Archive for August, 2008

Grandma would be proud.

The finished product.

The finished product.

She’s always lamented the fact that she never had the time to teach me how to sew properly (and honestly, lately, that’s one skill I would love to have).  The only thing she ever taught me to do was to hem something.

But I haven’t done anything like that for years, and when it came time to buy Caitlin (the 11-year old) her new school uniform, I knew I was going to have to delve deep into my memory and recall Grandma’s instructions.

Because Caitlin is at an odd size at the moment.  She can fit into kids’ sizes, but ALSO an adults (UK) size 8.  But of course the adult sizes are way too LONG for her, even though they fit her around perfectly.  I had to chop off about 4 inches on the legs of her new uniform pants to get them to fit her properly.

A close-up.

A close-up.

And while I do own a sewing machine, I don’t actually know how to use it.  Hubby bought it for me a year and a half ago, and I’ve just never been able to figure the thing out.  So I had to sew by hand.

Because these are pants that are going to see a LOT of wear (they’re the only pants she has for her uniform at the moment; secondary school uniforms are hella expensive, so we’re starting out with the bare minimum – we’ll get her more pieces as she needs them), I wanted to make the hem seam as strong as possible.  I have hemming tape that I could have used alone, but instead I decided to put that over the seam.  Honestly, it looks a little sloppy on the inside, but it looks pretty good on the outside, even if I do say so myself.  And honestly, it’s the outside that people are going to be looking at.  The only way someone is going to see the hem job is if Caitlin takes them OFF.

The inside of the hem; the white is the hemming tape.

The inside of the hem; the white is the hemming tape.

It took me a lot longer than I thought it would, but I think that is partly because I’m so out of practice.  The last time I hemmed anything I was in high school.  (Grandma was making me a skirt and decided I could do some of the work, too.)  Caitlin tried them on last night and said they fit her perfectly now.  I was slightly concerned that I was going to mess up and end up with one leg shorter than the other, but they came out quite nicely, I think.

Yeah, it’s not exactly a big deal, but considering how sorely lacking I am in sewing skills, I’m still proud of it.  🙂

(The pictures came out a little fuzzier than I would have liked, but that’s the best I can do with MY camera.  Hubby has a MUCH better camera [professional quality; though bottom-of-the-line], but he guards that thing with his life.)


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Crazy But Fun

Image found on Flickr

I just noticed a request from a Raveler for squares to make a scarf for her town’s namesake’s statue.

(Copying and pasting because I don’t think you could see it unless you’re a member of Ravelry.)

I want to do a project that will be great fun and publicity for knitting and knitters everywhere.

Here in Pocahontas, Iowa, we have about 2000 people, one stoplight, and a rather homely, but well-known statue of the Native American princess for which our little berg was named. You can see her and about the town at the Pocahontas website.

Well, we’re going to “Scarf the Princess” this winter. I and some of the ladies who frequent my shop are starting a winter scarf for the somewhat kitschy Princess, and would love to have your help.

All you have to do is knit a swatch and send it in. We’ll stitch all of them together and make a scarf of Princessly proportion. Then, we’ll put it on her around the holidays and keep the poor concrete girl warm this winter!

You can do any color, any yarn. Just make sure your swatch is either 6”x6” or 6”x12”.

Tell your friends too! I’d love to have a national news spot about the crazy knitters who put a scarf on a statue!

Send it (sooner the better, but by 11/15/08), to:

Ewe-Phoria Yarns, LLC
101 NW 7th Street
Pocahontas, IA 50574

Any questions, e-mail:


She only mentions knitting in the original post, but farther down the thread she says they will accept crocheted squares, and also that they’re welcoming squares from anywhere in the world.

It sounds a little crazy to me… but fun!  😀  I think I’ll do a square or two and send it in.  All it’ll cost me is a couple hours of my time and less than £2 in postage.  Why the hell not?

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I have to frog the brown metallic shrug.

I had gotten a good way along on the round and tried it on to see how much farther I’d have to go before I could comfortably call it a shrug and not a cardigan.

And I couldn’t get it off again.

So I’m going to have to sit here and frog almost a month’s worth of work and re-do it.

However, looking on the bright side… if I have to do that, then I can make it longer sleeved (I’m thinking 3/4 sleeves) and do it in a different stitch with a different hook.  I experimented with the same type of yarn, but in purple, doing an Extended Single Crochet with the F hook I used for mine and Syrina’s Almost-Beatrice shrugs, and it looks good.

I just hate that I have wasted all this time on something and I’m going to have to do it all over again.


Oh well.  Shit happens.

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Syrina’s version of the Beatrice Shrug

Syrinas Almost-a-Beatrice Shrug

Syrina's Almost-a-Beatrice Shrug

These are my alterations to the Beatrice shrug, made to fit my 13-year old daughter, who has a 28-inch bust and is just under 5′ tall (so she’s fairly short).

To calculate this, I used my version of the Beatrice shrug as a guide.  The yarn I used was the same weight/gauge as the Spritz, and I used the same hook, so measuring was fairly easy.

Made using plain old acrylic yarn, DK weight, and a Susan Bates F (3.75 mm) hook. (The body of the shrug took exactly 2 100g skeins, and I had to dive into a 3rd for the waistband/tie.)

Sleeve 1

Chain 97
Row 1: dc in 4th ch from hook.  Dc in next 3 sts.  [dc, ch1, dc] all in next st.  Dc in next 4 sts.  Skip 2 sts, *dc in next 4 sts.  [dc, ch1, dc] all in next st.  dc in next 4 sts.  Skip 2 sts.*  Repeat from * to * to the end of the row.  Ch 3, turn.

Row 2: dc2tog, dc in next 3 sts.  [dc, ch1, dc] all in next st. Dc in next 4 sts.  Skip 2 sts, *dc in next 4 sts.  [dc, ch1, dc] all in next st.  dc in next 4 sts.  Skip 2 sts.*  Repeat from * to * to the end of the row, dc2tog the last 2 sts.  Ch 3, turn.

Repeat Row 2 until you have 32 rows.  (or until it measures approx. 13.5″)

Neckline shaping

Row 33: continue pattern as for Row 2, only finishing half of the row (you should have 5 hill/valley combinations)  Continue for a total of 9 rows.  (Measures approx. 4″)  At the end of row 41 (the last half-row), ch 57, turn.

Sleeve 2

Row 42: dc in 4th ch from hook, dc in next 4 sts.  [dc, ch1, dc] all in next st.  dc in next 4 sts.  Skip 2 sts, *dc in next 4 sts.  [dc, ch1, dc] all in next st.  dc. in next 4 sts, skip 2 sts.*  Repeat from * to * to the end of the row, dc2tog the last two sts.

Continue pattern as written for Row 2 until you have 73 rows total.  Fasten off. Weave in ends.


Steam piece with hot steam iron and a pressing cloth*.  Measure in 8” from starting ch and mark beg and end of row (see schematic).  Measure in 8” from last row worked and mark beg and end of row.  Fold piece in half lengthwise.  Sew fronts to back up to markers.

* – optional


Using the same hook and yarn, ch 15.

Row 1: Sc in 7th ch from hook, (ch 3, skip 3 ch’s, sc in next ch) twice.  Turn.

Row 2: Ch 5, skip 2 ch’s, sc in next ch, (skip 2 ch’s, 1 sc and 2 ch’s, sc in next ch) twice.  Turn.  Rep Row 2 until band measures 48” from beg.  Fasten off.  Sew one long edge of waistband to lower edge of shrug leaving ends free at front for ties.

Add fringe if desired (I melted the ends of Syrina’s fringe so that it wouldn’t come apart in the wash).

(Note 1: Instead of actually going through the stitches after Row 1, I go around them.  I don’t know a better way of describing it.  I pass my hook under the chain and then pull the yarn through over the top of the chain.  It’s easier, and it seems to me it would make for a stronger fabric.)

(Note 2: Please keep in mind that I use American crochet terms; adjust your brain accordingly)

Please remember: this is NOT a fully original pattern.  These are my alterations to a pattern already in circulation.  I am not trying to take credit for the original Beatrice pattern, just the alterations I made.  Which I post in effort to “share and share alike.”  🙂

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Why yes, I DO have shrug on the brain. Why do you ask?

But to be honest, I started this one before either of the Beatrice shrugs.  I’ve been wanting to make one of these for the longest time, I just didn’t believe that it would look good on me and I had to think of the perfect yarn to make it with once I decided fuck it, I’m going to try anyway.

I can’t remember exactly why, but I went looking through my stash and found this yarn that I’ve had in there for about 2 years now.  I actually bought it at my local Wilkinson’s, of all places.  It’s not exactly what you’d think of when you think “buy yarn,” but they actually have some pretty nice novelty yarns (for only 99p per 50g skein), as well as a few colors of the basic acrylic staple (for 89p per 100g skein).

I’m using the “Fluffy Pink Shrug Schematics” (also known as a Mrs Who shrug) to make it.  I was actually an active member of Crochetville when it was first posted, so I’ve been loving on this pattern for a long time now.  I’m not sure if you can tell from the pic, but I’m making it half-sleeved.  If this comes out as well as I’m hoping, I’m considering doing another one in the same type of yarn but different color (it comes in three colorways: brown, green, and purple; all have the metallic thread woven throughout to give it the shimmer).  I might make the next one full-sleeved, since it’s going to be getting cold soon anyway, and it gets FREEZING in this house (it’s very drafty).

Because I’m obsessed with ripples lately, I’m doing the collar/back in a round ripple.  I’ve done a round ripple blanket before, so I’m basically following what I remember from the instructions for that.  I’ve only done one full round and part of another, but it looks good so far!

I’m keeping this in the laundry basket that I carry around the house with me.  I work on stuff first thing in the morning, while sitting at the computer desk, in the living room at the end of the night when all of my daily chores are done… pretty much whenever I have a spare moment, really.  Right now I’m all gung-ho on Syrina’s Beatrice, but I figure if I keep it in my basket, then whenever I get the urge, I can pull it out and work on it a bit.  It’s going to take a lot longer than the Beatrice did, simply because the yarn is so thin and I have to use a small hook (3 mm).  But it’ll be worth it in the end.  🙂

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I wasn’t kidding…

… when I said that my crochet creativity has been kicked into high gear.  I’ve already started on a “Sort of” Beatrice Shrug for my daughter.  I’ve had yarn in my stash to make her a sweater for a couple of years now.  I keep starting one and then putting it down, only to forget what I was doing once I picked it back up again.

I’m using her measurements as a guide to figure out how many stitches, how many rows, etc., and it’s looking good so far.  Because it’s going to be so much smaller than mine (my daughter is quite thin, as well as a little short for her age), I think it’s going to go a lot faster than mine did.

Syrinas Sort of Beatrice Shrug, day 1

Syrina's "Sort of" Beatrice Shrug, day 1

This is what I had finished as of late last night (technically early this morning, but let’s not quibble with semantics, shall we? 😉 ).  I’ve done just as much again (IOW, I have twice this much done altogether) and I’m sure I’ll have well more than that done by the time I go to bed tonight (tomorrow?).

I love this.  The ripples give it a nice effect, but since it’s mainly just dc, so I can be watching TV or listening to something without worrying that I’m going to do some major fuck-up.  And I find that when I’m watching or listening to something that really interests me, I can get a ton of work done, because my hands just go while my attention is occupied.

It makes me feel really productive.  🙂

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So where’s my medal?

The Sort of Beatrice Shrug

The "Sort of" Beatrice Shrug

The “Sort of” Beatrice Shrug is now finished!

Hip hip hooray! Hip hop hooray! Hip hip hooray!

Seriously, folks, I’m not just cheering for my own ego simply because I got it finished before the deadline (also, one thing I’ve never mentioned: I didn’t actually start this until August 10. So I got this done in a week).  Yeah, I’m happy about that, but it’s not the only reason I’m happy.  It’s also the first wearable that I’ve ever made for myself that actually looks good on me.  And it was so easy that I’m giving serious thought to making a bunch for Christmas presents for some of the women in my family.

Side View

Side View

Honestly, I didn’t change it all that much.  As I mentioned before, I had a hard time following the stitch pattern, but it was just a more intricate ripple pattern.  And as I was using an F hook, my gauge didn’t exactly match the pattern, but things seemed to even themselves out.

As it turned out, the starting chain as written was the exact number of stitches I needed to do just a simple double crochet ripple.  Then I followed the schematic guidelines of the pattern (see them here).  Oddly enough, the measurements I wanted to duplicate?  Lying flat, this thing is exactly what I wanted it to be.  On the other hand, though, it also matches the schematic measurements almost exactly (I think I might have been off by 1/2 an inch).  And yet, as you can see from the picture, it fits me perfectly.  So either I was wrong in thinking a 34″ bust measurement would be too small for my own 38F/FF bust, or something is off here.  Whatever it is, I don’t really care.  It looks good, it fits, and I will definitely be able to wear it the next time I go out.

Back View

Back View

I do believe it’ll fall better once it’s washed and tumble-dried.  For acrylics – which this is – I always wash and tumble-dry it at least once.  It softens up the yarn and makes it drape on the body beautifully.  Also, the Spritz is a bit scratchy – though I expected that – and I’m hoping washing & tumble-drying it will help with that.

The only modification I might have to do in order to make this as a gift is to do a few less half-rows for the back.  The women in my family whom I think might like something like this are all smaller than me, and that seems to be the only real difference in the pattern’s sizes (of which there are only 2).  Come to think of it… my 13 year old would like something like this, I think.

Oh, the ideas that are going through my head right now!  I could extend this from the bottom of the tie to make it a full-length cardigan!  It would be easy to modify the sleeves to make them longer!

My crochet creativity has been well and fully kicked into high gear.  I love it.  🙂


HERE are my medals!!! 🙂

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