Saturday, February 24, 2007

Today's project: Learn to crochet

Today I have to learn to crochet. I have finished knitting the Sprinkle Lace Cardigan and even sewed/grafted/wove the pieces together, a job for which I have so little aptitude that it is clear why I prefer knitting shawls to sweaters. The sweater is finished with a crocheted edging around the edges of the sleeves, bottom, and neck. And I don't know how to crochet.

[Why, I ask myself, did I buy a pattern that includes something as esoteric as a crocheted edging? Maybe because I was seduced by the picture of the sweater without realizing that it involved something I didn't have a clue about. Then, why did I start it, once saw the instructions? There are no answers to these questions. And here we are.]

It would be hard to overstate the mess I made of putting the pieces together. The fronts were the same length (thankfully I had knit them simultaneously), but somehow the fronts came out a little longer than the back, so there was some serious fudging involved in the seaming. Then there was the brilliant job I did of sewing the second front NOT to the back, but to one of the sleeve seams. A lot of unsewing went on to the accompaniment of some unladylike verbiage. (Is there a sewing equivalent of "frogging?" one wonders.) At least unsewing an 18" seam and redoing it takes a lot less time than having to frog and re-knit 18" of almost anything. As a result, the edging has to be less frustrating, even counting learning time for a totally new technique! I am armed with memories of my grandmother teaching me how to crochet a chain, plus the Vogue Knitting Crochet Basics, and will find out if it really is possible to learn how to crochet from a book.

On the Finished Objects front, there is one F.O. to report, the Gansey Pillow that was part of Elizabeth Lovick's Gansey Workshop. I didn't swatch (after all, it was just a pillow, so what difference did it make), and instead of a 12" pillow ended up with a 17" pillow. It was an interesting project, because reading a gansey chart is much different from reading a lace chart, and I actually like the finished product. I tried doing a little controlled shrinkage by washing it in hot water after it was blocked, but it wouldn't budge. I could buy an 18" pillow form instead of the loosely-fitting 16" form it currently occupies... we'll see. I still have to figure out how to close the back, whether with buttons or Velcro, or just let the overlap do the job. It might have been simpler if I'd followed Liz's instructions and put in buttonholes, but that would have been too easy.

The Shetland Garden shawls proceeds apace, but no pictures yet. And for a quickie trip to Florida to visit my mother (two hours in the airport and 3 1/2 hours in the plane each way) I started the Lady of the Forest wrap in some beautiful alpaca, which unfortunately shed all over my black clothes, but it helped to pass the time and divert my attention from the extremely unpleasant conditions of modern air travel.

And now to learn how to crochet...

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