regret in the form of afghans.

I crocheted this incredible candy colored wave afghan back in 2008. It only took a week. It was one of my greatest crocheting accomplishments for sheer speed, color palette, and happiness with end product. I used it on my bed for awhile; then it migrated to my couch.

An old friend, who I have lost contact with for a number of reasons, used to mummify herself in it when she visited. Eventually, she’d walk around in it; take it with her to the kitchen to get a drink, down the hall to grab something from her bag. Ultimately, one frigid night, it walked right out the door and home with her. It became a member of her apartment, but it never came back to me.

Do you have things you made that walked off? That you regret allowing to leave your sight but there’s no way to properly and easily ask for it back? You are forced to accept its no longer with you? Do you have handmade items like this? What have you done to temper the grief? This granny square afghan I crocheted also went off in a fit of regret to someone I wish I could get it back from. Thus is life. Don’t knit afghans that will end up in the wrong hands, I guess.

See more of my afghans here.


Since I finished my Willard pullover on Sunday, I’m thinking about the few scattered projects I have around that need finishing. A sweater; a wide wrap. More importantly, when checking in on what was started and never finished, I’ve been better. In the last couple of years, there’s been less and less on the needles at one time. I’m pleased as punch with this progress in not starting new things as soon as I see them and know I want to knit the pattern.

But, in my inventories last week, I discovered piles and piles of these crocheted circles, which were meant to be for a blanket just like this.

Should I get back to it at some point? Most people I’ve already asked say yes. It seems so far away, so long ago, that I started that project (I actually think it was 2008 or 2009–don’t judge me!). Still, it can be so great. An afghan to have for life. And I’m almost halfway there, right?

What do you think? Get back to it or abandon? Is any project too dead in the water?

vday heart garland.

I’ve got two of these in my house; one at my back door entryway, hanging from the pillars, and of course, one in the doorway of my bedroom. Valentine’s Day is never really about romance; it’s all about fun little garlands and the color red and candy.

beach crochet, 6.21

r.r. has been asking me to teach her the basics of crochet for a few weeks and I finally got the opportunity to get her started at Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester on Tuesday (though she’s an artist and crafter who by nature, doesn’t really need help in  this arena…).

Celebration, you know, on the official start of summer…it was definitely a “10” day, and r.r. being the amazing lady she is, brought along incredible snacks that included roast beets and blueberries.

I brought chips and coke, naturally. Honestly, its a beautiful thing drinking a coke on the beach. Try it; in the meantime, you can check out r.r.’s snaps from our beach trip (which includes an awful shot of my tawny thighs…its too early in the season for that r.r.!).

hexagons, 6.1

Even though I have three sweaters on the needles (all but one nearly completed), a beach bag, a pair of socks, and 8 gorgeous skeins of Alchemy yarn awaiting me for yet another cardigan, I’m working at times on a new granny afghan–this time, in hexagons which all share a white border.

I’ve completed five hexagons and have created a flickr set to keep track of the progress. I anticipate this won’t take too long to finish as I dedicate time to it, so I expect sometime this summer to be showing it off!

Do you have a million projects like myself? If so, what are your favorite ones for summer–I’m always looking for more!

gifted, 11.9

I made some fingerless bicycling mitts for a friend in a gorgeous pumpkin-ish colorway as a thank you. Crocheted up in a tube, I used the soft as butter and general favorite fiber (of mine!) Malabrigo Merino Worsted for these and I’m fairly pleased with the results.

Maybe I can convince the recipient to model them for the blog in the future. They’d look great photographed whilst wearer was holding an autumn ale.

What do you think?

(These mitts were inspired by the ah-mazing Sandra Juto, who makes delicious “Wrist Worms”. I took a look at photographs of her gorgeous creations and tried to recreate my own of sorts. Hers are better. Buy them here, or read her incredible blog.)

deciphering, 9.14

Japanese patterns look so beautifully written. There are these gorgeous charts for crochet, which I wish existed more in American patterns. There are never enough crochet charts, in my humble opinion.

I’ve decided to take to trying to follow this pattern, despite not knowing a lick of Japanese.

Chained to crochet…

In between finishing off the February Lady Sweater for my Mum (which only needs the sleeves!), I’ve been working on a lot of tiny work crochet for jewelery, pin cushions, and what not.

I’ve always adored crocheted; I learned how to hook before knitting and for some projects (like afghans), I like the results of crochet better.

I do, however, hate to chain, which is depicted above in all its glory. This chaining was practice for a necklace I recently made–which came out incredible. Snaps to come…

Not So Square: Always Listen to Your Granny

Another day, yet another Giant Granny Square afghan. Color yourself…surprised.

The only difference this time around? It’s not a baby blanket; this afghan, instead, was gifted to a much deserving ole friend, who I hope is as pleased with it as I am. I’ve called it “Square for a Not So Square”, and this blanket will serve as a great starting place for me to extol some advice on the oh so grand Granny Square Afghan.

Don’t restrict yourself. Really. I’m not kidding. Let me expound…

I decided to keep this blanket in a variety of not so related but kind of related colorways, but was much less restrictive of myself than the Baby Blanket for Baby Hux’. While that blanket was a bunch of bright greens, blues, teals and grays, this giant afghan features a few more distinct colors–like white, and yellow, lime green with brown, and a blazing maroon that’s just gorgeous. And instead of changing colors every single row, some of my rounds are much wider, which gives the blanket this added detail.

Giant Granny Squares are hard; when you start out, the colors all sort of look lost together and you can’t see it all fitting. Ignore that little voice that says: rip it back. Start over.

Please, listen to me; make sure you just plow ahead with abandon. Many a times I started this blanket over when I probably should have just kept going–I have a pile of swatches that will forever sit or eventually I’ll manage to get around to ripping them.

The swatches didn’t help me. Not one bit.

The key to remember is that this style of crochet will look excellent the larger it gets; even if you have no color repeat plan (I didn’t for this one), the bigger it becomes, the more brilliant the palette and pattern. Eventually, your senses automatically know which color to pick next and of course, its the perfect one for that particular round. And it’s as if you didn’t have to think about it a second.

So plod on. Do not tread lightly. Just let the afghan take you, instead of trying to control the afghan.

Take lots of snaps at its various stages; a photograph will really show you what its going to look like (which is what I did; see above for the afghan in various stages of progress…all snaps taken at cliffs on the South Shore). This will give you some sense as to what you like, don’t like, and where you want to see the entire thing go.

As always, more snaps of my Square for a Not So Square at its Flickr set.

File Under: Always take advice from your Granny. It makes the most sense. Unless of course, you have a Granny who gives awful advice.

Reinvisioning, reimagining…reviving?

I’m thinking of making another one of these Voluminous Vests and placing it in the shop. Of course, I’ll wait until August when people begin buying “fall knits”.

This creation was imagined and churned out circa Spring 2009. It’s meant to be worn over-sized; the gigantic cowl at the top adds a little more crazy to the shape of the entire thing. I adore the shape of it, but I think it’d look amazing in a different color, like a charcoal gray….and I might make it a little less baggy…

Do you like the sizing? What colors would you like to see the Voluminous in? Any thoughts on this design? I have yet to touch it again or tweak it. Would it be better off being released as a pattern or sold as ready to wear?

As always, more snaps of the Voluminous at its flickr set.

New babies, new blankets…

One of the librarians in my work is having a baby this month; the lil’ Huxtable (yes, he or she shares a last name with one of T.V.’s most iconic families) arrives in just a few days and I’ve finally gifted her a giant granny square baby blanket and stuffed crocheted elephant for her impending bundle.

She and her husband have decided to learn the baby’s sex on arrival into the world, and since its great to make things that aren’t gender specific anyways (really! Who believes in the whole blue for boy, pink for girl ideal anymore? puke!), I crocheted up this blanket using a variety of blues, greens, and grays. I’m pretty happy with the results, too.

The blanket is big enough to swaddle the baby tightly many times over (its swaddle correct? when you essentially mummify that lil’ bundle), as well as large enough to fit in a crib as a full cover. What’s more, it’s the perfect size for laying out on the floor for playing baby or whatever you do with them (forgive me, I have no children), and its got plenty of room for growth into toddlerhood.

I plan on making some other items for a few other co-workers currently with child, but I’ll probably switch gears and do some little sweaters.

As always, more snaps of the Baby Huxtable Baby Blanket at its flickr set.

File Under: So glad I berthed this blanket in plenty of time.

Feminine Handicraft meets activism and science…

It’s been awhile since I’ve seen something as unique, intriguing, and downright cool as the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef Project, which was introduced to me not by the significant number of knitting and art bloggers that featured this bit in the past, but by one of the dean’s at my school who rightly figured I’d be interested in this convergence of science, math, and welp, crochet!

The brilliant project is the brainchild of artist Margaret Wertheim and her twin sister; originally, the techniques of hyperbolic crochet was discovered by mathematician Daina Taimina, who realized hyperbolic geometry couldn’t be visualized in any way (not even on computer) but by knitting (heck! too many stitches on the needles) and then crochet (ah easier with those stitches!). But since then, the sisters have expanded upon this hyperbolic crochet by not only creating the visualizations of the math, but by highlighting a strong relationship betwixt ecology, marine biology, environmental activism, feminine handicraft, and assorted math.

Of course, my introduction to the project came via the TED Talk Margaret Wertheim, who uses the crochet models to help the masses contextualize and visualize complex mathematics, recently gave at the famous conference of ideas. Coolsies.

The coral reef models created are stunning; absolutely breathtaking. What’s more, 90% of the models have been created by women. I’ll definitely be introducing these amazing fiber structures to my knitters in school–its brilliant, really.

While I’ve never been much of a mathematician, knitting and crochet has certainly improved my skills much more than my years sitting in calculus and algebra. So if you struggle with math, perhaps take up a handicraft! It helps by allowing you to use the equations in a real world way. Plus, once you start to really understand patterns, charts, and the way stitches, counts, and the like effect the shaping of a project with expert knitting, you’ll begin to tackle the math of the entire endeavor even more.

File Under: Should I make my own? And more importantly, how badly do I want to peruse this book?!