Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Crochet Knit Connection

Yes, it is a theme.  Ida, the blanket that has consumed me, is all consuming.  Perhaps I love her so much because each section is attached while it is worked.  When she is finished, she will be finished with no seams the sew.  Gotta love that.

Never before in my entire yarn life have I attached knit garter stitch to plain old double crochet stitches.   Never before had I even thought to do it.  One thing that working Ida is teaching me is that the crochet knit connection is sturdy, strong, and deserves to be celebrated.

I did not even look up options for accomplishing the task.  With boldness as my partner, I took a circular knitting needle to the back loop of those double crochet stitches and picked them up.  Notice that I did not pick up and knit.  I only picked up each loop.

With the live stitches from the double crochet stitches on the knitting needle, it is a simple matter of knitting the dc loop together with the last knit stitch so as to connect the two sections.  If you have ever knit on an edging, you'll recognize the k2tog join as being a typical method of joinery.

FYI and because I know you are curious, the in this section the crochet  is worked with a bulky yarn to which a chunky yarn is coming to the party up. 

Check out the resulting join.  Lookin' good!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Turning A Corner. . .

. . . in Tunisian Simple Stitch is simply a matter of short rows.  And working short rows in TSS is an easy peasy thing.  For Ida (the 2014 blue blanket), ninety degree corners are needed. 

Step 1 is to make steps.  This is accomplished by working one less stitch on each forward pass.

Step 2 is to keep repeating those short rows until one stitch remains.  Notice the neat forty-five degree angle. 

Step 3 is to add one stitch to each forward pass.  On the forward pass on the "other direction" simply pick up the "end stitch" from the short row along with the last stitch of the forward pass.  So, the original one stitch becomes  two stitches on the first forward pass.  Yes, work the reverse pass in your normal way.  On the next forward pass of the TSS adding one stitch (from the short rows) results in three stitches on the needle.

Very easy.  When all short rows have been worked, there will the the same number of stitches as there were before the short rowing began and a nice tidy corner will be turned.

Ida is taking shape rather well.   You will want to know that the blue section of knit seed stitch is a chunky yarn.  The crochet TSS is a bulky.  And those two different weights of yarn play together better than I expected.

Yarn - - it's a happy thing.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Yarn That Binds - Connecting TSS To Knit Edges

The first afghan/blanket that I ever made was some forty years ago.  Mama crocheted the granny squares.  I crochet squares using the "afghan stitch" which is now known as Tunisian Simple Stitch (TSS).  Mama sewed the whole thing together and off I went to my first dorm experience at Louisiana College.

TSS is quite popular (finally or once again.  I can't figure it out) and has many variants and extensions such that Tunisian Crochet is a genre unto itself.  I still consider it that old stitch from way back when.

TSS has made it into the 2014 blanket.  Oh, don't get started lecturing me about it still being 2013.  I am an artist.  I am whimsical.  If I want to work on the 2014 blanket in November of 2013, I can.  Just smile and nod and go with the flow.

Meet Ida.  She is the 2014 blanket of my own design and is sketched out in this post.  Because I am not Mama (Ida Mae), I avoid seams whenever possible.  Each section will be attached to the previous as it is worked. 

The first section is knit in seed stitch and all edges are slipped so as to create a chain that is easy to pick up.  Section 2 of Ida is TSS that is connected to Section 1 on the bind off edge and a slipped stitch edge.  It is very easy to accomplish. 

 Let's assume that you already know how to work TSS or you watched a video.  To connect TSS to a knit edge is quite easy.

1.  Work the TSS forward pass until ready to pick up the last loop.
2.  Pick up for the TSS stitch AND the back loop from the knit bind off or slipped edge.

3.  Yarn over and draw through both the knit edge loop and for the TSS  loop to create the last stitch of the TSS forward pass.

4.  Connection is made!
5.  Work the TSS reverse pass in the normal way. 

It is so easy.  Working through the back look on the knit edge creates a decorative twist where the different styles of yarn work meet. 

Can I get a Voila?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

New Year, New Blankie

Being ahead of my self imposed time line gets my giddy on.  And I am giddy over this. 

copyright FSD, 2013
It came to be in a blink.  After futzing with several possibilities, including perfectly a symmetrical option, I have settled on the design for my 2014 blanket.  There are kinks yet to be worked out. That will happen in the making. 

I can't quite see the solution to short rows worked in one of the particular stitches I've chosen.  Hopefully, by the time I get the thing cast on and work to section three, something will present itself as the right way to accomplish the task. Maybe short rows is not the answer.  Right now it feels like the elegant way out and I do love elegance.  Rather than fight the design specifics right now, I'll just go with my gut and cast on.  Somewhere during the knitting and crocheting of sections one and two, it will settle in my brain.

For now, my fingers are itching to get started.  I've already wound skeins in anticipation and all is ready in a separate project bag.  This one is ahead of the time line and I've got my giddy on!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Rebellion Through Needlework

Books and patterns abound that mix crochet and knitting stitches.  Perhaps the most prevalent is the somewhat dreaded but ever popular crab stitch edging (crochet) around a knit opening.  There are other ways to mix it up.  Like Tunisian crochet work that transfers the forward pass to become live knit stitches.  OK, that might be a tad advanced for some to envision, let alone tackle without moral support. 

How about the simple crochet edging on a sewn project?  That mixes it up.  A simple embroidered  blanket stitch provides the foundation to something spectacular.  Such as this - - -
A dresser scarf that is amongst the trove of Mama's things now in my possession.  (check out the last several posts for all the goodies I now own).

Yes, there was a time in my youth when my eyes were sharp enough to do such delicate thread work.  Adding edging like this was never something that I enjoyed and so I left this type of creativity to others. 

Here is a bit of the embroidery on the scarf.  Oh, the hours I spent as a teen learning to embroider!  Stem, lazy daisy, chain, satin, french knots, and feather stitch were my friends. 

For the most part I learned on cotton and linen like a dresser scarf.  That was Mama's doing.  But then, I transferred my needle work skill to jeans.  Oh, come on.  You remember those summer days in The Sixties when we spent afternoons adding just the right embroidery to jeans and peasant blouses so that we could be rebellious.  You know you tried to jam that thick denim into a flimsy wooden hoop.  Just like me you embroidered a daisy - a delicate yellow daisy - on your clothing.  [please do not ask if I ever painted a matching daisy on my cheek] 

And we thought we were so ANTI everything.  Often Anti-home/family where we learned the needle skills that allowed the rebellion.   And don't get me started on the Home Ec class at my high school where the girls crocheted ponchos with long fringe. 

What were we thinking?  Rebellion through needlework!  Such a radical idea.  It is crazy to use needle, hook or stick with yarn to express rebellious thoughts.  Far fetched if you ask me.  Off the wall wacko.

Wait a moment. . . .

Rebellion through needlework. 

We still do that. 

Only now it is called yarn bombing. 

Geez.  I do love a good yarn no matter how it is applied.

Carry on!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Too Young To Remember

There are those who accuse me of being too old to remember everything that I'm supposed to remember.  This is a case of me being too young to remember something. 

 Did a newborn Lenora ever wear this?  Unless a photo can be located, I may never know.   If it did, I was too young for the memory to set within my neurons.

It is a classic crocheted newborn jacket and bonnet.  The stitches are delicate and perfect.  Time can not diminish the beauty of a loving hands creation.

Here is a close up of the stitches with the embroidery dancing down the stitches.  Be sure to click on the photo to get a better look at the workwomanship.   Note the even gauge.  Check out the picots.  Enjoy the little blessing of hand made baby wear.

I sure hope that I did wear this.  It would be an honor to be a part of this family heirloom.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Still Wandering Down Memory Lane

From the hands of my mother to me, this hook has had a long dark journey.  Being hidden away for almost two decades is not exactly what a well used tool deserves. 

A well used tool deserves to be used well!  Now that I have Ida Mae's "rug hook" in my possession, I am planning how best to put it back in service.  Right now, I am thinking that it will be perfect for working the crochet sections being planned as part of the 2014 blue afghan.

A few personal labels were discovered in the same stash of memories.  I still have - and wear - two sweaters that have this label.

There is something permanent about handing down tools of the trade.  My brother thought my reaction to Mama's crochet hook was a little over the top.  How could it be? 

Like Mother, like daughter, like granddaughter.  Life goes on. . . .

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Blast From The Past

A recent trip back to my home town was quick, too short, and resulted in a few tears.  Not tears of sadness.  The kind of tears that leak fond memories and good times.  It seems that my brother was cleaning out a trunk and re-discovered things that we packed away almost two decades ago.  

Check out the ephemera.   Two copies of The Workbasket are now a cherished part of my reference library.  Why these two issues were saved by my mother is unknown.  It does not matter at all.  These are just fun and enjoyable.  

I love the Irish crochet collar on the cover of the April, 1959 issue.   Yes, the full instructions are in the issue.  Alas, 1959 was before crochet charts and symbols came into existence.   Thankfully, the entire printed pattern is intact.  I doubt that I'll ever make this, but I have the whole pattern and that is important.  

By the time these issues were printed, the magazine was accepting advertising.  A lot of advertising.  A lot of fun advertising.  Two pink daffodil bulbs are offered for 25 cents, post paid.  An electric hot pot cost only $2.88.  And, as I would expect, Postum offered wives who worry about their husbands an alternative to "give those over-coffeed nerves a rest..."  Gotta love that marketing plan.

The April, 1958 issue includes this fabulous Modern Motif Rug.  Please know that the rug is made of three colors (ecru, black, and brown) but the magazine is printed in black & white.    The rug is just a sixteen row repeat with a border worked all around.  It includes reverse single crochet that shocked me.  
Today, we work rss (aka crab stitch) from left to right on the right side of the work.  RSS is considered an edging.  Not so in this 1958 pattern.  The stitch is worked on the wrong side of the work and from right to left.  Get out your hook and give this a try - 
"Make single crochet as follows:  With yarn in front of hook, insert hook from back to front in next sc, wrap yarn around hook and draw lp through, yarn over, draw yarn through both lps on hook,  repeat." Workbasket, April, 1958.  

I might be making a rug just to try it out.