I’m working on a crochet pattern for a simple shrug to post tomorrow or over the weekend. Don’t worry — I haven’t forgotten you.
When I first saw 1-2-3 Skein Crochet*, I was excited. The vast majority of the “one skein” or “stashbuster” books I had seen so far were either for knit only or for “knit and crochet” — and we all know that a book that is for “knit and crochet” will generally consist of about 90% knitting patterns with a token handful of crochet patterns thrown in. So finding one that was specifically for crochet patterns felt like getting the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Given how I had built up my expectations, then, it isn’t surprising that the book fell short. But if it didn’t turn out to be a pot of gold, it was at least a pot of pewter — nothing flashy, but still solid and useful.
I can definitely think of a few of these projects that will find themselves on my project list. The Basketweave Eyeglass Case, Travel Pillows and Dainty Slippers, in particular, might well become gifts in the near-to-medium-term future. These stand in contrast to projects like the Funky Hat, Felted Necklace and Santa Toilet Seat Cover that were definitely not things I could see myself making, much less giving as gifts (YMMV, of course). Luckily, projects like these were reasonably few and far between.
I have to say that the Babies section stood out as particularly useful. Crochet patterns for babies generally rank high on the cooing adorability scale, but a few of these patters stood out, even from that crowd, as egregiously cute. I’m thinking in particular of the Serenity Blue Dress, the jacket from the Boy Blue Sunday Suit, and the Lemon Drops layette set. Even though nobody I know is currently expecting, I felt the itch to begin making one of these sweet patterns so as to be ready the next time one of my friends and/or relations procreates.
Where the Babies section stood out, I found myself wondering about some of the patterns in the Men’s section. Many of the projects struck me as fairly unisex-ish. Nothing wrong with them, of course, but it seemed like they were “manly” mostly in the yarn color, and not in the pattern itself.
All in all, this is a serviceable stash-busting book. I wouldn’t call it inspired, but that isn’t what stash busting is really about, anyway. If you are a crocheter who wants to reduce that stash of yarn that is currently taking over the closet, I’d definitely suggest taking a look at this book.
* For purposes of full disclosure, I want to say that no publisher or seller of this work has influenced this review.
But there was that embroidery project to work on. And that sparked an idea — what about putting some embroidery on the purse? (Just one motif, of course — don’t want to overwhelm myself) Well, ok — I figured I’d just finish the leaves on my embroidery project, then I’d start on the purse.
So I worked on that for a while. Then I got a headache. I figured that I had better go lay down — after all, weekends are for relaxing, right? As I was falling asleep, I remembered those blackberries in the freezer. So I felt guilty about not even starting to make that blackberry jam as I dropped off to sleep. After the nap, I still needed to finish the embroidery, so I did that.
Dinner? Oh, yeah. Better eat that. Dinner is important.
But wait a minute — what about the purse? It is so cute, and I could really use a nice big summer purse. And I had been intending to make it — really, I had. My headache began to return as I beat myself up about it. At this point, my darling husband pointed out that I could still work on the purse a bit, even if I can’t finish it.
So that is what I do. I printed and cut out the pattern, then taped it together. By this time, it is 10pm. No more working on the purse for me. *sigh* Maybe next weekend.
Perhaps this is a sign that I need to be more realistic in my planning. What do you all do to keep things from getting overwhelming?
NPR has a piece on Captain Hook, a craftivist who yarn bombs statues in the LA area. The story recounts how Captain Hook dresses up a statue of a bear (what is it with yarn bombers and bears these days?) in Griffith Park for the 10th time. The story solves a local LA mystery as to the nature of the bear’s recent wardrobe changes. Park employees are rather fond of her work:
“Marshal Barrena, the park’s senior gardener and the man ultimately responsible for the bear, is a fan. “It puts a little spring in your step, seeing something like that in the morning,” Barrena says.” — NPR
Check out this great pic of the yarn bombing crew on Flickr. (I’d put it up, but it is marked ‘All Rights Reserved’)
Some people call yarn bombing a form of vandalism. Others say it is art or activism. What do you think?
Everything I know about sports comes from either my father or my husband, and even at that, the sum total of my knowledge could fit on the head of a pin. But I love how some players — of various sports — are such rampant individualists. I have to imagine that most men in a testosterone-fueled field such as football would hide any interest they had in a traditionally “feminine” area such as needlework. So it came as a very pleasant surprise to me to read this:
“People say ‘crochet, isn’t that something old ladies do?’ ” said Rivera… “Football is masculine and testosterone driven, but I think it shows you can do other things and be well rounded.”
So many people fall into the “what I do is who I am” trap. They let their occupations define them, rather than describe them. To get so caught up in one aspect of your identity seems unhealthy to me.
But more than that, to openly talk to ESPN about crochet shows real character. People often view things that are coded as feminine as being less valuable or worthy than things that are coded as masculine. For example, we view girls who want to do “boy things” with understanding, if not always approval. Who wouldn’t want to engage in higher-status behavior? But a boy who wants to do “girl things” is news — and a cause for concern. Feminine professions are paid less, traditionally feminine pastimes are viewed as “sissy”, etc. For a man in a very masculine profession to openly embrace a (devalued) feminine hobby such as crochet, and to view it merely as a part of being “well rounded” shows a thoughtfulness and consideration that is rare in today’s society (viz. the recent flap about the J. Crew toenail painting ad). It is very cool. And it reminds me that Rosey Greer likes to needlepoint — even authoring a book entitled Rosey Grier’s Needlepoint for Men. Which is also very cool.
* For a great picture of him teaching crochet to kids, take a look at this news story.
My grandmother was the person who first taught me to crochet. And though I have learned a lot from other people along the way, I think I have learned the most from her. Here is a free pattern based on a pair of baby booties she made.
The pattern is designed to make a turn-down cuff at the top of the bootie, but by omitting one or more of rows 7 – 9, you can make a very cute cuff-less variation. You might especially want to do this if you have a particularly cute ribbon to show off!
That big blue bear* right outside of the Denver Convention Center has been yarn-bombed. A group of crocheting street artist craftivists** calling themselves the Ladies’ Fancywork Society put a (crocheted, of course) ball and chain on the bear’s leg and called the resulting work “Slave to the Craft”. The work was swiftly removed by convention center officials, but photos survive! Check them out (and get the full story) at Denver Westword’s Art Blog.
*The sculpture’s official name is “I see what you mean”. This makes sense when you consider that the giant blue bear is peering in the windows of the convention center.