Monthly Archives: April 2016

It’s a Wrap – Granny Square Afghan Completed

On March 2012 I gathered my yarn and began crocheting an afghan from a little booklet called “Farmhouse Crochet”.   I was newly enthused with granny squares and completed almost half of the squares.   And then I stopped.  Years passed.  Late last year, when I was organizing, I looked at my completed squares and partial skeins and decided it was worth finishing.  And I did!   But there were some challenges along the way.

Afghan on Porch Bench

I used Lion Brand Cotton Ease, a 50% acrylic, 50% cotton blend in ten colors:  almond as the background color, and cherry, azalea, terracotta, seaspray, lime, violet, maize, candy blue, and taupe.  I randomly combined the colors without any pre-planning.

CottonEaseGrannyColors (800x600)

To get going again, I sat down and made first rounds ten at a time.  Slowly but surely, I added to my pile of squares, crocheting while watching TV.  Then my yarn started dwindling, and I worried about running out.  I did a quick search and discovered that almost all of the colors I used are discontinued.  I didn’t want to shorten the afghan so I continued, using every last bit. I even found tiny balls of a few colors that I had saved from when I knitted sweaters with them.

The squares alternate with big squares and four small squares sewed together into a square.  When I was running out of yarn, I changed 2 big squares to little squares because I didn’t have enough of any one color for the long rounds.  I also had to substitute some cream Sugar’n Cream yarn and fisherman color Wool-ease from my stash for the background color when I ran out.  You can see I used the last bit of yarn in the two squares below, not quite having enough to finish the round.  I think it gives it character, although these little details are hard to find when looking at the afghan as a whole.

Every scrap counts squares

Sewing  the squares together by whip stitch took several days.  I had already combined the four squares and weaved in most of the ends as I went, so that helped.

Stack of granny squares

Why was this project stalled for so long?  I realize that when I ran out of steam back in 2012 I wished I had chosen a different pattern and one or two colors.  The only time I had a pleasant time continuously crocheting was at the end when I crocheted a border around the whole thing.  It was just too much stop and start, and endless ends to weave in.

Whew!  I’m glad to cross this off my list!  I’ve known how to crochet since I was a teenager yet this is the first afghan I’ve ever completed.

Granny Square Afghan on Bed

Granny Square Afghan on Sofa

And the obligatory cat on afghan pic:

Cute Dog on Afghan

I had to improvise and change that up a little, too!

Do you have a long term unfinished project that you are still interested in completing?

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It’s Time for Pants – Simplicity 1967

I’ve been a little worried about making pants.  I’ve read about how difficult they are to fit; there is crotch length and depth to consider while trying to figure out what terms like “scooping the crotch” means.  I didn’t even know how the pants pieces looked, or how to sew them together.

I wanted to make very comfortable, lightweight cotton pants for wearing around the house, and Simplicity 1967 seemed to fit the bill.  This is one of the earliest patterns  I bought, from a quilt store that has since closed.  The pattern cover assures me it’s easy, so I figured it would be a good introduction to pants sewing.  The pants have patch pockets and a separate waistband with a drawstring. I paired it with some blue gingham cotton fabric I had bought with pants in mind.

I tested the pattern by making it up with a sheet.  I noticed that the legs were very baggy on me, and that while the rise in the front was plenty high, the rise in the back was too low.

I needed to add more length in the back.  I added 3/4 inch at the center back tapering to nothing at the side, and I also slashed below the notches and added an inch in back length to the pattern.

center back waist raised

crotch length back alteration

I tapered the legs on both sides to take off some of the excess roominess.  I drafted my own patch pockets, making them larger with a top that is caught in the waistband and an angled opening.  I also added elastic in the casing. Since the pants are pull-on, they’re fitted for the hips, and I wanted them to pull in a bit at the waist.

I didn’t understand how to sew them up from the directions.  The pieces didn’t seem to fit together.  I found this pajama tutorial that was very helpful, and I used the method of putting  a right side out leg into a wrong side out leg to sew the crotch.

I’m proud of my pretty little eyelet buttonholes, and the pretty bias bound waist seam with the ribbon label on the inside.

Gingham Pants Pockets and Drawstring Waist

Inside Waistband of Pants with Bias Binding

These were easy, and a quick make.  The part that took the longest was seam finishing, and inserting the elastic.  I made a mistake, and had to unpick to leave a space to insert the elastic.

Just what I wanted!  I am enjoying wearing these pants.

Causual Drawstring Pants

Cotton Gingham Pants Sitting

Gingham doesn’t photograph well.

Simplicity 1967 Drawstring Pants

Have you ever gone to the store to try to replace a favorite piece of clothing and can’t find what you want?  Well, I won’t have that problem with these pants.  I can whip up another easily.   I will be making more pants, shorts, and pajama shorts in the future.  I also have a  pants pattern with a side zipper and one with a mock fly front when I’m ready to change it up.

P.S.  The change I made to the length of the back piece is an alteration of the crotch depth, and scooping the crotch, when done to the back piece,  is lowering the curve to give more room for the buttocks.