Crochet Revolution

January 27, 2010

Ok, I have been slacking. I haven’t done any posts for a few months. But my life has been boring lately with nothing going on. (NOT) Anyways, I had the most wonderful/awful experience this weekend with my latest experiment, crocheting. Or as this woman (mis?)spells it, “crotching.” I have been working on a baby blanket for a charity. They insist it must be crocheted, not knitted. I don’t understand why you can’t knit for this particular charity. But they were insistent that it must be crocheted and absolutely NO KNITTING. I am comitted (not completely by my own free will) to completing this so-called baby blanket by January 29th, 2010 which also happens to be my golden birthday! Is it a wonderful birthday present to be released from these bondage chains of volunteering by being freed of my eternal damnation, err “commitment”, by finally turning in a blanket which will be unknowingly bestowed on some poor infant who must endure the torture of being trapped in it’s carrier under two pounds of Love crocheted into some horrid contraption designed to be a cross between a saddle blanket and a gunny sack? ABSOLUTELY!!!! That is the best present I could ever ask for. Anyways, I’ve been procrastinating on this thing for two months. I had to wait until after Christmas was over so that all my gifts were done (a miracle in itself). Then since I got my Denise interchangeable needle set from my Grandma, I HAD to make just one small project with them before I subjected myself to crocheting. So I ended up with approximately 2 weeks to complete a blanket with 165 rows and a 4 row picot-edged border that calls for 3,200 yards of yarn. That works out to 3 Pounds of Love. The Lion Brand yarn Pound of Love really does weigh a pound. I don’t know about it really being made of love so the name is only half true. But can you imagine a baby being under a blanket that weighs 3 pounds?!? Considering the average newborn weighs about 8 pounds, this blanket is over 1/3 the gross weight of a baby. Yeah, no wonder this is for charity. They have to give them away for free because if they sold them, they might be liable for any suffocations that most likely will occur. So, if I had 15 days, I would have to crochet 11 rows a day.

When I signed up to do the blanket, I had never crocheted before. I had a really hard time reading the directions in the books I had so I looked on Ravelry.com and found some links to tutorials on youtube. I had actually tried to crochet when I was first learning to knit but I couldn’t quite figure it out so I focused on knitting. So I kind of knew what to do and after watching the videos it didn’t look too bad. I did the first couple rows back in October and then it sat until two weeks ago. When I picked it back up, did a few rows and re-read the pattern, I realized I was doing it wrong. I was supposed to do all the stitches facing the front on the first square, then the back on the second. I was alternating them each row instead of them facing all the same way. So I ripped it out and started over. I even paid attention the second time but I still got it twisted. The THIRD time I started over, I finally knew what I was supposed to do and was able to get it started. FINALLY. Or so I thought.

The picture on the pattern is crappy. It’s a photocopy, probably of another photocopy, of a 2 inch black and white picture. So it’s pretty much impossible to use it as a reference as you are working. Even so, from what I was seeing of the picture, my blanket didn’t look right. I tried a few different variations on the stitch I was using but nothing seemed to look quite right. So I just kept going. It was close and I thought maybe the picture is so bad, I am just imagining things. So I got about a third of the way done.

Saturday morning I was sleeping in. There is a show on the public access station called Knit & Crochet Today. I have heard about it a few times and I have wanted to watch it but it’s only on in the morning on weekdays so I haven’t seen it. But Shawn knows I have been wanting to watch it and apparently it came on. Since it was pushing 10:00 he went ahead and woke me up to watch it. Side note: The tall blonde bimbo host that crochets on that show is the biggest dingbat. I really wanted to watch the knitting part but the crochet part was on first. So as I watched it, the lady started talking about how to make a granny square and she said something about doing some double crochets.  As I watched her do them, a sense of horror began to dawn on me as I realized she was doing them a different way than I was. The basketweave crochet pattern of the blanket is done by alternating sides of  double crochets around the posts of the row directly beneath. Basically, it’s an entire blanket of double crochet. In my defense, deep down inside, I kind of knew I was doing it wrong. First, it didn’t look like the (crappy) picture. Second, I was lifting the middle loop up with my left hand as I pulled the yarn through. I thought it was weird that I had to do that because I thought you were supposed to be able to pull through all the loops with just one hand. I have never crocheted before. Third, it was HIDEOUS. It was so thick and stiff you could barely fold it. And it was super itchy. Shawn told me it reminded him of a saddle blanket or a gunny sack. And it looked stupid. Without the extra width of the third loop, you could barely see the difference in changing the direction of the stitches. Lastly,it was taking an ungodly amount of time for me to do the stitches. The pattern estimated it should take 50 hours to complete the blanket. It was taking me about 45 minutes to do one row. With 165 rows, it would have taken me approximately 123.5 hours.That doesn’t add up. So I kept watching her and figured out I was only pulling through 2 loops instead of three.

Now I had already put a significant amount of time into this monstrosity. And only having 6 days to finish and turn it in, there was NO way I was going to start over. The problem though, was the stitch looked different when I did it the right way. Not totally different, just kind of different. Different enough I could tell, but hopefully not different enough a non-crocheting person could tell. (Fortunately for me, the lady who I am giving to at the charity has NO idea how to crochet so I think I am ok.) So I went ahead and changed techniques at the end of the next row. In retrospect, I should have waited until the next block, when the group of rows reverses sides, but also in retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have made this thing in the first place. So, now I am 2/3 finished with a half Quasimodo’s donkey’s saddle blanket half semi-decent hand-made looking baby blanket. Like I said, it’s a good thing they are not trying to sell it. Another problem is now the squares are a different size. Since there is now some give to it, each square is about 1 1/2 times larger than the first ones. So the blanket is not rectangular. It’s more like a trapezoid. And speaking of shape, who the hell makes a baby blanket thats 3 1/2″ by 5″. That’s not a baby blanket, that’s a snuggie. Fortunately, it’s going a lot faster and a lot easier. I also figured out a better way to hold the yarn and the hook in my right hand. It’s kind of like how I hold the yarn when I am knitting, over the middle finger and under the ring and index. I am now down to 20 minutes a row.

I think this would be a nice blanket if I had done it right from the start. But I didn’t. I am really anal about my knitting projects. If there is a mistake, I always make sure I go back and fix it, even if I have to rip it out and do it over. That’s one of the things I don’t like about crocheting. Since the stitches aren’t live, you can’t drop just one back and fix a stitch, you have to rip it all out and do everything over back to where the mistake is. Also, I didn’t allow myself enough time. I guess I can always tell myself this was my first crochet project and I can blame the fact that I didn’t know exactly what I was doing. But in the end that just makes me look like an idiot because why would I agree to something I didn’t know how to do? Learning experience!

Yes this blanket is full of life lessons.

  1. Don’t ever buy a ball of yarn that has either “Pound” or “Love” in the name.
  2. A horse blanket CAN be used as a baby blanket.
  3. So can a gunnysack.
  4. If you are crocheting something crappy, make sure you give it to someone who doesn’t crochet. They will not notice the difference.

There are probably more, but I need to finish this blanket before Friday. So, whip! whip! BACK TO WORK!


One comment

  1. good thinking,
    support the crochet revolution

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