Saturday, 29 January 2011

Feeling loopy

Today I started writing the basic crochet stitch instructions - there's a total of seven stitches for now, but I've just returned from Hobbycraft (I was very good and just browsed longingly through the very expensive wool section!), and there I spotted a book with 100 crochet stitches!  One hundred!  I couldn't imagine there could be that many - I think after describing all of those, I'd be positively loopy!

Anyway, the stitches I have are the main basic ones, so will serve very nicely for reference purposes...for now!

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Crochet Traditional Granny Square

This is THE best video tutorial I've been able to find on crocheting a traditional granny square.    I'll be using this method for my next project...once I've finished this seemingly endless baby blanket, of course!

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Crocheted Party Bags

When I'm not grappling with a crochet hook, I earn a living selling children's party bags.  I've been a work-at-home mum for almost six years now, and I've seen many other mums like me turn their hobbies into businesses - be they card makers, candle or soap makers, jewellery makers or very nifty with a sewing machine.

Inspired by these clever women, I suddenly wondered if my hobby could become part of my business....and so I invented the crocheted party bag!  Quite simply, it consists of 2 granny squares joined together, with a thick crocheted chain handle.

The end result looks fabulous (I think!) but would be a nightmare to produce - the amount of time it would take would mean a very unrealistic selling price, but the bag itself, I quite like!  What do you think?

Project Baby Blanket

During a New Year's Day cuppa with our neighbour, I somehow found myself agreeing to make a baby blanket for his new grandson.

As this is my first "commission", I've found it quite difficult to decide on a colour scheme, chopping and changing as I go.  I think, however, that I've finally found the right combination.  The background colour will be my favourite - red - and the granny squares will be a random mix of different, bright colours.  Now all I have to do is get it finished, and hope they like it!

Thursday, 20 January 2011

An Afghan Blanket

I'm really pleased with this Afghan blanket.  It's the first big project I've done, although following my trend, it's not quite finished.  I realised when attaching the last few squares that I'd messed up on one of them, and until I get more yarn, it's going to have to stay unfinished.  That's not to say it's not been used!  It's already taken up residence on our sofa, and my son Adam has suggested I make it twice the size so it can fit more of us underneath it....

If you want to see how it's done properly, it's another of Mikey's from the Crochet Crowd, and you can see the tutorials here.

A crocheted scarf

Just before Christmas, Michael at The Crochet Crowd posted a pattern for a one-hour scarf made from reclaimed wool as his "pattern of the day".

The original pattern can be found here, at Laughing Purple Goldfish Designs.

Well, I had to have a go myself - I mean, one hour?  Was it really possible?  The answer to that was a decided "no", but then I'm not the fastest speed-crocheter, and I did make it longer than the original pattern, but it was definitely done within 2 hours.  I made two for myself, and then splashed out on some extra special yarn to make 2 Christmas presents for friends.  Here's one of them below:

I have to say, the pattern was very easy, so well worth giving it a go.

My first granny squares!

About this time last year a friend sent me a link to a blog called Attic 24.  It's well worth a visit if you like crochet or crafts of any kind.  Even if you don't, have a look anyway because it's a beautifully written blog full of stunning photography and engaging posts.

I was immediately drawn to a step-by-step tutorial of  how to crochet lovely summer garden flower squares.  The instructions were so well written that even a novice like me could follow them, and after a few weeks I ended up with my very first blanket (pictured).

Well, I say "ended up"'s not actually finished yet. I have to finish the edging at some point.  I feel this may be a recurring theme to most of my crochet as both my blankets require "some finishing"... 

Why crochet?

When I took up crochet, many people asked me "why?". Others told me I needed to get out more.  Clearly they couldn't see the attraction of taking up a craft that they associated with "old ladies".  So for them, here are the reasons why I love to crochet.

Crochet is extremely therapeutic. It is the perfect "fiddler's" hobby that can be done anywhere, and is ideal for people like me who like to do something else while they're slumped in front of the TV.

Unlike reading, you can crochet in company without appearing to be rude.  You can listen to a conversation, contribute and crochet all at the same time, so your hobby doesn't exclude others. 

It's cheap!  You don't need an expensive sewing machine or knitting machine.  All you need is a set of hooks (mine costs £10.00 online) and some wool, access to some patterns or online tutorials, and there you go.

At the end of your project you are left with something.  It may not always be a thing of great beauty to everyone, but it is something you made yourself, and that in itself can give a huge sense of achievement.

It keeps your brain active.  While I'm crocheting I'm always thinking about which colours work together, how to do new stitches, what the finished project will look like, and what my next project will be!  I also sometimes get quite lost in the zone and this gives my brain time to think about day-to-day things that need to be thought about, and which  I don't get time to think about when I'm busy rushing about all day.

You can create something special for somebody else.  Already in my short crochet life, I've made scarves for two friends, two blankets, and I'm half way through making a baby blanket for my neighbour's grandson.  

If these reasons aren't enough, then you only have to look around the internet.  The rise of such marketplaces where you can sell your creations, such as Etsy and Folksy prove to me that home crafts and creativity are still very much alive and as vital today as they were several decades ago.

Finally, it's NOT boring!  If you don't believe me, why not give it a go?

How all this started

When I was a child my mum taught me how to knit, but like many, I never progressed beyond the knit one purl one wobbly multicoloured scarf stage, then dismissed the whole crafty thing for years.

Now a mother of 3 myself, it was during the big freeze in January 2010 that my head was turned by a new weekly magazine, teaching step-by-step crochet.  I bought the first issue, which provided me with a hook, a ball of yarn and basic instructions.  Having mastered the most tricky stage of holding the wool and hook in the correct manner, I spent many an hour, snowed in, sitting in the kitchen, crocheting rows and rows, unpicking them and trying out different stitches.  That was enough to get me hooked!

Not feeling the need to shell out any more money on magazines, I turned to the greatest invention in recent years - You Tube.  It didn't take me long to find this easy to follow tutorial on how to get started.

Mikey is very easy to follow and talks you through every step of the way - I'd recommend his video tutorials to anybody wanting to learn crochet, and also experienced crocheters looking for ideas.  He has literally 100's of crochet tutorials on You Tube, and on his own website, The Crochet Crowd, and you can also join the Crochet Crowd Community on Facebook.