Sunday, February 16, 2014

Day 47: right yarn, wrong pattern.

right yarn, wrong pattern
Sometimes we have yarn and we start a project that realistically looks like shit.  At this point we have some options.  Cut (the yarn) and run.  Unravel and try again.  Use the same yarn for a different pattern.  With this yarn I have, I ended up with the third option.  This yarn was not meant for a granny square pattern (on the right).  It looks much better with a knitted option.

The happy news is the cowl I crocheted in this yarn was the perfect fit for the lady who asked me to make it for her.  We got to the part about paying for my time and I asked if she had any plans for the leftover yarn.  She didn't so I told her if she's fine with letting me have the rest of the yarn, she gets the cowl with my thanks.  It was a mutual success.

This is my 1st shot at a diagonally knitted blanket (on the left).  first attempt.  The pattern is made with a bulky boucle but I downsized the needles enough to accommodate a garter stitch blanket.  I don't care much for the garter stitch but I'm looking forward to the final result.

I can proudly say (although it's a sin) that I've so far been 47 for 47 days of my resolution to craft something every day this year.  It's a luxurious goal to have.  I'm sorry, I have to go knit something.  Crap, that should be a t-shirt!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Day 42: still crafting.

Not much to report other than lots more snow and low temps.
that's the view from my office window.  There is so much snow the banks at the next property over are about 10 feet tall.  I've seen more than one pond with kids ice skating on it, which is really cool.  Old school hockey is alive and well in Central New York.

I'm still working on the diagonal blanket.  Haven't done much with it tonight but I've knitted a few rows.  It's damn cold here.  12 degrees on my drive home tonight.  Cold enough this morning that my car needed a jump start.

I'm very happy that I've maintained my goal thus far of crafting something every day this year.  Even if it's only 10 minutes, I'm still making time in my day to create something tangible.  My Gram would be happy, which makes me happy.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Day 41: oh yeah, substitutions are not only allowed, but encouraged.

wannabe granny square blanket on the left
So, with this yarn I thought I'd make a baby blanket.  The resulting granny square blanket on the left of this picture is not that appealing.  To the point that I wanted to try something else...hell anything else, to make this fun yarn look nice as a baby blanket.

It took some searching and some input from the boyfriend, but we both have the opinion that this yarn is happier being knitted rather than crocheted.

I tested a new pattern with this yarn.  Diagonal baby blanket pattern by Red Heart yarn.  I'm not a huge fan of the garter stitich, but for this yarn this looks much better.  This yarn isn't as bulky so I downsized to size 11 circular needles.  I plan on going until the one side is 36" and then start the decrease.  This is what I'm at for this evening, having spent some time on hold at work today knitting:
it's a fun yarn.  I've never knitted anything on the diagonal like this before.  I'm excited to see the final result.  It's already much more pleasant than the granny square version.  

I'm glad that I have something to work on: this is the view outside my office window today.
Winter in Central New York
That's the snow bank outside my window, which has been plowed from the parking lot of the building next to mine.  I'm not surprised; I've grown up here in Central New York.  Bring on the snow.  I have yarn to work with!!!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Day 40: substitutions allowed.

Anyone who is following this blog knows that I'm participating in my 1st ever crochet along MooglyBlog afghan CAL.  The 1st two block patterns released were great.  The third....not so much.  Tamara, who owns the blog, released block #3 which is called Hugs & Kisses.  On the CAL blog, Tamara says she thinks there's a mistake in the pattern, and at least half the people who started this square thought the same thing.  I would NOT release something (esp. if it's not my own) if I thought there was a problem with the pattern.

In good faith, I did try to work up the pattern Friday evening, and after restarting it five times gave up.  I am pretty sure I can make it work, but as I didn't really like the pattern to begin with, decided to substitute it with a different one.

Pippin simply HAS to investigate anything I put on the floor and attempt to photograph.  This is the pattern source: Frostbloom 12" afghan square by designer Shan Sevcik.  I'm VERY pleased with how it turned out.  I started it yesterday and finished it today.

One concern however.......
blocks one, two, and three
No only are none the same size, block #1 doesn't come close to matching up with block #2.  *sigh*

We will see what the rest of the year holds in store.  The point of me starting this CAL is to use up what I've got already on hand for yarn.  Fingers crossed!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Day 37: recap of days 35 through 37. A.K.A. my 1st CAL has it's 1st hiccup

1st & 2nd blocks for CAL
I have been BUSY!  Today was the release of block #3 for the first MooglyBlock Crochet A-Long afghan.  Last night I finished weaving in what seemed like a hundred yarn ends for blocks one and two.

As each block is supposed to be the same size, I added another round to block #2 on the right this evening.  I'm not sure how I will make these all make one happy afghan when they are all done since these first two are so different, but time will show.  Hell, I've got all year to find out.

I'm still working on finishing the cowl.  I'm disappointed that the yarn itself became "bulky" after I had crocheted several rows.  You can see in the picture on the right just where the change happened.  The skinnier part of the skein was making a really cool spiral pattern.  When the yarn got fat, it skeeved up the pattern.

The 3rd block pattern has been released: Hugs & Kisses square by Aurora Suominen.  It's a single color block.  I have to be honest; I'm not feeling the love.  It's ok as a single color block, but I expect my afghan to be multicolored squares and when this block is turned into a multicolor block, it loses the detail in the bobbles & stitches.  I'm searching for a replacement block.  I will still work this one just to see what it looks like, but I don't know if it will make the final cut.

My crafting is somewhat restricted these days.  My right thumb isn't nearly as painful as it has been, but the tendon on the outer aspect of my left hand remains ouchy.  Even if I'm not crocheting, it's still hampering my day.  Have you ever leafed through 300 pages of paper one at a time using your left hand?  Yeah, that doesn't help.  Ah well, that's life.

blanket & cowl
As for the other projects, I'm still not completely feeling the baby blanket on the left.  It's a simple granny square blanket, and quite unisex so appropriate for an unknown sex newborn, but I'm not sure if it's too busy.  I do like how you can see the quadrants when you look at the big picture.  I'll probably keep going.  I don't simply thing Penelope kept reworking her burial shroud for Odysseus exclusively because she didn't want to get married again.  There's something calming about the craft: the repetitive hypnotic sights and sounds and movements, the occasionally dreamy feel of working the same stitch over and over again...the surprising tenacity of yarn which has been worked multiple times.  Although I don't prefer crafting with aluminum knitting needles (they slip too much), the sound of the clicking & clacking will ALWAYS remind me of my mom and my Gram, which brings my head and my heart right around back to center.  Always.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Day 34: how many times have I re-crocheted this cowl?

The answer many times as it takes to get it right.  I made the entire thing last night and this morning realized my VERY FIRST ROW was too tight.  The thing was 10" long.  So, first thing this morning I unraveled the entire thing and started over again.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this yarn!  This isn't a great representation because it's not such neon glow colors, but I LOVE the colors.  I had a request from a friend at church to make her a cowl; she would buy the yarn and pay me for my labor.  I have a counter offer: I love this yarn so much and she bought two gigantic skeins, if she agrees to let me keep the remainder of the yarn I will gladly give her the cowl for free.

Rainbow Classic Multi Fun Bright
The picture on the right is a better representation of the actual color.  Now all I need to do (after I finish the cowl which won't take more than two hours) is to find the perfect baby blanket pattern.

On to the re-crocheting: I'm using a K hook, which is pretty damn big.  I don't have one any larger.  I tend to cast on in a larger hook than what the pattern calls for so I don't have the problem like I did with this.  I don't have a larger one, so I decided to use a wooden crochet hook of my mom's.  I don't know what size it would relate to, maybe an N size.

So, for my 2nd attempt I casted on & crocheted the 1st round with the Nish hook, switched to the K hook and worked a few rounds.  The base round was TOO loose.  Sheesh.

3rd attempt: casted on again with the Nish hook, this time not so large.  Also, less stitches.  Crocheted 1st round with Nish, and switched to the K hook.  Base row is still too loose and looks awkward.  Also, the entire thing is too large around.

4th attempt: went back to the K hook, casted on and proceeded as normal.  Made the initial chains too big this time, so it still looks awkward.  Also, it's too large around.

5th attempt: started again, decreased base row by 6 or 7 stitches (I'm not actually counting).  Tried to find a happy medium for my beginning chains.  They need to be uniform size, and loose enough to allow stretch but not be so large as to be completely gappy.  So far, things are going well.  I'm 8 or 9 rows in.  I've decided to crochet in the round and not worry about joining rows, so it's a lot smoother.  Also, as a bonus, the WIP in the bigger picture shows how funky it's working up!  The colors are just right so that they are spiraling up like a corkscrew.

I'm indulging Baxter because I want to be the popular aunt!
And to end this blog post on a happy note, this is why Baxter loves me the best at work: I secretly let him lick my empty bowl of Spaghettios.  Turns out Baxter's mom wasn't so thrilled with that.  Neither was he when I tried to clean the evidence off his face.