Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Reading While Crocheting

(And coming up for a breath of air before diving into the next project.)

What am I reading?

Daddy-Long-Legs, a classic of the early 20th century, written by Jean Webster and recently recommended to me by Ellen. I love this book -  it's funny, it's sweet, it's romantic and just a tiny bit sad, and it has a very happy ending. (I like happy endings, don't you?) Though written for a younger audience, Daddy-Long-Legs is full of great words like amiable and inimical and acquisitive and misanthrope. More importantly, it's a good story well told and well written. I raced through it the other morning (while crocheting) and liked it so much I'm actually reading it over again (while crocheting) before returning it to the library.

Here's a favourite quote from the book:
In the spring when everything is so beautiful and green and budding, I feel like turning my back on lessons, and running away to play with the weather. There are such lots of adventures out in the fields!
(Obviously a kindred spirit.) And another great quote:
It isn't the big troubles in life that require character. Anybody can rise to a crisis and face a crushing tragedy with courage, but to meet the petty hazards of the day with a laugh--I really think that requires spirit.
Which brings me to my second topic.

What am I crocheting? In the sketch it may look like a lacy slice of pizza, but in real life it's a shawl. I call it the Shawl from Hell Shawl That Requires Spirit (see quote above). Talk about petty hazards - I've frogged and re-stitched enough to have made this thing about 3 times over. I seem to have been crocheting it forever, though it's really only been about 10 days.

First the gauge wasn't right, then the pattern just wasn't jiving with the yarn. I told myself that blocking would heal all, but on the final round realised that it wasn't good enough. So I started over, re-designed the pattern, and made the whole thing again. And then re-designed the border. About 4 times. While stitching the last row of the border, I noticed a mistake in the very MIDDLE of the shawl. (Mrs. M clutches her head and groans.) Finished the border, took my courage (and scissors) in hand, and carefully snipped into the middle of my finished (ha!) project. Placed the stitches above the snip on holders, and frogged back to the beginning of the mistake. (Luckily it was only about 4 stitches wide.) Re-worked the section, threading the yarn back through the stitches above, and splicing in a new piece of yarn to join to the other cut end. Wove in the ends. Wove in the other ends. Folded it up and thanked Heaven for the grace to see it through. Now I just have to block it.

And after all this, I can't even show you a photo because the darn thing is for a magazine! This is one of the frustrations of selling patterns to magazines: the Big Reveal comes way too late. "Hey everybody, look what I made ... last year." Ba-dump-bump. :)

Dear me, I meant this to be a short and snappy post and here I am maundering on. (Ooh, good word - "maundering".) Don't mind me. I've got yarn on the brain.

Back to the table, where another project awaits. (That is a table, by the way, in my sketch - a round table - though it looks like a giant smile with objects floating above it. I just forgot to draw in the surface and the legs. The book is not floating, either - it's propped up against another book.)

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What are you reading? Or working on?

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  1. Well done for being so patient with your shawl pattern Sue, glad you got there in the end and how scary is the thought of snipping with scissors to correct your mistake! That takes one brave and experienced crocheter! I am reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, just started what promises to be hopefully be a good read xox Penny

  2. Oops forgot to say that l am crocheting a Christmas stocking for Alice and that I too like to read and crochet x

  3. Reading and crocheting? Multi-tasking, wow! Never even considered doing those two things at the same time. I am impressed, Sue. Linda @ Wetcreek Blog

  4. Oh dear Mrs Micawber, my husband now thinks I've gone totally mad! Here was I quietly and seriously reading about Daddy Longlegs, was really into the story, then came upon the 'Shawl from hell' and burst out laughing, and couldn't stop - now how do I get my good reputation back!!!
    I really feel for you with the frogging and re-working etc., I too have been having trouble with a cardigan I started and to cut a long story short have changed my pattern and made a total fresh start, but not so easy for you when you are producing your own pattern and work for a magazine. Well done for completing it to your satisfaction, and I'm sure it's beautiful! I really admire your work Sue, and enjoy your posts and your dry and quick sense of humour, please keep it up you brighten my day! Hugs, Joy xo

  5. You've made me laugh this morning. I hope your next project requires a little less spirit! I will track down the book, it sounds wonderful. Juliex

  6. I just love the book Daddy Long Legs and I'm not even sure I still have a copy of it. That can be rectified!
    Your shawl pattern really does sound like a Shawl from Hell. I think I might have cut it all up into little pieces!! However, your magazine may not have appreciated that.

  7. I read Daddy-Long-Legs many years ago and loved it. You have inspired me to take it off my bookshelf, dust it off, and reread it.

    Reading about your shall woes makes me feel just a bit better about having to rip out part of the sleeve on the Fair isle sweater I am knitting for my granddaughter. :-)

  8. Dear Mrs Micawber,

    Each time I land here on your online doorstep I feel as though I have arrived home! I can only imagine the frustration AND determination involved in designing a new pattern. And isn't it amazing just how hard we think we are applying ourselves and STILL a mistrake creeps in BANG in the middle of our work? That happens to me all the time.

    Warmest wishes from Tours,


  9. Sue you do make me smile, I really love your posts they cheer me up no end. I haven't read that book but now I may, I have made a note of the title, and how clever are you to be able to read and crochet at the same time! if I did that then there would certainly be mistakes and big one's at that. I can knit and read but only if it's straightforward knitting. How frustrating for you to have to pull it back and the cutting in the middle to rectify a mistake takes a very brave person indeed. I'm looking forward to the big reveal when it's allowed of course. I'm still making pompoms with a few preemie hats in between and I must start on my Christmas gifts, I have no time to read at the moment I'm afraid. :)

  10. Just put Daddy long legs onto my kindle it's free! :)

  11. Great sketch, and the book sounds good. I like children's books that aren't afraid to use a few big words. Glad you finally got to the end of the shawl. I shall wait patiently to see it!

  12. Currently reading boom (also a kids book, by Mark Haddon of Curious Incident fame) and crocheting the never ending blanket of doom. Will give daddy long legs a read on your recommendation.

  13. I just read Bertie Plays The Blues by Alexander McCall Smith :) Currently I'm fighting with a pattern for baby sweater, crocheting fingerless mittens ( dark yarn, slip stitch pattern:horror ), baking Polish style rye bread every other day, and getting ready to make fermented (!) gingerbread.

  14. Wait, what! You can cut into crochet to fix it! How, how, HOW do you do that? I made a bedjacket for mother in law and made 3 and half in reality. (And she never bl**dy wears it - "I'll keep it for best" - Really?) And this was after telling me she ReaLLy needed a new one, bah). That's 3 weeks of my life I'll never get back. I do love her, truly.
    Would you be kind enough to do a tutorial or explanation or even just photos, please, please.
    Susan x
    PS read Daddy Long Legs as a pre-teen and didn't quite get it, but will read again. Ahem, that makes it 40 years ago!!!!!
    PPS I had a Blanket of Doom, just like Not So Granny above. Life is too short for any more Doom projects, larf.

  15. Looking forward to your shawl! :)

    I love the creative process. How you start out with one idea, and then as you are creating, others form and the original idea is cast aside as the new one takes over. It's awesome.

    Are you hooking anything special for Christmas?

    Happy Thanksgiving Day! :)

  16. Aaaggghhh, that would drive me nutty, I didn't ever think you could fix a problem with a new piece of yarn, but as crochet is pretty stable unlike knitting, that is such a great idea. I've never read at the same time as crocheting, I've been tempted to invest in some audio books books though so I could listen. Its a while since I read a nice book, I must look it out at the library.

  17. Oh, how your shawl sounds like a project I've been fighting for a couple of months. (You keep asking what I'm doing with all that dyed yarn...) I unraveled four motifs today because I thought I'd used the wrong colors. Turned out the light was bad, and they were right the first time around.

    One day it will be done.

    Hope your shawl and other deadlines have happy endings!

  18. Good for you, staying with it and getting it done. I am sure that I could not manage to read and crochet at the same time. Even very simple crochet.
    I wonder if the old movie Daddy Long Legs is from that book? It does seem like a good book to read. Happy stitching . Or Happy Crocheting.


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