Monday, October 20, 2008

Do you think Crochet?

On Sunday I was listening to the sermon and heard the pastor say that when he looks at life around him he sees things from the perspective of a sermon happening right in front of him.  He wondered allowed if an mechanic saw things in terms of taking things apart and fixing them, or if a CPA saw life in terms of how to handle money.

That got me to thinking on how I see life now - in patterns.  I see checkers and visualize how to hook up the two colors.  I see beautiful knit sweaters and think which stitches I could use to duplicate the look, and what yarn I could use to give it as nice a drape as the knit (that's always the big question).   Often I will browse the clothing racks and see a blouse or a skirt or a pair of pants and see what could be a possible crochet project.  It is all so fascinating - so much yarn, so many patterns, so little time left.

I see life in colors, too - I see how colors play out in nature, with various greens matched to other floral colors, or how the ocean is covered with the many hues of green and blue.  I love to work with bold colors, but seldom do so as I found I fear in making a mistake!  So I am now pushing myself to pair bold, striking colors in my projects.

I see possibilities in so may forms - something that would look cute made up as a doggie coat.  Something that would make a neat vest pattern, or squares for an afghan.

And speaking of vest patterns, I cannot get the Garn Studio vest pattern to work for my friends vest, so am making one up as I go using bits and pieces of several patterns to make one I like and that she will like.  That means a high neck, buttons down the front, lots of room, sleeveless with shoulders that don't hang over, not girly looking, comfy and not mannish.  I hope what I am doing works.  At least the color is perfect!

By the potholders are turning out to be stunning, if I do say so myself.  Now THOSE are fun and satisfy my creativity in short spurts.  Two or three a week - like taking a happy pill!  This week I have been working on teal and purple ones in various wave or check patterns.  Fun!  I'll start posting my patterns pretty soon, so if anyone out there actually wants one (wouldn't that be nice) then they can have them.

This is a filet stitch on top and just double crochets for the backing.  All done in washable wool (wool is fire resistant).  


Sunday, October 19, 2008

I Want To Keep My Potholders!

I'm feeling sort of possessive, and that makes me feel bad about myself .  I have been making potholders for the church for their Winter Festival and I am starting to feel like I should be giving them to friends and family instead!  Some are soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo pretty!  Some are just darn cute.

What I need is to make two at one time so I have one to keep and one to give away.  THAT would make my little black heart feel much lighter and happier and less stingy .... tightfisted, cheap,miserly, cheesy, ungenerous.

Now I feel better.☼☺

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Crochet Technique

Have you ever had the misfortune of trying to crochet around the edge of something small and square and have it come out looking lopsided, or have a corner longer than the others - or worse yet, have the sides wavy????

This has been a thorn in my side for quite sometime.  And lately I have been making lots of potholders - so the problem has multiplied itself by many times.  Yikes!  And then, lo and behold, a light went on just as I was rounding the corner of a potholder having just finished one side.  The easy side.  It already had a base of single crochet tops that I could easily use.  Then WHAM.  That moment that one realizes just what you should have known for years.

When you crochet around a side that has the crochet loops all in order you are just putting your hook vertically into the loop below through the loop above it!  Amazing!

So after I got around the corner, I raised the hook in an actual vertical position and used my thumb to measure just how low I had to go into the fabric the first time.  I then just inserted the hook exactly below that loop ... and drew up the loop from that measured spot.  Then the next area was "spotted" the same way so that I did not go further or less into the fabric than before.  WOW!  What a difference it made ... Maybe not yet PERFECT but I can say that it was darn close.

Next time you want to edge something try my 'trick' and see if it helps you!  To start the process, be sure to put your hook in the vertical position - straight up and down - and let the top loop be your guide.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Woo Hoo!  Today I received my new Dude book!  "The Crochet Dude's Designs for Guys"!!!  I am excited to get to it and see if I can actually make something for my hubby or brothers that they would love!

I have flipped through the design/pattern book, which is full of Drew's fantastic humor, and have found wonderful sweaters to make, as well as other odds and ends for men.  I can even see making some of those hunky sweaters in more girlie colors for us women!!  Just a huge array of lovely and wonderful patterns I know I will love to make.

Finally, but not least, one thing I really really love about his book is that he gives you the type of yarn to buy, and then gives you what yarn HE used.  So instead of running out and having to buy "the" yarn, if you have a stash in bulky 5 weight, use it!  What a wonderful concept.  The yarns he uses are fantastic, but now you have a choice.

I have been trying to make a vest sweater for my long time friend in California.  She chose (by default) a pattern from Garn Studio which is really nice, but a bit too open. I have been trying to fix it, but something is wrong with their pattern so I have had a devil of a time, and have wasted many hours.  I see in Drew's book that he has a really super nice zip up vest with front post stitches, and it just fits the bill!  I'm so stoked!  All I have to do is either put in some short rows, if that would work, or just make the front a little bigger/wider, which I think is probably the best bet.

Wonderful!  Nice early Christmas present for myself!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Life of a Hooker

When growing up my neighbor taught me how to chain.  My hands were so little that I was unable to hold the yarn properly - or I was not coordinated!  At any rate, I developed my own way.  When we moved to Southern California my "grandmother" then taught me how to actually put the stitches together, and I was then off to a great start.  

It amazes me now that my crocheting then in my teenage years mainly consisted of making doilies.  I suppose that has a lot to do with the times (early 60's) and who was teaching me.  I taught myself how to knit and made many sweaters, none of which I had saved for some reason.  But I didn't make sweaters from crocheting.

After I moved to Georgia when in my 20's I began to crochet along with my sewing.  I made a lovely houndstooth sweater coat - I think that the pattern came from Women's Day or one of those lady magazines. It was on the front cover and I loved it.  The problem, however, was that it was not made in the proper yarn.  Although I knew how to make things, no one had explained to me the intricacies of picking out a yarn, why worsted, why cotton, why not.  So the sweater was more like a heavy unyielding coat, no sweater to it!  No stretch.  But gorgeous!  

During that time I was also knitting a sweater which, to this day, is not finished!  It is still in my stash. I am not a size 8 any longer, so unless for some reason I get to take off about 45 pounds, I doubt if I finished it that I would ever be able to wear it.  Maybe give it to some teen in church, assuming it isn't too out of date! ( but then, the styles always come back again).  The last thing I made was a baby afghan for my niece - it was made to look like ribbons.  Chartreuse ones going vertical, and darker green weaving in and out horizontally, with a white background.  LOVED  IT!

While in Georgia I made all my clothes, painted, decorated and painted ceramics, and quit crocheting for some unknown reason.  Perhaps I just didn't like the granny squares and the dolls with large skirts on the beds.  It just didn't seem to appeal to me any longer.  I quit knitting, too.

Then moved to California.  Eventually crocheted an afghan with a backing for another niece who was about seven or eight, I think.  Then started one for my nephew who was a in college.  That project took me eight years to finish, and he just received it this year!  However, after re-marrying and moving to Idaho in 2004 I picked up the crocheting again while trying to finish the afghan.  Made some hats, scarves, things for church - and then discovered the joys of making baby things for the granddaughters.  It has been wonderful to create again - I had done so much of it over the early years but somehow got away from it, so am thankful to be able to have time to make presents for my loved ones.

My poor hubby did not know that he had married a creator!  I love to create things - right now gardening and crocheting.  So my stash continues to grow, I keep buying books and patterns, and my skills are increasing by the day.  I'm having fun making quickie projects like potholders, but don't like them to be the ordinary granny square.  I love making colorful ones and those made for the holidays.

Hopefully I will be able to apply what I am learning to start designing some items on my own.  Not as easy as I thought, but a skill I hope to have.  In the meanwhile, I'll post my ramblings here, and any patterns that I think are worth posting, while the photos remain on the other sites for the most part.

Happy Hooking!