Friday, June 10, 2016

The Lost Crochet Files - 7

  This looks to be the last of my lost files... As of right now I can't find any more. Who knows? Maybe I'll find some in a hidden folder, but this seems to have been the bulk of it. This one project is perfect for the end of the series because it actually involves the infamous notebook-eating dog's owner. Long story short about this piece: Yes, I crocheted a fishing net; no, that's not the way they're usually made, but it's what I was asked to do. So I did it.

  The longer story is about the motivation behind the project. I consider this to be the most obnoxious thing I ever created - And it was made obnoxiously with a BIG purpose. It may not be so classy to go putting the whole explanation out in public, but whatever... The parties involved are no longer part of my life, and I feel the need to tell the whole story about my "happiest" creation from the past.

  I will warn you that some of this could be viewed as offensive, but I'm censoring the worst and hopefully you'll understand... Just, please know that I don't agree with the views of the character in this post and he disgusts me. Also, I would never make fun of anybody but him. I'm going to tell this story openly and honestly. Anything that's not "pc" here is just part of the purpose behind this project, and not meant to be offensive.

So, how did this "rainbow" fishing net come to be? Well, when somebody has been a bit of a jerk lately, you make him something he doesn't want!

crochet, fishing net, gag project, Lost Crochet Files

  Okay, there's much more behind that... Let's leave this person unnamed, other than being the notebook-eating dog's owner. And my ex-boss. Day after day, I used to put up with His Jerkiness. From comments about why women can't drive to why black people should go back to Africa (sorry I even wrote that, but does it help you get what a jerk he is?), I continued to put up with his bigotry for my paycheck. I don't know if it was some form of retaliation, stress relief, or an attempt to get him to see the wrong in his ways, but I developed a habit of making snarky comments towards his low intelligence... To no avail, because it all went over his head.

Great work environment, huh?

  And if we ever had any obviously gay customers come in, boy, he would carry on about it for the rest of the day. A gay guy patted him on the shoulder once, just saying "thanks", and he was worried that the guy was going to come back for him later. I was amused in one way, but mostly disappointed - I mean, to think that the guy is after you, only because he used a common social gesture, and happens to be gay... I realized that he wasn't just a bigot; he was extremely homophobic.

  They might not be my finest moments, but I made it a goal to try to put him in awkward situations. Like not telling him I was still on the phone with a customer as he called them the "N" word, and leaving for a long lunch just as they came to take their business elsewhere... And when he asked me if I could put my crochet skills to use repairing his fishing net, I saw a new opportunity. You see, he made a special request for the project: I couldn't make it in any of those "gay colors", because there was a lot of... Um, okay, I can't do it. I won't even put a censored version in here. I'll take over here, and translate that there's a high number of gay people in the area where he goes fishing. So, you know, the idiot is afraid that if his fishing net is colorful, it will attract the "wrong" sort of attention.

crochet, fishing net, gag project, Lost Crochet Files

  I would have made it in actual rainbow colors, but these were the only colors of nylon string the hardware store had. It served its purpose, because when I presented him with his "repaired" net - Ha ha ha, he had a fit, screaming about how everybody was going to think he was gay with a net like that. I told him "sorry, it was the only three rolls of string they had left in the store", and I didn't really care if he believed me or not, as long as it shut him up. He took it fishing, and OMG, what a big surprise (I say that sarcastically): He made it back without getting assaulted, attacked, or even spoken to by any gay people.  

  Unfortunately, it could have been a lesson, but he couldn't stop carrying on about how he got scared every time he saw a boatload of guys... That's funny, dude, because aren't you IN a boat with a bunch of guys? The net was conveniently destroyed on the next fishing trip. I'm not sure if it was done on purpose, or if they're just dumb, since the first net had suffered the same fate of a knife... Some people just never learn.

  On the bright side, at least I received a lesson from that. Just like learning, some people never change, either. I now knew that my antics would never get him to see the light, and began cutting all ties with him. It's too bad I didn't make that decision before he went on that fishing trip, because then I never would have watched his dog, and this whole series would have never existed... It would have been a bunch of great patterns. So since it happened this way, I hope you've enjoyed the reading. It's been great looking back on past projects. Now I have to get to work recreating some of them.

Happy Crocheting!

If you missed the beginning of this series, and you're wondering what in the world it's all about, then here you go! Check out these links to the entire "Lost Crochet Files" series:

Saturday, June 4, 2016

A Hit and a Miss

  I've been hiding my little side-project from all of you, and I think it's time to stop being so selfish. Although work continues on Mom's Afghan, I can only sew on one flower before it starts to drive me nuts, so progress is slow. On my breaks in between, I've been trying to finish up some WIP's. One is the giant plarn mat for The Kid's room - which I've already shared - but it's nothing special to look at, so I haven't been keeping up with progress about it.

  And the other WIP is Super-Secret Project X. This project is actually a pre-design to another design I'll be selling. I got half way through making the squares for my design, and realized I liked it better with a slight tweak to the pattern. I already had half the squares done, and the original pattern came out pretty nice, so I figured I'd keep working on it and let you all have it as a free pattern. You may have already seen the pattern for the squares I'm using... Now, here's a little sneak peek at what I'm making with them:

crochet pattern, Grannies in a Love Triangle, granny square, crochet, WIP

  The free crochet pattern for this square was a disappointment, to be honest. I was thinking "Wow, I made this awesome, interesting, original pattern, and everybody will love it". I thought my pattern was the freakin' bomb. So, I published it. It bombed, alright... Sure, I got some positive feedback and some shares, but comparing numbers to my other patterns, this one was just sad.

  But that's okay... I've seen this happen before, and I should know better than to set my expectations so high. The patterns for my other squares are never as popular as a full project. I love to publish the patterns for squares and motifs alone, and suggest you use your imagination to create your own design. However, numbers show that the majority of the public wants to see that square used in a project. Well then, how's this?

crochet, pattern, WIP, shawl, love knot, granny square

  I know, it's still not complete, but it's nice, isn't it? I'm joining the squares with a join-as-you-go technique, using the love knot stitch. Since I'm using this pattern to experiment for the "for-sale version", I used a bit of a different stitch pattern than the one in the square. I think it makes a nice design in between the joins.

crochet, lace, love knot, join-as-you-go, granny square

  It's very rewarding as a side project, because the large love knots make it grow quickly. But in my exhaustion I became stumped on my own pattern. On paper, I had it planned out. When I came to the opposite side of the strip, I couldn't figure out why my corners weren't a symmetrical match to the other side.

crochet, granny square, love knot, join-as-you-go

  Either I got enough coffee or sleep to figure it out, because it finally clicked. Oh, was that one of those "DUH" moments... My corners did match. All I had to do was make one simple slip stitch, but I hadn't marked it as one on paper.

crochet, love knot, granny square, join-as-you-go

  YAY! So, I got past that little bump in the road and continued working. I finished the strip that you saw in the previous photos, and started the next. I got all the squares joined, but it became clear that I would run out of the yarn I was using before I finished the border. Instead of letting it become another figurative "bump in the road", I got my butt on the real road and picked up another skein. I was excited to make the join, continue with the strip, and get closer to the finish. Then I found the mistake I made at the beginning of the third square:

crochet, granny square, love knot,

  BOO! And I figured that if I have to take it that far apart, I might as well take it all the way apart to start with the new skein, and not have another end to weave in. I'm going to have enough to deal with when the project is finished. Then I thought I should go ahead and take the time to weave in the ends on my squares, so I could take some prettier photos of a strip. But the sun went down before I got them all finished. Since I wouldn't be able to take new pictures until the next day, I thought I might as well create a tutorial while I'm at it.

  I guess my mistakes are leading in a good direction, but I realize now that I made another. Since I deviated from my original design idea, it changed the width between the squares; the wrong way in both directions. A pattern that was originally going to be three rows of seven squares will now be two rows of eight. And what that means is that I owe a big apology to anybody that followed along and created the 21 squares I was calling for. I made them too, and I'm considering turning my extras into some kind of wall art.

  Depending on your size, you could stick with the three-row design, and make three more squares - I think it will be too short width-wise if you don't. I wear a size extra-small, and sometimes that's too big... Any of your average t-shirts in size medium will go past mid-thigh on me, so maybe a shawl three rows long would fit the average size person the right way. It's just too long for me, and I don't want to look like I'm wearing a blanket.

crochet, free pattern, love knot, granny square

  You can find the pattern/tutorial for the square here. I promise the design won't change again. It's safe to continue. It's actually done already, but I still have all that wonderful computer work to do before it can be shared with you. I hope to have the tutorial for the whole project posted soon, but I don't make promises anymore. You never know... I might get distracted and sew more than two flowers on the afghan before needing a break.

Happy Crocheting!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Lost Crochet Files - 6

New to this series and want to see all my "lost" projects? You can start here with episode 1. You'll find links at the end of each post for the next episode.

  Well, now... After the recent depressing string of events that have occurred, I've been looking forward to what's left of my lighthearted "Lost Crochet Files". But I have to admit that opening the files for the first project stopped me in my tracks - That's Mom's doily. I made her two of them for some candles she kept on the coffee table. So, it took me a while to get it back together and start this post. Other than that minor setback, finding these photos made me happy. We can all do a little happy dance and shake it off, because now that they've been found, I can use the pictures to recreate a pattern I was very proud of. Sooo....

  Whoop! For all the times I've been reminded of the bad feeling of losing my projects, I finally got to something I actually needed. Now I can be not-so-mad about the dog-eaten notebook... Okay, I'm still and always will be mad, but this helps. Let me introduce you to what was going to be my first-ever free crochet pattern on the blog:

crochet, doily, butterfly stitch

  Mom got her doilies, and my notebook got destroyed. I probably could have asked for one of them back to copy the stitches, but I didn't want to do that. I thought I could recreate it by memory, and I wanted some doilies for myself. I started recalling the details to make a set in colors matching my decor. The biggest thing that stood out in my mind was the round of butterfly stitches in a second color:

crochet, butterfly stitch, doily

  I remembered that the center was started with a large hole, to save a bit of yarn since it's under a large jar candle anyways. Mine were also going to be under candles, so I would copy the same idea. Honestly though, it's only a ten-inch doily... I don't know why I was worried about saving yarn. But hey, save it if you can, right?

doily, crochet, butterfly stitch

  I chose my colors and got to work. In no time at all, I had my doilies finished and a new pattern written. I was satisfied with how they looked, and company complemented them when I had them on display. Confident that my pattern was special enough, I published it on the blog. But after finding the pictures of the original doily, I think I could have done better. Comparing the two makes me wonder if my crochet skills went on a vacation that day...

crochet, free crochet pattern, butterfly stitch, doily

  I do enjoy the second design of my doilies; it goes well with the spiderweb, skull, and dragon-filled theme of my decor. But, like my cheap furniture, it looks flimsy compared to the first design. I rushed to recapture what I had originally taken time to create, and it shows. It's still a good pattern. It's just not the same.

  And, since most of the "Lost Crochet Files" have followed a theme, I have one more that fits in with these round doilies. It's also another "fail". No, not the design - that was good - The purpose of this pattern was a fail. Back then, this beginner-designer had an "awesome" idea for a set of hot pads with a baking theme... Cool, right? Sure it is! And I went through all the work of creating this so-cool cherry pie hot pad, the first design of the series... In acrylic yarn.

hot pad, crochet, cherry pie, acrylic

  (That bit of yarn in the middle is just holding the pieces together while I join them; it's not part of the design.) The pattern itself would have made a cute doily, or maybe a dishcloth... It would even make a great hot pad, if made in cotton! Thankfully, I didn't find out my mistake in the "ouch, there goes dinner" kind of way. I actually found out about a week after finishing it, when I tried to iron another acrylic project. I couldn't get it to block out to the right shape, so I thought I would iron it

  Right. I've learned some things the hard way. I keep saying that throughout this series. I'm not a beginner-designer anymore, but I do still learn things the hard way. I think I always will. I learned that scraping melted acrylic off an iron can be a great workout for your triceps, and that if it won't block out, you're not going to iron it out, either. I'm just glad that I can look back and laugh, and I don't have any major burn scars from hot pad disasters.

  I even learned that not everything is a disaster. After finding the photos to compare projects, I actually considered pulling the pattern for my Butterfly Stitch Doily. The project could be made better, the pattern could be written better... And surely the photos could be better. But then I checked the stats on the page to find people are still viewing it regularly. Not a lot of people - about 50 a month - but there's views there. It's not bots or crawlers or any of that fake-traffic stuff that I barely understand, but real people that are viewing it for more than ten minutes at a time. I liked it before I compared it to Mom's doily. I guess I'm not the only one.

  The lesson: Don't ever be discouraged just because somebody else doesn't like your work. And maybe you shouldn't be discouraged when you're the one who isn't pleased with a project. Somebody out there likes it. Where you see holes, somebody else sees beautiful lace. When you think flimsy, someone else thinks delicate. Everyone has different tastes, and what you don't like will please somebody out there. And if in the end, you can't find one single person who enjoys what you've made, then you can count it as a learning experience. Like learning why not to iron that acrylic yarn, sometimes learning can be painful or messy. But hopefully, there will be a minimal amount of scarring and scraping, and you can call yourself more experienced when it's over.

Happy Crocheting!

Interested in more doily patterns? Check out two of my most popular:

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