Crochet: February 2011 Archives
Like Shannon, I too want to learn another way to play with yarn. However, unlike Shannon, who got right on the ball with her resolution, I am just now posting in Feb. Not that I haven't been practicing, because I have. Totally! Well...maybe not as hard as I should have. I will claim my number one excuse to being a blatant refusal to hold my yarn in my left hand. Like a 4 yr old refusing to try something new, I was just as stubborn. Sure there are so many really cool crochet patterns out there, sure I like to try new things and yes, it is my job to promote great yarn products to the best of my ability but surely that doesn't mean holding my yarn in the left. It just seems so WRONG. But being the big girl that I am (most of the time) I sat myself down and made myself hold my yarn in my left hand and a crochet hook in the right and put the 2 together with my handy "Teach Yourself to Crochet" Book. But my yarn kept falling out - so not fair, right.
"Practice" I told myself, your fingers need practice. You did it for knitting, remember how hard that was? So I kept at it. When my fingers would cramp up from the new techniques I would take breaks and cruise blogland for great crochet inspiration to keep me going. Have you seen what Anna Maria Horner is doing with crochet these days, Amazing! This kept me going. 2 hours later I had, roughly, a 4 in. by 8 in. swatch of some moderatlye fine looking crochet, if I do say so myself. I used the last bit of my Lion Brand Organic Cotton (Wildflowers), leftover from the Worsted Weight Swirl Hat and a size J Boye Crochet Hook--I like the Boye because they are pointy. I have always had trouble with my tension due to the unfamiliarity of yarn in the left hand so after many position changes I decided to try my handy ring yarn guide. It really helped a lot. I didn't have to focus so much on keeping my yarn on my hand and keeping tension. The yarn guide kept the yarn in place so I could focus on my hook and tension. Still tricky but manageable and see how far I got! Yes, it took my 2 hours to crochet what I could knit in about 30 min but still I did it. The best part is that it resembles a rectangle and not a trapezoid! With practice (of which I am looking forward too) I may be able to stick with this crochet business. If not at least I may be able to learn to knit continental which will really help with colorwork. One small step at a time!
You can follow my crochet adventures on twitter @tdangermiller and follow Fabric.com @fabricdotcom to keep up on deals, customers tips and the latest sew/knit/crochet news.
The feeling of accomplishment when you finally cast-off the last stitch on the last piece of a sweater is immense...until you realize that you know need to seam it all together. This can deflate you just a bit but chin- up; seaming is a breeze and in it own way relaxing and methodically therapeutic.
While I detest finishing (weaving in ends and casting off) I delight in seaming. It is much like I love embroidery, it is just a simple movement with instant gratification. It is the last step towards a finished project. It always feels like the last few days of senior year. I become nostalgic and remember the moments of each project. When my daughter grabbed my ball of yarn and ran all the way to the other side of the house. When I tripped on my own needles or which movies my husband and I watched together while I knit and he mumbled that I couldn't possibly be paying any real attention to the story. I don't usually go over these moments once I start wearing the sweater so I always cherish the seaming.
Like I said, seaming is easy; it is the placement that's tricky. The trick is to meld the 2 sides together so you can not see the seaming. I do this by making sure and tuck my tapestry needle under 2 strands on each side. This makes sure that the seam is not joining half a row on each side and ensure a strength that one strand can't be trusted with. You want to start at either the top of the bottom and hold your sides together with some sort of temporary binding. You can use bobby pins, bigger hair clips with teeth or chip clips. Use as many as you are comfortable with to hold the seam together as you stitch. This will also make sure the seam stays aligned so your seam will be straight. It is a simple mattress stitch you will be using and there is no need to make each stitch tight as you go. You can zip it up when you finish by pulling on either tail. You want to go from the outside through one side and the next and out the back and repeat. This will create a definite seam on the wrong side of your project but a seamless effect on the right. I have used a contrasting yarn on my Minimalist Cardigan to demonstrate. When you are seaming you can start with a bright yarn so you can see your stitches and then stitch over it with a blending yarn. Then simply pull out the bright yarn and leave the blended yarn and no one is the wiser!
You may remember that I recently used Berroco
Vintage for my Murphy
craft's Tofu the Gentle Dachshund Knitting Pattern and it was amazing. You
may also remember that I am a bit of a natural
fiber proponent. And while Vintage contains some natural fiber, its
majority is man-made with 10% Nylon, 50% Acrylic and 40% Wool. That being said
it is amazing stuff. It retains the stretch of wool and wool's stitch
definition but it is soft in a way totally different from any wool I have worked
with. Its hand was peculiar; I could have sworn that I was knitting up some
chenille. It had that soft, particular chenille feel to it but the tendencies
of wool. It was amazing and I loved it more than I thought I ever could.
Berroco Vintage is a worsted weight plied yarn which means it is several strands of thinner yarn wound together to make up a worsted weight yarn. However, I experienced very little splitting. I would say that it splits significantly less than wool and considerably less than cotton. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being no splits and 1 being all splits, I would rank wool at a 7, cotton a 5 and Berroco at an 8 or 9. It was very good. The color variety also makes it a good choice for a multitude of projects. This yarn would make a great choice for a Fair Isle sweater or multicolored baby blanket. The color selection is not limited to a few select colors for the season but a gradiation of colors in each family making it a 'go-to' yarn for any project.
This yarn is a good choice for beginners because of its forgiving nature or not splitting and stretchy nature. But it is also great for the experienced knitters because of the color choice and fantastic stitch definition. The super soft nature lends it well to children's patterns. The blend of acrylic and wool gives you the best of both worlds. There is no itchy wool feel and it is washable. This is a great stash yarn because of its many virtues.