Monday, July 10, 2017

WIP Wonderland Redux

We all live in a WIP filled world

I'm assuming that you are like me, so here goes the list scratching off from before. Can't scratch off completed items without a list, now can I?

WIP Mania Begins

  1. Daughter's wedding shawl a.k.a The Beast: Cobweb lace yarn and complicated pattern necessitates 2 & 3 on the list. Must complete by 10/14. This is non-negotiable as I want to keep my daughter on good terms with me. Undisputed #1.   The Beast was consigned to the Frog pond, as the wedding was cancelled. I didn't think she'd want it after that.
  2. Red afghan: large Beast relief project. 20% done. One more pattern repeat has been added. If I can only bring myself to complete the remaining 8, I'd free a large portion of space in my knitting basket.
  3. Lolly Fant : small Beast relief project.1 ⅞ arm, a tail, and a dress to go. Complete and cute as a button.
  4. my socks: oldest travel project I have. It's so old it dates back to when I couldn't knit without a pattern in front of me. Half a sock leg to go. Molly ate it.
  5. husbands socks: youngest travel project. ⅞  a sock leg to go. Once I find it. Found it. Frogged with pleasure. Long story.
  6. heirloom baby sweater: My oldest knitting WIP, about 40% done. I'll tell you the story when I start work on it again.   Molly ate this one too.
  7. feather & fan scarf : old travel project. 30% done.  Completed. Yahoo!
  8. blue dishcloth: needs a couple of rows frogged so I can correctly reestablish the pattern stitch. A DUH! mistake that needs fixin'. ⅔ done.  Molly has gone on an all fiber diet.
  9. japanese waves shawl: old lace project. barely started when DD announced her impending nuptials. Consigned to the Frog pond, and yarn is now repurposed in a Virus shawl. That I have to find so I can put it in my purse as a carry along project.
  10. big ol' sun & moon needlepoint: my dinosaur of WIPs. Older than dirt, and my go to for what I call idiot-work. It's what I do when I can't think & can't count but need something to do with my hands. It's paint by number with yarn. Do I really need to be in a hurry to finish this one? Yes, the canvas is so old (2008) that the design is starting to wear off. And you want a matted, framed FO out of it. Completed, matted, framed, and hanging in dear daughter's kitchen.

New WIP Mania list

So here goes my new list from my old. I can't find my socks, or the blue dishcloth, or  where the heirloom baby sweater is. Oy! Maybe the cat ate them. Yea, that's the ticket. Bad Mollycat. (smirk) 1 and 2 vie for top spot, the rest are on a rotating basis. Lets see how far I get this year...

  1. Red afghan: large Beast relief project. 30% done. One more pattern repeat has been added. If I can only bring myself to complete the remaining 8, I'd free a large portion of space in my knitting basket.
  2. Pi Shawl for my grandmother. Talk about long distance knitting!
  3. BSJ #5. Dear daughter's best gal pal is expecting in January and baby things are just too much fun to knit.
  4. BSJ #6. To be knit in bulky super wash wool for my almost toddler grandson. It must fit to keep warm.
  5. Round Ripple Baby Blanket,  (crocheted) also for DD's best gal pal. Besides I have the yarn on it's way. It will fit nicely in my basket. Once the red afghan is done, that is.
  6. Virus Shawl. Repurposed the Tosh Tart lace yarn from Japanese Waves for this. Scrumpdillyishous.
  7. Sophies Universe (crocheted mandala blanket). All scrapghan, and full of the most ginormous. Texture. Ever.
  8. Granny ripple throw that will go to a friend of the family when complete.
  9. Two Vanora doilies. Not one, but two. I'm a glutton for punishment. One in size 10 cotton, one in size 20 cotton. Grace Fearon is a marvel.
  10. Summer Splendor doily, also in size 20 thread. Double glutton for punishment. I'm a crochet masochist.
  11. Two quilts: one baby (just needs binding) and one bed sized (requires me to mop the kitchen floor to sandwich it up).
  12. Oriental Crane needlepoint. Idiot work from 2008. Had to buy the used yarn kit on eBay just for the chart, the design is almost worn off of the canvas.
Jeez Louise. Do I even know what I'm doing anymore?

Crochet Compulsion

Let's start at the beginning of the compulsion. I learned to crochet while I was pregnant with my daughter 28 years ago. Patterns were fairly easy to come by, and of necessity being very thrifty in those days I bought most of my crochet booklets, thread, and yarn from the Thrift Store.

Fast forward another 8 years, and I had accumulated quite the collection of Magic Crochets and 10¢ booklets from the 40s and 50s, as thread crochet is much much less expensive than anything done in yarn, and much more portable. After my stroke, those beauties were relegated to a storage shed to rot. I've shed many a tear over that lost collection.

Since I began crocheting again, earlier this year, I came to learn that my old favorites are now out of print, and after Katrina when so many lost everything they owned, the Thrift Store had meager pickings.What a joyous chore tracking them down online has become. I've managed to reassemble my old collection and expand it. I've tracked down 85 issues of Magic Crochet on eBay, and have 10 more on the way. ⅔ of of the entire print run will soon be mine. I'm rubbing my hands together in avaricious glee and cackling.

Not to mention my old 10¢ crochet booklets, of which I have 4 binders full to bursting.

And I've discovered Elizabeth Hiddleson, whose 4-A will yield a delightful Fleur de Lis doily when it arrives, perhaps 2.

Now if I can just get my hot little hands on the 1990s issue of Crochet Fantasy that has a toy dragon pattern reminiscent of Puff the Magic Dragon, my collecting days will be over.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Bibbity, Bobble-y, Boo!


There are those who swear by charted instructions and will not use a pattern that only provides written instructions. Then there are  those who swear they can't follow charted instructions and will only work a pattern with written instructions. Then there is me, and I suspect a larger number of those like me, who are pattern method agnostic and will work a pattern regardless of how it is provided.

That said, there are times when a charted pattern is so much easier. Like now.


 I've got Denise Augostine (Owens) Summer Splendor on a hook now. One of several doilies I have on the hook. (Doilies are a peculiar addiction of mine.) Summer Splendor is a beauty consisting of concentric rings of dc bobbles, chain loops, and rounds of dc/basic filet rounds. When I saw the pictures of it on Ravelry, my hook began to sing, and once started progressed nicely through round 21, or so I thought. Take a look at all of the lovelies on Ravelry.


While beginning round 22 I noticed that my bobble cluster repeat had changed. In a doily this isn't unusual, especially this close to completion. However, in a pattern this easy it heralded that something was wrong somewhere. So I began frogging, round by round to see where my work went astray. Ripping out rounds and rounds of size 20 thread was painful but instructive. My entire final bobble section was off! Sigh.

To Chart, or Not to Chart...

While it is one of the easiest patterns to work - all simple stitches and short repeats, it made me question whether or not I could still read.  This brings us around full circle to charts or written instructions.

Here's the round that I misread:

Rnd 17: Sl st in ch-1 sp, (beg bobble, ch 2, bobble) in same sp, ch 3, skip next dc and next ch-1 sp, sc in next dc, ch 3, sc in next dc, ch 3, skip next ch-1 sp, * (bobble, ch 2, bobble) in next ch-1 sp, ch 3, skip next dc and next ch1sp, sc in next dc, ch3,sc in next dc, ch3,skip next ch-1sp;rep from* around, join with sl st to top of beg bobble. 

Rnd 17:
Sl st in
ch-1 sp, (beg bobble, ch 2, bobble) in same sp, ch 3, skip
next dc and
next ch-1 sp, sc in next dc, ch 3, sc in next dc, ch 3, skip next
sp, * (bobble, ch 2, bobble) in next ch-1 sp, ch 3, skip next dc and
ch-1 sp, sc in next dc, ch 3, sc in next dc, ch 3, skip next ch-1
sp; rep from *
around, join with sl steg bobbl
Rnd 17:
Sl st in
ch-1 sp, (beg bobble, ch 2, bobble) in same sp, ch 3, skip
next dc and
next ch-1 sp, sc in next dc, ch 3, sc in next dc, ch 3, skip next
sp, * (bobble, ch 2, bobble) in next ch-1 sp, ch 3, skip next dc and
next sp, sc in next dc, ch 3, sc in next dc, ch 3, skip next ch-1
sp; rep from *
around, join with sl seg bobbl
In all fairness to Ms. Owens, the pattern is correct. When written out, it is unfortunately dense and easy to get lost in. Which is what happened to me.

Here's my chart of the same section. Please forgive my poor art skills and even worse handwriting.

Rounds 16 (bottom) and 17 (top)

 In this instance, one picture is worth a hundred words. Far less dense, and everything I need to know about round 17. Ahhh, clarity, I'd omitted the middle ch3, sc on my first attempt.

I first saw this type of chart in a Russian crochet magazine, Duplet. It's brilliant, showing the previous round and current round as a function of their repeats. This is a fabulous blend of the old (written) and the new (charted). For me, there's no better way to not get lost in a pattern.

Back to round 17...Happy crafting, y'all!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Sewing for a teenager

Much of the past few months has been occupied by my search for the appropriate quilt top for my teenage granddaughter. I queried her dad, and she liked birds, wanting to be an ornithologist (really?) and blue, preferably royal blue.

In this quest, I finally developed some smarts( hard to believe, I know), by testing squares before cutting the entire quilt.

 At first, it would have 8" squares of embroidered birds in a modified Log Cabin pattern.

Now, in this process of testing designs, I learned a couple of things. First, I don't mind stitching the occasional machine embroidered design, but the thought of cranking out enough 8" blocks for a quilt top made me twitch severely enough to require seizure meds.

Next, it was 10" squares of embroidered birds set on point with blue corner triangles. Big blocks means fewer embroidered squares right?

The second thing occurred to me at this stage. She's never once mentioned birds or ornithology to me in any way, shape, or form.

Birds, really? What was that all about? But, she talks of her cats constantly.

Oh ho! Here we go! Something I can work with that she likes. Design 3 was an appliquéd cat head square. Adorable, but too cutesy for the teenage granddaughter. And machine appliquéing hundreds of wee bits of cat faces would be a torture worthy of Dante's 9th level of hell.

I pressed onward, because a Nana is NEVER deterred by setbacks. Design 4 is a pieced cat square. The test sewed up beautifully, and the cats are all different colors. Blue is incorporated in several cats, and I'll likely bind the quilt with a patched binding of blues. It's old enough for her now and later in life, but not too old fashioned.

I knew I'd find the right design for her. The cutting of half of the squares is done, maybe more. I like to break up big cutting jobs so that I have a kitchen table in-between cutting sessions. My family likes it too. Off to the sewing room!

Now what to do with those damnable bird squares? Give me time...

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Heeeere's Johnny!

Mic Test, mic test, check one, two, three.

It's been a long and eventful 2 years - goes to show ya, I STILL can't count - 3 years since my last post here. A major illness and recovery took up the first year and a half.  I don't know that I'll ever recoup 2014 and most of 15.  After that  a new grandbaby and reacquiring an old skill have taken the last year and a half. Take a guess what that skill may be? Here's a hint:

 Life is good!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Walk of Shame? I think not...

T-minus 5.5 lap quilts on 1 Dec? Didja make it? Didja? DIDJA?

Nope, didn't make it by a long shot. But by tomorrow I'll have 3 of the 5.5 completed since 1 Dec. The accomplishment in that is that those quilts got completed in the face of this list of overwhelming odds against getting them done:

Christmas shopping for husband and kids, fabric shopping for my Kringle's lap quilt, food shopping for the family Christmas party, watching a 2 year old, cleaning for the family Christmas party, baking for mail off Christmas gifts and the Christmas party, cooking for the family Christmas party, decorating for Christmas and the Christmas party, watching a 2 year old, hosting the Christmas party, standing in line at the post office to send off gifts, watching a 2 year old, attending an out of town Christmas party while watching the 2 year old, planning Christmas dinner (we're starting a new tradition: Italian on Christmas Day), miscalculating yardages for the 3rd quilt, choosing new fabrics because what I'd chosen is no longer available, watching a 2 year old, dodging husband so I can wrap his presents, dodging 2 year old so I can wrap his presents. Oy! Busy, busy, busy...  Did I mention watching a 2 year old?

I count it an earth shattering accomplishment to have an empty sink for the first time in 10 days. And it's not over yet.

I know I'm not the only one, what's going on in your holiday plans?

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Holy schnikes! It's almost Christmas

I can't be the only crafter who has let Christmas sneak up on them...again.

Can I?

T-minus 5.5 quilts

Think I'll make it?