Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"Dabbling" in Crochet

I got to thinking the other day about possibly teaching myself to crochet. Now that I'm self-employed I have a little bit of free time to learn (if I so desired). I've heard some people claim that crochet is faster than knitting and I thought this might be of some advantage in the blanket making department. I mean, there's an afghan hook the size of Texas that can apparently be used.
Giant afghan hook
My previous experience with crochet has been rather limited. I can make a chain but that's about it. Then I remembered the purple mitered squares blanket. I needed to start piecing it together and I didn't want to sew the thing up (I hate seaming with a passion). A quick Google search on crochet seaming and I had a rough idea of how things were supposed to go. Of course I pretty much adapted the whole thing to Whatever-Way-Worked-Best-For-Me which I'm sure made needle artists everywhere cringe. This is one of the drawbacks of teaching myself something new. I usually just interpret it as best as I can and jump right in. Case in point: for the first year or so after I learned to knit I purled backwards. Side note: I did eventually fix the back of that sweater. And no, I haven't finished it! Thanks for asking...

I assembled all the supplies for seaming.
Squares and yarn
Blurry crochet hook (not blurry in real life, only in crappy-taken-at-10-p.m. pictures)
Then I got to it. My first set of squares came out quite well I think.

First 4 squares seamed together.
It took me an entire movie (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, in which Daniel Radcliff sports some very voluminous hair) to finish seaming all 16 squares together. There was only one mishap. I had originally intended to seam the squares with the "fraternal twin" squares opposite one another (you can see that in the picture above). Well, one set got mis-seamed.
Fraternal twins on the same side as one another.
Not a huge deal and definitely not something I'm ripping out a whole half hour of seaming to redo.

After spending a whole night dabbling in crochet I don't think I could leave my first love, knitting. It would be like saying I was just going to go make out with that guy who's not my boyfriend because he looks like he might be a better kisser. In the end nothing is as good as it seems and everything takes a little work. Plus, I got a sore thumb from crocheting. Not sure how that equates to the kissing thing but I'd rather not work that one out.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Random Monday #2

Apparently I've done a Random Monday post before so this is #2.
1. I slept a lot today.
2. I also got a lot done today (groceries, Goodwill, vacuuming, sending emails, washing bedclothes, etc). I guess it all evens out in the wash then.
3. I tried making fried tuna patties last night for dinner and they were the most disgusting thing I've ever made. I made spaghetti tonight. Much better results.
4. I have an insatiable craving for ice cream. Even after eating spaghetti.
5. I'm obsessed with this blanket:
If I'm not knitting on it then I'm thinking about knitting on it.
6. I have the entire first session of Daria on DVD. I will be watching it and knitting on this blanket tonight.
7. I also have Ernest Goes to Camp, Ernest Scared Stupid, and Ernest Goes to Jail. I might watch these and knit.
8. The only problem with loving this blanket is that when I finish it I know I will want to make another from the same book.
9. This is a problem because I have lots of Christmas knitting that needs to get started and 3 other blankets that need to be finished.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Pathological Need to Snuggle

One of the gals on Twitter and I determined that the reason why I'm making so many blankets is that I have a pathological need to snuggle. I think we're on to something.

Exhibit A:
The Moderne Log Cabin Blanket. Production has been temporarily halted as I ran out of red yarn 10 rows before the color block was finished. I have plenty more I just need to dig it out.
This thing is huge and I'm not even finished with the third block! This makes it a little unwieldy to drag out and around but it's good mindless knitting when I do pull it out. Would love to be finished with this by October but seeing as how there are only 8 days left in August that may be a pipe dream.

Exhibit B:
Square, Not A Circle Blanket.
Really enjoying seeing how this blanket is taking shape. I'm just using up bits of bulky odds and ends I had laying around. It's seriously depleting my bulky yarns! The only problem is the needles. Using my Boye interchangables and have linked several cables together with the connectors. This is a great beginners set of interchangable needles but they're just not doing the trick any more. The joins between the needles and cables aren't always smooth, the cables are extremely unflexable, and when I join the cables together to make them longer they don't lie flat. This makes moving the stitches around extremely difficult as they usually snag or get log jammed at one of the "corners" where the cables are connected. I really want some 60" Addis but I'm not sure I'm ready to fork over $20+ for the pair. Especially on my self-employment salary.

Exhibit C:
"Assuring" Afghan.
This may actually be my favorite blanket that I'm currently working on. I love that it's going fast thanks to big needles and worsted weight yarn held double. It's interesting enough that I have to sort of pay attention to it but not so complicated that I can't watch a movie or read a few blogs while working on it. And I can attest to the fact that even though it's acrylic it's still warm as I've had it on my lap for several nights working on it. Will definitely be making more afghans from this book when I finish this one.

Exhibit D:
Purple Mitered Square Blanket. While I haven't done anything with this recently it's still marinating in my room ready to be called to action. With several of the above blankets getting too large to schlep around this might be the perfect "on the go" project.

Now I'm off to snuggle with my blankets and satisfy some deep seated urge in my being.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Why I'm Going to Knitting Time Out

Remember how I said I was going to make squares for the purple blanket?
 And I still had the square blanket to finish (It only looks like a circular blanket in this picture. I assure you it has corners)?
Well, instead of working on these projects I started another one. Another blanket. A large one. A VERY large one.
It lives beside my bed and is for late night knitting.
I might have a problem. I'll go sit in the Uncooperative Chair. Just as long as I can take a blanket to work on.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Purple Blanket

Awhile ago (April 2008) I started a purple mitered square blanket using some acrylic yarn (Caron One Pound and Jo-Ann Sensations Rainbow Classic).
I made a bunch of squares when I was teaching a history of film music class at the middle school. We watched a lot of movie segments so I would knit on squares while the movie played. After school ended (or maybe even before) I got a bit tired of constantly making the same type of thing over and over. I was making them in fraternal twin sets with the striping reversed on each one but it was still getting old. So... I let the blanket marinate in a plastic bin. For over 3 years (wow, didn't realize it had been that long). With the collection for childrens blankets going on through the Eastern European and Russian Orphanages Project I decided to resurrect the purple blanket and see how much work needed to still be done on it. I started by finding all the squares (plus one square that had been started and was still on the needles) and gathering them all in one place.
Then I separated them into sets of twins.
I had 16 squares. My plan is to make 4x4 blocks using two sets of twin squares. Fraternal twins would face each other across the large square (all this will become clearer in the pictures below). First though, I needed to measure them to get a rough idea of how big the squares were and how many more I needed.
Each side measured roughly 6.5".
Then I began making the 4x4 squares. First, I placed fraternal twin pairs across from one another.
Then I placed another set of twins.
I continued until I had all the squares matched up.
Then, to make my life easier, I pinned the 4x4 blocks together with safety pins. The cat helped.
I ended up with 4 large 4x4 squares and one partially started square.
Then it was time to hit the drawing board. I need the blanket to be at least 50"x50" to make it a decent size. My plan is to make large 13" garter stitch mitered squares to go around the 4x4 squares. I needed to figure out how many of the 13' squares were needed. Note that in the pictures below the sizes are actually not correct. I was originally figuring that the squares would curl up to about 6" due to the stockinette. Now I plan on using the larger blocks to pull them out to their full 6.5".
From left to right we have the largest size to the smallest size blanket.
The largest size would produce a 65"x65" blanket. I would need 21 plain 13" squares to make this one.
 The middle size would make a 65"x52" blanket and take just 16 plain squares.
The smallest one would take 12 plain squares and measure 52"x52". While even the smallest one would produce a decent sized blanket I may try for the middle size. I like blankets that are a little longer than they are wide. I will probably frog the one square that is on the needles and not worry with it (if I finished that square I would have to finish at least 3 more to make a 4x4 square and then figure out how to work it into the overall design). So, now to knit 16-13" mitered squares in garter stitch and seam the whole thing together by the end of October. And did I mention that I didn't weave in any ends on the small squares yet...