Friday, October 31, 2014

(Insert crochet pun here)

Fall has arrived with a vengeance and for the last two weeks every day has been pretty much the same: grey and gusty, with rain -- sometimes real deluges, drumming on the roof and turning the streets to rivers. It's cold and nasty and when I get home from work each night, all I want to do is curl up on the couch with a blanket and a cup of cocoa and watch The Simpson's Halloween marathon on tv.

The MC tunic still needs a neckhole and one sleeve and gore attached, but (blame it on the rain) I've been crocheting instead. There's just something so cozy about working with wool. I've discovered that while I'm not a particular fan of crochet with standard yarn and a size H hook (which every beginner book told me was the perfect place to start) but if I have a nice chunky yarn, like Lion's "Jiffy" and a giant hook, it's much easier for me to see what I'm doing and oh my goodness, I took off like crazy.

I used up a few scraps left over from nalbinding to hone my nascent skills, and then I hit the craft shop because I wanted to make a saddle pad for my horse. You know, one of those easy, small, starter projects. When I realized how many skeins of Jiffy I was going to need (at $6 a skein!) and started looking for something a little cheaper, especially as I wasn't sure how it would turn out! I found Collegiate yarn in a big bin, only $8 for a skein the size of my head! I bought two in bright red and scampered home in the rain to make my start.

And you guys, it turned out great! I worked it in the round in what I thought was a single crochet. Later I learned that my "single crochet" was actually a slip stitch. Whups! But it worked up nice and thick and the diamond pattern is attractive, so I'm pleased with it.

Later when I tried it with the saddle, I discovered that even though it was the same dimension as the saddle pad I normally use, there's something in the property of crochet that is different. I need to make it two inches wider, and two inches shorter. That means tearing it all apart and starting over. (I know you're thinking "Couldn't you just give it a turn on the horse's back and use it that way?", but the answer is no. Then it's an  even worse fit.)  Good thing I don't mind repetitive tasks. It only took me three evenings to finish as is, and it's not like the rain will be stopping any time soon.

I started looking online for simple patterns; easy projects I could finish in a day or so using new stitches and techniques. Dave picked out the next skein (Collegiate again, because you get so much for the price!), a purple, grey, and black variegated yarn and I said I'd make him a scarf. That's when I discovered that I am just awful at turning corners! All raggedy-looking and uneven, ugh.

So I decided I'd go back to working in the round again and make an infinity scarf -- just a big loop you wind around your neck. I didn't notice that I'd gotten a twist in my starting chain but it turned out in my favor because I didn't have to count rows, a huge plus! I was crocheting a mobius strip! I did about eight rows of single crochet, then one row of half-double crochet, one row of double crochet, and I was done. Looking at the picture, you can see the way the pattern reverses itself in the center of the scarf, but I think it looks great. Not very masculine (sorry, Dave!)  but a nice learning piece and it'll make a good gift for someone.

So that's what I've been up to this week. Tonight is Halloween but I don't think we'll be getting many trick-or-treaters if this foul weather continues. I'll be finishing up a "Monk's Hood" cowl I'm making for myself from a soft, thick, forest green skein with a single crochet, skip stitch pattern. It's halfway done and going well so far, so stay tuned for pictures of that next time.

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