Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A crochet rant*

My life is relatively stress-free right now (I refuse to think about work on my day off), and my biggest problem today is crochet-related. So welcome to my complaint about something that holds no major ranking in the problems of the universe. Sometimes it's nice to have trivial problems.

I'm working on a table runner that I plan to donate to SEGA for sale at their fall festival. (I'm not doing another life-sized greyhound--I'm not that crazy.) I'm making the table runner using a thread that is cotton with a metallic accent. This stuff is tricky to work with: just the pressure of your fingers as you hold the thread to work can force the thread to untwist a bit; the longer you work, the more you untwist, and the more you force one section to untwist the more another section of the thread twists back to compensate. Thus, you wind up with a handful of twisty thread, and every stitch makes it worse...unless, of course, you can force yourself to hold the thread loosely--which is not as easy as it sounds.

The table runner is in what's known as filet crochet (both those -et endings are pronounced -ay: filay crochay). In filet crochet, you have a grid, and the design is caused by filling in some of the squares on the grid. When you work a long series of filled-in squares, it's easy to get off track a bit, since every square on your grid actually is three stitches, and if you get off by just one stitch, you can screw up how many open squares ought to grow back out of the solid patch. This isn't necessarily a problem, unless your design has a border that consists of alternating open and filled squares like a checkerboard--yeah, a border like this pattern has.

So I fought the twisting threads. I compensated quite neatly for a mistake I made (and noticed two rows later): I left a square open when it should have been filled, but I was able to fill it in with a bit of thread I attached especially for the purpose (and the "fix" was perfect and unnoticeable). But I came out of the solid greyhound part with one fewer squares than I was supposed to have, and I had no neat way to grow a new square. And when I unraveled back to where I had made the open-square error--figuring if I had to rip stuff out, I might as well fix that error, too--I still didn't have the right number of stitches. And I wasn't really happy with the beginning chain of the piece (sometimes the chain is really loose; often your border will cover the foundation chain, but not in this piece). And while the overall piece was the right width, it was too short--stitches weren't standing tall enough. (That probably would have been corrected by blocking, but still, that was just one more thing wrong with the piece...)

So I ripped out back to the beginning: 25 of 29 rows were done, and it was close to 18 hours of work (some work Sunday, and I've worked at least 12 hours today). I'm going to give this one more try--keeping a really loose grip on the thread, and using tons of stitch markers (every tenth grid square, for crying out loud) and moving the stitch markers on every row so I can make sure from row to row that I have the proper number of stitches.

And if it goes wrong again, I'm just going to make a cash donation to SEGA and call it done. Some things aren't worth the trouble...

*I know I called this a rant, but I can't work up the energy--or anger--for a proper rant. Let's just call this a complaint.

Originally posted: 17th-Jul-2007 10:05 pm

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