Monster Post II

Let’s see, a good long while ago, the father of the Monstrous Offspring’s playmate at the childminder’s asked me if I could make a replacement blankie for her. He is also the Head of IT at work, so I ain’t gunna be p!ssing HIM off, with the state my laptop’s in! I had a look at the pitiful remnants of her blankie, and there was just enough left for me to make out that it was definitely crochet, three long stitches together and a chain between each group, into which the next row’s three stitches went. The long stitches might have been trebles, the number of stitches in the chain might have been 3 or 4 – the poor thing was too matted to tell. But I had a go at it for her birthday, and she was delighted. I was worried she would feel it was trying to take over, but she wrapped it round herself, twirled with it, was a butterfly, etc. Honour was satisfied.

I should really try to crochet more. It’s starting to be a little ouchy on my hand, and that’s not good. I may even have a project in mind…

Tiny Husband has expressed an interest in tie pins and waistcoats – now that his workplace has made ties optional for all but front of shop staff. Contrary beast that he is. So I made him a 1940s knitted waistcoat! The yarn is from a massive cone of natural 100% wool – Herdwick possibly – that I bought for nothing when I was still leaving the universe of dolly-mixture acrylic – didn’t even know Herdwick was a breed! There’s probably more than enough left for Louhi, once I get the courage together for such a long project – and a decent pair of gardening gloves: that stuff is rough! Currently, I’m making a Noodle Shrug for the bridesmaid, using this wool doubled.

This is all by way of diverting attention from the fact that I went on a big me me me drive recently. I attempted to make this for myself using some no-name chunky wool blend from LIDL. It was a very fast knit – all done, plus other knits, on our two weeks in Ireland – but it was just too. Low-cut. And there’s just no way I was going to add even more bulk by wearing something underneath it to hide Pinky & Perky from a curious world. It awaits frogging and a possible rebirth as Owls. My Ruffled Collar Pullover continued apace, but there’s only so much time I felt like devoting to ribbed mohair. Making considerable progress is my Clarice bag. No photos, but it is almost finished, which I am quite pleased about. I’ve only been able to work on it for short periods, as the multitude of bright bobbins tends to attract cat, son and husband, to the detriment of the work.

Then I saw these, and had to have them for my own. They are Penispoopcakewaffle Socks. Brainchild of one Wendy Moreland, it is a free Rav download, not available elsewhere I’m afraid.

For a time, this was all I had completed for myself to wear to UK Rav Day, and durned if I could find a pair of shoes, among the millions I own, that I could wear them with – even just a pair I could wheek off easily for showing-off purposes (why does that sound dirty now it’s in print…). I had slaved and slogged into the wee hours many a night trying to finish off my Joan Crawford (in a black variant of the mystery yarn mentioned in the previous post) for the day, only to be defeated at the last by the finishing. Sew a hem on a jumper, will ya, Biddy Ann? Aye right. I ask you.

And then, the blindingly obvious hit me. Funny how often that happens. Some time ago, I answered a plea from someone about the infamous February Lady Sweater – or as thee, me and the cat would call it, bed jacket. Cardigan if you’re being charitable. This is viral knitting as its finest. The Susan Boyle Youtube video of knitting. Now That’s What I Call Knitting #6306 (which is the number of times it’s been made so far, according to Ravelry) – you get the idea. It’s the adult version of Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Baby Sweater on Two Needles. I first came across it a good while ago, being touted as suitable for a maternity cardi, and thought good luck to it. It’s mostly lace, which is not something I’m dying about at the best of times. What with neither being pregnant nor having the prospect of pregnancy, not to mention having a very great hatred of the current fashion for looking pregnant (even though it worked in my favour when I was) I had no interest in the thing. But a plea went forth, and I answered it.

The whys escape me. I mean, it’s not like no one out there had ever made one. Some people have made – well – quite a few. They’re a bit like sock knitters: they’ve found what they were born to knit, and, well, they go to it with a will. Anyway, this is about me me me, so back to your normal service.

Her questions were quite complex, possibly made so by a difference of language, and in the end I had to cast on to check that my reading of the pattern was correct. For handiness, and because it was roughly the right weight, I started off with an apricot cotton – Paccia La Lana Cinzia – which I got in a fire (or possibly bomb) sale in Belfast about 18 years ago. I had tried doing things with it before, but nothing had quite worked. Undaunted, I plugged on with FLS to the point – at the end of the collar/start of the lace – where her questions ended, and was pleased to report that I was correct (as was she, just confused, but then this is about me me me. I don’t know why I have to keep saying it). By then I had invested a substantial amount of time on the project; I thought I might as well use up this stuff after all that time in a box, moving countries with me.

Okay fine, I just couldn’t stand the thought of ripping it out again.

So I continued. I soldiered on with the lace – it wasn’t too hard, especially after I put 15 million stitchmarkers at every repeat. I could even do it without looking, managing half a row or so (there are about 85 giblillion stitches per row…) on the bus. Then I remembered I was doing a maternity tent – sorry, smock effort. Never a good look on one so sumptuously endowed as moi, and thanks to my recent success in vanquishing the Weed, I am packing a smidge more round the waist than I like. So not just huge jugs to make it sit out, but a muffin top to keep it from sneaking back in. By jaze sez I, I’ll need to do something about this.


So I shaped it. Hah! Pheer my madd skillz. I narrowed it in to my waist, then widened it out again for my hips. Then along the way I thought, you know, for ages I’ve been longing for something a bit piratical, a bit Jacobean, something with booty and flounce and that certain Laurence Llewellyn Bowen sensibility – something with oomph and tra la and a fol de rol to set the cat among the curtains. So I SUPER-sized the hip increase for a bouncy little peplum, ha har! Then I added cuffs, collar and hems in a vintage Astrakhan I have about me, and some gold-and-black buttons I found in the market, and voila! The effect is not fitted, but semi-fitted: I can still wear a jumper underneath. Though part of me is tempted to unpick and re-do it, because I feel I didn’t start the decreases early enough. But whatever.

I just about finished it in time to travel to Ireland, where I wore it almost constantly. The photos had to be taken that evening, before it was finished, or blocked or anything – you can see the ball of astrakhan balanced on my shoulder. I’m not sure now why it was so urgent, but it was. One day I’ll get nice pics. Ones where I don’t get exasperated by the photographer’s fear of pressing a button on my very complicated camera phone while panicking over the location of the passports…

Next installment: UK Rav Day!

TTFN
K

Mistah Death and the Aran Blankie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A while back I mentioned a rush job for Halloween, and then totally forgot to post about it.


Hubby’s workplace does a lot of charity work – in fact they’re set up as a non-profit-making charity. He’s done a 30-mile walk for charity with workmates, including the CEO who lent him suitable socks; once a fortnight he spends an afternoon of worktime helping in the Birmingham Children’s Hospital school, and was their Santa this year; and he participates regularly and enthusiastically in their fancy dress / dress-down charity Fridays, as you can see to the right.Here it is! Based on Knitty’s Jackyll & Hide pattern.

The cloak is borrowed, and the plastic scythe came from a charity shop. I didn’t bother with the mouth as a) I had no time, b) it involves ~shudder~ embroidery, and c) hubby promised to do it then wimped out.

The yarn used (Ben Nevis Aran 25% Wool) is a bit rubbish* – very furry with no density to it – so I used it doubled on 6mm dpns and circulars. I had it in with the idea of making an heirloom Aran bedspread, over a long period, using 12in x12in ‘swatches’ whereon I would practice various Aran stitches that took my fancy – swatch 1, to the right, is a rather dense honeycomb pattern from a stitch dictionary which doesn’t exist according to its ISBN. I reckon it would take about 42 such swatches – 6′ wide x 7′ long – for our double bed, maybe 63 or 72 for a more luxuriant look. Though a major part of the appeal of this is that it should be machine-washable, so I may have to sacrifice opulence for being able to fit it in the machine…
TTFN
K

‘* – Cheap, and available in VAST quantities.

 

Irish Crochet Christening Shawl

ETA: Google Analytics tells me that this is my most popular page, so I’m editing it to add more information. IF YOU FIND THIS USEFUL, please let me know via the comments. IF THERE’S ANYTHING THAT NEEDS MORE EXPLANATION, let me know!

1) The FREE crochet pattern is here.
2) It’s lace/thread/Irish crochet. That is why it is NOT wholly crocheted. If you are a lady (or lad) of leisure with servants and have nothing else to do but make a fully crocheted shawl in thread, commence crocheting before the pee has dried on your first positive pregnancy test, and you may finish a satisfactory shawl by the time your youngest grandchild graduates university.
3) It’s a crochet trim / embellishment of a fake quilt base (see below). If you are ‘Irish’ American, this may be of interest to you – a way of celebrating both aspects of your heritage: the Irish crocheting part, and the American quilt-making part (my granny was ‘American’ Irish, born in Philly to immigrants who decided the streets were paved in the same old shite they could get back home, and left).It is a fake quilt because I do not sew. Especially I do not sew tiny flittery wee bits of fabric which for reasons best left to experts in terminal daftitude I have cut from a perfectly good bolt of cloth precisely for the purposes of sewing them back together (my mother quilted. Using saved scraps from torn and clapped clothing, etc. I cut such as this up and crochet cat beds and rugs).

When my sister and then my sister-in-law fell pregnant, I had the idea of making an heirloom lace crochet baptism shawl, similar to the kind of thing my grandmother made, but which vanished on her death. So I got the hooks and the thread – with immense difficulty, as craft shops had all but vanished and eBay didn’t exist – and started. After a few months of tinkering, frogging and fruitless searching for patterns, I came to realise there were not enough hours for me to ever finish it. Bear in mind I was also working full-time and completing a PhD at the time.

The shawl never got made. It wasn’t made for my niece three years later, or for my next nephew two years after that. By this time I was pregnant with my son, and I determined that he at least would have a handmade shawl. So I had a re-think.

By this time, handcrafts had undergone a revival. There were a few more L- and not-so-LYS, though the pickings for Irish crochet were mighty slim. EBay had finally been invented, and there were online patterns.

Even better, I had remembered an altar cloth I made for my uni chaplains many years ago – must get a pic of it up – and had some new ideas. I knew IBC would be christened in the arse-end of winter, so would need something more substantial than lace. So I thought I’d make a quilt that was trimmed with lace crochet – well, initially I was thinking of making a sort of sleeping bag/papoose affair, but my sewing skills aren’t up to it. Now for the original post…

Just remembered this – my son’s Christening shawl.

Sewing: It’s a raw silk sandwich with a filler of thermal curtain lining (interfacing – the thickest I could find). The silk outer was sewn first in a rough oval, leaving just enough room to poke in the filler, then finished. The filler was then sewn in place by sewing through both silk and interfacing about 1/2″ from the edge. I then machine-stitched a pseudo-quilted diamond pattern over the centre by running parallel lines of stitches across from one side to the other, then another set of parallel lines at about 75deg to the first lot.

Crochet: At the crossing points of the diamonds there are 3D Irish crochet roses, and around the outside is a chain made of Irish crochet rings looped together in the making.

I must try to get a better picture sometime.

K

Christmas Bag

Finished the first Christmas bag (for my sister), but it still needs to be lined. Also the instructions call for a fancy button, but I’m leaning towards a couple of plain satchel fastenings.

Also some pics of double-knitting, which I larned masel on a trip to Ireland recently. It’s just a practice piece. I’ve put together some designs for baby blankies, one of which is just on the needles but there’s no urgency to complete.

I have also decided to make spectacle cases for Mum and MIL – both occasionally wear glasses and are always losing them. So I got some cheap cases at the weekend and have already knitted a cover for one in Paton’s Lush in Autumn, a bright red-yellow-purple mix. Try losing that. The second is half-complete. I may do a mobile phone cosy for SIL.

My friend’s daughter has become fascinated by unicorns. And guess what pattern appeared in the last issue of Crochet??! Must start pull-caking the chenille. Wish I could remember what size hook I used last time.

And it turns out Friday is not a training day as I’d thought, but a real, honest-to-goodness day off!! So I’ll go into town and get some supplies at the Bullring – lining fabric, fasteners, maybe craft glue – and probably Abraham’s Santa present.

T’ra
K