Friday, December 15, 2006

A gift for the furballs

Today I bring you a pet blanket:

I initially made this for my dog, but for some reason or other it ended up on the couch under my cats instead. They seem to like it.

My main reason for making it wasn't any great desire to give my pets something to lie on. I had just bought a whole bunch of yarn for an afghan project and then decided almost instantly that I hated said yarn and would hate to crochet a whole afghan out of it. It was my desire to use up the yarn that inspired me to make this.

Here's an extreme closeup:

Don't mind the occasional hair that's visible in the pic. I didn't clean the blanket before snapping the pics. This is actually the clean side.

I used no pattern to make this. I just made a chain until I liked the length, and then crocheted on it until I liked the width. I wasn't sure which stitch I wanted to use, so I used all three. I just did a row of single crochet, a row of half double crochet, and a row of double crochet and then repeated. I like the effect.

Because I was making this thing in an effort to use up yarn I hated I decided to crochet with two strands of yarn in order to maximize the yarn usage. It worked pretty well and I ended up with a nice, thick, cushy blanket, in spite of the scratchiness of the original yarn.

The edging is some reddish fun fur that I had lying around that actually amazingly matches the yarn. I like it. Though the yarn the actual blanket is made from is washable, the edging is not. Guess how I found this out?

Yep. When I did finally get around to washing the blanket the edging felted together. I really don't care. It still looks ok (though much different), and even if it didn't it's just a blanket for my cats to shed on anyway. No harm done.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A place to rest your weary head...

...if you don't mind a few divots in your face.

Introducing the first and only pillow I've ever made. I plan to make more in the future, but that's just one in a long list of projects on my shadowy "to do someday" list. I have no definite plans.

I made the pillow for my mom. She picked the color to match the decor in the living room. I'm not a big fan of how the stripes came out on the pillow (and I don't think she is either), but it's ok. Mom's too nice to try to hide her new pillow even though it doesn't look as good as we'd hoped; it sits out in a prominent position on the couch.

I used what my pattern book called a popcorn stitch, though I've also seen it referred to as a bobble stitch. I've noticed that no two pattern books seem to agree on what constitutes a bobble and what constitutes a popcorn.

I do think it's interesting that it came out in fairly clear vertical stripes, considering that I crocheted it horizontally. Check how it came out all plaid on the back:

It would have been cool to skip all that silly popcorn on the front and just go straight to the rockin' plaid on the back. The big thing I like about stripy yarn is seeing how the pattern will come out in your project.

The pillow cover came out a little small, so I had to tie the middle button to the button hole to keep it looking nice.

You can't tell from the above picture, but I ran out of yarn partway through. I'd bought the amount that my pattern said I needed to complete the project, but the pattern lied. Mostly the pillow looks fine even though I had to use a ball of yarn from a different yarn lot to finish, but the brown is slightly lighter with the new yarn ball. You can tell below:

Overall I'm proud of my pillow, even though I don't love the color scheme on the front. It's also the first project I've ever blocked. That was an irritating experience because I couldn't figure out how to make my iron steam satisfactorily.

Thinking back on my experience pinning down the pieces of this pillow and arguing with my iron always reminds me of the movie Memoirs of a Geisha. There aren't any similarities at all, it's just that my brother and I had gone to see it earlier that day. As you might imagine, the mental link I have between my pillow and that movie irritates me deeply. Read the book instead. The movie blows.

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