Friday, March 9, 2012

Experience vs. Knowledge

My skills in the art of crochet have slowly developed over time. I watched in amazement last summer at the sight of a woman half my age whipping up a crocheted brooch in a matter of minutes. This type of artisan skill will always lead me to make a purchase. She surely has made dozens of that type of project to have the ability to blast something out so quickly. At that time, I had already started crocheting a blanket for Mister. This blanket project had started in April of that year. My skills have improved since that time. I will tell you this, making a 61/2 ft. long, double crocheted, afghan (my own pattern) can take some time. I'm not sure where the crocheted brooch is that I purchased. But, I can tell you one thing, this afghan (handmade by yours truly) will never be far from my side.

I had accumulated odds and ends of yarn from various small projects. In my lack of knowledge, my estimate of how much yarn was needed to create such a large piece was way off. Mister is a tall guy who needs at least a 6 foot long afghan to cover him sufficiently. What started out as an endeavor to use up a few balls of yarn turned into using an entire huge tote full of yarn. In April, I was only 4 rows into this sucker and had already used up all of my scraps. Temporarily, I abandoned the project for another time due to gardening and summer travels.
Yarn isn't cheap folks. I met a cool mom of 5 kids at a flea market one day who was casting off her unwanted skeins for very little money. I purchased all of her yarn for $25 US dollars and went on my merry way. This purchase provided me with enough hodge podge bunch of yarn to make both blankets in the photograph. One blanket for Mister and one for Aim's. I still have remaining yarn left over from that purchase. I doubt I'll ever be lucky enough to find that good of a deal again.
Each blanket is completely different. I refer to them as blankets even though I think technically they are called afghans. (limited crochet knowledge and terminology here). While Misters blanket took months to make, Aim's blanket only took a week. For her blanket I used a pattern called 5!/2 hr. throw. You can find it on the Lion Brand Yarn website. I think the fringes were suppose to go on the other ends of the blanket but, I like how they looked better where I put them.
Aimee's blanket is crocheted using 3 balls of yarn at one time. This puppy is thick and heavy. It's not overly large in length or width. It's a fun instant gratification project. I believe the estimate cost to purchase the yarn in the store for this project is over 70 bucks. I'm thankful for my flea market deal because I'm sure my cost was under $10.

Maybe the young lady who made the brooch could crochet this pattern in 51/2 hours. Each row took me 20-25 minutes to make. For example the  two rows with the red yarn took me almost an hour to make. So, no way could I have completed this blanket in the time frame as indicated by the pattern name. This is a beginner project. I suppose I am a beginner if you are considering my know how of  this art of crochet. I do have a few projects under my belt so, my experience is pretty up there.

Each row of Mister's blanket took one hour to crochet. For example the lime green strip that you can see in the photograph took me 2 entire hours of crocheting to create. The lime green strip consists of two rows. Since I wasn't working from a pattern I had to be very clever how I spaced out the odd ball colors of yarn. Overall I think the project came out looking pretty swell. I did the scallop edging from memory, I had used this stitch in a baby blanket some 20 years ago. Don't ask me if this up to snuff in the crochet world. All I know is it's warm, sturdy, and made by me. Mister likes it.
My time has been spent actually catching up on a few off the internet type of projects and little time has been used photographing and writing about our dinner. I have cooked a few interesting new dishes. I recently score 12 cookbooks for $2 from a second hand shop and still haven't had the time to dive into them. If I come across anything unusual I will let you know. As for now, my crochet hooks are about to retire again for a few months. I saw two robin birds this morning so surely spring is on it's way. Warmer busier days are ahead of me. With any luck my discipline at reliable, steady, blogging will improve with the longer days of daylight.

  • One more thing on cheap yarn. Why I never thought of this beats the hell out of me but, I recently read a blog (don't remember which one) that opened my eyes to recycled yarn. I can't tell you how many sweaters that my 3 daughters have outgrown. I always donated them to Goodwill. Never once did I consider unraveling them and repurposing the yarn. DUH! I'm going to be on the search for ugly cheap sweaters now just so that I can save cash on crocheting materials. FYI

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