Archive for August, 2010

Multiple Layer Crochet Flower Petals – in detail – part 1

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

NaBloPoMo August logoIt’s taken a long time, and a few (very polite and gracious) reminders, but I’m finally going to try to write up my flower petal blanket in detail. The recipe is still there for anyone who prefers that, but this is a good opportunity for me to crochet another (for progress pictures) and make some improvements (perhaps this one will lay flat more easily than the first did).

I’m planning on using the suggested number of increases per round given on page 143 of Edie Eckman‘s The Crochet Answer Book (a very useful little tome, which I probably won’t get around to reviewing better on the blog, since it’s a dip-into sort of book, rather than one to read straight through). I’m hoping this will help when I stagger out to using longer stitches in the later rounds.

To save myself time, I’m going to write this using UK stitch names,  but may convert it later. Stitch abbreviations, then, are:

  • ss – Slip stitch
  • dc – double crochet (US single crochet)
  • htr – half treble crochet (US half double crochet)
  • tr – treble crochet (US double crochet)
  • dtr – double treble crochet (US treble crochet)
  • blo – back loops only
  • flo – front loops only

The petal (in front loops only) is as described in the recipe:

ss in first stitch, (dc, htr) in next stitch, 2tr in next stitch, dtr in next stitch, 2tr in next stitch, (htr, dc) in next stitch. Repeat all the way around. End with ss in last stitch to end petal.

  • So, round one is 6dc in a magic loop. Join with ss.
  • stitches in magic loop
    Don’t pull it too tight (like I did)!
    magic loop pulled together

  • Round 2: do one petal in flo of R1.
  • With first petal

  • R3: in blo of R1 do 2dc in each stitch. (12 dc)
  • R4: Two petals in flo of R3.
  • after 2 petal round

  • R5: In blo of R3 do *2dc in first stitch, 1dc in next stitch. Repeat from * till end of round. (18 dc)
  • R6: Three petals in flo of R5.
  • after 3 petal round

  • R7: In blo of R5 do *1dc in each of first two stitches, 2dc in next stitch. Repeat from * till end of round. (24 dc)
  • back/flat side view at this point

  • R8: Four petals in flo of R7.
  • front with 4 petal round

I’ll have to continue this another time (it’s a bit late tonight), but I hope this has clarified what’s going on. One could simply continue like this in pattern, but I’ll write up how I make the petals come further apart later on on in the piece. Please let me know if anything is still unclear!

Part 2 is here.

Part 3.

Running out of options

Monday, 30 August 2010

NaBloPoMo August logo34. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Suns & Tears

Image by д§mд via Flickr

I finished reading this book last night, after finally picking it up off the shelf on Friday (I think), even though it was given to me getting on for two years ago. I’m really not sure why I hadn’t read it at the time, or during the intervening period – I hadn’t heard anything negative about it, and it’s now turned out to be a very well-written, informative and heart-rending book.

It is the story first of Mariam, born in 1959 on the outskirts of the city of Herat, married off at 15 to Rasheed, who takes her to live in Kabul, and then also of some of her neighbours (in particular Laila, born when Mariam is about 20), and through them of  Afghanistan during several decades of conflict, change, and oppression from within and without.

I will admit to knowing far less than I should about the modern history of Afghanistan, and this book certainly helped to pull the various bits and pieces I had heard into some kind of coherent chronology. In particular, I hadn’t really realised just how fast the major regime changes have actually happened. Laila was born a year or two after I was, and goes through the influence of the Communists, the Mujahadin, the Taliban, and the US-led invasion (the book ends in 2003, although it was published in 2007), just in the period she can really remember. (Mariam becomes aware of politics when there’s still a monarcy, too.) While Islam is a constant (one of very few) throughout, the form it takes (and in particular, how/if that is enforced) changes back and forth radically, particularly in what had been the cosmopolitan city of Kabul.

There aren’t any simple relationships in this book, which is part of its realism, particularly under the extreme stress placed upon them and the individuals involved by the  constantly changing and usually harsh regimes and conflicts they’re trying to live through. It definitely had me in tears several times.

I still haven’t read Hosseini’s first book, The Kite Runner, but will have to take the chance when I get it.

NB the picture is not mine, but was suggested by Zemanta and is being used under Creative Commons. (It’s the closest to the edition I have, and a great picture, besides.)

Pets or commentators

Sunday, 29 August 2010

NaBloPoMo August logo27. The World According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney

Cover of "The World According to Humphrey...

Cover of The World According to Humphrey

This is a cute little book with some interesting points of view. I have reviewed it before, but 2.5 years later isn’t too soon to reread something short and sweet. Basically, Humphrey is the (very intelligent) class hamster for a group of kids (and a few associated adults), and while he aims to have a good time himself, he also has a goal of helping all these people sort out the small and large problems they find themselves with. Always with the difficulty of not being able to speak to them directly, nor even make it clear that he can understand their speech and even their writing. (Well, when it’s in English – he’s not polyglot in human languages, which is relevant to the book.)

All in all, it’s a fun chapter book to read yourself, to younger children, or have the early-to-mid confident readers attack alone. While no horrible situations come up, there is a whole variety of social and familial issues raised, which I’d say should be treated as an opportunity to discuss such things in a safe setting with children. A good thing, in my opinion.

(By the way, the link and cover picture are apparently to the US edition of the book, which isn’t the one I have or read, but I have no reason to think there are any major differences.)

Persuaded by a book

Saturday, 28 August 2010

NaBloPoMo August logo26. Persuasion by Jane Austen

So, finally here to discuss Persuasion. I have certainly read the beginning of the book a few times (I had actually just begun to do so again when Heather said she was going to do it next on Craftlit), but I amn’t sure I had previously finished it. Not that it’s a bad book, by any means, but somehow it hasn’t generally grabbed me so much as some of the others. Thankfully, listening along with Craftlit worked out very well. Some of the characters are still annoying (but then, I do get annoyed by characters, as my regular book-post readers will know), and the attitudes are worse, but that is a lot of the point of Jane Austen’s novels: she aims to show up the snobbery and other vices of the class-based society she describes, and to have (eventually, with many many false steps along the way) virtue win out. Usually.

Jane Austen, Watercolour and pencil portrait b...

Image via Wikipedia

Anyway, Heather’s commentary was helpful and fascinating, as always, although we didn’t manage to convert my DH. (He has disliked JA’s writing since school, and isn’t compelled by Austen’s portrayal of the social nuance and patronising behaviour described in her books.) Thankfully he’s enjoying the current Craftlit book (A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court) much more, as he expected to. I’m finding that quite interesting, as I’m not at all familiar with it, which Heather’s obviously expecting everyone to be (it is an American classic, after all). I’d heard of it, of course, but don’t know the story at all, so being told repeatedly that it’s not what we’ll be expecting doesn’t mean very much to me.

Now, as to Persuasion itself; well, as above it’s not my favourite Austen novel. Part of my problem with it is that so much of the story, and especially the character development, happens before the start of the novel. The former wouldn’t bother me half so much as the latter. In short, Anne Elliott many years ago allowed herself to be persuaded not to marry a penniless young naval officer, and has since learned to regret it, particularly now that he’s turned up in her circle again, as a very successful and far-from-penniless (as her family has become, in the meantime) career officer. Of course, having rejected him before she can’t throw herself at him now (pride good and bad showing itself as one of Austen’s recurring themes) and has to watch while younger friends do just that. I suppose what I do like about JA’s work, is that while the ending  generally is happy and predictable, the path to get there really isn’t so much, and that’s what it’s worth reading for.

What must be done

Friday, 27 August 2010

NaBloPoMo August logoI finished some more repairs last night (sewing ones), but they’re not really good enough to show off, I don’t think. I keep meaning to do a post on pad refurbishment, because it might actually be useful to somebody (there’s lots and lots of online info on how to make new cloth menstrual pads from scratch, but not so much on changing them after the fact), although it’s one of those things where if I can work this out then probably anybody can!

I have a few almost-finished books to add to the list, and several there still to write about. I might finish some of the reading over Shabbat, so there’ll be more on those to come.

Let’s see, it’s the 27th of August now, so I’m looking good to finish up the month having fulfilled the NaBloPoMo requirements for posting every day. I don’t realistically think I can even try to commit to that for September, October or November, certainly, (rather expecting first the Jewish festivals and then some major life changes to get in the wayalter my priorities) although I will try to keep posting regularly. (I might just stick with some of the more interesting posts, though…) I’ll try not to just disappear (again) anyhow!

Hm, to add to the randomness that is this post, I’m evidently confusing Zemanta with all the different topics. Shall I just see can I show you some of the variety of pictures it’s offering me?  Apparently not easily. (It seems it won’t let me drag the pictures where I want them on Opera, and thus it just wants to do one, right at the top, where I don’t want it.) Anyhow, there are a few of cloth pads, several related to Shabbat and its different services, as well as a few completely random ones I can’t work out at all.

Anyway, whatever you’re planning on doing for it, have a great weekend!

Oh dear

Thursday, 26 August 2010

NaBloPoMo August logoI promised you a better post today, and then forgot all about it until now. Not doing very well at this right now, am I?

Been out

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

NaBloPoMo August logoWe had to unexpectedly go out all afternoon and evening (literally just got home) for something quite important, so I haven’t had a chance for a proper blog post. Will aim for a decent one tomorrow.

Uninspired

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

NaBloPoMo August logoI have so many things I’m wanting to make, even planning to make, and yet it’s weeks since I’ve really done any crocheting, and I’m stalling on doing more than sewing repairs. Maybe the title’s wrong – it’s not that I don’t have inspiration; it’s that I’m not seeming to get around to following up on that inspiration.

Singer1

Image via Wikipedia

Ooh look – a Singer sewing machine that reminds me of the one my Granny used. I was a bit disappointed when my mother and uncle decided not to keep that, but then neither of them wanted it, nor did they have space to keep it for years just in case one of their children really would later on. So pretty. If I get a machine (which I do want to) I’m sure it’ll look purely functional.

My mind’s jumping from place to place, but I’m looking forward to next Sunday…

Scissors as specialists

Monday, 23 August 2010

NaBloPoMo August logoI really don’t do multi-purpose scissors. We do own a couple more pairs than are represented here (in particular my hair scissors, which I don’t quite recall the location of) but these are the ones that get used on a regular basis, and woe betide the person (not my DH, who quite gets this) who goes to use the wrong ones…

scissors 001

So, from left, these are:

  1. my fabric shears (which also get used for yarn and thread, because I can’t always be bothered switching to the little ones in the middle;
  2. my secateurs (mostly used for trimming the stems of cut flowers, but also useful when taming outdoor plants which try to prevent one leaving your home);
  3. my nail scissors (above the secateurs);
  4. the thread scissors which came with the fabric shears, and which I really don’t actually use all that often, but which turned up while I was looking for my errant hair scissors);
  5. my food scissors (using scissors on food is a trick I learned from my mother – so much easier than using knives on everything from nuts to pizza – but which has obviously caught on among other people too, considering one can buy them marked ‘Dairy’, ‘Meat’ or ‘Pareve’ for the kosher market, and these even come apart so you can clean them fully, but actually work properly when put back together again);
  6. my paper scissors

Thankfully they’re all fairly different in appearance (and mostly kept in different places, according to their function and most useful place) so they don’t tend to get mixed up. I’m sure most crafters, at least, have specialist scissors which mayn’t be used for anything else – how about the rest of you?

Supposedly cooler

Sunday, 22 August 2010

NaBloPoMo August logoApparently the temperature has decreased, very slightly, from the craziness it reached on Thursday and Friday, and should properly start to go down come the middle of this week. I’m still too hot. As is my computer. This is not good for my peace of mind, either. I should just focus on the good/progress news I got this morning, and stop letting my imagination go into overdrive, like it has been doing.

The next book I should be discussing is Persuasion (by Jane Austen), but I really don’t think I’m in the frame of mind for doing that right now.