Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I have conquered the STARS!

So after much gnashing of teeth and a couple of choice swear words, I have figure out BOTH the little star patterns! I didn't knit either one to blanket size. I made a washcloth out of some cotton (leftover from the pinwheel blanket) and then a lovie for one of my kids with some (ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE) Red Heart acrylic crap I had in my stash. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm really not a yarn snob, but this stuff just feels cheap and rough and plasticky (that's plastic and icky all at once!). If I'm going to put effort into making a blankie, it's going to be with something nicer than that. Pity, because I do love the colors (but not how they pooled).

The reason I need to make another blankie is because DS's green blankie had a tragedy. I knit it from Lion Brand Thick and Quick Chenille, which is mostly acrylic. We had an unfortunate stomach flu incident, and the blankie got nailed. Not thinking (it WAS 1:00 am), I tossed it in with all his sheets on the Sanitize selection, which is HOT HOT water. Yeah, I fried it. It came out all nasty and crunchy with the loops all pulling out (I did a simple diagonal garter stitch blanket). It's not salvageable, as far as I can tell. So, I'm going to do him a new one, out of natural fibers that can stand being washed and dried. You know, it's not the machine washable I really need (though I prefer that for this sort of thing), it's the DRYABLE. I just don't want to have to think when tossing laundry into the dryer, you know? ANYWAY. I digress.

The first star I did was from Beth's Little Star Afghan. The beginning is sort of tricky, but there's a great tutorial here. I did this in some leftover Bernat Cottontots. The pattern is not too difficult, once you get passed the opening rounds. I'm not sure why, but where my rounds join, I have two holes instead of one (from the stretchiness of the cotton? because I suck at crocheting? Who knows.). I think I did 5 rounds or so on this, and then decided to turn it into a face cloth for me. It's pretty, but I'm not loving the 5 holes in the center. So, I just knotted it off. Since it's just a washcloth for me, I didn't really bother to weave in the ends (yes, I am so lazy about that, I know).

The second one I did was from the Dive Crochet's pattern. Wow, did I have a hard time with this pattern! I'm not sure if it's that I'm so novice, or if there are actually issues with the pattern. For example, once the pattern is established, a typical row reads like this: Round 4: Ch 3, dc each over next 3 dc’s, {shell in ch 2 sp, dc in next 4 dc’s, sk 2 dc's (this is the valley), dc in next 4 dc’s}. Repeat { } around. Repeat * of Round 3. The last series of DCs (underlined) are actually the beginning of the next peak, so after I had done all 5 peaks, I didn't do these, even though they are within the brackets to be repeated. I'm not sure if that' sk next dc, sc, dcs correct or not, but it didn't make sense to me.

I also had THE hardest time with Row 3, which reads: Round 3: Sl st in sc, sl st in first 2 dc’s of first shell, ch 3, dc in 3rd dc of first shell, {shell in ch 2 sp, 2 dc over next 2 dc, sk next dc, sc, dc, 2 dc over next 2 dc’s}. Repeat { } all around. * Sl st in 3rd ch of ch 3, sl st in dc after ch 3 of R 3. She even has her "user friendly" version of it. I had gotten this far about 5 times before I finally understood that sk next dc, sc, dc does NOT mean: skip next double crochet, then do a single crochet, then a double crochet. It means skip all three. AH HAH! The lightbulb went off and that made the whole thing work. While it's not entirely clear in the pattern, she does state it clearing in the user friendly version, so I'm blaming my non-comprehension on my own exhaustion. I'm not sure if the joins are better in this because the yarn is much less elastic, but they do look better. I also think I like the look of the single center hole a bit better. Not sure.

This yarn is Red Heart Super Saver, and while the colors are pretty, the feel is awful. So scratchy and rough. The fabric it makes is actually unpleasant to hold. It feels like fingernails scratching on a chalkboard sound, you know? I've heard that if you wash it, it does soften up, but I just couldn't picture finishing a blankie out of yarn that was so unpleasant to hold. So once I knew I had the pattern down, I did a row of sc to finish it off, and called it a night.

Now that I know the pattern, I can see that this would be a really fun baby blankie to make, and super-easy, once you're in the groove. I was watching the Olympics (I had to see Michael Phelps get his medals!), and didn't need the pattern at all to chug along on this. And I think it's faster than knitting. So now I need to find a good, sturdy, machine washable and dryable yarn for DS2 (in green, natch), to do a big star blanket. I'll see if DS1 wants one too.

ETA: I'm getting a lot of hits from the Yarn Diva's link, so if you're coming here from there, well, HEY! Nice to see you! Feel free to stay a while! :)


tHe All-aRouNd DiVa said...

Now I get why this pattern is freaking everyone out!! I automatically skip the dc, sc, dc and did not realize that other people would interpret it to edit it yet once again!

Thanks for unraveling the mystery that is the Starghan!!

Anonymous said...

I got online today to specifically try and figure out WTF i was doing wrong on the star afghan (diva) I had started working on it LATE last night and I don't know if I was just partly braindead, but I didn't grasp that R3 meant ROUND 3 (DUH) and I kept trying to figure out how that was supposed to work that the end of my round. Yeah, I know...not all that smart. I just started crocheting recently and I've been knitting fiendishly for about a year now. I decided to crochet an afghan for my not yet 30 yr old ex husband's, 18 year old gf's baby. Yeah I KNOW! So this was the pattern that I picked and now that I grasped that whole R3 thing...hopefully i'll be able to make it work. Thank you for your wonderful really was a great help :) That, and I found ANOTHER great star afghan pattern on here too YAY!
Thanks again!
PlayboyMommy :)

Knitting with a Purpose said...

Hey PlayboyMommy, I'm so glad it could help! :) It's a really cute and fun blanket! (And err, wow, that's a complicated situation! Good for you for welcoming the baby!)

Kerry said...

AH! I am already starting to understand this pattern better! Thank you! Maybe I am too much of a noob to be attempting the pattern, but I have a question I'm hoping you can answer. Is it supposed to be "understood" that after every dc you make a chain? Like when you do a shell stitch- do you chain one after every dc or only in the places where the pattern specifies "ch"? Thank you!!

Stephanie said...

Hey Kerry, to answer your question, you only chain where it specifies. Once you get this pattern down it goes really smoothly. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

this is one of the patterns i would have to do the whole "monkey see, monkey do" thing.... and try like hell to figure out the math behind it and freehand it...

Wow. I like diva's better though.

Anonymous said...

if you are looking for a better yarn than the Red Heart Super Saver I would try the "I love this yarn" by Hobby lobby. Its only 50 more expensive than the red heart stuff and it is way softer. I have made hats and scarves and a snuggie out of it and I love it! Not to sound redundant! Hope that helps!

Anonymous said...

This pattern is really confusing! Can someone tell me where we do the ch3 at each new round. it is suppose to be "understood " to do this at each new round??? Also round 3 is confusing to me....I guess maybe I need to try a different pattern. HELP