Comfort and Finding it in Crochet and Knitting 2020

Finding comfort when people are sick and dying, how ? For example, knitting and crochet is one way.

It has been a while now since my last blog post. With Baggy cat’s passing, I did not have the energy to sit and write about something I created or learned. Slowly as time went by, I took to hook and needle to seek some comfort.

My comfort has been knitting and crocheting afghans, lap throws, baby blankets, table toppers. On average, the big blankets can take 2-3 months from start to finish. When my hands are stiff and achy, I give them a break and I continue to sew facemasks. As you can see from the photos here, I have been busy.

The patriotic throw came to me during the summer. I wanted to do a solid granny square, and instead of just one color, I wanted to use several colors from my yarn stash that I have.

The baby blanket with tassles uses the technique called Join As You Go Corner To Corner. I learned this from a YouTube video by Fiber Spider. There are 3 parts to this video and the designer is very thorough in his instructions. It uses the same technique as Corner To Corner, but instead of working from one corner to another corner, you crochet in squares and rectangles.

The knit log cabin baby blanket was a custom order for a friend. She requested 2 blankets, about the same size for her grandbabies. Looking at my yarn, I chose this stripe yarn that has 4 colors in it, and to finish it off, I framed it with crochet edging.

Plus my knitting guild has been doing a year-long knit-a-long and crochet-a-long. Even though we do not meet in person, there is a monthly zoom meeting. Each month, in our newsletter, a sample of a knit square and crochet square are given. You are learning a new technique that will, at the end of the year, create something as small as a lap throw to as large as a blanket. These are a few samples of what I have created. I stepped aside from these blocks for other projects, and now have 3 months to catch up.

This is my current comfort project that I just finished a couple weeks ago: Oversized Granny Square Blanket . The original design was going to be solid squares, but after crocheting a few rows, I would run out of yarn quickly. Therefore, I ripped back a few rows and continued by changing colors every round. Furthermore, gray is a great accent color.

The queen size granny square blanket took on a life of its own. Each square consists of a rainbow of color interspersed with several shades of gray. The 16 blocks are 20 inches square and are stitched together using the slip stitch method. Each row is one color of the blanket along with each column.

The blanket lays on top of our quilt which adds a layer of warmth. Gizmo kitty takes full advantage of the blanket, as its his favorite spot to nap. As sleeps against my legs, the blanket keeps him warm, likewise my legs stay warm too.

Gizmo cat + crochet = Comfort

Be safe, wear your face mask and don’t stress. Here is a sneak peak into my next project: Crocheting with gradient yarns.

gradient yarn, crochet hat

Sewing Face Masks And How We Came Together in 2020

After many weeks of stay at home, and sewing face masks, I wanted to find out how this endeavour started. I sent out this questionnaire to our group leader, Susan Mitchell Mattera. She was kind enough to reply and here is the story.

How did you become involved in sewing face masks?

 A group of friends were sewing face masks and I was assisting in distributing masks to my fellow healthcare workers. The need was so great they were unable to meet the demand. So I decided to gather some of my friends who sew and together we formed a group of Masked Angels.

My mom became the cutter of the fabric and assembled the kits of fabric, elastic and pipe cleaners to distribute; my family and I did social distance drop offs of kits and pick up of completed masks at doors; while many talented ladies began to sew.

Face Mask Supplies: fabric for 12 masks, 24 pieces of elastic, pipe cleaners for nose guard

Where do you get your materials from? Have you received donations, money, supplies?  

Donations of fabric came from many of the ladies who were sewing. My family and I purchased elastic and pipe cleaners for the kits. When we were running low on fabric; my church “First Pentecostal Church of God in Long Beach” purchased fabric for us to continue sewing masks. I purchased some fabric and donated fabric to a local group sewing masks for the community.

The generosity of so many have made this into a work of love for the community. We have not sold any masks or taken any money donations. We wanted to do this from the heart to serve the community. Each person participating wanted to make a difference with their contribution of time and skills.

Are you buying the materials yourself?

We purchased about 60 yards of material; but for the first seven weeks, we have been grateful for each person sewing who not only donated their skills and time, but also remnants of left-over fabric for the masks from their stash. Their kindness and willingness to give made this possible. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have been able to find or afford the materials.

How many people are sewing the masks? Putting the kits together?

Our nineteen (19) talented cutting, sewing and distributing angels are: 

Carson Residents-Susan Mitchell Mattera RN, MN Project Leader of Carson, Neil Mattera,

Rita Manley, Pamela Mitchell, Kathie Campbell, Melanie Campbell, Charlotte Cox, Lajuana Willet Lopez, Marianne Miller, Christy Tam, Josephine Rodriguez, Diane Johnson;

Harbor City Resident- Rebecca Montes; 

Lomita Resident- Nancy Christianson;

Long Beach- Linda Kam

Redondo Beach Resident- Kathy Bartholomew;

Torrance Residents- Nola Glass , MaryAnn Lynch, Theresa Heywood and Raelyn Duffy.

We appreciate all the donated time, skills, supplies, and travel they have donated to this project which has benefitted our communities.

4 sets of face masks sewn, 12 face masks in each bag.

Who are the recipients of the masks? Are people asking for masks?

Masks were delivered to healthcare workers and their families in hospitals, home health and hospice agencies, nursing homes, pre-schools, churches, book clubs, food distribution centers, congregate living facilities, frontline workers, grocery store workers, food services workers, homeless shelters, businesses throughout our communities. They were given to our community officials, local clubs serving our communities and state organizations who serve health care organizations.

Masks were mailed from Carson California to 31 States and Canada with postage being supported by Susan and her husband Neil.

People were so grateful to receive a mask and we collected pictures of some people who were kind enough to send us a snapshot of them in their masks.

There were great stories of masks arriving on special days like birthdays, an Air Force mask that arrived on a Dad’s birthday to a daughter whose Dad in still Missing In Action from the Vietnam War, and people who could not find or afford a masks.

May of these stories brought tears to our eyes but joy to our hearts, making all the time and effort worth every moment.

How many masks are you making? Do you have a goal on how many to make?

As of May 10, 2020 on Mother’s Day; we have made over 3000 masks. We will sew face masks until we run out of donated fabric or until the pandemic is declared over. Our goal is to provide everyone a mask for their safety if they wish to have one. This group is saving lives by providing masks. The masks made protects people and people have expressed a sense of relief to receive a mask; you can see anxieties go down on people’s faces.

When we felt we could do something for someone else, this group stepped up and did. I am so proud to know each one of these caring individuals.

Anything else you would like to say?

This project has brought together such a diverse group of individuals to help someone they may or may not know. It spread kindness and generosity when our world needed it the most.

Staying Safe at Home… Ideas For The Homebound

Safe at home, stay at home, self-quarantine. These are common words we hear every day, hour, minute of our lives. Scary words, scary time. Since we are all in the same predicament, I have come up with some ideas to help you get out of the doldrum of boredom.

These ideas are not just fiber related. Things I have come up with while thoroughly looking around my apartment. Some may sound crazy, but when you think about it, a little more organization never really hurts you. These will keep your mind off of the news, and onto a more tranquil life.

Music. Who doesn’t like listening to music. You don’t need a stereo or boombox anymore. Look at your cable network, mine is Spectrum, it has music channels on it. Scroll up from and you will see Music Choice channels based on genre like Classical, Party Favorites, Jazz, just to name a few. Or you can take your phone and Bluetooth speaker, hook them up and you have music from your phone.

Puzzles, Games, Legos. Whether, jigsaw, crossword, scrambled words. Puzzles can bring families together to create time well spent. Grab a jigsaw puzzle you find interesting likes these, clear your table and get working on it. Before you know, several hours have passed. My husband and I like to test ourselves with crossword puzzles. I work the across clues, he the down clues and see who can answer more clues.

While we stay at home and feel safe at home, here are a few crafty ideas that will not only create fun items but you may even clear out those remnants that have been sitting around.

Scrappy Blanket. Comfort is what we need these days and nothing says comfort more than a blanket, afghan, or lap throw. The idea here is to use up remnant balls of stash yarn. You know those balls of yarn that are not enough for a project. Knit or crochet a few rows, or until that ball runs out, change to the next color and so on. Random choice of colors. Just go with the flow and have fun. When done, you can curl up, and relax with your pet.

Placemats, washcloths, coasters. Solids, stripes, mix & match colors. The possibilities are endless. You choose the yarn and play with it. Many patterns and ideas are out on the web. Try Pinterest for inspiration. But be careful, before you know it, many hours can slip by… but isn’t that a good thing?

Inventory Your Yarn Stash. While you are safe at home, do you really know how much yarn you have? How many skeins/hanks/balls of a particular color, brand you own? Now is a great time to work through some angst and sort through those bags, bins and bundles and organize your stash. Don’t forget to turn up the music for some background sounds.

A friend and fellow knitting guild member showed me her massive list of yarn. I went home and wanted to see how much yarn I really have. My list has categories that include yarn brand, color, weight, quantity of skeins, yardage, location of purchase.

This is just one page of my list. It took me 2 days to inventory my yarn. Amd now every time I pull yarn off the shelf and use it, it is either deleted from my stash or if a portion is used. It is then weighed and inventory adjusted.

Try a new craft. Last year I started sewing after 20 years. My hands get quite sore from knitting and crocheting and I needed something crafty to do. I used to make clothes while working at a fabric store when I first moved to So Cal back in 1983. I pulled out my old Sears Kenmore sewing machine. Guess what? It no longer works, so last fall, I purchased a new machine.

That machine worked great for clothes, now for my 2020 project: Pillowcases, flannel pillowcases. Using 2 different fabrics, pillowcases can be sewn quickly. Remember as a kid, you would go to a friend’s house for a sleepover and you brought your own pillow. That is where this project came from.

Each one unique, a fun project for friends, family. My family were the first to get personalized pillowcases. I chose fabrics that I thought were reflected who they are.  I am always looking for new projects, keeps the mind focused.

Limit the social networking. While we hunker down safe at home, we need a little social networking, i.e. facebook, Instagram, twitter. But how much is too much? When you look at what is posted, if you find that more and more posts are all about the pandemic, that can cause anxiety and stress. Lighten the load. Don’t hang out on the site for too long.

For me, I check-in in the morning, read some posts, and comments on my page and change my background picture. I play a game or 2 and when I feel my time is spent, I leave the site and work on something else. Currently my wallpaper has plumeria flowers on it.

I love flowers, recently I asked my friends to send me pictures of their flower gardens. I choose a different flower to post to my page. This makes me feel good. No bad news, all flowers.

Most importantly, turn off the news. I found that after watching many hours a day of the same, horrifying news, I became withdrawn, depressed, angry. I had enough of the news.

As I went outside, I sat on the stairs and let the sun soak into my head, neck and face. It felt good, so I pruned my geraniums of dead flowers and brown leaves, very calming and meditative.Sun and flowers are good combination for calm.

I stay safe from my neighbors and enjoyed the warmth I got from the sun, that natural vitamin D. I started to feel better, my attitude more upbeat. A little bit of sun every day makes you feel better, get outside and enjoy it for yourself.

I stopped watching hours of the news, now I only watch about 15 to 30 minutes a day. I take time for myself, my husband and my cats.

Now what are you going to do to feel better mentally?

The Baggy and the Gizmo safe at home.

Baby Blanket Crocheted With Crochet Alphabet

The baby blanket was ordered from my favorite grocery checker. She ordered 2 blankets: a boy and a girl blanket. I crocheted the girly blanket pretty quickly as I had a plan for the yarn and the design. The boy blanket was a little harder.

baby blanket with stitched alphabet letters

And with the boy blanket, do I use just one color, many shades of that color? Little boy blue? Green, yellow? What will I choose? Now its time to get into my work space.

As I was sitting in my home office, looking my shelves of yarn, one shelf has Encore Worsted in red, blue, green, yellow and orange. Perfect color choices for baby blanket. How will I use these primary colors in a blanket?

Encore Worsted yarn, primary colors are chosen

Now to set up the color sequence. Open Excel spreadsheet and start to paint with color stripes and blocks of color. For instance, I came up with these blocks shown below. All primary colors and each column the colors shift one space to the left. Therefore, red was chosen as the beginning of the blanket.

The sequence followed a color wheel: red, blue, green, yellow, orange. No purple for this blanket. Most importantly, its fun to mix with colors. As you can see, using Excel to play with the gives you ideas on how the blankets will turn out. I highly recommend trying it.

I found the crochet letters on Moogly blog. Be sure to check out the blog for caps and lowercase letters, with easy to follow instructions and pictures. With 25 squares and 26 alphabet letters, I crocheted the M & N smaller to fit into one square. You could do that for Y, Z if you want.

baby blanket closeup of M,N to fit into color block

To finish up, putting a border around the blanket will frames the blanket and smoothes the edges of the crochet stitches. This blanket has a border of 4 colors, each side has one color edging. This blanket can be crocheted in a weekend. If you want the pattern for the alphabet baby blanket, just click the link and it will take you to my shop page.

2020, Animals, and More Crochet Animals

Gizmo recharging himself

This is 20-20. My year begins with a bang. My ocean themed crochet animals have made their way home to me. After several months of reflection, I decided to end my consignment and the end of 2019. The last 8 years crocheting hundreds of animals for her shop. It was a great run, now it’s my time.

Here is a sample of a few of them. What you see are the actual animal. Each one crocheted by me. I choose bright colors, it makes me happy. Kids of all ages, adults too, like these animals.

All of the animals I will be listing are from my consignee. All ocean themed animals, with an exception of a couple that were requested. Best of all, they are machine washable and dryable. Place inside a mesh laundry bag, gentle cycle wash, and delicate dry for 15 minutes then let air dry.

Ally the Mermaid. This sea creature was very popular at the shop. The customers did not know it takes about 2 days to crochet. Hair takes 6 hours to attach to her head, each strand one at a time. She stands about 12 inches tall. Three colors of yarn used. My favorite yarn for animals is Red Heart Super Saver. Its acrylic, and holds up to stitches and does not stretch when stuffing the animals. Purchased the pattern on etsy from seller kandjdolls.

Ally the Mermaid

Nemo-like Clown fish. These big, chubby fish are two toned in color. Again, love the bright colors. Does it make you happy? Can you see your kids giggling at those ball shaped tail fins? Fishes measure a whopping 10 inches long and 7 inches tall. Give to your favorite fisherman who can finally say “the one that got away” did not happen.

Stanley the Starfish, one of the first ocean themed crochet animals to go on consignment, this one is a favorite of mine. I love how easy it is to crochet. Just 5 legs and a body, add a couple eyes, a smile and its ready to its new home. Stanley stands at 9 inches wide, the legs are poseable, turn the tips, squeeze the legs to make it stand taller or push down the body to make it lay flatter. The pattern was purchased on etsy from seller DaveyDreamer.

Stanley the Starfish

Norman the Narwhal is a newer crochet animals. The pattern, too cute to bypass. The pattern was a duo. Actually, the whale and narwhal are the same, just add a horn to the whale and you get a narwhal. Purchased from etsy seller TheresaCrochetShop.

Norman the Narwhal

Cleo the Clam, another great aquatic animal to crochet. Elizabeth at DaveyDreamer designed this animal. Her crochet animals have great detail. Extra large big eyes, and a jumbo shell. Lots of fiberfill stuffing, those eyes, 24mm. The possibilities are endless. Solid color, stripes, variegated yarns, many to choose from.

Cleo the Clam

Paddy the Platypus is a “classic” pattern I found over 10 years ago. This little platypus has a big tail, big beak and small body. My version of it uses thick yarn, making it bigger to hold and cuddle. Paddy is an adorable crochet animal. This FREE pattern came from Craftster https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=298640.0

Patty the Platypus

These next 3 crochet animals all came from the Lion Brand website. The first 3 animals I ever crocheted. Fifteen years later, I still crochet these animals.

Torty the Turtle the very first animal I crocheted. After participating in a few craft shows, selling blankets, wraps, scarves, I wanted to try to crochet in the round. Not many websites back in 2004 had crochet animals, except Lion Brand yarn. I found several animals to attempt: octopus, turtle, ladybug. Torty was the start of 15 years of crocheting animals. My love of crochet for many turtles have found new homes.

Lulu the Ladybug was the second animal I crocheted. How fun was it to work with 2 colors to create such a cute little ladybug. One thing that I did change with the ladybug, the safety eyes. The original pattern calls for 6mm eyes. They are quite small, and were difficult to place within the stitch. Little fingers could possibly pull out the eye, making it a choking hazard. I use larger eyes, 9mm. Much better, with the special locking disc that goes on the inside of the animal, makes it hard to pull out.

The Party Penguin, a classic crochet animal. Thanks to my choice of yarn, this penguin is the hit of the party. Penguins are aquatic. The Pen stands at 8 inches, 4 inches more for its party hat, total of 12 inches in height. Hat and scarf sewn to head and neck.

“Tomorrow is another day”and so I shall be back to officially list these animals.

My First Cardigan Sweater Achieved, With Room For Improvement

Accomplishing goals, I crocheted a sweater. The next sound you hear is that of bells chiming, cheers of the crowd clapping frantically. Yes she did it. To no surprise, it took some effort on my part, a few tweaks to the pattern, many hours of measuring and remeasuring.

I purchased the yarn from a fellow knitting guild member, not knowing what I would make with it. Bright royal blue yarn caught my eye immediately. I decided to wind the yarn from the cones to cakes to get a better visual.

Scanning through emails, I found a sweater pattern to crochet. I read it, looked at the difficulty, and decided to give it a try. Remember, I have no idea how much yarn I have to work with. Called Summer’s End Crochet Cardigan by Crystal Marin. Find it on her website, christacodesign.com or if you prefer Ravelry, it’s a paid pattern there.

The sweater pattern calls for 2 rectangle panels. That works great for me, as I have 2 cakes of yarn. I began by crocheting one panel, measuring the length as I went. The second panel crocheted quickly. In little time, both panels were done.

sweater panels stitched together

Memorizing the pattern was easy, and I was crocheting the sweater in no time. I had a goal for the sweater to be finished, our nephew graduating high school.

A few bumps along the way, the length works, but it needs to be wider, for example, I decided to add a row of double crochet along the length of the panels. That made the panel wider by a couple inches.

sweater back

As I am stitched the panels together, the seam was quite visible, as a result, the next sweater I crochet, more detail will be put into assembly. I single crocheted several rounds to create sleeves. The sweater almost done, something was missing. With the leftover yarn, I added a row of double crochet along the front panels and finished off with picot edging.

close up of picot edge

I finished my first sweater within a week of our nephew’s high school graduation. To go with the sweater, I sewed a maxi skirt with fabric I purchased at Hobby Lobby. Little did I know, the royal blue matched perfectly in the skirt to the sweater.

Sweater, and sewed skirt

Final note: this was an easy pattern to follow.. I did not add hem to base of sweater and I added a picot edge. The sweater accented for the skirt, the sleeves covered enough of my arms and it hung nicely against my body.

Why are these 2 cats posing alike?

Baggy cat, 13 yrs old

Gizmo kitty, 2 years old

A Tisket, A Tasket, Many Projects In My Basket


My basket has been full of such projects since December. Us women wear many hats, we take on many projects and responsibilities and still are able to take time to feed the family, keep the household together and care for our pets.

The day after Christmas I got sick. The same cold that has affected many people. That cough where you feel like you are going to break some ribs, nonstop coughing. You know what I am talking about. A month before I really felt good. My basket is empty. No work, just rest and feel better.

Surprise at Christmas my nephew Colton was getting married on January 24, 2019. My basket just started filling up now. I put my skills to work, to make Colton and his new bride, Annette, a gift. What will it be? How long will it take? What colors do they like? My basket is becoming overwhelmed with ideas.

Stopped off at JoAnn’s craft store, trying not to cough on others, to get inspiration for the gift for Colton and Annette. Purchasing cotton yarn for farmers market bags, I came across 4 cones of Lily Sugar & Cream yarn. The cone had reduced price of $7.47, grabbed one cone, walked over to the price scanner and it rang up $4.47. My basket is almost overflowing now.

Almost all of January was spent crocheting placemats. Which way do I crochet, length or width, one skein or 2 held together? Decisions, decisions. My basket cannot handle any more. The best approach to making these placemats? Grab a placemat from the drawer and use as a guide to get me started. It worked! I decided 2 yarns held together and crochet them lengthwise. The sturdier the better.

One placemat finished in a day and a half. Work needs to get faster to make at least four. FYI, we decided we would go to the wedding.

On top of crocheting the placemats, trying to get rid of the cold, find a cute blouse to wear to the wedding, now we need to get hotel room, rental car, flight.

Placemats were finished the week of the wedding. I forgot to snap pictures before they were shipped. What do I do? Being me, I crocheted another placemat. Colton and Annette loved the placemats, just happens to be in their favorite color, Navy.

The wedding was lovely, got to spend time with my brother Mark and his wife Kris, and Susan and Laura and her husband Will, step sisters. They were surprised we attended the wedding. It was nice to see all of them. My basket is full of love and appreciation.

Until next time when February gave me inspiration to knit a hat that had been archived for several years, crochet new animals and bring back some farmers market bags.

2018 Year In Review, Crocheting, Creating & Resolving

Its New Year’s Eve, and 2018 is almost gone. Where did the year go? It felt like it went out faster than I can recall it being 2018. The year ended with me getting a cold that just won’t go away. Day 6 and its still here. So while I am resting, I thought I would put to paper my year in review.

January started out fantastic for Lee. The temp job he had became a permanent job! YES, Lee working full time, getting benefits, vacation hours. That makes up for the past 4 years. His boss is so nice, the company feels like an extended family, they all get along.

2018 began with me crocheting tentacles for the octupuses I ship to my consignor. Usually the first 3 months are quiet, but with Lee’s new job, he started to bring in a few of my animals to show his co-workers.  All of a sudden, sales were happening, custom orders were being taken and I was busy crocheting new animals.

tentacles for octupuses

Between consignment and new co-workers, I crocheted 150 animals, 90 of them went to Buy Hand Laguna Beach, 30 went to Lee’s co-workers of Lee and the rest for arts & crafts shows.

2018 I resolved to keep my consignor in stock of crochet animals, kids hats, and crossbody bags. I shipped product to her 9 times this year. She kept me quite busy, especially during the summer, with emails asking for crochet animals, as they were selling quicker than expected. That made it easy for me to not do any spring craft shows, more time devoted to her.

octupuses, clams and mermaid oh my

2018 found me creating and designing more patterns than in previous years. This year accounted for 6 new patterns. There were scarves, a hat, new animals just to name a few. I hope to be able to create more in 2019.

We did have a few fun moments: we saw one of my all-time favorite bands this summer. The Brian Setzer Orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl. Great concert, well worth the price. I just wish we could see his Christmas concert, it usually falls on the same night as Lee’s company holiday party.

The one project I HAD to do was to make my brother the blanket he now has. He lost his home in the summer to a wildfire in Redding. He lost everything he and Kris had. They got out, with their kitty, that was the most important to get out alive. They will rebuild on the same site. The blanket took me 3 weeks to make, a lot of hard work went into making it, but they have a new heirloom to cherish, and to keep warm.

crochet blanket and toss pillows

Not only did Los Angeles have the Yarn Crawl in April, this past November, Stitches So Cal happened in Pasadena. Lee and I provided the fixtures for the knitting guild booth to display members knitted and crocheted items from classes we had taken. I knitted and crocheted 6 seat cushions for the booth.

2018 ended with just 1 craft show I participated in. I was able to clear out merchandise I had been crocheting and knitting this year. Even one of my favorite grocery checkers purchased scarves from me. She placed 2 custom orders, with a third order to be placed in the next few days.

There you go, 2018 was quite an eventful year. The kitties pouncing, playing with each other, getting along as the year went by. Lee working many hours every day, up at 4:30am, asleep by 9pm. Me, learning new skills, taking time to create new product, working on the blog.

Here’s to 2019, resolutions or not: Blogging, stay healthy & happy, take time for myself, relax and enjoy each day as it comes.

the possibilities are endless when it comes to kitties

The Mad Rush of Holiday Crafting

It’s that time of year where fiber artists make the mad rush to finish off handmade gifts for family and friends, and even to those less fortunate. Where does the time go and how do we get everything finished in time to mail off the packages? Lets start by making a list of what we want to make.

The Mad Rush seems to happen right about now. Every arts and crafts website sending out emails letting you know about some new pattern, new yarn, new crochet hook (or knitting needle). How many emails do you have just sitting there waiting to be opened?

If you are short on time and The Mad Rush has got you pulling your hair out, here are a few of my favorite items to knit or crochet. These items are quick to make, and you can mark them off your list.

  Fingerless Mitts. My mitts are easy for the new knitter, can be modified depending on yarn & techniques you want to add to it. The original pattern uses thick yarn, big needles and just garter (knit) stitch. These mitts are great at keeping your hands warm, and you can still text, you can email and you can drive without taking them off. It is not safe to text and drive at the same time, wear the mitts but leave the phone in your pocket or purse.

Crochet Beanie Style Hat. There are many hat patterns out there, and this is one of my favorite designers to use for her hats. It’s a quick and easy pattern. From infant to adult, you can crochet a hat in less than 4 hours. Worsted weight yarn and a 5.00mm hook (H hook), one skein of about 200 yards of yarn. Add a cute pompom to the top, add earflaps and tassles to accessorize it. Sarah’s patterns are easy to follow, with size changes, additional rows, her cute animal hats are fun to crochet.

  Knit Hat. I cannot leave out knitters when it comes to hats. The As Good As Gold hat uses a chunky yarn like Lion Brand Hometown yarn or Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick & Quick yarn, size US 15 circular needles in 16 inch length. With knit and purl stitches and some decreases to close the hat, you will have a big chunky hat just like snowboarders wear on the slopes.

  Crochet Scarf. Rolling Along scarf is a quick pattern that uses 1 cake of Sweet Roll yarn, 245 yds, worsted weight and 5.50mm I crochet hook. The V Stitch pattern is easy to memorize, and in no time, you have finished a scarf. The pattern states it is an infinity scarf, no ends to weave in. Modified if you want to add fringe to the ends of the scarf.

  Knit Scarf. For knitters, if you do not want to use worsted weight or heavier yarn, the Light and Lacy scarf will work for you. Knit with #3 weight yarn, YO and K2tog are the stitches used to make a pretty scarf. Cast on more stitches, more yarn and you can have a lovely knitted wrap to wear. Add sparkly yarn to dress up an outfit.

Crochet Animals. What child does not like stuffed animals. I like to give stuffed animals to new moms as part of their baby shower gift. Bright colors, soft to the touch, machine washable. Elephant is my favorite animal to make. One of the first animals I learned to crochet in the round (amigurumi).

 Water Bottle Carrier. This is a fun cozy to crochet for those that do not like to hold a bottle of water. One of the first patterns I designed over 8 years ago. Made with cotton yarn, it will hold a bottle up to 24 ounces, even those metal bottles will fit. Using less than 1 skein of cotton yarn, an H hook and in a few hours you will have finished another gift to give.

The Mad Rush is on, by showing you that there are items that can be made quickly, you will in no time have your list finished. Enjoy your crocheting and knitting, but remember to always take time for yourself. Happy Holidays to you and your family far and near.

Thanksgiving Memories of Family Past and Present

Memories of  Thanksgiving flood me today, the day where people have traveled to their family homes far and near. The airport running to catch that flight, the gassing up the vehicles to start that long drive to family far away, the hustle and bustle of grocery shopping to get all those ingredients for hours upon hours of cooking ahead.

Memories spring back to life when Thanksgiving props its head every November. I remember waking up early to see my grandfather boiling the onions, mincing the parsley, roasting the chestnuts in the oven, taking the Jimmy Dean sausage roll and inserting it into the back end of the birdl all for his own recipe for stuffing the bird.

The chopping of the onions, the oversized bowl to fit not 1, but 2 packages of Mrs. Cubbison’s stuffing. The 3 slices of bacon placed on top of the bird once the bird was stuffed and was about to go into the oven. The butter strategically placed between the wing and thigh, seasoning the bird, placing the 2 large pieces of foil on top of the bird. Those overwhelming smells got me salivating for turkey, but that was hours away.

Memories as a kid jumping out at me. My mom always made the pumpkin pies the day before. I liked to help beat the filling with the mixer, I was never good at cracking the eggs. I can still smell the spices that went into the filling, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger. Those pre-made frozen pie crusts never really could pour all the filling into them, slowing sliding the pies into the oven, hoping the rack did not jump and pie filling spill into the oven.

Once the pies were done, chilled in the refrigerator, the next morning it was time to whip the whipping cream. In our home, we did not use aerosol whipped cream. My mother liked to decorate the top of the pies with real whipping cream. It was my job. She would add sugar and a little vanilla extract while I was holding the hand mixer, watching the cream turn into whipped cream. Of course, I got to lick the beaters.

That was my life as a kid, someone else doing all the work to make Thanksgiving memorable. As an adult, I was able to replicate my grandfather’s turkey stuffing recipe, I did not roast chestnuts, but did chop walnuts. I boiled the onions, minced the parsley, even stuffed the back end with sausage.

Memories fill me today. Thanksgiving will be with Lee’s dad, brother, sister in law, nephew, sister in law’s parents and dad’s girlfriend. I will be in the kitchen shortly prepping all the side dishes. I will not be stuffing the bird, his dad prefers the bird NOT to be stuffed. Lee’s brother is bringing the “deep fried” turkey along with pies. Plenty of eating to be done today.

I will be crocheting a hat or 2 while visiting, one never leaves home without some sort of project to work on.

May your day be filled with memories and a full belly

The kitties were nestled all snug in their chair?

Sharing momma’s new chair, it fits us