Happy at Home Hoodie

Over the summer I saw an advertisement for the Happy at Home Hoodie by Rachel Misner. I actually purchased the kit from Lion Brand Yarns, which included the Coboo yarn. Side Note: one of the skeins had some discoloration throughout the skein that made the yarn and sweater looked stained. I emailed Lion Brand Yarns and they gave me a gift card to include the amount for a replacement skein and shipping. I was very happy w/ Lion Brand support. They were so easy to deal with and responsive.

Completed Happy at Home Hoodie, size Large

Side Note: one of the skeins had some discoloration throughout the skein that made the yarn and sweater looked stained. I emailed Lion Brand Yarns and they gave me a gift card to include the amount for a replacement skein and shipping. I was very happy w/ Lion Brand support. They were so easy to deal with and responsive.

Overall, this pattern was pretty easy, it’s made in four parts (front, back, arms), and then sewn together before completing the hood. The Coboo yarn is soft, and I like the look and feel of it, but it can be a pain to work with. This yarn splits easily, so I often had to slow down because I kept getting snagged on the yarn, especially during the ribbing.

Second Note: Read the instructions carefully, when I went to make my second sleeve, I made it too short because I forgot that there were five extra rows in the instructions further down the page. Also, I should have known better than to cut the yarn before I compered the sleeves, but I was rushing to finish the project because I was starting a CAL and I was hoping to finish the sweater in time for Thanksgiving weekend.

I washed the sweater and I’m hanging it to dry, because I want the stitches to pull the sweater down a bit. No, I didn’t swatch and the sweater is a tiny bit small on me, so I am trying to stretch it a little with gravity. Plus I’ve been dieting and losing weight (slowly) so the sweater should be fitting me well soon. I still love the sweater, it it very much my style, the type of sweater I would buy if I saw it at the store.

Moogly’s Citrus Twist Tote

I know I often write about the Facebook crochet group I belong to, Life Long Crochet. Recently they had a Moogly CAL (crochet-a-long). I don’t tend to do too many CALs, but I like Moogly and the bag they were making was cute. But really I saw someone else’s version of the bag and I thought, Oh now I want to make one.

The Citrus Twist Tote by Tamara Kelly is super cute, fast and easy. It was fun to see everyone’s versions of the tote, and the color choices everyone made. I decided to use up a bunch of my La Mia Mini Cottony to make my tote. I joined the CAL at the end of the first week and I made my bag in about 4 days, which is super fast for me. I loved seeing everyone’s color choices so much that I decided to make a second bag with the leftover t-shirt yarn, Maker Home Dec, in my stash, both bags above.

After the CAL, the Group had a drawing for a free Ravelry pattern, and I won! Yay! So my free pattern that I picked was another pattern by Tamara Kelly called the Ripley Shawl. I have another top in the works that will likely take me forever, but afterwards I think I’ll try to do this shawl. Maybe I’ll even do this shawl first, as a Christmas gift before I finish my top. We’ll see.

Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival 2021

This was the first year that the Pittsburgh Knit ad Crochet Festival has been run by Laura Regan, during a pandemic and the Delta variant surge. I’d say despite all of that the festival turned out great this year. This year the festival was Thursday – Saturday, so I took two days off of work.

Soap Sacks for S.A.C.K.

Thursday I wore my Serengeti Tank by Charles Voth. I volunteered on that day, but spent the first couple of hours on the marketplace floor checking out all the vendors and working on the scavenger hunt. I kept my spending pretty much under control the first day, but still came home with some nice things. I bought a large African basket at Frog It Yarns. I bought a cute Wonder Woman wrap kit at Treasure Goddess Yarn. I decided to risk getting an Outlander Mrs. Frit’s Armwarmer knitting kit (don’t remember which vendor that was). And as always I bought some Ashgrove Soaps.

Friday I wore my Summertime Tee by Toni Lipsey. I spent the first couple of hours on the marketplace floors again. This time I did not control my spending as well, or at all. I bought a bunch of yarn from Underhill Farm, The Yarn Smith, Unplanned Peacock Studio, 29 Bridges Studio, and Sassy Black Yarns. I bought a tunic from The Maasai International (sorry about the wrinkled picture). I decided to try some arthritis gloves from And I bought some more soap from Ashgrove Soaps.

I spent some time in the make’s space and met a nice woman from the Bethany Community Ministries. They do a lot of charity work for the community. After speaking with her and learning they make crochet blankets for the homeless I offered to bring her yarn. Then I started a soap sack for S.A.C.K. I met Stacy Wiener, the founder. She’s a very sweet person and it was fun to crochet and talk with some other’s while making the soap sack. I had to go to my volunteer shift, so I took my project to the information table and made 2 soap sacks while giving out information to people.

I took the Intro to Tunisian class. A few years ago I had taken the Next Steps in Tunisian Crochet class, but after teaching myself Tunisian in a crash course in order to take the class, it was still a bit difficult, so I thought I’d start from scratch again. I can say, that I don’t think I really like Tunisian so much. I may give up on Tunisian for now. I think I’d rather learn knitting. I did get a nice ball of yarn from Bella Cash as a class gift.

Today I wore my Shoreline Raglan Sweater. I brought in two large bags of yarn for the Bethany Community Ministries and I took the Freeform Crochet class. I had taken it at my first Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet festival several years ago. I’ve been working on a freeform project, but I wanted a refresher on several things, mostly the bullion stitch. I enjoyed the class and had fun talking with the other women in there. I also helped out some with doing spirals and bullions, so it was fun to help as well. I wonder if perhaps I’ve reached a point where I could start to teach classes. I’m not sure what I would teach though. I was thinking I could do a crochet tips class with various crochet design tips? Or maybe to teach how to join in the round? Our class gift was a knitting booklet and some sample yarn.

Overall, I think this year was successful. I hope the vendors did well. I know things still aren’t back to normal and it certainly wasn’t as crowded as it was in years past. I also wonder if perhaps I’d want to travel to other crochet festivals in the future and learn as much as I can learn.

Shoreline Raglan Sweater

I’ve been looking for a pattern to use my Baah LaJolla from my stash and I came across the Shoreline Raglan Sweater on Ravelry. The pattern is by Tina Marie and she has a choose what you pay option $6, $7, or $8. I paid the full price, but it’s nice that the price is adjustable for those that can’t pay the full price. I have to say though, the pattern is completely worth the cost. It is 14 pages of detailed instructions with variations to add fading, optional waist shaping, short sleeve option, and optional sleeve decrease.

The pattern was pretty well documented, but I did have to create my own cheat sheet for the increases, though. They are documented on the last page, but I needed stitch counts per row for each section, so I charted them out in Excel. I made mine with the fade, but did not do any of the other options.

I’ve learned that I’m horrible at following instructions though. I didn’t follow the arm patterns close enough. I was focused on the pattern and the fade and didn’t do some of the special rows (double solids, double lace). It’s ok though, I still think it’s a beautiful sweater. I was hoping to wear it in England in September, but that trip is likely to get postponed again.

Serengeti Tank

I belong to a crochet Facebook Group called Life Long Crochet. The group is moderated by Charles Voth and Rebecca Mattison, who are both designers. I’ve belonged to a few crochet groups on Facebook, but this one is my favorite and the only one I regularly follow. It’s relatively small with 1,300 members and it’s nice and friendly. There is hardly any drama in this group, so it makes it an enjoyable experience. Charles and Rebecca often do Crochet-A-Longs and I participated in one several years ago, although that’s the one I’ve done (I feel too much pressure to keep up).

Modeling my new tank top

So a few month ago, there was a sale on Charles’ Serengeti Tank pattern at Willow Yarns. Unfortunately, the pattern is not currently published, so I don’t have a URL, currently, but will try to add it here once it is available again. I also didn’t see the post in order to get the sales price, but that’s ok.

This is the first time I actually did any swatching before starting a pattern, but I decided that since this was clothing, I probably should swatch.

My first swatch

I decided to use my Juniper Moon Dappled Yarn from my stash, because I’m really trying to use stash yarn where possible. I have been saving it for a cute top and it seemed like it would look really nice with this pattern. I looked at what the pattern called for and according to my math it seemed I would need two more balls to make the tank. I actually made this tank with less than the 2 balls I started with, so now I have 2 1/2 balls of this yarn and my stash has actually increased. It appears I will need to make a second one for my mom now. Oops.

There were a couple of times I got got confused, while doing the increases of the motif, but outside of being stumped a few times, the pattern was pretty easy to follow. I think it came out great. I’ll admit that I made one modification ( a little bit of a collar). I just went back and did a few rounds of scs to give the collar a little more weight.

The pattern comes with the choice of doing an A-line, which I did. It draped very nicely while I was making it. But I decided to hang it dry to block it and that pulled the stiches down, which isn’t as flattering on me with my COVID 20, so I did go back and re-block it to stretch the stiches more wide.

Charming Tauntaun Blanket Wrap

Over three years ago, I had a New Year’s resolution to start this project and I had a follow up post with some progress. But once this monster got big, it mostly stayed in the project bag, because it was too heavy and hot to take out and work on. This winter I decided I was going to finally finish it, then as I was working on it I realized some of the yarns had been discontinued, so the fire was really on my butt to get this done. Here it is, 3 years and 3 months later, the giant Tauntaun blanket that I made for my husband.

My husband modeling his new Tauntaun blanket

This blanket was inspired by the Tauntaun sleeping bag. My original sketches had legs instead of a sack and I thought of lining it and adding a zipper, but in the end I stuck with simplicity. There is no pattern for this, I cobbled together the hood, the body, and horn as well as some modifications. The rest is pretty much free hand outside of the inspirations of the patterns. The body is all hdc, the arms are dc. This thing is heavy and warm.

The cats love this blanket. Any time I was working on it, they would lay on it.

The entire thing cost about $400 in suplies:

Yarn Bee Snuggle Up White, 7 skeins

Yarn Bee Snuggle Up Silver Fox, 18 skeins

Yarn Bee Snuggle Up Silver, 26 skeins

Knitpicks Clarity Comfy Worsted,12 skeins

Knitpicks Light Blue Comfy Worsted, 40 skeins

Safety Eyes

And as much as I was afraid of running out of yarn, I ended up with a ton left over.

George Update:

He’s still with us, although not integrated with the other cats. He really doesn’t like them.

When Cat Introductions Go Bad Part 4

Well, here we are about 4 1/2 months after we initially adopted George. We’ve tried many things to fix how we screwed up our introduction of George to our other cats. I left off with the cat behaviorist and working on her plan. It took us about 3 months to go through all of the steps. We took it real slow (2 week full separation reset, 4 weeks of treat time, 3 weeks of scent swapping, and we added an extra week just in case).

George peeking out of his gate

We decided to try the introduction again the day after Christmas. George has seemed ready to come out. He was always trying to open the double doors at the gate.

Let me start by saying, George is the sweetest, most relax and chill cat I’ve ever known. He is so content and happy. He has been bonding with us and getting sweeter with every day. He comes to me in bed and paws at me when he wants to snuggle. He will relax with me in bed and purr. He likes having his belly rubbed. I’ve been working in the dining room and my husband has been sleeping on an air mattress in the dining room all so we can keep all of our cats happy and give them all enough attention.

So, the day after Christmas we let him out. My husband and I were watching him and playing defense. He was fixated on the other cats, but also trying to look around and explore. I tried to get ahead of him to make sure he didn’t sneak up on another cat. I also blocked him from getting close to Tuna. We cut it short after about 10 – 15 minutes and let him back into his area. A day later we tried again. Our cats are very wary of George and downright scared of him, except Marvin, who will growl and act tough. The second time George was walking around and really fixated on the other cats. Marvin was not helping with his growling. We were blocking and keeping between George and the other cats while he tried to explore, but his tail was starting to get puffy. I was out ahead and saw Pumpkin in George’s path, so I picked him up (Pumpkin was George’s punching bag before). When George came into the room and saw me holding Pumpkin it was like he wanted to climb me to get to Pumpkin. I had put Pumpkin down on the air mattress. Eventually George came in and tried to attack Pumpkin again, so we cut the session short again.

We’re heart broken. I was really hoping that we could get him to not attack our cats. We think he does it out of fear. They scare him and then he attacks them out of fear? If that makes sense. So we can either keep living the way we have been living separated with 1/3 of the house for George and the rest for the other cats. Or we can rehome him/take him back to the rescue. We’ve already put feelers out there to see if anyone we knew would want a cat (that doesn’t already have a cat or dog). We don’t know of anyone. Even his pee/poop issue has completely gone away. It was only triggered by the initial stress. Now that he’s happy and feels safe that has stopped.

I joined a few Cat Behavior groups on Facebook and posted a shortened version of my story there. A Cat Behaviorist reached out to me and I’ll talk to her on Monday. I really don’t know what else there is to do for George. Maybe over more time things could get better? I really don’t know.

Many people say that it is probably best to rehome George at this point. That’s such a hard thing to do. We’ve never given up on a cat before, but of course we want him to have the best possible life. I think if we knew he was going to a really good home it would be easier for us to let him go, especially now that we have bonded with him and he with us.

Because of all the George things going on this year I haven’t been crocheting much, but I did make this little freehanded phone holder for my treadmill. My little treadmill is to keep me running over the winter. But it doesn’t have a place to keep my phone and not all my shorts have pockets, so I made the little pouch to keep my phone handy, in case I want to change a song on my playlist.

Kitty Couch

I started making the kitty couch at the beginning of the summer and I just finished it this morning. While it’s a bit of a pain to make, it really doesn’t take months to make, I’ve just been distracted by George. I finished the couch itself this summer, but took forever to pick up the Afghan to finish.

Completed couch

My friend had given me a crate of yarn that she got from someone else. I had a few skeins of a teal yarn in there, so I thought it would be perfect for my kitty couch. The Afghan yarn also came from my free crate.

The pattern is available for sale and is only $2. For the most part, I found the pattern easy to understand, but I made some mistakes and modifications along the way. My first mistake was that I used a size G hook for the couch, and that hook was only supposed to be for the Afghan. As a result I needed to modify the entire pattern to fit the dimensions of the couch.

My next mistake is that I ran out of yarn, so I had to buy some more skeins. Thankfully it was no dye lot so the colors matched, for the most part. I think the older yarn from the crate may have faded some.

I used white yarn to join the panels. It reminds me of the piping that couches used to have in the 70s or 80s. The cats couldn’t wait for the couch to be completed before testing it out.

All of the cats have been on the couch and they love it, although I don’t have a picture of Tuna on it. I’ve had the couch done for months now and the cats have been using it regularly. I really dragged my feet on the Afghan. I hate making Granny Square Afghans, in general, but a mini one? I only really pushed myself to finish it because I wanted to complete the look.

Anyway, now that I’m done my husband wants me to make more so the cats don’t have to fight over it. Perhaps I’ll make a round one next. I could probably free hand something like that.

Summertime Tee

After spending about a year on the Linen and Lace Tunic, I wanted something quick and easy to make.  I found the Summertime Tee by Toni Lipsey on Ravelry; I purchased it there.  It’s also available for free on her blog TL Yarn Crafts.  I was able to complete this project in two weeks!  It was that quick and easy.  And I’m slow, so others could probably make it much faster.

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Linen and Lace Tunic

A few years ago, at the Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival Day 1, I picked up a pattern for a tunic, Linen and Lace by Crochet Mon Cherie.  I had purchased the pattern and the thread, Linas Linen in Grey,  (I can’t find any current resources for Linas Linen, so I don’t think it’s available anymore).  Two years ago, I picked up the pattern with the intention of creating the tunic, well, I got stuck on the pattern.  I had a difficult time with the motif and I couldn’t quite figure out what I was supposed to do on Round 5.  So I put it down.

Tunic 2

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