Monday, October 18, 2010

Falling in Love with Crochet

Here's the last Christmas stocking I made for a customer. (Finally took a photo of this one.)
Christmas Stocking 4 Complete

I've also been busy learning to crochet, using Bernat's Mystery Blanket CAL. Nice to finally get comfortable with the craft again. I couldn't crochet for the longest time, because of my arthritis. I just had so much pain from the twisting, that I didn't think I would ever be able to crochet again.

Over the past 7 years, I have concentrated on knitting instead....learning a lot, and feeling very proud of my knitted creations. During these years, I've collected several knitting magazines, books, and patterns. I've also spent hours gazing online at interesting designs with yarn. Occasionally, I have found some GORGEOUS creations that don't involve knitting - just crochet. It has been frustrating, since I didn't think I could crochet anymore.

In the midst of this frustration, I have watched others crochet, and noticed that some people were using a different kind of hook - an ergonomic hook! So, I decided to buy a few. As usual, I used coupons at Hobby Lobby and AC Moore for my purchase. Pretty soon, I had a decent collection of ergonomic hooks, including a nice Provo Craft set with interchangeable hooks.

Up until now, I've only done very basic crochet stitches, and haven't really understood how to read a crochet pattern very well. So, I decided to join in on the Bernat Mystery Blanket CAL, and give it a try. I figured that I would learn more about crochet, and would hopefully get one step closer to being able to make some of those pretty crochet designs I've seen on the internet.

Now, after 4 weeks into the CAL, I can honestly say that I've learned a LOT! I'm comfortable reading a crochet pattern now, and have learned how to hold the ergonomic hook effectively. I have to constantly remind myself to KEEP IT SLOW while I'm working, so I don't overdo it. I am tempted to let the hook fly, and crochet quickly.....but I know I will pay the price with I make myself go slowly and carefully.

Here are the granny squares I've made in the CAL:
Granny Squares

I've made other squares of different designs as well, but you'll have to watch the Bernat Blog to see photos of them.

Now that I've learned how to crochet safely (without pain), I am taking another look at those pretty crochet designs I want to make. I know that I still need some more practice, so I think I'll do some easy and intermediate level crochet designs to give me that experience.

I think I've fallen in love with crochet. :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Getting Ready for the Holidays

I finally finished knitting the vintage Christmas stocking for a client. I didn't take a photo, because it looks exactly like the 3 others I made for her last year. Here I am, with the stockings I knit last year, along with the original she gave me as a guide. The free pattern is here: Personalised Christmas Stocking from 1945
Stockings - My Handknitting is Complete

Now, I'm trying to finish up another project for a different customer before the year ends. I'm making a yellow and black blanket, using Hobby Lobby "I Love This Yarn" in yellow, black, and white, and some Bernat Super Value in True Grey. I found a Paton's pattern that is working well with these colors. The pattern is called "Fresh Stripes". The customer is a Pittsburgh Steelers fan.
Yellow and Black Blanket

I'm also doing some more charity knitting:

A wool sweater, using Bernat "Felting" yarn
(photos soon on the Bernat Blog)

I've also started another Oddball Charity Blanket for a Mexican orphanage. Right now, we have 11 knitters signed up to work on that. We will each take turns knitting a 5 inch section, keeping the blanket on the knitting needles while it travels from knitter to knitter. Here's my section, ready to hit the road.
First Section Complete

And, I'm working on other projects, of course. Too many to mention here. :P

A couple weeks ago, I took two of my knitting students to a local alpaca farm, so they could see where nice yarn comes from.
Melissa and Abby at Alpaca Farm

When we pulled up at the farm, they were SO excited!
When we walked closer to the animals, their footsteps got slower
and S L O W E R ...........

"What's that smell?" they whined.
:) Now, they REALLY know where yarn comes from. (tee-hee)

They soon got used to the smell, though. And enjoyed petting the animals.
Melissa and Abby with Alpaca

Abby and Melissa with Horse

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I'm a forum moderator and blogger for Spinrite Yarns (, and I spend WAY too much time there. :D You can also find me on the Knitting Help Forum occasionally