Sunday, December 1, 2019

Santas by the Dozen

Back in October when I was making Halloween decorations, I came across the crochet pattern for Santas by the Dozen by Marsha Glassner. I couldn’t wait to get started.

I used a 2.25 mm (B) hook along with size 10 Aunt Lydia’s Classic Crochet in White, Natural, and 494 Victory Red.

Detail of crocheted cotton doily made from 12 Santa faces with red hats on a dark background.

Glassner recommends against using undyed cotton for Santa’s face because there may not be enough contrast with the white. I couldn’t find any other colors that were remotely “skin tone” locally. I briefly considered dyeing some thread, but was unsure of the quantity I would need. In the end, I decided to take my chances with the natural colorway.

I did notice, however, that even the small selection at my local store had a noticeable range of dye lots labelled as white and natural. A darker natural can hold its own against a bright white.

The doily is worked from the center outward, and I was almost done with the hats when I realized they were creating a spiral shape instead of radiating out in straight lines. All this time, and I’ve been crocheting incorrectly! I though my ghosts looked a little off, but their wavy shapes helped to mask my mistakes.

Most new rounds in this doily start with ch3 to act as a dc. Instead of connecting at the top of that faux dc when I slipped the last stitch of a round with the first stitch, I was moving to the top of the first real dc. This shifted all of my stitches over by one.

I’ve been crocheting that way for years! It’s a wonder that I never noticed the mistake in any other projects. I knew that the ends of the rounds stood out in my crochet, but I didn’t have anyone else’s projects available to compare whether that was normal.

Crocheted cotton doily of 12 Santa faces with red hats on a dark background.

After I started over, the project worked up quickly and easily. The nose and first beard row are both a little tricky, but Glassner does a good job of explaining them. And it’s fun to see the little noses emerge in front of the rest of the crochet.

My final challenge was in blocking the table topper after it was complete. The red bled a lot, even with a color catcher in the water. I pressed out the water as well as I could, but the red seeped into the white as the doily dried. I hope that the excess dye will come out in future washings since I’m not running it through a dryer.

For once, my project timing worked out well. We started decorating for Christmas today, which means my Santas are already in place on the table. So far, everyone is too amused by those little noses to notice imperfect stitches or a little extra red.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

The Hexagon Project: Blocks 25 and 26

I didn’t make as much progress as I would’ve liked with my English paper piecing project this month, but I still made progress. Two more hand sewn hexagon flower blocks are done, bringing the total up to 26.

Angled view of two overlapping heaxagon flower quilt blocks, one in red and blue and the other in yellow and white, on a white background.

If I’m remembering correctly, even though I’m using all scrap fabric, the yellow block is the first EPP block to have a scrappy look. While the overall colors and values are similar, two of the hexies in the outer ring are a different print than the rest. There will be more blocks like this as I use up various fabrics.

YTopview of two overlapping heaxagon flower quilt blocks, one in red and blue and the other in yellow and white, on a white background.

I like that the red and blue block has an Americana look, in contrast to the 1930s reproduction look of the yellow block. I can’t wait to see all of the blocks come together — and, yes, I’m still planning to separate the flower blocks with pink sparkly hexies.

This Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt is going to be amazing!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Ghost Doily

If you’ve been reading my blog recently, you know that I’ve been engrossed in crocheting Halloween-themed amigurumi.

For those just joining us, those posts are: The Three Amigurumi and More Halloween Amigurumi.

Anyhoo, I had one final Halloween project on my hook. The pattern is Boo! by Marsha Glassner.

Angled view of off-white crocheted cotton ghost-motif doily on a dark background.

I used undyed Aunt Lydia’s Classic Crochet (Size 10) and a 2.25 mm (B) hook. I had just as much fun with this table topper as I did with the amigurumi.

The pattern worked up quickly. The directions were a bit unclear to me in a few spots; that may reflect my level of crochet (in)expertise rather than how the pattern was written. In any event, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the ghosts emerge as I crocheted.

Top view of off-white crocheted cotton ghost-motif doily on a dark background.

I think I can now say that our home is well-decorated for Halloween. And we still have one more day to enjoy everything before we pack it all away for another year! I’m ready to get back to the other projects that have been languishing while I indulged in these whimsical decorations.

Oh, but I just saw that Marsha Glassner designed a Santa doily. Christmas will be here before we know it ...