Monthly Archives: July 2007

Sometimes, it’s too Easy

You wouldn’t guess it by looking at me, but my favorite thing to do at the gym is lift weights. I’m talking freeweights, baby–serious iron. (OK, by looking at me you wouldn’t think I exercise at all, but that’s beside the point.) I did upper-body work Tuesday, about half barbell & half dumbbell.

I used the 50lb barbell for most of what I did. I’m the only woman I’ve ever seen hoisting that sucker, or even the 40lb’er. I did some biceps curls with an EZ curl barbell, but it was only a 30lb’er. By then it was late enough in my workout that I couldn’t use the 50lb anymore. And yet the 30lb felt too easy, as if I was wimping out.

The first time I had the cojones to do freeweights at this gym, I didn’t know what weight to use, so I grabbed the lightest one–2olbs. I did a couple of curls with it and then re-racked it in disgust, because it was so easy it made me feel like an idiot. (Side note: this is the barbell I see other women with. I’ve never seen a gal with a heavier barbell at that gym. I’m sure they could handle it if they had any faith in themselves, but even the personal trainers–who should really know better–give women only the 20lb one.)

Anyway, I will now masterfully connect pumping iron to crocheting, because I rock like that.

My cousin Becky dropped by my cousin Maggie’s (her sister) when I was over there tonight. She is pregnant again and due in December. This only enables me, y’know.

I promised her a baby blanket, amongst assorted other goodies. (Boy, the look she gave me when I waxed enthusiastic over getting to make sweaters!) I have a mostly-unused Pound of Love from Lion Brand in pale yellow, & I’m using this.

So, the question comes, what stitch pattern do I use? I know I don’t have the patience to follow anyone else’s pattern (though, of course, props to y’all who write ’em). So I’d have to come up with my own. And I opened up Notepad to write it down so I can post it to my free patterns site.

I intended to begin with to do horizontal stripes of a sort–plain DC interspersed with a lacier stitch. But this is a December baby, and it gets cold here in January/February time frame. So I wanted something not holey. Then I remembered a hat I’d made during Lent. Specifically, this one:
Alternating several double crochets with several single crochets, all on the same row, gives a sort of rippled look, without the pain in the rear that actual ripple patterns always give me. (I don’t know why they do, but they do.)

So, I came up with a “pattern.” And I WILL post it to my patterns site when I am done with the blanket, and I will call it the Lazy Ripple Baby Blanket. What I’m tempted to call it, on the other hand, is “The Dumbass Ripple Blankie”, because that’s what I feel like when I sit down to write this down as a pattern.

There are so many possible variations on this it’s silly. If I remember right–I didn’t write anything down at the time–the hat is 2 sc followed by 3 dc. The blanket is 3 sc followed by 3 dc. There are two ways to do this–either a multiple of 3 or a multiple of 6 (depending on whether you want it to end with sc or dc–a multiple of 3 but not 6 is necessary to end with the same stitch you start with), plus 1. You just sc in the scs and dc in the dcs. It’s really that simple. I’m working with a starting chain of 121, which means I’m ending with 3 dcs. But you could do a starting chain with a multiple of four, five, or seven or more plus 1 (you always need 1 extra st when you start with a single crochet), and then do 5 sc followed by 5 dc, or you could have a multiple of 5 with an uneven breakdown, as with the hat.

It’s so simple a pattern, just 3 rows, two of which are the pattern repeat (only different because of the starting stitch, which means a different number of turning chains). It’s the crochet equivalent of the 20lb barbell. I can do it, but I feel silly doing it because it requires so little effort.

I’ll post a picture of the blanket when I’m done; truthfully that’s going to be the hardest part. Finishing the blanket. I tend to lose interest partway through blankets of any sort, but hopefully there’s enough variation in this one to keep me entertained.

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It’s a head!

I was semi-participating in a virtual sewing/crocheting circle last night, so I took this picture of the mermaid I’m working on. The hair on this thing is a pain. It’s a nice wool yarn that’s two different-colored strands entwined, with some thicker slubs here & there of almost raw wool. So what I’ve been doing after sewing it in place is to unwind the strands and attack them with a hair brush to rough it up some. You can see that to the left in the picture; on the right is the way it starts out. Very cool-looking. I’m taking a break from that til I’m finished with the rest of it, as it’s very tedious work.

I didn’t post too much to the circle last night; I figured out early on that the problem with such virtual klatching is that I’d have to stop working to post. Not gonna happen. I should look into joining the local Craft Mafia, or see about scaring up a crochet/sewing/embroider circle locally. There might be such a thing; I just really don’t want to join in on something knitting-dominated.

Anyway, I’m about to go back to working on my mermaid. Fair warning, it’s going to be made to Shooter Jennings, Los Lonely Boys and maybe even some Steve Earle.

Dolls

My temp job has ended, but not before I developed the perfect doll. Well, perfect for me anyway; I like the size, the proportions, & the hands & feet. I still need to tweak some details, like the hair, and I haven’t had much luck in writing a pattern, but those are minor details.

This is the first one I made; I gave it to Esther. I haven’t changed the doll much from that way of making it. The major change is the way of attaching the arms; I finally figured out how to do it so they’re attached in a more natural manner; on this doll one is sticking straight out because I sewed it on in the round & the other has some forward/backward motion because I pinched the starting end together & sewed it shut & then sewed it on the doll. I’ve since changed the method to have them ‘hinged’ up & down, with the free end sewn shut. (There was a very brief interlude where I crocheted the start end shut, but it make the arms too long.)
This is a bit of a close-up of the face. I actually haven’t changed the way I do the face since this one. The eyes are simple rectangles, the lips a double-thickness line and then a little rectangle or triangle for the bottom lip. The nose is done in matching yarn, I also used it to trace around the eyes and add a little bit more detail.
One last picture of this doll, a close-up of the hair. I laid two long strands over the top of the head & backstitched them down. This isn’t as sturdy as I’d like, so I took backstitches on the sides as much as there was room for, & I have refined this with each subsequent doll until the most recent one has almost all the hair sewn down on the sides as well.

This doll took all day to make, but I did finish the doll itself at work; I had to make the dress at home. The next day I made another doll for a neighbor child, which unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of. That doll I used a 4.25 mm hook for instead of the 4.0 mm used on this one. It is actually a significantly larger doll. I used a different hook size because of how much my hand hurt by the end of that first day, but it was worse the second day. The Clover Softouch hooks make all the difference. All subsequent dolls will be made with the 4.0 mm hook, as it gives a much nicer appearance overall.

I actually sold the third doll I made. As I was finishing up the second one, the gentleman who sits behind me asked if I could make a personalized one for his daughter. I quoted a price of $25, but browsing Etsy suggests any more should be priced higher. It’s OK, though, I still think I got a good price. His daughter is of mixed-race, & he wanted one that looked a bit more like her, so I used tan yarn from Red Heart for the “skin” & Light & Lofty yarn in a sort of caramel color for the hair. I really love that yarn for hair, it should fray into something quite lovely. The final product was finished in just under half a day of work, & had a very nice tonal look going for it.

I don’t have a photo of the finished project because I wasn’t certain Tracey would be OK with it, but this is the doll without any clothes. I made a sundress for her all in single crochet so I could embroider on it. Not something I plan on doing in the future. Tracey loved it & I’m certain his daughter will as well.

I have a fourth doll almost finished, lacking merely an arm. I’ll edit this post later today to post pix once I’m totally done. While working on this one I fell in love with the tan yarn & so the one I’m currently on uses the same color, & I’ve got a sort of brick colored yarn I’m using for the hair.

Most of these use Red Heart Super Saver yarn. Economical, & holds up well. Stash yarn, mostly. I bought some yarn from Michael’s Friday evening, all wool, that I will use to make a mermaid. That and the doll I am working on currently will soon be up for sale at Etsy; I’ll post here when they’re listed.

Oh, & I’ll have the pattern from the previous post up as soon as I locate the paper I wrote it on.