Saturday, November 23, 2013

The 2014 Hello Doily Challenge Chronicles: Chapter Three

In the last Chapter of this on-going project, my homework was to:
  • decide which pattern I wanted to use.
  • collect enough comics and then spin them into paper yarn.
  • crochet it up.
I've been doing well with my self-imposed homework assignements: I decided to use the "Irish Rose" doily pattern by Dorothy Drake that is featured in the "Doilies in Color" book by Annie's Crochet.

Thanks to my Crochet group and my husband who have been collecting them for me, I've collected nine comics thus far, each consisting of three pages.  Of those I have already spun a total of 18 pages. I know I'm going to be needing more!

Spinning the comics: This has not been an easy task as I am still relatively inexperienced in the art of spinning, and with this being my first time to actually spin paper into "yarn" it has been an interesting learning experience.  Yes, it is true, I do demonstrations on how to crochet with unspun roving, but that is a different skill-set.  To say I have been feeling a bit like Rumpelstiltskin trying to spin gold is an understatement; dragon slaying might have been an easier job!{grins}  There were some spinning sessions that went smooth as honey, and others, well ... more like my homemade gravy (a bit lumpy).

... but, I pushed on ... slowly honing my spinning technique to the point where my paper "yarn" pops less (when it breaks it actually makes a "popping" noise!), and is more evenly spun.  I have even cut down on the amount of time it takes me to spin one set of comics: from four hours to about two and a half.  This time includes the cutting of the paper, and the time it takes to join all the pieces as I am spinning it.

Crocheted Newspaper/ Sunday Comics
About the tension:  Controlling, or rather, not controlling the stitch tension as much as I normally do has been an interesting lesson.  I've learned if I put too much tension on the comic yarn that it will break -- making that "popping" noise I mentioned just moments ago.  Since the paper yarn is stiff, I cannot just let the "yarn" be as I draft from the drop-spindle. If I let it roam, it will wrap and twist about itself causing a big mess.  And we can't have that!  LOL 

In actually creating the crochet stitches, no problem there.  Except for picot stitches.  Oh, those are a bear to create with stiff yarn!  OY!

So the project continues.  And as it does, I now ponder about how I am going to block the project once it is complete.  And about how I will display it... 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The 2014 Hello Doily Challenge Chronicles: Chapter Two

After looking at hundreds and hundreds of doily patterns, I am delighted to say I have found two contenders for the 2014 Hello Doily Challenge put out by my local Crochet Group -- both doilies are featured in the "Doilies in Color" book by Annie's Crochet.  The first doily pattern being the "Marigolds" pattern by Josie Rabier, and the second being the "Irish Rose" by Dorothy Drake.  I think both would look fantastic crocheted with paper yarn.  Actually, I think they'd both look a-may-zing crocheted with paper yarn spun from the color comics featured in the Sunday paper.  I just need to decide which one!

Unable to locate my drop spindle, I invested in a new one, procured from the recent Stitches East event that was held in Hartford, CT.  I purchased it from the booth, and the shop owner said she is looking forward to seeing the paper I plan on spinning with it.  ((I too, am looking forward to seeing the paper I spin from it! LOL)) 
"Acorn" drop spindle ready to go!

I did practice spinning regular newspaper a little (see my first chapter posting) and I noticed I was more comfortable spinning the make-shift drop spindle "clockwise."  This gave me an "S" twist.  Since I create the majority of my crochet stitches with the hook in my right hand, this simply won't do.  I will need to be careful to spin my "funny" paper counter-clockwise so that I get a "Z" twist, making the paper yarn a wee bit softer once I work it up.

My next step is to ensure I have enough raw material, in this case, the comics from the local newspaper.  Thankfully Mr Dee put up a "WANTED" sign at his work in hopes of helping me collect enough.  This still puts me well in line with the February 2014 deadline.

My homework:
  • decide between the two patterns which one I'd like to use.
  • collect enough comics and then spin them into paper yarn.
  • crochet it up.
Question: do we block completed paper projects?  And if so, how is that done?????  I'm going to have to research this too.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Hey, not sew bad!

I don't have a crafting room, so most of my crochet projects are created in the living room.  Last year for Christmas my son gifted to me one of those "C Tables" that can slide over sofa cushions; this has come in real handy for when working on crochet patterns ... my only problem has been my new habit of leaving my prized crochet hooks that I'm currently working with on the laptop.  Not a good idea - I could damage a hook -- or my laptop that way!

I was over at Twitter a few days back when Joanns Fabric posted a link to an "Oval Needle Holder."  I don't have a lot of sewing experience, so I thought this project would be a good way to help me improve my sewing skills so I could eventually give making a zipbag a try. I also thought this would be a great way to store my "while in use" crochet hooks.

First, let me state it took longer than the single hour the project called for.  One must add in the time it takes to collect all the needed materials, including driving to the store to get what isn't already in our stashes: I needed to buy the hoop and the Phoomph bonding paper. [[If you are a CGOA member, be sure to sign up for Joann's VIP program to save 10% off your purchases!]]  I had a quilter's fabric kit in my fabric stash that I had already used the "giraffe theme" panels from (no surprise there).  My problem with the remaining panels was the time investing in trying this panel with that, and that panel with this, until finally settling on this combination:

I think just doing that took well over an hour! And I think it increased my appreciation in what quilters go through!! 

The next step was cutting all the pieces and pressing/ironing them.  I was really happy I didn't burn myself with the iron.  :)

Like I said, I don't have a lot of sewing experience so I was pretty nervous about sewing a straight line...but I think I did OK.  Next was putting the project on the hoop and tightening it.  Then cutting the edges off ...

Am I concerned about cutting those edges off?  Yes.  Should something come undone I won't be able to put it back on the hoop.  If I make this again I think I'll use some sort of glue to help the fabric bond to the hoop.

My local Joanns didn't have the hoop size needed for the project, so I went with one slightly smaller.  But I think it still looks good!  :)

Ta-Da!!  Look how happy my crochet hooks are all nice and snug in their new holder!  If you're wondering what is in my "tiny pocket," (the pattern says it is for scissors) that's my pocket-sized Ott-lite -- it clips onto just about anything and is a life-saver in the event of a power outage!  So what do you think?  Not sew bad, right?