As I have mentioned before I am a restless soul and I often have to find something to occupy me when I am watching television in the evenings. At the start of the year started to learn crewel work but this is new to me and I have been getting stressed with it not looking as amazing as the picture. So a couple of weeks ago I decided to take a bag of cotton I bought from a local flea market and crochet a cushion cover.
It was completely liberating as I had no pattern, no instructions, I just made it up as I went a long. Flicking through some magazines I spotted the idea of doing a flap to close the cover and rummaging in my button box I found some suitable buttons. Doing the buttonholes was easy and to finish off the edges I did a couple of rows of double crochet. It isn’t perfect as some of the tidying up of loose ends show if you really look hard but I am very pleased with it and as I don’t have any picture or pattern to compare it to there is nothing to say I didn’t do just great!
I wonder if this is why I struggle with patterns as there is, for me, a pressure to replicate the picture and standard. I think there will be more of this freestyle creativity in the future as it is just so liberating.
In a bid to finish some projects in order to justify starting something new I have made myself finish the Sample Blanket. I started this in a bid to learn to crochet and it has been successful in achieving that goal. I am fairly confident on most of the basic stitches now so the next step will be to master shaping.
The blanket is more of a lap blanket as I ran out of enough wool to do any more rounds of squares. I didn’t have any instructions for finishing off the blanket as I unsubscribed from the magazine too early but I decided that I should use the wool I did have to do some rounds of double crochet and I am so pleased I made this decision as it has really bought the blanket together not only strengthening the edges but also making it look more finished.
The next project is some finger less gloves with wool I have in my stash.
I am also planning to finish some other non-crochet projects over the next week such as my eldest’s pyjama bottoms and making some tapestries into cushion covers – I have a new embroidery kit which I am desperate to start so this should motivate me.
After a couple of weeks when I have been nothing more than a vegetable in the evenings after work and have spent my time staring at the television not really conscious of what I was watching I am now back to my old self and my itchy fingers means that I have picked my crochet hook up again.
I need to finish some projects as I hate having things half done and so I’m trying very hard not to be distracted by more ideas on Pinterest. First up was sewing as much of the Sample Blanket together as I can. I have said before how I started this to teach myself to crochet with the aid of The Art of Crochet but I have now cancelled my subscription so it is a case of seeing how far the wool I have will stretch.
I think I can get one more round out of the wool which will be a reasonable size lap blanket – however I also want to crochet some more snowflakes for Christmas decorations and to send to my Japanese penpal so no doubt the blanket will be on the back burner shortly again.
I haven’t been able to do any sewing or crocheting over the last couple of weeks as I have been just so tired due to the stress of work and long hours but this evening I had twitchy fingers and felt in need of something to occupy my hands. In my project bag was a free crochet kit from Simply Crochet with some sparkly yard and instructions to crochet a snowflake or two. With the weather turning colder and Christmas around the corner I thought this was just the thing to get me in the mood.
To date my crocheting has been very square or oblong – granny squares etc nothing fiddly looking but I am aspiring to do the more intricate patterns. My aunt is a very clever crocheter and knitter, she even crocheted her own wedding dress back in the 1950s, hooking a motif each way on her way to work and then sewing them all together. I would love to be able to have her skills and to crochet the dainty crocheted dollies such as my mother has gracing her dining room table and sideboard. I think they are quite beautiful.
I have seen a number of patterns for snowflake on Pinterest and they seemed to be made up of fairly simple stitches. I have to report that this kit was so simple that I quickly crocheted two snowflakes in less than an hour and the only thing that stopped me doing more was that I ran out of the sparkly yarn. I think I will get some more and crochet some more snowflakes to use for Christmas decorations.
Crocheting this kit has given me the confidence that I can try some more complicated looking patterns and I no long have to stick to straight lines!
I have been plodding along with my Throw for some weeks now but recently my enthusiasm has been tried and I decided I needed a diversion and a new project. I have been teaching myself to crochet from the Art of Crochet but so far I have only crocheted straight things – a couple of scarves and a bag made up of rectangles. I have been intimidated by shaping and also avoided all the patterns in the magazine which weren’t for beginners.
However, I discovered recently that one of my work colleagues, Mellie Moo Crochet ,is a skilled crocheter and she recommended Simply Crochet so I thought I would give it a go. Strangely I struggled to find a copy in any of the local news agents or supermarkets so I have been waiting for the new edition to come out but still no sign of it – I found it on the way to Plymouth in a motorway service station! Anyway I was rather impressed with it and the clear instructions included along with how to guides. I was particularly taken with the cowl on the cover and having read and understood, I think, the pattern I decided to give it a go. It took some doing to find the wool, Rico Basic Super Big Aran, but I finally tracked it down via the internet – I don’t think I have ever had such a large ball of wool, it caused much consternation in my house.
I started the other evening with enthusiasm casting on (is that the right term in crochet?) 120 stitches. The pattern is a simple chain and double crochet into the chain gap below – easy. Well not if you get cocky and carried away and somehow start crocheting into the double crochet below as well as the chain gap. I have redone the third and fourth rows more times than I care to remember but I think I have got it cracked now. I also think the fleck on the wool is making it harder for me to see the gaps. Hopefully now I can crack on, well until I get to the shaping bit.
I’m not going to do the teddy bear ears as I am hoping to achieve a more Dr Zhivago or French Lieutenant’s Woman’s look than Winnie the Pooh!
I have been subscribing to Art of Crochet in order to teach myself to crochet. However, I think it is a little expensive and there are just so many wonderful books, magazines and blogs out there that I think I am ready to cut the ‘apron strings’ and go solo. So I have cancelled by subscription to the magazine.
This is all very well and good but part of the subscription includes instructions and wool to crochet a throw. By cancelling the subscription although I have the instructions to complete the throw I won’t have enough wool and it is branded for the magazine so not easy to match. Therefore I have had to hatch a cunning plan.
Using the photographs in the magazine as a guide I have decided to work from the middle outwards so whilst I won’t end up with the same size throw as the photographs I will hopefully have a nice lap blanket or small picnic blanket. The piles of squares have been building up so as a distraction I have started to sew them together. This will also give me some encouragement to keep going and finish this project.
I do like the four white squares which make up the centre square (see above). There are then traditional granny squares running out along the diagonals and a variety of other stitches filling in. I have to say that whilst I have really struggled with these various patterns at times but by persevering I have realised that I have learnt quite a variety of stitches so now I feel more confident to try something more advantageous.
I have noticed more and more that crochet and knitting bloggers have secret and not so secret wool stashes. I have also noticed that the sewers are the same with fabric stashes.
This is an alien concept to me. I have always bought wool for a specific pattern as opposed to buying wool because I like the look of it. I don’t, yet, go to craft fayres so these temptations haven’t really come my way. However, as anyone who reads my gardening blog will know I have a real plant weakness and buy plants at the drop of a hat with no self-control so I am sure its only a matter of time before this approach filters through to my new interest in crafts.
Today, I went to the local flea market with my eldest son. I had a mental list of things I was looking for particularly with a view to upcycling. This is a concept that is new to me and requires me to rethink lots of things. I keep seeing wonderful things on Pinterest and think I could do that. Instead of things that needed lots of work on them, as intended, I ended up buying a beautiful Victorian mirror which just needs a clean for the downstairs toilet and lo and behold 10 balls of wool – a mix of Jaeger DK and Sirdar 4 ply. My son spotted the wool and encouraged me to have a look and choose the wool I liked the look of and which I might find a pattern for in the future. I’m still not convinced but the wool stash has started!
I have reached a point of demotivation with the Throw. I think I really need to do some small projects to give myself a break but while I ponder on what these might be I decided to use my evening yesterday to darn in all those ends of threads. It has taken me hours and that was only for 44 squares. I must try to remember to do them as I go.
Yes that’s right 44 squares out of 120 so still a long way to.
I am following instructions in Art of Crochet and I have now decided to cancel my subscription as I have subsequently found lots of inspiration on Pinterest, Facebook and a number of magazines. The projects in Art of Crochet are getting very repetitive. It seems that all a beginner can hope to crochet is a scarf and I have already done two of those or a simple bag – again done. I don’t feel confident enough to do shaping so have been avoiding jumpers etc but wandering around Pinterest has made me very interested in crochet flowers and I think I could have a go at those. I also really like the Afghan rugs and also the rugs made up of granny squares with the raised flowers in the middle but I need to finish the first Throw before I start another one.
Having darned all the ends in, the next stage with these squares is to block them and the internet advice implies that I need to do this with steam on the ironing board, leaving them to ‘set’ overnight. In the meantime, I am feeling a little more motivated and as the instructions for the throw sets out a clear pattern for sowing the squares together I have decided to start in the middle and work my way out so if I run out of wool (provided with the magazine) I won’t have a misshapen rung, just a small one.
The thing that I am pondering at the moment is though – is there anything I could do useful with all those ends of thread I have cut off? It seems such a waste when you see them all piled up together.
A couple more squares completed. I do need to block these and I am finding that some squares seem to be coming up larger than others although I am sure my tension is the same. It makes me wonder the advisability of making a rug out of such a diverse range of styles of granny squares and stitches. After all, all the rugs I have seen on Pinterest etc seem to be made up of only one or two styles of squares. Anyway we will have to see. I do know though that I will need to redo some of the earlier squares which are too tight and small.
These two squares are made up of very basic stitches which were satisfying to crochet although not simple enough for me to watch Inspector Montalbano and read the subtitles at the same time.
The top one is simply made up of rows of treble stitches. The bottom square is double treble stitch and then different coloured rows in double crochet.
Off to do some more and dream of crocheting something more interesting.