June 4, 2013

Barbara's Update

With a Great Sigh of Relief, my summer vacation has started.   So far I have done some spring cleaning and organizing, weeded the backyard within an inch of its life,  and spent a few days visiting my parents.  I also finished my second sweater for the Afghans for Afghans 500 sweater campaign.  This sweater, the Quince-Essential Fair Isle, is from Ann Budd's The Knitter's Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters.  Being bulky weight it knitted up pretty fast.  There's still time to contribute toward this campaign, which ends in July.

Toward the end of the semester, I was totally smitten by the BBC series The Great British Sewing Bee, which you can watch on YouTube.  There are four episodes, and the show is like Project Runway for home sewers.  Don't be put off by the fact that the first challenge is and A-line skirt, it gets more interesting, and it is quite inspiring.

In the process of watching the show, I became fixated with the granny square scarf Ann wears each time she arrives and takes off her coat.  The scarf, Bohemian Rhapsody, is available as a kit by Marylene Lynx, made up of 70 skeins of hand-dyed lace weight wool.  I would buy this kit if it crossed my path, but I decided instead to make up my own "inspired by Bohemian Rhapsody" project.

Last Fall my friend Catherine gave me these weaving yarn samples that had been in her grandmother's stash.  They are a sturdy lace weight.

I decided to make my motifs with the lace weight yarn doubled, roughly fingering weight, on a size F hook.  Crocheting lace weight was a bit more fussy than I wanted to get, plus I didn't want to be at this for the rest of my life. The main feature I liked about the pattern was the alternating sizes of the motifs.  Bohemian Rhapsody uses motifs in 3 sizes, and I chose a very basic granny square motif in two sizes.  The small squares are two rounds of the larger 4-round block.  The pattern is an abbreviated version of the motif in this free Red Heart pattern.

Crochet gets a bad rap sometimes, but I'm enjoying the process, and the color play.  The ergonomic Clover hook makes for much less hand strain than I remember from crocheting in the past.

Now that I'm on vacation, you might find me here, making a few squares.


ladyhawthorne said...

Lovely warm sweater, someone will be very happy with it! I like your yarn colors and granny squares. I never learned to crochet but would like to one day. I see a kitty that looks a lot like mine on your porch!

desertskyquilts said...

I love crochet, and I have a lot of lace weight. I was wondering if I could double it and use it that way, so thanks for mentioning that's what you're doing. That's a great start on your scarf. The colors are just yummy! Enjoy your summer!

Deborah McLaughlin said...

I learned to crochet before anything else and I love it. All of my aunts crocheted, but never learned to knit so I taught myself when I was an adult. What you're doing is lovely.

Debra Spincic said...

I learned to crochet as a young girl too. I can't seem to get back to crochet or knit. I really believe it is because I live in a hot climate. And, I spend so much time with textiles that I just can't get the enthusiasm up for another interest to pursue. I appreciate both knit and crochet.

Barbara C said...

Good eye, I hadn't actually noticed there was a cat in the photo. :-)

Barbara C said...

I think crochet was also one of the first needle crafts I learned. A friend in high school taught me. My first project was a truncated afghan made of broomstick crochet. You use a dowel for this stitch, but I used a lead pipe that must've been laying about in the basement.

Barbara C said...

I've learned that doubling yarns is a good way to use up stash. As a bonus, you can blend colors at the same time.

Suztats said...

You've been having some fun! One day I shall learn to crochet. Your granny squares look great! Nice sweater, too. You're much more advanced a knitter than I.

Cyra said...

I can appreciate how much work and time has gone into making this sweater Barbara. I am another NON-knitter, but as you probably know by now, I am a crochet-aholic.
Thank you for sharing The Great British Sewing Bee with us. I am going to enjoy watching that later, and I will look out for Ann's scarf to see what has inspired your scarf project.
I only have one size hook in ergonomic style, so if I need to use a different size hook I push one of those rubber pencil grips over the shaft of the hook up to where I grip it. Much softer to hold.