It seems I've been absent from this space for a while. I promise you there are plenty of other areas in my life in which I'm fully engaged at the moment. Sadly, they're taking their toll on the blogging. There's the preparation for qualifying exams (I'm a ways out still, but people in my division typically take a year or a bit more to read and study); there's the photography; there's the maintaining personal relationships (barely); there's been wedding planning... I've got a little bit too much on my plate at the moment, but honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm most productive when I'm insanely busy. So let's just look past this for a moment and get on with this post, which will be the first of a couple of topically oriented catch-up posts. First up: crochet.
In my last post I'd mentioned that I'd joined this swap of crocheted pot holders and hot pads. I taught myself to crochet right after I graduated from college and was looking for my first grown-up job in Madison, WI (otherwise known as spending a lot of time on the couch). Well, the grown-up job never really happened (although I did spend the year working at a great bookstore, made a ton of friends, and had a total blast) and my relationship failed in the most spectacularly depressing fashion, so needless to say I associated crochet with a pretty bad time in my life. After a few years off and a little bit of inspiration I was ready to pick the hook up again. Seriously, check out at least that first link, because Maryse's work is gorgeous and she's planning on writing up the pattern for those pot holders (see her blog post on them here).
I tried a few different things and ultimately settled on this pattern. I posted about my initial prototype last time:
This potholder (or topflappen, if you prefer) was my initial attempt at translating this pattern from German. Honestly, since it's not my pattern I don't feel right about posting my translation, but I did write about the tools anyone could use (regardless of their German language abilities) to work this up on their own in my last post.
The prototype makes a great dishcloth, but to really function as a pot holder it needed a little help. There are some pretty sizeable holes in there, and I don't want to send anyone a hazardous pot holder! The pot holders I sent off for the swap were crocheted with Knitpicks Wool of the Andes (100% light worsted weight wool) on an E hook, which tightened up the holes somewhat, but not enough so that I'd feel comfortable putting the pot holder between my fingers and a hot pan. They needed backing, so I made some simple circles of double-crochet (and stupidly did not take any pictures of these before I sent them off). I also made some changes to the topflappen pattern to make it more amenable to having a liner/back. In my final version everything that is pink in the prototype AND the outermost orange scallops are in one color. Then I made the liner big enough in diameter so that it stretched straight across the front piece, minus the outermost round of scallops. Then I attached the back (crocheted in a contrast color) by slip-stitching around the edge of the front piece, joining the back at the point between each scallop, and slip-stitched in to the center. I realize this is a profoundly confusing write-up, and having a couple nice visuals would help immensely:
Clear? I hope that helps at least a little bit.
In the end I managed to crank out five of these sucks in a pretty short period of time and sent them off just in the nick of time.
I'm so pleased with those color combinations! It was especially hard to let go of the turquoise-brown one. I may have to recreate that one some time, but I think I'm a little burned out on crocheted pot holders for the time being. Word on the street is that the pot holders will be going out in the mail tomorrow, so hopefully by the end of this week I'll get five little surprises!
Next up in the catch-up marathon: knitting!