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Saturday, February 25, 2017

NSFW Scarf

In the opening for this scarf's pattern, I made excuses for it being behind schedule because "Sometimes designing doesn't go the way you want it to". 

*FACEPALM*

  There are things that sometimes go unnoticed until it is too late... I could have quietly tucked my tail and gone on like it never happened. To tell the truth, that's exactly what I wanted to do at first. The more I thought about doing it, the more I felt like I shouldn't... I've created patterns and tutorials for this stitch. I'm embarrassed to admit it, but it's a bad design.

*SIGH*

  Okay, here's where I do the grown-up thing while we cover a slightly childish subject. And speaking of childish, you should probably tell the kids to go to another room before you scroll past the first few pictures. Chances are the older ones have already seen this scribbled on walls or notebooks, but the younger ones should be protected. 

crochet, free pattern, fail, dancing dragonflies scarf


  If I don't delete the pattern for this scarf, then I really need to attach a warning to it. I didn't see the issue at first because my mind only saw what I was trying to design: Dragonflies. O.M.G. I made a few squares using this pattern and was going to make a BABY blanket. 😥 It's a project I'm so glad I never completed.

crochet, free pattern, fail, dancing dragonflies scarf


  The Dancing Dragonflies Scarf was originally created to be donated to charity. Being too lightweight and light-colored for a homeless donation, it was supposed to go to a nursing home where it could brighten someone's day... But I've had no luck finding any place locally that is accepting such things. Out of four facilities that turned my box of shawls and scarves down, one actually asked me to call back when I made some afghans. I thought that was rude, so... HA! Well, I'm really happy that this scarf didn't make it to a donation box. Eventually I gave up, and it ended up stuffed in a drawer in The Kid's room.

crochet, free pattern, fail, dancing dragonflies scarf


  The Kid. I gave it to my underage kid. I can't believe I gave this scarf to my child. 😳 I know that it was an honest mistake, but there's a little part of me that feels like this was a bad-mom-move. Surely a more diligent person would have realized what they were bestowing on the innocent... 

crochet, free pattern, fail, dancing dragonflies scarf


  I breached her territory, armed with a vacuum and spray bottle. The scarf was stuffed in a clear plastic drawer where it was visible to all who dared to enter. When I noticed it, I remembered the garden-themed baby blanket that would be full of flowers, butterflies, and "dancing dragonflies". I crossed the room with my weapons of mass disinfection, stopping to push in a drawer that was sticking out. (The drawers always stick on those cheap plastic carts.) Bending down in front of the cart left me eye-level with the scarf.

crochet, free pattern, fail, dancing dragonflies scarf

  Maybe at first, all you see is the lacy dragonfly design. That's all I saw for a long time, too. I guess I was looking through that plastic drawer at the right angle, because it was clearly obvious what this design could be mistaken for:

crochet, free pattern, fail, dancing dragonflies scarf

  No. NO! Omg, no I did not create this thing! But yes, I did create this thing. And eventually gave it to my kid. Wow, don't I just feel like Mom of the Year? Many parents eventually have a "don't look, DON"T LOOK!" moment of some kind with their children... Had one myself as a kid on the beach when an old man decided to change his trunks behind some trees that didn't do much to cover his coconuts. I survived! But I'm sure that never, ever in history has anyone put something that is suggestive of a "tree" and "coconuts" on a scarf and given it to their child.

crochet, free pattern, fail, dancing dragonflies scarf


  Again, it was supposed to be "dancing dragonflies". It was never my intention to make a scarf that's NSFW. I'll be removing it from my kid's wardrobe and pretending like it never existed. And oh! If only it could stop there... This free pattern is also available as a six-part tutorial, right here on the Crochet is the Way blog! 😭 This scarf still makes enough views to make it into my top 20 posts. OMG, are there people making this? What do I do?! I hate to give it the shaft, but I need to get the ball rolling on putting up that warning. 

crochet, free pattern, fail, dancing dragonflies scarf


Happy Crocheting!

PS - It's not a total loss! If you like the concept of the lace but don't want X-rated dragonflies on your scarf, the pattern could be worked with the butterfly stitch instead. Perhaps I'll rewrite the pattern and create a new G-rated version for The Kid.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Make it Your Way Top (4)


  Although I loved the look of the pointy-bottomed panels on my top, I decided they were a bit too exaggerated for my style. And since I still had a ton of yarn left over, I figured it couldn't hurt to play around with the bottom edge. I'm so glad I did it! This part of the tutorial is totally optional (especially if yours is a one-color project), but I think the extra stitching around the panels helps them to hold their shape without the need for blocking.


  I'm also extra-pleased with the color design that resulted. What I'm not happy about is the way these tutorial photos came out... I'm so sorry that I trusted auto-function settings for this project. For this part of the tutorial there's help with a new stitch, but the photos for some rounds were a blurry mess... Removing my background helped towards the end, but I did it too late. It's a mistake I hope I won't make again.

Not surprising: I adjusted the settings and managed a batch of beautifully focused photos in which I turned out looking like a mutant zombie. Still hate being the dummy...

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Now, enough complaining... Let's get started!




Contrasting color (round 1):
To begin, I worked one round along the edge in the contrasting color. (I love how it combines together with the joining seam!) I shortened the stitches in each space to help pull the panels together, but this first round didn't do much for the shaping. Here's how I did it:

Again, I began with a standing double crochet stitch. This I made in the end space of the point.

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In each space up to the one before the joining seam, I made (double crochet, chain 1, double crochet). In that space before the join, I made (double crochet, chain 1, single crochet).

In the same space as the joining stitch of the first panel, I made one single crochet; and another in the joining space of the next panel.

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Repeat backwards on the way back up the next panel: (Single crochet, chain 1, double crochet) in the first space, then (double crochet, chain 1, double crochet) in each space to the point.

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In the tip of the point, I made (double crochet, chain 1, double crochet), chain 1, and (double crochet, chain 1, double crochet) again.
(3 chain-1 spaces in point)

Here's where the photos were unusable:
I completed the round by making (double crochet, chain 1, double crochet), and chain 1. Because this was the only round I was working with this color, I joined with a slip stitch. (The following rounds are joined with a stitch to make a chain-space.)

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Main color (round 2):
(No pics for this round)
Again with the main color, I joined with a standing double crochet in the point of a panel.

Now, here's the thing I did that you may want to reconsider: The following stitches were planned out to reduce the points of the panels, give it a softer angle, and fill in the spaces between them*. (Double crochet, chain 2, double crochet) in the next two chain-1 spaces, and the skip the rest of the stitches in the panel. Moving on to the next panel, double crochet in the next two chain-1 spaces.

I wanted to mimic the design of the large holes in the tips of the points, so I made (double crochet, chain 3, double crochet) in the tips for this round. If you don't want this in your design, you could make a similar set of stitches as in the previous round.

In order to finish the set of stitches in the beginning point, I used a double crochet stitch to join (makes chain-3 space).


*If you want to keep the exaggerated points of the panels, then it would be easier to stop working rounds (unless you're confident you can work out a stitch pattern). If you continue working into the same stitches, your work will begin to pucker. But if you still want to work more rounds for the color play, then try reducing the number of chains between stitches, or make just a stitch without a chain space near the "V" between panels (something like the two single crochet from round 1).


Round 3:
(Pics again!)
Here is where filling in the spaces really starts, and I used a not-so-easy-for-beginners stitch to do it: The double-crochet-4-together. But don't get scared! If you can make a double crochet (and you probably have been if you're following this pattern), then you can make this stitch. Let's get started with an example of the stitch placement first.

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I began with a chain-1 and double crochet in the joining space/point. (Same for all remaining rounds.) *See end of round for a note!
In the next chain-2 space, make (double crochet, chain 1, double crochet). Make a double-crochet-4-together (dc4tog) across the next four chain-2 spaces. (That's 2 spaces on this panel and 2 on the next.)  (Double crochet, chain 1, double crochet) in the next chain-2 space.


Now, let's cover that dc4tog before we get to the point (lol).


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Just like for a double crochet, yarn over, insert the hook; yarn over and pull up a loop. (3 loops on hook.) Yarn over and pull through 2 loops. STOP. (2 loops on hook.)


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Yarn over, insert the hook in the next space. Yarn over, pull up a loop. (4 loops on hook.) Yarn over, pull through 2 loops. STOP. (3 loops on hook.)

Getting the hang of it? You're making a half-closed double crochet in each space that you want to join together.

Let's speed it up a little:
*Yarn over, insert hook in the next space, yarn over, pull up a loop, yarn over, pull through 2 loops.* (4 loops on hook.)
Repeat * to * (5 loops on hook).
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Yarn over, pull through all five loops on the hook.

Remember, there's one more space to make (double crochet, chain 1, double crochet) in before the point.

In the chain-3 point, make (double crochet, chain 1, double crochet, chain 3, double crochet, chain 1, double crochet).
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So after the dc4tog, you will have (double crochet, chain 1, double crochet) twice, then the (double crochet, chain 3, double crochet) of the point, and (double crochet, chain 1, double crochet) twice before the next dc4tog.

*Beginning with just one double crochet in the beginning space left me ending past the chain-3 space of the point. So, I couldn't join with a double crochet stitch for the chain-3. I had to work (double crochet, chain 1, double crochet, chain 3, double crochet) in the beginning space, then joined with a single crochet to make the chain-1 space.


Round 4:
(Sorry, no pics again but this one is simple!)
Make 1 double crochet in each chain-1 space (4 total). Make (3 double crochet, chain 3, 3 double crochet) in the chain-3 point.

That's it! just repeat all the way around and join.


Round 5:
(Almost the same as the last round!)
Skip the 3 double crochet to the left of the point, make a double crochet in the space after. (This is where I had to begin because of how the last round ended.) Make a double crochet in the space after each of the next 4 double crochet (5 total). In the chain-3 point, make (3 double crochet, chain 3, 3 double crochet).

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Repeat around and join.


Well, that's it... For this one, at least! I'm still disappointed in my photos for the tutorial, but I do plan on making another top like this for The Kid. Hers will have a different style (maybe sleeves?), so it will prove how easily this format of top-making can be adjusted to a different shape. I'll update here with a link when I get it done... Shall we see if I can do it within a year?


A word about caring for your top:
Before I washed and (slightly*) blocked my top, the dc4tog caused a minor pucker around the gaps between rounds 1 and 2. This was easily blocked out, but I wanted to create an easy-care pattern that didn't need blocking! I'm sure if you split the dc4tog into two-dc2tog stitches, it would completely eliminate the need for any blocking... But then you'll have to work the next rounds a bit differently.

*By blocking, I mean I shaped it out on a towel and smashed down on it for good luck. No pinning or weighing down needed. I allowed it to dry flat and the pucker was gone for good. (Or perhaps until the next wash!)

But prior to spreading it out, I thought I'd hang it up to "pre-dry" for awhile... That was bad. Really, really bad. LAY FLAT TO DRY. The stretchy lace weighed down with water stretched to what seemed like twice its length! And worse, allowing it to stretch that way caused the slight pucker to turn into an ugly ruffle. (Nobody wants ruffles around the waistline, right?) Thankfully, I was able to get my top back into shape when I did it right the second time.


How does it fit?
I think I'm a great tester for this subject, because I'm so very picky about my clothes. I don't like things that bulge out, hang loose, or ride up. Although my top has a few places that could be better, it fits well enough to pass my test.

No tricks and no staging to make it look good! (After all, you're getting the world's most awkwardest person as a model here...) In the following photos, I'll point out the things I love and hate about my top:

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If I lift my arms higher than shoulder height, it creates a wrinkle in the middle-back of the top. I think I'm nit-picking about that one, but I noticed it in some photos. (And I still haven't figured out how to pose without looking like I'm smelling my armpit.)


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See the shadow on my shoulder? This gap doesn't hang out when I bend down, and the straps don't slip off my shoulders. It's actually caused by a combination of the decreasing around the armhole and the lace stretching over my chest. It's barely noticeable and it's not uncomfortable... But didn't I mention that I'm picky? It bothers me a little. But if I had decreased less, it would be too loose.

On side note, this could just be an issue with my body shape. I have a very pronounced dip there in my shoulders that I don't think "normal" people have. Same thing for that back-wrinkle, too... My shoulder blades stick out (like wings!) when I raise my arms the right way. Sometimes I think I might be part alien. Anyway... You can see in the next photo where my "wings" are pushing the straps of the shirt out:
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Notice that the back is also wrinkled again in this example. I used a similar picture at the beginning of this post, but I had been mindful of how I was raising my arms. There's no back-wrinkle in the photos that I don't have my wings extended (lol).



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Overall, it fits great. There is one last thing that I totally love, but I thought maybe others may not like it as much: The decreasing around the armholes and neckline pulled the "strap" of the armhole panel together. It creates a tiny ridge that's no more textured than the seams I used to join the panels. Honestly, I think it looks pretty freakin' cool the way the panel stretches over the chest then decreases to a thin line over the shoulders. It's like a masterpiece of shaped lace, all while it's nothing but the same stitch worked a different direction.


With the tank-style sleeves and the just-past-the-waist length of my top, I think it will be easy to accessorize. I have a cute little denim crop jacket and an even cuter black vinyl crop jacket... I can't wait to see which will go better with it! Nope, you don't get to see that here, because the point of this tutorial was to inspire everyone to make their own version. And to me, part of making it your way is how you accessorize the final product, too.

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I'd love to see photos of what you've created! Find Crochet is the Way on Facebook to share a pic, or come join the Crochet is the Way community on Google+ if you're not already a member.

Happy Crocheting!



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