This ain’t no velvet Elvis

Several weeks ago, I was perusing Craftster to kill some time. I hadn’t been on in awhile and decided to check out what was happening over there. I was hanging out on the crochet boards when this caught my eye. Seriously, click it. It was so cool! I had no idea such fabulous things could be done with crochet. I didn’t have any projects going on at the time, so I knew I had to make a portrait afghan. HAD to. As in, it was all I could think about for days. The girl who made the Audrey afghan gave a link to knitPro which automatically graphs any picture you give it. It’s great and such a time saver! I was getting ready to graph my own picture when I saw that link. Now, not every photo turns out looking great once it has been pixelated, so I ran through a few trial photos before I settled on the one I wanted to use. I did consider doing a black & white (or pink or background color of my choice) outline picture, but then I saw another girl on Craftster who has made several portrait afghans and she used colors and shading. Even more awesome! All of these are done in Tunisian crochet or afghan stitch with an afghan crochet hook. Up to this point, my combined Tunisian crochet experience was the failed first (several) attempts at Granota’s Cuddle Muffin dress and most of a dish towel (still need to finish that one). I was a relative newbie to the art. So why shouldn’t I choose something as difficult as possible to really get initiated? Makes perfect sense to me.

Obviously, subject matter is kind of important for a project like this. Audrey Hepburn is cool and all, but I don’t really consider myself a fan. Her presence in my house just wouldn’t make any kind of sense. So I considered other options. For all of about 10 seconds. Really, was there any question who I would do?

Well, hello there, you red-haired firecracker!

That’s right, folks, it’s Axl Rose at Rock in Rio II —  the first time he wore those American flag shorts. Aren’t you feeling patriotic already? I know I am.

Right now, Axl is more the size of a bath towel than an afghan; it was a particularly long and narrow picture. I am adding bands of black on either side to widen it a bit and then I will put a wide border all the way around it. But I just couldn’t wait to show you the portrait part because I’m just so dang proud of it.

A little size comparison. Granota and her hero.

I started from the bottom and worked my way up figuring I’d get my feet wet with fewer color changes at first. I did about two rows before I realized that something wasn’t working. The work was gapping in between colors. There had to be a way to keep the separate colors connected to each other, but I wasn’t sure how and my Tunisian book insisted that color changes had to be done at the end of a row. Pfft. Shows what they know. So I turned to the almighty Web and found this nice lady’s site where she quite helpfully explains how to change colors mid-row and eliminate gaps. Once I started over and used her method and other helpful tips, working this up was really a breeze. That’s the great thing about this — it looks uber complicated, but if you can do a simple afghan stitch and count little squares, you can do this!

Chart in progress, marking little X’s across as I completed a row

The hardest part about the whole process is the mess of working yarn you get on the back side. It’s like something out of a Sci-Fi movie.

Box o’ yarn attached to the back of the afghan

There were times when I could have up to 11 balls of yarn going at one time because of all the frequent color changes. For the most part, I tried to avoid cutting off the yarn until I absolutely had to. But once I was finished with a color, I had to cut it and leave a four inch tail to weave in later. I’m still working on that part.

Axl’s hairy back

Ok, Axl’s body is as smooth as a baby’s, but we’ve got some serious work to do on his yarn counterpart. And by “we,” I mean “I” because no one else will help me do this. Weave in ends. Hundreds of ends. Little yarn tail ends. {sniff} Right now I’ve got his shorts done, so that’s, what… maybe a 1/4? ha Yeah, I’ll be doing this for awhile. Once I finish weaving in all the ends, I’ve got to block this out and then I will add the border around it. I’ll show you again when it’s all finished, but I won’t have to talk about it as much because you already know all about it now!

A little close-up action

Uh, yeah, excuse the diaper box in the above photo. One thing about Tunisian crochet is that, until it’s blocked, it wants to curl up like a scroll. So the diaper box is there to hold ol’ Axl down for his photo shoot.

Happy 4th of July, everybody!

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7 thoughts on “This ain’t no velvet Elvis

  1. Pingback: Happy 4th of July! « There's A Lot Goin' On

  2. Pingback: Time Spent Learning a New Skill is Never Wasted | Kathryn Rubidoux

  3. Pingback: Just a little patience « Two Frogs and a Grasshopper

  4. Pingback: Mental cleansing | Two Frogs and a Grasshopper

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