Friday, August 24, 2012

Hook and Needle Club dishcloths

Speaking of dishcloths... Yes, we were talking about dishcloths yesterday.

I received my second Hook and Needle Club kit and it is a set of three dishcloths. This time, however, the yarn skeins have labels. It is Lily Sugar 'n Cream in tea rose, yellow, and country green.

The pattern instructions say F hook but there was no way I'm using an F hook with worsted weight cotton - that's my excuse. That is a small hook! That would be a pain and so stiff. So I am going to use an H, which is what is suggested for that yarn.

One of the patterns is simply sc in back loop only to make a rib. I'm not going to do that because well, I've done it many times. I may do it eventually, but for now I'll just keep the yarn.

The other is a cross-over long stitch. I started it, but didn't like the way my long stitches were coming out, so I changed it to a sort of long back cross-stitch? I don't know if that's a stitch, but it is working for me. :-)

What I actually do is skip 3 stitches. In the 4th stitch I worked an extended double crochet. Then I went back and worked double crochets in the skipped stitches, going behind the edc that I made previously. Make sense? I do that on every row so the dishcloth is actually reversible and it appears similarly to the original pattern though worked in a different manner. It uses the same number of stitches.

The other pattern is a version of the seed stitch. It's not one I've worked before but once you get going it's easy to do. I like it! I am making it a little smaller than the pattern in hopes of enough yarn for my daughter to make the knitted one as well if she cares to. I used a chain of 29 rather than 39 and it worked.

I compared the two Sugar 'n Cream dishcloths to the I Love This Cotton crochet on the double sample I'd put together the day before. The difference was amazing. The SNCs were much stiffer and the cotd was much stretchier and softer. Don't get me wrong. The two SNCs were very pretty. I love them, and a dishcloth really doesn't have to be that soft. The colors of the SNC are also really nice. I am partial to the peachy tea rose color. I love it. The yellow is a nice shade too. But for softness, ILTC wins. At least before washing, it does.

Was this kit worth $23? The yarn itself I could probably get for under $10. I only used one of the patterns, but the other one did give me a good idea for the change, which I liked and enjoyed working. I also got knit patterns for my daughter which I would never purchase ordinarily since I don't knit. I'm counting it a win. Can't wait to see what the next one holds.

Happy crocheting!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

crochet on the double dishcloth

I've been such a busy beaver these past weeks, mostly making videos. If you haven't been to the YouTube channel, you might like to trot on over there. All had been going more or less smoothly on that score until yesterday when YouTube decided to be slower than a glacier.

Because of that, I decided to divide the first video in a series on Crochet on the Double into two videos. The problem with that is that each video begins and ends with a notation that it is part x. So I couldn't change the names of the following videos or I'd have to spend hours re-uploading them. Lesson learned there, eh? So there will be 1A and 1B. :-) Even dividing them, it is still taking a long time to upload. 1B is 40% done and it still says 18 minutes remaining for upload.

In the videos, I wanted to show a completed swatch of the different ways to work COTD. I think I did a pretty fair job on the videos. My finished basic COTD was pretty close to perfect if I do say so myself. :-) What I call the "knit" stitch came out fairly well. The last swatch was worked with a larger hook as the one I was using developed a scratchy bit on the tip of the hook which I was afraid would cause a problem. My finished swatch was not to my liking. The stitches are too large due to the bigger hook and the sides are uneven. Guess I need to buy another double ended hook, eh?

When I was done, I looked at two of them and said to myself, "Self, this wouldn't make a half bad dishcloth." So not to waste all that work, I decided to put them together, even though they were different stitches. It's rectangular, as you can see. One part if cushy and the other flatter, but hey it's a dishcloth. Who cares? I didn't even pay attention to if the stitches were right side up. I used my long tails to sew them together. I wanted the more blue on one side and the more yellow on the other so that is what I did. Here is the result. This is the closest I come to freeform. haha

In other news I finished a baby afghan using my all time favorite cross-stitch pattern. This was made using Red Heart Soft - that pink that I had trouble with a while back. I did cut out a few more bits, but generally did not have a problem with it. I used Vanna's Choice white to assemble and the pink is also Vanna's Choice. I think it was the Pink Poodle, but not certain. Finished size is about 32" square.

We have several pregnant friends/relatives so put this one aside in case one of them turns out to be a girl. :-)

Happy crocheting!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Ravelry and Olympics

I am so behind on this issue, but I just read about the Olympics and Ravelry controversy. I truly wish I'd have millions of dollars because I would so hire a crew of lawyers and fight this idiocy.

The story: During the televised Olympic games, a group of folks on Ravelry hold their own challenges which they called Ravelympics when they began several years ago. Apparently the Olympic powers-that-be learned of this and in their infinite wisdom, or lack thereof, sent a cease and desist letter to the group. (You can read the announcement if you are a Ravelry member here. ) In this letter they insulted knitters and crocheters, indicating that by holding the Ravelympics these crafters were denigrating the athletes and the official event. Come on, people! Is that nuts or what?

You can read the entire cease and desist letter here. Here is part of it:
The USOC is responsible for preserving the Olympic Movement and its ideals within the United States. Part of that responsibility is to ensure that Olympic trademarks, imagery and terminology are protected and given the appropriate respect. We believe using the name "Ravelympics" for a competition that involves an afghan marathon, scarf hockey and sweater triathlon, among others, tends to denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games. In a sense, it is disrespectful to our country's finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work.
The letter also gives a list of patterns they deem relating to the Olympics that were to be removed. Firstly, you can't really stop people from naming their pattern "Olympic scarf" "Olympic hat" "Olympic mittens". Secondly, if you wanted to, it would be a full time job and not one I would want.

This high handed actions brought down the wrath of the entire knit and crochet community. From what I understand this is millions strong. They let their wrath be known on Twitter, Facebook and wherever Olympic officials gathered. While this did not change the legal issues because Ravelry is a volunteer organization with not enough financial backing to battle the Olympic organization, it did force a little backpedaling in two apologies, such as they were.

The apologies themselves, by Patrick Sandusky, left something to be desired.

The first one:
“Thanks to all of you who have posted, tweeted, emailed and called regarding the letter sent to the organizers of the Ravelympics.

Like you, we are extremely passionate about what we do. And, as  you may know, the United States Olympic Committee is a non-profit entity, and our Olympic team receives no government funding. We are totally dependent on our sponsors, who pay for the right to associate with the Olympic Movement, as well as our generous donors to bring Team USA to the Games.

The letter sent to the organizers of the Ravelympics was a standard-form cease and desist letter that explained why we need to protect our trademarks in legal terms. Rest assured, as an organization that has many passionate knitters, we never intended to make this a personal attack on the knitting community or to suggest that knitters are not supportive of Team USA.

We apologize for any insult and appreciate your support. We embrace hand-crafted American goods as we currently have the Annin Flagmakers of New Jersey stitching a custom-made American flag to accompany our team to the Olympic Games in London. To show our support of the Ravelry community, we would welcome any handmade items that you would like to create to travel with, and motivate, our team at the 2012 Games.”
The second one:
"As a follow-up to our previous statement on this subject, we would again like to apologize to the members of the Ravelry community. While we stand by our obligation to protect the marks and terms associated with the Olympic and Paralympic Movements in the United States, we sincerely regret the use of insensitive terms in relation to the actions of a group that was clearly not intending to denigrate or disrespect the Olympic Movement. We hope you’ll accept this apology and continue to support the Olympic Games."
I also notice that the letter sent was signed, not be a lawyer, but by a law clerk,  writing on behalf of an attorney. This is probably common practice. I don't know. But it irked me all the same. You don't even have the decency to send your own insulting letters but let the wrath fall on the poor clerk.

I have always appreciated the time and energy that is involved in working towards the Olympic events. However, this has sure put a bad taste in my mouth about the committee and events, though not the athletes. It is not their fault the organization that rules these challenges are idiots.

I never was a real follower of the Olympics and don't spend a lot of time watching the official events. I do support and donate to the SPECIAL Olympics every year.  I don't really know if they're affiliated or not but I would imagine so otherwise they would have gotten a cease and desist as well for using the name.

In closing, first Ravelry changed the name of it's Olympics. They are now the Ravellenics group I believe. I sincerely hope they don't make anything to send to the USOC.

Secondly, here are some articles you can read if you need to catch up, as I did, when I learned of the dispute.

Crochet Liberation Front (an EXCELLENT letter which expresses exactly what I feel)
Journal Gazette
Gawker (and a followup post here)
Washington Post
HotAir (even if they did call knitter old ladies)
Daily Mail
Outside the Beltway
Yahoo Sports
Denver Post
USA Today
Planet Handmade
Daily Dot
The Atlantic

Business Week
Oregon Live

And lastly, a note that KNITTING was once an Olympic sport in and of itself.

I'm sorry to be late to this party, but at least I've caught up on it now.

Happy crocheting!