Tag Archive | mistakes

We’re gonna call it a test run

I have grandiose plans and ideas. And, like the first-born perfectionist that I am, I expect those plans and ideas to come to fruition without a hitch. The world is a disappointing place. And, to be honest, I don’t know that I’ve ever been good at anything the first time I tried it. When my girls get frustrated that their drawings or little projects don’t look like they pictured it in their heads, I have to remind them that it takes practice. So here is my public reminder to myself: These things take practice.

First, the sock! I’m almost proud of this sock. To start with, I’m proud of myself for actually finishing it. I’ve been working on it for nearly a year, screwed it up, had to restart from the beginning and just finished it a few days ago. The toe seam is a little ugly, but I figured, eh, that’ll be inside the shoe anyways. I tried it on and… well, remember how I told my son last week that just because you can get something on doesn’t mean that it fits? Yeah, that. I love it when I can redirect my words of wisdom to myself (No, I don’t). The problems: It’s a wee bit short in the foot and a tiny bit tight across the instep. The positive: Now I know what I need to fix for the next time. Konik has been asking me for months to make him a sock on my knitting loom. I don’t know why I didn’t start with him anyways. I could have finished a baby sock like, 6 months ago!

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If it looks like a sock and quacks like a sock… wait, wrong adage.

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I told you that toe seam was ugly. U-G-LEE

Next, a wrist warmer. Many moons ago, I made a pair of these for a craft swap and ever since then, I’ve longed for a pair of my own. Why didn’t I just make them? I don’t know. The mind of a crafter is a mysterious thing. Last week, I decided to remedy this. Grabbed some yarn from my stash and set to work on a pattern I found on the Lion Brand Yarn site. I didn’t feel like the width was going to be right, so I added a bit to the starting chain and went on crocheting. It turned out too loose. And because I am a PRO (you heard me) at weaving in ends, trying to undo this and start over would be a useless endeavor. Besides, I have lots more yarn where that came from.

Rana absconded with the actual wrist warmer. Even though she's skinny enough to hide behind a flag pole, she insists that it "fits" her. I searched her room, but couldn't find it. So you get to see the yarn it was birthed from.

Rana absconded with the actual wrist warmer. Even though she’s skinny enough to hide behind a flag pole, she insists that it “fits” her. I searched her room, but couldn’t find it. So you get to see the yarn it was birthed from.

So, once again, not everything is a resounding success. But instead of getting frustrated at less-than-perfect results, I’ll give each of these projects another shot. Here’s to another try!

Live and Learn

Far be it from me to ever lead you to believe that everything I make turns out awesome every time. It’s not “crafting fearlessly” if I’m too cowardly to discuss mistakes or shouldabins. So let’s go back and look at a few of the things I’ve made over the past year and see how they’ve worked out.

The infamous thumb holster

I made two of these last summer to cover Rana’s thumbs in an attempt to keep her from sucking them. First lesson learned: There is a reason why sinew (real or fake) is used to sew leather. The thread repeatedly wore through and I ended up having to repair these several times. The concept was good and actually worked up until the point where Rana “lost” the covers sometime this winter. I recently found one in the bushes outside. heh. And wouldn’t you know it, now it doesn’t fit her anymore. She’s a cagey one.

Little corduroy pants

These pants were among the slew of clothes that I made for Rana at the beginning of the school year (that seems forever ago!). Something was never right about the crotch so they were uncomfortable for her to wear. Fortunately, there was a solution! I took out the crotch seam, whacked the pants off at the knees and made it into a skirt. It was a cute little skirt. Unfortunately, it cramped Rana’s playground style — too hard to climb stuff — so she never wore the skirt. I guess I should just give it to Granota.

Falilla the Fairy

This fairy doll was Granota’s 4th birthday present back in September! She was not met with the excitement that I had anticipated, but after a couple of days Granota fell in love with her and named her Falilla. Falilla looks so pretty here; it’s almost a shame what she looks like now. Granota insisted that I put her hair in a ponytail so that it would be out of the way of her wings. Now Falilla is losing copious amounts of hair. I’m going to try to run a line of fabric glue along the underside of her roots to slow down the balding. It’s a good thing I gave her so much hair to start with. Interestingly enough, Jessie the cowgirl doll that I made for Rana has not had any hair-loss issues. Maybe Falilla needs a fairy hat.

Looks beautiful, not practical

In November, I made each of the girls a new winter coat. These coats, as you can see, are very full. Wonderful for twirling, not wonderful for buckling into car seats. The other problem is that I did not make the center front pieces wide enough — they just barely overlap enough to button. That means it is highly likely that these coats won’t fit the girls next year. In a way, that’s ok, because I am pretty sick of struggling to get everything flattened and mashed down enough to get them buckled into the car. If we lived in Europe and walked or took public everywhere, these coats would be fantastic, but as it is, I’m going to have to use a different pattern this fall.

Not all they’re cracked up to be

March brought my attempt at recycling all the broken crayon bits in my kids’ coloring box. I melted them down in muffin cups and right off the bat I could tell these weren’t going to be as awesome as I had hoped. As you can see, they were already beginning to break after they had cooled. I’m pretty sure that there is not one left whole anymore, which pretty much defeated the whole purpose of melting the little bits together.

Elasticity

Most recently are the new pajama pants I made. I had this ingenious idea to elasticate the cuffs. Y’know, to keep them from riding up and twisting around my knees at night. Well guess what? I didn’t make the pant legs long enough, so once I bent my knees, the cuff rode up and then got stuck right around my calves. Thanks, elastic. The other night it was driving me so nuts, I seriously considered going downstairs and taking it out right then and there at 2 a.m. But since the cabin is basically one giant room, I knew Mr. Gren wouldn’t appreciate me turning on the light; so I just toughed it out the rest of the night. But the elastic is out now! Hopefully it will feel better tonight. I think it was still a good idea, but next time I’ll know to add some extra length in the pant legs.

So there you have it. A little rundown of some of my not-so-perfect projects. It’s all a learning process, isn’t it?

(No) Slip sliding away

Doesn’t sound like I’m about to introduce you to my new blue cardigan, does it? Well, you’re right. I’m not. Mr. Gren has been working a lot of evenings lately, so hasn’t been around to take any pictures for me. My next option would be to let Granota do it since Rana’s at school, but … she’s 4. Any photographs she takes tend to have an abstract vibe.

So instead, I’ll show you what I whipped up on Friday!

A couple of years ago, my sister-in-law got the girls little soft fleece slippers for Christmas. They loved them and wore them. And loved them. And wore them. To death do them part. I finally felt bad seeing those raggedy little things on their feet and Granota’s toes poking through the end and decided to do something about it. I’m not sure where SIL got the slippers, but I have plenty of fleece scraps and decided to just make some new ones myself. How hard could it be?

There are approximately 63.75 internet tutorials on how to make little slippers like this, all of them seemed to be for baby sizes, though. I studied the shapes of the pattern pieces and decided to just try my best to replicate that. First things first, I traced around Granota’s foot and based the rest of my pattern from there.

“Pattern” may be best interpreted loosely because, although I added a little bit of wearing ease and a seam allowance, the slippers still turned out decidedly narrow. Lucky for me, I have a little boy with very narrow feet and, doubly lucky for me, that first pair of slippers wasn’t in girly colors.

Konik models his new slippers that he will probably never wear because he insists on shoes at all times.

Take 2 involved adding even more ease and a larger seam allowance until the resultant newspaper pattern was a grotesquely large version of Granota’s little feet. I was dubious, but trial and error on the first go-round had already proved to be Error, so I may as well proceed with the new “pattern.” I have plenty of fleece scraps, so that was of no concern to me. However, the grippy fabric (which I had forgotten to list in my thrift store finds from last week) was more limited. It turned out to be enough and this second pair of slippers, while still not perfect, did fit the girl and I only had to use the seam ripper 3 times. Of course, once Rana got home from school and saw that her siblings had new slippers, she demanded new ones, which I knew she would. With slightly more slipper-making knowledge under my belt, I traced her foot and set to work. I think each pair of slippers ended up taking about an hour to make and there’s possibly enough grippy fabric left to make one more small pair. Not a bad day’s work.

Granota (right) and Rana (left) show off their new slippers.

The kids are happy, but I have to admit that it really wasn’t a very enjoyable day for me. I really dislike fudging around and making multiples of the same object to finally settle on one that is closest to my vision. I much prefer to have a clean, workable pattern where somebody else has already taken all that time to measure, experiment, etc. What about you? Be it sewing, crochet, cooking, fixing a car, whatever — do you like the tinkering process or do you prefer to have things already mapped out so that you can dive headlong into it?

Celebrate good times, come on!

Oh yeah, it’s a party! Never have I been so relieved to finish a project as I was with Granota’s Cuddle Muffin jumper.

A little background history on this thing:

I have a Tunisian crochet book with a really cute jumper pattern that I wanted to make for Granota. One day, I was at Joann’s, wandering through the yarn and found their store brand self-patterning baby yarn, called Cuddle Muffin. Cuddle Muffin is what I used to call Granota, so obviously, this was meant to be! I struggled through the Tunisian pattern for several months. At first it was because I was new to Tunisian, but once I got the hang of it, it was just slo-ow. My wrists were worn out and I was coming to terms with the fact that Granota would outgrow the jumper before I ever finished it. The final decision to rip it all out came one day when Konik and Granota had the great idea to “decorate” the living room by winding my working yarn balls around all the furniture. I was so disgusted that I just crammed it all into a bag for a couple of months until I was of a sufficient mental state to untangle all that yarn.

The next time I tackled this jumper, I decided to go with good ol’ traditional crochet. I had another jumper pattern in a different book that I followed loosely. It seemed like a good idea at the time. But then I lost the scrap of paper that I had made all the changes to the original pattern on. The next few months were spent wracking my brain to try and remember what stitches I had used where, how many, what I had done to decrease at the waist… Sometimes I’d be hit by a flash of inspiration and crochet up a bunch only to discover that it didn’t match what I had done the first time. Somehow, finally, it all came together. Good thing, too. My brain cells were all about ready to jump ship if it didn’t work out soon.

The payoff is good, though. I have a happy little girl in a cute little jumper.

Rana asked me to make her one like Granota’s. I laughed at her.

I’ma claw my eyes out!

Argh!!!!

Seriously, folks. I’ve been working on a crocheted jumper for Granota for a year and a half now. I can’t even count how many times I’ve made it, only to have to tear out rows upon rows of work. It began as a Tunisian crochet project. I was just learning, but it didn’t look terribly difficult. After several months’ worth of false starts, I finally came to the realization that 1) Tunisian crochet is slow and 2) my child would outgrow the jumper before I had even finished it. I think I’ll save Tunisian work for items where growth spurts are not an issue. Like pillows.

A very nice swatch of Tunisian crochet that no longer exists.

I couldn’t completely abandon the project, though, because Granota knew I was making it. Silly me, I had made a big deal about the yarn when I bought it because it was called “Cuddle Muffin,” which was her nickname as a baby. I tried to convince her that maybe a sweater would be nice to have instead of a jumper (pinafore, UK readers). No dice. She asks me everyday, “Are you done with my Cuddle Muffin dress yet?” And if she sees me crocheting anything else (which is merely for my own sanity’s sake), she demands to know, “Why aren’t you making my Cuddle Muffin dress?!” Tiny tyrant!

For some reason, once I switched over to regular crochet, I combined a couple of patterns and then made up a fair amount of stuff as I went along. It was ok, though, because I wrote myself little notes on a slip of paper so that I would be able to replicate it when I did the front of the jumper. I failed to take into account that I have three small children who are intensely fascinated by my crochet stuff. That combined with their compulsion to liberally distribute my books and other belongings all over the living room resulted in a lost slip of paper with helpful notes on it.

Of course, I couldn’t remember what stitches or hook sizes I used on the skirt. Multiple test runs followed before I finally figured it out. For the love. Then came the waist decrease where helpful notes would have been really, y’know, helpful. Stitch three rows. Rip them out. Stitch three rows with a variation. Tear those out, too. I lost count of how many times I attempted that. In the end, it doesn’t exactly match the back piece, but it’s pretty close. At that point, I was willing to accept “pretty close.” Since then, I’ve been agonizing over the bodice. I think we’re going on three weeks now of that same ol’ song of Crochet half of it, then tear it out again. Swing your partner round and round.

Name that stitch.

I just want to be done. I thought I was almost done Sunday night. Then Monday morning, I laid out the front piece against the back piece and saw that I was, in fact, about to start completely over. {whimper} My grandpa teases my grandma, saying that she doesn’t use up yarn, she just wears it out. I told her that I must have inherited that gene. I hate this project now. Really loathe it. But I can’t stop because I’m bound by a promise to a sweet little girl.

Easter dresses are ready for Sunday

First up was Granota’s blue dress which I managed to crank out nearly all in one day. I constructed the entire thing and then let it hang overnight so the bias could stretch. Hemmed it and put in the zipper the next morning! The whole thing went together like a dream. Seriously, it was like an out of body experience where my spirit just watched my body sew that thing up without so much as one grab for the seam ripper. It was beautiful. It would stand to reason that, having made the pattern once, the second one would go together equally well.

Kinda magnificent, if I do say so myself.

Well, the second time was also like an out of body experience, only this time my spirit was helplessly shouting, “No! No! What are you doing?! Oh heck, you completely forgot a step! Good gravy, woman, haven’t you ever heard of a seam allowance? Ah man, not the seam ripper again!” while my body fumbled and muddled through the entire construction process. Instead of the streamlined one+ day to make the dress, it took me four days (three for sewing and one where I completely ignored it in hopes that my brain would come home to roost before I touched the dress again). It really was weird. The whole time I was screwing things up, I knew I was screwing things up. And yet, I was powerless to stop it. I may have a little more compassion when I’m watching Project Runway and the “good” designers turn out a total hack job. My explanation is that their body, like mine, was temporarily host to some kind of sewing-impaired Quasimodo. What else could it be?

It was a long, hard road, but we got there in the end.

These dresses gave me the opportunity to try some things out for the first time.

1) Sewing with brocade. I had never sewn with any kind of slippery fabric before, but this pattern was just calling out to be made in a brocade. (At some point I’ll eventually have to get up and go find the pattern to see what it is since the online catalogs are not listing it. But right now I’m comfy in my chair and don’t want to move.) This brocade is a rayon-poly blend, so it’s not the real deal silk stuff, which is completely ok with me. Knowing my girls and Easter Dresses Past, they are going to wear these things into the ground. No sense in shelling out the big bucks. I read up on important things to know about sewing with brocade and then decided I had better stop wimping out and just get to it. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was not nearly as finicky to work with as I had anticipated. I didn’t notice any extra slipping as I sewed. I was very careful about where I pinned so as not to leave marks. And, all my trials and tribulations with the pink dress proved that you can remove seams without damaging the fabric. You just have to be careful. Of course, it’s better if you were careful in the first place. Despite the mess-ups, which were no fault of the fabric, I really loved working with it. It’s so slinky and shiny and the colors are beautiful. I want to make everything out of brocade now.

I can't get over the color.

2) Using piping. I had never made a pattern that required the use of piping until this one, and even then, it was listed as “optional.” I opted in because I think it really completes the look. It was actually not hard to use at all. Just use a zipper foot when applying it. I loved the outcome so much that now I want to put piping on everything, too. It was actually cheaper than I thought it would be (under $2), so there may very well be more piping in my future.

Fun fact: Did you know that piping has a wrong and right side?

3) Mandarin collar. I wasn’t scared of doing this, but I was interested to see how it would come together. I really liked the process. Pretty simple and straightforward. The collar on the pink dress does not stand up in front as it should; I think I sewed it in too far. Even the blue one is a little turned out. But we’ll see how they look once there’s a neck inside them. It was fun to do, and adds another technique to my arsenal, but I don’t feel the need to put a Mandarin collar on everything.

Earlier, I mentioned hanging the blue dress overnight before I hemmed it. When a skirt is cut on the bias like this one is, letting it hang is a good practice, even if the pattern doesn’t outright tell you to do so. Fabric stretches most on the bias. If you hem it and then hang it, you’ll very likely end up with weird puckers as the fabric tried to stretch, but was prevented by the stitching. Better to just let it get that out of its system before you hem. And if you ever doubted the necessity of it, check out this picture where you can see how far past the pattern paper the skirt stretched.

Lo and behold, the skirt is a 1/2" longer than I cut it.

Convinced now? I promise, you’ll be happier in the long run if you curb your impatience to finish.

Good zipper application

Drunken monkey zipper application

One change I made to this pattern was eliminating the facings. I hate facings. They never lie down right once they’re done, making weird lines and lumps on the outside of the garment. So I lined the bodice with lightweight cotton instead (besides, it’s nice to have breathable fabric against your skin). To make the lining for the front bodice, I traced the outline of the two bodice pieces; I just used the back pattern piece as-is to make the back lining. I think the interior finish turns out much nicer with the lining. It encases the zipper edge and covers the waist seamline as well. Everything is nice and neat!

Lined bodice prior to being attached to the skirt

So there you have it, folks — completed Easter dresses. Not your typical Easter dress what with the Asian flair and all, but I thought it was a nice change of pace; we’ve been down the Puff Sleeve-Gathered Skirt road before. Next up, a little linen suit for my tiny man! I’m really hoping for another one of those sewing zen days like I had with the blue dress. Stay tuned!

Ok, so it's kind of a puff sleeve. But how cool is that piping?

Get used to disappointment

I love Cary Elwes (Except in “Twister” because his Southern accent was lousy and he was a bad guy). It’s ok; Mr. Gren knows. I especially love him when he’s being all suave and dashing. I mean, how could I not? His name is Welsh, he’s got those eyes, and that smirk, and that voice and… {sigh}. What was I talking about? Oh, right. And of course, “The Princess Bride” is the most quotable of all his films. Today I direct your attention to the famous sword fight scene with Inigo Montoya. Do I need to set it up for you? Really, shame on you. Go watch it. I always loved the dialogue when Inigo asks, “Who are you?” and Westley replies, “No one of consequence.” Inigo insists, “I must know!” only to be met with the flippant, “Get used to disappointment.” Inigo ponders this for a second and then gives an amiable shrug.

Cling! Clang!

I’ve come to the recent conclusion that I, too, must get used to disappointment. Not in dueling (because I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t even last long enough to be disappointed), but in crafting. I know you’re probably all sick of hearing about my power outage, but it really did something to me. A couple of days before we lost power, I noticed that I don’t have a stocking hat. I have a beret that I wear through the winter (which is October through about April here), but it doesn’t cover my ears. And some days that is a real necessity. So I began knitting myself a stocking hat with a leftover skein of Homespun yarn. The power went out and I huddled up next to the window with my knitting board and kept stitching. I didn’t finish it until after the power came back on several days later. I sure could have used it as we sat freezing in our 45 degree cabin. I also wouldn’t have been able to see.

It might be a bit big

The cuff is supposed to start about where the pink is, but if you look closely, you can tell that that’s where my nose is. I don’t see through my nose.

Cuffed all the way to the top of my head and it still threatens to fall over my eyes

It calls to mind the first stocking hat I knitted on my knitting board about a year ago this time. It’s not any better.

Warm? Yes. Wearable? No.

So technically, I possess two stocking hats, but apparently I knit for Goliath. Or Andre the Giant.

I put the hat away and tried a different knitting project — a scarf similar to the pine tree scarf I made a couple months ago. This time I wanted to make a heart scarf.

Looks nice, feels scratchy

This wasn’t my first choice of yarn. Turns out my instincts were correct: it just doesn’t feel nice at all. And nobody wants to wear a scratchy scarf, no matter how cute. So I pulled it off the needles and stuffed into my yarn bin and put away the knitting board. Time to try something else.

I began sewing an Easter bonnet for Granota. I know it’s early, but I thought, if it turns out nice, I can make a few more for my etsy store. It turned out… passable. She loves it, so I won’t tell her all the things that are wrong with it. Of course, I can’t make something for one girl and not make the identical item for the other girl. I started sewing Rana’s bonnet and called over Granota for a fitting since Rana was at school. It didn’t fit her. I tried it on Konik and it didn’t fit him, either. How do I use the same pattern and end up with such drastically different results? I had enough seam allowance that I was able to let it out enough to eventually fit Konik’s head. I wish I had pictures of his face when I would try it on him. Even at 2 years old, he knows that is a girl hat and he wanted no part of it. It was pretty funny. In the end, I turned out a sweet little bonnet that I can’t use for my children.

Modeled so nicely by my tailor's ham, which didn't put up a fuss

Come on, now, something has got to work out one of these times. Next project was to crochet little cuffs to sew on the bottom of Rana’s pants. Remember all those clothes I made her at the beginning of the school year? Yeah, she’s outgrown them. Her pants are too short and we have no money, so I thought I could use what I already have. I measured around the hem of her pants, then got out my crochet stitch book, chose a stitch and started crocheting up a nice little decorative cuff. I used crochet thread and a size B hook. I was pleased with how it turned out and got right to work on the second one.

There might be a size discrepancy here.

Same number of stitches and yet… So I started a third one. Three different times. Tightened my tension and it would still turn out too big. I can’t even begin to explain what is happening here. I thought I would have all this great stuff to show you after the little scare with my computer (which has been behaving itself of late, so we’ll see…) and I can’t properly finish anything. I’ve gone through the stages of confusion and frustration, so now I’m left with disappointment. But y’know, it’s so much easier to take when I imagine Cary Elwes telling me to get used to it. Anything for you, Cary.

Dreams vs. Reality

Sometimes things don’t go as planned. Sometimes things would go better if I paid more attention. One of my vintage patterns is a blouse that looks to be from the 1950s. I really like this pattern and have wanted to make it for a long time. I even bought linen for it last year and then never got around to it.

Why is green blouse lady flipping me off?

Part of the reason that I hadn’t done it is because this particular pattern is for a size 36″ bust and I needed to grade it down to 34″. I’ve only ever done this once before and, now that I think about, it didn’t go so well that time, either. I used the tutorial found on Sense & Sensibility Patterns. It’s a good tutorial; it makes sense; it’s easy enough to do. It’s still a time consuming process, though, so it took me most of an afternoon to complete the resizing.

Tracing the original pattern

In addition to grading down the bust size, I also had to lengthen the torso, which is a pretty standard alteration for me. I’m only 5’3″ and would rather have that extra length in my legs, but whattya gonna do? Once I had my new tissue paper patterns redrafted, I pinned them together and tried them on. This is the poor man’s lazy man’s version of a muslin. Everything seemed to work. The darts looked like they were going to hit in the right place, the arm hole wasn’t binding, the length was good. Good enough for me! Let’s get to the linen!

This is the view I'm making. Imagine white linen with black soutache braid. Slick!

The linen is slightly sheer, so I was being really careful with my seam finishes. I had sewn the front pieces to the back, but had not yet put in the facing (which becomes the lapel) or collar when I decided to try it on. Well… in my pattern grading fervor, I had neglected to take into account the waist measurement. Normally not a big deal on a blouse, but, as you can see from the pattern art, it’s most definitely a big deal for this blouse. Or a small deal, to put it more accurately. When I tried on what I had completed of the blouse, it was great until I tried to lap the fronts enough to see how it would look buttoned. No amount of sucking in was going to give the fabric enough slack to overlap comfortably. I’d be bursting buttons all over the place.

Of course, I was kicking myself for not considering the waist measurement (according to the pattern measurements, a 34″ bust is paired with a 28″ waist. My next project may need to be a corset) and for always being too impatient to make a muslin. Lesson learned!! Rana suggested that I just wear it as a vest. It’s a fair suggestion, but I really have no need/desire for a vest. I do, however, need blouses to wear (quick survey of my closet turns up… two: one that’s too short and one that I bought just after giving birth to my second baby). I think I have hit upon a solution, though. I have just enough — just the littlest bit of fabric left with which I can make gores for the sides of the blouse. I think it will end up giving it more of a peplum effect, but I can live with that. And then, should the planets ever align and my waist shrinks down to 28 inches (don’t laugh; just let me dream), I can remove the gores and sew the side seams back up.

So, with all that in mind, I hereby swear that, before my next sewing project, I will meekly go to the thrift store and buy a sheet for muslin-making.

The Woolen Rhombus

Shortly after my son, Konik, was born and still had that fresh newborn smell, I decided I would crochet him a pair of woolen diaper pants. They would serve partially for warmth on those cold autumn nights and, after being felted down, would also be a nice waterproof barrier to keep any potential diaper leaks from leaving the little guy with soggy jammies. Happy for an excuse to leave the house by myself, I went to the fabric store and perused the yarns. Lingered over the kitchen cotton. Caressed the bamboo blends… What was I here for? Oh right, wool. Oh, lovely wool, look at all the marvelous colors you come in! After several more minutes of visualization-through-osmosis (that means I have to touch it all), I finally selected Patons Classic Wool in the Harvest colorway.

Looking back on this decision, I can now see that it was heavily influenced by postpartum hormones. In my right mind, I avoid orange like the plague, I shun red, and I steer clear of lime. Oh, sure, there are times when each of those colors serves a purpose, but, in this case, they combined to exact a mischievous revenge. I blithely bought two skeins.

A year later, I’ve got an itch. An itch to try something new. I’ve been hearing about Tunisian crochet (it’s not just for afghans anymore, kids!); I saw a book in a catalog: Tunisian Crochet, by Sharon Hernes Silverman. I must have this book! No matter that the internet is probably littered with free patterns and instructions, the book is it. So I bought it. At this point, I didn’t have a single Tunisian crochet hook, but I still enjoyed flipping through my brand new book, admiring the patterns.

Christmas came and oh! what joy! One of my nephews sent me Tunisian crochet hooks! Once the flurry of the holidays was over, I set out to teach myself this new craft. Facing a move in June, I resolved to bust through as much of my yarn stash as possible. Rummaging through the bin (and the other bin, and the large bag, and the smaller bag, and that cloth bag), I found a full skein and a half of the soon-to-be infamous Harvest wool. Why not use this stuff up? This was going to be fun! Except… one and a half skeins of yarn doesn’t go very far. Well, there is a pattern in the book for a pillow; I suppose that will suffice. Except… I don’t really like that stitch, so how about… Ooh! This honeycomb stitch is pretty cool! So I Franken-patterned and got to work. A couple of rows in and I realized, as I looked around the living room, that the last thing this house needs is another pillow for the kids to throw on the floor. I’ll beat them to the punch and make it a rug! Pleased with this decision, I kept plugging away. Tunisian crochet is not quick.

75% of the way through its formation, we had a couple of trips to take, and my Harvest colored wool rug was set aside. And with it, everything that I had learned about the honeycomb stitch. My confidence in my abilities, however, was still intact. Pride, you are a wicked imp. When I finally picked up my, um, creation, I struggled through the last few rows. Try as I might, my brain could not wrap itself around the honeycomb stitch. A mighty battle between my perfectionist nature and my desire to Just Be Done With It ensued. Impatience was the victor, so I chose to ignore the badly formed rows and stitched and stitched and stitched until a mere six inches of yarn was left. Ha, Patons Harvest Wool! I have vanquished thee! But my celebration was cut short by the underwhelming appearance of the finished product:

It barely measures 20 inches “square” (as it were), which makes a rather paltry rug. Its dimensions are too odd to even sew together into a pillow, and it is pretty obvious where the stitch pattern took a turn for the worse. That portion also has the annoying tendency of rolling up like a scroll. Again, not a particularly rug-like characteristic. I have dubbed it The Woolen Rhombus and, while it didn’t turn out quite how I had envisioned (ok, nothing like what I had envisioned), it is useful: it stores one and a half skeins of Harvest wool until I have time to rip it out and make something else!!

You may be wondering whatever became of the wool diaper pants. After felting, the wool came together nice and tight and Konik got to wear them for all of about a week because they shrunk down to such a ridiculously small size; my daughters don’t even have any dolls for these to fit.

Those are one inch squares.

Harvest wool hates me.