Sunday, May 22, 2016

Knitted American Flag Wreath

American Flag Wreath

I was inspired by a couple versions of this American Flag wreath, but didn't quite like every aspect of each one, so I made my own pattern combining the best of all worlds.

Kara's crochet wreath at Petals to Picot is beautiful! But I prefer knitting to crochet myself. Also, to be authentic, there should be exactly 13 stripes for the 13 original states, 7 red and 6 white (nevermind that a wreath is not flag-shaped at all!).

Kristen has a knit version of the American Flag wreath at Studio Knit. However, the straight stockinette stitch isn't too exciting and the felt stars aren't knit. And 14 stripes - nope!

Both of these wreaths are 12" and I also wanted a 16" wreath to put on a door. To keep the cost down, I went with the old reliable Red Heart Super Saver yarn in Soft Navy, Cherry Red and White. For variety, I chose the rice stitch, super simple with an interesting texture. I loved the crochet stars, so I dusted off my crochet skills to utilize Kara's pattern.

Here are the supplies:

Red Heart Super Saver Jumbo Yarn Soft Navy
Red Heart Super Saver Jumbo Yarn Cherry Red
Red Heart Super Saver Jumbo Yarn White

Floralcraft Extruded Styrofoam Wreath 16"

Here's the pattern, using size 8 (5mm) knitting needles:

Starting with the red yarn, cast on 25 stitches. Use the following rice pattern throughout:
  • Row 1: Purl 1, *knit 1 through the back loop (tbl), purl 1. Repeat from * across.
  • Row 2: Knit across
For the striping, alternate 12 rows of red with 12 rows white for 13 stripes, ending with red.  The striped portion should cover about 2/3 of the wreath circle. Finish with 70 rows of blue. Fit over the foam core to check the length and then join the blue to the red using a three needle bind off on the back side.

For the stars, use the white yarn, an I-9 (5.5mm) crochet hook and work in the round:
  • Make a magic ring.
  • Work *1 sc into ring, 1 dc into ring, ch 2, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook, 1 dc into ring.
  • Repeat from * 4 more times.
  • End with 1 sc into ring and join.
Attached the stars to the blue portion using the yarn ends from the stars before putting it on the foam core. Space the stars tightly as they will "spread" after installing of the foam core. I couldn't get 13 stars to fit, so here it is with 10. Attach the flag to the wreath using a mattress stitch on the back side (it should reach all the way around).

It looks great on our door!

American Flag Wreath on Door

However, this is one of those projects where the journey was far more interesting that the destination. While I was in the midst of making the stars, we often put the round flag portion around our necks as it made a perfect cowl or infinity scarf. So up next is an American Flag scarf, especially with all that leftover yarn! This scarf is being knit in a 1x1 rib as the rice stitch curls a bit.

American Flag scarf in progress

It's a lot easier to explain to people when they ask that I'm knitting an American Flag scarf as opposed to an American Flag wreath. Or if I get tired, a Where's Waldo scarf!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Legacy of Card Games

Wysiwyg in the cards

We've always tried to institute "Family Game Night", but that rarely happens, with the kids' crazy schedules, especially now that Adam is in high school and has a girlfriend (!!?!!). But there's always time for a card game with them and sometimes a cat too.

Apparently lots of people believe in playing card games and passing it on to their children. Here are two examples from This I BelieveMy Legacy of Playing Games and The Cards Will Hear You.

Growing up, I played a few card games with friends, but having no siblings, I mostly spent time making up my own Solitaire games. When I went to college, I spent many hours playing Cribbage and Canasta with a friend who was also an only child but was fortunate to play with her grandmother. By the time I started work, I got hooked on Hearts and Spades, getting really good at counting cards. I loved the rush of shooting the moon in Hearts, hence my username, moonfever0, as well as bidding a zero hand in Spades. Our games were mostly civilized but sometimes borderline violent!

Violent card games? Here's a play-by play of one of our cribbage games becoming violent:
  1. Adam (in green) and Dova (in red) were tied for the lead at 114 (back pegs as shown).
  2. I (in blue) was trailing at 107 (not shown).
  3. I led off with 7.
  4. Dova also played a 7, giving her 2 points for the pair (red peg as shown).
  5. Adam played another 7, giving him 6 points for the double pair and landing him in the dead hole closest to the finish (green peg as shown).
  6. I came back triumphantly with the last 7, giving me 12 points for the four of a kind (back blue peg).
  7. It was a Go for Dova, and a Go for Adam, and then I put down a 3 for 31, 2 points and the win (blue peg in the winning hole)!
  8. At this point, Adam kicked Dova for the first 7 she put down and she flew off the bed (bed shown in the first photo). All mayhem ensued!
  9. I quickly grabbed the board so I could photograph this momentous occasion! (no players were actually harmed)
Cribbage sudden death

Just because card games are low tech, doesn't mean that the kids can't find high tech ways to cheat. Once when I was a work, the kids were playing 3-way spades with the nanny, and I got this text message exchange from Dova:

When Adam got wind that I saw Dova's hand, he texted:

At least I never lied to Adam. Without doubt, Dova overbid and ending up sandbagging two points.

Playing cards clearly sharpens their minds and teaches them life lessons on losing gracefully (still working on that!). Most importantly, it gives them a lifelong activity that they can pass down to their children too. Long live card games!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Crochet Mini Stocking POP!

Crochet Christmas Stocking Pop!

Eight years ago, I embarked on a pursuit to create hand-knit ornaments as gifts. That lasted exactly two pairs of mini-mittens, which both ended up on our Christmas tree.

Dova models mini-mittens

Yes, that's chubby Dova 8 years ago!

I gave up the notion of giving away hand-knit ornaments, but when I saw the Mini Stocking POP! pattern by Vickie Howell on Jo-Ann fabrics for crochet stockings, I was more than game to add to our own knit ornament collection.

Their pattern calls for two colors, but I simply used all the colors from the extra yarn for Dova's Crochet American Girl doll blankets and came up with the one you see here. It was fun and easy to make, a little weird around the heel, but no one's going to wear it, so no matter!

Merry Christmas everyone!
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