Saturday, December 31, 2005

Don't, please...Just. Don't.

I decided to browse the Lion Brand website in search of patterns, and I came across this:

This is the Fringed Jeans Embellishment. This costs $15, not counting the jeans. (Not, I hope, that anyone sees this and rushes out to buy a brand new pair of jeans to "embellish.")

I have finally found something worse than endless scarves.

Jean fringe. But not just any jean fringe, oh no! Vertical jean fringe. Because looking like a hippie is so passé. Now we must look like professional wrestlers. Really confused 1980s pro wrestlers who don't realize they're off-duty.

There is also a more conventional Fringed Jean Jacket Embellishment to be had, but it lacks the WWE-brand horror of the pants fringe. Fringe on jackets is, after all, nearly a time-honored tradition if you're a buckle bunny. But this, this is something new and unique.

Actually, a lot of the patterns Lion Brand has to offer are just...just...They want me to make fun of them, right? They're throwing these patterns out there so I can sharpen my woeful humor-writing skills. Please tell me that's it, because if I'm actually supposed to want to buy their yarn and make these things...Nah, can't be.

As I said, though, there are the usual crochet pattern offenders, the ones that make me yearn once again for my grandmother's crochet. You've got the obligatory mangy garment, the skinned Tribble headwarmer, the psuedopatriotic flag-themed junk, the conehead disguise (Make one in white. I dare you.), the perfect hat to wear to your I Love the '90s viewing party, something to ensure your daughter quits speaking to you the moment she turns 18, and of course twenty thousand freaking scarves for those crocheters terrified of ever increasing or decreasing.

But Lion Brand, being a huge yarn company, goes above and beyond the call of duty:
Hairy palms without the fun.
The most passive-aggressive way to break up with your boyfriend, ever.
Proof not all gay men have taste.
Maybe I was wrong about those mittens.
Scarlett had her curtains. You have your bath mat.
Don't worry, no one will find your maxi pads if you hide them in this.
Cheaper than in-patient psychatric treatment.
Truly make granma thankful this ain't her crochet.
At least they got to be stoned the last time this was in style.
Irony: Barbie is ready for her knitting group in her crocheted poncho! You can even make eye pokers, err, I mean knitting needles. Out of Japanese toothpicks.
If that scarf pattern is too confusing...
Encourage coulrophobia.

But for all that, there is one pattern that is worse:

Not only is this hat ugly, this hat is mean. Why? Because it's the Cheery Chemo Cap. As if it's not bad enough to have cancer and lose all your hair, you should now cover it up with this.

For the record, this isn't the first time I've noted the meanness of a hat intended for the less-fortunate. But this strikes close to home, as my mother-in-law was treated for colon cancer this year, and she crochets. Poor Jan, she's got no idea how lucky she is that I love her. 'Cause if I didn't, I could do this to her, and insist that she wear it to show her apprecation!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Mele Kalikimaka

My Crocheted Christmas was a smashing success.

And I even got a new hook for a gift!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

All finished.

I somehow knew I'd be working on this today. I just had to finish up the edging though. I burned a day earlier this week just figuring out how I would do it. I had this pattern in the back of my head all along, but for some reason I tried a whole bunch of other things before breaking down and finding the directions for this pattern. It looks complicated, but it isn't. It actually works up very quickly.

Oh, & I did indeed go back and fix the joining on that last strip on the other blanket.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

I'm now certifiable.

So Sunday I was fighting to reclaim Esther's receiving blanket from the older two girls. This is an ongoing struggle. They want the blankets for their "babies"; I want the blankets for my baby.

Suddenly, I had an epiphany. I would make minature afghans for the girls for their babies.

Good idea, right? Right. And then I had to go complicate matters. Not only would I make them miniature afghans, I would use an actual pattern of some sort for the afghans instead of just a quick and dirty DC square. What's more, I would make these afghans for them in time for Christmas.

Yeah, I'm nuts.

Monday morning I dug up a couple of books I have with afghan patterns (usually too time-consuming for me) and started experimenting to see what I could modify easily. I have a copy of Mile-A-Minute Contest Favorites Afghans (don't recall the exact title, but that's got all the words in some order), and I knew what size I wanted to make it and what hook I wanted to use, and I wasted about 90 minutes trying to find a pattern that would go quickly. And I finally wound up pretty much coming up with my own design, just DCs around in a long oval in 3 colors. I just finished it.

I was joining the strips as I went, and it wasn't until I finished with the very last strip that I realized...I put it on backwards. Oy. Usually, I'd let this bother me, but I've got 3 days to adapt another pattern and finish the other mini-afghan, so I'm going to make like a cat & swear up & down that I meant to do it that way. Because of course I did.

Anyway, I do like the way it turned out, in spite of the backwards strip. The colors just work. All Caron Simply Soft. I adore that yarn. And the colors go well together. I'm pretty sure Linda will adore it.

Now, off to do something insane like look up patterns online. See, if I was sane I'd be going to sleep right now. But Esther's asleep and I finally have an excuse to not be crocheting, so I'm going to look at stuff online. Crochet stuff. 'Cause I'm funny like that.

Oh, & I've decided Cerberus will be a poodle.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Not crochet, but I can't resist.

I couldn't take the idea of a "normal" Christmas tree while living in Hawaii (nevermind the Norfolk pines that you see growing here & there; they're not indigenous). So we have the following Christmas tree this year:
Granted, it isa rather pathetic-looking palm tree. But hey, it was $15. Don't mind the crochet magazine on the floor behind it, one of the girls left it there. Hmm, I guess that magazine makes this a crochet-related post after all!

Now, for the terminally bored, a family photo:
It was done rather spur-of-the-moment, which is why I didn't take the time to re-brush my hair. You can sort of tell we had very high winds yesterday, LOL. Poor starveling Esther; she's been reduced to trying to get breastmilk out of Daddy's thumb. The older girls' dresses were made by my mother-in-law. People generally pooh-pooh when I say stuff like that, but what few seem to understand is that the woman is a professional seamstress. And one hell of an intimidating woman when it comes to skills. She's a seamstress, as I said, a rather accomplished crocheter, a pretty good painter, and a good amateur photographer as well. About the only thing I do better is cook. Thank goodness we get along...

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Yet another FO.

This is from the latest issue of Crochet! It turned out rather bigger than it was supposed to. I knew it'd be different when I started out, because I had to use a C hook instead of a B (I've no idea where my B hook is right now) & I'm pretty sure the beads are different too. I had to buy cheap ones.

The directions are a bit confusing, but once I figured them out it all moved very fast.

The reason, now that I've distracted myself, that it is so much bigger than I'd intended is that I neglected to account for the weight of the beads stretching the elastic. I made it big enough to encircle my wrist without stretching, but it stretches because of the beads. So I could have done with it being a good two repeats smaller, from the look of things.

I think I'll use the same technique in the future but using thread or hemp cord or something, anythingthat doesn't stretch.

And in the meantime, I'm thinking about making the girls bracelets from this pattern. And I'm fantasizing about other ways to utilize elastic thread in crocheting. And I'm still working on the ruffle for my denim skirt. That's my Christmas present this year, taking time to make some stuff for myself for once.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

First project from The New Crochet

This is the floral choker from The New Crochet, which I first mentioned a couple of days ago. The project advertised itself as "make today, wear tonight" and it certainly was fast. It took about 2 hours start to finish. I made the band last night right before going to bed, and made the flowers tonight while watching the Frosty the Snowman hour on CBS. The pattern calls for silk yarn, but of course I didn't have any, so I just used Red Heart Baby Soft yarn. I'm really appreciative of the way the book gives not only the exact yarn used in the project but the weight. That way it's easier to substitute yarns. I hate it when a book only gives the name brand of the yarn they used for the product. I can't afford most of the yarns named by name, and it's a royal pain sometimes trying to figure out what I might be able to substitute. So this makes things simple, and I like that.

Next project, since I'm effectively done with Christmas gifts: the skirt-embellishment from the same book. I'm thinking it will remain off my skirt until such a time as I can buy a lot more snap tape; I'd really prefer to be able to take it off. I also want to make Bendy's bracelet from Crochet!, but I'll have to make a stop at Wal-Mart for the elastic thread & the proper beads first. That stuff will probably be cheap enough for me to get it this pay period. We'll see.

Friday, December 16, 2005

I am so prolific today!

I made two lei from this book tonight. Toddler-sized. The lei are very simple, except the twisting them into shape thing is a bit annoying. The girls will love them, though. And I'm stupidly happy over having stumbled across a 30-minute project.

The first is hibiscus, the second crepe gardenia. Not in true-to-life colors, but I really didn't want to make yet another green-and-yellow project, and those are the only realistic colors I have on hand.

Poor Annabelle, I really need to dig up some clothes for her. And see about cleaning that crayon off her cheek...


Yet more Christmas gifts:

Using poor Annabel as a model again. These are super-easy & would only take about an hour to do if you sat down & just crocheted. I actually wrote a pattern, though it's so simple it barely merits one. As usual, it's at Crochetville: Very Simple Toddler's Headband.

I'll be making more little stuff to fill up the time between now & Christmas.

That poor has mange...but the "oodles of poodles" scarf will save it!

We get paid at around 7pm the 14th and the last day of the month, 'cause that's when it's payday on the East Coast. So there are some comforts to living in the most isolated population center on the planet.

We were gonna go to California Pizza Kitchen to eat, but Christmas shopping traffic was nasty. It seriously took us twenty minutes to travel one block, and this was at 8pm, an hour away from the mall's closing time! Well, Rob & I don't like people enough to deal with large crowds, so once we managed to inch our way up to the driveway to go to Barnes & Noble, we turned & parked and went in. God, I love payday.

I bought Crochet! magazine, a book called The New Crochet, and the latest copy of Mothering (which explains lots about my parenting style, but zip about my politics). And so, of course, I must now make fun of the patterns.

I have to come out squarely on the side of disliking Crochet!'s new look, at least vis á vis their decision to go the starving model route instead of the actual human route. Poor things, I hope they were paid with a hot meal. A hot meal and makeup remover.

And then...And then, you have the patterns.

The Editor's Choice is the Kimono Coat. OK, this is a kimono. This is the kimono coat:
I apologize for the poor quality; I couldn't find it on the magazine's website, & I don't have a scanner, so I was forced to take a photo with the flash off (shiny paper) & then adjust the photo. Trust me, though, you are much better off not seeing the colors.
Now, if you click the link, or just bring to mind the last commercial for Memoirs of a Geisha you've seen, you will immediately grasp the first problem with this "coat." It looks nothing like a kimono. There's that odd collar, for starters, and then the cuffs, which are thankfully hard to see in the photo. So it fails the kimono test. Also, it has no closures. No zipper, no buttons, nada. So it fails the coat test. That, & it's fugly.

But wait! It gets better! Turn the page from the directions for thatmonstrosity, and you see...A poncho. Whew, so glad we're not dealing in Grandma's crochet anymore! Why, we've moved up a whole generation, to Mama's crochet! The poncho draws my usual complaint about stuff from the '70s. We just don't have the access to drugs they had back then! Ponchos and "Afternoon Delight" are übergroovy if you're stoned out of your melon, (Which, for the record, it looks like that model is. What do hungry supermodels do when they get the munchies?) not so much so when sober.

But wait! Yet again, it gets better! Turn the page again, and gaze upon the masterpiece that is the "Ribbon-Weave Scarf." Not that it's big enough to actually wrap around your neck. Not that it's attractive enough to actually drape over your shoulders. But hey, at least it gives a use for that pesky ribbon yarn that always seems to kink up on itself! (The hungry supermodel for this project also looks supremely irritated. Even shecan't believe how dumb a project this is.)

But the best is yet to come. Because on page 24, we get this:
I know! I want to make something fuzzy! But not completely fuzzy. No, that would just be tacky. I know, tufts! Regularly spaced tufts of fur! Regularly spaced tufts of fur with random specks of color in them. Poor thing. It needs some of this.

All the other patterns pale in comparison to this jacket. Even the cropped, long-sleeved sweater.

Thankfully, we still have The New Crochet. No "fussy doilies" here, no ma'am! Who needs doilies when you have the Oodles of Poodles scarf?
Now, isn't that much better than a doily? Note, please, that the fuzzy black thing around her neck is part of the scarf, and so are the odd dangly things. As for the model...Well, doesn't she just look like she is someone's grandmother? And doesn't she just look like she's thinking, "My, how far crochet has come since my day, when all we knew how to make were fussy doilies!"

The book describes the scarf thusly:
"The combination of soft, black fuzzy yarn and variegated pinks evokes a vision of a 1950's poodle skirt, but with a contemporary twist."

Eh? That scarf evokes this? Really? Um, OK. If by poodle skirt you mean disemboweled mink, then I suppose they're right.

That's OK, there's always this:
Odd how both this model and the other one look as if they are merely tolerating their clothing.

This, by the way, is the "Silk Meringue Bolero." Because even yeti deserve fashionable cover-ups.

Now, lest you think I am insane for spending $25 of my (er, Rob's) hard-earned money on a book I hate, let me reassure you I find 90% of the patterns in it to be just lovely. There's one floral choker that I am absolutely drooling to make, even though I do not have the neck to wear it, and the cover project is just stunning.

It's just...Have you ever noticed that whenever a crochet publication proudly proclaims its modernity, you're assailed with oddities like these? We wound up at the Spaghetti Factory for dinner last night, and the table had this doily of sorts on it...It was a circle of velvet with a thread-crochet edging. Very pretty. Obviously fairly complicated (you try crocheting into velvet some time!). Obviously fairly old. Obviously a cut above a lot of what's touted as "new and now" in crochet.

Again, gimme Granma's crochet, please!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Oh, enough with the scarves already!

I don't remember what my first crochet project was. I was 11 when I learned how to crochet, and I did so only sporadically for the longest time. Knowing me, it was something for one of my Barbie dolls (I used to make them clothing out of plastic bags, even).

But I do know it wasn't a scarf.

What is it with scarves, anyway? Yes, they're incredibly simple. Which I suppose is it. But it seems as if there are a lot of people out there who pick up crocheting (and knitting) only to the extent that they are able to make scarves. C'mon, have some faith in yourself! Do something that requires a little effort. Gah, my own mother cannot make head nor tails of 99% of the patterns out there, but even she can make afghans!

I've got a story for you. I was talking about crochet with my mother-in-law the last time we were home. Crochet was real big in the seventies. She taught this one lady how to crochet...Know what the gal's first project was? Not a scarf! Her first project was a pantsuit. That she designed herself. Now, that takes cojones!

I was browsing the yarn in Ben Franklin Crafts the other day and happened to overhear the conversation between two women. OK, it was more of a monologue. "You can take this yarn, and this yarn, and you can make a scarf. Or you could use this yarn, and make a scarf. You can make a lot of scarves."

Well, yes, you can. But who in her right mind wears a scarf in Hawaii? Brr, it's dipping down below eighty degrees at night, you better break out the scarves, Tutu. Sigh.

You want something easy? Buy this book: Fancy Hawaiian Lei in Crochet. Very few of the patterns require anything more complicated than single crochet and chain stitches. You learn crochet wit local kine patterns! (I love this book. Haven't had the opportunity to make anything from it yet, since I'm still working on Christmas gifts, but I leaf through it every night before bed and sigh happily.)

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Done with the eBay dolls.

I'd originally intended to fix up all four of the Cabbage Patch Kids I bought off of eBay, but I decided I really don't like two of them (note to self: read each auction twice, at least before bidding to make sure you catch every detail), so I'm ending that idea with this doll. I'll take two of the dolls they already have and make Christmas presents of new outfits for those dolls.

They're in no danger of dying of a lack of Cabbage Patch Kids, of course. They'll have these two, and we bought a new set of CPK twin babies (similar to these), and then the new outfits on another two. I think six dolls overall is good, don't you? LOL

I have an idea for my next sculpture crochet project. Cerberus. I must confess I was watching Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (can someone explain to me why it was decided Americans couldn't grasp the concept of the Philosopher's Stone?) when I came to this decision. I am not making Fluffy, however. It will be as much my own concept as I can manage. While the movies are entertaining enough, the one time I actually tried reading a Harry Potter book...Well, let's just say I start wanting to hurt people when they put JK Rowling on the same level as Tolkein or Lewis when it comes to great British writers.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Something about Cabbage Patch Kids and Crochet...

They just seem to go together, don't they? I just finished this for the girls for Christmas:
It's a little CPK baby boy I bought off eBay (I have a couple of others I got at the same time). I've been taking way too long to make this outfit, but I think it turned out well. Since it's a secondhand doll, it's well-loved and so there are a couple of stains. So I had to make long pants and a long-sleeved shirt instead of a t-shirt and shorts as would have been my first impulse.

I'm glad I had to make this, though. It turned out so cute! I finished up the straps of the overalls this morning, and then buckled my butt down and got the shirt done in about an hour--longer if you count the time I had to stop to nurse Esther.

This is some baby yarn I had lying around unworked because, while it's incredibly cute, it's just too rough for a real baby. But it's not too rough for a baby doll. My next project is a dress for a larger CPK doll, and I'll be using up some pink yarn very similar to this blue, and more of the white too. If I have time before Christmas I'll go back & make booties, but I just really wanted to get this done!

And on that note, I need to get away from my computer and go make breakfast. It's half past eleven here, and I'm half-starved because I put off breakfast to make this. (Don't worry about the girls, I always feed them first thing upon waking.)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Well, then.

So, I made this really cute dress for Esther before she was born:
Adorable, isn't it? I based it off a pattern in this book. Took a lot of care to make sure it matched the measurements and everything. I wanted my new baby, should my new baby be a girl, to be able to wear it. I had a brief fantasy of having a group portrait made of the girls, with Bobbie and Linda in their big sister outfits, and the new munchkin in this.

And then, I had Esther. Wonderful, adorable, cuter-than-cute Esther. Eight pound, 0.1 oz Esther. Twenty-point-five inches long Esther. A full two pounds heavier and almost an inch longer than my previous biggest baby.

And this is the end result of that:
This was actually taken today, so it's worse than when I first tried it on her about a week ago. Between her being big to begin with and me misplacing the blasted dress, if there was ever a window for her to wear it, it closed before she could wear it.

I had to sew snap tape on the crotch to finish it up. I wanted to take it to the hospital with me so I could do that right after she was born, but I couldn't find the blasted thing. Well, when I finally located both snap tape & dress at the same time, I finished it up and put it on my daughter, so happy she'd get to wear it.

And it wouldn't snap. It's big enough around, but it's not close to being long enough. Dammit.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

I would give you the sun, the moon, and the stars...

One guess which of these was easiest.

The sun is just a simple circle. It took almost no time at all.

The star was pretty hard. It's not simple to come up with something that looks more like a star than a pentagon. I wound up stacking slip stitches on top of each other, and the increases at the "points" are Hdc, Tr, Hdc. The filler stitches are Hdcs.

The moon was pretty simple once I figured out how to do it. It's just figuring out how that was the problem. For a half-circle, you increase just like you do for a circle, but in rows instead of rounds. It will sort of fall into the proper shape. But I needed something more exaggerated. I started out trying to crochet it in rows from tip to tip, but doing it sideways turned out to be easier. At either end I put 3 sts in the previous st (I was doing 1 row Sc then one Hdc), and in the center I increased evenly as if I was making a half-circle. Once it attained the shape I wanted, I worked even for two rows.

The colors in the photo are a tiny bit off; the sun actually has green around it instead of the blue it looks like.

They've all got big chain stitch loops encircling them so they'll be easy to hold. Of course, Esther will be not quite two months old by the time Christmas rolls around, so it'll really be a while til she can play with them at all. She's still in the looking at stuff stage. I just might tie them to the mobile in her swing so she can be entertained that way.

I'm just about done with Christmas stuff; I just need to make Cabbage Patch Kid clothes now.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Finished the beret.

This isn't supposed to be Linda's hat, but she started trying to put her head into it while I was still crocheting it, so I went ahead & let her act as model.

This is the Wed, 5 Apr 06 pattern, Beret, designed by Dorothy Matthews. I want to be very, very clear on whose design it is. It's a very cute hat, & I only made a couple of changes on the fly--I never do the join with a slipstitch thing, since I find it leaves holes, & so I didn't do the ch-3 at the beginning (odd that she doesn't consider it the first stitch, like 99% of other patterns do). The directions for the C-Bobbles also didn't make much sense to me, so I muddled through them on my own & probably wound up doing something else altogether. Still, any pattern I make fewer than five changes to is wonderful in my book, LOL.

I will take pity on anyone else who wants to make this & give a gauge, since the pattern lacks one. I used the K hook the pattern called for & worsted weight yarn (plain ol' Read Heart) & got a gauge of 6 rows and 11 DC all equalling 4 inches. Though it's on my daughter in the photo, it's stretchy enough that it fits me as well, & I've got a 24" head.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Christmas gifts.

The purses were ridiculously easy. Well, as easy as working with that yarn could possibly be. It's good at snagging while you work. I did one of these in HDC and one in DC. They're pretty small, but as they're being given to toddlers that hardly matters. They're already trying to steal them; I need to hide 'em until I can wrap them.

And I still have plenty of the yarn left! I'd like to make Barbie a fur coat, but I'm not willing to work in that small a scale with this yarn, LOL.

Right now I'm working on a beret from the pattern calendar. It's about to make me scream. There's a yarn listed on the pattern, but it's wool and I don't use wool. I'm highly allergic; even the expensive stuff like cashmere makes me itch like crazy. So I needed to substitute it. No weight listed on the pattern. No problem, I'll look it up online and find out the weight. Well, apparently even the people who make the blasted stuff (it's Emanuella by Goddess yarns, btw) don't know the weight! And, there's no gauge listed on the blasted pattern, so I've pretty much been reduced to making it with the hook called for and the yarn I happen to have and hoping it fits. I'm gonna be so pissed if I have to frog it once it's done! I was flipping through the patterns again last night, & a lot of them are missing the gauge. I hate that. I try to always have a gauge on my patterns that are for wearable items. It doesn't really take a whole lot of effort to stop while you're crocheting whatever and measure/count to get a gauge, if you're allergic to gauge swatches.
This is a bug I made for Esther. It should be a caterpillar, but I didn't put legs on it because I'm a bit paranoid about her eventually being able to tear them off.

The popular thing these days is to make baby toys in red, white, and black--commercial stuff, that is. Newborns can see contrasts best. But babies like bright colors, and Esther's already getting obviously better at focussing. This is made with Red Heart Simply Soft Brights. And bright it is. The orange is definitely something I wouldn't tend to buy just for its own sake, but it's for a baby toy, and so...

I'm also planning on making her a little star grab toy. Esther seems to mean star, as best I can tell. So I think stars are going to be her thing, like butterflies are Linda's and kitties are Bobbie's. I'll have lots and lots of leftover yarn after I make that, of course. Not too sure what to make with the rest of it. I'll wait for inspiration to strike, I guess. Well, I am also going to make her just a soft ball, but I don't know about the coloring for that yet.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Linda's Poncho

It's actually much cuter in person. I swear. I made it with a bigger hook this time, & of course Linda is smaller, thus it only needs two rounds.

The color in this yarn--beach--is much more subtle in its changes. I actually like it a lot more than the other colorway. But Bobbie Catharine picked out her own yarn...

I bought enough yarn according to the pattern directions, but didn't use nearly as much. I only used one skein (slightly less, actually) of beach and one and a half of bikini. So I've got two beach and one bikini completely untouched. I think they'll be getting coordinating purses to go with their ponchos. Bobbie loves purses & of course Linda has to have everything Bobbie has...

But right now I'm going to move on to making Esther a caterpillar out of some Simply Soft Brights yarn I bought at the same time. There's also a pattern for that in the magazine, but I cannot pretend I need to look at a pattern to make something that's essentially a succession of balls crocheted together!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Finished Smoochie's poncho.

I'm sure this is gonna look strange, since I'm using hubby's computer right now & his color is messed up to my eyes. I adjusted the photo on this comp too, so I'm sure it'll look off when I check it on my own tomorrow. Ah well. I just finished Bobbie's poncho & wanted to post a photo before I head off to bed.
Please pardon my model; Annabel has had a hard life & is 40 years or so old. That, and one daughter or the other decided to color on her a little while ago, & I haven't had the opportunity to clean her up yet.

I love the colors on this yarn; the photo really doesn't do it justice. The red-looking yarn is actually mainly pink. Like my previous post said, it's Red Heart Bright & Lofty. The specific colors are bikini (the pink) & beach (the blue). Bikini has threads of blue, orange, tan, yellow, etc woven through it. I'm not sure what all, to be honest. Beach is much calmer; thus far it seems to be only blues and greens. I still have the ends to deal with; I'm just not in the mood to do it tonight.

Linda's poncho will be done in a reverse color scheme; with the pink as the flowers' centers & the blue for the petals. I'm also going to do the shaping in a different way (as is typical for me, I abandoned the pattern fairly early on).

I'm convinced this will look better on the child for whom it is intended. But of course even with a 3.5 year old you can't have her modeling her own Christmas present. I did fit it on her a couple of times, but it's disappearing before she realizes it's complete & demands it now.


That's how many scarf patterns I counted in the 2006 Crochet Pattern a Day calendar. I didn't count anything else, but it's obvious even without doing so that scarves are the most common pattern. (Dude, I almost typed "scarfs." My brains leak out into my breastmilk, apparently.)

I'm making the girls Daisy Chain Ponchos from the BHG crochet magazine, for Christmas. I chose it because I knew they'd like it & it didn't look too hot. Of course it doesn't actually get cold in Honolulu, but sometimes we go in places where the a/c is up so high it gets pretty chilly. So I was thinking a nice openwork poncho would be handy.

Of course I couldn't find the Lion Brand Jiffy yarn the pattern called for. The yarn selection is very thin around here. So I've substituted Red Heart Bright & Lofty. And these are going to be a lot warmer than I'd anticipated. Oh well. The girls will like them.

I'm still hoping to finish the afghan for Cathie, but I don't think it's realistically going to happen. So I'm concentrating right now on stuff I can finish. I'm making most of their gifts this year. Just the way the bank account crumbles. They're still young enough to not care, thank God.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Finally got my calendar.

We were at Sam's today and I saw the 2006 Crochet Pattern a Day calendar for less than $9, so I grabbed it. Oddly, we wound up not getting what we actually went there for...But at least that was because they didn't have it.

And the first thing I have to say is, "Dudes, you owe me some patterns!" Silly me for taking it at face value. Ah well.

Second thing, "Geez, aren't there enough scarf patterns in this world already?" Seriously. I think there's one doily, and a good 15 or 20 scarf patterns. Not that I'm a huge doily fan, but geez. And that's to say nothing of the ponchos which are so last year.

I'm not using it as a calendar. I hope I'm not the only one. I'm going through it right now sorting out the patterns I actually might want to do from the ones that just aren't going to happen. I'm glad for the gloves pattern. Too bad I never had it when I lived somewhere I actually needed gloves. I have always been horrible at keeping up with gloves.

If I've got time, a few of them will wind up as Christmas gifts. I'm torn between making the Mobius shawl/scarf or the Monk's Hood for my best friend. Depends on if he's still cross-dressing these days, I guess. It's hard to keep up with the latest oddities when you're a couple thousand miles away. (How far is it from Hawaii to Texas, anyway?) I'd make something cute for my one remaining female friend, but how do you top naming your daughter after her?

OK, I'm in obvious need of sleep. That last sentence was actually funny to me...

Friday, November 18, 2005

One more thing...

Take a look at LadyLinoleum's take on the "granmother's crochet" nonsense:

Not Your Grandmother's Crochet...

I swear, I was not intentionally ripping her off in Wednesday's blog.

So Rob finished his first project the other day...

It's far from perfect, of course--whose first project isn't?--but I'm ridiculously proud of the fact that his first project was one he designed himself. And hey, at least it isn't a scarf!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

There ought to be a law...

The phrase "This ain't your grandmother's crochet!" should nevermore be allowed to be used in regards to modern patterns. (Just bought the 2005 issue of BHGH Simply Creative Crochet.)

First of all, I don't see anything wrong with my grandmother's crochet. Well, not my grandmother's, per se, as I don't think either actually crocheted (which begs the question of where my mother got it from). But old crochet. I know that phrase means "break free of doilies!" And I'm certainly no fan of doilies. But I'm starting to agree with Annie Modesitt's editorial in the crochet mag from Interweave Knits that grandma's crochet is in many ways preferable to the stuff we have now.

Really, no one needs another doily. But dear God, does anyone really need another blasted scarf made with "novelty yarn" either?

I think that anyone who decries "grandmother's crochet" obviously hasn't taken a look at any vintage patterns. Celt's Vintage Crochet is my most easily accessible source...The Crocheted Blouse from 1942 should be enough to give anyone an appreciation for Grandma's crochet. Or, for those of us like myself who adore making baby stuff, how about the Baby Rompers from 1952? That last is definitely the match and then some of the "Snuggle-Up Hoodie":
Really, does the world need this? I somehow think not. And it's hardly the worst thing in the magazine. The inexplicable shell-and-cardigan set is much worse. I wish I could get a decent picture of it. The shell by itself isn't too bad, but whoever decided to include the clownish ruffles on the cuffs of the cardigan deserves to be slapped. Oh how I wish I could get a decent picture of it...

And, of course, there is the incredible irony in the "In the Groove" section of the magazine, considering the expressed disdain for vintage crochet. Not that vintage deserved the treatment they gave it...

Luckily, there's still hope. My trip to the bookstore last night also netted the following:
So Simple Crochet. The poncho patterns are refreshingly few (though I don't understand the "chenille cowl", nor do I particularly want to), as are the gigantic-yarn patterns. There's a shrug pattern that's an actual shrug (most these days are bolero jackets, & there's a huge difference), a long cardigan that makes great use of doilies (OK, motifs, but you look at them & they look like doilies), and an absolutely gorgeous "ruffled mohair wrap" that is so much more than the mere scarf it appears (this is what's on the cover). I'm not positive it's truly as simple as it claims, but it sure is purty.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Baby shirt

Esther is my new favorite model:
That's a baby shirt I made for her before she was born. The body of it is wonderfully stretchy, but the bottom isn't, which is going to seriously shorten its lifespan. I'm working on another version of the shirt using the no-chain half double crochet technique, and that I'm also writing a pattern for & will post it on Crochetville. I think it'll go well as part of the beginner baby set I've already posted over there; I intend to dress her in the shorts (at least) from that set for the picture once I'm done with the shirt.

I'm vaguely planning to finish up a bunch of my other baby stuff so I can take pictures of her in it all. I'm just that odd.

Friday, November 11, 2005

WIP-sampler afghan

I've decided to give the finished project to my oldest for Christmas. Which, of course, means I need to actually finish it by Christmas. Thus far, I have 12 squares finished.

Of course, they're actually more rectangular than square.

And I've deviated repeatedly from the sampler squares in the 63 Easy-to-Crochet Stitches or whatever the heck the book is called...I don't want any holey squares, and that cancels out a lot of them. No biggie; I've a ton of stitch books I can cull appropriate patterns from.

I'll hate life when it comes time to join them together, but I've already decided I'm going to crochet them together instead of sewing them. Goes a lot quicker that way, I've found.

Nothing else exciting going on. I'm not getting a whole heck of a lot of time to crochet, because Esther has to nurse just about every waking minute, it seems. But I want to crochet a lot of the Christmas gifts this year...

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

A few finished objects...

I found myself with some extra time on my hands the past couple of days:
The model for these hats is daughter number three, Esther Rosemary Joy, who decided to make her much-belated (11 days overdue) entry into the world Sunday night.

I actually got some crocheting done in the hospital this time! I took some last time, but never had an opportunity to get to it. This time, I made two hats. Someone donates crocheted caps to the hospital, but they were too big for my baby girl (13.5" head) and the one they gave her kept falling off. So I made the green one, and while it pretty much fit circumference-wise, I accidentally made it too short, so it kept falling off too.

Then I made the bonnet. It is yet smaller around (crocheting of course has some built-in stretchiness), and longer, and fits well. Still falls off sometimes, but not nearly as much. I don't think there's a fall-off-proof baby hat in existence, frankly.

The technique for it was a bit complicated. The rows that comprise the petals, I had to go around three times each. First time, create ch-4 spaces in the front loops of the previous round's HDCs. Second time, crochet (1sc, 1hdc, 1dc, 2tr, 1dc, 1 hdc, 1sc) petals in those chain spaces. Third time, HDC in the back loops of the previous round's stitches. It actually went pretty fast, though, even with an F hook and sport weight yarn.

The nurses and the nurses' aides were tickled by my work, though all but one called it knitting. Crocheting is just as popular in Hawaii as I thought it to be; two or three said they'd tried or were trying to learn, and I think one said she could. It seems to be unusual to make anything for your child these days, though.

I need to see about writing up a pattern for that second bonnet. I've seen ones similar to it in books, but I don't know the technique they used. If my technique is simpler, which I'm far from sure of, it might be good to get the pattern into circulation.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Another quick project.

I don't normally do well with large projects because I want instant gratification. Luckily, I have daughters, and they provide me with many opportunities for just that. I can make them clothes or I can make them toys, or I can get really creative and make clothes for their toys. I started this last night and finished it up this morning:
Not the snazziest dress, I admit, but it was meant to be fast and easy for my 3.5-year-old to get on & off. It's vaguely styled as a cheongsam, but doesn't have the requisite stand-up collar or wrap front. Mainly because I couldn't figure out, on the spur of the moment, how to crochet either one. I am certain I could have done it with a little more thought & preplanning, but that would have sort of defeated the purpose.

I like the HDC stitch. It's stretchy and yet it's not so big it presents you with holes. It's about the fastest stitch I can do. I downloaded the directions for a chain-free HDC base, but I can't quite figure them out.

I'm in the midst of a very long prodromal labor. As in, I am in my third day of irregular but very strong & painful contractions. Makes it kind of hard to concentrate on anything, but oddly enough I'm more interested in crocheting, not less. I really want to master that chainless HDC technique, because I've made one baby shirt that's very stretchy except at the hem where the foundation chain is. In theory, the chainless HDC would solve that problem. I'll try again later today; it's kind of hard to concentrate through contractions. Bleah. At least, in theory, all this means the baby will be here soon. I'm being constantly reassured that long prodromal labor means that when the "real" thing hits, it will go quickly. One can only hope.

I'm still working on the sampler afghan. I'm not doing it 100% the way the book tells me to, of course. I don't want any gaping holes in the afghan (I have decided to give it to Smoochie to adorn her new bed once I'm done), so a lot of the stitches in the book aren't appropriate. So I'm utilizing all of my various stitch books to come up with the requisite number of squares...which are coming out decidedly rectangular. Ah well, a sampler afghan is a sampler afghan; I'm doing it more for the experience than anything else. I've got 11 squares done so far, so it's coming along slowly but steadily. If I can just quit getting distracted by other things, I may even get it finished some time this year.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

It's cross-stitch! No, it's knit! No, it's...What the heck is it?

Poor husband. Takes his crocheting to work and learns to feel my pain about no one being able to tell what the heck he's doing. This is karmic payback for all the times he has called my crocheting knitting. The usual assumption, of course, is knitting. Because we all know how much one just-more-than-hand-sized hook looks exactly like two very long needles. But he even had one particularly clever shipmate comment upon his cross stitching.


I have never made an afghan. Well, I should be more honest. I have never finished an afghan. I have one I started for Robert years ago that is almost finished, but I have to find the P hook I was using on it and be actually willing to spread a blanket in my lap in Hawaii. I am so pathetic. It is a nice striped afghan and needs only one more cycle of the colors to be finished, but I've since used the yarn for other things, so I'd need to buy more...

Anyway, I've wandered off, creatively, from the girl's sweater. I'll finish it eventually, but I can't keep my mind on it right now. I picked up another copy of 63 Easy to Crochet Pattern Stitches... at Wal-Mart a short time ago, & now I'm working on it. Thought it would make a nice early labor project. So of course the contractions I was having stopped. Story of the pregnancy. Sigh. I'm using the yarn from another abandoned project (which was worked from some now-forgotten pattern), and since it's all done in squares I don't have to worry about it being too hot to work with, though I know already I'm going to hate life when it's time to assemble all the squares. Perhaps I'll actually finish this one, though I have no clue what the heck to do with it when I do complete it. Not a lot of need for afghans hereabouts...

Monday, October 17, 2005

Finished the sweater.

I'm never totally happy with anything, but I'm mostly happy with this.
I cropped one of the sleeves out of the picture, but I swear they're both there. I finished it up tonight while listening to Food Network and feeling sorry for myself for having gone through five hours of contractions that just...stopped. Had to channel the energy I'd expected to use to have a baby somewhere, LOL.

The buttons aren't on it yet, of course. Most of my finished objects yet lack buttons. I'll cart this to Wal-Mart when next we go and pick some out.

I've decided what to do for the next intarsia project. I'm putting a Chinese dragon on the back, and the Chinese pictograph for dragon on the front, and I plan to use frog closures instead of buttons. A real nice Oriental theme, in other words. I've actually got the graph for the dragon sketched out. I had a heck of a time finding something appropriate to use, since the only graph I could find online was horizontal & I wanted something vertical. I finally found a pretty simple dragon on a wall hanging, downloaded the photo, and outlined it in Paint Shop Pro, then transferred it freehand to some graph paper. Right now I'm writing it out so I have written directions to refer to as well as the graph. It's tricolor instead of bicolor like this sweater, and is a much more complicated design, but I'm reasonably confident.

I'm also working on the girls' Halloween costumes. Bobbie decided she and Linda would be kitties, and the new baby (which had better be here by then!) will be a mouse. So we went on a materials trip yesterday. I'm using Red Heart Symphony yarn, a wonderfully fuzzy creation that's surprisingly easy to work with (and, unlike Fun Fur, it frogs quite well), some regular worsted weight yarn (to line the ears), headbands, and floral wire to make a frame for the ears. It's actually a lot less complicated than it sounds. I'm making the headbands that will have ears on them, and then tails that will be stuffed; at least one of them will be attached temporarily to a skirt I crocheted some time ago. Bobbie's is mostly orange (she picked it out); Linda's is more of a brindled brown. That is really what the yarn looks like to me. The baby will have a bonnet with mouse ears crocheted out of some gray worsted weight yarn I have laying around. Depending on how energetic I get tomorrow, I may well finish both kitty costumes. I'll have to do something to get my mind off my lack of labor (I'm due in 1 day, 23 hours, & 30 minutes!).

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Still working on the sweater...

I got lazy when it came time to do the back, so it took me longer than it should have. The sweater in the book has single-row stripes of something like four or five different colors (all the colors in the sweater). I've tried doing single-row stripes of single crochet before. It does not turn out well. So I have two-row stripes of red and brown for my backpiece.

One advantage of doing the stripes the way I did--I didn't have to cut and join after every stripe. Anyone who's done something striped knows what a royal PITA that is. But since my stripes began & ended on the same side, I was able to just carry the spare yarn up the side and switch off as I went. Not too difficult at all, and many fewer ends to weave in. Not as good as it could have been, as I stupidly started out doing it the normal way, and then accidentally cut it before it was long enough, but since I have something like sixteen separate stripes before the "armhole shaping" (and I use that term loosely), it definitely could have been worse.

There are a couple more significant changes with the sleeves. In the book, they're two different colors. Um, no. Not gonna happen over here. The other big change is that the book's pattern calls for them to be made flat, separately, and then sewn on to the body of the sweater itself. More trouble than it's worth, especially as they're made in single crochet as well. So I've already sewn the body together, and I'm crocheting them in place in the round. Much simpler. Here's a photo of the work so far:
I don't know why the brown part of the sweater looks pinkish in the photo. I'm not entirely thrilled with the way the stripes on the back part are intended to sort of wrap around to the front, but that's the way the garment is designed. Over all I am happy with it, and should have it completed within the next few days.

I've got plans for my next project as well. I'm going to do a similar girl's sweater, but with the intarsia piece on the back. I'm thinking of a unicorn. I downloaded some free charts today, and it's a manner of deciding exactly which I want to use and simplifying it enough that I only have to use two or at the most three colors. It's somewhat tempting to do a cat, since I love cats. But cats are so...done. I'm wanting to do something more unusual. The front of the sweater I intend to make into a sort of stitch sampler, but I'm not 100% positive on that yet. I know I want to make use of some fancier stitches. I have plenty of time to think of it.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Oh for crying out loud...(Crochetville rant)

There are three fora on's message board set aside for original patterns. Now, perhaps I am naіve, but I think that if you can write a crochet pattern, chances are you can read. And this means that you should read. This is not confusing. I showed the first two of these fora to my husband a couple of weeks ago. Mind you, he does not go to message boards. He doesn't really grasp the concept. And yet, he understood the difference in the first two fora.

To wit:

Original Patterns

Complete original patterns (most with photos) by some of Crochetville's fabulous designers.
Original Patterns-- Links
If you have an original pattern posted elsewhere (your web site, blog, etc.) please share the link with us here.

This is not confusing. Let me spell it out for anyone really dense: LINKS GO IN THE SECOND FORUM, DAMMIT. I do not want to go into Original Patterns and read "Just click the image for the pattern." That is a link, dammit! Put it in the Links forum. Really, why isn't this obvious to some people? Read the damned forum description before you post. If the "complete original patterns" thing confuses you, "if you have an original pattern posted elsewhere" should make it obvious.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Intarsia: Work in Progress

I'm working on the Highland Charm sweater from Candy Tots. It is a boy's cardigan with intarsia diamonds on the front panels. Intarsia is a brand-new technique for me. I wanted to stretch my abilities some. I started out this afternoon working on Versatile Vest from the same book; it also has intarsia diamonds (in both cases, it is meant to end up an argyle pattern). Juggling multiple yarn balls (thought mini balls would work since I have no yarn bobbins; I am not convinced they would have made things easier) was just too much trouble. The sweater, if I went strictly according to the pattern, would probably not be much easier, having five different colors. Since I am just learning the technique, I decided a simplified version of the pattern would be much simpler, so I am doing it in only two colors:
Not sure how well it comes across in the photo, but the colors I am using are autumn red and bone (which is a very pale, almost metallic, tan), both Caron's Simply Soft. I am a long-time fan of autumn red, and the bone goes surprisingly well with it. I'm not sure yet if I'm going to go ahead with the embroidery that's supposed to criss-cross it; depends on whether I can find a third color I think works well. Dark brown, perhaps. Nothing I currently have on hand or could find at Wal-Mart tonight.

This wasn't very hard to do. I didn't wind mini-balls this time. Since I'm just using two colors and since the diamonds go up the center, I just carried the red along behind the bone at the necessary times. Loosely. I think it turned out rather well.

One bit of advice for anyone contemplating trying intarsia for the first time: know how, when you change colors normally, you work off all but the last two loops, then switch to the new color to complete the stitch? Be certain to do that here the stitch before you need to switch colors. This may be obvious to someone smarter than I, but it took trial-and-error to become obvious to me, so I share it in hopes it can help someone else. It's not very clearly explained in the single paragraph Ms Jensen devotes to the topic in the back of the book.

Which leads me to another brief complaint about the book. There are six patterns, out of 25, that use this technique. The next most-common technique, a certain stitch/stripe pattern, has four patterns, so intarsia has 50% more patterns than the next most common technique. And this is the only explanation you get for the technique:

All the Argyle designs are worked with
separate bobbins of individual colors so
there are no long strands of yarn. When
changing color, pick up new color from
under dropped color to prevent holes.

And that's it. Intarsia is not a common technique in crochet. To have such a relatively large portion of the book depend upon this technique and to give so little explanation for it...That's not a good thing.

Still, I'm mostly satisfied with the way this is going so far. It is coming along surprisingly fast. I did all of what is in the picture in an hour-and-a-half, and didn't have to frog it at all. So I should be done completely within the next few days, barring childbirth. ;-)

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Odds & ends...

Part One: Finally!

Finally, finally Barnes & Noble had some crochet magazines! Great haul tonight: Annie's Favorite Crochet, Crochet Fantasy, Crochet!, Crochet World, & Interweave Knits: Crochet. I almost got the 2006 Crochet Pattern a Day calendar, but didn't have enough money for that and the magazines, & I figured it was more important to encourage them to continue stocking the magazines by buying them.

Some thoughts:
Those hats are about the ugliest things I have seen in a while. The headline reads
Kassie DePaiva: Daytime Star Crochets Hats for Charity, to which I respond: just because you're poor doesn't mean you should be forced to wear that!

Please, can we let the furry yarn thing go away and die peacefully now? The whole magazine is full of it, from the Falling Leaves Jacket that is almost freeform loveliness, except where the mange hasn't taken it yet, to Glitz on the Go! (does anyone
really need a fuzzy, hot pink jacket?), to the Heaven-Sent Wrap Jacket that appears to be made from a skinned Wookie. (View all the oddities on the Contents page.)

And I want to slap whoever coined the term "mancho." I suppose it would accent one's murse (man purse) quite well, but for the rest of us...No. Just. No.

That said, there are a couple of patterns in the magazine that I do indeed enjoy: the Purple Pizzazz Wrap, which apparently does use fuzzy yarn as one of its many textures but somehow manages to not look mangy; the Ruffled Holiday Scarf that might actually get me to wear a scarf were I in a different climate, even Sugar & Spice, a little girl's robe I'm thinking about making for a relative for Christmas.

Crochet World is another showcase of ugly patterns. The pattern of the month winner is especially stunning (in the Seinfeldian sense):
Again, that's just wrong. I cannot imagine any child voluntarily wearing that. I don't know what's the worst part, the appliqued crayons-with-scribble-paths, the huge buttons, or the appropos of nothing rainbow in the center.

I was looking through these magazines at dinner. Sure something better must lurk around the page, I turned it to find...Fingerless Cotton Bed Gloves. Nothing really wrong with them per se, they're just another item I cannot comprehend. I wear gloves only to keep my hands warm, and my fingers get cold first. So I don't get fingerless gloves. The description says they "will give your chapped hands a treat."
Oh-kay. So apparently they should be worn to hold in lotion, as a treatment for dry skin? Am I the only one who puts lotion on her fingers too? I've gotta be missing something here.

Other bad patterns include the Textured Shell (in the "Touch of Style" column; apparently we're talking late-80s nerd style); Argyle Tote Bag for those who have "always admired the argyle pattern on socks"; the frighteningly fuzzy Kindergarten Poncho; the almost-intriguingly-abstract Crayon-Box pullover (to wear underneath the Crayon Scribbles Cardigan, perhaps, as the former is designed to be loose enough to wear as a jacket); the Hooded Riding Shawlcho, which I would hate for the name alone, even if it weren't insanely shaped & the inexplicably hairy Girl's Pumpkin Purse (which doesn't look like a pumpkin and dear Lord why is it hairy?).

I will admit, I love kitschy patterns as much as the next person. I like the bespectacled Book Bag Bunny, and will probably make the Trick-or-Treat Pumpkin bags for my daughters--well, sans the hairy trim. And there are a couple of patterns there that are very nice, like the Ranch House Throw and the Boy Wrapper.

Crochet Fantasy and Interweave Knits: Crochet exist, though they're not totally immune.

Crochet Fantasy has a baby sweater I'm itching to make, a fan stitch sweater (not that I get 3/4 length sleeves on sweaters though), a cute purse, an absolutely lovely cape (cape, not capelet), & a cute purple elephant (which I may well make in pink as a joke for my friend the gay Republican). There are several other patterns that are nice but not to my taste. And then...And then there's "Sleeves", described as 'a little more sophisticated than a shrug.' Indeed. It appears to be a sweater that someone got bored while making and so quit after getting it just long enough to cover her bust. To make matters more incomprehensible, it pairs this extreme-crop-top with very long sleeves. I don't understand it and I don't want to understand it, nor do I wish to understand "Remembering Mod," a little girl's outfit of a crop top and minskirt made out of fuzzy, super-bulky yarn. Not sure which is worse, how revealing this thing (apparently intended to be worn out in public) is, or how poorly the yarn lends itself to the project.

Still, it remains one of the best magazines for the serious crocheter.

I know reviews of
Interweave Knits: Crochet have been rather mixed, and I have to add my own. Overall, the patterns are lovely things I itch to make, but there are a couple of oddities. Candi Jensen's Shell Stitch Hat is one of them. It's pretty enough, except for the yarn. It's "shiny rayon raffia", but it looks like someone cut up plastic bags to crochet with. Reminds me of the Family Readiness Group on the Boise soliciting colored trashbags to make the sub's homecoming lei with (no, I'm not making that up). The truly bizarre pattern, though, is the Pirate's Jacket. I've got to provide a photo of this one. You can't understand it just by being told. You have to see it:
I know that it was designed that way on purpose. I think it's supposed to be edgy. Perhaps done in minature on a member of Lady Linoleum's VLA, it would be. Perhaps even done in black or scarlet and worn by a teenager with too-pale makeup and a well-developed sense of fashion irony, it would be.

But on a normal adult, as everyday wear? How do I put this properly? NO. It looks for all the world as if the maker was rather heavily into certain mind-altering substances while crocheting. Friends don't let friends crochet drunk.

(Note that the model looks much happier wearing the South of the Border Jacket.)

I'm having a hard time picking out a favorite, though. It's a tie amongst the Milan Dress, the Colorwaves Topper (though the link to pattern corrections kind of scares me), and the Hemp Flowers Necklace, which I'd never actually wear but love the very idea of. If you're even later to the party than I am and haven't seen the magazine yet, the whole list of projects can be seen here.

Part Two: Linda's First Sentence

Linda said her first sentence today, at a little more than 20 months. And it was actually a complete sentence. Also, Linda being Linda, it was a demand. It is here because it involves crochet. She brought her dance outfit over to me, held it out, and said "Put it on me!" I about fell over. She's not normally very articulate, and so this did sound a bit garbled. But it was a perfect sentence! Bobbie's first sentences were two and three word things that sounded like something a caveman would say.

Part Three: Rob's Coming Along Well

This is obviously still a work-in-progress, but it's nice enough that I have to show it off. Rob has decided to make a toddler blanket for his first project.

I posted the problems he was initially having at Crochetville, so this is my official on-the-blog thanks. He is still insisting on using a G hook with his worsted weight yarn, but he seems to have lost the habit of purposely making things small and tighter than they have to be. The slightly warped look to this I think is more a feature of how I laid it out than anything else. It's a very nice square, and looking at it you can't see the total look of terrified confusion that crossed his face when I initially tried to explain the concept of double crochet to him.

He's doing well reading symbol patterns. They make more sense to him than the written ones. Initially he was working on a normal granny square, and then I went upstairs to take a nap (pregnant women: nap when you can). Came down two hours later, and he had the beginnings of this. Found the pattern in the book I was using to try to go over the granny square with him, decided he liked it better, and started in on it. He's a lot smarter than he gives himself credit for.

Part Four: Thrift Store Score

I'm pretty sure I mentioned this in a previous post. The thrift store we go to here has a whole rack of thread and yarn. We each bought a package the last time we were there. This is what I got for 99 cents:

The package is marked as J & P Coats Pearl LusterSheen knit & crochet yarn. I don't see it on the Coats & Clark website, so I'm thinking it may well be discontinued. This was the only package of it they had. Not sure what I'm going to make out of it. There is neither weight nor yardage marked on the package, so I really don't know what I've got enough for. But I love the metallic black.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Linda's Dance Outfit

OK, so she's not as excited about it as her sister was, LOL. She just woke up from a nap and is more interested in her malassada than anything else.

Technical stuff--tried to make the waist in a similar fashion to the other one, but even with multiple buttonholes (so in theory it could be tightened/loosened), it wouldn't fit properly. So I sewed up the open seam and did a round of sc, then a round of sc, ch-1/sk 1, sc, then another rount of sc, then chained a drawstring. There's a reason I usually do drawstring waists; they're so much easier to adjust. This is more baby-weight yarn. The waistband and top are done with a 4.5mm hook, the lace on the skirt with an I hook. The lace is a shell trellis pattern. This wasn't as easy to increase as the webbed lace pattern on Cathie's, so I wasn't able to get a similar ruffled look. There is a small ruffle at the very bottom of three rounds of a plain trellis stitch.

Next project--if I can find it--is to finish up the cake I started so many months ago, then I'm going to indulge myself by making some motifs for no particular reason.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

My poor husband.

We were at the thrift store today to pick up a bag of towels for birth supplies (my reasoning is that I won't mind throwing away stuff I got at the thrift store if they don't come adequately clean in the wash, but that's another topic totally), & it was cheap enough that we could, with what we had on hand, get some of the yarn I was poring over.

Rob said he thought it might be neat to take up lacemaking. By which he meant thread crochet, of course. Well, I jumped on that since I've been bugging him to learn how to crochet, so we got him some thread and me some yarn and came home.

I threw the Encyclopedia of Crochet at him when we came home, thinking that would be helpful, as it's got basic crochet techniques. He can already do a chain stitch. Or he could, once upon a time. I saw him do it; he did it rather well. He's doing some funky thing with twisting the hell out of the hook to try to get it to go through the chain that already exists.

I'm trying to help. It isn't working. He's right handed. I even tried crocheting right handed just so I could show him better what to do, but I'm awful, just awful right handed. I pointed him towards StitchGuide, which site I know has taught at least one person how to crochet. But it's not working for him. Poor guy. If he makes it through the weekend trying (he's now moved up to attempting to work single crochets into the chain, and I don't know what the hell he's doing wrong; I think he's twisting the chain), he'll probably get the hang of it. But it wouldn't surprise me to find him back at the chainmail soon. Chainmail-making is a nice masculine craft, it seems. Lacemaking not so much so.

At least I convinced him to use worsted weight yarn to start out with, but for some ungodly reason he's insisting on using an F hook with it. I cannot impart the idea that, when learning to crochet, smaller is not necessarily better. He's making it harder on himself than it should be, methinks, but I can't get him to loosen up.

Friday, September 30, 2005

I will not give in.

It's disappointing in a way to go to crochet blogs and find lots of posts about knitting, and none about crochet. Worse than looking in the needlecraft section at Barnes & Noble and seeing 20,000 knitting books and maybe five crochet, four of which I already have and the fifth of which is afghans.

Not that there's anything wrong with practicing more than one craft. But when I visit crochet blogs, I'm not looking to learn about anyone's adventures in knitting. There are more than enough knitting blogs out there that, should the last of my current personality leak out in my breastmilk, I can read about knitting easily.

Sigh. I have some knitting needles laying around the house. I almost want to pick them up and practice again, but I will not give in. Knitting these days is like mold. Give it the slightest bit of air and it will cover up everything else & start to smell funny.

I'm about half done with Linda's swirly skirt. Just being lazy about it is all. Thirty-seven weeks now, and the past two days I've had long naps during the afternoon. Four hours yesterday and two hours today (yeah, I know it's technically Friday already, but as I haven't been to bed yet my body still thinks its Thursday). I'd love to crochet up a storm, but right now my ability to sleep is so iffy that sleep takes precedence. Which means I'm spending time trying to fight Linda away from Bobbie's outfit; she keeps grabbing it to put it on.

Well, Bobbie is sitting down here with me. She woke up and saw a monster, apparently, so I let her stay with me, since Linda is already in bed with Rob. She's starting to demand we go to bed, so I'd best finish this off & go.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Bobbie's Dance Outfit

What more can I really add to that photo? She loves it. She wanted to sleep in it tonight.

It was a royal pain to make. The lace pattern is simple enough, but getting it to look OK and have a bit of a ruffle to it wasn't easy. Especially since I started doing it one way, frogged it and decided to do it another, then kept forgetting to do it the new way and having to frog it yet again to fix it. That's one reason the skirt is above-the-knee, not a length I usually let her wear (it's an almost totally openwork skirt, which means it's an at-home-only piece). It's made specifically for her to dance in, though.

The top was much easier. The skirt was the work of several days, the top took maybe an hour and half or two hours. Being an at-home-only outfit, again, made my job easier, because I don't have to worry about it keeping to my usual standards.

Now, of course, I have to make Linda a similar outfit, because she kept demanding this one, LOL.