Trials and Triumphs with Crochet

As you are probably aware, I’ve been on a crocheting kick for about six months or so. It’s nice to take a break sometimes, even though I’m still a knitter in my mind! I did finally finish the rug or afghan I’ve been working on and wanted to focus on what I learned from my first mosaic crochet project.

Finished product — only took two months!

First, I love mosaic crochet, as long as it’s in the round. Doing it back and forth requires cutting the yarn on every row. Nope. That’s not gonna happen. I look forward to trying something else, maybe a little less chaotic, in the future. I always like techniques where you gradually build up a pattern, because wanting to see how it comes out keeps me going. That’s why I like fair isle knitting, mitered squares, entrelac, and lace.

Edging

Second, I’m happy with the sturdy fabric I ended up with, because it can be used in more than one way. So, I’ll consider this one a triumph.

It is a good pet comforter.

Third, the negatives. I ended up having to use two shades of black (one actually charcoal gray) and in my zeal to make the project a little larger chose accent colors without enough contrast. Oh, and the yarn with the long self stripes should have been managed in a more disciplined fashion. There are a few awkward bits of color in there. Nonetheless, it’s a cheerful thing.

See how some look black and some have splotches. Not ideal.

Now for the trials. I didn’t have a new project set out for an immediate start (I want to do a temperature blanket using mitered squares for high and low temperatures of the day but haven’t picked yarn or colors – I made a small one for the Tempestry project a few years ago but seem to have neglected to upload it to Ravelry). What I did have was some organic cotton yarn that had been sitting in its original box for many years, probably close to 30 now. It popped up when unpacking stuff from my old house and was nagging me.

So, I thought to myself, hey, I want curtains in the tack room. I could make curtains out of this rustic-looking stuff. All I have to do is wind it up, find a pattern, and go. I could do filet crochet! It’s a thing that gradually builds up a design and is lots of fun (it uses a mesh to make images).

This photo is from the excellent Interweave article linked above.

Yeah, right. There aren’t as many filet crochet patterns out there as I had hoped, and of course my ancient books full of patterns are still packed up. I also think I searched when I was sleepy. But that’s okay, I eventually found a free design of a crow, which fits rather well, since the Hermits’ Rest has a murder that I enjoy watching often.

Oh, if only mine ended up looking even vaguely like this, I’d be happy.

I was ready to go! However, that lovely Rowan California Cotton that has a lot going for it is not lovely to wind up.

See, it’s ll natural.

I put the first hank on the swift and started to wind it. That was an absolute disaster. The hanks are rather large, so the swift ended up very high. It simply would not wind, even if I tried to lower the yarn with my hand. I ended up having a real mess to rescue the first hank that included cutting it in half and dealing with oh so many knotty areas.

Sad little balls of yarn

Luckily I’m creative and have helpful family members to give me ideas. I ended up dragging my aluminum step ladder into the office and attaching the ball winder to it. Ta da! The heights worked out much better.

It’s working!

I’m pretty sure I wound the rest of the skeins of yarn in less time than I did the first one. That was a little frustrating.

Here you can see the ladder better, and evidence of my love of clutter.

Then I started to do my project. Of course, I had to add to it. There are now checkerboards on the ends, which look all right, I guess. I also decided to crochet the crow from end to end rather than from bottom to top as was suggested. I think that means my crow will be a bit more squished and look more like a robin or something, due to filet crochet squares not being actually square.

The right side shows the branch beginning. Yeah, not so great.

Well, I’m the only person who will care, since very few people go into the tack room other than me. Maybe it will be a tablecloth instead. It turns out the thing’s pretty big. Most filet crochet is done with crochet cotton, not DK weight yarn, you see. I have a feeling I’ll be trying something else to fulfill my filet crochet itch, a project that makes me appear more competent!

Let’s hope I have enough yarn.

PS: Just to let you faithful readers know, I have come up with some ideas to make the blog more interesting again, so stay tuned. I will get my blogging mojo back!

Good day for a cozy blanket

Well well. I had good timing in finishing the main part of the rather large blanket I’ve been making for myself to sit under at the tack room. All that’s left is the border, which will be simple black clusters.

That’s the border up there by the crochet hook.

I’ll share the finished look when I’m done with it all, but it sure is long. I had to use all the colors three times.

It could make you dizzy.

While I was riding in the car to go get some groceries with Anita, I looked for other ideas for little projects. I wanted something with texture. So I made a flower square.

Five petals in a square!

These are small, so I grouped them into four and made a larger square. I’m not sure if I like it or not. I may do a row of the flower color on the outside. Or I’ll try something else. Who knows. Maybe I’ll combine it with knitting.

Flower power

First I’ll finish the corner-to-corner blanket.

By the way we got over 1.6 inches of rain! the ponds aren’t full, but they look good.

Shiny and pond-like

Declan helped me set up the greenhouse I got from the Red House when we bought it. All my vulnerable plants are in there, because we’re getting a hard freeze (about the right time of year). I’d love to get bougainvillea to over-winter!

Hmm. This is interesting!

Looking forward to finally getting my horse lesson tomorrow, even if it’s cold! The horses are nice and fluffy.

When’s a Good Time to Finish a Warm Blanket?

I know! I know! The ideal time is when there’s a winter storm warning for later in the day, with a forecast of snow! I got the bulky-weight afghan I made for my relative long enough to cover them (I added 5 inches to the length, since I had plenty of yarn).

Finished blanket before blocking

Now I just have to block it, which will happen this evening when I get back to the ranch. I started a little bonus project with the leftover yarn, which I’ll show you later.

Those of you who want the pattern will find it on the Caron site. And those of you who want to see more color possibilities can visit this page. The yarn is available at Michael’s in the US.

Exciting Saturday Activities

That heating unit above the window is doing its best.

Speaking of being at my office, here’s a newsflash. Old houses with no insulation are cold when it’s cold outside. I’m really glad I put my desk in the middle of the room, because the exterior wall is brisk and has draughts. Duh. I knew that. So, I just bundle up and fire up my little fake fireplace heater. The mini-split unit is belching warm air, but the exterior cold is too much for it. I also discovered that a warm meal helps, so I got chicken and dumplings from Dairy Queen. Well, it was warm, at least.

The scary-eyed kitties have shed their Christmas décor, the better to stare at me.

Now I just need to finish taking all the Christmas stuff down and replacing it with hearts and such. That requires going outside, ugh. While I’m at it, I’m going to spruce up my closet. Away with the 50 shoeboxes! In with organizers!

I am NOT complaining that I have a boring and domestic weekend ahead of me. Boring seems really good, and hiding in my house watching snow sounds way better than witnessing mayhem.

These two will be rotating who sits on my lap the rest of the day. Not bad.

Speaking of Warm Blankets

I also put the really warm blanket on Lakota, the old horse. I am hoping I did it right. I took three tries to figure out the front from the back. Lucky for me, Lakota was patient about it. All the other horses and Fiona have thick winter coats, so they are fine.

I also managed not to step in that horrid mud puddle while blanketing him.

I wish all of you a calm respite, since I don’t think things will be completely calm for a while.

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