Friday, May 22

String Theories

Oh, relax, this has nothing to do with math.

I've been crocheting for many years, although I got obsessive about it only a few years ago. Still, there continue to be new things to learn. This pattern, in a book of afghan's called Vanna's Afghans All Through The House, was my first experience with the afghan stitch, also known as Tunisian crochet. Yes, Vanna. Yes, her. FYI, she's an avid crocheter, has put out a few pattern books, and even has her own line of yarn. I haven't checked the etymology, but I'm presuming (rightly or wrongly) some kind of association with Tunisia (the stitch, not Vanna), probably in the same way that the word afghan has anything to do with Afghanistan, which is to say only vaguely if at all. But I digress. Go read this earlier post if you are curious.

And now I'm learning something again. This photo shows the first few rows of a new sweater I'm working on which uses a stitch called broomstick or peacock lace. You should be able to click on the photo to get a better idea. In case you are curious. Just saying. The effect does look a lot like bristles on an upside down broom, or the "eye" on the end of a peacock feather. This is the first time I've worked with this stitch, and like the Tunisian crochet, it combines elements of both crochet and knitting. Working backwards along the chain, you use a crochet hook to pull up loops of yarn which are cast onto a fat knitting needle as you go. (In case you are wondering, it's a #19, 15mm wooden needle.)
The broomstick effect is created after you slide the needle out from the loops (this required a great leap of faith for me) and then gather clusters of loops with a series of double crochets. I have no idea what might have inspired anyone to do this, who did it first, or when or where. It's like wondering who first considered putting cinnamon and apples together. Or chocolate and peanut butter. How do people come up with this stuff?

sneaking this one in here so as not to scare BCB. I finished it about two weeks ago. I love it. Doesn't fit as snuggly as I thought it might. Next time, if there is one, I think I'll try using a smaller hook. It might be a little tricky, but smaller hook will = smaller stitches, which in turn = smaller size.

Friday, May 1


Well, the economy is in the tank, and everyone is watching their pennies, cutting back where they can, making choices about just what is really necessary in their lives.

Apparently, I've decided that anything which feeds my yarn addiction is a necessity. Thus did I, in recent months, purchase two back issues of Interweave Crochet, a set of bamboo crochet hooks (because I can't afford the rosewood hooks, that's why), and yet more yarn.

The scarf in the photo over there on your right is the result of two of those purchases. The pattern is called La Mer and was designed by Cheryl Means. I spotted a picture of it while browsing patterns and decided that I had to make it. The pattern was printed in the Summer 2008 issue of Interweave Crochet so, of course, I had to buy the back issue to get the pattern. Then I had to find just the right yarn to show off the pattern and came home from a trip to my local yarn store with a few skeins of Jojoland™ Melody Superwash. And since the pattern indicated a beaded fringe, I made a stop the next day at Michaels for some gorgeous glass beads to go with the yarn. But ultimately it was worth it, I think, because I love the final product. It's going to be a belated birthday gift for my niece.

I had also done another scarf, pictured on the left, with some left over Simply Shetland Silk & Lambswool. No extra cost there, but two scarves in a row left me feeling a little itchy for a new challenge.

I've had this pattern for a sweater using the broomstick stitch which I got about a year ago - uh, the pattern, not the stitch. But I had not done this stitch before and the pattern emphasized that a really well draping yarn was required to get the look of the garment just right so I've been holding off on it. I think it's time. I found the right yarn, but it didn't come cheap. However, as the owner of my local yarn store says "yarn doesn't go bad"; and if the sweater is a bust, I figure I can always make another, really, REALLY nice scarf ... or three or four.

Okay, clearly I have a yarn addiction. But it's keeping me out of pool halls and away from the evils of drink. Sort of.