Thursday, September 27, 2012

Stitches in Time?



So A week after I settled the major stitch choices and made the calculations as to best pace to get this done by the Christmas deadline, how did I do?

Well good overall I think but still not keeping up the necessary pace.  Due in part to two days sick with nausea and headache but mostly because I was still fussing with stitches giving me fits.  But with 88 days until Christmas I now have 20 of the 99 squares complete.  And a full inch on the 2 chain mesh Mobius strip that will comprise the bottom, sides and shoulder strap for the bag.

I missed my major goal for the week of having all 9 of the starting squares for the strips complete by two squares but they at least are well begun.  They are the two stitch patterns giving me the most fits.  I've taken out nearly half as many stitches as I've put into them and one of them--the aqua second from right in top row--is riddled with mistakes in the first three rows which I chose to leave be after discovering them while working on row 6.

I decided that since those rows would be near the seam attaching the panel to the Mobius strip they would not ever be that closely observed so if I could fix the problems caused by building on those mistakes by increases and decreases in the spots still affected on the row I was working I would leave the goofs alone.  I think I managed to make the fixes.

The stitch pattern is a riff on the chevron with the use of bobbles and clusters and is called Wavy Puff Stitch Spray.  I had the square more than half done once and had to take it completely out after discovering a similar scattering of mistakes but in that case there was also the issue that the pattern had created a width over 4.5 inches which wasn't ideal considering all the rest of the strips are the intended 4 inches.

At that time I tried to select another wavy stitch but I'd grown attached to this one and decided instead to adjust the pattern to fit my needs by adding stitches to the middle and sides and then taking out one whole iteration of the wave.  That's the first time I've ever rewritten a pattern I was trying to follow.

The other unfinished square--seen to the left of the aqua square above--is the Loops pattern and the only two color pattern in the project.  This is a very simple stitch with a twelve chain loop added between every four single crochets on the first row of each color change but if you are not paying attention it is easy to goof it up.

My main goofs are to add or subtract a single crochet stitch between the loops. to add chain loops without any single crochet between them or to single crochet for an inch or two without adding the loops.  This makes for a lot of undoing and redoing of portions of that one row.  The three rows above the loops rows are straight single crochet and hard to mess up as long as I don't trap a portion of the loop into the stitches or trap it on the wrong side.

I had some trouble with the Lilac square's Broomstick Lace stitch--far right in top row-- in the beginning but got into the rhythm after awhile.  That isn't a new stitch for me as I made an afghan with it while in high school.  The 'stick' I'm using for working with crochet thread is a child's fat lead pencil.  This stitch is going to be more time consuming than many of the others.

The two remaining stitches in that top row--the Golden Yellow Wavy Shell and the Green Key Tab--are both a breeze once I got them down.

Those five in the top row are placed in the order in which the strips will be sewn together and as seen from the back of the bag.  They represent the panel that will be the back/top/front flap of the tote.

The squares and partial strip shown below them represent the panel that will wrap around the front of the bag creating pockets on each end.  The completed strip belonging on the bottom of this panel is not shown as it is finished and packed away.  It uses the same 2 chain mesh as the Mobius strip.

The bottom strip shown uses straight single crochet.  It needs to be sturdy to hold the buttons for attaching the flap to.

The strip above that represented by the pale pink square uses the Track stitch or a row of double triple crochet separated by three rows of single crochet.

The top strip--pale blue square--uses the fillet stitch.

I could have been further on the Mobius but had to take out more than a full 16 foot round after discovering a bunch of mistakes.  The worst mistake was having turned the work around and started working back the way I'd just come and discovering it only when I was less than two feet from working back over that spot.  After taking that all out I was looking closely at the row below and discovered a whole bunch of missed loops, loops with two instead of one single crochet in them, and three chain loops.  I took out more than half of that 8 foot row.  This fiasco caused me to loose most of three rows.

To clarify: a row is one side of the Mobius strip representing the original 8ft chain before its ends were connected while a round is the full length that works both sides of that chain and thus adds two rows.

I've discovered that ten rows of 2 chain mesh makes approximately one inch.  I'm aiming for a minimum of 10 inches but hoping for 12.

To sum up, it is still doable but I better not have to take more than two or three more full days off between now and December 24th.

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