Being a hooker is hard

Being a hooker is hard

So I found a crochet pattern that I would really love to make as a Christmas present.

Aside: No, all those knitted Christmas presents I had planned aren’t going to get done… I have been off of knitting for so long. I totally burned myself out with all the projects I did last year. I’m only starting to feel like picking up my needles again. Perhaps next year.

So anyway, I found a certain crochet pattern that looked fairly simple. It’s all one stitch, and I think it’s supposed to be a fairly basic one. I figured, I’ll learn some crochet basics and give it a shot…

So, I watched this introductory video. With its instruction I made a nice little swatch of single crochet.

135Not bad, right? Okay, so I started with 20 stitches and ended up with 19, but that’s a reasonable beginner mistake. My knitting experience helped me get the tension pretty good, so it doesn’t have that total rookie sloppy look.

So, at my next opportunity, I moved on to part 2. And then I got lost. I watched the section with each stitch multiple times. I could do each one as I watched it, but I needed more practice with each one in order to actually remember which was which.

When I learned to knit, I started with squares for a sampler afghan. So I thought with crochet, a simple granny square might be a good first project to practice the stitches so I could get a better handle on them.So I found this granny square how-to. I can’t tell you how many times I tried it and ripped it. I only got as far as the first round. It never looked like the one in the picture. I looked up videos on the stitches to make sure I was doing them right… but I guess I wasn’t.

I think this is not going to come as easily as I thought it might. There are (approximately) a zillion different stitches! How does anyone learn them all??

I ordered some books on the subject, perhaps they’ll be more helpful… or I may be hunting down some of you crocheters out there for some assistance.

Tanks for the slippers

Tanks for the slippers

One of those things that happen once you start to knit is people asking you for certain knit items. I’m pretty happy to oblige. I love making something for someone that I actually know for sure they’ll like. Actually, I really love getting any gift for someone that I’m certain they’ll like.

Of course, one of the other things that happens is you get requests for something in a craft you don’t actually know because people can’t tell whether something is knit or crochet. I got one such request for Christmas for these awesome PANZER SLIPPERS. Normally I just shrug off the request for crochet items because, while I’d like to learn how to do that as well, I have too long a list of knit projects to put the time into that right now. This just happened to be a request from my brother-in-law who was about to leave for a deployment. The situation called for some extra effort, but I was pretty sure it would take years for me to develop enough skill to attempt this pattern. I had to call in an expert.

My awesome cousin Rachel, crocheter extraordinaire, graciously agreed to make the slippers. Really, how awesome are these? I had a major geek out when I opened the package they came in.

IMG_4628

IMG_4629Here’s a little action scene I set up with one of them:

panzerLooks pretty realistic, right? That’s just how good Rachel’s skills are.

With the possibility of projects like this, I really must learn to crochet one day.

Intarsia, or lack thereof

Intarsia, or lack thereof

I finally got to the point of inserting the initial in Savannah’s Harry Potter sweater. I had been working under the assumption that this process would involve intarsia color blocking techniques. Then I got there and read the directions again. They actually tell you not to use separate bobbins, but to strand the yarn behind like you do for fair isle and weave it in every few stitches. I actually did read the directions when I first got them, but at that point I had no clue about multi-color techniques so it didn’t mean anything to me until I read it again after some research about intarsia. I’m a little disappointed. I was looking forward to trying it. Looks like that experience may wait until I get to making this firetruck sweater, specifically requested by Sammy when I was browsing Ravelry one day.

Anyway, here’s my H starting to appear:

IMG_4648It doesn’t show up in the picture, but there’s a little bit of puckering in some of the places where I weave in the stranded yarn on the other side. I find I have to be super careful about tension in doing that. I don’t want to leave it too loose, but too tight and I get a little pucker.

And the back:

IMG_4649I’m not sure why they would want you to do it this way. It seems like it would make for a neater finish if it was done as intarsia, but what do I know? I’m happy to see it coming together though, and glad for something interesting to do. Nothing but stockinette was getting boring, which becomes a factor in how quickly I get things done. Hopefully the rest of it will fly by and I’ll be putting it together soon – with nice, neat seams.

Yarn Addict

I wish I could share all the exciting projects I’m working on. Alas, they’re all Christmas gifts (and one baby gift that hasn’t been given yet). I was just taking another look at my list and all my supplies and planning things out. Since I cannot share what I’ve been working on, have a peek at the lovely, luscious yarns I’m working with.

Some of these are just the remnants of already completed projects, but I needed to look at everything to satisfy the over-planner in me. I tend to get a little nutsy about Christmas. I love Christmas like a little kid and I love giving gifts. I’ve never been a particularly crafty person so learning to knit and being able to give people hand-made gifts has been this incredible revelation to me.

Something funny happened in the last couple weeks, though. I had made my list of knitted gifts back in… oh, June-ish. I’ve been knitting ever since, and feeling as though I were falling farther behind all the time. So I printed out a calendar, sat down with my list, and made a schedule. Next thing I knew, incredibly, I was flying way ahead of my schedule!

So, I did what any crazy person would do. I added way more things to my list! Oh dear. The lady at the yarn shop knows me way too well, now. (And my boss, and my children, who all have accompanied me on yarn and needle buying missions.) I went back one. more. time. today. Perhaps the last before Christmas? I think I finally have all the supplies I need for all my projects – at least all the ones I have planned right now.

I need to finish knitting so I can get back to reading. I used to rationalize my compulsive book buying with the excuse that it was the only thing I was so compulsive about. I’m thinking that cozy, colorful pile on my coffee table might mean I can’t argue that one anymore.