Monthly Archives: March 2006

Pretty necklace.

Isn’t she cute?

I bought Crochet from the Heart a couple of weeks ago. There’s not a whole lot in there I’ll be making, but I got the idea for this from there. I was originally going to follow the actual pattern, but the pattern in the book is for an adult’s necklace and really do you need a pattern for a rectangle?

That’s really all the base of this choker is. I crocheted five rows of SCs just slightly longer than necessary to wrap around her neck, and used a couple of ch spaces to make a button hole. The flower is a spiral similar to the one in the book, with several DCs in each ch and then wrestled into the general appearance of a flower and sewn into place.

As usual, I used Caron Simply Soft. I think a 4.5 mm hook, but I really don’t remember.

She loves it, she really does. I’m not letting her just play with it though. I told her she can wear it to church next week.

My girls love modeling crochet things for me, as I think I said. I still wanted to get a good picture of the poncho being worn, so today I decided to give it another shot, but with Linda instead of Cathie doing the honors. I did get some good advice about dressing the girls for these photos, and followed it with Linda:
I love her expression in this photo. I have no idea what brought it on. She’s good, she really is. I told her I wanted her to be a model for me and she ran and grabbed the poncho right away. She’s smart too.

I’ve not made any more progress on the little suit I want to make, but I have had another indication of interest for a custom job. Another halter top, which just amuses me to no end. She doesn’t want acrylic yarn, though, so I am trying to find something else to suit her. She said initially she’s kind of wary of cotton yarn, but I have some nice Peaches & Cream yarn that I think I can change her mind with. I crocheted a sample swatch and scanned it in and I’ll send it to her tomorrow. I am planning on charging the exact cost of the yarn plus $12, excluding shipping. Seems fair, anyway.

I’m going to put more effort into making halter tops, as they have sparked the most interest. But I still want to make some good baby stuff too.

Another thing I did was spiff up and resize some of the photos of my projects that I’ve freehanded and posted them in a projects gallery in my MWT store. You can see it by clicking here. I have over thirty things, which kind of surprised me when I counted. I’m a lot more prolific than I realized. It’s not everything I’ve done, either, only the nicest stuff. I’m in hopes it will get me more commissions.

The same lady who asked about a halter top also asked about the fairy dolls. But I need to find them before I can answer her questions! So I have a full plate once again, it seems. And many ideas floating around in my head.

Poncho

Here’s the poncho that was giving me so much trouble:
It’s not my greatest effort, but it is pretty nice. Very simple too. Just two rectangles of double crochets sewn together. The trim is a very simple shell stitch around the hem & a plain sc around the neckline. Then the flowers were freehanded and sewn on.

The yarn, of course, is Caron Simply Soft, mostly CSS Brites. The flowers were made with leftover yarn from the Berry Blue Halter top. I might make a cap to go along with this and sell them both together, but I’m not 100% positive yet. I may just keep it for Smoochie & make another for Linda, as they’ve outgrown their ponchos I made ’em in ’04. We’ll see.

Here’s another photo, a close-up of the neckline:
I do like those flowers. I started out planning to put them all down the seam, to hide it, but after those I was starting to think maybe a whole line of them would be overkill. So I threw it up online, with my trusty doll Annabel wearing it, and most agreed that three flowers are enough.

Of course, most also thought it was a doll poncho. Which is understandable, considering my model. But the kids were in bed! I’d be insane to rack ’em out just to have them model for me.

Smoochie, of course, loves to model things for me. She’s a natural ham. Loves having her photo taken, always has. And since she’s the eldest, we have a huge amount of pictures of her, LOL. Not so much of the other two. Lucky me all my kids look alike, so when they get older I can lie and say some of Smoochie’s baby pix are of the other two. (No, I won’t, not really.) I did take photos of Smoochie in the poncho, because I think that photos of someone actually wearing whatever make the product more appealing, but I just couldn’t get great pictures. Here’s the best of them:
Of course, ideally you don’t take your modeling photos after dark! But I was just not willing to let yet another day go by without getting photos of one of the kids wearing the poncho.

It’s actually been cool enough here lately, in the evenings at least, for ponchos to be worn without roasting the kids. We took them to McDonald’s last night and we were practically all sitting on top of one another to keep warm. The rain has kept things from heating up too much, but it’s already starting to be appreciably warmer during the daytime hours when it’s generally pretty sunny. Spring has arrived in Hawaii, and it is wet.

I have actually spent the day not doing much crocheting. I’ve done some, because I don’t seem to be able lately to pass the day without doing something, but I’ve only been doing swatches and trying to make up my mind about my next project. I have the yarn, Simply Soft as usual, & it is in dark country blue and light country blue. I was about to say they’re some of my favorite colors, but I don’t think Simply Soft has a single color I don’t like! At any rate, I’ve just decided to make an infant boy’s suit, a very simple one, just overalls and an open front jacket. I know the stitch too. Not sure off the top of my head what it is called, but it’s sc, dc, then on the next row sc in the dc & dc in the sc. Produces a nice, knobby fabric. I’m going to make it in a size 6 mos, mainly because I haven’t done anything infant sized in a while, but also so I can have Esther model it. She can do drag, LOL.

Finished with the commissioned halter top.

I am so ridiculously proud of myself. This turned out about ten times better than anything I’ve done in a while, I think. It’s even nicer than the ZigZag Halter.

This is about a child’s size 4. Caron’s Simply Soft again, in berry blue & grape, two great colors. I used a 4.5mm hook for the bodice and the first four rows and then switched to a 5mm hook for the rest of it, as the Mama says her daughter’s got a little potbelly. I wanted to make sure there was enough room.

I frogged the bottom part, the ripple, countless times. I truly have no clue how often. I had a heckuva time getting the correct number of stitches to base the ripple on, and I also kept getting distracted while I was working on the first ripple row and thusly messing up. And then when I got all of that ironed out, I wound up frogging the first four rows of the ripple stitch because the way I was holding it, the wrong side of the fabric was coming out toward the right side of the garment. So I had to frog the first few stitches a couple of more times to figure out exaclty how I should be holding the blessed thing.

But I finally finished it. And I’m very happy with it. The photo isn’t the greatest, so it’s kind of hard to tell, but on the last round I put a picot instead of the c-1 space at the increase. It’s subtle, but it gives it a nice finish which, I think, enhances the overall pointyness of the design.

I will also use this space to give a belated shout out and thanks to the Crochet Mafia. I left the thread where I was accused of copyright infringement right before I made that entry into my blog, so I didn’t see the people who apparently jumped in to defend me. I only learned about it today. I just want to say thanks to all of you. I do indeed appreciate it.

A commission

I have a commission from a lady at Mama Drama to make her daughter a halter top. She was contemplating buying the Berry Halter outright, but her kid is just a little too big for it, so she opted for a custom design. So I’m making for her the ZigZag Halter, but in the colors (purple & blue) from the Berry Halter. Totally cool. I’m really looking forward to it. I have the top part finished already, & I’ll start on the bottom tomorrow. I told her I’d need a week to do it, but I think I’ll be finished much more quickly. Which is good. Underpromise & overdeliver. I am trying to make that my mantra, as far as business is concerned. I added in a little purse with the ZigZag Halter when I sold it. I don’t think I’ll do that every time, but sometimes it’s good.

I have to do some math to figure out exactly how many stitches I need for the bottom part. I’m thinking an extra six, as it takes six to make a half of the zigzag pattern, but maybe it’s an extra 12. The pattern I base mine off of I think is a 12-st repeat. But that’s flat, and I work these in the round. That makes it a wee bit more difficult.

See, kids, you really willuse math in real life. It’s actually algebra, sort of. How many stitches do I need to have my pattern come out perfect? It’s kinda hard with ripple stitches, because they’re a two-part deal. Down, and then up. (The way I work, anyhow. I don’t know why I start that way.) You have to start with one and make sure you finish up with the other, so it’s a complete unit all the way around.

I love the way ripples look, but I find them fiendishly hard to do.

One of these days I’ll do a zigzag two-rectangle poncho in Fun Fur and combine all the banes of my crochet existence into one…

My poor daughters…

I am seriously considering making these for Easter:
They’re strangely cute. I don’t know why these dresses appeal to me. I guess it’s the tacky crocheter in me. Or maybe that they don’t look like the sort of thing I usually make on my own (I tend towards stuff that’s much plainer).

The first one is out of the latest issue of Hooked on Crochet, the other from the latest Crochet World (the one I liked a lot more than everyone else at Crochetville). I really want to make them, but I honestly don’t think I’ll have the time.

I am thinking, sales-wise, I am going to seriously start concentrating on halter tops. I have now a commission for a custom version of the Berry Halter shown a couple of entries ago. Lady liked it, but it’s just a bit too small for her daughter, so I’ll be making it to order, bar her changing her mind. And I doubt she will. Because of course, my taste is so poor that no one likes what I do. Except, you know, the people who want to buy the halter tops.

Halter tops. Who’d have thought they’d be popular? (OK, two isn’t like overwhelmingly popular or anything, but when that’s what sells…) Well, obviously, I had an inkling, but still…I really need to get the pattern written up and see about submitting it. Or selling it. Whichever.

I’m working on a poncho right now. Oddly, the simplest version, the two rectangles sewn together, baffles me when it comes time to sew up the second seam. I got it figured out, though not before convincing myself I’m an idiot when it comes to ponchos. (Ah well, at least I can spell it.) It’s hot pink. I’ll be trimming it in black and then sewing on some flowers made in several different colors. If it doesn’t sell, it can be a nice wrap for one of the girls when we’re somewhere it’s chilly (it’s often chilly indoors). I’m also working on a very basic shrug for Esther, something I can keep rolled up in my purse for use again in those cold buildings. Both projects, though, are gonna be shelved until I get the custom order done. Paying customers come first, of course. If the Esther shrug turns out well enough, I’ll post the pattern over at C’ville. An infant-sized shrug isn’t anything I’ve seen before, though of course I doubt I’m the only person to think of it.

I had the most wonderful dream last night…

I spent most of the night crocheting and went to bed with hook marks still on my fingers. In my dream Rob & I were at an antique store, and not only did I find a vintage F hook (with a lovely fluted handle), but there was a huge stack of pattern books and magazines at the store as well. The strange thing about the dream–and there must be something strange in every dream, mustn’t there?–is that these publications were all kept behind the counter, and when I asked the saleslady to give them to me so that I could look at them, she gave me a few of them but also some knitting magazines and also–here is the very strange part–some Christian books. More of those than anything else, and I got the distinct feeling in the dream that she was trying to convert me. Which is odd, as I’m already Christian. (Episcopalian, to be exact. Here, have some coffee.)

It occurs to me that I have a wealth of crochet publications in real life, and I haven’t made fun of them for a while. So it’s time for another round of that.

But first, your Moment of Crochet Zen:
Knit Simple spring/summer 2006

Click on that link. Behold the cover of the spring/summer issue of Knit Simple. A knitting magazine. Read and savor the largest headline on the cover:

fresh picked!
easy crocheted flowers for pretty knits

Yep. Easy crocheted flowers. It is a knitting magazine featuring…crocheted flowers. I love it.

Now, on to the magazines and books:

First up, the February 2006 issue of Hooked on Crochet! Hey, ladies, it is your grandmother’s crochet! Aren’t I glad. I won’t speak too much of this, since I also have the current issue in my lap. I’ll just say that I adore the hooded baby poncho, and if it wasn’t, well, Hawaii here, I’d make it for Esther.

Next, the February 2006 issue of Annie’s Favorite Crochet. I haven’t seen the March issue yet, but it’s out, according to the website. Anything related to Annie’s Attic always has plenty to make fun of, and this issue of course is no exception. I think someone in Big Sandy is smoking Fun Fur. (It’s nowhere near Houston, so that can’t explain it.) Again, please excuse the images I am about to provide; we don’t have a scanner at the moment so I’m stuck photographing shiny magazine paper.
First thought: Hey look, it’s that chick who played Winnie on The Wonder Years. Second thought: How many shag rugs had to die for that wrap? This photo really doesn’t do it total justice. You can’t see much of the long stringy things hanging off the bottom, but it seems as if the rug(s?) resisted valiantly. It is, of course, made using Fun Fur. But not the chintzy Lion Brand Fun Fur! Oh no, this is Moda Dea Fun Fur. Nevermind that such does not exist. (Moda Dea does make fur yarn, but nothing with the same name as the Lion Brand product.) They apparently mean Fur Ever yarn (I matched up colorway names, at least). The mix-up in names hints to me that they switched yarns from what the designer intended. The Moda Dea yarn doesn’t seem to be any more expensive than the Lion Brand stuff, just a bit more difficult to find (really, when was the last time you saw Moda Dea anything at Wal-Mart?) Because, of course, nothing sets off your butt-ugly design like elitism.

It gets worse, much worse, on the very next page, though. Turn the page and you are confronted with this monstrosity:
Apparently, some sort of alien fungus has attacked this poor, defenseless denim skirt. My God, I just realized there are beads on this. Beads. On eyelash yarn (just generic eyelash yarn this time, not FunFurSure). Wow. It is worse than even I thought.

You will notice that there is some hope for mankind. The aliens have not yet managed to infect the back of the skirt. And in some ways that is worse. Because you could come up behind this lady and think she was just a normal, law-abiding citizen. You would never know she’s been colonized by the Alien Bead Moss until it was too late.

Luckily, if I know my HG Wells well enough, Earth germs will eventually triumph.

What, you may be wondering, is the perfect accessory to set off your lovely Skirt Fungus? Why, this, of course!
Riddle me this, Batman:
Does the hideous headband cancel out the scare hair? Sort of like when you touch your doppelganger, the theory is you might both wink out of existence.

Or perhaps it’s a different strain of the alien moss?

Just for a minute, put these three hideous creations together in your mind. The wrap. The trim. The headband. Imagine one person wearing all three. It could happen. Someone, somewhere, looked at these same patterns and thought to herself, Man, they go together!

The aliens, my friends, are winning. They have already assimilated the crew over at Crochet! I reported some time back on the attack of the supermodels. It seems that with this new issue, their takeover is complete.

Mind you, I actually kind of likethis dress. Except for, you know, the rug-fringe on the bottom and the inexplicable fuzziness of the straps/bodice trim.

But you pair the minidress with the fishnets and the “Howdy sailor, new in town?” shoes and the pillbox hat (which has a gorgeous little veil) and the elbow-length gloves, and it occurs to me for the first time that this issue could well be called Crochet for Streetwalkers.

Crochet for Dying-of-Starvation Streetwalkers, more like. Chick looks like she hasn’t eaten in a month. I mean, Barbie’s looking at her and shaking her head in disbelief.

Seriously, though, I’d make this dress for myself. If it didn’t mean lots of math to recreate it in my actual size. Large fits up to a 40 inch bust. Let’s just say there are certain undergarments I have to get made-to-order ’cause they’re not generally available in stores. (And I’m not like hugely fat either; I’m a size 16, only one above the nationwide norm of 14.)

As a parting thought, I will note how incrediblyflattering horizontal stripes are for those of us not weak from hunger.

Next exhibit in the Crochet for Streetwalkers theme:
This particular…lady…apparently has lost the fight with the Alien Skirt Moss.

Really, it’s almost too easy. They make this stuff too easy for me. The people at Crochet! claim to be defining the craft. Which, I assume, means it’s Today’s Crochet and of course Not Your Grandmother’s Crochet. Once again, Granny is heartily thankful.

I can’t get over the sheer…surrealness of this particular model. Methinks the photographer went a little overboard with the airbrush tool. And I think she stole the hairdresser’s boyfriend. Because someone did that to her eyebrows on purpose.

Final bit of Streetwalker Crochet:
Unfortunately, I took a bad photo of this one, foolishly zooming in somewhat on the skirt, so you don’t get the full effect of the camisole top. Really, ladies, the whole underwear-as-outerwear thing is soover. Not even Madonna is doing it anymore.

For the record, this is another pattern I sort of like. Except for the ubiquitous Fun Fur trim. (WTF isit with Fun Fur, anyway? Do they have a whole room full of compromising photos of the foremost crochet designers or something?) Oh wait, my bad. That’s Moonlight Mohair. Oy. So it’s not just inexplicably fuzzy yarn, it’s inexplicably fuzzy yarn that itches.

This is also another design made for the starving supermodel crowd. It comes in three sizes: 2, 4/6, and 8/10. I dunno about y’all, but most of the other crocheters I know are notsize 10s anymore than I am! Way to market to the minority! (I’ve said before and I’ll say it again: only in the fashion industry can you get away with aiming 90% of your product at 40% of your perspective consumers.)

Thankfully, though, ugly sweaters are still available.

Once again: They make this too easy for me!

Where to start, where to start?

Oh hey, that hideous fuzzy thing comes in my size! Yay! Because of course us fat chicks look sogood in bulky stuff. I wanna wear it with my boffo Quacker Factory embellished sweatsuit.

The first words uttered by the baby in the middle: Please, Mommy, no!

I fuzzed out the face of the poor child in the last photograph. No one should risk being recognized while wearing that. Seriously, it ought to count as child abuse. Because if you send you child to school wearing that, she willget the crap beaten out of her for being a dork. I mean, really. As if the very concept of a fuzzy crocheted jacket wasn’t bad enough, the sleeves are a different color! Might as well tape a “kick me” sign to your child’s back.

Next, we come to the April 2006 issue of Crochet World, wherein we learn once again just how different I am from my Crochetville.org peers.

Once upon a time, when I was in San Antonio visiting my mother, she gave my eldest daughter a very special stuffed frog. The unique feature of this frog was that it was furry. A furry amphibion. Special.

Quirky the Blue Bird is likewise special. Because he, too, is furry. Fun Fur-ry, even. (I know, the Fun Fur people are Reptilians.) I think this is about the ugliest toy pattern I’ve come across lately, but everybodyelse in the thread loved it.

Of course, this means that they all have zero taste. Because I am the sole arbiter of what is good crochet.

Well, me and Lady Linoleum, of course.

This magazine also brings the Inexplicable Crochet Patterns of the Quarter:
First we have Clay Pot Annie. A wall hanging, apparently. A “charming but ‘potty’ little lass” who will enliven my kitchen. Well, not my kitchen. But someone’s. Someone with a deep, abiding love for pompons. And plastic flowers.

Then, you have the Baby Set for the Stupid. “Geez, honey, I forgot, did we have a boy or a girl?”

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve thought about putting a t-shirt that says “I’m a GIRL!” on my daughters, as putting them in frilly pink dresses has never been enough of a clue. But really, this is taking it a bit far, as some of this stuff isn’t even meant to be used outside of the house. Of course, industriously crocheting this set and then giving it at the baby shower pretty much guarantees the ultrasound will be wrong.

And the lactivist in me has to note the subtle pushing of bottlefeeding…

Thankfully, that’s about all I can find to ridicule in that issue.

Last for tonight, this month’s issue of Hooked on Crochet! I will make it brief.
Now, the purse really isn’t that bad. Except for the yarns. And the giant button. And the knot in the strap, normally something you punish your children for, not something you do to your own purse on purpose.

And, of course, the fact that they expect you to hold together two strands of bulky-weight yarn & use an H hook to crochet ’em.

More egregious is the hairy child’s poncho. It uses not one but two furry yarns–neither Fun Fur, oddly enough. And the whole thing looks oddly stiff, as if you merely cut a hole in some carpet for your daughter to wear. This reminds me of the MWTer who told me about being traumatized by the crocheted garments her mom forced her to wear.

My contribution to the ugly amigurumi craze…

I may make ugly pigs, but damn I make cute babies. This, of course, is Esther (and doesn’t she look wonderfully alert & grown since her last appearance in this blog?) with Kalua (as in the barbequed pork, not the coffee liquer) in her lap.

I was originally planning to sell the pig on my MWT store (link in the sidebar, since I just got a comment asking about it), but it just turned out too ugly. One of the legs is 14 sts around, and the other one is 15 sts around–still not sure how I added in that extra stitch. The arms are sewn on oddly, and the amigurumi-style eyes give the whole thing a distinctly evil cast. So I really don’t think it would sell, but that’s a-OK, because Esther adores it. And I learned a lot about how I’m going to be making amigurumi in the future. I stumbled across a miniature Cabbage Patch Kid that I adore the size and proportions of, so I matched the pig up to it, roughly. I’ll be doing that in the future since it turned out so well in that regard. The heads are going to be bigger, though (I liked all that doll’s proportions). Here’s a close-up of Kalua’s head:
The nostrils turned out kind of off-center. I’m still not certain how that happened.

OK, technical stuff: I made the pig from Caron Simply Soft using a 4mm hook. I made the head from the snout down, and used actual embroidery thread to embroider the features. For the ears, I crocheted in one loop only where I wanted them to go, so I’d have a loop free to come back to later. Then I attached the yarn and crocheted them in place. I finished off the head in what is now the back, then joined the yarn on the bottom and crocheted the neck & torso from there. To close up the torso, I did a row of sc through both the front & the back of the last round, then to make the first leg I merely crocheted in first the front loop only and then the back loop only of the single row, did 10 rows of sc in pink then two in black, reduced in black once, stuffed, & sewed the leg closed. The arms were crocheted seperately from the hoof up & sewn on.

***

I swear, I don’t try to create drama. But it sure seems to be finding me lately. As I mentioned before, I asked for feedback for my crochet store. Part of that feedback included, unbeknownst to me, someone hotlinking to a photograph of a blanket and doll. (I don’t think either was crocheted, but honestly I didn’t look that closely, so the blanket might have been.) Understandably, a relative of the woman who owned the photo tracked the thread down and complained. The photo was taken down immediately–the poster didn’t have a clue what she was doing was illegal, and the admin had thus far not known what was going on either.

Anyway, to shorten the story somewhat, admin decided to make a general announcement that we shouldn’t hotlink images or infringe upon copyright. Stupid me decided to point out that you cannot copyright an idea. So now I’ve had some dolt accuse me of advertising my willingness to violate someone’s copyright by copying their idea. Now, I don’t do this to begin with. I have zero interest in packaging blankets and dolls together. I have little interest in making blankets, for that matter. I did volunteer to take custom orders, and said that as part of showing me what you wanted, you could use photos to point me in the right direction. Which, of course, was interpreted as “I’ll make exactly the same thing.” Well, it was interpreted that way by this one person, who is now waging her own little “Sabra is evil” campaign.

Let me be clear. I do not LIKE drama. I want no part in drama. I take incredible offense, however, at the accusation that I am infringing on anyone’s copyright. I am not. This particular woman understands most aspects of copyright (though she is apparently clueless on how it applies to handicrafts), but is totally clueless about crochet. And this is the perfect example which occurred to me last night (because, like most people, the brilliant comebacks occur to me after the fact): right now I have in my possession at least three different patterns for “crocheted Mary Janes”. And by that I mean just the baby bootie version. There’s a version in the issue of Annie’s Favorite Crochet Patterns on my bedtable, another in a bootie booklet, and one I’m positive of in my large collection of books. And I’m pretty darned sure there are more lurking in there somewhere. Of course, this doesn’t speak of the many versions I know to exist online. They all look alike, and most of them use the exact same weight of yarn, and I’d be surprised if they didn’t share a hook size or two. But none of them have infringed upon anyone else’s copyright. No more than the shrug I can buy at Wal-Mart infringes upon the rights of whoever makes the shrugs Lane Bryant sells!

Happier Things


I have one more project to share, another toddler halter top:

I used Caron Simply Soft Brites for this one, & a 4.5 mm hook. It’s a variant on the pattern I made for the last halter top you saw in this space. The top is exactly the same except for being striped. The bottom is a variant on the ZigZag Lozenge stitch from the Harmony Guide’s 300 Crochet Stitches, which, by the way is not a violation of copyright. There are several more photos of it in my MomsWhoThink store, where it’s up for sale. Because, of course, it’s winter and no one will buy a halter top. Nevermind that a halter top is all I’ve actually sold. (I appeared for a brief time to have a commission for a hat, but I haven’t heard from the member in several days…)