Busy days!

Wow! Another two months with no post from me. We have been keeping busy around here. For some reason, we have been traveling a great deal this year! I think because we are in a new place and have so many new cities close to us to explore, that we have been traveling a lot. We went back to Indiana and Illinois/St. Louis for two weeks to see our families in June. It was great to be back and see all of our favorite places again. We ate A LOT! We also took a short trip to Myrtle Beach with some of our friends and, of course, got ridiculous sunburns. No matter how much sunscreen I use, I always get a sunburn. It never fails.

Just last weekend we took a weekend trip to Baltimore for my sister’s birthday to see her, a friend, and the Cardinals! The Cards got clobbered one game and won the next. But I love seeing new ballparks, regardless of the game’s outcome. I hadn’t been to a new park in awhile (2011, Tampa? I think.), so it was great to just experience a brand new atmosphere.

I’ve also been keeping busy crocheting through my stash. I made two new baby blankets that are up on my Etsy shop. The first is a simple granny square baby blanket crocheted in teal, mustard yellow, gray, and white. I absolutely love these colors together! If I had a boy, these would probably be the colors I would go with. 🙂 The second is a hexagon granny square-style blanket in mauve, dark blue, pink, and green. I love being able to sort through my stash and choose a bunch of colors that work well together, then whip up a blanket in no time.

Teal and yellow granny square blanket for baby

Teal and yellow granny square blanket for baby

Hexagon granny square baby blanket

I came across this WONDERFUL Navajo Indiana crochet afghan pattern that I absolutely love just the other day. It was featured on the main page of Ravelry and I immediately had to add it to my queue.

It’s a great Navajo Southwestern themed crochet blanket. I love the details and the texture. I don’t think it would match anything in our apartment, but I am thinking about trying out some new cotton yarn and putting this up on Etsy. I have been thinking about what colors to use. I really like the black/red/white that is featured.

I will have to let that ruminate for awhile before I go leap and buy more yarn.

Not much DIY or crafts to speak of these days besides crocheting. Michael and I have decided to rent a house beginning next May, hopefully. He is also starting classes next week, so we are trying our best to save money and only buy the things we need. It’s been tough because I see a lot of things I want to make or build but I just think about dishwashers and room for another dog and all is well! 🙂

 
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How to make a simple border for a complex blanket

In keeping with my “use your stash” theme, I’ve cleaned out my yarn stash and gotten rid of a bunch of yarn that I’ve had for years and have never touched. It’s hard to part with it, but I’m sure someone else will get some use out of it. I’ve also found a lot of yarn I didn’t know I had! And it has inspired me to start making more blankets to use up even more of that stash (so I can buy more yarn, of course.).

I found this great shell afghan pattern from Easy Crochet Pattern and thought it would be a great stash buster. I chose a light pink, dark pink, white, dark gray, and a variegated pink/white yarn. The pattern worked up quickly and easily. I think it only took me about 2 days of crocheting, then a few more days of weaving in ends because I find that tedious and boring, and it takes me forever. The pattern was so beautiful and elegant that I knew I wanted a simple border that wouldn’t distract from the pattern itself. I took to Facebook to see what colors people thought would look good, and everyone was thinking the same thing I was: the dark gray!

I looked up a bunch of different borders but eventually decided to make up my own, and so this was born.

How to make a simple border for a complex blanket pattern

The main part of the border contains only single crochets and slip stitches, so it’s super simple. If you are using this on a shell stitch afghan, you will have to do a little more than that, but I will include that in the pattern. The great thing about this is that it shows up as looking like a border of “V’s” on one side and just like little stitches on the other side. I love that it has a different look on both sides! See what I mean:

Create a simple border for a complex blanket

The corners do pull and curl a bit when you complete it, but blocking will take care of that.

Create a simple border for a complex blanket pattern

Stitches

sl st – slip stitch

sc – single crochet

hdc – half double crochet

dc – double crochet

Pattern

Hook: whatever hook you used to make your blanket

If your blanket edge is already straight, skip to under the dotted line.

If you are using the shell stitch, you will need to do the following:

Join your yarn to the third stitch of any one of the shells. This will be the exact middle of the shell.

In the next stitch, slip stitch. (Continue with one stitch per stitch from now on). hdc. dc. hdc. sc. sl st. Repeat to the corner of your blanket. You will use this same pattern for any place in the pattern you need to make the shell stitch straight.

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Rounds 1-3: Sc in each st around, making two sc in each corner stitch.

Round 4: Change yarn color. Slip st in in sc around, making one sl st in each corner.

Fasten off and weave in ends

Yup, that’s it! So simple and such a great look. Doesn’t it turn out just lovely? I have this blanket up now in my Etsy shop, just waiting to be taken to its forever home. 😀

How to make a simple border for a complex pattern

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Use your stash: Baby Granny Square Blanket

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Hello, my name is Hilary, and I am an addict.

Yes, I am addicted to yarn. Buying yarn, acquiring yarn. Yarn, yarn, yarn. I can’t say no to it. I visit the craft store- definitely leaving with some yarn. Friend tried taking up a yarn-craft and quit. Yup, I’ll take your extras. So this is my stash:

Hilary's Yarn Stash

Actually, that’s not my entire stash. It extends into my bedroom closet. Yes, it’s that bad. I keep telling myself, “Okay, just organize it, and it will look better.” Which it does… for about a week, until I start a new project and things get thrown every which way with strings hanging out everywhere. And yes, this is it’s normal state of disorganization/clutter that lives in our dining room.

Finally I was caught up with my Breaking Bad blanket orders and I could start a “yarn stash” blanket! I have been so excited to do one of these. Not just because it would get rid of some of this yarn, but also because there are so many great patterns! I had been collecting patterns that I thought would be great to work with a yarn stash. Eventually, I decided to do a baby granny square blanket.

Why? Because I’ve been crocheting for almost 6 years and I have NEVER done an actual granny square blanket! Blasphemy, I know. It’s like a right of passage that I’ve just let pass me by. Well, not anymore…

I decided to use a different mix of blue, green, yellow, orange, and red from my stash. For most of them, I chose both light and dark colors.

Granny Square Yarn

I just did a simple granny square. I ended up choosing one of the colors for the middle portion and then going through the rest of the yarn colors to do one round around that. Then move onto another color. I ended up with 72 squares which allowed me to make a 9 squares by 8 squares blanket.

Granny Squares || The Batter's Box

After finishing all the squares, I placed them on the ground and arranged them how I liked them… completely random. Just trying not to get too many of the same colors next to each other. I then took a picture which immediately became useless because, as I put the squares away, I changed the order. Oh, well!

I looked up a few different ways for joining the squares, but I decided to use this great tutorial by Carina’s Craftblog. I joined the squares in a simple white (from my stash!), then weaved in ends. Oh, the ends…. so many ends to weave in. Is there a way to make a blanket without weaving in ends? I will do whatever it takes… But the weaving was worth it, because I ended up with this great baby blanket!

Granny Square Blanket || The Batter's BoxGranny Square Blanket || the batter's box

 

The blanket measures to be about 52″ x 46″. I washed a slightly dried it, and it held up well, so I’m happy! I just love the bright colors and the classicness (is that a word?) of this blanket! I thought I would use a lot more yarn than I did. I didn’t even finish a skein for each color! Which just makes me realize how many blankets I have to go before that stash starts getting lower… yikes!

Granny Square Blanket || the batter's box

 

 
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This Week on Etsy

I’ve spent a lot of time lately browsing Etsy- mainly because I have been off work and putting off doing outdoor work (more on that soon!) because of the crazy mosquitoes! I’ve found such great stores – both handmade and vintage- with such lovely items that I can’t wait to buy! I originally was searching for a new quilt for our bed, but one thing led to another… and I was knee-deep in Etsy handmade/vintage!

I absolutely ADORE this retro looking quilt from LiveLoveSmile. When I saw it, I knew it was the one! Even Michael loved it, which I couldn’t believe! He actually asked a few days later… so did you finally buy that quilt? That’s when I knew it’s a winner. Their shop has tons of great handmade items, and even has pillows in the same pattern. I can’t wait to buy it!

I love this Aztec inspired rug from VintageWestCoast. The colors are great and the price is just right at $27.75! They have much more Aztec-inspired items and even some vintage crochet.

RobbieMoto makes this mustard yellow, handmade leather phone/wallet combo is perfect for when I need the essentials with me but don’t want to lug around a big purse. The wallet comes in different colors if you prefer something less vibrant. They also make wallets that are more guy-friendly (Father’s Day is coming, yanno!).

Those are my favorites at the moment. But Michael and I are headed back to Indiana/St. Louis in the next few weeks, and we’ve got a couple 9+ hour drives (with a dog), so there will be plenty of time for more browsing.

 

 
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