One Person’s Ruined Afghan is Another Person’s Wall Hanging

Well, I think I’ve found a home for the Hill House afghan, just as it is, as an art piece. So, that makes me feel better.

The octagon afghan is coming along very well. I only have 16 octagons left. But I have to do squares (which you can see the room for) which means that I need to find a way to make those squares with a knot at the center. I have a good idea how but I’m still a little gunshy after the Hill House afghan.

octagon afghan

The Hill House Afghan Disaster

I am crushed and sick to my stomach. I have never, ever, ever had an afghan do this. At first, I was like, maybe it’s just a matter of fixing this square, which kind of made me want to throw up, but at least it was a solution. But they’re all doing this. Every square. That damn starting stitch, which was so hard to learn and it didn’t have a knot, but it seemed solid. I should have known. I just should have fucking known. This “no knots” bullshit in crochet is what leads to this.

I don’t even know how to begin to fix this. I think the afghan is a total loss. FUUUUUUUuuuuuck. I loved this beautiful, weird afghan. And I’m bummed I have to show up to see C & M empty-handed.

I think the thing that most pisses me off is knowing that it’s just best to throw this away and start over. I mean, it’s also good. It’s Red Heart yarn. It’s not expensive. And the time it would take to frog it is more precious than the money it would take to repurchase the yarn and redo it. But it was so much work and I loved it. And it can’t be saved.

Bah.

the Death of the Hill House Afghan

Dogsitting

We’re dogsitting Sonnyboy’s friend. He is fascinated by the cats. I am a little frightened for him, because this morning, the orange cat got behind the couch and growled to draw the dog’s attention. Then the new kitty attacked him from behind.

Like some kind of two-cat lion pride.

He didn’t seem to mind, though. He’s back in the other room trying to sniff the new kitty. Sonnyboy keeps going into the other room to try to talk his friend into being cool, but it’s not working.

In other news, my eye seems much improved, though still pretty hideous looking. The Butcher’s like “Well, you’re staying home today, right?” But this is literally the one week this month I cannot be out of work, certainly not for itchy aesthetic reasons. I am going to try to get home early, just because all the animals are in the house and there’s going to be a thunderstorm. That seems like a lot to ask of everyone.

And last, but not least, here is a weird thing I can’t figure out with this newest afghan. The octagons are the same height and width as the squares. I guess they involve a little less stitching because you’re minus the corners, but the stitching is a little more complicated because it’s eight sides.

But, if I want something the same size as the Hill House afghan, I need 63 squares. Folks, I have 24 octagons done. Since I started. On Sunday. And this is with me having this weird eye shit and farting around with Ashland and dog-sitting and gardening. I have six more that just need borders. If I don’t go out tonight, which, let’s be honest, I’m not going to looking like this, I’ll finish those up. I’ll have thirty done.

Why is this going so quick?! I just don’t understand it. I could easily be done with the octagon part of this afghan, at this pace, by Memorial day. Literally the only way my brain can make sense of this is that the octagons must be smaller than the squares. But I keep measuring them and they’re the same.

Now, granted, I have all the inset squares to do and piecing this together is going to be a weird challenge, so it’s not like it’s going to be the fastest afghan in the world–the finishing of it may be the challenge. But I’m boggled about this part.

The Next Afghan

Seriously, y’all, even if I’d only ever learned this motif from this book, this would be the greatest Christmas present ever. So, we did the hexagon version and the quadragon version… ha ha ha. I really wish quadragon was a word. But the square version is what I just finished up. And next on the docket is the octagon version. I’m doing this up for my friend, Tracy, who used to have a nickname around here, but I don’t remember what it was.

The tricky thing about this is that, when you put octagons together, there’s a square of emptiness (warning, there are a lot of hexagons at that link, which is aggravating). I want to fill that square of emptiness. But with what? A regular square or a twisty square? See that yellow part in this octagon. Could I stick that in the empty part? I don’t know. We’ll have to see.

ts afghan

The Hill House Afghan is Done!

You spend so long making squares that you forget how easy it is to put those squares together. I finished this up while I was on the phone with the Professor. I’m going to try to get a better picture after I make my bed. I guess I could just go make my bed…

Anyway, I’m really pleased with how it turned out. My fear of any variegated yarn is how cheesy and cheap it can look. You know what I mean, that kind of, here’s a block of color, there’s a block of color, making an ugly pattern. Somehow, no matter how beautiful the yarn looks in the skein, it just looks cheap worked up. To my eye, this pattern solves the problem of the cheap looking variegated yarn.

Not that the yarn isn’t cheap. This is all Red Heart, which is pretty dang inexpensive. I probably made this afghan for $40 in materials, and that’s probably an estimate on the high side. But I love Red Heart yarn for afghans because you can afford to get a lot of it, it’s pretty indestructible, you can wash and dry it without needing any fancy instructions, and it softens up nicely as you wash it. But I also love that you can push it into something this beautiful. It almost looks like some kind of cubist take on an afghan.

63

I’m rapidly running out of yarn, so 63 it is. I think it’s going to be beautiful. Maybe not to everyone’s tastes, but hopefully to C & M’s.

hill house 5

If You’re Not Salty, What are You Worth?

I have a ton of celery. So I made this celery apple soup that I found a recipe for online. And it called for a tablespoon of salt. I checked repeatedly because it just seemed like way too much salt. But there it was–a tablespoon. So, since I hadn’t made the recipe before, I went with it.

And, fuck yes, it was too much salt. I tried everything–the adding sugar trick, the adding starch trick, the adding water trick.

None of it worked.

And I didn’t finish the Hill House squares, not even the 63. But I’m going to try to get to 70.

And we have to eat that fucking salty soup again tonight.

The Hill House Afghan Has Me in Its Thrall

All morning, I’ve been sitting here thinking that, even though I can, at best, do four squares an evening, if I left work early, I could get six done and then I would know if I had enough yarn for seven more.

I can’t actually leave work early, because I have a ton of stuff to do.

But I hear the siren call of the afghan, luring me to come and finish it.

Still, it could be worse. I could be sitting here fretting over the fact that it’s a mere 17 days until The Wolf’s Bane is supposed to come out.

The Deer

This morning, as we came out of the garage, the dog took off like a shot–fhwoosh–though our yard, the neighbor’s yard, and the neighbor’s neighbor’s yard. A young buck lifted his head up and leaped off across the AT&T yard. The dog chased after him. I yelled, “What are you going to do with him if you do catch him?” and this seemed to dissuade the dog from running further. He circled back around to me and we went on our walk like normal.

He’s so beautiful when he runs. I’d hardly believe he hadn’t been chasing deer his whole life if I hadn’t seen how bad he was at running when we first got him.

The Hill House afghan has a kind of weird field-like quality to it. I guess anything with rows is bound to. We’re reaching the end. I have 57 squares. I’m aiming for 70, but I don’t know if I have enough yarn. So, now my goal is to make it to 63 and reassess where I am yarn-wise, see if I think I have enough to make it to 70. It’ll be a very, very close call. But I’m really excited about putting it together and seeing how it looks.

As Expected, The Hill House Afghan Takes an Unexpected Turn

Experienced yarn workers will tell you–always buy as much yarn as you need for the project ahead of time. They say this is so you can be sure to get all the same dye lot, which is handy. But it’s also because, when you’re in the middle of a project, you’re a jackass. Like me.

I was like “Oh, right I totally remember what yarn I bought for the Hill House afghan.”

And now the new yarn has arrived and some of it is right and some of it is not a yarn that has heretofore appeared in the Hill House afghan.

The tan? The crucial tan? Not in the box.

Instead, I picked out for myself a more vivid brown.

So, it’ll be interesting to piece together. I’m going to have to lay it out on my bed and move things around to make sure they’re evenly distributed. But I had 29 squares of a 48 square afghan. And I bought a whole lot more yarn than I had for the 29 squares. So, in my head, I’m already planning on bumping it up to 6×9. If I still have yarn, I might go bigger.

That makes me laugh, too, that I thought I was through over half the House and now I’ve discovered that’s not the case.

Hill House Afghan, Evidence of Lack of Ends

I have tucked all the ends I have to tuck. I am now squashing them under the book that contains the motif I am using for the squares. Squashing serves to purpose except to unsettle the squares, which you have to do when you're creating an afghan based on a haunted house.

I have tucked all the ends I have to tuck. I am now squashing them under the book that contains the motif I am using for the squares. Squashing serves to purpose except to unsettle the squares, which you have to do when you’re creating an afghan based on a haunted house.

Hill House Afghan Update of Doomish Not-Badness

I have, indeed, run out of yarn. If the afghan is going to be 6×8, which it needs to be unless C&M are planning to shrink themselves down to half their original sizes at some point in the near future, I need 48 squares. I have 29.

So, fine, I need more yarn. Which I knew this weekend and I didn’t bother to take care of business.

My own fault.

But that means that, in order to keep moving forward on the afghan while we watch TV, I am… I can barely bring myself to say it… tucking ends on the 29 squares.

Yes. Willingly tucking ends ahead of time.

I don’t even recognize myself.

Hill House Afghan Update

From this picture, we learn two important things--the afghan needs to be six squares by eight to be a good size. I don't know if I have enough yarn to get it to that size, but we shall see. The other is that you can't always predict what's going to be important. I really thought it was going to be the tan yarn, but my eye really searches for the blue and the pink.

From this picture, we learn two important things–the afghan needs to be six squares by eight to be a good size. I don’t know if I have enough yarn to get it to that size, but we shall see. The other is that you can’t always predict what’s going to be important. I really thought it was going to be the tan yarn, but my eye really searches for the blue and the pink.

Perennials, I Roll My Eyes

I think the Isaac Franklin thing is in good shape. As is the thing for the Scene.

I have planted a climbing rose and some foxgloves and planted all my seeds. I chased the dog around and now I am exhausted. Which is good because I haven’t been sleeping well this week.

So, I think this means I’m justified spending the evening listening to podcasts and working on my afghan. I was booking along on it and then I got distracted by all this writing stuff.

I’m giving the stripey afghan to S. on Sunday and I am both excited and a little bummed. I don’t know what exactly it is about that afghan, but it’s a favorite. I think both because it was super easy and looks super great. I will miss you, stripey afghan! But you go to a place with a porch and some still cool evenings ahead.

You know, I just realized that, if I had had coffee with a friend this morning, I would have spent my day doing all my favorite things.

Anti-Euclidian Farm

I’m now four squares into this afghan (though it’s still not clear how many squares I will need) and it is tickling me. It’s very landscapey, like each square is a small farm. But, since none of the lines are straight, it’s also a little disquieting. Like the crop rows lie along a hidden geography.

One Done, Another Started

The striped afghan is done! It just needs to be washed, checked for any untucked ends, and handed off to S. I love it. If it were a dress, I'd wear it.

The striped afghan is done! It just needs to be washed, checked for any untucked ends, and handed off to S. I love it. If it were a dress, I’d wear it.

This is the start of the afghan for C & M. It's supposed to be "earth tones" but I'm not really sure it counts as such. Still, you get what you pay for with a free afghan. This is the square version of the hexagon pinwheel, which is not really noticeable because of the variegation in the yarn. Though I think it will be over more squares. That tan yarn is going to be the lynchpin of the afghan. If it doesn't provide some visual interest, the squares are just a pretty mess. No pressure tan yarn!

This is the start of the afghan for C & M. It’s supposed to be “earth tones” but I’m not really sure it counts as such. Still, you get what you pay for with a free afghan. This is the square version of the hexagon pinwheel, which is not really noticeable because of the variegation in the yarn. Though I think it will be over more squares. That tan yarn is going to be the lynchpin of the afghan. If it doesn’t provide some visual interest, the squares are just a pretty mess. No pressure tan yarn!

The Stripey Afghan

I had a lot of yarn left over from the hexagon afghan. It’s now going into the stripey afghan which is due to be about a third stripes and two thirds the charcoal gray I love so much. But I’m ending up with a lot more stripes than I thought I’d have, so I’m now just striving for having it not equally stripes and charcoal gray. But I really love it. This may be the best batch of color picking I’ve ever done. Anyway, for those of you playing along at home, it’s just a basket weave made with a single crochet and a chain with the single crochet the other way going where the chain is. It lets you end up, when you’re using a hook this big, with a fairly solid blanket with a really nice drape and some give to it. It’s super easy and looks fantastic.

stripey 1 stripey 2

Done!

The afghan is finished! I'm trying not to be too judgmental, but I'm not in love with the way I mixed the hexagons. I'm probably the only one who will be dissatisfied with it, though, so I'm just going to stop being so nitpicky.

The afghan is finished! I’m trying not to be too judgmental, but I’m not in love with the way I mixed the hexagons. I’m probably the only one who will be dissatisfied with it, though, so I’m just going to stop being so nitpicky.

Many Irons in the Fire

The Butcher's scarf, a simple half-double crochet in green. Just waiting on the last skein to finish it up.

The Butcher’s scarf, a simple half-double crochet in green. Just waiting on the last skein to finish it up.

I'm now piecing this together, so it's very close to done.

I’m now piecing this together, so it’s very close to done.

This is not a great photo of the stripey afghan, but you can get the idea. It's going to be stripey and then charcoal gray.

This is not a great photo of the stripey afghan, but you can get the idea. It’s going to be stripey and then charcoal gray.

And then after this I have the yarn for an afghan for C and his wife. So, I guess I’m assuming it’s going to be cold and/or rainy for a bit more.

My Life, In One Picture

Also, just to give you some context, remember that I just finished the never-ending afghan February 1st. Which I started before Thanksgiving. Now, granted, I have been cooped up in the house all week, so I’m doing more crocheting than I might normally, but here it is February 20th and by lunch, I’ll be ready to piece this one together.

I won’t be piecing it together because I’m out of charcoal yarn and I’m not driving anywhere until it gets back above freezing. But I could.

And there was a lot of end tucking!

shug 3

Imagine It Better Mixed

I really love how this is turning out. Might need a little more green, but I think it's going to be really neat.

I really love how this is turning out. Might need a little more green, but I think it’s going to be really neat.

I got to see the edited version of the thing I broke myself writing this weekend. I think it’s really good. It makes me want an editor all the time.