It turns out that if you lock the cat in the computer room with you and let mom sleep in for a couple of hours you can crochet up a Half-Granny Shawl.
I love this pattern simply because it is so quick to crochet up and the results are amazing. This is with the brights wool I spun up for the Paradise Fibers spinlympics & entered into the first week of the 51 yarn challenge by Jacey Boggs Faulkner. This is my third shawl that I have crocheted with my handspun yarn, though it is the first using just one skein.
I’m really loving my yarn and handspinning, it is a joy when things get a little too busy in my ‘real life’.
I decided that my second big project of the year, or third depending on whether I am counting Spinzilla or not, was to make a half-granny shawl for my mother from my Spinzilla yarn. I remain completely amazed at how well my chaotic riot of colors works together. This was started while I was waiting for my mother to have a minor surgery, it was supposed to be half and hour and wound up taking two hours, thank goodness I had my crochet with me. Fortunately mom came out with flying colors. I enjoy the ruffled edge (alright it wasn’t supposed to ruffle but it’s cute anyway) seems to tie the entire piece together.
Life is a series of funny adventures. A neighbor offered to teach my mother to ‘Crochenit’ or ‘Cro-Hook’, my mother reassured my neighbor that she learned the technique as an ‘Afghan Stitch’ but thanked her kindly anyway. Mom then looked at me and said, “They are the same thing right?” knowing full well this would be a challenge I could not resist as a librarian.
As it turns out, mom was wrong. What she learned as the Afghan stitch is also known as Scottish crochet, Tunisian crochet, etc. It is created using a crochet hook with a long shaft and an end that looks like a knitting needle. The results can be found above, as you can see from the curled edge on the bottom (this tends to curl a bit) the ‘wrong side’ looks like the purl side of knitting while the ‘right side’ has beautiful bars that have been used in the past to embroider onto solid colored pieces.
The fun part is that the other form, Cro-Hook or Crochenit is essentially the tunisian crochet with a color change every row using a double ended hook.
As you can see, I have another new obsession all thanks to my neighbor. I have a book on Crochenit stitches waiting for me at home and 101 tunisian stitches will be ordered later today using my Amazon Rebate!
Look at each one of those weird structures. Each stitch looks like this little weird star like knot of 4 strands of yarn that shouldn’t cooperate, should certainly not stay together, and yet they not only stay together but you can build on them and eventually create clothing (if you want) or a toy. Depending on your yarn and hook they can be huge and loose, small and tight, etc. One of my colleagues at the Community College at which I work stated that a stuffed bunny my mother crocheted (named bunbun) looked water-tight. (He is former Navy).
That’s my philosophy for the day. A hook and some fiber and you can conquer the world, right after I finish this next row.
This is a picture of a swatch I crocheted using my handspun yarn. I spun a few mini-batts that I received in my PhatFiber box, the one on top is Spice Trader and I know that the bottom bit in red was spun with some white bamboo silk to create the third ply (I spun the spice trader with some silk too but you can barely see the white). At this time all of the yarns that I am spinning are 3 ply for the added support and structure, also I am not used to a flat 2 ply yarn and don’t have the confidence to try and create one yet. I love how this is turning out, eventually (one day) I hope to turn this project into a purse. Right now it is a great resting place for my tahkli spun 3plys.
Chainmaille has always been something that I have been interested in. The thought of using metal rings to create something that can deflect swords or in modern times sharks has held a lot of appeal. The reality of chainmaille, however, is neither romantic or simple. I understand the concepts of creating a 4-1 pattern, what I am unable to do is to get those little scales to hold still while I try and get the next ring onto the first two without messing up the order that they are supposed to be in, not to mention getting those darned cut ends to line up without over-twisting and snapping the scale. (Can you tell I became very frustrated with this craft?).
So a few years ago I gave up on it altogether. I still read about a few patterns, and considered how I might use closed rings, sort of like washers, to add a new element to crafting, but I pretty much gave up on it.
Imagine my delight when I saw a pattern to crochet scale-maille onto a glove! I had a blast thinking about the applications, then I found out that they are now making plastic scales so I do not have to worry about abrasive edges, weight, or expense (so much, they aren’t cheap but they aren’t cost prohibitive either.) My imagination went wild! I only got as far as these wristlets but I am thinking about fingerless gloves, sleeves, they might make neat anklets for the summer, a vest, a sweater, a cowl, a tail, the possibilities are endless.
So this is my exciting news, for those of you that want to think about incorporating them into your own work I found that you want to put 1 scale every other row, and every other stitch. Any closer and they will not lay right.
My Learning to Crochet class went very well. Okay, so out of the 8 people that signed up only 2 showed up. Since for March in Western New York it was a positively gorgeous day at around 60 degrees I cannot blame them for wanting to spend time outside rather than in a Crochet Class.
One of those that did show up already knew how to crochet but she was wonderful company and seemed to enjoy the washcloth we were making. The second student was completely new to the craft and still managed to create 1/2 of a washcloth by time the 2 hours were up.
Both were wonderful conversationalists and everyone involved had a grand time. One of the ladies is coming back for the knitting class and I am extremely hopeful for a better turnout then.
It was suggested that we hold more classes in September when people are beginning to think about Christmas Presents, and that might be a good idea.
I am also hopeful that I can hold a class on Granny Squares. It amazes me that people consider these simple, repetitive objects to be something complicated. Then again it was one of the first things I learned to make. The knitted washcloth the students will be learning on the 30th is found below.