Monday, March 30, 2009


Oh, praises be, she is done.

This is the blanket I have been working on since January 2008, got terribly behind on, and spent the first part of 2009 dreading. I finally buckled down and worked through it, and it's done. D.O.N.E.

And yes, it was exactly as much of a pain in the butt to join as I was dreading it would be. Many, many hours of joining.
If you are considering doing a similar CAL or KAL or some such, here is a piece of advice I wish I had been given: the number of stitches along a side is WAY more important than the rough size of the square. Meaning, for every month I made squares and was careful to add or subtract rows so that they would be about 12" across. And then when I got to the joining, I ran into this nightmare: one square would be 47 stitches across, and the one I was joining it to would be 36. And the next one would be 42. And so on. So it wasn't even mindless crocheting, because I had to count each time and do careful math so that I would space out the joining stitches evenly, in order to avoid wonky seaming. It was quite the headache.
Also, squares in this gauge are pliable and will stretch a little to fit into the right size. So really, if you are making an afghan with different types of squares, please heed my warning and try to make the stitches the same, and worry less about the exact size.

This is just a simple sc join, first joining the squares width-wise and then going back length-wise, if that makes sense. It was the fastest method I could think of (hah) and also used the least amount of yarn, considering I was very much running out of the white. There's a simple sc edging around. I was thinking about adding more edging, in another color, to give it a bolder border, at which point my harried boyfriend gestured wildly and said STOP and so I did.

It's done it's done it's done!!
Now I have a beeeeautiful and warm and heavy and huge afghan, and I can make other projects with no UFO guilt!
Oh I can't wait to have my first house guest. I'm going to insist they sleep under this blanket, no matter how warm it might be.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Beth's comment + design notes

My friend Beth is one of the most organized and level-headed people I know. Read this:

"when I have to cast-on (or chain) so many stitches for a project, I often place stitch markers every 25 or 50 stitches so that I don't have to keep re-counting those beginning sections more than two or three times."

That was in response to the Madness Note at the end of the pattern in this post. I swear to you this strategy had never occurred to me. I usually just grit my teeth and try to power through and pray no one interrupts me. So um please use Beth's method, not mine, if you want further sanity preservation.

Beth also asked if crocheted scarves are usually done length-wise as opposed to width-wise. I want to say that I don't think this is the case; most of the patterns I've worked with have been width-wise. But for the both of the scarves that I've designed here, I knew that the length was more important than the width; I wanted length to be a prominent design element of each. Also, the seed stitch, which I used for Snow Angel, and its variant which I used for Frosty, are very stretchy heightwise, and less so widthwise. I wanted my scarves to be flexible and soft when wrapping around your neck, but I also knew that if they stretch lengthwise they would have a tendency to thin out in the middle, right where you need the most warmth; so for those two reasons I chose to design both of them oriented the way they are.

That's a long-winded answer, hope you like it :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Allow me to introduce Frosty, a new scarf design!

I am wearing this scarf right now. No, it's not that cold, but I love this scarf. It's the length that really sells it for me. It feels very stylish, and the yarn is so soft. It's the same yarn as my Snow Angel scarf, so the same yarn notes apply.

For those of you on ravelry, I hope to have both of these scarves available as free pdf downloads in the next couple of days.

A big, HUGE thanks to my wonderful pattern testers, Erin, Suzen, and Ann-Marie!

I hope you enjoy!

Frosty” Scarf

The color of this warm winter scarf reminded me of the coal eyes of a child’s snowman. The subtle texture emphasizes the softness of the yarn and makes the scarf thick and cozy, without being too heavy.

Materials: I Love This Yarn! (distributed by Hobby Lobby) 100% acrylic, 355 yds/198

grams: 1 skein, Black. (or 350 yds other soft, bulkier-weight worsted)

M hook

N hook

yarn needle

Gauge: not really important

Finished size: about 4” x 104”

Special stitches:

Seed stitch

Seed Spike stitch (sdsp): in seed stitch pattern, dc into ch-1 sp two rows below,

overlapping sc immediately below.(note: in .pdf version, charts will be included to explain this stitch)

With M hook, ch 252 LOOSELY (see notes below). Switch to N hook.

Row 1: Sc into second ch from hook; sc into remaining ch; 251 sc.

Row 2: Ch 1 (count as 1st sc now & throughout), sc in next 2 sc, * ch 1, sk next sc, sc into next sc*, repeat from * to * until 2 sc remain, sc into each of last 2 sc. (123 ch-1 sp).

Row 3: Ch 1, sc in next sc, *ch 1, sk next sc, sc into next ch-1 sp*, repeat from * to * until 3 sc remain, ch 1, sk next sc, sc into each of last 2 sc.

Row 4: Ch 1, sc into each of next 2 sc, *dc into Row 2 ch-1 sp (sdsp made), sc into next ch-1 sp*, repeat from * to * until 2 sc remain, sc into each of next 2 sc.

Rows 5-13: Repeat Rows 2-4 three times.

Row 14: With M hook, sc in each st across. Fasten off.

Sizing note: The pattern as written will produce an extra-extra-long scarf, which is part of what I love about it. If you want to re-size it, just calculate any odd number + 5 for the base chain.

Madness note: I understand that chaining 252 without losing count can be insanity-inducing. Trust me, I know. I strongly recommend going into a room where you can shut the door (especially a sound-proof room) before attempting this. I think it’s worth the effort! And everything after this is a piece of cake in comparison.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

that being said...

It's not like I haven't been doing other things, despite the massive amounts of afghan homework I have to do.

After finishing up my beautiful sweater which I love so much, I immediately ordered yarn for another project from Everyday Crochet. Really once you get the hang of the construction, it's SO addictive. So speedy and satisfying. So I decided to do the "Eve's Rib Tunic", for three reasons:
1) it's been my favorite pattern since the first time I browsed through the book,
2) Winter is showing no signs of retreating and I'm really, really tired of wearing the same 3 sweaters over and over again, and
3) my friend Gwen is constantly producing lovely little knitted tops and tees and tunics and wearing them over long-sleeve shirts and I decided to shamelessly copy her look.
And here is the result:

I made a few small modifications. For one thing, since I wanted this to be a cozy cold-weather garment, I changed the shell pattern from the stated (dc, ch 2, dc, ch 2, dc) to (2dc, ch 1, dc, ch 1, 2dc), just to add a little more fabric. This had the effect of give the shells a slightly raised texture, which was unintended but I actually like it. It adds to the coziness.
(it's hard to tell in the pictures)

Also, I not only added the bust short rows, but I then tapered 2 shells (from 18 repeats to 16, if I remember correctly) to give it some waist shaping, and then followed the hip shaping as written.
I was debating about the arm ribbing, but I am really glad I added it, it gives it a nice finished feel.

The yarn I used was Superwash "Chunky", which I assumed meant it would be sorta worsted-y and I was right. C'est la All the same, this yarn in this stitch and at this gauge makes for a lovely, huggy, squishy garment, exactly what I was looking for.
If you're wondering, this is I guess my attempt at looking cool. Obviously that is not my strong suit. My face says ennui, but in my heart is nothing but love love love for the vest.

Thank you, as always, Ms. Chan.

Monday, March 2, 2009

no fun

Last year in January I joined up with the 12" Blanket Square crochet-along run simultaneously through Craftster and Ravelry. The theory is that you make 1 of these squares a month and you'll end up with a 3' x 4' blanket, or if you're more ambitious/foolhardy and want a full-size afghan, you make two.
At first it was so much fun! A new square to look forward to every month! Plus, since you're working as you go, you don't end up with a million ends to weave in when it's time to assemble everything! Plus, how long could it take you to make two blanket squares? Honestly?
Unfortunately in the summer I got really really tied up with making Fall inventory for Etsy and building up stock for my Eastern Market booth, so the July squares got done in August. And then the August squares got done in...maybe October. And then Christmas gift-making happened and oy...
So I started 2009 with 1/3 of a blanket to complete that was supposed to have been completed already. And now it is just no fun at all. It takes a lot of discipline on my part to work on those. And then there's the assembling, and one of my squares is all funny-shaped so I may have to do it again...And it is March. Of the following year. Blargh.

So even though I don't have a lot of Etsy things to do and I have finally finished with a couple of design submissions and I have all the time in the world finally to make fun things, I have this task that I have to accomplish. And I don't want to. But hell I've put so much work into it already.

In college if I was supposed to have finished a paper but instead went out with my friends I would feel a faint haze of guilt in the background of every quesadilla/beer. That's kinda what this feels like (yes, I have issues.)