Thursday, September 11, 2014

Block, Blocked, Blocking

Too soon to crow, but...

I started crocheting again last week.  Picked up the Rooster Filet that was my Secret Santa project last year.  Still not done tho its been in the stage of nearly done for six months.

As always I'm having issues with the finishing.  Not just getting it finished but with the finishing techniques that turn a fiber art project into a useful item.  This is the case with ninety percent of my unfinished projects.

Crafter's Duffle.
Including the Secret Santa  project from 2012 that is still unfinished primarily because the Mobius strip (that pile of brown on the left above) became too bulky to carry around after surpassing 4 inches in width and required a complex put away/get out protocol to prevent the thread tangling in the strip or loosing track of the working loop and risking unraveling an hour's work while fixing it.  Not to mention the time it took to fix it.

This has been a formidable block to working on the Mobius Strip for with a 5-10 minute get out/put away process it felt pointless to get it out unless I was sure of at least 45-60 minutes of uninterrupted work.  Time blocks of that size are rare and far between with all the duties I have here at Mom's and when I have them on the weekends she is at my brother's I usually need them for the sorting, organizing, rearranging projects and writing, research and exercise.

That is a getting-it-finished issue.  The finishing techniques issue is with the over 200 tails needing tucked on the panels seen in the picture to the left.

The Mobius strip is to serve as the bottom, side-pockets' back and carry strap for the crafter's duffle I designed myself in July 2012.  Working on it consumed the six months before Christmas 2012.  I worked 6 to 8 hours a day through August, stepping it up to 8-10 through Thanksgiving and then 16 to 20 through December 23.  I'd so miscalculated how much work was going to be involved!

I fully intended to maintain at least the 6-8 hour per day until it was done once I returned from the three week visit to Mom's in January 2013 but then the lifequake rocked my world and I never got to go home except for a few short visits until early May when there was no home to go home to.

I took it on the coast trip last Saturday and got a good 90 minutes of work on the way.  I thought it best to leave it safe in its bag for the return trip after we climbed back into the van with who knows how much sand in our clothes and hair and whatever that sticky stuff the wind plastered us with.  I could feel on my hands and face and legs where skin was exposed so knew it had to be in my clothes as well.

In that 90 minutes though I did make it all the way around one edge or 1/2 the entire Mobius or 8 feet of 2 chains + single crochet, repeat.  All the way around plus 18 inches.  Completing a Mobius round or both edges is 16 feet and adds 1/4 inch to the width.  It is now at 9.5 inches and I'm aiming for 12.  I'm sure I'll be speeding it up with practice. I was once doing the whole 16 feet inside 90 minutes.  Or two episodes of Stargate or Desperate Housewives or Madmen.  This weekend while Mom's gone it's going to be Star Trek Enterprise.

I'm probably going to be sorry I set it down that way to set up the photo shoot for the rooster filet.  Especially considering the unexpected offer of help I received:

No thank-you Bradley.  Not Helping.

Actually Bradley was asking me for help and holding my work hostage until I complied.

The rooster filet issue was with the blocking.  No amount of blocking was going to make a trapezoid into a rectangle.  The bottom was four inches wider than the top and one side was two inches shorter than the other.

This was probably the result of:
  • working on it in too many different moods which can change the tension causing the stitches to tighten up or loosen up
  • switching crochet hook sizes by accident which changes the size of the stitches

My solution was to work a row of slip stitches all the way around, adjusting tension intentionally to tighten up the looser stitches.  It seemed to be working until I got to the third edge--the wide bottom.  I worked it over and over before getting it right.  I probably reworked it a dozen times.  Sometimes I'd skipped stitches which caused the fabric to bunch.  That's a vision issue.  But the primary problem was keeping the tension just right.

I think I finally got it.  The test blocking looks promising though I still need to finish the 4th edge.

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