Sunday, 6 March 2016

Hook & Needle News 06/03/16

I've never aspired to design crochet patterns. Since I work full-time, my time for crafting is limited and I'd rather spend it making something, than taxing my brain to design it first. After all, there are plenty of beautiful patterns already available for me to crochet. And many talented designers out there creating those patterns. 
However, not everyone that designs crochet patterns should. 
I've had my share of patterns where I struggled to figure out what the designer was actually trying to say... And ending up having to re-work the pattern so that it actually turns out the way it's supposed to.
And I'm not just talking about magic circles and standing double crochets, neither of which I choose to use. I'm talking about following a pattern exactly as written and it just doesn't work.
There's that zippered cardigan that has been in my UFO archives for I'm not sure how long.
As you can see, I completed the body, but when I made the first sleeve precisely following the directions, it ended up about 6 inches long. And it's supposed to be full length. Even if I were built like a T-Rex, the sleeves would still be too short. So, I had to reinterpret the pattern and have actually got the sleeve started and it looks like it might turn out... But then other projects have interferred and I'm afraid that, by the time I get back to it, I won't remember how I reinterpreted it. 
Then there's the butterfly shawl, another UFO. I even managed to find the Errata page online and it still didn't work. All of the vertical bars are supposed to line up, but they didn't when I followed the pattern. 
You can see in my picture that I did manage to get them lined up, but only by re-working the pattern. 
And then there are mandalas. Honestly, I'm really tired of reading, "The edges will be curling up quite a bit after this round. Don't worry, it will work itself out over the next few rounds." Or, "you'll need to block it at this point to keep the edges from curling." Honestly, people have been making doilies for centuries, and their edges don't curl. And what is a doily, but a small mandala made of crochet cotton? Can't these designers figure out how to increase the number of stitches appropriately to keep the edges from curling? Doing 5 or 6 or more rows without an increase is just asking for trouble. And blocking? Prior to making a mandala, I had only ever blocked one afghan in my many years of crocheting, and that was only because the pattern told me to. It didn't look any different after and I considered it a waste of time. 
So I have two mandalas in my WIPs, but I think once I've finished them, I won't do another. Though they may be very beautiful, the latest pattern really did me in. It's not that difficult (even though not well written). I'm just not happy with the instructions and how it works out. I want to make a flat afghan, not a bowl, and I shouldn't have to fight to keep it flat. And it's not just the curling edges. Too much of the design is annoying, in my opinion - doubling the number of stitches in one round and halving it again for the next round, for example. I'm actually in the process of squaring it off so that I can finish it as a square afghan. Not that I really know what I'm doing, but hopefully it will turn out well. 
When I was done a section of my mandala, I would place it on the floor so that I could spread it out and assess my progress. Each time, my grandson figured it was on the floor for his benefit and sat or laid down on it. So, I decided I needed to make him a floor afghan. I opted to use cotton yarn for its practicality. Damian chose the colour and I chose the pattern: Frank O'Randle's Mini Galaxy of Change. 
I haven't taken a recent picture. I only have 5 more rounds to go. 
And I'm also doing a temperature change afghan. I went back and forth on whether I was going to do one. I don't like striped afghans and I didn't want an enormous afghan. I finally came up with a spiral, 25 double crochet per day. Here's my colour card: 


And here's the afghan up to the end of February:

Meanwhile, I finally managed to finish Lil's Lighthouse Afghan. It's the first time I have crocheted from a graph. It started out pretty tough, and it was actually languishing as a UFO for at least a couple of years, until the light bulb went on and I photocopied the graph and marked off each row as I finished it. Much easier to keep track that way.
I was crocheting bigger than guage and I ended up running out of yarn, so I did the border with a variegated yarn. The original yarn is no longer available in this colour.
I really have too many projects on the go right now. I get bored with each one and move on to another, but I'm also getting frustrated with not finishing anything. So I really need to quit starting new ones and get the WIPs finished.