Here are two projects I recently finished. They are both made with Lion Brand’s Cotton Ease, a 50/50 cotton/acrylic yarn the company came out with this spring. It feels wonderful, yet has a sturdiness perfect for blankets, baby and children’s clothes, adult sweaters too! The color options are lovely as well…a bit on the muted side, no bold, bright colors. Nevertheless the colors are rich and warm, and coordinate well together. The stripy throw (violet,lime,maize,white, and taupe)is a pattern from Erika Knight’s wonderful book Simple Crochet. The fabulous photographs make me want to create every one of the home projects…some day! I just can’t crochet fast enough to make everything I want to! The other striped blanket is for a baby car seat (notice the slit in the blanket for the buckle to go through) and has a matching hat! This oh so cute pattern is in my all-time fave crochet book, the Happy Hooker. I chose the colors for my sister who is expecting her third child, a girl this time, in September. My sister LOVES muted, warm neutrals and I threw in the terracotta color which I think she will like as well. I can’t wait to see my new niece wrapped up in this. My sister should be able to wash it and wash it and hopefully it will hold up well. I discovered a way to carry my yarn up the side of striped work while I was making the baby blanket. I wish I had done this for the bigger throw, but c’est la vie! Instead of cutting the yarn and tying off every time I switched colors, I let the old yarn dangle, crocheted two rows with the new color until I got back to the edge with the old one dangling. Then I pulled up the old color and did one chain with both colors together, dropped the old yarn again, continuing with the new yarn for however many rows, and kept doing this until I needed the old yarn for crocheting again. I hate to cut my yarn and tie in the loose ends, not only because of the extra work, but also because they have a nasty habit of wiggling their way out again and looking awful! This worked well for the small blanket…I’ll just HAVE to make another large one to see if it works for larger stripes as well.:)
Sometimes you make things just for the delight of the colors, or the feel of the yarn, or to learn new stitches. Genevieve is modeling some things I recently finished that are examples of this. The tunic-tank top is a pattern from the book Hip to Crochet with my own embellishment of the bottom border, and a cool idea of my mom’s (she was making one for herself) to add a button to the back. But it was the color of the yarn I loved. I knew it would not be the very best color on me, but I just love coral, orange, and yellow…as my son put it: it’s so bright and sunny! The scarf… I actually started it two years ago…I worked the luscious Rowan All-Seasons Cotton in basket weave for a while, stuffed it away for months, took back up again with a large rib stitch and a few changes in colors for stripes, put it away again, and then finished up with a variation of seed stitch, but it needed something else, so I taught myself how to “ruffle” on both ends using different colors…delightful. Some things I make are already set in my mind before I even begin, while others become what they are while in process and I really don’t have a clue as to the finished product. I enjoy working both ways. Sometimes though, the latter is more fun. Perhaps the delight is enhanced by NOT knowing or being sure that your project will turn out ok, or be as cute as it is.
Happy Birthday to me! I had a fabulous birthday–filled with gifts of yarn, yarn books, a new coffee maker, and my very own dress form for displaying new yarn projects and working on new designs. I’ve named her Genevieve because she is oh so french, stylish, and lovely. You’ll be seeing a bunch more of her in the future as I dress her up in new sweaters, tank tops, scarves, etc. My mom said this was the largest dolly I’ve ever had. I guess it is a grown-up version of the myriad of dolls I made and sewed clothes for when I was a girl. I s’pose you’re never too old to dress up dolls, eh? This stripy sweater is made of a wonderfully soft 100% cotton yarn called Ty-Dye. I absolutely love how it feels and drapes so beautifully. The Berroco pattern left a lot to be desired however! It never ceases to amaze me how yarn companies can get away with sloppy instructions for garments. My mom had fits with the pattern and tried to warn me and give me tips for how to get around the large goof in the pattern, but I wasn’t able to make it work. So half-way finished with the sweater, I had a choice to make…either rip the entire thing out and see if I could try again to figure out the misleading directions, or just keep going and add a crochet or knit placket to one side to add the necessary inches that the flawed pattern left out. I think it actually worked out alright…I like the purple stripe down only one side…gives it a bit of an asymmetrical look. I probably should have knitted the placket instead of crocheted. It would have been more in keeping with the light, airyness of the stockinette fabric, but since I was crocheting all edges for a more finished look than the pattern calls for, i decided to just crochet the placket. The great thing about making your own garments, is that you wind up with something unique, and you can always go back and undo or redo something that just doesn’t sit right with you. I’ll keep the crocheted edge for now…the contrast in texture is also a boon. Next time you hit a wall in a sloppily written pattern, before you rip it out, consider if there is a way you can improvise, and if so, go with it! You might just end up with a one-of-a-kind piece that you like even more than the original pattern.