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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

I Love Accidental Afghans

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I keep a dedicated size I-9 Susan Bates hook and a small scissors, in an old sewing basket where I toss all orphan yarn such as discontinued colors and/or otherwise random odds and ends. 

I was never huge fan of granny squares but when I only have a few minutes or if I am bored with my current project, I make granny squares.  Love, making them.  Really, really, really hated joining them.  I make many styles and the only rule is I never mix different weights of yarn.  So with the dedicated hook all my squares, with the same number of rounds, automatically become the same size.  When completed I toss the squares back in the basket.  I did not realize how quickly they accumulate as I don’t usually pay that much attention to the basket. Yet now I am taking a closer look at them because you can make so many different things with them. I find I can create several extra afghans a year this way and who does not want to have an accidental afghan or two around for donations or impromptu gifts ?

I have no material list for this item because much of it came straight from the odds and ends basket. The amount of yarn that you need would depend upon how large you wish to make your afghan.   
But I can tell you how I did so anyone can make it too.  

As always it's your project and your choice of colors.  I searched the basket for matching or identical, 4 round granny squares.  Then I needed a neutral color yarn so I selected Red Heart Super Saver yarn in an off white color.  I chose a NO DYE LOT YARN because I did not know how much yarn I would need to make enough squares and I knew this way I could buy one skein at a time if I ran out.

To create this afghan you must have the same number of plain squares as you have of the multi-colored squares.  While creating the off white, squares, I attached the matching squares to them, diagonal to each other, using the “Join as you go" method.  This turned the 4 individual small squares into one large square block. I felt joining fewer large blocks would be easier than joining many small blocks.  

When all the blocks are finished I always lay them out before I begin to join. When I get an arrangement I like I take a digital photo of that layout.Then I stack the blocks in the order in which they will be joined so can check the photo as I work to be sure I am following the pattern.  For this afghan you can see I alternated the large blocks so  each multi-color block would be surrounded by 4 plain blocks.

To finish this particular afghan I used a 5 chain flat braid join.  Again I chose a neutral color of Red Heart Super Saver No Dye Lot yarn.  I call Green neutral because if you look in your garden you will see every color blends with green.  There are many videos on how to do a 5 chain flat braid join on your tube as well as written tutorials on the internet so I will not cover that here.   

After I created this afghan I discovered the continuous join method.  The best part about the continuous join is I can join a whole afghan in one night.   The other best part is after you join a whole afghan in one night you only have two (2) yarn ends to work in, 1 where you started and 1 where you ended.

I highly recommend it.  Here are the links to the continuous join.

Part 1  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoBG9W9rpog&t=9s

Part 2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foQB6X8q2a0&t=6s







Friday, September 1, 2017

How To Protect Your Photos

There are free apps you can download to watermark your photos but this is the easiest, free way that I know how to do it, all you need is Microsoft Paint on your system.
This is written for computer but I am pretty sure where I say click, you can probably  just tap on your tablet or phone. 
Open your pictures folder and locate the photo you want to watermark, right click on the photo and choose “open with” from the drop down menu.  Then Choose “Paint” from the list of options.

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When Paint opens, the photo will probably be huge, so open the view tab and click on zoom tab to get your photo to a useable size.

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On the “Home” screen, you can rotate your photo, or not, before you place your watermark.   Click on the “A” in the tool bar to activate a text box. 

3   b

Choose where you want to place your watermark.  Drag the cursor across the photo and down to create a text box.  It will have a dotted line around it.  You can resize it by dragging it more. You can make it the size of the whole photo, or you can just start over.  When the text box is open you see a new tab with “text tools”.   Choose  your font style, font size and font color.  I suggest you choose a contrasting color for your font.  Light gray or white on dark photos and a darker shade on light photos.  Also be sure to choose “transparent” in the background box so you will not have a white background bar across your photo when finished.

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Once you have your tool selections made, click inside the text box, that you have drawn.  This is where you write the information you want to use for your watermark.  This is your choice.  I use my blog URL (internet address), you can use your name, the URL of your Etsy Store or Blog page.  Anything you choose.  Just don’t make it too long as it needs to fit on the face of the photo. While working in the text box you can still change the color of the text or the size by highlighting that text and select the new color or text size.  That way you can judge what looks best.
Once you have typed what you want for your watermark, click anywhere outside the text box.  The box lines will disappear and your watermark is set.  But if you don’t like it you can go to the little blue “redo" arrow and keep starting over until you get it how you want it.  
I suggest you give it a bit of thought, and create your watermark with a plan for long term usage.  By watermarking all of your photos with the same watermark, you are marking your property and style.  

This method is also excellent for writing names and/or dates on old family photos for the next generation or even events, awards or vacation photos.  


Once the photo is marked the way you like it, choose “File” then choose “save as” and click on JPEG Picture.  Be sure to type a “different name” for your photo before you save it.  That way your original photo will still be intact.  
You can change your photo as long as it is active in Paint.  Once you close paint there is no way to undo your watermark.

I suggest you use only watermarked photos on the internet unless you don’t mind if someone steals them.  


PS:  This is the link for the pattern used in this tutorial.
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http://idealdelusions.blogspot.com/2012/03/raspberry-sherbet.html

Dorie








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Friday, April 7, 2017

Pansies In Repose


Pansies in Repose
This afghan and all other round ripple afghans, that are posted here, are made with basic round ripple afghan pattern found on this blog. It was written so anyone could become a designer. Each pictured afghan has its own “Personality Profile Page” where you will find the detailed schematics needed to create a duplicate.

The Basic Round Ripple Afghan Pattern is here

For those new to the Round Ripple concept, this page is to explain what to expect before you begin. 

Materials: 
I crochet snug, to allow for those don't I choose no dye lot yarns but that is not possible with the variegated yarns. *Check your dye lot.

Red Heart Super Saver Yarn,
Size I – 9 or 5.5 mm Susan Bates Silvalume hook.
Finished Size Approximately 70 inches point tip to tip
E300 3955* Wildflower (4) 5 oz. skeins
E300 358 Lavender (1) 7 oz. skein
E 300 385 Royal Blue (1) 7 oz. skein
E300 672 Spring Green (2) 7 oz. skeins

Once the points are established this pattern is a three (3) round repeat. In order to keep your project flat you will be working one (1) round with even shells, in the point, followed by two (2) rounds with increase shells.
All rounds are worked face up and all rounds are Joined.
All rounds skip two stitches at the bottom of the points, they are always the last stitch of the point you are on and the first stitch of the new point.
Join every round

Special Stitch Patterns:
Even shell = (dc, ch 2, dc) in two chain space of each point.
Increase shell = (2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) in two chain space of each point.

Red indicates a round with even shells 
Note: Always skip the 2 stitches at the bottom of the points.

CHANGING COLORS * When changing colors always rotate your project one (1) point clockwise to avoid a pronounced joining line. Starting in the valley between points, skip the first stitch and join new color in the second stitch, on the right hand side of your beginning point. Work designated pattern stitch around.

Pattern: Start with a "magic circle" or Ch 4 using Wildflower

Round 1: Ch 2, counts as first dc throughout pattern, work 11 dc in ring, join with sl st in top of ch 2 throughout pattern. (12 dc)
Round 2: Ch 4, dc in same st, in next dc work, (*1 dc ch 2, 1 dc) repeat around, join to the second chain of the beginning 3 chain. Creates 12 even shells.
Round 3: Sl st in first ch 2 sp, Ch 2, counts as first dc, 1 dc, ch 2, 2 dc, all in same space, increase shell made, work (*2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc, in each chain 1 space). (12 increase shells)
Round 4: Sl st in first st, ch 2, counts as first dc, in ch 2 space work, * (2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc), dc in next st, sk 2 sts, dc in next st , repeat around, ending sk 2 sts. 6 dc each point
Round 5: Ch 2, dc in next dc, in ch 2 space work , (*1 dc, ch 2, 1 dc) dc in next 2 dc, skip next 2 dc, dc in next 2 sts.) Repeat from * around, sk last st, join to top of ch 2. Each point should now have ((2 dc, an “even shell”, 2 dc )) for a total of 6 dc each point
Round 6: Ch 2, dc in next st, (*work an increase shell in ch 2 space, dc in each of next 2 dc, skip the next 2 sts, dc in each of next 2 dc.) Repeat from * around, ending with skip last st. (Each point now has 8 stitches (2 on each side of the increase shell)
Round 7: Ch 2, dc in next 2 dc to point, work increase shell in point, dc in next 3 dc, working in established pattern, always skipping 2 sts in the valley, Repeat from * around, ending with skip 1 st. (each point has 10 sts)
Round 8: ch 2, dc in next 2 sts, * work even shell in ch 2 space, dc in next 3 sts, skip next 2 sts, dc in the next 3 sts. Repeat from * around, ending with skip last st. Each point now has 4 dc, an even shell, 4 dc for a total of 10 stitches
Round 9: Sl st into next st, Ch 2, dc in each stitch to point, work “increase shell: in point, dc in each st to valley, sk 2 sts. Repeat from * around, ending with skip last st.
Round 10: Sl st into next st, ch 2, *dc to point, work increase shell in ch 2 space of point, dc in each stitch to valley, skip 2 sts, Repeat from * around, ending with skip 2 sts. .
Round 11: Join Lavender as per *color change, ch 2, working in established pattern sequence complete this round as an even round. Round 12: Work double crochet in pattern sequence, as an increase round,
Round 13: Join Spring Green, Single Crochet (instead of double crochet) in each stitch to point, working (2 sc, ch 3, 2 sc) in point, continue around. 
Round 14: Join Royal Blue, chain 2, double crochet in each stitch to the point (1 dc, ch 2, 1 dc) in ch 3 space of point continue around, working as an even shell round.
Round 15: Join Spring Green with a single crochet in the valley between the points. Chain 3, skip 3 stitches, single crochet between the next 2 double crochet, repeat to point, work (sc, ch 3, sc) to creates a loop in point, continue pattern sequence to valley, sc in valley between points.
Round 16: Join Royal Blue in the first 3 chain loop, chain 2, 2 dc in same space, work 3 dc in each 3 chain space to point, work ( 2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) in point, follow pattern stitch around.
Round 17: Join Spring Green, working pattern sequence for even round, Single Crochet instead of double crochet, sc in each stitch to point, working (1 sc, ch 3, 1 sc) in point, continue around.
Round 18: Join Lavender, in double crochet, work as increase round
Round 19: With Lavender, in double crochet, work as increase round
Round 20 Join Wildflower, work rounds 20 through 29 in double crochet following pattern sequence.
Red indicates even rounds:
Rounds 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29
Round 30: Join Lavender as per *color change, increase round
Round 31: Work double crochet, work as increase round
Round 32: Join Spring Green, Single Crochet (instead of double crochet) in each stitch to point, working (1 sc, ch 3, 1 sc) in point, continue pattern sequence around.
Round 33: Join Royal Blue, double crochet in each stitch to the point (2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) in ch 3 space of point continue around, working as an increase shell round.
Round 34: Join Spring Green with a Single Crochet in first working stitch, chain 3, skip 3 stitches, single crochet between the next 2 double crochet, repeat to point, work (2 sc, ch 3, 2 sc) to creates a loop in point, continue pattern sequence as an increase around.
Round 35: Join Royal Blue in the first 3 chain loop, chain 2, 2 dc in same space, work 3 dc in each 3 chain space to point, work ( 2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc ) in point, follow pattern stitch around.
Round 36: Join Spring Green, working pattern sequence for even round, Single Crochet instead of double crochet, sc in each stitch to point, working (1 sc, ch 3, 1 sc) in point, continue around.
Round 37: Join Lavender double crochet per pattern sequence
Round 38: Work double crochet in pattern sequence,
Round 39: Join Wildflower work double crochet per pattern sequence,
Round 40: Work in double crochet
Round 41: Work in double crochet

Border Pattern Stitch = (dc, ch 1, dc, in same space) “V” stitch made.   


You will be working (“V” stitch, ch 3, “V” stitch) in the points.
Count backward from the point to the bottom to determine your starting stitch. You will be skipping the 2 stitches at the bottom as the basic pattern requires. 

Note: here the number of stitches worked out that I would have to miss 4 stitches in the valley which would be too many. To fix this I worked 1 dc, and skipped 1 stitch, before starting the "V" stitch pattern, ending each point with sk 1 stitch, 1 dc in the last stitch. This creates an inverted "V" over the 2 skipped stitches in the valley.

Round 1 Join spring green in the designated stitch, ch 4, dc in same space, first “V” st, (*sk 2 stitches, “V” st in next st to point* ) Work “V” st, chain 3 “V” st in point, work pattern stitch to bottom of point and skip number of stitches needed to keep sides even. Work around, join to third chain of beginning chain 4. (You will need the extra stitches in the points to keep the pattern flat)

Round 2: Sl st into center of the “V” stitch, ch 4, dc in same space, “V” st in the center of each “V” st to the point, For the point work “V” st, in the first “V” ; “V” st in the 3 chain space, “V” st in the 2nd existing “V” st all in the same point, work around.

Repeat Round 2 till border is the width you want up to the last round.

Final Round Picot stitch:
Double crochet, chain 3, slip st in first chain, dc in same stitch = "V" st with picot.
Final Round Work "V" st with picot st, in the center of each “V” st of the previous row, working (dc, picot, dc, picot, dc, picot, dc) in the center 3 chain space of each point.

Friday, February 24, 2017

What I Learned About Yarn Winders

00  HEADERI love my winders. If you have not purchased one yet, and you use a lot of yarn, I suggest you buy the largest winder your budget will afford. I now have 2 because when I bought the first one, which was the only one I could find at the time, I got one that will only wind 4 ounces. I soon realized I needed a larger one. In this day and age of center pull yarn skeins, why do I wind my yarn ? Ease of use and ease of storage. Also I like to check it, before I begin, to be sure there are no knots or caterpillars in it. What is a caterpillar ? That is what I call those fat snagged areas where the yarn has bunched up and they just look like a fat furry caterpillars to me. Cute but annoying.

Before winding I place the yarn in a clean container on the floor. If it is a center pull skein I place it standing up with the center end on top and pull from the center. If it is not center pull I alternate pulling a few yards of yarn from the skein, then wind and pull a little more. Always winding at a steady pace holding onto the yarn to control the tension.

9
Next, thread a yarn needle with the loose end and run it through the side and out the top of the “cake”, at an angle, creating a *"top edge tail" or yarn end, sticking out the top. Giving a slight tug, on that yarn tail, will tighten and accent the strand you must pull to draw it back out again.



11When your cake is ready to remove, loosely roll the label and hold it atop the spindle so as you lift the yarn from the spindle you are sliding the label inside the cake.


Please read the caution before 
you use this next method. 

Yarn winders do not readily accommodate very small amounts of yarn. You need a fair amount of yarn for the “cake” to be solid enough to hold its shape. To resolve this issue you will need two (2) empty toilet tissue rolls. I chose those because most of us have a steady supply of them.

1
Cut about a half inch slash on the edge of the first roll and place the loose end of the yarn to be wound into that slash, with the short end inside. It holds the yarn like the notch on the spindle. You must do this first as you will not be able to do it when the roll is in place.


2
3Place the roll on the spindle, with the slash holding the yarn at the bottom. The roll will probably be too big. Flatten the second roll then fold it in half lengthwise into quarters. Slide the flattened, quartered roll between the spindle and the roll. This makes a “shim” and tightens the first roll to keep it from sliding around.

CAUTION:

When using a shim, please wind slower because winding rapidly actually creates centrifugal force. Centrifugal force will cause any shim to pull up and away from the center which can then become an airborne flying hazard. In my haste to try my idea I jammed a crochet hook between the spindle and the roll and started winding furiously.. Yep, the hook flew out the top, taking off like a rocket, flew across the room narrowing missing my TV. Lesson learned with no injuries.


5
Then thread the yarn strand through the yarn guides and slowly wind holding the yarn to control tension.
6
Secure the end using a * "top edge tail", as noted above, and write the yarn "info" on the roll.

7
If the amount was small enough, and since the yarn winds at the bottom of the roll, you can turn the roll over and use the same method to wind another color on the other end.

I always work from the outside of my yarn cake. The reason for center pull skeins was for convenience over yarn "hanks" as it ended the need to wind or "ball" your yarn. The skeins do not roll around when working with them but the disadvantage to center pulls skeins is they collapse into themselves and tangle as you deplete the yarn. You can see how the center hole widens and this one is on the verge of collapse. 

I hate yarn barf. I do not mind untangling it, I do mind losing the time it takes to untangle it. Since the yarn winder creates “cakes” which will stand in one place and do not roll around, I pull from the outside of the cake. I never work from the center of the “cake” as that will cause it to collapse into itself the same as a center pull skein. Also constant rewinding of collapsed yarn, will cause it to twist and curl and the more often you rewind the tighter the twist and the more it will curl when you try to use it.

Winding 7 oz. on a 4 oz. winder, of course you can.
This is a method for winding a 7 oz., “center pull” skein, on a 4 oz. winder, without cutting the yarn. Wind from both ends toward the middle. Wind from the outside first, to prevent the center collapse, until half the yarn is wound or the winder is as full as possible. Winding the spindle as full as possible will result in one cake larger than the other. Sliding your label inside, while lifting off the cake, without cutting the yarn, place it beside the winder. Start again and wind from the "center pull" strand to the middle. You finish with two cakes side by side, the outside strand is connected and running between the two cakes. Don’t cut it so there will be no knot. 


Winding this way puts both ends of the yarn into the center of the resulting cakes. Therefore, when you start a project, you must pull from the center of a cake. There is no worry about measuring because when that cake is expended the yarn automatically pulls from the outside of the second cake. If your cakes are different in size, my suggestion would be to start your project by pulling from the center of the smallest cake first, leaving the larger cake with label intact as long as possible. If you are working duel projects, from the same yarn, pull from the center of both cakes which will still leave the center uncut and you can rewind the remainder to store. This method also works for winding those One Pounder or 14 oz. skeins on an 8 oz. winder.


To store I slip the joined cakes into quart or gallon size plastic bags. I stock up on different sizes of bags at the “Dollar Tree”. I tried other ways but found the reusable plastic bags work best for me.


Thanks for visiting....Dorie


Shaped-Afghans



Forevery Spring2b