Thursday, July 14, 2016

A Frog and a Finish

  You may have already seen my short post about finishing this project. Now, here's the whole story along with a little tutorial for you. Please excuse the interrupting cat, the thunderstorms, and the snoring Other Half.

  This giant plarn rug has been a monster of a project. It was started at the beginning of the year, after the kids thought it would be cool to have a giant plarn mat in their room and promised to help cut and join the material to make it. I got one week of help, and no more. Progress was slow and when I got tired of the cutting and joining it got shoved aside for a bit. A course of events during this week forced me to decide to frog it or finish it. So, I did both.

crochet, plarn, plastic yarn, rug

  First came the rearranging of the bedroom: The whole flow of the room is so much better, but it left me with a big problem: Now the giant plarn monster in creation wouldn't fit in there unless we wanted to pick up the bed and slide the rug under a corner.

crochet, plarn, plastic yarn, rug

  Hey, Jump Steady! We haven't seen you on the blog in awhile, so I'm guessing you're going to force your way into this post. Yes, I know I look like a crazy person as I walk all over my work and make it disappear, but have you seen yourself on catnip lately? Don't judge me. No, you can't play with that ball of plarn. I'll let you check out the bigger ball when I'm done taking this apart. Why am I taking it all apart? Because I have to make it longer one way and shorter the other, and there's just no way to fudge that with the color changes I started making. I'm also not happy with the regular beginning chain I used, so this time I'm going to start it with a row of foundation single crochet.

  Jump Steady got bored with the conversation, ran off for a bit, came back to play some more, and ran off again. He'll be back later. Now it's my turn for some fun... I'm tickled at the size of this ball of plarn. I was winding it on my hand at first, but had to remove it to avoid total loss of circulation. I wanted to wind the whole mess up on my arm and get a photo with it like a giant boxing mitt, but I never would have been able to take the picture anyway. So, let's just show a quick time-lapsed version of my fun time:

crochet, plarn, plastic yarn, rug

  I ripped and ripped and ripped as The Other Half snored in the recliner next to me. I was supposed to be working on a video tutorial, but he didn't go to work that day because of car problems. We were stranded at home until later when a friend could give him a ride for the part. With him sawing logs and the cat running around, I had some no-so-quiet time to meditate as I frogged and wound the material into a ball. I came to the conclusion that if I couldn't make a video, I should at least make a quick tutorial. I let Jump Steady outside and snapped some quick photos, so you can either learn how to make the foundation single crochet, or at least see what it looks like being done with giant plarn and finger crochet:

foundation single crochet, how to, tutorial
Here, my row is already started; you would begin the row with two chains to count as the first stitch. Insert in the second chain from the hook (fingers, lol) for the next stitch, or in the base stitch made for all following stitches.

foundation single crochet, how to, tutorial
Yarn over and pull up a loop. This makes the base chain of the current stitch you're making.

foundation single crochet, how to, tutorial
 Yarn over, pull through one loop. Now you're starting the single crochet stitch.

foundation single crochet, how to, tutorial
Yarn over and pull through both loops to complete the stitch. For the next stitch, you'll begin in the loop (or base chain) you see me holding out in the photo.

 Once you practice that a few times with a hook and yarn, it becomes an easy stitch - it's just a single crochet with a chain underneath it. It may even become your favorite way to begin all your projects, like me. But no amount of practice prepared me for how difficult it would be to complete the foundation single crochet with finger crochet and giant plarn... Plarn created with the loop method, which means the material has two strands. I avoided the challenge the first time, and wasn't happy with the project.

  This time, I practiced a few times and payed extra attention to which loops belonged where. The frogging and remaking was well worth it. The Other Half finally woke up and (got out of my way) went for that part, and I was back on track and working rows in no time!

crochet, plarn, plastic yarn, rug

  Look how much neater the beginning chain is with the foundation stitch. This makes a better base for the border I planned, which I wanted to work in the round. I can't remember if I've shared how I'm cutting the bags for this, and I needed to make more material for that border, so I thought I'd snap some pictures of that too. But, why is it getting so dark in the middle of the afternoon? You can barely see what I'm doing with my light setting turned all the way up!

  And why is Jump Steady howling and scratching at the door? He usually scratches, but that cat barely ever makes a peep. I guess I better take a break and see what's going on...

thunderstorms, weather

  Just so you know, I did let the cat in before grabbing the camera for those pictures, and just in time before Mother Nature decided to try drowning and electrocuting us at the same time. What an animal lover I am... I stopped to dry the cat off before getting to unplugging some electronics, and just as I was pulling the cord on a power strip a blinding flash of lightning cracked, and sparks came out of the outlet! It was scary, but thankfully I wasn't zapped. The power went out, and I continued to work by what was left of the daylight helped by some candlelight. It didn't make for good photos of the plarn-cutting.

  So, here's an easy explanation: Cut off the top and bottom of the bags, then cut what's left in half (cutting from side to side to create loops). Run the end of one loop through the next piece, then run the other end of the loop through the end you pulled through. Pull tight, and repeat. And repeat.

crochet, plarn, plastic yarn, rug

  And repeat. I finally figured that I have over 500 bags in this project! I've made it easier by stacking 10-15 at a time and cutting with my rotary cutter, but the last of the material made was some scary cutting. I'm so afraid of taking off the tip of a finger with that cutter, and jumping every time the thunder roared wasn't helping my anxiety. I decided to give it up and work through the material I had made, then discovered I had just enough of that color to finish the first round of the border. The night ended with pizza being delivered just as the power came back on, and I was too worn out to pick up the project again after dinner.

-  -  -  -  -

  Yay, it's a new day, and Jump Steady is ready to play! Now that my yard is a lake again, he won't be going outside. My original plan was to cut up more white bags for the border, but then I thought make use of what was left of the grey from frogging the main part of the rug. I liked the results, but took a break to make some coffee while Jump had his fun with the tail.

crochet, plarn, plastic yarn, rug, cats

The usual trick to get him to stop is to walk away, because he'll lose interest and quickly come find out what I'm up to. Then it's easy to distract him with something else, and I can get back to work.

crochet, plarn, plastic yarn, rug, cats

  Yes, Jump Steady, I know I said I'd make use of the extra grey, but not as a cat toy! Don't look down and lick yourself like you didn't make that mess as I was making coffee; I caught you in action and the evidence is all over you. You could have kept playing with that other ball or the tail, but thanks for ripping out some of my stitches when you found the working strand. Remember who hooks you up with that catnip, dude... Maybe you need less of it. 

  A day out with family and again an evening of scary thunderstorms made me think I wouldn't finish the project for another day, but I couldn't put it down. Well...

crochet, plarn, plastic yarn, rug, cats

  No, Jump! You can't have pieces out of the scrap bag, either. Give it back. Let's throw that away before you eat it. How did you get that? I had the bag tied up! Jump Steady!! Why is there a hole in the bag? Okay, let's put this mess in a new bag and tie it up tighter, then I'll get back to crocheting...

crochet, plarn, plastic yarn, rug, cats

  I said no! Where did you have that piece stashed at? I know they float around like little butterflies when you throw them in the air, but I'm worried that you're going to swallow it or choke on it, and that wouldn't be good. Okay? Now give me that piece, let's check to make sure you don't have more, and you can have some more catnip to distract you from my project.

  Okay, maybe I should have stuck to the no-more-catnip rule. Now he's running around too fast to take pictures, but at least he's not trying to eat plastic. So, we should all thank Jump Steady for the lesson about pets and plarn: You have to be a responsible pet owner. He's not hurting the thicker strands of plarn or any of the already-made projects I have around, but those little pieces can pose a danger. I have plans for that bag of scrap pieces, but now that he thinks it's a new toy I have to store them somewhere safer than under the couch.

  Dude was stoned for a while, so I got to finish the project. You may have seen the previous post's late-night finish photo of the wrong-side, with the mighty queen Lucky making sure I made it right. Now for the cat-free, moved into its proper place, right-side-showing display:

crochet, plarn, plastic yarn, rug
  So, I think it's a bit harsh on the eyes with that carpet... Along with The Kid's choice of teal sheets with camouflage curtains... I like letting her make her own choices, but it's starting to look like a color palette threw up in there. However, the request was for a rug to cover the hated carpet, and I guess it just adds some extra funky character to the room.

crochet, plarn, plastic yarn, rug
  I worked the border on the wrong side, so that the edges will turn down. Since this rug is super-thick, I want to reduce the risk of tripping over that edge. I haven't done anything to make it non-slip yet, but it doesn't seem to slide much on the dense carpet. If it does become a problem, then I'll run some hot glue lines across the back to give it some grip, like I did with my Plarn Welcome Mat.

  It's a bulky monster, and I'm not sure if anyone else would want to go through the work of making it. I wasn't going to publish a pattern. However, when The Kid asked if I was going to put the pattern on the blog, I thought maybe I should. So there will be a pattern soon. But first, another thunderstorm is getting close and it's time to shut down. Instead of typing up the pattern, I'm going to go through my pile of WIP's and find another to finish. The yard is flooded, I now have a stream running across my driveway, and the air conditioner has been running at half-power since we got zapped by lightning. Life sucks sometimes, but I'm not letting it get me down right now. There's nothing like that feeling of accomplishment when you finish a project that's gone on for too long.

Happy Crocheting!   

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Details Later

  I have a real post for you tomorrow, but I'm not done with it yet. I've had an exhausting day that ended with a scary car ride home in a thunderstorm, and it's already past my bedtime. I'm up later than I should be because I was so close to a finish that I couldn't give up. 

  I'll give you the long-story-short version for now: I started this at the beginning of the year, I've had slow progress on it for a while, then I frogged the whole project and finished it in three days. It ate a huge hole in my stash of bags for plarn! Plus, I've come up with a few more ideas along the way. 

  So, I need to be getting to bed; 4 a.m. will be here soon enough... I can start a new day, and a new project! For now, you get one bad late-night photo. But at least you can see that the project has already been cat-approved.

plarn, crochet, mat, rug, finger crochet

PS - Did you catch me? No, I'm not going to start a new project; I'm going to work on finishing another. But I am going to work on a video tutorial, because I finally got my tripod, yay!

Happy Crocheting!

Blog Archive