Thursday, February 23, 2017

Free Pattern -- Flower Power Granny Square Quilt


Granny square afghans have always been a favorite of mine; not only are they colorful, but they satisfy my thrifty nature. 

As a child of parents who were young adults during the Great Depression, "use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without" was more than a saying--it was a way of life.

I made this afghan to use up the leftovers from other knitting projects. As I worked, I jotted down the steps I took so that I could share the pattern with you.


This is what I call the "Rose block". I prepared the samples with just one color of yarn so that you could easily see the stitches and how the blocks are made.










This is the "Daisy Block". 






And this is a close-up of the afghan.



To complete this project you will need to know how to create a chain stitch, single crochet, and double crochet. Just those three stitches.
Here are the directions for completing the two blocks:

Abbreviations:
SC – single crochet
DC – double crochet
YO – yarn over

Materials:
Worsted-weight yarn in colors of your choice
Crochet hook size G


Block with 6-Pointed Rose in Center
Chain 6. Join with slip stitch to form ring.

ROW 1 - Chain 3 (counts as first DC), then work 2 DC, holding back last loop of each stitch. YO and pull through all loops as once to form a cluster stitch. *Chain 5, create cluster stitch by working 3 DC in next stitch, holding back last loop of each DC. YO and pull through all loops at once to form a cluster stitch. Repeat from * 4 more times. End with Chain 5 and join at top of first cluster stitch. Change yarn to different color.

ROW 2 - Slip stitch to first Chain 5 loop. Chain 3 (counts as first DC). Work 4 more DC’s in Chain 5 loop. *Chain 1. Work 5C’s in next Chain 5 loop. Repeat from * 4 times more. Chain 1 and join at top of first Chain 3. Change yarn to different color.

ROW 3 – Slip stitch in any stitch. Chain 3 (counts as first DC). Work 1 DC in each DC in the round below and 2 DC in each Chain 1 loop. Join with slip stitch at end of round. (42 stitches) Change yarn to different color.

ROW 4 – Slip stitch in any stitch to begin round. *SC in the first 2 stitches; 2 SC in next stitch. Repeat from * all around to complete row.  Join with slip stitch to join. (56 stitches). Change yarn to background color.

ROW 5 – Slip stitch in any stitch to begin round. Chain 3 (counts as first DC). Work 1 DC in each of the next 2 stitches. Chain 1, 1 DC in each of the next 3 stitches. *Chain 4, skip next stitch. *Work 1 DC in each of the next 3 stitches, chain 1, 1 DC in each of the next 3 stitches. Repeat from * 4 times. Chain 4. Slip stitch to join. Break off.


Block with 12-Pointed Daisy in Center
Chain 6. Join with slip stitch to form ring. Chain 1.

ROW 1 – Work 12 SC in ring. Join with slip stitch to join. Change yarn to different color.

ROW 2 – Chain 5 (counts as 1 DC and chain 2). *1 DC in next stitch, chain 1. Repeat from * 10 times. Chain 1. Slip stitch to join. Chain yarn to different color.

ROW 3 – Slip stitch to first chain 2 loop. Chain 3, then work 2 DC in same stitch, holding back last loop of each stitch. YO and pull through all loops as once to form a cluster stitch. *Chain 4, create cluster stitch by working 3 DC in next stitch, holding back last loop of each DC. YO and pull through all loops at once to form a cluster stitch. Repeat from * 10 more times. End with Chain 4 and slip stitch in top of first cluster stitch to join. Change yarn to different color.

ROW 4 – Slip stitch in any chain 4 loop. Work 4 SC in each loop. Slip stitch to join. Change yarn to background color.

ROW 5  – Slip stitch in any stitch to begin round. Chain 3 (counts as first DC). Work 1 DC in each of the next 2 stitches. Chain 1, 1 DC in each of the next 3 stitches. *Chain 4, skip next stitch. *Work 1 DC in each of the next 3 stitches, chain 1, 1 DC in each of the next 3 stitches. Repeat from * 4 times. Chain 4. Slip stitch to join. Break off.

A granny afghan can be made any size--from lap quilt up to California King bed (if you're really ambitious). Here is a layout of the afghan I made--in each hexagon R stands for the "Rose block" and D stands for the "Daisy block".


To complete the afghan you can sew the blocks together, or join the blocks as you complete Round 5

You may single crochet around all 4 sides of your completed afghan to create a smooth, finished edge, or if you want your afghan to look like my example, use the chevron method to add 6 rows of single crochet for a wide border.

Good luck! 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Happy Valentines Day

A few years ago we awoke to find a light dusting of snow on the grass and trees. What a beautiful sight. And then we looked out onto the driveway. 

The tire tracks from our newspaper delivery had created this amazingly perfect design--two intertwined hearts. 

What a perfect image for the start of Valentine's Day.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

"Best" Homemade Chocolate Cake


Last week we celebrated our older daughter's birthday. Today we celebrate...ME! Needless to say, this post will be rather short -- there's a cake to be baked! This recipe (from the back of a can of Hershey's unsweetened cocoa powder) was my favorite when I was growing up, and is still in my Top 10 today. 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Hershey's unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans or one 13x9-inch cake pan and set aside.
  3. Combine unsweetened cocoa powder and boiling water in small mixing bowl. Set aside to cool.
  4. Meanwhile, cream sugar and shortening in large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Blend in eggs, one at a time, until thoroughly combined. Stir in vanilla.
  5. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda; add one half of these dry ingredients to the shortening/egg mixture. Beat until blended. 
  6. Add one half of the buttermilk and blend in. Add the remaining dry ingredients and remaining buttermilk. Beat 2 minutes.
  7. Blend in the chocolate mixture and stir until thoroughly combined and no streaks remain.
  8. Pour into prepared pan(s). Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cake is done when cake begins to pull from sides of pan and toothpick inserted in center of cake is not wet--just a few moist crumbs should adhere to the toothpick.
When the cake is completely cooled, ice with your favorite frosting or dust with powdered sugar.



Saturday, February 4, 2017

Super Bowl Sunday


Super Bowl Sunday - When my team is playing, I love Super Bowl Sunday. Unfortunately, this year "the other guys" are the star of the show. But not all is lost. We can still enjoy the Puppy Bowl, Kitty Half-Time, the Budweiser ad, and (best of all) the food.

Here is one of the dishes that will be in my oven on Sunday:


Seafood Nachoes


On a heatproof platter, layer the following ingredients in the order given:



  • tortilla chips
  • chopped green chilies
  • chopped, seeded tomato
  • sliced ripe olives
  • minced green onion
  • canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • cooked shrimp and/or imitation crab flakes
  • shredded Cheddar or Jack cheese
Repeat layers once. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven until heated through and cheese is melted. Serve with sour cream and guacamole.