Vegetables, yarn, and yarns: all of my passions all in one place.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Crochet that Knit, or how not to get whites their whitest

My For the Flowergirl shawl (the Eliinas pattern) is off the needles, but like the veil, I won't be revealing what it looks like in full until after the wedding. Let me tell you, this little shawl is a trickster. The first repeats go by so quickly, with plain stockette and two patterned yarn overs every other row and a row of yarn overs every 14 rows at row 11.  I didn't have to even glance at the chart. The pattern called for 10 repeats, but as I only had 1 ball of yarn to use and the recipient is 6, I figured 6 repeats was plenty. Fortunately for me, I glanced ahead at the math involved. Turns out I needed multiples of 10 plus a few stitches for my new stitch count to work with the second chart, so it ended up a little shy of 6 repeats for the first chart.

Then the trouble began. Doing that last chart once took longer than going the first chart 6 times. Don't get me wrong. It was beautiful when all was said and done, but sheesh. I tinked and stumbled and stared at that chart like my life depended on it. If anyone so much as breathed funny, there was a chance I'd make a yarn over in error. I admit to yelling at the kids for banter that was totally normal and 100 percent allowable on any other day but complex lace-knitting day. Such is the life of the youthful offspring/relative of a knitter.

Yesterday was the bind off. It was a new one for me, called the crochet chain bind off. The directions were a bit vague, so I searched google for a more illustrated explanation. Soon, I was crocheting away. It involves crocheting a certain number of knit stitches off the needle (in my case, an alternation of 2 and 3) and then single crocheting the loop formed from crocheting the knit stitches together into the loop that is already on the crochet hook. Then chaining a certain number of stitches (in my case, 9) before crocheting together the next set of knit stitches. It looks like it will be very pretty once it's blocked, but the edge is very messy at the moment of bind off. It also took far longer than a what a normal bind off would take. By the time I held a finished shawl in my hands, it was already bedtime (10 pm).

However, I admit, it was a lot funner than a normal bind off, which I find tedious and awkward no matter how many times I've done it. Knitting needles just don't like to lift stitches and move them over other stitches. I like the idea of this style of bind off, because it takes advantage of what crochet does best. As a knitter who also crochets, I'm keen on mixing crochet and knitting, and one day, I plan on playing around with pattern ideas that do that (and maybe creating a few of my own). I may be ready to get going on this venture, as a matter of fact. While perusing for the crochet chain bind off instructions, I also found a suggestion for a crochet bind off that works like a normal bind off but replaces the left needle with a crochet hook. It's supposed to be stretchier that normal too. I may have just found my bind off method of choice.

In the meantime, the wedding approaches. The dress (originally purchased by my sister for a wedding she didn't have and thus not my size) came back from the seamstress taken in a bit on the sides and several inches in the hem, as she is tall and planned for heels and I am not tall and have already purchased my ballet flats. A new trouble awaited when I did the full try-on: dress, shoes, and veil. The veil, you see, is in a vintage white yarn I purchased before I knew that the dress was available. The dress is temple white. I was not overly concerned, as perfect matchy matchy has never been my likely state of dress (except for those sweaters with the matching scarfs, which I love). However, the off white  looked yellow against the dress white. Problem. I googled for answers and sampled with lemon juice and peroxide, neither of which did any good after the light dips I gave my test swatch.

It was the fiance who noted that the room we were in with the dress had yellow lighting. We brought the dress and veil out into natural light and I felt quite a bit better. The veil was still not the same white as the dress, but it no longer looked canary. I still have a few experiments to try out: bluing, laundry whitener treatment, and a non chlorine organic bleach (in other words, better peroxide), not to mention the fact that I have since found sites with better directions. Apparently, the yarn is supposed to soak overnight in the peroxide, not five minutes. I am hopeful, though not confident, that one of these options will work. If not, the veil will just have to be the off white it's always been. At least it won't look neon.

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