Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cabled Sweater Coming Soon.....

My son is going through his Paper Chase phase. For those of you who are unaware of what this is (and I am dating myself) it is a movie about Harvard law students, made in 1973. When I was in grade school it was made into a television show that ran for a couple of seasons in the late 70s and early 80s. This show made sweaters and corduroys cool, and is probably responsible for the 80s North American autumn fashion obsession with colours like Loden Green.

He tried on one of his father's sweaters the other day, a sweater that his father NEVER WEARS (but I'm not bitter) and couldn't stop gushing about how great it looked and why didn't he have any sweaters that looked this good. Well, the short answer is that it is difficult to match a sweater to someone who wears Misfits and Iron Maiden t-shirts until they get up and run away to the washing machine all by themselves. The longer, more boring answer that results in glazed eyes, starts with a rant about how much efforts goes into hand made items and then ends with concerns about said item becoming a rug with sleeves for the cat. This speech is usually delivered to an empty room.

But, now he is begging for a sweater to be made for him. So, it is with a mix of trepidation and anticipation that I journey forth to the yarn store for 2500m of sport weight yarn.

Oooooooh.....I love hunting the yarn as much as I do catching it, skeining the hanks, and making something out of it. Hahahahaha.......this is probably why the men in the house give me a wide berth. "Mom's got that funny twitch again..." "Just come over here, son, and don't make eye contact....she's just looking for a ball of yarn, it'll all be over soon..."

I don't work from patterns when I make sweaters, so I will just post my design insanity as I go and you can see how I write them.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Motivated Heretic and other yarn related things

As I posted in my main blog, this shawl is finito. It was a lot of fun to make and instead of wearing it like a gigantic scarf, I twisted it and seamed the edges together to make a moebius shawl. Now I can wear it to work and still do manicures without it flopping everywhere.

You know, I bet that entrelac crochet would look just as good in other stitches. I have been thinking about this since the fourth or fifth row of this project, and then I started seeing photos of finished works all over the internet, showing entrelac with moss stitch and honeycomb patterns, even some cables and lace. I am so trying this. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I brought my entrelac shawl to the salon, to work on in case it was quiet. Holy universe, Batman!!!
Six, count 'em, SIX women walked into the salon, up to my table, and asked what I was doing.

All six were left handed :)

It's funny when the universe acts that way. It was an indication to me that this blog is the right thing to start. Six people is not a lot, but considering that I had never had six left handed hookers walk up to me in one day and ask to see how I did something before, and I have worked on projects in public many, many times - well, that is something.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Entrelac Crochet

I have tried Entrelac knitting and loved it. Entrelac, not so much. Trying to figure out what to do, more often than not, left me frustrated in a beer and tequila shooters kind of way. I have been determined to master all things Tunisian, though, and after a few years of playing, the entrelac still kicked my butt.
But not anymore!!!
It isn't just a matter of reversing things. That is part of it, yes, but when you are working in reverse, your hook ends up in places that can make your brain hurt, especially if you have no reference for any of this.
Hopefully this tutorial makes sense. The pattern I am using is called "Motivated Heretic", from "Get Hooked On Tunisian Crochet" by Sheryl Thies. I like this book. So far I have made a scarf and two pillow covers from this book. I will be making the placemats for gifts.
Sheryl's entrelac is different because she turns hers and all the other Tunisian Entrelac shawl and ruana patterns I have seen involve fastening off at each end. That makes for A LOT of ends to weave in. I did a sample swatch today at work and I liked how the right and wrong side look together. Very organic texture. I am using Bernat Mosaic in Ambrosia. Sheryl's pattern uses Noro Silk Garden which, while lovely, is way out of my budget right now.
The first row, the base triangles, is made just as the pattern says. The only difference is that you are working from left to right, instead of from right to left.

My foundation chain is really, really loose and huge, but if you don't make it that way, you end up with a tight little first row that curves like a neckline.....which is great if you make a sweater with an entrelac neck opening, but not so great for a shawl :) Don't worry about what your foundation chain looks like because you can always go into it with scrap yarn at the the end to tighten it up.

The second tier involves starting a left edge triangle instead of a right edge one. Do not BO or turn like it says in Row 7 of the left triangle. You will be using slip stitches to get to where you need to be, to start creating your squares.

Picking up sts to start left edge triangle

Follow the rest of the instructions up to but not including Row 7 and you will get a triangle that looks like this:

Do not BO one st and do not turn your work because you are not at the end of the row:) Now SS 6 sts. This changes your hook placement and puts you right where you need to be to work into that valley created by the Tier One Base Triangles, which is where you will create your squares.

All ready to make whole squares!!!
Now you can follow the instructions for making squares and you will get this across Tier Two:

When you get to the end of the row, you go back to the Right Edge triangle instructions. Do not follow Row 1 instructions as written. If you chain 2 your chain will be facing the wrong way. Instead, draw up a loop inside the stem of your stitch that was just worked, and in the next stitch - 3 loops on hook. This is what it looks like:

Follow the instructions for the Right Edge Triangle, picking up each loop along the edge you see in the photo. When you are done, Tier Two will look like this:

Your hook is in the wrong spot to do Row 7 of the right edge triangle shaping instructions. Turn your work as if to begin Tier Three, and ss up the side edge (6 sts) to be in the right spot to do your Tier Three row of solid squares. Then just follow the instructions for squares again, as they are written. 

This is what the first three tiers of the pattern should look like. After that, it is a matter of working Tiers Two and Three over and over until your shawl is as long as you want it. I have not looked at the final row of half triangles to close off the pattern, because I am not there yet, but when I get there, if they need leftie tweaking I will surely take pictures as I go. This pattern is easy once you make the adjustments for a leftie and it is working up quickly for me. After reverse engineering Sheryl's pattern, I now officially love Tunisian Entrelac Crochet, and can not wait to be done so I can start designing my own patterns.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Left Handed Crochet

I am starting this site to catalogue my cables and Tunisian crochet stitches, as well as any other crochet stitches that I have to reverse in order to do them. I figure there might be someone out there who might benefit by this, so I will put it up here and then anyone can use this.

Some hookers don't have a problem with right vs left in pattern instructions, but I know from reading emails that a lot of us do. There are more right handed people than left handed people, so the patterns are written for righties. Most of the time it doesn't actually mean anything, other than working from the opposite end. Sometimes, though, when working complex cables and travelling stitches, you are not working into the correct stitch below, or it gets confusing trying to figure out if you go under here and over there and hold the yarn back instead of forward. A lot of the time we just get frustrated and throw our work across the room where it stays, in a big heap in the corner, taunting us.

I started thinking about putting things online specifically for lefties about two years ago when a ravelry user wrote me a rather terse and snotty email about why I should stop writing patterns geared towards left handed people because as a right handed hooker she was upset and frustrated that she couldn't get something in one of my instructions. In a rare moment, my feelings were hurt and I panicked and pulled the pattern - I can't even remember what it was. In retrospect, had I been myself that day, she would have gotten a polite letter about sex and travel and how I figure it is about time some righties sit in front of a chart trying to balance a mirror so they don't have to stop and start and backtrack with the left handed patterns.

It isn't fun, is it fellow lefties? But I will let you in on a little secret, though. We are experts at reverse engineering patterns, aren't we? We are awesome at taking things apart or visualizing mirror images or whatever else we have to see in our heads because if we don't, no one will do it for us. However, if anyone out there knows of a book with left handed instruction or charting, please let me know and I will be sure to add it to my list!!!

Vive la révolution!