Lisa Lately

Random musings about life, family, and crochet

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Name: Lisa
Location: Indiana, United States

I'm a perfectionist. What more do you need to know?

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Cocoon Sweater, aka Polish Sweater

I recently finished making this crocheted Cocoon Sweater, also known as a Polish Sweater. The pattern is available here* and here. [*Sorry, the first link is to a message board that deleted the message containing the pattern. I do not have a copy of the message. -Lisa, 27-Sep-2008]

My camera-shy daughter, Brigid, graciously agreed (i.e., I had to bribe her with chocolate) to model for me.

Here are front, side, and back views of the sweater. Click on photos for a larger view.

Front Posted by Hello

Back Posted by Hello

Side Posted by Hello

Here, the sweater is lying as it would be worn. Posted by Hello

Here, the sweater is folded flat. To wear it, you open the bottom part to access the sleeves. Posted by Hello

Here's a close-up of the collar area. Posted by Hello

The sweater is crocheted in one piece, starting with the back. You crochet a rectangle for the back, then you bring the corners together at the underarms and join them. You then crochet in rounds to make the shawl collar, the sides, and the bottom. After you finish this portion, you attach yarn at one of the underarms and crochet the sleeve in rounds, then repeat for the other sleeve.

The pattern calls for 6-8 skeins of worsted weight yarn and a size J hook but gives no measurements or gauge, nor does it mention what size those skeins of yarn should be. So I played around with it a bit. As it turns out, you need only three measurements:
• the shoulder width, for a fitted sweater (for a looser fit, add one to three inches to that)
• the armhole circumference
• the sleeve length.

Gauge is not important for this pattern, and you can use whatever yarn and hook you want to. For an indication of how much yarn you'll need: Brigid wears a misses/juniors size small, and this sweater is a bit big on her. I used one 16-ounce, 930-yard skein of Red Heart worsted in off-white and had only a tiny amount left over.

The pattern as written (see links to pattern in first paragraph above) starts with a long chain, but instead I began with a foundationless double crochet (directions here, where it's called the Triple Base Chain Stitch). Using the foundationless double crochet, crochet a length equal to the shoulder width, on a multiple of 3 dc's plus 2 more. That is, crochet the length needed, then count your stitches. Subtract 2 from this number, and if you're left with a number that's a multiple of 3, great! If not, add either 1 or 2 more stitches to make it a multiple of 3.

To make the rectangle for the back, repeat rows 2 and 3 of the row pattern until the length of the rows is equal to the armhole circumference you need. Row 2 makes a row of loop stitches, and row 3 is groups of 3 dc in the loops. At the end of a row 3 repeat, bring the corresponding foundation row corner up and join with a sl st. Turn, then work a row 2 across your just-completed row 3 repeat. Bring the other foundation row corner up and join with a sl st, then work a row 2 across the foundation row; remember that the row begins and ends with a 4-dc group rather than a 3-dc group. You will now work in rounds, following the pattern until the body of the sweater fits comfortably and meets in a point in the center. Fasten off.

To make the sleeves, attach the yarn at the bottom of the armhole and work in rounds, following the pattern. I wanted tapered sleeves, though, so I decreased occasionally on the loop stitch rounds.

Here's a close-up of a sleeve. Posted by Hello

You can use whatever number of decrease rounds you want, but I tapered the sleeves in the following manner, where a round below actually consists of one round of loop stitches and one round of dc's:
Round 1: Make groups of 3 dc all around.
Rounds 2-3: Groups of *3 dc, 3 dc, 2 dc* all around.
Rounds 4-5: Groups of *3 dc, 2 dc, 2 dc* all around.
Rounds 6-7: Groups of 2 dc all around.
Rounds 8-20: Groups of *2 dc, 2 dc, 1 dc* all around.
End after a dc round.
Begin the cuff rounds. To decrease sc (dec sc), insert hook into the next st, yarn over and pull through (two loops on hook), insert hook into the next st, yarn over and pull through (three loops on st), yarn over and pull through all loops (dec sc made).
Round 21: Dec sc around; or alternate sc with dec sc, or whatever dec amount makes the cuff fit properly.
Rounds 22-23: Sc around. Fasten off.

When I finished the sweater, I crocheted an easy flower for a closure.

Here's a close-up of the flower. Posted by Hello

Leaving a long tail, ch 3, join with a sl st in 3rd chain from hook.
Round 1: Ch 1, 8 sc in ring, join with a sl st.
Round 2: Working in front loops only, *sc, ch 6, sc in same st; repeat from * around.
Round 3: Working in back loops of original 8 sc, *sc, ch 8, sc in same st; repeat from * around. Join with a sl st. Fasten off, leaving a long tail.
Weave each tail a bit to secure the ends, then use the tails to tie the flower to the point of the sweater. Use one of the holes in the sweater as a buttonhole for the flower.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

This Is Supposed to Be about Something Else!

I recently finished making a shrug/sweater, and I have a post all about it ready to add here whenever we get one small problem taken care of.

A week or so ago Ron decided the time had come for his Annual Nuke the Computer and Reinstall Windows Event. In general, this is no big deal—well, other than the work involved in backing up all his files and then reinstalling everything afterward. And it would definitely be no big deal for me other than listening to him grumble through the process, which usually just makes me decide I can wait a few months longer before I hold my own Annual Nuke My Computer and Reinstall Windows Event.

But this year was different and has affected me adversely. We got a Kodak digital camera last year, and for some reason we'd installed the camera software only on his computer. I guess I was just too lazy to install it on mine. Anyway, after Ron finished reinstalling and updating Windows and was ready to install all his other software, I asked him to install the camera software so I could get my pictures I'd taken recently.

He tried, but the software wouldn't install. Hmm, perhaps he had some problem induced by his Annual Nuke Event, so while he worked on tweaking his system some more, I decided to install the software on my computer, which should be a piece of cake since I hadn't been messing with my system. But the software wouldn't install on my computer either!

This all happened over the weekend, and a trip to Kodak's Web site resulted in no help at all. But when I went there this morning to find their customer support phone number, Kodak had posted a message explaining the problem. Apparently the most recent Windows security update won't allow the camera software to install, and now Kodak is working to update their installation software Real Soon Now. Well, at least this is now a known problem rather than a mystery problem, but it's still a pain in the butt—and one more reason to hate Microsoft.

If Ron had postponed his Annual Nuke Event a bit longer, we'd still have the camera software on his computer. Or if I hadn't been too lazy to install the software way back when, we'd have it on mine. But instead, my pictures of my latest crochet work are languishing in the camera, unattainable. Sigh.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

It's Really Clean

Don't try this at home. Brigid and I combined on a really big mistake. She left her cell phone in her jeans pocket when she put her clothes into the laundry basket, and I neglected to check the pockets before tossing the clothes into the washing machine. Yikes! Ron discovered the misdeed when he put the clothes into the dryer and then heard a terrible clunking sound.

Cell phones don't like to get wet. We took the battery off and let it dry out overnight, but it was still nonfunctional the next day.

So we trudged off to the cell phone store to buy her a new phone. We decided that since Brigid and I were equally at fault, we'd each have to pay half. Well, when you buy your cell phone as part of a service plan, they sell the phones really cheap. I think we paid about $50 for Ron's phone, and we got mine and Brigid's free. We were unprepared for the regular retail prices! Brigid ended up choosing the least expensive phone for $150, but it's not as nice as her original phone (i.e., no camera). But at least it's a phone.

Fast-forward a few days. I decided to look at her washed phone and noticed that the screen was now dry. I tried to turn the phone on—and it turned on! I looked through her contacts list—and they were all there! I tried to make a call—and it sort of worked: I got a recording saying this phone wasn't in service (since her service was transferred to her new phone), but the call to wherever the recording comes from did go through! I then tried to take a picture—and it worked, too!

So we trudged off to the cell phone store again to return the new phone. The store manager said we could definitely return the phone, but he suggested that we wait the full fifteen days of the return period just to be sure Brigid's old phone was really working. That sounded reasonable, but so far so good, and now we're planning to return the new one on Friday.

Brigid is really happy, of course. That was an awful lot of money that she'd much rather spend on video games and manga. And she and I are both being fanatical about checking pockets before doing laundry!

We have free nationwide calling in our cell phone plan. So we haven't been using our home phone to make long-distance calls anymore. After two months of not using our long-distance company and not exceeding our cell plan's minutes, we decided we could definitely cancel that service.

So I called our long-distance company. Suddenly I was offered a no-monthly-fee plan with 50 "free" minutes each month, then 7¢ a minute after that. We'd have to pay taxes and fees on the 50 "free" minutes as we used them, so they aren't completely free. Interesting how the really good deals come out when you tell them to cancel your service.