Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Comfortghan Squares
As most of you know, Crochet Partners is a huge on-line group of crocheters from around the world. Every once in a while, we find out about a member who has had a tragic event occur in their lives, so we have a small group of ladies (at this time, no men are doing this) who assemble comfortghans that we can send to them when they need a hug. Different p
eople assemble different sizes of squares, so no matter what pattern you have or want to try out, there is someone who is working with that size. You can find out more about the Comfortghan Project here -
There are some challenges for the assemblers because everyone's gauge is different. For example, my square calls for using an I hook, and the one you are crocheting is using a G or H. Ok! Obviously, you will have more stitches on your final round than I do. I have found an assembly method that will take that into consideration and make a nice join.
The real challenge is when we receive a square that is not the proper size. I think one of the problems may be that people don't know how to measure a square and what to do when it's not quite the right size. So, I'm going to pass on some hints that I've learned over the years.
First: Measuring. Lay your square on a hard flat surface,
desk, tv tray, coffee table, etc. Use a hard ruler, wood, metal, or plastic. No measuring tape! Measure across the middle of the square from both directions. If the measurement is correct, e.g, 8", then finish off, tie in your ends, and mail it to me. But, let's say it is not quite up to the size, then it needs to be enlarged.
Second: To increase the size of any square, rows can be added after the final round of the pattern. If you need 1 more inch, do a row of hdc (half double crochet) around, then measure again. If that is too much, then try a row of sc. Most of the tim
e I have found that if I need 1/2" I use sc, 1" hdc, 1 1/2", dc. They will not ever be perfect, but when they are being combined with squares made by 30 other people, the closer to correct size, the better. Anything with a variance of more than 1/4" needs to be adjusted, and if I have to do the adjusting, then it's not just your square anymore.
If your square is only 7", mail it to the person who is using 7" squares. We all need squares! I'm just more vocal than some of the other assemblers.

Third: Finishing. I find it much easier to assemble the squares when there is a ch2 in each corner. That way the corner on every square is clearly defined and there is no guessing on my part where the corner is. I learned many years ago, that when weaving in loose ends, to work them back into the fabric away from the edges. It makes for a neater edge, and since the center of the fabric gets less wear, it is less likely that an end will work its way undone. Thanks Mom, for that bit of advice.
Fourth: Thank you, thank you, thank you to each of you wonderful crocheters who share your talent and love with those who need it. Without you, there would be no Comfortghan Project.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Blocking Doilies
At last! I think I have a good method of blocking my doilies. As you know if you have ever done this, what to use as a blocking board, how to get it dry in a reasonable amount of time, and where to put it while it dries are the age old problems. Then the next time you're ready to block, the perfect piece of cardboard has disappeared or been used as a backdrop for a school project. Ok!

With the suggestion from one of my Crochet Partners, I ordered those soft tiles that you snap together. They are 12" x 12", so I ordered nine for less than $25 from
. I figured that was big enough for anything I was going to block. They can be configured any way you need them, 3x3, 2x4, or just use one for a small doily. I am storing them in one of those zippered bags that a set of sheets came in. Voila! The blocking board problem is solved.
I usually hand was my doilies unless I'm doing all of them at once, then I put them in a lingerie bag and throw them in the washer with a load of clothes. I put them in a zip lock type bag with my liquid starch and let them set for a while to really soak up that starch. I squeeze out as much excess starch as possible, but they are still really soggy! So, needing to get one dry in a very short amount of time, I threw it in the dryer for about 5 or 10 minutes. Wonderful, still wet enough to block but not so wet it will take a week to dry. With the help of a fan, I dried a 28" doily in about 6 hours. To pin the project, I like to use the stainless steel T-pins. I got mine at Walmart a long time ago. Hope they still have them because I need more. If I don't have enough of them, I use stainless steel quilt pins with the little ball on top. I find the t-pins are the easiest to use. Your fingers can get really sore after putting dozens of pins in a doily. Not so much with the t-pins. By the way, I still use wax paper under my doily so it doesn't stick to the tiles.
Now it's blocked and just needs time to dry. What to do with it? Need to eat on the table, don't want a cat laying in the middle of it. These tiles are snapped together good enough to move the whole project. This morning, I took mine outside and leaned it up against a wall on a small table. How great is that? Drying in the fresh air, not in my way. Hooray!
I hope these tips help you out, and if you have any more, please share.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Hooray! and I'm sorry
The deadline for turning in the entries for the Alameda County Fair is today. As you probably know, i wanted to enter the Tropical Mist Doily in this fair, but I was having lots of problems with the pattern. If I would just learn to read, patterns would be so much easier! I was reading tc cl, when it really said tc cl shell. Hmmm, no wonder I didn't have ch 3 where I needed it on the next row. I was on a marathon crocheting on Thur and Fri and finished the doily last nite about midnight. The last half hour I was trying not panic as it looked like I might run out of thread. I maybe have 3 yds left on the spool. That's cutting it a little close.Finished the blocking about 1 a.m. Turned the fan on it, and went to bed praying it would be dry by morning. It was and is absolutely gorgeous. Peter and I just got back from dropping off our entries and I am absolutely exhausted.
Now for my apology. I was bad mouthing the pattern because I thought there were mistakes in the way it was written. So, Ms Hiddleson, I am so sorry that I complained about this pattern. It was all my own fault for trying to hurry and not reading the instructions thoroughly.
And a huge Thank You to all who tried to help.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Frustration! Frustration! Frustration!
Can you tell that I am frustrated? The delivery for the Alameda County Fair is this weekend, fair starts 7/1. Well, I have been working on a doily called Tropical Mist by Hiddleson that I purchased from E-Pattern Central. Got to row 23 and my count is off. Now, you have to understand I count every stitch, but apparently didn't do such a good job counting loops. I have had a real hard time with this pattern almost from the the first stitch. It is telling me to use ch 3 loops when no ch 3 loops were made in the previous row, etc. So I adjusted the pattern to what I thought was a good plan. Wrong!
Tried to find some quick help (deadline looming) from CP and Ravelry. Out of time.
So, I started another doily called Pink Palette (my thread color is linen) from an old issue of Magic Crochet. I am on the next to last row when I see a serious mistake about 7 rows back. Rip it! Rip it! When I get to the boo-boo, my count is wrong. What is wrong with me? I continue to rip for another couple of rows but still can't find the error that is causing this problem.
This is not going to make my deadline, so I just frogged the whole thing! My granddaughter almost fainted when she walked into the den to see it all back in a ball.
Ok, so I can't seem to crochet. But I have made my bread and butter slices and tomato preserves for the fair. Look good. Sure hope they do well this year. I have won 2nd for the pickles but have never entered the preserves before.
Since it is about a month before I need the stuff for the San Mateo County Fair, I am going to try the Tropical Mist doily again. In fact, did the first 11 rows last night.
Wish me luck on completing it in time.