Monday, May 10, 2010

Catching Up (Mostly Doilies)

I've been quiet (here, at least) for over a month, but that doesn't mean I haven't been crafting!  Most crafty pursuits have been put (temporarily) on the back burner to make room for my more recent obsession-- crochet.

Let's see. . . What exactly have I done since last time? 

I made six more sprial scrubbies.  I used up the remnants of some variegated yarn I had left over from the Procrastination Afghan, and I've already given them all away (along with some of the square pot scrubbers I made some time ago).

Here they are, all bundled up. . .

Crochet Pot Scrubbers

Nothing fancy, but definitely useful. I enjoy the actual crocheting of them, too, though the process of transforming the scrubbers from parallelograms into spirals is somewhat less pure enjoyment.

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What else has happened (craft-wise) since the last time I posted. . . ?  Oh yes, I've taken the plunge into the wild ;o) world of doilies!  I did it, and my doilies are recognizable as such! It's amazing! I too can crochet with thread!

Okay, maybe it's not so amazing, but I was happy to discover that it wasn't quite so difficult as I'd feared it might be. I'm definitely not saying that I'm an expert-level doily maker, but I'm satisfied with my progress so far. Also, I'm happy to have found that making doilies is just as fun as I thought it would be.  Though I've given away most of the little doilies I've made so far, I suspect that our house will be thoroughly doilified in short order.

I've uploaded photos of my doilies to my Flickr account and added them as projects on my Ravelry, too, if you prefer looking at things in either of those formats.  (I'm lazy today, so find the links to both over on the sidebar, please.)  Otherwise, here they are below, in the order I made them (as closely as I can recall). . .

Doily #1

This was my first doily ever. 

It didn't turn out quite as well as I'd hoped it would.  This was partly because the variegated thread distracts from the pattern-- partly because I made the mistake of turning my work after every round (which was a no-no for this pattern, and most doily patterns, it seems)-- and partly just because it was my very first time working with thread. 

Still, once it's underneath something, it probably won't look too bad.

Doily #2

(Actually, I'm not 100% sure the order I made these little blue ones in. . . Not that it particularly matters.)

I made these dark blue mini doilies using some thicker thread (thicker than standard size 10 crochet cotton) that I had in my craft supply stash. (I used most of it to blanket stitch around a fleece throw, several years ago.)

I really like the way that first one came out. It's not perfect, but it was much nicer than my first attempt.

Doily #3

This is a (vaguely) hexagonal mini doily. My verdict: It's okay, but not my favorite. I think my lack of patience during blocking shows in this one. . .

Doily #4

This one didn't work out perfectly, and it was my own fault. (When is it not, though?) I saw early on that I had the wrong number of do-dads (some sort of stitch), but I didn't want to go back, so I just said to myself, "Let's see where this goes." Turns out, it went to not having the perfect number on the last round. (Who would've thought, right?)

Eh, it's ok. It's just some scrap thread (bigger than the traditional #10 bedspread weight), and the mistake is only noticeable when you look at the whole thing at once. When I strategically place some knick-knacks on it (with the mismatchy part in the back), no-one will ever be the wiser (unless they've read this, that is).

Doily #4 (again)

See? You can't even tell I was a lazy experimental crocheter who didn't go back as soon as she realized her count was off. ;o)

Doily #5

After making a few tiny doilies in the thicker blue thread, I decided to give my thin (#10) variegated thread another try.

I like the way this variegated doily turned out much better than my first attempt. It's still not perfect, but I think it's pretty.

Doily #6

I really enjoyed making this doily. Possibly that's because this one was *so tiny*. It's easy to like something that's so quick to make, right? But it's more than that-- just the shape of it. . . and the fact that it works much better with the variegated thread than my first pattern choice did. (Technically, this and the remaining doilies were worked in a different thread than the first variegated ones.  It's even a totally different brand of thread-- and the colors are slightly different under closer observation-- but at first glace, they look almost the same.)

This pattern called for a couple rounds (I think) of treble stitches. I haven't done *that* many trebles in regular yarn, so it felt a little odd at first doing them in thread, but I find that I like trebles quite a bit. They're fun, for some reason.

Doily #7

This doily was not supposed to be ruffly (or at least I don't think it was, as the tiny photo didn't look ruffled). I worked from a chart, and there were special instructions for one symbol (an emboldened X) that I couldn't read (as they were written in Japanese). I pretty much just treated those as standard single crochet stitches, and I'm thinking that must have something to do with why my version is ruffled. (g)

I don't really mind. I mean, I didn't intend for it to be ruffled, but I have nothing against frills, and I think it's at least as pretty this way as it would be if it lay flat.

Here it is again, from a different angle so you can see the ruffling effect:

Doily #7 (again)

Doily #8

I made this last one because I wanted to try the variegated thread on something with a slightly more solid look. All the double crochets grouped together gives a different look. I think I like it. . . Reminds me of tie-dye.

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I realize I should have measured all the doilies, but I fell short of time and gave most of them away before I had a chance to do so. None of them are large. The first was the largest, I think, and it's less than six inches (not quite) square.

I stuck with small projects for a few reasons. First, I had only relatively small amounts of some of the thread I was using (and I'm very cautious about not running out since I'm still such a beginner that I have a hard time gauging how much thread something might take). Second, I didn't want to embark on a huge project too soon, since I was still learning a lot about the basics of thread crochet, and I figured my work would be more likely to be noticeably uneven in a large piece. And third, after the mess of my first project, I was trying to figure out what type of doily would look right with variegated thread.

And that brings me to this:  I prefer solid yarn and thread to variegated.

There, I said wrote it.

Variegated yarn and thread looks very pretty in the skein or ball-- and I even enjoy the process of working with it.  It's fun to watch the colors shift, and there's no denying that it makes it very easy to see stitches and whether you've inserted your hook into the right loop (or at least I think it does)-- but it just doesn't look right in most patterns I've tried.  I'm sure there are places where it works beautifully (probably in longer stitches and less textured fabrics), but mostly the yarn distracts from the details of the pattern, and I find that I don't like that.

I may purchase the occasional variegated thread or yarn-- particularly if it's an irresistible price or somewhat less blatantly variegated-- but in general I prefer the look of solid colors.

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I think that's almost all for now.  Just one more photo to share.  These are my most recent creations-- two of  the three (mostly) identical bookmarks that I crocheted from the same pastel variegated thread:

Pineapple Bookmarks

(They look a bit yellowy in this photo. Oops. Should've done a better job in the editing process. . . Or in the, you know, photographic process. . .)


Unless I'm mistaken, the pattern I used had a couple of errors. I changed it to what I thought seemed correct, and the end product turned out well enough.

This was my first time making pineapples. I really like the way they look in doilies, so I'm sure I'll be trying them again, even though I still think these aren't perfect. . . Maybe I should've blocked more carefully. . . Or maybe I'm still just learning the ins and outs of thread crochet. Still, they're perfectly usable bookmarks.

And that, I think, is enough for now.  I should be all caught up on, as far as finished objects go.