Monday, February 7, 2011

Ranting, housekeeping, and stitch patterns

Hey there everyone! As always, I seem to post in stops and starts, especially now that the busy semester has once again set in. Was anyone else on here hit by that crazy blizzard? I live in an apartment in Chicago and go to school in Chicago = SNOW DAY!!! Except it wasn't actually that awesome, because it totally screwed with my schedule.

But anyways, moving past my self-pity, I wanted to share something that has really lifted my heart. My blog has already passed 5000 views!!!!

Did you get that?


Thank you so much, dear readers, for validating this stingy stitcher's poor soul with your interest and lovely comments! I hope that I continue to prove interesting, because, come on, who doesn't love knowing that people take an interest in what you do? 

So first, really quick, I took some more pictures of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle hat I crocheted for my friend a while back (there's a mini-tute of how to make it via that link). She's camera-shy, and I've more or less moved past that phase that since photography is so vital in the online crafting community. :) So here we go, with the maker as the model!

See that in the background? That's my boyfriend's bunk bed/futon (yeah, you read that right), which he scored for $25!!! Can you believe that? The frame and the heavy, high-quality mattress! Though he didn't get the mattress for the top bunk. I love me some garage sale-hopping!

I love that the hat's nubby, thick, and warm. And there are earflaps! I want a hat like this, though probably not TMNT. I don't think I've ever watched a complete episode even, haha.

With that taken care of, I wanted to share a little something else with you. Maritza from California requested that I share the stitch pattern to my mother's Christmas shawl, which you all might remember...

Now, since I'm sure that the rest of you are just so riveted by my work that you were unable to summon the willpower to ask yourselves (hardy har har), I'm sharing it here! Read on to see it!

So a caveat before I begin. If there were one thing I would redo about this shawl it is this: I would finish off the yarn whenever I finish a "slope," or I would have started off at the tip, not the wide base.

This is because when you decrease, you end up at a point where you actually have to slip stitch up the side in order to start the next row, which creates bulk. It was sort of hidden because I single crocheted around the edge, but you can still tell it's there.

Now if I remembered correctly, I used some version of Bernat Baby Yarn and a G hook. My shawl was 14 repeats wide and 46 rows tall. I started decreasing on the 12th row. With each repeat being about 4" wide and 2" tall unstretched, the shawl ends up being about 4'8" wide and 3' tall unstretched, but with the pulling and weight when you actually use it, it can end up a bit bigger.

Quick schematic: I started from the wide part of the shawl and worked to the tip. The way I worked it, each repeat was a "valley." The "peaks" were formed when two repeats met, meaning I needed an even number of repeats to get the shawl to come to a point. If you would rather have each repeat be a "peak," you'll have to fiddle a bit with the pattern, but it's pretty easy to convert. Also, make sure then that you have an odd number of repeats. This also means that at the wide part of your shawl, the two corners will be sticking out, so take that thought into account.

Okay, so here's the pattern that I used (finally!).

(first ch 3 always counts as first dc)
Dc2tog over 5: Yo, insert hook in next st, yo, pull yarn through st (3 loops on hook). Yo, pull yarn through first two loops (2 loops on hook). Sk 3 sts. Yo, insert hook in next st, yo, pull yarn through st (4 loops on hook). Yo, pull yarn through first two loops (3 loops on hook). Yo, pull yarn through all loops.
Ch 281, or number of repeats times 20 + 1.

Row 1: Ch 3. 2 dc in 4th ch from hook. *Dc in each of next 7 sts. Dc2tog over 5. Dc in each of next 7 sts^. (Dc-ch 3-dc) in next st.** Rep from * to **, ending at ^ with one st remaining. 3 dc into last st.

Row 2: Ch 4 (first 3 count as first dc). Dc into first st. *Ch 1, skip 1 st, dc into next st**, rep from * to ** twice. Ch 1, sk 1 st, dc2tog over 5. Rep * to ** 4 times. (note: the last dc in this series of repeats should be in the 2nd ch of the ch-3 of the previous row) ^Ch 3. Dc into same ch as last dc. Rep from * to ** 3 times. Ch 1, sk 1 st, dc2tog over 5. Rep * to ** 4 times. Rep from ^ to end. Ch 1, dc into same st as last dc.

Row 3: Ch 3, 2 dc in first st. ^*1 dc in next ch-sp, 1 dc in next dc**, rep * to ** 2 times. 1 dc in next ch-sp, dc2tog over 5. Rep * to ** 3 times. ^2 dc in ch-3 sp, ch 3, 2 dc in same ch-3 sp. Dc in next dc. Rep * to ** 2 times. 1 dc in next ch-sp, dc2tog over 5. Rep * to ** 3 times. Rep from ^ to end. Dc in last ch-sp, 3 dc into last dc (ie. the 3rd ch of prev row's t-ch).

Phew! I know it looks beastly complicated, but I would recommend doing a quick "swatch" of this pattern with just 2 or 3 repeats. Once you get a handle on it, it really is so easy. After one or two rows, you won't even need instructions anymore!

As for the decreasing, I honestly have no way to explain to you except to say that you are removing a "block" of stitches from each side every row, and hopefully the pictures I have here will help you make sense of it. You can click on them to enlarge them. With a pattern like this that's so very "square," I think the whole decreasing thing is pretty intuitive.

Please comment or e-mail me if there are any problems with this pattern or if you have any more questions. If necessary, I can try making a video, since seeing it actually done will probably clarify much more than text can!

Thanks for reading, everyone, and thank you again for the huuuuuuuge pageview count! :) I'll be seeing you!


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