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...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

New Tunisian hooks

I read a post in one of the many Ravelry groups that I'm in asking for testers of a bamboo Tunisian hook. I jumped at the chance, sent and email, and the company sent me a lovely, hook to try out and review.
ChiaoGoo sent me a 9" long, size N hook. My first thought was how super light the hook is, so easy in the hand. The hook is also super smooth. I tried a wide variety of Tunisian stitches and was very happy with the way the yarn slides on the hook. Then I took the hook along to Crochet In Public at Borders, and passed the hook around for everyone to try. Some people did regular crochet (it was short enough for easy handling) while others did some Tunisian stitches. The ladies passed the hook and yarn and added on to the swatch. At the end of the night, I was surprised at how the swatch was shaped, it suggested the bodice of a baby sweater!

Now, I need to head out to my two favorite LYSs and see if they carry any knitting needles or crochet hooks from this company, and if they'd consider carrying any Tunisian hooks.

New yarns to play with

I'm looking at new yarns today, so you know a trip to the LYS and AC Moore is planned. I have been using Caron Simply Soft for some chemo hats and baby hats, and love the softness. It does tend to be a little splitty for me, maybe switch to a wooden hook, maybe even try one with an in-line head and see if that helps.
Anyway, I'm looking at the
"Caron website" at all the variations. I love the colors in the Simply Soft Brites, though there aren't enough of them! And the Simply Soft Tweeds, an afghan would be great in that! But right now I'm fascinated by the new
This yarn is a blend of regular Simply Soft acrylic and recycled plastic bottles. What a concept! I love that I can help recycling by crocheting more projects! And the colors! Look at all the shades of greens, and all the shades of blues. (Which makes me ask, Why isn't there a nice heather or denim blue in the Tweeds?) So I want to find a skein or two of this fiber and start swatching. Does it crochet as nicely as SS, does it split less for some reason (hope, hope), does it squeak on aluminum or plastic hooks, does it pill, does it wash & dry nicely, (and here are all the question marks for al those questions, it would have been unwieldy to still them in where they belong! ?????)
Must finish this post and go shopping!

Thursday's CGOA meeting

At Thursday's meeting, Aileene showed us how to do hairpin lace. I think this might be the only crochet work that I haven't tried before. She did a great job of putting together a little learning kit for each of us. She had a hairpin lace loom or fork for everyone to keep, then a ziplock bag with a ball of yarn which we used when she taught us how to make the strips. Then she had 4 short strips made up for everyone, and she showed us how to join the strips, and then edge them.

Isn't that gorgeous! The yarn is Caron Simply Soft, in an offwhite/cream color, and an antique rose or light wine color. It's fabulously soft, can you imagine a full sized afghan in this! Aileene also brought two baby blankets that she was working on, to show us different widths of strips, and different yarns.

I have an idea to incorporate some hairpin lace into some classic crochet and some Tunisian.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Five-by-Five Tunisian - Knit and Simple Stitch

Look at this great basketweave pattern! Created by blocks of Tunisian simple stitch (TSS) and Tunisian Knit stitch (TKS), this would be an easy, fast way to create a beautiful basketweave baby blanket. Guess what's just been added to my long "WIM" list? I may just have to try out a hat to see the pattern in a really quick project.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hats & Scarves

This week I finished a new hat that will be donated to the Shawl Ministry for go to Hershey Med. Center. It's called Divine hat, and done in Caron Simply Soft Lt. Country Blue. It's super soft, and I like the pattern. I may do a few more of these.
Then tonight I finished my latest Tunisian project. I started with "Baby Jacquards Ruffle hat". This pattern is a knit hat from Bernat, look at how pretty the yarn makes stripes, flowers, and "fair isle patterning". Now look at what happens to the yarn when you crochet a very similar hat: "Ruffle Hat in Crochet". It acts more like a variegated yarn, it's pretty, but not the same. In August, I swatched the Jr. Jacquards yarn from Bernat, in knit, crochet and Tunisian. You can read a little here "blog entry on Jr. Jacquards".
Anyway, I started with the pattern for the knit ruffled hat, and used Jr. Jacquards in Big Deal Teal, and an F Tunisian hook. Now I only had a short hook, about 8 inches; the pattern started with cast on 9, then increase 8 on every other row, so I thought I was pretty good with the little hook. The hat worked fine, but when I got to the brim, I had to increase exponentially, and had 176 stitches on the little hook! The yarn worked up so pretty, with stripes of teal, and lime green, then white areas with pink "flowers". I don't know how soon I'll get pictures up. When I've got a flat object, I can scan it and upload it quick & easy. But if the item is bigger, I need to take a photo with the digital camera, and my scanner/printer is still having software issues. I'm super happy with the results of this pattern conversion, and will probably make other hats with this pattern, possibly switching to the Baby Jacquards yarn. This hat will probably go to a friend as a baby gift to her niece, other baby hats will be going to "Knit One, Save One".

Our group is still busy crocheting scarves in the Red Heart Delft Blue and White, for the Special Olympics. Read all about the project here: "Special Olympics Scarf Project".

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Men's Elephant Mesh Shirt?

For today's viewing pleasure, ...
Wait, I really need to set this up. I'm researching a question on AllExperts.com about Tunisian crochet. The questioner wants to know about making socks using Tunisian crochet. Now, don't think that I haven't already thought about this. Sock knitting is all the rage, I've made one and 3/4 socks in crochet. It was fun, different, and I might finish this sock and make some more, but I'm not sure that I'm that interested in crocheted socks. Maybe I need to find some softer fingering/sock weight yarn. So I did think about trying socks in Tunisian, closer to the look of knitting, maybe softer, definitely thicker so I'm thinking warmer. But, socks need to made in the round. Easy in knitting, easy in crochet, Tunisian...it can be done, but it's a little bit unwieldy. Maybe it would work with small circular Tunisian hooks, a small hook on each end of a short cable.

Anyway, I'm searching online to see if anyone else has written about Tunisian socks, or offers advice, or hopefully a pattern. I come across this interesting entry:
"Apr 11, 2008 ... I have been reading my vintage sock books and many introduce new ... This whimsical Tunisian crochet model from 1975 features elephants. ...
vintage-knitting.turn-style.com/2008/04/ - 35k " Vintage socks, Tunisian, 1975 (a period of much Tunisian work), and elephants,...this could be fun. So I open this page and....well, what can I say? Please take a deep breath before clicking on the link. "What not to crochet"? What was the designer thinking? How did they talk that man into putting on that garment?

When you're breathing again. Or maybe when you finish laughing, we can talk about techniques. Although listed as Tunisian crochet, this is obviously Filet crochet!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Field Trip

There were 12 of us today for breakfast, if we count the little one. And I think we need to count the little one, she had a sausage in each hand, and was pleasant for most of the meal and shopping.
After a leisurely, chattering breakfast at Bob Evans, we headed to the nearby LYS, "Yarn-Love" . We all had a great time looking at the beautiful fibers, and petting yarn. I, of course, had people reading labels for me before I did any petting.
I bought a cotton-acrylic blend from Kraemer Yarns, right here in PA. It's called Little Lehigh Pebbles. I'm envisioning a light, casual top. The color is called "It's a Boy", it's light blue with almost microscopic bits of green and fuschia. Will have to sort through patterns for just the right thing. I also bought one skein of Queensland Bebe Cotsoy, a cotton/soy blend to make at least one little cap for the Knit One/Save One. I want to make the "Tulip preemie" hat from Dee's blog.

New threadwork finished

Tonight I finished a small filet piece, I don't think that I've even mentioned starting it. I was looking for small, easy pieces to show the Guild chapter and came across this snowflake block. Working it up gave me a good review of filet technique so that I'm a little more prepared to share.
I was thinking about blocking this, and the two doilies that have been on the ironing board for several weeks (isn't that pitiful?). but as my #2 daughter mentions every time she walks by me here at the computer "Dude, you have to be up early in the morning". So I think I better head to bed, and plan on blocking,....
Tomorrow morning a group of ladies from the Crochet in Public at Borders, and the CGOA Chapter are meeting for breakfast, and then heading to a local yarn shop. Sunday I've got a photo shoot I've scheduled for another member, I'm encouraging her to submit some wonderful designs for publication. Then sometime between now and Tuesday morning I have the weekly - grading papers, lesson plans, homework, etc. So I'll block in the middle of the night sometime!

2009 Conference

The 2009 CGOA Conference has been officially announced. It will be held Aug. 5-9, in Buffalo, NY. Definitely closer than Manchester, NH. Okay, I'm starting to make plans, and set aside some $. I wonder what fun classes I might take this year....oh, I hope Dee teaches some of the same ones she did this year for the first time. I definitely want to take the Crochet your Knit class. Maybe there will be some Tunisian classes that I haven't taken yet, or maybe I should try something involving beading or jewelry making.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Cozy Heart Afghan

I picked up the new Crochet Today magazine at Borders tonight, and right inside the front cover (page 1), was an ad for Coats & Clark Light and Lofty yarn. It featured a beautiful afghan in blue, with bands of light green with hearts; and the pattern is Tunisian. The pattern is free on the Coats & Clark website. Use the above link. I wish I could jump right into this pattern, but have other things on the hook to finish first. I printed it, and it's definitely on my "to do" list!