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a different kind of string theory

Category Archives: Crochet

I’m not sure if I have taken the easy route, or not. After looking at a ton of cardigan patterns, I decided I didn’t want to invest Big Buck$ in awesome yarn that I’d probably knit into something atrocious. After all, it’s my first article of clothing that isn’t a scarf or a necker. That’s a huge commitment!

So, I am returning to the tried and true– Stitch N’ Bitch.

Best Knitting Book EVER

There is a cardigan pattern in here that was too difficult for me when I first started knitting. It looked SO hard back then! But now that I’ve got a few patterns under my belt, and I know how to increase and decrease with ease, and can even do some laces, I took another look at the Go Everywhere cardigan. It requires no double-pointeds (which are still my nemesis. I’ll get you yet, you pointy little so and so’s!). You just knit pieces, then sew it all up!

As I’ve been poking around into all kinds of sweater patterns, I can see that the vogue is for sweaters that you knit in one piece. I’m not sure why that’s such a big deal, because as far as I can see, it’s not actually all that convenient. It requires a lot more counting and usually ( those dratted things again!) DPNs, and you can’t really tell what you’re knitting until you’re almost done. That’s what it seems like, anyway.

But with this pattern, you knit the back, then bind off. Knit two fronts, bind off. Knit the sleeves, bind off. Sew together, then crochet a trim around the whole shebang. I can do that!

I’ve even, true to form, changed the pattern up a bit and knit a two inch garter stitch around the bottom so that it doesn’t flip up. I’m using some cream fisherman’s wool I got from Jo-Ann, so if it doesn’t work out, it’s no big deal about the yarn, and I’ve had a learning experience.

Knitting something new is a bit like having a new boyfriend. It’s a bit exciting, but you’re never quite sure how it’s going to end up. Will it work out? Will it be a good fit, after all of this time and worry that’s been dumped into it? You just won’t know until it’s all too late. Tell me that isn’t like the first week or so of dating.

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Well, so much for my moratorium on blankets! It was a moratorium on posts, more like. Actually, there was a post– but while I was trying to add an image– blip!– no more post. Sadness. I was reallysuper irritated, because it was a kind of long and personal post, and isn’t it saved on this page ever few minutes or so? But I could not find hide nor hair of it. Gone. So now I will publish posts first, and then add images later– after publication, just in case.

I am knitting a blanket in pieces, using a kit from knitpicks. The pattern proved to be a little too brain-involved than I had expected it to be. The thing I like about blankets, you see, is that they go on forever and I can Zen-out and think about other things, or not even think about anything. My favorite things to think about while knitting are either plots for stories or mysteries, or romantic daydreams. I can’t do either of those things if I’m too busy thinking, “WTF is wrong with this F-ing line of stitches? F this F-ing K3tog crap!” Or something along those lines. But really it wasn’t the stitch combo that was difficult– there was just a lot of counting and picking up stitches, and I just wasn’t in the mood for that on a longterm basis.

So what I am doing instead is this. I saw it on that other PBS station, Create. You make a boatload of diamonds and hexagons. The photo is from their website– my colors are totally different, and so is the yarn texture.

The diamonds are just made by starting with a K3, then M1 and knit the rest. Keep going until you have 19 stitches, then immediately Dec1 each row until you have 3 again, then bind off. Make a bunch.

The hexagons are longish. Do the same thing you did for the diamonds– K3, M1, knit the rest– until you have 17 stitches, then knit garter for 17 rows, then decrease by one until you have three stitches, then bind off. Make a bunch.

After you have enough for the size of blanket you want, do a single crochet around all of them, a little border around each piece, then sew or single crochet them all together. They’ll look like a stained glass window– or they are supposed to, anyway. I haven’t finished all my diamonds and hexagons yet.

I’m using that knitpicks set– I’m kind of bummed I didn’t stick it out and try their pattern, but this will be pretty, too. The yarn is Suri Dream, in warm Craftsman colors, like Fedora, Mulberry, Mulled Wine, Natural, and Camel. I can’t wait to see how it’ll turn out!

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Spring is my favorite season– well, that and Fall– but it does pose a serious knitting threat. What do you knit when it gets warmer, you know? Do you knit larger projects that won’t be finished until it gets cooler again? Or do you knit things that aren’t warm– like toys or washcloths or something?

This Spring, I think I’ll force myself to try new things. Things that aren’t blankets or scarves!

So, on my agenda are these things:

1. Curtains. I have the fabric, but my sewing machine is in the garage. I haven’t sewn seriously since I was in middle school, but I was pretty decent at it then. I made doll clothes and tote bags, and an apron. The doll clothes were the most fun. Iso’s not into dolls, not in the least. But still, if I could manage tiny clothing, then surely I can manage to sew some straight lines and make some curtains.

2. Tote bags. While looking for curtain fabric, I got so many ideas for other projects. I’m more comfortable with hand sewing, but I think I can realy crank out a ton of cute market bags or tote bags. I want to experiment with shapes, fabrics, and handles. And maybe I can even work in some…

3. Embellishments. I’ve done a few embroidered felt pins– prototype pins– and I know what I need to do differently to be more efficient about production. I like the look of embroidered felt a lot. Also, I’m interested in learning how to knit flowers as embellishments. I’ve got this book on hold at Amazon, and maybe now is the time to spring for it?

4. Amigurumi. But it looks so freakin’ hard. I did see a pattern for a supersimple (looking) gnome, so maybe I’ll experiment with that first.

Well, looks like my Spring and Summer are booked up, doesn’t it?

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I’m an Anthropologie addict. Yes, I’m totally broke, and no good can come of my  gazing longingly upon the cuteness on that site. The store is even worse, because it smells good. I rationalize going into the store by going to the sale room first. Actually, though, you can get some good deals in the sale room. I mean, which is better– paying $30 at Target for a plastic purse you don’t really like all that much, or $50 for a sale purse at Anthro that’s probably leather, or at least better made than the Target purse? I did that recently, but on a bit of a larger scale. See, I had this problem of going to Target for perfectly rational things like toilet paper and dish soap, and then coming home with a purse or some costume jewelry. Sure, the accessories were coming out of my personal account, and not the house account– but still, all those purchases add up, and most of them were unnecessary. So, I bought a purse at Anthro that I really wanted. And it wasn’t even on sale. I felt pretty guilty about it (though I looked and felt fabulous wearing it!) until I realized months later that I had not bought a purse or anything else for that matter at Target for ages. Or anywhere else. Spending more on that one purse that I adored satiated my longing for Stuff.

My first stepdad (I’ve had three) had a theory– that you should always get the best you can, so that you waste less time on inferior products. For example, he got a Mont Blanc so he didn’t have to get Bic after Bic after Bic, and he really enjoyed writing with a fountain pen. I do the same thing with lipsticks– I don’t waste my time anymore with Cover Girl, because the colors never look right on me and I end up spending $5 here and $10 there. I get Nars or MAC instead, and am usually totally happy with the purchase.

It’s not about the price– it’s about how much you are satisfied with the product. I get generic food all the time, when I can’t see a significant difference between the name brand and the generic brand.  I love expensive foundation, but in the heat of Fresno is that really practical? So I get Avon in the summer, and luckily I found a color that suits me just fine. Lots of times, I’m just as happy with Red Heart yarn as I am some fancy alpaca confection. Red Heart is more trustworthy! Once, I got some supersoft alpaca yarn, and this “nice” stuff only knit up a couple of stitches at a time, then totally wisped apart. It was like knitting with a lovely but useless cloud. Usefulness and enjoyment are equally important.

What the heck was I trying to go on about?

Oh, yes! Anthropologie. So, a year or so ago, they used muslin strips with randomly colored buttons sewn on as their ribbon. Jesus H. Christ, what a long tangent. I certainly won’t be posting this on Facebook! All this was supposed to be about those buttons. I’ve been saving them for something.

I crocheted this little scarflette with some pretty merino/acrylic yarn from Knitpicks.

There I am, trying to look like I’m casually putting my hair into a ponytail. Gosh, I hate taking pictures of myself!

Here’s another shot, so you can see the shell stitch:

I know a crocheted shell stitch with some mismatched buttons sewn on isn’t exactly earth shattering, but you know what? It is the perfect weight for heading off to my 7am class every weekday morning! It may be late April, but that early, it’s still a bit on the chilly side.

Also, it turns out my students like to see what in the world I’m going to wear around my neck every morning. This makes me feel a little like a middle school teacher, but I’m going to go with it. After all, you’ve already learned that I like to rationalize!

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I am having issues with knitting boobs for charity. I’m wracked with guilt, because the first recipient was supposed to be my own (dear) mom!

First, I tried the double pointed needle (DPN) technique from this pattern. Granted, I’ve never worked with DPNs before, but I was flummoxed. Absolutely flummoxed. I did the i-cord– and boy, was I happy to have done that! It’s used in all kinds of other patterns, and I’d never tried it before (and as it turns out, it is sublimely easy to do). As a result, my confidence level was up. Yay! So I went on to the next step and dug out my DPNs.

It is a good thing I tried this after my daughter had gone to sleep, because I cussed like a sailor. I knitted, frogged, and reknitted four times in a row, and then I had to walk away from the DPNs. I considered cracking them or throwing them– but I didn’t. I just walked away.

A few days later I saw Robyn, and she’s done some socks with DPNs, so I asked her how the hell she knew which needle to do first, second, and third. See, the problem for me was that I was dealing with only six stitches, divided onto three needles– so, two stitches per needle. With the stitches so close together, I couldn’t tell which needle was which, plus they were all trying to fall off. I’m getting frustrated just reliving the moment!

Robyn said that with socks there are more stitches on each needle, so the whole two stitches per needle dilemma never really cropped up for her. She did say that I should try color coding the needles, though. I’d used a marker, but I still got confused between the other two. Gosh, I feel like such a twit! Once I cool off a bit, I’ll try knitting the elusive boob again.

A day later, I tried crocheting the boobs. I used this pattern. It looks easy enough– but I used too thick of a yarn, and it looks like a SAK purse– which is fine for a purse, but not for a boob! After a mastectomy, there’s a scar which is tender for a good while. Plus, if the patient is going through radiation after surgery (as my mom is), then not only is there a scar, but an area similar to a sunburn, too. Crochet, at least in the yarn I chose (supersoft, but just too thick), is too bumpy for what is such a sensitive area.

I decided to shelve the boobs– but only temporarily. I’ve got a plan.

The necker uses DPNs, but in a much simpler capacity. You knit for a while on straights, then divvy up the stitches onto two DPNs, knit on those for a while, then join them up together on one needle again. I thought if I could practice on DPNs with this pattern, then maybe I’ll develop some mad DPN skillz (sorry : /) and be able to use them with a more practiced hand on the boobs. So far, so good!

Of course, I haven’t actually divvied up the stitches onto the DPNs yet…

One last knit-related thing– Did you know that Knit Picks has a mail-based catalog? Mine came in the mail yesterday, and I squealed just like I did when I found out Simon Pegg was going to be in the Star Trek movie. There’s tons of knitted amigurumi in there, and some socks (and while some of them are cute, why would you want to take forever knitting something that’s going to develop a hole in the heel? Or get lost in the dryer?). Here’s a taste:

Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto

And you can get that here, like I am seriously thinking of doing, if I can figure out those @#?!-ing DPNs.

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