Wednesday, August 06, 2008

My dears, I am moving.

I'm porting all of my posts from this blog over here: Sabra Crochets.

I love Blogger, and I am not leaving altogether. I still post on Trailer Park Paradise quite regularly. It is just that, as much as I have loved this blog and love it still, I cannot bring myself to come back to it. (Which makes moving the posts kinda weird, but it seemed right at the time.)

Please visit me again, and on the off chance you've linked to me, please update your link.


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A brief note.

It's not the reason why I took a break from this blog, but I lost the baby. I have the urge to work out my feelings with hook and yarn, but there is nothing that comes to mind. I believe this pregnancy will be memorialized as much in unfinished projects as anything--I cannot bear to look at the baby blanket I was crocheting up until the day I got the news, nor the skirt I started to occupy my hands in the hospital. For now, it's enough. I'll be able to work something more eventually.

If you're at all curious as to what's been going on, there are a few more posts over at my other blog, Trailer Park Paradise, which you can get to by clicking on my profile picture.

Monday, September 10, 2007


Much as I wish it were otherwise, I am having some serious IRL issues right now, so I need to take a break from all my blogging.

Anyone who reads this, please pray for my daughters.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


I was starting to think I'd never get it done!

The shorts were simple, though I did make them more difficult than they really needed to be when I was trying to figure it out.

Then I spent a flippin' long amount of time trying to figure out what I wanted to do for a shirt. I'd first intended to crochet the whole thing, but I just wasn't making any progress on that, so I finally took a onesie and crocheted a turtle motif (yes, my own pattern) to sew on it.

The booties are a variation of the ones I made for a girl, and the hat's just a tube I crocheted the top of closed. (Yes, I wanted it to look like that.)

Very simple, and it all took perhaps half a 6oz skein of sport weight yarn (including several false starts that I simply cut loose & gave to the kids to play with).

So, for all this, I am done! I'm going to consider the hexagonal blanket I made a while ago as being for the new baby (this is how much I hate making blankets), and anything else from here on out will just be for fun.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Absolute silliness

Conversations over at Mama Drama about what to give a breast-obsessed child for her first birthday and the butt obsession my own kids seem to have led to someone joking that I should knit my kids a butt for their birthday.

Of course, I don't knit. So what I came up with was this:
This, of course, is a butt-shaped bean bag. This is what happens when I am bored and in an ornery mood. I crochet rear-ends. (Well, actually, this is the only one I plan on ever making.)

I'm a little scared by how quickly my mind solved the "how do I crochet a butt" conundrum. Answer? Make two hemispheres, whipstitch them together partially (then put another line of stitching further down, to hold the halves together), and then crochet around the unused stitches to bring it together & finish it off as one piece.

I filled it with good ol' Texas pinto beans, which adds another layer to the joke.

Sigh. Still no progress in the boy's shirt field, but should the little tyke be born assless, I know what to do for a prosthesis.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I am not feeling the love.

Though I have made a cute little pair of shorts in case I have a boy, I haven't yet been able to make a shirt. I'm just not feeling it. Sigh. Hopefully things will clear up soon.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Whoa, I lost about a week there.

This is a photo of the completed baby girl outfit. I had almost all of it done within I'd say 48 hours of finding out I was pregnant, but then the first wave of morning sickness knocked me on my rear and I spent a week dozing on my cousin's couch. (Bless you, Maggie.) I finally felt well enough today to do the tiny bit of work it took to finish the hat.

I don't really have a pattern for the dress. As you can tell from looking at it, I basically crocheted a skirt onto the bottom of a wrap-front shirt.

How I did it: I made a chainless single crochet band a bit longer than I thought I'd need, tacked down the starting end of it, then carefully sewed it to the bottom of the shirt (finding out along the way that you really need to snap this kind of shirt closed first), then unraveled the extra. Second round was single crochet again, then next round got into my lace pattern. I believe this is called the fantail stitch. I was doing it (or a modified version thereof) from memory rather than my stitch pattern book. The first round of it was the fantail (9 alternate double crochets in one stitch), skip 2, single crochet, skip 2 around. This wasn't even, but it made a nicely full skirt in the end. After that initial round I went into the normal lace pattern. It's a 2-round repeat, basically like so: rnd 2 of the pattern is a single crochet in the middle (5th) stitch of the fantail, then chain 4, double crochet in the single crochet, chain 4 around. Then the next fantail round is to work the fantail in the single crochet, skip the chains, & single crochet in the double crochet.

If memory serves, the original fantail stitch in my copy of 300 Crochet Stitches is actually something like 13 trebles instead of 9 alternate double crochets. I've never found it to be really workable in its original form, since trebles take me so blasted long to do, so I was happy to come up with this variation.

I'm thinking of flattening it out to make a blanket, but I'm generally not too fond of openwork blankets. We shall see.

The booties...I had wanted to use Pam Gillette's Mary Jane Slippers pattern, but she doesn't have a baby size. So I looked at the picture & figured out how I could make something that looked similar, and that's what I've done.

They're really cute; unfortunately I have no idea if they'll actually fit. (Oh, & in spite of this picture, the "strap" isn't really crooked.) They're also a whopping 11 rounds/rows, and so work up in about 10 minutes. Here's to hoping I got the proportions reasonably correct.

The hat was quite simple as well. I used the base of my hat pattern for the Beginner Baby Set, only from top down this time, and made it just short of 5" long before finishing with a couple of single crochet rounds to help it stay on (it was pretty loose with just the half double crochets).

I'll post the patterns for the hat & booties here shortly; I really don't have one for the dress (which is why I went into such detail for it & not the others).

Friday, August 03, 2007

Tiny Baby Dress

Wednesday I found out I'm pregnant for the fourth time.

That same day I started a dress. I took a Gerber snap front tee and attached a crocheted skirt to it. Being that I was working at it from scratch, it took me some time to work out exactly what I wanted to do and how I needed to do it.

I finished it today. I now have a tiny little baby dress. There's something about making newborn stuff that brings the reality of it all home.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

New Blog Added to Sidebar

Ae's Page.

Very nice stuff there. I've added her after seeing her completed work in a couple of threads on Crochetville. She's quite creative, & has a great sense of color.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Little Leaf Afghan w/Mini Pattern

I made this baby afghan for my cousin Becky, who is due in December.

Generally speaking, I don't like making large items like blankets at all, even baby blankets. My round baby blanket, for example, I started while pregnant with my second daughter, & finished two years later when pregnant with my third daughter.

But one of the things you can never have enough of, in my experience, is blankets. Especially for winter babies. So, the task was to make a blanket. And, since I am easily distracted, it had to be a simple blanket and a quick blanket. Thus, the Little Leaf Afghan was born. (I call it this because I believe the particular DC cluster stitch I use is called the leafhopper stitch, but I could be totally wrong about that.)

The blanket is green and white to make it seem to move faster--it's easy to gauge progress in terms of "OK, only four more stripes to go!" I have a nice picot edging on it because I wanted some sort of edging, but it needed to be a gender neutral edging as Becky isn't sure yet what she's having. (She'll find out ahead of time, the party pooper.) For some reason, a ruffle just doesn't strike me as gender neutral. Fringe does, but what baby wants to deal with fringe?

Anyhow, here's the pattern. Note that I am calling this a mini-pattern, as it's more of a schematic than an actual long crochet pattern like you typically see. (Another reason I don't make too many blankets is because the patterns tend to be asininely long.) With no further ado:

Little Leaf Afghan

L (8 mm) hook
9 oz green worsted weight yarn
8 oz white worsted weight yarn
(These are guesses, as I used Caron yarn in pound skeins, & I estimate I used slightly less than half of each; better to have too much than not enough)

Leafhopper Stitch: This is a 2-dc cluster stitch, worked as follows--Yarn over, draw up a loop in first stitch. Draw up a loop in next stitch. Yarn over & draw through two loops on hook twice. For the next stitch, you'll draw up your first loop in the same stitch as you drew up the second loop in the last stitch. So, if you have stitches 1, 2, & 3, the first Leafhopper stitch will start in 1 and end end 2, and the second will start in 2 & end in 3. And so on. When you get to the end of the row, you'll work a normal double crochet in it after finishing the leafhopper stitch you were just working on. To wit: the last leafhopper stitch will be worked with the first leg in st 69 and the last leg in st 70. So you're going to put a DC in stitch 70. You must do this, or you'll lose a stitch every leafhopper row, and your blanket will come out looking like an idiot made it.

Picot: This is for the edging. The picot is worked like this: Single crochet in the proper stitch. Chain 3. Slip stitch into the back of the third chain.

Base chain is 71 stitches. The first row is 70 single crochet. (Be sure you don't deviate from the stripe pattern; you don't want an extra row of single crochet.)
Stripe: Work 1 row of single crochet, then 1 row of leafhopper stitch, then 1 row of single crochet, then 1 row of leafhopper stitch. Change colors (stop & cut your yarn with 2 loops left on the hook, line up the next color & draw it through the last 2 loops to finish the stitch) at the end of the fourth row. So: each stripe is 4 rows: Single crochet. Leafhopper. Single crochet. Leafhopper (with color change).

Work 15 stripes. The first & last stripes will be white. Do not finish off at the end, just switch to the green so you can do the border with a lot less trouble.

Border: In green: Single crochet evenly down the sides. I put 2 single crochets in the side of each leafhopper row & one in the side of each single crochet row. Single crochet two or three times in each corner stitch; you'll be able to tell where this is. Single crochet in the free bumps of the starting chain, back up the other side, and in each stitch in your final (leafhopper) row. In the next round of the border, you'll single crochet in two stitches & then put a Picot in every third stitch. Be sure to put one or two extra stitches in your corner stitches again this round, to keep everything flat.


Note that you can mess with a lot with this pattern. Obviously, you can use different yarn. You can use a different size hook (changing the number of stitches as necessary to get the desired width) and any number of stitches. You can even do this in all one color.

However, there is one thing you do not want to change about this pattern. Don't mess around with where you start & end the stripes too much. You want to always change colors at the end of a leafhopper row. This pattern has a very obvious front & back. Change colors at the proper place, and you can easily crochet over the yarn ends & hide them nicely at the back underneath single crochets. Otherwise you'll have a metric butt ton of ends to weave in, & who the hell wants to do that?

More pix:
This is a close-up of the stitch. This is the front of the leafhopper stitch. The back just looks like a long line of yarn going straight up; there's absolutely no interest to it. By contrast, the front looks a lot more complicated than it really is. This stitch goes fast, please believe me. There's no way I'd have stuck with it if it was slow. It's a bit open because of the large hook used, but judging by having it on my lap as I worked, it's still quite warm.

This is a handy stitch for a lot of things. I'm going to be making a sweater & hat using the same stitch to go along with it.

This is a somewhat close-up of the edging on the blanket. I frequently have problems with wanting to put my picots too close together; this is definitely one stitch you don't want to stack up on top of itself.

Overall, this is a good "wow" factor afghan--it looks like it was a lot more complicated than it really is to make.

You could probably make this in two or three days. It took me a while, but that's because I'm lazy as hell & day before yesterday I only made one stripe. Yesterday, this sucker was only half done (7 stripes), so I know it can be made quickly.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Crocheted Bunny from a Knitting Pattern

Jo has this tutorial for making a bunny out of a knitted square up on her blog artsy fartsy mama.

I had been planning to make a crocheted version of this for a while but I never got around to it and eventually forgot I had the tut bookmarked. I came across it again last night after arranging the links in my Crochet & Crafts bookmark folder alphabetically and decided I'd have to take the time to make it today.

I used an I hook and some spare DK weight yarn of uncertain origin. I did it in Tunisian crochet because I never do anything in that technique, but I have no doubt it can be used with any stitch. One of the commenters at the author's site suggests it's a great use for gauge swatches, and I'm certain that's true for the folks who don't frog theirs like I do. (Every little bit of yarn should be used, right?)

I'm a little unclear on parts of the shaping, so I winged it some, but overall it's an excellent tutorial. Plenty of pictures, easily understood text, etc. The big difference, aside of course from using crochet, was that I didn't do a felted tail like she did; mine is several chain stitch loops. I didn't want something Esther could pull off easily. Of course, she was trying to take it from my hands before I was even done with it, but she managed to carry it off and leave it somewhere unknown during the short time I was moving the pictures from my camera onto my computer, so I think this is the record for the least amount of time it's taken her to lose something.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Baby Blankets: An Average

So I'm working on designing a blankie for my cousin Becky's baby, and as usual I am stumped by the fact that I'm not sure what size to make it. Nothing I'm crocheting looks quite right, and I don't have any receiving blankets on hand to base it off of, like I usually do.

Brilliant me decided to go to Crochet Pattern Central's baby afghans page and see what was there. This somehow morphed into the idea of getting the measurements off of all the blankets with measurements and then averaging them.

I left off patterns that required registration, and anything that was obviously not a "normal" size (there were a couple that purported to be for car seats). After I assembled my list, I knocked the highest & lowest values off both measurements. This left me with 63 numbers, ranging from 25" on the width side on up to 50" on the height side. (Yeah, that'd be an interesting-looking afghan!)

Anyway, a little time with the calculator later, & this is what I came up with for an average baby blanket: 33" wide by 38" long (both rounded off).

I am publishing this because I know that the question of what size to make baby blankets has popped up many a time on Crochetville. My number, of course, is as arbitrary as any other, but it does seem like a handy size just by looking at it.

I'm not a bitch.

I think I stepped through the looking glass, and somehow wound up in a world where it's an insult to be called a lady but it's great to be called a bitch.

I kind of rolled my eyes at Stitch & Bitch when it came out, as the name just reeks of trying too hard to be cutting edge; nonetheless I own that book as well as Stitch & Bitch Nation and the design journal (which I've never actually used, sadly enough; when I go to designing stuff I grab a spiral notebook by reflex).

I know there's a neofeminist magazine called Bitch, but I'm no more a neofeminist than a neoconservative. Rather, I am distinctly old-school in both respects. (And in regards to feminism, I mean old old school. Susan B Anthony rather than Gloria Steinem.)

Being that my best friend is gay, I'm well-conversant with the concept of conscripting insulting words in an effort to remove their sting. Be that as it may, I have to draw the line somewhere; I'd no more use the word bitch in reference to myself than I'd use the word nigger in reference to my black friends and acquaintances, or fagot in reference to Mark.

I have nothing to prove when it comes to hipness and craftiness. I've been crafting since before it once again became au courant, and I will continue to do so long after it leaves popular culture. I feel no need to declare myself hip and edgy by using a curse word to describe myself any more than I feel the need to declare myself hip and edgy by knitting a Hogwarts scarf.

I'd like to join a crafting group, but I'm not going to hook up with anyone obviously trying to declare themselves to be Really Really Different (and face it, these days a craft circle with the word bitch in it is about as counterculture as your average mall Goth). I like my tea cozies without irony, thank you very much, and although I have the deepest respect for folks who reconstruct clothing (witness the Wardrobe Reconstruction button in my sidebar), craft from found objects et cetera, I am forced to note that it really isn't anything new, although this drive towards proud self-deprecation certainly seems to be.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Here we go again...

However, i think knitting is more versatile - there is so much more you can do with shaping, the type of fabric you're creating, designs in the knitting fabric, etc. Each stitch just seems to afford more detail than crochet to me, and crochet is often a very thick fabric, whereas knitting is thinner and therefore more versatile.

Grr. It's a good thing you cannot use the magic of the internet to bitchslap people, or my hands would hurt.

I've seen this argument put forth in many different forms lately, and it doesn't get any more accurate with the repetition.

I recall another thread on the same site (MotheringDotCommune) wherein a lady said she wanted to crochet some socks but her mother (in law?) told her you can't crochet socks, only knit them. My response to her is my response to the "you can do more with knitting" theory in general--Just because you can't do it, doesn't mean it can't be done.

Actually, the "you can't crochet socks" thing is the most laughable knitting vs crochet argument in existence, considering I can think of two books devoted to it off the top of my head, & could probably provide you with 20 links for crocheted socks with about 30 seconds worth of searching. Hell, I myself have created two different patterns for crocheted socks! (Only wrote down one, sadly.)

You know, I couldn't knit a doily if my life depended on it. Does that mean it's impossible? Er, no.

If your stitches have no definition, it means you're using crappy yarn, or a bad hook/yarn combo. (I knitted a skirt for Esther, & the eyelets I put in the bottom had shitty definition, probably because I was using a fairly thick yarn for the size needles I had.)

I think one of the best illustrations of "I can do anything you can do" is over at Bev's Country Cottage. (Bev, have I mentioned lately how much I love you? I haven't? Shame on me. I love you. Er, in a platonic, crocheting sort of way.) You can see her original Very Easy Booties here, and there is a knitted version here. Some day I'll make both to illustrate how much alike they are, but trust me there's very little difference.

I've personally crocheted a version of the baby hat from Stitch & Bitch. (Umbilical baby hat? Is that it?) I have a whole book that is dedicated to crocheted versions of common knit stitches.

I defy anyone to come up with something knitted that I couldn't do in crochet. Oh, and to come up with a decent-looking knitted granny square.

Friday, July 20, 2007

New dolls for a customer.

This redhead was made first. I made her with the plan of selling her, and was lucky enough to find a lady who wanted not only her but also a cousin for her.

So I made the blonde, finished her up last night in fact. I had a lot of fun with that dress, I wanted a princessy sort of look.

Both of these were made with a 4mm hook and yarn I already had on hand. The orange dress the redhead has on is Microspun; I can't remember the brand of. It's my usual soft baby yarn, anyway.

I make the bodies and hair of these dolls from worsted weight yarn, & then go down to sport weight for their clothes, which seems to work out the best.

I am also nearly finished with the mermaid; she awaits only her arms. Of course, I put her aside for the customer.