Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Two Kinds of Cloths

I never know whether to call them washcloths or dishcloths. The same cloth could be used for either purpose. But today, the two kinds of cloths I’m writing about are different patterns.

Two crocheted cotton orange washcloths or dishcloths stacked on top of a white cloth on a white background.

Alex Cloth
Last week, I wrote about crocheting the Alex Bath Mat by Busted Hook Patterns. I used a cone of Lily Sugar’n Cream Solids in White for the main color, and two balls of Lily Sugar’n Cream Ombre in the colorway Summer Prints for the accent color.

I crocheted until I couldn’t make another full repeat of the pattern, and ended up with 0.3 oz (8.5 g) of White and 1.35 oz (38 g) of Summer Prints left over. Why not make a coordinating cloth with the main and accent colors switched?

Two bright orange crocheted cotton Diagonal Dishcloths on an Alex Bath Mat with another cloth made from the Alex pattern

Once again, I used an I-hook (5.25 mm instead of the standard 5.5 mm). I started with a 32-stitch chain for a cloth that measures 9.5 inches (24 cm) square. I ran out of both colors toward the end, but was able to crochet the last few rows as an accent stripe with some extra white cotton yarn from another project.

Diagonal Dishcloth
With a 3-ounce (85 g) ball of Lily Sugar’n Cream Ombre in the colorway Soleil Ombre and the Diagonal Dishcloth pattern by Ananda Judkins, I was ready to make more cloths.

This is another easy pattern. Crocheted as written, except once again using my I-hook instead of the recommended H-hook, I was able to make two 9.5-inch square cloths with a little yarn left over. After a trip through the washer and dryer, these cloths are 7.5 inches (19 cm) square. They worked up very quickly and have a nice springiness to them — both in feel and in brightness.

Two bright orange crocheted cotton Diagonal Dishcloths on an Alex Bath Mat with another cloth made from the Alex pattern

All of these are going to be used as washcloths, although our dishcloths are looking a little worse for wear. Maybe it’s time to plan — and shop — for making dishcloths!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Alex Bath Mat

Road trip! I think most makers can relate to that moment when the highest priority in packing for a trip is choosing the projects.

For a recent road trip, I packed four projects and enough supplies to make some duplicates — such optimism! Over the course of 30 hours of traveling, plus some making time during odd moments throughout our visit, I finished about half of the first project.

Alex Bath Mat Crochet Rug from an Angle in White with flecks of Yellow, Green and Blue

Choosing a Road Trip Project
I like crochet projects for travel, particularly repetitive patterns in cotton. I find the single crochet hook less fussy than two or more knitting needles, and less scary for my fellow passengers when I fly. An H-hook (5.0 mm) doesn’t look that different from a pen, but a set of US-1 (2.25 mm) sock needles in the round looks like a lot of stabby points.

I like cotton because it’s inexpensive, washes easily, and it’s grippy enough that if the hook slips out, the stitch usually holds its shape without unraveling. And that’s another point in crochet’s favor: if the hook slips out I might have to remake a few stitches, whereas if a knitting needle slips out it could lead to major reconstruction.

And the repetition aspect should go without saying. If I can quickly memorize the pattern I can easily start and stop as needed, have conversations, and enjoy the scenery.

Dertail of Alex Bath Mat Crochet Rug in White with Flecks of Yellow, Green and Blue

The Project
Which leads me to this trip’s project: Alex Bath Mat by Busted Hook Patterns. The pattern calls for an H-hook, but I tend to crochet tight so I bumped it up to an I-hook (mine happens to be 5.25 mm instead of the standard 5.5 mm).

The pattern is designed for two colors. I chose a cone of Lily Sugar’n Cream Solids in White for the main color, and two balls of Lily Sugar’n Cream Ombre in the colorway Summer Prints for the accent color. Summer Prints is white interspersed with short lengths of yellow, green and blue, so the idea was for a subtle addition of color. And my plan was to keep going until I ran out of yarn.

I ended up with a rug that measures 24 by 36 inches (61 by 91 cm), with just a little bit of each yarn left over. The pattern was well-written and easy to memorize. Due to the colors I chose, the stitch variation doesn’t stand out as well as it might with a more distinct color difference. But I was aiming for subtlety and I love the way it turned out.

Even if I did make half of my one and only road trip project from the comfort of my own home.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Three Years!

Today marks The Art of Making Blog’s third blogiversary. Wow, three years!

This year I’ve had to change a few of the places where I share my posts, and that’s impacted how many of you have been able to read it. Still, more than 2,900 visitors have viewed 8,400 pages over the past year. Thank you for choosing to share some of your time with me!

The five most-read posts from this year cover a variety of topics. I like to see if I can recognize a pattern in the top posts, but I’m not seeing one jump out at me this year:

Five photos lined up horizontally to represent the top five posts for The Art of Making Blog in year three: socks, mittens, quilt, Trello, and another pair of socks.

Maybe the commonality between these posts is making a project your own. I definitely see that as being a topic that most makers can relate to.

I’ve branched out a bit more as far as types of projects, as I had expected to do once we settled in from moving. I’m trying to focus on working through stash, and this goal is helping me see the bright side to not having any local yarn shops. I’m still adapting to making items that suit our new climate.

My main goal over this past year was to figure out a balance in posting slow-moving projects; I don’t want to bore you with micro-updates, but I also don’t want to introduce something then have months pass before I mention it again. I’ve changed on this front in three ways:
  1. I’m splitting my time between fewer projects.
  2. I’m trying to plan out regular updates for long-term projects.
  3. I’ve given myself permission to get away from a strict weekly deadline.
Of course, this is still a work in progress. Case in point: I made it through eight monthly posts about The Hexagon Project before life changed enough to throw off my routine, both for sewing and for posting about it. But life changes and I need to be flexible enough to change along with it. I’ll find a new rhythm for that project.

I hope you’ll stay on this blogging journey with me. Hooray for the beginning of year four!