Sunday, July 1, 2018

Chain 20 Crochet Challenge

Hey there hookers!

I’ve been experimenting with different shapes and stitches, but now I have a jumble of swatches and partial balls of yarn and no record of what I’ve done or how. I wanted to start being more systematic about my explorations, so I decided to create the Chain 20 Challenge.

I want to set myself up for success, so I’m keeping it simple. For me, the challenge needs to be short and both well-defined and flexible. So here it is:

  1. Everyday for the next 20 days I will make 20 chains and use them as a foundation to crochet something. 
  2. I will take a picture of what I come up with and write at least one sentence about what I did.

There’s the well-defined part; now for the flexibility.  

  1. I will allow myself to create more than one piece on a day if I know that, say, my wife’s birthday falls in the middle of the challenge, and I might want to focus on her instead of noodling around with a hook. I will still post one picture a day, though.
  2. I will allow extra chains if necessary for turning or pattern repeats.  I just want to use 20 to give myself enough room to work but not so much that the swatch takes forever.

I’m not sure what I will do about blocking...I think I’ll see how the time works out and whether the toddler and puppy will allow for finishing, blocking, and photography on the same day.

Stay tuned for my first...thingie!

Monday, November 13, 2017

T-shirt sweater design Part 2

I was eager to start crocheting, so I decided to start with one half of the back, starting from the bottom. Here is what I have so far:

It is sloping up on one side just the way I was hoping it would!  I struggled for a while about how to do the increases, but settled on doing sc2tog a few stitches from the edge to keep things neater.  I tried to find a good way to increase by a single stitch, but the stitch pattern makes that very awkward, since it is made up of two stitches that alternate with the rows above and below.  In other words, the pattern requires that the row you are working into consists of alternating sc and ch stitches.  If you decrease by a single stitch, you end up with two scs or two chs in a row, which throws you off until you decrease again.  I was concerned that decreasing by two would look choppy, but keeping the increase away from the edge seems to have taken care of that.

In addition to crocheting, I have been working on a schematic using Autodesk Graphic for iPad.  It's a vector graphics program that you can use if Illustrator is a bit too rich for your blood ;) Here is what I have so far:

The picture is not coming out very clearly, I will try to fix it.  But I'm having fun with the program, and the schematic is much easier to work with than my messy paper and pencil version.

I'll be back soon with more progress!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Designing a sweater from a favorite t-shirt

I've "discovered" a new crochet stitch (in other words, I learned a stitch that has probably been around forever). Tamara Kelly of has a great tutorial for the Moss Stitch, which produces a flat fabric with good drape, perfect for a light sweater.  I decided to use a t-shirt to determine measurements and try to create a pattern.

I have never done this before, so I am very much making it up as I go along.  I am documenting the process on my blog so that I can do it more efficiently next time.

Step 1: Create a gauge swatch

  • Moss stitch creates slightly shorter stitches than regular sc, resulting in essentially even row and stitch counts.  In my case, using an I hook and fingering weight yarn, 20 stitches measured 4.5", and 20 rows measured 4.25"
  • I am impatient to start crocheting, so for now I am going to call it 4.5 st/inch and 4.5 rows/inch. It is possible that I will regret being imprecise.
Step 2: Measure the T-shirt

  • I pinned the shirt to blocking mats without stretching. I decided to leave the sleeves for the time being because they did not want to lie flat.  

  • Then I started measuring. Here's what I came up with:

Try to ignore the chicken scratch around the edges :)

I'm going to stop here so this post doesn't get too long, but I will be back with more progress. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Pattern preferences?

I don't know if anyone is reading this, but if you are, I would love your opinion on how to write out repeated stitches.  The one I'm struggling with could be written like this:

Dc in each of next 4 dc

Or this:

Dc in next 4 dc

Or this:

(Dc in dc)x4

The first one is probably the clearest, but seems very wordy, and is definitely cumbersome to write.

The second one is a little more efficient, but could potentially be confusing - it's possible that the pattern could be directing you to do one dc in all four stitches at once.

The third one seems both accurate and concise, but it looks odd if it comes at the end of a larger repeat.  For example:

[V-st in ch sp, sk dc, (dc in dc)x4]x2

I guess you could also say

*V-st in ch sp, sk dc, (dc in dc)x4*, rep * to * x2

But I find that asterisks can be confusing...
Anyway, I would love people's thoughts on this.  Also feel free to tell me that I am insane for thinking this much about it :)

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Hello again!

It's time to wake up the blog!

I've been crocheting more, designing more, and generally getting inspired about yarn. I'm super excited to finish the shawl I'm designing, as well as the diagram and written pattern. My goal is to have three patterns on Ravelry by November 1. That might be overly ambitious, but the designs are all done, I just need to write them know, in a coherent way that other crocheters can understand :)

I'll be back soon to talk about my process.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Week 3 Challenge: Flowers!

There are so many beautiful flower patterns out there - I spent a ridiculous amount of time browsing on Ravelry.  (I know, so what else is new?)  But I finally chose this pattern by Lucy at Attic24, for Japanese Quince Flowers.

I ended up making two versions of the flower itself, as I didn't love the first one.  I wanted to use some pretty scrap yarn I had lying around...

...but I found that it was too fuzzy, and the flower lost its delicate beauty.

So I started over with thinner cotton yarn...

and was happier with the outcome.

Here is my final notebook page for this project.  I had to translate into US crochet terms.

And here are my two lovely quince flowers, complete with little green leaves:

Monday, March 17, 2014

New Poll!

Hey there hookers!

I've posted a new poll on the top left of this page, and I'd love it if you'd take a moment to vote.  I have struggled with crocheting into the foundation chain, and now I use foundation single crochet whenever I can.  But for some patterns you do have to use that (tight, twisted, uneven) chain, and I recently learned that there are different approaches.  I think the most common way is to insert the hook under the top two strands, but you can also do back-loop only, back and bump, bump only, and probably a million other variations.  I'm curious as to who does which, and when, and why.

Regarding the other poll, I can only apologize.
I used to research test construction, and yet I provided you with that horribly crafted question.  How could I have asked about "most often," and then encouraged you to choose as many answers as you wanted?  There is also the matter of being a self-selected sample: are any of us really surprised that there are more crocheters and no knitters reading this blog?

Hopefully I've done a better job this time ;)