Here come goosebumps. A story on the dark side…

Together Again

 

Sadie ruffles the child’s copper curls before stooping to mop up the pool of milk splattered on the kitchen floor.

 

“I’m sorry, mama,” the timid voice pipes from overhead. Sadie sighs and her brow relaxes at the sight of the small feet dangling above the floor.

 

“It’s ok, Timmy. It was just a little accident. Finish up your dinner now.” As she wrings out the towel above the sink, her eyes dart toward the clock.

 

“Oh, God, he’s gonna be home soon,” she moans under her breath, spinning quickly to clean up the remaining mess. She has almost finished when she hears the front door slam. Her head snaps up and her heart flutters wildly at the thunder of boots against gleaming linoleum.

 

“Well, well. What’ve we here?” The low, lazy drawl slithers across her scalp, around her neck, along her spine, like something dank and reptilian. She scrambles to finish, sopping up the last of the milk, then tilts her chin upward. She blows at a few tendrils of hair that have fallen over her eye and smiles at the bear of a man towering above her.

 

“Oh, this? It’s nothing. I just knocked over Timmy’s milk by mistake. But we’re all good now.”

 

She jumps up quickly and on trembling legs, swivels to rinse the dripping towel at the sink. Attuned to the silence, she runs a dry tongue over her lips.

 

“So, Pete… did you have a good day?”

 

The blow to her head is sudden. It sends her stumbling sideways across the room, the wet towel sailing in the opposite direction to land with a thud by the baseboard. Her hip slams into the floor and the stunning surge of pain steals her breath and makes her curl into herself like a centipede.

 

The drawl becomes a snarl. “Yeah. I had a good day. Till now. Till I came home to my slob of a wife.”

 

Lucidity returns to Sadie in a great gush, at the sounds of the frightened whimpering that’s building in intensity from behind the kitchen table.

 

His roar is a clap of thunder sent down from the heavens, if there is such a place. “You are your mother’s child. Quit your whining, you little wimp. Either shut up or get the hell outta here.”

 

Fear leaches into every pore and parches her throat until she hears the fading patter of Timmy’s Sponge Bob slippers as he dashes down the hall and out the front door. The pool of relief that blankets her is deep and cool and soothing. And it revives her.

 

Swallowing against her nausea, her fingers inch up and over the face of the cupboard door to grip the lip of the counter top as she slowly pulls herself to her feet.

 

“You promised,” she cries softly, dabbing at the warm trickle under her nose with her wrist. “When we got back together, you promised you’d never do this to me again. I believed you.”

 

He weaves toward her, pitching forward until their noses are almost touching. The lingering scent of the woman he was with fills her sinuses and makes her gorge rise. Swaying slightly, he regards her through whiskey eyes that simmer with rage.

 

“You promised!” he apes in a high-pitched squeal. His upper lip curls into a familiar sneer that flushes her veins with ice water.

 

“You’re pathetic,” he spits, and twists away from her.

 

Closing her eyes, she begins to release the breath she’s been holding, as his arm strikes out and a meaty hand grasps her throat. With a mighty shove, he sends her slight body spiraling backward to slam against the kitchen wall. When she finally comes to and can open her left eye enough to clear a narrow path of sight, she sees him hunched at the kitchen table, slack-jawed and snoring. A smoldering cigarette butt burns a brown patch into the linoleum where Timmy’s milk had pooled earlier.

 

Willing herself not to howl with the pain that jackhammers every inch of her body, she pushes and squirms across the floor until, finally, she is resting at her husband’s feet. Slowly, cautiously, she inches her bloodied fingers up beneath his pant-leg to seek out the weapon she knows he has strapped there. He snorts in his drunken slumber but she is certain that he won’t awaken.

 

She releases the safety catch with trembling fingers and strains to pull herself up, leaning against the kitchen table for support. Her lungs are on fire and she takes a few good, rasping breaths before she touches the barrel to his forehead. Gives it a nudge.

 

No games. She pulls the trigger before he’s had half a chance to focus on the blackness in her eyes.

 

She sets the pistol down gently on the table, then crumples to the floor to wait for the help that she knows will eventually come.

 

As she fades into the welcome embrace of the cool, grey shadows, she is laughing inside; laughing and dancing and singing.

 

They will never be together again.

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My own “Hello Spring!” Shawl

Discovered a fabulous shawl pattern at the wonderful crochet site, Jenny and Teddy. It was one of the easiest shawl patterns I’ve made and it turned out wonderful!

Here’s the link to Jenny and Teddy if you want to make one for yourself:

http://www.jennyandteddy.com/2018/02/hello-spring-shawl-free-crochet-pattern/

For my shawl, I changed things up just a bit.

I used Lion Brand’s Shawl in a Ball (I used one and a half skeins, so you’ll need two full skeins if you want to make your shawl even larger). The colour. “Community Coral,” reminded me of a Caribbean sunset.

And I used a 5.5 mm hook, which resulted in a 60” wide x 31” deep shawl.

I love the results, and would like to call out a “thank you” to Jane for sharing her lovely pattern!

Make a Little Luv Baby Sweater using crocheted lace square motifs

I discovered the loveliest crocheted square design called Victorian Lattice Square, designed by Destany Wymor and offered free on her Ravelry page at: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/victorian-lattice-square

The minute I saw it, I decided that I wanted to use it to make myself a lightweight poncho (see the finished poncho in my March 14th post).

After making several squares, it struck me that the first four rounds of the pattern would sure make a cute little motif to put together into a baby sweater. With that thought percolating in my mind, I set aside my poncho project (no, I’m not ADD, but you would think so, the way I jump from project to project!), sketched a rough layout of a baby sweater created from squares, dug some Baby Luv yarn from my stash, and proceeded to make a pile of these motifs. Because they’re so small, they’re quick to make. It only took me a week to make the sweater from start to finish.

In case you’d like to try it, here’s how I made my Little Luv Baby Sweater:

3½” x 3½” Lace Square Motifs
Materials:
1. Any super-fine baby yarn in variegated pastel colors (I used Baby Luv, which you can pick up at Walmart)
2. 6.0 mm hook
3. Yarn needle for weaving in loose ends

How to dc2tog: yo, insert hook in space and pull up a loop (3 loops on hook), yo, pull through 2 loops, yo, insert hook in same space, pull up a loop (4 loops on hook), yo, pull through 2 loops (3 loops on hook), yo, pull through last 3 loops.

Abbreviations: chain: ch / slip stitch: sl st / double crochet: dc / single crochet: sc / double crochet 2 together: dc2tog / space: sp / repeat: rep / yarn over: yo

Motif Pattern: (Make 33 motifs)
Round 1: Ch 4, sl st into first ch to make a ring.
Ch 4 (counts as dc + ch 1); *dc, ch 1; rep from * 10 more times; sl st in 3rd ch of ch-4 to close. [12 dc & 12 ch-1 sps]

Round 2: Sc in next ch-1 sp, ch 1 (counts as first dc); dc in same sp, ch 2; *dc2tog in next ch-1 sp, ch 2; rep from * 10 more times; sl st in first sc to close. [12 dc2tog]

Round 3: Sc in next ch-2 sp; *ch 7, sc in next ch-2 sp, ch 3, sc in next ch-2 sp, ch 3, sc in next ch-2 sp; rep from *, sl st in first sc to close.

Round 4: (Sc, ch 1, 4 dc, ch 2, 5 dc) in ch-7 loop; *sc in next ch-3 loop, ch 3, sc in next ch-3 loop; (5 dc, ch 2, 5 dc) in ch-7 loop; rep from * two more times; sc in next ch-3 loop, ch 3, sc in next ch-3 loop; sl st in first sc to close. Fasten off and weave in loose yarn end.

It’s really easy to connect the motifs into rows as you go, instead of having to sew them together at the end. Here’s how:

To connect motifs as you go (see the numbered photos below): Once you’ve completed your first motif, set it aside and begin working the second motif up to the beginning of Round 4. Work Round 4 like this: (Sc, ch 1, 4 dc, ch 2, 5 dc) in ch-7 loop; sc in next ch-3 loop, ch 3, sc in next ch-3 loop; (5 dc, ch 2, 5 dc) in ch-7 loop; sc in next ch-3 loop, ch 3, sc in next ch-3 loop; *then in next ch-7 loop (1 & 2): 5 dc, ch 1, get the first motif you finished and, with the loop from the ch-1 of your unfinished motif still on the hook, insert the hook into any ch-2 sp (between the 2 sets of 5 dc in a ch-7 loop) of the finished motif, yo pull your yarn through the loop on hook to secure, then ch 1 again, then continue with the second set of 5 dc in the same ch-7 loop of your unfinished motif; (3) sc into next ch-3 loop, then insert hook into ch-3 loop of other motif too and sc again to connect the ch-3 of both motifs, ch 1, then repeat again from * in the next ch-7 loop of your unfinished motif; sc in next ch-3 loop, ch 3, sc in next ch-3 loop; and sl st into the beginning sc to join. Fasten off and weave in loose yarn end.
(1)
These 6 pictures demonstrate attaching motifs corner to corner.
(2) Attaching a new motif to a row. First, attach the corners.
(3) Then, attach the two ch-3 loops.
Then proceed with finishing off the last round of the motif.
Make 2 front panels: Connect a row of 3 motifs, then connect another row of 3 beside them to make the left front panel. Repeat for the right front panel.

Make 1 back panel: For the back panel, connect 3 rows of 3.
Connect each front panel to the back panel at the shoulders. Seam together on the wrong sides by slip stitching with your crochet hook. (If you’d prefer, you can also sew the seam using your yarn needle.)
Make 2 sleeves: Connect 3 rows of 2 motifs for each sleeve.

Then, as shown above, find the mid-point of sleeve and line it up with the shoulder seam of sweater. Use markers or safety pins to attach the sleeve to the sweater body. Turning to the wrong side, seam the sleeve to the body (where the markers are shown) using slip stitching.
Then do the same on the other side of the sweater with your second sleeve.
Below is a shot of the wrong side with everything seamed together.
Next, with right sides still together, fold in half at the shoulder seems and bring the sleeves together. You are now going to sew the sweater together to close the sleeves and sides. Again, I used slip stitching, but you can also sew everything together with your yarn needle, if you prefer.
After everything was seamed, I used plain pink Baby Luv yarn to crochet a border around the sleeve edges, as well as the entire sweater, using two rows of single crochet on the sleeves, and three rows of single crochet around the bottom, front and collar.
Next, I dampened the sweater and blocked it overnight so it would be nice and straight.
Since the style of it is double-breasted, I chose six ¾” buttons and sewed them on as shown below.
I also made a little matching hat embellished with a butterfly!

The good and bad of being an old fart

Ah, the joys of aging! With each birthday that passes, you climb one more rung on the ladder to old-fartdom.

Some of you still have a good distance to go, some are midway along, and some of you have stopped a moment to sit down on a rung near the top because the climb is killing your back.

Regardless of your current position on the ladder, the fact of the matter is that we all start climbing the day we are born.

As someone who’s done her fair share of climbing, I’ve got some good news and some bad news to share about what you can look forward to once you’re well past the halfway mark on your ladder:

First, the bad news…

“Remember when your knees could bend
without that cracking sound?

And the frown lines on your face were there
ONLY when you frowned?

Remember when sensible shoes
were the style old grannies wore,

And you never imagined stairs
could be a mountain-climbing chore.

Remember when you’d drop your keys
and swoop to pick them up,

Without needing a hand from passersby
to help you stand back up?

Remember when you’d grease the wheels
by having another drink?

Now your grease is a tube of Voltaren
used to soothe a new neck kink.

Remember when the scent you trailed
was Chanel Number Five?

What you now save on chic perfumes
you spend on A535.

Remember when you could remember
what you’d been about to say?

When thoughts remained inside your brain
instead of drifting away?

Remember when missing “the pill”
could make your blood run cold?

Instead of nightmares filled with storks,
now it means your cholesterol’s up tenfold.

Remember when a “home” was
what you paid a mortgage on?

Now it’s where you’ll someday be dumped
by your scheming, evil spawn.”

And now, the good news…

“Remember when you used to give a crap
what other people thought?

And believed you had to practice
all the etiquette you were taught?

Remember your shocked concern
if you saw a hair turn grey?

And how you actually worried about your weight
after bingeing at a buffet?

Remember when you’d actually listen
if some young punk said you were wrong?

Now, you answer:
“Bite me, you knuckleheaded schlong!”

And all those senior discounts
couldn’t have come at a better time,

Since you’re sick of being reamed by shops
for every single dime.

Remember when you had to keep
a polished résumé?

Now who cares? You get to sleep in
every single day!

And isn’t it fitting that now the government
must pay your way?

Since they sure cleaned up when you worked full-time
by stealing half your pay.

Yep, growing old has its good days
along with some days we dread,

But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again,
It’s better to be old than dead!”

Purple Power Pom Pom Hat

This is one of the easiest ways to make a hat without working in the round. You basically just make a rectangle that fits around the circumference of your head, seam the ends together to make a tube, then gather the top to close it, add a border, and you’ve got a cute winter hat that you can make in a night or two. I worked in back and front loops only to add texture that would define the stripes on this hat.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Bernat Premium Worsted (198g/7oz/429m/360yds) 1 ball each Lilac (A) and Purple (B)
6 mm crochet hook
Yarn needle for weaving in ends

Back Loop Only: (BLO) / Front Loop Only: (FLO) / Note: Weave in ends each time you fasten off.

Using Lilac, Ch 34.

Row 1: Working in BLO, hdc in third ch from hook (counts as hdc) and in each ch across. Ch 1, turn. (32 hdc)

Row 2: Working in FLO, hdc in same sp as ch-1, hdc in each hdc across. (32 hdc) Fasten off Lilac. Attach Dark Purple with slip stitch in Back Loop of hdc just completed. Turn.

Row 3: Working in BLO, hdc in same sp as slip stitch, and in each hdc across. Ch 1, turn.

Row 4: Working in FLO, hdc in same sp as ch-1, hdc in each hdc across. Fasten off Dark Purple. Attach Lilac with slip stitch in Back Loop of hdc just completed. Turn.

Row 5: Repeat Row 3.

Row 6: Repeat Row 4. Fasten off Lilac. Attach Dark Purple in Back Loop of hdc just completed. Turn.

Row 7: Continue repeating, alternating BLO and FLO every row, and switching colors every two rows until piece is approx. 24” long. End with Dark Purple. (You should have 9 Lilac stripes and 9 Dark Purple stripes in all.) Do not fasten off.

FINISHING

Bring edges together lengthwise, right sides together, wrong sides facing out, and slip stitch to seam together.

Do not fasten off. Turn right side out. (You’ll have a “tube” shape. You’re going to crochet a border at one end and close the opposite end to form your hat.)Border (brim) of hat: Starting from where you’ve ended your seam without fastening off (on the wrong side), single crochet around the edge of the hat as evenly spaced as possible. Use a marker for continuous rounds. Continue single crocheting around until you’ve finished 4 rows. Fasten off and weave in end.
Top of hat: Cut a piece of yarn about 8” long. At the open end of the hat, on the right side, and using your yarn needle, start about an inch down from the top, and thread the piece of yarn in and out of each hdc around, then pull tight to gather closed and tie a secure knot several times. Cut yarn and weave in ends.

No need to make a pom pom since the gathered material at the top of the hat is decorative enough.

Cozy Hooded Cowl Keeps Baby Warm!

I had some colorful, chunky yarn in my stash that I wanted to experiment with, so I decided to make a couple of little baby hoodies. I’ll guess that they would fit a child about 12 months. They are SO warm, soft and cuddly!

You’ll basically crochet a long rectangle, fold it in half, then seam together the edges on one side, starting from the fold and working down about 8 inches. To finish it, you’ll create a border around all the edges, then add fasteners to keep the bottom front closed.

Materials:

  • 8 mm crochet hook
  • 1 ball of bulky yarn in variegated colors, and one ball in a solid contrasting color
  • Yarn needle for weaving in ends

Instructions:

With variegated yarn, ch 69. Turn.

Row 1: dc in third ch from hook and in each across. Turn. (66 dc)

Row 2: ch 3 (counts as dc), dc in next st and in each across. Turn.

Repeat Row 2 five more times. Your rectangle should be approximately 7” wide x 28” long.

Fold in half lengthwise, placing right sides together, wrong sides facing out. Using yarn needle, whipstitch edges together to make a seam where the X’s are shown. Stitch down from the fold about 8”.
It should look like this from the back when you’re finished:
Turn right side out to make your border. Attaching contrasting color at the bottom of your seam, hdc in each st right around entire hoodie. I made it so that it looks like it’s fastened with buttons, but in reality, it just needs to be pulled over the baby’s head. I did this by overlapping one bottom edge over top of the other, stitching them together, and then sewing two buttons on the front just as decoration. You can see what I mean in the photos below. In the blue and green version at the top, I just attached some yarn strings that I’ve tied into bows. You can finish yours however you prefer.

Since Otis is my baby, he was forced to model one!

Warm up with a crocheted Cocoa Tweed Poncho

I really liked the look of Bernat’s brown tweed yarn, so I picked up 2 skeins and decided they would look good crocheted into a poncho. The yarn was really nice to work with, and it did indeed make a nice-looking finished project!

COCOA TWEED PONCHO
Materials:

2 skeins Bernat Premium Tweeds (7oz/198g/360yds/329m) Chocolate Tweed

8 mm hook

Shell = 3 dc in indicated sp

Note: Make 2 panels using the pattern below. I didn’t bother blocking this project since the yarn didn’t seem to need it.

Panel A:

Ch 60 + 2.

Row 1: sc in second ch from hook, *(sk 2 chs, shell in next, ch 2, sk 2, sc in next), rep from * to end, turn.

Row 2: ch 5, sc in first dc of next shell, *ch 5, sc in first dc of next shell), rep from * to last shell, ch 2, sk 2, dc in last st, turn.

Row 3: ch 1, sc in same st as ch-1, *(shell in next sc, ch 2, sc in third ch of next ch-5 loop), rep from * across, shell in last sc, ch 2, sc in top of beg ch-3, turn.

Repeat Row 2 & 3 consecutively for 34 rows (ending with a Row 3), or until your rectangle is approximately 35” long.

Follow directions for Panel A to create your second rectangle (Panel B).

Construction

With wrong sides facing you, use a yarn needle to whipstitch the panels together as shown by the pink X’s.

Next, with wrong sides still facing you, fold the edge of Panel A over to the side of Panel B as shown by the arrows below. Whipstitch to seam together. When you’ve finished, turn right side out and smooth out into poncho shape.

Neckline

For a cleaner look and a better fit, we’ll make a border around the neckline, working on the right side. Attach yarn with a slip stitch anywhere on the neckline, and do an even row of sc around. Instead of joining when you arrive back at your first sc, use a marker and do continuous rounds so there’s no seam line. Do four more rounds of sc, then fasten off and weave in end.

Bottom Border

Also working on the right side, attach yarn with a slip stitch anywhere on the bottom edge, and do an evenly spaced row of sc right around. Again, use a marker and do continuous rounds for a better-looking finish. I did five rounds of sc for my border, but you can continue with more rounds if you want to make the poncho longer. After five rounds, fasten off and weave in end.

Otis wishes everyone a Happy Friday!

“Does this fur coat make me look fat?
…Be
verrrrry careful how you answer that question.”

Sparkle Shawl

On one of my many trips to Michael’s, I discovered Lion Brand’s Shawl in a Ball yarn and absolutely fell in love with the metallic versions, particularly “Prism.” The blend of colors immediately brought back visions of exploring undersea reefs during some of my snorkeling adventures in the Caribbean.I knew right away that I wanted to use Prism to make a shawl that I could throw around my shoulders in the evening on my next cruise or beach vacation and—lo and behold!—a perfect mesh-style crocheted shawl pattern was featured on the label, so I just looked it up at Lionbrand.com. It was probably one of the easiest patterns I’ve ever worked on and is perfect for a beginner.If you Google “sparkle shawl,” the pattern comes up in several places, as well as in a PDF that you can just immediately download, but I’ve also provided the instructions for you below, since I used a 6 mm hook instead of the recommended 5 mm hook because I wanted a more substantial shawl.

Now… I’ve got my shawl—all I need is a plane ticket south!

SPARKLE SHAWL
-Approx. 19” wide x 58” long (unblocked)
-1 skein of Lion Brand Shawl in a Ball (5.3 oz./150 g/481 yd/440 m) Prism
-6 mm crochet hook
-Yarn needle for weaving in ends

INSTRUCTIONS
Ch 83.

Row 1: Dc in fifth ch from hook (4 skipped chs count as dc + ch 1), *ch 3, skip next 5 chs, (dc, ch 2, dc) in next ch; repeat from * to last 6 chs, ch 3, skip next 5 chs, (dc, ch 1, dc) in last ch.

Row 2: Ch 4 (counts as dc + ch 1), turn, dc in first ch-1 space, *ch 3, skip next ch-3 space, (dc, ch 2, dc) in next ch-2 space; repeat from * to last ch-3 space, ch 3, skip last ch-3 space, (dc, ch 1, dc) in beginning ch-sp.

Repeat Row 2 until you’ve used up most of your yarn. Fasten off.

OPTIONAL: I made 4 tassels to place in each corner of the shawl. I’d never made a tassel before, so I watched this video and it was a big help: https://knitting-crochet.wonderhowto.com/how-to/make-tassel-0129500/In looking for something that was the right size to wind my yarn around, I discovered that using the cardboard cover of a pack of Dentyne Ice gum is a perfect tool for making tassels! (Don’t you just love discovering unconventional uses for household items?)To make my tassels, I wound my Prism yarn around the Dentyne cover (lengthwise) 20 times. Then I followed the exact process in the video example.Then, just to take it a little further, I chose four glass beads that I wanted to incorporate; and threaded each bead to the top of each tassel, then fastened each beaded tassel to each corner of my shawl. It was a bit fiddly, but I like the extra glitter. I tied a lot of knots to make sure each was securely fastened.

When all else fails, take a nap

It’s cold and miserable out today. Otis has the right idea.

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