Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New Projects

I've been doing a lot of crocheting. I was doing a lot of spinning and some sewing, too. But mostly I've been interested in crochet as a creative outlet.

I've given in to my love for bags completely. Why do other things, when bags are what I really love? I'm not just making them though, I'm creating them.

I've just finished crocheting a purse from a purple Alpaca/Peruvian wool blend and an orange Mohair/wool blend. I love tapestry crochet and so when I saw some German embroidery patterns, I knew they would work well for this bag. I sketched them out on graph paper and went for it.

I definitely need to sew in a lining. Not only to add pockets for functionality, but to add structure. The fabric stretches a lot.

I used the mohair to give a textural contrast to the smoother alpaca, but it took a lot of patience to work with. If you've ever knitted or crocheted with mohair you know that a looser stitch is better and that you don't want to make a mistake because it's really difficult to rip out if you do. Well imagine what it's like to try and make a snug stitch with mohair. However, I'm glad I did it. It turned out as well as I had hoped and adds dimension to the design.

I made a strap that is adjustable. Since I knew it would stretch, I didn't want to end up with a strap that was too short or too long. So I did an strap that is only attached at one end. On the other side of the top of the purse is a loop that I ran the end of the strap through and tied it once. As the strap has stretched, I've shortened it a bit.

I've just started a back pack. It's also tapestry crochet, but from a nice silky cotton. Who wants to wear a wool back pack in summer?

When I did the initial idea sketch in my notebook I could see, in my mind's eye, a lizard running across the bottom. So I found some photos of lizards for reference, sketched it out on top of a graph (left in the photo) and converted it to the grid. I then transferred it to Carol Ventura's right leaning crochet graph and added some crosses for a more dynamic composition. The cross idea came from some Zimbabwe throw pillows I had seen a few weeks ago.

I'll post more as I get it done.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Count Down to Uganda

It's only 19 days until we leave for Uganda.

The days are flying by. With family coming over 4th of July weekend and then camping, we've got to have everything mostly ready to go by this weekend.

The next thing to do will be to purchase the last few things, finish putting the capri conversion laces on my new pants, lay everything out that we plan on taking and divvying it all up between our carry-on baggage and our checked baggage.

It's going to be an adventure!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Dish Cloths

Last year I knitted a bunch of cotton dish cloths for a craft sale. They were a hit and I sold all of them. I wanted to do more this year, but didn't want them to take so long. Liking the knit style more than the typical crocheted versions, I decided to try using Afghan crochet. The resulting dish cloths have many of the same desirable qualities of the knit ones, but work up a lot faster. I can do one in 45 minutes versus 3 hours.

Materials: One skein of Lily N'Creme Cotton in your preferred color. One 95 yard skein should make two dish cloths.

Hook: J afghan hook

Finished product should be approximately 8.5”x8.5”.
Gauge is about 14 sts wide by 9-10 rows high for a 4”x4” swatch.

Ch 29.
Pick up 28 loops all the way across starting with second ch from hook. You should have 29 loops when you’re done (loop on end of ch counts as 1).
Work Afghan stitch for 21 rows. Tie off and weave in ends.

When I do the Afghan stitch for this, I’m picking up my loops by going through the front loop of yarn in the horizontal part of the stitch instead of through the vertical part of the stitch as shown in the tutorial. I skip the first horizontal since I have the ending loop already on my hook. I pick up the last loop in the last vertical stitch on the left end of the row. This helps keep it from curling as much as it does if I pick up the loops through the vertical part of the stitch.

Afghan stitch is also called Tunisian Crochet or Tunisian Knit Stitch.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Dream: Crossing the Equator

One of my life dreams has been to cross the Equator. It would be a shame to come so close and never achieve it.

I lived just north of it for 6 years of my life. For four years I was in Cameroon, which shares part of its border with Gabon. The Equator runs through Gabon. Then we moved a little further north into Nigeria.

The question is whether my husband and I will manage to do it in July. We're going to Uganda and there is a possibility that we could cross it while in the air depending on how we are required to come into the airport at Entebbe. Whether we cross it on the ground will depend on the planned itinerary.

I'm crossing my fingers and toes.