Saturday, February 21, 2009

Openwork Fingerless Gloves in Taupe

I've been working through crochet patterns like an addict, and trying to keep up with the documentation!

One of the first patterns that I ever set my sights on was written by Creativeyarn, Crochet Openwork Handwarmers.

After another raid of my Mother's stash, I found two skeins of Vanna's Choice yarn in the correct weight in the colour, Taupe. I immediately snapped it up and went to work.

The first glove turned out rather well. I used a 4.00mm hook as suggested, but ran into a couple of problems. First of all, it felt a little snug, but I would have lived with it, assuming that it would stretch out, if not for the thumb hole. The hook size with my tension simply didn't leave a large enough opening, so the material was sitting off of my hand and pinching.

The other snag was the scalloped edging. The directions simply state:

Ch1, *5hdc in second dc of next dc group, sc in next space*. This gets repeated all the way around.

Having recently perused a pattern for yet another fingerless glove (I'm tireless, I know) recently, and had my Mother show me the beginning step, a double crochet foundation chain, I interpreted the directions in a similar manner.

I completed the hdc in the second dc, and then the next hdc in that one, and so on. While this "worked," it was difficult and inconsistent. I couldn't figure out how to insert the hook each time, so I just kind of forced it into wherever.

For the next two, I sat down with a book that I've borrowed from my local library and flipped through to the Shell or Fan stitch, wondering if this could be applied. Once I read it over, I knew it would do the trick. You make each stitch in the same stitch (in this case, the "second dc of the next dc group"), and then commonly pin it down on the other side with a single crochet. It ends up resembling the type of silk printed fan that I used to play with at my Granny's house as a child.

It worked beautifully! I also went up one full hook size, because I don't own a 4.50mm hook. They are quite roomy, and would fit someone more snugly with a larger hand size than I. Still, this will allow me to slip it over my watch and Medic Alert bracelet with ease. I could also slip it over a long-sleeved t-shirt and have the colour show through, rather than pushing up the sleeves.

I also have a keen idea of how to change the size of the glove to suit the wearer. For a pre-teen, I would use a 4.00mm hook. For an average sized, not overweight person, I'd use a 4.50mm, and for anyone larger, the 5.00mm hook.

As for the misfit glove, I plan on sewing the bottom end and lacing some ribbon around the top underneath the scalloped edging. If I need to add handles, I will. I haven't worked out all of the design details yet, but it will be a pouch or purse of some kind.

February Goals and Pay it Forward

February Goals
  1. Finish my first Market Bag. It's turquoise, eco-friendly, reusable, and so far, extremely fun to make!
  2. Finish my first Amigurumi project, Heart. Technically, I have already achieved this, but I need to add the embellishments yet.
  3. Decide how to embellish my felted bag, and then do it.
  4. Plan out the conversion of the two "failed" fingerless gloves into something useful and gorgeous.
  5. Finish blogging about the projects I've started, and finished, that you don't even know about yet!
My Pay it Forward Challenge
I was recently challenged to tag some friends in a handmade Pay it Forward Challenge. So far, I've had two responses, and am on the list of one other person. If you want in, just let me know!

Here are the rules:
What I make could be anything from a cd to a scarf to a cupcake to a Frankenstein doll, and it's my choice. You won't know what you get until you receive it!

You can give me hints about your favourite colours and interests, but I can't promise anything.

Your item will be unique and made by me with you in mind.

You need to tag someone else, or even me, but preferably about five people.

Friday, February 20, 2009

First Amigurumi: Hearts by Tamie Snow

A few weeks ago, I was surfing the boards on Ravelry when I came across an idea that was novel to me. Amigurumi, the art of knitting or crocheting stuffed animals and other such things, is open to beginners.

Excited, I asked for some suggestions, and finally settled on the pattern Hearts by Tamie Snow. It seemed simple, yet more appealing than crocheting a ball, and the fact that it lacks limbs and more complicated accessories drew me in. Of course, this was also a week before Valentine's Day, so I was in the mood.

The fact that I had free red yarn in my stash didn't hurt either!

First, I had to teach myself the crochet version of the "magic adjustable loop technique," which is both easier and more difficult to master than my book suggested. Creating the loop and holding the yarn was super easy during the "difficult" first stage, and baffled me somewhat during the "easier" part where you actually begin to crochet.

A little bit of fiddling and some frogging over about a half hour period saw me making adjustable circles with ease. Whew!

This was also my first time working in the round, and more specifically, in a spiral. I didn't find this difficult, although eventually, counting my stitches and rows did become more difficult. I was being very cautious with the stitch markers, until I had to frog a row. How far do I frog back? Where was the beginning of the row before last? Not good. So, I improvised.

I also think that I was crocheting quite tightly, so I omitted two rows and closed up early, which did leave me with the correct measurements.

Unfortunately, I can't find my miscellaneous button stash and I am concerned that it isn't going to crop up any time soon. Because of this, the "finished product" is currently naked. Once I've done a little shopping, I'll post the final photo! Michael's was extremely disappointing for buttons, so I might have to check out Wal-Mart or better yet, Fabricland. Heck, I might even be able to convince Mom that she wants to take a trip to G&G.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Fingerless Gloves: Second Time is a Charm!

Forget the third time, I beat the Fingerless blues on the second try. Here is how I achieved success:
  1. I spent forever getting the foundation chain to actually be as wide as the measurements in the pattern dictated, without having to add stitches. Well, I did this on the second glove. The first one is a little homelier. (Okay, okay, so maybe third time IS the charm)
  2. I chose a thinner yarn. I still didn't want to work with the mohair, and am having fun pulling out of my stash. This was completed using Bernat Satin Ombres, and the colour, as best I can tell, is "Tapestry." In my opinion, that's sort of like saying "sofa" is a colour, but I'll run with it.
  3. I used the correct hook size. I know this sounds obvious, but I hadn't been able to get the foundation chain to the length that I wanted on my first and failed attempt, so I had gone up several hook sizes.
  4. When sewing up the seams, I left an extra half inch for the thumb hole.

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Failed Experiment

I should have seen this coming. My first crochet project was such a smashing hit that my second would have to be a bit of a bumpy road. Either that, or I got cocky.

I chose a simple pattern worked in half-double crochet through back loops only. "Purple Haze Fingerless Gloves" can be found in the book, The Chicks With Sticks Guide to Crochet by Nancy Queen and Mary Ellen O'Connell.

After glorious nights of sitting quietly and hooking endless rows of stitches for my project bag, I really wanted something to do. So, despite the fact that I didn't have the right type of yarn, I forged ahead.

I chose a gorgeous Peacock Blue from Lion Brand. I believe it was a Jiffy Solid. It is quite fuzzy, and thick, and I ended up having to improvise along the way.

As I mentioned when I began the project, the measurements really didn't pan out. The following are my notes on why this is fine and dandy and what I learned from the whole process.

First of all, I learned that I should probably be more trusting of the pattern. The designers probably know a little bit more about measurement than I do. After all, mine ended up a full six inches wider around than they should have. This is my cue to whistle innocently.

After making this glove, I learned, finally, how to make a chain that even remotely resembles the proper gauge.

This is important because, if my foundation chain is three inches too tight, and I measure it to go around my wrist un-stretched, when I load up the full and fluffy stitches on top, the measurements end up a little off. Just a tad.

Unfortunately, making such a chain still seems to take me the better part of an hour. I have to fiddle a lot to make it big and loose enough, without leaving weird open loops, losing my ability to "see" the stitch, or oddly enough, gaining and losing stitches. It is not fun, but in the end, it is worth it.

So what will I do with this cute glove? I'm thinking of sewing up the thumb hole and either or both ends. It could be a small bag or wallet, perhaps. I'm taking suggestions!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Ring Has Arrived

I'm afraid that I can't take a picture of this ring that does it justice. Suffice it to say that it and I are now inseparable.

To let you know what I've been up to, here is a list of upcoming goodies:
The above Golden Topaz ring was created by Tammy Riddle at Hand Sculpted Jewelry.