Thursday, December 9, 2010


I decided to work on more squares and here are the beginnings of this go round. I used Kim Jiries Double Cross pattern for a couple and my daughter's X Stitch pattern for a couple.

My camera doesn't do well with the red/orange colors, so I will show you a picture of the square my daughter made when she designed hers.

For this foray, I chose to use the bright orange thinking there might be some very young children who would like bright colors.

I went through my Debbie Macomber hanging storage bag (I also have the single project bag and the small see through bag) and found even more of those small granny squares. I pulled out some yarn and brought those up to 6" so I could use them for Share a Square. Here is the result.

Happy crocheting!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

neck cozy, Inox/Prym hooks

neck cozy
You may have noticed that I've been making a lot of scarves lately. heh

When trying on some scarves I had on hand (for his trips into the snowy land of Wisconsin), hubby mentioned he liked the shorter length.

With that in mind I started looking at neck cozies. How much shorter can you get, right? I found this pattern and decided to make one in manly colors. I haven't put the buttons on yet - there were no instructions but I guess you just sew them on. There were also no button holes designated as such.
wood pin

As it happened I had just received two cute little wooden needles, so I decided to use one as a shawl pin. I think it works quite well and very easy to use.

Megan Rose is modeling the neck cozy while wearing a hat I made last year while working up the Bulky Men's Hat. Of course, she is obviously not a man though both the hat and cozy were made with a man in mind. The hat is a bit large on her, but I didn't want her head to get cold. We have to take care of our models. She also insisted on wearing my jingle bell Christmas earrings. :-)

As I may have said before, my favorite hook is my aluminum made in Germany H Inox hook. These are no longer manufactured and I'm sure anyone who has one is holding on to it. They were made in Mexico at one point and there are some similar that say made in India, but I don't know if those were listed as Inox or Prym or some other. The Prym hooks replaced the Inox once upon a time and are listed as Inox in some places. They are not the same as the original, but are similar in coating and design. I find the length close to Bates hooks.

Every now and then I go off and try to find these again, hoping to run into some original ones. I saw the aluminum Prym hooks listed at The Pattern House and decided to get a couple in the H and I that I use most often.

The order was delayed, but to my surprise and delight, when it arrived, I found the cute little wood pins and also a slap wrist pin cushion. I love it and have already used it several times. 
This little item has really been a help since I've been lying on the sofa more in the past few days between the strained back muscle and this cold. The cushion  can be worn on the wrist as shown above, or on the finger as I have it here.

Unfortunately, two of the hooks ordered were plastic rather than aluminum. Debra has been very quick to correct this problem and also to find out from her distributor what happened. I couldn't be more pleased with the service. She is sending me Bates Quicksilver hooks to replace the incorrect Pryms. I will return the incorrect Pryms to her.

I can understand how the error occurred from the store end. The hooks look very much the same and, in the wrapper, you can't really tell the difference. As soon as I took it out of the package, however, I could tell the difference. (This is me glad that I didn't wait a few months to open them!)

If you drop it on the floor, it makes a very different sound too. Even so, I wasn't convinced I was right until I asked my husband his opinion. He immediately said the I hook was plastic. The plastic ones also bend slightly even when in the package. As a store owner, however, I certainly wouldn't want to have to try and bend every hook that comes in to be sure it is aluminum. LOL Also, the price must be different, even for them, so they would want to get the right item.

This little snafu made me curious, so I pulled out my grey hooks. The one on the far left is plastic. The two next to it are Pryms. The H Prym hook is about a quarter inch shorter than the others. The one on the far right is an Inox made in Mexico and the ones next to it are hooks that look like Prym but say Made in India. I don't have the original wrapper so I don't know if these were indeed Inox or Pryms or some lookalikes that I saw and tried. Most of them are the same in length, but the "true" Inox, to me, have the right weight / length / smoothness etc. Of course, hooks are very personal. Each crocheter works differently and what works well for me might not for you.

You know I have plenty enough hooks, but isn't it funny that if I'm in a hurry that one hook is the one I turn to.

Happy crocheting!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Catch up

As I go on my merry way, flitting here and about the 'net, reading articles, looking at pictures, searching for things, I sometimes find links I want to save so I can find them again later and, of course, I want to tell someone about them! :-) You lucky folks get to hear all about these. LOL

Today is catchup day and I will be sharing links I've saved off.

First link is to Crafty Corral. If you haven't read the article on charity giving yet, here it is

In my e-mail this morning was Crochet! magazine newsletter at . There is always something interesting there and today was no exception. There were two precious little Christmas patterns small enough to put on a card - one is a tree and one a wreath. Very simple. In fact, I did a similar pattern of a tree years ago. I'm sure there are many out there. How many ways can you say decrease each row? heh The wreath is just 2 rounds, a sc round and a picot round.

They usually do a question and answer thing and this time the question was the identity of a tool this person had. Turns out it is for a specific kind of lace. You can read about it here. It is polka spider lace

Another link I saved is to a leaflet at Annie's Attic for a stitch that is new-to-me called Delta Lace. I hate when I see a new stitch because even though I will probably never try it because I don't really have a use for lacey stitches in the types of things I make (for warmth in cold climates), I want it. LOL

I've also been looking at Bavarian Crochet. In doing a search, I learned it is similar to the wool eater instructions It is also similar to the posts at Crochet Dad at He calls it wheel stitch block. Crochet Dee has a link to Catherine's Wheel under Bavarian, so I guess that is another name for it. A poster at Crochetville said that Catherine's Wheel is usually worked in rows and Bavarian in rounds, so that may be a difference, but generally speaking if you can work it in rows, you can probably work it in rounds too.

I was looking for some superwash wool this week and two sites were recommended to me Cascade yarns and Swish yarn at KnitPicks. I haven't ordered any at either place yet as I'm still deciding on color and some of the colors are not yet available at KnitPicks. This is for a scarf and hat for my husband who will be traveling for business into colder climates than we're used to here in Louisiana. I need to decide soon though.

I may have already talked about this, but I found the link again so I'll mention it. These duck bowling pins are the cutest thing! 

Crochet Spot always has good stuff. In a recent newsletter there was an article on ribbing - vertical and horizontal. I'd done horizontal ribbing (though I've used it vertically as well), but had never seen the back post/front post method called vertical ribbing. Clever. I've worked fp/bp but never used it in quite that way so may have to give that a try at some point. Looks like a good idea for a Bridge Project scarf, very warm.

Then I have a link saved to this beautiful ripple pattern with excellent, large photos for you to follow. It's a multiple of 14 + 3 and the hills and valleys are made with triple crochets. I don't do a lot of work with triples, but I'm thinking this might make a nice scarf if I can figure out the length needed for a Special Olympics scarf. I have enough yarn left for at least one more, possibly two. I have a good bit of the Turqua, but not much of the blue left.

For those who have trouble with those tiny hooks, there are so many options, but one I ran across today again is making your own thick handles with clay. You can learn to do this yourself at Tapestry Crochet. She uses a toaster oven in the video. This is something else I'd like to try.

Cannot have too many patterns. Many nice ones here and though she's in the UK the patterns I looked at also had US version. I was particularly looking at the mittens and the crayon afghan.

And another interesting tidbit - how to crochet ric rac. Not sure what you do with it after you make it, but it can probably be used in the same way you use cotton ric rac. I don't sew but I've seen it. Used to be popular back in the day. :-)

Is that enough? I will quit now as I have another post in mind on hooks and I need to get to taking photos. I also have some squares done as well that need photographing. Busy. Busy. Busy. heh

Hope you all are enjoying December, with all the hustle and bustle, Christmas music (which I love) and remembering the reason for the season. :-)

Happy crocheting!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

new year

2010 will soon be coming to a close and I'm starting to think about next year and where I want to focus my charity efforts.

The group I belong to, Bev's Charity Challenge, is a great encouragement through the year. I am always uncomfortable talking about numbers - the numbers are not important. It is the work, helping people in need, that is important. But one cannot deny that being a part of a group where the sole purpose is doing charity work, and setting goals to help the most people, increases the amount of work done. We are "competitive" or "goal oriented" by nature, I think. Set a goal, beat the goal, beat the other person's goal. LOL The truth of the matter is that even ONE item is a help and everyone should do what they are comfortable doing, both with the time we have available and the finances. Many of us mail items and that does eat up the finances quickly over time.

Anyway, the point I am eventually getting to is that I wanted to be more organized in my giving. I tend to jump right in as things come up, and there is nothing wrong with that, but I am thinking I could eliminate stress by doing a bit more planning and giving some structure, while still being open if God brings a new effort to mind that touches my heart.

The hardest thing for me is remembering what I'm supposed to do with the items. Some ask they be put in bags, some are tagged, some ask that you don't tag, some ask that tags be attached, and some not etc etc I guess that is why some choose one group and focus efforts on that. Then you always know what to do. It's not a bad plan. I wish I could do that, but too many needs call to me. :-)

Of course whenever sending items anywhere you should at the least make sure the coordinator knows who sent them - your name and at least an e-mail, whether tags are included or not. There may be questions or perhaps a compliment and a request as to where the pattern can be found.

So below I have written down some charity efforts I've donated to in the past, with the pertinent details. These are those which accept the items I am best at, and enjoy, making - scarves, hats, squares (and by extension, afghans). All accept 4 ply worsted weight acrylic yarn unless otherwise stated. Baby items can be made with baby yarn as well. To my knowledge these are all working projects, still accepting items - any caveats will be noted since this list is basically to help my memory. :-)

Alzheimer study - lapghans / quilts 36-40", any color, any pattern

The Bridge and Beyond (homeless) - scarves, hats, mittens, socks. gender neutral colors, any size, warm patterns

Dawn at Bev's Charity Challenge (sign up anew each year) - yo-yos, saltines, squares, tails can be left dangling, any color

Crafting for a Cause (Native Americans) - many items accepted, I make scarves and squares/yo-yos/double yo-yos. Sew in tails. Some items mailed to collectors, some to the reservation

Christmas at Sea - scarves, accepted all year but best in fall, include your name and address within the package, patterns available on site (2 crochet ones), masculine colors - use one color throughout, washable yarn. Note to myself: design a seaman's crochet scarf 6 1/2" wide by 46" long and with an 18" ribbing. :-)

HAP (injured soldiers) - 6" x 9" rectangles assembled into afghans, gender neutral, avoid lacy stitches. This is a closed group, no longer accepting new members.

Heartmade Blessings (comfortghans) - 12" squares, ALL tails at least 6" and all left dangling, any color but black, tag each square with at least first name and state.

Kaps4Karing (cancer victims). I'm not sure of their protocols at the moment as it's been a while since I contributed.

Knit Your Bit - scarves for veterans, any size, gender neutral colors, patterns available to use, but any pattern accepted, attach note with fiber content and washing instructions, notes to veterans allowed. (FAQ)

Love Afghans For Pine Ridge Reservation (South Dakota) - squares are assembled into afghans. Pam is very skilled at using all sizes. Wool and wool blends need to be tagged. Full or partial skeins of yarn are accepted as well. Leave at least 4" tails. Pam will sew them in. Patterns should be warm, though grannies are accepted.(Her fave is 12" squares, but any size is accepted.)

Operation Gratitude - This is one I have not participated in before, but hope to in the coming year, making scarves, 5-7" Wide, 45-50" long, accepted September through early December only. Gender neutral colors such as blues, browns, olives, grays, maroon, and black. Soft wool, acrylics, or non-flammable fleece materials accepted, note fiber content on item.

Scarves for Special Olympics (Louisiana) sponsored by Red Heart (Coats and Clark) - 6" x 54-60", each scarf in individual bags, notes allowed but not in bag with scarf, no identifying info on notes, include one 3 x 5 card with name and address in box. Deadline for 2011 scarves is March 4, 2011.

Scarves from the Heart - scarves for cancer patients, the FAQ says, "You may make it any size you like.  Use your own taste as a guideline, someone will be sure to like it."

Share a Square 2010 (Camp Quality for kids w/cancer including one Louisiana) - 6" squares with 12" tail hanging for assembly, tags sent but NOT ATTACHED to squares, deadline April 30, 2011. No more than 150 per person, one for each ghan

SIBOL (Sunshine International Blankets of Love) (U.K. nursing homes) - 6" squares, any design, any color, acrylic, straight edge so they can be assembled. I have not donated to this effort, but want to do so this year. Our friends across the ocean help us quite often and I want to give back to them.

Teeny Tiny Treasures  and God's Tiny Angels - preemie and baby items - I generally send hats.

Threads of Compassion (victims of sexual violence) - scarves at least 5" x 65", any pattern. My thought is that most go to women so feminine patterns would be fine. I've donated to this effort in the past. The web site has not been updated recently, but I have contacted the coordinator and they are going strong, looking for a new webmaster.

Love's Many Cloths - This organization participates in many different efforts. One of those mentioned is my friend Millie's efforts for the Ruth Fernandez Family Residence (for fire victims). Millie also delivers to Visiting Nurse Services. I send her scarves and hats for these projects. Any color, any size from baby to adult.

Now and then an effort comes along that is temporary and I will help out with that. I will continue to do that as time allows.

There is one other thing I would like to do. Some time ago I tried to make the daisy square pattern by Krochet Krystal. She has a yahoo group now. I did not succeed then, but I still have that in the back of my mind and would like to try it again at some point. You have to join the group to get the pattern and you have to make one square for her to assemble with others for charity.

Happy crocheting!