Tag Archives: crochet

Road Trip Skirt

In mid-September, The Husband and I began a cross-country road trip to move from Missouri to Oregon. Five days later, having not horribly murdered each other, we arrived. Along the way, I had a lot of things I could have done. I had books to read. I had ideas I could write. I had yarn. In a surprise to absolutely no one on this list, the yarn won over in a big way. In five days, I made most of a skirt. And here’s what it looks like:

Full length shot of Road Trip skirt

Pardon the epic bitchface. I do not self-photograph well.

I made it over five day  with Joann Sensations Boucle, an I-hook and no pattern. The only parts of it I completed once we got into Oregeon proper are the ruffle:

Ruffle!

Ruffle!

which took entirely too much time, as I did three single crochet in every crochet around, then did a single crochet in each of those, and then did three single crochet in each single crochet, and then the final row was a single crochet in every single crochet.

Got that?

After the ruffle was complete, I added the buttons:

Buttons!

Buttons!

The gaping buttonhole on the bottom just proves that I haven’t yet mastered buttonholes. I have, at least, learned to sew a button on tightly. That is a valuable skill. Just ask The Husband and the slacks of his I have repaired a few times.

You might notice, looking at the button picture, that the buttonholes aren’t quite on the same level as the buttons. This is due to a) my aforementioned lack of buttonhole talent and b) my need to add a second button to the skirt. Turns out that Boucle, while working up in a pretty, striped pattern without my having to do anything, is a bit heavier than expected when it’s in skirt form, and I had to add a second button to keep the thing from literally falling off me.

Overall, I’m happy with the Road Trip skirt. It’s soft. It looks good, and every time I wear it, I’m reminded that The Husband and I made it across the country without horribly murderating one another. Victory on all counts!

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It’s fall! Bring on the hooded shrug!

Me in Hooded Shrug

Mmm, cozy.

Please consider the picture to the left to be an example of why I do not usually pose for photos.  I can hold still, but I always seem to bring the bitchface.

My bitchface (and photobomb by the goose) aside, I’m happy with the project. The shrug is you was made from Red Heart Light and Lofty.  I made it with my Q-hook, and winged the pattern.

Winging a shrug pattern is pretty easy once you realize that shrugs are rectangles you sew together.  Once I sewed the rectangle, I added the sleeves, hood, and cuffs.  The red cuffs came to be because I ran out of green yarn.  I like making shrugs from bulkier yarns because, a) they work up fast, and b) it’s easy to do shaping.  With bulkier yarns, you’re usually working about three stitches per inch, so shaping by the inch can be done in a single row or round without getting the slightly triangular shape you get if you decrease too quickly with lighter yarn weights.

And now, a shot of the back:

Back of Hooded Shrug

From the back!

With the contrast from the flash, you can see the joining seam at the curve of my shoulder.  You can also see the open stitch work that comes from working with a bulky yarn and a big hook.  The open stitching makes the shrug easier to wear in chilly-but-not-too-chilly weather.  It’s super comfy and has already been made useful in our new digs in Oregon.  Turns out, it rains here at the drop of a hat and doesn’t get terribly cold when it does.  (I’ve been informed that that will change. Oh , goody.)

A nook for my Nook

Way back in February, before prices dropped on eReaders like nobody’s business, I went out and bought the Barnes & Noble Nook.  I did not, at the time, buy a cover for it because, a) it’d be an extra $30 I wouldn’t be able to spend on books, and b) I had a stack of yarn at home aching to be used in some project.

Sometime in April, tired of wrapping my Nook in a variety of scarves, I finally sat down and crocheted a bag for my new toy.  I used a 100% cotton yarn, light worsted weight, in a really pretty denim blue.  I (of course) don’t recall the name of the yarn, but I know it’s been discontinued because I picked it up off the discontinued shelf at my local yarn shop.  The results were rather lovely, I think:

Nook Cozy -- Closed

Nook Cozy -- Closed

I absolutely love the buttons with that denim blue, and the Nook fits into the cozy exactly.  To get the measurements right, I started with a double-base chain the length of the Nook’s short side and then worked in the round to make the bag.  I kept slipping the Nook in and out of the bag like you’d try on a toe-down sock for fit.  You can see how well it fits in the next two images:

Nook Cozy -- Size Comparison

Nook Cozy -- Size Comparison from the side

Nook Cozy -- Size Comparison 2

Nook Cozy -- Size Comparison with Nook in cozy

There’s enough extra space in the design of the bag to get the Nook in and out easily, but the bag is still small enough that the Nook doesn’t jostle around.

And now, let us pause for a quick bit of button porn:

Nook Cozy -- Buttons

Nook Cozy -- Button close-up

I picked up the buttons at Hobby Lobby ages ago, and I was so happy to finally find a yarn and a project where they worked so well.  The buttons are from Dill Buttons, and are made–the website informs me–of tin.  I had assumed they were silver because, well, they’re silver, so I learned something today.

My only complaint on the whole project is that I got overzealous with the strap, so the bag hits me under my hip, but I tend to do that with bags, so I’m not terribly surprised.

On a final, pre-poll note, I highly recommend the Nook.  All the ereaders on the market are basically the same in regards to software, so do your research on which feels the most comfortable to interact with, and pick one up now. They’ve dropped $100 off the price across the board.

And now, the poll:

Prototype: Mushroom Hat

My general design set-up works as follows:  I sit down with some yarn and a hook and decide I’m going to make something.  Sometimes it’s a purse.  Sometimes it’s a shawl.  Sometimes it’s a hat.  When I do this, I wing it.  I used patterns early on to figure out how to make things, but once I figure out the basics of how to make something, I usually throw patterns to the wind and throw myself headlong into whatever project I’m making.  There’s a lot you can learn from a good pattern, but I learn really well by screwing up and back tracking, so that’s my general way of doing things.

The Mushroom Hat is one of those projects. I had an I-hook, some red heart acrylic, and I wanted to make a slouchy little hat that I could tuck my hair into (as we’re offically in the season of 95 in the shade on a cool day).  Thus, this:

Mushroom Hat -- Side View

Mushroom Hat -- Side View

Super cute, right?  Of course it is!  I worked from the top down, and I made the hat in a spiral (meaning no turns at the ends of rounds), and I alternated between half-double and double-crochet stitches.  I think the basic shape of it is really good.  I can get my hair into it, and it has a place to stay.  The brim is a bit wider than I had intended, but that’s an easy fix if I make the hat again.  I like the little shell stitches on the final round, but I’m very partial to shell stitches anyway.  A couple of more shots:

Mushroom Hat -- Back View

Mushroom Hat -- Back View

It’s interesting to me that from the back, the hat looks a little floppier than it actually is.  Red Heart acrylic is not a soft yarn when you first use it, so it tends to keep its shape pretty stoutly.  If I wash this hat, I know it’ll soften up a bit and probably be about as malleable as it looks in this picture, but for now, it’s a pretty structured hat.

Mushroom Hat -- Brim Detail

Mushroom Hat -- Brim Detail

Last but not least, a close-up on the brim.  Like I said above, this brim is a bit too wide for my tastes, but that’s easily fixable for the next time I make the hat.  I can either take out a round or two of the half-double stitches, or I can switch the entire brim to single crochet, so the brim has the same number of rounds as it does now, but it’ll be a little smaller.

There may be some of you reading this who find the idea of making a hat just to figure out how to fix a hat really annoying.  I like the trial and error process, because frogging can sometimes teach you just as much as following someone else’s directions.  It’s all personal preference, which just reflects the whole point of making things yourself.  You can make what you like, even if it takes a second try.

Crochet on the Internet

Tension Magazine has just launched the start of their latest issue and looking at their absolutely lovely site has made me stop and think about where I spend my time looking at crochet on the Internet.  And so, for your perusal, a short list:

Craftster:  I don’t post here nearly as much as I should (the same could be said for this blog (ba-zing)).  What I enjoy about Craftster as a site is its inclusion of all crafts.  I’m usually there for the crochet boards, which are usually a nice illustration into the variety of things one can do with crochet, but I’ve also posted on the clothing boards with my Mod Podge shoes, and I’ve spent a lot of time simply milling around and looking at crafts I’ve either never attempted (jewelry making) or attempted and failed repeatedly (knitting).  I like seeing that much creativity housed in one place, and the all-inclusive feel of the place makes it fun to surf.

Ravelry:  Home to any knitters or crocheters who want to keep track of their projects and stash, Ravelry has been hugely useful to me in the last couple of years.  While I don’t use the stash function (you can log all the yarn you have, and how much, and where you bought it), I can appreciate the advantage of having the chance to track your yarn usage.  My use of Ravelry comes down to being able to see my completed projects in one easy place.  I’ve had more than one occasion where I couldn’t remember if I’d completed a project, or started and frogged it, or perhaps only sketched out the basic idea.  Ravelry lets me log in, look at my own pictures, and be certain of what I’ve finished.  There’s also a major community aspect on the site with groups to join, but I can’t speak to them, as I’ve never jumped in that particular sandbox.

Tension Magazine:  Yes, I mentioned it above, but I want to give it a proper explanation as I have the other sites.  Tension Magazine is what CrochetMe planned to be back when CrochetMe put out patterns like this gorgeous sweater vest and before the whole thing devolved into a series of amigurumi and scarves that I’d seen everywhere else on the internet.  Tension offers interesting patterns and editorials, and I want it to stick around for a very long time because I think it can really and truly be the crocheters’ answer to Knitty, and I’ve been waiting for that for years.

Action Shots of the Shrug-Like Thing

In my last post I posted a vid about a shrug I’d made.  I found the time and incentive to take a few action shots, and the restuls were…variable.  Out of about 15 shots, I picked a few that I really liked, and I think the pictures do a good job showing how the shrug fits and falls.

The shrug hits right at my natural waist [Yes, I’m very high-waisted.].  I still think I need a third button to finish the look.  Or possibly different buttons. I found some cute ones at Joann’s last week that I think will funk up the shrug just a touch.

A slightly closer-up shot of the shrug.  I’m especially proud of the small panels on the sides of my chest that help shape the bottom half of the shrug.

I like this shot of the back because it really shows where the shrug started [the teal] and where it ended [the purple].  It also showcases the general fit on the arms, back, and waist.

And I just discovered that I’ve got a lone skein of the Jewel Box yarn [the purple] that I had misplaced.  Part of me is tempted to add one last bit of flare to the shrug, but I think I can make a tiny purse, instead, and use it as an accessory.

Trying Something a Little Different

I made a shrug that went above and beyond requirements, and I found I had a hard time writing up the explanation without feeling like I was just confusing myself.  I decided to try for a video instead.  It’s not a perfect, professional video, but I decided to stick with try number five as long as I didn’t curse or nearly knock over my computer [both issues with previous versions].  The results are as follows: