Thursday, December 26, 2013

Guest post from our little brother, Jordan -- Memoirs of a Gigolo

Well of course- what would YOU call a male hooker?

Anyway, I set out to make a rag rug for Grandpa Chuck as a Christmas gift.  I figure the last thing he needs is another gadget or gewgaw he can't even see, but I can at least give him something comfy to stand on while he blindly brews coffee.  Happy Holidays from Dr. Scholl, or something like that.

I ripped the edging hems off of two sheets, one red and one pale green, measured 3" intervals all down one side, then ripped each measure down the length of the sheet to within an inch of the opposite side.

The result looked like one of those heavy, sloppy brushes you see in drive-through car washes.  Once this was complete, I tore each of these 3" strips in half starting from the 'spine' and ending within an inch of the free end.  This created one long serpentine of 'yarn' from the entire sheet.  Trying to keep it all together, I could imagine what it must be like trying to wrestle a jellyfish and its unholy mass of tentacles and slaw.

I say- tearing a sheet apart isn't exactly as impressive as ripping the Denver Metro phone book in half, but by the end of it my arms were tired!  Assuming standard sizes for sheets (green was a king, red a queen), an inch hem removed from both dimensions, and the inch reserved for continuity, I calculate that I ripped 15,226 inches of fabric.  That's 1,269 feet or nearly a quarter mile!  Hulk Hogan thinks he's a badass because he rips one T-shirt down its 2 foot length.  Try ruining 600 shirts in a row, Mr. Tough-Guy, then see if you can still full-nelson the Macho Man.  Betcha can't, homeskillet.

What a huge pile of sheet.

Once the sheets were rendered to a mountain of spaghetti, I rolled each into a yarn ball for easy wrangling during the crochet process.  Let it be said that for a dude to crochet it requires big balls.  Here they are next to a full size claw hammer for reference.

I set out to make a simple round rug for Gpa, starting with a chain of six and adding six each row, but before I knew it I had a base of seven knots and was mysteriously adding one extra knot each round.  I guess I forgot how to end a row and begin a new one when crocheting discrete circular rounds.  Halfway through I remembered how it's supposed to go, but I just let it ride and kept adding seven knots per row.

As the rug grew in size the ball-in-use kept yapping around my feet like a Yorkshire terrier.  I had fun kicking it across the room occasionally, but it would simply return and start nipping at my ankles again.  It reminded me of the time in high school when we tied a few shirts into a ball, dunked it in diesel, and played fireball soccer.  So much fun!  The town of Foresthill, CA dodged a burn-to-the-ground bullet that night.

Kittens run in fear of these oversized yarn balls.

Halfway through the rug I realized I might have enough stock for two rugs, so I did some quick calculations.  My scale said I had 875 grams left of the green ball, 634g of the red and 346g of rug already made for 1855 total grams of stock.  I had a circular rug 8" in radius, so pi-r-squared said I had 254 square inches of rug at 1.362g/square inch.  927g of stock (half of the total) would then allow for a 14" radius rug, which is a good size.  Using all the stock for one rug would make a 20" radius rug, which is huge- Gpa's condo isn't exactly the largest domicile in existence.  Two rugs it is!

For the second rug I decided to employ the hexagonal method, which is the same as crocheting in a circle except you add the stitches in the same place every time.  Eventually this creates corners.  I presume that if you added enough rows in this manner (like hundreds) it would eventually take on a snowflake shape with the corners stretching out further than the sides.  As it was, I barely had enough rows to form a definite hexagon, but give me a break-I was running out of stock quickly.

Near the end I finished the last red row with only about 2 feet of extra length.  This was almost as satisfying as arbitrarily grabbing the exact number of hangers required for the load of shirts coming out of the dryer.

So there they are, two freshies to add to the memory vault.  The lighting, when combined with an iPad camera and an apathetic attitude towards photography in general, makes the green look a little sickly.  In person it is a fine color combination anyone would take home to mother.  Which is, incidentally, exactly what I'm going to do.  The hexagon is for Ma.


Note from Niki -- GOOD LORD, I HAD NO IDEA ABOUT THE FIREBALL SOCCER GAME!  And I find it all kinds of hilarious that a claw hammer was used for scale while documenting a crochet project.  My brother is a complete goofball -- you would never know from reading this that he was a varsity wrestler in high school.  And how many chemists crochet rag rugs in their spare time?  Not many, I'd bet.  

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