Category Archives: crochet

Crafting a Wardrobe: Washday Lace Scarf

When I saw the New Edition Scarf I knew I had to make one. The multi-color yarn and zig-zag pattern scream Missoni inspired style, which I love (and which is out of both my price range and my size range for the most part.) The modeled shot couldn’t have been tailored to encourage me to buy the pattern unless they had put it on a plus-sized model.

Missoni inspired style? Check. A curly-haired woman on a bike? Check. An accessory that’s actually one size fits all? Triple check! Sold to the curly-haired, bike riding, fat girl.

My strong temptation was to make this scarf exactly as it was modeled, in colorway Englischer Garten (English Garden). I’d like to say that cooler heads prevailed, which is why I picked Waschtag (Washday) instead. I’d be lying. Englischer Garten was out of stock everywhere I looked to order the yarn.

The universe was looking after me. Waschtag is a much better colorway for my wardrobe, though I wasn’t certain of it when I opened the package. It seemed too emerald green in the ball. Never one to let a little thing like doubt keep me from trying something to see if it works, I set out to swatch.

That is also a lie. I started hooking the pattern straight away.

Once I had a good four inches of pattern done, I decided I should do a color test. Completly untrue. I decided that I needed to post to Instagram to show off how lovely this pattern looks even before blocking. The idea of color testing against my wardrobe snuck in as a secondary point since I was going to Instagram this anyway – and bonus, it gave me pictures to post to my Ravelry project for this.

Double bonus: First Ravelry project for the pattern!

The combination of yarn weight (heavy laceweight/light fingering) and crochet hook size (3.5 mm) give this fabric fabulous drape. It’s super fun to crochet and easy to remember. I think it would make a reasonably good travel project. I love the way the long slow color changes flow and the feel of the 100% merino in my hands is delightful. I’d give this project two thumbs up so far, but I’d have to stop crocheting long enough to do that.

Charcoal gray t-shirt

Olive green t-shirt

Turquoise t-shirt

After I tested it against my three favorite t-shirts to wear to work, my fears were laid to rest. Against the Charcoal shirt, the swatch (read: the first part of the scarf) appeared very blue. The dark teal took on an almost denim tone when paired with the charcoal. The effect was very sophisticated and classic, much like some of the more subdued Missoni prints. I would wear the combination together without hesitation, but it was my least favorite of the shirt color tests.

The greens looked much more yellow against the Olive shirt, to the point where the olive row actually almost looked yellow and the purple really popped. This shirt color test is probably the way I’ll wear the scarf most often, simply because I have more Olive green in my wardrobe and it may affect what I wear to the Tweed Ride because I like this color combination so much.

Interestingly, the colorway looked the truest to the color in the ball against the light Turquoise shirt. This was also my favorite color test. Like the Olive color test, the purple in the colorway really popped. I’ll have to figure out how to get a little more turquoise in the wardrobe if I want to play around more with pairing the scarf with turquoise shirts.

Of course, this is all a tiny bit premature given that I haven’t actually finished the scarf yet, but I’m not ready to be bothered with such trifels yet.

Updated: The sweater list

As I’ve been cleaning out the sweater queue, I’ve started putting together the sweater list: things that I absolutely want to wear and thus find worthy to make. As I’ve been putting together this list, I’m following a few rules:

  1. The pattern must be one already in my collection, custom-fit (since I have the subscription) or available for free. I’m watching my budget and I have the blessing of an extensive library of things to knit.
  2. The yarn must be something already in my stash. This is in part because I’m watching my budget, but it’s also because I have lots of great yarn just waiting to be sweaters. I’m worthy of using it now.
  3. It must be a realistic style for me to wear. This is both a style and a weight of the sweater issue. If it’s not my thing, I won’t wear it. If it’s too heavy and I could only wear it as a coat, I won’t wear it, either.

It’s proving more difficult than I originally thought it would be. I’m doing a great deal of searching through both my stash on Ravelry and my Ravelry library. So far it’s not going well, at least from the “something to blog about” standpoint. I have a lot of “I didn’t understand my most usual colors” and a lot of “that’s a cool pattern, but not practical/flattering/reasonable to think I’ll actually make” to sort through.

It leaves me with a lot of questions about what I’m going to do with this yarn if I’m not going to make a sweater with it, too. I need to get serious about figuring out that problem, too. Some of the yarn I have, I still want to make other things with. Some of it, however, would be put to better use sold to another knitter/crocheter or potentially donated to somewhere that could do some good.

Some of the yarn I have, I still want to make other things with. Some of it, however, would be put to better use sold to another knitter/crocheter. Some other skeins I have would be better donated to somewhere that could do some good and I have a venue in mind for that.

I’ve been questioning my lists a lot lately. I keep looking at the time available after I leave the Day Job all the things I have on my lists. This blog. The knitting. The stack of books on my nightstand. The Craftsy classes I own and haven’t taken. The gym I’m not going to enough. The story writing that goes in fits and starts at best. Each of them silently judging me because I have so much on my plate and so little progress on any of them, especially the gym and the story writing.

I’m just wondering, is doing it all unrealistic for me at this stage in my life? Do I need to let go of a few things? Or do I just need better priorities and more efficient use of my time?

I can’t listen to an audio book when I’m at The Day Job due to the nature of my work. There are too many interruptions. What if I go to the gym and walk on the track and listen to a book on Audible, will that let me do more?

Should I knit and watch TV when I get home from The Day Job to unpack my brain after a long day?

Do I give up the blogging time and trade it for time directly on my novel? Is this even worth doing? If it is, do my general ramblings make the most entertaining reading or should I put a timer on my blog time and use a writing prompt related to what I’m trying to write about in my stories to help prime the pump?

Christmas Scarf Watch Update: 20161223 – The race is on

​Scarf watch: length 65 inches of 78 inches.

Tendonitis report: Yes.

Tomatoes behind schedule: Let’s call it one. It should be three, because I should have planned on finishing today and not tomorrow, to allow for blocking. I did take time to weave in the ends so far, so I’ll only have one end to weave in when I finish.

Tomatoes remaining: Let’s call it 5, just to be safe. 

Odds of finishing before Christmas: Promising (Don’t get cocky!)

Desperation level: Waning (Seriously, don’t get cocky!)

There are just a bit over 13 inches of scarf left to knit and perhaps 2 and a half hours of work left before the knitting is finished.

I’m on Winter Shutdown now. It varies a bit from year to year, but The Day Job shutters the doors from from December 23 through January 2 in order to do vital maintenance in the factory and facilities. Lucky me, since the office is closed, too. In theory, I should be able to manage knitting time over the course of the day to finish the scarf and block it.

In practice, the roommate may have other plans for maintenance around the house that I need to help with since we’re hosting the Holiday festivities here this year. 

There’s a fighting chance of actually meeting my self imposed deadline. Wish me luck.

Taking a quick knit break

Winged Wrap by Moogly in Lion Brand Shawl in a Ball, Restful Rainbow colorway.

Sometimes my hands start hurting while I’m knitting, so then there’s crochet. This design is called Winged Wrap and I saw it on the Moogly blog in a more subdued colorway. I still had some Shawl in a Ball yarn around (aka: multicolored Muppet fur yarn), and I needed a break from knitting double seed stitch, so I decided to make one of these while I figure out what I’m going to do about Shawn’s afghan.

Shawn’s afghan: We hates it, Precious. We does.

I think I’m going to rip it all out and start over as something that’s more exciting to me. Last month the Crochet Girl Gang and LoveCrochet Website did an afghan as a Crochet-along that I like a lot better. The colors I was already planning to use will work. In fact, they’ll probably work better in this afghan than what I originally started.

It has a square they call the “arrow motif” that I can do in green (because hey, Green Arrow). The black I was already planning to use will work for the borders. There are other motifs which will work with the other colors, too. I think this is a slam dunk.

I need to add a row of motifs to the afghan to make it wider, but basically, it’s a good size.

More importantly, it’s much more interesting crocheting, and thus has a chance of getting done in what’s left of my lifetime. Maybe even what’s left of this winter, though that might be pushing it. Motifs are potato chip crafting, though, so it’s got a good chance – especially if the game master of the new 5th Edition D&D game we’re starting this month will let me crochet at the game table.

(Shawn, if you ever want to see your afghan finished, you’ll let me crochet at the game table.)

It was a good idea. What could possibly go wrong?

Two shades of chroma fingering and a simple chevron pattern. What could go wrong?

Quite a bit, actually. The way the colors blended together way too well, even though I was using two different colorways of KnitPicks Chroma Fingering (Mix Tape and Roller Skate, both sadly discontinued). They had some colors in common and some different colors to change it up. Mix Tape has grey and bright green as well as purple and red purple. Roller skate has purple and pink with a bright blue and a true green. The colors looked coordinating, but not matchy-matchy in the skein. When I started knitting, though, they were lining up was making it look less like the Missoni scarf I was hoping to emulate and more like just a blue, purple, and green striped scarf.

It was an idea that looked good on the surface. When it came to the actual implementation, it failed. It wasn’t a stunning failure. I could have kept going with it. Nothing was actually wrong with the scarf, perse. It just wasn’t what I was shooting for.

For a while I keep knitting, hoping it would get better. Eventually, though, I had to admit it just wasn’t working. There was no sense in knitting any farther when I wasn’t going to like the project. 

If I really believe Maxim 70 (and the Japanese Proverb that says Fall down 7 times, stand up 8) then there’s nothing wrong with admitting failure. It’s what you do after you fail that counts.

In this case, I ended up ripping it out and adding the two colors to my Color Therapy Bruinen, instead.

My lesson was “no really, swatch.” (the start of a scarf counts as a swatch in this case. Just saying.) Also, I normally trust self striping and color change yarns to do the work for me. In this case, it’s a case of “trust, but verify.” 

I’m doing much more planning and manipulating the colors. The pattern has a 7 row repeat. I had originally thought I’d just swap colorways at the end of a pattern repeat. That’s not always the most pleasing place to switch. Instead, I am switching between my different colorways at color coordinating spots instead of waiting until the end of a pattern repeat. That’s improving the harmony between the colorways.

Bruinen is a top down shawl, so my rows are getting longer as I go. I kind of just let things happen in the shorter rows toward the beginning. I’m being much more mindful of what colors are appearing across a row as my rows are getting longer. I had one and half skeins of (also discontinued) Prism and have started doubling the length of some of the color runs by splicing in an additional length of the color from the other skein.I may do something similar with the remaining Mix Tape and Roller Skate. 

Since each skein has several repeats of the full color run, I should be able to wind off some of the yarn to make longer runs of the colors for the remaining bits of the shawl. We’ll see how this works out.

Shawn’s Afghan

I call them PIGs: Projects in Grocery Bags. This particular PIG is currently living in the Ron Jon reusable bag we got on one of our trips to Florida. 

The colors are a little less intense than this picture suggests. I’m not using a pattern, just rows of crocheted V Stitch for the zigzag effect.
It’s a background project. It’s easy enough to be stress relieving and a little zen, but I can’t work on a project like this all the time or it goes from zen to boring and then gets thrown in the Work In Progress pile, never to be finished.

If I stay motivated, this one may be finished yet this year.

In which I admit I am addicted to Craftsy classes

Seriously addicted. I have an unspeakable backlog of Craftsy classes to watch (and apply) on knitting, crocheting, sewing and photography, (even some cooking classes) which I am committing publicly to actually watching and applying instead of just saying “Oh, I have a class on that I should watch and learn from.”

I’m not currently a Craftsy affiliate (though I wouldn’t turn down the opportunity in the future.) I just love Craftsy classes and need a personal incentive to work through my backlog of unwatched classes and actually do something with them.