Crochet · I'm loving this!

Nothing Short of Miraculous!

I’ve been crocheting for about four years now, and I’ve been fairly prolific.  I’ve started and finished a lot of projects, and if you do the math, that nets out to lots and lots of ends that I’ve woven to complete those projects

I’ve also been a student of the craft.  I’ve read voraciously, and studied all of the information I could assimilate with a single-minded focus.  So when I say that there’s not really a lot of information out there on how to weave ends, I feel pretty comfortable with that statement.

People may tell you to leave an “ample” end to weave.  They might even give some direction on methodology, but never once have I seen or read anything that recommended a “tool” as superior to others in the end-weaving game.

You can just imagine my surprise, when lo and behold, I found one! And this find is truly…yes, truly….wait for it…Nothing Less Than Miraculous!  And simple..it’s so freaking simple!  And maybe everyone in the world knows it, but I didn’t!

It’s the composition of the needle!  For four years I’ve been using these

That’s right, the good old $1.99 a pack plastic yarn needles.  I’ve gone through packs of them.  I lose them like you lose pens.  They’re functional, sometimes come in cute colors, and that’s about all you can say about them.

Then last week, out of the blue, I bought these

They’re steel! Cold, smooth steel! The now forever sub-standard plastic needles utz their way through the yarn.  (Utz is a non-scientific term for sallying forth in a manner that is not awesome)  These chrome beauties, however, slice through the yarn, rendering the act of end-weaving mere child’s play.

Why didn’t anyone tell me?  They’re phenomenal! And they’ve been here all long! Behold….Awesomeness!

General

Vacationing

We went on vacation, and we all fell in love.  The plan was to keep close to home, while exploring somewhere we’d never been.  So we headed to Arkansas.  I was hopeful, but I kept my expectations in check.  I hoped we’d have a good time.  I hoped the kids weren’t bored. I hoped it would be nice enough that we’d be comfortable.  I hope to find it “ok”.  Well folks, it was more than “ok”.  It was fantastic!

Petit Jean State Park is a jewel in the Arkansas Park system.  The first state park in Arkansas, many of the buildings at the park are stone structures built by the depression era Civilian Conservation Corps and Works Progress Administration. This includes Mather Lodge where we stayed.  Entering the breezeway of Mather Lodge is like stepping through a frame into a picture.

The hiking was amazing.  Some hikes were easy.  Some hikes were challenging.  All of them were beautiful. It’s so wonderful to see your kids outdoors!  Scrambling across rocks and running toward their next adventure.

We hiked down to the base of Cedar Falls. Unfortunately, the state is in the middle of a brutal drought, and the water was only a trickle as it reached the edge. If you look very closely, you can see it.

The kids were undaunted and declared the water cold and wonderful.  We’ve vowed to return when we can see the falls in full glory.

We explored and went swimming and feasted on hamburgers with an appalling frequency.

It was exactly what a vacation should be.

We bickered and laughed and argued and teased and told each other “I love you” at least one hundred times each.

Memories are made of this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crochet

Tunisian…Ta Da!

I completed the first panel of Jennifer Hansen’s Tunisian Multi-Garment!

It was fun.  Learning Tunisian has been very gratifying. These pictures  were taken after my first quick run at blocking.  I still have some perfecting to do with the structure.

I have a sneaky suspicion that I would have been happier with a slightly larger size.  I won’t know for certain until I’ve completed the second panel.  The sizes were based on bust circumference and I think I would prefer a little more length on what will inevitably be the “torso”.  Maybe I’m long-waisted….or maybe my tummy is a little more of an issue than my bust….

The color work is fascinating.  Let it be known, however, that it leaves a gazillion ends to be woven.  Hence the probable delay in starting the second panel for the garment.  I need a little time to forget what a pain those ends were.

All in all, however, I’m extremely pleased!  The Craftsy class on Tunisian was a great experience.  I’ve signed on for three additional classes since beginning the Tunisian.  I’m not sure that the instruction I’m seeing is the same quality that Jennifer Hansen provided in the Tunisian class, but I love the platform and  recommend it for anyone who struggles to find classes available in your location or that work with your schedule.

Crochet

Playing the Field..

I’ve been multi-tasking….burning both ends of the candle, if you will.  On the one hand, I am full steam ahead with my Tunisian Crochet class and the Multi Garment.

Simultaneously, I am “go” for my sewing “Do Over”.

It’s like dating two guys when you’re single.  You usually spend one date wishing you were on another.  Then you feel guilty when you’re on a date with a guy you really like, because  the other dude is more responsible and more stable.  Usually things fall apart with both of them at about the same time and you wind up with no date…but I digress…

Apparently the sewing “do over” is Mr. Stability.  The Tunisian multi-garment is the hotter Mr. Smooth. (This is a bizarre analogy, but let’s go with it.)

The stitch patterns are gorgeous.

Even though I’m using cotton instead of silk, the stitching still promises attractive drape. With the Tunisian, despite being in learning mode, everything is easier.

Sewing, not so much.  I’ve finished my first set of pillow covers.  I haven’t worked up the enthusiasm to photograph them yet.  They’re cute….that’s it.  Just cute.  I wanted spectacular…wow! But nope, they’re cute. Like I said, the craft equivalent to Mr. Stability.  I think I’ll wait and post them when I can add a few more for a grouping.

Until then, back to Mr. Smooth…

 

 

 

 

Crochet

Three Color Tunisian

So the Craftsy journey continues, and I have to say, I liked the three color Tunisian soooo much better than the single color work.  I chose Catania Cotton (yes, shocking I know).

I love these colors!

The three color is easier because each different color strand highlights and accents the architecture of the stitches.  You don’t have to figure out where your “vertical bar” is because it’s color coded.  Very cool!

So I’m into my next Tunisian project.  Titled the “Multigarment”,  it’s a two-panel wrap that can be worn as a shawl, sweater, or poncho (love the peekaboo shoulders).  Not to be redundant, but also very cool.

Also very ambitious.  I’m branching waaayyyy out on this one.  I’m using Paton’s Grace-another mercerized cotton (practically identical to Catania-the waaayyy was sarcasm). I’m not sure that the photos do my palette justice.  I think it’s going to be pretty….if it ever gets completed.  Did I mention it’s very ambitious?

The blue is my “color pop”.  Hmmm…still thinking about it…love it in theory, though.

I’m off to stitch!

 

Crochet

Tunisian Times Two

Ta da! My first Tunisian Crochet projects-The (not so) Silk Spa Cloth (done in Catania Cotton).   First I crocheted the green, and although my Susan Bates was an H, I was crocheting too tightly. So I switched to the Boye which (somewhat irrationally) feels bigger to me.

I prefer the final product with the second washcloth (off white).  Looser, better feeling in your hand, and much easier to block.  And yes, I know that this would have all been predictive had I swatched for gauge.  But hey,  that’s not how I roll…anyway, practice makes perfect, right?

Next, I’m moving onto  three color Tunisian with the same pattern. Redundancy is ok when you’re learning.

What are you working on this weekend?

Crochet

Totally Tunisian

Two more tunisian stitches, and I’m still impressed with and enthusiastic about my Craftsy class!

It really has been enjoyable.  Jennifer gives clear instruction, and the ability to pause, rewind, and take notes timed to the video feed contributes to a pretty satisfying learning experience.

So here’s my Silk Spa Cloth (also known as Project #1) as of last night.

It’s a little mushed looking because it’s been quickly and furiously pressed in order to take the picture.  It originally looked like this.

I’m crocheting fairly tightly and the result is a stubborn curling, similar to knitting…

Not that I knit…

The wash cloth is made up of three different Tunisian stitches.  1) The Tunisian Simple Stitch 2) The Tunisian Knit Stitch and 3) The Tunisian Reverse Stitch.

And I hate to sound like a rube, but the Knit stitch really does look like knitting!  Very cool.

I finished the stitching tonight.  Now it’s time for lesson number three – how to bind off your work.  Don’t you love learning new things?