Book Report: Block by Block Crochet

4 stars

I’m too tired to write my planned post so hey, here’s a book that I just received and am already loving. Block by Block Crochet: Quilt-Inspired Patchwork Blocks to Mix and Match, by Leonie Morgan, came out in 2021. It’s a great reference book for anyone like me who likes to get creative with color and blocks.

Not my best photo

Every single pattern Morgan shares, from a simple solid square to more complex motifs, has given me ideas for using up my stash or making something special and new.

Sample page

Morgan did a great job of not over-complicating things with the patterns. She tells what techniques you’ll use, gives a sample of what multiple blocks will look like together, and gives the patterns both in words and charts. You’ll be glad for the charts if you’re American, because the instructions are in UK English. With crochet, that matters more than in knitting, because we call the stitches different things. (Our single crochet is double crochet in UK terms. It’s not hard to translate; you just have to remember.)

Since I’m having to rest my hand a bit each day, dreaming of what I can do with these crocheted “quilt” squares is a great break. I’m such a sloppy quilter that I hesitate to see things. But now I can play with yarn like I would fabric.

This looks fun.

Yep, this book was $18 well spent, plus it got me free shipping on the black yarn I want to use in the next project. Hmm. Maybe I’ll use it with one of these motifs!

Things We Like

My spouse and I do have a few things in common. Today I was reminded of some of them. That made me feel all warm and fuzzy, which I needed, since the dogs killed another animal friend and that made me sad.

Sorry, buddy. I wish I could pick up and rescue a snapping turtle that somehow got into the yard, but I need my limbs.

I’m happier thoughts, I got something fun in the mail that my friend Deana told me about. It’s the Yarn Tarot. It’s so cute. The illustrations cover knitting, crochet, spinning, and weaving.

Also note my avocado nails.

The main reason to get the deck would be the art, some of which is clever. The deck was designed by Katie ponder, who does seem to know about the crafts. The Fool cracked me up, setting out over the precipice to buy yarn.

And the dog has a sweater on.

The suits are: pentacles a woven star, cups drop spindles, swords knitting needles (duh), and wands crochet hooks. I have a feeling getting weaving to fit in with the pentacle symbolism was the hardest.

See, it’s on a loom.

The twee book is a standard tarot book and doesn’t refer to the art or archetypes, but it’s not a bad book. Just not exciting.

That’s the World card.

So, that’s one thing Lee the Hermit and I both like. Another is pens. We both own so many pens and each have strong preferences. I love to write in my journals, and he did, too, until he started making them on the computer.

Lots of pens.

I got more pens than I intended to today. I thought I’d canceled one set. On well, I will use them all in my horse journal! They are all subdued, muted colors, which will fit with the horses. One impressive surprise was the at one set of pens came with an entire set of refills! That’s a good idea. Some inexpensive sets don’t put much ink in the pens, so yay for that manufacturer. They make theme sets, so I might get more (ocean theme, etc.)

One more commonality.

The final thing we have in common is a love for cute li’l animals. I was really excited to see the storks replaced with two sets of twin calves and their mamas. I’m pretty sure one set are the ones I saw at Sara’s a couple of days ago. Double the cute.

Sweet.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I’m going to see where I work!

Yarn Failure – DOH

Sometimes I wonder about myself. Other times I laugh about myself. Today I am laughing. You may recall that I am making an afghan that looks kind of like a quilt with a heart in it for Kathleen. When the yarn arrived, I realized that the cream color for the heart was not in the order. Well, I figured, I’ll order it and by the time I get to the heart, the yarn will be here.

Time marched on. In the meantime I got halfway through the squares for the macho camo toddler blanket I’m making for Kathleen’s grandson for Christmas. It looks like that one will be done in time at the rate I’m going!

Stack o’ camo squares

I began to be annoyed at how long that cream-colored yarn was taking to get here. I got ready to give those people at Knitpicks a piece of my mind! What slow shipping! Grr!

I headed on over to the website to check on my order, in quite a huff. Um. There was my order, just sitting there. I remembered I’d also wanted to get a collection of striped yarns to make something for the tack room. They were there, too. Someone had not clicked the “order” button. I was that someone.

That certainly explained why the yarn had not arrived. I placed the order like the competent adult I often believe myself to be. And lo and behold. The yarn took less than a week to show up. I think I will buy that yarn winder that’s on sale to make amends (since I haven’t found the missing part of my old one).

Here it is, plus a preview of the next project in line, which may be knitted or crocheted.

I was so happy to see the yarn that I started singing, “Yarn, glorious yarn!” to the amusement of the entire family.

In other senior moments, I did start work on the heart afghan again last night. I decided to work on it when I could concentrate and keep the camo blanket for long meetings and when I chat with friends on Zoom. It took less than a day to get frustrated by leaving the crochet hook where I last worked and having to fetch it.

Ta da. Note the cute little hermit salt and pepper shakers. Great gift!

At around 9:30 pm last night it dawned on me that I own more than one size G 4.0mm crochet hook. I’d bought two sets recently just for this kind of situation. All right, then, I’m set. Let the festival of squares continue!

This is just one side of the afghan, but shows I got the heart started. So far, it does not look like a heart, according to my husband.

Maybe I need to take some of Lee’s memory pills.

Hi There

Not much is going on other than the dizzy thing and working hard. Work is good, of course. I could do without queasy and dizzy.

This will make it all better.

The liquor is a prop, as is the hat. We were celebrating a coworker’s birthday today, so we wore party hats, made signs, and brought celebratory beverages to our 8:30 am meeting. Party on Zoom! It made Lenna cry. That’s a good way to start sprint planning (if you don’t know what that is, consider yourself lucky).

Why didn’t you invite ME? Well, Apache, you don’t like hats.

Declan put a set of blinds that didn’t fit on another project in the tack room. This is the only one that worked, but it’s okay, because that’s the one that gets lots of morning sun and heats things up.

Ok. Later I will hang up the little art I’ve had since I lived in my first house in Illinois.

And since I was too woozy to exercise, I did a fun thing at lunch. Kathleen gave me one of those kid sun-catcher crafts to cheer me up. It was a paint horse, and I made it look like Apache. It’s got his mane and tail plus a white nose. I had fun, and it’s cheerful in a window.

And one more thing, I found yet another mushroom variety today. The puffballs are back! And yesterday’s ink caps are already fading. Maybe my mold issue will, too.

The look like golf balls grow!

Old Friends Return

Some of my things from Austin I don’t miss at all, while others have left a bit of a hole in my heart. Today some of my favorite things returned and it feels good.

My petit point flowers from 1993

I had most of my needlepoint wall hangings at the Bobcat house. This one was in my bedroom (as were the other old friends). I made it in 1993 when Declan was a baby. Today he brought it back to me.

It’s so pretty

The six-sided frame was made by my ex and his friend. They worked so hard in the garage of our sweet house in Champaign, Illinois, ciphering the angles, cutting the wood, and staining the frame. This may be the only thing he ever made for me, so I’ll treasure it always.

These two pictures I made after Anita got here, I think when we were in the casita. I made them for the Bobcat house, though. They were in my bedroom. The fun donkey has a yellow background to go with my old bedroom, which no doubt is white now! I really enjoyed making these, and I’m glad I’ll get to look at them every time I go upstairs from now on. Lee was very kind to hang them so quickly!

What’s this?

My knitting friends know that these two old friends are among my favorite things, and I’ve missed them! It’s an umbrella swift and ball winder that take loose hanks of yarn and turns them into pull-skeins, which we like to call “yarn cakes.”

Finished products.

You may recall that the yarn for the macho granny square project came in hanks. I wound the first two by hand, which my watch thought was an elliptical machine workout.

Before. These are hanks of yarn. Fancy yarn comes in hanks that you must wind yourself.

I mentioned that somewhere in the stuff from Austin were these useful items, but they were hard to find, since the boxes weren’t organized. Well, by gosh, they’re organized now and my equipment and art showed up! It’s going to make finding things for the pool house and another project that’s coming up a lot easier! Maybe I’ll find some old kitchen friends!

Squares in progress. This will be cute!

Meanwhile, we’ve been getting some pretty good rain. There is even some water in the front pond again, which means there’s been runoff. If the predictions are right, we’ll be back to green grass and full ponds next week.

Not impressed? Well there was just the barrel last week.

Or, knowing central Texas weather, it will flood soon. Our old friends, the floods. Better than droughts and fires!

It’s so nice to sit outside.

Off to start a fun weekend. Wow. I am becoming a little more social!

Granny Squares

I heard it was recently International Granny Square Day. So glad I was working on some at the time. I have two rows done on the current project, which consists mostly of granny squares divided diagonally into two halves.

Goldie had to help.

It ends up looking like a quilt. I shared the yarn one day last week. To start, I colored in the pattern with markers. Of course I changed some.

My really messy doodles

I’m stopping here until the yarn for the heart arrives. I do have the other camo yarn I can turn into balls and swatch with. Sigh. The ball winder and swift are still packed up, somewhere. But I can wind by hand and it will count as exercise!

Time for wine by the pool

Speaking of which, it was literally like an OVEN outside today. Neither I nor the horses were up to running around. It was 102° and extra humid. So I got my exercise in the pool. I swim weird but it counts!

I didn’t have to save Suna.

The good news is real rain should be coming tomorrow or Friday. I will believe it when I see it, but it’s the most hope since early May. I think we need it, judging from the ground.

Sorry I’m so dull right now. All the interesting stuff I can’t write about. Oh, here’s a tidbit: I’m officially renewed and get to stay at Dell another year. Income! Yay!

You’d pet me more if you retired.

It’s a Ruana. A Giant Square.

I finished this project. It’s so ridiculous it’s cute. Random yarns that are no longer available to buy, and much patience. It’s Augustina from a Noro magazine. You, too, could buy a kit.

Mine is big. It’s ok. It’s soft and warm and I’ll enjoy it around the house this winter. The colors look great! Bonus surprise.

Note I’m missing a foot but another one showed up to make up for it.

Lee made fancy photos for me. I like that I’m wearing shorts and the dogs are inspecting it. enjoy my garment. I un-cropped the pictures do my head would not be cut off.

Oh yes. Yarn for the project after my blanket for Kathleen arrived! It’s for a very macho toddler. Camo and swampy green. Gonna be CUTE.

The green yarn is very interesting. Can’t wait to use it.

Handy Crafting

I’ve been steaming away on my latest project, which is a crocheted ruana called Augustina. I used a bunch of leftover yarn from other projects (mostly that Lion Brand Mandala, but with a couple of other “el cheapo” Red Heart yarns along for the ride), along with one new colorway of Mandala that I bought to be sure I’d have enough to finish. Last night I finished the last triangle (it’s a big square with three full and two half triangles, which create the opening).

All my triangles and the inspiration image, which would have cost about $400 to make, so I didn’t use that yarn.

Last night, I spent some time looking at different ways to join crocheted pieces, since I wanted to try something new. They certainly could not stay like this forever!

You can sorta get the idea of how it’s constructed. I am also really impressed with how okay all my random colors from unrelated yarns look together.

At last I decided to try a zigzag slip stitch join for the squares. I even endured a video with sappy music playing over it to be sure I understood the technique. That’s dedication from this gal who hates to learn from videos (I just MAKE educational videos, not USE them). I think it comes out interesting and I’m happy at how flat the join is.

It looks like a braid and seems quite decorative.

Then, I looked on the other side of the first triangles I sewed together. Well, huh, that looks pretty good, too. As long as I use that shade of yarn, it’s almost invisible.

Not bad at all. I guess the ruana will be reversible.

Now, the colors didn’t work out quite right, so one half triangle ended in the gold color, but I think it will still look fine as long as I don’t run out of that tan color, which I’m pretty sure I won’t. Once the seaming is done, the ruana gets a double crochet edging all around, and then it will be ready for any hippy-dippy outing I care to take it on. I swear it looks just like the vests my grandmother crocheted for me in the 60s. I could probably still wear the turquoise and purple poncho she made me back then. (Yes, she DID make me stuff.)

Anyway, I’m ready for my next project! And what do you know, the yarn for it arrived today in a giant box. I’m making a blanket for Kathleen out of these lovely colors, which she selected and surprised me with.

The colors!!

Now, my job will be to put all these colors together and surprise her back. The blanket (shown below) will have a cream center rather than white and use these purples and pinks. I can’t wait to get going on yet another crochet project, one that takes me back to my granny square roots! Yes, my first childhood project in crochet was a granny square afghan in many bright colors with black borders. I still have it stored in my blanket box.

I will have one more crocheted item to make before going back to knitting. That yarn may be here tomorrow. I’m so glad that stress makes me crochet fast, because I’m just churning stuff out!

Why Acrylic and Superwash Wool are My New Friends

Those of you who know I love to knit and crochet may be scratching your heads and wondering what in earth has happened to their Suna. It’s true. Suna loves natural fibers like wool, silk, mohair, alpaca, linen…mmm. She loves to touch the soft or scrunchy loveliness of natural fibers. Mmmm.

Natural fiber wonderland

Kendall Sue, however, knows the value of quality acrylic or Superwash wool that’s been treated so it can be machine washed. For one thing, it’s machine washable. Baby items and things made for non-crafters hold up way better when made from sturdy, colorful acrylics. Kendall Sue is practical.

Current project made from a variety of unnatural fibers, but still nice looking enough.

Wool is Suna’s (my) favorite to knit with. But I’ve known the heartbreak of moths in Texas so much that I no longer have the heart to make socks. All my socks have holes now. I’ve also known the heartbreak of having your wool handknits accidentally put in the regular washing and drying cycles. Felt is great when done on purpose, but…

Fancy ass knitted item on couch with dog-proof covering.

Sometimes your fancy ass knitted item is needed. Last winter, it got really cold and we lost power. I happily lent a blanket I was almost finished with to a family member who was cold. Now, this item was knit from a Noro yarn from Japan. Lots of it. A few hundred dollars worth. Because I’m worth it, ha ha.

I forgot it was there, and thought I’d folded it up in my cedar closet. Nope. I think Vlassic was sleeping on it. And then it got washed, I’m sure by a very well meaning caregiver or something like that. There was no label saying “Fancy Blanket – cold wash and lay flat to dry” on it, after all.

Hmm

The good news is that the yarn is a blend, so there’s silk and cotton in it. So the blanket just got somewhat smaller, stiffer, and fuzzier. It’s still pretty. I can’t finish it, since the original yarn doesn’t go with it. I’ll just say the missing squares are on purpose. And I’ll remember to keep precious stuff up in my closet. Lesson learned!*

Fewer than 30 seconds after I put the blanket on the couch. This is why I need to stop making fancy ass items.

And I’ll channel Kendall Sue, my practical alter ego and make my next things washable. Luckily, Kathleen ordered the yarn already and it’s Kendall Sue approved.


I’m not mad. Just shaking my head that I didn’t think to retrieve the blanket. It was my error! All is well in the world.

Um. Let’s Crochet Stuff

Home life has me so upset and sad that I don’t want to talk about it. So, hey, I finished my giant ripple blanket made of leftover Mandala yarn. Yay.

It’s big. It’s random.

I enjoyed this humongous project so much. It kept me company driving to and from California and was just plain restful and fun. Literally all I did was alternate among three varieties of Mandala tarn (cheap).

It looks like a Missoni print.

As I worked on it Lee fell in love. He asked if he could use it as his winter blanket on his “bed” (a recliner next to our actual bed). I said that was fine. I can make something else for the tack room!

It’s long.

Because he wants it to tuck under his feet, I made it extra long. It was already wider than a normal afghan, so he liked that. I enjoyed the project, so it was fine to keep going. After I was done, I put a single crochet border around it, and all was well. I think Lee likes it.

My precious spouse.

I have a project lined up for Kathleen, but I’m waiting on the yarn she chose to arrive. So I’m making a really fun ruana kind of thing I saw on a Noro magazine. I’m using some cheap stuff that’s lying around, but maybe I’ll make another one in the right yarn later.

It’s this, only with the wrong yarn.

The yarn I’m using is Tex Heart Unforgettable. I have no idea why I bought it. But I’m gonna make some triangles! It’s fun and takes my mind off Kathleen going back to the hospital.

Similar colors.

Hug your loved ones and friends.

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