my life as a crocheter & knitter & working mom

Friday, January 31, 2003

I have not been neglecting my crocheting as much as I've been neglecting my crocheting blog.

To follow-up my thought of two weeks ago, on the subway home that Friday I remembered that I had money coming to me from winning our fantasy football league. I can buy all the needles, hooks and yarn I want! Woo hoo! I'm also thinking of buying bins to store my stash in.

I didn't get as much done that weekend as I had wanted. I dozed off in the car and woke up on outskirts of Atlantic City. I did finish the project I was working on. It was a baby blanket for my cousin and his wife. She's expecting next month. I missed the shower, but I mailed it last week. They should have it by now. I'm kind of worried he hasn't e-mailed about it.

As soon as I heard they were expecting, I knew I wanted to make them a blanket. I would have done a layette set but I've never made clothes before! I decided to try to make a blanket with a giraffe on it. She collects giraffes and I thought it would be cute. I could not find a crochet pattern for a giraffe blanket. I'm not a strong knitter, yet, so it needed to be crochet. I did find a pattern for "toddler squares" but it was meant to be cross-stitched onto a crocheted square. I didn't want to do that because I didn't want the blanket to have a wrong side. I decided to blow-up the pattern and try to crochet in color. Didn't work. I've got a better idea of how to do that now, but at the time I was clueless. So, I broke the cross-stitch pattern down into smaller squares I could crochet. They were a lot of fun to do during the commute. Piecework is great on the train. Then I had to sew them together. That part of piecework sucks! Anyway. Two weeks ago I was putting the border on. I even put a mane and fluffy tail on it! I sure hope they like it. It's a peach giraffe with light brown spots and a yellow background. It's very bright and soft. I used acrylic yarn so it would be easy care. I gave them a lifetime warranty. I just know the pieces are going to come a part!

I've been obsessing about crocheting. I started my next project immediately. It's a large blanket for my sister. She whined at Christmas that I'd made blankets for everyone but her. I pointed out that Mom doesn't have a blanket and she retorted that Mom got a tree skirt (made by me this fall). So, I asked her what she wanted. She said she liked the yarn in the tree skirt (Caron Christmas Ombre) but she wanted blues. And she liked the points on the tree skirt, too. (It's octagonal, I think. I'd have to check the pattern to remember how many points it actually has.) Long story short, she wants a blue, pointy blanket. I'm making a hexagon. I'm working in the round with the same style of corners as the tree skirt.

I wrote out a simple pattern but forgot it at work. And since I couldn't wait to start, I tried to just wing it. It took me five tries to get something decent going. None of my first attempts would lie flat. I have that problem often when working in the round. Anyway, I went back and re-started the way I had originally planned and it's working well. I've got 20 3 oz skeins to work through, and I'm nearly done 2.

All I want to do is crochet. My husband and I went to an NBA basketball game on Wednesday and as we were sitting there waiting for the introductions and the game to start I got really anxious thinking about how I could be better spending that time crocheting! I've got it bad. It's all I think about and all I want to do.

Friday, January 17, 2003

I got the Winter/Spring 2003 Lion Brand catalog yesterday. I really like to look at any sort of catalog, although I rarely order through them. Especially now with the internet, I spend a lot of money on Joann.com just because it's easier than trying to get to a craft store to buy yarn. There was a knitting and sewing shop in my town but it went out of business over a year ago. I stocked up on a few skeins of yarn, but I didn't go crazy. I haven't used some of it, but everyone's got to have a stash.

Anyway. Last week I was looking for patterns online for this chenille I won on eBay. I haven't decide what to do with it, yet. I'm waiting to see how thick the yarn is. I know I've got over 1600 yards coming to me, but if it's very fine, that's not going to work up as a lot. If it's bulky, I'll be able to make something big. And being a plus-size woman, something for me is by necessity something big. I also want to see the exact color, too. Sandstone could be anything. It didn't look too beige in the photo, but I work in publishing and I know that photos (particularly online photos) aren't always exactly representative.

Not really off topic, but I sure am rambling. To get back to the Lion Brand catalog. I was perusing their free patterns and requested the catalog. I've looked through it three or four times already and it's sitting on my desk for more perusals when I need a break.

It's just so fascinating to me. All the colors and types of yarns. There's this crochet hook set I really want. Although, I have most of the sizes, some in duplicate, my steel hooks were inherited from my grandmother and she wore off the numbers on someand it's not a complete set. Who knows if I'll ever make lace, but if I do I want the right hooks. There's just something about a complete set of matching hooks in their own little case. *sigh* Sometimes I think I'm more into the acoutrements of the hobby than the hobby itself.

I'm actually very into it right now. I've got a little project chart I started this summer where I track ideas that I have and fill in who they're for, what pattern I'm using, if I need yarn, if there's a deadline, etc. I'd love to make many more things, but it's difficult for me to find the time. I do crochet during my commute and I've been spending my lunch hours trying to finish up my most recent project (there is a deadline on that one, the baby is due in a few weeks). But, I don't really get a chance to crochet in front of the TV anymore. Our dog won't let me. She likes to chew on my projects and tries to kill the skeins of yarn. She literally pulled a couple inside out before I could get them away from her. When she finally goes to sleep for the night, I’m her favorite bed. It's hard to crochet when there's a 56 lb dog lying on you! I do crochet in the car when we travel. I'm very happy we're spending part of the long weekend in Atlantic City. I'll have nearly 4 hours in the car and time in the motel (my in-laws are dog sitting). I hope to finish one project and start another.

What a long post. And I still have tons of things to say. They'll have to keep. I need to get some work done or I won't be able to support my yarn habit.

Thursday, January 16, 2003

I thought the best way to start a blog about my crochet activities would be at the very beginning...

I taught myself to crochet about seven years ago. I had gone home for Christmas for the second time since my move to NYC/NJ. I was bored out of my mind and looking for something to do. My sister had bought a learn to crochet kit. It came with an instruction manual and some hooks and other tools. She's a lefty and bought it because it had lefty instructions and I guess she wanted a hobby. She never did really learn. There were some yarn scraps around. I don’t know if she had bought the scraps to learn with or if they were just in the house to begin with. I decided to start fiddling myself. I started following the basic stitches and would work a few rows until I had each one down. Then I'd rip the whole thing out and start with the next stitch. I decided that I really liked it. Then I decided I really wanted to make something. I picked one of the patterns in the book for a basic afghan with a striped, wavy pattern. Southwestern ripples is the name of the pattern. It was a pretty easy double crochet with chain spaces. I went to the now closed Ames and bought off-white, forest green, dusty rose and sage yarn. My friend Kelly was with me. The whole time i debated colors she went on and on about how it would take me years to finish it. That burned me a little. I decided I'd finish it in time for her birthday in March and give it to her, just to show her. I'm perverse that way. So I started. I crocheted at my parents watching tv. I crocheted on the 11 hour train ride home. I crocheted in my apartment watching hockey games with my husband (well, we were living in sin at the time). I crocheted while he watched wrestling. You get the idea.

I did finish it. We went to VT a week or so after her birthday for my parents wedding anniversary and I gave it to her. She was surprised and very pleased. (And it matched her d├ęcor at the time.) It's the only project I've done that I didn't keep a picture of. It came out pretty well except my gauge got tighter as I went along (a problem that often crops up in my work) so it got narrower at the top. But, I did it. I've been hooked ever since.