Yesterday my lovely ladies joined me for our crochet class after the summer break. During the last couple of months I have missed their company and enthusiasm for extending themselves with lots of different projects. We had a great morning – well, I did anyway! I brought the broomsticks and they brought this most beautiful bouquet (it was my birthday)…..
…and so we started on our broomstick session.
Much concentration was required …….
…… and their efforts were rewarded. They all did a great job and managed amazingly well to manoeuvre hooks, yarn and broomsticks. I have to say that although I love the peacock-like effect of the stitches I do find it quite tricky to get into a rhythm when working this technique.
The class produced some excellent samples, though …
…and I shall not be surprised this winter to find them all wearing scarves, cowls and other accessories made this way.
Now that I am doing Part II of the International Diploma in Crochet my samples have to be submitted along with suggestions as to how they could be incorporated into a pattern. I took this opportunity to coincide teaching broomstick to my group of ladies with starting on the Part II broomstick samples.
The first one required is a piece of broomstick worked using sticks of three different sizes – I chose a DK yarn and broomsticks of 12, 15 and 20mm.
The sample did not increase in width as much as I thought it would using the bigger needles but I do have some ideas as to what it might be used for – wrist warmers, leg warmers, cape … ?? The one I shall probably select as my main suggestion is a lampshade cover but maybe worked in a finer yarn – still considering this one.
The design element of the course is definitely stretching me but I hope that it will help me to think “outside the box” and extend my creativity potential…. hopefully!
Now, on the subject of design, I am going, this weekend, to a workshop at the Crochet Design Studio run by the IDC course organiser, Pauline Turner. It will be quite something to meet her and take part in one of her workshops – I’m excited and feel sure I’ll learn a huge amount.
Updates on that to follow.
In the meantime happy crafting adventures,
Two of the samples required for the International Diploma in Crochet Part 1 are seven different, usable, crocheted buttons and three crocheted edgings in DK yarn appropriate for adding to the front edges of a plain edge-to-edge knitted/crocheted jacket. I have been working on these during the last couple of weeks and sent them off to be assessed last week.
Each of the buttons had to be different so I settled on covering a flat button (lime green), a button with a shank (turquoise), a small round one (cream) and a metal ring (multi) which I covered in double crochet before weaving in and out of wheel-like spokes. These were all worked in fine threads of differing thicknesses in amigurumi style, spiral double crochet.
The remaining three needed to be firm enough to hold their shape by either stuffing or working very firmly on small hooks: a red disc of trebles, a small pink globe filled with toy stuffing and a turquoise, variegated flower.
Here they are …..
Let’s hope my mentor approves!
I can’t truthfully say that I found this to be a fun exercise as I found it quite fiddly. The buttons also needed more finishing off with a needle than I ever would choose. My friends all know that I go for a crochet join rather than a stitched one wherever possible!
The edgings (they differ from braids in that one side has to be plain double crochet to stitch onto existing fabric) proved more interesting and it was fun trying out a few new effects with stitches …
This first edging is worked in a tweedy Scandinavian yarn called Sandnes Garn Robust and the last two rows form the half treble crochet puff stitch which I found in Pauline Turner’s book of finishing techniques.
Wendy Ramsdale DK provided a lovely woolly look and feel to this edging where I experimented a bit with working into back loops only.
Finally, an edging based on an American afghan border which I had, using a combination of trebles and front post trebles.
Aside from these samples, I just could not resist starting a couple of extra projects …… different requirements for car journeys, watching TV, knitting group etc. Well, that’s my excuse!!
So, here’s a glimpse of a real stash-buster that I have on the go using one of my favourite stitches – linen stitch, also sometimes referred to as woven or up-and-down stitch. It’s not a fast grower but I love the way the resulting fabric lies so flat …..
Last week, feeling that a visit to a local Craft centre was justified by my stash-busting I splashed out on this interesting looking Bergère de France yarn. It has a metallic thread running through it …
I have to say I am pleased with the way it’s growing into my next shawl/triangular scarf; the four-row pattern is designed by Elisabeth de Herraiz and featured in Issue 41 of Simply Crochet
So there we are …. plenty to keep me busy over the next few weeks not to mention coming to grips (unintentional pun!) with Broomstick and Hairpin crochet for my course.
Enjoy your knitting and/or crochet wherever you are and be inspired to try something new. We all know how beneficial any crafting is.
I have to apologise for neglecting my blog over the last couple of months. To be honest I’m finding it a bit difficult to find the time needed to keep up with the record of work required for my International Crochet Diploma and to blog as regularly as I would like.
I am thoroughly enjoying Part 1 of the course and have learned so much new stuff already – Tunisian and Broomstick as well as Filet crochet. Certainly one of the things I’m noticing though is that the amount of time one can spend on “other” crochet activities is more limited: my “want to make” list is growing by the day. Christmas is fast approaching and along with the imminent arrival of two babies I want to make gifts for I am torn between my ICD samples and taking a break.
The good news is that Project No 3 is finished and has been submitted. I needed to use a fine thread and decided on a table runner in spider stitch – found the pattern on a lovely blog, Lace’n’Ribbon Roses. I already had a cone of Southern Comfort by Twilleys in my stash and used a 2mm hook which seems to show off the stitch pattern quite well.
Fortunately, I have a blocking mat which proved the perfect size for the runner……
….. and here it is ready to send off
My limited photography skills made it difficult to take a good photo of this but I do like the way the light behind picks up the stitch pattern.
And so, we are off on holiday for a month during which time I hope to catch up with some small bits and bobs – photos at the end of November, hopefully! I’m sure you will all be starting on some Christmas gifts too; good luck with all those projects and ….
……. keep crocheting!
Bye for now,
A very special little girl that I know who loves musical theatre has recently auditioned and been chosen to play one of the daughters in Fiddler on the Roof. It will be performed at the Bristol Hippodrome in October and, needless to say, there is much excitement in the air.
Now, any of you who are grandmothers will, almost certainly, identify with being asked for help with fancy dress costumes and the like for little ones going to parties or performing somewhere. Believe me I’m rubbish at sewing and have never been much good at fancy dress. On this occasion there’s a difference though as the costume designer at the theatre wants the girls to wear crocheted or knitted shawls and I am delighted to have been asked!
Some patterns have been suggested but as long as the shawls appear authentic – plain, darkish colours and look as if they would have been worn for warmth – any triangular design should work. So, I have been trying out a couple to see how the yarn drapes and what the resulting fabric looks like – it’s great fun! I think I could get “hooked” on shawls!
Finally decided on the Dixie Charm since it is a mix of lacy and more solid fabric without being too heavy for little shoulders.
So, over the last couple of weeks I have been working on this one and ta-dah, here it is …..
Back to my coursework…..
My progress on the IDC had stuttered a little when my mentor was unable to do any assessing. Since my first project and my Tunisian crochet samples had not been returned I felt a bit uneasy about sending any further pieces of work. The good news is that she is now recovering from a nasty accident and I have got the work back.
The fabric of the three Tunisian samples passed but there were some issues with the crab stitch edging on the two-coloured one so I shall have to redo it.
Now I can get on with my plans for Project 2 which is almost entirely in Tunisian knowing that my basic Tunisian technique is OK.
Best news to arrive with the work was that the cardigan passed …. yay! I had made more changes than are strictly allowed when using a commercial pattern but I got away with that because of an error in the instructions. Finding the mistake and commenting upon it as well as writing to the designer seemed to go in my favour … phew! ….. because I adapted the length and shoulder seam as well. Must say I am very relieved.
Well, that’s quite enough for this morning. It’s quite busy in this household at present and I’m afraid there is not as much time for crochet activities as I would like. The summer months are just rushing by … let’s make sure we all keep a bit of time free for knitting and crochet!
Bye for now,
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!
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 ……
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!
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 ……
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.
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.
Time to update you on my IDC course. The feedback on my five braids …
…. was slightly disappointing as the two shorter ones lost marks for lack of length and my mentor did not really like my use of self-striping sock yarn on samples which cannot show off the full range of colours. I hadn’t thought of that but can see that these yarns need to be shown off in an item which does justice to the colour mix.
So, having reworked the two offending braids I decided to have a go at Tunisian crochet, also known as Afghan crochet, which was completely new to me. Initially, I found working with the metal Tunisian hook (a timely freebie from Simply Crochet magazine) a bit hard on the fingers as was mastering the best way to hold this long implement.
Things got easier when I realised that it was possible to get hold of a Knitpro Symphonie rosewood hook and attach it to the knitting cables which I already have.
The technique is something between knitting and crochet – it involves picking up loops across a row of stitches and holding the loops produced on the hook. This is called the forward pass. Then the stitches are completed and the loops dropped on the way back which is called the return pass. Sounds much more complicated than it is! The fabric produced has a woven, dense texture and because it needs to be worked on a larger hook than one would normally use for the chosen yarn it grows quite quickly.
Very fortuitously, I got onto a Tunisian Crochet workshop at Miju Wools, Gloucester, which gave me some more practice before doing my samples. This sampler in DK 100% Merino wool gives an idea of the fabric ….
Part I of The International Diploma in Crochet requires three samples of Tunisian crochet: one in Tunisian simple stitch …. apparently this was popular among Victorian ladies who then embellished the resulting squared fabric with cross stitch embroidery …
…. this biggest issue for me on this one was achieving a straight left hand edge and I don’t think I’ll be starting on cross stitch any time soon!
The second sample has to be worked in two colours to produce a tweed effect …
This square has also been edged with a round of dcs and crab stitch which, in fact, hides the uneven tension at the side – think I should have used a larger hook for these samples.
The third example has to be of a textured Tunisian stitch and again the hardest part for me was achieving an even tension. I finally decided on a bobble stitch as described in Pauline Turner’s booklet on Tunisian crochet and although I have submitted it – hence no photo at the moment – I’m less than hopeful that it will pass.
So, I await the verdict on this fourth submission – hope to get it soon in order to keep up the momentum before summer activities such as gardening cut down my crochet time. The frosts of last week already seem long gone as we plan our first barbecue of the year.
Enjoy the sunshine and keep crocheting,