Friday, May 30, 2008

More about the Baby Afghan

As I mentioned before Lynn has the large white center for the baby afghan finished. These are the additional shapes that have been made to be used on the border. They've been arranged in color groups. Our problem was that all the pieces weren't available at one time. So the decision was made to wait and see what we thought when all the pieces were available to give the border a trial layout. Then we could see what was needed.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Stacy's projects

We did not get to see Stacy's projects because some of them were gifts and on their way. But she did send us pix from Picasa. If you didn't get the email, here are her projects (knitted and crocheted): a darling hand puppet, her first attempt at a layette, and dishcloths made for mother's day. Mom's deserve really fancy dishcloths!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

KC's projects

Karen has been crocheting a pillow to raffle off at the Yarntini Lunch. She is using Vana's Choice and the square came out smaller than expected. (10") This yarn has a fluffy body to it that may account for the difference, since it was a worsted weight substitution for the pattern. But she also has enough yarn to do a bigger pillow (14").
She has also knitted up this darling baby kimono. It just needs its ties (in blue of course). I love this color combo which I wouldn't have thought to use.

Monday, May 26, 2008

String Bag Kick

I got distracted by string bags lately and made quite a few. Several that I would describe as typical out of a cream color that looks pale yellow from Peaches and Cream. Then I got hold of several spools of the Lion Brand Kitchen Cotton that is very rustic looking. I made another typical one but with a larger section of firm, close stitches; and then another one that was on the short side for a six pack of whatever. What then?
The two bags you see here. The round bag started off as Margaret Hubert's Hobo Bag from her bags book. But it had the one strap across the middle that I don't care for, so I changed it into two handles. 
The second bag is my own design somewhat based on the reusable grocery bags sold at the stores. I like bags without logos. I am an advertising exec's nightmare. Even if I like a certain brand I don't like displaying the logo. What I really like about this design is that starting at the bottom with a chain I crocheted around in a rectangle and then up the sides to the top. All in one piece of yarn!. Then I did the straps all in one piece that wraps under the bottom twice, chaining the entire way with slip stitches right to the bag. Then around and around until I finished. One piece again. I did have to whip stitch the second side of the strap to the bag.  Just one problem. This bag is really so big, I could only put tissues or paper towels, etc. in it, if I realistically wanted to lift it!
I've been using it as a crochet bag, but since the sides are double crochet, hooks have a tendency to poke out. Both bags have been given stability by placing plastic canvas in the bottoms.   

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Alpaca Babies

I can't believe I did this! I asked Karen for pix of her alpaca babies: looked at them and deleted them. So I asked for them again and put them on the desk top and promptly forgot about them. Karen, you just have to speak up and get my memory going occasionally. I need all the help I can get. Here they  are.
So cute!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Last Saturday

We had a rather quiet meeting last Saturday. 
Roxanne's community group is trying to raise some money for the home. We signed up for a table to sell craft items; maybe we can raise money for Rwanda knits. But they are not sure how much interest there will be in this kind of activity. If it happens it will be some time in the fall.

Joe thinks we need a flyer or more bookmarks to hand out so we can start drumming up interest in the fall Yarn Ball. So we aren't doing things at the last minute and people can plan.

Lynn has finished the white square for the baby blanket. Soon we will need to plan a sewing Saturday to work on this blanket. Perhaps as part of the meeting in Lynn's kitchen. I have more cotton yarn: none of the variegated yarns match the tank top I'm making a lacy cardigan for. That's ok, it's so open that lots of aqua shows through. So I'm not putting any variegated flowers on it now. But I'm looking for more shapes to use the yarn for the baby afghan border.

Joe finished the slip stitch afghan. He put a crocheted border on it and it looks smashing. Lynn says there is enough yarn to crochet another afghan! Thanks, Pat's friend.

Rebecca was finishing up another cute toddler coat. With looped stitches on the cuffs and collar. It wasn't quite finished. Soon we'll have pix. 

Yogi ran in and out. She wanted to make sure she knew how to decrease on the shell stitch or the baby afghan would just keep growing into a huge triangle.

So even for a quiet small meeting we still seem to have a lot going on.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Double Crochet Stitches

I picked up Harmony's Guide to Basic Crochet Stitches. I love stitch collections and am always on the lookout for something new. Most times there is something clever and different especially once the editor starts combining stitches but not something that strikes me as new. But I was struck by what seemed to be a lot of double crochet stitches. How many could there be? So I made some swatches because I also wanted to compare size wise what the stitches did, which a stitch collection doesn't do for you.So here are some pix of the swatches along with a drawing of the international symbols. 
The basic double is there for reference. I used woolease from Lion Brand which is worsted weight and an H hook for every swatch. There are 24 stitches across and 6 rows high.  Finished size was 7 3/8ths wide and 3 3/8ths high. Every other swatch has the same number of stitches and rows.
The wide doubles are worked be placing the stitch between stitches in the previous row. I think it results in a woven, softer look than the basic stitch. It really is wider. 8 3/8ths wide and 3 3/8ths high.
The herringbone stitch really strikes me as something I haven't seen before. The stitch is different at the very beginning. YO and place hook in stitch, Yo and pull through stitch and first loop (it has a wrap around feel), Yo and pull through that loop, YO and pull through 2 loops. I have difficulty seeing the herringbone effect on my actual swatch or the book's photo; but WOW it really shows up on my photo! 7 3/4ths wide and 3 1/4th high.
Then there is the stitch called alternative doubles. The symbols on the right are from the book and the symbols from the left are what I think the stitch really is. I don't think it's a double crochet stitch but an extended half double.  Yo and place hook in stitch, YO and pull loop through, Yo and pull loop through loop just made, YO and pull loop through 3 loops on hook.
& 3/4ths wide and 3 1/4th wide. What do you think?
Finally I made an extended double crochet which is not mentioned in the book. YO place hook in stitch, YO and pull through, YO and pull through 1 loop, YO and pull through 2 loops, YO and pull through 2 loops. 7 1/2 wide and 4 1/4 high. This is a taller, softer feeling double crochet.
The book shows linked half doubles but not linked doubles.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Joan McGowan-Michael

Sorry for the wrong site name. It's However the last site may help with yarn addiction.

Joan McGowan-Michael

I like to read Belle Armoire (Art to Wear) because it shows what fiber artists are doing. It is great inspiration for your own design ideas. 
Recently knit and crochet designers have been shown more.  The May/June  issue is an example.
This issue shows some very feminine clothes and knitted lingerie. Check out Joan McGowan-Michael's site at 

Monday, May 12, 2008

Diagonal Stitches

Diagonal stitches seem to be popular at the moment. Lynn makes baby afghans all the time using this stitch. Her pattern starts in the corner and works out to the middle where she then decreases down to the opposite corner. When you use different yarns the result are diagonal stripes with a very sophisticated feel. Theresa also makes many baby afghans and uses a diagonal stitch pattern that comes out to a rectangle. Either way the stitch patterns look very complicated, but no one seems to think the stitch is difficult. 
Yogi and Theresa are working on baby gifts and Rebecca is using a variety of yarns she had on hand for a vibrant afghan for her own use. It's very interesting how all these diagonal stitch afghans can look so very different. Typically for this group they aren't following anyone else's instructions. Using colors that appeal to them or selecting from available yarns, each person becomes a designer in her own right. 
I'm surprised when I read that a majority of people make items by exactly following instructions to every detail even the color. Publishers say people pass up designs they love because they dislike the photographed color. Then there's three rivers people who almost immediately say: "I'm making this pattern, what do you think of these colors? Do you think this yarn will work here?" 
How else is our group different? After these photos were taken, Yogi (who has been crocheting for about a year) showed Shelli (who has been crocheting for 30 years) how to do the diagonal stitch, so Shelli could also make a baby afghan. I found that a real neat set of circumstances.
Find yourself a group to join. You, too, can share your skills and be challenged in the process. That really is the joy of what has been dubbed a stitch and bitch nation.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Many Projects

Last post I indicated that we don't seem to work on one thing at a time. Most of us work on as many as 7 projects at one time. Why? Bored with a stitch or pattern or that stretch of it. New yarn: just gotta try it out and start something new. Starting something new is such a rush; it's all possibility without looking at the tough spots ahead. (Rather like falling in love.) Who can resist? For whatever reasons we have many WIPs and don't like to mention the UFOs. (which could again become WIPs if we pick them up and put hook to them).
What got me started on this topic was that KC has finished 2 projects about which I kept asking "Aren't they done yet?" I can be such a noodge. But I really want to see the finished project.
The sweater was a real problem with fitting. The gauge kept indicating lengths appropriate for a basketball player and that's not KC. She finally got the body perfect and also adjusted the sleeves, but they still came out too long. Now here's something you don't hear in crochet. She cut off the bottom of the sleeves and sewed them. Then put on a new cuff! She steeked! in crochet! It turned out great. I wouldn't have had the nerve.
KC also brought the knitted cowl. I think it would keep Nanuk of the North warm. It just seemed to take so long to finish. The wow factor here is the beautiful yarn.  

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Two Sleeves at a Time

What about sleeves? Have you ever worked a pattern for a sweater and tweaked it so it fit you? Well if you did you probably needed to also tweak the sleeves. ( I always tweak sleeves-short arms). The trick is how to make sure that you do exactly the same thing to both sleeves. Even if you write the changes down you will probably want to make some changes just as you are working along. Just write those changes, too, right? 
Well if you are like the rest of us you are working on more than one thing at a time (or seven). Then when you look at those wonderfully clear instructions by the time you get to the next sleeve the directions frequently appear to be ancient Sanskrit. Heaven knows why. It has even happened that both sleeves get frogged and redone. FRUSTRATION!
To avoid that problem work each row on each sleeve simultaneously. I actually think the idea works out more easily in knitting as Theresa is showing you. Everything is on one needle and you don't have to put anything down and switch back and forth. It's a little trickier when you put down one sleeve and do the next. You have to stop some time and come back. Leave yourself sticky notes. Like "sleeve 1 and sleeve 2" right on the work. "This sleeve next and start with row 52 (if you crocheting for a basketball player)." But always think 2 sleeves at a time.
This does have a mental price to pay. We all think: "ahhh the back and front is done; not much more, just the sleeves" Wrong! And when you do 2 sleeves at a time, it takes even longer to get to another finished piece. So be patient. Just delay that feeling of accomplishment a little longer. 2 sleeves that match is one hell of an accomplishment too.  

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

More Shapes

Anyone want to donate some shapes for the baby cotton afghan? Email me at and I will tell you where to send the shapes. We need cotton yarn in worsted and dk and baby weights for the shapes. Make a few shapes and send the remaining yarn to be used in sewing the shapes on. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Some shapes for an afghan

One of the yarn donations was a sizable amount of white cotton. We decided that a nice white square would make a nice size baby afghan. This also gives us the chance to use up other donated cotton yarn. How? With interesting shapes that will be appliqued around the edges. Here are a few so far.