Crochet Ice Skate Ornaments

As mentioned in my previous post, I gave Christmas gifts to my department this year, and these handmade ornaments were the easy part. My grandmother made a few for each of her children many years ago, and I snagged one from my parents house and did my best to duplicate what she did.

Tools:
2 jumbo paper clips
2 colors of contrasting yarn
F hook

Instructions:

Row 1: Starting with whatever color you’ve chosen as the main skate color, make 10 sc in the top of the paper clip (I found that 8 sc in the bigger section and 2 sc at the end worked best for me).
Row 2: Don’t make a chain here! Skip the first sc, sc in the next st, hdc in the following st, and then dc to the end of the row (you will have a total of 1 sc, 1 hdc, and 7 dc).
Row 3: Ch 2 (counts as first dc), dc to end.
Rows 4-6: Repeat row 3.
Fasten off, then repeat for the second skate.

For the yarn with which you will hang them, I cut 2 lengths of yarn a little more than  twice as long as I wanted them to hang. Take one, fold it in half, and thread the loop through a corner of the skate (either will do, as long as you do the same corner for both skates). Then, take the length and pull it through the loop you just made to attach it. Repeat for both skates, then tie the loose ends together.

With the contrasting color, weave the laces – I cut off 10-12 inches to do this (I learned my lesson quickly; tying knots with tiny bits of yarn is super difficult). It’s difficult to explain this process in words, so hopefully the photos below will help illustrate. (It isn’t unlike lacing a regular shoe…if you didn’t have lace holes, at least.)

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I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out! It’s a pretty easy and quick project, so it’s great for group gifts, like these.

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The Mighty Frog & A Rebirth

Three or four years ago I made an afghan for my boyfriend. Since it is an early work I’ve come to hate it. The pattern is fine, but looking back I always thought it should have been wider.

Also there’s this

OMG I CAN'T EVEN

I’ve BEGGED for it to be thrown out or hid in a closet or something, but was always met with a stanch NO, so when I came across the Dusty Snowflake Throw, a light bulb went on – I could IMPROVE the afghan by DESTROYING it. And there would still be an afghan! A win-win situation, really. And, with the blessing of the afghan’s owner, I began The Mighty Frog.

It took almost two days for everything to come apart; I attribute this to the afghan’s age (the fibers have all rubbed together at this point and were a little knotted) and also because it was just kind of big. As I took everything apart, I learned WHY it came to be in such a terrible condition…well, I know it’s because what I did was completely wrong, but I couldn’t even figure out what I had done. But now as an older and wiser crocheter, I know not to make the same errors anymore, whatever they may have exactly been.

Getting started on a motif for the pattern was easy, and I got as far as completing the first row of snowflake motifs AND a row of the smaller motifs before I ran into problems. Even after watching the helpful videos posted on YouTube, I still couldn’t wrap my head on where to slip stitch for the next rows. I took a break for a few weeks, went back, and saw I had too many joins which was making it lumpy – this is MUCH easier to work on if you have a space you can lay it out on, so you can actually see what you’re doing. I tried like hell to blame it on the pattern, but it was 100% operator error.

Something else I find helpful is weaving in the end as you go. And by helpful, I mean “more likely to actually complete,” because there’s nothing I hate more than finishing an afghan only to find I have to weave in the ends of every square/motif that I’ve done.

This Project on Ravelry

Christmas Gifts 2011

In Order:
Cat Toys
Amigurumi Snowman
Baby Picture Bookmarks
Cross Stitch Votive Holder
Sweater Sleeve Bottle Cover
Infused Olive Oil
Gift Card Holders

Not Pictured
Baby Sherlock Hat
Baby Booties
Ritz Carlton Brown Sugar Scrub

I don’t have enough photos or time to properly describe each project, but if you have any questions leave a comment and I’d be happy to explain anything!

December CAL Square & The Finished Afghan!

Ah, the culmination of a year of work. I’ve been excited to finally get to this point, because the last afghan I put together was three or four years ago, so this was almost a challenge to myself as to if I could actually finish it. AND FINISH IT I DID!

First, the December square:

I want to say this was my favorite square, but I have a terrible memory so that’s not something I can be held to. I think I just really like the bullion stitch. I also like that on (what looks like) round 8, I used three different shade of blue. This project was a stashbuster for me where I was just trying to use up as many blue shades as I could find in the seemingly infinite amount of yarn I have, so I didn’t have enough of any of those colors to make an entire round. Although I may have mis-estimated, as I still have a bit of each color left.

As for deciding how to arrange the blocks, I just winged it. I was eyeballing how much of any certain shade of blue I used on some of the squares because I didn’t want one shade monopolizing the entire afghan (I have an absurd amount of light blue, so that could have happened pretty easily). By October I started trying to decide which squares should go next to eachother, so by December I was prepared to have a diversely blue afghan.

When I finalized the layout, I had to figure out how to put them together…this was actually a difficult decision for me. I used white as my anchor color, and decided in January to use that color to attach the squares to one another and to use white as the border. Since it was also the only color in each square, I wanted the stitch to be visible. I toyed with the idea of single crochet with the wrong sides together (so there’d be a visible ridge), but it’s not symmetrical and I knew that would bother me. In the end, I went with a stitch I rediscovered by accident (as in, I originally discovered by accident) – backwards single crochet. It’s just single crochet working from left to right, but it creates a cool spiral-ish rope effect that had all the qualities of the joining stitch I was looking for.

I had a difficult time with the border, because I don’t like fluffy frilly things and I felt like everything I tried looked fluffy or frilly. Or terrible. In the end I went with a regular shell stitch – I thought it would look too grandmother-ish but it turns out it just looks like a subtle wave.

The finished product. It looks small because it’s laid out on a queen size bed, but it was meant to be a lap blanket anyway. I’m pretty happy with it considering I went about making it with no direction or plan. I would totally do it again in 2012, but if I do I’ll be starting a bit late because there is just too much going on my life right now, but we shall see!

What I’ve Been Up To

It seems I’ve been getting a bit lazy with blogging. This is something I’m going to try to remedy, because I actually do enjoy it. (I have a plan that will force me to blog more regularly in 2012, WATCH OUT NOW.) So, what have I been up to in the past few weeks? I have definitely been crocheting…

me with beard hat, and then actual-beardMy friend turned 30 at the beginning of November, and I knew he would appreciate a beard hat. I was totally right, he really liked it! At least, he faked liking it well enough to fool me. (This project on Ravelry).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, I PROMISE I’ve been working on my crochet-a-long afghan squares! Admittedly, I did October’s square in November, but hey, I did it. I started putting the squares together as well – it’s exciting to see something you’ve been working on for a year come together into something that is actually useful. (October square on Ravelry) (November square on Ravelry)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
In other news, my father announced we would not be putting up Christmas decorations this year, as we’re mourning the death of a family member who passed away at the beginning of the month. It feels wrong to be so celebratory. But, that person was also the person who first taught me to crochet, so I decided it was entirely appropriate to crochet a Christmas three instead. I made one for my then-brand-new cubicle in 2007, and found the same pattern and just made another one. This project on Ravelry
 

 

 
And lastly, I’ve been making Christmas gifts for people LIKE A MACHINE. This includes crochet, general paper crafts, and what is about to be my first adventure in Mod Podge-ing. Since they’re gifts, I don’t want to post anything yet, but that just means there will be an INSANE post-Christmas post after the holidays.

Ravelry CAL Afghan – September

September’s CAL square was Sunshine Jewel Granny Square, found on the Internet archives.

What I really love about this square is how different each square looks, depending on the colors and on which rounds you change the colors. I have to admit, the way I decide which colors I’m going to use for my square each month is hugely dependent on other group members’ photos of their own squares. Doing an entire square in a single color vs. using four colors can make all the difference in the world. In the case of the Sunshine Jewel (sounds like it should be a Cam Jansen book title), I don’t think I’ve seen a bad combination or order of colors yet – even any solid color blocks look impressive.

This project on Ravelry

Ravelry CAL Afghan – August

August’s square was the Nordic Star square by Priscilla Hewitt. Pattern note via the Ravelry group: “Round 8 correction: replace the number 5 with the number 6 for both repeats.” To be honest, I didn’t even notice it was wrong, because I was going by instinct of how many repeats of stitches there ought to be. Also, I wasn’t listening to anything this time, so I didn’t have to tear it apart and re-do it three times!

But I still like making things difficult. I used regular worsted weight yarn for all the blue bits, but the white yarn is fingering weight. It was all I could find, and I wasn’t about to go out and buy MORE yarn on top of what I already have, so I decided to just make do. And it’s not that bad! It actually reminds me of a snowflake.

I’m glad I went with mostly white with this one, it will add some needed contrast to the finished afghan. It’s probably about time I laid out the squares I’ve completed to see what should go where, and what colors I ought to use for the last four months (I can’t believe there’s only four left!).

Ravelry CAL Afghan – July

For July, the group chose Mum’s The Word by April Moreland. Here is my version of it.

Something to note when making this square – rounds 3 and 5 are missing a chain 2 preceding the clusters. However, this is something that becomes obvious once you you take a closer look at the pattern/your project. Also (and this is something I only confirm looking at pictures) it seems that the double clusters in round 8 should be in the cluster stitch from the previous round, not in a chain 3 space.

I learned something very important doing this square, as well. I cannot listen to or watch anything when trying out a new pattern. I had to pull this square apart three times because I was listening to various YouTube videos and podcasts on iTunes (including, of course, YarnCraft and CraftLit) and playing Tiny Tower because I am just so ridiculous. The problem with all these distractions is that I kept losing track of where I was without realizing. It got to a point each time that the square was so atrocious it was unsalvageable and I had to pull it all out. (For example, the first incarnation resembled a child’s hat.) If you’re trying out something new, donate 100% of your concentration to it, even if you think you are learned enough in the topic that you don’t need to pay attention.

Ravelry CAL Afghan – March

Oh dear, I got a bit behind there, didn’t I? For someone who complained only a few weeks ago that I was bored and looking for inspiration, it’s pretty odd that I completed the March afghan square three weeks into March, and am only posting about it now.

That neat outline part with the white was pretty clever, I thought. I am definitely going to have to start shying away from using so much of the baby blue as a main color though, lest my completed afghan look like an “IT’S A BOY!!” afghan, which would be fine if that were actually the case. (Admittedly, the reason I have been using so much baby blue in my squares is because I have A POUND of it from…somewhere. It was one of those skeins that magically appeared, aka was donated to me by family friends. But still! It must end!)

It’s April, so the April square is on my queue, but I don’t know when I’ll get to that (though it will absolutely be in April) since I am KNEE DEEP in engagement party/bridal shower centerpiece plans. MORE TO COME ON THAT FRONT.

Ravelry CAL Afghan – February

February’s square was the Pineapple Blossom square from Ravelry’s dishclothdiaries.

I had a bit of drama with this one. First, I completed the entire square before realizing that the color I had chosen didn’t match the original square from January. So I frogged this, frogged the first January square, redid the January square in new colors, and then got back to this square again. About halfway through, I decided I was too good to use the pattern because, hey, I’d already done it once. This proved to be an awful idea, when I got to the last round and realized I was short a total of about 20 stitches. So, I pulled it apart AGAIN and finally, on my third try, I completed it for real.

I really like this pattern; the petals give the square a delicate look on what could be a solid afghan. I can’t wait for it to be December so I have an entire afghan!