Monthly Archives: June 2006

A few things.

This is a really neat effect.

It’s called couching. Link to where I StumbledUpon it. (Link to StumbleUpon for Firefox, and if you don’t have Firefox yet, why the heck not?)

It’s an embroidery technique, a very interesting one wherein you sew over a fiber with thread to attach it to your base fabric in whatever shape pleases you. (There are many more pictures on the STITCH website, I just grabbed my favorite.) Fascinating, no?

Here’s a quote on couching:

The main couching stitch uses two threads and two needles. A thicker thread is positioned or ‘laid’ on top of the fabric and the thinner thread is stitched over it to hold it in place.

I can see this having a deal of use in crocheting as an embellishment, though of course you’d have to be picky with both the couching material and the thread used to hold it down, given of course crochet’s innate stretchiness.

I’m envisioning an Afghan-crochet stole with couching decoration on the ends. I really want to make it, but it’s obviously a very long-term project, because I’ve got so much other stuff in the works!

Another shot of my WIP

I know, I know. I’m still being mysterious. I so seldom get a chance to be secretive about anything. I’m truly horrible at it in person. Heck, I have never once, in three kids, been able to spring my pregnancy on my husband as a surprise. (In fact, two out of three times, he was the one to tell me I was pregnant!)

I am actually a bit farther along than is apparent in this photo. I am almost done with the main part of the sculpture itself, in fact. One might say, 3/5ths of the way done. I didn’t work on it much at all yesterday. I started to, but was having too much trouble with it, so I put it down and started on yet another project. Heh. I really need to finish some of the ones I’m already working on!

A la Drew

I don’t usually jump on the blogging bandwagon, but this one I can’t resist. Saturday Sky. See Drew’s blog for more info and a link to the originator of the idea (I’m too lazy to do it myself). See my sky:
This is my backyard, which I put first because it’s actually viewable from my desk. Well, were it not for the blinds covering the sliding door, or the canopy (whose edge you see in the photo) otherwise blocking my view.

Here’s the view from the front lanai:
You can see somewhat the glory that is post WWII military housing.

Once upon a time, there was a discussion on MomsWhoThink about a member’s upcoming trip to O’ahu. “Be sure you go see Pearl Harbor!” was the comment.

I almost hurt myself laughing. It’s a common misconception, but I’m really not sure what people expect. (I actually liken the belief that you can go see “Pearl Harbor” to the one that afflicts my hometown that the Alamo is some massive compound out in the countryside.) Let me set y’all straight. There is such a thing as Pearl Harbor. It is very important to the Navy even now. It is not something that you tour. It’s a shipyard and a Navy base. They don’t allow on any civilians who don’t work there. And even if they did, and you went on the base, it would bore you senseless unless you’re really into steam pipes and large pieces of ordnance used as lawn ornaments. (Which I am. But that’s another topic for another blog.)

Still, this is my sky. Purty, ain’t it? It’s Hawaii, the sky is always blue. Except for those 43 days earlier this year. And the day of the craft fair. But hey, we haven’t dumped raw sewage into the ocean for months now! Come see!

Saving the best for last

This week’s Gratuitous Esther Photo:
Isn’t she cute? That’s Linda’s Halloween cat ears I crocheted, put on her just so I’d have an excuse to put another photo of her in a crochet blog. As you can see, she loves having her picture taken, just like the other two do. (This photo reminds me of another long-term project: a cover for that hideous Boppy in the background.)

WIP Wednesday

I am almost done with this particular sculpture. I want to show it for my Work-in-Progress Wednesday post, but I don’t want to reveal it ahead of time. So you get an odd-angle shot.

I can’t say a whole lot about it without giving it away, but I will tell you this is the top. The pinkish-red part is yarn I bought so long ago I don’t remember what it is (no clue what happened to the label), but I do believe it involves mohair somehow. I think this because it’s scratchy on my stomach, but fine enough a form of wool that it’s not scratchy on my fingers. I used an E hook to make these spirals, and it was painful & slow-going. But necessary for the overall project.

I’m still working on Smoochie’s sweater, too, but I put it aside for this project. I just haven’t made any sculpture crochet in such a long time. I felt the need to get back to it. The sweater will wait; whether I’m done with it by the time we get back to Texas or not, it won’t be needed til October or November at the earliest.

Ooh, sparkly.

For the record, no, I didn’t intend to make another post today. But I made up this bracelet on a whim & so have to show it off:
Isn’t it purty? I know, I know, the picture’s not too good. But when the only problem I have with a project is the way the photograph of it turned out, I know I’m doin’ alright. (Dig my engagement ring too; nothing so boring as a diamond for this girl’s best friend!)

The really cool thing about this? OK, there are two cool things. First is that I did the whole thing, from idea to completion, in less than 2 hours, while watching Monster Garage (though not paying much attention) and with about a 30 minute break to nurse Esther.

Second cool thing? The approximate material cost for this little bracelet is less than a dollar. Yep, you read that right. One buck. It’s only an estimate, unfortunately. I actually had all the stuff on hand; have since before Esther was born. But the price on the bead package was 59 cents, and the floss typically can be had for under 30¢ (I bought it as part of a larger package of floss, and I don’t recall either the actual price or the number of skeins in the package, so I’m just going off my memory of the price of stuff at Wal-Mart.)

Technicals~ I used: D hook, DMC craft floss (unlike embroidery floss, craft floss doesn’t split), & faceted 6mm beads in a translucent turquoise. Here’s a scan of the bracelet, which will give you slightly better detail (though of course it’s a bit pushed out of shape since it’s been flattened):
I had to mess around with the color balance on this scan to get the beads to be easily visible. In reality, the beads & floss are much closer together in color. In fact, I switched from my original idea of using blue floss to green floss because the beads are more green than blue.

Now, how did I make it? Fairly simple, actually. That’s only 3 rounds of work there. First round was 50 chainless single crochets. Second round, where the beads are, was beadedDC, ch-1 skip 1 sc, then another beadedDC around. Third round was SCs all around again.

It’s a bit looser than I really wanted it to be, but not so much that it will fall off. It’s easy to put on, though.

Very pretty for such little cost & effort!

Pants.

Finished these today. It’s a fairly straightforward project. Bluejeans embellished with little flower motifs. More stuff for when we get back home to Texas, once winter comes along anyway. I still need to embroider the M on the other back pocket (it’s for our last name) & go back and see how much I can touch up the E, but they’re essentially done.

Sized 12 months, so they’re Esther’s. They were actually Linda’s originally, but Linda is in 3T stuff right now, and Esther will be in 12 months stuff by the time it’s cool enough to wear these. And I’ve been wanting to do a couple of embellishment projects.

I adapted a pattern out of the book So Simple Crochet, one of the motif patterns in there. Used DMC embroidery & craft floss I had on hand, and a 2mm hook, to make the motifs. Much smaller scale than I usually work in, but for a good cause.

And now for a gratuitous Esther photo. Here she is modelling the shorts from my Beginner Baby Set:
This will probably be the last time she wears these shorts. They’re supposed to fit up to three months, & she’s seven months, so I’m already getting more use out of them than I figured I would, but there’s no need for the drawstring in them anymore.

It wasn’t that long ago that she was swimming in them. Sniff, sniff.

Quick WIP for Wednesday

This will one day be a sweater for my eldest daughter.

I just wanted to prove that I haven’t lost the ability to crochet!

The stitch pattern is an adaptation of one in Candy Tots by Candi Jensen. The hook is an H. The yarn is, of course, Caron Simply Soft.

We will be going back to Texas this summer/fall for good (YAY!), and so will be somewhere it actually gets cold. So I’m working on sweaters for the girls to wear this coming winter. ‘Scuse me while I twitch at the thought of again living where it dips below the high sixties…

The starving supermodels ate their brains!

I suspect it was her:
She looks like the type, doesn’t she? (To be fair, I’d be homicidal if I had to dressin that “outfit” as well.)

I am speaking, of course, of the July issue of Crochet! magazine. Y’know ’em, they’re the ones “defining crochet.” I’ve made fun of their new starving supermodel motif in this space before, but it is unusually apparent in this issue. Enough so that I actually wrote a letter-to-the editor.

You see, it all started out so hopefully. Today is payday, and there’s a book out with novellas from Kelley Armstrong & Kim Harrison, two of my favorite authors (and I highly recommend them to anyone who used to be an Anita Blake fan but ran screaming from Ms Hamilton’s novels when they turned into poorly-written soft porn). So after leaving Wal-Mart–where, by the way, I scored some great new baby yarn–we went to Borders so I could look for Dates from Hell and, of course, dig for new crochet magazines.

This was the only one. And I was so very excited when I saw it. Because this dress was on the cover:
Isn’t it gorgeous? Très mod, no? It’s got an übercool ’70s vibe to it. I so wanted to make it. I mean, I was gonna come home and hop on the internet and find the yarns to make it. I’ve got a strapless bra, I’m fearless. I’d wear it to church, even (we’ve got a very laid-back church here).

And then…

And then, I got to the pattern. And to this little tidbit:

FINISHED SIZES

Instructions given fit 28-30 inch bust (x-small); for 32-34 inch bust (small) and 36 – 38 inch bust (medium), change hook size.

Um, OK. Extra small, small, and medium. Most American women are a size 14 or above. In other words, not extra small, small, or medium. WTF? Seriously, have these women looked at actual crocheters lately? Come on, this thing is published in Texas! TEXAS! I’m from there, I know what we look like. And we do not look like “extra small.” Not by any stretch of the imagination.

There are several really cute things in there I’d love to make…Oddly, though, all the ones I truly want to make stop short at size medium.

I’m not a size medium. I don’t want to be a size medium. I weigh 185 and I wear a size 18. Back in high school when I was eating like one meal a day and walking probably five or six miles a day, I was a size 14. Send me off to Bergen-Belsen for a few months and I might come back a medium, but don’t bet on it.

I’m used to this silly attitude towards plus size women from the fashion world in general. We’re supposed to wear sackcloth and ashes while we nosh on our celery sticks in a concerted effort to become the new ideal of a size 4. (Once upon a time, the ideal was a size 8. Size 8 is the size off which all other sizes are based, in theory. But now a size 8 would be considered too big.) Certainly, we’re not supposed to want to dress attractively.

Know what, though? We do. Oh, not everyone. But take a look in a Lane Bryant or a Torrid or an Ashley Stewart the next time you’re in a mall. Even those of us whose sizes are firmly in the double digits like to wear attractive things.

It’s OK, though. It’s not all lost! These two tops actually do have directions for my size:

Those first two are the same top, by the way. A front view, and then a back view.

Cute, aren’t they?

Not any more firmly rooted in reality, though. I don’t know any women, no matter their bust measurement, who are willing to go out in public bra-less. And you really can’t wear a brasseire with either of those tops. (They weren’t the only offenders in this area, by the way, just the most obvious.)

That first one, the one with the tie back, goes up to a 46-inch bust. I assume this to be an over-the-bust measurement. OK, boys and girls, this is me. I could wear that top if I made it in the largest size. Click that link, look at my photo, and then ask yourself if you really want that to happen. (Not that I think I am ugly, but me without a bra is only a good idea for the nurslings.)

Again, both of those are beautiful pieces, but horrendously impractical & unrealistic for most crocheters.

But again, all is not lost! If I want to use that magazine to crochet a top that is a) in my size and b) can be worn with a bra, I still get to make this:
That sound you hear is me whimpering in pain and submission.