Category Archives: I crochet

Blanket statement

Over the last few years, I’ve crocheted a few blankets for gifts, but haven’t kept any for myself. I seem to be bound and determined to change that, starting a new blanket every few months. They’ve all been conceived as ways to use up scraps or to repurpose larger quantities of yarns that aren’t ideal for garments or whatever project I bought or spun for them originally, but I know I’ll like and use the finished objects whenever they’re done.

P1090108I’ve mentioned the handspun log cabin blanket before. It continues to grow slowly, especially on cooler evenings when its warmth is welcome in my lap and its utter simplicity makes for mindless knitting. Even though the days are going to be heating up, I think it’ll still see a lot of action in the mini-season known as My Landlady Turned the Heat Off, but It Isn’t Really Warm Yet.

I haven’t done much with the crocheted hexagons over the winter. They’re such a good warm-weather project though, I expect to make some progress with them this summer.

And I just started the third one this week. It’s the Purl Bee’s Elegant Granny Stitch Blanket, though I’m doing it at a bigger gauge, which dials the elegance down a bit. I have a big bag of assorted fingering-weight yarn in blacks and grays and am working with two strands at a time, switching new yarns in as the balls run out and trying my best not to micromanage the randomness.

Current projects

I find it helpful to once in a while drag all of my works in progress out into the light. I can take stock of where everything stands, possibly get excited about a project I haven’t worked on it a while, or decide that something isn’t worth finishing and then either rip it out to reuse the yarn or just make the whole thing go away.

Happily, I still like everything in this particular crop.
20140118-140928.jpgClockwise from the upper left, we have a long-term project making crocheted hexagons from worsted-weight scrap yarn–it’s going to be spectacular and it’s going to take for-fucking-EVER; then a log cabin blanket from worsted and heavy worsted handspun in purples, reds, blues, and grays–I had a lot of those in quantities that weren’t enough for garments, and most of them are too coarse for next-to-the-skin accessories; an Alga in my ombre handspun, which is going to be a knockout; the beginnings of a cabled cardigan using some cashmere/merino I’ve had stashed for a while, and a handspun seed stitch tunic in alpaca/silk, which is probably the closest to being done except that working on it is pretty tedious and I have a hard time making myself do it. Still, I’d love to be able to wear it this winter, so efforts shall be made.

Previously unblogged gift blanket

The morning of my wedding, I got to give my friends Erin and Brian their long-overdue (by about a year and a half) wedding present:

It’s my favorite kind of ripple blanket, crocheted here in more than a dozen shades of Cascade 220 and sized for a queen bed. A few neutral shades alternate with heathery rainbow hues so the same colors are never next to each other but it still feels cohesive and like it makes sense somehow. One of these days, I swear, I’ll make one of these blankets for myself.

Erin was one of my bridesmaids–she’s to my right in this photo that Brian took, which happens to be one of my favorite photos from that day.

One of my favorite parts of the day, which I hadn’t planned at all, was before the event. Rob and I and our families and wedding party had been taking some group photos and portraits outside the venue and when people started arriving, it just felt natural to stay where we were and greet our guests instead of running off and secluding myself inside in order to make some sort of big appearance. I loved being there as all of these people we loved arrived and that I got to kiss everyone hello and welcome them to our wedding and be like, “CAN YOU EVEN BELIEVE HOW GREAT EVERYTHING IS RIGHT NOW?!” It was perfectly in keeping with the kind of event we’d been hoping to have: clearly significant and special, but unfussy and fun, retaining the traditions we wanted to honor, but not bothering with the ones that didn’t have meaning for us. If I had been sequestered in some back room, I would have missed out on all of that.

Ripple me this…

A very good friend of mine was married a couple of weeks ago. I offered to make them a ripple blanket as their gift, since I knew she’d liked the others I’ve made and I’d just been waiting until I could see all of the Cascade 220 colors in person before I got started. I went to Webs this past week while Rob and I were gallivanting around New England and came up with a combination of three neutrals and nine colors that I like together.

I’m two stripes in and like it so far, so we’ll see…

In other project news, I’m a few inches short of the armhole on a Folded out of Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn that used to be a bright bubblegum pink, but I overdyed with a little bit of black. And I started a Milkweed Shawl with a random ball of tweedy Shetland that may or may not be enough to finish it. If not, I have enough black yarn of a similar gauge that will work. It’s a very easy project, but still requires enough attention to keep from getting too bored; I’m enjoying it.

Season two of Sherlock is on PBS tonight, which is pretty exciting news in this household, I have a big pot of green chili with pork and hominy ready to go–I should take a picture of it later and write up the recipe; it’s quick and delicious–and still have to knock out a freelance piece, run a couple of errands, and figure out what I’m wearing to my first day at the new job tomorrow(!) before I can relax for the night. On to it…

 

Celia, you’re breaking my heart

Except not really, because this pattern is awesome. I am one slow crocheter and even I managed to knock out Kim Werker‘s Celia Circle Scarf in three days. It would have taken even less time, but I didn’t bring a spare skein with me when I was out of town this past weekend (rookie mistake). Here it is after weaving the stitches in, but before blocking.

For some reason that I can’t quite figure out, the pattern stitch in the lower portion of mine appears to be on the diagonal, while the upper bit in the same stitch has a much stronger vertical line the way Kim’s original did. No matter. I learned some new ways of putting stitches together and towards the end, was much better at reading the fabric than I was at the beginning, which were my main goals for this project. Plus, I was able to support a friend’s creative endeavor, used up some cashmere/silk tweed yarn I’ve had hanging around for a while, and got an adorable and useful scarf out of the deal. No complaints here.

Homemade gifts

I did two homemade gifts this year, which is about my normal. All of my immediate family members have enough stuff from me at this point that I don’t feel compelled to make something for everyone, but I do like making stuff, so a couple of things for other people snuck into the rotation.

1. A crocheted ripple blanket in Berroco Vintage for my brother and sister-in-law (who occasionally reads this site; Anna, if you see this, at least you have some time to practice acting surprised.)
 2. A pair of Ultra Alpaca fingerless mittens (this pattern, which seems to be no longer available due to a copyright disagreement) for R’s mother. I hate buying people presents just to give them something, and I don’t feel like I know her well enough to pick out something actually thoughtful. But she has dogs to walk, so I figured something to keep her hands warm while allowing for dexterity would work.

Drive-by blogging

Some things!

1. A ripple blanket. I think I’m going to end up giving this to my brother and sister-in-law for Christmas.

2. A striped sweater! Making the third attempt at the neckline I want.

3. Spinning! Some finished merino/tencel and alpaca/silk in the works.

4. A lace scarf! This is the porcupine stitch from one of the BW treasuries. I love it. It has an odd number of rows, so is automatically reversible. #neato

5. Bacon jam! The full, glorious jar and spread on bread with ricotta. Recipe here.

6. Silkscreening! I took a workshop last weekend, which was really fun, even though there were a lot more chemicals involved than I was expecting. Jenn has a much more comprehensive report here.

Ripple Me This

When we last saw my ripple blanket, it looked like this:

But now, it looks like THIS:

Huh. This is actually a much less dramatic reveal than I thought it would be. I suppose I should have taken the new photo in the same sparkling sunshine as the first one and maybe not on my phone, but oh well. It’s been two weeks or so since I’ve posted anything and my guiding principle is to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Or the done. Trust me though; the blanket looks way better it did. Everything is more in balance. All of the purples are equidistant from all of the other purples. That screamy beige has gone the way of the dodo. It’s better.

Change of plans

I took my ripple blanket out to work on it over the weekend. It had been a while and as I spread it out to take a look, I was forced to admit something I’d be suspecting for a while: the color order sucks.


I genuinely like all of the colors I’m using, and I thought this sort of light/dark muddy rainbow thing I had going on would work out splendidly — and when I had laid out the skeins, it did! — but when they were all actually worked up, I hated it. I particularly hated the clear purples next to the heathery spice colors and the way the blues and teals and purples all became kind of indistinguishable when placed next to each other. Plus, it was a lot wider than it needed to be and the cast-on chain or whatever it’s called in crochet was much too tight. So I ripped out the whole thing and laid the yarn out for maximum hue dispersion, all of the purples spaced as far from each other as possible, and so on. Obviously, there are no guarantees that this will work out any better, but I feel good about it.

Project round-up

This weekend, I pulled out all of the projects I have underway.

I’ve posted about the ripple blanket plenty of times before and the handspun sweater above it has gotten a little attention too. All of that grey in the top right is a design that’s underway. The cream and black swatches are for a new design too, one that I’m pretty excited about. The black and grey striped piece was started in a fit of I WANT A CHIC STRIPED SWEATER, but because it’s relatively fine gauge and I’ve been working on other stuff, it hasn’t gotten that far. I still do want a chic striped sweater though, so I’m not giving up on it. I hadn’t been planning to write up the pattern, since it’s pretty simple — four-row stripes in the round, raglan, probably a simple scoopneck or boatneck — but now that I think about it, it might make a good free pattern. We shall see.

Then there are two fine-gauge scarves, one in a very cool laceweight ombre yarn and one in some gorgeous dusky blue suri alpaca laceweight that I’ve had since at least 2005. I remember buying it at a Stitches Market back when I worked in the yarn biz, roughly a hundred million thousand years ago. Or so it feels. I had played around with the ombre when I first got it, thinking that it would be great in a stitch pattern or interestingly shaped scarf/shawl. Honestly though, when I think about the finished item, a stockinette rectangle is what I want. It’s rarely, if ever, what I want to knit though, so there’s been very little progress.

It’s not actually that many projects, especially considering the way I like to work, but it’s starting to feel a little oppressive, maybe just because none of them are anywhere near being finished. Ah well. The only way out is through. Or something.