Dec 7, 2010

These are a few of my favorite [crochet] things . . .

 When my knee cracks
When the phone rings
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel, so bad.
Christmas is a short three weeks away and once again, I am struggling with how to answer the question, "What do you want for Christmas, Aunt Vickie?"

Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of things that I would like, no love, to have -- a million dollars, a brand new house, permanent hair dye that magically colors the gray as new hair grows in, the names of those elusive ancestors who insist upon hiding from me, world peace.  Seriously, I would love to be introduced to a new author, to find a pair of boots that fit all over, to take a real vacation where I'm not expending energy for someone else's pleasure, or to be on the receiving end of a pair of black or navy blue silk long johns to wear under skirts and pants to keep my legs warm as I commute.  And of course, world peace.

The list could go on but I am prevented from responding with the obvious -- crochet goodies or anything related to genealogy.  My girls won't have any of it.  They do not want to contribute to what they call my obsessions and what I call my hobbies.  That means no crochet or genealogy magazines and books, no hooks or notions, and, gasp, no yarn.

But if I could have some of my favorite crochet things, they would include:

Yarn, like Berrocco Latitude, a cotton and rayon which combine to produce a subtly variegated worsted weight yarn wrapped with a coordinating thread.  I think the colors (although limited) are great.  Like most good cottons, this yarn produces great stitch definition that would show off almost any fancy stitch.  Of course, I already have quite a stash of yarn but who says when enough is too much.  Particularly when I get verrrrry specific requests for a pair of socks or a pair of mittens or a shawl.

A crochet hook gauge designed specifically for, you guessed it, crochet hooks!  All the other gauges on the market are of the 'hole' variety, in which you insert your hook or needle.  Those of you who know crochet hooks, know that hooks by different manufacturers can vary widely so that type of gauge is relatively useless.  But this gauge is tapered, allowing you to see the true physical size of each hook where it matters, regardless of manufacturer and regardless of the size markings given.  Relatively inexpensive (less than $8), this notion should be in every crocheter's bag.  Caution: although made of thick plastic, it can crack at the bottom where the gauge narrows.  Just remember to keep it in your bag with your hook collection and not traveling with your works in progress.

Crochet hooks to go with the gauge.  I have been using Kinki Amibari's Yuraku aluminum hooks with bamboo handles this last year.  Despite the 5-inch handle length, these tapered headed hooks handle like a dream (no pun intended).  I only wish I can find a distributor who sells the in-between sizes.

Novelty Button 1-3/8'' Cute As A Button BlueFancy Buttons!  God, I love me some buttons.  I think they just add so much to a garment and can really spruce up a hat or scarflet.  A button added to a flat 2-dimensional flower suddenly springs to life with the unexpected button that expresses that the wearer is "cute as a button."

Pom-Pom Makers.  Just the right gadget with which to make those furry little balls that embellish hats (at the top of the head and at the bottom of the ties) and other garments. Granted, I can use a piece of cardboard but my pom-poms always turn out like crap.  That's probably why I typically steer clear of them.  Perhaps with one of these little doo-dads, I might have better luck.

A good Granny Square Afghan pattern.  The oldest will be going off to college next fall and has asked, no told me, that she expects to take along a handmade-by-me granny square afghan with her.  You may say, no problem, but for me, this will be quite a challenge to make one large enough for a twin bed.  Not being a huge fan of granny squares, I just haven't attempted to make one, and most certainly have not had an opportunity to settle on a favorite.  After a bit of preliminary research, I thought she might like Lisa Naskrent's Moorish Mosaic Afghan, but noooo, she wants something a lot more traditional.  Perhaps she might like the Mosaic Throw by Ellen Gormley (pictured right).

More crochet and genealogy podcasts that are funny, slightly irreverent, and full of useless facts.  Podcasts enhance my weekday commute, as does a good portable crochet project.  What's on my MP3 player is TheKnitWits, a wife and husband team who just chat away about her knitting and spinning, all within the context of sharing stories about their life.  Since they live in Tennessee, I will just say, they are a hoot.  Go give them a spin.   As for a genealogy podcast, I listen to several but none are of the "laugh out loud, pee your pants" variety.   I also must admit to following the shenanigans of Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers of NPR's CarTalk, which I listened to religously for years until the local station kept changing the broadcast schedule.  Now, with the advent of Star Trek inspired technology, I no longer worry about missing the show -- I download the podcast and listen at my leisure.  Unfortunately, these weekly 1-hour shows I'm currently following are not enough.  I need more.  Anybody got any suggestions for good crochet or genealogy podcasts to add?

So, these are a few of my favorite things.  A girl can dream, can't she?

Happy Holidays!