Thursday, October 29, 2009

Random stitches

The cardigan has been waiting for weeks to be finished -- I am 100 grams away from the end, plus buttons. All I need to do is lengthen the sleeves (now that I know there is enough yarn), and edge the whole thing, adding buttonholes, tuck in the loose ends, and sew on the buttons.

But three other projects got in the way. There were 6 skeins of black Cotton Classic that suddenly needed to be a rib knit top to go under this cardigan. The idea of this piece is to start at the bottom, rib up to the underarms, cast on the armhole stitches, decrease them down, do a little neck shaping, and there you are. I didn't make the body long enough because I was afraid of running out of yarn. So the leftover yarn got split into a 2-ply (Cotton Classic is 5 plies thick) and crocheted in ch-2 net stitch with a 4mm hook around the bottom. It was a satisfying project, but I prefer the freedom of top-down crocheting better.

That was one project. The second is the Snowflake Project: Annie's Attic came out with a wonderful leaflet some years ago called TEENY TINY SNOWFLAKES TO CROCHET. It is apparently out of print now, but is really good (when I googled the title, one site listed it for sale for $30). Only a few typos in the instructions, and once you have made a few of the snowflakes, you can catch them easily enough. Made 2 or 3 of each of the 24 designs -- they will become a mobile 'flurry' to hang above a winter holiday scene. The snowflakes are done, loose ends are almost all tucked in. Next will come washing, starching, and constructing the mobile.

Years ago, I would start a project just for the sake of exploring an idea. Once the idea either made sense or didn't, the project would get set aside for the next idea. Now, I am trying to discipline myself to finish one project at a time. Finishing things is very satisfying -- I just have to do it.

The third project is a round shawl. Something light I can work on while on the stepper and watching TV. There is something magical about a round shawl to fold and wrap different ways. With a center pattern stitch for a while, then a band of another pattern stitch, then ending with a third, just for the last bit. A combination of pattern stitches is really magical. The center portion is the basic Granny Square-type stitch, but starting with a triangle, then doubling the number of pattern stitches as needed -- that makes it round. After that will be a 2- or 3-stitch net stitch. Then most likely a shell stitch on the outside. Simple, fairly brainless, but interesting to look at and with a good drape. And how far does 100 grams of laceweight go, using a 00 (or E) hook? The merino/silk blend feels really good.

So the blue cardigan will be finished soon. I want to wear it. But there is only so much time in a day. The snowflakes have a deadline. The shawl is good for exercise time (the cardigan is too heavy/big for that). Hey ho. It will get done.

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