A Childhood Crochet Blanket “Remake”

In the beginning

In the beginning

Some things are just worth holding on to, don’t you think? The picture above is of the first blanket I ever made.  I was 10 years old, and staying with my aunt and her family for the summer.  They lived in Florida, so for this New Yorker it was a huge treat.  But what was my aunt going to do with me all summer when we weren’t at Disney World or at the beach?  Being an avid “crocheter” herself, she started me on my first blanket.

granny "squares" that were anything but squares

granny “squares” that were anything but squares

The blanket has done fairly well over the past 30 plus years! But recently it became clear it was in need of some serious repair. My aunt had me sew the squares together, instead of crochet them, and the sewing was coming apart.  I think I figured out why she had me sew them together instead of crochet: they weren’t squares at all!  I did a TERRIBLE job of counting my stitches, so none of the squares were the same shape.

every shape imaginable except "square"

every shape imaginable except “square”

Yeah, I was 10.   🙂  So I decided to “Square them up”!  I did the same border on all of the squares so I’d have the same number of stitches.

crocheting everything together

crocheting everything together

There are a million and one different styles for granny square blankets.  I looked at ALL of them on Pinterest!  I like nice clean white lines.  It is so easy.  And neat. I like that.

crochet together with a simple stitch

crochet together with a simple stitch

Next to decide: the border. I like to try something different with each project, so I played around with the border.

White & Pink edging

White & Pink edging

I wanted to make the blanket a little more substantial, so I went a few times around, each time with a different stitch.

White, Pink, White, Yellow & White border

White, Pink, White, Yellow & White border

I love the yellow border best.  They are like little puff balls all the way around.  The funny thing is, that is the BACK of them.  I crocheted them the entire way around before I discovered the “puff” that I liked so much was on the back of the blanket!  So I undid it, and turned the blanket around, and crocheted them on “backwards”.  I felt better after I did that.

almost finished ... one more border to go

almost finished … one more border to go

I was tempted to call it quits after the yellow border.  VERY tempted.  But I decided to see how it would look edged in a frilly white.

frilly white edging

frilly white edging

This gives it a bit of a different look, but I like it for this blanket.

full blanket all finished

full blanket all finished

I’m really happy with it, and glad that I took the time to remake it.  That summer was pretty special to me, especially since we didn’t go down to Florida very often.  That side of the family is my American-Italian side, and there is something quite special about that heritage. I have very fond memories, especially of my aunt.   Unfortunately, she has since passed away, and this blanket is my special connection to her.

blanket remake

blanket remake

really happy with the end result

really happy with the end result

I don’t spend a lot of time crocheting, and I tend to take long breaks between projects!  But I do love it, and I find it to be a relaxing past-time.

What about you?  Any projects keeping you busy at the moment?

In peace,
Dana

The garden with its fall color on

The garden with its fall color on



Crochet fish go exploring to Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge & the Giant’s Causeway

View from the walk near Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge

View from the walk near Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge

What a title, huh?  I could not decide on whether to go the “crochet” route, or the “travel” route, so I combined them! The truth is that I thought it would add a little bit of fun to my post. 🙂

two crochet fish

two crochet fish

I’ll start with the story about the fish.  Last year I visited my young nephew while on vacation in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. I scored some major points after giving him a cuddly seal for his birthday. He *loved* it.  He did comment though, that he had no fish to feed “Sealy”, which of course was a very sad situation.  Well, it was even more sad since it took me an entire year to make some fish for him!

easy pattern crochet fish

easy pattern crochet fish

I wanted an EASY and free pattern and of course I found one on Pinterest. I won’t tell you how long I spent on Pinterest even after I found a pattern…  Anyway, the one I used fit the bill perfectly.

http://oombawkadesigncrochet.com/2014/10/little-amigurumi-fish.html

If you follow that link and have a look, you will wonder if I used that pattern at all!  It was an easy pattern, but I made my fish a wee bit differently than the ones by the talented lady who created the pattern.  And that I am going to call ‘creativity’! 🙂

This yarn has sequins in it and is lovely and soft.

This yarn has sequins in it and is lovely and soft.

I found the eyes to be rather challenging to make.  I couldn’t decide in my mind what I wanted, which is a recipe for disaster.  Never the less, both fish ended up with eyes.

Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge view

Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge view

The older siblings of the young nephew mentioned above were visiting us this summer. They would be taking the fish back to their brother for me.  I finished the fish during their visit.  They don’t take long to make, it is just that I never managed to find the time to make them during the year. Deadlines seem to do the trick though, as I finished them on their last day while in the car fitting in some last minute sight-seeing!  First stop: Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge.

Views around Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge

Views around Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge

Our family has been to the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge in County Antrim quite a few times.  I am not a fan of heights and have never crossed it before.  But this time the weather was quite mild (read: very little wind) and I crossed with no bother at all.  Not wanting 5 kids to show me up might have something to do with that new found courage…

another view after crossing the rope bridge

another view after crossing the rope bridge

It is well worth the walk to the bridge and crossing the bridge.  The views are lovely. We were there late morning and only had a 10 minute wait to cross.  The kids really enjoyed it too (they are aged 12 through 17).

Rope bridge selfie with my daughter and niece

Rope bridge selfie with my daughter and niece

After our visit to the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, we visited the Giant’s Causeway.  We decided to take the scenic route which involved parking about 2 miles away and following a walking trail to the Giant’s Causeway.  It was a pleasant walk, especially since we had good weather.

on the stones at the Giant's Causeway

on the stones at the Giant’s Causeway

We had a very nice visit to the Giant’s Causeway, too.  The boys enjoyed searching for fish and sea animals in small ponds of water, while the girls enjoyed climbing the rock formations.

Giant's Causeway

Giant’s Causeway

Giant's Causeway

Giant’s Causeway

Our 2 mile walk back to the car was along the water, which was so beautiful.

View from Giant's Causeway

View from Giant’s Causeway

a well traveled fish

a well traveled fish

We had the most wonderful time with my niece and nephew during their visit.  Ireland has so much to offer and is truly beautiful.  Those two fish are now in their new home in Connecticut.

two fish on their travels

two fish on their travels

I hope you enjoyed our quick visits to the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and the Giant’s Causeway.  If you ever come to Ireland they are well worth seeing in person!

In peace,
Dana

My “show someone special how special they are” Blanket

It all starts with circles...

It all starts with an idea … and circles

This is not the blogpost which I had promised months ago.  You remember, don’t you?  Monet’s garden!  Yes, I promised, and I am looking forward to sharing my millions of flower pictures with you, just not today.

lots of colours

lots of colours

Today’s post is about reaching out to a special someone in your life, and letting them know how special they are to you.   I bet you just thought of at least 3 people!  I am pretty sure that most people don’t even know how special they are to others.

lots and lots of tiny pieces make up the whole... just like in life :-)

lots and lots of tiny pieces make up the whole… just like in our relationships 🙂

I am also pretty sure that every one of us is special to at least one someone.  Those words of encouragement, or no words at all while you listened, or the errand you ran because you could; all of those things add up.  The little things really are what matter most.

it takes time and patience

it takes time, patience and persistence… I sense a theme here

If we could just make the world a little nicer one smile at a time. (and oh, by the way, THANK YOU to the gentleman who helped me put air in my tires at the gas station last night! Your act of kindness was so appreciated!)

there are good days when we get loads done, and then there are other days when we just have to accept whatever we get done

there are good days when we get loads done, and then there are other days when we just have to accept what is…

The special someone I made the blanket for, well, I just wanted to show her how much she means to me.  She is a real gem. She doesn’t live nearby, and I haven’t figured out how to mail a hug just yet.  So I thought that with a blanket, it would be like me giving her a hug when she used it! (Yes, I know … that is just me.)

putting them all together

putting them all together

{ For my crocheting friends: The yarn is “Simply Soft” by Caron.  This is the third blanket I’ve made using the Simply Soft yarn, because I absolutely love it.  The pattern for the modified Sunshine Granny Square I found on-line for free here (http://nittybits.blogspot.ie/2013/01/sunburst-granny-square-blanket-tutorial.html), while I just figured out the joining process. I tried the join-as-you-go method first, but found it to be too messy for my liking, so I joined them at the end in a fairly traditional manner.  It is always great to learn something new!}

I used a lot of colours!

There are 11 different colour combinations.

It was a new pattern to me. I especially love what I see as butterflies in the corners where the squares are connected! Do you see them? :-)

It was a new pattern to me. I especially love what I see as butterflies in the corners where the squares are connected! Do you see them? 🙂

It is just big enough to keep you cozy while sitting and reading a book or watching tv

It is just big enough to keep you cozy while sitting and reading a book or watching tv (10 squares by 12 squares)

This is the back of it! I think the rows where they are stitched together look neat here, too!

This is the back of it! I like the different look of the back, with the ridges from where they are crocheted together.

a very simple edging

a very simple edging

I think hugs are pretty good, too, if you don’t know how to crochet. 🙂

Go on, show that special someone you care!

blanket on our kiddie rocking chair (before I put the border on it)

blanket on our kiddie rocking chair (before I put the border on it)

In Peace,
Dana

 

 

 

A Crochet ‘Fairy Doll’ Handbag

Fairy Colours of 'passion', pink, and green

Fairy Colours of ‘passion’, pink, and green

Did you ever make something and just could not believe how well it came out? 🙂  I *love it* when that happens!  My little God-daughter’s sixth birthday was coming up and I wasn’t sure what to get her.  Then I learned she was having a fairy themed party because she’s taken a liking to fairies…

Tassie Design 'Fairy & Elf Collections'

Tassie Design ‘Fairy & Elf Collections’

I had this lovely little fairy doll that I decided would be perfect to give her.  The fairy has bendable arms and legs.  I found a website for the company that sells them: http://fromtheretohereimports.com/?page_id=6  The fairy dolls are actually designed and made by a family business in Thailand. It is an interesting story, but I’m getting a bit off-topic!

purse before the button...

handbag before the center buttons were sewn on…

But wouldn’t it be nice to have a ‘fairy doll’ handbag to carry the fairy doll? Such is the way my brain works, and thus the idea was formed.  The doll inspired the colours for the handbag; that and the fact that I had the yarn to hand so I was happy to use those colours! I have to say that the Caron ‘Simply Soft’ yarn is fantastic.  I have done a few different projects with it now, and every one is that bit nicer because of the softness of the yarn.

fairy with a view

fairy with a view

The ‘passion’ colour is definitely my favourite. The soft pink did a nice job of breaking up the sameness of the two main colours. The lime green yarn is not the Caron brand. In fact, it was some scrap yarn I bought to only make flower petals with.  But I loved the way it really brightened up the passion colour!

two contrasting colour buttons

very simple crochet stitches… two contrasting colour buttons

Those two buttons were in my button collection, just waiting for a neat little project like this!

hand sewn...

hand sewn, as if that isn’t obvious…

So… my least favourite thing to do is sew. That is probably because I am not very good at it.  This small task of creating a lining should have been a very quick and easy job on a sewing machine.  But I don’t have a sewing machine, and borrowing one was going to take longer than just getting to work and sewing it myself. I’ll chalk it up to being ‘good experience’!  (But next time I think I’ll make the effort to borrow one!)

finished lining

finished lining

I was really surprised with how it came out. It even fit! 🙂

sewing in the lining

sewing in the lining

I spent many, many hours on pinterest looking for pattern ideas for the handbag.  I could lose so many hours on Pinterest, it is not even funny. I love getting new ideas there!

 

Crochet purse

Simple stitches to create a basic, yet sweet, pattern

I designed the handbag myself, based on a couple of different styles I found.  I challenged myself a bit with the top flap.  It would have been easier to just leave the top open.  But sure, then all of the little princess’ things would fall out! 😉

finished.

finished.

It all just fell into place. (read: I figured it out as I went along!)

Fairy purse

Fairy handbag

The handle is called a ‘granny strap’ and involved learning “foundation single crochet”. But it is really easy to find instructions on-line and videos, too!  It was worth learning as I really like the look that it gives.

sparkly side button

sparkly side button on the ‘granny strap’

I was quite happy with the finished project.  I had used my 11 year old daughter to roughly gauge how long to make the strap.  I think it worked out O.K. based on how cute it looks on the little princess.

Little princess with her Fairy Purse & Fairy

Little princess with her Fairy Handbag & Fairy

Go on, try making something new! You just might end up making something beautiful and having fun, too!

With crocheting needle,
Dana

The websites I used for inspiration:

http://koalakidsfashion.blogspot.ie/2012/03/crazy-flowers-purse-crochet-pattern.html

https://www.etsy.com/listing/85170392/crochet-pattern-purse-garden-scene?ref=shop_home_feat_2

http://www.futuregirl.com/craft_blog/2011/1/granny-straps.aspx

 

Fun, Funky, and Fast to make! A Crocheted Poncho

color burst!

color burst!

The cold weather is hanging on. Someone needs to send Mother Nature a memo that we are quite finished with this cold spell.  Spring has sprung!  I’d like to spend more time in the garden without freezing my fingers off!  The only benefit of this cold weather  is that I can still wear my ‘made this season’ poncho.

the start of the cowl neck

the start of the cowl neck

When I saw this yarn in the This is Knit shop in Dublin (https://www.thisisknit.ie/index.php)((I really like this shop as the yarn I’ve bought there has been that little bit different.)) I didn’t even think twice, I straight away bought it … without having any idea what I was going to do with it.  Can you say “impulsive”???

cowl neck growing

cowl neck growing

The colours are just so fun! The yarn wasn’t cheap, so I was stingy in the amount that I bought. I would, of course, regret that later.

the poncho is growing

the poncho is growing

Right, so after buying the yarn I spent hours on Pinterest, as you do, looking for ideas of what to make.  I don’t even think it is possible to go onto Pinterest for just a moment, actually.  It completely sucks-me-in to looking at millions of different pages!  I love it!!!

bobbles

bobbles

Yes, yes, I do have a Pinterest Board ’cause where else am I going to put all of those fabulous ideas???  https://www.pinterest.com/danasheridan/

So the idea for the poncho was born, but I didn’t actually find a pattern that I loved completely.  I bought the pattern for one, but I only used the cowl neck portion of that pattern. Then I roughly followed the ‘much too difficult for me’ pattern of another, improvising along the way out of necessity.

poncho body improvised

poncho body improvised

The cowl neck took way more yarn than I would have liked.  I probably should have used a smaller hook. I’m sure you’ve guessed by now that not only did I run out of yarn too soon, the shop had sold out of it. But not to worry!  The distributors of this brand of Katia art wool at the Trim Wool Shop ( http://www.trimwoolshop.ie ) had this same colour in stock and would mail it to me.  They were super nice on the phone, and I was delighted…  Only the dye-lot was different; it was quite muted compared to the vibrant colouring of the neck.  I think the good news was that it toned down the poncho!

funky colours

funky colours

It was fun to make and figure out what I liked, and what I didn’t like.

Finished!

Finished!

The finished product is rather funky and fun and I can wear just about any colour with it!  I have to say that I really like it.  It is definitely a “one of a kind”!  🙂

Even though I love still getting a chance to wear my new poncho this season, I’d really like for the warm spring weather to arrive!

Peace,

Dana

a belated Happy St. Patrick's Day!

a belated Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Winter is for Crocheting … A Baby Blanket

In the beginning...

In the beginning…

I have a new hobby obsession.  Actually, it isn’t new to me, but I’ve recently started doing it again: Crocheting.  I have completed more projects in the past 12 months than I have in the past 10 years!

I’ve discovered some cultural differences with my hobby.  While I say yarn, the rest of Ireland and the U.K  call it “wool”.  Even our stitches are slightly different; A double crochet for me is a treble for Ireland/U.K.  But in the end, we  all  I figure it out one way or another.

Baby blanket almost finished

Baby blanket almost finished

As for patterns, it is quite easy to find free patterns online, or even purchase them online.  I liked this very soft (free) ripple pattern by attic24:  http://attic24.typepad.com/weblog/neat-ripple-pattern.html     You only have to count to 4!  Great stuff!  Definitely a pattern for those of us who are easily distracted, because you know quite quickly if something isn’t right.

Cathedral edging

Cathedral edging

I bought the yarn in the States on my last visit there. I know, who brings home yarn???  Well, I did… because it was incredibly soft and I loved the colours and I couldn’t *not* buy it!  🙂  It is called Simply Soft by Caron, and it truly is so soft! I thought it would be perfect for a baby blanket.

Cathedral edging

Cathedral edging

I looked through what seemed like 100 different edging ideas.  But I decided to go with  ‘Cathedral edging’.  I found the (free) pattern here:   http://www.halfknits.com/blanket-edge-patterns/   

a look at the first rows of edging

a look at the first rows of edging

The only part of crocheting that I don’t enjoy is hiding the tie-ins when you change colour.  Can you see all of the different changes in colours?!  It is crazy!  So I thought I’d try and widen the colours a bit so I wouldn’t have to change so quickly, but I really didn’t like the thicker stripes.  To cover that up, I decided to alternate between 1, 2, and 3 rows of thickness for all of the colours. I think for my next blanket, though, I will stick with two rows for each colour.  I also arranged the colours randomly, and not in a pattern.  I’m not sure if I liked that 100%.  I would probably go for an exact pattern next time.  Good to live and learn!

Completed blanket

Completed blanket

The best part of making something so lovely and soft is to give it away to a sweet little girl.  I’m going to share with you that the night before I gave it away, I wrapped the blanket up in a few of my lavender sachets.  I just thought the lavender would be a nice relaxing scent to have for the baby.  My lavender is, apparently, quite strong in scent! But I’m hoping the little one will be all nice and calm and relaxed when she uses her new blanket.

Did you happen to notice the little chair in my pictures?  It is an antique potty chair!  It comes from my father’s side of the family and I just love it and the history of it. Here is a close-up of the top.  Can you imagine using something so lovely as a potty chair?

Antique potty chair

Antique potty chair

Antique Potty Chair

Antique Potty Chair

O.K., now I hardly want to finish my post with a picture of a potty chair, antique or no antique!  So I leave you with a picture I took 2 days ago.  Mr. Fokker Anemone.  They bloom for me all winter long and I just love the little bit of colour they bring to the garden. I hope you are enjoying your winter, where ever that may be!

Peace,
Dana

Mr Fokker Anemone

Mr Fokker Anemone