1

Broomstick, yoyo plus other crochet stuff

Hello,

Broomstick crochet is one of the techniques required for the International Diploma in Crochet. I had been putting it off as it looked a bit awkward but, in fact, it’s not too bad at all as it turns out.

My three samples all passed – just one or two issues with tension (again!)

You use a normal crochet hook and a huge 15mm knitting needle: loops are placed on the needle and then crocheted off in groups using double crochets.

The second sample shows that it is  possible to incorporate treble crochet between the rows of broomstick …..

I also had to show that I could use the same technique in a full size item so I used some gorgeous DK sock yarn bought in the USA to show off the open stitches.

 

A while ago a friend brought me a lovely pack of Scheepjes cotton in stonewashed colours. As they were mini balls I had no real plan as to what I would make but then, last week, I noticed the yo-yo stitch in a magazine.

I’d never met the stitch before but it looked as if it would work well in the different colour cottons which are similar in tone to the Turkish rug in our lounge and I could just visualise a coffee table centre to coordinate.

Apart from the obvious nuisance of having ends to weave in after every little circle the pattern is effective and I’m loving the way it is working up …..

The other good thing about this project is that it is very portable and as we have quite a few trips planned it should grow on our numerous journeys. Cotton is cool for working on hotter days as well so it will probably come to Greece with me in a couple of weeks.

I hope you all have some “cool” crochet on the go for the days ahead. Crochet and/or knitting as therapy is being advocated more and more regularly at the moment – having included a feature on the health benefits of these crafts in our book, The Woolly Prawn in 2012 my daughter and I are encouraged to hear of any real initiatives to promote this.  Those of us who enjoy knitting and crochet know the benefits. Let’s spread the word wherever we can.

Happy knitting and crocheting,

Jenny x

5

Project progress

Hello again,

In addition to the thirty-five samples required for Part 1 of the International Diploma in Crochet we have to make four full-size projects which showcase some of the skills learned in our samples.

The pattern I chose for my first project was Verna – a summer cardigan, designed by Anniken Allis for the magazine Let’s Knit. Maybe the word “flattering” in the description had something to do with my choice!

summer cardigan

 

After a couple of initial tension issues I enjoyed making it. But then came the sewing-up process …… joining the pieces together and setting in sleeves reminded me of why I have not really enjoyed making crochet garments in the past. Yes, you’re absolutely right …. the very best reason to learn the right way! Anyway, I got there in the end ……

quite pleased!

quite pleased!

This project has sleeves, shaping and fastenings and so, if it passes, it will have fulfilled three criteria and what’s more, I think I might actually wear it!

it fits!

it fits!

Moving on …….. to something with less shaping!

As you know, I have been doing some work on Tunisian crochet recently so, while it is still in my mind I have decided that my second project will be worked in Tunisian. The technique seems to lend itself to straight-sided pieces and the dense fabric produced is ideal for cushion covers. This then, worked in Aran-weight yarn, is evolving into an item to be used in the home ……

Neutral arans

 

Project 2

We also have to show the use of a fashion yarn – I found a single ball of something fluffy which matches my earthy toned Arans and managed to make a few decorative flowers along with a strip – think it might become the opening flap.

Flowers

 

sofa matching

Now, I just need to find a coordinating, solid shade for the back of the cushion cover.

So, progress is being made; I have learned so many new techniques already and enjoyed the first three months of the course. Maybe it’s appropriate that it will shortly be time to tackle more lacy types of crochet – Broomstick and Hairpin – as these can be worked in cotton yarns which are easier to handle in warmer temperatures. Well, we hope it will get warmer, anyway.

On that note I shall say goodbye for today and wish you all happy knitting and crochet wherever you may be.

Jenny x

0

Colour inspiration

Hello again,

What joy to see the sun in a blue sky and feel a real sense of Spring at last. The colours of these tulips have given me so much pleasure this week and remind me what an important role colours play in my knitting and crochet.

jewel colours

jewel colours

One of my lovely crochet ladies has recently been inspired by the shades of colour which she saw on holiday in India. This gorgeous Scheepjes cotton yarn pack on the Deramores website reminded her of those colours and she has created truly beautiful heart motifs and bunting with it. The finish is so professional – we all love it.

Colours of India

colours of India

perfect hearts

perfect hearts

subtle colour changes

subtle colour changes

The creative talent and attention to detail which I see amongst my crochet group is amazing and one of the things that please me most is that they are constantly challenging themselves with new stitches and techniques.

My Brighton Plaid blanket is coming along well; I am loving doing it as the yarn is an absolute joy to look at and work with. I’m on the last but one round now and am not rushing it as I know I shall miss this particular project when it is done.

pops of neon

pops of neon

image

on the way round

I have not mentioned my crochet course on this blog but since my last submission has been returned and another is almost ready to go I decided to incorporate an update on both those next time.

Enjoy the spring sunshine and happy crafting to you all,

Jenny x

6

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

1

Back from Holiday

Hello again.

France was great – as always – and the weather exceptionally hot. The combination of having five grandchildren on the campsite with us (!!)and the high temperatures did not lend itself to a great deal of crochet activity but I did manage one small project.

Just before leaving for France I had learned that a local yarn shop was closing down and so was able to pick up this Italian cotton at a good price ..

Italian cotton

Italian cotton

It was just right to try out the corner-to-corner square featured in the Deramores CAL. Since I didn’t have enough yarn to do a whole afghan I decided on a cushion cover.

love the symmetry

love the symmetry

four square front

four square front

I just love the way this pattern takes shape and the symmetry of placing the four squares together – very satisfying.

I have decided to keep the back cover very simple – a single grey square

stitched up and ready to go

stitched up and ready to go

…….. so just need to find a cushion to fit now.

We met a very talented and creative jeweller on our campsite who had been working on some interesting necklaces through the winter. I was lucky enough to purchase two of them – one has some very fine crochet on it and the other some beautiful pebbles. They felt very appropriate to my particular interests.

campsite craft

campsite craft

autumn colours

autumn colours

such talent

such talent

pebbles

pebbles

gorgeous!

gorgeous!

How gorgeous are these and so individual – I’m really looking forward to having an opportunity to show them off.

For now though it’s time to settle back into a more normal routine and get back to my crochet sessions. I have some exciting projects to come which I’ll tell you about next time.

Keep those hooks busy,

Jenny x

0

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

0

From parcel string to pots to pebbles

Happy St. David’s Day to you all for Saturday.  It was so lovely to celebrate it in sunshine with big bunches of daffodils.

signs of spring

signs of spring

Crochet is so very versatile …. I was reminded of this last week when somebody was fascinated by the granny square border on the cotton top which I have been finishing off. “Nobody does it any more”, she said “and granny squares are so old fashioned”. I had to put her right and enlighten her on the wealth of different projects now available and also the increasing numbers of people wanting to learn the craft.

My motif border top is indeed finished and just needs a bit of blocking; I must admit to being pleasantly surprised at how well the design has turned out and how much I enjoyed working with the fine cotton thread – all we need now is the summer weather to wear it.

finished at last

finished at last

Now, crochet with parcel string is a completely different concept and not kind to the hands. But …. the results can be amazing.

When I saw Vicki Brown’s design for storage containers in Issue 40 of Inside Crochet I was intrigued as to how it might be possible to work in parcel string and incorporate super chunky yarn. How can a piece of crocheted fabric stand up unaided and be strong enough to put things in? It’s a little miracle of crochet!

Here are the results ..

Clever effect

Clever effect

Chunky strands

Chunky strands

Pleased with these

Pleased with these

….. and it was both easier and faster than I imagined. Those balls of chunky yarn lurking in my stash will have a use after all as my storage baskets multiply in number.

One of my favorite crochet books at the moment is hook,yarn and crochet by Ros Badger. I have already worked some of her crocheted pebble patterns and to give my hands a rest from the rather tough string I tried the Tea light cuffs  ….   just new my empty Bonne Maman jam jars would come in useful for something. What better way to protect perfumed candles when sitting outside on those balmy summer evenings which we look forward to at this time of year.

can't wait to see it with a candle in

can’t wait to see it with a candle in

How lovely is this? You can make one in an evening.

I rest my case: crochet is not as passé as people think. For those of us who are hooked on hooking wool, cotton, string or whatever the queue of projects in our to-do list is endless. Better get on with something then….

Bye for now,

Jenny x