Friday, June 27, 2014

Sam's Afghan

Roxy approves of my progress. The pattern is Cool Breeze Baby
Ripple Crochet pattern (free) from Red Heart. I used Bernat Roving
yarn in taupe with an N (9 mm) hook.

I'd say I'm about two thirds done. Still have about a dozen rows to go and then I have to think about a border. I screwed up around the 12th row and forgot to crochet in the front rather than the back loops so they is a funky stitch line but she'll never notice. Most people would never notice, unless the blanket was carefully examined by someone with an eye for detail. I love the yarn, at least I thought I loved the yarn until I researched the care instructions for what I am assuming is Bernat Roving yarn.  I am assuming because I found bags of yarn in a mill end bin at Crafts 2000, my favorite place to find discounted yarn. The care instructions are to hand wash and dry flat due to the wool and acrylic fiber content. Wool. I love wool. This particular yarn is a single ply and feels so silky and drapey. So, Sam will have to hand wash this blanket. (Like that is going to happen.) Still, at eight bucks for a pound of beautiful yarn, it was hard to resist. The total cost for 3 pounds of yarn for the afghan was $24.00 plus tax. We leave to move her to NYC in just a few days so I need to finish it. So she can have it. For her apartment. In NYC. Far from home. (Big sigh). It isn't that I don't want her to go--I do. Did that sound terrible? This is her dream. She has worked toward this for years. I just want her to be okay. To be safe. And not lonely. And not sad. And to not have regrets. I better get busy. I don't want to have to wrestle with Sam's afghan in the van. Besides, I'd roast to death.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Crochet World Has Rock Stars

Crocheted using Doris Chan's Lacy Jacket pattern (free). I used
3 balls of Baby Bee Sweet Delight Pomp in rosy cheeks with a
G (4.25 mm) hook. Modifications included 3 extra pattern rows in
the body and arms. 

When I was a literacy coach, I read widely and ravenously about literacy development and instruction. Over the years, I came to view certain authors as literacy education "rock stars". My language arts geek friends and I would get all giddy over the possibility of meeting folks like Debbie Miller, Lucy Calkins, Ralph Fletcher, Peter Johnston, Jeff Anderson, and "The Sisters" to name a few. I have come to discover that the crochet community also has their rock stars. One of my current favorites is Doris Chan. Besides creating excellently written patterns for sweater designs that actually fit, she is darn funny. Her blog posts are filled with her writing voice and personality. I have never seen her in person but I may someday. And because I respect her talent and experience, I will probably be all wide-eyed and goofy when I do meet her. I briefly danced with the idea of attending the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA) Conference in Manchester, New Hampshire this summer but I couldn't justify spending the money--at least not this year. But I do intend to go in another year or so. I am also a proud newbie member of CGOA. Two years ago, I would never have imagined that Everyday Crochet by Doris Chan would be on my bookshelf next to Mechanically Inclined by Jeff Anderson. Weird how things happen.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Why Do I Crochet?

My first Doris Chan sweater. The sleeves are cool--sort of
Morticia Addams-ish. 

"Are you going to sell all that stuff or what?"

"What do you mean?"

"Why are you making all the sweaters? It's like all you do lately."

 (throat clearing) "Actually, I'm crocheting for lots of reasons."


"No biggie, Mom. No lecture needed. I was just curious. See ya."

It was and still is a legitimate question. Why crochet or more specifically, why do I crochet? The only people really interested in knowing why a person crochets are other crocheters. It is sort of like teaching, I guess. After almost thirty years in public service as a teacher and speech-language therapist, I am wary about saying much about my profession to those who are not in the business of teaching. I hate even saying, "the business of teaching" because I am living the dream of folks who believe that using business models in schools is a good thing. If I say I don't like the excessive testing and evaluation, I am a whiny teacher who gets summers off so I should shut it. If I say I think the implementation of Common Core State Standards is the result of an unholy relationship between Arne Duncan and Pearson, then I am a radical. So I don't say it. I crochet--a lot. Since I picked up my hooks again last July, I've made numerous sweaters, purses, scarves, baby dresses, booties, and blankets. I have given some items away as gifts but not that much. Maybe because I am a bit weary of giving pieces of myself away. Or maybe I'm afraid of "publishing" my work due to fear of rejection and criticism. My sister, Liz, calls it therapeutic crochet. I think she's right. She gets it. She is an educator too.