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Second batch results and braids to go!

Hello again,

I just thought I would update you briefly on how the crochet study is going. My second set of samples came back very quickly – pleased to report that they all passed, in the upper band of 90% or over. I was relieved that the sample of double crochet ……  should have been the easiest of all ……. was fine this time as I seem to have sorted the problem with the edges and turning chains. Phew!

My mentor for the course appears to place more emphasis on hook size than Pauline did when she marked my first pieces. I shall, therefore, have to consider more carefully matching hook size to yarn in order to achieve a better drape. I can see that in the creation of fabrics to wear this is important and, probably, not having made many garments has made me less aware of the need to crochet a looser fabric. As you know, most of my previous projects have been afghans, cushion covers and other household items.

So, here are the next five samples which passed muster:

1.

trebles into spaces

trebles into spaces

2. Working a triangle from a single double crochet stitch proved a real challenge so it was great to read that it is a “lovely piece of work”.

triangle in double crochet worked from a point

triangle in double crochet worked from a point

3. This next sample worked from slip stitches up to quadruple trebles – four rows of each using the same hook and same number of stitches – illustrates well the issue of hook size since it seems so tight at the bottom but far too loose and uneven at the top, the widest point. Even here a point was deducted for using a 4.00 mm hook instead of a 4.50mm.

basic stitches getting taller every four rows

basic stitches getting taller every four rows

4. I loved doing the chevron and incorporating some colour; hook size was an issue yet again and the lack of visual balance because the sample did not finish with the same colour as at the beginning. I’m pretty sure, though, that in a proper project such as a blanket or cushion cover I would not do that.

chevrons worked without holes

chevrons worked without holes

5. Sorry this is not a very good image of the basket weave stitch I used to show a heavily textured fabric in trebles. I love the finished texture but wow ….     it uses a load of yarn.

example of heavily textured fabric in trebles

basket weave stitch working round front and back posts

My next samples will be examples of five different braids. Pauline herself writes “What is or is not a braid is a debatable point” so students are indeed expected to interpret in their own way. I have opted for what I consider to be the safe option – strips of fabric with identical side edges. Who knows what my tutor’s view is? Let’s hope for the best.

five braids

five braids

Well enough of my ramblings! News of my first garment project to follow soon. In the meantime have a good weekend lots of happy crochet and knitting.

Jenny x

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Flying with hooks

Hello again,

We’ve been away in June – hence the silence. Flying to Genoa to begin our Mediterranean cruise got me thinking about airline regulations on needles and hooks. The truth seems to be that nobody really knows what is allowed and what is not.

A couple of years ago when I used to go to a local sock knitting group a very experienced African knitter who travelled frequently told us that he had been advised to knit with circular needles on flights as the removable ends measure less than the all-important 6 inches – longer than this and your needles were likely to be confiscated. He was so proud of his pack of Knitpro Symphonie needle ends and cables and very happy to explain exactly what he had in the plastic pack to one airport security chap who was suspicious and more than a little mystified.

 

could attract attention

could attract attention!

At about the same time I made the decision to crochet rather than knit during flights. Working on the assumption that a plastic or wooden crochet hook is very similar to a pen or pencil I put together a little pencil case with a couple of hooks, a pen, pencil, tape measure and my trusted pendant with its interior blade.

trusty pendant

trusty pendant

 

Not once at airport security has this been questioned so I have been able to crochet my way through all of our recent flights – even long haul ones. However, before this last flight to Genoa I was rather taken aback to be very enthusiastically manhandled at security by a large female employee who seemed convinced that I was hiding something dubious on my small person – full body search, indeed, and not content that my person held no secrets she then had my canvas pumps sent back along the line to go through the scanner. I must just look suspiciously like a terrorist! Of course, my bag with its crochet paraphernalia sailed through – in fact, even on the occasions when they have asked to look in my bag nobody has shown the least interest in the crochet!

So, what was I working on during the cruise? Small portable items – and this is where crochet comes into its own. A couple of carefully chosen balls of yarn and different size hooks and the choices are many.

On the way out I made two different iphone cases trying out two different techniques…. The first of these uses a stitch which I call linen or dishcloth stitch – alternate double crochet and chain spaces. I love it because it lies very flat. This cosy is made in one piece, folded and seamed on the right side with double crochet even across the fold.

edged in double crochet

edged in double crochet

 

Textured stitch

Textured stitch

The second iphone cosy uses a different technique: the stitch is double crochet and it is worked in the round. Unlike some such projects the work is turned after each round to avoid a slanting join.

close fit and texture

close fit and texture

 

note the straight seam

note the straight seam

 

During the cruise Itself I managed to find enough free time to make a cotton DK bag using a very basic type of filet crochet pattern. Having never tried filet I wanted to give it a go and have to say I am pleased with the result and feel quite tempted to try a finer thread filet pattern.

probably needs lining!

probably needs lining!

The one thing that puts me off making bags is having to line them- I never was any good with needle and cotton! My projects will just have to fit into a poly bag or else the string bag will be used by my granddaughters to carry assorted stuff!

stringy symmetry

stringy symmetry

During the flight home I was sitting next to a lady who wanted to be able to crochet so I enjoyed starting her off on the basics of rows of double and treble crochet. Hopefully she has become another convert to the craft.

So, now I can get back to my pebbles and other exciting projects – there are so many projects in my to-do queue that I’m not sure where to start. So on that note I’ll say “Keep crocheting”.

Bye for now,

Jenny x

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Spring in Sorrento

Hello,

Home again from a sunny couple of days on the Amalfi coast of Italy …. yes, I know it was beautiful here too!

No problems with crochet hooks on the flights, fortunately, so I was able to start on my latest waistcoat project – now that I’m hooked on summer crochet – pics of that to follow soon.

The scenery was stunning: Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi and, my favourite of all our visits, Capri.

steep walk down

steep walk down to Positano

….but we made it!

love all the different pastels

love all the different pastels

Then we continued along the coast to Amalfi …

stunning inlay stonework on the cathedral

stunning inlay stonework on the cathedral in Amalfi

remnant of original mosaic

remnant of original mosaic

The highlight for me was definitely Capri: everything about our day there was just right.

a geologist's delight

the natural arch – a geologist’s delight

Spring was definitely in the air ….

on the cliffs of Capri

spring flowers on the clifftops

these were everywhere along the coast

these were everywhere

stunning coastline

stunning coastline

…..and the colours were remarkable.

looking down .... yes, the blue is the sea!

looking down …. yes, the blue is the sea!

creative textures in the park

creative textures in the park

I had hoped to see a couple of wool shops or some local crafting but sadly we didn’t. There was an attractive looking shop in Capri which remained stubbornly closed all day.

window shopping

it looked rather attractive through the window though

Our trip had been great and we returned refreshed; the weather at home was even beautiful to welcome us back……

dramatic sky to come home to

dramatic sky to come home to

and two pebbles from the beach at Positano are sitting with my cottons awaiting the right motif to show off their shape. Maybe that will be done by the next time.

That’s all for now,

Jenny x