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...

Friday, August 31, 2007

Fun crochet week

Well, I have a variety of experiences to tell you about for this week.
Friday afternoon I finally filled out the registration for the county fair, and got it in the mail.
On Monday I received my first copy of Yarn Market News. It's packed with news, articles, book and yarn reviews and ads, all aimed at the Fiber Needle Arts Professional. There's an excellent article on copyright,and one on doing business on the web, a great article packed with ideas & pictures about knitting in art & LYS exhibiting some art, and a business profile of Westminster Fibers in New Hampshire.
The ads, and a few articles, are heavy on knitting and wool fibers. Like the beautiful article on lace, which is all knitted, and all but one or two fibers are animal fibers. (Remind me that the book "No Sheep for You" is on my Christmas wish list). The book reviews include quite a few new crochet books, including one featured in a beautiful ad, for Nicky Epsteins's "Crocheted Flowers". I've got quite a few websites, books and fibers to check out.
Tuesday was Sit N Stitch at Michaels, there was quite a turn out and we had a great time talking about projects, yarns, upcoming events, and websites. I was working on a thread motif for the September Motif Crochet-a-Long. I forgot to take the pink doily to show off.
Wednesday evening we went to a Stich and Pitch on City Island. We got a small drawstring bag, with a pen, a gift certificate and several patterns from some local yarn shops (LYS). I chatted with the owner of my favorite LYS, the soy yarn that I ordered hasn't come in yet, but I told her I wasn't in a hurry, I have plenty of fiber to keep me busy. The Harrisburg Senators lost 5-4, but we had a fun evening.
Tonight was our Guild meeting. The theme was "Back to School". (I really am not really to be reminded that school starts Tuesday, and I've spend all summer not thinking about it.) Anyway, we made some thread bookmarks, and looked at crochet resource books. I brought in two of my "personal resource books". These are 3" binders full of stitch directions and swatches. I have notes on each page about what hook I used, what I like or don't like, possible variations, and ideas for projects for which I might use the stitch. One is classic crochet, and one Tunisian.
Tomorrow I need to write up directions for my Stitch of the Week for the CGOA Membership group, work up a swatch or two (I think I'll make them 7 x 9 so that I can donate them to Warm Up America when I'm finished), and then post a picture for the group. I'll post the stitch on Monday. We're having a lot of fun with this project. I have a few other stitches that I'd like to present in the future.
In between all these activities, I've been working on a tunisian baby blanket, and swatching for a full size Tunisian afghan.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Latest Doily

It's completed, blocked and photographed! Here's the latest doily, Exclusive. It's from the booklet Extra Special Doilies, by Mary Werst. This is my new favorite designer, the doilies are full of special stitches, and texture.

Here's another view, from the side so that you can see some of the texture.

Friday, August 24, 2007

I've got some Catching Up to do...

The contract piece was finished & shipped out on Wednesday! It should arrive at it's destination today!
Wednesday evening and yesterday (after tutoring) I celebrated the completion, by finishing a novel that #1 daughter recommended. We love to talk books.
I also picked up that doily that was abandoned a while back, for urgent projects. You know the one I'm talking about, the pink one. I really was frustrated with not finding another pink, and having to use white. I think that's one reason that I easily abandoned it for those other projects. Well, last night I finished all the white rounds, and the final two rounds are shaded pinks. I'm about half way through the last round, and I'm happy that the "shaded pinks" looks so nice with the two solid pinks that I used. It's also making the white look a little more "okay". I hope to get it blocked and a picture up very soon.
Talking about my long search for another pink that would go with the two that I had, I found a great source of thread online. It's Cordonnet Flora, and available from "Lacis". Look at the shades of pink, and notice how many shades they have of purple, and blue! I can see a lot of this coming to my house to be made into doilies! I'm really into experimenting with color on all those doily patterns that keep saying "stitch me up next" and "pick me!"

Oh, I must find time to file all the patterns that I've been printing out. The first stop is right on top of the printer, that makes it difficult when I have to use the scanner/copier part of the printer, which is fairly frequently. After that they usually get moved to a file folder, wait, I think I have a folder in my working project bag, and one in the CGOA chapter box, and definitly one in the huge file folder tub that's in one of the bedrooms. Must get organized.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Sisterhood of the Needle

I'm taking a short break from stitching on the contract piece, which is coming along nicely. Yesterday I received my regular newsletter from Lion Brand yarn which included a link to the above story. I just read it, short and sweet. I'm eager to read more of the stories in the series, all at the Lion Brand site, but I'll have to save them for the next break. You will find the "story index" here.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Lady_N_Thread's blog

I've spent the day swatching, usually not a tough deal. Today, it seeemed that someone regularly picked up a hook and dipped it in a bottle from Wonderland with a label that said "Drink Me". I think I tried about 8 different hooks, and couldn't get anything to work. I think I have it now, and I'm working on adjusting the numbers for the starting chain.
Now I'm taking a little break, and found that Lady_n_Thread has posted a very nice tutorial on the dress bookmark I recently mentioned. Very helpful. Be sure to read to the bottom of her blog and check out the baby sweater crocheted from the Leisure Arts booklet "Baby It's Cold Outside". The sweater is just adorable, I bought this booklet recently,...wish I had someone to make a cute sweater.
Nice break, now back to work.

Motif CAL # 7

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Missing in Action?

My Mom actually sent an email to ask if I was lost... So,What have I been doing between the post of Aug 1st and the 10th? There's been potential for a lot of Big Things, and actually accomplishing a lot of little things.
The CGOA Professional Membership got a call for designers to submit afghans for a new book. Hmmm, am I allowed to mention who, people, company? It was a rush and they needed lots of designs, fast! The designs would have to be almost at the completion stage as they needed the finished model in hand before the end of the month. I started pondering the designs that were on the hooks, and on paper, and thought I might have time to finish something if I worked day and night.
The very next day I got an email, same company desperate for contract stitchers to work up some designs for above mentioned book. That's guaranteed work/money and I can crochet fast. I accepted the contract and settled down to await The Box.

In the meantime, I'm selecting a motif for the crochet-a-long at Antique Threadwork, and stitching the motif in #10 thread. That's the variegated star motif posted on Friday. I also worked up a slight variation to create a mini doily. Just to get people thinking about what else you could do with the motifs. We don't always want to make several hundred of the same motif for a tablecloth or bedspread. I know I don't, bring on the next motif, bring on the next new stitch pattern, bring on another technique!

"The Tunisian Crochet Goup" there has been a lot of complaining about the stitch descriptions in the 101 Easy Tunisian Stitches book, available from Annie's Attic. Complaints about loads of errors, I've only found one small error so far. I think the complaint really should be that the descriptions of complicated stitch patterns are good, if you've gotten a good grasp of the basic stitches; if you don't understand where to put your hook for a "knit foundation" versus a "simple stitch foundation" or a "plain foundation", the descriptions can be quite confusing. Although the book has a picture of a swatch of each stitch pattern, once you get beyond the basic stitches there are no more pictures to show where to put your hook. So, I've spent some time swatching a few of these stitches and posting detailed help to the group.
Still in teacher mode, I signed up for an online site called AllExperts, as a crochet expert. Anyone can post a problem in any subject, the moderators email one of the "experts" and they answer the question or refer the person to a site for more help. I've answered several questions including one on how to extend a Tunisian piece on the left and the right sides of a row. On Crochet Partners, I've helped with a Dress Bookmark that I've made many times. Luckily the person had worked in a variegated thread, and posted pictures! I was able to explain what to do by color!

Monday evening I taught another Beginner Tunisian class at Michaels, just one student, but we scheduled the class just for her, as she was in from out of town. It was a fun class, with time for chatting.

Tuesday evening was our Crochet in Public at Borders. I think I must have been working on the star motif. Crystal finished her first doily ever! She started it at a Guild meeting where our topic was working from a chart. I'm so proud of this young lady! And the doily is gorgeous, I'm going to borrow my Magic Crochet back from her and make this doily myself in the future.

I'm been doing a lot of swatching of stitch patterns, both for the CGOA Membership group's Stitch of the Week, and Tunisian stitches. I have an idea for a Tunisian project that might be submitted for publication, or published independently so that I can also use it as a class. Then yesterday, still waiting for the contract Box, I started another Tunisian baby afghan. I need to type this up, take photos when finished, make a swatch, and put together a folder. This one should definitely be submitted for publication. Get it together!

This morning The Box arrived. I need to sort out all the swatches and works in progress (WIPs) in the living room, and organize my work area for the contract.
Ready GO!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

CGOA Membership Group Stitch of the Week

The CGOA Membership group (check out the above link and join the group if you're a CGOA member) is doing a Stitch of the Week, with members volunteering to "teach" a stitch of the week. It's very simple - name the stitch, describe it, show a picture of a swatch, and maybe add links to tutorials on the web. It's a great way for all of us to expand our stitch dictionaries or portfolios, I don't think everyone knows all the possible stitches or stitch combinations. It's also a great way to finally master those that have been frustrating. I know when we get to the Crab stitch, aka reverse single crochet, that a lot of people will be fussing over how difficult it is, but a lot of people will also have great tips and tricks to overcome the difficult parts.
The first week, just to get us started, was the single crochet. Week 2, an interesting variation, the split single. I've used this stitch before, but I don't remember when, and I know it's not on the top of my list. I never think of this stitch when I try to design anything, which is a shame, it has potential. I'm making the swatches into 7 x 9 blocks to be donated to Warm Up America. It would be nice to add them to my binder of stitches, but it's already overflowing. (4" binder of classic crochet stitches & a 4" binder of Tunisian stitches.) I started with a worsted weight yarn and an I hook.

I think the fabric is a little stiff, so I tried again with an N hook (a beautiful Sonshapes wooden hook that I was happy to work with!). The second fabric is so much softer, but it also opens up and shows the stitch definition better. I might even go up a few hooks sizes if I wanted to make this into an afghan. Bonus, with the larger hook, your work will grow at a much faster rate.

I'm now wondering how this stitch might work up with alternating rows of two colors. Last night I was also wondering how to convert this into Tunisian, I think I have to add a yarn over before each split single stitch. Hmmm...
This week's stitch is crossed doubles, this is a stitch that I use frequently. Did you notice them in the hats I did this past weekend? I really like to make the crossed doubles as part of a larger pattern, not just a whole project of crossed doubles. Maybe several rows of doubles, then a row of crossed doubles in another color.
I'm eagerly awaiting week #8 when Dee is going to show us the Tulip Stitch! Then week #9 I'm going to do the Seed Stitch. Part of the fun is going to be doing a little research, are there other names for the stitch? Are there more than one stitch with the same name? Is there any historical information that might be fun to know? Was this stitch named after someone? I really like this idea, I think I'm going to add it to our Guild meetings.

Weekend projects

Along with the Bamboo purchase last Tuesday, I also selected 2 balls of Red Heart Soft. Our Shawl Ministry keeps expanding. Recently I was asked if I could make some of the soft hats in more masculine colors. This woman's father was balding, and his head got cold. I had some black and navy blue left over from previous projects, so I selected hunter green and a pretty silver-gray. I should have bought a nice warm brown, why didn't I think of that in the store?
Anyway, Daughter #1 and I were home alone this weekend and we both like to work quietly. We both spend a lot of time reading & writing, she spends a lot of time IM'ing international friends, and I crochet. I made up the first hat in the green, the last few rows I alternated front and back post doubles. This can be rolled up to create a brim, or left straight, it looks the same on both sides.

Then I made a plain gray one, until I got to the last few rows and decided it needed some color. I alternated rows of green and gray in a seed stitch.

For the next hat I started in green, then did a row of doubles in cream, then a row that alternated half-doubles and front post doubles in navy, then a row of doubles in cream, then the half-doubles and front post doubles alternated in green. That's pretty cool.

The 4th hat I did was cream, with some front crossed doubles in green. D#1 says she'd have like it green with cream stripes instead.

The next hat is started in navy. I'm thinking the stripes will be cream and light blue, no stitches planned yet.