Crochet: September 2011 Archives
I am really picking up crochet and with it my appetite increases for projects. I can't remember how I stumbled upon Olivia's Butterfly crochet hat pattern by Valerie Whitten but am I glad I did. I thought I loved knitting hats but crocheting them is right up there. I am still fascinated by the difference in construction between knitting and crochet that each project is even more fun than the previous. This hat was simple but with a detail that really sets it apart. The effortless butterfly detail placed as it is right above the final row takes this hat from basic to amazing. I love how the chains coupled with a single SC add a visual and textural facet that makes this hat just the thing for a precious little girl. It was quick to make as well as fun.
I used a smaller yarn and hook than recommended in the pattern. I have been jonesing to work with our Lion Brand Superwash Merino Cashmere (72% Superwash Merino Wool, 15% Nylon, 13% Cashmere). This yarn was a dream. It was just as soft worked up as it was in the skein (this is not always the case with soft yarns). It did not irritate my fingers while working it up either (something else I have noticed with some blends, they are not so soft when rubbing your skin). The texture and stitch definition were excellent with just a bit of fuzz so you can see how soft it is. The color, Green Tea, is just right for my little one. It was light enough to allow the hat design to be the main focus, not the color, and will compliment many of her jackets since it is not loud. She has been wearing it all weekend and I haven't noticed any itching or irritation from the wool. She really loves it. With the pattern written as it, the hat can fit an adult just by adding more rows. But to fit a child smaller then 2-3, you will want to reduce the increases and rows and reduce the chains in the butterfly too if the child is very small. Since the hat is worked from the top down it is easy to see how big it is and adjust as you go instead of ripping back. This hat will make great gifts for your own children, friends and friends' children. It is a great pattern that can be worked up with ease and speed.
Of the MANY, MANY techniques we are sure to cover here on the blog, none may be more important than changing colors (or joining in a new ball). Color work, simple or complicated is a key part of truly having fun with crochet. Stripes, chevrons or swirls, changing colors can take your work to the next level in style without changing your stitch. Adding colors can give an ordinary project just the right 'something' to make it shine. Or it can make a boring project interesting. Changing color (or adding a new ball) is simple but knowing the techniques can ease the learning.
I prefer to control my color changes, at the beginning of a row or round, or at the beginning of a repeat in your stitch count. This makes the join less obvious and more professional. Once you are at a good color change spot, drop your working yarn (A) and make a large loop with your new yarn (B), leaving a tail of 6-8 inches (enough to weave in later). Slip this loop onto your crochet hook (before if you are starting a DC, HDC or TC or after inserting your hook into a stitch for a SC). Continue holding the tail with B for 2-3 stitches (until you feel comfortable that the tail is snug) then drop the tail and continuing on with your pattern. When you come around to the color change again (either in the next row or round) be careful with the last stitch of A, it is loose and might pull. Snug it up as needed and continue on or you can weave in the tail of A right now so as not to worry about it.
You can change colors again as often as need be being sure to weave in the tails to the stitches of the same color. This technique also works for adding new balls of yarn of the same color except you do not need to be as careful where you start the yarn. Do take the stitch into consideration since the first and last stitches can be loose until you weave them in. You don't want the middle of a lace pattern to be loose so unless you are crocheting in SC, start a new ball at the beginning or end of a row or round to be safe.
Check out my Rosewood Crochet Hook Review here
Last week, I set aside some time to sit down with one of our Rosewood Crochet Hooks so I could review it. But then I forgot and sat daydreaming for a few hours. It was only later when I looked down and saw that instead of relaxing and day dreaming (which I quite contentedly thought I was doing) I had actually been crocheting. My Rosewood Hook was that soft and warm in my hand that I was able to forget it for a little while, and at the same time, forget about everything else for a time as well. Since then I have consciously used the Rosewood Crochet Hook and it is just as fun, soft, smooth and warm as my previous Zen experience.
I would start off, first, by recommended it to advanced beginners for several reasons. 1) The wood is soft so the hard tension that beginners can adopt may snap the beautiful hook. 2) It is more slick and faster than the Aluminum and Soft Touch hooks which might be frustrating for a beginner. 3) The price while not a show stopper is something to consider if you are not sure crochet is for you. However, if Crochet is for you than so are the Rosewood Hooks. They are gorgeous to the point that I spent as much time looking at my hands as I did my work (I even gave myself a manicure because my hands were shaming the hook). A few hooks or even a full set would make a dream gift for the crocheter on your list. Even just one tucked in with a few balls of alpaca or cashmere would be a thoughtful and endearing gift. I love my one Rosewood hook but you can rest assured it will not be lonely for long.