acupuncture for crochet projects

Out of the blue my son came up with this acupuncture comment … Pretty accurate!

I have never been ‘far’ enough to get to the blocking part.  I had so much to learn.  Still have.  But my projects becoming more complicated, I was forced into the technique.  Of course, Google is my friend and I have been surfing a lot to understand it and find the best way to correct cranky projects.  However, it seems that blocking is good for all projects as it makes them smoother and softer.

Here are the results of my researches.

You will need:

  • blocking boards [flat boards]
  • rust-proof pins
  • Spray bottle with cool water (or basin full of cool water) or steam iron

WET – either you immerse your project in cool water, gently squeeze it out [don’t wring it out] and spread your piece out to the correct dimensions without distorting the direction of the stitches on the board(s), or you can pin the project first on the board(s) and then wet it down with a water-filled spray bottle.  Either way, I mix my water with Soak, an eco-friendly rinse-free laundry soap deliciously scented [Lacey – combines spring blossoms with sweet bergamot creating a light yet alluring fragrance].  Let your project to dry completely before removing the pins. It can take a few days …

STEAM – pin your project on the blocking board(s). Hold the iron close to the fabric until convincingly damp. DO NOT touch the fabric with the iron [duh].  As with wet blocking, leave the pieces to dry.

My concern is – and I haven’t found the answer yet – if you offer one of your heavily blocked project to someone and the person washes it … what than?

 

seamless joining in the circle

Often you can see the seam in the round and it’s not necessarily the prettiest sight.  Here is a way to perform a seamless joint.  A bit more time-consuming since each round requests the use of your tapestry needle but the result is worth it!

Here is the picture from Sarah London’s post showing the result of her technique:

muscular scarves

… Just had fun finding a name for a scarf that would be more ‘appropriate’ for a man than a woman.  Mainly what differentiate the male/female label would be the pattern and the choice of colors.

Here are my two favorite patterns.  Both are worked in the lengthwise so the chain count will determine the length of the scarf.

#1 – This one is dead simple: it’s just HDC all the way.  For Ronald, I chained 185 and made 18 rows alternating Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash [100% Superwash Wool washable in the machine at 40.  Each skein is 100 gr | 200 meters (220 yards) and cost $10.50] in #1975 – Provence (red) and in #1944 – Westpoint Blue Heather.  For Charlie, my 2-years old grand-son, I did 12 rows and used randomly 5 colors: #1910 – Summer Sky Heather,  #910A – Winter White, #874 – Ridge Rock, 3854 – Navy and #821 – Daffodil.

#2 – It’s a very well  known pattern and it’s hard to find out who is the true ‘owner’ of this pattern.   The ribbing effect is done by using a BPDC stitches and it is reversible. For Darling, I alternated each row with grey #816 – Gray and #821 – Daffodil.

  • Row 1 [gray]- first DC stitch in the 4th chain and then in each chain across the row [length]. [cut and fasten off].
  • Row 2 [daffodil] – grab the new color, chain 3 and turn.  This will be only BPDC [from behind to the top of the post – not the turning chain].  To finish the row, do a normal DC at the turning chain. [cut and fasten off]
  • Row 3 – switch color again.  Grab the first color, chain 3 and turn.  Work a DC in the stitches across [round loop a the top – not the post].  Locate the turning chain and insert your hook in the top of the chain to finish the row with one last DC.
  • Row 4 – repeat rows 2 and 3 until desired width.  You want to end on row 2 for a nicer finished edge.

For a video-explanation, go to ‘every man’s scarf‘ by Jennifer Dickerson at Fiber Flux.

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un chale pour un dimanche

I fell in love – once again – with a very beautiful shawl pattern.  And yes, I did purchase the pattern … that must tell you a lot since there are so many free ones available!

With a 5.5 mm hook, I started the main body with Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash in color #1910 for 34 rows with a TC count of 140 TCs per side of ch-2 sp [280 total TCs – someone in the comments mentioned that 10 rows didn’t work quite right …]. From there I worked the pattern pretty much without hick ups despite this huge increase in size.

Remember that the pattern presents an errata on Row 38.  Here is the correction:  Ch3 and turn (count as dc now and throughout), 2dc into the next st, dc in each st to top, {dc, ch2, dc in ch2 space}, skip the first stitch after the tip, dc in each st to end, 3dc in last st [113 per side of the ch2 space]. This will give you the 113 either side of the tip.

In case you notice something wrong: know that each row increases by 3 per side of the V. There are a few things to check: are you working in the gaps between the stitches no the tops? Do you have 3 stitches in each of the corners and 2 either side of the chain 2?

For re-sizing details, troubleshooting tips and FAQ’s about this pattern please check out The little bee website.  The border rows rely on a count of 6 (per side of the V) which is achieved by the combined increase of two rows. Each new row of the shawl body increases the count by 3 stitches per side, so to increase or decrease the overall size of your shawl you will need to add, or subtract, rows two at a time. This will keep the patterns in the border intact, though it will affect the number of times each sequence will need to be repeated along each side of the rows.  Should you want to keep the same pattern of the 3 row repeat (it’s not completely necessary but will keep the shawl looking the same) then you could make your increases by 6 rows.

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darling ragdoll

One of the ladies of one of my favorite crochet Facebook groups, Scout, posted a gorgeous picture of her latest project and I immediately fell in love with her bunny ragdoll.  I immediately purchased the pattern, from a la Sascha, for $3.99 and started my own pink and green bunny… Not that I am a fan of that color combination but because I know a little girl who is …

As you know I am not the cleverest crocheteuse and I often encounter challenges.  This pattern triggered some frustrations but the pattern-owner Sascha was super responsive and helpful. So with a few emails back and forth from The Netherlands and the kind and dedicated help – via Messenger – from Scout from Scotland for the first row of the body, I realized my first ragdoll.  I cannot thank those two ladies enough.  Scout even got her husband to hold the camera while she was showing me the how-to on a short video … as clearly I got it soooo wrong too many times that she had no other choice!

Here is a wonderful video from Sascha.  This video won’t help but it’s very nicely filmed… Bravo to Sascha!

Sascha did hers with DK weight yarn Stone Washed from Scheepjes in grey (230m) and white (130m) | hook 3mm |  safety eyes 15mm and a nose of 15mm.

Scout used the Scheepjes DK Stone Washed (the XL would make a huge rabbit of 66 cm from tip to toe) with a 4 mm hook  | 21 mm eyes and a 18 mm nose.

I worked with what I had: DK Special by Stylecraft in Candy Floss #1130 and Spring Green #1316 with a 4.5 mm hook.  I found 18-mm eyes [2 per bag] and noses [6 per bag] at Joann Fabrics [they didn’t have any at Michaels].

I made her a little necklace in single crochet to hide my no-so-nice head stitches and a tricolor flower.

Interested in a ragdoll cat?  A bear?

catastrophe, despair, frustration

One of the worst nightmares of any crocheteuse: running out of yarn at the end of a project.  Frustration and despair hit you like a bullet in the face.  You were so close to the finish line!  I feel your pain  … So what’s next?  Full of hope, you go through all your stashes trying – desperately – to find the matching yarn.  You just need a tiny bit to save your day [and project].   Unfortunately, it is the end.  And all you are left to do, after you took some time [depending how bad you feel] to digest your ‘situation’, is one of the following:

  • finish with another color which will be absolutely ugly and a constant reminder of your disaster.  Not so a good idea.
  • frog this last unfinished row and make it in another color.   Could work …
  • frog this incomplete row kin addition to the previous one to retrieve enough yarn do to the finishing row.  I guess this would be your best choice.

Voila.

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Are you joking? 3rd loop?



Doing my first CAL, my week four is as challenging as my first.  This time my hurdle is called the ‘stocking stitch’.  The CAL master keeps talking about that 3rd loop or ‘hump’ and there was no way for me to ‘see’ the obvious … Until I saw this Moogly video that details it all to understand.  Also its blog shows close up pictures and gives clear explanations.  What a relief!  Now I can move on!

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lukas’ blanket

The baby is about to see the world and I just started on his blanket.  Typically me.   I found a wonderful soft yarn … that is hand washable only.  A bit annoying for a baby.  I understand the label [hand wash or dry clean, do not soak, do not bleach, use mild detergent and cool rinse water. Do not wring, reshape and dry flat away from heat and direct sunlight, do not machine dry] and the wise advice from the shop lady … but with the wool program, gentle soap, cold wash and flat dry, I hope it will hold the route.

I purchased – at my favorite Eat, Sleep, Knit shop – 2 skeins of  Targhee-Worsted 100% targhee wool, color: Crabby McHappyPants [hand-dyed fiber] in 563 m | 250 gr [616 yds | 8.8 oz] skein. Cost: $34/skein.

Hook: 6.5 mm.

The chosen pattern comes from Liam’s Blanket by Tia Davis and it’s pretty easy: a mix of single crochet combined with double crochet.

  • Chain 120 [for an approx 36″ x 36″ project].
  • Row 1: [1 sc, 1 DC] in second chain from hook, *skip next chain, [1 sc, 1 DC] in next chain; repeat from * to end of row, chain 1, turn.
  • Row 2: skip first stitch, [1 sc, 1 DC] in next stitch, *skip next chain, [1 sc, 1 DC] in next chain; repeat from * to end of row, chain 1, turn.
  • Rows 3 – 120: repeat row 2.

I ended Lukas’ blanket at 112 rows and added an edge.   I picked #46 from Edie Eckman’s book ‘around the corner crochet borders’.

Total weight: 718 grams for an end result of 107 x 102 cm.

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christmas lights or any lights

Dedri, from lookwhatimade, posted a wonderful idea to personalize your little lights guirlande for the holidays – or any occasion for that matter.

Check her Flower Christmas Lights pattern.  Make sure to use LED lights (which don’t heat up), and push the flower behind the fitting, so it doesn’t touch the bulb.  And it would be smart also to not leave the lights on unattended…

Be aware that this pattern requests orthodontic rubber bands… the 1/8″ heavy duty ones. Dedri offers a link in her explanations.