Saturday, 16 April 2011
Lazy crochet day
Today I woke up with absolutely no get up and go. I completed a handful of chores, but mostly I lazed around, a lot. I had a days leave booked, which I normally spend doing the same old household stuff that I do most days, so I didn't feel particularly guilty this afternoon about lazing in bed with my newest crochet project, a bag. I fell asleep after an hour, but progress is progress. That is indeed a pile of laundry you can see waiting patiently at the end of the bed for my attention. It's still waiting now.
The pattern is loosely based upon a pattern in Susie John's Crochet for Beginners, but I have changed the yarn, dimensions, added a buttoned flap so that it can be closed; and will also probably add a lining. I am no embroiderer, so the embellishment will be different too. So far I love it. It's worked in Tunisian simple stitch on a Tunisian hook (a 35cm long crochet hook with a stopper at the end); working back and forth without turning the work. On every other row, you end up with a whole hook full of stitches, which you then work off the needle, before picking them up again on the next row.
The only complaint I have about regular crochet is that the fabrics produced tends to veer towards lacy and open, or dense and heavy, seemingly with no happy medium. This technique seems to change all of that. It has often been described as 'like knitting, but with a hook', which I naturally resent as someone with knit related trauma issues - this is very much a crochet technique. I will however get down from my precariously high amigurumi horse to recommend this technique to knitters that struggle with the 'loopiness' of crochet - and obviously to crocheters who want to learn a new skill. The fabric is drapier than double crochet, but not in the least lacy or 'holey' - although their are hundreds of stitches to learn including some open work and mesh.
Last year I promised myself I would not buy any more craft materials until I had worked through my stash. My excuse is that the recipient of this bag wanted a purple bag; and I didn't have any purple. Still, it does mean I have found a new natural fibre yarn - King Cole Bamboo Cotton - for when I do need to restock. This comes in very economical 230m balls, excellent value for a bamboo based yarn. It is soft with a lovely sheen, though it is loosely plied and liable to split if you aren't paying attention. I also had to buy the needles - I bought a set from Purple Linda Crafts (no affiliation, this just happens to be one of the only shops on the web to concentrate primarily on crochet - hence it is one of the only places you can buy Tunisian hooks for a reasonable price - and in shiny brightly coloured metallics no less).
If you want to have a go, I used the instructions in Jan Eaton's Encyclopedia of Crochet Techniques, a well explained and illustrated reference book to have in your library. There is a good clear video on Youtube, but unfortunately a Google search seems to throw up a minefield of confusing or poorly illustrated written instructions. If you do want to have a go, a normal round crochet hook (a size larger than you would normally use for your yarn) with a ball of Blu-Tack stuck on the end will allow you to practice a short width (about 8-10 stitches) before you decide to splash any cash on hooks.
Two posts in two days, internet connection and brain holding up well. I should take siestas more often.