Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Adventures in Yarn

I learned to crochet when I was little - maybe eight or nine? - and my mother taught me to chain red, green, and white yarn to make "ribbon" for wrapping gifts one Christmas. A few years later, I was at a homeschool meeting and an older friend taught me how to single crochet a square. I went home and tried to do one on my own, and I ended up with a triangle (I didn't know you counted stitches). Eventually I figured out the basics by trail and error. Yet a few years later, Robin and I were signed up for free crochet lessons offered at the local WalMart where we learned to granny square and double crochet and generally become decently adept at the art.

Fast forward to 2008: I am stressed beyond all belief, working almost full time and carrying an eighteen credit courseload. I need something to do that lets me turn my brain off; my little sister was learning to crochet in a class offered through out church's homeschool co-op; I pick up some yarn to demonstrate a stitch and - viola! - I am literally "hooked." I buy some yarn, reteach myself the granny square, and I create a giant orange loose-weave throw for my bed. This leads to a camouflage throw for Allen's bed. I am running out of yarn so my next project is smaller - an orange and cappuchino-colored scarf which I wear happily.

I pick up a simple doily pattern and stitch one up in pink wool. When we set the teapot on it for the first time, the heat and moisture knits the fibers together, and I have discovered felting. I buy more yarn, this time in wool, and proceed to felt everything. A friend receives a crocheted camera case with a crocheted-and-felted flower decoration.

For Christmas of 2009, I receive a
beautiful set of handmade bamboo hooks. I spend one particularly stressed-out afternoon figuring out how to do a modified granny square wool cap.

I attempt to make a baby cap for soon-to-arrive Khy and fail miserably, even though I have the correct gauge, hook size, and yarn weight. My first attempt is huge, my second too small. I give up and unravel my yarn and use it to edge a fleece blanket.

I teach myself to read patterns using
this pattern from Crochet Magazine. The first time I misread the pattern and I end up with a long skinny scarf instead; the second time around, it turns out beautifully. The third time around I eliminate the weird (read: UGLY!) fringe. Then I modify the pattern so the rows are worked side-to-side instead of end-to-end.

Then I run out of yarn... :)

I was doing some wishful shopping yesterday and I discovered this website:
BrainsBarn Handcrafted Wooden Crochet Hooks.

I was looking for another set of wooden hooks in a hard wood (oak, maybe) and instead wandered onto this page.

These are not handcrafted in the same sense of the word, folks! These are museum-worthy works of art. They run upwards of $50 (and are worth every penny!) so they're not my idea of an everyday use needle, but wouldn't one of these beauties make a great addition to a set of hooks that could then be passed down from mother to daughter and possibly even longer?

Speaking of heirloom-worthy crochet accessories... won't you need a beautiful case to keep your hooks in? :) What about this beautiful handmade one from Etsy ($18)? I love the sturdiness and simplicity of this design... my only concern is that it only holds ten hooks!

You gotta love the roominess and fun factor of this design ($20)!

And considering my owl-obsessed-ness of late, you really can't blame me for falling in love with this sweet piece ($22), now can you?!

I am excited about this year partly because one of my resolutions is to crochet one new pattern a month. I have already completed this month's pattern (more to come of that later - just one word now: giveaway!) and I had a blast (and learned a lot). I can't wait to share my others projects with you... in the meantime, does anyone have any good patterns they'd like to recommend?


The Real Me said...

Crocheting is my first love! I learned at a young age. Do you have a favorite thing to make?

I don't have any "fancy" hooks, but my favorite set is one designed by a woman who had a medical problem and the handles are large. They work well for my hands and they're extra special because they were a gift from my sister.

Truefemininity said...

Those owls are so cute! I love that pattern!