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Crochet color pooling, a test of willpower and overcoming frustration

Color Pooling. What is it? It’s taking a skein of variegated yarn and making it into an argyle pattern. It’s not for a beginner, and even the most experienced crocheter will be ready to burn their yarn and throw away all their crochet hooks at some point in this journey.

Most color pooling uses the moss stitch (ch1, sc in space below, ch 1) and although it’s a very easy stitch pattern, getting the tension right is an exercise in frustration. The yarn will never just fall in line. It’s a constant battle. Here is a video by Marly Bird¬†explaining the technique as well as some tips.

Here is an example of an easier yarn. This is Red Heart Super Saver in Sedona. It was a challenge, but it seemed to have well defined color changes, and the lengths of the colors were pretty uniform. There was still a constant battle, but the colors fell in line most of the time, and frogging (aka, taking stitches out, or “rip it, rip it” as a frog says) happened almost every few rows to adjust tension and keep everything lining up.

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My next project is with the Red Heart Super Saver in Mistletoe. This is not for the faint of heart! The color changes are more “blended” so it goes from red to a faded pink before the white, then a faded green before coming to the green. The trick with this one is to try to hide the faded parts on each end of the red and green color.

I’ve spent a whole day crocheting, frogging, crocheting, frogging, starting over. I’ve tried different hook sizes from 6.5mm, 6mm, 5.5mm, 4.5mm, and even a 2mm hook. I’ve had the best success with the 4.5mm, but I really need to invest in a 4mm and 5mm hook ASAP.

Here is the best attempt so far, it’s far from my standards, but it’s getting there. As my Hubby said, it looks good, but in the white, it looks like the other colors ran. If it were just for me, I’d keep going, I’m not as picky about things I’ll be keeping for us. But it’s going to be a gift, so guess what? It’s frogging time. Again. I can honestly see why some people want to throw this yarn¬†into the trash and never pick up a crochet hook again.

But as any of my friends and family can tell you, I am STUBBORN. Extremely stubborn. I will NOT be defeated by a ball of yarn that weighs less than my morning coffee! I may need a few coffees to get through this, or some wine so I don’t care (hahaha!) but I’m going to get this to fall in line.

So please excuse me while I go grab a coffee, stock up on chocolate, and continue my battle with these Christmas colors that want to defeat me! Not today, Mistletoe, not today…

The Thanksgiving that wasn’t… And the rest of the week too!

I am Canadian. We celebrate Thanksgiving on the 2nd Sunday of October. Our traditions include the usual turkey with all the trimmings. Mashed potatoes, lots of gravy, lots of veggies, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. Canadians also add some yummy traditional fare like tourtiere (a ground meat pie that is awesome), and deserts like tarte au sucre (sugar pie), butter tarts, raisin pie, rhubarb pie, and nanaimo bars. Thanksgiving is a feast, but forget about counting calories!

For weeks later we had leftovers. Turkey stew, turkey soup, turkey a la king, turkey sandwiches. I never got tired of it, and the best part is that in just 2 short months, Christmas was here and the same foods were on the table again!

In the Caribbean, Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated. Not in October, not even in November like the USA. Our next holiday is Divali, then Christmas. I really miss this holiday. More important than the food, family and friends were always around. People are generally friendlier.

So this week my wonderful husband is still on a much needed vacation from work. I love having him home. Love the slower pace. He started vacation on October 3rd, but the first week wasn’t what we planned. We were going to hit a beach or two. Peanut had other plans.

The night before holidays, Peanut came down with a high fever. By next morning the gastro hit. The stomach cramps were severe, and he lost about 5 pounds over the week. Peanut went down to 44 pounds. He was miserable. We were miserable. Thankfully by last Sunday he was feeling a bit better and things were getting back to normal.

Because of this, school took a back seat. We did the basics; some math, some reading. But really nothing else. But am I worried about us now being behind? Nope. I can always squeeze in an extra lesson here and there till we are caught up. This is a great example of how flexible homeschooling is! And the best part is that he’s already 6 weeks ahead in math.

What have I done these past couple of weeks? I’ve finished making my twin daughters their birthday gifts. Now I just have to mail them off soon and hope it gets to them before their birthday. I’ve also started on some other gifts for Christmas. My favorite so far is a really nice scarf. It’s taking me about 2 days to finish one, that’s how intricate and fiddly this pattern is. It’s called the color pooling method, and it’s done in a crochet moss stitch.

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Welcome October

October 1st is the “unofficial” start of autumn to me. Yes, I know officially it’s September 22 this year, but since childhood, September was back to school. October was Fall. The air gets crisp, leaves change their colour, and the squirrels are all frantically storing every nut they find.

Who can resist jumping in a huge pile of leaves? Not me, and I’d still do it given the chance. Memories of fires to burn the leaves, toasting marshmallows, hot cocoa, days a little shorter, nights a little brighter, more stars, even that first morning when instead of dew, there are frozen puddles.

Here in the Caribbean there is no Autumn. In fact there is no Spring, Summer or Winter either. We have Dry season or Rainy season. Right now it’s rainy season. I miss the ebb and flow of the Canadian seasons sometimes.

Also, October 1st is national lace day. I’ve been tatting lace since I was in my early teens. They say it’s a dying art, but in the past few years I’ve seen a small but steady growth in people taking up the bobbins. This extra large tatted lace doily is an example, and it took me six months to make it. It was a Christmas gift for my dad last year.

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And this smaller one took me about 2 months to make, and was another gift.

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