Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Lost Crochet Files - 2

  I love how as I go through my old crochet pictures, I can find a bit of a theme. This time: Squares! One of these is a simple project I remember well, and I need to get around to recreating it. The other... Humph. The other one still leaves me steaming about that chewed-up notebook.

  Let it go... Just let it go. But it's hard to let it go. Especially because Notebook-eating Dog's owner has caused me more trouble than just this... But, I'm trying to turn my attitude around so I can get this mess back on track. I mean, it's not a total loss, right? I'm more experienced now! I can take a look at these pictures and at least get an idea of how to make it happen again. So, let it go... Let's get on with it!

  How awesome is this square? Well, that's just a rough-draft of it really, but you can get the concept of where I was going with it. This project was in beginning design stages, one square worked up in yarn and a pattern filled with adjustment-making notes, and the other squares nothing but scribbles on paper. It would have been a garden-themed afghan, full of butterflies and flowers and such. Now, it's just a random puny square, with missing notes and nowhere to go. Finding this picture inspired me to try again sometime soon. I can recreate it. And it will be even better.

  I think this was one of the last projects I was working on before the dog ate my homework. As for the rest of the squares I had in mind for the afghan, they're no more than distant memories. Now I wish I had at least worked up some rough-draft squares in yarn, instead of jotting down ideas on paper. But how was I to know my friend was leaving me with a pattern-eating dog? I can wish and hope and complain, but it's not bringing my ideas back.

  You can't go wrong with a classic granny square, and I'm (re)thinking of using them as a filler in the "garden" afghan. But for now, how about a few in plarn? I remember the birth of this next pattern... My mom can't pick up a lot of weight, and the cashiers at the grocery store are always overloading her bags. Even though she kept asking them not to, they would still pack in too much, double-bagging a dozen or more cans at a time. I decided to make Mom a smaller reusable bag, so the cashiers can't put too much stuff in it.

  But just in case, I made the bottom out of two squares sewn together, for extra thickness. And I made it with an extra-thick handle, so it would be more comfortable for Mom to carry a little more weight. The problem isn't muscles as much as joints, so the extra padding helps. Now that my hands are wrecked with rheumatoid arthritis, I think I should make a few more of these for myself!

  The only thing is... *Sigh* It's the reason I have trouble working with other people's patterns. It's like I just have to break the rules, change the form, think outside the box... Whatever it is, it's annoying because I can't stop myself from changing my own patterns, too. Instead of making an extra square for the bottom, I think I'd rather cut the material extra-thick or use two strands for one square, work out the gauge, and find the right hook to make it match. Maybe even change the stitch so it's a tighter weave.

Thanks for taking another trip back in time with me! Until next time...

Happy Crocheting!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Booty Shuffle

  Time's getting short and I need to hustle, so I'm busy doing the "Booty Shuffle". Hey, that kinda rhymes... Maybe it should be a song and dance. Serious question: Is it "booty" or "bootie" when referring to a singular foot covering?

  Anyway, the more important thing is that I know a Mommy-to-Be, and she should be just "Mommy" pretty soon! She requested booties in university colors, but I only have the right shades in worsted weight yarn.

booties, baby booties, crochet, accessories

  My money is still tied up in the bank after the whole card-fraud situation. I was going to order some sport-weight yarn the same day that they emptied my account, so I never got to it. If Mommy-to-Be pops early, I might not have them done in time! So even though I'm worried that worsted booties might be too warm for a Spring Baby in Florida, I've gotten started on playing around with designs.

  The first design I tackled was a popular one - The Crossover Baby Booties. This is an awesomely cute and easy design, but I had a little problem: After sitting down with the free pattern I downloaded, I realized there's no gauge or size included. That's the whole reason I was using a well-used pattern! I have trouble making things for babies... The little boogers are all different shapes and sizes, and they grow so quickly. I've never been around many of these strange little noisy creatures, so it's hard to judge if I'm getting the fit correct. I found later that the gauge is available on the Ravelry page, but I didn't think to check while I was working on the booties.

Crossover Baby Booties, FSU team colors, crochet

  Google searching to the rescue! I was still able to use the Crossover design after looking up some size charts, but I added a few of my own touches. I made the uppers and the soles in two different colors for Mommy-to-be's sport's team request, and instead of sewing I joined the pieces with surface crochet. I think they're too bulky in worsted, but cute nonetheless.

Crossover Baby Booties, Ravelry, crochet

  Now more confident with sizes, I set about designing my own pattern. I could see that using worsted weight yarn makes the seams ridiculously thick, so I wanted to go with a smoother in-the-round design. The main part of the toe is more like a sock, so I planned on using something like a short-row design to complete the heel. Somewhere along the line I remembered that I have to feed The Other Half so I took a break to cook dinner. By the time I got back to the project, I was exhausted and forgot what my original plan was for joining the sections. I kept trying, but couldn't figure out why it wasn't going the way I originally wanted it to go.

baby booties, FSU team colors, crochet

  A bit of sleep and a lot of coffee later, I'm back at it. Oh, yeah! I was going to do a color change, then seal up the sides with single crochet for a contrasting-colored, textured seam. But now I can't decide if I still want to do that color change or not. Or how high I want the back of the heel to be... I'm thinking something like a moccasin or slipper would be cute, but I also like the idea of a more-classic booty. (Or bootie?)

crochet, baby booties, work in progress, FSU team colors

  Aw, heck, make 'em all! Baby booties take so little yarn and time, I think I could make the kid a pair for every day of the week and still have plenty of scrap. The next job to tackle is a hat and diaper cover to match, but I'd much rather make those in a lighter weight yarn. Still stuck in this "can't go anywhere, can't spend money" limbo, Mommy-to-Be could possibly receive a year's supply of booties for the little snot monster.

crochet, baby booties, FSU team colors

  The expected poop-machine is The Other Half's first grand-baby, by the way. I have a feeling I'll be ordering lots of yarn in these colors. I do have some lighter weight yarn, but it's all in pastel baby colors. Although Mommy-to-Be wanted only garnet and gold, maybe I'll get started on some surprise items anyway. After all, you can't have enough spares with a little laundry-maker around, right?

Happy Crocheting!

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Lost Crochet Files - 1

  I'll try to make a long story short, but you know that won't really happen: Many years ago I had a friend with a dog, and I was supposed to dog-sit for a week. He said she was a good dog, but as soon as he left, the dog went bonkers. Besides chewing up my boots, urinating on my bed (still sleeping on a $150 futon because of it), and relentlessly chasing my cats, the dog ate my homework. She shredded my notebook full of hand-written patterns, a year's worth of work, in the time it took me to take out the garbage.

  Material things... The boots and the bed can be replaced, even though dog's owner won't pay for it. And the cats got over it when they learned the dog didn't like being scratched as much as she liked chasing them. But that book of patterns... That was irreplaceable. And to add to the string of bad luck from years ago, it wasn't long after that when the computer blew up... Almost literally! The power-supply smoked on it, and it was cheaper at the time to buy another PC. I just finally got it replaced before the new year, and I had completely forgotten that I had photos of past projects stored on the drive.

   And thanks to that dog, I don't have patterns for these projects anymore. Some of them are pictures of my beginner projects, so you probably wouldn't want to follow the pattern anyway. In an effort to turn these lost crocheted items into something other than lost time, I'm pulling out those photos to share with you. Some of them aren't so pretty, but they're from the days of crochet past. Let's get a look and a laugh at some! Since I've been working with plarn lately, it was a neat throwback to find today's photos.

  For the sake of my dignity, let me start with one of the projects I'm most proud of from my beginner days. I was in the middle of an obsession with plarn, I had recently mastered the triple crochet stitch, and I saw a bag using the front-post double crochet for the bottom edge. I set to learning the front-post stitch, and this bag was born.

crochet, plarn, tote, bag, plastic yarn, recycling, beginner

  I'm proud of completing the pattern in my beginning stages, but it still had its downfalls. This monstrosity of a beach bag is tall enough as it is, but this beginner didn't think about the stretch of the stitch and material. After a year of use as a random tote bag, this now stretched-out project forever resides in my utility closet to hold rags.

plarn, plastic yarn, tote, bag, crochet, beginners

   Next up are some low quality experiments: Some bangles and a pair of earrings, plus a ball of plarn that I had colored. These were just random projects I worked up while testing different ways to color the plastic, but the kids enjoyed the play jewelry.

plarn, jewelry, bangles, earrings, crochet

plarn, jewelry, bangles, colored plarn, plastic yarn, recycling, play jewelry

  And here's a bit of an embarrassment, but one that's still in use. I made this when I first started crocheting. I learned the single crochet stitch and I was still practicing the double - Which was the reason I was working this mat up in a combination of singles and doubles, plus playing with a few chain spaces. Yup, that's a beginner's edge all right... Somebody obviously wasn't counting their stitches!

plarn, crochet, plarn mat, beginners, recycling, plastic yarn

But hey, it's still being used as a slobber mat by the dog's water bowl. I don't think he notices that the count is off.

Thanks for taking this trip back in time with me! We'll uncover more lost projects in the next episode. 

Happy Crocheting!

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