Stash Bust Update, Second Quarter, 2018

Busting out some stash at a snail’s pace.

Just when I think things can’t get any busier, they do.  April, May and June 2018 have been nuts and I’m sure it is not going to slow down any in the very near future. That’s OK, because it is the nuttiness, the “life that happens”, that makes our time on this big blue marble an adventure.  Most of the past quarter’s busyness was good.  My oldest graduated high school and is preparing for his freshman year of college, my parents came for visit and were able to attend his graduation, my youngest is now driving,  we’ve had prom, college visits, awards night and all the other end-of-school year activities.  In addition, both mine and my husband’s jobs continue to grow and demand more of our time, my in-laws are moving out of their home where they have lived the past 30+ years and have needed some assistance and, just to make things interesting, I’ve decided that about 80% of the interior of our house needs to be painted.  Sprinkle in a two week vacation to the Pacific Coast, a trip we have been planning for at least two years, and you have a very busy second quarter.

My crocheting has taken a back seat to all of the items on the to-do list.  However, I was able to get a few projects completed and bust out some stash.  And I purchased ZERO yarn this past quarter (yay me!).

I mentioned above that my parents came for a visit.  They live in Florida but decided to rent an apartment this summer in upstate New York where my brother and sister live.  Since they will be “snowbirds”, I made the following potholder, Red Bird in the Snow Potholder by Doni Speigle, for them.  The pattern is adorable.  You can read my notes and suggestions on my Ravelry project page.
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Next, I finished up the UNsquared Granny, Tea for ME! mug cozy.  Love this.  It keeps my tea nice and hot.  Perfect for work.
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I also finished It’s Just a Granny throw blanket/baby blanket/lapghan.  This project was started in January.  I’m not 100% sure what I’m going to do with it.
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The next project was for charity.  I plan to write a post about it soon so I won’t go into much detail right now.  This is Chief and he was made for the Mother Bear Project.
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Another potholder and a couple dishcloths for The Snowbirds.  Flower Dishcloth by Lily / Sugar’n Cream.
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And last, another adorable potholder design by Doni Speigle called Dinnertime!.  This was for the May potholder exchange.  Once I have the time, I can think of a number of cat people, myself included, who would love one of these.
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It is already July and my crochet time for the last three weeks has been zip, zero, zilch.  I’m hopeful I will have a couple projects to share with you for third quarter 2018.  But if I’m too busy with life’s adventures to crochet much, that’s good too.

Happy Crocheting!
Darleen

Psst! Start now on your holiday crocheting!

Hot Pads Snowman Gingerbread Man Peppermint Facebook

New Pattern Alert! Mug Cozy, Tea for ME!

Tea-for-Me-individual-Mug-Cozy-crochet-pattern-by-Darleen-Hopkins-WEBI am happy to share with you the latest in my UNsquared Granny series, the Tea for ME! Mug Cozy. This adorable cozy is based on the traditional Granny Square motif with a twist-it isn’t square! Not even close. It is time to UNsquare those Grannies!! The fully written pattern is rated EASY with minimal shaping to create the domed cozy. Illustrative charts are also included.  The cozy is perfectly sized for an individual mug of tea, coffee or cocoa. It works up quick and would make a lovely Mother’s Day gift! Instructions and photo tutorial included for the super easy liner-minimal hand sewing required.
Find out more here: UNsquared Granny, Tea for ME! Mug Cozy

This pattern is included in my Buy 2, Get a 3rd for FREE sale! No coupon needed, Ravelry will automatically deduct the lowest priced pattern from your purchase.

Shells of Love baby blanket crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins

 

Stash bust update, First Quarter, 2018

Busting out some stash

March Pot Luck2018 began with a post announcing my goal to reduce my yarn stash.  3 months have passed and I’ve made some progress.  A good bit of progress.  I gave away a full box of felted sweaters to someone on Ravelry.  I sold 16 hanks on eBay.  I gave away 2 skeins in my pot-holder swap group and donated almost 2 full boxes of yarn and misc. craft supplies to a local thrift store.  In addition, I completed 3 potholders, 2 scarves, 3 hats, 5 dryer balls and 1 votive cover.  My only yarn purchases were 2 teeny tiny skeins of cotton yarn as I needed them for one of the hats.  So, with all that, you would think I would only have about 8 boxes of yarn remaining, right? Nope. I have 10 boxes and at least 1 box worth of loose yarn that is not boxed up.  UGH. Apparently I significantly underestimated the amount of yarn I had scattered about the house and in project bags and such.  So, I DID clear out about 4 boxes worth, I just refilled those empty boxes with yarn that wasn’t boxed up. Oh well.  It is still progress and I’m happy to be reducing my stash.  I addition to the completed projects shown below, I have a few WIPS.  Hopefully they will be completed by June 1 and I can share photos in my next update.  Jan Pot Luck

Click on the photos for more information about each project. Patterns used are linked below.

UNsquared granny scarfFeb Pot LuckBentley #1

Bentley #2Bently#3yarnballs4Zinnia votive

 

Happy Crocheting all!!

 

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New Pattern Alert! Zinnia Votive

Now Available, Zinnia Votive.  A lace sleeve for a standard canning jar.

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Dress up a standard canning jar and turn it into a beautiful gift.  The Zinnia Votive is a pattern for a standard canning jar sleeve. Place a tea light inside the jar and see the beauty of crochet lace like never before. A gorgeous way to light up your late summer nights. The pattern includes fully written instructions as well as an illustrative chart.

The pattern is written to fit a standard, round 8 oz Ball canning jar. However, it is easily adaptable to fit many different jar sizes.  Upcycle your glass jars into illuminated lace.

Pattern information can be found here: Zinnia Votive

So many uses!

Gifts for all occasions including, teacher gifts, get well and thinking of you gifts, Mother’s Day gifts, and housewarming gifts.

Use as wedding favors.  Crochet in the colors of your wedding and place one at each table. Use battery powered tea lights (get long lasting ones!) for breathtaking lighting on your special day.

Slip one on each jar of jam you give as a gift.  Include a votive with how-to instructions so the recipient may enjoy your gift long after the sweet treat is enjoyed.

Gift with fresh cut flowers inside.  Include a votive with how-to instructions so the recipient may enjoy your gift long after the flowers have faded.

Make a variety of them in different sizes (the pattern is easily adaptable!). Arrange on a picnic table and enjoy a romantic dinner for two.

The sleeves work up quick and use very little yarn/thread. They make great craft fair and fundraiser projects.  A thrifty and eco-friendly craft.

Spiffy

Eco-Craft, Yarn Balls aka. Dryer Balls

How to make dryer balls for zero dollars!

I’ve been intrigued by dryer balls for awhile now.  Every once in awhile I’ll see a post about them and think to myself-I wonder if they work? I have no interest in purchasing plastic or rubber ones or using tennis balls in my dryer.  I can’t help but wonder if those types of dryer balls release toxins of some sort when exposed to heat.  My interest is to improve my laundry, naturally.  I would like to use less dryer sheets, not replace sheets with potentially more or different chemicals.  So I finally decided to give dryer balls a try when I came across some wool yarn and felted wool scraps in my stash.  I’m on a quest to reduce my stash. I thought this would be a good way to use up some of it and finally find out if 100% wool dryer balls actually work.  The yarn and felted sweater scraps are leftover from previous projects.  Therefore, my cost is $0.

Step 1: Gather up 100% wool scraps and 100% wool yarn.

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Felted wool scraps from various projects, felted wool “yarn” cut from a damaged wool sweater, and some random 100% yarn wool.

Step 2: Smush the scraps into a ball and then wrap with yarn.  Add more scraps and wrap with more yarn.  Repeat until the ball is the size you want.

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Step 3: Secure yarn.

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Step 4: Repeat until you have as many as you want or you run out of scraps.  I didn’t time myself but I think it took me about an hour to make all of these.

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Step 5: Felt them.  I placed them in a lingerie bag and washed them with my regular laundry for a couple of  loads.  Once they were felted enough where I didn’t think they would unravel, I took them out of the lingerie bag and washed them with the regular laundry for a couple more loads.  Last, I trimmed the few ends that came undone.

So DO THEY WORK?

I’ve heard claims that they save energy, reduce static, reduce dryer time, reduce wrinkles and make clothes softer.   If they did all of these, I would be ecstatic.  If they did one or two, I’d be happy.  I’ve been using them for over a month now and I’m pretty happy.  My clothes seem to be dry when the cycle is complete.  Before dryer balls, I often had to add time to the dryer because the clothes were still damp.  More time in the dryer will result in more static.  And, while I still have to use dryer sheets, I’m using one per load rather than two.  Yup, I’ve had to use two for awhile now.  My boys wear a lot of athletic, moisture wicking type clothing made out of synthetic materials.  These items tend to pick up static when in the dryer.  However, less time in the dryer = less static.  So, overall, I’m happy with the results.

I have a few more scraps so I may make one or two more.   If you have the materials, give it a try and let me know what you think.

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UNsquared-Granny-Super-Scarf-granny-square-crochet-pattern-by-Darleen-Hopkins #CbyDH

New Pattern Alert: The UNsquared Granny Super Scarf

Sometimes grannies can be so…square.

UNsquared-Granny-Super-Scarf-granny-square-crochet-pattern-by-Darleen-Hopkins #CbyDH

It is time to UN-square the granny!  The UNsquared Granny Super Scarf is a new twist on the classic motif.  Designed for heavy worsted/aran weight yarn, this easy pattern works up fast.  The result is a beautiful scarf which makes a great gift.   Pattern includes a partial chart to help illustrate the stitch placement. And the pattern is easily adaptable for different yarn weights and/or sizes.

Gift idea! New high school graduate heading off to college in the fall?  Crochet one in his or her college colors.

Don’t forget, all Crochet by Darleen Hopkins patterns available on Ravelry are Buy 2, Get a 3rd for FREE! No coupon needed.  Ravelry will automatically deduct the lowest priced pattern from your total.  How cool is that??

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Crocheting for Charity, Part 2

Charitable Crochet, Keep it Local

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Christmas Pickle Gift Sets donated to the local High School Marching Band Holiday Craft and Bake Sale to raise funds for new uniforms.

Crocheting for charity can be extremely rewarding.  We all want to do good and it is rewarding to know you can make something that can make another person happy.   Being able to support your local community with charitable crochet is an added bonus.

My last post addressed the awesome part of crocheting for organized organizations.  The organizations I listed have not only found recipients for the items but actually have people asking for them.  They can say with certainty that the donated items (if they are made within the established guidelines) will end up in the hands of the intended recipient. But, what if your funds are limited and you just don’t have the money to pay for shipping? or what if you just want to keep it local?

I often hear of local church groups or civic organizations where they crochet hats for chemo patients or something similar.  But when asked where or how they are getting the items to the patients, the response is along the lines of “We bring them to the hospital”.  While it is wonderful to crochet for charitable efforts, I learned the hard way that you have to be selective in where you donate your charitable crochet.  Delivering items to the hospital does not mean they make it to the patients (read the story here).  So, please keep in mind, no matter where you donate your handmade items, my number one suggestion is to contact the business or organization FIRST to see if they WANT and will ACCEPT the items.  If you get a yes, push them a little further and ask, do they have more than they currently need and will the items be distributed to the patients/kids/residents/etc.   And be sure to ask if they have any guidelines and/or restrictions you need to follow.

Below are a few suggestions on how you can crochet for charity, keep it local AND be sure the donated items are getting to the intended recipients. Again, check FIRST to make sure they want/need and will distribute your handmade items.

  1. Contact national organizations and ask if they can direct you on how to donate locally.  While it may not be possible to donate directly to the recipients as they likely require all donated items to be inspected for quality control, they may be able to direct you to a local drop off location-maybe a guild chapter or yarn shop.
  2. Check with your local hospitals and oncology centers to see if you can donate hats directly to them.  If so, what guidelines to they have?  If not hats, can they suggest anything else that their patients may like.
  3. Is there a local shelter, woman’s or homeless, that might like blankets?
  4. Check to see if your community has a organization that helps homeless families find homes.  Could you provide housewarming gifts to be including when helping to set up the home.  Think blankets, potholders, throw rugs or anything to help make the new place warm and comfortable.  Check with the women’s shelter as well as they often help set up new homes for women escaping abusive situations.
  5. Check with the animal shelter to see if they would like blankets for the cages.  Or maybe you can make cat toys or fancy dog collars that they can give away with new adoptions or possibly sell to raise money for the shelter.
  6. Check with the local police to see if they would like comfort buddies to have on hand for when a child has to be removed from a home or is involved in an accident.
  7.  Maybe there is a local foster care home that would like crocheted blankets for the kids.  Remember, displaced teens need comfort blankets as well as small children and babies.
  8. Check with food banks and see if they also collect blankets or maybe they have suggestions of items you could provide that they will offer to their patrons.
  9. Is there a senior assisted living center/nursing home in your area?  Maybe the workers know of a resident who doesn’t have many visitors and could use a lap blanket or slippers.
  10. Is there a community toy-drive for families in need at the holidays?  I’ve made character hats for ours.
  11. And my favorite, because organizations always need money, donate handmade items for a craft fair fundraiser or a raffle.  Check with schools to see if any sports teams or the arts (band, chorus, etc) have upcoming fundraising opportunities you can donate items for a charity sale.  I made Christmas Pickles, see photo above, for the marching band and donated hand made items for the elementary school’s silent auction.  Many shelters and other non-profit organizations hold silent auctions as fundraisers.  They are always looking for items to include in these fundraisers.

When donating local, be sure to follow guidelines established by national organizations.  They are there for a reason.  It may be for the patient’s comfort, ease of washing or maybe the safety of the recipient.  Be sure to use appropriate yarns, wash and/or sterilize if necessary and be sure to keep pets away.  And if you don’t have the appropriate yarn but still want to make items for donation, get creative.  Baby blankets and lap blankets don’t need the same yarns required for chemo hats.  Animals don’t care if your yarn is an odd color.  Market bags can be made in inexpensive, scratchy yarns and may sell well at a craft fair fundraiser or silent auction.  And if you smoke or have pets in your home be honest and disclose this.  Some groups may not want to risk the possible allergens.  If having pets is an issue with local organizations maybe concentrate your charitable efforts on supporting an animal shelter.

Shells of Love baby blanket crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins