Little Yellow Ducks Invade NY

Coworker Ducks

For the past 2 weeks I’ve been more than a little obsessed with The Little Yellow Duck Project. I’ve been crocheting little ducks like crazy and my son, husband, and I have now placed 34 ducks in NYC, Long Island, and around Westchester County.

It’s ridiculously fun. Sneaking around. Trying to leave a duck in a super crowded place without being noticed. Eagerly checking The Little Yellow Duck Project’s world map to see if any new ducks have been reported. The rush when we’ve had another duck on the map. The amazement that our ducks were the first ones reported in NY state. The shouts of joy when we realized that the 500th duck reported was one we had left!

Ducks about to hit the streets of NY

Ducks about to hit the streets of NY

My husband’s continued attempts have resulted in 0 of 14 ducks on the map. However, after leaving ducks on his coworker’s desks and discussing the project with them, he learned that one of them is about to donate a kidney in a few days. He didn’t feel it was right to push her to register it. She was doing more than her share for the cause.

So what is the cause? The Little Yellow Duck Project has two goals: to brighten up someone’s day by finding a little duck and to increase awareness and registration for organ, blood, and bone marrow donation. How is that personal? My friend Tania who I mentioned in my last post died earlier this year at the age of 41 while waiting for a heart transplant.

Little Yellow Duck with Tag

Little Yellow Duck with Tag

So what’s the deal with these ducks? There are a few official free patterns, but you can make any duck you like however you want to make it and stick a tag on it letting people know to take it home and that it’s part of The Little Yellow Duck Project with the website listed. I’ve used both the Just Ducky Lovey pattern and Filbert. Both are free patterns and work up in about an hour. I’ve found that Just Ducky Lovey is better for sticking in places, like slots of a bench if it’s windy. Filbert stands up and works great for flat places like picnic tables or the top of washing machines. The tags are available in multiple languages on the website and even include a place for you to name each duck.

While I’ve crocheted my ducks, there are also patterns for knitted and sewn ducks. People have also made ducks out of pom poms and have made bags with appliqued ducks on them.

This is an international initiative so no matter where you are, no matter what your medium, give it a shot. You just might make it on the map (and help to save a life in the process).

Ducks for The Little Yellow Duck Project

First Group of Ducks for The Little Yellow Duck Project

Little Yellow Duck

Filbert! as a Little Yellow Duck

Mallard variations of Just Ducky Lovey

Mallard variations of Just Ducky Lovey

 

 

 

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Hooded Jacket CAL AKA The De La Soul Jacket

It wasn’t until I started working on it that I realized I remembered this jacket from high school. I distinctly remember Damien and Jamar wearing this jacket in the high school courtyard. It’s the De La Soul jacket from the Three Feet High and Rising days… but I don’t really want to wear the De La Soul jacket, so I’m making a few changes.

I’m making the hooded jacket along with a bunch of other people as part of the Hooded Jacket Crochet-a-long on Ravelry. I’ve been having a great time with it and the crochetalong part has really pushed me to think through the project and come up with some great ideas for modification possibilities. I’ve loved seeing what others are coming with on this one. Some have been super cute.

Hooded Jacket Schematic

Hooded Jacket Size 14 Schematic - Click to Enlarge

The “vintage” pattern is available for free through the Jolly Plum blog. The first thing I realized was that the schematic was nowhere and I really needed it so I drew it up for size 14.

Having the schematic helped me out more than I thought it would as I started planning my stripes. I decided to only go with 3 colors after putting together tons of gorgeous bright color combos only to later remember I would be wearing this in public and the days of Cross Colors had come and gone. While some do have the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat as their end goal, I do not. After making my Snow Day Bag, I loved the colors and yarn so much I decided to use the same ones for this project too… and it was on sale at Michaels again.

Planning out the stripes was a lot harder than I realized. I wanted wider stripes in the center and thinner ones on the sides to give the illusion of skinny. In retrospect the skinny stripes in the pattern would have been fine for the entire pattern if that was the main goal, but I do like how the graduated stripe width looks. I was right around gauge with my H hook, so after drawing out the schematic I broke it into rows based on 2.75 rows per inch. After figuring out that I wanted stripes to go from 6 rows down to 2 rows at the sides, the first stripe issue I came across was matching the shoulders. It wasn’t too hard, but it did change my original plan. After the hood was done, I realized I hadn’t matched stripes from the hood to my neckline. This I’m letting go for now. The stripe police will not come after me… I pretty sure of it. The sleeves were redone three times before I was happy with the color pattern and stripe widths on them. I ended up realizing it would look best with the center sleeve stripe matching the center side stripe.

This is where I currently am:

Striped Hoodie Almost Done

Striped Hoodie Almost Done

Striped Hoodie Flat

Striped Hoodie Flat looks like the Schematic who would have guessed

Hopefully I’ll finish this weekend. Part of the CAL is that it does feel like a race.

After seeing the challenges some others faced… yarn shortages, body shape needs… it really got me thinking about what modifications could be done with this pattern to create a great modified garment.

Vest Option:
It makes a great vest. If you have broad shoulders, just leave off the sleeves. If like me, you have more sloped shoulders, the shoulders would need to be 6-8 rows shorter, but you would still need that width in the chest, so maybe a graduated decrease instead of the squared drop to the armhole that the pattern has. I also think the armhole would need to be a little deeper for a vest.

Painted Crochet Option:
Being that the pattern is written for two strands of yarn held together throughout, I think this would make a great candidate for painted crochet to create your own ombre effect, similar to the Snow Day Bag.

Shorter Option:
The one I’m making definitely fits me more like a cardigan than a jacket. I’m thinking of doing another to hit mid hip instead of mid thigh. At gauge, knocking off 77 stitches from the starting chain should be about right.

Longer Technicolor Dreamcoat Option:
This could easily be elongated for the full technicolor dreamcoat look, just know the starting chain will probably hit mid thigh and add on another foot or two to each side, 77-114 more stitches additional to the starting chain.

Short Sleeve Option:

NittyNora's Gorgeous Cap Sleeve Hoodie

Someone ran out of yarn and did a cap sleeve with a one button closure instead of a belt and turned the pockets so the stripes were horizontal. It came out super cute.

Side Slits to Accommodate Hips:
It’s very easy to figure out where the side center is, it’s between the 4 rows of armhole shaping. A side slit is a simple way to accommodative larger hips. For the third row of the armhole shaping, along the bottom, make about 30 stitches not connected to row 2 of armhole shaping.

This is definitely my favorite CAL at the moment and has helped to keep me focused on actually finishing this project instead of abandoning it for the next shiny thing to come along. If you want to take a shot at it, come on over and join the fun. We’d love to see what you do with it.

P.S. I was completely unsuccessful when searching for a picture of anyone in De La Soul wearing this jacket so it is possible I am completely imagining it… but I swear I’m not.

What’s a CAL?

So I’m in all these CAL groups (crochet-a-longs) on Ravelry. A bunch of people crocheting the same pattern (usually free) at the same time. You all talk about the pattern, yarn choice, ask questions, show your progress, get ideas from each other… it’s a lot fun and can get you more excited about your project. In my case, it can help to get me to focus on actually finishing a project as opposed to wandering off to a new one and ending up with yet another WIP (work in progress) or UFO (unfinished object) (depending on how you look at it).

Of course I’m behind in my CALs, especially the ones where I’m expected to finish something every month. I’m not sure if the Block a Month CAL is going to get me an afghan at the end of the year. At the rate I’m going I’m still thinking about making January’s squares.

Some of the others have really got my creative juices flowing and have pushed me to try new techniques like surface crochet and beaded crochet. I’ve made some very cool things as a result.

I’m currently part of the following Crochetalongs:

Some I’m much more active in than others… really gotta get going on my squares… Some I just plan on participating in sometime in the uncommitted future.

If you crochet, probably more so if you want to start crocheting and need some friends to help you out, you should find a CAL that you’re interested in and join the fun! You may just end up with a very cool FO (finished object) that you’d never thought of making.

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