Thursday, May 28, 2009

ladybug, ladybug

I monitor several craigslist queries with google reader. My $35 table loom was a steller find last year. The other searches are for a spinning wheel, binding machine, and (obviously) yarn.

Last week an offer of $50 to finish an afghan popped up. A woman started this blanket for her granddaughter, which she can't finish because of arthritis in her wrist(s). She already has all the yarn and the pattern. My job will be to crochet and block the piece.

I'm excited! We're meeting at a Starbucks today so that I can get the materials. This will be my first contract crochet work. I'm working on my second project for Mosaic right now, but unlike this ladybug afghan, I'm not paid cash for completing display items.

wire necklace

Yesterday I worked with wire for the first time. JoAnn had a killer sale on beads, so I stocked up. I decided to go with 4 different beads: a pack of clear, black, and grey crystals in 4mm and 6mm; white, round, resin beads; donut-shaped, black beads with a colored sheen; and green glass, cube and chipped. I just poured the beads into a custard dish, stirred them around, and stung them in whatever order they fell into my hand.

After I beaded the 26 gauge wire, I had a hard time working with it. I was worried that I strung all those beads for nothing. Turns out that the real problem was not using a large enough hook. I only used a chains and beaded chain stitches. I started out with several plain chain stitches. After that I'd do 2-5 beaded chains, a chain or two, and then 1-2 plain chains. Most of the beaded chains only have 1 bead apiece, but sometimes when there were 2 small beads in a row, I'd chain them together.

Originally I was going to make a matching bracelet, but I wasn't sure how long it should be. So, I decided to use all the beads in the necklace. I made one long strand to be wrapped around the neck 2 or 3 times. It's probably about 5 and a half feet long. At the end, I did several plain chains and added a lobster claw. I wasn't sure how to hide the end of the wire so it wouldn't poke my neck, so I hid it by flattening most of the chains with pliers. It seemed silly to add a jump ring to the other end since the claw can grab onto any chain stitch so I didn't bother. I might cut the claw off and join the ends, since it's long enough to fit over the head wrapped 3 times, but I haven't decided.

I like the end result even though it looked funny when I put it on. The trouble is that I'm not a jewelry person; for the most part, I haven't worn jewelry since junior high. I had the same problem with the choker I designed: I'm not sure if it's ugly, or just ugly on me. In this case, I know it just looked funny since I'm not used to seeing something around my neck (the t-shirt with a high, round neckline didn't help).

Next time I plan on working with 28 or 32 gauge wire. The stiffness of the 26 gauge wire made crocheting tricky. I had to use an H hook, and I think smaller chains would be prettier. I'm thinking of contacting a jewelry making high school friend to see if she'd teach me how to work with wire. I feel clumsy with pliers. I know that some of clumsiness with fade with experience, but I'm sure learning proper technique will help.

Friday, May 22, 2009

I need a kick in the pants to get this going!

I really want to be a crochet blogger. That means actually posting to my crochet blog. And I suppose I really, really ought to upload project pics and post them and add them to ravelry. Oh this new-fangled technology (since i haven' t been blogging for7 years or anything...).

There have been 2 Crochet Guild meetings since my last post. The April meeting was redirected to the Knit Out Crochet Too event held at the Northbrook Court Mall. I spent the day sitting at a table with other guild members, crocheting away. I taught a few knitters how to crochet and was able to help a woman stuck on the last parts of the Fat Bottom Bag in Stitch'n'Bitch Happy Hooker. I also participated in the fastest crocheter contest. I was overly caffeinated and my hands shook horribly, so I had a rather poor showing. The winner was a fellow member of our crochet guild. Yay! I bet next year's KOCT will be even bigger and better.

Our May meeting featured our 3rd annual Crochet Buffet. I'd never witnessed the Crochet Buffet before, but I participated. I sat with Devona, who had baby items, showcasing amigurumi. I brought all the amis I had on hand, which was 8 plus a bunch of otamas. Since every meeting I've brought amis for show and tell, everyone seems to think I specialize in them. Other displays included bead, Irish Lace, fashion, Tunisian, free form, doilies, motifs, and shawls. We had a great turnout, including several new members. I loved having an easy way to go around and meet my fellow guild members, since it's hard for me to talk to strangers.

Right now I would rather be at Panera with the Cooler by the Lake crochet meetup, but I'm sick. I think a bowl of soup would do my throat good, but it doesn't seem fair to bargain with my friends' health on a holiday weekend. So, instead, I'm going to go catch up on my soaps and craft away. I may work on the Starghan I'm working on for a future crochet class at Mosaic, a trash bag for my car, or maybe my entry for September's NIC Chapter Challenge. I'm also feeling like doing some embroidery, so I might start on something there. Who knows what I'll be in the mood for until I do it?