Tuesday, October 30, 2007
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
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
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
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
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
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
Saturday, July 28, 2007
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:
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?
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
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
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 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
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
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.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
I used the 50lb barbell for most of what I did. I'm the only woman I've ever seen hoisting that sucker, or even the 40lb'er. I did some biceps curls with an EZ curl barbell, but it was only a 30lb'er. By then it was late enough in my workout that I couldn't use the 50lb anymore. And yet the 30lb felt too easy, as if I was wimping out.
The first time I had the cojones to do freeweights at this gym, I didn't know what weight to use, so I grabbed the lightest one--2olbs. I did a couple of curls with it and then re-racked it in disgust, because it was so easy it made me feel like an idiot. (Side note: this is the barbell I see other women with. I've never seen a gal with a heavier barbell at that gym. I'm sure they could handle it if they had any faith in themselves, but even the personal trainers--who should really know better--give women only the 20lb one.)
Anyway, I will now masterfully connect pumping iron to crocheting, because I rock like that.
My cousin Becky dropped by my cousin Maggie's (her sister) when I was over there tonight. She is pregnant again and due in December. This only enables me, y'know.
I promised her a baby blanket, amongst assorted other goodies. (Boy, the look she gave me when I waxed enthusiastic over getting to make sweaters!) I have a mostly-unused Pound of Love from Lion Brand in pale yellow, & I'm using this.
So, the question comes, what stitch pattern do I use? I know I don't have the patience to follow anyone else's pattern (though, of course, props to y'all who write 'em). So I'd have to come up with my own. And I opened up Notepad to write it down so I can post it to my free patterns site.
I intended to begin with to do horizontal stripes of a sort--plain DC interspersed with a lacier stitch. But this is a December baby, and it gets cold here in January/February time frame. So I wanted something not holey. Then I remembered a hat I'd made during Lent. Specifically, this one:
Alternating several double crochets with several single crochets, all on the same row, gives a sort of rippled look, without the pain in the rear that actual ripple patterns always give me. (I don't know why they do, but they do.)
So, I came up with a "pattern." And I WILL post it to my patterns site when I am done with the blanket, and I will call it the Lazy Ripple Baby Blanket. What I'm tempted to call it, on the other hand, is "The Dumbass Ripple Blankie", because that's what I feel like when I sit down to write this down as a pattern.
There are so many possible variations on this it's silly. If I remember right--I didn't write anything down at the time--the hat is 2 sc followed by 3 dc. The blanket is 3 sc followed by 3 dc. There are two ways to do this--either a multiple of 3 or a multiple of 6 (depending on whether you want it to end with sc or dc--a multiple of 3 but not 6 is necessary to end with the same stitch you start with), plus 1. You just sc in the scs and dc in the dcs. It's really that simple. I'm working with a starting chain of 121, which means I'm ending with 3 dcs. But you could do a starting chain with a multiple of four, five, or seven or more plus 1 (you always need 1 extra st when you start with a single crochet), and then do 5 sc followed by 5 dc, or you could have a multiple of 5 with an uneven breakdown, as with the hat.
It's so simple a pattern, just 3 rows, two of which are the pattern repeat (only different because of the starting stitch, which means a different number of turning chains). It's the crochet equivalent of the 20lb barbell. I can do it, but I feel silly doing it because it requires so little effort.
I'll post a picture of the blanket when I'm done; truthfully that's going to be the hardest part. Finishing the blanket. I tend to lose interest partway through blankets of any sort, but hopefully there's enough variation in this one to keep me entertained.
Sunday, July 08, 2007
I didn't post too much to the circle last night; I figured out early on that the problem with such virtual klatching is that I'd have to stop working to post. Not gonna happen. I should look into joining the local Craft Mafia, or see about scaring up a crochet/sewing/embroider circle locally. There might be such a thing; I just really don't want to join in on something knitting-dominated.
Anyway, I'm about to go back to working on my mermaid. Fair warning, it's going to be made to Shooter Jennings, Los Lonely Boys and maybe even some Steve Earle.
Monday, July 02, 2007
This is the first one I made; I gave it to Esther. I haven't changed the doll much from that way of making it. The major change is the way of attaching the arms; I finally figured out how to do it so they're attached in a more natural manner; on this doll one is sticking straight out because I sewed it on in the round & the other has some forward/backward motion because I pinched the starting end together & sewed it shut & then sewed it on the doll. I've since changed the method to have them 'hinged' up & down, with the free end sewn shut. (There was a very brief interlude where I crocheted the start end shut, but it make the arms too long.)
This is a bit of a close-up of the face. I actually haven't changed the way I do the face since this one. The eyes are simple rectangles, the lips a double-thickness line and then a little rectangle or triangle for the bottom lip. The nose is done in matching yarn, I also used it to trace around the eyes and add a little bit more detail.
One last picture of this doll, a close-up of the hair. I laid two long strands over the top of the head & backstitched them down. This isn't as sturdy as I'd like, so I took backstitches on the sides as much as there was room for, & I have refined this with each subsequent doll until the most recent one has almost all the hair sewn down on the sides as well.
This doll took all day to make, but I did finish the doll itself at work; I had to make the dress at home. The next day I made another doll for a neighbor child, which unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of. That doll I used a 4.25 mm hook for instead of the 4.0 mm used on this one. It is actually a significantly larger doll. I used a different hook size because of how much my hand hurt by the end of that first day, but it was worse the second day. The Clover Softouch hooks make all the difference. All subsequent dolls will be made with the 4.0 mm hook, as it gives a much nicer appearance overall.
I actually sold the third doll I made. As I was finishing up the second one, the gentleman who sits behind me asked if I could make a personalized one for his daughter. I quoted a price of $25, but browsing Etsy suggests any more should be priced higher. It's OK, though, I still think I got a good price. His daughter is of mixed-race, & he wanted one that looked a bit more like her, so I used tan yarn from Red Heart for the "skin" & Light & Lofty yarn in a sort of caramel color for the hair. I really love that yarn for hair, it should fray into something quite lovely. The final product was finished in just under half a day of work, & had a very nice tonal look going for it.
I don't have a photo of the finished project because I wasn't certain Tracey would be OK with it, but this is the doll without any clothes. I made a sundress for her all in single crochet so I could embroider on it. Not something I plan on doing in the future. Tracey loved it & I'm certain his daughter will as well.
I have a fourth doll almost finished, lacking merely an arm. I'll edit this post later today to post pix once I'm totally done. While working on this one I fell in love with the tan yarn & so the one I'm currently on uses the same color, & I've got a sort of brick colored yarn I'm using for the hair.
Most of these use Red Heart Super Saver yarn. Economical, & holds up well. Stash yarn, mostly. I bought some yarn from Michael's Friday evening, all wool, that I will use to make a mermaid. That and the doll I am working on currently will soon be up for sale at Etsy; I'll post here when they're listed.
Oh, & I'll have the pattern from the previous post up as soon as I locate the paper I wrote it on.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
The dress uses the same neckline-shaping technique as the sweater (and a handful of other patterns). It is my own pattern, though. I'll put it up on my site shortly, as soon as I figure out the button issue. I'm calling it the Fiesta baby dress, as it reminds me strongly of the Mexican dresses for sale hereabouts.
Since it's sized for a newborn, the ruffle on the front does not go completely around. There's no ruffle on the back, in other words. It has always struck me that ruffles on the back cannot be comfortable for newborns to lay on. It will need a flat button for the same reason (comfort).
I have made both of these this week. In the past two days, in fact. I probably won't have this temp job for very long, but man it's good for my crocheting.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
I didn't take anything to do last Thursday, which was my first day. I remedied that the next day. Friday, yesterday, & today, I made a baby blanket, a baby shirt, and half a baby sweater. The last two today. We are live, and we are taking calls, but we've got a decent amount of down-time in there. As I told Emile, one of my coworkers today, I have finally found a way to get paid for crocheting! I'll be crocheting tomorrow, & I'll remember this time to put a pair of scissors in my purse. It was heck sawing yarn off with a key.
Life is good. I might buy some yarn this payday.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Wanna guess what it is? Bags of all type, crocheted from recycled materials. The front page right now has a VHS tape/ribbon yarn tote bag, plastic bag pot scrubbers, a granny square tote again out of plastic bags, & a recycled plastic grocery tote bag.
There are also tutorials (like on how to use VHS tape for yarn) and patterns--for the aforementioned grocery tote bag, for starters. Many of the projects are also for sale.
You can't go wrong with DIY recycling. (OK, ok, you can, but there's no fire involved in this, at least.)
Monday, June 11, 2007
First, I made this shirt for Bobbie, using the aforementioned easiest sweater pattern. I used a K hook & a simple DC to keep it nice & airy for summer wear.
Then, I made this halter top for Linda:
I used one size hook (don't remember the size) for the bodice and a P hook for the bottom part. Again, just a simple double crochet for a lacy look.
Esther's was last, done while she was asleep. Which meant that I didn't get to fit it on her as well as I'd have liked. But it still fits quite well. Her halter is very, very simple. I just started out with 5 dc and increased at the beginning & end of every row for about five or six rows until it was wide enough & then went straight down until it was long enough. The whole thing was actually made in one piece, including the ruffles on the sides and the ties at top & bottom. I hate weaving in ends, which is why I did it that way. Esther's:
This is pretty much backless, which keeps it cool and makes nibbling on the adorable back a very easy thing. Oh, I used a K hook for the center part & an I for the ruffles & ties.
The girls wore their new tops to the Folklife Festival yesterday (one of Robert's customers gave him wristbands for us & under six was free). Well-slathered in sunscreen, they stayed relatively comfortable.
I still have some of the first skein of yarn left, and one more large skein as well. This is what I have planned for it:
It's a granny pentagon baby blanket. I was planning on a hexagon, but I couldn't get it to sit flat, so I switched to a pentagon. I plan on using up all the rest of the multicolored yarn and perhaps some white cotton yarn I have as well, if the multi doesn't get me a big enough blanket, though it probably will.
I'm also planning on giving in, joining the herd, & making the Baby It's Cold Outside jacket. My cousin Becky is pregnant yet again, & that gives me an excuse to make baby stuff.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
It's obviously just a simple Barbie outfit. I like this type of Barbie because of the feet, which are natural looking. But that has nothing to do with crochet, so now I'll talk about the clothes.
The skirt...No clue what the yarn is. Some sort of cotton that was given to my mother & then to me. It's 20 stitches long, 8 hdcs followed by 12 dcs, which gave it the shaping; it's obviously worked sideways.
The shirt is a version of what I belive to be called "The Simplest Sweater in the World" or something of the sort. I cannot find the link to it right now, which is upsetting as I seriously want to give credit where it is due. It's the only truly one-piece sweater pattern I know of, and as is obvious from this picture it is adaptable to any size. I'll keep looking and give the sweater its own post--which it well deserves--as soon as I find it.
To let you know how much I love this sweater pattern, I am making a shirt for my eldest based off of it.
The reasoning behind this project, by the way, was simply to see what I could come up with in only about two hours' time. Usually I take a very long time to make anything, because I constantly frog it and start over. I am proud to say that I only frogged each of these pieces once. I undoubtedly would have messed around more without the self-imposed deadline. I'm going to do this more often, as the very pretty Flanders Poppy from my Memorial Day entry was also a spur-of-the-moment creation.
Overthinking is bad.
Monday, June 04, 2007
I have lots of advocacy stuff, mostly breastfeeding, but in my own special way there's plenty of stuff about crocheting as well. I spent tonight working on it. Everything there is 100% my own design, from the graphics to the words to how it's all put together.
The first one is my favorite. It's nearly impossible to read there, so here's a bigger version:
I actually did more calculations than that, but I had to cut it down so it would show up better on the products. That figure for formula is actually a lowball one. The brand-name stuff the hospitals get you hooked on costs more (I was thankfully only given formula for one kid, but it was the $20 a can stuff--not that I used it).
I like to put the cost equation in easy-to-understand terms. It came up at Mothering one time that a woman was trying to convince her husband it was a good idea to breastfeed, and that's when I did a little sleuthing & discovered you can buy a big-screen HDTV for the cost of a year's worth of formula (again, with that lowball figure).
But I don't care about televisions. I care about yarn.
Friday, June 01, 2007
Monday, May 28, 2007
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
To those they left behind: We grieve alongside you, and thank you for your bravery and your sacrifice.
To all others: Take time out to thank God that there are those willing to die for our freedoms, and so that others can have freedom as well.
Saturday, May 26, 2007
This particular incarnation uses Caron Perfect Match (you thought I was gonna say Simply Soft, didn't you?) and a J/6mm hook. I also used Alternate Double Crochet as the base for all my stitches, a V-st instead of 3-dc for the corners, and at the end of it all switched to treble crochet for the final shells. Other than that, I stayed pretty close to the original pattern, though of course Ilengthened it quite a bit to have a knee-length dress.
The cheap yarn makes it a bit stiff, but it's not uncomfortable & I truly believe it'll soften up quite a bit after washing.
Since the hook is so big for the yarn, and since the stitch pattern for the skirt is quite open, this is appropriate for spring/summer wear. I'm always kind of stymied by people saying that yarn arts are a winter time craft. I mean, they're so obviously not, but how do you refute such an obviously untrue statement when the person saying it deeply believes it? Interestingly enough, this was most recently said to me in a thread of FOs that featured two different non-clothing objects. 'Cause, yeah, when it gets really hot out there, you have to switch to a different purse or you'll be overheated.
Link here. I'm adding a link to my sidebar as well. Check it out.
This is the chart I made there (well, a screen shot, as I'm too stupid to upload actual files):
I made a chart of the International Breastfeeding Symbol developed through a contest at Mothering.com. In all honesty I'm not fond of the design It looks too much like a mother simply holding a baby. But as it was chosen by popular vote, I am obviously in the minority for wanting my breastfeeding symbol to look like breastfeeding!
I'm seriously going to crochet this, I'm just not sure when or what I'll do with the finished project. Maybe a mini-advocacy afghan, if I pair it with the runners-up. (I have some of them saved on my computer somewhere.
OK, just because I can, here's the one that was my favorite:
See, this one is much nicer, in my opinion. Not only does it have greater aesthetic appeal, it is obvious at a glance what it's supposed to represent. There you have mother, baby, and breast.
Maybe it's too white...
Saturday, May 19, 2007
This handy-dandy little stitch is linked treble crochet. It's a nice, tall stitch without the openness typical of treble crochet. I also find it easier, though slower, as you don't wrap the yarn around the hook twice. Instead you draw a loop up in two different places on the side of the previous stitch, and it leaves the pretty horizontal bars you can see in the picture above. (At least, I hope you can see them. It wasn't an easy picture to take. Too dark without the flash, too shiny with it.)
This is detail for the skirt I am making for Linda, as the last one I tried to make her came out too small. I am used to the weight of the yarn stretching the skirt out quite a bit; apparently that's not an issue if you use the chainless single crochet (Google it. You'll be glad you did.) The linked trebles actually aren't great for projects worked in the round, since there's a gap only between the first & last stitches, but I'm hoping it won't be noticeable when it's worn. It's such a pretty stitch, though, and it makes nice big stripes.
If you'll look on the left side of the screen, you'll see that I finally figured out how to have buttons for all the blogs I link to in this new version of Blogger (stupid me didn't think to check the format of the carried-over ones until just now). You'll also see a partially cut-off bar for Associated Content, which will shortly have a crochet article I wrote, and even now carries two other of my articles. Pretty cool, huh?
Monday, May 14, 2007
Wardrobe Refashion. It's just what it sounds like, only a little more complicated. Participants vow to not buy any new clothes for a period of time (at least 2 months). The idea is that instead you rework what you have, and also thrift-shop/garage sale finds, into a new wardrobe. Yay rejection of consumerism!
I love this one: 30-Minute Dress.
Isn't it gorgeous? Two big skeins of cottony goodness for $9. Total. A savings of $4 off the normal Wal-Mart price, and God only knows how much elsewhere.
I got this at a Wal-Mart on the south side, near my mother's house. It's not my usual style, being pink and orange and yellow and white, but it somehow manages to come together quite well.
The Wal-Marts near my house never seem to have stuff like this. The only Bernat I typically see at any WM, for that matter, is their baby yarn, and sometimes their novelty yarns. This was in a clearance section, and if I'd had the money I could have gotten two or three more skeins of this, or several of another color.
Take a look at this close-up:
Gorgeous, isn't it? It's going to make a cute toddler sundress or two.
Speaking of which! I totally forgot to show off the dresses I sewed for the older two:
That's the best picture I could get, & it was taken at the end of the night, thus the glassy looks. They love 'em, though, & they seem to be very comfortable.
Sunday, April 29, 2007
Robert named it thus; 'choomp' is our term for breastmilk (don't ask me why; I was still delirious from my first c-section when I coined it) and 'choomp ninja' is his nickname for Linda--the darling in the graphic at the top of this page. She has a habit of appearing out of nowhere and latching on.
Nevertheless, I have given this Choomp Ninja to Esther, and Linda and Bobbie have demanded their own, one red & one yellow. I'm not too sure about the yellow, it's not a very ninja-y color.
In future iterations I think I will make the legs in the same fashion as the arms, as they have a quite ninja-appropriate swirlyness to them. I really wanted to get this done in one sitting, so I decided to make limbs that wouldn't require stuffing.
The specs: this ninja was made with a 4.5mm hook (Clover's SofTouch, which I adore) using TLC essentials for the body & Caron Perfect Match for the face.
I'm really impressed with the newer Caron Perfect Match. I have some I bought years ago when we were living in Virginia & it's quite stiff. I bought enough back then to make an afghan with it--why the hell did I ever think I'd make an afghan? Anyhoo, the newer Caron Perfect Match, which I bought to make a head with, is much softer to the touch & more supple. It gives the very distinct impression that with a couple of washes it will become incredibly soft. (I have learned the value of repeated washes; it is only after about three years that my 450-thread-count sheets have earned their cost; they are now the most luxurious sheets imaginable.)
A note on the inspiration for this piece. I have StumbleUpon, an absolute must for anyone with Firefox, as I have said before. Of course one of my categories is arts & crafts, and it brought me to the Wee Ninja (Pocket Ninja) from Shawnimals.com. So if you or anyone you hold dear desires your own tiny ninja, look not to me but here instead. (And please note that my ninja is not meant to be ripoff or an exact copy of the Pocket Ninja; I was shown the photograph only in my Stumbling & used it as a jump-off point.)
Friday, April 27, 2007
The Court of the Splendors of Fire and Ice.
It is Fiesta time once again in San Antonio. In addition to cheap beer, dancing with said cheap beer, cascarones, and stick food, Fiesta is all about the gowns.
There is just an amazing amount of artistry that goes into these dresses, especially the trains (which of course are the showpiece). I have no doubt an entire year's work goes into the embroidery of these dresses. They are brand-new every year, and it is always a great thing when an exhibition of the older ones is put on somewhere. (Usually you'll see them at the Witte, but I remember once seeing them in a display at North Star Mall--home of the iconic giant cowboy boots.)
Of course, it is a great honor to be chosen to wear one of these gowns; it's a daydream of many a young San Antonio chica, but of course unless you are from one of the city's richest families you'll never have a chance. Nonetheless, these women are our own royalty--along with King Antonio and El Rey Feo, and of course Miss Fiesta--and people camp out literally a week in advance for the Battle of the Flowers parade, which is your best chance to see them. (Side note: all public schools in the city close down on the day this parade takes place; it's that important!) Since these gowns are so elaborate they are very very heavy, and the women wear their most comfortable shoes underneath; therefore it is tradition to shout "Show us your sneaks!" as no one can get enough of the contrast of wearing athletic shoes with these gowns, apparently.
It is one of many things that make San Antonio San Antonio. Most of the year we are a huge tourist city, but for these ten days it's all about us. The mayor, Phil Hardberger, described it as the ten days we take a collective vacation from thinking. Of course, tourists do participate, and no one really minds, but it's by us & for us, which is quite refreshing.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
I need to do something odd. Or at least vaguely naughty. I'm just not sure what. I'm poring over Naughty Needles for inspiration (I know, it's knitting, but I can crochet anything you can knit).
I'm also sewing dresses for the older two munchkins. By hand, because I am insane and I think we left the sewing machine in Hawaii. (Yes, I know how pathetic it is that I apparently lost something that big, and no, we haven't finished unpacking yet.) Not that it's a particularly difficult project, as it involves a grand total of three seams. But it's two new dresses made for maybe $12 total, not a price you can beat!
Monday, April 23, 2007
I did buy some more crochet hooks at Hobby Lobby today, and even another copy of Crochet! magazine, which purports to have maternity clothes in it.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
If the ladies at MotheringDotCommune are to be believed, some women are hesitant to give Baby a bottle of expressed breastmilk in public for fear other nursing mamas will assume it's formula. Not something I can identify with, but something I can sympathize with. (For the record, I assume that everyone is feeding expressed breastmilk, so that my happy place stays happy.) There are apparently some glass bottles out there that say "Mother's Milk" or some such on them. I have long wanted to come up with an alternative, a crocheted bottle cover with "Mommy's Milk" or "breastmilk" or some such embroidered on it.
I must confess, I don't get bottle covers. Of three kids, only one of them was ever willing to take a bottle, and she only did so for about two months, one bottle a day while I was at work. (She eventually decided she'd rather wait & get it straight from the tap.) I have long been opposed to bottle covers in general; I see their prevalence as one more subtle push of formula feeding. That, and I really don't understand what they're for. I mean, I realize they're to cover baby bottles. But why? Maybe it's part of the innate drive to crochet a cozy for anything and everything you come across.
So, this is the final result. (Well, semi-final, I'm going to crochet another one where the yarns contrast better.) The project was in some ways much harder than I expected. The cover itself was simple enough--there's no bottom on it as I didn't want to chance unbalancing the bottle, so it's a mere 12 rounds including the trim--but it was more difficult than I had anticipated to get something embroidered on it.
See, when you hold a bottle, so much of it is covered up by your hand. (In my happy place, no one props bottles either.) I wanted to have only half the cover taken up by the embroidery. So Mama's Milk & Breastmilk were both out. I settled on this:
I don't know if that's even readable, much as I messed around with the contrast, but it says Milkies. This is a fairly common shorthand for nursing/breastmilk. Even so, it takes up slightly more than half the bottle cover, and in all honesty I think if you have something like this it's more for yourself than any theoretically judgmental strangers. So it's OK.
I'll be posting the pattern soon at my patterns site & will post here when it's up. It's 1:36 am as I type this, so I need to go to bed & get some sleep. It only took me an hour to make this, and that's with having to frog a couple of times, stop repeatedly to check the fit on the bottle, and jot down the pattern as I was crocheting. So it's a fast, fast project--hence being Instant Gratification #2.
Even without the embroidery, it might make a good gift for any exclusive pumper or working nursing mama you know, and it's a stash-buster. I used a 4oz Soothie bottle for the fitting, but I believe Avent bottles to be much the same size. (My first two were so insulted by Avent bottles that I never tried giving one to Esther, so I've none in the house.) At any rate, it is sized for the wider bottles that breastfeeding mamas tend to use.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
It's kind of bulky, but for something to make in half an hour starting at midnight, it can't be beat.
It's a very simple stitch pattern, a multiple of six stitches + 1.
Here's the pattern:
cotton yarn (Sugar & Cream or the like)
Gauge really doesn't matter for this pattern; it'll either be wider or narrower, depending on how you do it. You can always add on more repeats if you really want to.
1) Sc in second ch from hook & each rem. chain. 13sc
2) ch 1, turn. Sc in first st. *Ch 5, sk 5. Sc in next st.* twice. (End with sc in last sc.)
3) ch 1, turn. Sc in first st. *5hdc in ch-5 sp. Sc in sc.* twice
repeat rows 2 & 3 until cuff is almost large enough to encircle your wrist. Make it about 2 repeats FEWER than you think you need.
Ch 1, turn. Sl st in first 7 sts. IN SAME ST (#7): Ch 3. DC 4 more times. Drop loop from hook. Insert hook in first DC & back through dropped loop. Pull loop through st. Slst in last 6 sts. Finish off.
Join yarn in free loop of starting chain. Sl st in first 6 sts. Ch 3, sk 7th st. Slst in rem. 6 sts. Finish off.
I think this might work better with a button closure instead of the popcorn closure, but it was a matter of using what I could lay my hands on quickly. I'd also like to try it with a finer yarn. Maybe the bulkiness would have more of a punk edge if it wasn't pink. I'll be tinkering with this pattern & eventually get put it up on my permanent patterns site. But I don't think this is half bad for something made on the fly.
This is my acceptance letter into nursing school.
I'd be prouder if they didn't accept everyone who passes their entrance exam.
But it still feels good.
There's no way in heck I'm going to have everything in by Friday, so I'm shooting for the August class start instead of the May start.
Y'all know what this means, don't you?
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Also, please note that although I've technically changed the title of the blog, the URL stays the same. So if you have linked to me, it's really up to you whether you want to change the title of my blog in your links area.
I suppose the subtitle should have been my warning. After all, when was the last time you saw an LYS that treated crocheting as anything more than an afterthought?
I bought it because it was $9.48 instead of the $18.95 cover price. Now that I think on it, the very fact that a secondhand book store had several copies of this 2006 book, all brand-new, should also have been my warning. But I was drunk on having found a bookstore with nine shop cats (hence the name Nine Lives Books) and I somehow managed to open it up to one of the few crochet patterns, and hey I knit some now (I've made three whole projects in the past four or five months--2 Barbie dresses and a baby skirt).
I hate buying books that advertise themselves as having both knitting and crochet patterns, since that's usually shorthand for "we threw in three crochet patterns to pacify you hookers." This book, sadly, isn't an exception to the rule.
There are 101 projects, divided into seven chapters based on yarn type. I am anal, so I went & counted. The chapter-by-chapter breakdown:
Bulky Weight: knitting patterns: 20; crochet patterns: 1
Heavy Worsted: knitting patterns:4; crochet patterns: 0
Worsted-Mohair: knitting patterns: 5 crochet patterns: 0
Worsted Weight: knitting patterns: 45 crochet patterns: 2
Sport Weight: knitting patterns: 4 crochet patterns: 0
Fingering Weight: knitting patterns: 9 crochet patterns: 2
Novelty Yarns: knitting patterns: 11 crochet pattners: 2
So, that's 98 knitting patterns and 7 crochet patterns (and yes, I know that adds up to more than 101 patterns, but some of the projects had two or more pieces to them, & actually I'm certain I missed a few "extra" knitting patterns).
The book was 93% knitting patterns. This irks me for more than a few reasons. First, but least, there's a better ratio of knitting-to-crochet patterns in knit.1, or almost any other knitting magazine. Second, but far more important to me: it gives the false impression that you cannot crochet much of anything with only one ball of yarn.
Now, I know that crocheting takes a lot more yarn than knitting, but that doesn't mean you cannot make plenty of crocheted objects with a single skein of yarn. In fact, a good many of the knitted objects in that book would also work well crocheted. Coasters, doll sweaters, minipurses...You're gonna tell me you can't find a crochet pattern for this stuff? (Especially the bookmark. I really expected that one to be a crochet pattern!)
Most of the projects I make, in fact, are single-skein projects. And if I make a lot of baby stuff, well so what? I didn't do a specific count on this, but easily half the projects in the book were hats or scarves, scarcely less repetitive than booties or sacques.
Someone needs to write a book of one-skein crochet projects. If anybody knows of one in print, please let me know in the comments section.
Sunday, April 08, 2007
There ya go. Forty hats. I need to do some major end-weaving, as you can see. I wasn't in the mood to deal with it. I never am.
As far as I can tell, there are 40 unique designs there as well. Many thanks to Bev Qualheim of Bev's Country Cottage, whose Hats! Hats! Hats! pattern provided my jumping-off point. (From that pattern I used a 10-dc foundation round, an H hook, and the finished length, but nothing else, so I am honestly comfortable claiming the finished projects as mine.) 300 Crochet Stitches, the book, also proved to be an invaluable resource, but easily half of the stitch patterns came from my own head, and most of the ones I got from the book were heavily modified to work in the round with the number of stitches I had to work with. So again, I am comfortable calling all of these designs my own.
I only wish I had thought to make a note of what stitch pattern I was using on each hat. I thought, foolishly, that I would be able to just look at the hat afterwards & tell what I had done. By and large, not true.
Most of the hats were done from stash yarn, but I did buy some new yarn. Most of them are done with Caron Simply Soft. One was made with my Knifty Knitter loom.
I've also made a slideshow:
Not my favorite slideshow of all time, but it works. Or should; I can't actually see it in the composition screen.
Fair warning: upon seeing how poorly I've been doing at updating this, I am working on a retooling of the blog. I am going to expand its contents beyond crochet a bit, though that will still be the central focus of the blog.