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Archive for the ‘Crochet’ category

I finished three things this week. I’m really proud of myself. Of the three, the booties might have been the most difficult project. It was hard for me to understand what I had to do to complete the rolls and seam the back and bottom of the booties.



I made the matching hat last month






Planned out the blanket. Discovered I was missing one square. Oops.

I learned to crochet pretty much entirely to knit the Babette blanket, which I find beautiful. I had the pattern in my Ravelry queue for years before I actually started it, and my first attempts at granny squares were enough to make the wee baby Jesus weep. I practiced with acrylic until I got to where I thought I needed to be. I thought that my first squares were pretty good, but once I’d finished the two spiral blankets and came back to the Babette, I realized how wrong I was. The squares that had looked great to me were uneven, the row changes were sloppy, and on the whole it didn’t look like anything I’d ever want anybody else to see. Thankfully, I had only done a few real squares, so I didn’t lose much time by going back and undoing those. I shudder to think of how bad my rejected practice squares must have been.

Piecing together one section

Once I was better at crochet, I got going in earnest, and made the approximately million and three  squares in this blanket (okay 126, but who’s counting)? In between, I did crocheted some hats and skulls (many many skulls), which I think further improved my stitches. Even when I went back to crochet the one square that I was somehow missing, I noticed the change in my stitches’ tension, as compared to my efforts back in October.

I’m now finished with all of the individual blocks in the blanket, but am having the worst time figuring out the final configuration, and how to achieve it. I’m not sure how this is going to pan out, because I haven’t really loved any of the available options for putting together this blanket. Whip stitch is ugly, mattress stitch seems like too much work for not a pretty enough payoff, single crochet looks a little ugly, and I’m reluctantly going with slip stitch, but I have yet to be bowled over by how it looks. Plus, because I’m joining blocks of different sizes, the standard wisdom regarding connecting horizontally and then vertically really doesn’t apply here.

Another problem is that I clearly need to block my squares (like, ALL of them), and I really don’t want to. This thing may be hibernating until Jesus comes back.

I really like the way that this Purl Bee Babette came out, and I may have to go back to Purl Soho and look at the blanket, which is usually on display in the shop.

I made this sweater and gave it to the littlest Wagner, who is ADORBS.

I crocheted the flower pin to break up the mistake rib pattern. I learned a lot with this sweater: how to do a hood, how to convert a flat pattern to one worked in the round, and that I should have factored in the whole “stitch picking up” thing into my construction of the early part of this sweater. I also learned that I never ever ever want to do toggle button thingies again without somebody else’s meticulously-written instructions to guide me. I did the sweater in one piece until I got to the armpits (see, I’ve learned!), but from then on things weren’t 100% symmetrical. The problem with such a stretchy pattern is that the two sides stretched differently. I’d do a ribbed bottom for 6-8 rows to rein in this pattern’s tendency to spread.

Still, I’m getting better at sweaters, which can only be a good thing.

I think I’ll try to make this sweater again, and incorporate the things I’ve learned and the things that occurred to me after it was too late to do anything about them (i.e. MEASURE everything don’t just eyeball it).

I feel like I’m about ready to do a sweater with steeks (intentional steaks, not the kind that are placed as an afterthought when I’ve goofed).

I finished my first crochet baby blanket. It is – and I say this without any undue pride – ridiculously cute. For years I’ve been all “Crochet, the horror!,” but, amazingly enough, once I actually decided that I wanted to learn how to do it, I realized that I pretty much already understood the basics. I think this is going to be for Baby Girl W, who had the temerity to be born a couple of weeks early, meaning that this gift is official late. Thanks, kid.

Anyway, behold:

In the early stages


Despite the fact that my stomach starts to hurt if I look at this for too long, I really like this blanket. So much so, that I decided to make another one. This kid isn’t due until November, but maybe I better pick up the pace, just in case…


I was just zipping along with my Heather Hoodie, feeling inordinantly proud of myself and my first sweater. I’d even cleverly translated it into being worked in the round, since Nicole and seaming are not BFFs. So just when I thought that I’d need to borrow a hand to give myself as many pats on the back as I deserved, I realized that I hadn’t set aside stitches for my armholes. Oh. Hell. No.

So I had a couple of options. The first was to frog, just the thought of which made my girlnads shrivel up. The next possibility was to steek. And I’ve wanted to steek for so long!!! But I knew that this would be a dicier option, since I hadn’t included any extra stitches for a steek, so anything I would cut would technically be something that I probably wanted to keep. I went to my LYS and asked how I’d do a crochet steek, since I don’t 1) own a sewing machine or 2) know how to use one. Their suggestion was that I frog back to the point where I would have put in the armholes. I could see how this would be a reasonable and safe course of action to take, but once I explained that I preferred to try steeking, they gamely looked on youtube to see if they could find anything to help me.

The good news is that we found a video (although I’ve never been able to find that one again; humbug), and the bad news is that I think we misunderstood it. So I crocheted just one leg of the knit stitch that would form the edge of the steek. That didn’t seem exactly right to me, and I was unwilling to cut until I was as sure as possible that I was doing the right thing, so I put that aside and went back the evil socks. I finished those, and the final post will be up in a day or two (or whenever I’m over the 4.5 hours of end-weaving I did).

I had seen Eunny Jang’s steeking chronicles before,  but they didn’t make sense to me until I actually had a swatch, some contrasting yarn, and a crochet hook in front of me. I also found Jared Flood’s largely visual explanation of steeking quite useful.

My swatch, with the two crocheted line of stitches

My swatch, with the two crocheted lines of stitches

The first time I did this, I did it wrong. I know, you thought I’d do it perfectly right from the gate. Not so. The first time I crocheted my two sets of stitches, I left a leg of a knit stitch in between. Why? I no longer know, but it made sense four hours ago.

Even that provided acceptable results.

Look, not connected, and not unraveled!

Look, not connected, and not unraveled!

I just hated the fact that I’d unnecessarily burned a stitch. So I tried it again.

Second set of crocheted stitches.

Second set of crocheted stitches.

This time, there was no knit stitch between the two lines of crochet. Pulling apart the two sides looked like some sort of obscene grimace. Needless to say, I loved this.

Say cheese!

Say cheese!

You can see the purl bumps in between the crocheted stitches. This is what is cut.

Not that I’m an expert or anything, but I am now gaining confidence in my ability to crochet steek. I’m still looking for a way to shore up my cast on and bound off edges, as those are tricksy to secure. Both Jang and Flood mentioned this, so I know that there is an acceptable solution out there, and since the fabric of my sweater is bulky, I am not opposed to just adding to the bulk by putting in a million securing stitches. It all gets folded under anyway (or so I’ve heard, I haven’t gotten up to that yet)!

It’s late and I’m tired, so cutting into my actual sweater isn’t a good idea at all, but I’m glad that I now have a better idea about what I’m going to be doing.