Dead Man’s Party Antimacassars: Skull

Dead Man's Party Antimacassar: Skull
©A Hooker’s World

On da Hook: April 19, 2015
Off da Hook: April 27, 2015
Pattern: Skeleton Antimacassar by Regina Rioux
Yarn: Department 71 Perle Cotton Size 8 (Fiber Content: 100% Cotton; Yarn Color: [White], Yarn Weight: < 0, 10-Count Crochet Thread)

OMG! This is the official skull antimacassar for a project I was commissioned to crochet. Without even looking at the practice one, I realized my tension was looser on this one, but did not expect such an increase in size. The new one measures approximately 8.5 x 13.5 inches, while the old one measures approximately 7 x 10 inches. I have already emailed my client an image indicating the difference in size. I am pretty sure she will like – as I do because it is more the size of a human head – and have already started on the rib cage.

I only had two balls of crochet thread, but managed to find the exact same yarn online – for sale no less – and purchased 10 balls, as the pattern charts do not indicate how much is needed. I hope I have enough!

Dead Man's Party Antimacassar: Skull
©A Hooker’s World

Yay for Yarmulkes!

As this may be my next commission. It took approximately 45 minutes to make this one, rounding up to an hour, places the value of this item at USD $12.00. The person for whom these will be made is requesting worsted weight yarn because the wearer has big hair. The yarmulke pictured was made with TMA Yarns Fashion Knit (Fiber Content: 100% Acrylic; Yarn Color: L3-201 Light Purple; Yarn Weight: 4, Worsted) and Caron Sayelle (Fiber Content: 100% Acrylic; Yarn Color: 0335 Lilac; Yarn Weight: 4, Worsted). The pattern (Colorfully Stripped Kippah Yarmulke by D Goldoff YarnDesignsByDavira) calls for double crochets, ending with a border of half double crochets; I might try to make another with single crochets, now that I have a template for size.

Now if I could just get motivated enough to make some Hamantash!

Thread Crochet

Thread Crochet
©A Hooker’s World

A customer from when I worked at the yarn store put me in contact with a friend of her’s that wants a set of antimacassars. I put this project off long enough because I was not looking forward to working with such small media, but as I progress, I am getting my rhythm back.

I must comment that I am really tiring of creative types and their lack of communication or professionalism. Previously, I had contacted another designer regarding a pattern I had written that similar to the one she had already published. I went to her website and every email address was invalid. I then tried contacting her through Ravelry and still not response. In the end I published my pattern without her blessing. What really struck me was that she is a prominent designer; prominent enough to have a staff to handle her correspondence for her.

My current client sent me the chart for her antimacassars, which included the designer’s name. The client wanted to know the size of the finished object, but it is not printed on the chart. A couple of days ago a light bulb went off and I tried finding the pattern on Ravelry. Eureka! However, the dimensions were not printed. I was able to find out what media was used and the appropriate hook size, so I am now making one of a set of at least eleven in the series just for size. I had the designer forty-eight hours ago and still no reply.

Stay tuned for the finished object.

Jesse’s Girl Shawl

On da Hook: September 26, 2014
Off da Hook: November 11, 2014
Pattern: Delightful Diagonals by Mona Modica from Crochet World Magazine, Spring 2014: Fun With Color in Thread
Hook: US G/6
Yarn A: Berroco Folio (Fiber Content: 65% Superfine Alpaca, 35% Rayon; Yarn Color: 4510; Yarn Weight: 3, DK)
Yarn B: Berroco Folio (Fiber Content: 65% Superfine Alpaca, 35% Rayon; Yarn Color: 4518; Yarn Weight: 3, DK)

I was honored by the commission of a friend to make this shawl for her. At the time she asked, I had to finish Cousins Afghan first; that explains the length of time between the start date and the end date.

This was a very simple shawl to make, but the pieces are so big and the stitch pattern so repetitive that the thrill was quickly gone. I did have one problem interpreting a pattern instruction and sent a message to Mona, asking for help, but she never replied. Fortunately, I was able to improvise and finished the shawl by the requested date. When seaming the pieces together, I did encounter a stitch number difference when attaching the triangles and I attribute that to my improvisation of the misunderstood pattern instruction. Additionally, I attached the triangles with the wrong orientation and then backwards, so pay attention to the diagram layout.

The shawl in the magazine is one color. Because I used two colors, I might have been short a skein of one color because I only had partial skeins of either color leftover to do the border. When I advised the client, she said to forget the border. I would recommend doing the border, as I notice that the points kind of curl, though a border might not resolve that issue. I will recommend to my client that she steam it flat.

The yarn is nice, but kind of splitty. I love the colors the client chose.

The client is expected to pick it up today. I hope she likes it. The name of the project comes from the similarity of my client to the name of the song: Jesse’s Girl by Rick Springfield.

Cousins Lapghan

Cousins Lapghan
©A Hooker’s World

Cast On: August 16, 2014
Cast Off: November 1, 2014
Pattern: Cousins Lapghan by Hooker Leo
Needle: US 10.5
Yarn A: Lion Brand Homespun (Fiber Content: 98% Acrylic, 2% Polyester; Yarn Color: 392 Cotton Candy; Yarn Weight: 5, Bulky)
Yarn B: Lion Brand Homespun (Fiber Content: 98% Acrylic, 2% Polyester; Yarn Color: 334 Gothic; Yarn Weight: 5, Bulky)
Yarn C: Red Heart Baby Clouds (Fiber Content: 100% Acrylic; Yarn Color: 9074 Pale Pink; Yarn Weight: 6, Super Bulky)
Yarn D: Unknown (Fiber Content: Unknown; Yarn Color: [White]; Yarn Weight: [5, Bulky])
Finished Size: 48 x 54 inches

So let’s get the next chapter started with a lapghan I knitted for my mom’s cousin – and therefore, my cousin as well. The name – Cousins by Vampire Weekend – should be self evident. I designed this based on the gauge swatch information. Unfortunately, I did not record my desired finished size, but I think I’m close.

I cast on 126 stitches. The pattern is 10 rows of garter, 2 rows of YO, P2TOG, 20 rows of garter in each color, slipping the first stitch in ever row and KBL the last stitch. The exception is the middle section where I alternated every two rows between the Red Heart Baby Clouds and unknown white yarn.

I did not have an payment agreement in place for this afghan, but did keep track of my time. I took me approximately 52.5 hours to make this. At the time I was charging $10.00/hour. The yarn was a mix of yard sale yarn, stash yarn of an unknown source and purchase of a second Homespun Gothic because my design sensibilities could not allow me to use the blue that was picked from my stash. Total yarn amount: $8.98.

I just found out my cousin is visiting from Texas again and is expected to arrive Monday, November 3. Perfect timing, which just goes to show bad things are not necessarily bad.

Josie & The Pussycats Shawl Border

On da Hook: October 17, 2014
Off da Hook: October 22, 2014
Hook: US I-9
Yarn: Cascade Heritage Silk Paints (Fiber Content: 85% Merino Superwash Wool, 15% Mulberry Silk; Yarn Color: 9942; Yarn Weight: 1, Fingering)

Josi knitted the shawl and asked me to crochet a border on it. She had expressed that a shell border would be fine, and at the suggestion of another yarny friend, I did not continue the shell pattern around the neck. I stared with a crab stitch, but it was too much like the knitted border, so I made and executive decision and crocheted single crochet around the neck, which I think is much better. Surprisingly, considering I was double stranding the yarn, I managed to match the tension very closely so the border maintains the softness of the shawl body.

I named this project – Josie & The Pussycats Theme Song by Hoyt Curtin, William Hanna (under the pseudonym “Denby Williams”) and Joseph Barbera (under the pseudonym “Joseph Roland”) – after the customer.

All Star Afghan

All Star Afghan
©A Hooker’s World

All Star AfghanThursday, I got a call from The Knitting Tree, L A about a job from the Prop Master at American Broadcasting Company (ABC), who wanted a 30 x 50 inch crochet afghan by Tuesday for a television series called Young & Hungry. Five days to make the afghan. At right is the picture of an idea he wanted. I told him to continue looking for someone because I did not want to say yes, unless I could enlist the help of another person, ensuring I could meet the deadline. Once I secured the help of someone, I called him back, we discussed pricing – based on my normal pricing schedule, which I have been advised is too low – and sealed the deal.

I went straight to the store to buy the yarn and encountered dilemma number one: was there going to be enough of the colors/yarn weight requested? With respect to color, I was doubtful on the navy; with respect to the yarn weight, I was doubtful there was enough white yarn. The store suggested double-stranding a lighter weight and I reluctantly accepted the suggestion. Later, when I got home, I found more white yarn in the correct weight, feeling more secure. However, I ended up using the double-stranded lighter weight yarn because I gave the worsted weight to the person that offered to help. Here is what I ended up buying:

Schachenmayr Bravo Worsted (Fiber Content: 100% Acrylic; Yarn Color: 08224; Yarn Weight: 4, Worsted)
Universal Uptown Worsted (Fiber Content: 100% Acrylic; Yarn Color: 318 Navy Blue; Yarn Weight: 4, Worsted)
Universal Uptown Worsted (Fiber Content: 100% Acrylic; Yarn Color: 308 Baby Blue; Yarn Weight: 4, Worsted)
Cascade Cherub DK (Fiber Content: 55% Nylon/45% Acrylic; Yarn Color: 01; Yarn Weight: 3, DK, Light Worsted)

I must mention that I am very impressed with the Universal Uptown Worsted and will probably make that my acrylic, worsted weight yarn of choice for future afghans.

I got two of ten strips done the first night. The next day, I get a call from the prop master, suggesting that if he paid an extra $100.00, could he get the afghan by Monday, allowing him more time for framing. I agreed and immediately sought more help from two more people that arrived at the store later Friday afternoon. Let me mention that if took a while for person one to match my gauge, using a hook two sizes larger; person two, a hook one size larger; and person three, a hook three sizes larger.

On Friday, person two expressed that she did not want to seam her squares together. That screwed up my payment schedule and was not appreciated. The quality of person three was not up to snuff, but she offered to seam all the squares/strips for me.

On Saturday, person one brought me enough squares for two strips but had left all the tails, which I discovered later – when I was informed by the seamer – were not long enough to work with. Unfortunately, the seamer advised me after she discovered one square, that had already been seamed, began to unravel. By this time, person two had stopped contributing accomplishing enough squares for one strip. By the end of Saturday, all squares had been completed and seamed. That is when I called the Prop Master, who informed me that the afghan was no longer going to be framed, and that he would like it larger: 36 x 54 inches. I was already having issues due to my method of seaming, which was causing cupping of the squares, thereby shortening the length and width.

On Sunday, I crocheted the extra 24 squares necessary to make up the difference in width and length and person three seamed them into place. This was a big accomplishment, allowing me time to wash the afghan, checking for construction quality. When I called the prop master to check in regarding the process, I left a message requesting the original deadline, as it was not longer being framed and he conceded. Phew!

On Monday, as I was tying sewing in the loose ends and resewing the loosened ends, I discovered at least five more squares that were unraveling. Aiyaa! Because it would have take more time to remove them, remake them and replace them, I took a shortcut: cosmetic touch up. I also began the border.

Today, I was just about to finish the border when the prop master arrived at the store. He grabbed some lunch while I finished the last half of the last round, came back, admired the afghan and made the purchase.

While I am ever grateful for the help I received from persons one, two and three, I have learned some valuable lessons from this project:

  1. No one will ever match my standard of quality, just as I am sure I could never meet another person’s standard of quality
  2. I allowed my ambition to fulfill a life’s dream – crochet an afghan for a television show – to compromise my standard of quality, which led to me being dependent on others
  3. Unless all the yarn I estimate for a job is available at one time, I will not deviate or make concessions
  4. I need to take a deep breath before accepting jobs that I have never quoted and make sure I have consulted with others before committing to an estimate
  5. I discovered that I am blessed to know more people than I thought, who could have guided me more accurately regarding my price estimate
  6. If I ever solicit help from others, I need to be extremely specific as to my expectations

Overall, I am glad the project is done and cannot wait to see it on television. I received a phone call from one of my bosses while composing this post, inquiring if this was a done deal and if the prop master was pleased with the outcome. I can only assume he was pleased because he paid, unless he has some secret elves stashed somewhere that can crochet the same afghan overnight. My boss surprised me the confident suggestion that I would have been able to complete this project alone. Perhaps that confidence will instill itself within me for future projects. I am blessed to have such thoughtful employers, who allowed me to use the store as a workshop, arriving/leaving outside normal operating hours to work on the afghan.

The name of the afghan should be obvious and comes from the song by Smash Mouth from their 1999 album Astro Lounge.

Again And Again Hats

Cast On: May 8, 2014
Cast Off: May 16, 2018
Pattern A: Seed Stitch Beanie by Lisa Gentry from Leisure Arts Slouchy Beanies and Headwraps

Yarn A: Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice (Fiber Content: 100% Acrylic; Yarn Color: 149 Silver Grey?; Yarn Weight: 4)
Yarn B: Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice (Fiber Content: 100% Acrylic; Yarn Color: 151 Charcoal Grey; Yarn Weight: 4)

Pattern B: Ribbed Beanie by Lisa Gentry from Leisure Arts Slouchy Beanies and Headwraps

Yarn: Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice (Fiber Content: 100% Acrylic; Yarn Color: 151 Charcoal Grey; Yarn Weight: 4)

I was given this project by the store owner, for a customer who’s daughter had purchased the supplies, but decided not to make the hats for her and her boyfriend. I will admit that I was not a happy hooker when I received this assignment and to be rigorously honest, I entered “angry knitting” mode. Angry knitting was explained to me by a child that came into the store one day with her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. When I asked her what angry knitting was, she explained that her stitches were too tight. I have expanded on that definition: focused and intent knitting on a project that is challenging when you would rather be crocheting.

The patterns were well written and the hats worked in the round, an added benefit because I dislike seaming knitting. I am not a fan of DPNs, preferring a couple of circulars instead, but even this proved difficult towards the end of the first hat. On the second, I found an extra set of circulars on the table and borrowed them. Using three circulars versus two made finishing the second hat a little easier. I was asked to make the hats based on the larger size (21 inch circumference): the first one slide right over my head, which leads me to believe my tension was too loose; the second actually grips the head, so I think my tension improved.

I am glad to be done and think this is the last time I will knit something in the round. My index fingers hurt and the tightening of the stitches as the circle closes is not a fun experience, especially when you are trying to knit three together. I am glad that I got over my knitting dislike which resulted from a dropped stitch in my Black And White Cowl, which is a currently hibernating template for the Happy Cowl. I still have to finish the Orange Crush Shawl and a knitting blank, which now I wish I had crocheted versus knitting. Doh! Having done a little yarn reorganization, I also have sorted my novelty yarns from my Japanese grandmother by color and they are just waiting to become scarves, wraps, cowls, shawls…easy stuff. But all knitting will go on hold again, as I complete the Ballet-Neck Tee from Vogue Knitting Crochet Special Collector’s Edition magazine.