Aww! I am so touched!

So, I’ve been blogging for a while now, and not all of my posts have comments on them, so when someone comments, I’m happy, but imagine what I felt when I saw that Sanderella’s Crochet has my blog as one of the creative spirits she admires!

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Yup! Someone likes me! Yay!!

After I calmed myself down, I checked out Sanderella’s work, and she’s got some awesomely inspirational crochet herself. Go check her out!

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Teaching Others to Knit and Crochet

If you know how to knit or crochet or both, have you ever taught anyone that skill?

I’ve been fortunate to teach a number of my friends how to knit and crochet. It all starts when someone says, “Can you make me _______?” Usually, for me, being asked to knitting or crocheting something for someone robs me of inspiration. Mostly, I like to think of a person, come up with a plan, and then get to work. I love making things for people, but having someone specifically ask me for something makes me reluctant to do it. Maybe it’s the rebellious teen in me, so usually I respond with, “I’ll teach you.”

I’ve taught some of my friends the basics, and they have blown me away when I see them take the skills I taught them and create something magnificent. One friend makes the most beautiful purses. Another one has made everything from a simple scarf, to baby sweaters, to knitted gloves. You can check out her projects here.

left-handed crochetThe most difficult student I had was my niece because she’s left-handed, and it took me a while to realize that she needed to mirror my movements. You see, normally when I teach someone to knit, I sit side-by-side with my student and have their right hands do what my right hand does. But with Camille, I had to sit her in front of me so that her left hand did what my right had does. Once we figured that out, the rest was easy. She prefers to crochet, though, and she’s lazy about practicing, but once she picks up that hooks and sets her mind to it, there’s no stopping her.

My youngest student was only four when I first started with her. But to my amazement, she picked it up quickly. Did you know that there are special knitting needles for kids? The set comes in one blue and one red needle, presumably to make it easy for the child to realize that all the stitches on the blue needle need to be transferred to the red one and vice versa, but Ella picked it up in one day.

first book of knitting for childrenIf you want to teach a child to knit, there’s a great book I like to use. It has simple patterns for making stuffed animals. One of my favorites is a knitted elephant. The book is filled with how-to pictures. I believe it’s also been used in Montessori schools. I got my copy on Amazon, but your local library might have it, too.

Want to learn to knit or crochet? Try your local yarn store. Most stores either have beginner’s classes or they offer free social knitting nights were you might get the help of more experienced knitters and crocheters. Check it out and leave me a message of any locations you find. I’ll try to keep a list.

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Learning Knit and Crochet

Have I told you how I learned to knit and crochet? If I have, well, you’re about to hear it again. We’ll blame it on a mental blip.

I learned to crochet when I was five years old. I was always very proud of this fact because outside of my family, it seemed that few knew the skill, certainly none of my friends. When I was five, back in the mid-seventies, my parent made extra money by making crochet cushions and capes. They would sell the finished products to a local TG&Y, a store similar to Rite Aid. To keep me busy, my mother put a crochet hook in my hands and gave me a ball of yarn. I remember starting with chains, and eventually learning a treble crochet. I totally skipped the single and double crochet stitches.

Every winter, I’d fiddle with yarn projects, but it wasn’t until I was a teenager, when I saw my aunt using two knitting needles that I actually made a garment. My aunt Gloria taught me how to knit one summer during the 80’s. I remember how popular knitted tops were. She was making extra money by knitting them for her neighbors. I bought purple yarn and got to work. I wish I had a picture of that blouse, but I don’t, and it’s long gone.

Vine Yoke Cardigan

Vine Yoke Cardigan

Since then, I’ve knitted mostly scarves, hats, and stoles, and I’ve crochet blankets and hats. I’ve got my eye on this sweater,  but I haven’t started on it yet. I’ve got the yarn all picked out, a lovely, soft blue yarn I picked up at Stitches West a few years ago. 

I’m not sure what’s stopping me, but maybe this month I’ll pick up the needles and give it a try.

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Crochet Shawlette

shawl closeup

Two years ago, at my first time at Stitches West, I bought two skeins of Helen Hamman 100% Superfine Alpaca in a nice deep red color. You know how being surrounded by yarn, either at your LYS or at a knitting and crochet conference makes you go a little nuts? You squeeze the skeins and maybe rub them on your cheek, and then you put them back, walk around a little only to come back and impulsively buy the yarn without having a specific project in mind? Well, that’s what happened to me. I had these two skeins for two years. Every once in a while, I’d pick them up and think, “One day I’ll find the perfect project for you.” But I’d end up working on something that required a different type of yarn instead.

HH yarn

Well, back in July, I saw a Lion’s Brand crochet pattern for a shawlette. I thought, “Finally! This is the project!” The shawlette itself is not  full-length shawl, but it’s perfect for a light spring day. You can drape it around your shoulders on a night out.

This is an easy project for a beginner, and if you have some experience with crochet, then it’ll be a super fast project that you can whip up in  a couple of days. A chart is included if you’re a visual person. I’d recommend using a thinner yarn. If lace weight intimidates you, then a DK weight would work. The yarn I used was a superfine, not really as thin as lace weight, but thinner than DK. And because it is pure alpaca, it is warm enough that I can wear it wrapped tighter around my neck in the winter.

I got so many compliments and a few requests for it when I wore it. This project is interesting enough to make again and again yet it’s simple enough that it’s done within days. I recommend using it if you want to make a quick gift for someone.

Here’s a picture of the shawlette as it dries. I blocked it by spraying it with a water bottle, laying flat on the floor on a clean towel. I used pins to define the edges, pulling each peak tight, then I let it dry. Once it was blocked, the shawlette has kept its shape even after I wore it several times.

closeup shawl

You can find the pattern here.

Bumpy’s Blankie

My friend is having her first baby after many years of heartache, and I was so excited for her that I decided to crochet his first blankie. She’s nicknamed him Bumpy, so I’ve decided to call this Bumpy’s Blankie.

2013-07-13 BB

Inspired by little woolie’s Mixed Stitch Blanket, and using the yarn I got from Deramores,  I created my own. I started with a granny stripe. I have to say that this blanket is for a little boy, but I felt the need to break up the blues and greens with the red/pinks. I think it looks good, no?

Chain 150 stitches.

1 row of dc.

1 row granny stripe. Then using the nine colors I chose, I did two rows each of the granny stripe, with the last row being all dc.

BB granny

Then I flipped the blanket over, and using the second color on the starting chain, I sc loosely across the row. Cut yarn, but do not turn work. Using new color, sc across.

BB single crochet

Notice that the sides seem to not add up, but when I counted my stitches, I had 150. This seemingly wonky side will be fixed when I block the blanket.

Next, I flipped the blanket over and did 1 row of sc, then 1 row of *dc 4, then front post double crochet. Repeat from * to the end. Repeat these two rows alternating color 3 times.

2013-07-13 bb1

 

Next, I used the Wave and Chevron Stitch I found on little woolie’s blog. I couldn’t read the pattern instructions from the picture in her blog, but I could see the chart very well. I just followed it.  Below is row 1 of the pattern.

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The sc 3tog part:
BB Wave & Cheveron Collage

The Wave and Chevron Stitch is bordered by a a row of sc in yellow. The next bit is something I found online also, but I didn’t keep track of where I found it.

Row 1 – dc.

Row 2 – ch 4, *skip next 2 st, dc 4 in next dc, ch 1, sk next 2 st, dc, ch 1. Repeat from *

Row 3 – ch 5, *dc 4 tog, ch 2, dc. Repeat

Rows 4 and 5 – dc with different color.

bbCollage

 

Next, I echoed the preceding patterns and ended with Crochet Geek’s Crochet Cluster V Stitch.  I put a dc border all around the blanket.

The yarn used: Stylecraft Special DK in the following colors: aster, pomegranate, saffron, turquoise, aspen, fondant, cloud blue, meadow, and sherbet.

What do you think? Think Bumpy will like it?

Now, if only I could get myself to the post office and mail it!

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