Saturday, April 30, 2011

Zee End

The A to Z Challenge for April is complete! What more is there than Zee End?

What's that you say? Zig Zag would be a better Z word choice for a crocheter?

OK, fine. Here you go!

This one actually took me a long time to finish. As in, it was probably 4 years. I kept having to put it aside for other projects. The long-double-crochet and the extra-long-double-crochet stitches were really troublesome, too. I just couldn't keep the rhythm of them.

But it's done! So...officially now... Zee End!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Yarn, Yarn, Yarn...

It's everywhere!

Join me as we take a short walk through a few rooms in my house to see a sampling of yarn in various states of project completion.

There's a bag ready to go out the door with small portable projects.

Here's a stack of finished potholders, washcloths, and a Pirate Hat all piled on a basket full of afghans.

A bucket full of yarn is at my feet when I sit at the couch and crochet.

There are even some yarn items in the toybox!

It's in the closet.

It's tied to the doorknob for some crazy game that little boys are known to invent and that the rest of us will never understand.

It's on school projects.

Ah, this one, I love. "Mama, can I play with this ball of yarn?" No sooner do I give permission than I find it tied to this old table, and a large cardboard tube is being "zoomed" across the rooms down this yarn. I didn't have the heart to take it off, so for my own silly giggles, I left it there during Easter dinner while 10 people sat around a table in the same room with this random yarn-tied-table. Am I the only one that finds an odd joy in that? I (occasionally) try to be dignified, but when there's a 5-year-old in the house, it's going to show! By the way, no one asked about it. Do you think it's because of the 5-year-old or because they're afraid I'm just such a horrible hostess that I didn't even notice it there?

Huh. This is an interesting project hanging on the back of a door. Maybe I'll have to tell you about it sometime.

There's yarn in my kitchen drawers. (Oh gross, apparently that one needs to be washed!)

More kitchen drawers...

And this is a fairly small representation from the room that holds most of my craft supplies. This was just what was readily accessible.

Isn't yarn amazing? So many colors, textures, material content, thickness...what's not to love?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

X-ceptions to the rules

Pathetic choice for X, but what can you do?

So what are the "rules" for crocheting?

In each pattern, are you to assume you go through both loops in the previous row unless the X-ception is specified? Or only the front loop?

I think I was taught to go through only the front loop unless otherwise specified, but lately, I've been going through both loops unless specified. Which is the "real" or "correct" way?

I've also heard that you're not supposed to tie knots in your yarn when changing to a new skein. Yep, I've done that for years. I've recently learned how to weave your strands together without a knot, but honestly, it really doesn't work for all yarn. What do you do?

I weave in my ends using a smaller crochet hook. Other people always use a needle. There's certainly not a hard and fast "crochet rule" for that. What do you do?

When you yarn over, how do you do it? Do you use your "yarn feeding finger" to wrap it over or do you twist your hook to grab it?

While I'm on the subject of personal preference vs. crochet rules, what is your favorite hook? I've seen other crocheters ask out there, and I'm surprised by the variety! I'm a hook snob, and I only use Susan Bates hooks. I think they go through the loops more smoothly, and they catch the yarn better than Boye hooks. However, all my large hooks (L and larger) are acrylic with the same in-line shape as Susan Bates hooks. What kind do you like?

So...all that being said, are these things normal crocheters do, or am I just the X-ception to the rule?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wild With W

How did I get so much for W today?

We'll start with What I learned about Washing.

...turns into this in my dishwasher.

Which is Why I love SC Johnson products! That has never happened to these containers!
(I also love SC Johnson products because of this Wonderful item that Works so Well for Washing Window blinds, but I already told you about that.)
Anyway, lesson learned. Wash it by hand.

...With these little Washcloths I Whipped up!
The red one seemed way too much work for just washing dishes, so I probably won't do that pattern again. The green one was a little trial to see what would work. I added a strand of thread to make a rougher surface for better scrubbing. I'm not sure yet if it is helping, but it looks cute.

Work-in-progress seems like a logical addition, but I just showed you an update on my Ugly Blanket. So I thought I'd show you my newest toy that I was using with it: a ball Winder (thanks, Mandy!).

It turned this funny pink snake that was given to me...
...into this!
Admittedly, this was the second time I used it. The first time, I didn't have the "feeder thing" in the right spot, and it wasn't pretty. Once I figured out how it was really supposed to work, great success!

OK, that's all I have for W. Only three letters left for the A to Z Challenge!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


V is for Vinyl because my hubby does it so well!

Turning this
into this.
Note to self: It's hard to take pictures of vinyl around the top of the room...don't do it.

Kitchen/Coffee Shop graphics

Children's rooms

Decorative tiles

Could it be that this will be my first non-crochet post of this whole A to Z Challenge?

Not if he can make this for me in vinyl:
Pretty please?

Found at Crochet Galore. Oh, how I love this picture. It's so sweet and pretty, but it readily admits that I have a serious problem...

Monday, April 25, 2011

U - G - L - Y!

It's been a LONG time since I've posted about my Ugly Blanket. There's only a bit more added, but some friends have passed along extra yarn (Thanks, Mandy!) leftover from their own projects. It will be fun to put in these colors!

Here's a current picture:

This is a stack of yarn ready to be added:

I am LOVING this way of using up extra yarn! It's so much fun to look at it and remember the previous projects or the people that have passed along their extras.

It still has a long way to go until it is long enough. Won't it be some sort of crazy conglomeration by the time I'm done? I can't wait! ;-)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Recipe - Pasta with Artichoke and Olives

Thursday night supper was delicious!

I snagged a recipe from Mika's Pantry that sounded so simple and tasty. She has 5 easy meals listed there--check them out!

What you need:
8 oz. pasta, cooked and drained (I had an open box of large elbow noodles, Penne works, too)
14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes with oregano and basil
6 oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts, including marinade, diced
2.5 oz. can sliced olives, drained (or do what I did: 1 whole can olives, slice them 1/2 of them, munch on the rest...)
1/2 C. Parmesan cheese (oops, we forgot to buy would have been SO good...)

In a saucepan, combine tomatoes, diced artichoke hearts with liquid, and olives. Bring to a boil; lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Pour over cooked pasta, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and serve!

Leave a little space on your plate for a slice of bread.

We all LOVED this meal! Even though a cold has been messing with his flavor-tasters lately, kiddo stamped his approval, too!

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Tutorials are one of the best things about sharing craft ideas and recipes in the blogosphere, right? T is for Tutorials.

There aren't many here at In the Loop, but here's a compilation of what I have:

Chain Link Scarf

Curly-Q or Curlicue Scarf

Iris Folding - Paper Craft

Bead Crochet Rope Step-By-Step Tutorial

Refried Beans

Chicago Style Deep Dish Stuffed Pizza

Oreo Truffles, known around here as Bloodshot Eyeballs (2nd attempt was much prettier)

I think that's all I have. Did I miss any?

Let me know if you've tried any of these things! I'd love to see pictures.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Square Beads

This was in my mind's eye for a couple weeks (or more) before I finally got around to making it.

When I was determined to go pick up square beads from the store, there were none left! Last week, they were restocked. Yeah for little wooden cube beads!

I used some inherited thread (seems slightly thicker than Size 10) and a Size 7 hook. There are 5 chains between each bead and just under 100 beads for my 3-layer necklace. Not bad for $2.

I wore this on Sunday with a cream-colored sweater (forgot to take the picture that day...), and I was a little nervous that the wooden beads would discolor the sweater, but there were no issues. My only caution to you is to move them around as little as possible before you crochet it. The rough inside of the bead tends to "grab" at the thread a little bit, and you occasionally get some brown bits coming out.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Rope and Results

If you're paying attention, you're probably wondering why I haven't announced the winner of my G is for Giveaway yet.

Wait no longer.

...not much anyway.

As stated, I prepared a new Bead Crochet Necklace as one of the prize options. Here (for R=Rope) it is in all its turquoise and pink glory:

What do you think of the color combo? The orange is an interesting addition, isn't it?

Well, moving on with the important matter (R=Results): the winner is Marie Anne, and she picked vinyl wall art for her prize!

Congratulations, Marie Anne!

If you haven't had the pleasure of checking out one of Marie Anne's blog, you need to do it!
Just read her profile, and you'll want to know her better.
Her crocheting blog, Every Day Crochet
Various thoughts blog, Marie Anne's Missives
Gardening blog, In the Garden With Sow-n-Sow
Writing blog, Write, Wrong or Indifferent

I'll be contacting you shortly to find out what you'd like, Marie Anne.

If you're terribly disappointed that you didn't win, feel free to stop by our ArtFire shop anytime!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Quiet vs. Noise

A little survey for our letter Q.

How do you craft or crochet?

Do you need to concentrate in the Quiet or do you need Noise while you mindlessly go through the motions?

My answer: when it is a familiar or repetitive pattern, I love to watch a movie or TV show while I'm working. If it's a little intricate to start or I have to count stitches, I need quiet concentration for the first few minutes.

What about you?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pattern, Perfectionism, and Par for the Course

On Saturday, I delivered another set of Headbands to the local Boutique. She's having a big Open House this coming weekend, and I wanted to make sure that she had plenty in stock. Now that she has such a good supply, I can back off of making them like a crazy woman every free moment.

In my pursuit of a variety of headband yarn, some great baby blanket yarn leaped into my basket courtesy of my wonderful hubby.

I was anxious to do another version of a simple pattern I had created a few years ago. This is the Pattern Part of P for today.

Ch 112
Row 1: Dc in 4th ch from hook and each st across.
Row 2-3: Ch 3 (count as first dc) and dc in each st across.
Row 4: Ch 3; dc in next 6 st. Sk 1 dc, (dc, ch 1, dc) in next dc; V-st made. * Sk 2 dc; V-st * repeat until last 8 dc. Sk 1 dc, dc in last 7 st.
Row 5: Ch 3; dc in next 6 st. Sk next dc, V-st in each ch-1-sp across, dc in last 7 st.
Repeat row 5 until desired length.
Finish with 3 rows of dc (one in each ch-1-sp and dc across for first row).

Very simplified pattern, but hopefully it makes sense. It's such a fun and quick pattern. As it started coming together and I was counting stitches on Saturday night, I had to laugh at myself that this is the largest project I've worked on in several months. Pathetic!

Now on to the Perfectionism Part of P.

Any other perfectionists out there? Maybe you'll understand my weirdness here. As this is coming together, it seems more likely that I'm working the length of the blanket rather than the width. That would be OK in some cases, but the V-stitch makes it seem a little awkward, maybe?

So fellow perfectionists... do I rip it all out and recount my pattern to be more appropriate to the width or do I just keep going? How OCD should I be about this?

A blurry phone-picture of the last time I made this pattern:
Bad choice of yarn--you can barely see the border. But you can probably tell I had the same problem last time. Did I learn and mark adaptations to my pattern? Nope. Some perfectionist I am.

I await your advice. Start over or keep going?

And finally...Par for the Course. This is what we woke up to yesterday morning:
Spring in Wisconsin, my friends! Last Sunday: 80 degrees. Following Monday 8 days later: snow. At least it isn't sticking to the roads...

Monday, April 18, 2011


O is for Ouch.

I slammed my finger in the door. Can you tell which one?

It's surprising how much it hurts to crochet! That's the finger I use to hold my work in place as I'm inserting the hook. One glance of that hook past the fingertip and OH! the pain.

Isn't it annoying when a minor injury becomes such a nuisance?

Saturday, April 16, 2011


N is for Neckwarmer because I hope to not need one for a few months! We'll see...

Here are some of the neckwarmers that I made this winter.

I still haven't decided what to do with this guy yet... =)

These have been fun little projects! It's a great winter accessory with all the various buttons available.

Remember, the G is for Giveaway ends tomorrow!