Monday, October 26, 2015

Rainbow is the best color

The magic rainbow bag is a simple project that took way longer than it should have.

As I've blogged about before, I like the idea of Bonbons.  I'm just not as big on stripes and what to actually do with even smaller yarn scraps.  But after confirming that my friend's daughter still considered rainbow to be the best color, I decided that I would do something with rainbow Bonbons.  I didn't know what that something would be, but even if I didn't have a vision, I had a coupon.  Having a coupon and/or being in a craft store while bored has often been my tragic flaw.

Fortunately I was able to combine my mastery of buying more craft supplies with browsing the internet for projects and I discovered the granny square bag.

  This could be made with any colors, but I went with rainbow.  To keep from running out of anything, I did two versions of the squares--one starting with red and one starting with purple.  I considered assembling the bag with red border squares on one side and purple border squares on the other, but Brian said the alternating layout looked better.

Once the squares are assembled into one big square, bag is joined by placing the wrong sides together and double crocheting through the edges of both squares.  Since I was low on almost all the Bonbons colors and didn't know if pink would make it all the way around, I used some leftover white (which probably turned out better than a pink border anyway).

I crocheted the sides together, and then went off to do something else.  Then I made handles and continued to procrastinate.  Sewing/joining is my least favorite part of any project, so I did other stuff.

Zoot enjoyed the project in her own way.  And I very slowly considered that maybe at some point I'd start sewing the handles on, and eventually I'd get around to weaving in the loose ends (you know, probably before my friend's daughter went to college).

Zoot passed away a month after the above picture was taken.  I still have a few other WIP that Zoot slept on, but this one was sort of the last.  She slept on it and played with the little balls of yarn and after she died I had to get it out of the house.  So this is the only project Zoot got me to finish faster (after interrupting it a few times).

What with grieving and all I didn't manage to get a picture of the finished bag (and probably shouldn't post pictures of friends' children on my humble little blog), but for me it's probably always going to be the last inadvertent cat bed rather than a magical rainbow bag.

This is the last of the backlog posts for now.  I did some crafting in Zoot's memory, but I'm not ready to post about that yet.  Zoot may make some appearances (which will indicate I've taken my good sweet time finishing something), but this will be her last heavily featured post.

Monday, October 12, 2015


I want to like Boutique Unforgettable yarn--it's probably accurate to say that I do like it since I like a lot of the colors and I've tried to use it in projects...

...but those projects haven't come out quite right.  They look nice. I still like the colors.  But crocheting with Unforgettable is what happens when you make something in the Pet Semetary.  It just comes back...wrong.

There is no way in hell this yarn is actually worsted weight.  My first encounter with Unforgettable was for the Cluster Stitch Wrap (to the left).  I liked this pattern so much that I actually used the yarn pictured to make it.  Long time readers (hi, Kristen!) know that I generally take the pictured yarn colors in a free pattern as a suggestion.  And maybe even the brand.  That's right, yarn companies, this is one crocheter who's not falling for your scam to give me free patterns to get me to buy your yarn!

So, I dutifully bought this yarn and began stitching.  And then it came out too small.  Think "pastel rainbow wild west bandito" too small.  So I tried again with a larger hook.  Wearable, but still smaller than promised.

 Here's the finest product modeled by Zoot so you can see the insufficient size (although to be fair to the pattern and scarf, Zoot was built like a feline opera singer).

Naturally I learned nothing from this experience and went back to Unforgettable to make the Butterfly Wrap.

Like the yarn, I want to like the Butterfly Wrap.  For mine I used some leftover purple wool and a coordinating shade of Unforgettable.  I don't know if it's the yarn or my burly shoulders, but it does not drape beautifully over my shoulders.  Maybe I would have better luck with Treasure, the yarn it was written for, or something like Lion Brand Landscapes, but the end result is too small.  This could also be a one size fits most problem; even at my skinniest, I still usually needed larger sizes for jackets and cardigans.

Monday, October 5, 2015

State Fair Baby Set 2014

This year I didn't get anything finished in time for the State Fair competitions (or anything finished that I hadn't already sent to its intended recipient), but last year I combined baby gifts with State Fair entries.

Brian's friends Doug and Danielle were expecting a baby, and I found a bunch of gender neutral Pipsqueak yarn.  Pipsqueak is nice to touch (more on that later) and a complete pain in the ass to actually work with.  Since it's so fluffy, it's difficult to actually see the top of each stitch.

As I actually had time and crafty ambitions back in the halcyon days of 2014, I decided to find some yarn to match the Pipsqueak and make a sweater, toy, and blanket.  For the sweater, I used my go-to baby sweater pattern.  In the last year I tried another baby sweater pattern, but then I got bored and the baby got too large.
 Here are the two front pieces, the back, and a sleeve before assembly.  Despite having made at least three of these sweaters, I still have no idea why the right side is smaller than the left side.  Maybe human babies are asymmetrical.

One disadvantage to being so far behind in blogging my projects is trying to remember what I used.  I think the main part of the sweater is Caron Simply Baby in Tiny Sprite.  Caron, Bernat, Lily Sugar n' Cream, and Patons forming the craft-Voltron that is Yarnspirations has explained a lot of my "excellent luck" and "discerning eye" in finding yarns that just happen to match perfectly across different brands.

Once the sweater was assembled, I added the blanket yarn as a trim.

For the toy, I used an amigurumi tiger pattern.  A coral cotton yarn was a "close enough" match for the Pipsqueak, and cotton is generally durable.  Plus, extra hats with the leftovers.

Because I'm fucking brilliant, I made the little cat toy wear a matching sweater.
Brian's favorite picture from this project

Basically, most of the body is made with the green yarn.  The front paws are about 2-3 rows of coral before changing colors to make the "sleeves."  I either left the front loops available for the collar or just sewed it on.
It looks like the cat just has a hairy chest that cannot be contained by a tight sweater, but this is the front of the trim.  That's right--I'm so brilliant but insane that there is this level of detail on this potential chocking hazard.

For the blanket, I used this pattern and alternated Pipsqueak and the sweater yarn.  A pattern may not be necessary for experienced crafters as it's a large rectangle with stripes.  Like a granny square, all the stitches are worked in chain spaces which is the only way to make crocheting with Pipsqueak tolerable.  Making the foundation row and slip stitching at the beginning of each row was like trying to make love to a drunk Muppet in the dark.  With a K hook for a dick.

Basically, I discovered the yarn equivalent of metallic embroidery floss.  Oh, how cute and fluffy it looks!  Oh, how I hate it!

Competition was stiffer in the baby set category in 2014, so this set did not win anything other than repeated gropings from passers-by and a thank you note from the happy parents.  Such is the siren song of Pipsqueak novelty baby yarn that State Fair visitors actually rubbed their grubby little hands all over it before going to get more fried Oreos (yes, I washed it before giving it.  Zoot probably slept on it too).