Thursday, February 23, 2017

2016 temperature afghan

2016 temperature afghan has begun! This is about halfway through January. I just wanted to note the day I began for reference. The beginning went much more smoothly this time around. No knots. No do-overs. :-)

I used an F hook for the foundation chain. There is still a little gathering but not nearly as much as before. In retrospect I think this time it may be from not making my chains between single crochets loose/wide enough. In any case, I'm okay with it. I'm trying to pay attention to those chains a little more and keep them the same as much as I can.

I'm using a G hook for the body of the afghan. I'm using my little cheat sheet for starting each row but am finding I don't need it as much as I did on the first one. Of course, it's early on.

Happy crocheting!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

big button beret

While waiting for the yarn to come in so I could start the 2016 temperature afghan, I pulled out a WIP started in July of last year.

The pattern is the Big Button Beret from the Adventures of the Gingerbread Lady blog, July 2010.

I used the Knit Picks Felici yarn colorway Time Traveler. You know I had to have that yarn. LOL It's special reserve yarn made in Italy and the colorway is only available at certain times. It is fingering weight, 75% Superwash Merino Wool, 25% Nylon, 218 yards / 50 grams. That is just over 1.7 ounces. I used about 1 1/2 skeins which is about 2.5 ounces for my hat. Note I have a small head so you may use more if you work this pattern.

I used an F crochet hook.

I haven't put a button on it though I'm thinking about it. :-)

I tried to take selfies of myself wearing it. I'm not great at selfies. Also, the lighting wasn't great. Of course, the model is not great. Those are my excuses. I am wearing it as a slouch hat. Note the Adipose earrings my husband made for me. :-)

The pattern is fairly simple to work. You just have to keep track of how many double crochets between the increases and decreases. There are lots of pictures to help too. Although I don't often work with fingering yarn, I found this a nice change. 

I worked this pattern before with Patons Kroy Sock variegated yarn in Cyan Stripes. Here's a pic - from January 2011. (The Gingerbread Lady herself commented on that post!)

In my blog picturing the previous hat I commented about the join. "One of the things I love about this pattern is the start of round. Rather than ch 3 and then work double crochets, the designer has you ch ONE, then work a dc in the same stitch." I want to add that I now use this method almost exclusively when I'm working in the round. 

Great pattern! Well done!

Happy crocheting!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Yarn Yak

Did you know the CYCA (Craft Yarn Council of America) has all sorts of useful information for knitters and crocheters? 

For example, this chart for yarn weights is very handy.

There is a fairly new yarn weight classification listed there - #7 Jumbo.  Click on the picture below to see all the categories but do go to the web site to get all the information. This is just a small snippet.

If you're a beginner crocheter or trying to teach someone who is a beginner, you might want to check out this page on how to read a crochet pattern. It gives a lot of useful information. It's written by the wonderful Jean Leinhauser who has since passed away (2011).

If you have a pattern with skill levels listed and you want to know where your own skills fall, check out this chart.

You can get all the information together in one document if you download the pdf

Happy crocheting!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Knit Your Bit

I happened across this information about the Community Partner Program for the Knit Your Bit project at the WWII Museum in New Orleans. For those who don't know, Knit Your Bit volunteers knit or crochet scarves which are given to veterans across the country. They ONLY accept scarves - no hats, mittens, afghans. Just scarves.

I have met the current coordinator personally and highly recommend this program if you enjoy making scarves and would like to contribute to a great cause.

Here is the address but do read the requirements before mailing. 

The National WWII Museum
Knit Your Bit Campaign
945 Magazine Street

New Orleans, LA 70130

How to participate

You can find patterns on this page but they also accept scarves made with other patterns. You don't have to use these.

There is a FAQ as well:

Here is the quality checklist used for the community partners. This will help you make sure your scarf is sure to make a veteran happy! These are good rules for any scarf donated to any organization!
You can print the pdf to have on hand

You can read about the community partner program and find a partner in your area here

Happy crocheting!

Friday, February 17, 2017

2016 temperature afghan

It begins! Here is my planning post for the upcoming afghan. I can't work on it yet as I'm waiting for yarn. It should be in next week. However, there's still a lot of planning to do before that. There was also some yarn that was not in stock, so I will have to order those when they become available. They are not needed until middle of the afghan so it should work out okay.

As a reference, I used the Wunderground site to get my data for the high temperatures for each day. 

To my surprise, when I searched for the 2016 data, it was missing the latter half of November and beginning of December. I was able to get those missing highs by doing a week by week search for those dates.

Here's what needs to be done. Go to Wunderground and do a custom date range for the year in question. You will have to scroll down to get the daily data. Copy from January to December and place in Microsoft Word. Then copy the two columns which show the day and the high temp for that day (from Word) (or whatever temperature you decide you want to feature). Copy those columns into Notepad. Put the day and temperature on the same line, then copy and paste to a new Word document. For some reason this makes everything double spaced Make them single spaced. Then I made the document 3 columns to conserve space. It was still 4 pages long. Of course you could keep it in notepad if you want to, saving a few steps, but if you print it out it will be many pages (365 or 366 lines).

Using the "find" I checked each possible high temperature to see how many there were in each. That sounds so quick when you type it, but takes a while because you know there are 100 possible temps. Why did I do this? Because in order to decide how much yarn I needed for each color I needed to know how many rows I would be crocheting. Of course, the width affects this too. I also didn't want a one color afghan, so I wanted to spread the colors out fairly evenly. (Note that I started checking at 40 for this afghan and come to find out there was a 39 high. I discovered this after I had put all the color names next to the days. That one day had nothing next to it.)

I then put the name of the color needed for each day next to the day. I use a highlighter to mark them off as I complete each row. This also will tell you if you missed any high temperatures in your "find" as there will be no color next to them.

I tried to get 50ish or less rows in each color. I came close. Because of the way it worked out, I needed more colors for this one than the last one. I had a 39 and a 100 in this one so two extra categories.

Now knowing the colors, I put a little square of color next to each group so I could see how they would look together. (That brought the document to 5 pages). I am using Knit Picks Brava Sport yarn

Because this one will be the same width and length as the 2013 I have the advantage of knowing I can make about 25 rows with one skein, so I can estimate yarn usage better with this one. Don't forget to add a skein of whatever color you want for your edging. Note also that if your tension, hook, yarn, is different than mine, you may get fewer rows per skein. I always suggest getting an extra to be sure if you can afford to, particularly if your numbers are close to needing an additional skein.

For the 2016 afghan, I am going to use the seed stitch again, also called linen, moss, woven and granite stitch. This also helps keep the length manageable as the rows sort of go into one another. The pattern repeat in the pattern I use is rows 3 and 4. 

The 2016 afghan is a little different than the 2013 because the highs were different, of course, but also it was a leap year. That means that the months that begin with Row 3 and Row 4 will be different. Here's the result of that figuring.

Jan, Mar, Jun, Jul, Sep, Oct
(months starting with Row 3)
Odd – sc, sc
Even – sc, ch 1

Feb, Apr, May, Aug, Nov, Dec
(months starting with Row 4)
Odd – sc, ch 1
Even – sc, sc

I am going to use a G hook and Knit Picks Brava Sport yarn.

The width of the 2013 afghan was about 42". Since these afghans are going in the same room, I want them the same so I'm using the same foundation chain. If you want a wider afghan, you need to change the foundation chain and also allow for fewer rows per skein.

The foundation chain is 226 for a total of 225 single crochet stitches. Why? The pattern is (sc, ch 1, sk 1) which requires 2 stitches, plus you need a final sc at the end. That means you need to end up with an odd number to work with which means you need an even number for your foundation chain. You lose one chain for turning. That chain does not count as a stitch - you go into the very first stitch of the row when working single crochet.

Some of the colors are going to be the same as the 2013 afghan but will be used in different places. Other colors will be new. I chose purples for the colder temps this time. I kept the cornflower, marina, grass, canary, orange, paprika and red. I added caution (a yellow-orange) and tranquil (a pale green). Red is not as prominent because the 90s were divided into three sections rather than kept as one. In 2013 the orange, paprika and red made up the major portion of the afghan with 177 rows. In the 2016 they will make up 119 rows. 

Here are the temperatures, the color used and how many of that color.

30s eggplant (1)
40s mulberry (1)
50s freesia (25)
60s cornflower (35)
70s marina (40)
75-79 tranquil (51)
80-84 Grass (52),
85-89 canary (42)
90-91s orange (50)
93-95 paprika (46)

96-99 red (23)

I'm going to assume that each month will take about 6" as in the previous afghan since I'm using the same hook and yarns.

If you read all the above, you deserve a reward. Here is the pattern I'm using for my afghan.

chain 226
Row 1: sc in second ch from hook and in each ch across (225 sc)

Row 2: ch 1, turn, sc in first sc, * ch 1, skip next sc, sc in next sc, repeat from * across. You should finish evenly, with a sc in your last stitch.

Row 3: ch 1, turn, sc in first sc, sc in ch-1 space, * ch 1, skip next sc, sc in next ch-1 space, repeat from * across row to last stitch, sc in last stitch

Row 4: ch 1, turn, sc in first sc, * ch 1, skip next sc, sc in next ch-1 space, repeat from * across. You should finish evenly, with a sc in your last stitch.

Rows 5 - 365 (or 366) Repeat rows 3 and 4 consecutively 

Note: Every row begins with a sc in first stitch. After the first stitch, you will sc if the next thing is a ch space, and you will ch-1 and skip it if the next thing is a sc.

Happy crocheting!