Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Möbius Mopes

Möbius Strip for Crocheted Tote

I thought it was about time I presented a picture of the  crocheted Möbius strip that has been such a frequent topic of posts in the last two years.  Especially since it is going to be the main subject of this post.

All I can say is 'arrrrrrrgh'

The crocheted crafter's tote is moving like cold molasses.  Nearly three years in the making and now two years late as the intended 2012 Secret Santa gift for my sister-in-law this project has been a frustration from about four months in when it became obvious I was unlikely to finish in time.

There was no pattern because it was born in my head in the shimmering vision that remains the only consolation and hope and the second to top motive for keeping at it.  But the vision did not take account of realities like the limitations of time, materials and skill.  Not to mention physical: pain in tendons and tense muscles, and fatigue with the 12+ hour days, eye strain and sleep deprivation.

I guess I was still too much of a newbie at crochet to pull off something this ambitiously elaborate.  But it has been my education.  I joke that I have had the equivalent of half a dozen college level courses in the process.  The finished tote will serve as a sampler of my skill set.

  • I learned over a dozen new stitches and patterns including a couple I invented.  
  • I learned design in color, texture and shape.  
  • I learned design in engineering, materials, and structure. 
  • I learned to better estimate time and thread needs. 
  • I learned to control stitch gauge to maintain 4x4 inch squares with a variety of stitches/patterns 

The Möbius strip is a bear to work with.  It's starting chain was 8 ft in diameter so folded it is nearly 4 feet long and 11 inches wide.  It's intended to serves as the bottom, sides and shoulder strap for the tote.

Seen from the right front corner.

The front panel wraps around the front and both sides.  The Möbius forms the bottom and comes up the sides inside the side panels to form the back of the side pockets.  The other panel comes up the back and over the top and partway down the front.

The tote won't be as big as seen in the pic above as changes to the original plan became necessary.  It was intended to hold a standard size quilt as my sister-in-law is a quilter.  It will probably still hold a quilt WIP until the batting is added tho.

The struggle now is in identifying the precise 6-chain loops at each corner of the bottom that will be woven into the 6-chain loops on the two panels of blocks.  This involved finding the center of the bottom and top and counting the joining loops on the panels then out from the center of the bottom of the Möbius.  Then weaving a grey length of yarn across the width in the center and both ends.  Then adding the joining loops for the bottom sides across the width of the strip.  I've only got that done for one side.  I still need to repeat for the opposite side, counting out from the center, weaving the yarn, and adding the loops.

Weaving that yarn through the 2-chain mesh that forms the Möbius fabric is difficult.  My vision issues make it doubly so.  I wish there were another way to be sure the corner loops are directly across from each other.  As hard as that is I'm not sure that crocheting dark brown on dark brown across the fabric instead of on its edge doesn't top it for challenging.

Once those tasks are done I'm hoping the loop weaving task will go smooth.  Once those corners are identified and the bottom is joined to the appropriate edges of the panels it should just be a matter of weaving the loops up the four sides.

But that isn't the end of the challenges. There will be more rows of the joining/decorative loops to crochet and the wrapper for the Möbius twist at the top of the strap, and the buttons for the front. There's the hundreds of tails needing tucked and I still need to sew on the lengths of grossgrain ribbon to strengthen and reenforce the fabric.  Especially at the edges.  For when I tried improvising a joining with clips and twist ties I discovered that it was impossible to load the bag without someone holding it open.

For several days after that I felt as tho the entire project had become as complete a flop as the bag acted.  But I brainstormed some ideas for fixing the problem.  I won't know how well they will work until I'm able to implement them.  Which I can't do until the bottom edges are joined.

For months I've only been able to work on this project either by taking it over to the yarn shop to spread out on the big tables or working on the weekends when Mom is gone and I can move stuff off my craft table onto her side of the bed.  But this past weekend I managed to rearrange some things and preserve enough room on the craft table for working on it all week.  It should move along a bit faster now.

Here's hoping the mopes are bygones.

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