Crochet Afghan – Easy Butterfly Stitch

You need:

  • 31 oz. worsted weight yarn.
  • Crochet hook J (6mm)

Instructions:

  • Ch. 167
  • Row 1: Dc in 4th ch from hook and next 3 ch *ch 2, skip next 2 ch, sc in next ch, ch 2, skip next 2 ch, dc in next 5 ch; rep from * across; turn.
  • Row 2: Ch 3, skip first dc, dc in next 4 dc, *ch 3, sl st in sc, ch 3, dc in next 5 dc; rep from * across, working last dc in top of ch-3; turn.
  • Row 3: Ch 1, sc in first 5 dc, * ch 5, sc in next 5 dc; rep from * across, working last sc in top of ch-3; turn.
  • Row 4: Ch 3, skip first sc, dc in next 4 sc, * ch 2, sc in ch-5 sp, ch 2, dc in next 5 sc; rep from * across; turn.
  • Repeat from row 2 until desired length is reached. Add fringe if you’re that kind of person.
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I’m not a good decorator of anything.

I’m trying to get inspired to decorate… something. Maybe this will help.

These are a few of my favorite things…

  • Stork scissors.
  • Natural fabric; linen, wool.
  • Earthy colors.
  • Monochrome; gray-scale.
  • Victorian inspired; lace.
  • Things that are simple.
  • Gothic, without being sad.
  • Pretty; feminine.
  • Classically beautiful shoes.
  •  Fleur de Lis; elegant swirls.
  • Damask; jacquards.
  • Silver; gold; metallic, yet antiquated.
  • Dark wood.
  • Roses; cherry blossoms.

Jogging Thoughts: X-Men Discontinuities

I’d rather be in bed, but I slough my tubby self to the treadmill. It starts with a slow walk and the wish of chocolate frozen yogurt in my hands. The slow walk turns into a slow jog. My body feels as if my bones are being smashed into a concrete slab. My willpower drains… then something magical happens. My feet find a rhythmic beat. My breathing slows to easy. My body relaxes into blissful comfort. Until I start thinking about how much working out sucks. But I push my pessimistic personality aside and leave room for the important thoughts of life to enter. Thoughts such as:

  • Since when are Wolverine and Sabretooth brothers? Apparently since Wolverine’s movie.
  • And in ‘Wolverine’ – Silver Fox doesn’t regenerate? She affects people’s thoughts by touching them?
  • Her sister is a young Emma Frost, even though she’s an adult in ‘First Class’?
  • Mystique is really young in ‘First Class’? I thought the comics hinted that she was over 100?
  • Tempest is in ‘First Class’?
  • Darwin is in ‘First Class’? And dies?
  • Professor X walks in ‘Wolverine’ but is paralyzed in ‘First Class’?
  • Wade Wilson is super awesome with swords in ‘Wolverine’ and doesn’t have cancer?
  • So many questions about the Dark Phoenix saga in the movie…
  • Bradley the technopath… huh? Why are so many people dying/different roles/from different backgrounds?
  • Are the movies some sort of parallel universe?
  • Stryker isn’t a grief stricken preacher?
  • Maverick is Asian?
  • Victor kills everybody?
  • Prof. X and Mystique grew up together?
My brain can’t handle it!
Also, a while ago – I read a Marvel comic called “Marvel Divas”. I’ll just let you chew over that one, but – I did enjoy it for various reasons. It makes sense that radiation superpowers would give you breast cancer. And that your ex-husband, the devil’s son, would give you some relationship problems.

Something About Passion, Creativity & Purpose in Life

Peek into the brain of a forensic anthropologist… gone designer… something…

Even if you know me, you may not know about the driving force behind most of my actions. Throughout my life, I have had one obsession, pushing me through my actions and consequences. My obsession is death. It’s pushed me to pursue forensic anthropology, and in the same vein, the theater. I’ve become passionate about costume and fashion design. The two have a lot in common actually. Death is a beautiful design. There’s no reason for our evolution towards a peaceful death – but it is there. It is a gradual process which can take months to complete. Our bodies are wired to make the transition pleasant. Or even in unnatural death – there’s a fascinating, grotesque process of making the transition from living to dead. On the other side of the coin, life has it’s own strange, complex design which I am still trying to figure out. But the theater brings clarity to it. It’s a pure, untainted catalyst for human soul, emotion, and experience. It’s timeless; a pristine design. The costumes are not only costumes – they are a vehicle in their own right, able to capture your consciousness and transport it through the narrow window of theater. It focuses you. It moves you. Life is its own facade, a costume we wear until our show is over. What we wear says unspoken volumes about us. How confident we are, our worldview, our character. It’s a vehicle of focus that enables you to hone in on life’s design. The ironic part of our costume is that it is a constant cycle of reuse and recycling. Life is a process of reuse and recycling. The business of death is really a business of life. I would argue that they are really one and the same.

Isaac Mizrahi sums it up best: “Style makes you feel great because it takes your mind off the fact that you’re going to die.”

What have I been up to?

I’ve been super busy! And I still am. But here is what I have been up to…

Been busy trying to be an art teacher. I need to start making money. Word of advice to future forensic anthropologists – you need advanced degrees. Don’t take a break after getting you bachelor’s. Keep going!

School has been consuming my life… and it’s not even school. I’m just getting certified to teach, that’s the crazy part about it! Anyway, I seem to be stuck between trying to decide what to study for graduate work…

  • Go for costume/fashion design. This is my passion. I really want to specialize in corsetry. I want to learn more, throw myself in – and go for it! This is not a good idea to make money, I think. But I love creating things with my hands. I love even more when the things I create act as a catalyst for human emotion.
  • Pharmacy. My interview with the MA College of Pharmacy went pretty well. It would take me a while to do some pre-requisites, but they said my prospects were looking pretty good. I’m really interested in pharmacy, I like it, but I don’t really get as much satisfaction out of it as making something with my hands.
  • Art Therapy. These kids with their emotionally disturbed minds intrigue me, and I like teaching them art. Not as much as making my own art, though. Yep. I’ve had my share of dark times in my life. I draw a lot of my empathy and understanding from that.
  • That’s it. Those are my three options. UNH has a program option where they mash costume design with an MAT in teaching together. This might be my most practical choice. After all – my favorite costume design professor was, of course, a professor and a costume designer. I think I need to accept that if I go down this path I will probably need to work two jobs.

I’m eager to wrap up all of my work so I can get back to my crash course in corsetry. My goal is to produce waist training underbusts for myself.

Growing Up, Disney, Theater

I have now entered a new phase of my life where candy, especially chocolate, repels me. However, if you’re a bagel or a wheat-peanut-butter-and-banana sandwich – watch out. I will eat you alive. My new love of carbohydrates isn’t the only thing that has been changing. Each tempting bagel, so delicious in my mouth – always decides that it’s new home will be my abdomen. As a child, I always had thick legs – and now it’s the opposite way around. I’ve somehow turned into some sort of chicken-legged-bagel-eating-monster.

I think the biggest change has been my taste in Disney. The world has two camps, thickly divided: the Disney lovers, the haters, and of course – a buffer territory. An abstract Sweden. Try as I might – I have always been a Disney lover, and nothing could change that. The moment when I noticed that I was leaving my childhood and awkward teenage years behind was the morning I woke up and knew – My favorite Disney princess was no longer Mulan or Belle, but Giselle. It was a shocking realization.

I don’t really know how other people measure their lives. My academic achievements have proved almost worthless to the cutthroat working world. My research was exciting, but useless when it comes to affording necessities. The years have started to roll. They’re no longer the epic journeys of elementary school – days blend into months, while the months flow into each other and become indistinguishable.

There are two things I have to do before I die: Go to Disney World, and go overseas. I’m worried about not speaking the language, but everyone assures me that it’s fine. I just got an e-mail about the low rates for traveling to Korea this year – for $4000. Maybe one day. It’s definitely on my to-do list. Actually, I’ll add a third objective: see Europe. But first: get a better job, to make money that I can actually use on fun things like that. I’ve finally come to realize the conflict in my life: doing things that you like, versus doing things that are going to make you money. And sometimes, sadly, the two don’t come together and compromise so well.

One of my “dream fantasy” jobs is to be a performer at Disney World. Another one is a NASCAR driver – but that one is pure fantasy. (I’m a woman AND I’m Asian. That’s two strikes right there against my driving ability.)

Anyhow, I received a call today about a February production of Prelude to a Kiss – they would mostly need alterations. But the first read-through is this Monday night coming, and there is a lot of self doubt in my mind. ‘Am I ready for this?’ ‘Do I know what to do?’ ‘Will I be talented enough?’ ‘Do I remember which measurements to take?’ ‘Should I type up a new measurement page?’ ‘Should I make a binder?’ ‘HELP!’ Luckily, most of these questions can be answered with a few deep breaths and my Costume Designer’s Handbook. Other questions can be solved with a quick thumb through my Costume Technician’s Handbook and other references. I might invest in a book about alterations, just in case – most of my library is pattern drafting, my large weak spot when I began my costuming adventures. But despite my self-doubting thoughts, the director keeps spewing positive thoughts, gratefulness, and a full trust in whatever I can give. Which makes me even more nervous – if I really fail, it’ll be soul-crushing. Ron always says situations are way better in reality than in my mind.

I need a good dose of courage.

My Textile Love Affair

Nowadays… I’m getting into “sustainable” and “green” and “do-it-yourself”. Whatever I need to tell myself to avoid thinking about how I have no money. Ron really loves some of the shirts from LL Bean, but we were shopping online the other night – and one shirt was going for $54.95. Uhm… no way! I’ve always wanted to start foraying into tailoring – and I guess there is no other time than now! I already have a pattern (from my own stock) and I’m hoping to take advantage of the post-holiday fabric sales to stock up on fabric for Ron over the year.

But first on my list is everyone’s pants – I need to tailor my dad’s pants, Ron’s pants… and as much as hemming pants makes me want to hurl – it needs to be done! And I’m wicked good at it. *boastboastboast*

I love fiber. I love fabric, sewing, touching everything at the fabric store, crocheting, knitting a little, (no spinning, though) – but I love it. However, I’ve been crocheting for a really long time… doilies? Done it, now bored. I love the really tiny crochet lace look – but it takes a long time, and I’ve looked at this stuff so much that I just can’t get jazzed about it. Afghans? It’s a rectangle! I can’t stay awake. Sweaters? Crochet sweaters just have a way of looking… not right. My new thing is shawls. It’s not really typical for me. I have enough blankets. If I want one, I’ll sew one. If I want a cardigan, I’ll sew it. But shawls… I think that’s where crochet can shine. And my new thing is large crochet – large, bulky doilies. Large, bulky designs. It can still be intricate – but I like it large. It works up super fast, gives me a good sense of satisfaction, and still tickles my brain. Or I like to work simply and burn though Star Trek Voyager – which seems to be my new thing. I like it. Large means I can zip through a project while barely looking at my hands – and still indulge my inner nerd. I am also embarking on writing up my own crochet patterns. I can’t do amigurumi. I have in the past… but it’s just so uninteresting to me… I got really into those cute little Japanese whatever-they-are things, but most of it is very small crochet that’s dragged out over who knows how long, and I’m pretty sure that I have all the tawashi I need. I’m looking into ipponbari knitting – it’s real knitting with a crochet hook. It’s not tunisian, or anything like that – it’s real knitting with a modified crochet hook. I’ll have to check back here once I form an opinion. I figure, even though I knit continental, knitting still bores me to tears (I don’t know why! I wish I had the strength to sit through a sweater. I really do.) maybe this will hold my attention.

Yep. I’ve took a December break from sewing for the moment – it’s been cold in my studio, and my dad needed to borrow my propane tank a couple times. I’m also trying to clean up and organize my supplies… I think a trip to The Container Store and Ikea is in order… but I’m ready to jump back into my work queue.

I’m also shopping around for some wool coating and whatnot. I think it’s time for a new cloak. Also, I have a bolt of salmon wool flannel – I want to make another Italian dress, about late 1400’s, but I’m not sure how the salmon pink will look. I bought the bolt because it was on sale. I first used it when I had a garb incident – some mice died in my closet and I ended up having a wardrobe purge. I traced around myself and raced to the SCA event (after working a 12 hour shift)… not one of my brightest moments, but at least I had something to wear. It’s now going to become… maybe viking. But it’s pink. I don’t know, maybe I’ll dye it. Or keep it just to wear… just because. I find that my garb is oftentimes warmer than my regular clothing. Or a wool corset, I really don’t know how to re-purpose this dress! I might just cut the top of it off and make an Edwardian sort of walking skirt. Or it’ll end up as part of my scrap quilt?

I think I should try naalbinding. Looks good!

My hair is not getting down to my butt. I now need to frequent “longhaircommunity.com” and others to try and get tips on how to deal with it…

Stash-Busting Shawl

Amy’s Gypsy Stash-Busting Shawl

Notes: It’s easy. Really. I had a bunch of Caron One Pound, so I used that – that’s what’s in the picture. I’m also one of those people that counts a ch3 as a dc at the beginning of a row.

Hook: 9.0 mm
Yarn: Worsted Weight (10-ply if that’s how you roll)

Begin with a magic loop or ch3 and slst in first ch to make a circle.

Row 1: ch3 (counts as first dc) 2dc, ch2, 3dc.
Row 2: ch3, turn, 2dc in first stitch, ch1, [3dc ch2 3dc] in ch2 space, ch1, 3dc in last dc(t-ch).
Row 3: ch3, turn, 2dc in first stitch, ch1, 3dc in ch1 space, ch1, [3dc ch2 3dc] in ch2 space, ch1, 3dc in ch1 space, ch1, 3dc in last dc(t-ch).
Rows 4-24: continue with above pattern.
Row 25: ch4, turn, 2tr in first dc. 1tr in each stitch until corner – then [3tr ch2 3tr] in ch2 space, then 1tr in each stitch until last dc(t-ch). put 3tr in last dc(t-ch).
Row 26 & 27: repeat row 25.
Row 28: ch4, turn, 2tr in first stitch. skip next 3 stitches. *ch1, 3tr in next stitch* repeat until corner – (you will have one tr right before ch2 space. ignore it.) – [3tr ch2 3tr] in ch2 space. skip the next tr, 3tr in next stitch, continue between *’s, 3tr in last tr(t-ch).
Row 29: ch4, turn, 2tr in first stitch, *ch1, 3tr in ch1 space* until corner. [3tr ch2 3tr] in ch2 space, then continue between *’s, 3tr in last tr(t-ch).
Row 30-32: repeat row 29.

Finish off, add fringe as desired.

I love my 9mm… hook.

I had a lot of scrap worsted weight, and immediately grabbed my 9mm. I love this hook. I just finished a crocheted half-circle short cloak myself in black with worsted weight. With 2 strands together, it worked up pretty fast. This time I wanted to try just one strand of worsted weight and see what happened – and it looks good! I started a scrap shawl, and the drape is wonderful and very light. It’s nice! It’s a thick acrylic yarn, so I was surprised to see so much movement. My cape came out pretty thick, but warm.

No pattern, just picked it up and went. It’s just a triangle! The half-circle was based off of Lion Brand’s pattern for the Half-Moon Shawl. I liked the look of the 3 rows of solid dc, then 3 rows of 3-dc clusters, like a granny square.