Saturday, June 20, 2015

Finished Crochet Cardigan: Pumpkin Worsted Weight

This is the fifth sweater in my pile of unfinished projects. This cardigan is a spin-off of Lorene Eppolite's Mystique Tunic pattern. As I have said before, this is a great free pattern. When I tried on what I had already finished, I discovered that the sleeves and overall length were too long. I frogged four rows on each sleeve then five rows off the length. I re-worked the button band and added a modified crab stitch to the front loops of the button band and neck. I also added cuffs to the sleeves using three rounds of front post half-double crochet stitches. I added a wooden button at the top to complete my pumpkin fly-away cardigan. I love the end result. The armholes are a bit deep but it isn't terribly noticeable. This will be a fun sweater to wear in the fall.

Worked with Red Heart Super Saver in pumpkin with I hook.

I love the wooden button. Just right. The fabric in the
background will be used to make a blouse--hopefully.

Finished Crochet Cardigan: Long Sleeve Grey Worsted Weight

This is the fourth post in a series focused on completing my pile of almost finished sweaters. I didn't have to re-work sleeves or add rows like I did with the second and third sweaters. And even with all the tails from changing yarns, this sweater didn't take as long to finish up as I had anticipated.  The button holes were a tad uneven but again, I can see the errors but they are not terribly obvious once I am wearing it. No handmade garment is perfect, including this warm garment. Small crochet mistakes are less important to me than fit. I have continued to tweak the fit with every sweater I construct using this design.

I used Red Heart Super Saver in grey heather and
Vanna's Choice in grey marble for the stripes. The
buttons are from Hobby Lobby.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Finished Crochet Cardigan: Long Sleeve Aran Fleck

This post is the third in a series devoted to finishing my pile of nearly done sweaters. The first and second completed sweaters are already in my closet. After I tried on this toasty coat-like cardigan, I remembered why I stalled with the final clean-up. One sleeve was longer than the other. Oh, Lord. Because this is an original design, or maybe that is an excuse, I wasn't sure how the taper rows on the sleeves would turn out until after I completed an arm and tried it on. I re-crocheted so many times that I probably lost track of where I was and my notes were all over the place. I ended up removing four rows and re-working the cuff and called it good. When I tried it on for the millionth time, the imperfections, although noticeable to me, were not glaring enough to keep me from completing and wearing it. In fact, I love the thick blanket texture as well as the fit.

Long sleeve cardigan made with Red Heart Super Saver in Aran Fleck
and an I hook.  Buttons are from Hobby Lobby. The pattern is an
original design that I haven't yet put on paper.
Whew! This thing is warm!

Finished Crochet Cardigan: Three Quarter Sleeve Light Worsted Weight

This post is the second devoted to finally finishing my pile of almost done sweaters. This softy was not as quick and easy to complete as the first. I had to add several rows to the bottom and form the button band. I began hemming and hawing over whether I should make it a fly away or button down. Indecision was eating up my motivation. I went with the more time consuming choice and of course, once I committed to a button down sweater then I had to ponder a border stitch for the bottom and the sleeves. I ended up creating an original border after a half an hour of searching for border stitch designs. I needed to quit thinking so much and just get it done. The final results were worth the extra effort. And best of all, it fits beautifully.

Cardigan with 3/4 length sleeves made with Red Heart Ann Geddes
baby yarn in Teddy. I used a G hook. 
I LOVE these buttons from Hobby Lobby. The sweater pattern
 is my original design. I really need to get the pattern down
on paper.

Crocheter's Notebook

During the last several days I have been on a mission to organize my crochet chaos. One of the first things I did was to create a place to collect my notes on projects. I researched various resources online then decided that creating my own made more sense for me. I also wanted to keep track of information I would need when I uploaded my projects to Raverly. Initially I had envisioned making at least four, one for a quarter of a year, all different colors, partnered with color coordinating folders for printed patterns and swatches. Part of the inspiration for my notebook came from years of using writer's notebooks with students at school. For me, crafting a sweater and wearing it is like publishing a piece of writing.
The PDF's of the Crocheter's Notebook are available here.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Finished Crochet Cardigan: Short Sleeved Pink Cotton

Well that was easy. Just a button. The right button. That is all it needed. The problem is that I'm not sure I have the right button. Luckily, buttons are easy to change. The sweater is a delicious bubblegum pink, almost a hot pink. I don't remember if the sweater was quick to work or not. I made it a couple of months ago. It was the last in a string of sweaters I had made early this spring using my own designs. One of my goals was to write detailed directions or maybe even create a tutorial. The stitch pattern is not complicated. It was basically alternating rows of treble crochet "v" stitches and half-double crochet "v" stitches.

The cotton fabric in the background is for a sleeveless blouse
I plan to make in another week or two--after I finish all of
my other projects. :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Crochet Guilt: Finishing Up the Sweaters

Instead of a finish-up Friday, I need a finish-up week--or two. I started to inventory my unfinished projects (stalling) and I began to get overwhelmed. I decided to start off with the sweaters. I had four cardigans that only needed the tails sewn in and buttons attached. I vaguely remember wanting to wait for sales on buttons. A legitimate excuse--still an excuse. Since Hobby Lobby had buttons on sale, now was the time. I gave myself a deadline. All sweaters requiring buttons had to be finished by Friday so I could take advantage of the sale. Time to brew up the coffee, break out the yarn needle, and get going.

Two long sleeved and two short sleeved cardigans begging
to be finished. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Crochet Organization

My latest excuse for not cleaning up and organizing all of my yarn, notions, patterns, and projects is      . . . well, I've run out of excuses. My stuff is pretty much a mess and I have several almost finished projects. Some crocheters go on a yarn diet or a yarn ban, where they promise themselves and those they love that they aren't going to buy another ball of yarn until they used a large portion of what they own. Clare at Bobwilson123 admits to her own addiction. Having a large yarn stash requires space. I have my daughter's old bedroom with a walk-in closet and I still have a tangled mess. For shame. So, as I thought about mapping out how I would attack my mess (more stalling), I decided to start with organizing my notes and patterns. Even though I love technology and apps, I still like to write notes by hand on the printed pattern or in a notebook or piece of paper as I crochet. It's quicker. I can hold my work in my left hand and write with the other. My pencil stays handy tucked behind my ear. The problem with this system is that I have a bunch of random notebooks and scraps of paper with notes. I am growing a nice library of patterns in Google Drive, which is an excellent tool, but I often take my projects on the road with me. Keeping a physical notebook is easier for the car. Below are pdf's of pages I plan to put in my new notebook. Now, I need to get to Staples to get my books printed.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Crochet Community: Ravelry

For the last two days I have spent hours uploading many of my finished crochet projects onto Ravelry. I have been a lurking member of Ravelry for about two years. I have used the sight continuously to find patterns that other crocheters have worked or to research yarns. Ravelry has been a source of both information and inspiration. But what makes Ravelry powerful is the participation of its members to generously share their talents and thinking for all. The process of uploading past projects has given me a sense of how my skills have grown and how my interests have evolved over time. Seeing the projects in my Ravelry notebook has also sparked future goals.

Screen shot of my Ravelry Profile

Mystique Tunic Cardigan Conversion

I am a practical crocheter. I typically don't purchase expensive yarn. When I was a youngster, home sewing was a way to stretch a dollar at our house. Not only was making our own clothing and household items less expensive, but with a bit of skill, what we made lasted and could be used until it was worn out or could be passed on to a younger cousin. As an adult living and working in the 21st century, it isn't that I wouldn't buy expensive yarn, I just worry that I will invest a lot of time and money into a project that isn't useful or doesn't fit. When I came across the Mystique Tunic pattern designed by Lorene Eppolite at cre8tioncrochet, my practical maker heart leaped. Not only was the top-down design easy to adapt, I was able try it out with worsted weight yarn in my stash. I have made three so far. Although the original design is a tunic, it was fairly easy to convert it to a cardigan.
I used Red Heart Super Saver Aran Fleck. I wore my
cardigan a ton over the winter. 

Love these buttons.