My review on the ATB

ATB, shorthand for Around the Bases, was the most fun in working this design.   You pick out a center block you like and go with the designer’s rows.  16 innings which came out to 105 rows for me using Sophie’s universe as my center block.

With this blanket you can use any color scheme you like.  I used Caron Simply Soft in these colors with the number of skeins I used.

3 Robins Egg

2 Purple

2 Off White

1 Blackberry

2 SS Ombre Grape Purple

2 Autumn Maize

2 White

2 Bone

3 SS Ombre Teal zeal

The blanket covers my queen size bed so if you have a full it will drape nicely on the bed.

I did change up differnet stitches.  Instead of working the crab stitch in the center blocked, I worked BLO.  For the inning requiring bpsc, again worked BLO and created a “knitted” look.  Then the 2 inning requiring popcorn, I worked a puff stitch.

It does become tedious around the 11th inning.  Alot of sc’s worked.  I last estimated with my conversation with hubby, 3500 sc’s then stopped counting.  It was like ugh lol.

However I learned to do new stitches that I never did before.  The star, cables, Asian fans and the spike stitch.  The different stitching makes this blanket interesting and made you learn the new stitches we keep seeing.

Beginners feel intimated because of the new stitches.  Don’t feel that way.  For experienced it keeps you interested.

All in all, I enjoyed it for many reasons.  I noticed it can be manipulated to work out booboos with out frogging (this requires math and creative thinking and you know your inc and dec stitching.)  Color schemes, any thing will work.  You can change up the innings. and you can add innings as well.

I recommend anyone to do this blanket. So feel free to pop on over to the designer’s blog and start.  I hope you will share your blanket with the world 🙂




Color Schemes

One of the hardest thing that a crocheter comes across is picking out colors for projects.  Especially in blankets.  Most follow what is recommended in the pattern including the weight.  But most start to question “Can I use my own scheme and what would go with what?”  All I can say is don’t fret.  Many off the wall color schemes can be stunning.

But how do you choose?  Well I need to take you back, way back, like when we were learning the colors of crayons and then hitting middle school art classes where they teach the 3 color stages, Primary, secondary and tertiary colors.  Your warm and cool colors.  Yeah remember those lessons?  See-it’s like riding a bike.

I basically go by cool and warm colors for my selections.  Oh once in a while I’ll go off the wall but then that’s when the neutral colors come to play.  Warm colors are red, orange, yellow.  The cool colors are blue, purple, greens.  Neutrals are black, white, grey and browns.  It makes it easier to pick and then you can go from there.  And don’t be afraid to break up the colors.  A lighter blue can help pop a dark blue or getting a neutral color to help break the colors up to make them pop.

Many have huge stashes to pick and that can be overwhelming but we also place our yarn by color and weight.  But most of us don’t have that luxury, so what do you do?  Well I can recommend, don’t always go by the internet colors.  Different lighting can make the same yarn color look different.  Oh you might like Caron Simply Soft Purple but you notice that Iris in the store is a better pick.  Or that bone and maize come awfully close and you chose bone for your project online but going into a store, the maize would have been perfect!  It also goes with different catalog colors.  Mary Maxim could have the same color as the Red Heart catalog but the print and photographer’s light makes them look like 2 different shades.

Now I’m not knocking off saying don’t use them.  Use that only for a preliminary ideal palette.  What you should do is go into the store and play.  Yes–play.  Like the kids do at Toys R Us.  But be very mindful of your surroundings.  You don’t want to block another crafter in the aisle and she gets mad.

When I go to Joann’s or Micheal’s I either squeeze near an empty space with a selection.  Well with my Micheal’s, I squeeze lol.  With my Joann’s, there is a good open space to where I can be out of the way and sit and look.  I do have my polite rules though.  I say excuse me when I’m reaching or apologize for manipulating a yarn area.  I let the other crafter go before me because 10 to 1 she knows what to go for.  And I’m mindful where I place my cart or basket.  Oh I get the looks from the employees when I have 10 yarn skeins out and saying nah and placing it out of my sight.  And I know they are thinking “Oh great, we have to put all these back cause she left them there.”  Sorry employees, my mama raised me better and that is my ultimate rule in searching.  PLEASE put the skeins back in their rightful place.  Think about it.  Would you want someone to go through your stash and mess up the way you organize your materials?  Nope.  You would me mad for days lol.

So look at what you have in the stores.  Keep current catalogs.  Be mindful of season changes.  Yes season changes.  Because the color you love might be gone when the season changes.

Also you might feel that the your color scheme could be all wrong when you start.  I know that feeling with the current project I’m working on.  However, the further you work, the better it looks.  Don’t doubt yourself.

I do have some links to help with color combos and schemes:

Red Heart has a catalog for yarn.  I usually get it with an order from Herrschners.  But on Red Heart’s website they have a color maker for hats.  So it can give you an ideas.

Also if you have extra small yarn stashes, like the ones you really can’t make anything out of them, make little swatches.  You can get the little string gift tags and write the brand, color, dye lot and weight on it.  You can “file” them in a smaller tote carrier.  Oh don’t worry if the brand discontinue the color.  That swatch can be turn into a scrap blanket.  A 3×3 or 4×4 swatch can make up a pretty cool scrap blanket.  A young child could use it as a security blanket or your furbaby could curl up on it and leave your current project alone…well maybe.  In my case, one cat says “look at me, oh my cuteness!”

So play.  Don’t doubt yourself.  Remember your color scheme also is your personal touch.

Something fun

I just got into CAL’s this year.  For those who don’t know what CAL’s are, it is an acronym for Crochet A Longs and several groups have started this craze.  It is very interesting to see color schemes and the end results.  Posting questions and concerns and sharing the frustrations of the project chosen.

My first CAL was from The Crochet Crowd.  This year’s mystery one.  Now I have yet to finish it.  The harsh truth, I’m not the type who can do it week by week.  It has to be at once or I have to be way and I mean WAY behind the popular CAL to keep my interest.  So the poor project is sitting on hold, waiting for me to say ok I’ll finish you.  Sorry Crochet Crowd, it’s been sitting there for a month.

However I’m in a facebook group, CAL-Crochet A Long and they have several interesting fun projects in which I FINALLY join the band wagon for one.  The Butterfly Shawl was the one I was eyeing, but debated because of the yarn used…4800 yds is a lot lol.  So I decided to do the blanket called All The Bases or aka ATB.

At first I was thinking out of my stash, what will I use.  I have Red Heart, Caron Simply soft, some other brands and went with Caron.  Learning from my first blanket with this yarn, I made sure that every end was tied, weaved, fasten off so well that when I made a mistake I screamed.  So the seam ripper was used once then I said forget it and used my creativity to work my mistakes.  This is where I definitely fell in love with Sophie’s Universe.

Now Dedri did a wonderful job with the photos.  Sometimes I had to reread the instructions and mentally see it but then again when I have a husband who’s talking at the same time, makes it a bit hard lol.  But I was able to 35 rows within 24 hours amongst the interruptions and posting in my fb group.

I did tweak here and there.  Such as the Crab stitch used as an option in Row 25.  I actually worked sc’s in BLO.  Turn out nicely.  I didn’t do the optional flower petals because as I laid out the piece and seeing the color scheme, I felt it would be too busy. YOU do have to be very mindful of your counts.  Every time I thought I got it, haha, nope.  And one row I forgot to recheck before cutting, I was like great.  However my knowledge of Dc2tog helped. (My other tweak lol)

This piece is not really beginner friendly unless you have a teacher near by.  This is more for those who understand front posts, back posts, working clusters and able to think ahead. Those who are comfortable with basic stitches and keeps experienced crocheters on their toes and a good practice to perfect stitches that seem to show up more and more in projects (the front and back posts lol)

I still have a bit to go.  This part of the CAL is done.  And it’s onto the 2nd half of the project. I don’t know what exactly I have ahead of me, I just glanced.  However my yarn trips will be a bit frequent in the future.

So with all the hype, definitely get on this CAL.  At least with Sophie’s.  I actually could see crocheters just going to row 35 and make several blocks and sew them together to make one big blanket. I won’t because in truth, I DESPISE sewing blocks together.  😀

Keep your eye out on the blog when I start to work on ATB.  Might have to wait a bit since the hubster is home this weekend and usually I don’t crochet as heavy when he is gone.

*These are the links to the 2 crochet CALs.

Sophies’ Universe:

Around the Bases:

The Never Ending Debate

Very recently Wil Wheaton tweeted about his experience with a news outlet, wanting his writing for free.  “Exposure” is what they were offering.  I was like what?!!  I mean if you didnt watch Stand By Me or somehow missed Star Trek:Next Generation or not a Big Bang theroy geek, then some how you were in a worm hole.  Mr. Wheaton is a very active blogger and tweeter not to miss.  Then it trickle down to my world…the Crochet world.  And the debate begins.

It is nice to get the exposure, that’s for sure.  Blogging, Vlogging, FB pages and groups, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram and Twitter is great to get the “exposure.”  Working craft fairs, art shows, and even farmer markets-that’s the harder part of the craft.  For any handmade craft for that matter.

Oh don’t feel guilty about giving your art away.  Many appreicate it and many need a warm set of scarves, hats and mittens.  New moms, I’m sure, appreicate the handmade blankets for their little ones since with today’s economy, baby bed sets are so expensive.  Special made furniture or even a photograph of a beautiful place is great.  However there comes a time where a line has to be drawn.

Today’s society wants every thing for free.  Realistically, it can not be 100% free.  Everyone has to make a living.  These 9-5 jobs, just make it to live.  Think about check to pay check?  That is reality.  Not everyone has been blessed like me at a young age.  I just have to worry about insurance and utilities.  Home and cars are paid for.  But others, are not in my situation and trying to raise a family, this 2 job thing, is causeing more of an issue than anything else.  We see it on the news and social media.  So many look to their artistic skills to help.

Oh I go to these craft fairs and I see all these other crochet items.  Oh sure I can make it.  I can find the pattern for free or pay for it.  But then again, I’m also lazy.  LOL.  But I can see it in her eyes, she isn’t getting the sales just to cover her cost for her rental area.  So I buy.  Big whoop.  But I know I just made her day.  I probably just help buy diapers or put milk in the fridge.  Maybe help her get that last ten dollars to buy her kid those dance shoes or pay the rental for the band instrument.

Then there’s the price.  You would not believe how many say “Oh I know someone who can make me that for less or free.”  My words, well good for you.  But do you know the differnece in the quality of yarn.  Oh yes.  QUALITY.  See, the retails sell synthetic yarn.  Machine spun, machine dyed, machine label wrapped.  Good quality yarn, well that’s shaved, hand spun (watch and ask how long does it take to do 220 yards skein) and hand dyed, hand washed yarn.  It’s softer.  Not scratchy.  It last longer and wears the weather climate better.  (Don’t believe me, look at your furbaby.  I’m sure you don’t bathe them everyday).  So your friend could make it cheaper by finding sales or bad quality yarn and then heaven forbid if it’s not like the picture you showed her.  Oh yes to the person who says I know someone…I also know and seen what you do to your friend that you took advantage of.

Yes there could be another crocheter or knitter or another artist that could do the same thing.  But it comes down to yarn selection, technique, experience.  If you know anything about crochet, would you pay $30 for a single crochet hat with no frills or pay $30 for a hat that has the frills, the entricate work, the softness of the touch…I pay the latter.

Exposure is great, however, we artists need to live too.  Whether we work with yarn, wood, words, paint, camera or metal we don’t have to give it away nor compete with lower prices.  We won’t justify our pricing either.  We will let you be.  Because the ones who do apprieciate what the artist did, know that money is just a little help.  And other artists will buy from another.  In fact, I still have a pretty vase that I bought from a gentleman who bought a Christmas doily for his wife from me and she was in love with that.

So next time you give that look or say something to the effect oh I can…you really not hurting our feelings.  We will move to the next person who sees the blood, sweat, tears (or in my case the tell tale sign of the yarn wrapped around my left pointer finger) and know they will buy from us without question.  And ten to one, they will get a better deal for their purchase.

Oh My!!! I just keep growing

Everyone starts off slow and then increase their pace.  That’s me.  I never thought I would be where I am at.

I started this blog to help increase my business.  I make crochet items.  Yeah, most everyone does.  But over the years I started to slowly build up stock, work on new pieces, and try new avenues.  I have created 2 patterns and still try to figure out half the sites to share the joys.  I’m not exactly tech savy but can get around.

I have taught and still continue to teach.  Created a facebook group page to help beginners and hopefully start a “hangout” to get others to crochet a long and make new friends.

Oh it’s a special craft.  New bonds are created.  Appreicaition for the talent.  And respect to other designers and artist.  Something I think the world lacks at times and in a way I blame it on technology.  However without technology, most of us crafters wouldn’t be able to get out there.

No…crafting is NOT a get rich scheme.  It takes time.  And it takes money in which the economy dose not help the talented artists.  But you are probably asking why should I care?  Well, you help a family with fun money or if they are in tight spots.  Hours are cut, pay isn’t as good and finding hard workers are becoming more frequent.  So when you buy a wood piece, a jewelry piece, a crafted blanket, you are helping and you will probably never know how much appreciation you gave that artist.

Don’t question why it is so expensive.  Things we buy are not a wholesale prices.  And our time..long hours, late nights, missing out on family time..they cost the artist more.  Don’t ever say “oh I can get it cheaper?”  when people say that I always ask what is the quality of their work?  What yarn did they get?  Joann’s and Micheals that’s all synthetic machine spun yarn.  Not hand spun or hand dyed.  (Look up the process of those ways).  Hand made is time and the reason it is so pricey.

I will try to keep up as much as I can with this blog.  It isn’t always easy as I am always hooking, posting to my facebook group and business page.  And I hope to shed light into a handmade crafted item.