Tuesday, June 1, 2010

What's In My Crochet Bag - The Gifts of May Edition

May brings many things to rural Kentucky. Spring some years and summer some years. The end of school some years. Flowers and green and lawn mowing and backyard barbecues. I love May. I know that I sometimes prattle on endlessly about my love for random things, like months, but May is truly my favorite (I think) month. I love the weather (unless it's a hot May) and I love the look of May, before the droughts kill all the grass and while the magnolias and peonies bloom.

I also love the holidays in May. I have a lot. More than your average bear. Almost as many as September and December, but unlike those hectic months, the May holidays have a casual, calm, relaxing feel to them. Ah. May.

May brings (this only sounds like two, but hear me out) Mother's Day and my fabulous mommy's birthday. Mother's Day hits us on five fronts. Of course, my children, directed by my husband, do something for me. Then my mom, my grandmommie, The Husband's mom and stepmom. There's a lot of Mother's Day to fool with, is what I'm saying.

This year, I had great intentions of crocheting up a veritable storm for Mother's Day. I had patterns and yarn for gifts for everyone. No store bought nonsense this year!

Ha. Oh, what? I was serious with that? Well, um... I'm sorry.

I ended up buying something for my mom, making a gift for my mother in law and my grandma, and because we don't get to see The Husbands's stepmom much, we back-burnered her gift until after I finish my mom's birthday present. That's right, three day weekend and it's still not done.

Spa Day - This is the gift for my mother in law. I'm going to have to ask you to ignore that precious little chubby hand. I know it's compelling, but we have to focus on the crochet. That you can barely see, because I ran out of time and finished this in the car and so had to take the picture in the car. I am nothing if not punctual and well-planned.

Remember the basket? Well, I was so proud of that basket and one of the reasons why I was sooo jazzed about that basket was that I thought I could do anything with the basic structure of that pattern. This is me trying to do anything with the basic structure of that pattern. I am still working on writing out a pattern for the basket, but the basic premise is this: crochet in the round, turn an edge, alternate front post and rear post crochet in chunks to get the basket weave texture. It's not all that difficult, although because of being in the round, it's a wee bit mathy.

So, I thought, "Okay, I want the same basic basket, but bigger around. And I think I don't want a handle. I want a handleless basket. So, this shouldn't be a big deal." Well... it was. The final product worked, but it wasn't ideal.

First of all, I thought that yarn would be cute. It wasn't. Color sucked and the flecks that I thought made it look way more natural than the label said ended up making it look kinda messy.

Secondly, the size was too big and the bottom became floppy. I should have seen this coming. What I did was cut a circle of carboard and put inside the basket to make it stiff enough to carry and frankly, when it's sitting somewhere holding decorative crap, it won't matter so much.

Thirdly, although I have plenty of handleless baskets in my house that are obviously baskets, they are made out of baskety materials. Taking away the handle made this look more like a bowl, which then begs the question, "Why the ugly yarn?"

So, lessons learned. On the bright side, I did three "spa" washcloths and tucked in there and they turned out lovely. Although I'm pretty sure my mother-in-law thinks they are dishcloths. Really, that's fine because they'll work for whatever and she'll probably use the dishcloths more than she would a "spa" quality washcloth.

I also made a eye mask, but it was so terrible I didn't even try to salvage the yarn by ripping it out, I just tossed the whole thing in the trash. Then I ran to the store and bought a real eye mask and a bottle of amazing smelling bath soap and called it a day.

So, things I want to try to salvage this basket idea:
  • I've got to figure out a way to make them bigger without losing all shape in the bottom, so maybe two strands at once to make them thicker?
  • Handles - always use them. Maybe work on a couple of different ways to do handles for when I don't want a traditional "Easter basket" style handle.
  • Felting - I've never felted anything before, but I was thinking that if I could felt this, it would make it more solid. Ideas from felting experts on this? Would I lose too much shape? What about the basket-weave texture, would I lose that?
I'm not going to include details on anything. The basket pattern is still experimental and I started out with a pattern for the washcloths, but as I usually do with simple patterns like this, I only stuck to the very basics of it. The yarn of the basket was so freaking ugly I can't promote it and the yarn for the washcloths was basic Sugar and Cream cotton in some blue shades. There's just nothing fascinating here.



Mrs. Allroro said...

Does it make me sound inexperienced to say I love it? I love it. I love the basket, and if she wants to keep its shape, she can keep several rolled washcloths in it on the vanity. I am by no means an expert on felting, since I've never crocheted anything, but I work with a lady who's awfully crafty, and she made some slippers recently and loved them and said the whole process was absolutely lovely. (That was her answer, basically, when I asked her how her felted slippers had turned out.) And if you wanted to do handles on a basket like this, I think one small handle on each side would be cute and not Easter-y.

Jessi said...

Thanks Mrs. A. The truth is I know it's not horrible. That's why I went ahead and gave it to her. It's just not what I had in mind. I hate it when I'm disappointed by a project. I think you're right about the handles, too.