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Friday, October 24, 2008

This could be a mistake.

I'm not sure if I should share this publicly or not. Perhaps I should just lie down for a bit until the feeling passes. In my own defense, there is definitely documentation of temporary insanity around here and at this point, it's only bouncing around in my head and there's no way I could even consider starting such a hare-brained idea until after we get moved and reasonably settled. What am I talking about?

Well, um, crochet. Before you all make a run for the door and someone gets trampled, let me explain. I have never been a fan of crochet. I don't really like the way the stitches look, the way it doesn't move like knitting, and being born in the 70's, I've been scarred by synthetic fibers, unnaturally bright colors, and the granny square.* Throw an insidiously smiling toilet paper doll in the mix and you can understand where I'm coming from. (Why are they smiling? They live on the back of a toilet. That can't be a good place to live, think of the view they see day in and day out. They are probably plotting to attack the next person who comes in and sits down. It's not natural.)

So what's going on around here? The other day I got a Garnet Hill catalog in the mail. Right now any catalog that comes to this house doesn't last long (we don't have time to shop), but the day this one came I had to take Caleb somewhere right after school which meant we were driving and I needed to park in the pick up loop. As anyone who has school age kids knows, if you plan on being on the pick up loop when your kid gets out of school you have to get to school pretty early (otherwise you'll be in the school driveway or out in the street waiting in line - getting into the loop is competitive and I play to win). I grabbed the mail as I went to the school to park on the loop and then sat there and read it. As I was flipping through the catalog I came across this. (Feel free to take a minute and look at both of the colorways it's available in, I'll wait.) It is made of wool, not acrylic, the squares are hexagons (which I guess is impossible, but go with me here), and the colors, well the colors sing! They don't clash, fight, or glare at you across the room. They coordinate and blend and the depth reminds me of something antique and tea dyed (or just stained in the way antique things really are), from a time before acrylic walked the earth. The scale of the units is also smaller than what most granny square afghans use (is it granny square, what is this called?) When I saw it, I thought, "Hey, that's really pretty and interesting! It's crochet that I actually like!" Then I turned the page and found some really great cashmere sweaters and forgot about the throw. Except that I didn't forget. I keep thinking about it randomly. For no apparent reason. I don't crochet, why am I thinking of color schemes?

For some reason, this seems like a good idea to me (making something similar, that is). Never mind that we are in the early stages of a move, never mind that I don't and can't crochet. I'm actually considering learning to crochet just so I can make this. Using fleece throws in a knitter's house just seems wrong and we all know that a knitted throw and Ramius' claws are not a good mix. I think (correct me if I'm wrong) that crochet is tighter and will have fewer places for Ramius to snag and, while it's not knitted, it could be wool and clearly, it could be really pretty. Both my mom and my mother in law crochet, so learning how to do this shouldn't be hard and it's not like I don't have yarn sources. We'll have to see if the feeling goes away after we move.

*I don't mean to be rude to those who love crochet, but the 1970's were a rough decade for crochet and many of us have never recovered. I'm sure your crochet is absolutely gorgeous.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out this blanket by Moonstitches, it looks very similar: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/MOONSTITCHES/hexagon-blanket It is an absolutely gorgeous blanket and is totally worth learning how to crochet for.

7:49 AM  
Blogger Sligo said...

I looked at the Garnet Hill throw and the thing that got me was that they call the people who crochet those little hexagons "artisans." While I don't doubt that individuals crocheted the units, I would guess that their work arrangement doesn't treat them as artisans (at least as I understand the term). I'd rather buy something you made. That said, there are some lovely not-crochet-like crochet textures out there. I have a terrific book called "Glorious Crocheted Sweaters" edited by Nola Theiss. Some of them are, well, crochet-like, but some of them are really surprising in their structure and beauty. And there are a couple of exquisite cardigans that might be just the thing for someone moving to the cold climes of indoor Texas. But hey, you knit cardigans. One benefit of crocheting while moving is that crochet is much easier to pull out and fix than knitting is, and you'll probably start with a throw--nice small pieces to start and complete in an hour or so. It can be satisfying when you have so much confusion and so little time. And you might want to check out the crocheted coral reef at the Institute for Figuring (IFF)--sorry can't link right now, but it will be worth the search.

8:16 AM  
Blogger carla said...

I've been itching to make Granny Squares out of handspun for a while now. The Garnet Hill stuff is gorgeous, and I've been drooling over it for months. They have a scarf that's similar, and it's just lovely. I especially want the pillow cover, but I'm not paying $100 for a pillow cover, so my option is to make one. Someday. I'm not sure about all of those ends.

We had the dogs around a single crocheted afghan last week, and they didn't get caught in it as much as they do the (purchased) knitted one we have at home, although there was an incident or two. The afghan, however, was no worse for the wear; it didn't snag like knitting does.

8:18 AM  
Blogger Connie Peterson said...

That is a lovely throw but before you get involved in something else that your heart doesn't SEEM to me in, let me suggest an easier throw that is NOT fleece. You can get a nice piece of wool (we have a place called "Mill Ends" in Minnesota that has less expensive wools). I have a lovely piece of black that I have washed often so it's almost felted and it's pretty soft, now. I use it for my shawl when demonstrating. However, if you found a pretty piece for a throw, you could use that instead of fleece and Ramus wouldn't be so inclined to snag it. You could (gasp) crochet an edge around it and then you would slowly sneak into crocheting without selling your soul.

Get what I mean?

Good luck!

9:43 AM  
Blogger cjbell said...

Actually, crochet has its merits. I do both. Crochet consumes yarn faster than knitting! And since it is a one-needle/hook thing, you can drop it and pick it back up w/o any hassle (not middle of the row thing..) I learned to crochet (at age 9)with fine cotton cord and made doilies - the dainty ones. Then in the late 80's I discovered diagrams for the doilies, instead of written instructions!! Revolutionary!! So, when things calm down, you may decide to give it a try. If you already knit continental style, it won't be such a big change.

10:03 AM  
Blogger LizzieK8 said...

There is just as many ugly knitted items from the 70s as there are crocheted items.

And just as many today, too. The beauty of items is in the eye of the beholder...

Pardon me, I just get tired of the only crocheting every discussed is the fugly stuff from the 70s.

10:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After Lizzy's comment I'm not going to say anything about 70's crochet hehehe.

It is a gorgeous blanket, but but but... do you hook each of those hexagons individually and then sew them up??? Or is it done differently, because my brain about melted when I thought about 5 bazillion hexagons that need to be SEWN together...

10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are motif style blankets where you only ever do one hexagon, then when you start your new one, you crochet it in such away that it gets attatched at the end of that motif. Then you start a new hexagon and at the end of that one it gets crocheted onto the existing work. And so on and so forth. Hope that makes sense. Sometimes what makes sense in my head doesn't come out so well in my words, hehe.

11:31 AM  
Blogger punkin said...

Very pretty afghan. I am having a similar experience. I found an afghan pattern that is in crochet, and now I want to develop crochet skills. Tapestry crochet also intrigues me. I enjoyed seeing what inspired you.

11:39 AM  
Blogger auntiemichal said...

Both my grandmothers crocheted granny square (and they don't have to be square!) afghans, including doll-size ones for my sister and I, so there's a lot of fond nostalgia here for me. Yes, there are a lot of ends (and regardless of what you might hear, knots at the 47 gazillion color changes can be sunk and even if they surface, they're not noticeable).

On the other hand, figuring out a way to get the look with knitting could be kind of fun! Think hexagonal tam tops with self-striping yarn and slip stitch patterning. Kauni? Noro?

And on the first foot (given 2 hands already), the wool yardage blanket idea has much to say for it. (Crochet would be more resistant to snags than knit. Unless the knit is felted (gasp! a good idea, yes? Or felt the crochet!).) Back to yardage. One could make one very large quilt block or 4 smaller ones or 9 even smaller ones using finished seams (flat fell? serged? taped?). A million possibilities are springing forth!

Whatever you do will be lovely as always!!

12:42 PM  
Blogger ~Jody said...

It's a lovely blanket - and it'll probably be fairly easy to reverse engineer the granny "squares" but you should bare in mind each individual hexagon needs to be sewn to it's neighbor - and when you do hexagons there's a good prbability of the points not meeting percisly (especially if your new to crochet.)

I did a hexagon blanket once - I'm an accomplished crocheter - and it gave me no end of headaches. BUT it was totally worth every single one.

12:52 PM  
Blogger gayle said...

I say, go for it. If nothing else, the quest for the 'perfect' pattern will keep you happy and occupied for long enough that either
1) the feeling will pass, or
2) you'll have the time and energy to actually tackle it.
I learned to crochet about the same time I learned to knit, and did both for many years. Nowadays, I mostly knit, but crochet still has a place.

4:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

GASP!!! I can't believe that my daughter typed the "c" word!! In my own defense - we never had those TP dolls at our house. She did receive a rather "bright" (should I say hideous) small afghan from my aunt, but it was made with great love when she was not very old.

I was a crochet snob for years until I decided that that was silly and that crochet has its place. I promptly learned more about it, primarily how to get something made square and not misshapen. I have since made several afghans which are my favorites for crochet.

We'll be sitting here with bated breath (tee hee hee) to see if anything developes. (smile)


5:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Swirl Shawl by Lijuan Jing in Ravelry has six sided "squares" and is knitted. Just to give you a knitted option.

5:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um. I hate to be an enabler, but I have a *knit* pattern that's very similar. It used a variegated sock yarn that is no longer in production. You could maybe get the yarn (since you like the colors) and use the knitting pattern instead? That said, it *is* in pieces, which means putting all those pieces together when you're "done" with the knitting. :(

6:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The pattern you are considering is wonderful. I say go for it...maybe after you move. Just saying! You are pretty busy! Crochet is faster so the afghan would crochet faster than a knitted afghan. But, you will have to deal with weaving in a bazillion ends and stitching all the pieces together. (MIND numbing...but the end is worth the pain!!) I really think you are indulging in denial craft fantasy!!

9:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Melanie!!! Remember me from RazzyTazzy Knits! It's been forever since we chatted last but I just wanted to comment and say "hi" and that I'm still around. I catch up on your blog when I get a chance!

Shoot me an e-mail sometime (carrie AT razzytazzyknits DOT com)and we'll catch up!


9:40 PM  
Blogger Sligo said...

When I have made afghans and the like I have never needed to weave in ends. I suppose that's because I normally crochet the pieces together rather than sew them. Except for the very last finishing stitch, I work in ends as I go--another aspect of crochet that really is simpler than knitting. Still, I'm more interested in knitting and weaving right now.

10:29 PM  
Blogger Angie said...

I have a blanket like this que'd up in Ravelry, it is awesome, and worth learning to crochet for.

7:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really hate to mention this but kitty claws will always snag crochet just a quickly as knit. But it is a lovely afghan. I have made 2 or 3 afghans and they are all crochet. But I do love to knitting more.

11:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Poor neglected crochet. I made a hexagon blanket once but I don't know if I kept it. And my hexagons where larger. That's a very pretty inspiration afghan!

6:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tore that afghan/scarf out of the Garnet Hill catalog a couple of months ago as inspiration as well.

8:17 PM  
Blogger Moorecat said...

Have you seen one of the Vogue On The Go books, "Grannies"?

ISBN: 1-933027-66-5

(runs away, enabling done) :)

And I'd go for the join-as-you-go option. Definitely.

4:41 AM  
Blogger Balwearie said...

I was just telling my mother about that scarf. Her father was from Haverhill and his mother was a big fan of the color lavender. I was thinking it would be kinda cool to make the scarf in different shades of lavender. And trust me, that hexagon is way easy. You could learn to do that in about 6 minutes.

6:44 AM  
Blogger Whisperia said...

Crochet absolutely has it's place in a knitter's world. It's easy and fast, and I use crochet for quick palate-cleansing projects in between large, fiddly, knitted lace pieces. Also, whenever someone I know has a baby, I crochet a baby afghan and make a little amigurumi animal to tie onto the outside of the package to give at the baby shower. I enjoy knitting more, but crochet provides a nice alternative when I want a break from it and want to do something else.

9:37 AM  
Blogger Rhonda the Stitchingnut said...

Oh I love the color scheme in the 2nd picture. Reminds me of the one I'm making right now. http://www.ravelry.com/projects/stitchingnut/patchwork-throw
I knit but I also crocheted for over 40 years and BTW, I teach beginners. And you don't need to do TP covers!! (funny, I've never liked the dolls that covered the rolls, but I did make a "hat")

2:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's lovely! Crochet in muted colors can be beautiful. I crocheted a granny square afghan in Green Mountain Spinnery's Cotton Comfort (in those beautiful, soft, mellow colors) and it's a subtle thing of beauty. Also, crocheting can be worked in the pick-up line and put down easier than knitting. Go for it!

9:47 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

I had a similar view on crochet...until I discovered Sophie Digard designs. Google them...!

3:21 AM  
Blogger auntiemichal said...

Melanie, the new Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts 2008 has a bag that looks like your inspiration blanket: Labyrinth Carpetbag at http://www.interweaveknits.com/holiday/holidaygifts2008/gifts_preview.asp

Hope the moving process is going well!

11:51 AM  
Blogger LissaK said...

Go for it! It may be the perfect project for the move especially if you have to crochet each piece. Then you can make one, put it in a bag, and go to the next one. My mom crocheted a gorgeous bed cover. She worked on it while we drove from OH to FL. It is a very good portable project.

I happen to be ambidexerous(?). I knit and crochet. LOL

2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out Robyn Chachula's designs. She's done some really great not-your-typical-crochet sweaters and other items. Being bi-craftual, I'm always on the lookout for great crochet, and there is finally quite a lot of it out there.

5:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My sister-in-law brought this catalogue to me last week and asked if I would make that scarf for her. I've been crocheting almost as long as I've been knitting, and have some great books with hexagons, etc., plus Nicky Epstein's new crochet book, so I'm going to see what I can do (as soon as I finish putting together MS4). So I'm up to joining you if you decide to give it a go!

5:56 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

You should check out this book: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1603420398

"Beyond the Square Crochet Motiffs:144 circles, hexagons, triangles, squares, and other unexpected shapes" (Hardcover)
by Edie Eckman (Author)

8:05 AM  
Blogger knittingnurse said...

I see that knittinginpink gave you the URL for Moonstitches' hexagon blanket.

You should also check out her Flickr group "hexagon love" for others who have made these blankets.

6:20 PM  
Blogger Tara said...

The crochet bug must be going around. I have no good explanation for it, but here I am, in the midst of my own personal holiday crafting extravaganza - and I've started a crocheted ripple afghan. What's come over me?!

You can see it on my blog here:


Or on Ravelry here:


5:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here are some instructions from Crochet Cabana. And Lion Brand has some instructions here (but you have to be registered). I've seen some cool things done with hexes, including this one, done in 2 colors.

I keep thinking I want to do some sort of modular knit blanket with mitred hexagons or something similar. I understand your hesitation!

8:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only crocheted garment I ever owned was a hot pink and white granny square vest my sister made for me out of Phentex. As you can likely understand, I was scarred by the experience. I am willing to do a small edging periodically, but a whole garment? Not on your life.

9:02 PM  

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