Now that I’ve gotten a few things off my chest, I’d like to go back to taunting you with creative things, otherwise know as sneak peeks of what I’m working on. My WIPs, or for those not up on their acronyms, my Works In Progress (which technically should be WsIP, but that’s just weird, so WIPs it is).
Like most people, when it comes to crochet I cannot seem to work on only one thing at a time. I get bored with a stitch before the project is done, I run out of materials and set the project aside at midnight only to begin another, oh look a kitty… you get the idea. This time I feel I have “reasons,” rather than excuses, for having two projects going whilst trying to find some elusive materials for the third. Let’s go in chronological order.
1. Motif Purse Flap
February of last year I designed a large messenger-style shoulder bag to take on vacation to San Francisco. Once I got back I started carrying it almost every day, I could even put bananas from the grocery in it! The genius of my design is that the large front flap is removable, it fastens with a separating zipper (like on coats) so I can change out the flaps. I made 2 flaps and had been changing them periodically, but both were sewing-only and I wanted one to show off some crochet. I started these motifs when I was quite ill and unable to drag out the sewing machine to complete the project.
All of the motifs use the same pattern, they are made in different weights of yarn and thread with varying-sized hooks. The largest motif is an acrylic yarn weight 4 (worsted), and the smallest 3 tan motifs are a 2-ply cotton thread that’s about the same size as a crochet thread 8 or 10. The background webbing is that same 2-ply thread.
- cutting and pressing the twill for the flap
- hand-stitching the large crocheted piece to the twill
- pressing and sewing the seams
- adding the zipper
- guesstimate: 2 hours of work left to complete this project
Still feeling too bad for dragging out the sewing machine, I set it aside and started Project #2.
2. Granny Square Vest, from a vintage pattern
When you look for crochet inspiration and patterns online, granny squares are everywhere. And you know what? I don’t usually like them all that much. Shoot me if you will, but I prefer lacier designs. I ran across a pattern from the 1970s for a vest that would be perfect over the tanks I tend to wear all summer. The lacy design of the blocks was so pretty, but other than the fact that it was constructed in blocks it didn’t seem very “granny square” to me. Where were the “dc3, ch2″ that are so common among granny squares? Perhaps my interpretation of “granny square” is too limited, but I’d have called the lacy blocks “motifs.” But no one thought to ask me!
You can see in the picture below that there are 2 block designs: one design for the front bodice – that’s the top and middle rows running somewhat left to right (4.5″ across) - and smaller variation for the shoulder straps – the row starting at the bottom right of the photo (3.5″ across). I pinned these onto cardboard printed with a grid, it’s supposed to be for cutting fabric but I rarely use it for that.
What the original pattern didn’t show you was the back (below), and I really love how lacy and pretty this block came out. For scale, it measures 13.5″ across.
And yes, between all these motifs I totally ran out of pins I could use underneath a steam iron. This has now been remedied.
Want to see the yarn I’m using?
It’s a superwash merino, bamboo, and nylon blend. I think it’s going to breathe pretty well, and it has a lot of stretch. Tip for blocking this fiber contect: because it has nylon in it, you CANNOT touch a hot iron directly on it. Unless you want a melty, gooey mess. I blocked this yarn the same as I do acrylic items: shoot steam onto it from an iron held about an inch or two away from the yarn, quickly drop a dry cloth on top, and press down with my hands. The dry cloth is used so I don’t burn my hands on the hot, hot pins. Then I leave the item pinned to the board overnight to ensure the yarn is dry and set.
- unpinning all those pins now that it’s sat overnight
- connecting all the pieces
- perhaps working an edging
- making the cording with which to tie it closed
- guesstimate: 4-8 hours of work left to complete this project (depending on the edging I do)
In between and after blocking these squares I had to set this aside for the yarn to set, so I began Project #3.
3. Mod Circles Belt, now in black!
See this giant neck piece below? It’s one of the first things I designed. I know, it doesn’t even dip its toe into Victoriana, but I love modern design, too, I just don’t do it very much anymore (I keep falling backwards in time with what I love).
Anyway, one of my best friends fell in love with it and wanted one as a belt. But I accidentally chose the wrong color for her and we know each other well enough that she can be frank with me. Rather than risking her dyeing the one I made, I’m making another one for her in black and will just take back the antique-white version (it looks a lot like the above neck piece).
Now, this project has been a comedy of errors. First, I lost the pattern I wrote and the template I made (found it!). Then I didn’t have enough black crochet thread (got more!). Now I cannot find stiff rings in the proper size that I use as a base for those 3 large circles. Originally I used old macrame rings I got from a thrift store about 15 years ago, and I have since used them up. Substitutes I’ve made have proven lousy, Joann’s didn’t have anything appropriate, and Ebay was a bust (either unnecessarily costly or shipping would take a month), so this weekend I’m off to Home Depot to see what I can find. See, the belt strap has to fit through the circle so I want the circles to be the same size as I already worked all the math to. Or at least close enough!