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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

YOP update 8.30.16

I'm late posting this because this weekend we were doing some serious cleaning. I wasn't feeling well Saturday so just my husband cleaned but I did a lot of work on Sunday. We pulled out boxes and bags of things that had been undisturbed for a very long time. I found clothes I used to love that look like they would fit a child now. I ended up having an asthma attack from all of the dust we stirred up and had to retreat from the room for fresh air and my inhaler. We pot a hepa filter in there and let that run for a while. Our vacuum also has a hepa filter too and that actually worked faster. I'm so glad to have more room now.  I really don't miss those boxes stacked up in my way all the time. We are planning to replace our carpet with hardwood floor sometime soon so we have to be ready for that. We will be going through one room at a time purging extra stuff and moving some to other areas. I was really wiped out after cleaning so much though and ended up sleeping for most of the last two days. Hopefully I'll start to feel better soon because Thursday (Sept 1st) is our 25th Anniversary. My husband has the day off and we are hoping to be able to spend the day together.

I am still working on my meandering rib scarf by Lion Brand Yarns and amazingly I've gotten somewhat comfortable with the pattern. I can even watch tv or podcasts while working on it now and only mess up every now and then and have to tink back a little. I started to use a counter on my phone called "Knit & Crochet counter" and it is so much easier to keep my place in the pattern. I was using a sticky note but if it fell off I would get mixed up.  That app is for ios phones but there are some others that work for Android on this page and they work with Ravelry.  This one is a free app.

I didn't take a picture of my scarf since it still looks the same as my last post but it is longer. The last time I measured it was about 30 inches long. You can see in the picture from the app above that I've done 9 repeats (24 rows) plus the 7 knit rows I started with. The big number 1 is showing that I'm now on row 1. The little 222 in the top right is the total number of rows worked although I think it is one row off. I can fix that. Someone asked what yarn I'm using and it is Wool-Ease by lion brand yarn. The color is Gray Heather. I get that yarn at my Joann's store. I really like that yarn and there is a nice range of colors. I don't think I'm going to make this scarf 130 inches long since I don't think my husband would want a scarf that long.  I'll probably just make it 5 or 6'. I just finished off the first ball of yarn so I think maybe 1.5 more balls should be all I'll need.

I did break the needles I was using somehow.  I have the boye interchangeable knitting needle set and they seem to break too easy. I'm not even sure how it happened. The cord just dropped off and I wan't torquing on it or anything. I'm just knitting back and forth on this scarf and the cable is 20 something inches so plenty of room. They always break off at the threaded area where it screws into the cable. That is the third time that has happened and it is getting really hard to find the replacements. I think I need to invest in a better set but just don't know which set to get. I have to get something that has no nickel plating since I'm allergic to nickel.  Dianamcheck recommended Knitters Pride Dreamz Deluxe IC set. Does anyone else have a set of interchangeables they like?  Or a set you've used that you didn't like for some reason?

Here is a cute picture of Buddy the Beagle Baby to make you smile.  He is sleeping with his head propped up on my Kindle and actually stayed like that for over an hour.  I often find him laying on a book like a pillow but this is a first.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

YOP Update Aug 21

It is raining again so I've been sleeping a ton and just hanging out in bed.  I used to love the rain but that stopped when I started having fibromyalgia pain.  I can still see the beauty in it at times though. It intensifies the colors of everything and perks up the plants and trees.  I love watching the birds play in the water.  I try at least to see past what I feel.

#1 recovered MIA WIP - meandering rib scarf /lion brand yarn (originally started 11/2014)

Anyway, I stalled on my scarf because I found an error - well an entire row that was wrong so it made a line.  I tried for two days to ignore it and just keep going but I just ended up not wanting to work on it anymore.  My oldest son (19) told me no one would notice and certainly not his dad who it is for. Still, I knew it was there and it haunted me. I finally pulled the whole thing out and started over but I still wasn't happy with it so I tore it out again. Then I decided to go down two sizes to size 4 needles because the yarn seemed kind of thin for worsted weight.  I was much happier with the look of the stitches but it made the scarf so narrow. I decided to rip back yet again and add some extra garter stitch on all the edges. I started with 7 rows at the bottom and now there are 5 stitches on each side.  I really wish I had added a couple more rows at the bottom but I'm going to leave it this time.  If you look at my last post you can see what it looked like before.

I decided to try knitting in my lifeline with my boye interchangeable needles since they do have the little hole for tightening but it is only big enough for size 10 thread.  Can someone who has the knit picks needles tell me if the hole is big enough for a thin yarn (not just thread)?  I like to put in a lifeline at the end of a pattern repeat.  I'm just a little past 2 repeats in that picture.  I really don't like using thread though since the loops can pull the thread down.  It doesn't help that the thread I used is so light colored.  The ball is actually a variegated purple with some really dark purple but the first part was light and I didn't want to waste too much. Anyway, I was watching TV last night and totally messed everything up so I ripped back to the lifeline and it was almost as difficult to get the loops pulled back up as if I'd not used a lifeline at all. Next time I think I'll find something thicker and use my darning needle.

Oh, I almost forgot!  I'm inserting this part in here hoping to get some feedback.  I need to get a swift and ball winder.  Does anyone have any recommendations?  I want to get something that will last me a long time.  I was looking at the knit picks ball winder and swift on amazon.  Does anyone have any experience with that brand?  I'm hoping to get it for my birthday since I just bought my first thing of yarn that looks like a twisted donut.  If you have had a bad experience please tell me about it.  I want to avoid any hassles if possible.

I was planning to do a little cross stitch yesterday that I bought on ebay for a gift a while back.  One of my brothers finally got married (They have been together for a long time).   My SIL's name is Joy and I saw this simple cross stitch kit that says "Share Joy."  I thought that would be a nice Christmas gift for her to keep at her office (if she wanted to).  It is a chalk board look design with black fabric and white thread and it had a butterfly in the design top center which I loved.  It also comes with a white filigree easel frame.  But, when I took it out of the package and sat down to start working on it I realized it wasn't the right design!  I didn't even notice when I first got it in the mail and I already left good feedback.  It is too late to try to get them to fix it.  I really need to pay more attention when I first get things.

It is the same except it says "Grow Love."  I went back on ebay and looked at the listing again and the title and description were actually right but the picture was showing the Joy design.  I did look it up and found another one even cheaper and that one is on the way.  I will go ahead and make this one for someone else.  I do like the design but I will wait until later to work on it. Maybe it will stop raining.

Buddy the Beagle Baby has been so cute and I love him so much.  It is so hard to imagine what life was like without him now.  He is very different than my other beagle, mostly because he is a puppy and my other dog was very old but also because he loves to snuggle and play with toys and fetch - things my other dog didn't do.  Blue (girl) was always an easy going dog who liked to chill in a sun-ray or snuggle in blankets but she got too hot if you laid next to her.  She wanted all the blankets and your pillow but you had to go lol Buddy wants to sleep as close to my head as possible and sometimes on my face.  He will snuggle his little muzzle right up in the curve of my neck with his soft ears falling forward.  He will sleep with me that way all night long now and doesn't get up and wander around as long as I get right up with him in the morning.

He did find some gum last night though.  Someone didn't throw their gum away properly and he found it.  I noticed when he jumped up with me to sleep that he had nice fresh breath lol  He was chewing away and it was so funny.  I didn't notice him drop it on my chest though and my shirt was very close to the same color.  I looked for the gum but didn't find it and figured he just swallowed it. When I woke up and went to the bathroom I saw it plastered to my shirt.  I sure am glad I cut my hair short or I'd really have a mess. There are also a few spots of it on the sheet and some on his foot. So now I have to see if I can get that out of everything.

Anyway, I hope everyone is having fun crocheting or knitting or whatever you do.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

YOP update

The first part of this week wasn't very productive since I wasn't feeling well but then the sun came out and I got a lot accomplished in the last part of the week. It was so nice to get outside too and enjoy the sunshine. It was so wet and yucky out for several weeks and there were mushrooms popping up all over my yard. They all died after a while with the sun out. It has been about 75f during the days but I feel the coolness of autumn coming in the evenings. I am actually looking forward to fall and the beautiful colors.  I am itching to make something in a goldenrod yellow color to wear this fall. The only drawback to fall here in Fairbanks, Alaska it is it so short lived and suddenly it will be winter so I'm glad we still have a little bit of summer left.

I have an FO!!  I finished my Easy Peasy Socks for First-Timers by Stacey Trock.  They were so much fun.  I had some issues with the second sock because I had fibro brain so I did a lot of tinking and had to use a lifeline once but I was determined to get it finished. I remember when I was working on it my feet were cold and instead of getting up and putting on a different pair of socks I just knit faster so I could wear these.  Of course, when I finally finished it was too hot to wear them.  

BTW, these are knit in a discontinued yarn called Red Heart Stripes - Cancun.  I know, I'm so sad that it is discontinued.  I would love more of the colorways they had.  It is a worsted weight yarn.  I bought this yarn a long time ago for a blanket I was knitting but it has been languishing in a tub for a while.  I decided to use the yarn for something else.  I also have some turquoise yarn to go with it and one other color that I can't remember right now.  So now I'm trying to think of things to use that yarn for since that is one of my goals for this year - to find all my MIA wips and either finish them or frog them and use the yarn for something else.  So that blanket is one of them but it isn't one I put in ravelry.  

I actually finished both my goals for this week even though I really did it all in just the last couple days.  The first was to finish my socks and the second was to write up the pattern for Buddy's Squeaky Bug and get it posted on my blog and listed as a free pattern on Ravelry.  I made another cuter one that looks like a ladybug and also made a simple version which I call Less Buggy Squeaky Bug.  Buddy loves them all and for the Less Buggy version I made him I let him pick the colors since he is always rooting around in my yarn and I am constantly having to take it away from him.  He picked out the green cotton I used for the bottom and then since he kept trying to steal my socks while I was working on them I used that yarn for the top of it.  If you look at the pictures below you can see how ratty looking the green was because he already grabbed the circle from me and played with it.  He even took it outside and brought it back in a few times.  He was chomping at the bits to get it from me so I had to quickly finish off and weave in the ends with him biting at it.  So that doesn't look so hot but he doesn't care. It reminds me of an eyeball.

I did find another MIA WIP - my Meandering Rib Scarf from Lionbrand.com.   I had forgotten that a cup of coffee got dumped over on it.  It was in a small tub with the yarn for it and the coffee dumped right in the tub.  I dumped out all that would come out and was so frustrated I just sat it aside to deal with later and then forgot about it.  I hadn't knit very much on it so it wasn't a big deal.  Well I frogged it and soaked the yarn and washed it.  It wasn't as difficult as I thought.  It is wood-ease by Lion Brand in Gray Heather.  It dried nicely and regained it's fluff.  So I only have one repeat of the pattern done right now.  I do have a lifeline in because it is so easy to get lost with this pattern.  I need to use a word processor program to edit the pattern to be easier to follow.  I did that last time but lost it.  Normally I just use a sticky note to keep track of where I am in a pattern but with this one I get to row 9 and it says "repeat row 6" so I need another sticky note to put at row 6.  Then I get to Rows 15 and 16 and it says "Repeat rows 11 and 12".... I go to Row 11 and it says "Rep row 4" and then row 12 says repeat row 3.  So I just take the pattern and make each row say the pattern to follow so I can just move down the list and not have to jump all over the place.  

I do like the pattern.  This is a gift for my husband but I want to make myself one too that will be slightly different.  Buddy the Beagle Baby finally has all his shots and is almost ready to go out in the world.  We just have to wait another week to make sure his last shots kick in.  We also have to get him a different food because the Vet thinks he may have a food allergy.  He has a few itchy spots where he chomped off his fur.  We have some ordered and I really hope it works for him.  

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Squeaky Bug - Free pattern

Squeaky Bug *FREE pattern*

Buddy loves his squeaky bug and it was so easy to make.  Buddy is 4 months old now and loves toys that squeak so I bought a bag of medium sized replacement squeakers on Amazon.  They are 1 3/4" in diameter.  He is always snagging the squeakers from me when I'm trying to put them in a toy and he will run around the house like a mad dog with it in his mouth squeaking away.  So, I decided to make a toy that was just big enough to cover the squeaker and protect it from his teeth.  That way he could still run around with it in his mouth.

Squeaky Bugs are fun for other pets too.  You can even skip the squeaker and stuff them with pillow guts, yarn tails or scraps of fleece etc.  You could even slip in a little cat nip for your kitty!

I would love to see all the crazy Squeaky Bugs (including the Less Buggy Squeaky Bugs!) that people make.  If you send me a picture to donnaj71@gmail.com with a name to display I'll put the picture on my blog in my Squeaky Bug Exhibit.  I will assume you are giving me permission to post your picture on my blog if you email it to me.

Here is what you need:
  • Worsted weight yarn in black and whatever color you want your bug to be.  I like to use 100% cotton yarn (like Sugar N'Cream, Peaches & Creme, Lion Brand Kitchen Cotton etc) because it holds up better for a pet toy than acrylic yarn but you can use any kind of yarn.
  • G size hook (4mm)
  • A darning needle
  • 1 Medium sized round replacement squeaker 1 3/4" in diameter.  
Gauge: The circles for the body of the bug should be about 3" in diameter when flat.  You want to work tight so if your circle comes out bigger try changing to a smaller hook.  It is okay if your circle is a little smaller.  


The body is constructed of two circles, one colored and one black.  They cup a little to hold the squeaker because of the way they are worked. When you look at the hdc (half double crochet US terminology) you'll see the horizontal bar going across below the V on the top (There is also a horizontal bar on the back which you'll use later if you want to add legs to your bug). If you roll the work slightly in your hand a little so you can see the top V stitch and the horizontal bar below it (on the front side of the work) you be able to understand exactly where to work.  Instead of working into the top V, roll the work back so you don't see the back loop of the top V stitch - now you see another V stitch to work in!  Work in that V stitch like normal for joining and working stitches. This will cause the stitches to pull forward creating the cupped shape.  This is actually really easy to do when working in the round like we are for this pattern.  It is actually more difficult to not do it this way in the round and many people do it without realizing it and don't know why their work is cupping.

  1. Start off with a magic circle, chain 1 and work 6 hdc (half double crochet) into the circle. Join with slip stitch to the first hdc.
  2. Chain 1, starting in the same stitch as join, work 2 hdc into each stitch.  Join with slip stitch to first hdc. (12 sts)
  3. Chain 1, starting in the same stitch as join, *work 2 hdc, 1 hdc in next stitch* repeat around to the end and join with slip stitch to the first hdc (18 sts)
  4. Chain 1, starting in the same stitch as join, *work 2 hdc, 1 hdc in each of next 2 stitches* repeat around to the end and join with slip stitch to the first hdc (24 sts)
  5. Chain 1, starting in the same stitch as join, *work 2 hdc, 1 hdc in each of next 3 stitches* repeat around to the start and join with slip stitch to first hdc (30 sts)  fasten off and weave in ends. (when you make your black circle for the bottom do not fasten off)

Now, take the colored one and add your buggy details.  You can use your darning needle to stitch the lines on or you can use surface crochet.  Using the black yarn stitch a half circle to create the head of the bug and a line down the middle of the back.  Then add two eyes and some spots to each side of the bug.  Of course you can add the details however you want and get super creative.  Make loads of crazy bugs!  I can't wait to see what everyone makes!  Just make sure you stitch them in good and weave in the ends so your pet can't get them loose.  I actually knot mine since it is on the inside anyway and won't be seen.  You can also use safety eyes instead of stitching them on.

For this one (my first one) I used surface crochet for the lines and that was super quick and easy.  I was a little impatient when doing the dots and you can tell.  I just whip stitched this bug together working around the legs.

For this one I used 6 mm safety eyes and used a back stitch for the lines and french knots with 3 wraps for the dots.  He doesn't have a mouth but his eyes are smiling.

Bug Legs

After you finish your black circle don't fasten off after joining.

1. Chain 1 and turn it to the back of your circle and slip stitch to the horizontal bar on the back of the stitch (marked in blue in the picture below).  

Note: I found it is easiest to hold the circle so your thumb is on the right side of the work so you can work on the back edge like in the picture below.

2. Next, chain 6.  Slip stitch into second chain from hook and down to last chain and then slip stitch back into the same horizontal loop where you started.  -1 leg!
3. Slip stitch into the next two stitches (horizontal bars)
4. Chain 6 and slip stitche back down and then back into the horizontal bar again - 2nd leg!
5. Repeat step 3 and 4 one more time and then fasten off. - 3 bug legs!

Turn your circle around and repeat the same for the other side.  When you are done it should look something like this from the right side.  

Joining your Squeaky Bug

So now you have all your parts you need to make a bug sandwich.  Make sure both of your circles are right side out. 
Joining the layers together is super quick and easy with surface crochet (slip stitch).  Use yarn to match the top of your bug.  I'm using red.  Make a slip knot in your yarn but don't put it on your hook yet.  Stick your needle through both layers of your bug starting from the top, then stick your slip knot on the hook from the back.

Pull the yarn to the front (but don't pull the slip knot all the way out) and then stick your hook back down into the next space, yarn over and pull it to the front of the work.  Work a slip stitch and repeat all the way around.  When you get to the end to where there is just one space left you will have to finish with a darning needle.  Just pull your last loop out long and snip it leaving you with at least 5 or 6 inches.  Thread the yarn onto a darning needle and stick your needle flat to the work at slide it under both loops of the first surface crochet stitch.  Then, slick the needle back down where it is coming from to complete the last chain.  Take the two pieces of red yarn at the back and tie a knot. Then just use your needle to take your yarn into the body of the bug and out through the top.  Snip the yarn and give the bug a tug (hey that rhymes!) so the yarn tail ends up inside and not showing.  

This is what it looks like on the back

Less Buggy Squeaky Bug

Simple Version

This is a simplified version that can be made super quick.  Just take your two completed circles and put them together right sides out with your squeaker in the middle.  You can add some small safety eyes if you want or just skip adding any details all together and single crochet (US Terms) the two layers together.  

Put your squeaker between two 3" circles.  Please excuse my green circle looking a little ratty.  My puppy kept snagging it so it has already been played with some.  Make sure you secure your magic circle really well on the wrong side.  

If you just finished your last circle you can just chain 1 and then insert your hook through the top loops of both circles, yarn over and work a single crochet.  Work all the way around and then join to your first single crochet and fasten off.  

The finished squeaky bug is only slightly bigger than 3" and is ready to play with!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

YOP update

I'm feeling really, really, REALLY tired today so I'm going to make a quick post.  Since last week everyone was posting about knitting socks (or most everyone) I decided to give it a try.  I made a simple pair of socks once before with a friends help (6 years ago) but I didn't remember anything.  I really felt like I was learning for the first time as I made the first sock.  I decided to use the pattern Easy Peasy Socks for First-Timers which uses worsted weight yarn.  I found some self patterning yarn in my stash that I wanted to use.  I'm really glad Diannamcheck from Ravelry was able to help me with a question I had so I could keep going.  I finished the first sock and I'm ready to start the gusset on the second.

This was an add-on item to my list but it does fall under my goal of improving my knitting skills. Okay, that's all for this week.  I'm going to take a long nap and hopefully I will finish my second sock soon.