Monthly Archives: December 2005

Don’t, please…Just. Don’t.

I decided to browse the Lion Brand website in search of patterns, and I came across this:

This is the Fringed Jeans Embellishment. This costs $15, not counting the jeans. (Not, I hope, that anyone sees this and rushes out to buy a brand new pair of jeans to “embellish.”)

I have finally found something worse than endless scarves.

Jean fringe. But not just any jean fringe, oh no! Vertical jean fringe. Because looking like a hippie is so passé. Now we must look like professional wrestlers. Really confused 1980s pro wrestlers who don’t realize they’re off-duty.

There is also a more conventional Fringed Jean Jacket Embellishment to be had, but it lacks the WWE-brand horror of the pants fringe. Fringe on jackets is, after all, nearly a time-honored tradition if you’re a buckle bunny. But this, this is something new and unique.

Actually, a lot of the patterns Lion Brand has to offer are just…just…They want me to make fun of them, right? They’re throwing these patterns out there so I can sharpen my woeful humor-writing skills. Please tell me that’s it, because if I’m actually supposed to want to buy their yarn and make these things…Nah, can’t be.

As I said, though, there are the usual crochet pattern offenders, the ones that make me yearn once again for my grandmother’s crochet. You’ve got the obligatory mangy garment, the skinned Tribble headwarmer, the psuedopatriotic flag-themed junk, the conehead disguise (Make one in white. I dare you.), the perfect hat to wear to your I Love the ’90s viewing party, something to ensure your daughter quits speaking to you the moment she turns 18, and of course twenty thousand freaking scarves for those crocheters terrified of ever increasing or decreasing.

But Lion Brand, being a huge yarn company, goes above and beyond the call of duty:
Hairy palms without the fun.
The most passive-aggressive way to break up with your boyfriend, ever.
Proof not all gay men have taste.
Maybe I was wrong about those mittens.
Scarlett had her curtains. You have your bath mat.
Don’t worry, no one will find your maxi pads if you hide them in this.
Cheaper than in-patient psychatric treatment.
Truly make granma thankful this ain’t her crochet.
At least they got to be stoned the last time this was in style.
Irony: Barbie is ready for her knitting group in her crocheted poncho! You can even make eye pokers, err, I mean knitting needles. Out of Japanese toothpicks.
If that scarf pattern is too confusing
Encourage coulrophobia.

But for all that, there is one pattern that is worse:

Not only is this hat ugly, this hat is mean. Why? Because it’s the Cheery Chemo Cap. As if it’s not bad enough to have cancer and lose all your hair, you should now cover it up with this.

For the record, this isn’t the first time I’ve noted the meanness of a hat intended for the less-fortunate. But this strikes close to home, as my mother-in-law was treated for colon cancer this year, and she crochets. Poor Jan, she’s got no idea how lucky she is that I love her. ‘Cause if I didn’t, I could do this to her, and insist that she wear it to show her apprecation!

Mele Kalikimaka

My Crocheted Christmas was a smashing success.

And I even got a new hook for a gift!

All finished.

I somehow knew I’d be working on this today. I just had to finish up the edging though. I burned a day earlier this week just figuring out how I would do it. I had this pattern in the back of my head all along, but for some reason I tried a whole bunch of other things before breaking down and finding the directions for this pattern. It looks complicated, but it isn’t. It actually works up very quickly.

Oh, & I did indeed go back and fix the joining on that last strip on the other blanket.

I’m now certifiable.

So Sunday I was fighting to reclaim Esther’s receiving blanket from the older two girls. This is an ongoing struggle. They want the blankets for their “babies”; I want the blankets for my baby.

Suddenly, I had an epiphany. I would make minature afghans for the girls for their babies.

Good idea, right? Right. And then I had to go complicate matters. Not only would I make them miniature afghans, I would use an actual pattern of some sort for the afghans instead of just a quick and dirty DC square. What’s more, I would make these afghans for them in time for Christmas.

Yeah, I’m nuts.

Monday morning I dug up a couple of books I have with afghan patterns (usually too time-consuming for me) and started experimenting to see what I could modify easily. I have a copy of Mile-A-Minute Contest Favorites Afghans (don’t recall the exact title, but that’s got all the words in some order), and I knew what size I wanted to make it and what hook I wanted to use, and I wasted about 90 minutes trying to find a pattern that would go quickly. And I finally wound up pretty much coming up with my own design, just DCs around in a long oval in 3 colors. I just finished it.

I was joining the strips as I went, and it wasn’t until I finished with the very last strip that I realized…I put it on backwards. Oy. Usually, I’d let this bother me, but I’ve got 3 days to adapt another pattern and finish the other mini-afghan, so I’m going to make like a cat & swear up & down that I meant to do it that way. Because of course I did.

Anyway, I do like the way it turned out, in spite of the backwards strip. The colors just work. All Caron Simply Soft. I adore that yarn. And the colors go well together. I’m pretty sure Linda will adore it.

Now, off to do something insane like look up patterns online. See, if I was sane I’d be going to sleep right now. But Esther’s asleep and I finally have an excuse to not be crocheting, so I’m going to look at stuff online. Crochet stuff. ‘Cause I’m funny like that.

Oh, & I’ve decided Cerberus will be a poodle.

Not crochet, but I can’t resist.

I couldn’t take the idea of a “normal” Christmas tree while living in Hawaii (nevermind the Norfolk pines that you see growing here & there; they’re not indigenous). So we have the following Christmas tree this year:
Granted, it isa rather pathetic-looking palm tree. But hey, it was $15. Don’t mind the crochet magazine on the floor behind it, one of the girls left it there. Hmm, I guess that magazine makes this a crochet-related post after all!

Now, for the terminally bored, a family photo:
It was done rather spur-of-the-moment, which is why I didn’t take the time to re-brush my hair. You can sort of tell we had very high winds yesterday, LOL. Poor starveling Esther; she’s been reduced to trying to get breastmilk out of Daddy’s thumb. The older girls’ dresses were made by my mother-in-law. People generally pooh-pooh when I say stuff like that, but what few seem to understand is that the woman is a professional seamstress. And one hell of an intimidating woman when it comes to skills. She’s a seamstress, as I said, a rather accomplished crocheter, a pretty good painter, and a good amateur photographer as well. About the only thing I do better is cook. Thank goodness we get along…

Yet another FO.

This is from the latest issue of Crochet! It turned out rather bigger than it was supposed to. I knew it’d be different when I started out, because I had to use a C hook instead of a B (I’ve no idea where my B hook is right now) & I’m pretty sure the beads are different too. I had to buy cheap ones.

The directions are a bit confusing, but once I figured them out it all moved very fast.

The reason, now that I’ve distracted myself, that it is so much bigger than I’d intended is that I neglected to account for the weight of the beads stretching the elastic. I made it big enough to encircle my wrist without stretching, but it stretches because of the beads. So I could have done with it being a good two repeats smaller, from the look of things.

I think I’ll use the same technique in the future but using thread or hemp cord or something, anythingthat doesn’t stretch.

And in the meantime, I’m thinking about making the girls bracelets from this pattern. And I’m fantasizing about other ways to utilize elastic thread in crocheting. And I’m still working on the ruffle for my denim skirt. That’s my Christmas present this year, taking time to make some stuff for myself for once.

First project from The New Crochet

This is the floral choker from The New Crochet, which I first mentioned a couple of days ago. The project advertised itself as “make today, wear tonight” and it certainly was fast. It took about 2 hours start to finish. I made the band last night right before going to bed, and made the flowers tonight while watching the Frosty the Snowman hour on CBS. The pattern calls for silk yarn, but of course I didn’t have any, so I just used Red Heart Baby Soft yarn. I’m really appreciative of the way the book gives not only the exact yarn used in the project but the weight. That way it’s easier to substitute yarns. I hate it when a book only gives the name brand of the yarn they used for the product. I can’t afford most of the yarns named by name, and it’s a royal pain sometimes trying to figure out what I might be able to substitute. So this makes things simple, and I like that.

Next project, since I’m effectively done with Christmas gifts: the skirt-embellishment from the same book. I’m thinking it will remain off my skirt until such a time as I can buy a lot more snap tape; I’d really prefer to be able to take it off. I also want to make Bendy’s bracelet from Crochet!, but I’ll have to make a stop at Wal-Mart for the elastic thread & the proper beads first. That stuff will probably be cheap enough for me to get it this pay period. We’ll see.

I am so prolific today!

I made two lei from this book tonight. Toddler-sized. The lei are very simple, except the twisting them into shape thing is a bit annoying. The girls will love them, though. And I’m stupidly happy over having stumbled across a 30-minute project.

The first is hibiscus, the second crepe gardenia. Not in true-to-life colors, but I really didn’t want to make yet another green-and-yellow project, and those are the only realistic colors I have on hand.

Poor Annabelle, I really need to dig up some clothes for her. And see about cleaning that crayon off her cheek…


Yet more Christmas gifts:

Using poor Annabel as a model again. These are super-easy & would only take about an hour to do if you sat down & just crocheted. I actually wrote a pattern, though it’s so simple it barely merits one. As usual, it’s at Crochetville: Very Simple Toddler’s Headband.

I’ll be making more little stuff to fill up the time between now & Christmas.

That poor jacket…it has mange…but the "oodles of poodles" scarf will save it!

We get paid at around 7pm the 14th and the last day of the month, ’cause that’s when it’s payday on the East Coast. So there are some comforts to living in the most isolated population center on the planet.

We were gonna go to California Pizza Kitchen to eat, but Christmas shopping traffic was nasty. It seriously took us twenty minutes to travel one block, and this was at 8pm, an hour away from the mall’s closing time! Well, Rob & I don’t like people enough to deal with large crowds, so once we managed to inch our way up to the driveway to go to Barnes & Noble, we turned & parked and went in. God, I love payday.

I bought Crochet! magazine, a book called The New Crochet, and the latest copy of Mothering (which explains lots about my parenting style, but zip about my politics). And so, of course, I must now make fun of the patterns.

I have to come out squarely on the side of disliking Crochet!‘s new look, at least vis á vis their decision to go the starving model route instead of the actual human route. Poor things, I hope they were paid with a hot meal. A hot meal and makeup remover.

And then…And then, you have the patterns.

The Editor’s Choice is the Kimono Coat. OK, this is a kimono. This is the kimono coat:
I apologize for the poor quality; I couldn’t find it on the magazine’s website, & I don’t have a scanner, so I was forced to take a photo with the flash off (shiny paper) & then adjust the photo. Trust me, though, you are much better off not seeing the colors.
Now, if you click the link, or just bring to mind the last commercial for Memoirs of a Geisha you’ve seen, you will immediately grasp the first problem with this “coat.” It looks nothing like a kimono. There’s that odd collar, for starters, and then the cuffs, which are thankfully hard to see in the photo. So it fails the kimono test. Also, it has no closures. No zipper, no buttons, nada. So it fails the coat test. That, & it’s fugly.

But wait! It gets better! Turn the page from the directions for thatmonstrosity, and you see…A poncho. Whew, so glad we’re not dealing in Grandma’s crochet anymore! Why, we’ve moved up a whole generation, to Mama’s crochet! The poncho draws my usual complaint about stuff from the ’70s. We just don’t have the access to drugs they had back then! Ponchos and “Afternoon Delight” are übergroovy if you’re stoned out of your melon, (Which, for the record, it looks like that model is. What do hungry supermodels do when they get the munchies?) not so much so when sober.

But wait! Yet again, it gets better! Turn the page again, and gaze upon the masterpiece that is the “Ribbon-Weave Scarf.” Not that it’s big enough to actually wrap around your neck. Not that it’s attractive enough to actually drape over your shoulders. But hey, at least it gives a use for that pesky ribbon yarn that always seems to kink up on itself! (The hungry supermodel for this project also looks supremely irritated. Even shecan’t believe how dumb a project this is.)

But the best is yet to come. Because on page 24, we get this:
I know! I want to make something fuzzy! But not completely fuzzy. No, that would just be tacky. I know, tufts! Regularly spaced tufts of fur! Regularly spaced tufts of fur with random specks of color in them. Poor thing. It needs some of this.

All the other patterns pale in comparison to this jacket. Even the cropped, long-sleeved sweater.

Thankfully, we still have The New Crochet. No “fussy doilies” here, no ma’am! Who needs doilies when you have the Oodles of Poodles scarf?
Now, isn’t that much better than a doily? Note, please, that the fuzzy black thing around her neck is part of the scarf, and so are the odd dangly things. As for the model…Well, doesn’t she just look like she is someone’s grandmother? And doesn’t she just look like she’s thinking, “My, how far crochet has come since my day, when all we knew how to make were fussy doilies!”

The book describes the scarf thusly:
“The combination of soft, black fuzzy yarn and variegated pinks evokes a vision of a 1950’s poodle skirt, but with a contemporary twist.”

Eh? That scarf evokes this? Really? Um, OK. If by poodle skirt you mean disemboweled mink, then I suppose they’re right.

That’s OK, there’s always this:
Odd how both this model and the other one look as if they are merely tolerating their clothing.

This, by the way, is the “Silk Meringue Bolero.” Because even yeti deserve fashionable cover-ups.

Now, lest you think I am insane for spending $25 of my (er, Rob’s) hard-earned money on a book I hate, let me reassure you I find 90% of the patterns in it to be just lovely. There’s one floral choker that I am absolutely drooling to make, even though I do not have the neck to wear it, and the cover project is just stunning.

It’s just…Have you ever noticed that whenever a crochet publication proudly proclaims its modernity, you’re assailed with oddities like these? We wound up at the Spaghetti Factory for dinner last night, and the table had this doily of sorts on it…It was a circle of velvet with a thread-crochet edging. Very pretty. Obviously fairly complicated (you try crocheting into velvet some time!). Obviously fairly old. Obviously a cut above a lot of what’s touted as “new and now” in crochet.

Again, gimme Granma’s crochet, please!