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...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Swatching, swatching, swatching

For the last week or so, I've spent most of my crocheting time searching for the perfect fiber for the next contract piece. I've been searching online, in all the local stores, swatching; then more researching online, more shopping, more swatching. I've finally found the one I want and tonight I got a good start on the piece. It's working up very pretty & soft, and I'm using one of my favorite wooden afghan hooks! So I'm enjoying the experience. (Note - I will have to make several baby afghans, hat & bootie sets, doilies, etc with the fibers I bought that didn't work for this piece.)
Last night I thought about buying another hook from the same makers as this one that I love, and couldn't think of the company name. I thought at first that I'd have to search through papers brought home from the Chain Link conference, as I bought it at the market last July. Then I realized that I probably wrote a nice blog entry about it when I got home from the conference, and all I have to do is go back to the July entries and I'll have the information I need.
I was also swatching some yarns and different stitches trying to work up several designs for baby afghans. I found several that were good, but I don't think I came up with anything spectacular. You know, the kind of pattern that everyone wants to buy. So, when this contract piece is finished, and I've finished up a few of the other items "on the hook" I'll get back to this yarn.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

A Choice Collection of Useful Designs for the Crochet and Knitting Needle

I think I've discovered some fascinating crochet history. I'm downloading and printing a book that's in the public domain. It's titled Home Work: A Choice Collection of Useful Designs for the Crochet and Knitting Needle, also Valuable Recipes for the Toilet; Collected, Corrected and Arranged by A.M. (By the Way - I just love the way titles on old books gave so much information). This book was published in Toronto, Canada in 1891.
What I find most interesting is that the stitch definitions are definitely in "American" terminology, not "British or European", with the exception of the use of half treble instead of a half double. I'll have to remember this, half double or half treble is what I usually look for in a vintage pattern to determine if it is written in American or British terminology. I would have though that this early in publication, in Canada, that the terminology would be European.
I find it interesting, too, that the Tricot stitches (that's the French label for afghan stitch or Tunisian crochet) are interspersed with the "regular" crochet. In more modern books, Tunisian is treated like a separate part of crochet, similar to the way Broomstick lace and Hairpin lace are treated. After the basic stitches (chain, slip stitch, single, double, treble, half treble, picot) they have instructions for two shells, then the Gobelin, Double Gobelin, Mussel Stitch, Braided stitch, and striped stitch, which are all done on an afghan or Tunisian hook. Then they go to a Fagot stitch and crossed trebles, before instructions on the basic Afghan or Tricot Stitch. It seems to me that the Basic Afghan Stitch (BAS) also known as the Tunisian Simple Stitch would be introduced before the fancier Tunsian stitches. After the Afghan or Tricot stitch, there's a Muscovite Tricot, then back to some star stitches and the Puff stitch (not Tunisian) before going to a Treble Tricot. Tunisian crochet must have been part of the popular crochet of the time period.
I'm eager to try some of these Tunisian stitches, some are familiar due to ARNie Grabowski's Encyclopedia of Tunisian Crochet (one of my favorite crochet books!), others are new to me.

Friday, May 18, 2007

ramblings about magazines

While researching fibers in about 4 stores recently, I took some time to browse through the knit and crochet magazines. I usually buy all the crochet magazines on the rack, I want them to continue to be published. I also like to buy an occaisional knitting magazine, I don't actually use any of the patterns, Yet! But I like to look at the projects and select design elements that I like. When I get ready to make the next sweater, I'll have a large amount of ideas in all areas. I also love to look at the yarn advertisements, they're usually so beautiful. Have you noticed that the crochet magazines tend to advertise the yarns available at the craft stores, while knit magazines tend to advertise from independent yarn shops? There are probably a lot of reasons for these advertising decisions, but I'm eager for the day that the crochet magazines contain beautiful yarn ads. For now, I have a list of online yarn sites to check out. First, a Peruvian cotton at "Cascade yarns", next a "silk with petite sequins" at "Tilli Tomas", then I'm going to check out "Mountain Colors" just because it sounds pretty, I think it might be wool and wool blends (show frowny face), then on to "Mannings". Mannings is on the list of field trips for the Guild Chapter. Maybe I should check out days/times while I'm on the site and start planning the trip.

I bought the latest isssue of Knitters Magazine, Spring 2007. I was first attracted to the words on the front cover "Discover Filet", now I know that Filet is a word associated with crochet, not knit, so I had to check it out. The author of this article is so fascinated with the beautiful of Filet crochet, that he had to learn how to mimic the technique in knitting! There is a pattern for a camisole in knit filet, and a page with thumbnail shots of future projects.

I'm going "Windows shopping" now!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Lastest baptism shawl

In all the excitement, I forgot that I completed a third baptism blanket and dropped it off Thursday before heading out to the college. Here's a detail of the corner...

Mortarboards flipping, cameras flashing

I didn't get any crocheting done this weekend, we helped our younger daughter move out of her dorm room. She graduated on Saturday! Can the proud mom add "summa Cum Laude". We took her out to dinner Friday evening, and to lunch on the drive home Sat. Both daughters made breakfast for me this morning, then youngest drove to NY for a summer internship. The older daughter is home for another week, then goes to her next contract in Iowa. It was fun to have them both home for a few short hours.

We're very proud of both our young ladies!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Working down to smaller hooks and finer thread

In a comment on my last post Laura said...
"Hi Jane,
Such a lovely doily! I would love to try something like that but I seem to have a fear of the smaller hooks and finer thread...how can you tell where to insert the hook with all those openings?"

Laura, that's a great question,

Here's an easy way to "work down" on motifs. Pick a pattern that you like that has basic stitches that you already know, like single and double crochets. Use worsted weight cotton and a size G hook and make it into a nice hotpad. Now you know where you're going to put your hook, how to work in the round, join rounds, etc. Next try the same motif with a sport weight yarn and maybe a C or D hook. Then try some of the new fashion threads that are size 3 or 5, this will make a beautiful doily, you may be happy to stop with this much accomplished!
By this point I have the pattern down in my mind and in my fingers, going to smaller hooks and smaller threads is easy. Since you're working the same motif over, you know where to insert you hook, which stitch to work into - that what I always questioned when I started working doilies.
If you're interested, join the "Antique Threadwork" group. This is our 4th motif CAL, and I selected these first because they are easy to work. You can ask any questions you have, and there will be people who will gladly help you.

Here are the motifs that we've used in our CAL:
"1893Circle Motif Reworked" from About Crochet

"Lazy Leaves"

"Lucky Star"

"Pineapple Bedspread"
The Lazy Leaves, Lucky Star and Pineapple Bedspread patterns are all from "Celt's Vintage Crochet" .

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Creative Motif Adventures

There is an excellent article by Jennifer McClain on the Annie's Attic website today. It is about using different size threads and yarns and different size hooks to make the same motif into items with different uses. This is the type of discussion that I'm hoping for in the motif crochet-a-long with the Antique Threadwork group. When you read the article, be sure to hold your mouse over each picture, a label will pop up and tell you what size thread or yarn was used, and what size hook.

This is the pineapple motif that I wrote about last night. Isn't it a pretty motif?
On the last three or four rounds, I shortened the chains between the pineapples and the upright bars by one chain. I wish I had thought to do that earlier. I think that I might work this up again, shortening a few more of the chains, and using a colored thread and then frame the finished piece. I am really getting to love the idea of framed crochet as art.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Lastest for shawl ministry

I was already planning to take 2 white baby blankets to the church on Wednesday. Then I received an email that they were desperate for white blankets for baptisms on May 13th. It turns out that instead of the 4 that we already knew about, there were to be 3 more baptisms on that day. So, I let them know that I had 2 on the way, and then dropped them off on the way to work as planned.
Saturday, I went out and bought more white yarn and started another Tunisian baby blanket. It's very similar to 2 others that I designed, but was trying to see if I could "tweak" a few things before printing the pattern and sending it out to some pattern testers. I like the first version better than this change that was supposed to be a tweak. Ah well. I hope to get this on finished tomorrow or Wednesday and drop it off. Then on to a new contract piece.

Motif Crochet-a-Long

On Wednesday I posted the 4th of the motifs for our Crochet-a-Long on "Antique Threadwork". It's a pretty pineapple from "Celt's Vintage Crochet.
"Pinapple Bedspread"
I'm really enjoying leading this CAL. I love to look at doilies, and motifs for bedspreads and tablecloths. I love making the items, also. But ususally only once. I'd go crazy if I tried to make 300 or so all the same. Too boring. Give me a challenge, something new to try. So I decided to make as many motifs as I could, but only one of each. But what do I do with all those single motifs? For now, I make notes of patterns errors and corrections, changes I'd make if I was to use the motif and make it into a doily, or notes on how to join motifs as you work. This gives us some things to discuss in the group, gives us the opportunity to discuss differences in the writing and format of the old patterns versus the modern patterns, and, hopefully, gets a creative juices flowing in thinking about what other things we can make with these motifs.
I worked this pineapple motif in #10 thread with a #7 hook. It's 7" across, and would make a nice little doily if an additional round was added, maybe single crochets with some picots. I think it's a little too large for a summer top, but it might work in a beach coverup! Tonight I blocked it out on the ironing board and gave it a light coat of spray starch and a nice steam, now it's drying. And I'm on to other things.