February 27, 2008

Getting the hang of this

Posted in Flying by the seat of yarn pants at 8:12 pm by Rebecca Crochets

Since I made my proclamation that I would blog every Wednesday, I have blogged every Wednesday, but one. Yippee! I am not yet confident enough to say that I’m going to add another day of the week. I have thought about it though. We’ll see.

Anyway, today I wanted to share my latest project. It’s a sweater inspired by the book “Single Crochet for Beginners” by Cindy Crandall-Frazier. Originally I bought this book to share with a co-worker who was learning to crochet. She was having problems with anything more than single crochet. And even then, I think her single was really an extended single crochet (just looked for a good tutorial for this and didn’t find anything within three google pages -sorry). The book has some really detailed pictures of how to make the stitches. There’s 6 pictures alone for making the starting slip knot! It also has some really cute projects, yes, all made out of single crochet.

Anyway, there’s a cute baby sweater in the back that I’ve adapted heavily. It uses single crochet, of course, as well as single crochet in the back loop to highlight the cuffs, neckline and hem. It’s sized for a 0-3 month, in baby sport yarn and a H/5.00mm hook. Well, I wanted to use some yarn recently donated to my crochet group, two balls of Bernat Soft Boucle (5 oz in a ball) in red and tan. Though the yarn suggests a J/6.00mm hook, I decided that I would start with the hook recommended by the pattern and crochet the specified number of stitches, and not swatch. Since I have no specific person in mind I don’t have to worry about it fitting anyone in particular. I’m just aiming for it to fit a baby/child at the women’s shelter in Pittsburgh.

As I crocheted, the fabric produced had a nice hand to it, so I continued. If it was too stiff, I was going to rip it out and go up a hook size or two until it draped nicely. I’ve made a sweater or two before that could have stood up by themselves! The hook was definitely too small for the yarn I used. This of course is great for sculptural items, but definitely not wearables. Poor kids, and the sweaters were acrylic, too. They were constricting AND did not breathe.

Anyway, after I got a quarter of the way up the front, I realized that my sweater may not be completed before I used up all the yarn. And since this was donated yarn, I might not be able to match it properly. Original sizing for the Baby 0-3 month sweater was 9″ wide. I had 12″. Quick check on the internet to see what size a 12″ sweater would fit: about a 4T. Not having kids, I think that means 4 Toddler. Big difference. I soldiered on. These things always work out.

Still wondering about how much yarn I needed to complete my 4T sweater, and with thoughts of how to make it a short-sleeved cardigan if I had to, I weighed what I had crocheted with a small kitchen scale I picked up at the local dollar store. It’s probably not the most accurate, but for $1 it would be close enough. I then weighed what yarn I had left and found that I had almost all original 5 oz of the red and 3 oz of the tan. The sweater weighed 3 oz as well. I was going to be OK! What I thought was a quarter of the sweater only used up 2 oz of the tan, which meant I only needed 8 oz of yarn total! I continued on with the conviction that this would not have to be a vest!! (Thanks to my cousin for this great trick of weighing your yarn and project. She weighs her swatches then multiplies the weight by the area that she needs to achieve and then determines how many total ounces she needs. My twist, ala “Flying by the seat of yarn pants” is weighing the yarn, approximating how much of the item is completed and multiplying those.)

And that brings us to today. Here is a picture of the sweater still in progress.

4T Sweater

This shows the front and back sewn together and the other modifications I made. Like leaving out the single crochet in the back loop (totally will not show on a boucle) and the cute button detail on the neckline that the original had. In my haste, I sewed up the shoulder seams without realizing the buttons on the shoulder allowed them to be unbuttoned to get the baby’s head through without hurting the poor thing. No worries here, I tested this on myself. I can get this over my head, so a toddler shouldn’t have any problems either. It made me wonder about the stretchiness of boucle that allowed this to happen. It certainly wasn’t the smaller than appropriate hook or the single crochet.

I’ve now started the sleeves and I’m getting close to finishing the tan yarn. I’ve been crocheting a row in tan on each sleeve alternating from one to the other so they’ll be the same length when the ball runs out. I’ll do this until I run out of the tan, then switch to the red to finish the tops of the sleeves. This does seem to all be working in my favor so far, but if I truly were smart enough to outwit the yarn, I would have already sewn up the sides in the tan so I didn’t have to worry about seaming the tan portions with the red yarn. I’ve decided already that seaming in boucle is difficult anyway, and I’ll try to find some smooth tan yarn from my stash. Plus I’m really not sure yet where the sleeves will be placed anyway. Boy, can I rationalize! See, it will work out in the end. It’s just a matter of how you look at things!

And finally, a gratuitous kitten shot. Puck is helping mommy keep her place in the pattern. And it sure is tiring work! Poor kitty!

Tuckered Puck

February 20, 2008

With a little Puck…

Posted in Kitties tagged at 8:03 pm by Rebecca Crochets

Puck is our new kitten, and he loves yarn! The other cats have never been too interested in the yarn and I could leave it out in my craft room, in my project bag, on the coffee table (though the husband always hated that – sometimes the yarn pile would hinder the operation of the tv’s remote control), on the bookcase in the living room, wherever I had recently been working.

It came as a surprise then when we came home one day and discovered the yarn that had been sitting on the coffee table, had been unraveled and had made two trips around the living room, dining room, and kitchen. After that night, I learned to be more careful with where I left my yarn.

Apparently, I have much to still learn. Like you can’t leave the craft room door open or think that a certain bookshelf is too high for a cat to reach, because if there is one ball, no matter how well buried in the bottom of a bag, it will disappear only to reappear later with a ton of black, cat fur all over it. Often I don’t even realize it’s missing, until it resurfaces later in very bad shape.

Now, I must admit it’s cute to see Puck trotting around with his latest “kill” hanging from his mouth. But one cannot encourage this behavior. I just do not have enough yarn for that. (Don’t listen to my husband who says otherwise.)

Puck slays the wild yarn ball

I’d be a mean mommy though to deny him one of his favorite things. So, snuggling near the yarn, has now been deemed acceptable.

Puck snuggling with mommy’s yarn

Too cute! Who can deny this face?

What a cute boy!

February 13, 2008

The next project

Posted in Robyn's samples tagged , at 8:14 pm by Rebecca Crochets

I just wanted to quickly share Robyn’s next project that I’m working on.

Blocking the pieces

This is the men’s vest for her booklet, being blocked on a towel on the floor. It might be hard to tell, but the back of the vest is in the foreground, and it has not yet been seamed to the front. That’s the next step, then finally some ribbing! It is locked tightly away in my craft room, as Loki, our 6 year old snowshoe cat, thinks there’s nothing better than a cat blanket pinned to the floor. I’m not sure what the exact appeal is, but Loki has always loved my craft room, especially when I’m there. He loves to sit on the table while I work, sit on the floor while I organize my books, and sit under the vent when the heat is blowing. He loves being near his momma. It’s really cute, except when there is some serious crochet to protect.

While this was being crocheted, my husband was checking it out. He usually doesn’t wear too many handmade items, because the few patterns there are don’t appeal to him. He likes classic knit wear (someday I’ll get around to that Aran sweater he wants), and I was pleasantly surprised to hear him say that he might wear something like that. Wonders never cease.

By the way, I should mention that this was taken with a real digital camera! Not a cell phone! I’m getting a little better at this. Only slightly, however, since I snapped it before I headed out the door for work this morning. 🙂