Narwhal!

At work we use the program Asana for project management, and one of the extra features you can activate is “celebrations” – occasionally, when you check off a task, a creature will shoot across the screen diagonally, Superman-style. There are a unicorn, narwhal, phoenix, and yeti.

One of my coworkers just had a birthday, and I thought it would be fun to find him a magnet of one of those creatures. Striking out of suitable magnets, I thought maybe I could glue a magnet onto the back of a small toy. Striking out on suitable small toys, I decided to needle felt one: the narwhal. 90 minutes later…

needle felted narwhal magnet

The magnet is embedded in the back side, and there is a doubled length of light wire running from the tip of the horn to the tips of the tailfins.

needle felted narwhal magnet

I have some other projects pending photos, so there will probably be a flurry of posts here eventually. Meanwhile I added a big batch of new photos to the Fun with Vintage Patterns album on Facebook.

Mop covers

Long ago I made crochet covers for my Swiffer sweeper, but I never got much use out of them. They were not as thorough at sweeping as I would have liked, and the normal Swiffer sheets are terrific at their job. That sweeper finally kicked the bucket and I got a Swiffer Wet Jet, unaware that it would not be able to hold the sweeper sheets. Well, for sweeping I’ve gone back to a broom and dustpan.

For mopping, though, I’d been using the Swiffer pads. They are much less good at their job than the sweeping sheets, but my regular sponge mop, which was supposed to squeeze out by folding shut like an alligator mouth, was no better and a lot more aggravating. What to do? Make new pads for the new Swiffer. I thought a smooth flat cotton pad with some acrylic slip-stitch stripes for scrub would work well. I also used acrylic for the upper part to hold it on to the Swiffer, though that choice was more to use up acrylic than anything else. The pad is also held by the velcro on the bottom of the mop.

photo of two crochet mop covers

I started by making two of slightly different size for testing: one that was the full 10.5″ by 4.5″ of the Swiffer itself, and one that was a scant 10″ by 4″. After testing I went with the larger size pattern but dropped a hook size. Size isn’t as crucial as with the sweeper because of the velcro on the bottom.

I soon realized they work much better after multiple washings, so for the remainder (I wanted 5 for the five rooms I mop, plus two spares) I made the cotton panel, put it in the laundry, added the acrylic stripes and upper sleeve, put it in the laundry again, and then put it into service.

My pattern

Your needs may be different depending on gauge! I use a G/4.25mm hook, but also seem to crochet more loosely than average. You may want to change hook sizes, stitch counts, or both.

I make the panel in cotton and the slip-stitches and upper in acrylic. This is mostly to use up acrylic, so if you want to use all cotton, go ahead.

Cotton panel:
Chain 31; make 14 rows of 30 sc. Wash this panel.

Scrub stripes:
Slip-stitch across in the valley between rows 3 and 4, 5 and 6, 9 and 10, and 11 and 12.
After a couple of panels I started slip-stitching from one row end to the next instead of stopping and starting each time.
If you run out of yarn slightly before the end of a row, don’t worry about finishing it. It’s not that important. I do find, however, that these stripes successfully catch gunk, so I wouldn’t leave them off.

Upper cuff:
Starting in the middle of a long edge, join yarn with a sl st, ch 1, and sc around the entire panel.
Join your round when you get back to your starting point and chain up for another. Make four rounds in which you decrease by 2 stitches in each corner. I accomplish this with what I call sk-dec, “skip decrease”: make a regular sc dec but skip a stitch in between the two loops you pull up at the beginning. This takes out two stitches at once with less bulk than sc3tog.
Join your final round and finish off. Wash again!

ZOMG Granny Squares

I’m part of a movie club that meets weekly for a B-movie, a contest, and a photo. A few times a year we have a bigger event, for a holiday or just because. We’ve started dressing up for these events, sometimes with artfully combined thrift store finds but sometimes with our own creations. I was on a mission to use up yarn – and what can one do with an assortment of single skeins of colorful acrylic? – so I looked through Ravelry for retro crochet patterns and found the most glorious of all:

Me wearing granny square shortalls at the Main Street Museum

I wore it to the annual Movie Night anniversary celebration this week. One person described it as like yarn-bombing a person. Three others tried it on at the end of the night and described it as both comfortable and comforting. I would call it a big success – especially since I avoided buying any materials (there are three different white yarns in it) and it didn’t take nearly as long as I expected. It did come out bigger than I calculated or intended, but not as big as I feared before trying it on. And if I ever need a clown costume, I just have to find the right accessories!