Dealing with setbacks

I’m still working on the crochet skirt. As I work on each vane, I have to bind off the different colors, which leads to balls of crochet thread left sitting on random horizontal surfaces. This is reasonably safe, as we currently have no felines in residence — except when it isn’t.

Last week a bottled drink was opened on a table with half a dozen such balls on it — and the bottle fizzed over, leaving the balls a tad sticky and in no condition to crochet with. I didn’t want to throw them out and replace them, so I knotted them into a pair of nylons (amazingly, I have some, although its been at least a year and a half since I’ve worn them) and put them in the washing machine, then through the dryer twice.

knotted nylons

After the nylons have been through the laundry.

Now, the downside of this is that cotton thread is wrapped on cardboard cores, and cardboard doesn’t do too well in the washing machine. When I took the nylons out, the balls were noticeably smaller than they’d been previously. When I took the balls out of the nylons, they had some interesting patterns from the way the thread had compressed.

Ball of crochet thread

Standard ball of crochet thread

Laundered ball of crochet thread

Laundered ball of crochet thread

Laundered ball of pink thread

I love the way the whorls of thread look on this.

My husband reminded me that we do have a stock of cardboard tubes around (I save toilet paper rolls for our daughter’s daycare to use in crafts. One of these months, I’ll even remember to take them in!), so I began re-rolling the thread onto the new tubes. Unfortunately, the balls are so thick that even two trips through the dryer hadn’t managed to get all the thread dry, so after I wound some of the thread onto each tube, I had to just pull the rest of the thread off the remains of the original cardboard and leave it piled up to dry.

Crochet thread, half on new tube

Orange crochet thread spread to dry

Crumpled cardboard tubes

Remains of the cardboard tubes from a few balls of the crochet thread

Now I’m in the final stage of this process, finishing the winding onto the new tubes — with lots and lots of untangling and unknotting along the way. In a week or so, I should be able to get back to the crocheting.

Skirting the issue

Yes, that weekly thing . . . didn’t quite work out, did it? No matter. I shall try again.

Today, I’m going to talk about the skirt I’m crocheting for my daughter. I saw a photo of a rainbow doily with a dual-spiral shape on Facebook, and in the comments for that photo, the person who had crocheted it pointed to the pattern on Ravelry she’d used (Fractal by Essi Varis). My daughter loves rainbow colors, and it occurred to me that if I just made the center circle bigger, I could turn the doily into a skirt.

It’s been a little more complicated than that, of course. I added a few extra rows to the central portion, to make certain it’s going to be long enough to cover her at its shortest proportions. Because it’s wider around, instead of doing two vanes, I’m doing ten (currently working on the third one, which should give you some idea how long this project’s going to take to finish). And, of course, I’m going to need to line the skirt when it gets done. The biggest complication is that the vane is crocheted in such a way that I’m working with all the colors simultaneously, binding off each as it grows in length.

Also — it’s going to be heavier than I was expecting. That’s a lot of crochet thread.

So now, to the pictures:

open-work crochet

I’ve posted this before — the start of the central portion of the skirt. The plan is to run ribbon through the pink at the top, making it somewhat adjustable in size.

close-up of color mistake in skirt

Sometimes I goof, as I did with the purples here. Once I realized I’d made the mistake with one color, it was easier to make it symmetric, with the other color swapping, too, than to take it out and fix it.

crocheted skirt panel

A complete vane for the skirt, running from barely there pink to rather long purple. There will be ten of these in the final skirt. (Also, you can see more clearly why the central portion needs to be lined.)

Have you ever taken on a project that turned out to be much bigger than you’d thought it would be?

Biting off more than I can chew

I like doing handcrafts. I started young, learning basic chain-stitch embroidery from my parents (almost the only stitch I remember how to do), then crocheting from my mom (mostly because my little brother was learning, and I couldn’t stand for him to know if I didn’t — same reason I finally started riding a bike without training wheels). Eventually, I added more — knitting, sewing, quilting, and my new experiment, tatting. Continue reading