Thursday, 20 November 2008

Crochet and feathers

I've always had an obsessive personality, and I have just acquired a new thing to be obsessed about: crochet.

Crochet! It's done wonders for my Internet addiction, except when I go on crazy crochet website surfing sprees and turn up millions of things I wish to make when I have honed my skills sufficiently.

Like this sushi roll scarf:
Found here.

And a crazy vintage hat:
Only one of many crazy hats from the year 1944, here.

And handwarmers!
Pattern here.

With the little crochet flower on the side, oh how adorable.

Apart from these mad orgies of wish fulfillment, however, my addiction to the Internet has sat down and shut up. Upon coming home, no longer do I rush to Gmail with a hopeful expression. Instead, I curl up in my armchair with a 4.5 mm hook and wrestle with loops of cotton yarn, looking hazily through the stitches at the future.

The future is glorious, and it looks like a scarf.

I started crocheting all of a week ago, when I went into a shop to buy yarns for a knitter friend and got distracted by all the pretty colours. The textures! The variety! The glorious things you were able to make with them, they said, ranging from sheep-shaped tea pot cozies to fancy-ass dresses! I bought a hook and a ball of yarn and a book --

It is a crappy book, by the way; don't buy it --

And came home and started to crochet. Since the explanations and diagrams in my book were not terribly helpful, I had to consult the Internet at a couple of points, but once I had cleared up the nature of the slip stitch everything was smooth sailing from there.

Well, not quite. With heedless enthusiasm I started on a double crochet (single crochet in American) scarf in strawberry and mint colours, but rapidly came a cropper for various reasons: I was using the wrong sort of yarn; I failed to do extra stitches to make up for it; not only was I using the wrong sort of yarn, I was using different wrong sorts of yarn ...

The long and short of it is, that scarf was not a success.

I look quite happy here (well actually I look like a blank-eyed alien, but never mind about that), but that is only because I was bravely biting down on my anguish. The reasons why the scarf did not work out are many and varied, but I won't bore you with the technical details. I moaned about them in detail to my sister, who said, "It doesn't have to be a scarf! Why don't you use it as an accessory? Like, you know, instead of wearing a necklace and earrings, you could wear your ... thing."

Zen: Right, that'll go down well. 'Hey, Zen, what's that you're wearing?' 'Oh, it's my, you know, it's my ... accessory.'
Sister: Yeah! It could be your trinklet.

So we have taken to calling it my trinklet. I have hung it up on my bedroom door: pretty, resembling coral in its charming curliness, but ultimately useless.

The projects I next wanted to go on to doing were a) a beret and b) handwarmers and c) something cute in the way of amigurumi ... but since I have only yet managed to produce a trinklet and not a scarf, I decided to start over again and do a Proper Scarf, a scarf one could actually wear and not look that odd in.

It is going reasonably well so far! Again I will restrain myself from expounding upon it in technical detail, but there will be pictures if it does eventually turn into a scarf. Wish me luck!

Just in case crochet chat is not your bag of Jelly Babies, I include an obligatory non-crochet related link.

This is a wealthy heiress circa 1911 (probably). Isn't she marvellous? She's just exactly what you'd expect an heiress to look like somehow.

We don't have heiresses anymore, do we? Not simply as a descriptor but as a job description, a definition of a particular identity. I guess if you dream of the Marxist utopia, as surely we must all do, you can't regret the loss, but what a shame people don't wear hats like that anymore.

Anyway, what I was meaning to say was: the Shorpy Photo Archive is a repository of supremely cool old photos, worth a look if you're interested in people and the past. I haven't found that much in the way of glamour so far except in the photo above, but check out the beauty pageant photos; they are absolutely hilarious.

- Zen

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