Here There Be a Dragon

I have been ogling the dragons at Annie’s Granny Design for months, and last week I finally had the time to dig out some scrap sock yarn I knew would be just perfect and dust off my crochet hooks. As you may recall, I don’t pull those sons of blackguards out for nothing.

Rawrrrr!

The dragons that caught my eye were made from Lucy Ravenscar’s Fierce Little Dragon, and I think you’ll agree that all of the dragons look fiercer than mine. I blame this partially on my needlework skills and partially on my not looking closely at the samples shown. Not to self: learn some damn embroidery skills.

Notes for other n00bs like me:

  • The thick part of the back legs is supposed to be thigh muscle, not strangely large feet. #facepalm
  • I have no idea how the perky little ears on those dragons emerged from the pattern, but hey, worst case scenario: since when do lizards have ears?
  • She doesn’t explain the eyebrow ridge that gives the dragon its fierceness. Can anyone explain that to me?

Overall, the dragon was as delightful to make as crochet gets for me. I could have sat there making wings all day–I love the way she creates shape and ruffle and claws. Quite clever and not at all difficult. And the spines! Magic…except for the bit where they’re not joined as you go. Someone should figure a non-sewing way around that.

I am leaving the project inspired to start playing with patterns for knit toys, so if I’m successful, you may see a pattern for my own knit dragon design in the future. If I’m REALLY successful, it will demand no sewing or embroidering.

RAAAAWWWWRRRRR!!!

Okay, Maybe I’m a “Sometimes” Hooker

If you read my last post, you’ll recall that I’m not the world’s biggest fan of crochet. The only reason I braved the impossible craft is because I love my sister Joy very much and I decided that she NEEDED to have Gigi Giraf to keep her company at grad school. Fortunately, me and my dread were pleasantly surprised.

Can you believe I crocheted that? Me neither. I mean, the pattern had in it’s favor that it was worked in the infinitely-forgiving round, but still. Look how cute she is!

Even more surprising was how much I enjoyed making her. I mean, there’s an unholy amount of sewing, but I haven’t found many toy patterns (knitting included) in which this isn’t the case. Also, I had forgotten how quickly crochet works up. It took me only slightly more time to make this giraffe (about eight inches tall) than it did to make Cho’s elephant a few weeks ago, and the elephant only stands about an inch and a half tall.

Better still, I learned a most excellent technique that I will now be searching for the knit equivalent of: making an adjustable ring. So simple, so slick. So easy to cinch tight after you get going. Even if you think you hate crochet, you should make one or two spots from this (free!) giraffe pattern just so you can appreciate this technique.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5E4iE1wKnM]

What are you still here for? Go dust off your hooks, people!

I’m Not a Hooker

Not anymore, anyway, unless under extreme duress. Sometimes you just need a bit of edging and I must acknowledge that for edging, crochet is often the easier tool. Since I began knitting, the only crochet project I have worked on was the afghan I was already working on when I learned to knit.

The reason for this is that I have a chronic inability to count stitches in crochet. Once I lose track, I’m done for. Finished…at least when I’m working flat. Working in the round has always been easier for me, which is perhaps odd, but hats always seemed to work out better than afghans.

Afghan number one was a very simple zig-zag pattern. Not much to mess up, right? Except that I consistently managed to drop a stitch on one side of the afghan, so it has a strange tail. That project is where I set the precedent that I don’t rip back…even if it means I have a mutant on my hands.

Afghan number two was actually quite a pretty lace number, but my (unswatched) gauge was very loose, which meant that (a) it turned out to be ENORMOUS, (b) the lace was too open to make it useful for keeping a person warm, and (c) it’s disconcertingly fragile for a blanket made of a tough acrylic yarn. It’s also the only one currently not in storage or in someone else’s house, so you can see just how unintentionally open it is…

Afghan number three almost started a war between my aunt and mother (not really) because I made it for the fun of it and gave it to my aunt on a whim, since she had admired it. That led me to make afghan number five–same pattern, Mom’s yarn choices. It was a pleasant, easy lattice pattern, but I began with an absurdly large number of stitches, which led to a need for extra length to make the thing proportionate…which took years. Five, to be approximate.

Afghan number four is where my love of crochet really died. I had a combination of not particularly attractive grays and greens that I was working in strips that would need to be sewn together. My gauge was all over the place, but I didn’t check the strips against one another until I had worked all eight of them…. Goodwill got eight extremely ugly scarves for Christmas that year and I packed away my hooks in disgust (until Mom bought the yarn for afghan number five, anyway).

So when I saw an adorable giraffe that I just HAD to make for my sister Joy, you can imagine that I might have felt an inkling of dismay when I realized it was CROCHET. Shudder. Still, it’s impossible to not fall in love with Gigi Giraffe. She’s just SO CUTE! It took me half an hour of digging to find one of my crochet hooks, but I unearthed the rusting (okay, not literally) tool and braved the excavation of my dusty crochet knowledge.

Keep tuned for part two, in which I reveal whether my hapless hooking creating an adorable fuzzy thing or a horrible monstrosity…