it on Ravelry!  I was so excited to start this project!!!  But I couldn't, because I need to be better about finishing projects before I start new ones.  So I decided I had to complete the Spring Comfort Throw first!  This didn't stop me from purchasing the materials!  I had to be ready to start as soon as the throw was complete.  Then I changed my mind... You know, because I just couldn't wait to have my AWESOME COWL!!!

So, the original was made with Bernat Collegiate Chunky yarn.  Of course, it's discontinued.  This was a little worrisome because when I've tried to substitute yarns in other projects I don't get the same quality, or the same look as the original.  But I've been learning!  I found Yarnsub.com which was very informative about how different aspects of a yarn make it similar to others.  Of course, they didn't have the Collegiate Chunky in their search engine.  So I went back to Ravelry because that's my goto site for everything!  I found the page for the Bernat yarn and looked at the weight and the gauge.  This was my first time using the gauge to find a substitute, so I still wasn't sure if it was going to be perfect.

I found so many yarns by searching Ravelry for a Super Bulky yarn with a 10-12 stitch per 4 inch gauge.  I made my list and headed off to Michaels since it's the closest to my route home from work.  They did carry a few of the yarns on my list, but the color selection for size 6 was lacking.  I ended up at A.C. Moore, which was a little farther away, but they have quadruple the selection.  I didn't really look for the yarns on the list I had, but I found the Stitch Studio by Nicole Belle yarn that was size 6.  I pulled up Ravelry on my phone and it turns out they have the same gauge!  11 stitches in 4 inches!  I was so excited!  AND, the yarn comes in skeins of 263 yards!  Since I need 600 yards just for the cowl I bought 3 figuring that I could just make some awesome leg warmers or other accessories to match.


As I've mentioned before, I really love variegated yarns, but this pattern uses some really cool stitches that I didn't want hidden by a busy yarn.  So I picked Steel Grey because I thought the original looked nice done in grey. (I don't think the picture truly shows the color correctly. Wrong lighting.)


I stressed a little bit about getting the size just right.  The pattern doesn't give an exact chain length to start with, just to make it about 65 inches then slip-stitch to the beginning.  She said this would be a good length for most people, but she looks little in the picture, and I have wide shoulders.  I made my starting chain 65 inches, but when I wrapped it around myself I was concerned about the length, so I think I made mine closer to 70 inches.  She even says that after you do the first row of front and back post double crochet stitches the original chain shrinks in length.  This is true.  I recommend making your chain, the first row of double crochet and the first row of post stitches then trying it on to make sure it's going to be the right length.  I didn't count it at first, but I went back and counted my original chain to give you an idea of where to start.  I was also concerned about the even or odd count since the post stitches are alternating and I really like when things are even and symmetrical.  My original chain was 150.


I absolutely LOVE how these stitches work together!



In the end, I realize that I made my cowl longer than the original, so I kept trying it on throughout to make sure it was looking good.  There were times I was concerned about the length and I thought I should have listened to her and made mine smaller.

I read some other blogs about this same project to see what others did.  Humming for Promise posted about her Katniss Cowl as did This and That.  Reading their posts along with the original helped to make decisions about length and height.  I didn't do the second repeat of rows 2-10 which create the columns and stripes.  I felt like my creation was plenty tall enough for me and any extra rows would just be too much.  I actually went out and bought a 4th skein on yarn because I thought I was going to run out, especially since mine is longer, but I didn't need it.

Here are some pictures of my first attempt.  Please excuse my wet hair :)

Wrapped around twice.

Worn like a hood.

Worn like Katniss.  Not my favorite look.
I probably won't wear it like this often.

I will be making myself another that follows the directions exactly.  Hopefully it has the fit I prefer.  I'll post new photos when it's done.