Photo Friday: Favorite Ripple

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I am obsessed with this ripple pattern lately. I’m working on the edging of my second blanket using this pattern in a month, and I have plans for at least one more. Full blog post with finished blanket pictures coming soon.

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200 Blocks in 200 Days: 8 Squares

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I decided to start officially making squares for my 200 Blocks in 200 Days challenge on April 1st, which means I now have the first 8 squares to show off. I am using a size G crochet hook for each square, and I am weaving in ends and edging each square with the same stitch count as I go along to help save finishing time later. I am not sure yet whether I will add an additional edging to each square in the same color before joining them, so I will decide that later as I get more squares done.

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I have found that no matter how hard I try, each square comes out a slightly different size. The concept of the book is that the squares come out the same size if you use the same size crochet hook for each one, but it’s nearly impossible to do that with all the different stitch patterns and techniques. Some squares are made in rows and some in the round. The ones made in rows aren’t quite true “squares,” but are a little more rectangular. That’s why I am edging each square with the same stitch count because once they are assembled, most of the wonkyness will even out or be less noticeable. If I wasn’t using acrylic yarn, blocking could help with that too. It’s hard for my perfectionist side to let go, but overall I am enjoying making each square.

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I am usually not a “bobble” or “popcorn” stitch fan, but surprisingly I am finding these fun to make. The variety definitely helps to keep this project interesting. At the same time, each square is finished pretty quickly so if it’s not a favorable pattern, I don’t have to work it for too long. It’s fun to see the different blocks laid out together the more I finish; this will definitely be an eclectic blanket!

Want to join me? Click “Follow This Blog” in the sidebar (or at the bottom for mobile viewers) to follow along and get updates. Post your progress in the comments or on Instagram using hashtag #200blocks200days.

200 Blocks in 200 Days

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I’ve been crocheting for a long time, which means that I have some finished projects that I am not especially fond of now years later. Some are because I don’t like the color combos I originally chose, some are because I wasn’t the best at finishing and weaving in ends in my early years of crocheting, and some were projects that I just never liked the finished result. So I decided that I wanted to reclaim the yarn from some of these projects and create something new that I will love. And that is how this new project was born: 200 Blocks in 200 Days.

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I have had this book, 200 Crochet Blocks by Jan Eaton, for many years now and have made a few blocks from it. However I tend to pick and choose my favorites and ignore the rest. In order to push myself to use every pattern from this book, I want to challenge myself to crochet a block a day, starting with the first one and going straight through the entire book. I will be using mostly scrap yarn, and I anticipate making one possibly two blankets from all these squares.

I would love for others to join me in this adventure. If you are interested in joining, click “Follow This Blog” in the sidebar (or if you are reading this mobile, scroll to the bottom of the page to find the Follow button), and then feel free to post your progress in the comments of my weekly update posts. You can also follow me on Instagram, as I will be posting my progress there too. Feel free to use hashtag #200blocks200days to share your progress on Instagram! You can find a copy of Jan Eaton’s 200 Crochet Blocks on Amazon here: 200 Crochet Blocks for Blankets, Throws, and Afghans: Crochet Squares to Mix and Match

Rainbow Baby

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I’ve been working on a very special baby blanket for a very special baby: mine! That’s right, my husband and I are expecting a baby in August. We are hopeful this is our “rainbow” baby, since I’m almost halfway done with my pregnancy and baby has been doing great so far. For those who may not know what a “rainbow baby” is, here is a great description:

“A rainbow baby is a baby that is born following a miscarriage or still birth.

In the real world, a beautiful and bright rainbow follows a storm and gives hope of things getting better. The rainbow is more appreciated having just experienced the storm in comparison.

The storm (pregnancy loss) has already happened and nothing can change that experience. Storm-clouds might still be overhead as the family continue to cope with the loss, but something colourful and bright has emerged from the darkness and misery.”

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The first handmade object I finished is this rainbow baby blanket. I wanted something bright and cheery to greet our new baby, our rainbow after the storm. We find out next week if we are having a boy or a girl, but we decided to stick with a gender neutral themed nursery, because we hope to have more than one baby someday. The theme is vintage circus inspired, so I’m using lots of bright colors and vintage handmade pieces from my grandma and great-grandma, as well as favorite books and toys from my own childhood.

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Our other big news is that we now have a furbaby: an 8 month old black lab/border collie mix named Rosie. She’s a good little dog who keeps me company during the day and seems to really like blankies (likes to chew them too). She even shows interest in crocheting by trying to take my hooks and play with yarn. I’m happy to have a new crochet buddy (wink, wink).

Homemakery, Part 2

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The great thing about living in a bigger space is that there is more room for handmade things, and I love being able to display the things I make around the house. The first two yarn-related projects I did when we moved in was revamp a pillow and an old afghan.

We had a plain pillow on our oversized chair, so I decided a cabled cover would help add some interest and make it more cozy.

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I just picked a cable pattern I liked and used the pillow itself as a template. For the back, I did plain garter stitch. Then I crocheted around the outside edges to close it around the pillow. I used yarn I already had, so this pillow got a free facelift.

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Next I decided to revamp an afghan I made more than 10 years ago using scrap yarn from my own stash and also from my Grandma’s stash by redoing the edging. The original edging was a bad choice from the beginning (a fuzzy yarn ::shudder::), so I wanted to fill in the gaps left by the hexagons to make this a true rectangle.

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After some trial and error, I finally got the effect I wanted. I did some scallops around the whole thing to help even out inconsistencies, and I am so happy with the results. I also had to spend some time weaving in ends because back when I made this blanket, I was sloppier when it came to securing my ends. Now this blanket sits on the back of our couch, always ready to wrap someone up.

Handmade Wedding

It’s been almost 9 months since my husband and I got married back in February this year. I thought it was time that I posted pictures of more handmade details from our wedding. Since I want to be able to share what I did with others for inspiration, I’ve  also added a new page titled Handmade Wedding where you can see all the details. Click the link in the top menu to see more!

Here are a few pictures of what I made:

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Here’s a list of what I made in the four months before our wedding:

  • Knit my wedding shawl
  • Crocheted 4 bridesmaid shawls
  • Made over 100 flowers for my bridal bouquet, 4 bridesmaid bouquets, 4 corsages, flower girl basket, 1 memorial mini bouquet, and my hairpiece (crafty friends donated 40 hand-crocheted flowers and 24 hand-crocheted butterflies)
  • Made 10 boutonnieres using burlap, buttons, and ribbon
  • Crocheted 2 doilies using my Grandma Coombe’s cotton thread stash (crafty friends donated 3 hand-crocheted doilies, and I used other doilies that I have made over the years)
  • Made 100 favors using mini brown paper sacks, mini paper doilies, and mini clothespins. Each favor was filled with two peppermint tea bags (our favorite tea)
  • Decorated our unity candle set with ribbons and lace

It was a lot of work, but so worth it to have the wedding of our dreams. Also, we saved a ton of money by making our own stuff, especially on the bouquets. I spent about $150 for fabric (including a bolt of burlap) and supplies that made all the bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, cake toppers, my hairpiece, decorated the flower girl basket, and the unity candle set, as well as cut out burlap squares for all the tables. My wedding shawl was free because the yarn was a gift from my parents several years prior to the wedding that I had been saving up. The doilies, books, tea cups, and other decorations were all free because I just used what I had. The only decor we purchased was 12 mason jar mugs that we filled with peanut M&Ms (and now serve as our drinking glass set), the supplies for a thumbprint tree guest book, and the plain white candles and candle holders I bought to decorate as our unity candle set. The main thing I didn’t want was a bunch of decor stuff purchased for the wedding that then served no purpose afterwards, hence the reason why we used a lot of what we already had, which made it that much more personal.

If you are interested in a hand-knit wedding shawl, hand-crocheted doilies, or other knit or crocheted items for your wedding, please visit my Custom Orders page to fill out a request for price quotes and time estimates.

New Website

Welcome to the new Kounting Sheep Website.

If you are seeing this post, then you are in the right place. Yes, my website is still kountingsheep.com but things might look a little different. That’s because I have completely moved to a new platform, WordPress. I have been using blogger/blogspot as my main blog since 2007, but as I start to expand Kounting Sheep, I figured it was time to move to a platform that will grow with me and give me more control over my website.

You will still be able to find all of my old blog posts both by scrolling through the main homepage  and by the clicking on the archive drop down menu in the sidebar. And I will be posting new blogs from now on over here. If you had kountingsheep.blogspot.com bookmarked, please make sure to change it to kountingsheep.com, as I will no longer be using blogspot.

Thank you to all of my followers and enjoy the new website!

Photo Friday: Chevron Baby Blankets

These two purple beauties will be for sale soon. I’m working on a shop update with lots of new handmade items and handspun yarn. Check back soon for when all the new stuff goes live.

Business Cards

 
I’ve been wanting to get business cards for a long time now, but kept forgetting to either create my own or find a place that could. But after being stopped in a movie theater over Christmas break by a person asking about my hand-woven scarf, and then asking for my contact details, I decided it was time I finally get my own business cards. Especially now that I will be a full-time fiber artist, I wanted to have something to give to strangers who see me displaying my work and show interest. Also, if I ever decide to someday start participating in craft shows of some kind, I’ll have these all ready to go. I’m really pleased with how these came out, especially since I found an inexpensive pre-made template option that matched my website design, which meant a lot less work for me. The other great thing was that they came with a free card holder, so I can just throw it in my purse or project bag and always have them handy when needed.
I am grateful, though, that I waited, because now these have my soon-to-be new last name! It’s a little surreal seeing a different last name next to my first name; I’m so used to my maiden name that it will take some getting used to spelling out this new long, hyphenated beast (although, I’m grateful it at least spells the way it sounds, unlike my maiden name). Only 16 days until the wedding!

Crocheted Lace

I’m surprised I never realized this before a few weeks ago, but my love of making lace items began way before I even knew how to knit. My grandma loved to crochet, especially intricate doilies using tiny steel crochet hooks and crochet cotton thread. Every surface of her house was adorned with a hand-crocheted lace masterpiece, and this trend trickled down to my mom too. And it’s no surprise that it’s trickled down to me. I first learned to crochet when I was twelve, and shortly thereafter learned to make thread doilies. When I see all the different doilies throughout my mom’s house, it’s hard to remember which ones were made by me and which ones were made by my grandma. Whenever I’m in a thrift store, it’s hard to pass up a hand-crocheted doily. It makes me happy to see that these vintage treasures are becoming somewhat trendy again, because my love for a hand-crocheted doily hasn’t faded over the years, and doilies aren’t just for grandmas anymore! (At least in my opinion.)

When I thoroughly sorted through my stash a couple months ago before I moved, I rediscovered a bunch of crochet cotton that I inherited from my grandma after she passed away. A few weeks ago I decided to pick up my steel crochet hooks and start cranking out some doilies. As soon as I started making the first one, the memories of my grandma started flooding back; happy memories of watching her when I was a child holding her crochet hook like a pencil, long red nails clicking against the steel, busily crocheting a doily oftentimes from a pattern long gone but still present in her mind.

The thread I’m using used to be white, but over the years it’s already aged in the stash (who knows how long they were in my grandma’s stash before they were in mine!), and the yarn has yellowed beautifully. The doilies I’ve finished already have a nice vintage look to them, even though they are freshly made. I’m looking forward to making many more doilies over the next few months. My goal, though, is to one day make a thread tablecloth. My grandma would make a thread tablecloth as an heirloom wedding gift for special people in her life, and I would like to have one of my own someday. My mom still has her wedding tablecloth made by grandma, and it has come out for many a special occasion in my house growing up. Carrying on the tradition of crochet was the very reason why I learned how to do it in the first place, so I hope to continue the tradition of thread crochet too.