Monday, November 29, 2010

My Life in Crochet VI: Wedding Afghan

So, here I was with 200 or so hexes, some of them already joined in various ways and various confusing patterns.  I had tried to organize them in various ways (alternating light and dark, say -- which doesn't work with hexes) but had trouble keeping the big picture in mind.  As a result I had a number of misshapen clumps, without pattern or order of any sort I could see.  So, I stuff the whole in a bag and went back to making more hexes.

And then my daughter announced that she was getting married.  So I had a deadline for finishing the afghan. Under that kind of pressure (he kind that grows minute by minute) I found a stitch that tied hexes together and a way of looking at the overall pattern the I could make sense of -- and that, happily, I could bring most of the pieces already made up into. As I knew, stitching hexes together is tedious work that requires actually looking at what you are doing, but somehow, I managed to get the who;e thing done almost a full day before we had to leave for Portland.  The results were very satisfying and, I think, well received.

Wedding Afghan

My Life in Crochet V: Interlude with Hats

Along about this time last year my church (broader than my parish but still local) decided to give warm things to the clients of its food bank: hats, scarves and such.  So I looked up the church-approved hat sites and worked my way through several hats (they go fast).  I had some yarn left over when the hats were collected, so I made similar hats for my daughter (30 something now and living in Portland OR), her POSLQ and wife3.

Wife3 had some fancy ribbon and asked me to make a hat from it, so I did. And then I stopped the hat making.

Until a week or so ago, when I was bored with hexes and had a nice bit of yarn, so started to make a hat again. Just coming round the curve of the head, I ran out of yarn.  I was too lazy (or it was too cold or...) to go get some more, but wife three found a number of short pieces (maybe two foot each) of yarn left over from a crewel project a long while ago.  So I went on, splicing every few inches with a new strand. each a different color.  Of course, this left me with a lot of loose ends and I am not a great one for tucking those in (the undersides of my hexes are generally a mess). So I pulled them all to the outside and fluffed them up a bit to give (vaguely) feathery effect to the whole.  When wife3 said the hat would need a cuff, a fold-up section, I pulled the bottom rows of loose ends through to the back side and thus to the outside of the folded hat.  Very nice.

Friday, November 26, 2010

My life in Crochet IV: ADD and the Sensitive Wife.

Although I always claim that my ADD is hypOactive, the fact is that I fidget constantly, even if you don't count the tremor.  And it drives wife3 crazy, though she only says something about one time in ten.  And that mounts up fast.  I tried for a while always having a deck of cards on hand to play solitaire whenever I was going to be sitting but not typing or eating (which interfere with my fidgets).  But the sound of the shuffling cards and even the the slap of cards was only a minor improvement over tapping pencils and fingers and feet.

Then Martha Stewart published an article on granny squares.  I read it and, since I had never gotten over my aversion to granny squares, wondered if I could modify the pattern into something else, say hexagons.  A few tries showed I could, and so I was off.  Whenever (within reason, of course -- not in church or at an entertainment) I was just sitting, I whipped out a ball of crochet thread (#10) and a 2 hook and ran a few more rounds on the hex of the day.  I could do it almost mindlessly (if you don't mind a few mistakes and strange corrections) and soon I was watching tv or riding a tour bus or sitting through a meeting hooking away (well, it's better than sleeping).

For the most part, my color selection was determined by what the few shop I knew of had in the way of thread.  Within that selection, I pretty much picked my colors for a particular hex at random or with some thought of "what goes together" (but I am somewhat red-green color blind).  I did, when I had the material, do all the holidays I actually celebrate somewhat: Christmas, Valentine's Day, St Patrick's, Independence, Hallowe'en, and Thanksgiving,  I did the school colors of all the schools I'd been or taught at (when I could remember what the colors, or look them -- a school so small that I was on the basketball team probably didn't have colors). I did the colors of the liturgical year.  I tried some variations on the usual stitches (which didn't work out too well -- especially the round spiral center that never did get  back to a true hex).  Anyhow, I just kept quietly (the important part) hooking away.

As a result, I discovered one day that I had a bag of well over 200 hexes.  So, someone said, maybe I should make something out of them, an afghan, say.  I'd long since lost the Stewart article, which gave instructions on binding the pieces together, so I tried a few things that seemed right and finally found one that I could do almost as mindlessly as making the hexes.  But then there was the problem of how to arrange them.  I started by working outward from a central hex to the six adjoining hexes but quickly lost the over all pattern for the individual block, so that even though I knew I needed to work on one corner, I could not find that corner again.  So I gave it up and made more hexes.