Project Linus Blanket #37

Project Linus Blanket #37

Project Linus Blanket #37 7-15-21 - Minions


This was my vacation crochet. I worked on it in the car, out by the pool, and in the evenings when we were just hanging out. It was a last-minute pick and I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out.

I follow Creative Grandma on YouTube and saw her video about one of her latest afghans, the Sunny Day Shell Afghan. I thought it might make a nice blanket for Project Linus. Glenda used a variegated yarn and for some reason some of the yarn I had purchased a while ago popped into my head.

Magic Light Mixed Lot

I had purchased a mixed lot of Ice Yarn’s Magic Light. This is a #3 100% acrylic yarn and I really enjoy working with it. You can’t see much of it, but there were some yellow-gold and blue-turquoise skeins that I wound. I grabbed a bunch of these and off I went.

Project Linus Blanket #37 Detail

In the original pattern Glenda used a #4 yarn with a J (6.00mm) hook. Since I was using a #3, and I didn’t want too many holes, I went with a H (5.00) hook. Also, the pattern calls for 10 – 7oz skeins of yarn. I kept track of how much yarn I used while I was making it. Umm.. I only used 18.4oz. I stopped crocheting when I did because I was afraid that if I added more I would make the blanket way too long when compared to its width.

It’s not a very big one, but it’s okay. As I started crocheting I got three rows in and I almost ripped it all out. I decided to keep going and I’m glad that I did. I will probably use this pattern again, but next time with either a bigger hook or a #4 worsted yarn. In the meantime, I at least managed to use 18 oz of yarn that otherwise would have just sat in my stash!

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More 3D Wooden Puzzles

Last week we went to my sister’s house for vacation. It was time for us to kick back next to her pool and just enjoy ourselves.

Reading by the Pool 7-8-17

Although we don’t have children, I always have to prepare activities ahead of time to keep Jay occupied while he’s away from his work bench. This includes finding audiobooks to listen to in the car (topics that he will enjoy… no Jane Austen 😦 ), and this year I prepared for evening down time and possible rain days by purchasing more of the 3D wooden puzzles. My main criteria for choosing these were to get ones that a) he hadn’t already assembled b) would be interesting enough for Jay to want to put together and c) had as many pieces as possible.

One of the puzzles that Jay had been wanting was the Wood Trick Assault Gun AR-T.

AR15 Puzzle 2021

It was the first one that he chose to assemble. The first night we were there. This is why I had to keep it hidden before we left on vacation.

Even if you’re not a fan of guns I sure hope you can appreciate the detail that this company puts into their puzzles. Not only do you build the gun, but you also assemble the magazine that holds 12 rounds and the 44 bullets that they include in the kit.

AR15 Puzzle Magazine

They actually do shoot out of the gun, but at a very anemic rate. I seriously think the only way you could get hurt by one of these bullets is if you stepped on it bare-footed after it fell out of the gun’s barrel. Jay has plans to see if he can increase the tension on something or another to get it to shoot the bullets a little farther.

No matter which kit you’re looking at, I really love the detail that goes into the pieces.

AR15 Puzzle Safety

Here you can see the safety plus the warning to wear eye protection. “You’ll shoot your eye out!”

AR15 Puzzle Cartridge Ejection

On the other side you can see the magazine ejection button, plus the door that flips down for the cartridges to be ejected (although, there aren’t any ejected cartridges on this model).

AR15 Puzzle Scope

It also has a scope mounted on the top with a charging handle that actually moves to advance the bullet into the chamber (please forgive me if I am using incorrect terminology… I’ve only heard these terms used a few times).

AR15 Puzzle Extended

If that wasn’t enough, the butt stock actually pulls out, too.

I think this is one of Jay’s favorite puzzles so far. When I asked him what his favorite part of this puzzle was, he replied that it looks and acts just like a real AR-15 (except for the velocity of the bullets as they are fired, of course). His least favorite part was all of the toothpicks. There were a LOT of them.

The next puzzle he assembled was the UGEARS 3D Research Vessel.

Scientific Research Ship 2021

This wasn’t one he had on his list, but it had a LOT of pieces. Also, I told him it reminded me of the ship that was used to locate the Titanic. It even has its own little ROV guy.

Scientific Research Ship ROV

This has a working crane and a floor cavity with opening lids.

Scientific Research Ship Other Side

I think it’s also supposed to move when you wind it up, but Jay didn’t feel like messing with it to get it to move correctly. There was something just slightly off and he was just assembling it to keep busy at this point.

This does have a lot of neat details like the rivets on the side of the walls and other little details lasered into the wood.

Scientific Research Ship Bridge

Plus it included thread for railings and even little life savers that you assembled.

Scientific Research Ship Rails

Jay saved the other two to work on when we got home. One of them was a Railroad Crossing Gate.

RR Crossing Puzzle 2021

I was hoping this would be the same rail gauge as his train he got for Christmas, but after building this is looked a lot narrower. Which is too bad because the gate also comes with about 16 feet of track!

RR Crossing Puzzle 2

The last one that I bought Jay was a rubber band pistol. Jay actually started this one today, so I’m sure it will be done before I’ve finished this post. You’ll have to wait for pictures, though.

So that’s it! That’s how I kept Jay busy while we were at my sister’s. He gets grumpy if he’s away from his work bench for too long, so this was a way to keep him busy.

If you haven’t tried any of these puzzles I highly suggest that you pick one up. There are so many different ones that you should be able to find something that fits both your tastes and skill level. You never know… you might discover a new interest/obsession!

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Project Linus Blanket #36

Project Linus Blanket #36:

Project Linus Blanket #36 Wrong Kind of Diamond 6-17-21

“Wrong Kind of Diamond”

You might recognize this yarn. It was used in my last Project Linus blanket. It is Red Heart’s Bunches of Hugs. I was hoping to use up all of this yarn that I have on hand, but I still have about a skein and a half. I’m going to put it in my stash and use it farther down the road. I’m not fond of it. Especially since I could never find the center pull end on either of the blue skeins that I purchased. It rather irritated me.

I used the Tulip Fields Afghan pattern, but instead of doing flower blocks I just made them all solid. This is actually an interesting way to use up yarn. The biggest pain is just sewing the blocks all together at the end. When I had finished the last block I was somewhat happy. Then I realized I still had a lot of sewing to do, so I was no longer happy.

Project Linus Blanket #36 Detail

I used a single crochet join and did my best to line up the blocks before joining them. It just didn’t work out the best. There are a few large spaces here and there. Oh well.

I know one thing, it’s going to be a while before I make another blanket that requires you to sew blocks together. I think I’ll head back to my ripples again.

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A Beer Cooler, Too

After making a third practice lunch bag I decided that maybe I knew what I was doing, so I gathered my materials, my patterns, and started cutting out the insulation pieces.

Lunch Bags Insulation

That’s almost enough for 24 lunch bags. I’m waiting for more ultra firm stabilizer to show up in the mailbox, and I used a few pieces on another project. I only ran into one problem when cutting out the pieces from the InsulBright. I had used an air-erasing marking pen, but you usually get three or four hours before it starts disappearing. And some pens don’t disappear at all. Well, I spent an hour and a half tracing out all of the patterns. As I started to cut them out I noticed my lines were beginning to disappear. YIKES!

Luckily, Jay came in the room at that point and I asked him if he could please help me because I had a “beat the clock situation” happening. I could hear the Mission Impossible theme playing. Thank goodness for Jay because we managed to get them all cut out just in time!

You would think that 24 lunch bags would be plenty to keep me busy. Nope. Saturday morning as I was sitting with my crochet it suddenly hit me that I could probably modify the pattern to be tall enough to fit a six pack of beer bottles. Not only that, but I could personalize it for Jay by cutting a piece of New England Patriots quilting cotton fabric to cover the front panel. I ran the numbers, I used my slide rule, and then I double checked on my scientific calculator. Yep, I was pretty sure it would work.

I cut out my pieces and started sewing with the 403A.

Singer 403A

I managed to get most of it sewn together by Saturday evening. I decided to finish it up after I detailed Jay’s car on Sunday. It was very hot and humid, so I also showered and napped, too.

After my nap I sat down to sew. I figured it should only take me a few hours. Then the machine started to irritate me (which really wasn’t difficult that day). I couldn’t get it to sew at a slow pace! I would slowly press on the pedal, but instead of the usual motor engagement and then needle movement it would just suddenly take off on me. This is not good if you’re traying to manhandle a large piece of insulated cooler, plus keep your fabric edges together. After several tries I turned everything off and walked away.

Jay happened to be coming upstairs and he saw my irritated face. “Uh-oh,” he said. When he asked what happened I told him that my machine was being stupid. One of the many great things about Jay, though, is he KNOWS electric motors. Actually, he knows a lot of stuff, but he really understands motors. I told him what was happening and he said it wasn’t the motor, it was the pedal. I demonstrated it for him so that he could see what was happening and then we took the pedal down to his workshop so that he could open it up.

403A Pedal

The Singer 403A is a mechanical machine. There aren’t any circuit boards on it so I didn’t really know what to expect when he opened up the pedal. I definitely was not expecting what I saw.

403A Pedal Inside

I spent four years looking at drawings of all different kinds of electronics, but I’d never seen anything like this little item. I had no idea what I was even looking at, but Jay started removing screws and taking it apart. I don’t have any pictures of that because I was so irritated. I only took these pictures after he had reassembled it (without any extra parts).

Keep in mind that prior to opening this pedal up there wasn’t any research done at all. Jay didn’t go to the computer and do any troubleshooting. His technique is to take a look and see if he can figure it out. I thought that this was stumping him a little at first.

When he managed to get the big white square out of the frame he tipped it and all of these round black wafers came out one end of a tunnel that was in this block. Jay looked at it for a second and then started laughing. I had no idea what was so funny. I was still trying to figure out how it worked.

403A Pedal Insulator

See that long yellow lever at the top of the white block? When you press down on the pedal it pulls the strip of metal on the left toward the block. Let’s take a look at this from another angle.

403A Pedal Nipple

See the silver protuberance under the strip of metal? That sits on top of the pile of discs that fell out of the block when Jay tilted it. Do you know how it works just by that description? Jay had to explain it to me. This pedal allows variable speed, but it does it by using those carbon discs as conductors. As the metal piece touches and then begins to compress the discs they are able to better conduct the electrons, which is what determines the speed. If the discs have more space between them then the electrons aren’t conducted as easily and it creates a slow speed.

This is the point where I tell you how lucky I am to have a husband like Jay. Looking at the discs he realized that two of them really weren’t in good shape. That’s what was causing the pedal to have to move farther to get any kind of decent contact, but by then the discs would be compressed so that’s why I couldn’t get it to sew slowly. Jay found some bar stock that he machined down to the right size and inserted them among the discs. Voila! My machine was fixed. He did suggest that this is just a temporary fix and we really should get a new pedal for my machine. It is on order, but in the meantime….

Patriots Beer Cooler Front

I finished the beer cooler!

I had quite a few difficulties with this, so I don’t think it turned out great. Jay is very happy with it, though.

Patriots Beer Cooler Fit

The original lunch bag size is big enough to allow a six pack to be slid into it, but it just wasn’t tall enough to accommodate the bottles. Adding a few inches made this possible.

Patriots Beer Cooler Back

I put one of my labels on it. Poor Jay now has a beer cooler with a cat on it. lol

Patriots Beer Cooler Inside

This turned out okay, especially since I remembered to install the zipper going in the right direction. Jay is happy with it, so that’s all that matters. I am happy because I am able to go slow with my machine. Now, back to the 24 lunch bags…

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A Cranky Machining Project

I teased you a little bit at the end of the last woodworking blog. I showed you this picture:

Misc Milling Part

Did you idnetify the mystery object? No, it’s not an industrial roof top fan unit for the train layout. No, it’s not a Barbie-sized jail cell toilet. No, it’s not an abstract spoon rest. Let me show you the original that is made of plastic and Jay was asked to re-make in aluminum (or aluminium for our British friends).

Crank 2

Ah, of course! I should have guessed “Cranky Thing” right away. Now, I know that Jay has told me what this crank goes to, but honestly I was thinking about yarn so I have no clue what he said. In fact, once again I am going to write a blog post about something Jay has made and given me the SD Card from his camera that contains his progress pictures. Jay took these pictures and I really have no idea what’s going on. This could get interesting.

The first thing that Jay always does when he’s working on a new project is he draws it in SketchUp. Always. Even if he’s not going to use the CNC router or 3D printer.

Crank 3

He keeps telling me that I need to learn SketchUp. Why? He does such a great job with it that I couldn’t come anywhere close to being as good. (That’s the excuse he gives me as to why he doesn’t wash dishes).

After drawing up all of his dimensions and getting an idea of how he’s going to approach machining this part he then has to find some material.

scrap iron

Hmmm…. nope, that’s not right. Let’s try again.

Gluten Free Cake

Gluten free cake? Hmm… still too heavy and it won’t machine well. One more try…

Crank 1

This should work. Plus, it’s blue! How pretty!

Once he has the right material he puts it on the mill and starts cutting.

Crank 4

The blue must be the candy coating on this block.

Crank 5

Whoops. Looks like there was a little bit of skittering and some chatter. That happens to the best of us.

Crank 6

This is one of those hidden item puzzles. Can you find the Cranky piece?

Michelangelo once said that it was the job of the sculptor to find the piece of art in a block of stone. Well, it is the job of the machinist to find the Cranky part in the block of aluminium.

Crank 7

And there it is!

Since this is a Cranky Thing we are going to need the turning bit with the whats-its on it.

Crank 8

This is definitely the turning bit, but where are the whats-its?

Crank 9

Never mind. I found them.

And we’re done.

Crank 10

Thank you very much! Have a great night! I’ll see you later.

*off-stage whisper*

What do you mean there’s more? I already said goodbye. I can’t take back my goodbye.

*more whispering*


Thank you very much! Have a great night! I’ll see you later.

The next stage of making a Cranky Thing is to build a little house.

Crank 11

Yikes! That’s a very flat roof. You better hope that it’s not going to be in snow country.

*more off-stage whispering*

That’s not a house? *whisper-whisper* But it doesn’t look like a cover. I don’t see a hinge or an ‘Open Here’ sign or anything.

*whisperer forcefully takes control of the post in order to put up the next picture*

Crank 12

Okay, now I see what you’re talking about. That’s great. Now, get out of my post!

We have to hurry up before the Peanut Gallery starts butting in again.

Crank 13

That cover keeps the turning bit in its little house so that it can’t escape.

All that’s left is to install the handle.

Crank 14

Voila! A completely assembled Cranky Thing!

That’s it. We’re actually done with this post. Now let’s get out of here before that annoying whisperer comes back!

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Lunch Bag Attempt #2

After the frustration of making my first attempt at a lunch bag I decided to break out my Singer 301A.

Singer 301A in Place

I wanted to see how it would handle the waterproof canvas so I decided to practice by making a purrse for my sister.

On A Break Bag for Droof 5-23-21

Isn’t that adorable?? I used the same pattern by Sincerely Jen that I used for my purse.

And of course I had to use fabric that had both orange tiger kittens and white kittens.

On A Break Bag 5-23-21

This purse is a nice size so I thought it would work great for concerts, music festivals and those kinds of things. I lined the inside with regular canvas.

On A Break Bag Inside 5-23-21

I had a couple of issues, but overall I thought it turned out okay.

On A Break Bag Back 5-23-21

So I cut out pieces for a second lunch bag and started sewing.

Lunch Bag #2 Front

This time I left the handle off the top to see how I liked it. Jay says that it needs the handle. I also managed to put the zipper pull on the wrong side so it unzips from the right instead of the left. *sigh*

Lunch Box #2 Back

The biggest problem I had, though, was trying to sew the binding onto the seams towards the end of the project. I broke seven needles within 30 minutes!!

Lunch Bag #2 Inside

After calling my mom and discussing the problem with her I tried a few more things and none of them worked. The only thing I could determine was that there wasn’t enough feed dog underneath the zipper foot in order to keep the material running straight. The long feed dog on the left was pulling the material, which caused the needle to be pulled and it would hit the needle plate.

On my Merritt I can move the needle position so that I can position the zipper foot directly over a feed dog, so I think that’s why I wasn’t having much trouble. Also, I have the zigzag needle plate on my Merritt so if the needle does move a bit it still has room to dip.

I decided that I needed a newer machine. I didn’t want to buy a Juki TL2010Q (which is the machine Jess from OklaRoots was using). As I was discussing the issue with my mom she was going through her sewing machine inventory to look at the feed dogs. Yes, she has many multiples of machines. She found a newer one that she thought would work and that she wasn’t using. So, ladies and gentlemen, here is my new machine:

Singer 403A

Singer 403A

What do you mean that’s still an old machine? It’s newer than my 301A! According to what I could find on the internet my 301A was made between 1957-1958. The 403A was made between 1958-1960. So it’s definitely a newer machine!

It can zig zag and straight stitch, so I think this should work. I won’t need the zigzag function, just the needle plate. The needle can be moved, too, so I will be able to position the zipper foot over the feed dogs.

Singer 403A Feed Dogs

I have cut out the pieces for another lunch bag, so after I finish this blog post I’m going to get started on #3. Wish me luck!

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Some Woodworking by Jay

Last week I was be-bopping through the house when I looked outside and saw…

Torch Fire

It was a mob on my front lawn demanding blog posts about the stuff that Jay creates. I was frightened. I begged and pleaded with the mob and they finally let me off with a warning. Post something by Jay or else….

To be fair, Jay hasn’t been working on a whole lot of machining or woodworking projects. His work schedule has been all over the map so I never know when he’s going to be home. I usually make him write it down on the calendar so that I might have a slight chance of knowing where he’s going to be and when.

In his down time he’s been assembling more of those 3D puzzles.

First we have a cannon:


It actually does shoot a little ping pong ball, though not very far.

Then he assembled a crane:


It’s too bad the crane isn’t the same scale as the train set. It looks like a giant alien robot spider that has come to lay its eggs in the town.

Actually, these puzzles are great because this one even gives you something to build to put INSIDE the cargo box!

Crane Cargo Box

It’s a little motorcycle!

Hopefully Bob has killed the latest mouse down there so that we don’t have to worry about the motorcycle disappearing.

There is actually one project that Jay has been working on for me. You see, I have this rebel rose bush on the front of our porch.

Rebel Rose Bush 2021

I didn’t plant that one, it just grew there on its own. I tried transplanting it, but that one died. Then this one appeared. I told it that it could stay, but I wasn’t going to baby it. You can kind of see the first trellis that Jay built me two or three years ago. The rose bush has way outgrown it so I need a second story added.

Rose Trellis Pt 2 Drawing 2021

Jay took measurements and then drew it in SketchUp. It’s actually upside down in this picture.

Rose Trellis Pt 2 Pieces

He cut two main side pieces and a triangle for the bottom of the ‘V’.

Rose Trellis Pt 2 Peak

I’m not sure what this is supposed to mean… he was assemblying it? He had the trellis praying that it came out okay? He was bored and just wanted to see what it looked like?

Rose Trellis Pt 2 Holes

Here he has drilled the holes for the dowels. After all, I need places for the canes to be tied.

This will be painted white and then we can install it. It’s nothing very exciting.

As a tribute to Jay’s enjoyment of the puzzles, I will leave you with one.

What is Jay making now…

Misc Milling Part

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My New Faith Blog

Kerry Baptism 1

It’s been on my heart to blog about my faith. If you are interested please join me at Kerry’d by Faith. I am not a professional nor do I play one on TV, so I can’t promise that it will be very good. My hope is that it at least makes somebody stop and think.

Now back to your regularly scheduled blog posts…

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A Crocheted Summer Top

A few months ago I received my Summer 2021 issue of Crochet! magazine and fell in love with the Seacliff Tunic.

Seacliff Tunic CSUM2021

I purchased the cotton yarn from Hobby Lobby using one of the gift cards I had received for Christmas. I bought three cakes each of the Yarn Bee Sugarwheel Cotton Solid in black and white. I will be able to wear the black and white version with more of my skirts and dresses.

This pattern has you start out by making the front and back white medallions. As I was working on the front medallion I was really confused because the directions I was reading didn’t match the picture in the magazine. When I read the directions for the back medallion (to compare to see what the actual differences are between the two) I realized that the woman wearing the top in this picture is actually wearing it backwards! I’m not sure if they did that to show it doesn’t really matter which side you use as the front, but it had me confused for a little while.

I started making this pattern using the 2X/3X size directions, but once I got to the black mesh I realized that was going to be WAY too big. The problem is that I wanted the length. The finished length for the largest size is 29.25″ including the hem edging. What I ended up doing was using the L/XL stitch counts for the width of the garment, but I used the 2X/3X for any of the length measurements. This ended up working out a lot better.

Seacliff Tunic Finished 5-21-21

This model was bargain-priced and I really got what I paid for!

I think the top turned out really nice. It’s heavier than I expected, but I think it will work great for the office. It’s heavy enough to keep me warm in the A/C, but open enough with the mesh that I won’t overheat when I go out in the sun.

Seacliff Tunic 5-21-21

Seriously, this model really should not quit her day job…

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Review: Mainstays 100% Acrylic Yarn

If you aren’t aware, Walmart now has their own brand of acrylic yarn: Mainstays 100% Acrylic Yarn. I watched a review of it on the Bag-O-Day Crochet YouTube channel. She really liked it so I thought I would give it a try.

I used it on the Tulip Afghan blanket that I finished a few months ago.

Millie Blanket

I think I bought this yarn in January and I enjoyed using it. It’s not my favorite acrylic yarn, but I would definitely purchase this before I bought the Red Heart Super Saver. I have become an acrylic yarn snob and I just don’t like the scratchy feel of Super Saver.

I happened to have a skein of Red Heart Super Saver in black, so let’s see them side-by-side.

MainStays vs Red Heart Super Saver

Obviously my skein of Red Heart is a bit older. The label has the Coats & Clark info on it instead of their current Yarnspirations info. Okay, let’s get into the numbers (which is my favorite part!!)…

Red Heart Super Saver – 14 oz/396g  744 yds/681m

This gives us 53.14285 yds/oz or .0188172 oz/yd.

Per the Walmart website you can buy this for $6.44.

MainStays 100% Acrylic Yarn – 14 oz/396.9g  798 yds/730m

This gives us 57 yds/oz or .01754386 oz/yd.

Per the Walmart website you can buy this for $4.88, but it comes in limited colors and you have to go to the store to get it. You can’t have it delivered to your house.

Looking at those numbers the MainStays yarn is slightly thinner. Typically a fatter, plusher strand will feel better in your hands. When I crocheted with the Mainstays, though, it felt nicer than the Red Heart. It also didn’t split on me. I always seem to have trouble with Red Heart splitting no matter what color I’m using.

Let’s take a look at the strands. Mainstays is on the left and Red Heart is on the right:

Mainstay Strand vs Red Heart Strand

In this picture you can actually see that the MainStays yarn is slightly thinner. That’s what our numbers told us and so you should believe them from now on. Numbers (usually) don’t lie.

Take a look at these strands, though. Do you notice anything? When I looked at these next to each other I thought that the Red Heart looked a lot bumpier as compared to the smoother strand of MainStays. I think this is the reason why Super Saver feels scratchier.

My Takeaway…

When I’m crocheting large projects and need a fairly common color like white, black, dark blue, red, green, etc I think that I will definitely buy the MainStays brand. Not only is it cheaper, but it feels a lot nicer than Red Heart Super Saver. I honestly try to avoid Super Saver if at all possible, so this will definitely help me with that goal.

For what it is, I give MainStays 100% Acrylic Yarn a 5 out of 5!

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