Mystery Achievement Afghan: New Project

Mystery Achievement Afghan Development Sample

I figured out how to interlock crochet in-the-round!

I wrote down what I’ve done so far, which is good because I am liking the design and it will be measure of how well my documentation skills are for this new method in case I want to write a pattern up.

Today, I might play around with digital designing to see what I can come up with and then see if I might go a different direction for the actual piece…a mystery! 😀

The name of this project is spiritually related and inspired…I was listening to music from my library, while composing this post and my interlock crochet progress and the three songs that impressed themselves into my memory are Mystery Achievement by The Pretenders, Snowball by DEVO and Trust by Me’Shell NdegĂ©ocello.

I did “achieve” something really big – a “mystery” to me: interlock crochet in-the-round!

And I didn’t lose a love – sardonically speaking, I never had one to begin with 😉

As I had decided on Mystery Achievement, Trust had started, confirming my choice, and which was another good name.

I knew there was something I was going to add: The yarn I have been using for this afghan development is Michaels Loops & Threads Impeccable (Fiber Content: 100% Acrylic; Yarn Colors: 01044 True Grey & 01011 Soft Taupe; Yarn Weight: 4, Worsted).

Old Hooker Learns New Trick

Interlock Crochet Sample

I did it!

Now, what am I going to make?

I have a bag of Schoeller + Stahl Portofino Soufflé I picked up along the way. I am thinking baby blanket due to color and yarn weight, right?

But because I don’t have a pattern, I don’t know how far each ball will go, so now I need to learn to interlock crochet in-the-round!

Which, I will have to teach myself!

Make it so!

Schoeller + Stahl Portofino Soufflé
Schoeller + Stahl Portofino Soufflé

Smiling Faces Sometimes Baby Blanket

Smiling Faces Sometimes Baby Blanket

I lied!

I still have some Bernat Baby Coordinates. As such, I want it gone from my stash, so I am crocheting another baby blanket.

I have tried this pattern before, but my afghan started to bow. I was so frustrated, I ended up just throwing it away. This time, I worked a bit more and I actually discovered where my design mistake was. I have still not perfected the beginning, but I am on the path to finishing this project, yarn, design once and for all.

I have not yet decided if this will be a gift or merchandise.

The Circus Baby Blanket

The Circus Baby Blanket

It’s finally done: 225 Motifs plus a border that required turning a total of approximately 320 times…and in plenty of time before the arrival of my great nephew Michael Kenneth Aguilar, due in January 2018. This blanket measures approximately 36 x 36 inches for the motifs only, and approximately 38 x 38 inches including the border.

Click an image for enlargement / slide show

About the Pattern

I will be writing this baby blanket up as a pattern that will be available on th e AHW Pattern Page and my Ravelry store. The motifs are based on a video I found, but had to revise to my liking. The border is also a video that I had to modify to my liking and to fit within a ten-stitch space versus the original eighteen-stitch multiple.

About the Yarn

Bernat Baby Coordinates

Fiber Content: 75.2% Acrylic, 22.2% Acetate, 2.6% Nylon
Yarn Color: 01009 Soft Blue, 01012 Iced Mint, 01011 Lemon Custard, and (no yarn label for color number) White
Yarn Weight: 3, DK

So glad to be able to destash! This blanket border might benefit from a yarn that would provide better stitch definition. Definitely a yarn with more body might improve the appearance of the entire blanket.

 

 

Upside Down Blanket

Upside Down Blanket

Upside Down BlanketI kept putting off infant crochet for my future great nephew, and the other day I realized I better start crocheting faster because he is due in January 2018.

I had been wanting to save the Wobbly Squares Blanket pattern for Bunnyland (a project in conception), but thought this would be a good place to try the pattern. OMG! The pattern is so simple and once you understand the repeats, it is not problem. Warning! Keep track, I lost count and almost ended up with a completely lopsided blanket due to wrong stitch counts: 48 on side one, 48 on side 2, 52 on side 3, 52 on side 4. I managed to catch this before the last eight rows and was able to conceal the mistake with only 1 adjustment row.

I had to dig up all my baby yarns and found a box of Bernat Baby Coordinates (Fiber Content: 75.2 % Acrylic, 22.2% Rayon, 2.6% Nylon; Yarn Colors: Lemon Custard, White, Blue/Green mix, and Green/Yellow/White mix; Yarn Weight: 3, DK), so I mixed them up and started. Unfortunately, I forgot to include the mint green and baby blue I had, but looking at the blanket now, I think it would have been too much. My afghan measures approximately 32 inches square. I chose not to put a border. Next is a blue and white striped sweater.

Ironically, the project name – Upside Down by Jack Johnson – is appropriate to the pattern, which appears to be v-stitches, but in reality are double-crochet clusters – the Upside Down of v-stitches.

Upside Down Blanket

 

Oakland Raiders Afghan v2

Oakland Raiders Afghan II
©A Hooker’s World

Aiyaa! Ravelry removed my pattern from their database for the following reason:

Unacceptable standalone chart. NOT “original” art which is what’s required for these types of patterns.

My first argument is why the fuck does Ravelry care? My best guess is that they may be liable for selling the pattern.

Okay, so I removed the chart and I am resubmitting the pattern, which you should be able to buy in my Ravelry Store; I have not updated the pattern on my patterns page, which does include the offending chart. Because the chart has been removed, I am reducing the Ravelry Store Price: USD $5.00.

Oakland Raiders Afghan II

Oakland Raiders Afghan II
Oakland Raiders Afghan II
©A Hooker’s World

Back in July 2015, my cousin asked me to make this for his uncle in gratitude for wedding planning. I created the chart and a spreadsheet and crocheted the afghan, finishing in December 2015. However, due to bleach discoloration within the first 10 rows, I had to remake this afghan and I just finished today.

I seriously need to learn how to crochet left handed so, my tapestry pieces will not have a stitch bias/slant. This time around I stranded unused yarn behind the afghan versus cutting my color changes. Turns out I used the same amount of yarn. I found that a little odd, thinking I might use at least on extra skein due to the stranding. Go figure! The most important thing I learned is that I don’t charge enough for my work. I used to base my pricing on 4 x the cost of the yarn, but when the customer chooses the cheapest yarn, I suffer. This entire afghan totaled out at $209.40. Based on this, I am changing my pricing schedule which will reflect the time investment in making such a piece.

I calculated my time crocheting this piece and came out to about 70 hours. At minimum wage, the cost for crochet alone would be $700.00. That does not even include the time it took to make the chart and pattern. Despite possible copyright infringement, I am publishing my pattern for sale, so hopefully, I can make a little income to offset this undercharge. I also feel that people that appreciate handmade items will appreciate the cost increase, adding value to the piece. My friends and family discount of 25% will still apply to all items.

This pattern is available for purchase in my Ravelry Store and on the AHW Patterns Page. See Post: Oakland Raiders Afghan v2 for explanation and valid links.

And because I never get to see the reverse of afghans created via this method, I am including an image of the reverse just for you information…

Oakland Raiders Afghan II Back
©A Hooker’s World

Baby Blanket

Baby Blanket
Baby Blanket
©A Hooker’s World

On da Hook: January 6, 2016
Off da Hook: January 21, 2016
Pattern: Mayflower Baby Blanket by Tammy Hildebrand
Yarn: Cascade Elysian (Fiber Content: 60% Superwash Merino Wool, 40% Acrylic; Yarn Color: 06; Yarn Weight: 4, Worsted)
Hook: US I/9 – 5.5 mm
Dimensions: 31 x 31 inches

Oh whoa! Oh whoa! Oh whoa!

Loved the pattern result. I indicated medium difficulty rating because I am an advance crocheter; Lynette had difficulty with the pattern as a less experienced crocheter. Advise confident knowledge of back/front post construction, which took me a minute to get my stitch count down. The other thing that threw me for a loop was the half double crochets, whose top stitch points left versus double crochet which point right.

Noticed some errors in the copy: Border indicates SC count…should be stitch count. Notified Caron. Once again when it come to the border, my counts got all messed up, so I improvised a border; also because we were not sure we had enough yarn. Commendation to Cascade Yarns for getting back to me within 24 hours; I was right should have read “stitches,” not “single crochet.”

When I calculated 5 skein yardage, I was short. Another visit to the store only produced one more skein and I thought we needed at least two.

Oh well, I am just waiting to hear from the client as to whether she is satisfied and then I will sew in the ends, fluff it and deliver it.

I always try to find a project appropriate song name for my projects, but I my choices are lessening. I named this project after Baby by Justin Bieber. I think I may just start picking song names at random.

Shattered Dreams Afghan

Shattered Dreams Afghan
Shattered Dreams Afghan
©A Hooker’s World

On da Hook: May 15, 2015
Off da Hook: May 21, 2015
Pattern: Improvised by Hooker Leo
Yarn: 8 skeins Cascade Bulky Leisure HD (Fiber Content: 50% Superfine Alpaca, 50% Pima Cotton; Yarn Color: 9915; Yarn Weight: 6, Super Bulky)
Hook: US K – 10.5 mm
Dimensions: 51 inch Diameter (from point to point)

The name of this project – Shattered Dreams by Johnny Hates Jazz – is inspired by the picture above and the seemingly shattered swirl pattern produced by the yarn.

I originally wanted more of a swirl stitch pattern, but for the life of me, I could not come up with something I liked. I even tried crochet entrelac, but there are just too many colors in the yarn, and because the yarn is discontinued, I did not think a search for a similar solid color would be fruitful. When I decided on the hexagon, I remembered that Ellen had made a shrug from a hexagon shape once. Unfortunately, my hexagon is not a granny square and therefore, would not fold into the desired L shape necessary to create the shrug.

In the long run, I am glad that the yarn is out of my stash. I feel like I am making some progress. I must emphasize the delight the crochet gives by finishing a project so quickly.

Price: USD $320.00 (25% Discount for Friends/Family)

All Star Afghan

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.