Rare Diease Day 2013

Normally I really would post anything like this, but today is about those millions of people including myself who live with a rare disease everyday of their lives.

Believe it or not, I do suffer from a very rare disease called Klippel-Feil Syndrome. It is a rare disorder defined as the congenital fusion of any 2 of the 7 cervical (neck) vertebrae. Or in my case I have multiple fusions. I'm sure you can notice the short neck in my picture.

There are multiple associated conditions with KFS and the list is LONG, but for me a couple are fused ribs, kidney abnormalties(I only have 1) and Sprengels Deformity.

Sprengel's deformity is also a rare congenital skeletal abnormality where a person has one shoulder blade that sits higher on the back than the other.

I was diagnosed at just 8 weeks old, but almost 23 years later, I don't let it get in the way of living my life or let it get in the way of me doing what I love to do. I just buckle down through the pain and difficulties, and deal with it the best I can :)

No one is perfect, and those of us who have these rare diseases are not any different, we just have a little bit more difficulty than others, and that's ok :)

So in honor of those you know who deal with these rare diseases, wear a skeleton key today as I am for myself and others!


Ripplesome Ripples

Look at those amazing ripples! I love crocheting this pattern, its simple, and very soothing, but playing with different colors, is a lot of fun. There's something magical and mesmerizing about the way the ripple effect makes the colors sing and dance next to each other, and it's a pattern I can see myself coming back to over and over again.

When I made my first ripple baby afghan earlier this year, I followed a pattern on Handcrafting with Love's website and I have to say at first I didn't care for how far the ripple "mountains" were. And so I made some changes and did my own version of that pattern to share with everyone, using some inspiration by the one on Handcrafting with Love's website.

To start out, you need to crochet your foundation chain. It should be in multiples of 28, plus an extra 3 added on for turning. I would  advise that before you begin any ripply project to make a small sample just so you get a feel of the pattern. For this example make a chain of 31 (28+3) as I'm doing which will give you an idea of how it forms.

Once you are sure you've got the right number of chains to begin, make sure you count carefully as you make them, make a double crochet (dc) in the 4th chain from the hook. See in the above picture I've stuck my needle in there so you can see where to go. You should put your hook under both loops of the chain stitch, and for your beginners, a double stitch is:

yarn over, insert hook into stitch, yarn over, bring hook back through stitch(3 loops on hook). Yarn over, draw through 2 loops(2 loops left on hook), yarn over and draw through remaining 2 loops. There is your double stitch.

For those beginners, I remember how difficult working the foundation chain was. I can remember almost giving up when faced with doing this. If you look at the above photo, I've stuck my needle in to show you where the next dc will go.

Ok, back to the pattern, you should have just made 1 dc into the 4th chain from the hook. Now make 1dc into each of the next 4 chains, as pictured above, so there are 5 in total (plus the chain-3).

Next you will be working a standard decrease stitch, know as dc2tog (double two together). This is where you work 2 incomplete dc's, joining them into 1 stitch at the finish. So here it is in plain English:

Yarn over, insert hook into stitch, yarn over, hook back through stitch (3 loops on hook).
Yarn over, draw through 2 loops (2 loops on hook, as pictured above)

Now yarn over and insert hook into the next stitch (yes the next stitch), yarn over, hook back through stitch (4 loops on hook, as pictured above).

Yarn over and draw through 2 loops (3 loops left on hook, as pictured above)

Yarn over and draw through all three loops to finish the stitch (picture above).

That whole thing is a dc2tog (double crochet two together)

Now you need to make two of these dc2tog's, so go ahead and do that whole same thing again in the next two stitches.

Are you ok so far? Awesome! Let's move on shall we :)

Work 1dc into each of the next 4 chains (picture above)

You have now worked what I call the "valley", with the 4dc's making the sides and the dc2tog's making the valley bottom. Now time to make the "mountain".

Work 2dc's into the next chain.
And again, work 2 more dc's into the next chain.

These four stitches make the top of the "mountain", can you see in the above picture, the way it makes a V when 2 stitches are worked out of one?

I find it really helps when working a ripple pattern to be able to recognize what the decrease and increase stitches look like. Because when you are working this pattern it's sometimes very useful to be able to look back over the row you've just made and see how the pattern has formed, to check for mistakes (which I still make a ton of and have to go back and undo it all and redo it).

OK, after your two lots of 2dc increases on the mountain you need to make 1 tr crochet into each of the next 4 chains.

Then work a dc2tog decrease, and then another dc2tog decrease (the valley again).

Then make 1 dc into each of the next 4 chains.

And finally, if you've done it right, you should have 1 chain left at the end of your foundation chain. Make 2dc's into this last chain to end the row.

I've drawn a little diagram above there, underneath the first row so you can get a feel for the pattern visually, to see how the ripples are formed.

Row 2, same color.

Chain 3

Make a dc stitch in the same stitch, see where I've stuck my needle to show you where to go?

Now follow this pattern, exactly as before:

Make a dc stitch into each of the next 4 stitches.

dc2tog (decrease)
dc2tog (decrease)

Make a dc stitch into each of next 4 stitches.

2dc's into the next stitch (increase)
2dc's into the next stitch (increase)

Make a dc stitch into each of next 4 stitches.

dc2tog (decrease)
dc2tog (decrease)

Make a dc stitch into each of next 4 stitches.

If you started out with 31 stitches, you should have reached the end of the row now. Two more stitches to go.

You now need to make 2dc's into the top of the chain-3 from the previous row. See in the above picture where I've stuck my needle to show you where to go?

This chain can often be quite tight, you may have to work hard to wiggle your hook into that little hole.

Joining a new color is as easy as pie:
Work the last dc of the two dc to the point where only 2 loops are left on the hook, like the photo above.
Wrap the cut of the new yarn around the hook, from back to front, and draw the new yarn through the 2 loops on the hook.

All rows from now on will be the same. So let's move on to row 3:

Chain 3, then make 1 dc into the same stitch like the previous row.

Now work the following:

1dc into each of the next 4 chs
1dc into each of the next 4 chs
2dc into the next ch
2dc into the next ch
1dc into the next 4 chs
1dc into each of the next 4 chs
2dc into the top chain of the chain-3 from previous row.

And that's all to it folks.

Did you manage to get it? Wasn't to bad was it? :) Now keep on going, make a long chain! Just make sure your chain is 28 chains plus that extra 3 for turning!

Good luck and have a blast making some ripplesome ripples! :)


What I've been working on...

Good Monday afternoon everyone :) It's been a little while since I last posted, but I've been so busy with whipping up some beautiful crochets and knits to share with you all.

It seems that I make a ton of afghans, but it is still very much winter here in Ohio!

 But my wonderful husband is awesome and bought me my favorite flowers for Valentine's Day, so these are telling me that Spring is right around the corner!

Speaking of Valentine's Day, I hope everyone had a great day with their sweethearts :)

So these past few weeks, I've been working on a couple afghans, one for me, yes for me for once :) and another for my little nephew Shayne.

I made this warm beauty for myself :) It's made out of 6 different colors of Lion Brand Jiffy, and oh my is it warm :) And it was so easy to make! I'll throw up some tutorials of some of this stuff I've made soon, I promise :)

This next blanket, hurt my hands, and I'm only 22! The "puff" stitch takes a lot of work lets just say that.

Alphabet puff stitch afghan :) And little Shayne already likes it. I kinda messed up at the bottom there with the puffs not reaching the end, but for being my first time making something like this, I think it looks mighty swell!

A newborn diaper wrap shirt...

diaper cover to match the shirt...

a beanie to match the shirt and diaper cover...

And what do you get???

 A adorable newborn outfit :) Now I just need a baby to model this on! Ohhh, someday I'll have my own to make a ton of pretty things for :)

Now, how about a look at what I'm working on now?

Another afghan :) it is winter after all and nothing better than cuddling up with a nice warm blanket! Give me a few days and it'll be complete!

Hope you all enjoyed what I had to share today. I will have more, promise, and tutorials :)