Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Progress Post

Another week, another couple of CAL blocks!

"Ain't Misbehavin'".

"Ain't Misbehavin'"

I like the starry design, and the special corners add an interesting dimension. The special corners (in just a couple of rounds) aren’t that hard, either, once you understand how they’re constructed.

Personally, I have much more trouble with the extra-long double crochets and puff stitches than with the corners. It’s just not that easy for me to get a consistent height for every “stretched” stitch-- especially when they’re worked in the front loop only…

(Confession: I kind of hate making these “stretched” dc. They may look nice-- better for some than others-- but I don’t find them pleasant to crochet, and they seem more prone to snagging and general wear and tear than a "normal" crochet stitch.)

"Ain't Misbehavin'"

Because I wasn't happy with the way my stretched dc were turning out, this time, I decided to rip back a couple of rounds and replace the stretched dc with tr and hdtr.  Here’s what I ended up with:

10: tr
11: hdtr
12: tr
13: hdtr
14: very slightly “stretched” hdtr
15: hdtr

This slightly alters the look of the finished square, but I think it still makes an attractive block, and it was more enjoyable to crochet (for me), which is worth something, too.

"Ain't Misbehavin'"

"Ain't Misbehavin'"


Two more blocks done!

"Ain't Misbehavin'"

"As Time Goes By".

"As Time Goes By"

This block has an interesting all-over chevron texture, and it works up very quickly.

"As Time Goes By"

After some of the other blocks in this CAL, this one is straightforward and easy.  However, the last round does require a little more attention, since it has a wider variety of stitches and fewer "sc in blo" than other rounds.

"As Time Goes By"

This one was a pleasantly restful block-- especially after my frustration over the stretched stitches in "Ain't Misbehavin'".

Ah, and I almost forgot to add that this pale dusty pink is the other skein I bought of Big Twist Value.  I didn't do a side-by-side touch-test, but while crocheting this block, this yarn struck me as nicer and softer than the gray yarn (of the same brand, last post) did.

Based on this skein, I'd definitely use this yarn again.  (It's well known among knitters and crocheters that the texture/softness of yarn can vary from color to color.  This may be one of those cases where you'll want to make a color-by-color determination.)  It may not be quite as soft as, say, I Love This Yarn, but I definitely still enjoyed crocheting with it-- and if you're purchasing afghan-quantities of yarn on a budget, Big Twist can save you some money. (As far as durability goes, of course I can't really say, yet, but I can't see why this shouldn't wear as well as the average acrylic yarn.)

"As Time Goes By"

Add another two blocks to the pile!

"As Time Goes By"

Speaking of that pile of finished blocks, here it is (though not all are visible):

Stardust Melodies Blocks

So far, 19 patterns have been released, and since I'm making two of each, that should be 38 blocks.

There are five patterns yet to come-- and then there's joining and a border.  I'm not sure yet if I'll use one of the provided borders or not.  It'll depend partly on how I feel about the border design (once it's revealed) and partly on what yarn I have in-stash (and whether or not I decide to buy more yarn for the border).  If it's too hot and uncomfortable, I may even put off joining the blocks and working on the border for a while... (Or it might be possible to do it at a table, to keep the blanket off my lap.)

- - - - - - -

I've yet to block the last doily I finished, but I have begun stitching another pattern, using the variegated thread I mentioned before.

This is Grace Fearon's "Etienne" in Alize Miss Batik (color #4536):

"Etienne"

It's such fun to see the colors changing as you crochet!

The long color repeats make such a difference!  I don't understand why the variegated thread that's commonly available (around here, at least) has such short repeats.  (Maybe it's easier or cheaper to make...)  It just doesn't translate well to many applications (imho).  It can work for one or two rounds every so often, or as an accent-- but to make a whole doily in short-repeat variegated thread usually hides the pattern with choppy blips of color, rather than highlighting it.

Now, this kind of thread may not be to everyone's liking.  You do have to kind of abandon yourself to fate, a little.  Go with the flow and let the colors change as they will.  (Technically, you can control it, I suppose, by cutting the thread and removing certain colors, but that's a lot of work-- not to mention that it can waste thread, if you don't have another use for the pieces removed.)

As far as the texture of the thread goes, I'm enjoying it, so far.  This skein (the first I've tried) is soft and silky, but when crocheted, it has body.  I've found that, perhaps because it's so soft, it can fray/fluff when snagged, but with a reasonable amount of care and attention, that's not a frequent problem.

I wish this thread (or something like it) were more widely available (though I have enough stashed away to last a good long time!).  I ordered mine internationally from a seller on Etsy (Boundless Fantasy, in case anyone's interested).  I did see at least one person selling it in the U.S.--  on eBay, I think--  but the Etsy seller offered a better deal, for what I wanted.

Looking forward to seeing how this one progresses!