Sunday, March 12, 2006

Hysteria



I think I may be just the teensiest bit hysterical. I chose colors for my most ambitious project to date, a King-size afghan. I chose Homespun as the softest and thickest yarn, which limited the colors I could choose from. I wanted Colonial and Country, which would have been navy blue and a nice deep dark green, but of course Country has been disconinued, and Colonial didn't look right with the other greens that were available.

Caron would have been a good choice too, and I could have gotten the dark colors I wanted, but it couldn't have been as thick and non-holey as I wanted, either. In the end, I selected (from left to right in the picture) Black, Williamsburg (grey blue), Windsor (light grey blues and greens), and Regency (grey greens).

I'm still trying to decide whether I want to do a double-strand ripple, or large, 15"-ish squares. I think the squares might be more managable, but a ripple would be very pretty too. If I chose squares, I'd have to decide whether to use single or double crochet.

Since the project will most likely take me quite a while to finish, I wanted to get all the yarn I would need up front, since Homespun colors have that nasty habit of getting discontinued when you least expect. I purchased a grand total of 25 skeins! I became quite intimidated when I saw them laying out on the couch.

Friday, March 10, 2006

The "Crochet Hat," Part Deux



I won't go into all the little problems I had with this piece. I've never had to create a pattern from scratch before, so it was a learning experience in more ways than one! My crowning (pun intended) achievement: the buckle. After a good five or six fabric and thrift stores, I finally found the perfect buckle. Now I know why other women like shopping so much. I felt as though I had won the lottery.

Anyhow! I think this ended up pretty close. Pretty darn close, if I do say so myself. I'm still arguing with the brim about whether it's going to bend or not, but I feel confident in my ability to whip it into line.

World of Warcraft: The "Crochet Hat"



World of Warcraft, a "massively multiplayer online roleplaying game," exists entirely in pixels. The characters players choose as their avatars are clothed with interchangable items. A person will wear many, many different clothes of all types during their playing career. One of the possible items is called, in the game, a "Crochet Hat." (Not a "crocheted hat," as would be proper, of course, but apparently the designers do not actually crochet. We'll forgive them this time.) Since it looks a great deal like a cloth of leather fishing hat, many people, myself included, use this as a sort of mood setter when we go fishing.

When I mentioned I crochet, a friend exclaimed that I would be worshipped if only I could crochet this hat. I haven't seen the shrine yet, but this is hardly a challenge I can refuse! These are pictures of the hat as it exists in the game.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Hospital hats



I got bored with simple double-crochet hats in the round, so I picked up "Simple Crochet for Cherished Babies" by Jane Davis, and made these.

For the life of me, I could not get her "Rascal" hat to come out right. Instead, I altered the pattern by making several little triangles and sewing them together, instead of staying with the wedge-shaped continuous crochet she wrote in her pattern. I think it turned out pretty cute. I don't have a baby to use as a model (one of these days I'm going to buy a babydoll to dress up), but this convenient ball of yarn volunteered for modeling duty with little fuss and hardly any screaming at all.

Since I donate my hats to the hospital, I like use soft yarns, like Caron Simply Soft. In this case, the only color to come close to looking like an acorn was in Lion's Suede, which is much thicker than the pattern called for. I used a smaller hook, but alas, it ended up quite a bit larger than I intended anyway. It's the thought that counts, right?

And I was bored. Ha!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Comfort-ghan squares


These squares are part of my stash-busting attempt. (You may have noticed the colors look remarkably similar to the 63-square Heirloom Afghan, my first project. How astute of you!) They are 12-inch (more or less) granny squares which will be sent to The Crochet Dude as per the request on his blog to send squares for Heartmade Blessings, just as soon as I gather 12 squares or run out of blues, whichever comes first. That dark, black-looking color is actually navy blue, NOT black. I read the instructions!

For those of you chiding me for setting aside my Aran WIP: this is a great cause, so my conscience is clean.

Socks



I've always wanted to make socks. I think the whole idea of hand-made socks is pretty spiffy. If you'll recall, however, my knitted afghan didn't do so well. I thought that maybe, before I get carried away with the sock thing, I should try knitting again first. I picked up my needles and yarn, found a pattern I liked for an afghan, and set to work. I was never able to finish the third row. I tried, too. I ripped out and cast on no less than twelve times. After about two weeks of this, it finally occured to me that I was getting absolutely nowhere, and I really should go back to crocheting. I used the yarn I bought for the knitted afghan to make the Diagonal-Striped one, a couple posts back.

In the meantime, my desire for socks was grumbling at me.

I found another book, this one called "Learn to Crochet Socks." (Leaflet #1308, from American School of Needlework, 12 designs by Kathy Wesley.) Now we're talkin'! I chose some soft Microspun in lilac, and over the next week, made a pair of socks! I was excited. Delirious, really. Warm and soft, they fit just right! Except...

Except that nobody told me that my feet would feel every little stitch where one strand of yarn crosses over another one to makes a thick, knot-like lump. The socks are warm and soft. I'm sure there must be an accupressurist out there somewhere who could help design some lovely, beneficial crocheted socks. Perhaps I could adapt the deisgn for babies, who don't need to walk on yarn knots.

All in all, however, the sock obsession is over.

Americana Afghan


This is Lion Brand's Americana Afghan. If you're sensing a pattern here (no pun intended) of Lion Brand, that's because they're free, and free means more yarn-buying. There was a scarf and hat to go with the afghan, but those were sold (for forty bucks!) at an auction benefiting Air Force families. The afghan would have been auctioned with its brother and sister, the scarf and hat, except that I ran into issues.

Forty-six five-pointed little issues.

Now, the stars weren't hard to do, and were actually kind of fun once I got going. I was able to crank out a star every fifteen minutes by the end. No, the problem was attaching them. You see, I can't sew. I don't mean I don't know how, or that I don't like to. It's just that Gramma's quilting gene skipped me. (It skipped Dad, too, but that's ok; he can use a hammer.) It took me over an hour to tack down the points of each star, which I thought would be easier than sewing around the whole entire thing. After eleven stars, I gave up. (The first eight went to the scarf.) I moved on to another project I was anxious to try.

Sometime after Christmas, I realized I had one almost-completed blanket, and a complex Aran that was suffering from mid-blanket-itis. There was only one thing to do. I needed a new project. However, I couldn't stand the thought of the Americana being ALMOST done. I thought about leaving the field blue, but discarded the idea as cheating. Then I sternly told myself I could not, under any circumstances, buy any more yarn or start a new project until I finished the flag. The tiny, evil little crochet demon that lives within me giggled and agreed. We went to the store, bought new yarn and a bottle of fabric glue.

Yes, folks, I glued those puppies down in 75 minutes. I thought I should feel ashamed of myself, because the recipient of this blanket, whomever he or she may be, will have stiff little glued-down stars instead of soft, durable sewn stars. But then, if I didn't glue the stars on, the blanket would never have been completed in the first place. Really, they should be grateful.

I sure hope that sounded convincing.

Diagonal Striped Throw


First, it should be stated that before I beagn crocheting, I tried knitting. My first project was a knit stitch-only diagonal afghan. I hated the way it turned out, because two of the diagonal corners were hideously disproportioned. It looked like Dumbo's ears got magically attached to two corners of my beautiful blanket. I assumed I miscounted or miscalculated somewhere. Who can keep track of all those little rows of stitches?

So, I picked up crocheting, where keeping track is much easier, and it's also much easier for me to count the stitches. Plus, so far everything has come out more or less straight. Until now.

Enter the Diagonal Striped Throw from Lion Brand Yarn. I loved the look of this: classy and thick. I picked out Homespun Gothic and Tudor, and started to work. Everything seemed fine until, to my horror, the day of completion wherein I found out- yep, you guessed it- wonky diagonal corners. Now, I will swear to you, I did everything exactly as I was supposed to. I made a gauge swatch, which came out on the nose. My tension was perfect, each row increased or decreased exactly the right number of stitches and everything was lovingly counted and precise.

So what the heck happened? I have no idea. Worse, I can't find out anyone this has happened to, yet it's happened to me TWICE, with two entirely different styles of yarnwork! (In case you're looking, it's the lower right and upper left corners of this picture. I admit to some sneaky repositioning to make it look normal for the shot.)

Still, it's warm and soft. I guess I'm keeping this one, because I'd feel horribly guilty giving it to some unsuspecting victim.