Completed Project: Pillow Part 2: The REVENGE!

We have a strange quilt on our king-sized bed in the Master Bedroom. Oh, it doesn’t really look all that strange, to most people. I mean, it’s your standard-size, standard-weight quilt. But the colors…the colors are IMPOSSIBLE to match with sheets, throw pillows etc.

The quilt has several sections of different patterns in shades of blue and gray. I bought it at Macy’s, way back when I still shopped at Macy’s. I’ve never been able to find sheets, pillowcases, throw pillows, shams, etc. that really match it. It looks simple enough, but the colors are just a little “off,” such that every blue sheet or pillowcase I buy just doesn’t quite match. I find myself sticking to white, gray, and the occasional navy blue. Here’s a picture of three of the four patterns that make up the quilt:

quilt

So anyway, let me assure you first of all that I don’t spend hours obsessing over this or anything. Sure, I’m writing a blog post about it, but that’s only as background to explain why I made not one, but TWO pillows to match this quilt. First, I made this square one:

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It’s a square throw pillow that I made with roughly two balls of Lion Brand Unique in “Moonshadows” and a 12″ pillow form. It’s basically two large granny squares made with an 8mm hook that I single-crocheted together over the pillow. Simple, but effective: it’s soft and it looks nice on the quilt. Since I had enough Unique to make both sides, the pillow looks really different on each side. Here’s the other side:

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Gosh I love that yarn.

I decided I needed another throw pillow, a bit larger this time, so I got a 12″x18″ form, and used a pattern on Ravelry for a rectangular granny square afghan. I simply made a smaller starting chain, and then did just enough rounds to cover one side of the pillow. And I think I switched to a 6.5mm hook.

I needed a lot of yarn! I used just over one ball to make the rectangle. Since I didn’t have more of the Moonshadows and I didn’t feel like buying any, I used Red Heart Super Saver Chunky in navy blue to make the back side, and basically used the whole skein! (It’s not a great yarn – not very soft. Would be nice for a rug, though – it’s very sturdy.) So then I had to find a ball of navy blue yarn to single crochet the two pieces together (and add a double-crochet border to the front, since it was just a bit too small). I didn’t have any bulky yarn in navy, so I used two strands of worsted weight. Holy cow, that got more complicated than I planned! But here’s how it turned out:

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And here they both are, hanging out:

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And finally, here’s a picture of my dog, who watched me the whole time I was taking these pictures with an expression on his face that said, “And you people think I’m crazy when I lick my own butt…”

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I’m happy with how both pillows look, and they definitely make the bed more cozy. But I think I’m done making pillows for a while. It’s time to move on to Christmas gifts – yes, it’s that time of year already! I’ve already got a scarf, afghan, and set of placemats to finish by the beginning of December.

Also, I’m having my gallbladder removed next week. It’s outpatient surgery, and while I recover at home I’ll be doing a lot of crocheting while I trip on percocet.

Completed Project: Hexagon Baby Blanket

Here’s a baby blanket I just made for my hair stylist. She’s due next month, and I since I couldn’t remember if it was a girl or a boy or if she even told me or knows herself, I used a gender neutral blue/green/yellow/white color scheme:

crocheted blanket

It was a pretty easy/quick pattern, and I already had the yarn on hand. Am I yarn hoarder? Well….you tell me!

yarn stash

It is nice to have yarn laying around…especially when you decide on the spur of the moment to make someone a gift. I’ve made more than one baby blanket for an expectant mom, simply because I happened to have the yarn sitting in my stash. I usually stock up on yarns that I like when it’s on sale – it’s rare that I go out and buy specific yarn for a specific project.

I am getting better about the ongoing simultaneous project problem though. Oh you’re not familiar? That’s when you keep starting projects before you’re finished with others, until you have like half a dozen sitting around in various stages of completeness. I really hate doing that so I try to keep it to a minimum. I’d say I have two really active projects going right now, and two more sort of hibernating. That’s not bad at all – for me. I think this is something that happens to people with all kinds of hobbies, not just crochet or knitting.

In non-crafty news, I’ve got health problems that are going to sideline me for a bit. I potentially need to have some minor surgery and I’m not sure when yet. If that happens, I’ll surely be crocheting while I recover, but maybe not writing about it as regularly!

Completed Project: Couch-Surfing Afghan

My most recently-completed crochet project is an afghan that I made for me, me, ME! After making many gifts recently, I wanted to make myself a blanket for vegging on the couch when the weather gets colder (just in time, as it turns out). I had a bunch of Lion Brand Hometown USA yarn in some really nice colors that I bought on sale months ago, with the intention of making myself some kind of afghan, eventually (you may recognize the colors; the yarn is featured in the header image for my site).

blanket

I used this pattern, “5 1/2 Hour Throw,” with some modifications, using a 10mm hook. It definitely took me a bit longer than five and a half hours, but I also made the blanket significantly bigger than the pattern promised. Instead of chaining 61, I did about 91. I decided to do a four-row pattern, and just repeated it until it was as tall as me (and I’m 5’8″). Then I did the single-crochet border on the long sides, and fringe on the short sides. Fringe is very annoying, which explains why mine is kind of sloppy and I never went back to trim it evenly. Whatever! I don’t really know how long it took me, since I worked at it a few rows at a time and didn’t keep track of the time I was spending. It wasn’t overly long though – definitely not long enough for me to get bored and need a break from it!

The throw is super warm even though the pattern has a lot of openings. It weighs a ton, but it’s also nice and cushy, making it useful not only as a throw, but as a cushion, pillow, wubby, etc. I took it to the cabin with us last weekend and tried it out in most of those roles! Best of all, since the yarn is 100% acrylic, I can throw it in the washer and dryer and not worry about it.

There’s another, smaller variation of the pattern that calls for Homespun; I bought some of that on sale last week and plan to use it to make the same blanket for my sister, who is always cold now that’s she’s so damn skinny. I picked out some nice heathered/stripey blues, since blue has always been her favorite color. First up though, I’m trying to finish a shawl I’ve been fussing with off and on since last Spring; and I’m going to attempt to make a Baby Groot.

Ipsy Glam Bag: tried and cancelled

Monthly “box” subscriptions are all the rage now. You pay some relatively moderate fixed price, and every month you get a box of items or samples or whatever related to your interest. I used to subscribe to Birchbox, which was supposed to mostly be makeup/skincare/fragrance, or so I thought. I cancelled when they sent me laundry detergent. LAUNDRY DETERGENT! Listen, Birchbox, I don’t need you to remind me how I spend every damn weekend.

A few months ago I subscribed to Ipsy. It seemed better – the products I got in my first few boxes were pretty cool, and each box came with a (usually) cute makeup bag. However, after opening my Ipsy box today, I cancelled them too. Yet ANOTHER hair conditioning product that I will never use. Yet ANOTHER generic eye liner pencil that I will never use. Yet ANOTHER lip gloss from a brand I’ve never heard of in a boring, bland color. No thanks!

About the only subscriptions I’ve been happy with are Sock Panda and Lootcrate. I heartily recommend them. In fact, I gave a year of Sock Panda to my best friend for Xmas last year, because they’re just that awesome. Subscribe here and tell them groovymarlin “at” gmail “dot” com sent you. (Figure out how to make that into a real email address. You can do it!)

If you want to subscribe to Lootcrate (recommended!), click this link to use my referral code.

Here’s some of the awesome stuff I’ve gotten in past crates:

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Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls

The video game that I’m wasting time on lately is Diablo 3. I started playing regularly again when the Reaper of Souls expansion came out, and I managed to play an hour or two most days.

Reaper of Souls added the Crusader class, which is pretty fun. I like it because you can play it straight melee, like a Barbarian, or you can use the many ranged abilities and play more like a smite cleric wearing plate armor. But generally, I still lean towards the Wizard, and more recently, the Witch Doctor.

I overheard this conversation in the hardcore community channel the other day:

Player 1: What’s a good wizard build for high damage?
Player 2: Witch Doctor.

Haha!

dogs laughingAnyway, it’s funny because it’s true. I’m not sure what the best wizard build is, to be honest. Since the recent patch (2.1), fire seems more viable and so does lightning. Before the patch I had fun running a combination Tal Rasha/Vyr’s build, but you can only take it so far because the meteors just don’t hit hard enough.

But then I discovered the Witch Doctor Grin Reaper build, via BadKarma’s excellent guide. This build is SO MUCH FUN. Viable in hardcore, softcore, T1 through at least T4. It’s like the pet doctor concept except for lazy people. All I do is basically click for my primary attack, and then my mimics, clones, giant pet, and fetishes do the rest of the work.

My pre-season softcore WD had a pretty much perfect set-up, except I was never able to find a Tall Man’s Finger for her. My hardcore season WD, on the other hand, found a TMF almost immediately. She’s just getting started, but already looks pretty good.

Now if I can just manage not to get killed by the random and annoying lag.

gold everywhere