Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Very Crabby Armhole

This is the crabbiest arm opening that you will ever witness.  Notice that it is crabby not crappy.  Huge difference.

The more that I utilize the crab stitch (aka reverse single crochet) the more that I am enamored with what it can do.  Crab stitch can:
  • Stabilize an edge - whether knit or crocheted
  • Add a decorative texture without much effort
  • Work up much faster than a knit ribbing
  • Reduce "flare" at an opening (for this I am grateful more than you will ever know)
  • Provide a sense of accomplishment
  • Cause the under-informed to look closely and put a pensive look upon the face. 

The sleeve openings, neck edge, and lower bodice edge of the diagonal shell are all finished with a round of single crochet followed by crab stitch.  All of that diagonal work in stockinette is now firmly controlled.  

Due to the directionality of the knitting on front and back pieces, the arm opening has a tendency to flair at the top.  The first round of single crochet (sc) worked tightly on the upper third of the opening did wonders to stabilize the knitting and prevent curling.  It is, in my opinion, the crab stitch that prevents the flair.  Not only did I continue to work the crab stitch with a specific tension, but I also skipped several single crochet stitches toward to top - and the bottom - of the opening so as to further draw in the opening.  That did the trick!  

No flare,
No curl,
Still flexible,
Very Crabby and 
Not at all crappy. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Striped Fabric

Call it a magic ball or random usage or well planned usage of yarn.  However you refer to it, I enjoyed making this striped fabric.

As a member of TKGA, I often check out the website.  During one of my searches into the good information, I discovered an oldie but goodie pattern for a Diagonal V Neck Shell designed by Laura Bryant and Prism Yarns.

I am very pleased to state that no new yarns were purchased for this fabric.  Everything came from my stash!  There is a bit of wool, cotton, various incarnations of silk and some chemical wonder string.   

The pattern is very simple.  Diagonal work that makes the back and the front.  The only difference between back and front is the V-Neck.

  To be honest, the only difficult thing about making this pattern is that there can be a whole lot of ends that must be woven in!  Isn't it fortunate that over 50% of the time, I remembered to weave in as the knitting took place.

Because the yarns that I used are not all exactly the same weight, there is some variance in tension.  So, it made sense to wet block both pieces prior to sewing and adding the edging to all openings.  

So far, I'm pleased.  This will probably become an over piece for layering next fall and winter.  I am way ahead of the game.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My New Best Friend

I have a new best friend and she is Jazzy!  

 Here she is.  In just a few short days - five to be exact - we are bonded as only girls can.    This is my first attempt at using a purse frame.  While the lining tidiness is not quite up to my normal standards for sewing in a lining, it is sufficient for a first attempt.

She is lined simply.  Although, I will admit that accomplishing my first ever acquaintance with such a frame whilst trying to simultaneously hide the edges in the frame and insert darling crystal beads to cover the outer holes was a task that needs some practice!  Tedious is putting it mildly!  An extra mug of caffeine and a full pint of water washed down with chocolate helped a little.  But only a little.

A few specifics:

"Best Friend"  by Kristin Goedert published on Knitty which is located here.

The yarn is not cashmere.  This is Jazz from Twisted Sisters and you might want to peruse the current color offerings on this page.    Jazz is 100% wool in a DK weight.  This purse is worked on a US 3 which makes for mighty finely defined cables.  Love it! 

My best friend is a usable five inches wide and almost six inches deep.  So far I have asked her to hang on to one phone, a jangly key chain, one folded bit it cash, panic card and proper ID.  Bless her, she did not even drop a stitch.  

However, truth be told, she did get a bit puffy around the middle.

We'll  be best buds for a long time.

Monday, April 11, 2011

It's A Girly Thing

My latest traveling project is so quick to complete that it barely lasted for the two short flights of this past weekend.  Luckily, there was a twenty minute delay at the airport, which allowed for an extra bit of yarn work.

I love this very frilly and girly project.  The unwritten pattern has become my go to project when time needs to be filled with a no-brainer.  The edging is quite floral when bunched up like this.

You will note that this is crocheted with organic cotton.  I'm trying to be green - even though the project is very snow white!  

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I do fret that chemicals were used to process the cotton into this total lack of any shade or tint of the original cotton.  However, the label is clearly printed ORGANIC and that's what I choose to believe.

This unwritten pattern is a very girly girl wash cloth.  The base is actually single crochet and then I work chain loops to create a very open and flexible edging than culminates with a picot on the final round.  

The loopy edge does have a reason for existence.  As you'll note in the top photo, when bundled up the edging become a fantastic scrubby for exfoliating the aging skin cells.  The cotton does the job well without scratching the living daylights out of my aging and delicate skin cells!

(I have no idea why this photo is not a snow white wash cloth.  All three photos were adjusted exactly the same after being taken by the same camera, in the same location, in the same lighting glow and within mere minutes of each other.  But I digress.  Back to the real story)

The overall size of this washcloth is smaller than one might expect.  But that is OK for me.

*  my hands are small

*  cotton stretches when wet

*  the scrubby made by bunching the edging is just the right size

*  it packs well in a plastic bag and thus provides a bit of luxury when traveling

*  it is a fast crochet!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Ready For A Change In The Weather

Mother Nature has fooled me once again.  It is cooler than a cucumber this Spring morning.  Down near cold if you ask me.

Rather than fretting over the thermometer, I shall keep my eye fixed on the calendar and declare that it is time to switch from wintery felted fibers to summery plant fibers.  A few hours of edging and sewing yesterday was all it took to complete my new Summer Time bag.  

The pattern is a freebie!   Let's hear it for manufacturers and publishers who offer up so much free information.   Check out Sugar N Cream for this Crochet Bag.  The link is here.

I did make a few modifications to the pattern.  First, owing to my total length, the length of the straps was shortened.  No surprise there!   As you can see in the photos, I edged the entire bag with a lovely black to match the button that was languishing in the button stash.  (Yes, I have a stash of buttons also.  Don't you?  How many different stashes do I have?  Don't ask and I won't tell!)

After much debate, I finally decided that this fabric is solid and sturdy enough that a lining is not required.  Oh, to be sure it would be nice to open this bag and find a bright pink or orange pop of color.  But in the end, simplicity and quick finish won out.

 Although not specified in the pattern, a pocket seemed appropriate.  And, for flexibility, this pocket is made from several rows of double crochet.  The hdc of the body would have been very firm and unyielding when I try to cram way too many little things into the pocket.

All in all, this was a very pleasing project.  The pattern (again, Thanks to Lily and Bernat for the freebie!)  is excellent as written and easy to adapt to specific needs of the end user.

What will you be toting this summer??

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Discovery Days

Ah, the thrill of new acquisitions!  It is easy to appreciate the buzz that runs rampant across the nerves when new fiber joins the family stash.  I'll not waste time reveling in an oft repeated exercise.  I'm sure that you also enjoy the rush every now and again.

Rather, on this day, I offer up an observation pulled from recent experience.  When searching for just the right resting place for all of the recently acquired yarns - an auction occurred just one week after the warehouse sale -  a forgotten hoard of cotton saw the light of day.   Imagine my surprise to open a hopefully empty drawer only to find out that the entire area was filled with suitable-for-summer yarns.    Well, it was my obligation, in light of this (re)discovery, to get cracking on something summery and useful.  If for no other reason than to make space for the new wool. 

This week is occupied in finishing a very simple summer bag from one of the  cottons that came to light.  Just repetitive half double crochet with self strap handles, this slouchy bag will be for casual wear.   It may not even receive a lining.  I do love a good lining that adds a dash of complementary color to a bag.  But this particular string is looking mighty solid just as it is.

The yarn is Fiesta from Manetto Hill Yarnery.  Please note that this is a discontinued cotton/acrylic yarn.    The yarn, should you care to investigate wants to be a "bulky".  Indeed, the specifics on the label suggest working it with an 8.0 mm stick of choice.  

I have crocheted this bag with a 4.0 mm hook (aka G).   The resulting fabric is very tight and sturdy.   Also, one broken finger nail occurred as well as the consumption of four pain relieving tablets.  The result - - absolutely worth the effort.

I have decided to edge the entire bag with one row of single crochet.   Luckily, that auction last weekend re-supplied my stash of black!