Friday, November 30, 2012

Too Cute!

Just too cute not to post.

Happy Friday!


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Blocking a Crochet Afghan?

I want to preface this post by saying that most of my afghans I do not block.  However, with that being said, I believe there are afghans that benefit from the blocking board.

Today, I want to talk about one of those types of afghans; the aran-style.  Even more specifically, aran-style afghans using wool or a wool-blend yarn.

My top two reasons to block this type of project:

1.  Stitches:  The aran-style blankets use a combination of stitches that vary greatly.  You may have very tight single crochet stitches used to form cables alongside post stitches; treble crochet arrows or diamonds; you could have popcorn stitches that have skipped stitches in between the bobble-like popcorn.  The beauty of these types of afghans are the combination of stitches used.  And, that beauty can be enhanced with blocking.

2.  Tension:  In addition to the stitches used, afghans tend to be large.  If you are like me, you are going to pick up your crochet project and work on it during free times throughout the day.  That includes being interrupted while you're in the middle of a complex cable section.  What does that have to do with anything you may ask?  One word; tension.  Over time, I have found that my tension varies depending on my mood, what is on TV as I crochet, or if I'm enjoying a relaxing cup of tea with my project.  Varied tensions can impact the overall look of your finished object.

Easy steps:

1.  Check your yarn label for washing instructions.  If it says hand wash only, trust me, you don't want to put it in the washing machine.  Wool yarn has a tendency to felt and you don't want a large afghan that you may have spent months working on to be your experiment in machine washing vs. hand washing.  The yarn I've used on my aran-style afghans is safe to put in the machine.  I use Woolite on the gentle cycle.

I'm going to be talking about wet blocking, there are other options out there, but this is the method I use.

2.  Find a good spot to lay out your project.  I use the bed in our spare bedroom.  If you don't have a spare bed, you could lay out clean towels on a carpeted/padded floor.  Use stainless steel rust-proof pins to block your work.  You don't want rust stains on your finished object.

3.  Starting with one side, gently pull and straighten your work, pinning as you go.  I then go to the opposite side of the bed; again, gently pulling and shaping the other side.  I'm using the bed as my form for shaping.

I work my way around the object, always gently pulling/shaping into my rectangular shape, pinning as I go.  You may need to redo some areas to keep your edges and lines straight.

Once you are satisfied with the overall effect, let it dry; completely.  I have a ceiling fan in the spare room, that I turn on high and my afghans are typically dry within 24 hours.  As you can see from this photo, I waited to add the fringe until after the blocking was complete.

Your final results will really show off all the pretty stitches, opening them up like a flower in full bloom.  And as Doris Chan says, "It never hurts and it always gives your work a smooth, even appearance that spells 'hand-made' instead of 'home-made'."

As I stated in the beginning, this post touches on just one specific type of project using a specific type of yarn.  There are many good articles out there on the web.  These are just a few that you may find helpful.

Doris Chan:  Blocking is Your Friend



If you've made it this far, thanks for reading and happy crocheting!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

After the Big Event...

Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving holiday.  

We are trying to get back into our routine.  
Slowly, but surely, the pies have disappeared and we've eaten our share of turkey sandwiches.  

We are rebooting and regrouping,
 so we can restore and return,
 to our pre-holiday settings.  


Have a great day!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Psalm 100:4

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

We have company arriving for Thanksgiving tonight.  

The rest of the week will be busy with cooking and time with family.  

I want to wish each of you a blessed Thanksgiving.  

Thank you for choosing to follow my little grain of sand in blogland.

Happy Thanksgiving,


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Just in Time...

My father-in-law and his wife's Christmas gift is complete!

I'm so thankful that I was able to finished up my Irish Rose afghan this weekend.

I really enjoyed working on this...

Details for the afghan can be found HERE.  

I did modify it in that I only did three of the large repeat sections and doubled the number of repeats within each of those sections.  

This covers the top of a queen size bed...
and is quite heavy...

Which is one of the reasons I wanted to finish it up before my father-in-law and his wife arrived next week.  I didn't want to have to put it in the mail, but instead wanted to be able to send it home with them.

Aran-style afghans are such fun with all the different stitch patterns they use in one blanket...

yet, all those different stitches flow nicely together.

Now to focus on Thanksgiving...

and get all the details in order for Turkey day.

I have a list of upcoming projects...

but they will have to wait until AFTER the holiday.

Until next time, have a blessed day!


Friday, November 16, 2012


Wishing you miracles in the making this Friday morning.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Coming Close to the Finish Line...

I'm coming close to the finish line on my Irish Rose afghan.  

I started it HERE, but wasn't happy with it, so went down a hook size (I & J respectively vs. J & K) and restarted HERE.  

Still crocheting away, but the end is in sight.  


Hope your week is going well and you are accomplishing all you want to accomplish.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Deer OH Dear

It's a deer, my dear...
in my front yard!

Dear hubby called my cell phone this afternoon, as he was pulling onto our street, and said, "Go look out the front window."  

Low and behold, we have a ten point buck and a gentle doe grazing in our suburban front yard.

All the photos are through the windows.  The buck was being very protective of the doe; always in front of her.  

Kind of a neat diversion for the day.

It went along with what we've been studying in English; Homophones:  Deer vs. Dear.



Saturday, November 10, 2012

On The Horizon

Can you believe Christmas is just 44 days away?

I better start making my lists and checking them twice!

Happy Saturday!

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Few Fun Things...

I got a "new" book.  

Well, it's not exactly new, but it's new to me.  

It's The Little House Cookbook.  

I've had this on my Amazon "wish list" for quite a while now and finally decided to "bite the bullet" so to speak and purchase it.  It is a used book, but is in very good condition.  I thought it would be fun to look through and maybe dear son and I could make something simple from it to go along with the Little House series we are currently reading.  The book is a snapshot from the time period when Laura Ingalls was growing up.  I'm really enjoying reading the history behind the recipes.

Our days have been quite, but full.  On cooler days, I've had the fire going while the little one works on his worksheets.  One day tends to run into the next without a lot of variation, but they are peaceful days.

I've been using my crock pot a lot lately.  I made spaghetti and meatballs one night, a "rotisserie-style" chicken another night and tortilla soup with the left over chicken tonight.  

Hubby and I thought it would be a good idea, over the course of the next couple of weeks, to be more mindful of our calories.  I still like my sweets though and with that in mind, made this tried and true recipe for Low-Calorie Pumpkin Pie.  

I'll make the real thing for Thanksgiving, but this is a nice prelude to the "main event".  

I'm still plugging away on my Irish Rose afghan and am currently in one of the cable sections.  Still working toward my goal.

A quiet weekend is in store for us and I'm looking forward to it immensely.

Take care!


Thursday, November 8, 2012


With Thanksgiving fast approaching, the month of November is often a time of reflection.  A time to remember the things in your life for which you are thankful.

Two of my biggest blessings are in this photo taken three falls ago; my husband and my son.

I'm so grateful for them; a hardworking and dedicated husband, and a dear son who says, "Mommy, sometimes I don't like to go to bed because then I don't get to see your beautiful face."  Such sweetness, it pierces the heart.

Thanksgiving will be here before we know it.  It's more than a meal, it's a time to remember the people in your life that make life meaningful.  A time to be thankful for the provisions in which we've been blessed.

"We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have."
- Fredrick Koeing - 


Friday, November 2, 2012

Just About Halfway

I'm just about at the halfway point on my Irish Rose afghan.  

Not sure if you can tell the progress I've made, but a series of cables have been added, as well as a portion of the Celtic Weave.

I'm doubling the wider sections of the afghan and I'll do three of those larger sections instead of four.

I'm still hoping to have this done by Thanksgiving...
"Lord willing and the creek don't rise" 
(as a special lady I knew would say)

It's cold but pretty here in Cincinnati.

Looking forward to some good crochet time this afternoon.  
School is done and dinner is in the crock pot!

One step at a time is good walking.
Proverb, Chinese