Friday, August 19, 2011

SO Scarf / Knook

Back to the Special Olympics. I promised 15 more scarves so I need to get to it, don't I? Here is the first one of the second batch. I haven't done the tails yet, but you can see the pattern. I was inspired by something I saw in a magazine - can't remember which one now but the diamond pattern is fairly straight forward. Just do a solid block going out one over on each row as far as you want. When you've gotten to the size diamond you want, then you start doing one over going in until you get back to the point, which is one solid on that row. Make sense? I put a white piece behind the closeup so you could see it more clearly. I find myself that if I look at it from further away I can see it better.

Finished size is 6" x 58". Just to remind you, the size requirements for these scarves are about 6" wide and between 54 and 60" in length.Yarn is as below (from the web site)
Red Heart Super Saver Cherry Red 0319
Red Heart Super Saver Soft Navy 0387
Red Heart Soft Navy 4604
Red Heart Soft Really Red 9925

PLEASE NOTE: You can choose to work with the Red Heart Super Saver or Red Heart Soft Yarns - or a combination of both - please just use both a red and a blue in your scarf design!
My donations are going to the Louisiana Special Olympics. I had the pleasure of visiting the Hammond office a few weeks back. They are super nice folks there and truly love their work. They appreciate every scarf so even if you can only send one - please do.

In other news, I received my Knook! This would be the Knook I won in the blog tour sponsored by Leisure Arts. I was surprised at how small they are, but really they're no smaller than an average hook. Here are some pictures.

I haven't had a chance to even open it yet as we've been doing some painting here and I've also finally got round to going through my emergency box as I try to do every hurricane season. I'm a wee bit late but thankfully have not had a need for it. I try to fix up one box with important papers that I can grab and run with if we must leave but from one year to the next I throw updated items in there and it gets too full.

Anyway, that is another topic entirely. LOL

I've moved my craft supplies out of our extra room to make a guest room. It was formerly a cream color and is now sagey (green). I haven't changed the curtains or anything. One step at a time. ;-) Here's a picture, even though it's not crochet.

Have a great weekend!

Happy crocheting!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

what's in a name

This past week I worked on a crochet project. I deemed this the project from hell. Why? Not because of the project itself. I was happy to do it and the afghan itself was a cinch to put together. The thing was that I didn't have all the information I needed when I began and I didn't think it through well enough as I proceeded. So it was partially my own fault. I'm sure you've all had this kind of problem too, right? *looking at you all hopefully*

What happened was this. My mother asked me if I could make a baby afghan for for her to give as a gift. No problem. I would, of course, be happy to do this for my mom.

I had a few white teddy bear squares (Judith's square with minor adjustments)  already made and I had some blue yarn which was easily enough for another five squares. I had some navy I could use for joining. (That is when I discovered the orange in my navy and couldn't use it, so I went to the second navy yarn, which was Red Heart, a worsted yarn, but a little thicker than the other.)

I started making the blue squares. Then I talked to mom again and she mentioned in passing that it would be nice to have the name on the afghan if it wasn't too much trouble. If it was too much trouble, not to worry about it. Now you all have moms. And you know what it means when your mom says that. As do I, but I chose to believe her then. Cos it was going to be a lot of trouble. LOL

However, each subsequent time we spoke she asked about the ghan and if I was going to be able to put the name on it. It became clear that the name was a crucial element of the afghan. Sooooo I had to figure out how to add a name to an afghan that was all but finished. The ghan was to be for my niece and she was going to name her boy-child after my Dad so that is why Mom wanted the name on it. Which is sweet, of course. Quite meaningful.

Had I been smart, I would have put that afghan aside and just made another one with the name worked into a square. That would have been a pain, but not as much of a pain as I ended up having anyway. The other thing was that the name was not "sure". It was "pretty sure", but not positive.

Anyway, I put a plain square in the center thinking I could do a separate piece with the name on it and sew to that square. If I'd been thinking I would done that square in single crochet for cross-stitching later, although the rest of it was in double crochet. My thought was that if the parents changed the name it could be removed.

Well, okay. Sounds simple enough. I made a single crochet rectangle the number of stitches I needed for the name. It was too long. I did one in afghan stitch. That one was fine in size, if it was placed diagonally on the square, but the cross-stitching just didn't really work out so I put my thinking cap on again.

I happened to be on Facebook that day (okay, every day) and I saw some filet crochet bookmarkers at Christal Dines Friend's page. I think you can see them with this link even if you're not on Facebook. If you can't well sorry. You can see other things she's made at her web site, but it's not been updated in a while and the bookmarkers are not on it.

The bookmarkers gave me the idea that maybe I could do a filet thread piece. I first thought of doing it like the bookmarkers with the name going down. Upon doing the math I realized that would be too long for the square I intended to attach it to, even in thread. The squares are 21 rows and 43 stitches across. Thread would have been smaller in size, but I thought still too long. Even the Tunisian piece would have had to be put on diagonally and still just barely fit.

I would have to do it horizontally, which was fine. For this first piece - yes, I said first - I created my own design on graph paper.

Now I don't work much with thread. Those teeny tiny hooks. My eyes. My fingers. Not a good combination. But I found some blue thread in my stash and thought I'd try it out. This was to be done in filet crochet so the foundation chain was somewhere short of a hundred stitches.

This was painstaking work for me. I am very, very slow working in thread. I do have some special steel hooks with large handles. The one I decided to use is the one made by Craft Designs for You for my Crochet Cabana 10th anniversary. It has #4 on it. A lovely hook which worked very well for this purpose. You can see that hook about midway down the page here . It's not on the Craft Designs page but the hooks on that page are similar.

I worked almost constantly for 2 days. I was about half through when I realized that blue was the wrong color to use since the center square was a pale blue. The thread was a little bit darker blue. Still, I thought it would be okay and I was not going to lose all this work. To give me credit, I had picked the blue because I did not have any white in my stash. I thought about maybe adding a darker piece behind it in felt or something.

I finished it with only one small error which I was able to fix without too much trouble. Filet is difficult in the sense that your odd rows are worked right to left and your even rows are worked left to right. So you have to remember where you are and pay close attention.

Here is the first result of that piece.

It did fit the area it was made for. The blue looked "okay" but not great against the blue of the ghan. Here is the ghan as it looked at this point (without the added name piece).

As I was thinking about it I thought well, if I had done this in yarn it would have taken me a tenth of the time. LOL Then a light bulb went off in my head and I thought to myself, "Why not?" I had plenty of blue yarn so for the next name piece I created the design in a table in Microsoft Word, then printed it out and used a green highlighter to mark my rows as I went.

I checked with the grandpa of the baby's parents (my brother) and he said this was still the name they were planning to use.

It took me about 2 1/2 hours to do the yarn filet piece, with no errors!

Now what to do with it? I considered a lot of different things, all of which would have meant more work. I considered the amount of time already spent on it and decided enough was enough. LOL

Remember at this point I already had a picot edging on the afghan itself, I attached the yarn name to the top of the afghan, then edged it with the picot beginning right at the spot where it began and ended on the main section of the afghan. It worked out perfectly. Here is the result of that.

It looked okay, but not having the navy edging around it just looked funny to me. I showed it to daughter and she said well, just edge it in navy. Duh. So I did and I like it much better.

So here is the finished ghan. There is a slight ruffling of the edging because, as I said earlier, the Red Heart navy yarn is a little thicker than the light blue, which I think is Pound of Love maybe. In retrospect, maybe I should have skipped 2 instead of 1 but I think it works fine this way.

Wait, I'm not finished. I still had that thread piece. I mean I really worked on that piece and I hated not to use it for SOMETHING. LOL But it looked so plain. So I decided to edge it and maybe it could be used in a frame as a wall hanging.

Just to give you an idea of how slow I am, the edging alone on the thread name took me a bit over two hours to do. Remember that it took me about that long to do the entire name in yarn. A threadie I am not.

I realize the edging probably make it a bit more feminine than it should be, but hey it's a baby. He won't know the difference. :-)

So that's my story. If you read this far, you need to get a life. LOL I appreciate your perseverance.

I hope my niece and baby Austin will enjoy this ghan for many years to come.

Oh, when I talked to her last time, Mom asked for a second ghan for someone else, but this is one I already had completed (from my Etsy shop) and did not need a name so that was not a problem. :-)

Mom had some good news this past week. Her broken leg is fully healed and she will be starting physical therapy hopefully next week. While it won't be a quick or easy thing, it is progress in the forward direction so that is good.

Hope all your crochet projects went smoothly this week.

Happy crocheting!