Saturday, August 13, 2011

Crochet Disarray

I love crocheting... sometimes.  I go through creative waves, sometimes I want to do nothing but paint, sometimes nothing but compose music, sometimes I fixate on making pretty trinkets, and for those times when I can sit still I like to crochet.  While most of my finished projects consist of cute little bracelets for the kids, several hats and cloches, leg warmers, hair bands, etc., I have an impressive selection of unfinished projects!  Actually, "embarrassing" is the better word -- there are half-sweaters, disembodied sleeves, almost finished hoods that turned out large enough for a giant troll, and lots of unidentifiable strips and squares.  Regardless of this questionable clutter and bags of hoarded yarn, I find crochet to be a healthy, enjoyable activity that is usually compatible with short bursts of "free time" between kids, housework, and business-related activities.
e-book pattern from Lullaby Lamb
this pattern is FREE on Ravelry
another free pattern

My kids love it when I crochet;  however, the frustration sets in when they want to crochet too!  Considering they are only 4 and 5, teaching them to crochet is pretty much impossible at this point and they have a hard time accepting this.  I try to assure them that when they are old enough (a crochet/knitting goddess told me 8 years old is a good time to start) I will be ecstatic to teach them!  While I love the ages they are now, I look forward to being able to spend time with them crocheting and making cool things.  My mom taught me how to crochet when I was... I think 12 (or slightly earlier).  One year I made about 20 afghans (the basic, groovy "wave" pattern) to give away as Christmas gifts!  

free pattern on Ravelry
felted bag by galafilc on Etsy
Clearly, the most rewarding and useful accessories I have made are legwarmers, scarves, hats, and the little bracelets and headbands that take about 10 minutes to make!   I made a little red sweater a couple of years ago and while it was not a difficult project, it was time-consuming and the outcome was a very heavy, bulky, crooked (the hood part) sweater that my daughter insisted on wearing when it was 80 degrees in her preschool building!  I eventually hid the sweater and vowed never to use such heavy yarn with a single-stitch project.  Then there was Mr. and Mrs. Fox.  They are very cute and the kids love them, but sewing all the parts together was frustrating because I never felt like everything was connected securely.  Another frustration with making kids' accessories, clothing, and toys is... the fraying.  Little legwarmers come home all fuzzy at the bottom and I cringe when I see them take a scarf off and drop it on the ground.  One of these days I am going to try felting!  Felted projects are not only gorgeous, they look more durable.  Of course, I don't think felted legwarmers are a good idea.  But how gorgeous is this felted bag (above) from galafilc on Etsy?!?  

Sometimes I catch myself up at 2 AM browsing Etsy or Ravelry for crochet patterns.  The other night/morning, I found a treasure trove of vintage patterns (mostly from the 70s) from wonkyzebra on Etsy (who is super nice, btw) and while I am usually not a fan of 70s fashion, these patterns are gorgeous and can be modified into something more modern and/or practical!  I purchased about 5 patterns, including the one pictured here in sage green.  I know, the dress, the pool, the shoes... how could I?  I'm thinking this would be beautiful in black or a deep, garnet red with a different neckline... perhaps a jewel neckline with picot edging and lose the buttons.  Make the wide sleeves slimmer while attempting to salvage a smaller version of the design around the cuff and lose just a tiny bit of fullness in the skirt (and/or make it shorter).  OR... you could create a lovely Victorian look using cream or grey yarn, keep the same collar with buttons, make the sleeves very slim and fitting with a slight flare at the cuff, and make the skirt a bit longer and less full.  This Victorian version would also look beautiful in black, although a bit more goth (I tend to tread delicately between the line of Victorian and goth).  

I also purchased this tunic dress pattern, which needs little or no modification!  It's wonderful and you could even make a sleeveless version!  Obviously it would be easy to modify the length of the sleeves and/or the dress if needed.  A shorter version would make a pretty tunic to wear with tights or leggings.  

Now that I have all of these cool projects and lots of yarn, I should make something.  For every finished project, there are probably 2 unfinished projects, 20 extra skeins of yarn, and 200 ideas!