03 January 2011

Way back in July, I found a sweater at a thrift store. It was black and beautifully soft. And yet this sweater was not exactly pretty (baggy and dowdy with buttons that didn't match the fabric). I brought it home and carefully unraveled it, deciding that it would be the sweater to match the very cool steampunk buttons I'd bought in April. So I swatched and I cast on, and then the heat wave hit. Did I mention that the sweater was a blend of wool, nylon, and angora? I set it aside until the weather cooled down.

Then, what with one thing and another, such as work, and school, and other projects, the sweater grew in fits and starts. Finally I said, "I'm getting this thing done by December 23rd (the day we were leaving to visit family)." And I did. The sleeves suddenly turned out to be not so hard to knit, and the last bit--attaching the sleeves and working the raglan decreases, went quickly. Several days before the 23rd, I bound off the last stitch and wove in the last ends. Then I blocked and jumped impatiently up and down while waiting for it to dry, and sewed on the buttons.

It is soft and warm and comfortable, and I like it very much. It's a sweater that makes you want to pet it, because it's made out of bunny hair. And I love the buttons, although they are a tad large for the button band.

After that, it was time to pack for our bus journey north. I thought very carefully about the projects to take along. We were leaving on the 23rd and returning on the 29th; we would be gone for less than a week. In the end, I packed J's scarf (which I finished on the 2nd and when I have a decent picture, I will put one up) and the beginnings of a second sock. Then, almost as an afterthought, I added the yarn for a pattern I've been meaning to do for quite some time. I printed out the instructions and the errata, highlighted all the rows which contained errata, and put them in my backpack.

That night, on the bus, I pulled out a crochet hook and started chaining.

I actually started this whole crazy yarn thing with trying to crochet. I was doing what I thought was single crochet and actually turned out to be slip stitch. Then I learned how to knit and I dropped the crochet hook.

One day, I checked out Wrap Style from the library. This is a book of mostly knitted patterns, with variations on what a wrap is. A little crocheted shawl, Chanson En Crochet, caught my eye and I lamented the fact that it wasn't knit, because I was hopeless at crochet.

What with one thing and another, I left things there until last January, when I finally figured out what I was doing wrong with crochet. I made a few dishcloths, picked up the yarn for the shawl when some stuff I liked was on sale this summer, and then the yarn sat in my stash.

No longer. (Actually, there's still some in the stash...a ball and a half....because the pattern lied about the yardage requirements). A few days before we left my in-laws' home, I had this:

I can crochet. But I'm not going to be trading in my needles for hooks. I can crochet, and it's an interesting exercise because it's so different, but it just doesn't feel as intuitive as knitting does. A lot of crochet patterns just don't appeal to me (not to knock crochet, since a lot of knitted patterns just don't appeal to me either; I've just found more knitted patterns that I like than crocheted ones). And knitting feels more versatile, in some ways. But I need no longer fear the crochet when I find a pattern that I like. Next on the list for crochet is broomstick crochet, since that just looks cool.

I'm learning to be as fearless with other crafts as I've been with knitting. This is a good thing (the whole fearlessness quest is a longer story than I really want to get into).

In the days following the completion of the shawl, I have finished J's Space Invaders scarf and a pair of slippers for someone at church, and gotten to the gusset on the socks I want to finish. There's one mitten left out of a pair to complete, and then I'm pulling two projects out of hiatus. A lace shawl and a pair of stranded mittens that I started last winter. I may start a sweater, too, but we'll see. I have to knit at least a few rounds on the shawl first. I really ought to finish what I've started, especially since I still like the patterns.

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