Bargain Hunting

You probably think I’m going to talk about Black Friday specials, but no. . .

I’ve been having a blast taking advantage of after-Halloween markdowns!

A few days after the holiday I was still able to get a few Trick-or-Treat pails at the grocery store for half-off – 50 cents each. They’ll be filled with non-candy goodies and given out at next year’s Halloween party for foster kids.

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A couple of weeks later, I stopped in at a CVS store to get eggs, on sale for $1.99/dozen. Seeing that their discount on Halloween goods had risen to 90%, I grabbed the few remaining pails. They happen to have blinking lights in their handles! – 49 cents each (regularly $4.99)

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and got a few more at a second store, both on my way from the nursing home to Sal’s.

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It occurred to me that there is a CVS store very close to where DH works and, a couple of days later, that we could hit yet another while out on an errand.

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Then DH offered to come home from work by a different route than usual.

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Altogether we gathered 73 Jack O’Lantern pails. I’m very happy that almost all of them stack well. Who knows if the blinking lights will still work by the time Halloween 2016 gets here. . .  If not, the pails themselves are very nice.

I may have also grabbed a few goodies to go in the pails. . .  red plastic vampire teeth and silly wind-up bloodshot eyeballs.

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These little goody bags are just the right size to hold a couple of cookies at the nursing home’s Bake Sale next fall.

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And as a little treat for nursing home residents and their guests, I grabbed two 11 oz. bags of fun size M&Ms. Thankfully, the packaging isn’t at all Halloweeny.

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DH and I may have sampled a few. You understand. . . for quality assurance. – 46 cents a bag.

Wish we’d found more of these,

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Nice Bingo Prizes for only 29 cents!

And for DH and I, a wreath, which is now hanging on the inside of our front door – $1.49.

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Wanted – Larger Potholders, not Mats

Once I recovered from the euphoria of having conquered the challenges of my new mat loom, I realized that weaving 13 x 18″ mats. . .

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is a Huge Leap from weaving 5″ square potholders! lol

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BTW – From now on, I’m going to refer to these little potholders as “Mug Rugs” – coasters, in other words.


I’m relieved that we will no longer be calling these “potholders” because the instructions that come with those little looms say, “Pot holders created for decorative use only.”. . . Kind of makes you wonder if they would melt if actually used on something HOT straight from the oven, doesn’t it?!

I think 100% cotton potholders in a larger size will be a good intermediary weaving project for the Crochet Corner ladies. – I surveyed Etsy and 8 1/2″ handwoven potholders seem to be the most popular size. –

Getting larger loopers isn’t a problem, since we can make our own, but we also need larger looms.*

DH is willing to build them, but I’d like to do as much of this project on my own as I can. So, for the last three weeks I’ve watched at Sal’s for square wooden picture frames of about ten inches. The few I’ve come across have either had weak corner joints or been made of something other than wood, like plastic or composite board. The worst turned out to be cardboard. sigh.

Then, one night, I went into a far corner of the attic for something and, literally, stumbled upon my small collection of picture frames. Ah, HA!


I remember buying this frame with the idea of replacing the bathtub print with a small primitive hooked design that I have yet to make. I’m going to trust that the universe will supply me with another frame when that time comes, maybe even a nicer one, – two of this one’s mitered corners are slightly off – and I will turn this one into a potholder loom!

It’s a little bigger than I’d wanted, 12 1/8″, but if I put the nails as close to the frame’s inner edge as I can it will, I think, turn out potholders of about 8 3/4″.  Yay!

Since this means I’ll need to nail into the mere 3/16″ thick lip of wood that overhangs the glass, DH is gluing in tiny slats of hard maple as reinforcement. Time-consuming, yes, but not as time-consuming as making an entire frame.


I’m going to continue watching for appropriate frames at Sal’s because, if this loom works well, I need three more just for the Crochet Corner ladies who already weave. . . and I’m hoping that new and improved potholder looms will entice others to come join us.

*If you would also like to weave larger potholders, but don’t want to try making a loom, you can buy one, here. Comes with enough cotton loops to weave two large potholders.

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#47 – Another Scrap Ripple

When I went into the attic to get a few more scraps for B’s purple and pink ripple,


I realized that I’ve collected scrap balls enough to make another in. . .

Purples and Blues

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Sadly, I’ve reached the end of the fuchsia and lavender chenille yarns that I unraveled from thrift shop sweaters, so looong ago. – sigh – It had to happen eventually.

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Sandi of MD provided the Caron Wintuk ‘Cornflower’ blue, as well as a 3.5 oz skein of Frank’s Crafts Wintuk white.

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Trial and Error

Since I didn’t know what width of tarn would work best with my new mat loom,


I arbitrarily chose 5/8″, halfway between the widths I had used for my two previous tarn projects. (bathmat and kitchen rugs) The four colors, in the order I put them on the loom, are black, light grey, forest and bright green.


5/8″ strips worked o.k., creating a lightweight placemat,

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and I think the four-color pattern is striking, on both front and back.

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But reaching down through two upper layers (forest and light grey) to pull up the black strands of the bottom layer was not as easy as that video I wrote about earlier made it look! You think you’ve grabbed both strands when you’ve actually only gotten ahold of one.

It was only when I happened to look at the back of the loom that I discovered the many overshots that I’d accidentally created. (Overshot – in this case, a horizontal strand that passes over three vertical strands instead of just one) I corrected them by undoing and reweaving the middle of each three strand group, more difficult the further along I’d woven after making a mistake. . .  not something I want the Crochet Ladies to have to deal with.

And I’m not crazy about the mat’s little “zig-zags” either. There’s a bright green zig-zag over forest going vertically near the left edge and then forest against light grey going horizontally along the bottom.

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Plus, on the flip side, there’s a major jumble of light grey on the left. Yuck.

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Amazing, considering the number of times I watched the video, that I never noticed any “zig-zags” until after I’d finished weaving this mat.

O.Kaaaay. . . so what if we were to weave mats out of giant potholder loops instead of tarn?

I remembered having seen a CraftSanity post about making potholder loops from t-shirt fabric and thought I’d give it a try. I cut and stretched onto a potholder loom one loop each in the two widths mentioned in the video and decided to cut enough 2 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ loops to make one potholder.

Much too wide – not enough room on a little potholder loom for all that fabric! – so I skipped a peg every now and then in order to finish the potholder, which is why it’s slightly rectangular. . .

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and stiff, so stiff it can easily stand on its own! lol.

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But that’s fine, cuz the main reason for making this particular potholder was to find out the ratio of looper length to loom size. . .  5.5″ loop to 7″ loom = .78, which I then applied to my mat loom. A 16 1/2″ x 20 1/2″ rectangle, it requires loopers in two lengths, 13 and 16″. ((16.5″ x .78 = 13″ and 20 1/2 x .78 = 16) Since this loom’s nails are further apart than the potholder loom’s pegs, I cut strips 3″ wide, 2 1/2 if the tee was heavier.

Weaving the first mat went smoothly, if slowly. A 20″ loom is huge compared to 7!! After I’d woven about a third of the way across I stopped cut 1/4″ from each side of the remaining loopers, which kept my first t-shirt mat from turning out as stiff as that first t-shirt potholder!

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For my second mat, I again cut loops 13 and 16 inches long, but only 2 1/2″ wide, 2″ if heavyweight.

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See how much they stretch!

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These proved to be Just Right. Yay!!

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These mats measure about 13 1/2″ x 18″, good for placemats, a sleeping mat for a cat or small dog, or as a mat to go by the door for wet shoes. – Any other ideas for ways to use these cute little mats? –

I’ll end this post by sharing something I learned through sad experience. . .  When stretching a diy t-shirt looper to go across a loom, it’s best to gently pull by the loop’s little “end tabs”. If, instead, you give the loop a mighty tug with all your fingers inside, like we’re used to doing with those tough commercially made sock loops, your handmade t-shirt loops are very likely to tear. – Oops! Good thing I had plenty more of that particular color loop. –

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On the Border

I’ve been working on the Zig-Zagged Granny’s border and have so far completed three rounds of granny clusters in deep teal, royal blue and black, alternating with single crochet rounds of ecru.

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I knew that I wanted a warm color next, but which one? This blanket’s got golds, oranges and reds.

On a cold day you don’t want to spend any longer than necessary up in our unheated attic, so I quickly grabbed Vanna’s Choice ‘Rust’, RHSS ‘Cherry Red’ and a rather small ball of a second shade of rust. – maybe there would be enough of that for one round –

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‘Cherry Red’ gives the border a rather patriotic vibe, so not what I was going for.

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My goodness, Vanna’s ‘Rust’, – which I always want to call Brass – looks so much better!!

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And now I’m off to the attic again to pick out One. Last. Color. Some kind of burgundy/maroon/cranberry, I think.

Feeling a little excited – this Granny is almost done!

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Ripple #46 – Inspired by. . .

Ravelry is a fantastic place for discovering wonderful color combinations that I’d never think up on my own! For example, go check out the gorgeous colors of Champsmom’s “Baby Sanders’ Stripe It Rich”.

A special thanks to my yarn fairies for being able to create my own ripply version. I couldn’t have done it without their gifts: RHSS ‘Turqua’ from Lisa of TN, ‘Cornmeal’ from Sandi of MD (2014) and an anonymous ball from Karen of MA, which I’m calling ‘olive’ although I suspect it’s another of RHSS’ many greens.

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The ‘Pale Green’ is also RHSS. While the deep red, ‘Cranberry’, is Woolworth’s knitting yarn and the deep peach is ‘Cantaloupe’ SOFTelle by Carrousel. I think that’s everybody; this is a very colorful blanket.

Yipes, Stripes!


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Crocheted another of Stephanie Gage’s Seaside Totes. (Made my previous one in 2011!)


This took just half a skein (7 ounces) of that cotton I found clearance-priced at Michaels, a couple of months ago.

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I could hardly wait for the next Crochet Corner Show and Tell to find out how well it might work for folks in wheelchairs. Not Bad, it turns out.


– I followed my project notes and lengthened the straps just like I did on my first one – duh – completely unnecessary, if you’re going to hang it from a wheelchair. –

One of the aides commented how much nicer these would be if lined. I agree, lined would be better,


but I’m much more excited about crocheting several more totes than I am about digging out a sewing machine and looking for coordinating fabric to line even one!

Thought it would be fun to use a little of the cotton yarns that Sandi of MD sent me, as accents. This one, by Sugar ‘n Cream, is called ‘Fairy Tale’.


Love the way it looks with solid yellow.


I plan to put another row of variegated near the top.

Hmmm. On second thought, maybe ‘Fairy Tale’ actually came from the Crochet Corner stash, cuz here are the two batches I received from Sandi.

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705 6-cottons

Hey – Looks like I have enough there for at least Solid Red, Yellow with White, and Blue with White totes! cool

Speaking of “Totes”. . .

look at the one I recently found at Sal’s. . .


quite appropriate, I thought, for “The Yarn Lady”, how the nursing home’s receptionist referred to me the other day.

P.S. Do any of you have much experience with washing items made of Sugar ‘n Cream yarn? Somewhere I read that the red and black, in particular, are notorious for bleeding, which made me wonder about the other colors. Think I’d be taking a Big Risk by combining, let’s say, the Emerald Green and Canary yellow?

On the inside of the label, under the free pattern, Lily does warn, “Wash colors separately. SOME COLORS MAY RUN.”

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