Nothing but crochet this week

My WIPs are moving forward and if I ever consider starting a new project I sit on my hands like someone who wants to quit nail biting. I currently have zero knitting projects and I’m keeping it that way until I finish my sweater and my cross stitch pumpkin.

Since the weekend I’ve been alternating between my hexagons afghan and my “Telegraph” sweater. Suddenly, the afghan seems considerably larger!

Yesterday I finished shaping the raglan on my sweater and joined the front and back sleeve seams together. From here it’s just round and round to the bottom.

lightgreentelegraph

I think the sweater will be done soon if I work on it diligently.

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Review: LA 5505, Afghan Lovers Collection

Afghan Lovers Collection by Anne Halliday, Melissa Leapman, and Barbara Shaffers, Leisure Arts #5505, 2011. Paper back and digital editions available. Grade: A

It is very rare for me to like every single afghan pattern in a book devoted to them. This giant leaflet has thirty-six afghans and I might never have the chance to crochet all of them. First I have to finish the ones I started.

As with just about all Leisure Arts pattern sets, I appreciate the fact no particular yarn is suggested. Do you feel like using Cascade 220? Go right ahead. Do you want to roll on over to the big box store and pick up some Red Heart acrylic? It’s all good. All they do is tell you the gauge and the weight of the yarn (worsted, DK, etc.). If you’ve never bought a publication from this company you don’t know what you’re missing. No, this is not an advertisement. I am just that much of a fan. An afghan collection is a good leaflet to start with in your addiction. Always wait for a sale, go to the web site, and buy some patterns from this publisher.

Anyway, I have digressed. Getting back on track, one of the aspects of this book that I really enjoy is how the patterns offer a variety of constructions. There are squares to put together, large modular chunks to assemble, and afghans crocheted all in one piece.

The combinations of texture and color are also spectacular. “Tiny Twirls” is a fine example, in which the textured circles create a burst of color in every square.

Some of the color choices were poor for the photographed samples, but that can be fixed: Use better colors.

I recommend this book to crocheters who love afghans and need more patterns. Alternatively, crocheters who just love afghans will also want to get this title. The regular price for this publication is US $9.99 but there’s always a sale to take advantage of. Most American holidays I get an email from them telling me there’s a digital or printed pattern sale.

Expanding the afghan

The WIP activity is pretty slow going this week, although I did finally manage to weave in the ends on my oak colored Alec XL sweater. It’s drying right now (I washed it this morning!). As my sweater dries and slowly transforms into an FO why don’t we have a look at my Tunisian crochet afghan? It’s getting bigger because I had plenty of time to work on it over the weekend.

On the left you can see how big it’s getting. Basically, I’ve finished the entire pattern, which is for a baby blanket. I don’t have any babies to wrap up in this, so I’m continuing to crochet more all around it until it’s big enough for an adult. I’ve decided to alternate different colors round and round until it’s big enough.

The afghan cupboard

For the longest time I’ve been storing large afghan projects in a box. The box has been hidden in the spare bedroom. Do I knit and crochet in the spare bedroom? No. I knit and crochet in the living room. It’s gotten to be a nuisance to work on afghans because I’ve had to drag out the box and then put it away. Finally, I decided to claim some wasted space in the living room: a cupboard that had photo albums. I don’t look at photo albums nearly as often as I knit and crochet. Soooo… the box that once stored the afghan projects now keeps the photo albums safe. The cupboard (which I now lovingly call the “afghan cubby”) now has all the yarn and the afghans in progress.

afghan-cubby

As you can see, my hexagon afghan in progress is sitting cheerfully on top of the yarn skeins. The Tunisian afghan was sitting on the sofa waiting for me to work on it when I snapped this photo.

I’ve been using my new system for a couple of weeks now and I love it. When I feel like crocheting a hexagon I just grab some yarn and get going on it. If I feel like working on my Tunisian crochet afghan, I just retrieve it from the cubby. No more taking out and putting away boxes. Added bonus: the cubby is about 4 feet away from the sofa!

Crack that WIP!

It’s Wednesday. Time to WIP it good.

I have no idea if I was just a genius or absolutely, positively unoriginal, but I just couldn’t help myself. And now, for the WIPs. I’ve been working on two. I am really having so much fun working on them that I am indeed WIP-ing it good. So good, that while I’m working on them I keep thinking about how I want to make a million more of them, with different colors, with different yarns, with different “hacks.” I’m like gushing every time I pick them up and work on them.

First up is my “Alec XL” which I’ve been dying to cast on since I bought the pattern. I ordered some blue Rowan Pure Wool Worsted for it a few months ago and it’s been sitting in my stash. It’s still in my stash because, after Christmas, and with all the sales on Love Knitting’s online shop, I talked myself into buying some Rowan Pure Wool Superwash Worsted to make another one. I managed to talk myself into the purchase by saying, “this one will be for José and in reality I’m being generous because he’ll get a nice new sweater out of this even though I need more yarn like I need a hole in my head.” Oh, how evilly twisted the yarn shopping mind will be. I bought it because I want to play with the yarn and the pattern twice. There is no selflessness going on here. The really twisted thing about it is that José will think, “awwww, he made me yet another sweater! how generous.” Mwahahaha.

Here’s my progress so far. It’s a top-down sweater, my favorite kind to make.

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The sweater is very intelligently designed, with a front chest area sporting a nicely textured stitch pattern that is a two-row repeat. The back and lower part of the sweater – along with the sleeves – are stockinette. I love the color way, too. It’s called “Green Wash” and it’s light enough to show off the stitch pattern and interesting to knit with on the stockinette parts. It’s a good sweater to knit at a knitting club meeting, while traveling, binging on TV shows and movies, etc. because it’s pretty simple. I just might have to adjust the shoulder part at the top for sizing because I wanted to leave about 4″ of ease but the wearer’s shoulders are a bit narrow. We shall see. It’s top-down so all it will need is a quick try on to make sure it has the right fit.

What can I say? I want to knit a bazillion of these. I know I’ll knit at least one more and it will be for me because I already have the yarn for that in my stash.

In my never ending quest to play with my new Tunisian / Afghan crochet hooks I started an afghan. This afghan is super cool: The squares are crocheted one at a time but they are crocheted together at the same time, not sewn later. This means that, when I finish the afghan, there will be very little finishing to do. I can even weave in ends as I crochet. It is like a magical afghan. I’ve made one of my own personal changes: I’m making a bigger one because the original pattern is for a baby afghan. I got the pattern and learned the technique from a Spanish-language YouTube video. I will link to the video very soon because either on Friday or on the weekend I plan to blog about videos, so keep your eyes out for that. Anyway, I’ve digressed. Here’s my progress on this afghan that I want to make thousands of with all kinds of different color combinations:

Making this afghan is also a fulfillment of one of my life-long wishes. I’ve known how to Tunisian crochet since I was about 14 years old but never actually had the chance or time to sit down and make a big project with it. I’ve made some small projects, but ever since I was a kid and learned how to crochet Tunisian Simple Stitch from a stitch dictionary lying around the house I’ve wanted to make an afghan. I was always told, “well, it uses up too much yarn, yadda yadda yadda.” I’ve stopped caring about how much yarn it uses up. It’s worth it. I feel like I was born to Tunisian crochet and I’m having so much fun with this project I wish I had got around to doing this sooner.

I hope you’re having as much super awesome fun as I am with your WIPs. I haven’t felt this energized while knitting and crocheting for quite a while. I must say it has its drawbacks. For example, when it’s time to make dinner I don’t feel like it because it takes time from my working on my WIPs.

Dollar Store Knitting and Crochet, part 3

For Christmas I got the book Beyond the Square by Edie Eckman, a book with patterns for about 144 crocheted motifs. It is awesome. It has all kinds of interesting motifs that aren’t just squares. I found a hexagon pattern that looked quite promising to me and I decided to use my dollar store yarn to make an afghan. I’m discovering that this is a nice, cheap way to experiment with color. Here’s my progress so far:

Photo Jan 27, 1 35 27 PM

I like this motif because it offers lots of opportunities to play with color combinations. So far, I’ve tried up to three different colors in a hexagon. As you can see, I’m crocheting the motifs together as I go using gray yarn. I’ve decided to put some concentrated splashes on the blanket in random places.

Anyway, I’m having fun with this project because it’s just satisfying to try different combinations. Here are some close-ups of the multi-colored hexagons: