Thursday, October 20, 2016

This is not about needlework, but about stuff that kept me from doing as much sitting on my tush as I'd do if I could...  just that life keeps getting in the way.  Exhibit A - this reminder of winter's inexorable arrival was the first on my list of things that HAD to be dealt with

and interestingly enough, the woodpile, though I talked to it quite a lot, does not respond to whining, complaints or any Harry-Potter-inspired attempts at magic.  So it was pure hard work that brought it to here

and I'm grateful that it's done.  Of course I'll be handling each stick of wood three more times - carrying it inside, loading it into the stove, taking it out as ashes to the garden.  Did I say garden?  There was one a few summers ago, but this past year of mostly neglect, and drought, things went seriously wrong.  Take a look - some of those weeds are twelve feet tall!

And yes, they've got to be pulled, one at a time, not anyone's idea of a wonderful way to spend a sunny morning, but alas necessary.  Because a lot of hard work got us to here

which is the start of next year's garlic.  There's a lot more garden work - it was waiting for me and continues to lurk patiently outside - but I'm starting to think it's possible to get atop the worst of things and make it happen.

So yes, this post is bragging, just a little.  Or gratefulness.  Or something.  I'm grateful I could do these things again, and glad to see some of the stuff getting done.  Sauerkraut is next, it's the last of the summer canning, and then, let the winter begin!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Long overdue but this got in the way.  And yes, it was awful, but it's now done.  By me and my new knee and a lot of Tylenol.

So now, onwards to the promised directions for these neat baskets.  Because I wanted to have a container for works in progress, and because works are sometimes in progress for longer than I want them to be, and sometimes also tea and chocolate are involved in their completion, I also wanted the containers to be washable.

The nylon pictured to the left of the baskets is called Iris; it's designed for crocheting or knitting purses, and a goodsized spool, as shown, makes one basket.  There's variegated blue and variegated red, as shown, plus cream, brown and black available.  With a little left over as in the cream-colored basket, or a bit more left over, as in the smaller, brown basket.

Your recipe for making these is approximate, and can be customized for your needs, larger or smaller.  It needs to be said these wow everyone who sees them and gets a chance to feel how substantial they are.  They're really more cool - they're truly wonderful.  It's impossible to see one without wanting one for yourself.  I'm making a few more for gifts, but it's kinda hard to give them away!

Although this yarn usually requires an F or G crochet hook to be made into something, this time we're going to use something much, much smaller - an 00 steel hook or a B, C or D aluminum one.   The only stitch you'll use is a single crochet.   Both begin by chaining about 2 3/4 inches, then working single crochets around both sides of the chain, with increases at each end.  After the first round, you're making two increases at each end, which creates a 4-cornered oval-ish rectangle.  I stopped the brown one when it was 4 1/2 inches across and 6 inches long; realizing I could make the cream colored one a little bigger, I continued until that one was 5 1/2 inches across  by 9 long.

At that point you have the hardest round to accomplish - instead of pushing your crochet hook into the top of the stitch as usual, for one round, you're pointing the crochet down through the side of the stitch.  This changes the direction of the crochet and adds a bottom rim to the basket.  You can see that in both photos.  Then you crochet up the basket.  Nineteen rows above that turning row on the brown basket brought the sides up about 4 inches above the bottom; 22 rows on the cream basket make the sides nearly five inches.  I made a few decreases on the basket sides, which seems necessary if you want the basket sides to look straight rather than angled out like a bucket.

Then I folded the basket carefully in half, reserving about 15 middle stitches for the handle, and crocheted around to where I wanted the first handle to be, chained 16 stitches, and re-joined to the body of the basket.  Same on the other side.  as I crocheted around, when I got to the handle portion, I crocheted 18 stitches over the 16 chains, and kept going.  After there were two substantial rows of single crochet above each handle, I worked a row of reverse single crochet around the rim, cut the end about 4" long and sewed in that end, zig-zagging through the wrong side of the basket. 

This is a very easy project - the only caution is that working the tight single crochets in nylon can be hard on your hands, so you won't want to work on this more than 20 minutes at a time.  Kinda like stacking wood...