Not quite there yet

Crochet BSJ

I’ve been busy over the past couple of days trying to fulfill a dream wish of mine. Converting the Baby Surprise Jacket to crochet. For my first attempt, I did a plain stitch for stitch translation from knit to crochet, replacing knit with single crochet.

Crochet BSJ

Quite early on I saw there was a problem, but I persisted and finished the piece. I’ve tried to pull it into shape, but as you can see, there are some problems. It appears the piece is too long and not wide enough.

Crochet BSJ

Obviously I shall have to rip it back, and redo it. It will involve some thinking. Namely, I need to make it such that the width of the two fronts equals the back (cast-on edge) minus the sleeve lengths (allowing for the button bands, of course). Also perhaps reduce the length of the back a bit so the fronts are squarer.

Something tells me that dreaded thing, a swatch, is imminent. Oh dear.

Random opinions

Someone on Crochetpartners linked to a hexagon bedspread at Elann, so I went over to look. It’s beautiful, but me and motifs and/or large patterns make a very bad combination. So I admired the pattern, and spent some time drooling over the yarn, before surfing over to look at the other free patterns at the site. I noticed most of the patterns are different from the last time I visited, which would have been quite some time ago, since I don’t recognise many of them. Here are some of my thoughts. (I am not pasting photos here because I’m uncertain of the legality of that, but with the handy Snap feature WordPress has, you should be able to hover on the links to see a teeny preview.)

First off, I’m delighted Elann doesn’t call everything which covers the torso a “sweater”. Maybe it’s an American thing? Somehow “sweater” conjures up winter and full-sleeved “woollens” (actually acrylic in India, but all yarn is wool here). So I always find it funny when patterns talk of “summer sweaters” (thank you, I sweat quite enough already without wearing sweaters in summer) and call bitsy sleeveless tops sweaters, including some made of cotton! I’ve seen every imaginable variation of a top being termed a sweater and it’s something I shall never get over, I’m afraid. (I’m funny like that.)

Ahem. Anyway, I had to scroll down quite a bit on the index page to find familiar patterns. So let’s talk about the unfamiliar ones. I know I just talked of sweating, but even that wouldn’t make me willing to wear this, I’m too prudish! I wouldn’t mind making it in a child size, though. The next one‘s nice, and this cardigan is interesting, too.

Whatever, though, I cannot like variegated yarns for wearables. And some of the patterns just appear to be the same one done in different colours (three varieties of the Pacific Waves shawl). But this cardigan is nice, this top is huh?! The shawls are lovely, but I seriously doubt I’ll ever make one (can you imagine me, The Slothful One™, making a garment that needed to be wet blocked every time it got damp?)

This pattern uses size 12mm and 10mm needles!!!

I always like looking at bags. The varieties of this wrap, not so much. I was too distracted by this model’s hair to look carefully at what she’s wearing. Oh, and Desi, this hat has a top similar to your Rangoli hat.

I shall remain heroically silent on the patterns using fancy/novelty yarns. Here ends my free unsolicited pattern review.

Block and Offset Shell stitch

Peggy, this is for you:

Block and Offset Shell stitch pattern (US terminology)

Multiple of 11 sts + 4 (add 2 for base chain)

Row 1 (right side) (actually I don’t see why this makes a difference, because the pattern is reversible) Skip 3ch (count as 1 dc), 1 dc into each of next 4 ch, *skip 2 ch, 5 dc into next ch, ch 2, skip 3ch, 1 dc into each of next 5 ch; rep from * to end, turn.

Row 2 Ch 3 (count as 1 dc), skip first st, 1 dc into each of next 4 sts, *skip 2 ch, 5 dc into next dc, ch 2, skip 4 dc, 1 dc into each of next 5 sts; rep from * to end, turn.

Rep Row 2 for as long as required.

Source: The Harmony Guides 300 Crochet Stitches, Volume 6

There you have it. Very easy to memorise.

What’s the protocol?

One of my commentors asked me for the instructions for the block and offset shell pattern I used in my blue blanket. It is from the Harmony Guides. What’s the legality or otherwise of posting the stitch instructions on the net? It isn’t a pattern, but a stitch pattern.

And here for the curious, are the front and back covers of the Southmaid booklet I made my last doily from.

southmaidfront.jpgsouthmaidback.jpg

As you can see, the Berka shells doily is on the back cover (framed). The one at the bottom is a larger version, which I didn’t make since I wasn’t confident I had the time to finish it and get it framed.

No one has yet told me what a Berka shell is! Is Berka a name?

Blue? Turquoise?

Something. Another FO.Blue blanket

In an effort to finish things and see what can be gifted/mailed away before we move, I finished this blanket. As usual, here are the details:

Yarn: I’ve been told it is Lion Brand Woolease, by Cordelia, who gave it to me. (I think it might be the discontinued sportweight variety). I used three full skeins (with about 3 yards left over).

Hook: Clover Soft Touch F/4.00mm

Pattern: Pattern stitch for Block and Offset Shells from Harmony Guides. Mindless. Reversible but not upside-downable, because the top of the pattern scallops. Also, I didn’t do an edging. It didn’t appear to be necessary. (Plus I was too lazy to try and figure out how to unscallop the scallops for edging). So the baby gets a sorta symmetric pattern. Do you think he’ll care?

Time: I began this a month ago, but obviously it goes much faster than that. Around a week would be plenty.

Size: 41″ square (should be good for a toddler, right? And please, no one tell me it’s too hole-y)

Extra: #1 Quick and easy.

Up close and personal with the pattern stitch:

Blue baby blanket

The pattern is a multiple of 11 + 4 (plus 2 for the base chain). I made a mistake in the starting chain, but recovered by adding dcs (US) a la filet crochet. Now I need to pop it into the wash before packaging it. It’s been washed. Also, the same friend for whom this is intended tells me her next baby will also be a boy. How boring. I’m thinking I shall make something else for that baby too, and mail it to aunty (her mom) to take with her when she goes to the US. Might save on postage!

Yet another book binge

womangranny.jpg

Almost all are granny square patterns and I seriously doubt I’ll ever make any of them, but why look a sale book in the mouth?

motif.jpg

This book has some non-granny square patterns, but ditto ditto.Designer Knitting

Then this book full of “designer knitting” (how unexpected!) which again ditto ditto, but might serve as good swap/Bookmooch fodder.

But this booklet, which I’m hoping will be very useful, as it covers a wiiiiiiiide range of sizes from 9 mos to size#50 in seamless raglans. It sounds too good to be true. It only gives instructions for worsted weight and sportweight, which means I might have to do serious swatching before ever using the patterns, but you never know! It covers both cardigans and pullovers. You work out your gauge and choose your size from a table and plug in the values that the table gives you into a pattern format, and hey presto, you have your pattern! What could be simpler? Only Rs 10.

One booklet on plastic canvas cat things, one for “full figure” sweaters (I haven’t got there yet, but the rate I’m going, I should reach there pretty fast), another with two patterns for men, and one for larger sizes, each at about Rs 5 or 10. A good haul, might serve again for swap/mooch fodder.

Also a fair amount of British mystery writing. Just finished PD James’ Unnatural Causes, and am in the middle of her Shroud for a Nightingale. A couple of Martha Grimes (she’s American but writes with a Brit detective) and one Ruth Rendell, I think. A nice haul from a book sale at YMCA Secunderabad.

Also in Hyderabad, I managed to finish my first Anthony Berkeley Richard Sheringham and the Vane Case (not too impressed with it, seemed laboured somehow, without the ease of the BWW*). And my first Priscilla Masters, Endangering Innocents. Much better, maybe you have to be female to write the good stuff. In this particular genre anyway. Not very uplifting, though. I think I prefer older victims. Both from the British Council Library.

My train reading on the way to Hyderabad (since the baby sweater only needed sewing and seaming) was this book:

italy.jpg

I picked it up at Crossword and it was a good read, but after finishing I was wondering if perhaps it counts as (oh the horror) “chick fiction”? Interesting, but it was the end that raised my doubts on its classification. Too M&B-ish. Not that I haven’t read my fair share of those (and still will, given a chance) but not if I have to buy it for Rs 415! 4 strangers are named in a will by another stranger and they spend the book trying to discover why. I’m thinking I’ll use this to try for my first-ever exchange at a bookstore.

So, about 4 or 5 books in a week. That’s my usual speed (I spent a large part of one day at an annaprasana (first solid food feeding) for the niece of my last post, and another running some errands including the book sale and checking out the new Fiat Palio Stile with my sister). Would that be your usual speed too? Or do you think I lose something by devouring the tomes at such a hectic pace? (Sort of like yo-yo dieting, feast and famine).

Come on, I want to hear what you think.

*BWW = British Women Writers 

It’s a girl!

I found out today one of my close friends has had a baby girl, just a little before she was due to. I’m hugely thrilled to hear of a girl, because it seems like everyone is popping out the other kind. I dearly want to make something for the baby, but the issue is that it is an Indian baby and will live mostly in hot climates (in addition to having been born in summer). What could I make for her? Suggestions please.

Sunshine

Sorry, I didn’t mean to throw a whine-fest and vanish. My internet gave out on me on Wednesday afternoon and was only restored last evening. I had to reprogram my wireless router after a year and that took me some figurative hair-pulling before I managed to hit just the right keys. We changed our internet plan from dead-slow unlimited to promised-fast limited. Let’s see how good that is, and whether having a limit on the downloads will reveal just how much flotsam I accumulate each month.

Thank you everyone for your comments on my last post. Ordinarily I would respond by email to each commenter, but this time since it’s been a while, I’m doing this wholesale. Thank you for all the offers to swap. Let me hasten to add that most of my swaps have been excellent and deeply satisfying (for me). Even the ones on Knitty where people haven’t bothered to comment on the swap satisfaction thread.

Also, I think I might have, even with my comparatively measly stash, reached SABLE (Stash Accumulated Beyond Life Expectancy) status, purely because I often sit on my bed (which is my knitting/working on laptop spot) and just stare bemusedly at the general one-skeined, rainbow-hued, variedly-weighted and grossly-mismatched collection.

If it were all cotton, for example, I might open a store for handmade dishcloths (this might not be such a bright idea, because my aunt whom I bestow my works on thinks they are way too beautiful to be used as intended and instead drapes them on her telephone or in the showcase. There’s a limit to how many surfaces can be draped).

If it were all wool, I could neatly pack a few essentials and get myself admitted to the nearest mental hospital for thinking of wool and this climate in the same breath.

I have such things as two skeins of this yarn, two of this one, assorted Indian fun fur and acrylic, two disparate skeins of “Jiffy” and so on. What could I possible make that would reduce this stash? I do like just possessing these things, but in the interests of space and marital harmony, I’d like to diminish this stash before acquiring any more. As it is, the husband makes snide remarks about my “handiworks”. Mustn’t give him any more fodder.

We are waxing really eloquent once again today, aren’t we (and how often, Mrs S, do you find yourself unable to stop this verbal diarrhoea, he asked kindly as the tape recorder whirred in the background and she lay on the black faux leather couch in the sound-proofed consultant’s office. The brown fan had lashings of dirt, she noticed and worried it would affect her allergies. She’d have to weigh the benefits of the weekly shrink visit against being rattled by sneezes the whole of the next day, she decided.)

I thought I’d show you some bright things today. More dishcloths! In yellow! So here goes.
Lacy diamonds up close
Cables up close

Click through for more views of the lacy diamonds and the cables. The dishcloths are both from the Monthly Dishcloth Yahoogroup. In my forays into these and other patterns, I have rediscovered Judith Prindle. She used to be active on one of my crochet mailing lists. She now has a collection of free patterns for dishcloths and other things up. Nice stuff.

Here’s something a little bit different.

Crochet on the double swatch

That, me darlings, is a swatch of Crochet on the Double (or Croknit), with standard issue acrylic and a double-ended hook. I love the drape of this, so different from the can-stand-up-by-itself nature of my other Tunisian trials.  I must see if the drapiness will transfer productively to a garment or a slip-on potholder or something. For garments, nothing less than thread will do, I should think.

I have lots more to tell you, but I shall spare you for this post and come back later. The ‘more’ will involve screwdrivers, sewing machines, ugliness, books and cats.

Check out this link for one (my) interpretation of “All this and Heaven too”.

Purple putoffs

Self-lining bag 1 I’ve come to Hyderabad and am going to meet some friends. There’s a kid’s birthday party today, so I finally added buttons to the spike stitch cardigan, as well as a bottom and seams to the self-lined purse that was mostly done last year, begun in June! That’s a couple more UFOs down. I’ve promised myself my luggage going back to Vizag will be lighter (got a few more things to make on my list).Spike stitch cardigan

Pattern details:

Yarn: Local acrylic, partly from Begum Bazaar in Hyderabad (purple), and partly from Shillong (white).

Hook: Dang. Crystalite orange…5.50 mm

Pattern: Bernat
Time: Not too long, actually, might add up to a couple of days.
Size: 28″ around and 14″ long. I’m hoping it will fit my friend’s toddler.

Extra: #1 The pattern has you make the back and the front pieces separately. I started off that way, but decided to frog and redo the entire body in one piece up to the armholes, then finish the back and fronts individually. That sort of ensured I’d actually finish the thing. I just added the different stitch counts together.

Now the other UFO (this is more of a UFO than the cardigan, really). The self-lined bag had been finished bar the seaming and sewing the button. So naturally I dawdled. Now I want to give this to the same friend with the birthday kid, so I finished it last night. I hope she likes it. It looks a bit homemade…

Self-lining bag 2

Pattern details:

Yarn: Unknown acrylic, probably RH or Mainstays, that I got in a recycling contest from Crochet Partners.

Needles: 3.75 mm Pony circulars

Pattern: Lion Brand
Time: Six months? (ouch!)
Size: 6.5″ x 3″ x 10″ Pretty much close to the size in the pattern. Wow!

Extra: #1 Used plastic canvas to line the bottom.

#2 Seaming is horrible, as usual.

#3 In a masochistic mood, I decided to do the I-cord on DPNs as recommended by the pattern, rather than use my trusty knitting knobby. Shudder. Unsurprisingly, it took me ages to reach the target of 20 miles 45″.

In book news (I always go berserk reading when I come here), I bought myself Alexander McCall Smith’s The Sunday Philosophy Club, my first Isabel Dalhousie book. I’ve read his 44 Scotland Street and The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency and liked both. But I’m saving this book up to read on the journey back or in Vizag. Instead, I’ve been reading some books borrowed from the British Council Library.

I read Donna Leon‘s Uniform Justice and found a gem in it about mothers-in-law. Unfortunately, I forgot to jot it down, but it seemed so apt. I find the attitudes of the Italians as described by Leon very similar to Indian attitudes. The way corruption is tolerated, accepted as a fact of life, the view taken of policemen and politicians and the inter-city prejudices. I’ve always liked the Italians for the two-governments-per-year policy they appear to have :D They’re fun and goodlooking! And I found Italian easiest to learn of all the foreign languages I’ve learnt. Plus I admire the ancient Romans, too (for their engineering and architecture). No idea why an American writer living in Italy has books in the British Library, though.

I finished Ruth Rendell‘s To Fear a Painted Devil, which is a murder mystery (as opposed to some of the psychological thrillers Rendell has written). Vintage, although not an Inspector Wexford story. Nobody can beat British women writers of mystery. In English, anyway.

Now I’m reading another Leon, Death at La Fenice. It’s taking me somewhat longer to read these books than it used to, because of so many diversions and the crafting and shopping and things in the background (like kids being shouted at, the TV and radio). Ah well. It isn’t a race :)