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...

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Camoflauge Man Afghan!!

I don't think I really need to say anything. Just go look at this afghan done in Tunisian crochet.

60 Scarves in 60 Days

I'm finally making some progress on my goals here. I delivered 6 scarves to a local charity on Tuesday.
Last night I started on another scarf. And I got to thinking about a knitter who likes to make both socks or both sleeves of a sweater on the same needles at the same time. She said it's easier to do the pattern repeats, and the shaping of both at the same time. She said this was an advantages over crochet, as crocheters have to do the two items separately. Well, I thought, maybe I can do it with Tunisian. So I started a second scarf in the same stitch pattern. Remember in Tunisian, you pick up loops in your row and keep them all on the hook, so it looks like a row of knitting, then work them off, similar to crochet. I was able to work a row of stitches from the first scarf onto the hook, then work a row of the second scarf. Then I would work off the stitches of the second scarf, I did have to drop off this scarf, leaving the last loop and then work off the row of the first scarf. Then I would pick up stitches on the next row of the first scarf, put the loop of the second scarf back on the hook, and work the next row of the second scarf. Since I wasn't doing a difficult pattern repeat, I don't think that this was a help in working easier, or faster. However, the color changes, and the challenge did offer a little variety, so that I kept working instead of taking a "boredom break". Then, just for the fun of it, and because I could, I started a third scarf on the same hook! I completed about 1/3 or more of 3 scarves last evening, and completed them all today. I did go back to working them each separately, although I alternated colors for variety.
I have scarf #10 on the hook now, I've been working on it off and on for most of the week. It's a more complicated Tunisian stitch pattern, and I'm thinking that it would look really nice as a little neck warmer, they're all the rage on the crocheting groups right now. Just need two large, attractive buttons. Then I can whip up one more long, fast scarf.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

What I've been working on this week

Monday I finished the Posh Pineapple, and blocked it. I love it!

Tuesday evening I worked on a motif.

Looks like I'm on the last round, I should finish this up sometime this week.
Thursday and Friday, I worked on swatches, sorted books, and spent a lot of time online.

Yesterday I made a scarf for the 60 Scarves in 60 Days Challenge. It's done in Tunisian simple stitch, with some purls to create a border. The color is Fuschia, but my scanner does not like that color, it made it salmon. I tried to adjust the color, but it's just an approximation.

Then I started another scarf, it's a Tunisian honeycomb, using a periwinkle blue.
Today I taught a Tunisian class at Michaels. I've got an idea for another scarf, actually two more, will I have time to finish two more before the end of the challenge. At the rate I was going yesterday, yes. But tomorrow and Tuesday are busy with school, and Wednesday evening I work. Thursday I tutor and this week is also a CGOA Chapter meeting.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Australian crochet in Powerhouse Museum

I had some fun at this site this morning. This museum's collection on domestic life in early Australia includes some beautiful crocheted items. It seems there is a lot more filet work than "in the round", but that just emphasizes the history and culture.
The link in the title takes you to a page about the place of needlework in everyday life. Click on the button on the upper left that says "show objects with images only" and then look at the list on the right. If there's a camera icon after the listing, there will be a photo of the item when you click on that link. I think my favorite would be the "filet doily with the kangaroo".

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Your Crochet Library

Since I ended the last entry with a note about purchasing a book for your crochet library, this is a good time to start a discussion about your personal crochet library.
If you didn't own any crochet books at all, not even a general needlework book that contains crochet along with knitting, tatting, embroidery, etc, what would be the first book that you just HAD TO HAVE for the beginning of your personal crochet library?
If you have a few basic books on techniques, what book or books might you select next? Books on related techniques, or project books?
If you have basic resource books on techniques, and some nice project books, what books might you select to fill in empty spots in what you have?
Let's say you have the basic technique books that you want, and a great assortment of project books; what special area of crochet might you want to select as a special interest and purchase more books on that technique or focusing on projects?
What book(s) did you see that you just HAD to HAVE? Perhaps you just loved the pictures, or it had one project that you just had to make.
What book did you buy, only to find out that it had nothing new in techniques or projects? What book(s) might you weed out of your library? Even public libraries regularly weed out books, to keep the collection current, don't feel bad about pulling a book if it doesn't work for you.
Now, we've got a lot to think about! I'd love to hear about your personal crochet library.

Essential Crochet Treasures

Tuesday we had our Crochet in Public get-together in Borders. There is now a knitting group that meets there one Tuesday a month, and we've joined tables to create a big fiber arts fest in the middle of the Cafe. This week I think we had six tables. The knitters have a few great storytellers & we spend a lot of time laughing.

Since I've just spent a long day (had to get up early!) teaching math, I try to avoid crocheting that avoids too much focus & thinking. Sometimes I take a motif if it's not too complicated, meaning not written in vintage language. But frequently I use this time to visit with friends, talk new yarns and fibers, look at new magazines & books. This week I got seriously into (is that English?) the book I bought at Stitches East Market. It is titled: Essential Crochet Treasures: Crocheter's Historical Pattern Series Volume Four. This is an unabridged re-issue of an 1891 book by Butterick Publishing Company, originally titled The Art of Crochet.

Again, I'm amazed at how the "classic" crochet and the Tunisian stitches are interspersed in the stitches "how to". Tunisian is definitely not treated as a separate needlearts technique, it's not even treated as a sub-group of crochet. In this book, the stitches are called tricot instead of tunisian, but first there are basic stitches, such as chain, slip, double foundation, single, double, half-double, picot, and trebles; then there is the Tunisian Simple Stitch (TSS), also known as the Basic Afghan Stitch (BAS), here it is called Tricot Stitch. Then Tricot Stitch, in imitation of knitting; then the Knot stitch and Double Faced stitch, then a Basket Tricot. After this there are quite a few stitches all named Fancy Tricot! And some labeled "Stitch for an Afghan". Some I haven't heard before, but sound enticing, such as Mussel tricot, Knob tricot, and Striped stitch. (Notice that this Tricot or Tunisian stitch is not even labeled as tricot.) I would like to make swatches of all of these, number them according to the numbers in this book, then try to match the swatches to photos in several of the Tunisian books that I have.

While delving into this book on Tuesday, I had a pad of lined sticky notes (similar to a mini legal pad!) I used one paper to make a list of stitches that I wanted to swatch, one to make a list of doilies that I want to make, and another to make a list of edgings. Sometimes I worry that I spend a lot of time swatching, practicing new stitches and stitch patterns, and not enough time making projects. But then, the practice, and learning new things will pay off when I finally make a project, because it will be beyond the basics. Besides, I love researching and learning new things.

I've linked the title of this entry to this book on the Amazon site. Click on the title to read more, or to purchase the book for your crochet library.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Stitches East Yarn Market

Today I went with a friend to the Stitches East Yarn Market, at the Baltimore Convention Center. We had a great day!
For the $8 entrance fee, we spent 5 hours walking through a room of stitchers/fiber fanatics. We saw thousands of different yarns (Oh the Colors!), hundreds of patterns, books, and buttons, and hundreds of beautiful garments - some on display in booths and others being worn. We talked to many ladies about the beautiful items they had knitted or crocheted. We stroked and petted many luscious yarns, the silk with Swarvowski crystals was soft! I really liked the corn, soy and bamboo, too. The only fiber I bought was a super thin ribbon yarn that I'm thinking of making into a skinny scarf in Tunisian. I bought a book entitled Essential Crochet Treasures: Crocheter's Historical Pattern Series Volume Four. This is an unabridged re-issue of an 1891 book by Butterick Publishing Company, titled The Art of Crochet. There are some pretty edgings, and I can't wait to explore some of the Tunisian (here called Tricot). I also bought The Crocheter's Handy Guide to Yarn Requirements, that's going to be helpful.
We had lunch at the Market, and dinner at Subway on the way home, and had a great time chatting on the drive and throught the Market. Great Fun!
If you get a change to go to Stitches, don't hesitate, grab a friend and go!

Monday, October 08, 2007

While at Michaels yesterday for the class I was teaching, I found they had yarn on sale. "Danger! Danger! Will Robinson!" They had Bernat Satin Sport for 2 skeins for $5. I picked up 4 skeins for some newborn hats, and 2 skeins of red for a scarf for the Red Scarf Project. Must get that one made up and get them in the mail this week. The newborn hats are from a pattern that I got for the Michaels Yarn Event in November.
The event coordinator is going to be at another store that day, and the knit and crochet instructor and I (the Tunisian instructor) are going to be in charge of the event. We started thinking about what we've going to do, what can be done ahead of time, and what we can demonstrate during the event. So last night I made up one of the little hats with a blue Bernat Satin Sport. I think the pattern is a little long for how wide it is, will think about dropping a few rows and discuss it with the other instructor. I then started on another hat with a variegated, it's got pink, tan, pale sage; very pretty. This skein is so soft!! It's softer than the blue (hmmm). I'd like to find a solid color that's as soft as this variegated, there would definitely be a short sleeved summer top from this luscious stuff!

Tunisian Sampler Baby Afghan

I just wrote a nice post for the Tunisian Crochet group. I thought it might save time (and get something up in a timely fashion) if I just copied the entire post here. I also spent more than a little time reviewing books on Tunisian Crochet for the group. Today must be spent on lesson plans and grading papers. Ignore those hooks and yarns that are speaking to me.

I've finished the Tunisian Sampler baby afghan that I started so long ago. I assembled it in order of things I'd like to teach in my classes. Right now I teach a beginning class in Tunisian, with the chain,Simple Stitch, and bind off; along with tips of selecting hooks, conquering the curl, how to make nice looking edges, etc. I also teach an advanced beginner where I teach the Tunisian Knit and Tunisian Purl (Kim & ARNie's reverse, I usually call it a front purl or a "purled simple"). I am hoping to get some students that stay for more than the two classes. I'd like to do more of the stitch combinations, changing colors and shells & lacy stitches.

I had a beginner class yesterday, and took the afghan in to show. I laid it on the table where I was teaching. There was a "pumpkin event" in the classroom, so I had a table in the aisle in the yarn department. I only had one student, who was quite happy with the arrangement. We had a lot of fun showing off our work to shoppers in the yarn dept and she picked up the stitches and technique quite quickly. Many people looked at the afghan and said "I want to learn to knit" !!
The event coordinator was "quite taken" with the afghan sampler. She even suggested taking it to the framing department and having it framed so that people wouldn't be fingering it.
I hope this generates more interest in my classes.

I'm now working on a sampler afghan in worsted weight, with the large hooks it still makes a nice, drapey fabric.

Now I have a question. I have several blocks worked in a "double plain" and can't remember where I found the instructions on this. I can't find it in ARNie's Encyclopedia or in the 101 Easy Tunisian Stitches, so I'm thinking that it's in the 52 Tunisian Stitches (my copy has been misplaced and I'm searching for a replacement). Anyone know exactly where I found this stitch?
If you have the instructions, make up a swatch or a block in this pattern, and then check out the back. The back looks nothing like the front, and doesn't have that characteristic Tunisian "roll" on the back. It looks a lot like a crocheted shell or blocks of hdc. Try making a block with alternating rows of two colors and then check out the back! I love this, I'm planning to put a plain color block, and a two color block on the next afghan with the reverse of the fabric on the front side! My student suggested that it would make a lovely sweater. Ah, I've got a design idea. Wish I had time to work up all the ideas I've been getting.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Project Progress

I have just one more block to finish on the Tunisian sampler baby afghan. I think I spend most of yesterday trying to find the colors that I wanted, and swatching to get a hook & the number of stitches that would make the block the size that I needed it to be. When I finish this I can assemble the last 5 blocks and join them to the 20 that are already assembled. Then a simple border and it will be ready to take in to Michaels for a display. I have a class tomorrow afternoon, I'd like to have it ready then.
The doily has been set aside until this afghan is finished, then I have about 2 rounds left. It's going to need some major blocking, but I really love these pineapples.

Lost crochet books

We know that single socks disappear into another dimension during the laundry process, but where do those crochet books go? Has anyone done a scientific study on this phenomenon? I used to think that I was just disorganized, I didn't put the book away where it belonged. However, with that theory, sometime during the sorting through the books for inspiration, reorganizing the bookshelves, etc the missing book should turn up, and (possibly) a different one go missing.
I know that I loaned out my 10-20-30 Minutes to Learn to Crochet, but I've lost two other books. 52 Tunisian Crochet Stitches combine to create an Heirloom Afghan, and 63 Easy-To-Crochet Pattern Stitches Combine to Make an Heirloom Afghan. Hmmmm, is it significant that both titles contain a number? Or both titles contain the phrase "combine to Make an Heirloom Afghan"? Somehow, I think not. That does give me an idea of where they should be in the book "stacks". I have large books on the bookshelf, smaller booklets and magazines are in magazine holders. I have one for Crochet Fantasy and Crochet!, one for Magic Crochet, one for sweaters, one for afghans, one for Tunisian, and one for projects that I want to make soon. The Tunisian booklet could be in one of several of those places...
Well, I've been searching for so long, that I've decided that I have to replace both of these. Last week I was rummaging through Ollie's (how else can you word the Ollie's experience?) and found dozens of copies of the 63 stitches booklet, in Spanish. I figured that I knew the basics of the language, and I was familiar with the booklet already, and...my daughter is very good at translating. The book was 50 cents, so I bought it. Thankfully, I've also found the book on eBay and won the bid. The book is one it's way to me for $4.50 including shipping and handling. Now, that Tunisian book.... Wish me luck on my eBay searches!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Project Progress

I've been away for a few days, visiting family. I'll take just a few minutes to note progress on a few things, then hit the sack. I have a lot of things to finish up in the next few days.

Satuday was Class Preview Day at Michaels, we had 3 hours of sitting in the yarn department displaying some of the projects for our classes, and demonstrating some basic techniques. I took along squares of various Tunisian stitches done in pastels. I need to join them & add a border to create a sampler baby afghan, this will be the new display for my classes. That's my focus for tomorrow & Friday. I have beginner classes scheduled for Friday & Sunday.

Would like to do a few more rows on the "ghan" I'm doing for the Shawl Ministry. That's Monday evening. Then maybe finish one more scarf to give to a charity, I'd need to give it to a friend on Tuesday evening.

The pineapple doily is coming along nicely. I have 3 more rounds to do. I love the way the pineapples are done, very different from the usual. More on this when I post the finished picture.

Then I still have swatches, notes & ideas for a sweater with the Bernat Natural Blends Soy. I'd like to more this higher on my "to do" list.