Thursday, June 19, 2014

Hot off the Hook: Sweet Dreams Baby Blanket

With news we're expecting -- a new nephew! -- it was time to get the hook in motion to crochet something special.  I ordered the yarn and while waiting for it to arrive, I started looking for inspiration by perusing through the pattern books in my personal library. That's when I came across Silverman's pattern, "Sweet Dreams Baby Blanket."  What instantly appealed to me was a "new to me" Tunisian stitch that looked very interesting, and with it, I'd get to use my Knitter's Pride Tunisian crochet hooks with the adjustable cables. (a win-win!)

As a rule, crochet pattern books don't make my "shelf space" unless there are a minimum of three patterns (or stitches/techniques) that I think I might enjoy.  Aside from the cost/investment factor, I have an extremely limited amount of space I can store my growing "reference books" at, so this "3 pattern" rule is important to me.  I am not sure how long ago I purchased Sharon Silverman's book, "Tunisian Crochet: The Look of Knitting with the ease of Crocheting," but based upon the price sticker on the back of my book, it was during the days when Borders bookstore was still around and it retailed at the time for $24.95. (Amazon has it now for just under $19). Flipping through the pages now, I still find patterns in it that I find appealing and may return to try in the future.

Some of the changes I made to her Sweet Dreams Baby Blanket pattern included:
"Sweet Dreams Baby Blanket"
pattern by Sharon Silverman
  • Using Margaret's "Italian Cast On" method; I really like that it isn't rigid.
  • Using the Knotless Russian Join technique for joining (less ends to weave in later)
  • Exchanged the first round of single crochet stitches for the edging for extended-single crochet stitches (to continue a bit with the 'knit' look) -- note that if you're going to do this, it will require more yarn. Don't be left hanging, with, say, 30 stitches to go to completion with no more yarn in the stash. This is why we should always buy a little bit extra yarn. :)
  • To soften the drape, I bumped the hook size up by one size. And since I was using the Knitter's Pride Tunisian crochet hook, when I was done with my Tunisian stitches, all I had to do was remove the cable to make it into a 'regular' crochet hook to complete the border. Sweet!!

Blocking a crocheted project is well
worth the effort.
Tip: Keeping notes on changes you've made to a pattern is important, especially if you ever find yourself needing to duplicate the work

 And, -As always, I strongly recommend blocking your crochet work. Blocking takes your completed project from looking 'Home-made' to "Hand made."  Well worth the time I assure you!  :)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Can Giraffes Crochet? Webs says "Yes!" ...

As I stated in my last blog post, I've been crocheting A LOT of chemo caps. At my last count I had consumed some 26 skeins of yarn!  Mr Dee has shown some concern that I "might run out," but I had replied, "Like that would ever happen."  After giving my reply some thought I realised I might have missed out on an opportunity to enhance my yarn stash...

No worries there. Webs, a yarn store in Massachusetts, had announced their anniversary sale. Only, I couldn't make the sale -- I was to assist Mini~Dee in preparing for her Junior Prom.

Again, no worries: Webs must'a known. They sent me an email announcing an online sale they were having. I selected some yarn and then proceeded to complete my order.  When I came to their "Special Instructions" part of the order form I typed in:
"If you need to call, please call AFTER 12 (noon).
Please draw me a picture of a giraffe enjoying an afternoon of crocheting. :) "
The calling instructions were legit, since most mornings I've been at the hospital with Cowboy for his cancer treatments. The giraffe request -- now where did that come from??  lol   I guess that was just me being a bit silly. Never did I think that they would actually draw me a picture, never mind it being one of a giraffe crocheting!

A few days after placing my order I found myself "living" at the hospital's ER with Cowboy. Fortunately everything turned out OK, but I returned home exhausted, and in much need of some giggles and grins. That same day my order from Webs arrived. Included with my yarn goodies was a beautiful hand-drawn giraffe, enjoying an afternoon of crocheting!!  I'm not sure how often their customers request hand-drawn work, and/or if they normally fill such requests, but for this customer I can attest that it was very much appreciated; it was the lift I needed, totally making my day!  Thank you, Webs!!

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Home-stretch

It may seem as though I have dropped off the face of the earth, but if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook then you already know that isn't true. What is, is that I seem to be hanging onto the edge by my fingertips! (or, at least, that's what it feels like.)

My father, who we will give the name of Cowboy to, was recently diagnosed with cancer. His doctors are optimistic that they caught it in time. It has been my job of getting him to all his doctor appointments and radiation treatments, which has not been an easy task: Cowboy, who is as tough as an ox, is not one of those who willingly go to doctors. No, he was brought up to believe that the only reason you go to a doctor is to die. It hasn't helped that also during this time he has also been hospitalized three times with serious heart issues ... to say I am stressed is a bit of an understatement.

Fortunately, I crochet. Crochet is great for reducing stress! And I had decided at the very beginning of his treatments that I would crochet at every. single. treatment. and. doctor. visit. until I had 42 chemo caps completed. (I decided to make 42 caps based upon the number of radiation treatments he was to go through; then bumped it up to 45.)  At this time I have 45 completed with a new goal to round off the number at 50.  Each cap I've crocheted has helped keep me calm and focused, and now that we're in the home-stretch of his treatments I can only hope for the best that all these treatments will work, keeping Cowboy around to see many, many more sunsets!
Labeling Chemo Caps with Care Instructions

In the meantime, the Radiation department staff has asked if I would consider donating my chemo caps to them as their department is often overlooked -- and is in dire need of -- chemo caps.  I said yes.  I will be giving all 50 of my caps to them on the last day Cowboy goes in for treatment.  Fortunately, one of my CGOA Chapter members had some chemo caps ready for donation so I gave them to the Radiation department earlier this week. You'd have thought I was giving out bars of gold; they were so happy!  :)