Posted in Crochet, Finished object

A blanket for Liam

Stripes and Hearts 10I have a new grand-nephew on the way. And, of course, I made him a blanket.

Pattern:  I Got You Babe-y by Marty Miller, from the Jan/Feb 2012 issue of the now-defunct Crochet Today.

Yarn:  Bernat Gloucester Sport, 2.8 skeins (308 yds), colorway “French Blue”; Mirasol T’ika, 4 skeins (364 yds), colorway 502 “Light Blue”.

Hook:  H for body, I for borders.

Mods: Did not do the lacy attach-as-you-go border between panels. Rather, did single crochet edging around each panel and sewed them together. Three rounds of single crochet in alternating colors around entire blanket for the edging.

84df2-knit-your-library_2016Satisfaction with end product:  I think it’s lovely.  The 100% cotton yarn makes it soft and absorbent, besides making it an easy-care baby item; I’m sure my niece-in-law will appreciate that.

You can see more project pics at the Ravelry project page.

Still “knitting” my library.  Please join us!

Posted in Crochet, Finished object

FO Friday: Great Granny!

Furlough Day 11. Sigh. But the baby blanket is done.

Great Granny 4

Yes, it’s a giant granny square. And it was such fun to crochet that I intend to make several more out of the remaining skeins of acrylic, thus creating a backstock of baby blankets to be used as needed, or possibly donated to Project Linus or some other such organization.

Great Granny 7Pattern: Great Granny from Crochet Today July/August 2010
Hook: Size H (5.0 mm)
Yarn: Multiple skeins of acrylic (Patons Canadiana and Bernat Berella), 1090 yards total. Click this link to go to the project page on Ravelry.
Satisfaction with end product: Very pleased. The color combination worked out well, and it’s suitable for either a boy or a girl. And, as always after washing and drying, the acrylic is soft and cushiony. Don’t ever let anyone tell you acrylic is scratchy and uncomfortable. Well, maybe some acrylics. But seriously, even Red Heart Super Saver softens up after a good hot wash and dry.

7cde9-fofridayThis post is part of the FO Friday roundup, hosted by Tami’s Amis. For links to more finished projects, click that badge to the right. Go ahead, you know you want to.

Posted in Book stash, Crochet, Finished object, Project planning, Yarn stash

Oh, look! A finished project! And other new stuff to show off.

While not writing in my blog, despite my New Year’s non-resolution to update more often, I’ve been doing a number of other things, such as watch lots of TV series via Netflix I never saw when they were first aired, like, umm, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel — not done with either of those two series, so no spoilers please — Dollhouse (so I’m on a Joss Whedon kick, what of it?), and the first season of Downton Abbey; read books (12 so far this year); and make stuff. Mostly stuff I (a) haven’t yet finished; (b) finished but haven’t yet taken pictures; or (c) finished AND taken pictures but haven’t yet downloaded off the camera or uploaded to the web.

Remedied one of those last items today, though! Feast your eyes upon the Lacy Winter White Blanket:

Pattern: Lacy Lilac Blanket by Katherine Eng, Crochet Today! Mar/Apr 2009
Yarn: Bernat Berella 4, 4 skeins. The best acrylic worsted ever.
Colorway: Natural
Hook size: H

This sweet little blanket was finished in February. The pattern calls for 35 squares, if I recall correctly, but I made it with 20 squares only because it’s intended for a baby: my sister’s newest grandbaby, a little girl expected to arrive in early May.

Spouse lost his job at the end of January and thus far has been unsuccessful in finding something else. Fortunately I’m compensated well enough in my job that we’re able to make all our monthly expenses without trouble, but the loss of his income put a serious crimp in our travel/discretionary spending. Wah. I know. First world problems. I’m lucky AND grateful not to have to worry about losing our house or our vehicles due to his lack of employment. Still, I had to miss attending Stitches South this year. However, I was able to afford to run over to Atlanta for the day yesterday, meet my friend Kelly for lunch, and make a quick dash through the market. I came home with a few nice goodies.

First, the book Knitting Plus, which I found in a booth for half off the cover price.

I’ve been intending to buy this book forever; well, at least since it was published last year. Some beautiful patterns in here, and lots of good fitting tips for those of us in the larger size ranges.

Then, some gorgeous glass stitch markers from Tanya McGuire.

Omigosh, I love these. There were so many other pretties in the booth, it was hard to limit myself to just one set.

And finally, yarn. Of course. You don’t think I’d drive all the way to Atlanta and NOT buy yarn, do you?

6 skeins of the fabulous Riveting by Kollage, in one of their new marled colorways, Red Denim. I’ve lusted after this yarn since it was introduced. It’s intended for a lacy tunic-type top. I have a couple of patterns in mind, and saw at least one in the new book that might be suitable. I’ll keep you posted.

By the way, those last three photographs were taken by my husband in his nifty tabletop “light booth”. Expect lovely photographs of small projects henceforth.

Posted in Crochet, Finished object

I’m baaaa-aaaaack…

And I have another project to show off:

Mom's Blankie 1
Pattern: Soft Stroller Blanket by Marianne Forestal
Yarn:  My beloved Bernat Berella 4
Hook: J
Satisfaction with end product: Love!  I hope my mother likes it too, since it's for her.

There are several other projects that are nearing completion.  Well, okay, one that's nearing completion.  The rest are still recovering from the shock of being transported across country in the back of a moving van.

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Posted in Crochet, Magazine review

Magazine review: Crochet Today! Nov/Dec 2009

So we're jumping right past the autumn issues of the various magazines deemed worthy of my subscription money directly into winter.  Yes, that's right, no reviews will be written for Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet, Crochet Today! and Vogue Knitting Fall 2009 issues, nor for the majority of the summer issues either (except for Vogue, which was written in May).  Why?  For one thing, summer is over, and those issues are no longer on the newsstands.  As for fall, let me ask you this:  do you know how long it takes me to write a decent detailed review?  No?  Let me tell you: four hours at least; six is more likely.  We're looking at a minimum of sixteen hours to write up reviews for those four Fall issues and, frankly, I don't have that kind of extra time this week.  Therefore, I say nix to that; and hereby apologize to you, the loyal reader, for my procrastination, laziness, and lack of self-discipline in this regard.  I also promise to do better.

Okay.  Onward.  Crochet Today! Nov/Dec 2009 issue, as can be discerned from its cover, focuses on the upcoming Christmas holidays with a kitschy retro flair.

(Apparently, AMC's Mad Men is a huge influence on fashion trends these days, and we should brace ourselves for an imminent onslaught of 1960s-style bubble dresses.  Never watched the show myself.  Nor worn a bubble dress.)

In Products and News, the usual assortment of gadgets, gizmos, and accessories are presented for our perusal.  The individually-wrapped Eucalan wipes in particular caught my eye, as well as the fabric-as-reusable-wrapping-paper by Furochic (music on link alert).

Need a way to use leftover skeins and ends of yarn?  Want to donate a handmade item to a worthy cause?  Look no further.  People features the charity Heartmade Blessings, which gathers 12" afghan squares from crocheters everywhere and assembles them into blankets, or "comfortghans", for people beset by difficulties such as illness, bereavement, or some other woe.  The organization has a special program which provides these handmade blankets to the families of soldiers fallen in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Now I know where all those yarn remnants lurking in the bottom of the yarn closet will be going.

Crochet Class makes mention of the strangest way to keep a row count I ever heard:  set out as many M&Ms as the pattern has rows, eat one at the end of each row, and when the M&Ms are done, so is the pattern.  Being round enough already, I think I'll stick to my clicker counter, thank you very much.

Reading promotes Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti.  Umm.  No.  Graffiti is graffiti is graffiti, and crocheting an antenna cozy or a pair of sneakers for tossing across overhead power lines is a waste of yarn.  Why not make an afghan square for Heartmade Blessings instead?

What's hilarious about this column is the juxtaposition of the blurb for Yarn Bombing right next to the mini-review of AwareKnits: Knit & Crochet Projects for the Eco-Conscious Stitcher by Vickie Howell.  Yeah.  Because wrapping a lamppost in acrylic is soooo eco-friendly.

Yay!  Patterns! 

On that note, I'm sorry to inform you I won't be linking to the projects on the CT website.  CT no longer maintains a complete archive of projects from back issues, so many, if not most, links would be defunct as soon as the next issue's preview goes up.  However, I will post pictures of my favorites in this blog entry.  You'll just have to jump over to CT's website to see the rest of the projects.

So.  Umm.  Yay!  Patterns!

First is the reworking of a vintage thread crochet ornament:

Twelve crocheted lace pentagons sewn together and stiffened with a sugar solution make up this oversized (approx. 5.25" diameter) ball suitable for hanging on a very large tree or any other decorative purpose.  I think several of them would look spectacular as a garland lit with fairy lights.  The pattern calls for #3 thread.  I'll use #10 for a smaller, more delicate ornament.  And because I have oodles of #10 white thread and virtually no #3.

Next is the Stitchy Gingerbread House, which is just what it sounds like: a house made of yarn with the look of the traditionally baked and decorated gingerbread house.  Utterly adorable.

See what I mean?

If I'm not mistaken I have the yarn I need for this already in the stash.  Of course, spouse will probably cringe in horror at the mere thought of a crocheted gingerbread house for decorative purposes, but I don't care.  It's too cute, and I must have it.  By the way, construction requires a cardboard "frame" for structural support, so do not attempt if you cannot cut a straight line with a box cutter. You'll also need a glue gun and glue sticks, or a fabric-friendly glue such as Elmer's.

The Retro Ripples Skirt takes your under-the-tree decoration back, back, back to the 1970s (or maybe earlier: I'm not really sure when ripple crochet became the "in" thing) in sparkly red, white, and green Red Heart Holiday.  I don't like ripples.  It's a personal thing.  Your mileage may vary.

Next up, Candy Shop Ornaments:  Tiny candy canes, peppermints, and ribbon candy look-alikes made from #3 thread to festoon your tree, or your mantle, or anywhere else that might need festooning.  Really cute.

Of course, no issue of Crochet Today! is complete without at least one afghan.  Sparkly Snowflakes makes use of Red Heart Holiday once more with its shimmery white snowflake motifs surrounded by midnight blue join-as-you-go borders.  SIDE NOTE:  I wouldn't use Red Heart Super Saver (which is what the "Holiday" yarn is) for anything other than a dog toy or maybe that gingerbread house.  Certainly not anything that would be used/worn by people.  It's stiff, scratchy, and extremely hard on the hands.  This is the acrylic yarn most people think of when they turn up their noses and say "Ewww."  Which is too bad because there are some wonderful acrylic yarns out there.  Like my beloved Bernat Berella 4.  Or Plymouth Encore (a wool/acrylic blend).  Or Paton Canadiana.

Granny hexagons, as opposed to granny squares, make up the Stuffable Stockings.  A fun look, and a fun project to use up more odds and ends of yarn. 

Your child won't drive you insane with noise on Christmas morning if you give her the Little Drummer Set.  Yes, a crocheted drum set, complete with cymbals and drumsticks.  More Red Heart Supersaver here, and this is an appropriate project for it.  The pattern also calls for lightweight cardboard and polyester fiberfill.

Oh, hey!  Clothing!  The Icicles Pullover went into my Ravelry queue upon first glance.  I even have the right yarn to use.  Oh, not the yarn called for in the pattern (Red Heart EcoWays Bamboo Wool), but a Bernat cashmere blend in pure pure white that's been sitting in my stash for about three years.  I'm not a big fan of crewnecks so I'll probably modify the neckline to a scoop or a V when I make this.  Otherwise, it's just perfect.

The Snowfall Cowl is a fluffy buttoned concoction that calls for Red Heart Light & Lofty and lots and lots of triple crochet.  Looks like it's as easy as pie and, with that yarn or one similar, should stitch up in virtually no time flat.  Great gift idea.

The magazine copy calls the Capelet Swing Cardi completely customizable.  Yes, all those Cs were deliberate.  Alliteration is our friend.  This cardigan, though, I'm not so sure.  The asymmetrically-buttoned bodice with a cowl-like collar and extended cap sleeves looks like it's part of one garment, and the mid-thigh-length flyaway swingcoat lower half seems to belong to another garment altogether.  I keep imagining it as much shorter and more fitted and buttoned all the way to the hem.  In other words, more as a regular cardigan.   Well, they said it was completely customizable. 

Snowflake Earrings.  Crocheted jewelry.  'Nuff said.

Oh hey!  Baby stuff!  The Candyland Sweater in TLC Baby Amore is a sweet treat for that special baby.  Made as shown in aqua or some other pastel, this longsleeve flyaway cardigan would be suitable for a girl; stitch it in something other than a pastel and your favorite baby boy will be dressed for church on Christmas morning. 

A granny square on steroids makes up the Cotton Candy Blanket.  Yes, it's one giant granny square in alternating colors of Red Heart Baby Clouds.  Another easy to make and quick to stitch project.

Need another quickie baby project?  Try the Gumdrop Booties.  Tiny booties with criss-cross straps stitched up in candy-colored smooth worsted make adorable (and fast) shower gifts.  You'll need decorative buttons and snaps for fastening the straps.

I'm not in Michaels nearly as often as I used to be, but every time I'm in their yarn section, I pet the yarn called for in this project:  Red Heart Moon & Stars.  I can't resist its fluffy chenille-like texture.  The Candy Store Set uses this texture to good advantage with a soft soft soft pair of mittens and matching scarf for the youngster who is too big for booties.

Ruffled spirals make up the Twirly Scarf, created by a special stitch technique which makes the fabric curl in on itself as the stitch pattern progresses.  Suitable for all ages!

The Two-Hour Hat is a basic beanie, but the ribbed single crochet stitch pattern and subtle color changes in the recommended yarn (Red Heart Collage) add visual interest.  Simple, but not boring.

The pompom at the heels elevates the Snuggly Slippers beyond the ordinary crocheted footie.  My only concern with slippers like this is the "slip" part of "slipper."  As in slipping on my tile floor and landing on a tender portion of my anatomy.  If I made these, I'd add a non-slip surface to the sole.  I believe there's a liquid adhesive of some sort made specifically for this purpose; I just have to find it.

Gifty Gloves are colorful and fun and, if the pattern is to be believed, a quick easy project.  Crocheted in sockweight yarn (Red Heart's Heart & Sole is suggested), this fingerless glove pattern also includes instructions for a full-fingered version, should the maker so desire.

Finally, to wrap up the issue, we have the Wrap-Up Afghan.  Constructed of oversized granny squares, this is another good project to make use of leftover skeins of worsted.  Just remember to unify the varying squares with an outside border of a single coordinating color. 

And that's it for the November/December issue! 

(In case you were wondering, writing this review took six hours.  It would have taken longer had I linked to all the yarns mentioned.)

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Posted in Crochet, Finished object

Houndstooth Check Bag

Houndstooth Bag 5

Pattern:  Houndstooth Purse by Mary Jane Hall, from Crochet Today! May/June 2009
Yarn:  Plymouth Encore in #678 Gray and #217 Black, less than 1 skein each
Hook:  H
Skill level:  Easy
Satisfaction with end result: Not too shabby!  This is the first purse I've made that is tailored, after a fashion: in other words, not a tote or market bag of some sort.  Spouse's first thought was "How fast can you make those?  I can sell them on eBay!"  Sorry, dear, that would be a violation of copyright.  I haven't tried carrying it, yet, so I don't know how practical it is, but it sure is cute.

Houndstooth Bag 4

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Posted in Crochet, Finished object

Icy Spring Throw

One of the advantages of taking such a long break from blogging is spending more time making stuff to blog about.  (When not screwing around on Facebook, that is.)  This morning, I finished this blanket:

Icy Spring Blanket 2

Pattern:  Airy Spring Throw by Marianne Forestal, from Crochet Today! Mar/Apr 2009
Yarn:  Bernat Berella 4 in Winter White, roughly 8 1/2 skeins, or 1568 yards.
Hook:  H and J
Skill level:  Easy peasy
Satisfaction with end result:  LOVE!!!  I don't think the picture does it justice.  This is flat gorgeous, if I do say so myself.  And the fabric, once the finished piece had been washed and dried, is soooo soft and cozy, but still lightweight.  It's intended as a gift.  Now I just have to discover who I made it for.

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Posted in Crochet, Finished object, Knitting

Long time no see….

So, um, I finally return to the world of knitblogs (or crochet blogs, as the case may be).  Curse that newfound addiction to Facebook!  To make up for the looooooong absence, I have project pics.  Completed project pics, even.

Denimbrigo 2

Denimbrigo 3
My "Denimbrigo Vest", so called because it's loosely based on Julia Vaconsin's Malabrigo Top from Interweave Crochet, but made with Rowan Denim rather than Malabrigo Lace.

Bamboo Washcloths
Bamboo washcloths, a quickie little gift knit for the sole purpose of using two remaining skeins of Bernat Bamboo.

Two cowls are currently blocking.  I'll get those posted sometime in the next couple of days.  I'm not even going to try to review the knit and crochet magazines that have accumulated in the last couple of months.  We'll start fresh with the fall issues when they show up. 

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Posted in Crochet, Magazine review

Magazine Review: Crochet Today! May/June 2009

It took a while, but Crochet Today! finally put up the preview for the most recent issue.  They must wait for it to be available on the magazine stands before posting the preview, which is kind of a pain for those of us who might want to, you know, review the magazine in anticipation of its availability to non-subscribers.

Regardless, that's an adorably sweet toddler on the cover for this "Special Baby Issue", wearing a cute little summery tank dress.  Although, being childless, I doubt I'll find many projects I actually want to make in this issue, I'm still a sucker for adorable toddlers in dresses.

In Products and News, the usual assortment of gadgets, gizmos, and accessories prance across the pages.  Two in particular caught my eye:  a solid wood hook caddy and the Yarn Bra.  Cleverness! 

In the Reading section, one book in particular stood out: Heirloom Afghans is apparently filled with lace, pineapples, filet, floral designs and kitschy pictorial blankets.  I'm a traditionalist at heart, and love to make gorgeous blankets, even if I haven't the faintest idea who to make them for.  (I am a process crocheter, even though I'm a product knitter.  Go figure that one out.)  On the wish list it goes.

This issue's Crochet Class is all about seaming.  I don't know about you, but I can't get enough lessons on seaming.  It's my chief obstacle in finishing a piece, be it crocheted or knitted.  As is usually the case with this feature, the illustrative photographs are superb.

Next, in People, we meet a teacher and a group of Brooklyn high school students who have turned their "crochet club" into life lessons on charity and persistence.  Uplifting, to say the least.

In keeping with this issue's baby theme, the Crochet Doctor Q&A feature focuses on crocheting for little ones: lining baby blankets, adding a crocheted edging, fitting garments, and choosing yarn.  Seems like fairly basic info to me, but I've been crocheting and sewing a very long time.

So much for the articles; let's look at the patterns!

  • The Pepped Up Placemats are this issue's reworked vintage pattern, turning a boring 1970s vintage granny square table setting into something colorful and fun with #3 thread in punchy bright colors.  These placemats would be perfect for a patio party or the breakfast nook.  They're so dang cheery, I'm half-tempted to put them in my Ravelry queue.  If they were in the Ravelry database.
  • A Blooming Headband with interchangeable button-on flowers is our first project for baby.  Awww.  Too bad my youngest niece is too old to wear this sort of thing.
  • A-B-C-1-2-3 — Numbers and letters to sew onto a fabric pillow or perhaps a wall hanging or blanket.  Of course, there's nothing that says they can't be added to a plain crocheted pillow or blanket, either.  A cute and easy project to decorate any young child's room.
  • The cover piece, a Sweet and Swingy Dress, comes next.  I love the contrasting "piping" around the edges and the lacy shell-like V-stitch for the skirt.  This is really sweet.  Again, too bad my youngest niece is too old….
  • Swirly Bibs worked of alternating spirals of brightly-colored cotton yarn would be a fun way to liven up mealtime, methinks.  The pattern has an interesting construction technique, as well: the switch-off between colors is accomplished by dropping Color A's loop at intervals and picking up Color B; then dropping Color B's loop and picking up Color A.  Never seen that technique before. I may have to make these bibs just to try it out.
  • Frilly Feet might be the cutest crocheted baby booties I've ever seen.  They're certainly the most colorful!  Most baby booties are in dinner-mint colors.  Not these!  And they take only one ball of sock yarn: an economical project to "boot".  (Sometimes I'm just amazed at my own cleverness.  *snort*)
  • The Bunny Buddy rattle is so sweet it makes my teeth ache. I may die from the cute.
  • I must have the Diamond Back Snake!  It is utterly adorable and will be in my queue as soon as Ravelry has it in the database.  My husband will just have to get used to sharing the bed with me, the dog, the cats, and the snake.  What do you mean it doesn't match our decor?
  • Little Man Vest — Hey!  A baby item that isn't obviously aimed at the girlies.  This is a sweet little vest with its intarsia mock tie.  Are any of my grandnephews still young enough for this?  Must ask my sister.  (I'm afraid I don't keep track of her grandchildren….)
  • An amigurumi bunny and carrot make up the Garden Pals.  Truthfully, I thought the bunny was a mouse.  It's still abundant in its cute factor.
  • The Diagonal Baby Blankie is a welcome change of pace from the usual baby blanket offering.  I love the bright colors and slanted stripes.  And the shell border adds just enough touch of tradition to finish off the piece in style.  Very nice design.

And now, we leave the babies behind and enter the world of adulthood. 

  • The Summer Breeze Cardi is essentially like every other 3/4 sleeve flyaway cardigan pattern out there, with the sole exception of the bobble detail around the yoke and sleeve hems.  It's a good basic wardrobe piece, and probably  quick to stitch.  Not in my Ravelry queue, but it's a possibility.  I'd make it out of something other than Red Heart Designer Sport, though.  Bamboo/acrylic blend, maybe?
  • Summertime Dress — LOVE LOVE LOVE.  Not in dress length, although it's lovely as a dress, but I can certainly see myself making and wearing a shortened version of this as a summertime top.  It will be added to the queue as soon as the pattern is added to Ravelry.  (More about that later:  I feel a rant coming on.)
  • Believe it or not, the Romantic Wrap was the first (and as of the moment I write, the only) thing from this issue I added to my queue.  (Again, wait for the rant.)  Yes, I know I'm not a shawl (AKA wrap) person, but I looked at this and saw beyond the wrapness to its suitability as…wait for it…a lace tablecloth.  True confession:  I've been hunting and hunting, without success, for a thread lace tablecloth pattern that wasn't constructed of motif after endless motif.  This pattern, as beautiful as it is for a shawl, is perfectly suited for adaptation to tablecloth size.  Woo hoo!
  • Houndstooth Purse — LOVE LOVE LOVE!  To borrow the magazine's blurb, professional and chic.  I mean, be honest.  Who wouldn't love this bag?  It's small, it's sharp, it's trendy, it has leather handles…It's just perfect!  Will be added to the queue as soon as the pattern is in Ravelry's database. (Rant coming, seriously.)
  • Frankly, the Urban Wave Top looks unfinished.  Robyn, darling, normally I love your stuff, but this piece?  Where's the bottom half?  Oh, we're supposed to attach fabric to it?  Okay.  But why choose such a god-awful cutesy yellow and red floral print?  It's so incongruous that it looks like an afterthought.  OMG, we need some fabric on this piece for the photo shoot!  Wait, I've got this in the bottom drawer, left over from that quilt I made a few years ago.  A few quick stitches later, and voila!  Ick.  Still, I like the black and white color scheme and surplice front of the crocheted part, abbreviated though it may be.
  • I don't know that I will ever understand crocheted jewelry.  At least the Crafty Earrings look wearable and fun and not weird.
  • The Lacy Jacket is just the kind of crocheted piece I love, with lots of variety and texture in the stitch patterns and an end result that is versatile, easily worn, and looks great.  If I were to make any changes to this, I might lengthen the body, narrow the sleeves, and add a little waist shaping.  We'll see what happens once I get there.  To be added to the queue once it's in the database yada yada yada.
  • The Colorful Cushion is my least favorite piece in this issue.  I just don't like ripples.  And I'm not overly fond of the color choices for this pillow top…the blues, browns, and tans don't blend well.
  • On the other hand, the Grannies On Point pillows make me smile, even if they are made of old-fashioned granny squares.  Sometimes kitschy retro is a good thing.  These pillows would be perfect on the sofa in a screened porch.  If I had a screened porch.  If I had a porch.
  • The Green Dream Throw also employs granny squares…tiny granny squares…tiny fiddly granny squares.  Between 90 and 102 of them.  *shudder*  I'm sure I've mentioned my dislike of motif assembly.  I don't mind making motifs.  But I hate putting them together.  *sigh*  One day I simply must take the time to become familiar with the "seam 'em as you go" process.  Nice bright colorful greens in this piece, though.  At least there's one redeeming feature.
  • The Basketweave Blanket is another motif afghan, but one I'll actually consider making.  In this piece, the seaming is a design feature, using yarn in a high-contrast color to the motifs themselves.  Lots of visual interest in this blanket.  A definite possibility.
  • The last blanket, the Little Suns Throw, is constructed of motifs, as well.  Lovely lacy circles on the join-as-you-go plan become a light lacy coverup for that summer afternoon nap.  Very pretty.  But I'm not making it.
  • Our final project, a Trio of Vases, looks like it's a breeze to stitch but might be a tad fiddly in the finishing.  Balloons, cardboard, and fabric stiffener are involved.  Actually, the pattern calls for making one's own fabric stiffener out of a sugar solution.  If I made these, I'd use something less likely to attract ants.  The vases are striking and unusual enough to be a possibility.

As the cover promised, this is a baby-heavy issue and, as such, has some wonderful child-oriented projects.  The adult and home decor offerings are rather hit-and-miss, although there more hits than misses, even given my prejudice against motifs.  It's a failing, I know.  I need to attend motif-sensitivity training.

Speaking of failings, however, I promised you a rant.  You were warned.

First thing, let me express my love for Ravelry.  This website has been my greatest inspiration and motivator in knit and crochet work since joining in early 2008.  In the last year plus, I've completed more projects and learned more about yarncraft than I had in my entire life prior.  That is not exaggeration: it's truth.  Ravelry is a fabulous resource: knowledgeable members, helpful designers, and, to my knowledge, more yarn and pattern information than anywhere else on the web.  It's a treasure, and a privilege, and I'm ever so grateful to be a small part of it.

But.  (You knew there was one.)

Ravelry is so knit-centric that sometimes I just want to scream.  When a new knit magazine is released, most or all patterns in that issue are in the database almost before the ink is dry on the print run, while a crochet magazine is lucky if even half the patterns in a new issue can be found weeks after the magazine hits the news stands.  Case in point:  Vogue Knitting Spring/Summer 2009 was released at least a week, maybe two, after the Crochet Today! issue we just discussed.  As of today, all 32 patterns from Vogue are in Ravelry.  11 of Crochet Today!'s 24 patterns are in Ravelry.

Why the disconnect?  Where's the crochet love?  Don't crocheters rate any attention?  Our patterns are just as important to us as those of the knitters.  Why do knit patterns get top priority?  Are the knitters just that much more noisy?  Or numerous?  Do crocheters need to be more vocal?  Or active?  Who is responsible for getting the patterns into the database in the first place?

I know that Ravelry has some kind of arrangement with Interweave, which means both knit and crochet patterns from that source show up more or less in full, along with their photographs.  Has Ravelry made any effort to make the same kind of arrangement with other major crochet magazines?  If not, why not?

Perhaps this isn't so much a rant as it is a call to action.  What can we do to make Ravelry a more crochet-friendly place?  Perhaps we can each upload a missing pattern from a crochet magazine on a regular basis.  (There are four from this issue that I will take care of, simply because I need to queue them.)  Perhaps we can contact Jess and Casey and Mary-Heather and encourage them to get Interweave-style permission from other crochet magazines.  Perhaps perhap perhaps….I don't know what else.  Right now I'm tired and out of ideas.  Even though I knit (and love knitting), I'm tired of the sometimes overwhelming knit-snobbery.

I think I need a cup of tea.

And the above-mentioned VK will be reviewed in a couple of days.

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Posted in Crochet, Finished object, Technique

Cable Rerun throw, finished!

Cable Rerun 4
Pattern:  Cable Rerun from Crochet Today! Sept/Oct 2008 issue.
Yarn:  Bernat Berella 4 in Soft Taupe, 12 skeins (2340 yards).  I love this yarn.
Hook:  Size K
Satisfaction with end product:  Very pleased.  The throw has substance but is still soft and drapey; and the texture is gorgeous.  I just wish I could get a decent picture to show the true color of the yarn.  It's not nearly as muddy as it appears.  Oh, to have professional lighting equipment….or maybe I should just read the operating manual for my camera.

This throw required some heavy blocking to achieve its 60" x 35" dimension.  I crocheted the piece off and on over the last four months: my row gauge apparently varied according to my stress level which, of course, I didn't notice until I was ready to put the pieces together and realized none of them were the same length.  (Insert rolling eyes here.)  It all worked out in the end, thanks to some heavy duty T-pins and my trusty steamer.

Now I just have to figure out who I made it for!

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