Category Archives: crochet

FO update for the past week

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Well, hello! I’m back with some finished objects, both yarn and fabric.

After I made the last headband/earwarmer, I had half of the cake left, so I did the same cable pattern but with one strand of yarn and a smaller hook. I used up most of the yarn, but the stripes got to be a bit skinny by the end. I’m not sure where this one will end up; I just wanted to make it!

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Another bit of stash used up!

I was inspired by a fabric at work to make an apron. It’s coming up for Valentine’s Day (not something I usually pay any attention to, but when you work in retail it’s hard to ignore). I saw this fabric that had lots of fun puns on it and made this apron as a display project. Once it’s been hanging up in the store for a month, I’ll be able to bring it home.

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I don’t know if you can read the words – I love you berry much, I’ve taken a Viking to you, Hugs and Kisses, I donut know how I lived without you, that sort of cheesy stuff! It came out huuuuuuge and I wish I’d just made the smallest size. I mean, it’s not really for me, but it would have been nice if it had fit me without having to cross the ties at back and bring them to the front! Whilst I felt it needed to be ruffly to fit the girly theme, I really dislike gathering fabric to fit a smaller piece of fabric. And this was a LOT of gathers.

Another sewing project I just completed today was this bag – it’s a Burda Young pattern number 8235. It’s a pretty straightforward bag with a flap and strap, no fastenings to mess about with. I interfaced all of the external pieces, not just the flap as per the pattern, because I felt it would be too floppy otherwise. Both snowboard fabrics are from the stash, bought when I was still keen on snowboarding (y’know, before I broke my wrist two years ago).

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I used scissors to cut out the pattern pieces but it’s way less accurate than using a rotary cutter and ruler, which is how I usually cut fabric for bags. I had to take in the lining a little to make it fit smoothly inside the outer bag. I love how colourful this fabric is.

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It’s lined with this blue fabric in the same theme.

Again, this isn’t really for me, I just wanted to make it (hmmm, sensing a theme here) and I showed it to two of my sons and neither said, “Ooh, can I have that!” Maybe they would have ten years ago! Anyway, I’ll hang on to it for now as I know it will find its true home some time.

I have started making the first of the project bags that I intend to sell to help a local farm sanctuary. I’m about halfway through the first bag, and really looking forward to seeing it done. Depending on Mr Fixit’s plans for tonight (he may mention the gym and I may go) I may or may not get more sewing done this evening. There’s still a pile of dishes in the kitchen sink to deal with once I’ve finished my coffee, though. Sigh!

 

Last chance!

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This is the last day for entering my giveaway for the Alpaca Lunch Bag, as I will be drawing a name at random tomorrow and will announce the winner. Good luck!

Above is a photo from my happy place, my favourite tea shop (yesterday I chose a raspberry matcha latte) where of course I took my crochet. (I wish there was a crochet-themed fabric at work, but the knitting one will have to suffice for now.)

I did finish up the skein of jumbo pink yarn and made another cowl, this time knitted, and whilst I only had to cast on 6 stitches for this monster I could probably have gone with 4 or 5.

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It washed up well (there were some dirty streaks on it from the store which is why I was able to bring it home for free).

The current WIP, pictured with the tea, is another cabled headband, this time with only one strand of the Bernat Pop. Gotta run, work today!

Snow days!

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Snow days!

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When it’s well below freezing outside (our minimum one night was -24 or so, felt like -31  with the windchill) and the snow is building up to your knees and the roads are icy despite the efforts of the city to keep them ploughed and salted and gritted…well, you just gotta hunker down in a warm house and get crafty.

I was supposed to have Monday and Tuesday off, work Wednesday, then have today off, and work tomorrow. However the boss called Wednesday morning, expecting a quiet day at the store, and said I could stay home. YAY!

The bag adventures continue. I made another project bag (see above), still playing with proportions for using up those animal squares mentioned a couple of posts ago. This is the most accurate, compared to the squares I intend to use, and while it is still a teensy bit tall for its width I may just go with it. I do need to get a couple of metres of lining fabric before I actually starting sewing them though.

I also played with more triangle or pyramid bags. I used this tutorial here.

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This one used a zipper I had lying around and some stash fabric (left from a project a long time ago) and I was a bit slapdash with it, not bothering with Wonder tape on the zipper so it was far from perfect. The interfacing was a grey iron on piece I found in the scrap pile.

Later, I made a second, this time taking care to sew in the zipper perfectly and instead of interfacing I used a thin poly batting. The last step was sewing closed the gap in the lining, which was a bit messy, unfortunately. Still, I was just playing.

During my four days off, I also gave the house a good clean. Well, you can’t sew ALL the time. That felt good. And I also crocheted a couple of cowls.

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This is Bernat Pop from the yarn stash in the Blue Streak colourway. I held two strands double, one from each end of the cake and used a 9mm hook. The cable pattern is from the Complete Photo Guide to Crochet, which I own. This is for me, because sometimes I need an earwarmer rather than a whole hat, and anyway hats squish my hair flat and then I can’t take them off all day!

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This one was super quick because it’s a jumbo yarn. The brand is Spindle Yarns Snug-as-a-Bug which came from the store where I work. It used half the ball and a 19mm crochet hook. A 25 mm would have been better but I don’t have one. I just did slipstitch in the round for about five rounds and it was done in the time I drank a cup of tea at the coffeeshop today.

Seeing as I have half the ball left, I have whipped out some size 35 knitting needles (again, 25mm would be better but I only have one of those, probably from a thrift store purchase) and am making another cowl in garter stitches on SIX STITCHES. Yes, only six stitches makes a piece about 7″ wide. Crazy, eh!

I have done a fair bit of snow shovelling this week but thankfully because it’s so cold the snow has been very light. I have to be careful, as my right wrist tires easily since I broke it, and my left shoulder has a rotator cuff strain that has been painful for a really long time. I’ve decided to give it some serious TLC for two weeks to see if that helps. Rest (no yoga or upper body weights), turmeric for inflammation, ice pack, cold water in the shower (the water coming out of the tap right now is extremely cold, but I only direct it on my shoulder at the end of a warm shower). I really need to get this pain gone, because it hurts to do just about anything on that side, especially taking off clothing where you cross your arms over your body and pull upwards.

Oooh, I nearly forgot. It was a beautiful sunset as I was making dinner and as I looked out of my kitchen window I saw movement in the back garden. Four deer came through to nibble on our trees and generally hang out. They were there for some time. I am always excited to see them. (Sunset photo courtesy of my youngest son.)

Saying goodbye to an old friend

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(Have you entered my giveaway yet? It’s here and is open until January 21st, 2020.)

I had a call on Tuesday morning from a friend’s husband. She was in hospital, and knowing that she hadn’t been in good health or spirits for some time I called Mr Fixit and we arranged to go and see her in the afternoon. I almost waited until Thursday, my next day off, but I’m very glad I didn’t. We didn’t stay long – it was basically a Hello and an I Love You and a Goodbye – but I am grateful for the opportunity to have said Goodbye as she died that night.

We are, of course, sad to see her go. We will miss her terribly. But she was ready. She had made her plans, dictated her obituary, given her husband her computer password, etc. Much as we hated to lose our friend, an outspoken, encouraging, flamboyant artist and writer who was generous and grandparental with my boys, we knew it was time.

And life goes on. Specifically, the crafting goes on.

I finished this…

 

On my Ravelry project page, I called this Sunseeker on Maui. The yarn is Cascade Sunseeker, a cotton/acrylic with a teeny bit of sparkle (a multi, with pink and grey, and a solid). I made it up as I went along, using half doubles, singles and double crochets, and I ran out of yarn after single crocheting along the bottom edge. I did at least get to cover a few yarn carries where I striped the pink and grey for a few inches, but ideally I would have liked to have gone around the whole thing.

I’m now down to two WIPs, the knitted tube blanket (the colour options for which are boring me and I may let it languish for a while) and the Moe of Change crochet blanket, which I really need to persevere with as a friend is having a baby in the summer and it would make a great gift.

I have an idea for a good fundraiser for a local farm sanctuary and I bought a panel of fabric on Wednesday and some coordinating cotton so that I can make more project bags.

The plan is to use my collection of old jeans for the bag bases. With that in mind I made a trial bag today. I had to use a certain size square because the fabric has 9″ squares with pictures of cute animals on. I started out with two pieces of  camper van fabric from my stash, 9.5″ square, and the same size of denim for the bottom.

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I’m not particularly happy with how it turned out. It’s pretty and perfectly usable, but it’s disproportionate. It’s too tall, or too narrow, depending on your perspective. I boxed the bottom corners too deeply as well. I should have cut out a 1″ square instead of 1.5″.

I may have to see if I can make the animal squares rectangular (shorter vertically) without losing any of the words,  and boxing the denim corners more frugally should make the base look better.

Maybe I’ll make another tonight with different measurements. Glad I didn’t cut into the good stuff yet.

Mr Fixit had a nasty fall this morning when he went out to clear the snow off the driveway because of ice hidden under the new snow. Hurt his elbow and hip. The arm was numb for a while, then painful. So I cleared the drive this morning (in my Hello Kitty onesie for the amusement of any neighbours who may have seen me). Then I cleared the neighbour’s drive across the road. Thankfully it’s below freezing so the snow is light. It persevered most of the day, so after I returned from grocery shopping ds2 and I went out and cleared ours again. Then we cleared two more neighbours’ drives. So that’s five driveways, which are not small, and they are sloping, so I had a lot of exercise today. No need to go to the gym. My left rotator cuff hates me now. It was bad enough when I woke up this morning – I had probably been sleeping on it – and while I tried to remember to wield the shovel with my right hand in front it was still a challenge.

The Greek Potatoes have been baking for nearly two hours now so I need to go and throw together a Greek salad to go with it. This blog post got long, didn’t it!

WIPing in the New Year!

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WIPing in the New Year!

Happy 2020!

I have three WIPs that I’m bringing with me into 2020. I frogged the Party Cardi (granny square type cardigan) because I couldn’t see myself wearing it, so that was one off the list. And I finished the granny square blanket just after Christmas, and that felt good. Three Works in Progress are manageable, and what I feel comfortable with. Any more than that and it bugs me.

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WIP #1: Moe of Change with Lion Brand Mandala

I added a teeny bit to this last night. I was bored. Didn’t want to look at my computer screen. Didn’t want to sew. So I pulled this out and just focused on the one thing. I had put it down mid-round 21, so I had to work out where I was. It’s going to be pretty. Must keep at it!

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WIP #2: stashbuster blanket with various worsted weight yarns

Not pretty, but useful and will be very warm. I knitted a bit on this yesterday. It was nice to reacquaint myself with my WIPs. It’s only about 12″ of work so far, but there’s no deadline. It would be good to have it done before the weather gets too warm to have it on my lap though.

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WIP #3: no-pattern shawl, using Cascade Sunseeker

I started out with just a few stitches, used half double crochet, and increased every other row. When there wasn’t much left of the pink, I striped in the grey using single crochet rows.  I didn’t want to do that for long because it meant stranding the yarn up the side which means I’ll have to add some sort of edge treatment later. Carried on with hdc and grey, until I figured I should start decreasing. Changed to double crochet and decreasing on every row. (The dcs are taller stitches, but I wanted the decreasing to happen faster than the first part of the shawl.)

I am hoping that the grey will last until I get back to 3 or 4 stitches and that I then have enough of the pink left to go around once with sc.

And now for some exciting news! I had posted a request on Ravelry for anyone who might have been willing to part with a swift, as I now have quite a few hanks of yarn which have not been wound into balls. My initial method was to place a hank over the back of a chair and wind by hand, because I only needed to do it occasionally. I do have a yarn cake winder, but tend to use it with commercial skeins. Someone sent me a link to an online photo tutorial, and I asked Tai Chi Man if he was willing to make me a swift. He seemed amenable, I sent him the link, and in his usual way (Mr Fixit, very handy) he decided he could do better.

Using some scrap wood he had, plus a lazy susan from Lee Valley (the metal spinning part) and a dowel from Home Depot, he created an Amish-style yarn swift for me.

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Of course, as soon as he said it was ready, I had to test it out. I wound up the two cakes you can see in the above photo, and then tried a small one from a 25 gram hank.

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Because the pegs are movable, it can fit just about any size of hank, though I probably wouldn’t bother trying to cake something smaller than 25g.

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And I have spare pegs in case any get lost. It works great, all for less than $10!

Thanks, Mr Fixit!

Ravelry review

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One of my favourite makes this year

I love to look back at my year’s knitting and crochet projects on Ravelry every December. Even when I don’t think it’s been a very productive year, I am usually surprised at how many Finished Objects I made.

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One of my few yarn purchases

This year was a good year for using stash. I signed up with the British Banter group on Ravelry to join their Bash the Stash 2019 challenge. The plan was not to go Cold Turkey and buy no yarn at all. My goal was more Lukewarm Sheep. Curb the acquisition of 100% synthetic yarn. Allow myself to mindfully purchase yarn which had at least some plant fibre content.

And, you know, I did pretty well. In January, I bought that pack of Scheepjes Stonewashed and Riverwashed mini skeins. It’s so pretty and I still haven’t found the perfect project for it. But it is on display in my sewing room and I know I will really enjoy using those amazing colours some time in the future. An LYS was going out of business in a nearby town and I bought some cotton yarns from them too. And then…nothing until November, when I went into Michaels and fell for some clearance yarn.

My totals at the end of the year, as posted in the British Banter group, are;

Total out this year: 8115 grams (knitted or crocheted into finished objects or given away)
Total in this year: 3700 grams (purchases and a few gifts)
Net output: 4415 grams (stash reduction)

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I love the finished item even though the garter stitch got tiresome!

Ravelry tells me I made 56 projects this year, but in fact some project pages include more than one item, so it was more like 77.

The summary:

18 hats, 16 dishcloths, 13 decorations/ornaments, 7 cowls/scarves, 7 bags, 6 shawls/wraps, 4 blankets/loveys, 3 toys, 2 headbands, 1 pr socks

and a partridge in a pear tree!!

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My favourite blanket of the year

I have four Works in Progress right now. The pink and grey sparkly shawl which I started in Maui. The Moe of Change blanket which I started in October and then neglected because it requires careful attention to the pattern. The scrap blanket that I’m knitting in the round on a huge number of stitches, which I think will get more attention now that the granny blanket is done. And finally, the cardigan, which was being made from a Secret Yarnery YouTube tutorial and which I had high hopes for. But even though I still like the colourway of the yarn (Lion Brand Mandala Baby in Echo Caves) and even though I actually ordered more yarn to get this cardigan finished, I think it’s going to be frogged. I can’t see myself wearing it and being happy in it. So officially that leaves me with three WIPs to carry me into 2020.

Considering my enthusiasm for sewing right now, three yarn WIPs is plenty. (Perhaps we should talk about my fabric purchases….or maybe not!) I really need to keep a good notebook for my sewing projects the way I do on Ravelry for yarn projects. Past notes tend to be scattered throughout various small notebooks and loose bits of paper, which means that if I want to make another version of a bag, for example, and want to know what size pieces I had to cut, it can be challenging to remember or remind myself what I did.

So that’s my year. What are your crafty highlights of 2019? Did you knit or crochet or sew something you were particularly proud of? Let me know in the comments.

 

 

Boxing Day

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And in the blink of an eye, Christmas is over!

After our big lunch out on Sunday, we had a very simple dinner on Monday. Tuesday was Christmas Eve and I had decided that that was going to be our main Christmas meal. So I cooked a lentil chestnut loaf, potatoes oreganata (sliced potatoes with oregano, sundried tomatoes and olives) and lots of roasted Brussels sprouts and cauliflower! We had apple crumble for dessert with vegan ice cream. And then the boys, Tai Chi Man and I played Cards Against Humanity. I know, very non-PC, but very funny, once you get over the fact you’re all mentioning body parts and unnatural acts in front of your parents/children. Our children ARE in their 20s now!!

Christmas Day was lovely and easy. I rustled up some blueberry pancakes around lunchtime, of which most of us partook. And Tai Chi Man and I went out for a neighbourhood walk in the afternoon. It’s been very mild around here, hovering around zero for some time, and there’s snow on the ground but no new precipitation for a few days. Dinner was equally simple, as I made a large fruit salad, which we ate with more vegan ice cream, and there was fruit cake for those who wanted it.

I baked a gluten free mince tart in the evening as I had a friend coming over for tea the next day. It seemed to work out okay.

And Boxing Day…another day at home. My friend came over for a cuppa and a piece of aforesaid mince tart, which was nice. I did a bit of tidying up, and some sewing on another project bag (#11 in the series). Dinner was shepherd’s pie and salad.

With the end of the year approaching, I am aware of my need to review. And the big pile of WIPs in the living room was begging for attention. So today I picked up the crochet granny blanket and added a couple of rounds of black and called it done. I needed a Finished Object and this is about 700 grams out of the stash. YAY!

It’s about 41″ square, and a good size for a lap blanket.

The centre is mostly different colours from the outer rounds because they were small scraps of yarn which I had to use up early or they wouldn’t have been enough to complete a full round. For the first time, I switched direction each round to avoid the skewing that happens in the centre of large grannies, and it worked well.

Now I am at the end of a five day stretch of no shifts, and I have work tomorrow. New sale, so my brain will have to be on full alert! And then Saturday, lots more cooking, as we’re hosting a potluck. Whew!

Projects and productivity

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Despite the fact that I had only a crappy few hours of “airplane sleep” Saturday night, I felt OK on Sunday and was even motivated to clean my house. I didn’t have anywhere I needed to be, and I couldn’t face just spending the whole day on the couch, so I vacuumed, cleaned bathrooms, watered plants, and did three loads of laundry.

I also started sewing another drawstring bag. (See above)

After a very refreshing 11 hour sleep, I was ready to tackle the grocery shopping today. The meal plan was made, the shopping lists prepared, and after a cup of tea at our favourite tea shop (to settle back into our home groove) we hit four different stores to stock up on food. Bulk foods, health food store, Costco and the supermarket. All have their strengths and we did ’em all today. It took all afternoon, and it was dark by the time we made our way home with a car full of food, but it felt good to restock the fridge and pantry.

After a simple dinner of soup and biscuits (scones to you Brits) I went back to the sewing room and finished sewing the bag, just in time to go to the gym with Tai Chi Man.

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This is the same tutorial by Erica Arndt that I’ve made three times before. This time, I used three coordinating quilt cottons from the store where I work. This range is called Knit Happy and came in two years ago and has been on clearance for some time. It still wasn’t cheap but I decided to go for it anyway. I had a Christmas gift certificate to spend.

The strap is made using the selvedge, because it was too nice to throw out. It has little sheep in all the colours that were used to print the fabric. The lining is a yarn ball print that I’ve had for some time and, while it isn’t designed to coordinate with the outer fabric, the theme is the same.

Of course I took yarn and hooks on holiday with me, and I completed this market bag while I was there.

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Of course I had to pose it on some lava rock and sand! This is made from a hand-dyed cotton. I didn’t use a pattern though I was inspired by someone’s design on Ravelry. I started out with a circle for the base, then just did a mesh for the body of the bag, and some solid rounds for the top.

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After I finished the bag, I started crocheting this shawl. I’m using some stash yarn – Cascade Sunseeker – one of which is a pink/grey multi, and the other a solid grey, both with some sparkle. I took this photo at Kahului (Maui) airport the night we were leaving, including my Skechers in the picture because they went well with the yarn! Both have pink and sparkly bits!!

I wanted to keep it simple, so I started with 3 stitches and am increasing on one side every other row. It’s all half double crochets. The idea is to start incorporating the grey in stripes once I’ve used about three-quarters of the multi. And then keep going with just the grey for the last bit.

Well, I see it’s 10pm and I have work tomorrow, so I’d better be going. Hope you have a great week.

 

 

Happy December!

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Do you love this time of year? So many people grumble about the cold and the snow, but my attitude is that the weather is not something you can change so you might as well enjoy it. Or at least accept it with grace! (Or move south, I guess!)

Yesterday was Sunday December 1st and we had our first proper snowfall. It wasn’t very deep but it was enough to make the roads a little slippery and turn everything into a prettier version of itself.

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Cold weather makes you count your blessings – we have a warm house, cosy beds, plenty of food, appropriate clothing. The temperatures dropped well below freezing in the last week and I know there are people in my town who are sleeping outside.

The drawstring bag I showed you a couple of posts ago was part of my Secret Santa gift for last night’s work’s Christmas Party. I also made a couple of coordinating gnomes (the two in the centre of this photo).

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I’m happy to report the bag and gnomes were much appreciated and were “stolen” twice in our Secret Santa game. The bag ended up with a knitter for her projects and the gnomes ended up with another person for her grandkids. It’s nice when people make a little effort for these things because there’s always someone who you feel sorry for because they ended up with a crappy thing!

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Another of my favourite things this season is that my Christmas cacti, of which I have about six, are flowering beautifully. I have found that if I put them outside on my covered deck in the summer, where they get a reasonable amount of light and fresh air, and then bring them in when the nights start to get cold, they flourish.

I had my sewing machine serviced this week and also invested in a new walking foot. The old one was about 20 years old and was loosening so much when I sewed that I kept breaking a needle when it hit the foot that had shifted below it. It is sewing like a dream again and I finished this little bag yesterday.

It’s small because I was limited by the length of the zipper. It’s called a Continuous Zipper Pouch and the tutorial is here. It’s a nifty way of using one side of the zipper (if you want, the other half can be used for a wrist strap) but obviously you need a zipper that’s twice the width of your intended bag and I only had short ones.

I love watching bag tutorials. WhitneySews is a channel that’s new to me (she has been making tutorials for ten years, so I don’t know how I missed her before) and she has lots of useful videos.

I also experimented with this Scandinavian fabric star. It’s a photo tutorial and after the first step, when you flip the piece over, it took me a minute to figure out what I was supposed to do, but I did, and it worked, and I managed to finish a reasonably neat star.

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I won’t post a photo of my Advent Meditation CAL ornament yet as I don’t want to spoil the surprise for others who haven’t got around to making it yet.

I think that’s enough of my warbling for now. I hope you are having a great day. Talk to you again soon.

Advent Meditation Crochet-along

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(Image courtesy of Pixabay)

What a great idea this is! The blog, Crochet Between Worlds, is running an Advent Meditation Crochet-along throughout December. Starting today, for four weeks, they are releasing an audio tutorial for a seasonal ornament. There is no written pattern or picture of the final item, so you have to listen carefully as you crochet and follow along.

This sort of focus makes you forget any other pressures or concerns you have, which is perfect when so many people are stressed out over so many issues.

Here’s the first post about it.

I’m doing it. Are you?