Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Crocheted French knickers

Note: This project was originally completed in March 2012.

The knickers are now out to dry. I finished it this afternoon and have taken more photographs. I like the result. I used two strands of silk-camel lace yarn (2-ply) held together.

The pattern is based on an old pair of shorts which I took apart. There are 4 sections of the shorts and I drew the pattern onto a sheet of paper. I crocheted the four sections of the knickers separately using this paper pattern.

I made an error in one of the sections. In particular the back left section has a slightly wider leg. I hoped to rectify the error during seaming but the difference didn’t seem to affect the knickers too much.

I seam the pieces together first by tying with yarn. I never sew up the seams until I am sure of the fit.

After sewing the seams together, I start crocheting the band around the hip. This is done in the round and using a different all-over pattern. I do another fitting to make sure how long (from the waist to the hip) I would like the band to be.

The lace trim around the legs is crocheted next, using the same over-all pattern that I used for the hip/waist band. This lengthened the knickers a bit which made me realise they could look nice when worn under a short skirt or dress.

Finally, I got some white elastic to put around the waist.

I started by crocheting a narrow waist band using simple ch-4 loops of about 3 rows. Then I sewed one end of the elastic to the knickers and covered it with the waist band by folding over the waist band and crocheting onto the first row of ch-4 loops.

Both ends of the elastic are then sewn together as the waist band is completed.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Unraveling a Crochet Pattern

Here's a new Crochetology challenge. I know a lot of crocheters love 'hacking' or ' deciphering' a pattern based on a photograph of a finished object. Often, the latest celebrity fashions or runway crochet fashions are the target of such hacks. Here's a simple garment I'd like to offer for you to decipher. However it is not celebrity fashion (although I have done it, I actually prefer not to do any reverse engineering of celebrity fashion or celebrity designer items). It is a simple granny square, a very traditional one, which I have used to make a pair of shorts.

Part 1

See if you can figure out how to get from this:

To this:

Let me know if you can figure it out! Then later, come up with your own designs! Have fun!

Part 2

Here's an update on the Crochetology hack challenge. We started with granny squares joined together. Those are just half the challenge because granny squares are easy and you can find lots of tutorials and patterns. One of the nice ones I've seen is this series. Granny squares are great because they are a clever pattern, easy to make and easy to adapt to various designs.

With the granny squares joined together, we have two large rectangles made. Here the large pieces are in two different colours, very impressive colours, so you can see how they join together to make up the shorts.

And here's the Crochetology.net challenge update: can you think of a simple construction method for a pair of shorts like these? What are the advantages and limits of this construction? What modification can be made to make better designs, comfortable fit and new styles?

Take a look at shorts and trousers you have at home. How are they constructed? If like me, you've never done any cutting and sewing of shorts and trousers, the construction of these garments can be quite a mystery.

So I looked at sewing patterns, as well as cut up an old pair of shorts as guide, and made my first crocheted knickers. This is worked in lace weight silk-camel yarn and was quite complicated. It is made up of four separate parts sewn together. So the finished knickers is seamed along the inside and outside of the legs, as well as along the crotch from front to back.

Then afterwards, I wanted to come up with something simpler. This is one example that is made in the round at the waist down, then the crotch, like a gusset, is made, joining from front to back, and finally the legs are crocheted all around the leg openings.

But I want an even simpler construction method. So far, this pair of wrap shorts is one of the simpler ones I've made. The construction itself is partly derived from a pair of Indonesian batik wrap shorts that resemble the style of the dhoti that is wrapped around the waist and the bottom pulled up between the legs. It is a very old clever garment design in many Asian cultures.

The construction I came up with is simpler than basic wrap short sewing designs that are made up of two parts, left and right sides, with a U-shape cut out in the middle to make up the crotch. However, I am yet to test this simple design and see what its limits are, in terms of fit and comfort. I'll post updates later, in the meantime, I invite you to try hacking existing designs to make new constructions  with me for a pair of shorts! :)

What Is Meant by Hacking?

Notwithstanding its negative connotations known in mass media and the general public, I have always viewed hacking in its early original intents in relation to the hacker subculture:

"A person who enjoys exploring the details of programmable systems and stretching their capabilities, as opposed to most users, who prefer to learn only the minimum necessary." - Eric Raymond, The jargon File

"The hacker culture is a subculture of individuals who enjoy the intellectual challenge of creatively overcoming and circumventing limitations of systems to achieve novel and clever outcomes." - Gehring, Verna Gehring, The Internet In Public Life

"The act of engaging in activities (such as programming or other media) in a spirit of playfulness and exploration." - The Hacker Community and Ethics: An Interview with Richard Stallman

"The defining characteristic of a hacker is not the activities performed themselves (e.g. programming), but the manner in which it is done: hacking entails some form of excellence, for example exploring the limits of what is possible." - Richard Stallman, On Hacking

Monday, October 5, 2015

Yes, Let's Twist Again

I know, I'm getting obsessive with this twisted scarf. For some reason, I really enjoy making these. So, after "Twisty", I decided to give it another go with the light orange alpaca yarn. The yarn is light fingering so I have used it doubled, with a 3.5mm crochet hook. This scarf measures 20 inches in circumference and 7 inches tall.

As with "Twisty", work begins with backloop hdc stitches that give the scarf a ribbed texture. Then what follows is a section of the scarf worked in dc-ch mesh. Then the scarf is twisted and the ends joined together with sc stitches.

I decided to add a simple border to this scarf, just a (sc, ch 3, sc) worked evenly all along the scarf. Then fasten off. With that, it would be fairly easy to come up with variations on colour, texture,  size. Remember that you can vary the width and length of the scarf, so you can wear in other ways, including as a shawl if it was wide enough to go over the shoulder. Maybe something to try next time. Haha!

Anyway, here below I provide a sketch of the stitch pattern use for this scarf. The foundation stitches are in even numbers. For the scarf here I started with ch 35 to make 34 stitches, making a scarf about 7" tall. With this sketch, I leave it to you to decide how you will make your scarf (and don't forget to add a border - in this case sc, ch 3, sc, all around the scarf - because I forgot to add it in the symbol pattern, haha! :D Have fun!