Thursday, February 16, 2012

new hooks

First things first, if you enjoy contests and the chance to win crochet goodies like yarn, you will want to stop by the Bridge Project. SandyH has a contest which runs from February 14 to March 14. Details here

The other day I received an e-mail with a video highlighting Knitter's Pride crochet hooks. Of course I'd never heard of Knitter's Pride and even though I'm not a knitter, I had to go see these hooks. :-) You know what happened!I purchased three hooks.

You can see the Dreamz hook here along with the video. This is a wooden hook. I got two of them. One is perfect. I used it last night to make some yo-yos and it was very lightweight and the yarn glided beautifully. I have not used the other one, but the throat of the hook (see parts of a hook here) is a little rough. I'm hoping that won't cause a problem.

Here is the H 5.0mm Dreamz.

The aluminum H hook I purchased is here. The video also appears on that page. Someone does a bang up job on this web site. Videos are a great way to sell merchandise. I like seeing the hooks in action. The handle on this hook is a soft rubbery one similar to the Etimo Tulip hooks. Very nice.

The shaft is not as long as I like on the aluminum hook, but that is also true of the Etimo and the Crochetlite hooks and many of the hooks that have an added piece to the handle. The second hook in this photo is the other #7 4.5mm Dreamz hook.

The square I made with the new H hook is from Pam's Comfort Cables Crochet  Afghan over at Knit Picks. I purchased this pattern both to support their efforts and because I thought it was beautiful. I absolutely love the pink and green colors used in this afghan. I purchased a couple skeins to test drive it and you can see the result. My square is not 8" x 8" as stated in the pattern but it is very stretchy. I'm not a particularly huge fan of cables, but there are a few patterns in there that are basically just front and back post stitches. I do like the textured look of the post stitches. We'll see how things go.

I spent part of my morning updating my hook pages at Crochet Cabana and also organizing my hooks by size. I have more H and I hooks than any other size. I do have hooks in all sizes from C to N, P, and S. I've never seen an O hook, but Ebay has R, T, and U which I'd love to have just for completeness though I really don't envision using that large a hook for anything in the near future. I have talked about making a rug though...

Back to the hooks. I put them in plastic ziploc bags after I sorted them, but that is a temporary measure. Now I'll go back and see what I can do with them.

Happy crocheting!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


I finished the "word" afghan. It was fun to do until right at the end. Placing the last pieces was a bit of a challenge. Of course, weaving tails is never any fun, but that's just part of the process and no getting around it.

Here's a little look into my procedure. I learned a lot during the making of this ghan and might do a few things differently if I make another one, like perhaps working from the middle out.

I can now say I feel more comfortable with filet projects. The more you do it, the easier it becomes I think. I guess most everything is that way, right?

Anyway, first I had to decide on the words I wanted to use. This was an ongoing process. As I saw what space I had to fill, I would choose additional words. I used the words I felt would be most meaningful for the recipient. He is a drummer in a band, so I included "drummer". The white sections say "God Bless" and "Sierra" (the truck). The red, black, white, and yellow are "2012". I wanted the "God bless" in white, but I made that phrase after I had already done Sierra and it just happened they best fit together next to one another.

Getting the words to fit together was an interesting thing. If I make another like this, I think I would use a level or some sort of tool to make sure the entire thing comes out straight - same width top and bottom and such. They seemed to fit together evenly, but ends didn't match up exactly when folded. Not too far off, but not perfect. I also would want to do more planning on the size and colors. I did try to do this, but I miscalculated on how the pieces would come together. Two five letter words might not come out the same size, especially if the word contained an "I". Most of the letters were five blocks wide but the "I" is just one block wide. All letters were 8 blocks high.

As I added pieces, I would lay out the entire piece, but you know how anything fiber is - it moves around and can be stretched or bulge. It's hard to tell until you actually have it together how it will go. Because some pieces were placed in one direction and others in a different direction, that was a different challenge. Most of the pieces were edged in black before joining, but in some spots I just stitched directly on the ghan, adding black bits to fill in and trying to figure when I'd gone far enough since the "hole" would open as I worked.

Anyway, I've gotten ahead of myself. First, I decided on a word, then I had to chart it out, number the columns and rows so I would know where I was, then print it out. I also needed it to be large enough for my old eyes. :-) I could fit two tables (Microsoft Word) on each page using landscape mode.

In filet, odd rows are worked right to left. Even rows are worked left to right. That part was fairly easy to remember. I just had to know WHICH even or odd row I was on. In some words this was easy to see. I also used a green and a pink highlighter to mark rows, alternating colors so I could tell just what I'd done and where I was in my work.

The "holes" made up the letters of the words, but these are difficult to see unless you have a proper background where they will show up. In other words on a white piece, you'd need a dark background for the letters to show up, and vice versa.

For the first piece I figured the foundation chain working from the bottom of the word to the top, horizontally. In most of the other pieces I worked from one end of the word to the other, vertically (from the shortest width), and finished one letter at a time. In other words, for Louisiana I turned the chart on its side and worked the "L", then the "O" etc., rather than working the graph from the bottom up for the entire word if that makes sense. This made it easier to keep track of where I was. I don't know if this made any real difference in the finished work.

For the year 2012 I worked the year vertically with one number on top of the other. The other words are horizontal, with the letters placed side by side, but the placement could be either way, depending on where it fit. I just worked it vertically.

As I worked the charts, the light bulb finally went off over my head and I decided to create an alphabet chart where I could just pull the letters from the chart. I used block letters because that was the easiest for me to create myself. I'm sure there are all sorts of alphabets available online and in books, but I wanted to make my own. Admittedly there are only so many ways to make an "E".

Since I wanted this to be a useful afghan for wrapping up in, I felt it would be sturdier to do solid blocks for the majority of the ghan and open blocks to make up the designs.
The ghan is winging its way to the recipient. Hope he likes it!

I got a small surprise the other day when my nephew sent me a photo of two afghans I made for him. One was made when I was pregnant and bedridden almost 22 years ago. The other was made even earlier. I didn't photograph all the things I made at that time so this was a great surprise.

The one on the left was Vanna's Choice, the pattern designed by Vanna White. I remember the other one but can't remember where the pattern was. I'm sure it's in a magazine somewhere because I didn't have Internet then. I will have to find it - yes, I probably still have it. You don't throw away crochet magazines!

What's on my hook? yo-yos. I will be making hundreds of yo-yos. Mindless work. Just the kind I like! :-)

Happy crocheting!