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Sunday, January 29, 2006

not the fastest crocheter

It's really true, I'm _not_ . I visited Michael's today because they were doing the contest and I had hoped to snag a prize. They didn't have everybody crochet at once, basically you came in and they timed you for 3 minutes. I wasn't too thrilled that they started the chain for me and I yanked out my first stitch (double crochet) because it didn't look right, but there was somebody faster than me - somebody (at the time I was there) did 50 double crochets in 3 minutes. I just did 38 stitches.
I consoled myself by buying yarn on sale;) The Moda Dea "Wild" and "Vixen" was on sale - so was "Ticker Tape" but I didn't buy any of that.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Crochet Fantasy Winter 2005, a review

First off, let me tell you I have been a long time subscriber to "Crochet Fantasy". I do not get a kickback in any way, shap or form from "Crochet Fantasy", so whatever I say is not influenced by any outside forces.

I was a little apprehensive when "Crochet Fantasy" was purchased by another publishing company. Than the winter 2005 issue arrived late, with an apology enclosed. Apparently the people who would normally get their items printed in the Hurricaine Katrina path switched to using other printers. The printers tried to squeeze in as much as they could and as a result, the winter issue of "Crochet Fantasy" was late. I have to be honest and say I didn't know it was late, but I was still opening Christmas cards on New Year's Day.

I like the new layout of the magazine. The photograph of the project is where the beginning of the instructions are, whic makes it very handy for me - I can't remember the various names of the projects and I can see at a glance if I have what I need in my stash. They even have (*gasp*) a few plus size models, which I think is great. Not everybody who crochets a garment is a petite person. The artices seem to be more indepth than they were previously. Perhaps that's just me.

One thing I had been turning over in my mind was the illusion knitting and how would that transfer to crochet. I couldn't quite figure it out how it could work, but this issue gives 2 examples of illusion crochet - enough to get me started and help me see possibly plan another project.

There is an article by Elizabeth Kurr about Judith Copeland and modular crochet. This is a fascinating article as it makes designing a garment so much easier than taking all the measurements and calculating the pattern so everything turns out correctly. There's an example of a funnel neck sweater to show you how to put the modular crochet instructions into a project.

The "Whole World Coat" is a great project by one of my favorit designers, Carol Ventura. I find her work so intricate but as the pattern is broken down to sumplify the process. I like the way it looks and I think it will become a "work in mind".

There's a lot of other good stuff in this new issue of "Crochet Fantasy" - crochet snowflakes, an article about shawl ministries as well as an article about Noreen Crane-Findlay. There's even a pattern from M's Crane-Findlay featuring one of her adorable dolls.

If you haven't checked out "Crochet Fantasy" lately, it's time for you to take a peek again. I am happy to see it alive and kicking. I also think there's enough room for several more crochet magazines - ever check out how many quilting magazines are on the newstand? More magazines and more patterns mean more fun for crocheters:)

Saturday, January 14, 2006

"Not Your Grandmother's Crochet" or my first crochet project

M's Modesitt* (of the "Crochet Pattern a Day" fame) wrote an article some time ago about how she was happy that she does do "grandmother's crochet". Good article and I'd direct you to it, _if_ I remembered where I read it.

But that expression "not your grandmother's crochet" still plucks my nerves. As far as I know, unless she just took up the hobby, my grandmother does not crochet and she never has. She is not one of the "traditional" grandmothers that the phrase seems to have in mind. My grandmother was widowed young (31) with 6 kids. She was too busy working to crochet or do much of anything else - she was (still is) more of a reader than anything else. I learned a lot from her, but I didn't learn crochet from my mom's mom.

I didn't learn from my father's mom. Apparently she was a bit wild in her younger as well as her older days (destroying bars, being a bigamist, living in sin) to have spent her time crocheting.
However, she did like to bake occasionally. I never really knew her well as she lived in in a different state. I also learned a lot from her, but not how to crochet.

My older sister, Bee, taught me how to crochet (and knit). She took dress design in her vocational school and that's something the students had to learn. She struggled teaching me how to crochet because I was (still am) very impatient. It seemed to flow freely from her hands, but I just couldn't seem to grasp it. It took me about a few months of practicing and watching and Bee showing me time and time again for me to get that "aha" moment.

I had to make something for my Home Ec class, any project, but it had to be crocheted or knitted. The Home Ec teacher didn't show us _how_ to do it, we were supposed to know. And we were also supposed to bring the item into class so she could see us actually work on it.
I choose yellow and green yarn for the colors (it matched my bedroom). The yarn I bought was rug yarn, I think. It was the least expensive of the yarns in the five and dime I visited and the start of my love affair with Boye hooks, a size H.

Bee did the chain stitch to start. I had great difficulty starting the project. Now I realize I pulled the chains too tight and couldn't work stitches in them, but I didn't know that then. I don't remember if Bee tried to get me to make them looser or not. At any rate, I was stitching along. Horizontal green and yellow stripes, done in double crochet, that had a sort of "rib" effect. I didn't know I was supposed to put the hook under _both_the loops on the top of the stitch. Bee probably did about 30% or so of the afghan. But having to take it to school and show my work made me try to learn the stitches better.
The teacher had doubts (reasonably so) that I was actually doing the work. I was slow and it would be unreasonable to think I had gotten so much done so quickly. But the day finally came when I could whip the project out of my duffel bag and actually accomplish some rows while in class. After that, the teacher didn't question my ability to crochet. I honestly don't remember what other people made. I can't remember if there were amazingly complex patterns or just ponchos (it was the late 60s). But I was sure glad I got that project done. And it certainly kept me warm.

The afghan is long gone now, a victim of time and moving. It wasn't that beautiful a project, but it was important to me. The joy of actually creating a project that big has stayed with me. I still enjoy the accomplishing of any project, whether big or small. And I've made a ton of afghans since that time, but that first one remains in my memory as an extra special afghan.
After all, how many crochet projects keep you warm, co-ordinate with your room and get you a good grade in school?


Monday, January 02, 2006

scrips & scraps, New Years Resolutions

Here's a few tidbits for you - I hunted down the "Woman's Day Knitting and Crochet" magazine (it appears to be a "one off") and I wasn't really impressed. It seemed there was much more "knitting" mentioned than crochet and the patterns weren't all that exciting. Your mileage may vary, but for all I've heard about this magazine on various lists, it did not live up to the hype. It's interesting, but not overly so to me.

Here's another tidbit.

Click here: The Best of Blogs » Best Knitting or Craft Blog

you can nominate your favorite craft blog here (please _do_not_ nominate _this_ blog _ there are many great crocheting blogs out there and this one does _not_ compare_) . I nominated
http://amigurumi-along.blogspot.com/ as it always makes me smile when I look at it. You can't nominate yourself, but maybe you can get a friend or a reader to nominate for you. The deadline is January 3, 2006. Yeah, I know it's short notice, but I just found out about it the other day myself.

As for New Years Resolutions, I'm a great believer in recycling - I've been using the same ones for about 15 years (lose weight, get more organized, be a nicer person) but I've decided I will subject some new ones, I mean write some new ones this year. They are in no particular order, just sort of random ones.

1) Stop taking it so personally that Howard Stern switched to Sirius Satellite radi, though he knows _full_well_ I can't afford that service. I'll stop feeling that maybe he's trying to "lose" me and accept the fact that life goes on.

2) Do not get a gyn exam in the emergency room if you can avoid it. (If you're a guy reading this, just take it as "stay out of the emergency room"). If this has ever happened to you, you know what I'm saying. If it hasn't, take my word for it, you _don't_ want it to happen.

3) Learn how to use my "Knitting-A-Round" and see if it's as cool as it's supposed to be.

4) Crochet more stuff for charity and for gifts. I was surprised that the gifts I made went over so well, but it's been a long time since I crocheted Christmas gifts.

5) Find something useful to do with my overwhelming stash of hooks and needles. I haven't knitted in about 3 years, perhaps having 25 pairs of knitting needles is a little overkill. (I don't enjoy knitting as it goes too slow for me.)

6) Find a _reasonable_ place for patterns. Now it is similar to an archeology dig but not as well planned out. I have heard some folks put them on disks, but I'm not sure exactly how that works, plus I'd just have to search thru the disks. At least with the physical patterns, I could say "oh, heck, I'll do this instead of that".

There's probably a lot more I should resolve to do (if it's not on my perpetual New Years Resolutions list already) but that's it for today.

Hope your new year is a good one, filled with peace and love.
(maybe I should put "learn to spell";))