Sunday, June 6, 2010

Just Chatting

I'm in a funny mood tonight.  I can't seem to settle to anything, so why not blog a little instead?

Craft-wise, I've remained focused on the Flower Garden Hexagon Afghan, adding to it one hexagon at a time.  I'm not sure how many I have at this point.  (Donald could probably guess closer to the total than I could, because he tends to count the motifs every day or two, when he happens to see the afghan all spread out.)  I think I'm making decent progress, though, and I'll try to post new photos soon. 

It's not destined to be a big blanket.  I think I'd rather have something smaller, and I think that by the time I get a decent-sized small blanket, I'll probably be about ready to move on to something different.  I'm aiming toward something between a lapghan and twin-bed-size.  Something large enough to cover up with on the couch in the winter, without your toes poking out at the bottom, but not so big and heavy that it's awkward. 

Every now and then I wonder what I'm going to do about the edging.  I definitely want some type of border, but I'm not sure what kind. I think I've changed my mind, too, about the half-hexes.  At least, at this point I'm planning to leave it jaggedy-edged.  I of course reserve the right to change my mind half a dozen times between now and finishing the afghan.  ;o) 

I'm still enjoying crocheting it, very much.  It's a soothing process-- requiring more concentration than my Procrastination (Ripple) Afghan did, certainly, but still very easily memorized and mostly relaxing.  Getting to play with the different colors of yarn is the focus of this one-- and watching the blanket grow one tile at a time.  It's satisfying to finish each hexagon, such fun getting to see how my color choices work together.  I've been surprised by some of the combinations that please me most.  These little swatches of color experimentation may be a useful tool for guiding color choices in future projects-- not just crochet projects, either. 

I'm learning a lot about the yarns I'm using, too, since they're in a variety of brands. 

I've found that Caron's Simply Soft is very soft-- and quite silky-shiny, compared to the other yarns I'm using-- but it's also noticeably thinner than the other yarns I'm using, despite being marked (I think) as a regular worsted weight yarn.  Also, it's fairly splitty, which can be a bit annoying at times.  Still, it's not bad. 

I also have a few colors of Loops & Threads Impeccable.  It's definitely not as soft as (and nowhere near as silky as) Simply Soft-- but it doesn't split.  It seems that one skein (a buttery yellow) is rougher than the others, too, which is a bit odd. 

I have one skein of Vanna's Choice.  I think it's slightly thicker than the other worsted weights I'm using.  It's perhaps a bit softer than the Loops & Threads, but fairly similar. 

I've been very favorably impressed with Hobby Lobby's I Love This Yarn.  Not only is it quite soft, it's also just very pleasant to work with.  It has a strange "spongy" texture.  If I had to choose a favorite out of the yarns I'm using on the hexagon afghan, I Love This Yarn would win, hands down.  However, I've read that some people have had problems with the yarn not wearing well-- pilling excessively and looking old before its time.  On the other hand, there are people saying it doesn't pill. . . and some who say it's changed from good to bad.  In short (too late!), one doesn't know what to think.  I'll just see how this afghan holds up.  I hope the I Love This Yarn proves to be good, because I'd really like to use more of it.  The downside is that I haven't seen HL put any of the yarns I'm interested in on sale in a very long time (if ever), and it seems like they just keep raising the price on ILTY.  It's still cheap by many people's standards, but I'm extraordinarily frugal ;o) and it does take a lot of yarn to make an afghan (which is chiefly what I'm interested in making, when it comes to worsted weight acrylics).

That brings me to the rest of the yarn I'm using.  I have no idea what most of it is, because I bought it at thrift stores and/or yard sales without wrappers.  There's also one skein from my Aunt Cathy-- "Baby Yellow" from DuPont (or something like that)-- which I think is probably no longer made.  All these unknown yarns have been just fine to work with-- not splitty, soft enough, and generally pleasant.

Though I was a good girl and stopped to weave in loose ends, earlier in the blanket, I've kind of slacked on that part of the afghan for a while, now.  I probably ought to stop again and do some more weaving-in, but I'm not sure I will. . . I'll have to find something good to listen to when I start that little task. . .

It's going to take some time, because there are quite a few loose ends!  I started out trying to crochet over all my ends (all except the very last tail leftover after the last round).  However, I soon saw that I just didn't like the way it looked when I tried to crochet over the tails in the third, fourth, and fifth rounds.  Too much yarn showed through in the gaps, and often it was impossible to keep the "wrong" color tail hidden behind the "right" color one.  I finally just decided that I might as well do it right, if I'm going to do it at all, so I've stopped crocheting over the ends, except in the first two rounds (where I think it's not as much of an issue).  It will make for more weaving-in in the end, but I don't mind the weaving-in that much-- especially if I don't try to force myself to do too much of it at one time and make sure to have something good to listen to while I work. 

So. . . That's my Flower Garden Hexagon Afghan update for the present!  I feel all chatted out, so just in time, too.  ;o)