The curse of the macrame cord

Morning all, have been busy lately trying to figure out my head from my tail. It’s all part and parcel of being human I guess. I have had 1 hot coffee since the weather turned warm, otherwise, I have been sticking with the cold icy caffeinated goodness.

In one of those rummage sale sorting sprees, I found a skein of macrame cord from the 80’s. It’s cute, but I don’t macrame, and have no desire to start the hobby/obsession etc… So, I hunted through the tools I have. I found some equally vintage knitting needles, and knit and crocheted up a hot pad.

My hands throbbed afterwards. Holy crap. So, I took a day off, and then grabbed that crochet hook again. I now have a coaster all out of slip stitch crochet. I took a few hours off, and now I am working on another pot holder. I swear, if I had known that that skein would last this long, I would have just made a basket.

The good news, the yarn melts a little with a torch. We learned from a past project that acrylic style yarns will melt together, and become indestructible. I have one that you could possibly shatter, but it still protects the counter. Now, I’m not talking about putting something that is a thousand degrees on there. No. I’m talking about a landing spot for something out of the microwave, or something out of the oven. I rarely cook above 350 degrees for anything.

That said, I better get back to work, for some reason, my Bezos cart has an icord maker in it now. Guess what size the macrame cord was? You guessed it, the same size as an icord. Sighs.

This may be addictive.

Hugs my friends. Blessings upon you and yours. -L


Restoring an afghan

Morning all, Duke’s outside, waiting for the birds and the squirrels to wake up, perhaps a rabbit or two. The Hubsy is in the dining room, and I’m freshly showered, sprayed and powdered.

I’ve been working on restoring an afghan for a few weeks. It came with seriously frayed edges, and the woven in ends have come loose. The problem? I have to hand sew each of those ends back in.

The afghan is done in Tunisian crochet, with many many multiple colors. It’s got squares done less than an inch in size of each color. The woman who made it was a genius, and used a corner to corner technique probably over 25 years ago. The yarn is that old.

The colors are no longer available, even though the company that created the yarn is still around. So, I had to do quite a bit of consultation with the family. I first got permission to replace the areas that are missing with modern yarn, and with modern colors. That was easy to do, and now, I’m using sewing thread to reinforced the joins, and stitch in the loose ends.

It’s taking quite awhile, but this is an heirloom afghan. Sadly, even if I raided thrift stores for completed afghans, there is no guarantee to match the original colors, yarns or such. Basically, this is a salvage job.

With each stitch, I’m trying to be mindful of the work done before me, by a stitcher who has been long since gone. I wonder what she was thinking, what was happening in her life, and how long she did the work for each day. This afghan, even at my top speed, would have taken me 2 or 3 months to work.

I wish I could do this work justice, but my simple stitching just isn’t up to the level that this stitcher did. My main goal is to preserve, and to do no harm.

Hope you are well, take care. I better get back to work. -L

A good day and Holy Crap

Hello all, Hope you are well.

Yesterday I spent the early part of the day out cold. I didn’t make it to bed until about 3, and slept until 11. Even though I was tuckered, I just couldn’t sleep. It’s a ‘well, that sucks’ situation. However, I got busy. And, Holy Crap….

One of my friends stopped by. He and his bride are moving, and I’m inheriting a few things that they aren’t bringing along. I also got to do some restoration work on two afghans. That’s the Holy Crap part.

First, a center start corner to corner style afghan done in Tunisian crochet. It’s magnificent. What originally was going to be a re-weaving in of ends turned into heart break. The edging looks like it had been caught in a recliner. I don’t have the yarn in the stash to re-work the edging. I’m going to wait until I talk to the owner, and ask. I may have to re-work the edging, get replacement yarn, and do the whole thing. If she is willing to let me come close, I can patch in with similar yarn, but two rows of the edging were affected.

The next thing, a hole in the middle of an afghan. I came close with the yarn, and recreated the stitches that were affected. I wove in ends and hope that she is satisfied.

Okay, just got off the phone with the owner of the afghans. I was pretty scared. She understands that Red Heart has changed quite a bit over the years, so, I will proceed with the restoration work. This one is different in that I’m going to write down the pattern as I restore the afghan. I want to duplicate it in modern yarns if I can.

That said, I’ve got to head to the store, and pick up the closest yarn I can and some fray check. I want to run some tests on the original yarn, which I have fragments of, and the modern redheart. Then get back to work.

Please, take care my friends. Hugs from Minnesota. -L

Pet sweaters

Morning all, It seeems that winter will never end, and that there just isn’t enough coffee to go around these days. Have hope, please, it’s 50 days until Spring.

Bernat’s Yarnspirations baby blanket yarn isn’t worth the cost of the yarn. It’s basically crap yarn. However, there is one thing it is useful for. That’s critter sweaters. With the right hook, you can make one in an evening for a smaller critter and it turns out warm enough to survive the coldest wind for long enough for a potty break.

For a crochet project, it’s a simple one. I used a 9 mm hook. I measured the critter in question, a young pooch named Sophie, or rather her parents did. You need the measurement around the thickest part of the chest, the circumference of the head, and the length between the collar and the top of the shoulders.

You will need one of those plastic needles for weaving in ends, and a nippers. I ended up cutting the yarn probably 4 times. Chain 1 or 2 stitches longer than that length of the circumference of the chest. For Sophie, this was 28 stitches. Single crochet the length up the critter, from hip to the shoulder, which was 11 inches.

I then did the crochet equivalent of short rows. I chained 2 and turned, and did 4 rows of single crochet. I cut the yarn, and then began 2 stitches from the flap on where I left off at the barrel shape I started with. I left 2 stitches at either side blank, and did 4 rows. I then turned the work, chained 2, single crocheted across, and then chained 2, joining with a slip stitch.

It was at this point that I began the decreases for the shoulders down to the neck. I would decrease at least 2 or 3 stitches acrossed the back and then 2 stitches across the chest area. I probably kept this up for 6 rows. I made sure that the ending row was an even number of stitches.

For the sleeves, I picked up stitches for the arms, and did about 4 rows for each sleeve. Be careful here, if the critter has longer claws, you will want a looser sleeve than a narrower sleeve.

Now we go to finish the bottom of the sweater. Acrossed the back, I picked up the same number of stitches as there were across the back between the sleeves at the top. Every row, I decreased evenly, making a crescent shape down to where the base of the tail begins.

Now, I weave in the ends, very carefully.

Washing and care instructions. I’d hand wash these in a mild soap. This yarn is such crap, that it’s not worth ruining your washer or dryer over. Leave flat to dry. This yarn will shed worse than the critter if washed normally.

That said, it does produce lovely results for a critter. Here is the link to Sophie wearing her new sweater. Sophie’s warmest sweater

Take care my friends. Hugs, -L

The giant tote of books, under the bed.

Morning, hope your coffee is at the perfect temp, and the day goes smoothly for you.

I am slowly converting the book shelves over into yarn and fabric storage. This is an interesting task. I found my old ipad mini 4, which hasn’t worked in quite awhile. The good news, is that the case from it fits my new samsung tablet almost perfectly. I can’t complain, it’s 20 dollars in my pocket I don’t have to spend on a newer case.

The tote I was using for most of the yarn is the largest that Sprally world sold at the time. I ended up throwing all of the books from one shelving unit in it, swapping out the yarn and fabric for the books. I still have more yarn and fabric, and many many more books to swap out. I’m going to have to do the same with the other totes, in order to make it work right. One shelf is reserved for notebooks yet, but those are project notebooks anyway.

Sadly, dead trees take up a lot of room, but I don’t have enough room for yarn in the tote system I have. I can’t access the fabrics I want to use either, so it’s going to have to be a swap out. Yes, I will miss my books, but I have hundred of books on kindle and audio book. We aren’t even talking about the books I have for knitting and crochet or sewing.Those still have room on the shelves on my desk.

Most of the books getting moved are old recovery books that I have long since replaced on my kingle app. Yes, I know, J.B. over at Amazon is evil. I don’t care. My tablet is much lighter than a physical book, and it works great for my hands.

I like having my books available on my phone at all times as well. Meanwhile, I’m going to have to keep working at it. I have 3 shelves to fill with fabric and yarn as well as tool storage to arrange. I guess this means that I am getting serious about the fiber arts, doesn’t it.

I suppose I best get back to work. Have a great day. Hugs. -L