Wednesday, February 21, 2018

WIP Wednesday: Caron Cakes Faerie Cakes and Super Saver Minty Big Blocks

I saw a picture of a project on  the Left in Knots blog of a charming hat pattern:

I loved the colors so much I looked to see what the yarn was.   Ah, Caron Cakes Faerie Cakes, a very sweet green set.   By chance, I happened to have some, but just a few cakes.  Nearby sat some  Red Heart Super Saver "Minty".   They looked perfect together.

I made squares that were a bit large (center and four rows of Faerie Cakes, one row of Minty).   The color just unfolds so beautifully, and the Minty frames it so well.

My first cake made 15 of these large blocks.   I have four of the cakes.  So, I'm thinking  I'll make all the Faerie Cakes squares, then make a set of solid Minty squares to go around the outside to frame it.  I think the size will be just right.

I hadn't looked closely at the Faerie Cakes to see that the color runs are different in each cake till I went to take pictures.

 That really won't make any difference at all.   I love seeing the colors play out as I work.  I kept mine in order as I made them, so you can see on my first cake the way the variations played out.  That Minty really unifies the squares.  I can't say enough good things about these yarns and how pretty they are. Sigh.

I'm going to finish this,  but for the future when I get a Caron Cake, I'm going to check for an accompanying Super Saver color.  The Caron Cakes are about $8.00 each, which I find to be expensive.  This is why you want to watch the Michael's adds like a hawk.   Pro tip, hahahaha.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

February Is National Embroidery Month

I was all ready to work on the Stitch A Day Challenge that I saw last year, sponsored by DMC and Gulash Threads.   The challenge looked like this:

So far, DMC and Gulash Threads don't seem to be doing the Stitch A Day Challenge for 2018.  (Insert Sad Face).   I'm going ahead with last year's challenge.

Naturally I remembered Pink Only was the first thing to do.  So I bought all that Pink Thread yesterday (tossing in a few other colors, by chance).

This turned out to be a good thing.  As I was looking through my kits that I could do,  I found this lovely lap quilt I had forgotten about.

Problematically, though the kit provides all the thread you need, it comes in a rather monstrous tangle.

You need to sort it into colors--and those two golds looked identical to me until I saw them in a nice spot of sunshine, then I could see one was lighter.

Look at the Pinks.  Fairly distinctive, but it is a bit of a guess looking at the chart and the thread and determining which Is Pale Pink, which is Light Pink, which is Pink, which is Dark Pink.  Luckily, the chart also gives what I'm hoping is the DMC thread number.

Since in this case I now have a fair few Pink shades I can match them pretty well by holding them up next to a bit of thread in its nicely labeled wrapper.

My plan is to keep sorting the colors onto the little thread holders provided, then do an inventory of my thread collection, and get it all nicely labeled.

My thread collection consists of thread I've purchased over the years, and mom's stash.  I have quite a bit, but as you can see it is in no order.  On the plus side, I probably do have a few of the specific thread types the Stitch a day challenge asks for, such as a Neon color, and a variegated one.

I'll need to sort into colors, then note the DMC numbers and go from there.

Speaking of colors, DMC offered a set of new colors in a huge gold box around the holidays last year.  It sold out immediately, but I watched for the restock and pre-ordered.  Really soft lovely colors.  There is room in the box for at least another whole row of thread.   All my pinks could be in there...

In preparation for this month, I pulled together all of the tools and kits I have acquired over time.

I love my little embroidery scissors so much.  I've tracked some of them down after seeing them on various crochet and embroidery sites.

I feel like I could use more intriguing hoops, but this is what I currently have.  They sure don't use the metal ones anymore.

I'm ready with tracing paper.

I've been admiring all of the embroidery I'm seeing on pretty colored fabrics.  How cool that I stumbled upon adorable little "fat quarters" at Joann's right along the wall below the cotton fabric (which is apparently a nice fabric to embroider on).

My love of pens and pencils extends to various pens to put the patterns to fabric. Who wouldn't want to try the "disappearing ink" one?

I find I like the pictures in kits, but the towel material they use is very flimsy.  They will be pretty, but impractical.  I have many little pattern transfers from "Aunt Martha" and "Sublime Stitching" that can be used on "flour sack" blank towels from Walmart:

And I recently found these nice towels from DMC that will look pretty with flowers or robots along the bottom.

Needles needles needles.   Needles in a needlestack!  It has been so long that I worked on my embroidery that I couldn't look at my odd collection of needles (some from mom of course) and figure out which to use for embroidery.   It just lists that there's an embroidery needle in the pack somewhere.

I had looked up information about embroidery needles to refresh my memory:

The wonderful Mary Corbet has this helpful article.

The John James Needle Company has this one I liked as well.

Still while I was at Joann's I thought I'd get a nice fresh pack of needles that I knew were for embroidery.   But all I could remember was they had big eyes and sharp points.  That was also true of a few other needles.   I looked for the word "embroidery" on a pack and got two, one just because the needles were gold and I'm a fish.

If I ever sharpen up about needles, somewhere along the way I found this needle holder which looks useful for storing and identifying them.

I was hoping one of the kits I have would have an array of stitches that I could do on said kit for my Stitch A Day but most use three types at most.

I suppose this is where "samplers" come in.  Early on when I first was trying to learn embroidery, I tried an alphabet one.  I found many of the stitches confusing, and the overall project boring.  I have sort of a horror of "samplers" now.  Maybe there's one out there with dragons or something I'd like better than the alphabet.

It seems like I have a lot of stuff, but I've been accumulating it for over ten years, and it all fits into a small bin, so it certainly isn't taking up too much space :)

I'm ready, right?   If I manage to do some or all of the challenge stitches and colors, I'll put them in a post at month's end.  Wish me luck.

Happy stitching.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Monthly Wrapup

One of my goals for the month was eight posts, which if done consistently, will give me the desirable 100 posts for the year.  This post makes eight for January!

I seem to have written mostly about crochet this month, but I'm still dreaming of crochet most nights (no more aircraft) so it's on my mind.

I should be organizing my seeds from last year and making out orders for this year.  There was supposed to be a cool post by me about how I used this method of storing seeds and I even have the pocket pages and the little plastic seed holders (Ordered from from Amazon as the author did) , but zzzzz.   I have this suspicion  I don't want to cut up my seed packets to make them fit into the slots.  Some companies like Botanical Interests actually have packets that are small works of art.

February (less than an hour away) is National Embroidery Month, and I'm getting geared up for that.  I binge bought a bunch of pink shades of embroidery thread today in anticipation.  Don't tell my husband.

I hoped to try a bunch of new recipes this month, but I've been skating by on standard recipes all month long.

Let's hope for a tastier February!

Sincerely, Librariandoa

WIP Wednesday

Work In Progress Wednesday returns with a few of the projects I'm working on simultaneously.

Pinpoint Crochet Blanket

All the center circles are done.  There are 72 squares in the blanket and I've got eight squares completed.  Moving right along!   The centers took forever and drove me crazy.  They required 12 double crochets in a small center ring.  I could not get the circles to be uniform.  Some "holes" were fine, others seemed too big.   I tossed one that seemed ginormous.   I like the way the centers stretch out in a little starburst pattern one they're worked into a square.  The soft colors really stand out in the gray.   I have eight different colored centers.

Pinpoint "Mirror"

Those Pinpoint Blanket centers made me so nuts, I took out some Sage Green Caron One Pound and decided to make a regular granny square, with a regular center that other wise matched the Pinpoint Gray afghan for size and number of squares (72).   For the centers here, I am using scrap yarn bits for the colored centers.  I think it is possible I have 72 different shades I can use.  We shall see.  The color of the Sage Green isn't showing up here.  It is a really lovely vibrant green, not the grayish color it seems here.  So far, it is matching nicely with every center color I've used.   I'm making these two side by side, keeping the same number of squares made for each of the throws.  It's oddly enjoyable.

Calculating Grannies:

Christmas Granny 

I decided to use the Crochet Crowd Granny Calculator on my Christmas Afghan to see how many squares I'd need for a reasonable sized throw for cuddling under.  I never meant it to be big enough for a bed of any kind.   Here are the Crochet crowd sizes:

Crib 36" x 54", Baby Afghan 40" x 40", Twin 39" x 75", Double 54" x 75", Queen 60" x 80", King 76" x 80". These sizes don't include drape over the edges of the top of the mattress"

I used the 48"x66"  throw measure from Crochet For Knitters and plugged that dimension into the Crochet Crowd calculator.

I have one hundred of the Christmas Granny Squares (but not the last white row on each) done and will make 30 more.  Then I'll add a row of white and put that blanket together with a simple edge.   It will be 10 squares wide and 13 squares long.   My squares are 5" x 5"

Green Granny

Somehow, I decided to work on yet another small squares granny.   I'm just calling it the Green Granny.  I had purchased the yarns on sale, and I just kept looking at them as I'd go by in the craft room.  Next thing I knew, I was crocheting away.

The center is Caron One Pounder  "Cream"
Row 1 is Red Heart Super Saver "Watercolor"
Row 2 is Red Heart Super Saver "Frosty Green"

They're so pretty.   The Cream center matches the Ivory/Cream color in the Watercolor variegated yarn.  

I used the Calculator here also, with an ultimate size of 48" x 66"
I'll need 204 squares.   The throw will be 12 squares wide and 17 squares long.   I have the first row of squares done!   These squares are 4" x4"

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Super Bowl 2018 Word Search

Get out the snacks!  The Super Bowl is on Sunday and here's a Word Search for you to work on during the few boring commercials that are bound to ruin the frivolities.  Click to embiggen.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Updated Podcast List

I've continued to find and listen to new podcasts while I while away the winter hours.   Note the updated list on the sidebar.  More to come!

Monday, January 22, 2018

DOA on TV: Netflixing Short Takes

Freezing weather and a nice cup of cocoa.   All that's needed are some idle evenings of television to snuggle down with.

I've been checking Netflix for programs and made a list of possibles.  I did a few searches for top shows, then for mystery series.  I'm dipping in to see what I think, and will note here as I watch them.

The Crown  I watched the first episode of season one.  It was disappointing that the show starts right at her marriage to Philip and doesn't show the girl she was before she met him.  Maybe I just liked the way Masterpiece's Victoria played out.  I only liked King George's character.  Everyone else was rather cold and distant and in some way unlikeable, even Elizabeth.  Matt Smith was and wasn't a departure from Dr. Who.  Like Who when playing with the children.  Not like Who and somewhat smarmy otherwise.

Agatha Christie's Poirot

Foyle's War

Midsomer Murders    I've seen the first three episodes from the beginnings of the series of this one.  I had some preconceptions of it being a cloying cozy from my impressions of customers at the library who checked it out avidly.  It's one of those where the customers could get a little edgy with you when they didn't get the DVDs on request soon enough.   The opening of the first show had a sort of dotty old lady on a bicycle and some other dotty old ladies about town hanging around snoopily.  Then, our bicyclist sees something in the woods and bammo, next thing you know she has a broken neck.  Detective Chief Inspector Barnaby and his sidekick Sgt Gavin Troy see past the apparent accidental death to find a twisted situation that hearkens to a past crime in the village.   Each of the episodes has many possible suspects, and a surprising amount  of secret sexual entanglements of every kind imaginable that make the finding of the killer really difficult.  I thought Troy was pretty flat at first, but by episode three he was getting off zingers of all kinds.  Hilariously, his theories of the crime and killer were completely off in every case.   I'll watch more.


Orange is the new Black

Marco Polo

Ripper Street


Murdoch Mysteries

How To Get Away With Murder


Bright   This is a movie made for Netflix that is getting a sequel.   I liked the gritty futuristic world where Will Smith is a cop with the first ever Orc cop partner.  Yup, there's Orcs, humans and Elves.  Magic users are called Brights and are hunted down by law enforcement of all levels.  His Orc partner played by Joel Edgerton is the quintessential idealistic rookie cop.   He is so happy to be a cop, his lifelong dream, he tries to ignore the hatred that comes his way from fellow officers, the public, and other orcs.  I love Will Smith when he's being a hero.  I don't mind that he is disillusioned and desperate.   At some point here he had to sell that working with a challenging partner who is everything he used to be starts changing him back to being that good guy.  Although he is shown to be eventually doing the right thing, you don't see him getting past his own prejudices, you don't see him changing back.  There's no heart to him.  It is also a flaw that his orc partner doesn't show much emotion of any kind through most of the show.  There are comments tossed out by Smith that in any other movie would have you laughing along with him, but not here.  All humor falls flat.  It's so odd.  It's like they couldn't decide quite what kind of a movie they wanted to make, one with social statements, or an interesting cop movie set in an alternate time and place.

Dark   Promoted as the next thing you want to watch if you loved Stranger Things, this was unwatchable for me.  Awful characters, grim hopeless tones, and floating mouths not quite syncing English dialogue with the original German.   I backed out about ten minutes in.

Black Mirror    Yikes, supposedly an updated edgy Twilight Zone.  I wish I had just watched the Star Trek type episode.  Nooo I had to go all the way back to an episode wherein the British Prime Minister is blackmailed into making merry with a pig for several hours while all the country watched live.  Eeew.  Can't unsee.

Pirates of the Carribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales      This is the first of the Pirates movies I didn't care for.  Johnny Depp was the worst Jack Sparrow ever.  The movie was way too long and needed a considerable amount chopped.  There was no lightness and humor that clicked.  Bah, Dead Men shouldn't have told this particular tale.


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Red Heart Stylish Stripes Scarf (With Modifications)

I was shopping for some Red Heart Soft Essentials yarn which was on sale. One of the wrappers featured the Stylish Stripes Scarf,    which look big and wide and snuggly.

I didn't care for the colors featured in the original:

(Seafoam, Navy, Cream, Charcoal)

I bought instead 2 balls each Peony, White and Misty Rose.

While I followed the pattern as it switched between Double Crochet/Half Double Crochet (my first try with this stitch), I didn't change colors as they did.  I had three rows of the Peony to begin, then alternated two rows each of my three colors.

Here it is, sans the fringe which I've never done before and haven't attempted yet.  This is my first ever scarf, so slowly, slowly!

 I considered not doing a fringe at all, but the ends are a little uneven and it would mask that, plus it will likely look just a bit more finished and stylish with one.

It only took a few days.  I'm glad I've decided to hop between projects.   How nice to have a smaller project that can be completed and worn.

This pattern is really pleasant to work on, and it could easily be made into a throw or afghan by continuing the rows.

The Red Heart Essentials is super soft and silky, with a pretty sheen.

Oops it looks like I took my pictures from the back of the scarf.   That's why you see that blobby spot in the center.  Tsk.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Crochet+Travelers=Science Fiction Dreaming

I'm crocheting like mad. I have seven projects going.  Two scarves, the other various afghans.   When you do something intensely, it can get into your dreams.

I've also been binge watching the Netflix series Travelers, where they have intense "missions" all the time.

The last two nights have been crochet dreams all night.  I'm almost afraid to crochet during the day to feed the beast, right?

Last night Travelers and Crochet combined so I dreamed I was being dropped through the open top of a plane, rappelling down a rope at good speed. Once inside, my Crochet Mission was to add as many complex stitches to a construct, that is, a big boxy mass of yarn-before being discovered.  I'd wake up, look at the clock, go right back in.  Argh.   Picture the top off the plane.  That's me rappelling in.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

DOA On TV: Short Takes

Welcome to Binge season.  We're still in the mid-season doldrums where most fall shows haven't returned.  Some nights you just want to zone in front of the lighted box and be entertained.

This Is Us (NBC)

First we binged Season 1 and the first half of Season 2 "This Is Us".   Totally not a genre show.  Completely the sort of "watch and weep" show my mother used to live on.  Even so, it is smart, well written, with what I call "zingers" in every episode.  Each episode is packed.  The characters appear in their past and present incarnations.  The child actors in the past and present are spectacular.  Everyone is so likeable.    The show returned for live episodes this week and we're in heaven.

Blindspot (NBC)

This has had good buzz since it came out and I wanted to to start with episode 1 season 1 but it wasn't working out for me to do so. So I tried episode one of season 3.

I only liked the main character "Jane Doe" played by Jaimie Alexander.   Everyone else was annoying.  The deal breaker was Sullivan Stapleton as Jane's love Kurt Weller.   OMG.  The closeups of his mouth and that askew tooth on the bottom.  Shudder.  Nope.

The Good Place (NBC)

Lots of authors I enjoy speak highly of The Good Place.  Though it is a sitcom, which I never watch anymore, I watched the first season.   Somehow, though Kristin Bell's character was a truly awful human being, she seemed to improve somewhat over the course of the season.  Redemption is good.  Not a fan of Manny Jacinto's slacker Jason Mendoza character, but loved William Jackson Harper's Chidi immediately, and Jameela Jamil's Tahani grew on me.   Ted Danson's Michael, always interesting.   The characters from The Bad Place were a hoot.    I wasn't going to watch season 2, but now I want to.  It isn't on Netflix where I watched season 1 so will have to track it down.

Travelers (Netflix)

Time travel of a sort.  The Travelers are from the future.  I've only seen the first few episodes.  They take over the consciousness of current day people seconds before the death of those people.  In theory their bodies are back in the future, but for the nonce they're in the current day trying to stop various disasters.  Odd communications come from The Director back in the future via short takeovers of children and others who spit out a message then return to themselves.   There are a vast number of teams of five Travelers sent back with missions to accomplish.   I liked all of these characters immediately, so whatever they're up to, I'm rooting for them.

Agents of Shield  (ABC)

Back for their new season in December, they're having another great season.  They're in the future somehow where earth has been all but destroyed, and a small gritty society ruled by Kree overlords makes for misery.   Great stories and acting from everyone.

X-Files  (Fox)

This season isn't starting off strong, last weeks opener had me not paying much attention.   I'm not crazed about the Scully /Smoking Man twist, but I don't believe anything he says, so perhaps that's why.   Hopefully better tonight.

The Librarians   (TNT)

They're having a great season with super creative episodes.   The episode "And the Silver Screen" where Baird and Flynn get trapped in an old movie was hilarious.   One of their best ever episodes.