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, June 30, 2008

What am I working on? On what am I working?

I haven't posted this week, so what have I been up to?, you ask. I've been busy with some non-crochet stuff, and having to work on crochet here and there when I can grab some time.
First I've gotten a new student on my tutoring roster.
Then, it's the week before the dance recital. Maybe you've noticed other years, that I have a lot of do the week before the big show. Saturday and Sunday I worked at the studio, it was picture day. Plus printing and handing out papers for summer classes and camps, papers for fall registration, and updating all accounts for the end of the year. Tonight I have to search daughter #2's closet for costume pieces that other students would like to borrow.
I did finish the "It's All about the Purple" afghan. I have donated it to the dance studio, and it will be raffled off the night of the show. It is my original design in Tunisian double-hook. The colors are purple, orchid and a variegated with purple, orchid, green, slate gray, cream. The stitch that I used blends the colors wonderfully. Hope to get the camera software fixed soon, so that I can post some pictures of this afghan, and a few other small items that I've been doing. Right now I can only post things that I put onto the scanner, not large items, or 3-D items that I take pictures of with the digital or the 35 mm camera.

Yesterday, after coming home from the studio, I started checking a pattern. It's a doily from the January 2008 Crochet! magazine. It's got a row that is one of the most complex that I've ever done. Okay, you've got your information in parentheses ( ), then you're got your asterisk set * *, then you've got your double asterisks ** **, that's not enough? There's a triple asterisk *** ! If that's not enough to fry your pattern reading brain, that round has you finish off just before you get to the end of the round. Unfortunately, that falls at the bottom of the page, and it looks like the instructions are incomplete. When you flip back to the continuation of the pattern, there's the final part of the row! Would you like to see how it's working up?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Krochet Kids

Now that we've enjoyed that fun article, here's an article that's fun and inspirational. A group of high school surfer dudes learn to crochet, they take it with them to college, they sell their product,...they form an international organization to make a difference in the world!

To read more about the beginning of the project, the people involved and the organization, check out the following articles:
"The Ten"
"Young Men do Good with Stitch in Time"
"Prodigal Son Magazine"
"Krochet Kids win Best Idea Prize in college business competition"

"Blog on trip to Uganda"
This blog has great photos of African animals and the people of the village. Awesome!

Hats by the Woodstock Hooker

Today's just for fun item is a newspaper article about a guy who crochets fun, whimsical hats. Hope you enjoy the story.

Monday, June 23, 2008

more on that Block stitch swatch

Isn't that a pretty swatch? It's worked like a puff stitch on to the side of a double crochet. Now, who thought of that? Was it's first existence due to a mistake? Then perhaps the crocheter said "That's nice, can I make another one?"
Or did it come about by a plan? A crocheter who said "I wonder what it would look like if I did...?"
How about you? If you make a mistake doing a familiar stitch, do you automatically pull it out and put in the correct stitch or do you take time to look at the "mistake" stitch and see if it has any potential? I'll admit that I usually just pull it out quickly and make the "correct stitch".
Do you ever just pick up a hook and some yarn and play around? Ask "I wonder what it would look like if...?" "I wonder what would happen if I joined this stitch to another stitch?" When I first got my Easy Tunisian hooks, I thought that I had never tried the technique. But when I started doing the Tunisian Simple Stitch, I remember having worked the stitches off in that manner way back in the early days of my crocheting. I remembered that it was the "afghan stitch". The hooks came with a "learn to" book that had about 5 stitches which I picked up rather quickly. But then I wanted to try more with the hooks, I allowed myself "play time" with the hooks and the yarn. I "discovered" some "new" stitches, yes, I later found them in books that had a lot more Tunisian techniques and stitches, but I really enjoyed that time of exploring and discovering. I'm finding that exploring and playing time a good background for my current research. I'm searching for old crochet books because they have Tunisian techniques and stitch patterns in along with the "classic" crochet stitches; not separated into "new technique" books like we find so often today. When I read over a stitch and try to create it, I frequently have to "translate" the instructions. Those old pattern books are like a foreign language sometimes! Sometimes it seems to click with something that I created in the playing around and exploring stages.
I made that swatch as an attempt to help another crocheter interpret pattern instructions. I do love to swatch new stitch patterns and new yarns. It's playing!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Block stitch swatch

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Naturally Caron Blog

Tonight I've enjoyed reading the blog from the NatuarallyCaron company. Naturally Caron is the company that makes the lovely bamboo blend yarn that I'm using for the Ring Around the Posie top. It's incredibly soft, and the colors are fabulous.
The first entry in the blog is about twist in yarn. More technical than a lot of crocheters are used to, but I think I gained a little more knowledge.
There are some great designs on the blog with links to patterns. I think I've just decided to make the Copenhagen Jacket, another design by Tammy Hildebrand (as is the Ring Around the Posie. The yarn called for in the pattern is a merino blend, so I need to start thinking about a good substitute. Since it's a heavy, fall sweater type jacket, the bamboo blend is a little too light.
Anyone have a good suggestion? Leave a comment for me. Remember, absolutely no wool, or other animal fibers.

At the bottom of the blog is an entry from Feb. 1 about design inspiration. This reminds me of the lesson I teach on tessellations. I send my students out with copy paper and colored pencils to find fun tessellations, make rubbings and return to the class to share their finds. I'll have to take a camera and go on a design inspiration walk.

Working steadily

I've been working on motifs for the Ring around the Posie top, the "It's All about the Purple", and the Tunisian baby afghan. The baby afghan has most of my attention, the white fingering in the delicate lace pattern on the dark wooden hook: the contrast is so beautiful. This is going to be a lovely piece.
I really need to focus on the other two projects first.
Tonight's crocheting at Borders was so much fun, we had a big group. We kept pulling tables and chairs over to add to our group. We talked and laughed, several times someone said "They're going to throw us out of here!" But no one told us to quiet down, and no other customers seemed to mind. You should see all the great projects going on any one night - knitting, crocheting, Tunisian, hairpin lace, cross stitch, embroidery, beading,...Someone always has a new project to show us.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Latest Cool thing I've found - Shelfari

Today I found a program called Shelfari, where you can create a "library bookshelf", then you search their database and put books on your shelf. You can create lists like "I've read it", "I own it", "Wish List"; you can rate the books from 1 to 5 stars; you can write a review; start a book discussion; recommend books to friends, etc.
So I've spent most of the day searching for some of the books that I own, putting them on my "shelf" and then organizing them in an order that I like. Next step, I want to add my bookshelf to the blog so that others can see some crochet books, see some of the ones I've recommended, and even link to Amazon if they want to buy their own copy.
Now I'm hanging up, evidently my blog needs "updating" to "layouts" before I can add this bookshelf. But no matter what I read, what I try, what page I go to, I can't find anyway to update to layout format. If only my #2 daughter was here, she can do anything with computers! For now I have saved my bookshelf, and added it to my Internet Favorites, and I'll put a memo on my calendar with a note to have her add it when she can.
Don't you wish you could see my favorite crochet books right now? I wish you could too!

Too Many projects on the hooks??

Is it possible I have too many projects on the hooks?
I have a Tunisian baby afghan half finished, I'm working on my own design. But it has no specific recipient or place to go, so when I started getting projects with due dates, this afghan was set aside.
I'm also working steadily on the "It's All about the Purple" project. Really would like this one finished this week.
Then I was swatching the Bernat Jr. Jacquards last week, and came up with a great design idea. No recipient, but thinking about submitting it to a magazine if it works up as nice as the idea in my mind.
I'm working steadily on the Ring Around the Posie top. I definitely want to have this finished before heading to the Conference. (Has anybody done a countdown recently?)
Then I have several swatches of different yarns that will be taken to Yarn-Love(LYS).
Today I took swatches of Naturally Caron Spa (bamboo and acrylic) and Louisa Harding Jasmine (cotton, bamboo, silk and polyester). I made both up in a motif from the Ring Around the Posie, but I'm thinking that the Louisa Harding Jasmine might be fabulous for the Doris Chan Blue Curacao shawl.
Monday night, at Shawl Ministry I started a new shawl in Tunisian. I also brought home some white fingering for a baby christening shawl. Tonight, I couldn't help myself, I started working that white on a K Tunisian hook, and a Tunisian feather and fan. Check "ARNie Grabowski's Chez Crochet site" to order a booklet with this design.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Countdown to the Chain Link Conference

I have a two-year pocket size calendar that's only for crochet related dates: CGOA chapter meetings, ideas or themes for the meetings, paperwork dates for reserving the meeting room, Shawl Ministry, National Crochet Month, deadlines for contests and design submissions, field trips, etc.

I just checked my calendar and it's just 43 days to the start of the Conference!

So many ideas, so little time. Once I finish the "It's all About the Purple" project, I need to focus big time on the Ring Around the Posie top. I definitely have a goal to finish this in time to wear it at the Conference. I wanted to design something for the design contest, but just had too many other things that had to be done. I wanted to make several other projects to wear, or accessories, something for the gift exchange, etc. I also need to work on homework for one class. I think that I only have one class that I have homework for, I better look at my folders and double check that. Oh, and when I have time I better start organizing my binder for class notes, handouts, homework, swatches, envelopes for class tickets, materials fees, etc.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

"It's all About the Purple"

I've been working steadily on this project. Love how it's working up; medium purple, orchid and watercolor variegated. Tonight it did get too hot to have all that yarn on my lap, and set it aside for a few hours. I sorted through some print outs from Antique Pattern Library trying to select a motif for the June CAL on Antique Threadwork. I started on a pineapple motif in pink #10 thread, worked about 3 rounds. Then decided that this is going to work up into a sizable motif, and that I might want to make two of the motifs in blue thread, and create a small purse; line it in some fabric. I have plenty of blue prints, or maybe even some white satin left from my wedding gown, I have a few yards of that still in my stash.
I came across some notes that I had made on various books about history of crochet and about Tunisian and interesting Tunisian stitches. I added some information to my notes, and started to write up a new class proposal for the new LYS. The owner is very crochet friendly. I also need to schedule another field trip to this store for the CGOA chapter.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Swatching Bernat Jr. Jacquards

There was a box waiting for me Sunday evening when we arrived home from our weekend trip. It was from "RA_ Yarnsandmore", where I've been getting my fiber fix lately. Jean gets a lot of the yarn before they hit the stores, so I keep my eye out for new non-wool yarns that I can swatch and review. I had the NaturallyCaron Spa swatched and involved in a garment before most people had heard of it. Well, this particular box contained the Jr. Jaquards that was supposed to be out mid-March and I had an order in, it finally arrived.
The photos on the site showed the yarn knitted in swatches, and showed beautiful stripes and sections that looked like flowers, etc. Well, the yarn on the ball doesnt' look anything like that. I picked the color Denim Daze, because I was thinking that if it didn't work up for the design idea, that I could use if for a scarf for myself. The ball looks like white yarn with sections of grey, green, red and blue. Now it doesn't fade nicely from one color into another like a variegated yarn, it's just stark color changes; some short, some long.
The first thing I did then was to knit some up to see if it worked up like the photos. I used a size 6 needle as recommended on the label. Well, I knitted for what seemed forever, and I had white....I finally decided to end it all by stabbing myself to death with those little needles...or wait, I can slip all those stitches on a beautiful wooden Tunisian hook (size F, I think) and make life so much happier. Genius! The frustration was gone, the yarn slid across the hook so much faster, I got to see progress in the color changes and I got to see how the yarn worked up in Tunisian. I used the Tunisian knit stitch (TKS) so I could compare it to the photos of the yarn knitted. From the front you couldn't tell where the knitting changed to TKS! The back shows the familiar Tunisian ridge, but the color changes were fabulous.
Next I started with a second ball of the Jacquards and a wooden size J or K tunisian hook. When I bought this hook at Chain Link, the seller couldn't find the sizer to tell me what size the hook was, but I decided that I was buying it for it's beauty and it didn't matter what size it was!! The color changes are fabulous! Next I started another ball on a size L hook, not only are the color changes fabulous, but the fabric has a wonderful stretch and is much softer. This is the hook I will use when I get going on the design idea.
Tuesday night at our Crochet in Public at Borders, I tried out this yarn in regular crochet. I thought that it wouldn't work up as well, because in knitting and Tunisian you carry the yarn across the width of your fabric over and over. In crochet the yarn is worked one stitch at a time, the colors would be more "pooled". I started with a single crochet and an E hook because that was close to the recomendation on the ball band (label). Nope. I moved up to a G hook and single crochet, no good. I switched to a G and a half double; naw. As expected the colors distributed more like a variegated, and you didn't get the beautiful stripes and "Fair Isle" effect like with the knit and Tunisian. This is one yarn that definitely will look better knitted than crocheted. But if you love the color ways, stretch your skills and techniques and learn Tunisian!
I'd love to get some swatch pictures up soon, but I'm having trouble with my camera to computer software. If I can get a flat swatch on the scanner and get the color right, I'll get some pics up.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Crochet Paperwork

Today I've been working on paperwork. It started with reading my email, and getting confirmation on the date change for the meeting room. We have the room on July 31, the date of our meeting. I also recived an email with a new website, and added a link to the group. Then I added events to the calendar, posted about the link to the new website, and the new events on the calendar. I also received an e-newsletter with information about World Wide Knit in Public Day. It's June 14th, and Yarn Love, in Hummelstown is inviting knitters and crocheters to participate. I added that to the calendar and then searched Google to see if there's a World Wide Crochet in Public Day, evidently not. I think there are a lot of local Crochet in Public events during March, National Crochet Month; and I think that a lot of the World Wide Knit in Public events include crocheters.
Right now I'm searching my inboxes, and folders in my emails for emails from one particular crochet contact. I've also gotten distracted by Ravelry and blogs. Just found something that I want to post to the group,...