Sunday, September 30, 2007

"Everyday Crochet" by Doris Chan, and keeping track of my stash

Yesterday, I picked up a copy of Everyday Crochet by Doris Chan. I'm a big fan of Chan's designs, and this book had been calling me since before it was released, but I had been trying to restrain myself due to lack of funds. Yesterday, my will power gave out. (D'oh!)

Oh my goodness. This book is a work of genius. I'd been a little bit worried because others had complained about a lack of variety in the patterns, since they all use shells. I need not have doubted Ms. Chan--she explains exactly why that is in the Introduction! The gist of it is that she has created patterns that build off one another. They are similar in order to make it easy for the crocheter to adjust the patterns to her liking. YAY! Designing my own clothing patterns would be far out of my reach at this point, but with these patterns, I can learn to adjust sleeves, add ribbing, change necklines, etc. Also, she mentions that she's chosen to use shells specifically because they are a very forgiving stitch. They can stretch horizontally or drape nicely, making them pretty much universally flattering.

I've been somewhat afraid to take on larger projects because I've worried that what I make won't fit me (the waist could be too tight, the hips could be too tight, etc.--it's not easy to tell from bust measurement alone). I can make the clothing in Everyday Crochet without worrying, as long as I've gotten the gauge right. No clingy waistlines, and she's made it very clear how to adjust patterns for your own proportions; plus, I can rest assured that the shell patterns will be flattering.

My only complaint is that a lot of the yarns used are wool, which I can't use due to allergies. However, in the Introduction, the author encourages the reader to substitute yarn; and if the "Eve's Rib Tunic" is any indication, some of these patterns will still be fabulous in acrylic (it's made with Simply Soft Shadows!).

My favorite patterns:

-"Mei-Mei," the little jacket on the front cover, which I wasn't sure I liked at first. It totally grew on me. Cropped vests tend to look nice on me because they elongate my torso a little (and my torso needs it!). ;) The more I try to picture it on me, the more I like it.

-"Somnambulista," a beautiful little nightgown made with bamboo yarn. I plan to ask for that particular yarn for my birthday, so I can make myself one. I love the texture of bamboo yarns, but I can't afford them.

-"Jewel," a little sweater that's shown with 3/4 sleeves, which I plan to make long-sleeved if I have enough yarn.

-"Insight," a beautiful long vest.

There are also some belt patterns toward the end of the book. I may wind up making one or two of those -- they would look great with the longer sweaters, or with some of my other Fall tops.

OK, that's the end of my little book review. I've been up since some crazy hour of the morning because I couldn't get back to sleep, so I've been entering info about my stash on Ravelry. I've realized that it's a good way for me to keep track of all my yarrrrrn! I am pretty disorganized, but now I can keep track of the yarns I have without having to make my own spreadsheet or do anything equally dreary. Hooray for Ravelry! :)

Friday, September 28, 2007

Ravelry, WsIP

I got my invitation to Ravelry!

*bounce bounce bounce*

Now seems like a good time to stop slacking on the blog front. ;) Sorry I vanished for a while. I have been having health problems, and just haven't felt much like blogging these days. I have been crocheting, though.

Lately, I've made some more baby booties and some scarves that will probably be gifts. Nothing exciting enough for picture-taking. I've started some slightly more ambitious things in the past week or so, though.

I started working on the "Anisette Vest" from Amazing Crochet Lace by Doris Chan. Haven't gotten too far on it just yet, since it takes too much concentration for me to be able to watch TV while I'm doing it. ;P I am making it so I can wear it to my cousin's wedding in late October--I've got an adorable sleeveless black dress that just cries out for something like this. I'm making the vest in Mystical Creation Yarns rayon boucle in Domino, which is a black and white colorway (probably stating the obvious there!). I only have one skein, so I am praying I won't run out of yarn before I'm done!

I've also started up a pair of Fireside Slouch Socks. Don't know who I'm going to give them to yet, but I'm pretty sure they'll be a gift. I plan on making a few pairs to give to some friends and family.

And, last but not least, I've started making a little something for my sweetie. It's a surprise, and I know he checks this blog every once in a while, so I can't say what it is until after I've given it to him for his birthday on 10/19. :D I'm very pleased with the way it's coming out so far, though.

I still haven't finished my first pair of socks. Looks like the Fireside socks may become my first finished pair, instead. I'm not feeling so motivated to finish that first pair--I was never really wild about them. I hope I will do it eventually, though. Even if I don't want them, I'm sure someone will!

I picked up a copy of The Weekend Crafter: Crochet on sale a week or two ago. There's a really cute bag in there that I'd like to make, and a few other projects that look good.

There's a Lion Homespun poncho from an old issue of Crochet Fantasy Magazine that I really want to make for my mom for Chanukah. I have a lot of Homespun Mill Ends, and I don't think the dye lot varies much (if at all) in the yarn I've got that I want to use for it. Also, I may make mittens for my sister's family from one of the patterns on the Lion Brand site, also using Lion Homespun. I have a TON of Homespun! Gotta use it! :)