So… this is why I haven’t attempted regular features in the past: Life happens. In this case, life being the fact that our computer is currently not opening applications correctly. Therefore, I am currently re-installing applications and attempting a large-scale cleanup.
And that is why this post was delayed because, even though I took pictures and had things ready to go on Friday (go me!), I couldn’t access Photoshop on our computer and I don’t substitute with iPhoto, so… At long last, here we go.
As I mentioned in my post-Christmas post, I received some great books on crochet stitches for Christmas and was eager to get to work learning new ones. I’ve taken up a similar approach to what I do with new recipes – I mark when I actually conquered them (a simple date) under the name of the stitch itself. I’ve learned a few new things (and have kind of taught myself how to crochet properly – or at least the terminology that allows me to follow patterns, since I figured it out on my own many years ago).
One of these things has been the wonder of the chevron. There are a lot of chevron patterns to be had, certainly, and the book I’m using, Basic Crochet Stitches by Erika Knight (Interweave Press), has no shortage of them. I was drawn to the “Close Chevron Stitch” because it was a tighter and shorter pattern (and I’m not so great at counting my opening stitches, so shorter = easier to keep track of at first), plus it has an extra bit of gathered texture due to the tightness of the chevrons.
I decided to start a blanket for Chris, since I haven’t made him one before. It might end up being a birthday present or an anniversary present because it’ll take me a while to finish, but it was neat to go to the store with him and watch him pick out what he thought would go well together.
He settled on three yarns: A bronze-colored tan, a mossy green, and a variegated yarn with both colors, plus some dusty blues and a hint of aqua thrown in the mix. I’ve been alternating colors/yarns in sets of four rows, with the variegated between each solid color block. While the yarn’s weight and size was meant to be used with an I hook, I used a J hook because I don’t have an I hook. It essentially just makes the stitches a tiny bit bigger.
The one piece that is kind of distracting is that, at the beginning, I wasn’t quite sure how to compensate for the extra stitches I kept running into at the end of my rows, so the first few rows are a bit longer than the rest of the blanket (if you come over once it’s done, don’t judge me). I’m not the type of crafter who is willing to put the work in again (it’s like a half an hour for each row, people!), so I left it as it was. It’s not highly noticeable. The book just says something like, “Repeat row 2,” which isn’t quite accurate, since rows 1 and 2 need to be handled just different enough at the ends.
Essentially, just take it as a reminder that practicing a new stitch for several rows on a smaller scale is good – that way, you can work out the kinks and not end up with them on your bigger piece of work.
In other news, our fabric store in town moved to its new location at the end of last week, which resulted in a severe markdown on many things (90% sometimes) that I’ve been looking at and hoping for a great markdown on in recent months. I think I spent somewhere in the ballpark of $14 total, but I wound up with a ton of great things for future projects.
Hydrangea stems (hello!), which I’ve been looking at for many, many months, were marked down to ~80 cents apiece. Compared to the $6-8/stem price tag they typically sport, I was more than eager to take them off the store’s hands, and incorporate them as a new addition to our living room. I also got a pair of bamboo bag handles for about the same price (see below, with fabric remnants).
The big score, however, was that Simplicity patterns were on sale for $1.99 apiece. Seriously? I love making things, and often end up doing so from scratch or from free Internet patterns since the store-bought patterns usually run in the $12-18 range. So, I stocked up for future projects, and I’m seriously stoked to do something I’ve been wanting to learn for a while: How to make clothes!
First, however, I have a few things that are also on my to-do list: Continue the chevron blanket (naturally), a new purse for myself that is work-appropriate (using fabric remnants above, which I found in the bin at Walmart when I bought squid material), a Bible-cover how-to (per Laura’s request), designing a new cross-stitch project (apparently my memory of what happened before Christmas has rubbed off a bit), and I’d really like to make some more earring sets because I still have a lot of beads floating around… Stay tuned.