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.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Chunky Tote

So I bought some Super Chunky yarn with the intentions of making a scarf that I had seen.  Turns out I have way too many scarves already and some really cool patterns that I still want to make, so there was no need for this average scarf.  This left me with four skeins of a variegated super chunky yarn that I absolutely love, but couldn't find a suitable project!

I had recently pinned a pattern for this Chunky Granny Square Crochet Tote from the Michael's website.  The pattern calls for five skeins of the Loops & Threads Chunky yarn in Heather Gray.  According to Ravelry, one skein is 27 yards and 150 grams.  The yarn I already had was Isaac Mizrahi CRAFT Lexington Yarn in Union Square, which can only be found at Michael's, of course.  Ravelry states that these yarns come in 69 yard skeins at 140 grams.  I'm hoping that this doesn't cause issues since it's much lighter than the Loops & Threads.  In preparation for running out of yarn I also pulled some stash super bulky yarns from other completed projects.  I have two barely used skeins of Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick.  One in Fisherman and the other in Starlight.  They're so close in color save for the metallic gold strand in the Starlight.  I plan on incorporating the Thick & Quick into rounds of the Granny Square so that they're just an accent and my pretty Union Square yarn will be the main focus.

There was one thing stoping me from beginning this project! I needed a JUMBO HOOK!  OMG!  The biggest hook I had was a P hook, and this Jumbo Hook is size Q!!! 15.75mm!!!  Jeez!  So I stopped at Michael's on the way home from work and picked one up with a 40% off coupon. :)

With my new humungous hook and what is turning out to be more than enough yarn, I started my tote.  I've worked in the round before, but never actually made myself a Granny Square.  This pattern has three circular rounds, then the fourth puts in corners, and the fifth squares it off more solidly.  I used my Union Square Mizrahi yarn for rounds 1, 2, 4, and 5, and my Fisherman Thick & Quick for round 3.  I repeated the same for the other side.

Now, for attaching and adding handles...I see what they did, but I wanted something more like a cross-body and since my tote is not quite as large as theirs (probably because of the different yarn I used) I decided to crochet some sides around all three joins and then continue to make the strap.  The decision was then, which direction should I work?  Did I want to make a super thin strip that I could make longer if needed or do I chain some random amount like 90, see how long it is, make adjustments, then hope for the best...?  I feel like working back and forth by 2 or 3 single crochet's will produce the right look.  I looked at other messenger bags on Ravelry to find the look I wanted.

I forgot to take some other pictures throughout the project. Oops.

Con #1: I can see where I changed colors in the white circle.  Rookie mistake that could have been done correctly had I more experience.

Con #2: When making the strap, I knew I needed to have 57 rows (or something like that in order to reach around all three sides of the bag.  I put a stitch marker in, then went to town adding more rows until I thought the strap would be long enough.  I connected all three sides on the insides of my bag, then connected my strap.  Well, since it was made with that insane Jumbo Hook the strap stretched out and my bag was down to my knees!  I simply attached it at a shorter length so that it wouldn't be so long.  Knowing this now, I would have used a smaller hook, like a P or N so that the stitches were tighter along the strap.

Pro:  I now have a cute hippie bag to take when we go Disc Golfing!  It's perfect to carry a few disks and a water bottle!