Tag Archives: crochet

Should it stay or should it go?

OK, so.

First, a positive thing: I’ve managed to make a lot of headway on my crochet sweater this week! Something that I haven’t been able to do in… a while. I’ve finished one sleeve and almost finished the second. All that’s left is a few more inches of Right Sleeve, a cuff, and a neck.

Then, a negative thing: I have literally no idea if I like this sweater. Like, at all. Even a little bit. It’s wild. I go back and forth on it hour by hour, minute by minute. One second I think, “Wow! This is a cute, trendy style with a silhouette that I haven’t tried before! I love how it looks! And the bobbles?! So kitschy and cute!” And then literally the next I think “Ugh! Why would I even think that something like this would look good on me? And bobbles? Honestly, what was even going through my head when I picked up my yarn?”

It’s a real rollercoaster up in here.

So, I’m going to let you guys help me decide: Do I like this sweater, or is it immediately going in the Goodwill pile for someone better at clothes than me? Do I need to wear it with something other than jeans? Am I going to have to think about *gasp* fashion? Is it just the wrong size for me? Would I have to re-crochet it to make it fit better?

(Also, posing/taking pictures of myself is wildly difficult, so sorry for the… underwhelming photos.)

I think I’m at least going to have to raise or lower the cuffs- right now they’re somewhere between 3/4-length and full-length, which is not the most flattering on me. Right now I’m leaning toward shorter…

And I’m definitely going to add on the neckband before I make any rash decisions. I feel like that’s going to really change how this sweater sits.

But it really is anybody’s guess if this sweater is going to make it into my sweater rotation.

Keep your fingers crossed, and let me know what you think!

Slow and Steady(ish)

I know I keep saying “Wow! Crochet is so fast!” And it is. But that’s only when I actually sit down and do it.

Which is why, even though crochet is super fast, compared to knitting, I’ve only gotten… about an inch and a half more put on my sweater since the last time I talked to you about it… weeks ago.

It’s a combination of things. I’ve been super busy with the kids (the big one is being very Four and need lots of help with big feelings, and the little one has decided that 5:00 is a great time to get up in the morning). I’ve got a new project in the works with Knit Picks that I can’t talk to you about… yet. And, when I actually have a little time to myself I’m more likely to sit down and want to scroll on my phone than actually do work (even if it’s fun “work”).

All that’s to say, when I do work on it, this sweater is going quick. I just haven’t been actually working on it. Fingers crossed something will change soon and I’ll get a little more bandwidth to finish it up… I’m so close!

Do you have any projects wasting away in your to-be-knit pile?

New Pattern(s): Stitch Your State!

It’s new pattern day, but this time it’s a little different.

A few months ago I was approached by Knit Picks to help them with a collaboration with the Craft Yarn Council’s “Great Yarn Challenge” and Warm Up America. They had written the instructions on how to make a “state blanket”, but they needed someone to actually write out the charts.

And you know me. I love a good challenge, so I said “Sure!”

The idea is that you can use the charts to make your favorite states in your favorite style- filled in with intarsia, outlined with stranded knitting, or even embroidered! They’re easily adaptable to knitting or crochet, being a little more/less elaborate.

You’re more than welcome to keep your squares and make your own special blanket (maybe featuring all the places you’ve visited, or where all your cousins are living, or who knows!) But, if you want to participate in the Warm Up America part of the challenge, you can mail your finished squares in, and volunteers will assemble them with squares from all over the country to donate to people in need. What a fantastic idea!

This was a super fun project to help with, and I’m super excited to see what everyone comes up with!

Grab the pattern here!

A tale of two (one) sweater(s)

I’m of two minds about this sweater. But what’s new?

First, I’m excited about how fast it’s going, which isn’t usually the case at this point in the process. Most of the time when I’m three-quarters of the way in, I’m very frustrated and not seeing much progress. I’m just not used to how fast crochet is. I had a 2-hour Zoom meeting last night, and managed to get through 4 repeats- almost 6 inches of sweater! (I know it doesn’t look like I’m going that fast compared to last week, but that’s mostly because I bought myself a paint-by-number kit that’s taking up most of my attention. I have no regrets.) And, I even like the way the fabric is turning out. I think it’s going to be cute- I love the bobbles (even if they’re a pain to make).

However, I’m real skeptical that this is going to be a cute sweater. It’s just so… rectangular. To be fair, it is a style that I’m not too familiar with (drop shoulder, cropped, oversized sweaters aren’t usually my bag), so maybe this is how it’s supposed to look. Maybe it’ll turn out amazing after I seam it up and put it on, and I’ll never want to take it off. But right now I don’t have a lot of faith in the finished sweater.

Either way, I guess I’ll just keep trucking along and trust the process. I like the finished picture in the pattern- fingers crossed that it turns out that cute!

When’s the last time you were skeptical of a pattern halfway through?

Like the wind!

I’ve been cruising along with my crocheted sweater, and it’s been fun getting to stretch out of my yarn-crafting comfort zone.

I’ve noticed a few things:

  1. I do not like making bobbles, but I do like how they look. (In fact, I made an executive decision to halve the number of bobbles on each bobble-row. It’s a decision I stand behind.) To be fair, a crocheted bobble is much less of a pain than a knitted bobble. So at least there’s that.
  2. Crochet uses different muscles than knitting. I could knit for hours and hours with no discomfort, but my forearms start talking to me after only a little bit of crochet. I don’t think there’s anything wrong, just my body getting used to something new.
  3. Y’all, I forgot how fast crochet goes! Between kids not sleeping and, you know… general life stuff, I haven’t been getting my usual sit-down-and-do-hand-work-time, and still, I’m almost done with the front of this sweater. It’s amazing how fast it’s going!
  4. Crochet patterns are wild! Or maybe it’s just this one. I’m so used to super-precise knitting patterns where every stitch and increase are accounted for, while this pattern is more of a loose “recipe.” It’s kind of fun to try such a different pattern!

I’m really enjoying this project, and can’t wait to wear the finished project!

Have you tried anything new (or new-ish) lately?

Trying something completely different

OK. I gave up on the striped sweater. I’m sure I’ll come back to it, but right now, it’s not “sparking joy.” So, into the hibernation pile it goes.

I thought for a while about what I wanted to make next- I wanted something quick (or at least quicker than the striped sweater) and I wanted to use my stashed yarn. I thought maybe a scarf or a hat, but none of my yarn was exciting me, and I couldn’t find a pattern that spoke to me.

But I do have a sweater-quantity of fingering weight yarn that I thrifted from our local craft-supply-resale shop (Seattle Recreative… it’s really amazing, if you’re ever in town). It’s in two lovely shades of blue-gray. I like it, and want to make something with it, but I don’t want to knit a sweater with fingering yarn. In fact, that’s the whole reason I am looking for a new project!

Then it hit me! I don’t want to knit a sweater, but maybe I want to… crochet? It’s been a minute since I pulled out my hooks, and I don’t think I’ve ever actually crocheted a garment (maybe some hats in high school?). I took to Ravelry to look up crochet sweater patterns, and dang! Crochet patterns have gotten cute since I last looked at them!

It was a tough choice, but I settled on The Goldfinch Sweater by Hailey Bailey, a super-cute, boxy, lightly cropped pullover with lots of texture.

I got to work, and within an evening, I already had several inches worked! It’s wild how fast crochet is compared to knitting (especially knitting on tiny needles).

It took me a bit to figure out how to read the crochet pattern- I truly don’t know the last time I crocheted (let alone used a pattern), but I’m figuring it out. It’s actually kind of fun to re-learn a new “language.” I already love the results, and can’t wait to keep going!

Have you tried any “new” crafts lately?

And Something Completely Different

Well. I’ve put my striped sweater in a time-out for now. Not that it did anything wrong exactly. I’m just grumpy about the whole math/sleeve situation.

I’m also grumpy about the stuffed animal situation.

“What stuffed animal situation?” you ask.

To which I answer, “You must not have a kid living in your house.”

Because my kid (my kids!) have So. Many. Stuffed. Animals.

They don’t even really play with them. (To be fair, one kid is just a little lump who still hasn’t figured out how to use his hands yet, but still.)

There is a big basket of stuffed animals in the living room, two bins of them in Kid 1’s room (in addition to the half-dozen or so that live in his bed), and another bin in Kid 2’s room.

So, in my frustration, I decided to make the biggest basket ever. (Is this a smart decision? No.)

I found a big roll of quarter-inch rope in the shed and a decent amount of leftover Wool of the Andes in my stash and pulled out a crochet hook.

And with a little futzing and a lot of improvising, I’ve got (most) of the bottom of a basket. (Basically, I’m doing a simple (ch1, sc1) around, catching the rope in each single-crochet stitch, and increasing as needed to keep the stitch density more or less even as the rope spirals out. Eventually, I’ll stop increasing, when I start the walls of the basket.)

Unfortunately, it’s growing super-slowly. And if I want this basket to be big enough to contain the horde of stuffies that my kid has been collecting, well… I’ve got a long way to go.

It looks pretty good so far, though!

Coming out of hibernation

I haven’t been inside a yarn store since March. Which is a bummer. There’s nothing I’d like to do more than take a good wander and browse through a bunch of fancy yarn that I would never know what to do with. Online shopping just isn’t the same. (Which is wild. If, six months ago, you asked me what my least-favorite thing to do was, I would have said root canal, followed closely by shopping. Oh how times have changed.)

Instead of acquiring more yarn for new projects, I’ve been slowly working through my stash. It’s been kind of fun- a challenge to myself to see what yarn I’ve had hiding away for “someday.” I don’t think I have a particularly extensive stash (I’m not one to buy sweater-quantities of yarn without a plan), but but I’ve been surprised to see what I have found lurking around at the back of drawers and the bottoms of bins. And it’s been a good excuse to force myself to finish up projects that I had hiding in the back of my closet for “someday.” My quilt from the 2000s is done (ish). And I found this amazing half-finished scrappy project(OK, it’s not half-finished… it’s probably barely a quarter-finished, but still): a crazy scrappy crocheted afghan!

According to my Ravelry, I started in 2013. I remember digging out all the worsted-weight leftovers I had in my stash (and I mean all. There’s definitely some Red Heart, a little fancy-pants alpaca, and everything in-between) and made probably several thousand little round yoyos.

Then I crocheted around the yoyos, adding a round of white to turn the yoyos into squares. Each square is maybe an inch-and-a-half across… they’re very small.

Then I started sewing them together.

Then I got bored.

Well, I’ve got nothing but downtime this year (thanks Covid!), so I’ve dug this project out and have slowly started making progress again. It’s approaching baby-blanket size, but I’m nowhere near finishing off all the yoyos. If I had infinite time and patience, I’d keep going until all the yoyos were used up. But, I don’t, so this might just end up being a small blanket.

Or maybe I’ll get bored and throw it back in the closet for another 7 years!

Have you ever actually finished a long-stashed project?

Kitchen Confession

I have to admit to something.  Something I’ve been neglecting for far too long.  Something… gross.

My dishcloths have officially turned into dishrags, in the worst possible way.

It’s real grim in my towel-and-rag drawer.  I didn’t think it was that bad, but now that I’m thinking about it, most of my “nice” dishcloths were wedding presents.

We got married 9 years ago.

Yikes.

I thought about posting a picture of the old rags, but I decided against it for 2 reasons.

  1. You really don’t want to see them.
  2. I don’t want you to judge me.  Because… oof.  They’re real grim.

The nicest ones are “only” bleached out from years of washing.  The worst are stained with curry or chocolate (or who knows what) and riddled with holes from being used so many times.

So, in a fit of practicality (and avoidance of the projects I’m “supposed” to be doing), I’m breaking out my bin o’ dishcloth cotton.IMG_1293.JPGThere’s plenty of yarn in there, but none of the colors are terribly cohesive, and there isn’t a ton of any one brand.  I’ve always had grand plans of working up a lovely set of fancy matching dishcloths and towels, but… clearly that hasn’t happened.

So instead, I’m grabbing colors at random and making big ol’ single-crochet squares until the yarn runs out, then switching to the next color.  They might not be the fanciest dishcloths, or terribly interesting to work up, but they’ll do their jobs well enough, and I’m enjoying burning through my stash yarn.  IMG_1301We’ll just have to see how many I make it through before I get bored- so far two and a half, and I’m still going strong.

Have you worked on any really practical projects lately?

Why isn’t this working?

I have a question for you.

Why don’t projects progress if you ignore them?

Honestly!

It’s been a couple weeks since I picked up my crocheted blanket, and honest-to-goodness, it hasn’t grown at allIt’s very frustrating.

I keep it in a nice big project bag in my studio, protected and safe, yet it refuses to crochet itself.  What gives?

Why can’t it just hang out and grow on its own like a potted plant?  I’ve thought about breaking it out from time to time over the last couple weeks… shouldn’t that be enough?

Sigh.  I suppose if my “ignore it and I’m sure it’ll be finished eventually” strategy isn’t working, I’ll just have to go to plan B (“get it out and actually work on it while binge-watching Masterpiece”).  Too bad.  I had hoped that maybe I’d just invented a new, more efficient way of working on projects.

Do you have any projects that you’re trying the “leave it in the closet and maybe it’ll magically get finished” strategy with?