Laid Up

Tue Nov 15, 2011 at 11:11 am in Crochet, Eleanor, Finished Projects | 5 Comments

People’s experiences of pregnancy are vastly different. Some women think it’s the most awesome thing ever. Others can’t wait to get it over with. Most people fall somewhere in the middle. ¬†For me it’s been like trying to live my normal life while being sick for months and months. It’s not exactly been the most magical experience of my life. For example, I have never before done quite so much sitting as I’ve done in the past four months.


For a while there was even doctor-mandated sitting. In bed. I was really, really bored. I am a very active person, always wanting to DO something or MAKE something or GO somewhere. My to do lists are legendary. But there I was, faced with days of 12 hours and almost no activity permitted. That’s when I created the box you see above. It’s my constant companion, filled with enough yarn for about six projects. I figured I’d just dive into the eighties shows on Hulu and my crochet hooks for a while. And I did. I’ve now watched every episode of Simon and Simon, and am almost done with season 2 of Remington Steele.


One weekend after the first trimester was over I actually felt pretty good, so I finally did my tie-dying project. My kid IS being born in Berkelely after all, so what could be more apropos than tie-dye? I bought the cheapest packs of white onesies I could find and a kit. It took a couple of hours, which is just about all the energy I have at one shot these days. For a first-time attempt and some serious clumsiness with rubber bands, I think the project turned out quite well. It was quite satisfyingly messy. I kept forgetting gloves, so I dyed my fingers a few times too.


The colors faded more than I would have liked after washing, but meh! They’re cute. I let them sit for 8 hours, so that was about as much color intensity as I was going to get out of it. I tried doing a couple of patterns with stencils, but the dye ran too much, so I’m going to try again with some fabric paint. Also, perhaps a few iron-ons for little shirts.


As a crafty person, the urge to make stuff for your new small person is quite overwhelming. Actually, as a crafty person the urge to mark every life event by crafting is overwhelming. I’m not really energetic enough to get into some of my time-and-motion-intensive sewing (hence my poor, languishing quilt), but there are lots of things I can do with my hands.

All I can do is hope not to overdo the child-crafting entirely.

Nope, nuh uh. No way. Not happening.

Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 11:10 pm in Crochet, WIP | 4 Comments

I finallytangled managed to find the courage to go to the yarn shop which is nearest to me. It’s all of 50 yards from my front door, and I just didn’t want to find that it was unfriendly. I’m rarely hopeful about these things, but February’s window display is almost entirely crocheted pieces. A positive sign!

Since I’ll always support local shops who don’t make me cranky, I bought some yarn from them. Rather nice yarn, in fact. 100% silk laceweight yarn. Handpainted, even.

What made cheap-o me get this? Well, I was in the market for some yarn for Julia Vaconsin’s Phoenix Mitts, the ones I want to make to match the scarf I made recently. This beautiful yarn is (1) exactly the right weight, (2) silk, so not itchy and (3) the exact same colorway that my scarf was. Seriously, the exact same colors and color variation!

Then … well, then came the unwinding into balls. And that, my friends, was total failure.

I’m not sure how many times the yarn knotted and tangled, but it did it just about every time the stuff moved. You can’t even look at this stuff without a snarl appearing.

Jeff and I worked on the yarn for multiple hours over multiple days before I finally acknowledged that I just couldn’t go on with it. Nothing works. I was practically in tears. I was close to throwing it away. I was very frustrated and upset.

Before lapsing into total hysteria I decided to see if the collected wisdom of Ravelry might be able to offer any solutions. And behold! There is a group called Knot a Problem. This is a group of people who take commissions to untangle people’s yarn. No, I’m not kidding. It really does exist. There are people out there who enjoy this.

I am not one of them.

So I posted a pathetic message about it and wound what was left up as tidily as I possibly could. We will see what happens, eh?

Expensive Yarn Crisis

Fri Nov 5, 2010 at 11:11 am in Crochet, NaBloPoMo, WIP | 3 Comments

November is apparently the month for me to join things – Wordless Wednesdays and NaBloPoMo, and the real fun for me is wandering around to other people’s blogs on the blogrolls. Doing this makes me feel a bit like I’m peeping into people’s windows. You get this tiny snapshot of life, sometimes without much context! But it’s fun to do.

I had a surprise day off Wednesday due to the Giants winning the World Series (I think that was it). The parade was attended by what seemed like half of San Francisco, and it came down the street I work on, and the end was about two blocks from my office. Due to public safety concerns (there was apparently rioting the night they won) they just shut the college down for the day. Yay!

I ran out of yarn that day to work on my red sweater, and the blanket has been designated a train-only activity. To distract myself from all the chores I needed to do, I found myself stash diving. I came across two skeins of hand-spun, hand-dyed alpaca yarn I bought from an alpaca farm last April in Colorado. Yeah. I was on vacation. I typically am not that spendy with yarn, and of course this has led to a crisis. But first, the yarn.

blue-purple alpaca yarn

Beautiful, eh? It’s DK weight 2-ply (that would be thin) 100% alpaca, and I have 2 skeins of about 250 yards each. Deciding what to make with this has been total ridiculous panic. At first I decided I would make a very simple back-post-stitch wrap to show off the colors. Great! But now that I’m 20 rows in, I’ve realized I won’t have enough to finish. So now I’m back to panicking about what pattern to use. Since it was not cheap yarn, I don’t want to make something horrible with it or waste any of it. I’d prefer to make something to wear with it because it’s so pretty. But I don’t have much yarn to work with.

rainbow cowl

These are the three options I decided on (two different patterns above, two of the same pattern below). Lace because it will make the yarn I have stretch into a larger project. Shawls or a cowl because they’re small projects. The cowl, of course, would have a crocheted collar instead of knit and would have lace edge like this.What do you think? What would work best? These all require fine yarn and detail, and I think the yarn I have would work best with a lacy but simple pattern (so the pattern doesn’t overwhelm the color). It’s not self-striping yarn like the left-hand shawl, just variegated.

Cowl: I think that I like the cowl/capelet idea best, but the problem is that I’m using an animal fiber, which means that even though I’m not allergic to it exactly (no lanolin, so no hives), it’s still not exactly comfortable against my skin. My hands feel rather exfoliated while I crochet with it. I think maybe I will make something just like this, but in a cotton blend.

Shawl: I’m not sure, but I’m tending toward the shawl below, Simple Scallops. It’s lacy, it can be a wrap or a scarf-type deal, and because you start in the middle back and work outward in a triangle-ish shape, you can just work until you’re out of yarn, which appeals to me since I wouldn’t end up with a wasted odd 3 yard length at the end. But then, I like the “cascading” motif shawl up on the left, and that I could just make as long as I wanted.

scallops whitelace

What do you think? Opinions please!

P.S. I do not, as a rule, buy expensive yarn because I’m a thrifty, no frills person, and have spent most of my adult life as a poor college student or nonprofit worker. All I do is end up panicking over what to make, and then I never make anything with it, and then I get mad at myself, and then I make something, and I spend the entire time I’m making it in fear that I’m going to be unhappy with it, which takes all the joy out of crocheting because I prefer the process, not the finished result. A somewhat dumb, but vicious cycle.