I told you I was impatient

I finished two projects. The one with the hand spun lace weight and the love knot wrap. So that left me with the hexagons, which I like; the shades of blue reading wrap, which is easy to work and soft; the weird ’70s colored reading wrap, which works quickly and I actually remember the row ends for now; and the end weaving on a scarf. This was enough to keep me busy and happy. Most of the projects, barring the end weaving which is just evil, are easy to work and quick. I can see my progress after just a row or two. This makes me happy. This should be enough. It is not.

I started a new project. I’m not apologetic at all. It makes me happy, the year is such a crap shoot of joy and fear, I wanted a new project.

Impatience means you have many projects

The plan is that this will be a fingerless glove. It will be a little fitted to the wrist (but not tight), flare back out for the hand, have a real thumb bit, and end off with some nice lace. I’m working it in lace weight so that should take the better part of forever, but I do not care.

I was really debating over the last few months where I wanted to take my crochet. I did some designs. They were fine. Some of them got lots of traffic. That was nice. But the projects didn’t challenge me as much as I wanted them too, nor did they ignite my fancy.

I debated a YouTube channel in which I did my designs in various qualities of yarn to demonstrate both the pattern and why different yarns lend themselves to different projects. I even went so far as to get some inexpensive yarns to try this with. The yarn itself is not terrible. It is not right for the projects I was trying it with, though. It made me really sad. I am used to my projects looking a certain way. They didn’t. I’m not saying that inexpensive yarn is bad. I’m not saying it isn’t right for some projects. I’m just saying it is not how I work. So that route is out.

I debated really working at testing patterns and actually selling them. But the thing is, while I have lots of ideas for patterns, it doesn’t make me happy. It’s just crochet. The magic is not there.

When I really looked at what I was making and which projects brought me the most happiness, I see that I like the things looked a bit fantastical. And I realized something: I want to make things that look like someone picked them up in a shop that’s only there in odd numbered years when the moon is full and the wind blows just right and there is rain at midnight and you only get to find it once in your life. I want them to look like they were made by fae hands. I want them to carry some level of enchantment with them to keep the boring real world away. Talismans of whimsy, if you will.

So I scrapped all the plans I had for reasonable and relatively easy patterns and I have started drawing up plans for things that one might wear if they spent 30 years in Fairy and wanted to keep a bit of the look as they reintegrate in the real world. At least I hope that’s what they look like. Will I do a Bernadette Banner-esque YouTube channel with my works? Maybe. That could be fun. I think I would like that. I’ll see how things go.

Anyway, these gloves are project one. I’ll keep you informed how it goes.

Happy crafting!

I’ve gone and brought back the ‘70s

Did you ever try to make someone something only to have them turn up their nose at it? Yeah, here we are. I was all proud of myself because I started all the holiday things in a timely manner. I even found reasonably quick working stitch patterns. My father was pleased with his, or at least he had the good graces to pretend effectively. Not so my mother.

Now I should not be surprised. My mother can be difficult to shop for/make for/etc. But I really thought I had it. I picked colors she liked. I put them in what I thought was a pleasant stitch pattern. She was not impressed. Desperate to save the project, I pulled a yellow I had set aside for another project and an orange from the birthday yarn I’m not supposed to be in yet.

They worked well with everything else. There was a fall leaves color way to the thing. I was happy. But the more I worked, the more the color seemed familiar. Eerily familiar. Like somewhere I haven’t been for a while but I should remember. Where could it be? And then it hit me. I have recaptured my parents’ circa 1974 living room.

Is this bad? I don’t know. My mother clearly once liked these colors enough to decorate a whole room in them. Does she still like them? I don’t know. They don’t reflect anything in their house now.

The thing is, I cannot stop seeing it. The moist avocado green textured carpet, the lurid floral furniture in fall tones, the glass top tables with weird lamps, the box near the entrance that held some sort of rock.

Let’s pause a moment on that rock. It lived, because to this day I believe it did live and still might, in a wicker basket by the entrance. The basket was kept closed with little wicker latches. Strong? No. Creepy? Yes. Inside, it had a little bed of some sort of soft fabric. Was this to protect it from damage or to appease it? I don’t know. It was sparkly and deadly sharp. It drew children to it with an unholy attraction, every single one of whom was cut: The thing drew blood. I think this sustained it until it could build enough strength to leave its wicker prison and commit heinous crimes. My parents no longer have said rock. I believe it has made its escape.

I see the soul of that rock in this scarf. Perhaps I have inadvertently created a siren call for the rock. Soon it will begin to make its inexorable journey back toward me to exact its revenge.

Beware of rocks in wicker boxes!

There it is. What do you think of? Fall leaves? Cool nights? Avocado carpets? Rooms too precious for children? Rooms that hold concentrated evil in a flimsy wicker basket? Rocks that call for human blood?

I think I’ll go a bit more in this pattern and then send her another picture. I can only hope that the new colors help it without calling to the forces of evil.

Happy crafting.

Oh! The lichen!

Well, here we are again. Six projects either on hook or in need of ends woven and I want to start another four. In an effort to guilt myself into finishing what I started, I’m going to tell you about them. I feel like I need a boiler man screaming at me to finish what I started. The little soot sprites crocheting near me would be infinitely inspiring.

Project one: paralyzed by ends

The lichen is the best part of this picture.

This is a cowl. Right now, it is only a cowl in spirit. It is still a flat piece of fabric riddled with ends. I used a single crochet, chain, 2 double crochets shell with randomly chosen color changes. (Randomly chosen means that when I picked a new color I made my various family members pick a number between 1 and 6. It’s very effective.)

I liked this because it worked up quickly. I hate this for its ends. It’s been in the work basket (yep, a real basket overflowing with projects) for months because I refuse to acknowledge its end weaving needs. I keep coming up with little games like weaving just two ends a day, but even that seems an onerous burden.

Next!

Project two: Why don’t love knots go faster?

The sun came out and ruined my semi-gloomy rainy day aesthetic.

First, please note the very sexy lichen. I’m not one to objectify much of anything, but that lichen is a sexy little beast.

I am never parting with this table and its charming lichen.

Seriously! Behold the lichen!

Okay, so this is a love knot wrap. In the first picture, you might notice a slight angle to the outside edge. This is a trapezoidal wrap so that I can wrap it around myself and have a longer edge for the bit that will hit at my elbow for greater range of motion.

Just kidding. I messed it up. My knot loops are longer in the most recently worked bits. I think this is me trying to run out of yarn. I did this with two strands of yarn (one lace weight single ply and one lace weight, hand spun double ply) held together. One row of knots is straight across and the other zigzags. Overall I like it. I just feel like it should go faster. It goes faster than a normal project because the stitches are so open, but I feel like it should be even faster. Like done in a day fast, which, with lace weight, is ridiculous. But I’m up for a little crochet magic. I’m not getting any, but I would accept it.

Project three: Stupid pile of stupid ends

Stupid sun. This almost reads like a nice fall day.

Yeah, there’s lichen in this one, too. This is my motif project. To be honest, I really do like this project. I don’t even mind the ends as much. So, either this project has broken me completely or end weaving disdain could vary as per my overall love for a project. Hmmm. Interesting.

Project four: Hand spun fairy lace

A tiny peak of lichen! And lots of sun. It has no respect for my oeuvre.

Of all of the projects, this one brings me the most joy. It’s a lace pattern from a new pattern book I’ve been obsessed with. It blocks out into a drapey, open lace. Done, as I am doing it in a hand spun, it speaks of fairy revels and moonlight in days before women were persecuted as witches. I love this wrap. And! Best of all, eight ends. I owe a yarn brownie a bowl of milk or two.

Project five: Holidays with alpacas

This blocks almost all of the lichen.

This is the reading wrap for my father for sometime in the future. It would be nice if that sometime was in the last bit of December. I make no promises.

The first border end is done and I have started on the middle bit. Yes, the yarn baby that took three hours to ball up bit. I don’t think the color is pooling. I’ll have to do a bit more and see. I’m going to swear it’s a design feature if it does. I’m going to advocate loudly that yarn has its reasons for pooling or not pooling and we deny those whims at our own risks.

I’ll likely just frog it and break the big balls into little ones and start that section again. But I will believe in my heart that I have denied the yarn its voice.

Project six: Third time’s a charm, right?

Lichen, lichen everywhere!

This is my mother’s reading wrap. Again, no promises. It’s done when it’s done! It’s going to be a mess of ends, so maybe I’ll finish this in 2022. We will likely still be in quarantine, so I’ll have time.

I tried this as a motif wrap. The motif is nice, my patience said no. I tried this as a row of single crochets, row of double crochets, rows with singles and double front post crochets dropping down. Hated it all. I found the present stitch pattern in a stitch dictionary. I really like it and it works up really quickly. Nice. There are, of course, two ends per row. Why do the patterns I love betray me this way?

I do really like the pattern, though. I’m wondering if I can play with it a bit in order to make a knock off of that Night Shift shawl everyone is knitting? I think I can. I want to. I’m thinking I could call it the Groggy Morning shawl to play off the Night Shift shawl theme.

And that’s everything. What do I want to add to this pile? A pair of fingerless gloves, a Night Shift knock off, a weird sort of abstract thing, and a checkerboard thing. But I cannot. I must not. Not until I finish some things.

Did I already secretly start some of the others. Maybe yes, maybe no. I’m not saying.

Do you want more sexy lichen? I know I do. Wish granted!

Lichen for the win!

Striped reading wrap

I’m off and running, after several false starts, on one of the reading wraps I have planned. This one is going to be striped with blues and grays in lace weight yarn held double (because I don’t have any desire to do a big lace weight wrap right now). This is its yarn palette. I had all of these in my stash so bonus for my budget. I like blue, the gray sets it off nicely, and there’s lots of the variegated hank. Good so far!

Negative point one: balling it all up. I sort of hated winding up that big yarn baby (it was like seven regular hanks). I had visions of really getting a head start on my ten thousand steps for the day by walking around the yarn swift as I balled it up. It turns out that my wrist based step counter doesn’t count steps if your arms are holding a fat yarn ball instead of swinging. I sat down to ball it up, which really tells you a lot about my feelings for exercise.

Negative point two: Let’s talk about those false starts. I want this to be a nice wide rectangle to cuddle in while reading. My plan is for a roughly 30” x 70” wrap. I’m making this for my father, so I want a masculine stitch pattern. I got it into my head that a ribbed stitch would be good. My daughter does really cool hats with ribbed stitches, so I thought I would have a go.

See, Adia can do cool things with ribbed stitches.

I started with a 4 mm hook and a plan to do a few columns of front post ribbing. It was too tight even with thin lace weight held double. This speaks to my way of crocheting, so I upped the hook size. I still wasn’t happy. The beginning of the ribs looked sloppy. I started again leaving a little gap before and after each stitch to be used for the ribs. It was neat and orderly. I, of course, was not pleased. It didn’t bring me happiness at all. Starting a long project that you hate is a terrible idea, so I started again with a simple shell stitch. Happiness abounds!

If I ever get my stuff together and actually swatch stitches before I start, I think my crochet life will be so much better. But I’m impatient and want to start now! Sigh. I’m really good at frogging now. It was a skill I gained early on.

So where are we? We have lots of lace weight alpaca being held double for the squish of it, a 4.5 mm hook, and a relatively simple shell pattern (sc, 2 dc).

I like the squishiness. I like the way the stitch pattern works up quickly. This is a good project.

And look, stripes!

I’m happy and it goes quickly. But I sort of wish I didn’t hate ribbing the way I do. Adia makes it look funky and easy.

Another cool hat that I can only look on with envy.

I’ll post again once I get to the big variegated section. Fingers crossed it goes quickly and smoothly!

Meg says hello.

So I guess I’ll do some holiday projects after all

I wasn’t going to do any holiday projects this year. I was just going to do whatever project made me happy and not worry about gifts. However, thanks to Covid, I will not be seeing my parents for Christmas for the first time in my life. So I’m making them reading wraps. It’s just two projects. I can do that.

This is the first colorway. I’m planning to do some textured stitches. I’m using some lace weight alpaca from my stash. Some are odds and ends, some are whole skeins, one is a yarn baby (that took me three hours to ball up). I am going to hold it double for the squishiness of it. I’ll post more pictures once I get started.

Good luck with any holiday projects you might be working on.

I hate an empty wall

We rearranged our family room today. It’s much better. We can all look at each other in that triangle of conversation thing. H’s shaft loom isn’t being squashed anymore. Meg the fluffy cat beast has access to the window and sunbeams. It’s better. I’m happy about the room arrangement. What I’m not happy about are the now blank walls.

We moved out a bookcase that covered the wall nicely with the joy of unread books. There is little greater in the world to decorate with than books. But now my room is bereft of its books.

Look at the horror! It’s all blank and terrible. I hate empty white walls. I need to browse Pinterest for crocheted wall art.

Color quiz!

So my favorite thing about crafting is working with color. There is nothing better than making something bright and joyous, bursting with color! I, of course, do not wear these things. I wear very boring colors. But to work with them is joy.

Nothingbutknit2 has a fun color quiz up today and I thought it would be interesting to answer.

What is your favorite color? How is that color reflected in your crafting?

So blue is my favorite color. Specifically periwinkle. If everything was periwinkle I would be overjoyed.

Funny thing is, it only shows up sometimes in my work. My go to colors are purple and green, pink and green, or pink and gray. It’s like a signature. If I am working with lots of colors I will make sure that some of those combinations touch as my little maker’s mark.

Do you prefer bright colors or more subdued shades?

Jewel toned, deep colors bring me joy.

Does your color mood shift with the seasons? Do you carry one color all year and just change the accent color?

I think my color choices are pretty consistent all year.

Is there a color you avoid? Or maybe it’s underrepresented in your crafting?

Yeah. That sort of brown-green moss color. It’s like pond scum on sticky, smelly mud. It exudes a moistness even when dry.

When you pick out your crafting supplies how important is color to you? Is it the first thing you consider or it further down the list?

First, is it a lace weight or fingering weight yarn? Second, is it a natural fiber? Third, is color (and whether I can dye it to what I want if they don’t have the colors I like).

Do you ever consciously choose a different color palette just for the change?

Nope.

That was fun. Color is one of the best parts of crafting!

So many motifs!

Please ignore the ends. You know I am.

I have started several motif wraps, scarves, and sweaters. I have finished maybe two and both of those had very large motifs. Wait, I thought of a third one. Three. One was a scarf for my niece. One was a wrap for myself that I have now given away. One was a wrap for my daughter that she is now passing along.

These finished pieces are but a small sampling of the motif based torture devices I’ve started and never finished, choosing instead to banish them to sad bags of longing and regret.

I want to make things from adorable crocheted motifs. I just hate the damn motifs. They are deceptive and cruel. They look cute. They work up so quickly. How could they not make for a wonderful project experience? The problem is that they are not really created from yarn but from lies and unwoven ends.

Sometimes I watch Bright Star because the costuming is extraordinary and, on bad asthma days, I feel a kinship with the characters. I haven’t watched it much recently because it feels like we’re living bits of it with the substitution of leggings and food stained clothing for elaborate dresses and Sophie Digard sweaters.

And really, there’s the problem: Sophie Digard. Must she make such amazing freaking things? I mean, who does she think she is? She uses like seventy billion colors, at least a thousand in every single motif, to create stunning scarves that sell for less than I can buy that much yarn for. And that’s not to say they are cheap. There are just so many colors of yarn in a single project. Seriously? What normal mortal does this? Well, she does. Or her minions do. And if they can, then I can. The motifs aren’t that hard to make. I have an extensive collection of lace weight yarn because this whole thing is a recurring nightmare. I have this! I can do this!

And so I start. I have wonderful intentions. I blend colors. I make samples. I devise a plan. Then I crochet about 60 motifs. I start by weaving ends as I go. Then the desire to be surrounded by tiny motifs takes over and I ditch those ends (the ones that will be my downfall) for massive motif production! I am on my way! I am doing things! I am a crochet goddess!

Days go by. I crochet so much. So many motifs. At the end of the week, I count them up. I must have a billion. I have 52. Okay. But that’s a long way to being done, right? No. I have to make another thousand. Or more. But I can do that.

And then I see them. Those ends I’ve been ignoring. There are so many. So, so many. Because I use different colors for every round, there are a lot of ends. (104 for 52 motifs. 2000 for 1000 motifs. My life is ruined by ends.) This whole mess hangs on me having the wherewithal to weave these ends. I cannot do it. It would be the ends of me. But that’s what Sophie Digard does. If she can do it . . . . I think I might hate her.

So I started another motif project. This time each motif is one color. They are also much bigger than the dollhouse sized postage stamps of my past disgrace. I have high hopes. I just do a few each day as I work on quickly and happily finished projects with few ends. Sometimes I even weave a few motif ends. I can almost pretend I’m not even doing it. It’s just happening. Some day I will have an awesome motif wrap that veritably appears out of nowhere.

That’s my plan. Sophie Digard can just gaze on with envy.

Would you like to try it too? Here’s what I did. I modified it a little from a motif I found on Pinterest.

Row 1: Chain 5, slip to join.

Row 2: Chain 3 (that’s a stitch, too), 11 double crochets in the chain loop from row 1, slip stitch in the third chain of the beginning chains to close the round.

Row 3: Chain 3, 2 double crochet together in same stitch. Chain 2. In next double crochet, work a 3 double crochet cluster (yarn over, put it through the stitch, yarn over, pull through, yarn over and pull through again. *Yarn over and put the hook back into the double crochet, yarn over, pull through, yarn over, pull through again.*. Do the bit between the asterisks until you have done it a total of 3 times. You should have 4 loops on your hook. Yarn over and pull them all through.) Do 2 chains after this and then another cluster in each double crochet around. (You should have 12 clusters.) Close the round with a slip stitch in the top of the first cluster.

Row 4: Slip stitch into the first chain 2 space. Chain 3. Put 1 double crochet, 2 chains, and 2 double crochets into the first chain 2 space. Move to the next chain 2 space. Put 3 double crochets there. Next space gets 2 double crochets, 2 chains, 2 double crochets. Alternate the 3 crochet and 2 crochet/chains/2 crochets around. This will make the circle into a hexagon. It does this by magic. If anyone asks, you did magic.

Blue lace is fun

I have a nice lace scarf/wrap coming along. To do this one, I just picked a nice open stitch pattern that works well with a tightly spun and plied yarn. So the stitches pop really nicely.

How do you know which stitch pattern works well with each yarn? I’ll try to answer that with each project. For this one, I had a tightly spun hand spun. It was plied pretty tightly too. This creates really good stitch definition because the stitches don’t mush into each other. Every stitch holds its shape and looks crisp and clear. Because I’m doing lace, I want that sort of definition to make the lace clear.

I know most scarves start at one end and just work through to the other. I started in the middle. I’ll do one side to the end, go back to the middle, and work the other side. I’ll make sure that the stitches are worked so their fronts show on the same side.

Why do this? Maybe because that whole algebra thing of doing the same thing to both sides of an equation struck too deep? Maybe I feel like a scarf worked straight through goes in one direction too much and needs balance? Maybe I like both ends to look the same? Maybe I have an obsession with symmetry? Maybe I just like making projects difficult for myself? Anyway, I did it. It’s coming nicely and I really like working the lace.

More beloved stripes

It’s done! I like this wrap so much. It has been a personal goal of mine to figure out how to do a triangle center start wrap for a long time. Sometimes I get the increase, sometimes it gets me and I have to scrap it. I can do it easily with plain single, half double, and double crochets; but lace of any complexity normally alludes me. Not this time. I won! And the stitch pattern (single, two chains, single) was easy to manipulate.

I credit the Crochet Every Way Stitch Dictionary with my success. The author shows lots of fun and interesting ways to do increases, decreases, and internal shaping. It’s very inspiring. And, on a weird note, it really gives permission to play with stitches.

I know that sounds weird. I think I’ve just locked myself too far into a mode of thinking about craft as being done the right way. There is a right way (Yippie ! Good for you! You win the rightness cookie!) and the wrong way (Who do you think you are? That’s not right. Stop it. Put it back. Sit down, in the corner, and think about what you have done!). I think part of this stemmed from trying to be a designer. I had to be right or be judged. But I don’t want that anymore. I just want to make things. I love the creative process. I love knowing that I can make whatever I want without someone else’s pattern in my hands. So doing something in a weird and unconventional way is fine if it’s just for me.

Play with yarn. Do it your way. You will be happier. With a nice stitch dictionary, some yarn, and enough time to experiment you can make up your own patterns.

So let’s talk about this wrap. I started with a stitch configuration that allowed the second row of a stripe to create a little opening. I liked the character of it and it made row counting really easy. I went until I was nearly out of yarn and then started the border. I had enough of the pink and purple left to put in another single row of each.

The increase was handled with a two row repeat. Row 1 added a whole new cluster at the corners and extra chains at the point. Row 2 added another single crochet at the end and beginning of the row, two extra shells at the point. And it works!

I should also add that the yarn is a single ply fingering weight from A Hundred Ravens. The depth of color is eye catching. It’s soft yarn with good stitch definition. The finished project has a good squish and a gentle drape. My project is a bit thicker because I worked my stitches around chains, but it is still nice and drapey.

There’s something empowering about conquering this that makes me want to try more designs that I think I cannot do. Sure I can. I just need more time to play with yarn.

Callidora says hello!