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PROGRESS - my crochet project log

(june 2005) I've been considering whether or not it was worth the effort to start a crochet site for a while now. I already have a livejournal to which I've posting snippets of crochet-related stuff ever since the bug bit me about half a year ago (Fall 2004). The other day I was looking over my projects, and it just seemed as if I'd hit critical mass. And so, this site was born.

I've always felt that the more I examine what I'm doing and try to explain it to others, the more firmly a grasp on it I get myself. Then there's the part where my brain is like a sieve and if I don't write it down, it's forgotten. So mostly this site will be for me. But show and tell is always fun for fellow addicts, so I'm hoping it won't be too boring for anyone who doesn't happen to share my brain. Just um... don't expect it to always make sense, unless you are, well, me. And were there when I was doing that thing that was just so important I had to note it down for future reference...

As for my history with crochet, let's see. My mother taught me some time in grade school, and I made a few little things. Mostly doll clothes, though on one memorable occasion there was the overly ambitious afghan project that turned into a shawl project that turned into a "sweater" after being sewed at the sides . I'm hoping to get a picture of that next time I take a trip to my parent's house, as I think it still exists and I'd love to feature it here. All I remember is that there were granny squares and it was bright. (ETA: see below!)

I next picked up a hook just after college, around 1999 or so, after moving to colder climes and suddenly finding myself in need of a scarf or two. I whipped out some single-crochet rectangles, and then lost interest after struggling to no avail to read a pattern for baby booties and deciding patterns were too hard.

Years passed, and then in 2004, I started seeing ponchos at the mall. I'd always thought they were hideous, but for some reason, this year, they started to look not so bad. Dare I say it? they were almost cute. I wasn't willing to fork over the requisite cash for the pre-made variety, but my curiosity grew. Finally, I bought some Woolease and found a free pattern on-line and made this. Which was of course not at all like any of the pretty things in the mall, and which I have yet to wear outside of the house.

But the key point was that I had successfully read a pattern. It was even easy. I must have had a mental block before. All of a sudden, instead of being stuck with single crochet rectangles, I could actually contemplate the possibility of doing something interesting. And being able to learn through study as well as by trial and error. And me and studying, well, we go way back, lemme tell you.

So, as you can see from the index page, that's when I really started experimenting.

I'm primarily interesting in clothing, though I'll probably try just about anything once or twice. I think I've gotten a bit of a jump start by having a decent background in sewing; I learned how to sew about the same time I learned to crochet in gradeschool, but that craft stuck, and by highschool I was making probably 50-70% of my own clothing. Even though I've scaled way back on that these days, I still have an idea of what shapes and textures things need to be to fall certain ways when wrapped around a body, and I have a feeling that's going to come more and more in handy the fancier I get with the crochet. Of course, there's also the liability in the fact that with sewing, I'm used to cutting something roughly the right shape, then pinning and cutting it down to size while it's actually on me. Try translating that approach to crochet, and you get a lot of frogging. A *lot* of frogging. Good thing I enjoy the process and well as the product...

-- vrya

Crochet Pre-History

(August 2005) Now, by popular demand... ah, okay, nobody demanded. Nobody even asked. But I feel like adding to this page and so, here we go. A few of the things that still exist that I made before I really went hard core on the crochet addiction.... starting with the infamous Thing. Needless to say, these were all (except for the bear) free-formed and pattern-free.

circa 1983-1986. I made The Thing somewhere between 8 and 11 years of age. It's probable that it never made it to afghan size because I lacked discipline and willpower. or ran out of yarn. But I like to think my as yet unformed good taste started to assert itself and refused to continue inflicting this particular color combination upon an unsuspecting public. Or it could just be that I was temporarily blinded? When I received this photo by e-mail, I was shocked to find it's actually rather worse than I remembered. I'm hoping that that dim memory I have of wearing it to school once is just my overactive imagination. I think my favorite part is the uneven mint green whip stitching. Adds a real touch of class, n'est pas? Still points for effort, kiddo.
And here's a close-up of the stitches. Which, with the exception of the whipstitching and the fact that I apparently couldn't count well enough to make squares the same size, are not truly awful. As far as I can tell in this photo, they're actually fairly even DCs. Well even for a little kid, anyway...

circa 1999. Apparently my experience with The Thing put me off crochet for a long, long time, as I have no recollection of picking up a hook any time in jr high, high or college. But after college, I needed a scarf, and I had some free time, and Total Crafts was stocking some of the new yarn, the stuff that wasn't like what I thought of when I thought the word "yarn", ie standard worsted weight acrylic. It was sorta fuzzy. So I bought some.
Much as I liked the softness, I distinctly remember thinking what a pain this stuff was to work with, as the lumpy bits would get snagged on things when you tried to draw them through. Once I finished the scarf, there was a little bit left over, so I attempted to make a hat, pretty much through trail and error. Not surprisingly, it doesn't fit so well (too loose). But hey, let's just marvel at the progress from Exhibit A to Exhibit B, heh? I actually still *wear* exhibit B.

circa 1999. I think. I think this was made about the same time I tried and gave up on following the booties pattern. This is my Headless Armless Bear. Or maybe that top ball was going to be his head? I don't quite remember. He does sit *very* well without any of those nasty appendages to tip him over. If I ever find the pattern for this (I think it was xeroxed out of a library book) I will maybe give the poor guy some limbs. And a face.

Circa 2000. Next, there was an incident in which I may, sort of, theoretically speaking that is, most certainly through no fault of my own, kinda melted part of my carpet with an iron. And so I needed a throw rug. And so I bought some kitchen cotton and had at without much of a plan. The central portion is just rows of SCs, and then once that was done, I started going around. It curled quite a bit, because I didn't quite properly understand the concept of increasing to maintain the flatness, but 5 years of being stomped on have taken care of that. It is 32" wide.
I actually remember making this one, because I was at the airport waiting for my husband (well, not my husband yet at the time) on a snowy (or possibly just very cold and very foggy, the details are fuzzy) evening, and I was just going to work on it a little bit, almost didn't even bring it, but then his flight got delayed, and then diverted to another airport an hour's drive away, and everyone got bused from there to the airport where I was waiting. I was there something ridiculous like 6 hours/2am, because I didn't feel like driving 45-60 minutes home in the dark, hanging around my house for a couple of hours, and then creeping back up the dark icy two lane country highway all over again. So I was glad to have something to do with my time. I don't think I could have concentrated on a book, but crochet was perfect.

Feb 2001. I got an MP3 player for Christmas that year, but being one of the first sub-$100s available, it didn't come with anything as far as carrying/attaching, so I made this extra-miny-tote-style bag to carry it at the gym. And then out of the left overs, I made this hat, which is too small and too short. And I think that was the last of the pure unadulterated newbie stuff, before we get to the dawn of the pattern/study era.

Dec 2001 - Apparantly I freehanded this unflattering tanktop in some fit of craftiness out of red heart acrylic. I have no real memories surrounding the event, but the camera does not lie. Also, I think it still lives somewhere in the depths of my closet. Yikes. This may well be where my aversion to large areas of SC comes from. I wonder if it's worth frogging? mmm, maybe not.

circa 1983-1986? I have absolutely no memory of making this little guy, but my mom sent me this picture, and there he is, hanging on the wall next to my award for learning my ABCs in kindergarten and my favorite post-cards (why yes, I *did* hang everything I owned on the walls. Didn't you?) so I must have made him. I remember we had a similar -- but much better -- clown made by my grandmother, so I imagine I must have tried to replicate that.

Now, With Knitting!

(Dec 2005) I suppose it was inevitable that sooner or later that with so much yarn lying around, I would try knitting. It seems a very fitting winter sport. No drafty holes! Or at least, not in the kind of knitting I've done thus far. Come spring and warmer weather, I'm sure I'll be moving back towards lacy crochet tops and halters and the like. Meanwhile, I have a deep hankering for cozy, but not super-thick fabric which knitting has over crochet. It's cold out there!

My knitting history is brief. I remember owning red plastic needles as a child, but I think they were more often used for purposes other than knitting, as I don't have any memory of any knitted objects. About the same time I re-picked up crochet post-college, I tried knitting too. My grandmother gave me her size 10 needles that she could no longer use, so I made a scarf for the hubby with them. And that was pretty much it. Until October of this year, when I cut my knitted clothing teeth on a variation of knitty's "tempting".