Projects of the Week: Yarn, a Blanket and Wood

Here is what I have been working on this week. I have been trying to make incremental progress on several things and really only got to two of them. I also was able to finish a couple of surprise side projects (read: things I had no plans to make but made anyway).

Hand Made Rune Progress

I got the wood rounds sanded and was looking at different ways to inscribe the rune symbols on them. I fond a chemical burning pen and gave that a shot but was not super stoked on the way it came out. Perhaps for larger projects it could be ok. The liquid comes out a sort of clear yellow then turns dark once you apply heat. However, for my purposes is kind of just looked like I drew on the wood round with a marker. I was considering using a soldering pen but read that this was mostly not advised. So I got a wood burning kit at Joann’s to try out and will play with that this upcoming week.

Pom Pom Hats

The Joann’s trip lead to a couple of impulse buys, the first were these pom poms. I have never in my live bought a pom pom. Nor do I have any recollection of being drawn to hats that have pom poms on them. But for some reason these were calling out to me and so they cam home with me. I found this Crochet Beanie Hat with Pom Pom pattern on and made hats for the girls. It’s my first go with pom poms so I will be interested to see how they hold up.

No Sew Throw

Impulse buy number two was the No Sew Throw. I have always wanted one of these and this fabric pattern is so up my ally. I adore moths so of course could not resist. The great thing about this blanket project is that it took me about 2 hours all told. While there is no sewing, there is cutting. You do have to cut the corners out then all the tabs before getting to the tying part. I also recommend doing a few knots at each end and alternating back and forth. You should also tug where you just knotted to flatten out the bunches. It was totally worth it, the two panels of fleece are super warm and I am looking forward to a winter of movies on the couch with this perfect blanket.

Gauge Practice

For those of you unfamiliar with gauge, it is the way you make sure that the project you are about to invest a good chunk of time will turn out the size you need it to turn out. The hook determines the length and the stitch size determines the height. People stitch in different ways, some more tightly, some more loosely, so checking gauge is the best way to make adjustments needed so your sweater or hat will fit when you are done. It is a very important piece of garment making and one that I continue to end up baffled by.

I am a member of the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA) and have enrolled in one of their masters classes. While I cannot discuss the specific content of the course I can say that I got quite stuck on the gauge example this week and this was one of my favorite stuck points. I had three different hooks and a pile of yarn and no idea if it was the hook or the stitch height I needed to adjust (turns out it was both). It was a great challenge, though I am admittedly glad it is a challenge that is behind me. For now.

And that was my week. I’m curious to see what others are working on as well!

Making of the Tapestry Crochet Major Arcana: Part 2

The Magician starts to take shape.

The color scheme has been blocked out to make it look a bit pixelated, making it easy for each square to become a stitch. There are a couple details that are troublesome to tapestry in so I plan to surface stitch or sew them in once the tapestry is complete. I took the original to a FedEx to scan and make copies for the actual making.

I have started adding in the stitch counts:

The counting started, I will finish the counting as I work the tapestry. Counting as I go helps me track rows and the little spots count out 10 square intervals.

Next step was to make sure I had all the yarn needed to make the whole piece.

I measured the starting weight and will measure the finished weight of each skein of yarn. This way I will be able to identify amounts when writing up the pattern notes. It may also come in handy if I ever want to make bobbins of the yarn amounts or just pull out the amount needed to replicate the tapestry.

Finally, the project needs a place to live between workings. I thought this would work nicely:

And we are ready to get started!

Next time: Foundation row and color changes.

Making of the Tapestry Crochet Major Arcana: Part 1

When I first re-kindled my interest in Tarot a little over a year ago, one of the things I was most drawn to was the art. The variety of styles, decks and systems is so expansive and there is always a new deck or theme coming out. I toyed with the idea of making my own deck at one point (and maybe I will, one day) though what I was really interested to explore was making tapestries of all the Major Arcana.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with tarot, here is a very brief and admittedly oversimplified overview of the practice. Using a deck of cards, each with an assigned meaning, one focuses energy into the deck and draws cards in an effort to get a hint as to what the Universe may have in store for you. In the Raider-Waite-Smith system (one of the most readily identifiable), decks are comprised of 4 suites, each with Ace through 10 (the Minor Arcana) and 21 cards representing major lie events or themes (the Major Arcana).

As an important side note, the artist of what is commonly known as the Raider-Waite tarot tradition was a woman of color named Pamela Coleman-Smith. You can read more about her here, and I highly recommend diving into her history. She is a fascinating historical figure and we should do all we can to keep her from being erased. To this end, I did look up the copy rights related to her deck prior to beginning my project and learned that I could use the cards as a model since the deck was published in 1909 and anything published prior to 1920 is considered public domain.

So, I got started by searching for images of the cards in the Major Arcana and started with the Fool, the first of the deck but actually numbered “0”. Here is my completed first version (I gave it to my dad for his 70th birthday).

I thought I would do a better job documenting the making of the Magician, the second Major Arcana card, numbered “1” and here it is 🙂

Next steps include tracing over the color sections so that each color is in a single square. That square will correspond with a single stitch. Then I will start the crochet process and add in the stitch counts per color per row. Hopefully that will make more sense as I show you the process!



Astrology Square Series

The trial, error, and final squares pile

My main focus for the past several months has been making afghan blocks that represent the position of the moon in each astrolocial sign. So, for example, the Full Moon in April was in Libra and the New Moon will be in Taurus. One of my favorite techniques has always been tapestry crochet and so that was the method I used to create this series.

Libra Square (Full Moon edition)

Tapestry crochet is a process of using two or more colors in one piece and you switch colors by completing the working stitch with the new color, then move to the next stitch. The yarn of the previous color(s) are worked over so they run through to the next spot where they are to be used.

As with most ideas, it took me a bit to work out the exact dimensions of the squares to make them consistent but I landed on 29 stitches across and 24 rows high with a single crochet border in two rounds. This creats and 11 by 11 inch square, depending, of course, upon yarn, hook, and tension. I like the idea of using scrap yarn for most things so this will obviously effect the overall gauge.

Practice Squares

Once I figured out the dimensions, I did decide to go with specific colors for this series rather then sticking with scrap yarn. I picked up some elemental colors to correspond with the astrological element and the main color for the square is either cream or black, depending upon the moon phase. I lean towards favoring darker or more muted colors so may have to adjust the brown (earth) and blue (water) for the New Moon squares.

The project basket

Once I have a years worth of moon phases, I plan to join them together to create a blanket representing the moon phases of 2022. I am excited to see how it turns out!