Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Book Review: Everyday Crochet by Doris Chan

I love this book! Oh, do I start a book review like that? Well, it just burst out of me. What do you say about a book, or a designer, that changed the focus of your craft?
The book itself invites, "Whether you're a crochet newbie seeking inspiration or an old pro looking for a new take on this fun craft, Everyday Crochet is packed full of innovative designs for stylish, up-tp-the-minute crochet clothing and accessories." I fall somewhere in between a 'crochet newbie' and 'an old pro' and this is absolutely true! This book really inspired me.

I found when I was browsing around for patterns to start doing clothing, most often the ones I liked that others had done were from this book. So I had to get it. My first impression was, "I can't do that!" "That's too advanced!" Then I thought, I know how to read directions so I got a cup of coffee, sat down and just read it.

Wow, how did I crochet all these years and never know that I could make these beautiful things. Doris Chan explains a solid way to start a project with her 'Base CH/SC', with clearly illustrated how-to's on page 139. Her patterns all start with a base design and the garments take on their individual personality from there. If you are a garment seamstress you've seen the spot on paper patterns that say "lengthen or shorten here", well in Ms. Chan's patterns there's clear direction on adding 'short rows' for fuller bust, wider hips, etc. Very innovative as the book cover says.

Let me tell you another wonderful thing about these beautiful sweaters - they all start from the top down and there's no seaming. You try on as you go along, so it does fit! When you're done, you either already have an attractive, solid tie attached, or have the option to add her In-Line Links shown on page 137. Beautiful button closures that, to my surprise, made up in about 10 minutes and really add to the look of your design.

Don't hesitate to advance your crochet. Stop wishing you could knit - you can CROCHET beautiful sweaters that people will stop you on the street and ask, 'Where did you get that?"'!

What have I made from the book:


The cover picture is a cute shrug called the Mei-Mei. My daughter in Law loves shrugs and looks so cute in them that I thought this was the perfect gift for her. Pink is also her favorite color, so it had to be pink. I made the extra small, using a J hook, but it came out more like a size 8, I would say. I made my sample for guage but I think I loosened up a bit as I went along. But the nice thing about this project is it has a SC border that the pattern suggests you do in a smaller hook, that snugs it up a bit. I could've 'snugged it up' a bit more for Lindsey, but it was a surprise and I didn't have her as my model. She says it still fits her and claims to love it so I'm happy. I started it about noon one day, and it was done about 7pm. Of course, I'm not really addicted to crochet (she says sheepishly) so I actually did get up a time or two in that 7 hour period. One thing I do wish about this project. I wish I had spent more on the yarn and gotten a mohair, or something with a natural fiber that would have allowed better blocking and shaping. What I did use was still a pleasure to work with, it's just all acrylic so it's limiting in the shaping department.

Oh, and I did make the button closure. I forgot to leave a spot for a buttonhole so I did attach the buttons, but still followed the elastic beaded closure that Ms. Chan describes. It was so easy and made it all look so pretty!

I have also started another project from the book. At this point it's still a "Jewel", but from here I can decide to make a "Runaround" or a "No Sweat" or a combination of all of them.

Don't be intimidated by the beauty of the designs in this well made book. You CAN do it! If you are like me, you will really love this book!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Taking a Break from Everything!

Have Fun! If you enjoyed this game, let me know by leaving a comment. I'd love to hear from you!

For more Word Whomp go to Pogo to play 100s of Free Online Games!

For more Word Whomp go to Pogo to play 100s of Free Online Games!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Ravelry has turned me into a crocheting maniac!

crochet, crochet, yarn, yarn, yarn, crochet
Yes, I do mean it. Before ravelry, I was content to crochet on a project for a little while, set it in 'the box' and pick it up in a few days, months, (or years as the case may be). Every year I would do a few scarves, maybe a pair of slippers, do a granny square or two. But now - I see all the wonders that a hook can do in everyone's wonderful pictures, and I have a list a mile long of what I want to do. It's as if my record's stuck - (does that age me?). I can be happily walking down a block, doing important stuff, and I'll see a plant blooming and think, 'hmm, would my new project look better if I photograph it hanging on that? Speaking of photos, what have I finished lately? Well, hold on, I've done a lot:

On my needles (and hooks): I finished my Pioneer Bag. I started it in Portland, OR last Feb while visiting my daughter but since the last felting I did turned out a bit wonky (and still waiting for me to revise) I kind of put it on hold. Then I decided who it was for and what I wanted to do with it and I was off! It's done, pictured above and set to be sent to Tesia ... along with...

On my hooks: I finished another Lacy Top Cardigan by Doris Chan. I heard of a wonderful

yarn while listening to the podcast nevernotknitting, dyed organic cotton, and I knew this is what would work for Tesia, my 'green' girl. Well I didn't know the pleasures of working with this wonderful cotton. It feels like hmm, a cloud? yes that's it. It feels so soft, like what you would picture a cloud to feel like. It's from Blue Sky Alpaca, dyed organic Cotton and if you go to she has a link to a shop that for this month is offering a special to her blog readers. And have a listen while you're there - you won't be disappointed.

Also, I made my dil, Tiff, the same top and this time it only took me 2 days (or evenings). Wow, it was fast and fun. This one I made from some Vanna's choice in my stash. I wish I had bought more of the organic cotton to make hers from this. In the picture it's blocking, which I've discovered fixes a lot of shaping quirk's. Blocking is not my favorite but I'm learning is about the most important part of the end presentation! and it's not as hard as I've always thought.

On my pegs: Yes, still the sock. But I did work on it at the Dr.s office - amid oohs and ahhs about how 'great' it was and 'how do I get one of those' so that was fun.

I have new projects to start - a gift for ... shhh, she doesn't know yet ... and for ... oh, and she doesn't know either, but the yarn feels yummy and I can't wait to finish to show you all!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

On my pegs: I want to make a pair of socks. Yes, socks. So I saw this loom - it has to be easier than knitting, right? Well, the claim is made that it helps people who have pain, like arthritis and such - so this must be for me! I bought the loom used, $20.00 - good deal. I bought the sock yarn at our friendly local yarn shop - about $8.00. I figured I'd fly through the first pair and want to make a second right away so I bought enough for a 2nd pair. Two skeins, nice yarn, about $5 each. So far I have about $38.00 into my new sock making career! Well, that was over a month ago and I really do work on them. Did you know that it takes about an hour to loom 1 inch of sock? Yes, it does. For me anyway. Can it really take that long to use knitting needles to knit one? Well, I have made progress. I have done the heel and am halfway to the toe, of the first one, that is. That is the beginning saga of my $38.00 pair of socks, or sock as the case may be.