Monday, February 25, 2013

Catan Afghan

 Last fall we started playing The Settlers of Catan.  It's a fun game, in which you get to assemble the board each time from little hexagonal pieces representing different terrains.  We soon expanded with the Seafarers set.  For Christmas, Grandma and Grandpa G sent us the Extension sets so all six of us could play together.  Good times.

And those little hexagons inspired me to crochet a Catan map.  Cthulu Crochet showed me it could be done.  But I wanted an extended seafaring map, with more texture.  So I drew my own.

I decided about what size I wanted my afghan to be (it ended up at 42" x 55"), and figured out that I'd need hexagons that were 6 inches across.  (Learn more about hexagon calculations here.)  I printed some hexagonal graph paper from Incompetech, and made a map based on Scenario 8 from the Catan Seafarers 5-6 Player rule book.  I changed it to fit the proportions I desired, eliminated those useless desert pieces, and moved islands around until I liked it.  I bought some yarn, pulled some out of my stash, and started crocheting hexagons.  With the bulkier yarns, I used the single crochet hexagon pattern from Cthulu Crochet.  With the rest I used the double crochet hexagon pattern by Marie Segares.  Either way, I often needed to make adjustments to reach the 6" measurement.  Sometimes a dc hexagon needed a round of sc to reach the right size.  My Brick hexes needed a round of slip stitch in the back loops.  I did what I needed to meet the measurements.  Some hexagons came out more regular than others.  But they were all pretty quick and fun.

Here is how I made the different types, according to the way I think of the products of each terrain:

I used Lion Brand Hometown USA-Tampa Spice yarn and my N hook to make sc hexagons.
I used Red Heart Light&Lofty-Zebra Stripe and my N hook to make sc hexagons.
I used Lion Brand Homespun-Golden and my J hook to make dc hexagons.
 I'm not sure about the light green yarn--it might be TLC Essentials.  I made the sheep with Red Heart Baby Clouds, by inserting a two-dc popcorn stitch as I made the dc hexagon, I think with the J hook again.
I ran out of one unknown dark green worsted, and used another as well.  I inserted Homespun popcorn trees, as with the sheep.
For the gold ore, I used Red Heart Celebration-Gold/Silver.  It is a narrow yellow yarn, twisted with silver.  I added some light worsted brown yarn, and crocheted them together with the J hook.
 I used Red Heart with Love-Iced Aqua for the water hexes.  It felt nice as I made so many of them.  
Apparently D2 thought a valuable resource was missing from the original game, so he created Cheddar Cheese cards.  If one collects 4 cheese cards, one may build a Cheese Fort.  None of us has managed to accomplish this yet, so I'm not sure what advantage it would impart.  It was fun to make the hex, though, with Red Heart SuperSaver and more Iced Aqua.

When I had crocheted all the land hexes and the nearby water, I spread them out according to my diagram.  I slip-stitched hexes into columns where the flat sides met, then stitched the columns together, lengthwise.  Then I crocheted a border with the Iced Aqua.  I followed the contours of the hexagons, taking the corners according to a Ripple Afghan pattern.  It probably wasn't quite right for the angles I had, and came out a bit wavy after 5 rounds.  But, since it's the ocean, I think waves are appropriate.  This was a fun project, and I'm pleased with the result.
The boys want to create playing pieces to go with it, but for now they're content to be the snugglers of Catan.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine Time

 The younger boys had a good time making their Valentine cards this year.  The themes aren't surprising.  D2 found the perfect penguin and wave pictures online, and arranged them nicely.
The right dragon picture was harder to find.  I encouraged Rollo to draw his own.  He'd lost some confidence in his dragon-drawing skills, but I got him going again.  And I think it turned out well.

Without well-regulated classroom parties to worry about, the older boys didn't bother making any cards.  But D2 supplied Scoot with some extra penguins, just in case.

Have a happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Stash to Treasure: Turtle Samosa Pouch

no turtles were harmed in the making of this samosa
Yesterday I needed a quick craft to do, so I decided to try a Samosa Pouch, following this tutorial.  The shape is so cute, not to mention tasty-sounding.  I pulled out some scraps left over from Rollo's quilt, since I'd always liked the turtle fabric.
It's just right for carrying my keys and ID to the gym or a hockey game.  It'll probably hold my phone and a handkerchief, too.  In fact, my camera fits inside, but it's kind of hard to take a picture of that.
The designer lives in India, and named the pouch after a tasty Indian snack.  The flavor of a samosa was in the back of my mind all the time I was sewing.  The shape reminded Dandelionslayer more of a 4-sided die, known affectionately as a "d4" among role-players, or not-so-affectionately as a "caltrop" by people who find one on the floor with their foot.  

I don't think my little tetrahedral pouch will hurt any feet!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Penguin Blanket

You've met Pengui, haven't you?  He's been D2's nearly constant companion for a couple of years now.  D2 just loves penguins.
 So I decided his quilt should feature his favorite birds.  D2 liked the fabrics with realistic pictures.
I preferred the more abstract batiks.  So I bought both and mixed them with a few other prints in a Disappearing Nine-Patch pattern.
I think I mentioned beginning this quilt; it was quite a while ago.  I didn't finish it that Christmas, nor the next.  But I did complete it early this January.
 I think D2, Pengui, and their new friend Pancho approve.

White Christmas Morning

D2's first grade teacher taught him a major life lesson, one I wish I had learned at his age:  How to Make it Snow.

The secret, she revealed, is to wear your pajamas inside-out.

He didn't take her up on it the first night, but apparently his classmates did, resulting in a snow day the Wednesday before Christmas.  (This was, by the way, the miracle we've all hoped for, and Scoot received: an extra day to finish a major project.  I hope he appreciated it.)

So on Christmas Eve, D2 wore his pajamas inside-out.  So did a friend to whom we sang carols.  And their faith was rewarded with a snowy Christmas morning.  It was lovely.

Here's our lovely Christmas tree.  Can you tell that it's leaning?  Maybe that was just me, not holding the camera quite straight.  But the tree was a challenge.  Dandelionslayer struck quite the bargain for it, and we cheerfully installed it in the living room and dressed it up.  The next morning, I found that the tree had fallen over.  When a tree falls in the darkness with no one to hear, the only sound it induces is an "Oh, no," in the morning.  And then some grunts as people try to fix it.  It turns out that the trunk was quite curved, and narrower than our stand was expecting, so we tried to make it mostly vertical, and shored it up with various wood scraps.  Luckily, it didn't fall over again.  And it was beautiful.  But I don't think Dandelionslayer paid any more than it was worth.

Here they are, full of anticipation, and/or decorated with candy canes.

D2's teacher also taught him to make this adorable snowman ornament, using his own handprint.

Here are a couple of gifts I made:

Tired of carrying plastic bags of drawing materials to church or elsewhere, I sewed a colored pencil roll for the younger boys. 

I more or less followed instructions from Sew Scrumptious and The Pleated Poppy.  It came out a little smaller than I expected; I'll be more careful about seam allowances next time.  But we think it's pretty neat.

I crocheted this dragon for Rollo, using a pattern from ChrysN.  You should follow the link--she used some pretty cool special effects that wouldn't be so practical for a toy.

And this is what Dandelionslayer gave me:  a lightsaber candlestick.  Isn't he romantic?

The younglings couldn't wait to try it out.

Down came the rain, 
and washed the snow away, 
but all the Garden denizens 
had a merry day!