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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Hi and a belated happy New Year to all my crochet friends! Hope this finds you happily crocheting away at something special and fun! 

It has been many months since I have been here... the medical drama continued in a big way from our last chat in November through the present time. The "highlights" include a very serious fall in January which caused a head injury, bruised ribs and a fractured spine. I've also been struggling with my neuromuscular disease, myasthenia gravis, and fighting my insurance company for months to obtain needed medications. In short, my whole winter has been one big medical drama/nightmare. I'll be checking into the hospital later this week to receive more treatment that will hopefully get things on the upswing for me. 

I think it's about time for a contest! Who wants one of my for-sale patterns for free?  It's very simple... all you have to do is give me an idea for a new crochet pattern design! Be specific - don't just say "doily," for example... say something like "3D flower doily of an Iris" or "floral table runner with roses" or whatever your vision dictates. The top three choices I make from your suggestions will win each submitter a pattern! Just email your submission idea to: SheilaSchnauzies@gmail.com.  

You may be aware that the purpose behind my for-sale patterns is to provide a source of funds for my Miniature Schnauzer Rescue, Sheila's Schnauzies. Here is a photo of our latest rescue, Sarge, whose case we took on last October. He was a puppy mill breeding dog who never experienced life as a dog in his 7 years, and was in horrendous medical condition. In December he went to a wonderful forever home! It's why we do what we do.  You can visit his rescue campaign here to read his whole story. 

Sarge, well and happy now!

Although I haven't been writing up patterns nor publishing any for quite some time, I have still been keeping busy crocheting when I can! Here are a few of the things I've completed since November. 

Pearl wearing a sweater I designed out of Bernat's Baby Blanket

A sweater I designed for myself out of an ombre boucle yarn

Work in progress at the time... a blanket i made as a Christmas gift for my new son in law, Russ. I made it about 4.5 feet wide and almost 7 feet long! Done entirely in Bernat Blanket, it was so heavy toward the end that I could barely flip the work each row! But the good news was it was one of his favorite Christmas presents ever and he really cherishes it. 

Rescue boy Sarge wearing a sweater I designed for him using my
PrettiPants pattern. Done in 100% cotton Peaches & Creme.


A gemstone and crystal bracelet I designed for a friend. I'm planning to do a matching necklace. 

If you ever need a special gift for a friend just let me know – I do only custom designs using real gemstones and Swarovski crystals, real sterling, gold or copper hardware. 

Well, that's a few of the pieces I've done. Hopefully there will be lots more when my health improves. The myasthenia affects my eyesight and hand dexterity when it's bad. The arthritis in my hand makes it painful to crochet when it's flared. So I work when I can and am grateful for what I can do! 

If you'd like to pick up some of my free online published patterns, just click here and it will take you to the index of my free patterns. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Just Checking In... My Crochet Hook And I Are Still Here!

It's been a long year. This year started with a shoulder reconstruction and that recovery proceoss lasted for months. Toward the end of winter I started getting cellulitis infections in my legs requiring a couple of hospitalizations. In April while I was in the hospital I was injured by a tray table and ended up with a very serious wound on my lower leg that just will not heal. I've been enduring weekly treatments at a wound care clinic since then. It will take many more months to heal. To be honest it's been a very challenging and difficult year mostly highlighted by intense pain from the leg wound on top of all the normal chronic pain I deal with. It's been rough.

In May, my daughter had her fairytale wedding and my son and his wife relocated to Louisiana.We made a trip down to see them the end of September. In mid-September my best friend of 35 years nearly died and spent about 7 weeks in ICU. Thankfully she's able to be cared for at home now but faces a long, difficult recovery as she is currently paralyzed in her arms and legs.

In October I finished a baby set including two dresses, a hat, booties, a shawl sweater and a blanket. It was done in gray and white sport weight chenille. I also did a blanket for my new nephew out of Bernat's Baby Blanket.

Also recently completed this PrettiPants© outfit for our newest rescue dog, Sarge.

Peaches & Creme Cotton

   
Sarge, our newest rescue - a puppy mill survivor.
See his story at http://www.gofundme.com/Sarge1015

Baby shoes I designed

I've kept sane through all this by crocheting. I haven't been patterning everything up but I did write down patterns for a couple of more special projects. I made a big shawl I intended to wear for my daughter's wedding and ended up not wearing it... but thankfully I designed it so that it can be used as a ginormous heart shaped doily! That project took about 3 months to complete. I still haven't glotten around to blocking and starching it yet. When I do I'll put up a photo. It's done in America's Best Rayon and took 23 balls of the stuff.




Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Crocheting With A Busted Wing!! / March Contest!

Back in late October I was doing one of my favorite things, frying up a mess of fried chicken dinner with all the fixings for company. Just as dinner was going 'critical' I went to wash out one of the chicken skillets at the sink. When I flipped the skillet over to rinse the underside I felt a horrible tearing sensation in my arm, so painful I almost blacked out. It turned out I had ruptured my long biceps tendon in my right arm. After a couple of months my arm and hand function were still not good so my ortho doc ordered a ct scan. That's when I learned I had large full thickness tears in three of the four rotator cuff tendons. Ruh-roh. I was immediately scheduled for surgery for January 28. My very talented surgeon was able to make the needed repairs but told me everything in there is tissue thin. That means I have to have the shoulder immobilized for at least six weeks. At this writing I will have gotten through four of those weeks tomorrow. I just started PT where they are lifting my arm in limited movements. I'm told it's going to be a very long road of many months before I get my arm back.

One of the few good moments about this was figuring out on my 3rd night home that I could crochet!! (I'm allowed to move my hand and wrist as long as I sing lift anything). I started out by crocheting a nice soft bag for my ice packs out of 100% cotton. After that I designed an oven mitt my daughter in law wanted. Then I started a set of placemats for my daughter. After that I found some thread I wanted to make a wedding doily for my daughter's upcoming wedding. I designed and patterned that but I won't be showing it until it's been given to her. Then I started something really major to keep myself busy! It's a round shawl in mint green rayon thread (with a size 10 hook). So far it's up to about 13" diameter.  I figure I have just under 3 months to finish it and I may make it if I work on it nearly every day. 


February Blog Contest Winner!

For February, I asked my readers to suggest a flower for my next doily creation. Many of you submitted flower ideas and I appreciate that! The one that intrigued me most was Liz's suggestion of a Peony flower and I have chosen her entry as the winner. Liz won my "Floral Ornaments To Crochet" e-book and the pattern of her choice from my My For-Sale Crochet Patterns At Craftsy.com site. Congratulations Liz and thanks again to everyone who entered! 

March Contest 

For the upcoming month of March, I need a very special idea from my readers! My daughter is getting married in May. She still needs the "something old" item. I'd like to crochet it, or embellish it with crochet, whatever "it" is! It needs to be something that can be easily worn, carried or sewn into her dress on the inside. She suggested using some of her old baby dresses or some sentimental fabric from another special dress I made for her once. SO... any ideas? Winner will receive the pattern of your choice from my for-sale pattern site and a copy of my "Floral Ornaments To Crochet" e-book (and my undying gratitude!) 

Just leave a comment below with your suggestion and an email where I can contact you if you win! 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Just Off My Hook/Upcoming Surgery/New Blog Contest!

January is half gone and I don't know where it went! I know I have been busy crocheting, which is a great thing. After my long hiatus, I feel energized now and my motivation is back! I just finished crocheting a hat for my son out of Sugar n' Cream which is a liner for his welding helmet or whatever it's called! Made a potholder which is the start of a wedding gift, a kitchen set for a friend of my daughter's. I've finished the two front panels for a vest I'm doing that may eventually turn into a sweater or poncho - not sure yet! It's done in Bernat's Alpaca in the Seaside colorway, a beautiful mint green which is my favorite color right now!

Made two sweaters for little daschund doggie friends of mine for belated Christmas! The red one was designed the way it is so that it can easily be put on and taken off of Lucey, who is disabled. She has a left front leg that is useless and regular sweaters hurt her to put on. Here she is modeling her new sweater (made in Bernat's Blanket chenille) along with her sister Sadey. Sadey's sweater is hard to see because it matches her! Hers is done in JoAnn's Angel Hair in black, with trim done in a yarn called Pelt. It very closely resembles rabbit fur, love it!

Lucey in her new sweater! 

Lucey's sweater slips over her head then the long piece wraps
under her abdomen, comes back up and buttons on top. 

Sadey and Lucey are happy wearing their toasty new sweaters!
Sadey's sweater is a simple slip-on design. 

The next project on my hook is going to be an infinity scarf done in Red Heart's Chic yarn, the one with the pom poms. I'm not sure why, but this yarn confuses the heck out of me just trying to unwind and work with it! I did a scarf out of it for myself in the Shadow colorway and adore it, so it's totally worth the effort... but it took me about an hour to unwind the skein and rewind it into a usable ball. Even then I struggled with the pom poms getting tangled up and creating knots! Sigh... my goddaughter saw my scarf, fell in love with it and just has to have one! So I picked up two skeins of it in black. Although I'm dreading it, at least the yarn feels amazing to work with.

My Red Heart Chic infinity scarf in Shadow (2 skeins). It
is incredibly yummy to wear! 
I'm going to undergo rotator cuff surgery on January 28, would appreciate prayers and good thoughts as I go through this. I have full thickness tears in three of the four rotator cuff tendons, plus a ruptured biceps tendon. I have lost some of the use of my right arm but thank God I can still crochet! Not sure if I will be allowed to for awhile after the surgery. I do know my arm will be in an immobilizer for 4-6 weeks and then I start physical therapy to get it all back.

I think it's about time for a new blog contest, don't you? I want to work on a new doily while I recover from my surgery. I'd like it to be a floral, my favorite thing. SO... leave me a comment indicating what flower you'd like me to feature in my next design. I will select the winner with a drawing. The winner will receive their choice of any one of my for-sale crochet patterns at Craftsy.com AND my Floral Ornaments To Crochet e-book. So think of your favorite flower and enter now! I'll close the contest in two weeks and choose the winning entry.

Happy crocheting, everyone!  xoxo – Sheila


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas Crocheting/A Tiny Brag!


The tiny brag first – I am very honored that author Kathryn Vercilio has featured my work in an article at the About.com crochet website!

I haven't started my annual Christmas 2014 design yet! I haven't had inspiration strike me yet. I guess I just need to do a bit of brainstorming. I'm thinking it may be an ornament this year. Last year was the Christmas Candy Canes Doily.

I started a scarf for myself out of Red Heart's "Chic" yarn last winter and ran out of yarn. I found another skein online a few weeks ago and finished my scarf. LOVE the yummy feel of it! But I admit I find the yarn extremely frustrating to work with. I guess I just don't get the way they wind the skeins. I fought with both skeins trying to untangle them and rewind them into usable balls. Even then, those silly pom poms want to tangle up! But the finished product is so worth it! My fairy goddaughter wants mine so I guess I will have to brave the yarn once more and make one for her.

Red Heart "Chic" Scarf in Shadow

I have been busy designing some Christmas gifts for friends and family, here is one of them... a simple cowl. It's actually just a long strip, I've fastened the overlapped end with a pretty brooch. I kind of like it! It's made out of JoAnn's Rainbow Boucle yarn. It has a nice light feel and a pretty drape to it.

Cowl With Purchased Brooch
My rescue Schnauzer Whizzer is my little old man, he gets so cold and needs to have a sweater on. I had some leftover yarn lying around and whipped up this little sweater for him. It's very soft and he seems to enjoy it!


Whizzer Enjoys His New Cozy Sweater!

I'm still behind on my crocheting - I owe my potholder exchange partner a potholder still! So hopefully will get that done this week and off in the mail.

I've been so busy for the past few months I feel like I've been chasing a whirlwind! The work has been ongoing with editing and tidying up links on the move of over 300 crochet patterns and other articles to the new site. It's nearly complete now and the index now contains correct links.  I'm sorry if you had any trouble accessing my patterns. The auto-link forwarding the new site promised didn't work. If you tried the index and hit bad links trying to find patterns, try again now. They should all be working!

Well, I'm off to crochet something! Hope you are all having fun doing lots of holiday projects! Remember if you need a fast gift, try the Warm Mobius Scarf! You can whip it up in a couple of hours! Or check out my pattern index for other ideas.



Sunday, November 2, 2014

New Location For My Free Patterns!

I have changed the location of all my free patterns on the internet after the closing down of the Squidoo.com site where they were previously housed. All of my patterns can now be found at HubPages.com. The link to my pattern index is here. If you have any trouble getting to a specific pattern from the index, you can drop me an email at sheilaschnauzies@gmail.com. There may be some of these issues until I get through the process of editing several hundred articles I had to relocate to HubPages. But all of the patterns are available and all you have to do is drop me an email if you have problems.

After several months of what I can only describe as "medical hiatus," I finally have a new design to share! Just in time for Thanksgiving, it's my "Pecan Pie Potholder." It can be a single thickness decorative potholder or a double thickness usable potholder.

I tried to design the stitches to look like pecans as best I could. The yarn part was easy – Peaches n' Creme has an awesome new brown variegated yarn that I used. It was fun designing the piecrust edging. This was designed for my potholder exchange partner who will be receiving the prototype in the mail this week! I hope she enjoys it...



Pecan Pie Potholder Front Side

Pecan Pie Potholder Back Side

Right now I am in the middle of designing a little purse designed to be worn as a belt (or could be a cross-body as well). It's out of Premier Yarns Jeweltones in the Moonstone and Opal color ways. I'm trying to design it to hold my own specific essentials for when I want to travel light without the "big purse." We were out at a wonderful campfire recently at my son's house and there I was, lugging "Betsy" the purse out there. It seemed silly somehow!

I'm hoping to make a little cowl out of the same yarn as the purse to go with the fingerless gloves I made out of it last winter. I really adore this yarn!

Hope all of you are having fun crocheting something wonderful!




Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Feels Great To Be Crocheting Again... Or, A Little Mess Is A Good Thing!

I've always thought of crocheting as "pick-up work" – something I can keep beside my favorite chair and pick up whenever the mood strikes. Well, when my leg injuries back in March happened, I had coincidentally made one big change in my environment! At around that same time, I'd just finished doing a big clean-up of my work area (which is a large corner of my living room, at present). I put absolutely everything away where it belonged in the craft room. No more being surrounded by bags of yarn. My crochet hooks all neatly organized in a holder on my desk rather than stuck into various projects in the works. I quickly found myself being hesitant to drag anything out in order to avoid making a mess! So rather than crocheting to distract me from the pain I was going through, I was doing other things... nonproductive ones, like eating junk food and watching a lot of TV! No wonder I kept feeling more and more awful.

A few days ago I managed to get hurt yet again. It was a beautiful Saturday morning and I was out on the back patio "putzing" around in my containers of flowers and veggie plants. I barely bumped into the side of a big container with my leg, and ended up with a 7 X 1 cm. laceration, just half an inch above the topmost prior injury we've been trying to heal up for months. It was, and is, a big setback. It means another 4-6 months before this one will close up and heal. More pain, more frustration... but I'm going to deal with this one differently. I'm going to deal with it the same way I dealt with all my surgeries and everything else I've gone through - I'm going to crochet, design, and write.

A Sunflower For Betty Potholder
I started with my "to-do" list. I belong to a monthly potholder exchange group for fun. I still owed a partner a potholder for May, another for June, and here July is looming with another deadline. I also have some crocheted snowflakes I've promised to folks. I knew my May partner liked sunflowers, so I got my favorite hook out and got to work. The result, a couple of days later, is "A Sunflower For Betty." It can be used made double thickness as I did for a potholder, or it could be used as a round floral motif for something else. I hope she will like it! I'm planning to get it patterned up and published as one of my free patterns after I get the rest of my "to-do's" done. People are waiting, after all!

A Sunflower For Betty Potholder Back Side
I think I will learn to live with just a little mess surrounding me. It's always "how I've rolled" and I need to have pick-up work where I can instantly get to it.

As I write this, I have my idea for the June potholder and have started crocheting on it! I'll come back here and show you when it's done.

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