People say to me all the time “wow, I wish I could knit” or “you’re so clever” or “I hae always wanted to learn to crochet”. I usually just smile and say politely “Oh you really should, it’s so relaxing” cos really…don’t we all need something relaxing in our lives? But really, truly, honestly? Sometimes I just want to yell at that person “800 people have said that to me! Would one of you just f***ing learn already?” Ahem. Just being honest…but you need to stop saying “I wish I could…” and frickin’ learn! I swear, you will not regret it! I went from throwing knitting needles across the room in anger (!) to rocking in a lazyboy with my knitting in my hands in 2 weeks! So soothing. So I thought I would list some knitting and crocheting links, tips and advice and if you have any of your own that I missed feel free to leave a comment.
- I learnt to crochet using youtube videos from tjw1963. Her videos are brilliant. I’m left-handed and her videos are available in left or right handed format and they have slow motion replay at the end which is invaluable for a thicko like me. Seriously stop saying you’d like to learn and get a hook (4mm or 4.5mm is a good average size), some dk or worsted weight yarn and watch her videos. Plus with crochet you only have one stitch on the hook at a time. Mistakes are SO easy to fix.
- I learnt to knit many, many times. My mum taught me as a kid. I tried regularly with squeaky acrylic yarn and sweaty, slippery plastic needles – the usual tools people give a beginner. I recommend metal needles for a beginner because your tension will often be tight and those sharp points and inflexible needles help you learn more confidently. And use beautiful, well spun wool. It doesn’t have to be expensive but please, oh please use nothing that squeaks or crunches like old school acrylic. Knitting is more fun with good tools.
- My favourite (and I think the best) resource for beginning knitters online is Knitting Help. They have a ton of videos which are clear, plain and well filmed and I refer to their videos often. They are on youtube as well. I have a plug-in on my browser that let me download their videos so I can refer to them all.the.time and not have to worry about how much broadband I am using.
- The other essential tool is books. You need a little library to refer to. Two words: Debbie Stoller. Her knitting book Stitch N’ Bitch is my most referred to book and her crochet book Stitch N’ Bitch: The Happy Hooker is equally indispensable (I did find that videos taught me enough to get by without needing to actually own it though so maybe check it out of the library to see for yourself- crochet is just way simpler for me no matter what people say.)
- I learnt to crochet because I couldn’t master knitting. And those flying knitting needles were dangerous. People say (loudly and often) that crochet is harder but I didn’t find that. So if you can’t manage one of them then try the other. Just try one. Take a class at a local yarn store if you have to/want to/can.
- One last tip: I struggle to rip back several rows of knitting when I make a mistake. I just find it hard to pick up all the stitches in the row without a couple escaping. Too scary. So when I found this tip I nearly yelled. It says it’s for lace knitters but if you’re a beginner and either doing a big piece or about to try a new stitch then this is the best tip in the world. Now go forth and create. You’ll love it, I promise.
Finally – the first finished project of 2011. I crocheted it in no time back in early October then it sat around for 3 months waiting for me to redye it. The original candy floss pink took on a really sickly and badly dyed look once crocheted so it became, by a stroke of dyeing luck, the most perfect deep red. Add red ribbons and it is so cute the pictures can’t even convey the full cuteness.
Filed under crochet, dyeing
I’ve got that end of year panic to finish as much as I possibly can before the new year arrives. It’s totally impossible, I can’t possibly do it in time but damn it, I’m gonna do what I can. I’m trying to bite the bullet and decide which projects I finish and which ones I frog (for non-yarn people to frog means to rip it. Say it like a frog would…get it?).
The ripple is a very long term project but it’s slowly growing and even getting a bit too big to take out and about now. I can’t wait it to be finished and I finally settles on the final colours which means I’ve now been able to begin the repeat rows. Although I’m so slow you may see this in next Decembers end of year panic.
Life has been pretty crazy lately and I haven’t had much time to sit and relax with my ripple blanket. I have made some slow progress though and I have high hopes that one day it will actually be big enough to deserve the title of ‘blanket’.
Small it may be but I absolutely love the colours. I can’t wait to see it grow.
I had the urge recently to make something and particularly to crochet something. Without reliving the nightmare I will just say it did not work out very well. There were tears shed at the worst point of my frustration. It became clear that a quick sewing project was in order. By Thursday night when I had my final meltdown I just had to make something, I needed to create something asap. After a good nights sleep I decided that I would finally sew my first project from Soulemama’s book Handmade Home. Since I’ve owned the book for a year I figured it’s probably time to use it….
The kitchen sink has no draining tray thingy around it (one of those little things that annoy me out of all proportion to their size) so when I wash the dishes there are usually several waterfalls trickling onto the floor. So I decided it was a good time to make a dishmat based on the bath mat design so that just maybe I might be able to do a load of dishes without using half a dozen tea towels at a time to stop the flood! I was able to save a holey, ancient towel that I would normally throw out too which felt really thrifty and pioneering.
I’m actually quite keen to do a sinkful of dishes just to test it out. But not quite keen enough to actually go do them. Progress on my ripple blanket has come to a halt right now too. I added a couple more colours before my motivation left me:
Weight loss update: current total loss of 12.8kg/28.2lb. Current weight: 95.8kg/210.8lb. I’ll crack 200lb just before it hit 90kg which is pretty exciting. My losses have gotten smaller lately though which is frustrating me. I’m only so grumpy because I have a target to meet and hate the thought of not hitting it otherwise I’d be very happy to sit back and enjoy my huge progress. Nothing has made me happier lately than being thin enough to try on thrift store clothes. It makes me feel normal.
I was wondering if anyone would be interested in a little peek inside the baby basket? It’s actually just a couple of huge plastic tubs now but I’m planning on going through them to see what’s what (yeah, sometimes I don’t even know what I’ve collected!) so maybe you’d like to see some of the prettier vintage dresses and stuff?
Earlier this year I planned to make a ripple lap blanket for winter. Spring starts on Wednesday. I’m this far into it:
Clearly I meant next winter. And if I didn’t mean it then I do now. At some point in the next couple of months it’ll get too hot to crochet with a growing blanket draped over my lap and I’ll put it down for a while so I’m trying to get as much done now before that happens. Otherwise by the time I pick it back up I’ll be looking at next winter plus one. And frankly by then I intend to have a baby to crochet things for – oh, the baby blankets I have planned. Although right now I totally want to drop everything and embroider something like this. Every nursery would be cuter with something like that in it!
In lieu of a human model I decided to use Smiley Face to show off my finished crochet project. He seems to like it:
One craft project down, 2 more to finish by the end of the month. I’m not sure what they’ll be just yet but it’s very, very satisfying to actually finish something after being in a funk for so long. I think I have got enough blue cotton to make one more crown but if I make one I’ll make a sc (single crochet) border around the points to make it look tidier. My hands and wrists hated the 10 ply cotton though so that and the matching pink crown will have to wait for another month. I ended up weaving in the ends with a pair of pliers because the needle was so hard for me to pull out. My craft kit will never be without them from now on, they were a lifesaver and a wrist saver.
I’m thinking a nice soft cowl next. I was wary of making one just as Spring arrives but today was one of those gusty days that makes me remember that there’s more than enough winter left to start a cowl. Plus I nearly lost my pretty scarf at one point so a cowl tucked in my bag is never going to be a bad thing. This one looks good and is free (ravelry link ).
I haven’t felt particularly energetic this week and have chosen to take it rather low key and do a little crafting. There’s just something so satisfying about making progress in long term WIP’s or even starting and finishing a project within the same week.
- I’ve finished dyeing my kool aid colours. A tutorial will be coming next week if you are interested? Now to start my project…
- I spent a wonderful hour sitting on the back steps in the autumn sun making a little progress on my ripple scarf. I’m on track to finish it…in Spring unless I pick up the pace. But oh that hour was just what I needed. A glass of icey cold Coke Zero, a lurking Rastus and overhearing two little boys who were climbing a very big tree nearby. Funniest phrase overheard: “ouch, my ding dong. My ding ding a long.” *snort* kids.
- Finally cutting into that pile of linens. I so love giving them a second life instead of binning them:
- Handmade Beginnings by Anna Maria Horner came yesterday at long last. I have coveted that book for ages.
- This quilt is the reason why. And oh my gosh this photo even has a tiny little baby on it:
It’s enough to make me get teary to think of making my own version for my own baby. I had to postpone my next fertility appointment until August. It should have been today so it makes me feel more than a little down. This weight loss is hard people. I’m thinking it’s time to call in the big guns. Weight Watchers. *sigh* Tuesdays 6pm, down at the community centre. I can do that. Like my motto says: it’s for a baby, it’s worth it. Plus my mum said she’d help me pay for it. I can live with that.
My crochet floor mat is growing. It’s now just past the square stage, plenty big enough even for my size 10 feet and I’m only working on making it rectangular now. Although my tension seems to be getting progressively tighter and it’s growing wonky. And cotton has no “memory”, so unlike wool it appears that blocking in order to help set the shape is probably not going to cure the wonkiness.
Oh well, it’s made with a lot of love. That’s what matters, right? I know that when it’s finally in use I’ll look down at it while I wash my dishes and think about the places I crocheted it. The bus rides, the birthdays and family dinners, my cousin braiding the ends at Easter dinner, jury duty while I sat 3 feet behind a murderer, the sunny days, the cold, wet days. The days of my life have been crocheted into the rug and there is still time to weave in a few more memories before it’s finished.
Thank you for the crochet paper chain love! It makes me happy that it makes other people happy! If you’re interested in making your own here is a little pattern. Bear in mind this is my first attempt at sharing a crochet pattern so it might be rubbish.
I used a 5mm hook and 8ply (dk weight) yarn. Acrylic might be fun, but you could also make a felted one. Using a bigger hook will make it go a lot faster too. I like the sc look of the ridges it makes in this project but try dc or a combo or whatever!
Ch7, sc in second ch from hook, 1 sc in each ch in row (6sc)
ch 1 and turn
Row2: 1 sc in each sc (6sc)
Repeat until it’s as long as you want (I think I did about 38-40 rows. Each strip was 6.25″ long if that’s easier) and finish off – whipstitch or slipstitch ends together – slipstitch will look a lot neater but I didn’t think of it until near the end. Duh! I just slid the ugly whipstitched ends to the inside where they are totally hidden.
Weave in ends. Thread next finished piece through and stitch shut.
This would look really look with just 2 or 3 colours so it doesn’t have to be too expensive. Red, pink and white for Valentines maybe? Red, white and blue for the 4th of July? Red, white and green for Christmas….you get the idea.