Posted in Crafting Corner

Why You Should Pay Attention to Crochet Gauges

imani-571554-unsplash

Photo by Imani on Unsplash

A few weeks ago I saw a pin for the pattern for this really adorable crochet child’s hoodie. I just knew my daughter would look super cute in it. Besides fall is right around the corner so why not make her something cute to wear once the temperature drops.

I quickly made my way to my local craft store to purchase some yarn. This was the first time I had ever tried to make an actual garment like a hoodie. Usually, I crochet scarfs, headbands, amigurumi, and shawls, etc. Things that don’t require a precision to make.

If you haven’t read my other crochet post you would also know that I’m notorious for just jumping right in and not following directions to the “T”. Which when your making scarves and headbands you can kind of freestyle it and things usually turn out alright.

So I did what I usually do. I just jumped write in and started following the pattern. After putting in about two days worth of work I made it to the part of the pattern to sew together the shoulders and the armholes.

I quickly stitched everything together, I was so excited to try it on my daughter even though it wasn’t completely finished. I got one arm in and with a bit of struggle her other arm went in. But it was way to small for her. It looked like it was going to pop if she moved to much.

Attach24865_20180916_183753

I was so disappointed. All that wasted time to create something that when completed wouldn’t fit her. Where did I go wrong? I looked back at the pattern. I had followed the instructions as they were written (for a change). So that couldn’t be the issue…then at the top, I saw the recommended gauge for the hoodie next to the words,” make sure you CHECK YOUR GAUGE!”.

The recommended gauge was 11 hdc (half double crochets) and 10 rows in 4” square. Obviously, since I had followed the pattern and it turned out too small my gauge must have been wrong.

If you don’t know what gauge is in crochet. Gauge is the number of stitches and the number of rows created per inch using a specific size hook and yarn. In most crochet patterns the gauge is determined by the number of stitches and rows within a 4” square of the work.

For some crochet patterns like dishcloths or other items where size doesn’t really matter. Gauge is not important. However, if you are going to create a hat or some other kind of garment then trying to replicate the gauge used is extremely important.

Every one crochets differently and if you want your garment to turn out right (and not wrong like mine did) then you need to check your gauge by making a gauge swatch. You should make your swatch using the same stitches in the crochet pattern.

You can create a 4” square swatch or you can make your swatch a little larger 5-6’ square to measure your gauge.

 

In typical fashion, I created my own gauge swatch, but instead of creating a 4” square I just crocheted 11hdc and 10 rows. Based on my swatch I was way off the mark. I tend to crochet tightly especially when using the smaller hook sizes. After 11 dc my width was only about 2.5” and my row height was only a little over 2.5”.

After learning the hard way. I’ve realized that when it comes to making clothing in crochet that gauge is very important. If you don’t follow the gauge in the pattern your item can end up being too small or too large.

I’m just glad that I didn’t complete the whole thing only to find out that it didn’t fit.

Until I’ve figured out how to fix my gauge I will have to put this project on hold, but when I’ve figured it out I’ll share my finished product with you guys.

Until Next Time,

The Crafty Afro

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized

Morning Musings: Those Along the Walk

It has been a while since I have written a blog post. The past two weeks seem like they have been impossibly long and full of every kind of excuse and distraction to prevent me from writing.

First, the kids were off for a week because of Hurricane Florence, which we didn’t get hit by. So the house we full of little people. Then the week after that I had to focus on getting my sermon prepared for Sunday, which is always a stressful process for me.

I am grateful that the kids are finally back in school and we are able to get back on a normal schedule.

At some point during all of this chaos, I started going to the track in the morning with my daughter to walk/jog. I try to complete a mile every day. However, I’m not going to lie. I despise walking. I ran track in high school and college.

So I tend to do a lot more jogging. I know we are all so busy going about our day and we don’t have time to stop and really look at anything. But have you ever stopped to look at the people around you when you are out? Or the people that are around you where you work?

It’s not often that most of us really observe our surroundings, but one day I began to really look at the people on the track around me.

There were young men, old men, young ladies, and older ladies. Sometimes there were mothers with their babies and kids in tow like me. Most of the time people either had on their headphones and walked alone, but there were a few that walked together and chatted with each other.

As I began to take notice of the people around me. I noticed something, their attire. Every morning when I go for our walk I put on a pair of tights, a t-shirt, and a pair of running shoes. Standard work out attire for me.

However, I’ve seen people walking dressed like me. I’ve seen a woman walk her laps in a dress. Men walking in nice polos. Young men dressed in sweatshirts. Older women wearing large hats. Some people had on sweatpants, jogging pants or jeans.

At first, this puzzled and irritated me, but then I began to think about life. And how we are all on the same path, but on individual journeys. Even though we were all walking in the same place at the same time our journey’s were not the same. Maybe for my journey, I need tights, a t-shirt, and running shoes. Maybe for someone else, their journey requires them to be in a dress and sneakers.

During our journey, we may walk along with friends and for other parts, we will walk alone. Sometimes we will walk and sometimes we will run. And sometimes were like the baby in the stroller or carrier being pushed/carried along by God until we can run on our own.

What observations have you made about the people around you? Have they ever lead to some deeper insight into life? I’d love to hear them.

Until Next Time,

The Crafty Afro

Posted in Crafting Corner, diy

A Unique Gift Idea: The Crocheted Fish In A Jar

A few weeks ago one of my former coworkers texted me an unusual request…she asked me to crochet her a fish in a jar. My first thought was, “Why in the world would someone want a crocheted fish in a jar?” and “Is this really a thing?” Then she sent me a link to an Etsy shop that sold these little beauties.

Since we’re friends I decided to give it a try and crocheted her a fish in a jar.

Fish3

The supplies I used for this project were:

  • Cotton yarn (any color)
  • Thread yarn (for the plant)
  • Darning Needle
  • Crochet hook (3.5 mm)
  • Old Pickle Jar (I like to upcycle when I can)
  • Pebbles
  • Goo Gone (to remove stickers on the jar)
  • Elmers Glue (Modge Podge)
  • Glue Gun
  • Toy Stuffing
  • Acrylic Paint (to paint the top of the pickle jar)
  • Invisible thread
  • Scissors

To create the fish I used the pattern created by Lexie Loves Stitching. The written pattern is written using UK terminology. I actually watched her youtube video, which was easier to follow.

In the video, she also uses UK terminology, but she also provides you with the US terminology as well.

I used the pattern from Eden Reborn to create the plant.  The pattern for the fish is very simple to follow on this site as well.

My friend teaches an oceanography class so I wanted to make a more exotic looking fish for her, which is why I used the pattern on Lexie Loves to Stitch.

You can also go to cool creatives and check out the other free amigurumi fish patterns.

Fish1

Anyone who knows me knows that I hardly ever follow all the steps in the provided pattern. My fish was a lot bigger than he should have been because I used a larger crochet hook.

Once I finished making the fish everything else was pretty simple to put together. I would recommend gluing the rocks into the jar before you start working on the fish. This will give the glue time to dry.

Once I put it all together it looked pretty neat.

Fish2

I connected the fish to the top with tape and then used glue from the glue gun to hold it in place.

Once I had finished I delivered it to its intended recipient. Now, he has a special place in her classroom. I would definitely consider this a unique gift to give to friends and family.

 

Until Next Time,

The Crafty Afro

 

 

Posted in Family, Lifestyle

10 Essential Foods I Keep Stocked in My Pantry

woman carrying basket of fruits and vegetables
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

As hurricane Florance makes it’s way to the East Coast I started taking notice of the various food items that I keep stocked in my pantry. While many of these foods are not essential to us surviving the coming storm. They are foods that are a regular part of my families diet. Thus making them essential for us.

Without further ado here are the 10 essential foods that I keep stocked in my pantry:

1.Cereal

I have 4 small children living in my house, so cereal is a no-brainer for us. It’s something simple that the kids can make on their own for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  It can be eaten with or without milk.

The best time to stock up on cereal is when they are having a good sale on your favorite brands or buying the store brand. Recently, at my local Krogers, they had a deal for 4 boxes of general mills cereal for $8 plus a free gallon of milk.

If you use grocery rebate apps like ibotta or checkout 51 you can even get money back on your purchases. You can also join rewards clubs, like kelloges.com, to get coupons for your favorite items.

2.Oatmeal

Oatmeal is another family favorite that’s cheap and inexpensive. Unlike cereal, oatmeal tends to leave me feeling fuller longer throughout the day. It’s also a great source of fiber. Oatmeal can also be used to make cookies, dog treats, and facial masks.

3.Pancake Mix

Pancake mix is another one of those versatile breakfast items that we tend to overlook. However, pancake mix can be used to make pancakes (duh…) and waffles. But did you also know that you can use pancake mix to make cookies, cakes, and scones. Check out this post on the 9 Things To Make With Pancake Mix.

4. Bread

I think bread is the most eaten food item in our house. My husband uses 3 slices of bread to make his PB & Jelly sandwiches! 3 slices!!!! I guess it would be more precisely called a PB, jelly & cheese sandwich (bread, PB, a slice of cheese, bread, jelly, bread). It sounds gross to me, but he loves it.

We buy our bread from Aldi’s for .75 cents. You can also purchase bread at the dollar store. Just make sure you check the expiration dates before you purchase them. I usually buy about 6 loaves at a time. I just freeze the rest until we need them.

Like everything else on my list bread can be used for other things besides making sandwiches check out these 10 uses for bread.

5.PB & Jelly

Peanut butter can actually be really expensive, we usually buy ours in bulk from Sams or BJs. Jelly, however, is a lot cheaper. If we didn’t have these items my husband would go out and buy food for lunch. Which if you haven’t read my series on The Smart Way to Transition to One Income, eating out can really add up.  So for us, the PB is a frugal expense.

6.Ramen

Ramen…if you’ve ever lived in a dorm you should be very familiar with Ramen. Ramen is the college students best friend. What else can you go to Walmart and buy for .20? Yea, your blood pressure might be a little high after eating it, but when you’re paycheck is still a few days away ramen will get you through.

Ramen noodle can also be used to make other kinds of soup. Throw in some carrots, broccoli, and chicken into a pot of chicken flavored ramen and you’ve got chicken soup! Or you could try these other 17 ways to use Ramen noodles.

7. Noodles (Lasagna,spaghetti, penne,etc)

I always try to keep spaghetti and lasagna noodles stocked in my pantry. You can make a variety of pasta dishes besides spaghetti and lasagna. I make a baked penne and cheese dish that my husband loves. It’s a lot like lasagna, but with a twist.

8. Spaghetti Sauce

Spaghetti sauce is another favorite item I like to keep in my pantry. I can usually get jars or cans of spaghetti sauce for as little as .88 when they are on sale. Besides using spaghetti sauce to make pasta you can also try to use them in these 10 dishes.

9. Rice

Rice is another one of the staple foods that can be used in times of plenty and times of want. It’s very filling and a little goes a long way. We pretty much eat plain rice with almost every meal. Every now and then we’ll jazz it up and make chicken fried rice, jambalaya, or beans and rice. Need a few more ideas on ways to cook rice check out this link.

10. Beans

Right now we have several different cans of beans in our pantry. The cheapest way to buy beans is to buy them dried and then cook them yourself. However, I have never had much success making beans that way. They always end up hard.

Beans are another versatile food can be used in any number of recipes. Beans are also an excellent substitute for meat. I’ve used beans in spaghetti as a substitute for ground beef. I’ve also used beans and rice to make burritos.

They’re also great for soups and my all time favorite cold weather food chili!

Well, that’s it. Those are the top 9 items that you can find in my pantry on any given day. What foods did you keep stocked in your pantry?

Until Next Time,

The Crafty Afro

Posted in Faith

Faith Filled Fridays-Jesus Wept

trees in park
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Recently, a young pastor died leaving behind his wife and children. At the funeral, his wife sat stoically in her seat trying to be brave for her children and for the members if the congregation. No tears were shed by her, at least not in public.

And I remember thinking how hard and how sad it must be for her. To not be able to let go of all that pain for the sake of others.

In my own family, we’ve recently had a string of family members and friends die in the past few months. As a matter of fact, there are two wakes being held today, one for my great aunt and one for my grandmothers best friend.

I can guarantee you that someone will tell us not to cry because these women have gone on to be with the Lord. Because ”to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord ( 2 Cor 5:8).” That we should be joyful because they are no longer in pain and suffering.

Why is it that in our effort to comfort those in grief we encourage them to stifle their sense of loss? Sometimes as Christians I think that we forget that Jesus was human. That he experienced a full range of human emotions even grief.

In the book of John, we find the story of Jesus and the death of Lazarus. The Bible tells us that when Jesus finally arrived after hearing that Lazarus was sick he was already dead. At this point, Jesus did one thing…He wept (John 11:35).

Jesus Wept. John 11:35

Jesus, the son of God, healer of the sick, raiser of the dead….wept. He was so overcome with grief and sorrow at the loss of his friend that even Jesus with all the power that he had wept.

If he was so overcome by emotion I think that it’s only fitting that we let others weep for the ones they have lost. They shouldn’t be pressured to put on a “brave” face. We shouldn’t feel compelled to tell them that everything is ok.

As Christians, we know that if our loved ones died in Christ that we will see them again on the other side. Just like Jesus knew that he would raise Lazurus from the dead. I’m sure that the disciples were astonished as they watched their beloved teacher break into tears.

But nowhere does it mention that they tried to stop him from weeping. This story reminds me that it’s ok to cry. It’s ok to grieve the loss of someone you hold dear.….weeping may endureth for a night, but joy cometh in the morning (Psalm 30:5).

We don’t know how long our night will last, but the next time you see someone who is grieving a loss whether it be of a loved one, a marriage, a failed business. Let them know that it’s ok to cry.

Even Jesus wept.

The Crafty Afro