Sunday, September 2, 2012

Happy Hooking

So, about 4 or so years ago, after watching my MIL doing some crochet, I decided that I could learn to do it too. After investing in a couple of books, some yarn and hooks, and spending lots of time on the internet, I've gotten to the point where I would consider myself comfortable with doing most "beginner" patterns and even some "easy" ones.

There were two things I found confusing about crochet to start off with. The first was the physical aspects of where to actually insert the hook and how to wrap the yarn around it (over the top and around or from the bottom?). The second was the fact that there are two versions of crochet terminology (US and International/UK) which share some of the same names but refer to different stitches. Once I got my head around that, it was much easier to work out what I was doing. There are so many blogs and YouTube channels dedicated to all things crochet out there, with so many people offering patterns (for free and for a fee) and tutorials that honestly, if you really want to learn, all you have to do is find the time to watch, read and practice.

I started with making baby blankets to give as presents and scarves for myself as well as for gifts, mainly because they are nice and easy. No increases or decreases to worry about, just stitching round and round or back and forth. I've started a few larger blankets but haven't finished them. The excitement that I feel when I start a project and pick the yarn and start hooking just doesn't seem to last when it is something large that takes hours and hours to finish. I thought about doing projects that involve doing lots of smaller motifs or squares but then I would have to join them all together and that part of it doesn't really appeal to me.

After I had M, I started making beanies (he was a winter baby), and recently have branched out a little more and done a few other things like headbands, a couple of bags, booties and a small toy. I get a lot of inspiration from Pinterest and have found lots of things to pin and like from there.

Before I left my job, I would take my crochet to work with me and work on it during meetings (I was quite pregnant and had already handed in my resignation so was pretty much just killing time) and people would have a giggle and make comments about me practising my "granny" skills. It seemed that very few people I know around my age know how to crochet - not sure if it's because they don't think it's cool or it's just the sort of world we live in now that you don't sit down with your mum or grandma/nana and get taught things like crochet or knitting any more - so crochet was something they associated with old ladies.

The funny thing is though, since I've made a few things and given them as gifts, people have told me that they have tried to learn but just couldn't get the hang of it, so maybe it IS cool, just too hard and people don't NEED to know any more so they don't really persist with it.

Anyway, I thought I would share some pictures I've taken of some of the projects I've done. Some of these are from patterns I've found on the internet, others are based on something that I've seen on the internet and tried to make something similar without actually having a pattern to follow.

This was a blanket I made for M. Really simple pattern - a row of trebles followed by a row of double crochets, with the same around as the border, followed by some shells. I wanted something simple and not too girly, but still nice. The main section is cream - the lighting isn't that great. Maybe one day I'll take another photo during the day .

This was a handbag that I found on Pinterest. The one in this picture was actually one that another blogger had seen on some online store and decided that she didn't want to pay their exorbitant price for, so she made her own version.

I figured I could whip up something similar too, so I made one for L's teacher as a birthday gift. I wasn't entirely happy with the end result, but ran out of time to frog it and start again. If I make another one, I wouldn't bother doing any decreases in the body of the bag and just let the change in hook size for the top section gather the bag around the top. That would make it much easier to line too. Still, I think it was a pretty good effort considering I had no pattern to copy and it's the first time I had ever attempted to make a handbag.

One of the girls that I used to work with asked me if I could make her some headbands when she found out that I could crochet. She had attempted to learn but hadn't gotten very far and her mother (who can crochet) thought it was better to try to teach her to do it herself than to make them for her. Me on the other hand, thought it would be a fun experiment. These were what I came up with.

We live fairly close to L's school so we usually walk to and from school each day. To keep L's hands warm during the walk, I made him these glittens. You can buy the pattern for them here.

This was the first beanie I made for L. It was a free pattern. I also made a matching star stitch beanie for M, which he wore twice. He's not such a big fan of headwear. As a general rule, he will only keep hats on if he is otherwise distracted. By the end of winter, L told me that it was getting too small because it wasn't covering his ears anymore and they were getting cold, so I made him another plain beanie using the same yarn as his glittens, along with a scarf. I should take a picture of them one day.

After I got comfortable with simple increases, making up beanies using various stitch patterns was the next thing I tried. The white beanie on the left is a simple one, made up of rounds of treble stitches, following this pattern. The middle pink one is sort of based on a granny square for the top and was similar to this pattern, and the white one on the right is actually using a stitch that was designed for a blanket, but I liked the texture of it, so used it to make a beanie instead. It took me a couple of goes to work out the maths to get the increases right but I think it turned out pretty good.

The white booties were made following this pattern. The pink booties were made up using a combination of the soles and ankle section from the pattern for the white booties (plus an extra round to make them a bit bigger), with a flower motif creating the front section. I got the idea from here.

The sunhats were a bit of an after thought. I had actually made the larger one as a beanie, but when I gave it to my friend for her baby, I decided that it was a little too short. I figured that seeing I had to adjust it, and winter was almost over, that I should turn it into a sunhat instead. So I googled and Pinterest'd various crochet sunhat patterns to try to work out how many increases I need to make the brim section and the sunhats you see below were the result.

The last picture is a sunhat and bag set I made for a friend's older daughter (the new baby daughter got some of the stuff from the picture above). I know when M came along, L had some problems adjusting to not being the centre of attention any more and feeling a tad jealous at times, so I thought that if she got her own little present which matched her little sister's, then maybe she wouldn't feel so bad.

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