Telegraph sweater: Done!

I finished yet another sweater. This year I have now completed six sweaters.

In case you forgot or didn’t know, the pattern is “Telegraph Sweater” by Peter Franzi and it was published in Interweave Crochet magazine.

I really like how this fits and the color is perfect for combining it with khakis, jeans, or other color pants, even my purple pants. It’s also very warm. I couldn’t wait to be done with taking photos of myself in it. I think I broke a sweat. Although the pattern calls for sport weight yarn, I got away with using fingering weight wool sock yarn by El Gato Negro.

A can o’WIPASSessment

Now that I’ve got the naughty WIPs under control and disciplined, it’s time, on this WIP Wednesday, to open up a can o’WIPASSessment on what’s left, which are five projects plus 1 new one I started on Monday. The rest of them aren’t featured here in photos because they look the same as the last time I photographed them.

If you pay close attention to what I blather on about, you might remember that I said I would only start a new project when the crochet table cloth, the sweater, and the cross stitch pumpkin were finished. Recently I have had a conference with the WIPs and, as we now do in education, from elementary to university, an assessment was performed. Higher Education administrators who read this blog will be just thrilled to know that I prepared paperwork for this tedious – yet administratively necessary – procedure. The evaluation questionnaire, filled out by all WIPs, collected the following data:

WIP Title:

Indicate to what degree you agree or disagree with the following statement. 1 = strongly disagree 2 = slightly disagree 3 = agree 4 = slightly agree 5 = strongly agree

  1. I am necessary for use in the upcoming season.  1  2  3  4  5
  2. I am handy for this season and can be finished now.  1  2  3  4  5
  3. I am boring to work on.  1  2  3  4  5
  4. I am 3 hours or less from being finished.  1  2  3  4  5

The tablecloth is nice enough, but it’s summery and this hot season is almost over, not to mention the fact that it is pure decoration for the table when it isn’t being used. You know, it’s for “company” that comes over to sit about on a sofa for a cup of coffee or a stiff drink to chit chat. When subjected to assessment, it strongly agreed that it is not necessary for the upcoming season and strongly disagreed that it is 3 hours from being finished. Clearly, the administrative procedure has revealed that its moment is not this year so it shall vacate the back of the sofa and rest a while in the bottom of a bin in a dark closet.

The cross stitch pumpkin is good for about twenty minutes of cross stitching once a week because it’s really boring to get through and has this tedious nature about it that is quite revolting. Its prime moment for being done is in October. It is now August. I don’t have to work on it more than I’ve been working on it. Once it’s done it’s only going to get processed through the sewing machine so it’s displayable with its other pumpkin friends for Halloween. The three finished vegetables alone, in fact, could serve a decorative purpose without this fourth gourd. Its current pace of completion is just fine. It should be no surprise, therefore, that the cross stitch pumpkin strongly agreed that it is useful for the upcoming season and that it’s a bore to stitch on.

The two afghans and the Celtic Wheel cushion were going to be permitted to be in progress for a long time. So, their status remains the same. Don’t worry, though, they got a taste of the very same paperwork the others were tasked with and so very much deserved. It was not necessary to assess them, but the administration requires everyone to participate in the process even though it’s a waste of time.

I finished my “Telegraph” sweater – it’s drying now, and should be ready for supermodel photos by FO Friday – and so it escaped the assessment. To celebrate, I have started a new crochet sweater that I’m inventing on my own without a pattern. I began the project after the paperwork, so it, too avoided the questionnaire. It’s just in its very first stages:

sweater

This sweater is going to be for my partner, who is unaware of this. I have decided to keep the wearer out of the know due to a general lack of patience and a constant asking about when things are going to be finished.

You can tell that, in the past three weeks, I have devoted a total of about 30 minutes to my last cross stitch pumpkin.

pumpkin

Trust me, this pumpkin is really cool when it’s finished. I saw the photos in the magazine where the other ones you’ve seen are published. It’s just annoying to sit down with and commiserate because it’s too easy, which makes it a very dull companion. The last five minutes I spent with it I didn’t even get out the chart. Before I put it away I checked the chart and I made no mistakes. Really. That much of a dud.

Conclusion of this WIPASSessment report: It’s all a total no-duh.

Pineapple Shawl: WIP SMACKDOWN

Actually, I finished and blocked the pineapple shawl I was crocheting last Saturday. Another WIP has been smacked off my list of in-progress projects.

By the way, you may not know this, but if you wash something and lay it out flat to dry, you block. So, if you do this activity to your knit and crochet projects, please don’t tell me you don’t block. It is not necessary to get out a bazillion pins and fuss with your finished project for 50 hours to block something. When I wet block, I hardly ever have the need or urge to pin the living daylights out of my project. I didn’t do that for this shawlette, either. I washed it and while it was wet I laid it out flat on a towel to dry, smoothing out the wrinkles and making sure the pineapples all looked the same size.

It is so much easier to see the pineapples now that it isn’t all wrinkled!

It’s been ready to be sent off for almost a week now. I can’t decide when I want to drop it in the mail.

Today I fidgeted with different background colors and photographed it. This is the best photo out of the 20,000 I took. It seems a yellow towel was necessary to show off the different shades of blue to full effect.

pineappleshawlfo

I’m not really happy with the photo but this is the best I could do to get it at least useful enough to see the design clearly.

As I said in a previous post, I didn’t have enough yarn to give it a border, but it really doesn’t need one. The double-v stitches on the edges are elegant enough.

And now back to crocheting my sweater! I’m almost ready to start making the sleeves.

 

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.

Text-only Wednesday

No pics today. Nope. Just some text. I want you to feel nostalgic for the days of yore when you were trying to beat The Legend of Zelda and you went over to the GameFAQs site to read the walk through with its ASCII terminal type and maps “drawn” with symbols. OK, maybe you never did that. I did, though.

What made me think of this? Because way back in 2002 I decided to get out the old Nintendo and follow the walk through to beat Zelda, finally. 17 years later I did it again! That’s how I spent my weekend. No, I did not remember all the things I had to do to win the game, so once again I relied on good old Colin Moriarty’s nerdy, ASCII instructions. By the way, Colin, thank you again.

Wait a minute, this is a knitting and crochet (and sometimes cross stitch and sewing) blog. Totally off-topic. I’m supposed to talk about crafty things. OK. Here it goes:

  1. Socks knit with Cascade Heritage Prints yarn: I turned the heel on the second sock.
  2. My sister’s pineapple shawl: languishing in the UFO bin.
  3. Cross stitch pumpkins for Halloween: I’ve got three done and I’m working on a fourth one. I wanted to photograph them but I worked all day and now it’s night time so, nope, no picky-picky. Another time. I’ll be talking about these things for a while, anyway, because cross stitching them entirely is just the first volume of the saga. Once they’re cross stitched I’ve got to decide how I want to sew them together. I also “need” to buy fabric to accent them. I really “need” Halloween-themed fabric.
  4. Cross stitch “Celtic Wheel” throw pillow (or cushion, take your pick): I’ve managed to get some little details done. I’m still in quarter 1 of the chart. I might overstay my welcome in this area given that the details are time-consuming. Yesterday, with about three hours, I got the little thingies that might be rocks or might be snails (not sure what they are supposed to be) stitched up partially. If only Joan Elliott cared about my blog. I follow hers. BTW, Ms. Elliott, if you’re reading this, what are those things supposed to be? Are they magical rocks or magical snails? And please excuse my ignorance. Sometimes I see them as snails and sometimes as rocks, because the thingies that sit in the middle of the piece don’t have antennae, but then the ones that are on the border framing the whole piece seem to have antennae. I debate with myself often if they are snails hiding in their shells or magical Celtic rocks with mystical time travel powers.
  5. Top-down crochet “Telegraph” sweater: languishing in the UFO bin with its cousin, the pineapple shawl.
  6. Crochet cotton tablecloth: languishing yet perched on the back of my sofa, exposed to the elements but certainly free to finish itself if it feels motivated. I tell it often, “feel free to finish yourself” but so far it isn’t getting my drift.
  7. Tunisian crochet afghan: on month 4 of being ignored, yet pleased to be resting in the afghan cubby. It often shouts at the projects in the UFO bin that it’s in the VIP furniture.
  8. Hexagon afghan: Resting peacefully next to its brother, Tunisian crochet afghan, telling him to shut up and leave the non-VIPs alone. It’s not their fault they’re wool and need a line of protection against pests, after all. I’ve even heard Mr. Hexagon say to Mr. Tunisian, “don’t get so full of yourself, we’re cheap acrylic, after all!”
  9. Socks that are finished yet not washed or blocked yet: Those three pairs are in the UFO bin, shouting at Cascade Heritage Prints to get done already, so that maybe they can all have a bath together.
  10. Never-before-mentioned mosaic knitting thingy: I made some progress on it. I still have no idea why I’m knitting it and what it will be. It’s blue and white and a big rectangle. I cast it on some months ago and forgot I had started it. I found it by accident yesterday and knit some on it this week just for fun.

If you’ve read this far, thank you for your attention. Since you are kind enough to stay, I pose the question to you: What the hell would you do with all these WIPs? It’s too much. Some days I feel like putting white dresses on them all, parading them through the town, and leading them to the mountain to sacrifice them to the volcano.

So far the only idea that has occurred to me is that I will finish my socks and then just work my way through all the other projects until they are done before I ever, ever, ever start something new. Obviously the afghans have a low priority given that it’s July and it’s hotter than seven shades. However, the shawl is manageable. I think I’ll try to finish the shawl and the table cloth next while using cross stitch and the mosaic knitting whatever-it-is to take a break from the shawl, table cloth, and cross stitch. I don’t like this idea much because I WON’T HAVE A PAIR OF SOCKS GOING. THE AGONY. But that’s life when you have the attention span of a fish that knows how to knit, crochet, and make other things.

I can talk about my WIPs on a Wednesday

This morning I actually caught a break from working and had time to photograph my WIPs with some good quality sunshine. I’ve been knitting, crocheting, and cross stitching.

My sock made with Cascade Heritage Prints is taking its time. You’d think I’d be pumped to finish the first of the pair since I’ve already finished the foot and most of the leg. But, nope. My hands get too sweaty in this 90 degree (F) weather.

sock

The background for my sock is my crochet tablecloth, which is also progressing slowly because I only work on it for maybe twenty minutes a day. Again, it’s the uncomfortable feeling on my hands in the hot weather. Cotton breathes but while it’s doing that it suffocates my hands!

Anyway, as you can see, it is approaching the correct size of its intended wearer, which is the table that it is resting on. When I use up this second skein of cotton it will be time for me to start a nice border for it with skein 3. I’m thinking about using a filet pattern.

tablecloth

My crochet “Telegraph Sweater” designed by Peter Franzi is also coming along very gradually. If the cotton is uncomfortable in my hands, just imagine how the wool feels. Anyway, this garment can take its time. I’m in no hurry just yet to wear it, considering it’s July and I wish it wasn’t necessary to wear clothes.

Cross stitch – for the most part – has cured my need to create in uncomfortably hot Castilian weather. I’m glad I’ve got back into this pastime. I’ve been spending most of my free time cross stitching and less of it knitting and crocheting. The pattern I’ve chosen, which is Joan Elliott’s “Celtic Wheel Cushion” from her book Magical Cross Stitch, is a delightful challenge with very fine color details. The rose and the bunch of grapes you see have three or four shades. If you think the fruit and the flower look awkward you have a good eye. There is a lot of backstitching to complete for outlining things as well as to add stems and other little details. Right now the poor rose’s leaves are just suspended in midair and disconnected from the flower.

crossstitch

I have already become an over-enthusiastic cross stitcher and ordered more stuff for future projects. I’ve got plenty of Aida cloth in different colors and I’m waiting for some seed beads, floss, and Kreinik metallic threads to arrive in the mail. Yeah, you bet, when I’m in, I’m all in. After placing my order I forgot that I wanted some gold-colored Aida cloth for a bookmark I’d like to make, so I’ll have to buy some more supplies soon.

I can’t wait for the end of the day when I finish work and relax with a little WordPress browsing so I can see what you’re up to with your WIPs.

 

Review: 300 Classic Blocks by Linda P. Schapper

300 Classic Blocks for Crochet Projects by Linda P. Schapper, Lark Crafts: 2011, 256 pages. Paperback and hardcover editions available. Grade: A

When the title says this is all about “classic blocks” it isn’t a joke. These grannies are all older than the hills and mostly simple to crochet. In fact, we can find directions for some of these floating around the Internet free of charge. I’m actually grateful that “classic” is in the name so that I know what I’m getting into if I decide to use this to make something.

I think it’s also important to remember that this is a revised edition. It was originally published in 1987 and since then it has been redone several times. The fact that it continues to be edited is promising and also means that there are people who would buy this title (like me!).

I like how the blocks are organized by the types of stitches that are used to make them. For example, there’s a category for post stitches and another for bobbles, etc. Motifs that don’t fit into any of these groups are organized according to their overall shapes, like circles and triangles.

An experienced crocheter will no doubt open the book and say, “I could have made that up myself!” Indeed, there are many very basic patterns that a lot of us can just make off the tops of our heads. Others are traditional and we have memorized them by now. However, there are also more complex designs. My motive for getting this collection was to have all my information in one place without having to actually sift through millions of web links and/or patterns for afghans that take advantage of the “classics.” I’ve got all the basic things in one nicely organized book so that when I want to make something simple I can refresh my memory quickly. Alternatively, if I want to make up my own complex block, I can start with one of these simple ones and pimp it any which way I like.

I recommend this book to new and experienced crocheters. New crocheters will appreciate some guidance on how to make different shapes and learn how stitches can be stacked on each other to achieve a variety of effects. People with more hooking history might like to have this title for the same reasons I got it: all the classics in one place. I’ll add that it’s useful for designing our own blocks, maybe starting with one from this book and adding our own modifications to turn it into something else.