Monday, 30 January 2017

Crochet-Block

I've suffered artist's block many times. You know, when everything you want to draw, paint or design is just a bit 'meh'. Normally I would work in a sketchbook and work through the block. I even bought a new sketchbook specifically for one particular artist's block that was so bad I didn't want to ruin my other sketchbooks by working in them.

What I currently have is crocheter's block. I didn't know there was such a thing until the end of last week. After the triumph of winning a game of yarn chicken with a scarf, as I blogged about in my last post, I've had a few stalled starts.

The crochet items in my shop have been getting a fair bit of interest which is really exciting as I only moved my shop online in September after selling in shops locally for a few years. So, full of enthusiasm and a head full of ideas I bought a bundle of woolly goodness for projects for my shop and some for me.

The rainbow yarn is going to be a pair of socks. Squee, rainbow socks!

You know how it is when you have a bag full of delicious new goodies. You want to start using all of it all at once. I had three potential shawls, two pairs of socks, a scarf and two neck warmers in there. Which to start first?

I know what the yarn will become already as I always buy yarn and fabric with specific projects in mind to make sure I don't over spend or end up having beautiful materials languishing in cupboards and boxes. I had to learn to have this willpower when I realised I was buying lovely but unusable things.

Found a fabric that would be perfect for a little tote bag? Then buy a lining fabric to match at the same time. Want that yarn in your favourite colour? Work out what you would like it to be and buy enough for that project and no more. It can be so frustrating to be itching to make something and realise you don't have quite enough of one thing or nothing to co-ordinate with another.

So far I've made a scarf and a neck warmer, and they turned out well... Then I started on a gentlemen's scarf. That's where my crocheter's block started. It's based on a scarf I made for my husband two years ago (wow, is it that long ago already?). I designed it specifically for him and the way he likes to wear his scarves and he loved it. Way more than I thought he would. He's been telling me to make more to sell ever since as he's sure other men would love it too. So, I finally listened and bought some wool in 'manly' colours. The problem is, two years is a long time ago and I didn't think I would make another one so I didn't write any notes on how I made the original.


Long story short, some experimentation was required. I used my husbands scarf as a guide and made a start. After a few rows I realised I must have used a bigger hook the first time around. The fabric was very dense and I'd like it to have more drape. I tried to frog but the wool in the yarn had fused together a little bit so it tore away instead of unravelling normally. Arrrrgh! I can't go back so have to go forward. Only now of course, it is using a lot more wool and I will need another ball to finish it. I haven't got another ball because of my 'only buy as much as you need' rule. Sigh.

See how dense it is? At least it will be scrummy warm

Lesson learned: write notes on new designs so I can repeat it and buy wool that can be easily frogged for prototypes.

My husband's solution is to just buy more wool and finish this scarf for him. He really loves the colour and pattern. I think that's what he secretly wanted all along. 😊 He'll have to wait though, I threw it back into the stash for now.

After that I decided to start a project I've been looking forward to for ages. My first pair of socks! I found a great pattern and some nice yarn that I really love. This is going to be a luxurious treat for me. It will cost way more than I would normally spend on a pair of socks. Of course the pattern recommended doing a tension square first, but as the pattern fits a range of sizes and I'm very impatient, I skipped that. Sigh, again. 


This is the toe piece with a few rows to go. It fits my big toe. 

Shamefully, that little piece of yellow plastic? That's my stitch marker. It broke. I'm good at breaking plastic stitch markers. Now I'm using the piece that broke off. 😔 Fortunately it's easy to see where your up to with this pattern.

Here it is squished out so you can see how little it is. 



Looks like I'll be doing a tension square after all. Not now though, I've thrown this back into stash too. I'm taking a break from crochet to do some embroidery and secret sewing until my crochet mojo comes back.

I absolutely love this yarn. It is Drops Fabel and is so soft and squidgy. I've never really liked yarn that has a speckled pattern before but I decided to give it a go as it is the yarn Elin, the designer used in her pair and I really like the look. 



I love the way the colour is coming out, it's so subtle and delicate. I'm still really excited about making my first pair of socks. Watch this space.


Before I sign off, I have to share this photo of the aftermath of cutting out some fabric pieces. This is top secret, so I can't show what it will be yet. Just look at the mess this fabric has made. It leaves a trail of purple fluff everywhere it goes. 


Do you ever suffer artist's/crocheter's block? What do you do about it when it strikes? Please share in the comments if you have any tips.

                                                                             *B*

Friday, 13 January 2017

Yarn Chicken

Do you play yarn chicken?

Yarn chicken is a game of nerves and determination. It is played when you are reaching the end of your yarn and the end of a project or row and you don't know which one will end first.

When I began the final row of this scarf my chances of finishing it looked bleak but I went ahead anyway. I was amazed to reach the half way point. I crocheted on.



                                                         The yarn ball looks so small.




                                                     The end of the row looks so distant.




                                                                              Eek...


                                 

                                                                          Wait...




                                                                   This looks good...




                                                                  Ha ha ha! Woo hoo!




                                                              Eat that, yarn chicken!
                                          (eat that yarn chicken? What does that taste like?)



Bekki 1 - Yarn 0

                                                           
                                                                       *B*