Jane's Hooked on Crochet

A place to write about my crocheting, things I'm learning, book reviews, ideas, projects in mind, works in progress, patterns, photos, fair entries, whatever...

Monday, August 28, 2006

I read an interesting article in the New York Times about hemp growers in California, and historians who are trying to improve the image of hemp in the public's eye. I started an entry, saved it as a draft, intending to add to it, and post it. I finally got back to this, and the article is no longer available to the general public, you have to go the the NYT archives, and it would not include photos. So you wouldn't get to see the basketful of beautiful hemp fibers that so excited me originally. Anyway, hemp and marijuana are different strains of the same plant, and America's crack down on marijuana growing has affected the growing & selling of hemp. The acticle was about California farmers trying to increase the sale of hemp fiber products.
Check out these facts from the article "Colonists’ boats sailed the Atlantic with hempen sails. Old Ironsides carried 60 tons of hempen sail and rope. The word “canvas,” in fact, is derived from cannabis, a high-tensile fiber naturally resistant to decay." Hmmm, high-tensile, that's strength; resistant to decay; wouldn't this be a great fiber for purses and tote bags.
Here's a source for "hemp twine" in natural colors and dyed. If you're interested in more information about hemp, here's a great resource "Hemp Industries Association". And here's a source for "yarns"

Doily blocking

I blocked the 4 Square doily a few nights ago.
Both daughters were home at the same time for about 9 days. I had to move all the crochet, patterns and yarn, etc out of bedrooms and give them some space. They both headed out again on Thursday. Daughter #1 will be home at the end of Sept for a few days, then heading to her next contract job. Daughter #2 will probably not come home at Thanksgiving break, so she'll be home at the beginning of Dec.
Anyway, I've again got some floor space, laid out a sheet, put out my blocking page, covered it with waxed paper & the fun began. I sprayed it lightly with water, started pinning at the center & worked my way out, then a light spray of starch and a light steam with the iron. I believe in very gentle blocking, and I like my doilies "crisp" not "stiff".
Have to play with the camera/printer/software again and see if I can get pictures up. I may have to burn all the current pictures onto a CD, unload the software and re-load the software. That's something I'm hoping to avoid. But I do want to see some pictures!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

County Fair Time!

It's definitely time to start thinking about the County Fair and start making plans.
When filling out the entry form, I try to think about what I've already finished that I can enter, and what's a reasonable amount of projects to enter that I haven't completed yet.
I started with doilies, I have quite a collection of them, even after giving away at least 5 this year. I have 2 that were made specifically with the fairs in mind. Next, afghans - the county fair has this broken down into 3 size catagories, in each there is a class for crocheted, crocheted with embroidery, and patriotic. So, I could enter up to 9 afghans! Two years ago I entered 5, last year I think I entered 3, this year I have only 2 completed - the doily baby afghan, and the afghan I made for my daughter. That one is huge, lots of front post & back post stitches, hmmm. But she doesn't want it at the fair, getting dirty and possibly damaged. I have 3 weeks till the fair,....but let's get sensible, school starts in 2 weeks, and I need to be ready for my students. I've already had a staff meeting. Then the dance studio will start classes in about 2 weeks, staff meeting this week. S0 it's not a good idea to enter another afghan.
I have one Tunisian scarf that I haven't entered before, that's added to the entry form.
Crocheted pillow case edging, I happen to have started an edging while at the convention. Just something to keep my fingers happy in the evenings. I should be able to finish that up fairly quickly, so I entered that.
Useful kitchen articles - I made enough dishclothes for the dishcloth exchange that I know I can work up several while watching tv in the evenings, so I entered two.
Baby sweater, cap and bootie set - so adorable, do I have time. I sorted through some patterns and found an adorable pineapple set. I worked the sweater up in a fingering yarn that I had in stock, it only took a couple of hours. I figure I should be able to work up a hat & booties in about the same amount of time, so I enter that catagory. Then just for fun, I enter one child's cap and another set of booties. After completing the baby sweater I start on the booties, it's all single and double crochet, no pineapples. The cuff is done in knot stitch, and I double check the pattern. The hat is done in pineapples, with a knot stitch cuff, I guess that's how they figured that everything went together. I'm not happy with these booties, though. I'm thinking that I'll work up the hat, and then see how the booties look with the whole set, but in the meantime I'm thinking that I may have to design some booties with a pineapple on the toe. I hadn't figures designing into my time schedule.
Tonight I started on the separate set of booties. Am I content to pick up one of the dozens of patterns that I bought or printed out from the internet? Of course not, I get the idea to design a pair that have a Delta Blossom on the toe. Hey, I paid for a class & learned how to do this, I better use it! So far it's looking very cute, I've finished the toe with a blossom, made a beading row to run some ribbon through. Now I'm thinking of a cuff that's rows of blossoms. Let's work on that tomorrow, after some sleep & a morning cup of hot tea.
I'm not going to worry if I don't get everything completed that I put on the entry form. At this fair, it's $1 for 1 - 5 items, $2 for 6 - 10 items. So, I've paid $2 and have 4 items completed, and 3 that I can finish in an evening. Even if I don't finish everything, I've got my $2 worth!!
Check back in a month when I'll post the results, and hopefully some details about all the great things that I saw while at the fair.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Doily completed

I finished the doily Monday evening and blocked it. I had been thinking about making a second one, to send my sister a matching set. Faith gave me 2 balls of the thread. Unfortunately, I ran out of thread with less than 50 stitches left of the last round, so I used part of the second ball. There would be no way to make another one exactly the same. Now I will have to find a smaller doily that I want to make. It would be a good idea to look for something current, a lot of the antique patterns have little information about gauge, amount of thread needed, finished size, etc.
I need to make some notes on the pattern of hook size used, thread size & amount,
and finished size. I'll take some pictures and hope to get them up soon.

Friday, August 18, 2006


I haven't gotten the camera & software problem fixed yet, so I can't show a photo of the doily progress. But, I can scan a portion of the doily. I put a piece of green paper behind it to show the color off a little better.

I have about seven rows to go. I'll be able to take it to Michaels on Tuesday evening and show it to Faith.

Newest project

Last week while stitching at Michaels I mentioned that I was looking for a specific color of #10 thread to make a doily for my sister. I wanted a creamy color. I had found a lot of bright white, then "Natural" and "ecru", both way too brown/tan as far as I'm concerned. I wanted a "soft white" or "off white", just lightly beige. Well, Faith called me later & said she had just the color. She brought it this week when we got together at Borders to crochet in public. On Wednesday, I got a digest from "Antique Pattern Library", one of many Yahoo crochet groups to which I belong. This group preserves antique needlework patterns on which the copyright has expired. They scan the patterns/books and make them available online. I printed out Priscilla Crochet Book Edgings & Insertions (1915), Priscilla Crochet Book Centrepeices & Doilies (1915), and Armenian Lacemaking (1966). I enjoyed browsing through the PDF files while waiting for the printer, have sticky notes all over the front pages with things that I'd like to try. But, I definitely fell in love with a doily that has a "spiderweb" pattern. I don't know why this was named spiderweb, I think it looks more like a flower, maybe a spider mum. Anyway, I started this pattern with the cream thread, and boy do I love it!
To see a picture from the book, go to this site "Priscilla Centrepieces & Doilies", wait impatiently for it to load, and go to page 13, figure 13.
I told you that it was a beauty! I'm also considering figure #36, #43, #44, and #46. OH, I still have to print part 2. Maybe tomorrow if the printers aren't so finicky, I think they must be tired!

Picture problems

Still working with the camera/computer/printer software and trying to figure out why the picture of the doily baby afghan won't show up on the blog.
We had the printer/copier/scanner already when my brother sent me a digital camera!! Since camera and printer are the same brand, and printer has a digital camera card slot on the front, I was hoping that I wouldn't have to load the software that came with the camera. The first time I uploaded pictures I had to play around a little,...put the card into the card slot?, use the cable between computer and camera? I finally got the right combination and got the pictures into HP Imaging. The next 2 times the uploads were quick, easy and painless. Then I took pictures of this afgahan and tried to get them onto the computer, then onto this blog. Well, I finally got them onto the computer, but they didn't go into the right program. I messed around and finally got them into HP Imaging. I tried to "add photo" on the blog, it tells me that it was added correctly, but no pictures shows up.
I"m hoping that I don't have to uninstall the software, then reinstall. Aarrrggghh!
I'll get daughter #2 to work with me tomorrow. She's majoring in commmunications, web design!! We'll see what happens.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

It's All About the Purple Afghan

I just spent time typing up a nice entry, clicked the button to add a picture, and the computer shut down all my Internet windows! Reminder to myself - save work regularly, especially after adding links and before & after adding photos.
Anyway, as promised back at the end of June, here is a picture of the finished afghan.

Doily baby afghan

Thursday night I was looking for a new idea for a baby afghan/shawl for the shawl ministry. We give a white shawl/blanket to each baby baptized in the church. I've been thinking about trying the idea of using a doily pattern & yarn to create a shawl, so I started flipping through the folders of doily patterns that I've printed off the Internet, and purchased. I tried the "Pineapple Lavender Lace" from "Crochet Memories". I've used this pattern several times and absolutely love it. Like all the patterns I've gotten from this site, it's superbly written, no errors and easy to understand, even on complicated designs. This doily different from the typical round doily, it's octagonal. Then it's quite "dense" it doesn't have a lot of large holes. I tried it with a fingering yarn and an F hook, but it was going to be too small. The finished doily with #10 thread is less than 9'. Then I selected two from the North Dakota State University history culture and textiles & clothing site. "Crochet" They have preserved a lot of old patterns and photographs from a variety of places. The doily I selected is called "Star in a Snowflake" and was designed by Karoline Kirschenmann, who was born in South Russia in 1887! I am so glad that this University saw the value in preserving an important part of our culture and history. I'll be looking around to see if other Universities might have similar programs.
I tried this pattern with Caron Simply Soft yarn and an I hook. Special note - I used one of my Sonshapes wooden hooks, it's a soft green wood, with a white bead that has pink flowers & green leaves, then lots of silver trims. The pattern was super easy to follow, I was able to catch mistakes and correct them very quickly. It was impossible to get several rows past a mistake before catching it, thereby having a lot of ripping back. As you when through a row you knew if you were right on the previous row. It also worked up very fast. I finished the entire project in a 24 hour period! And it was a meditative project, because I didn't need to have my mind on the stitches and stitch pattern. I've started to look at other patterns in my collection to see what might become a future baby shawl.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Dark Horse Yarns

I've discovered a new yarn company, thanks to a posting on the Annie's Attic page. BTW, I reset my home page to be Annie's Attic pattern of the day. That way I don't miss any patterns, I don't save or print out many of the patterns, my stack is already overwhelming! But I do like to look at all of them, and print out the ones that really catch my eye.
Anyway, Dark Horse Yarns claims to be quality yarns at affordable prices. I've saved it to my favorites, and will check if my favorite LYS has any in stock. I'm always looking for a good, no wool, yarn. Something that works up nicely, wears well, and is easy to care for; I do hate the hand wash, cold water, lay flat dry. Please let it be able to be tossed in the washer & dryer by laundry-doing husband and daughters without any fuss or disaster.
They have some great looking novelty yarns, too.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Four Square Doily completed

This morning I decided that I definitely was going to run out of thread and started thinking about what color to make the last 2 rounds. I knew it would be very difficult to find more of this aqua, I haven't seen it in the stores except for the one time I bought this ball. So I looked in my tub of thread - light and dark shades of blues, greens, purples, yellow, peach, shaded yellow, variegated pastels, a woodsy variegated browns & greens,...I knew that white wasn't going to work, so thought about the yellow and peach, but not too sure. Then I decided to check out the variegated blue, purple, green; at first I thought it wasn't going to work either, but unwrapped several feet and ran the thread across the top of the doily, then I slowly pulled it across and looked at all the colors against the aqua, when I got to the greens I was surprised to find out that it was a perfect match. Tonight was Sit N Stitch at Michaels, and I worked on round 16, then after coming home I finished up round 17. It needs some serious blocking, which is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon.

What do you think?

Monday, August 07, 2006

Four Square Doily progress

This doily is looking a lot nicer, gets better with every row. It is going to take a serious blocking to get it looking fantastic. I'm finishing round 14, have 3 more to go, but now worrying about running out of thread. What brand was this? Where did I buy it? Am I going to be able to match this turquoise/aqua color?

Healthy eating for better crocheting

Who woulda thunk it? Eating coleslaw is good for our crocheting! Research shows that the vitamin K is cabbage is helpful for preventing arthiritis, and keeps your fingers nimble for all kinds of things. They don't specifically mention crochet, but we know they meant crocheting, and blogging about our crocheting!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Four Square Doily

I've been collecting doily patterns that I want to do in the future, and have been doing a few with the "Crochet-A-Long group". One that was in my file is this Four Square doily, and several people in the group suggested it for our next thread project. I started it this week, and it's been a real experience. For one, it doesn't start with a chain that you join to create a ring and then work the first round into the ring. The very first thing you do is creat a picot! Then a treble grouping, repeat 3 times for a square hole center. The next two rounds are just as unusual, round two includes (chain 20, sc) and you create an octopus-like creature! Maybe I was just in a silly mood.
Anyway, Tuesday evening I was working on the doily at our "crochet in public" at Borders. I got to round 10 which has a flower on each of the corners, and is not the best written pattern I've ever worked. The flower looked atrocious, and I decided that it was late and I had been working for 3 hours, I'd put it down and start fresh in the morning. Wednesday I frogged the flower and tried again, I talked to myself a lot about what the designer might have been trying to say, and frogged that flower, also. Then I sent an email to the group begging for help, and got several replies. Today, armed with the 3 pages of the pattern, the 2 page Word document I created with others comments on the progress, and the 4 page tutorial with pictures from Hilary, I started on the flower again. Well, Hilary interpreted the directions the same as I did, and I got almost the exact same flower. The flower is large, and gaudy on a delicate doily, and it's barely attached, just a single crochet before the large flower and a single after the flower.

Click on the picture for a close up. BTW, the flower doesn't look too bad in this picture. Maybe when I've added another 5 or 6 rounds of lace, the flower will look more in proportion.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Nice Knits has some nice Crochet

Here are some interesting crochet patterns, and your purchase benefits needy people around the world. I've purchased the pattern for the cute baby bib, it's Tunisian.
The pattern comes in the form of a pdf download. It was very quick and easy to get the download and to open & print the file. I might make one of these for my niece's new baby boy, who's about two months old now.