Monthly Archives: August 2005

Linda’s Outfit

Finally finished it up today. Really didn’t take that long, just took getting around to. The skirt is a shrinking of the “simple skirt” pattern from Hip to Crochet. I used the new-to-me technique of increasing hook size to shape the skirt. Used 3.75, 4.0, 4.25, & 5.0 hooks (this was before I bought my 4.5 hook). The top started out as a shrinkage of a tank top pattern from Cool Crochet, but I decided to make it with straps instead of sleeveless. I need to go back & take about 5 rows off the straps, because it hangs a little too low here, but other than that it turned out well. I used only one size of hook here, 4.0. Both top & skirt use Bernat Softee Baby yarn.

The pattern for the skirt is very simple–one row of sc followed by one row of 2DC, sk 1 st, 2DC. The top pattern is 1SC, 1DC, but unusual in that it is bracketed by HDCs (the first & last st). It’s a simpler variation of that particular pattern stitch. Made it easier to sew up too.

So, here are the photos:
Before I forget, I used a simple drawstring waist on the skirt, which is also intended to fall below her tummy.

And I promise I’ll get the other patterns up on Crochetville shortly. I misplaced the tablet I had them written in, but have since found it.

Finally finished it all…

Got the hats & the sockies done & decided the outfit couldn’t possibly be complete without a pair of shorts as well. Getting that to come together took another couple of days, though the finished product & pattern were done in a relatively short amount of time today. I woke up, frogged what I’d been working on yesterday, and started completely anew, then finished it up.

Now, for the photo:

I never find out which sex the baby is ahead of time, thus the two hat/sockie sets. I thought about also making two pairs of shorts, but decided to keep things somewhat simple.

The onesie I bought at the BX & decorated. In case it’s hard to read, it says “freeborn”, which is an allusion to homebirth (actually, a bit more controversial than that, but I’m not gonna go into it here, since this is a blog about crochet). I used a 4mm hook for the sockies, a 4.5 mm hook for the hats, and a 4.25 mm hook for the shorts. All of which are labeled as G. Three different brands–4.5 mm is Crystal, 4 mm is Susan Bates, 4.25 mm is Boye.

There was a conscious effort made to keep these simple enough for a beginner. The only stitches used are HDC, SC, SlSt, & HDC decl. And chain stitch, of course. I’ll post the patterns on Crochetville shortly; I’m just not up to doing it right now.

The yarn of course is sport weight. The hat/sockie sets are Red Heart Soft Baby, the shorts are Red Heart Baby Econo. That’s a rougher yarn than I’d normally used, but there’s not spare yarn money right now, so I had to stick with what I have on hand.

I have two new patterns.

I am just waiting to make a second baby sockie before I take pix & post the patterns at Crochetville. The heel of the sock was a pain to figure out, but I love the finished product.

I’ve temporarily abandoned Linda’s top to work on some baby stuff. I bought onesies over the weekend & embroidered them, so I figured I’d knock out a couple of hats & sockie sets so I have something for this little bugger to wear once it gets here. I’ve decided to do without most of the birth supplies I’d planned to order, only get stuff locally, so I won’t be ordering the cap and shirt set I’d planned to get with the supplies. But babies still tend to need clothes, so I want to have a first outfit ready.

I have 56 days left, but I gave birth a month early last time, and as I’ve got feet sticking up into my ribs already, I won’t be surprised to have the same happen again. So I’m starting to feel very nesty, and baby things are high up on my crochet list right now. Which means the more fun stuff is pushed aside.

I do have a new acquisition, however. When making Linda’s skirt, I was switching hook sizes to shape it. I realized I have a 3.75 mm hook, a 4mm hook, a 4.25 mm hook…and then a 5mm (H) hook. Acting on a hunch–the Crystal brand F hook is 4mm–I went to the local craft store, and sure enough Crystal has a 4.5mm hook, marked as G. So I now have this spiffy new 4.5mm bamboo hook. I do have hopes of eventually finding a 4.75mm hook, but I’m not gonna sweat it.

(I will give the source for the booties in the previous post as soon as I find the booklet. I don’t for the life of me remember the name right now, and I can’t find the booklet, but I can say I found it at Wal-Mart. The booties are part of a layette of cap, booties, sweater, & blanket; they’re on the front cover & there’s a bunting bag on the back cover if I remember right.)

I actually followed a pattern.

Shock. Awe. Fright. I followed a pattern through to the end. And it was a pain. Literally, since it called for an E hook. Thin little thing hurts my fingers. But dear Lord, the end result is adorable:
Cute, aren’t they? I am just nuts about the loop stitch that I finally figured out when working this pattern.

These are actually about a month old; I put them in a drawer before remembering to take a picture of them. They lack only a ribbon to thread through the eyelet round you can see.

I am still working on Linda’s big sister skirt. Had to go buy another 4mm hook today, because I managed to lose the other one. Trying to save money, I bought the Susan Bates hook this time ($3 instead of $8). But it looks like a normal hook & is marked G, so I’m going to have to be careful.

Of course, what’s funny is that I’m changing hook size for shaping of the skirt. And I just switched from a G hook to a G hook. 😉 Of course, before I had to go buy another 4mm hook, I’d switched from an F (3.75 mm) to an F (4mm). Uniformity is my dream…

Before Birth

Must resist the urge to use the punnish, overdone “womb with a view” line…

If I can get a better picture of it tomorrow, I will post one. Right now, nothing I could do about how the flash caught the baby.

This turned out better than I’d hoped. It wasn’t particularly easy. I made a conscious effort to be more abstract, more random than I am used to being with my sculpture projects. It’s pretty much impossible for me to shut off my brain in the necessary fashion.

The womb itself is black worsted weight yarn, Caron’s Simply Soft. I chose the color to illustrate the darkness inside the body. It is purposely lumpy and uneven. I was trying for an organic, random feel. (Again, that word. Random.)

To the left of the picture is the placenta. It’s the same brand and type of yarn as the uterus itself. I have always particularly liked this colorway, as it gives a sort of brocade look. (I think the actual name is ‘autumn brocade’, but don’t quote me on it.) I chose it because of that look, because I wanted to capture the richness of the placenta, to give it a beauty equal to its importance.

Next, the baby. It looks a lot better tucked into the womb than it did on the outside. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts, and all that…Pretty simple peanut shape, actually out of the same yellow baby yarn I made Smoochie’s dress out of. Arms and legs both are a sort of curve, not articulated. Again, on purpose. There is a slip stitch of the same yarn along the edge of the umbilicus, from the baby to the placenta (the main part of the umbilical cord was made from the same yarn as the placenta), to indicate the exchange that goes on between baby and placenta.

The hooks I used…4mm, 3.75 mm, and even 3.5 mm. The placenta & baby were both done with the 3.5 (E) hook, and the placenta at least was a real pain (literally) to work with. The combo, especially, of the worsted weight yarn and E hook makes a very stiff fabric. The main stitch was, again, SC and variations of it, with some HDCs and long HDCs thrown in for flavor.

Reposting my other sculptures.

Nothing fancy about this post, just photos & brief descriptions of my previous crochet sculptures, since the prior info all got eaten (ok, ok, erased).
Pregnancy Goddess. First piece. Birth art. A self-portrait of a sort. (Yeah, I do look pretty much like that right now. Except not being made of yarn.) Worsted weight yarn, H hook, mostly SC. Breasts are Tr clusters, tummy HDCs.
Uterus, complete with fallopian tubes, ovaries, & purple cervix. The yellow isn’t a smilie face, it’s a c-section scar. I’ve had two. More birth art. Worsted weight yarn again, again mostly SCs, this time BLSC. (back loop single crochet)
Totally mundane Black Lace Heart. Done for my husband as an apology for leaving the uterus on his keyboard as a joke. Yet again, worsted weight yarn & SCs. (Get the impression I find this the easiest stitch to create 3-D objects with?)
Vulva. The piece that convinced half my online acquaintances I’m insane. The rest already figured as much. For the record, I am far from the only person who crochets vulvas, though I haven’t seen another as purposely accurate as this. (Yes, I know it’s not 100% lifelike.) Worsted weight yarn & a huge variety of stitches. Made because I’m tired of the attitude that women should be ashamed of their ‘private parts.’ The closest my Libertarian self comes to feminism.

Bobbie’s Fiona Dress

Finished the dress today. I shrunk it down from the pattern called Fiona in the Cool Crochet book (I love that book, in case you hadn’t noticed; yept it’s the same one I got the wire jewelry inspiration from). Here’s the original dress:
This dress is my main reason for buying the book, actually. It’s a great dress, and actually made out of (light) worsted weight yarn, even if it does call for tiny hooks.

I made Bobbie’s Fiona dress out of yellow yarn that she chose from my yarn closet. It’s the yellow sport weight yarn I used for the round baby blanket. Specifially, Lion Brand Pound of Love yarn. It’s thicker than most sport weight yarn I’m used to, but it’s soft, and for crying out loud I was able to make (half) a blanket and a dress out of it, and I still have some left! I think I spent something like $6 for it. Great deal.

The pattern in the book, like I said, calls for pretty small hooks. E & F, if memory serves. I know small hooks make for a fine fabric, and it’s undoubtedly better to have itty-bitty stitches for an unlined dress like this, but I just don’t have the patience. I used a G hook. So, smaller yarn but a bigger hook. I’m odd that way.

Here are the photos of Bobbie in her dress:

Cute, huh? I do need to straighten it out, maybe even block it. I had it all scrunched up in my lap just before these photos were taken, trying to finish it up before bedtime. She loves it when I make her things. Took a few days to crochet, but wouldn’t have taken nearly as long if I’d put more effort into it. It makes a pretty sundress, I think. I like my daughters in yellow.

The dress is 90% straight DCs. That’s what makes it so simple. The sort of spiderweb pattern at the top was a lot easier than it looked, but it involved trebles, which are my personal bane. I just can’t make them flow as quickly as I can the other stitches. But I like the pattern stitch enough I can see myself using it to edge a shawl or baby blanket.

The straps are sc. Kind of an interesting technique there, make the chain, then sc back down it, then ch 2 to get around the “side” and sc’ing back up the other side of the chain. Lots of baby bootie patterns use a similar technique. It’s not one I’d have thought to use on my own, but I like the effect it gave.

Other than using a different yarn and hook, and of course making it for a 3.5 year old, I stuck pretty much to the pattern for the dress. I get a kick out of shrinking stuff down like that. Too many patterns for baby & toddler clothes are just repetitive and, well, insipid. I have to be careful not to make something too sophisticated for a little girl, but I think this turned out well.

My next clothes project will be shrinking down a skirt pattern and maybe one of the halter top patterns from the same book for Linda. But I will have to measure her again I think; I’m not positive what I did with her measurements. It’ll probably be a day or two before I even get started on that, to be honest.

I’m working on another sculpture. It is more abstract than what I’ve made in the past, more symbolic than exact, and more birth art. More than that I won’t say til I’m done, which should be tomorrow. I actually took a break for a few hours from Bobbie’s dress to work on the sculpture yesterday, which is how it is close to being finished already.

Wire necklace.

Apparently, thinner wire is not much less painful to work with. The silver wire in the photo is 28 gauge, the second-finest they had at the store. It was much easier to work with, though. If I had iron fingers, something like this would be excellent for a craft fair. The cost of the materials was approximately $4.50 (and keep in mind, everything is more expensive in Hawaii), but if you were a bit more talented at it than I, they could easily sell for $10 or $15, I’m thinking.

I do love the look of the necklace, though I don’t see myself crocheting very often with wire. I just can’t get a uniform look to the stitches, and if you think Fun Fur hates to frog, try frogging jewelry wire! BUT I adore the delicate look of the necklace. Perhaps at some point in the unknown future I will have opportunity to wear it. I haven’t been to a party in about 4 1/2 years. Oddly, that doesn’t really bother me.

This is my own pattern, by the way. Well, it wasn’t really made from a pattern.

My current project is a dress for my older daughter based off the dress in Cool Crochet. It should be ridiculously simple, as there’s not much need for shaping a dress for a 3.5 year old, when it’s intended to be a pretty close-fitting dress. I should have it finished in the next few days. I was originally going to make it fairly long, but a review of the dress in the book shows it’s only supposed to come just below the knee, so I’ll need to remeasure Smoochie & adjust the length accordingly. (Less from a desire to be accurate than to finish sooner.) I love shrinking down adult patterns, and the kid can always use another sundress. I’m having hormone-induced daydreams of crocheting something for everyone in the family & then having a family portrait made after the new one gets here. I expect that particular haze to clear up shortly after my milk comes in fully once again. 😉 I will at least be making Linda an outfit based on patterns in the same book; can’t make something for Bobbie without making something for Linda. I made Bobbie a big sister outfit last time, it’s only fair I do it for both girls this time.

A painful medium.

Wire hurts. Above is my first finished example of wire-and-bead crochet. I wanted to make the necklace from Cool Crochet, but I was afraid I didn’t have enough wire, so I decided to make a bracelet with what I did have. It turned out OK for a first attempt.

I’d like to see if I can find finer wire. I found it impossible to maintain a steady stitch size since I was having to fight the wire to get it to move through the chains. And my finger that I use to control tension just hurts now. But at least I’ve managed to demystify bead crochet. At least, for me. I’d like to see if I can’t get more consistent results with wire, though. I think I’m going to preemptively bandage my finger; maybe a little padding will help keep it from cutting into my skin so much. We’ll see.

Finished sweater set…

I finished up the dress last night & this morning. And I relearned that sleeves already sewn into the round are a pain in the rear to sew into place. But that’s the way the pattern said to do it. Note to self: should you ever again be insane enough to make that dress, make the bodice, then the sleeves, then the skirt, that way you don’t have to fight with round sleeves into an already-made bodice.

Again, I love the patterns in Candy Babies. I really do. I think they’re incredibly innovative. Hmm, I guess I should say I love the garments in the book. The patterns, not so much so. I appreciate the knitting-pattern-style writing, where it says stuff like “work even until piece measures 7 inches” rather than “Rows 3 – 27: repeat row 2.” But other facets, especially the joining of the various pieces, just don’t work out as well.

So, on to the pictures. First photo–the dress alone:
I had to make a few changes to the pattern. The back of the bodice is supposed to be just straight HDC, but even using the same size hook, it was huge compared to the front, so I did the entire bodice in the pattern stitch, which I think looks nicer anyway. I also did several rows of the pattern stitch (2 repeats of the whole kit n kaboodle) on the skirt, which gave it a pretty nice look, but I’m still not certain I’m totally satisfied. And I made the sleeves shorter than the pattern called for, as on the model they came down to her elbows, & I wanted a short-sleeved dress.

Here are the dress and sweater together:
Cute, huh? I made the body of the sweater a size larger than the dress, but made sure the sleeves were short enough for the six months size. The sweater needs to be able to fit over the dress for them to be a true set. The sweater is a bit longer than I’d like–stupid me didn’t adjust the length in the main part of that–but overall I think it’s a very nice look.

And I have absolutely no plan for it…Sigh.

Today’s noncrochet talk–Bobbie is has just about mastered the capital A and is moving on to the lowercase of the letter. I’ve got her the practice writing tablets like I remember writing on in school, but lines mean nothing to her, the dear. She writes as she lives–large & enthusiastic. There will be time for refinement later.

And the good news does not end there. Linda peed in the potty. IN the potty, rather than on the lid, or beside it, or in front of it. Which means she’s getting better at feeling the urge to go, and I’m getting better at recognizing her signs and prompting her to get on the potty. Nope, I don’t ascribe to the ‘later is better’ school of pottytraining, but that’s all I’ll say about that topic, since it is even more of a hot-button issue among mamas than abortion, it seems.