Mood Blanket: Two Months!

Wow! Just last week I finished up nearly two months of squares. The blanket is looking great! I love how all these bright colors come together, and how the colors seem to change scheme depending on periods of my mood. Some sections are bright and warm, other spaces are much cooler and calmer. The past few days I have been happy, excited and motivated since I just got a pair of male parakeets to keep me company. They’ve grown so much in a week!

squares

Anyway, back to the blanket. I have now completed three rows of squares, which adds up to 48 squares so far. I do still have a handful of squares left to do, but seem to be enjoying making them in batches that correspond to rows. So I will fill out the spaces for 16 days, then start crocheting those squares and attaching them, which is why it does not look like a full 2 months in terms of how much I have crocheted.

dates

You may see a drop in photo quality for my newer posts. Normally I would lay things out and shoot them with my nicer camera, but I have felt the need lately to be more spontaneous and just do things right away, which means laying things out and grabbing photos with my phone.

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So….we got chickens.

So….we got chickens.

We moved into this house a few months ago, and there was already a coop in the backyard. Our landlord said it was okay to have chickens, so we made plans to eventually get some. This weekend we fixed and cleaned up the coop, and brought home a few 5-week old chickens! Our 5 new babies will most likely be hens, but we can’t be sure until they are older. Hopefully we wont’ have to do any chicken exchanging. These lovely ladies are supposed to start laying in December, and they were hatched July 6th. So far, absolutely in love with them!

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They are dual-purpose chickens, which means that they will lay a moderate amount of eggs, and will also be good for meat once their laying days are over. How will that fateful day go? Not sure. Dad will probably have to do the work. Keeping their fate in mind, a few of them have food names. Introducing: BBQ (red), Dinner (white), Miss Fluffy Butt (tan), Nugget and Mary Poopins (black/white).

inthecoop

They are so beautiful and super soft! I love their little noises that they make, with their little chirps, squeals and trills. We’ve managed to get a few of them to eat out of our hands. Nugget is the bravest little bird, and Dinner is well…the biggest chicken. He tends to hide away under the nesting box when we are sitting in the coop, while the others will eventually come out and scratch around. Nugget will come close and eat from your hand, or peck at your clothes if you’re sitting still enough.

Nugget

Nugget

bbq

BBQ

I am so excited to see how they grow up and what color eggs they might lay. It’s always exciting to bring in a new pet, especially one you haven’t had before. We’ve previously had goats, and we have had birds in the past, but chickens are pretty new.

 

DIY Gold Leaf Wall Hanging

DIY Gold Leaf Wall Hanging

Since I moved in a couple months ago, my walls have been pretty naked. Some of that is just because I didn’t have very much wall space at the old house, and some is just because I haven’t managed to get my dad to help me get my deer prints up. My room’s “theme” is deer and rustic decor in fall colors, and I’m struggling to fill empty space and bring the room together. But decor is so expensive! I don’t have a job, so I can’t bring myself to pay $20 a piece for something that’s just on the wall. I started looking for nature-based decor that I could make at home to take up a chunk of wall space.

And so this beautiful wall hanging was born! It started with Pinterest posts of painted leaves in picture frames, and turned into a search for wall hangings. I went outside and gathered some Black Oak leaves from a tree growing in my yard, and painted them gold, red, and orange. The gold turned out the best, as the metallic sheen covered up any streaks or pooling caused by the texture and veins of the leaves, so I chose to stick with just the gold. I would brush the leaves with a stiff paintbrush to get a majority of the dust off without hurting the leaf, then paint one side, allow it to dry and paint the other side.

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With the branch on the wall, I was able to work in a “join as you go” sort of method and make decisions as I went along. For instance, seeing the way they hang and move and wanting to define the ends. I wanted to make sure the leaves stayed put and didn’t tangle with one another as the air moved in the room. So I weighted them with the premature acorns the same Black Oak was dropping.

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Painting and hanging the leaves took ages. Most of the day was spent waiting for leaves to dry so I could hang them and make more room for painting on the desk. I didn’t mind the wait, but it’s definitely not a quick project, and someone wanting to get it done faster may want to go buy some spray paint to speed the process along. I feel like spray paint would also allow better coverage for the leaves if you chose to use colors.

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I really love the way this little art project turned out, and how it brings so much more life and movement to the corner of the room. It constantly moves as the air moves in the room, making the leaves twist and spin and sway. The gold paint catches the light and glitters. It cost me nearly nothing, since I was using what I had around the house and in my neighborhood.

Mood Blanket Update: Mistakes Happen

Mood Blanket Update: Mistakes Happen

So I got a little over-excited with the size of this blanket. A few days ago I had just finished the 16th square (I am a few days behind), and laid it out on my queen sized bed to see how long it was. Keep in mind, this is the width of the blanket, and it was touching the floor on either side of the bed. Since I do plan on using this for my bed, and a cream border with a hardwood flooring was not such a good idea…I decided I needed to take out a row from each square to shorten it up.

changes_rows

Now, this mistake will put be even more behind for a bit, but it isn’t the worst thing to happen. Because my squares are join-as-you-go, they are easy to pull back, fix, and reattach. I essentially need to remove the cream border, as well as the outer round of the square, then crochet the border back on. It is a simple fix for this huge problem, without having to start all over. You can see how big of a difference it made in the length and width of the squares, compared to the older versions.

changes

Now, after my fixes, I’m left with lots of little scraps of yarn. I’m not quite sure what I want to do with them or if I even should keep them. I might use the bits and pieces of yarn and connect them using the Russian Join(I may have called it the Weaver’s knot at some point by mistake) and use them in the border of this blanket, maybe as a round of single crochet.

notebook

Lately, as I have been recording my daily moods, I know I have had a handful of not-so-great ones. I am definitely wrestling with some depression right now, which is normal. Having to decide a new emotion every day has made me step back and think about what I’m actually feeling. Am I doing better today? Worse? Have I felt more productive, or am I letting everything fall apart around me? There have been more blue (sad/depression) and brown (tired) squares, and a few in light sage (a bit off). I try to have better days so I can mix in more enthusiastic and positive colors, trying to keep from falling into a pattern. Also, I’ve started color coding with markers, which helps me visually translate what I’m working with.

Flower Motif Lace Throw

Flower Motif Lace Throw

I have worked this yarn so many times, I’m surprised it still holds together so well! I bought this Lily Cotton yarn in Lilac to be a pineapple shawl like the Sonoma colorway I used before. However, I wasn’t feeling it this time around and ended up attempting to work up different patterns only to pull them apart again over and over. Finally, I found a pattern I’m happy with. This lacy throw blanket was actually designed to be a rug, but I have decided it will be a throw blanket for my parents’ room, since their new linens contain lots of purple.

yarn

This pattern I discovered on Pinterest, while searching for crochet rugs to not only whittle down my stash, but also solve the lack of rugs issue in our new home, which is all wood and tile flooring. So it was originally intended to be a rug, but I was worried that even with special tapes to hold it in place, that my mother would fall over it (nerve damage in her feet) or the dog’s claws would ruin it. So, it became a decorative throw rug. When I first started the project, I was blazing through the center motif, but have now slowed down as the ADD has kicked in and I have needed to bounce between projects. I have also had to rip back rows a few times when I’ve noticed mistakes that can’t be “fixed” by adding an extra double crochet when I find a miscount, which put me behind by quite a bit.

progress

Nevertheless, I’m still in love with this pattern, and carry it with me when I leave the house. It’s a great waiting room pattern, and I keep the chart on my phone so I can check my work while I’m away. My other projects require multiple colors of yarn, so a single-colored project is my best friend for when I’m out and about. It’s complex enough to keep my attention, but also easy enough that I don’t have to be constantly staring at the chart.

I’m not sure how large this piece will be. I bought 10 skeins of the Lily Cotton when I first planned a shawl. If it either gets large enough or I start running out, that will determine where it will stop. But for now, I have plenty to work with so I’ll keep going. It is currently about 3′ across, from straight edge to straight edge.

whole

As for the tail that’s featured in a few of these photos, it belongs to my “little” girl, Dakota. My 3-year-old boxweiler who decided getting off the bed so I could take my photos was not an option today. She’s really upset that my mom left to Arizona to deal with a family emergency for the week and has been pouting constantly.

pup

Vintage Granny Square Blanket

Vintage Granny Square Blanket

Okay, admitting my current obsession with granny squares now. These past few weeks, I’ve fallen in love with these classic, simple squares. They’re easy to do, and a simple change in color between rows can make them look even more adorable! I adopted a bag full of vintage yarn, obviously a planned afghan, with a few blocks of shell stitch already made. There were several skeins in both “natural” and “Antique Rose”.

berella 4

I did a little research and was able to find that these are vintage Berella 4 labels, and that the line of yarn was discontinued. I would have loved to find dates to find out just how old this yarn is or when it was discontinued, but I haven’t been able to find any such thing. Just Ebay sales….lots of Ebay sales. If I run out before finishing this project, I know where I can find more!

I absolutely love these two colors and how they pair together. Searching Google and Pintrest for “pink white crochet afghan”, I found a photo of a three-color granny square afghan that made the center look like a little flower framed with green leaves. Simple, right? Well, I loved it, and I wanted to make one for myself. I added in Red Heart Super Saver’s “Light Sage” to compliment the muted colors and add a balancing cool color to the already warm cream and rose colors.

centers

The way I have it planned is to create a checkerboard pattern with the white and pink borders of the flowers. Every white flower has a pink border, and every pink flower has a white border; Then, joining the squares in a way that alternates the white and pink squares. Of course, I’m using the same join-as-you-go method as the mood blanket, since I absolutely hate crocheting/sewing together loads of squares. For now, the work flow that has worked best, is to whip up batches of 7 center sections at a time like those shown above, then join them to the blanket.

The squares, in their finished size with the border, come to about 3.5″. The blanket is going to be 50″ wide, so 14 squares across gets us to a healthy 49″, not including the border that will be added to the blanket later on. Depending on how far the yarn I have goes, it will either be 50″ (14 squares) long, or 70″ (20 squares). I’ll work row by row and see how it goes. From the row and a half that I have now, I’m super excited about the results.

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Mood Blanket Beginnings!

Mood Blanket Beginnings!

In May, I graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design! Great, right? Five years of hard work and crazy commutes finally coming to an end. Since then, I have been struggling emotionally and mentally with this big life change. Without medications, my depression is unchecked, but at least I don’t have crippling migraines all the time!

I recently adopted a massive amount of yarn from a member of the church who wanted to thin out her stash, and have become overwhelmed with the amount of yarn. Three boxes packed full of yarn! This is in addition to the growing stash of yarn I already had! With so much yarn, I’m anxious to find uses for it. I think I finally found a way to thin it out…

I was searching for tutorials to teach one of my friends how to make a granny square and came across this awesome tutorial from Bella-Coco. That tutorial led to me discovering her mood blanket, which I absolutely fell in love with! I thought it would be a fun way to not only use up some of my stash, but to keep track of my ever-changing mental state. (Not to mention, her “join as you go” method of connecting the squares makes life so much easier.)

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I am only about 10 days in from when I started on July 8th, but it has gone well. By the end of today, I will be 10 squares in. It has given me time every day to think about how my day has gone, reflect on some of my actions, and think about what I need to do the next day so I don’t end up with two of the same color side-by-side. My OCD goal is to have none of the same colors touching.

mood_list

My mood blanket started with just a list of emotions, a majority of them pulled from the Bella-Coco post as a base and inspiration, and then added to and adjusted from there. I used a piece of lined paper from a journal to list them on, and tucked it into my sketchbook where I am keeping track of my emotions, in case I get behind. I decided not to assign colors to every mood immediately, but to do so gradually as I progress. When I pick a new yarn for a mood I haven’t used yet, I thread a piece of yarn into the line that mood belongs to, so I have a color comparison. (Many of my adopted yarns do not have labels.) I still have a few color tags I need to add to the sheet of paper, but at least I have managed to stay on track with my blanket so far.

This project is going to be absolutely huge! With rows of 16 squares, each measuring nearly 6″ (including border), this thing is going to be about 8′ across and about 11′ tall! If I wasn’t so far in already, I would have adjusted the sizes of the squares, maybe doing 3 rounds instead of 4 before the border, or dropping my hook size to a 4mm. But, I’m pretty excited about having a massive, snuggly, blanket that could look beautiful as a bed spread for either a queen or king sized bed.