I'm still crocheting. What with the holidays and just trying to keep on top of day to day stuff I was having trouble finding blocks of time, but the need and desire were there. I did work on some pillows, just simple 14inch throw pillows. Picked up the pillow forms a while back, and bought tons of yarn. But even though this was a fairly small project it was a while before I could block out time for working on it. I made some mistakes with the first one because I tried to be creative instead of just following the pattern. Bad McB. The second turned out much better. I'll try to remember to post pics later.
Another project that I started, but had to take a break from, is a scarf to go with Mare's hat which Jenny Crusie made and which I won in a contest she, Eileen Dreyer and Anne Stuart were running to promote their collaborative novel The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes. Here's the hat ... Isn't it gorgeous? So of course I decided that I needed a scarf to go with it. I emailed Jenny Crusie, asking what yarns she had used and she very graciously replied with brands and weights and colors which I was able to order. Got the yarns and started on the scarf and it was coming along quite nicely until I goofed. I thought I could just unravel my goof but it got tricky because of the kind of yarn. It's beautiful stuff, incredibly soft and perfect for a warm winter scarf; but it's a two-ply yarn, partly ribbon-like and partly similar to fun fur. Anyway it became very tangled up and I decided I neeeded to put it aside before I ruined the whole thing with my frustrated attempts. I'll come back to it when I'm in a better frame of mind for it.
Along the way I've been reading this great book I picked up at a local yarn store. The book, Couture Crochet Workshop by Lily Chen, has some wonderful tips and tricks for making homemade fit and look like made-to-order designer fashions. It also includes some wonderful patterns and charts that are very inspiring. I'm not sure I'm quite ready to tackle them but I want to, very much. So I've got some incentive to keep practicing, keep improving.
And in the meantime I've switched over to working on this cropped jacket in hopes of having it ready for spring. Don't tell the Moda Dea people, but I'm using their pattern with somebody else's yarn. Specifically a fabulous pima cotton/merino wool blend called Cascade Sierra in a gorgeous fusia. I did a swatch (something I learned in the above mentioned book) to check the yarn's fingering (how smoothly it works up) and drape. The book advised putting the swatch to the test so I balled it up and stuck it in my jeans pocket for an afternoon, steamed it, let it dry, soaked it and let it dry again. The idea being to find out how well the yarn will hold up in an actual garment. If it stretches too easy, pills up (you know how some sweaters will do?) or develops other problems, better to know before you've spent all those hours on a project. It seems to have passed the test so I dived right in.
This pattern is rated at intermediate skill level. Intermediate means that they give you some of the instructions, but not all of them; they leave out bits here and there for you to figure out on your own. It's a lot like working a sudoku puzzle in that respect. And like a sudoku puzzle, you don't know if you are doing it right until you get a ways in and it all starts going wrong. Huh. But I think I've got that part figured out now.