Friday, December 27, 2013

Best Gift

Without even knowing it, daughter #1 has given me a wonderful gift.  The gift is not something that she wrapped and presented on a special day.  The gift is larger than that.

She who crochets has absorbed hook and yarn into her life completely. 

It is hard to explain how thrilling it is to know that the generations of Francois women who take up a craft and make it art will continue.  She could have chosen embroidery, sewing or knitting.  But like her grandmother, she chose crochet.

One day, she announced that she was going to learn to make socks.  And faster than you can find the end of the yarn in the ball, she was off and stitching.

Check out her blocking talent.  The shawl edges naturally need to be the same and so she folded on the center spine and pinned it into a state of matchy matchy.

That girl makes her mama and her grandmother and a great-grandmother that she never met, very proud.  It is the best gift ever.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Milestone Missed

Geez Louise.  What kind of a writer am I?  Oh sure, I can tell a might fine yarn and I can work up yarn like a pro.  But math is still an issue.  That whole counting thing.

The last post - the one about the Ida blanket - was post #500!  Yippie.  You never knew it, but that was my personal goal.  I set out to write "hundreds of things" about yarn and such.

I did it. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Stitches of Ida

She is not yet ready for her close up.  But perhaps you are curious about the stitches of Ida.  The last post was about the post work edge, so I'll spare you additional detail.

Pay attention to the red numbers.  If you click on the photo it might magically grow larger so you can see better.

*NOTE:  in all sections, gauge is what it wanted to be.  I'm not too particular.

Section 1  Knit, seed stitch.  Malabrigo Chunky which is a kettle dyed pure merino.  Size US 11.  A rectangle.

Section 2  Crochet, Tunisian simple stitch.  Plymouth Yarn Encore Chunky.  Size 13 hook.  Worked on two sides of Section 1 with a short row corner.

Section 3  Crochet, double crochet.  Universal Yarn Classic Shades Frenzy.  Size 13 hook.  Connected to Section 2 and using an increase corner.

Section 4  Knit, garter stitch.  The Malabrigo like Sec. 1.  Size US 11 needles.  Picked up from the crochet of Sec. 3.  Also uses a short row corner. 

Section 5  Crochet, extended single crochet.  The Encore like Sec. 2.  Same size 13 hook.  Used an increase corner.

And then the border is worked all the way around.  Still confused.  This should help.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Home Stretch

Call me a woman ahead of her time.  Truly.  The 2014 blanket is in the home stretch.  The edging started today.  It took a lot of thinking to decide how best to end this wad of warmth.  Not the first part of the thinking; that was easy.

Because of the construction and changing of stitches without regard to that five letter word [gauge] the edges needed to be harmonized with good old single crochet.  Working single crochet around the whole thing went a long way toward straightening out the dips where knit met crochet and the curly edge of the Tunisian Simple Stitch.

Digression for an observation:  I often forget that Tunisian crochet curls in the same way that knit stockinette curls.  I have to remember that because normally I use crochet to combat curling.  Oh, well. 

The quandary became what to do after the single crochet. It needed to be easy to work in the wool boucle I was determined to use and a stitch pattern that worked up flawlessly because frogging  boucle is not a thing that makes one happy.  I knew  this final edging would be worked with Mama's crochet hook.  After all, the whole point of the Ida blanket is to use Ida Mae's crochet hook and blend in my love of knitting. 

Owing to my total disregard of gauge, the blanket has stretches of wonkiness.  Nothing more than two or three inches in a spot.  But there are a few places that need to pull in a bit.  What, I asked myself, stretches and contracts?  Crochet post work!

That's right.  The whole edging is being worked in basic front post/back post crochet so that it adjusts to the blips in the stitches.  Round and round I go.  There is almost 800 yards of the super wash boucle, so the border will take some time.  I'm happy, and Ida Mae is happy.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Have You Heard?

The word of the month (for moi and many yarnista friends) is Felf.  Click on over to Cat Bordhi's site and learn all about Felfs.  This just might be the best ebook ever.  Even if you do not knit, buying the ebook will do wonders to further important research.

Ana Petrova and The Knitting Tree, LA teamed together - with Cat's blessing - to encourage knitting of Felfs.  Each participant purchased a copy of the ebook and procured yarn from the store.  We made measuring devices and last night we gathered to determine our unique "F" number and do a bit of math.

An untended lesson that amazed me was the wide variety of felted pockets (go buy the book) that were produced by the participants.  Yarn selection, needle choice, stitch gauge, method of fulling, how long and vigorous the agitation, use of baking soda or not, &tc, &tc, &tc all accounted for the differences.

Ana includes little extras in her classes.  In addition to the wonderful world of Felfs, we discussed needle felting, alkaline water, and  balls.  

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Slip Sliding Away

Voila!  The knitting is done. 

Alas the seaming still needs to be done.  And sewing seams is not my favorite part of yarn work. 

Luckily, the pattern (yes, sometimes I start with a real honest to goodness published pattern.  I might not stick to the pattern, but I start with it.)  specifies seams be crocheted together on the public side. 

This is the first time that I recall seaming seed stitch to stockinette. . .
on a diagonal. . .
where the side of the diagonal seed stitch needs to match up with the the bind off of stockinette.

All manner of panic set in.  Mostly related to the difference in row gauge of the seed stitches meeting up to the stitch gauge of the stockinette.

Panic be gone - - - it is slip sliding away.  The phrase easy peasy comes to mind. 

All these years of handwork and I still get giddy when something works out perfectly.  Yippie!

Monday, December 9, 2013

F-UFO Sighting

In the far reaches of darkness it flashed.  A dull light color amidst the dark.  What could it be?  It was obviously larger than a dropped stitch.  Was it a forgotten donation?  A gift that did not get mailed? 

With some trepidation, I reached my hand into the deep dark forgotten space and gently grabbed the wad o' stuff.  A F-UFO.  Forgotten UnFinished Object.  Yes, I had totally forgotten that this crochet blanket even existed. 

Sixty minutes.  A short hour of time.  That is all that it took to Remember and Finish the Object.

 Here it is.  A mirror image bit of crochet that results in a baby blanket.  There is not much of a real pattern.  It is just double crochet shells worked in three colors.

In the second photo, the arrow points to the middle strip where the "mirror" work begins.  The arrow shows the starting chain.  First, rows are worked in sequence from the chain.   Then the exact same "mirror" sequence is worked beginning from the base of that starting chain. 

No, it isn't rocket science.

No, it isn't an award worthy pattern.

No, it doesn't build lots of new connections in an aging brain.

But it is a sweet and useful baby blanket that deserves love.

And it is finished!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Twist & Turns Of Loyalty

A few months back, a shawl of loyalty came off the hook and ended up in Louisiana.  There was still yarn left and to show my continued loyalty no matter the twists and turns of the gridiron, the remainder of the yarn was used up during the long Thanksgiving weekend.

Sitting in the sunshine is a favorite pass time of mine.  Luckily I get to enjoy warm rays often.  Especially when hanging out in Palm Desert.   Sitting outside to work the yarn and watch football requires one of two things.  One needs either an outdoor television (which I do not have) or an open doorway with a clear view to the indoor screen which is what I do have. 

Sunshine, yarn and college football.  Those three go together like peas and carrots.  Well, peas and carrots is only two things, not three things.  But you get the drift of my thinking.

Working up this colorful cap was quick and fairly mindless.   The construction is top down and other than the increases and remembering to use both school colors, not much brain power is needed.

Stretchy crochet is produced with alternating front post and back post stitchery.  It makes ribbing that is comparable to knit ribbing.  The best thing about ribbing is that it fits - - almost everyone.

Yarn:  Naturally Caron Country in Louisiana colors.  This yarn is discontinued.  The point is to use team colors.  Of course if you toss in green to the purple and gold the hat will be appropriate for Mardi Gras.

Hook:  I  5.5mm

PatternKnit-look Ribbed Hat from The Laughing Willow blog.  This is a great pattern if you want to practice crochet post stitches.  Click over and give it a try.

So, the big question is do I keep the hat or send it off to Louisiana?