Monthly Archives: April 2006

A Quick FO.

I realized yesterday I hadn’t completed anything for nearly two weeks now. The dress reconstruction I was working on is giving me fits, so it’s joined the UFO pile for now. I was feeling the need to accomplish something, though, so I started digging through my pattern stash in search of something I could make in a day or less. And this is what I came up with:
Nice, huh? It is a dress from this pattern: Baby Girl Sleeper Set. It’s very popular at the ‘Ville, but I’ve been burned so many times by online patterns that are supposed to be for babies but might fit a doll, in reality. Being that the pattern contains neither gauge info nor finished measurements, I was leery, to say the least.

Of course, my trepidation was met with utter disbelief by my fellow villagers. That I could possibly want to know something would fit before I put in the effort to make it! Or, perhaps, it was my belief that something on the internet wouldn’t be perfect. Now, mind you, I do not doubt that Ms Goss’s dress, made with sport weight yarn and an I hook, fit whatever baby she tried it on. However, I know myself. I tend to have a pretty tight tension. I generally have to bump myself up a hook size with whatever published pattern I am following, in order to get the gauge right. But without a gauge, I’d have simply no way of knowing whether what I made would fit. And to be honest, just looking at it makes me doubt it would really fit a 3-month-old.

Anyway, I am not making this for a three-month-old, but for a baby girl who will be six months old this Sunday (Goodness, has it really been that long!?). So I knew already that I’d need to make some changes. So here are the ones that I made (mind you, this is fairly obviously only the “dress” part of the set to begin with, and I do not intend to make anything else): I used worsted weight yarn (Simply Soft, of course) and a J hook. I was very careful to keep my tension loose (Lily Chen is right that you crochet faster this way). I increased in my second round of off-white shells, because I wanted a fullness to the skirt. And I used a single button as a closure instead of crocheting two sets of ties.

My gauge for this project, by the way: 6 rows of shells = 4 inches, and 3 shells from end-to-end = 4 inches. It will easily fit Esther now, and *might* generously be called 6 – 9 months size. Get back to me in three months & I’ll tell you if it still fits her, LOL.

Off topic comment: I weighed Esther today and she weighs 19 pounds. Considering that one criterion for turning around her carseat is that she weigh 20 pounds, that’s a good size. (Yes, I know the other criterion is “AND one year of age,” and no, I won’t turn her around early. Don’t worry.)

Easter Outifts all Done

Here are the girls in their Easter outfits:
Aren’t they just adorable? The tie-dye is a bit hit-or-miss, but they like it, and that’s what’s important. The shirts are just toddler camisoles I bought at Wal-Mart, where I also got the tie-dye kit. There are two more for me to embellish in a different way.

You can see, too, how much nicer Cathie’s skirt looks on her than it did in the flat picture of it. I think I said, but I’m not sure: the pattern is called “soft fans”.

Now, here’s the photo of the dresses they actually wore Easter Sunday:
Janett (which is pronounced like Jeanette, not like Janet), Rob’s mom, made them. The box with the dresses arrived on Good Friday, so I wound up slacking off instead of making the shirts, so the tie-dye was just finished up today.

I’m working on another crochet project, but this one may wind up taking a while, as it involves my primary nemeses: thread and small hooks. I am a sucker for punishment indeed.

Finished Smoochie’s Skirt

Much to my surprise, the multiples for the skirts worked out much the same. Cathie wound up needing 60 sts to start with, and 18 rounds of length before the start of the lace rounds, just the same as did Linda’s skirt.

One of these days I will remember that, even though they are two years apart, they wear the same size! I suppose this is why folks always think they are twins. Of course, I look at Cathie, who is a head taller and much skinnier than her sister (not to mention obviously more advanced!), and wonder how people can make that mistake.

Anyway, I wanted to give this skirt a different look in spite of the necessary similarities. So instead of increasing from 60 to 90 in one jot, I increased to 90, then 80, then 90. So this skirt has a much more gradual increase, almost an A-line silhouette.

I know the bottom of it looks goofy in the photo, but I assure you it’s much nicer in real life. The lacework isn’t really smaller than the skirt body. This pattern is “soft fans”, taken from Donna Kooler’s Encyclopedia of Crochet, though it is also in the 300 Crochet Stitches book.

As you can see, Cathie changed her mind at the last minute in regard to the color of yarn she wanted. This is most assuredly not the rose colorway she’d originally picked! It’s nice, though. It goes better with her sister’s bright skirt than I think the other color would have, which is one reason I encouraged her to change her mind.

Thursday being payday (it is technically Friday, but 12 minight on the East Coast is 6pm here in Hawaii, so we get paid early), we went to Wal-Mart and bought a package of toddler camisoles and a tie dye kit, plan being to tie dye them shirts to go with their skirts.

Unbeknownst to me, my darling mother-in-law (who has been mentioned here before as the woman who is not only a skilled crocheter and talented painter but also a master seamstress) was also hard at work on Easter dresses. And I mean Easter Dresses. As in, cannot possibly worn for any other occasion. As in, featuring 3-D bunnies, button-on “basket” pouches (bedecked, of course, with 3-D flowers), and Easter bunnies around the hems. And she so dearly wants my kids to wear these that she spent $22 overnighting the package containing them to us.


I really wish she had asked beforehand, so I could have let her know I was making something. Or maybe she told Rob & not me and he thought it would be a great idea for me to be surprised. The girls love their dresses, though, even if they kind of scare me. And, well, they can wear the outfits I made them whenever. So Grandma’s stuff it will most likely be, although I will allow them to choose between the two. I have no illusions as to the allure of my little crocheted skirts as opposed to Gramma Jan’s bunny dresses…

I think I’m finished.

With Linda Margaret’s Easter skirt, that is. I put four rounds of the lace ruffle on the bottom, but I need to try it on her to be 100% sure it’s long enough. I am proud of the way it turned out, though. Not bad for three days’ work:
Cute, huh? So simple, too. The waistband is chainless single crochet (which I have also seen called “double chain”), then it is simple double crochet down to where the lace starts. I did put in an increase round, as you can tell, and then the first lace round is also an increase.

I think the pattern for the lace is called “flying shells.” It’s from the 300 Crochet Stitches book.

Bobbie’s will be much the same, but tailored to her. She is taller than her sister, and thinner, but I will use the same construction techniques. I will, however, use a different lace pattern at the bottom. I don’t want them to be matching.

Vintage-y goodness.

Now that I have a scanner, I can actually put it to use and show you some of the cool things I’ve scored at the thrift store. Up now: The Complete Book of Crochet, from 1973. Which means that it is older than I am, and coincidentally my husband’s age.

Some things in crochet are refreshingly constant. Like hideous projects. Dig this groovy lampshade:
I always thought the seventies must have been much better the first time around, when drugs were readily available so that you wouldn’t have to actually see what was around you. After all, what else could explain that hair? (Realize, please, that a) I am kidding and b) I am referring to the men’s hair.)

I am guessing, from looking at this, that it stretches over a clear form of some sort. I could see making several of these and hanging them about an Italian restaurant, perhaps. Wouldn’t they really spruce up Buca di Beppo? (Speaking of that restaurant, if you want to have their tiramisu for dessert, be sure to designate a driver first; it’s even more alcoholic than tiramisu tends to be.)

Other than the lampshade, I actually do like most of the patterns in the book. I don’t see myself making most, if any, of them, simply because it is 99% thread work, and I haven’t the patience for that. (I have the deepest respect for those folks who do have the patience, though.)

Here’s a lovely skirt, even if it does look as if you could use the same pattern for a bedspread:
The lady looks as if she is just recovering from seeing that lampshade for the first time.

This is actually made in DK (double knitting) weight yarn, which is close to sport weight (I debate that they’re the same). I love the stripes. You do, however, use an incredibly small hook for the yarn given–3.5mm. Which I think is like an E hook.

The book calls this a “Long Evening Skirt”, by the way. I can so totally see this being worn out to the symphony, but maybe I’m just odd that way.

I could also, as I hinted earlier, see this as a baby blanket. But I am odd that way.

Next, something I think I might actually make for myself:
It’s a snood. I’m not 100% sure what snoods are, mind you, other than apparently something lacy to hold your hair up and away from your face. This one appears to be done in a Solomon’s Knot (also called a love knot), which is actually explained in detail in the beginning of the book.

It is, of course, thread crochet.

I love things like this. So elegant. I know that at the time it wasn’t kosher for Catholic women to go to Mass without a headcovering of some sort. Plenty don’t these days, of course.

Being Protestant, that’s never applied to me or mine, of course. But wouldn’t it be a lovely thing to start up again? A snood at church? Something to put you in the correct frame of mind…

Last one:
This is called a “Baby Shawl” in the book, not a baby blanket. I cannot figure out what kind of yarn it uses, since it just says “3 ply”. I’m guessing sport weight, as it also calls for a 3.5mm hook. The motifs seem to be relatively simple cluster-stitch squares. There is a certain elegant simplicity to it I appreciate greatly.

As a sidenote, I actually have a pram similar to that one. I bought it for my first child but I’ve never actually used it. It’s currently in storage on the Mainland.


I let the girls pick out the yarn for their Easter skirts yesterday. I’ve decided it will be much more doable to just make skirts than to try & whip up two dresses inside of a week (Esther actually has an Easter dress I purchased a couple of months ago, before I decided to make the girls outfits, but I’ll be crocheting her a cap). I am about 3/4 of the way through with Linda’s, which means I should have no trouble at all completing Bobbie Catharine’s as well. I’m doing Linda’s in WW yarn, in the hot pink CSS Brites she picked out, solid DCs until about three or so inches above her knees, then I’ll segue into a lacy ruffle to get to her knees. Bobbie’s will be done in the same manner, in the Victorian Rose CSS she picked out (I showed them both about six colors to choose from). If I finish the skirts in time, I’ll go back and make hats for them to wear too.


Not common for me, but I’m putting the photos first tonight:

I know, I know, she’s cute. The shrug doesn’t exactly go with her dress, but I wasn’t staging the photos, just trying to get them taken before putting her to sleep, that’s why she’s already in bed. She’s also wondering why I’m taking photos instead of nursing her, LOL. You can tell it especially in that last photo; it looks like she’s about to take a flying leap at me to try to latch on.

The technicals:
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft (what a surprise, eh?)
Hook: I
Technique: I measured from wrist-to-wrist and then crocheted a rectangle a little longer than necessary. The stitch is a modified V-stitch, 2 HDCs in the space between the 2HDC groups in the previous row. Then I made ruffled cuffs by simply putting 2DCs in each stitch, and then doing ch-2, slst in the back loops of the DCs, then just sewed it up partially to have sleeves.

This is the first shrug I have ever made and is likely to be the only one, unless I make them for the elder girls as well. Not sure yet if I will or not. It worked up pretty fast, or would have if I hadn’t kept putting it aside to make stuff to sell. I’m trying to reach some sort of balance between merchandise & personal projects. I doubt I’ll have anything else for sale before May, just because I want to concentrate right now on making the girls things for Easter. I’m contemplating amigurumi bunnies.

One of my favorite blogs.

Knotty Generation is Pam Gillette’s blog. I no longer recall exactly how I came across it, but I love it. This woman is so very talented, and her blog suits the crochet snob in me as well. Why? Quite simply, because when I scroll down her blog, each and every project I see is crocheted. How can you not love that?

She’s also got great hair, but that has nothing to do with anything.

Out of all the projects on her blog right now, I think this capelet is my favorite. Just because it looks so great with that skirt. Her suede pieces are nothing to be sneezed at either. She’s also working on a book, and I do hope it gets published because I’ll show up at the bookstore just as soon as they open on the day it hits the shelves, something I haven’t done since Laurell K Hamilton’s Narcissus in Chains came out (and what a deep, deep disappointment that was!). I am confident there will be no werewolf sex in Ms Gillette’s book, LOL.

What prompts this entry, in part, is that Ms Gillette has left a couple of comments in my blog. It is such a pleasure to find that someone whose work I admire so much also reads my blog. I mean really, how cool is that? This isn’t really an attempt to suck up, though. Just a plug for someone whose work I truly enjoy, for anyone who finds my blog through whatever means and has somehow managed to miss hers.


I’ve frogged the suit I was trying to design in favor of one of my other ideas: a baby layette gift basket. Not a normal crocheted layette of afghan, sweater, hat, & booties, but a more practical one similar to the layette gift sets you buy in stores. I’ve been kicking around this idea since I bought a gift set for Esther at the NEX a while back. It was very nearly a whole little wardrobe–one pair of pants, two pairs of shorts, and three shirts. Very useful. So for mine I am thinking: blanket, two diaper covers, one pair of pants, two shirts, two sweaters, two hats, & two pairs of sockies/booties. Now, the real deal will be marketing it, since with all the work that goes into it, it will have to be priced higher than even my usual stuff. But it’s just one of those things I feel compelled to do. I know it will turn out well. I’m going to work on writing patterns for most if not all of what I make, too.

Right now I’m working on the blanket. It will be a cable stitch. The stitch is modeled off one in Donna Kooler’s Encyclopedia of Crochet, one of the stitches for the Philosopher’s Coat. I have dickered with it quite a bit, though, retaining only one small part of the stitch there. Certain aspects of it made it well nigh impossible for me to tell where to put my stitches for the row after the cable row, and so I had to really re-work it. It’s OK, though, because I’m no longer feeling compelled to use SC. I was getting twitchy at the idea of crocheting a baby blanket, lengthwise, in single crochet. I’m now using HDC, which is the tallest stitch I can pair with an I hook (and my beloved Simply Soft) without leaving apparent holes.

I’m using the dark country blue yarn to make the blanket. Oh, how I love this yarn! My favorite color is navy blue (which my hubby, a sailor, did not believe at first), and this is so dark a blue it is almost black. I love it.