Jane's Hooked on Crochet

A place to write about my crocheting, things I'm learning, book reviews, ideas, projects in mind, works in progress, patterns, photos, fair entries, whatever...

Friday, December 30, 2005

It's time to start thinking about what I might have to enter into the State Farm Show for this year. It would be nice if I had time to plan ahead and spend several months making things specifically for the show, but doesn't happen that way. I usually just look though the things I've made this year that didn't go out to someone else, and select what I think will do well for the show. I don't have anything I entered in the county fair that I think I can enter in the Farm Show.
Oh yes! The lilac baby dress and booties. Maybe I should find time to make the matching coat, and design a bonnet that goes with it, I don't like the mop hat that is in the pattern book.


I've started a new shawl for the shawl ministry. The yarn is Red Heart, color is "Claret", and I'm using a P Tunisian hook. 3 rows of Tunisian Doubles, then a row of Tunisian Simple Stitch. It's very light, soft, and drapey.
Today I ran errands, went to JoAnn Fabrics to exchange a ball of yarn I didn't use, and bought 3 skeins of Homespun, then went to Michaels to exchange a hook (bought 2 of the same size) and bought 3 skeins of Homespun, then went to FYE to exchange a game, and did not buy any Homespun! Then I went to A.C. Moore for more yarn for the soft hats, bought 6 skeins of Red Heart Soft. Bought 2 balls of a fun fur type, 1 is a pastely-mango. I think it'll be pretty on a cream colored hat. I also bought the new book The Prayer Shawl Ministry by Leisure Arts. Hope to get into it this weekend. I noticed on Amazon that it hasn't been reviewed yet.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

What I've learned about knitting & Tunisian

I selected the leftover orchid yarn because it was light colored so that I could see the stitches, but it was also a happy color to work with.
I used the book Learn How Book #179-B from Coats & Clark's, copyright 1959. The book has basic beginner instructions and patterns for crochet, knitting, tatting and embroidery. I have had this book forever, I don't remember exactly, but I think this is how I learned how to crochet.
I started with plain knitting, or knit every row, called Garter stitch
Knit - you turn your work at the end of each row, when you knit each row you create a definite horizontal rib. Front and back of the piece look the same.
Tunisian - you don't turn the work, to get the same rib, you need to do one row of Tunisian knit stitch, the next row of Tunisian purl (what most books describe as the purl stitch, ARNie & Kim call this the Reverse stitch, I call it a Front purl)
Alternating a row of knit with a row of purl in Tunisian creates the look of Garter stitch.
Then I practiced the Stockinette stitch.
Knit - alternate one row of knit, one row of purl. Front & back will have different looks.
Tunisian - use the Tunisian knit stitch for every row.
Next in the book is ribbing, increasing and decreasing, and I know how to do that in knitting and Tunisian. Then how to do a yarn over for lace patterns. I need to practice this, unfortunately there are no patterns in this booklet that use this technique. Lastly, is the cable. I have recently found a good pattern for cables in crochet, and I'm playing around with cables in Tunisian.

Meditative Knitting

Friday morning I decided to do some meditative knitting. Wait...knitting? Yes, I do know how to knit, I just don't do any very often, like once every 5 years or so I make a little swatch.
At the dance studio on Wednesday, one of the students gave knitted scarves to 4 of the teachers. They were made of baby alpaca, so pretty! and so soft. She and her mom were each working on a scarf of the alpaca and I watched them work. Took a scap of the alpaca and tied it around my wrist and wore it home, like a bracelet. I figure if I was allergic to alpaca, as I am to wool, the itching would drive me crazy before the evening was over. Guess what? No reaction at all, so now my mind is considering buying some of that beautiful yarn. Well, I really don't nned any more scarves, I made plenty while exploring yarns and Tunisian stitches and patterns. However, I was asked to teach a Tunisian class at the LYS...buy the alpaca at the yarn shop, use it to work up a sample for the class, write the class proposal...it's all good.
But I digress, I decided to practice knitting and learn a little more about it so that I can adapt some knitting patterns to Tunisian. I thought it would be a good excersize to think about learning a new skill, or practice a fairly new skill and think about the learning process. I thought it would be a good way to experience what some of the students might be going through as they take one of my beginner crochet classes.

Monday, December 26, 2005

What kind of Flower are You?

You Are a Tulip

You have a wild, experimental side that craves change.
You often switch jobs and men, always looking for something better.
But deep down, you're also very well grounded and content.
And you will come to know that the life you live is already ideal.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Too long since last posts

I can't believe it's been that long since I've added something to the blog. So what's been happening? Daughter #1 is home from Alaska for about 5 weeks, she's had a friend visiting from Ireland and they've been traveling to Washington, DC and Chicago, sightseeing. Both are back at their respective homes, now. Daughter #2 home from college. We're all trying to get ready for Christmas.
This week I worked at the dance studio on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday for Christmas parties; I taught math on Tuesday and had tutoring sessions on Tues. and Wed. I made 3 Tunisian scarves for Christmas presents at the studio.
I bought some thread crochet poinsettia ornaments to make for Christmas gifts, but haven't started any! I still have some thread ornament covers to make from last year's project. They go over clear glass ornaments. Maybe I should make that my January "finish it up" project.
I will be teaching another How to Crochet to Make Soft Hats in January, and I was asked tonight if I'd like to teach a Tunisian class at a local yarn shop. Should put together a proposal on a class on How to make a Tunisian skinny scarf.

Patterns to be published

I've been doing more paperwork, and photography, less crocheting lately. Last week I finished up patterns for some Tunisian scarves, and edited photos. I've had 5 patterns accepted in the 2007 Crochet Pattern-a-Day calendar.
I decided to submit items to the calendar, even though there is no fee, for a variety of reasons:
1) it gets Tunisian crochet out to the public - there are too few patterns available
2) it shows that Tunisian is more than the basic afghan stitch with cross stitching
3) it shows current fashion, not just afghans
4) it proves that Tunisian is not the heavy, stiff fabric that most people think of when they hear about Tunisian, or afghan stitch
5) I retain copyright to the patterns, so I can use them in classes I teach
6) When I get more intricate patterns published, I can use these as free patterns to get traffic to my website
7) continuing #6 - people will trust that the more involved patterns are as well written as the simple, free patterns

off topic - A fun quiz about types of Moms

Are You a Slacker Mom?

Your quiz results make you a Smarty Pants Mom

Smart parents like you have smart kids. They need plenty of intellectual stimulation and you provide them with all they need, plus lots of love. You know how to help them with algebra homework, and you are superior at kissing boo-boos.

Take this free personality test by Clicking Here "Are you a Slacker Mom?"

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Doily pattern test & Pictures

I finished the doily that I was doing as a pattern test. The pattern is very simple to follow, yet very pretty. I work very loose, and usually have to drop 1 or 2 hook sizes to get gauge. The pattern called for a J hook, so I started with an I, dropped to an H, then a G (6), then am E! I was still a little larger than the gauge, but let's be realistic, I'm not doing 16 rounds of a doily in worsted weight with a D hook. I did the first 3 rounds in D, then decided that I could kill two birds with one stone. I can test the pattern for accuracy, and see how it will work as adaption to a circular shawl. I did several rows in the G, then several in H, moving up until the last two rows were done with a K. It produced a very ruffly circle. Folded in half, it works as a shawl for a doll that I use for modeling some projects.
I took pictures of the shawl, and of the orchid afghan that I finished recently. Hope to get pictures developed and up soon.

Some results from Saturday's class

At the Shawl Ministry meeting on Monday, I received lots of compliments for the class. They were pleased at how patient I was. Well, I'm used to having 10 -20 elementary students, not necessarily insterested in learning math!
One of the ladies brought in 2 completed hats, baby blue with a bright blue, pink, purple Fun Fur, beautiful work. Another finished a hat during the meeting, baby yarn in a soft pink with white Baby Lash. She worked in back loop only, so the hat had ridges in each round, very cute. Yet another had a hat about 3/4 finished, so needed to go out to buy some Fun Fur.
I have been asked to teach at least one more class, this one will definitely be labeled as a learn to crochet seminar. Then a few ladies are interested in learning Tunisian crochet.
I finished another shawl, Homespun in Waterfall, Tunisian doubles. This one had been on the hook way too long. I felt like I was neglecting it, but the hats had a priority.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Today was a Crochet day

I started with re-writing the hat pattern for beginning crocheters. I added a lot of tips, stitch how to's, and vocabulary. I even scanned the sample I had for class, and then added them to the pattern at the appropriate rounds. I traced around a hat, and added some markers and labels of round numbers, so that people can use that as a template.
After that I spent a lot of time actually crocheting. I made one more hat, then worked on a shawl in Tunisian double that's for the Shawl Ministry.
Then I worked on a doily pattern that I offered to test for a member of cp list. It's a simple pattern that produces a very pretty doily, I think I might choose this one for woking into a circular shawl.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Make a hat class

I think the class was great. I didn't know how many people were planning to come. And didn't know how many needed refreshers & specifics on making this hat, and how many would be beginner crocheters. I was hopeful that those needing a crochet refresher would be able to get a good start on a hat. I can finish one in less than 2 hours.
Turns out I had 13 students, including the 2 I've been working with weekly. Almost every one was a beginner, so I started with how to make a slip knot and how to chain. My 2 regulars, a woman and her 12 year old daughter, were a tremendous help. Once I got everyone started, the 3 of us worked with individuals or pairs to help with specific questions, demonstrations, counting stitches, interpreting the pattern, etc. Many people were unfamiliar with written crochet directions, so tonight's project is to rewrite the pattern in basic English and email it to all the students.
The Shawl Ministry meets this Monday, so I'll see a lot of the students and have a chance to check progress, answer questions, etc. We are planning to have another workshop/class after the holidays.

Friday, December 09, 2005


As usual, I changed my mind on the stitch for this wrap. I decided to change to a Tunisian double. It's fast, light, soft, so gorgeous. I'm almost finished, and trying to decide if I should add an edging of some kind. The yarn will not hold a fringe, and I hate fringe anyway! Maybe just a few rows of single crochet on the short ends.
Tomorrow I teach my seminar on beginning/refresher crochet for making the soft hats for chemo patients. Last night I organized all my supplies, made notes, and made up a few samples. I should be all set.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Organizing all the stuff that has accumulated - PAS, YAS, HAS

Tuesday I got a phone call asking if I had any of the soft hats in stock, she needed one for a family member. I only had 1, so I made up 2 while watching tv Tuesday evening.
Did a lot more organizing and cleaning. I have a plastic bin with file folders - labeled afghans, baby afghans, baby clothes, sweaters, ponchos, shawls & shrugs,hats and scarves, doiles & household, and misc. Anything I printed off the internet, and small leaflets are filed in here. Large booklets & books are sorted into magazine holders - afghans, sweaters, baby, Tunisian, and catalogs. I also have 3 magazine holders filled with magazines.
I also spent time re-organizing yarn. So often several skeins come out of the bins for a project, and when finished the leftover doesn't get put away. So I had a large box of partial skeins that I had to sort and get into bins. Some of the smaller amounts got dropped into a tapestry bag that I have for taking to classes.
I have 3 tapestry bags. 1 is for the current project(s) and has all the steel & aluminum hooks (wooden hooks are in a mug atop the piano), needle sizer and stitch gauge, ruler, tape measure, scissors, stitch markers, box of colored pencils, a pad of sticky notes, pencil, a set of cable stitch holders, and several tapestry needles.
A second bag is for the Shawl Ministry and has the current project - shawl and soft hats
The third bag is for teaching and has a folder of important information - yarn sizing chart, hook size chart, tips to share with students, some small stitch guides, and small balls of leftover yarn.