Archive for July 2010

If you’re all alone when the pretty birds have flown

July 31, 2010

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Pattern: Simplify by Sally Beaty
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft Shadows (100% acrylic), colorway Pearl Frost
Hook: J/6.0mm

The first thing I tried to crochet, after digesting my instruction book and feeling (for the first time) like I understood what crochet might be getting at, was a sampler scarf. But although I had no problem forming the stitches, I couldn’t keep the count even. So I abandoned rectangles and went to circles. Little tawashi flowers saved the day. I was able to practice and make items with a recognizable shape, not malformed or noticeably irregular.

You know I love scarves, though. I wanted to crochet a scarf. It was going to be a risky endeavor, because I still had no proof that I could crochet something that involved turning and going back the other way at the end of a row. So I pulled out some ancient acrylic for my scarf experiment.

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I found out I don’t have a right-angle problem anymore.

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Advantages to the crochet scarf:

  • Goes really fast
  • Sharp, elegant style
  • Sturdy and textured
  • Did I mention fast
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    Just double crochet and single crochet, row on top of row. Looking at the amazingly even rectangle that results makes me feel kind of like a magician. Out of my confusion about these hooks and loops a month ago, I’ve conjured a fabric. I think I’ve graduated out of practice mode.

    Not without a star

    July 24, 2010

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    Pattern: Berlin Scarf by Leah Mitchell
    Yarn: Ella Rae Kamelsoft (75% merino, 25% camel), colorway Orange
    Needles: U.S. 8 Signature straights

    On World Wide Knit In Public Day, as celebrated in Little Rock on June 19, I started this brioche stitch scarf. Beside me was my daughter. Around me were the knitters of Central Arkansas. My fingers quickly fell into the brioche rhythm: slip, yarn over, knit two together. Repeat, pausing every 88 yards to spit-splice the next ball of yarn in, until the scarf is 62″ long. Bind off.

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    Wait, that’s not all there is to it. Take the scarf to every faculty meeting and strategic planning meeting for a solid month. Knit through at least three church services. Turn on the automatic brioche stitch reflexive movements portion of the brain in waiting rooms, idling cars, coffeeshops. Knit two or three inches every time a mental health moment is needed.

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    Indulge your tactile sense every time you pull the scarf in progress out of its tote bag. Squeeze it. Pull the ribbing gently apart, let it relax back into its compressed state. Stretch it lengthwise just a bit, and watch the stitches even out. Roll it up and let it fill both hands like a miniature cloud.

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    Imagine the college student who will open a Valentine’s Day package next winter and pull out five feet of cozy warmth. Wrap it around your child’s neck, and think about how you’d want someone to care for her with gifts of love and time and shelter from the elements if you couldn’t do it. Set it on your shelf next to the other scarves that have give you so much pleasure in the knitting, and look forward to the pleasure of giving.

    Watch me programming all the glamorites

    July 18, 2010

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    Pattern: Recycled T-Yarn Round Potholder by RecycleCindy
    Yarn: Upcycled T-shirts
    Hook: U.S. P/15 (10.00 mm)

    Now that I’ve mastered very elementary crochet, I’m eager to see what I can do with it. I have a stash of tarn (cut-up t-shirts) that I’ve been itching to use for crochet because crochet seems a bit more forgiving of uneven gauge and easier to make symmetrical flat shapes out of. Well, I don’t know about that. but after wrestling some of my first tarn — cut with scissors with no control of strip width — through the first few rounds of a potholder pattern, I can see that it would be possible to use better-made tarn and maybe a slightly smaller hook to make functional objects.

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    Pattern: Super Simple Tawashi Flower by Marte Fagervik
    Yarn: More tarn
    Hook: U.S. P/15

    Even though my potholder circle came out slightly lopsided, I wasn’t ready to put away the tarn. So I decided to see how my favorite crochet practice project would look all super-sized. I cropped the clumsy join at the end of the last round out of the bottom of this photo. But like a round of free-association, the fun of going round and round and making a big-ol’ jumbo version of this pattern made me want to …

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    Pattern: Super Simple Tawashi Flower by Marte Fagervik
    Yarn: Leftover dishcloth cotton
    Hook: U.S. H/8 (5.00 mm)

    Yes, I have a crochet fixation. And I don’t know how to make much else. Plus I have a little bag of leftover dishcloth cotton handy. Add it all together, and you have a growing stack of these things.

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    Somebody point me to some crochet methadone for this pattern, please.

    An open road that knows no end

    July 8, 2010

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    Pattern: Super Simple Tawashi Flower by Marte Fagervik
    Yarn: Leftover dishcloth cotton, solid and multi
    Hook: H (5.0 mm)

    Notice anything unusual about that list of pertinent facts just above this paragraph? Like, instead of “needles,” there’s an entry for “hook”? There’s a first time for everything. And this is the first thing I’ve ever made with a crochet hook instead of knitting needles or a tatting shuttle.

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    Look. Those are crochet stitches up there. Surrounding a “magic ring,” twenty double crochets. Surrounding that, single crochets and double crochets worked into the same stitch to create petals. A week ago those words wouldn’t have made any sense to me. Crochet twisted my knit-ordered brain and left me in a panic about where to put the hook and what came next. But after an intense read and an hour or two of practice yesterday, I picked an easy tawashi (Japanese for dish scrubby) pattern and decided to try to turn out an actual finished object, despite never having crocheted a circle before.

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    The hole in the middle is about twice as big as it was when I finished it. That’s because Cady Gray appropriated it as a gift and a talisman, and spent the whole day sticking her little five-year-old finger through the middle (“like on a doughnut,” she mused). As you see it here, it’s not just my creation, but also hers. A first that I can claim, and a collaboration that enhances its worth.