Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Sweet Daisy Coasters

I have always loved the look of appliques and crochet flowers. I've tried my hand at some, with mixed results, but I learned a few things here and there in my efforts. One thing I learned was they are more time consuming than they look. Another thing I learned was counting stitches is not only important but sometimes absurdly tricky (at least for me) and that crocheting with a small hook size is often an exercise in frustration. But I was determined to make some coasters, so I found a pattern and doggedly sat down to hook it up.

I found the pattern on a blog called Whiskers and Wool, a cute blog that hasn't been updated in a while sadly. I think my daisies turned out quite nicely, even if at times they were a pain to hook up due to the fact that crocheting with a cotton worsted yarn using a 3.75mm makes for tiny, tight stitches that I counted and re-counted over and over and still managed to mess up my last two coasters. I fixed the mistakes so you can't see them, but really it was exasperating. I will say the pattern was very easy to follow, and although I found making these frustrating, that's all on me. This pattern worked up easily, and I would make these again, but I'd use a DK yarn in cotton instead of worsted cotton if I did just to see the difference.

These are very cute and would make for a nice gift for a housewarming or Mother's Day. I have always loved daisies and like the look of these, sweet and simple. Plus, they bring a bit of spring into the home during these long, grey winter months. A dash of spring and colour is much needed in my neck of the woods, so this will brighten up the place a bit.

I am very proud of myself for seeing this project through till the end. Trust me, at times after making the white center (where all my counting errors must lie) I had to lay down my hook and walk away for a while. If anyone has tips on making circular pieces like this one easier, I'd love to hear them. The pattern says to keep going round without using a slip stitch to join, but I wasn't always able to do that and keep a correct count. Guess I'm still in beginner stages in some areas of crochet. Or, I'm bad at counting since when I did use a slip stitch my count was still wrong. Lots of frogging in this dear readers, but I do think a lot of that had to do with my yarn type. If you think so too, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the sort of fiber and weight of yarn you'd use for a project like this one.

I am very happy with the final pieces and glad I saw this project through till the end!

Happy Hooking,

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Which Crochet Hook?

I have been crocheting for a while now, and while I have noticed that there are lovely hooks out there, decorative and functional, I've never really given much thought to what kind of crochet hook I use. When I first learned to crochet, I had some old plastic ones, one a 5.00mm and the other a 4.00mm, which I didn't like using as much. When I began self teaching myself more (thank you Internet!) I bought a set of Susan Bates hooks. Why Susan Bates? They were sold in a set instead of separately and it was more economical. Nothing more, nothing less. But then, one day while crocheting with a 4.00mm hook and driving myself nuts, I decided I'd go and pick up a 4.50mm hook.

Picture is not my own work.

Or not. I could not find a single hook in that size at the store, so I picked up a Boye hook in 4.25mm hoping it would be just large enough to make my life easier. And so began my journey into checking out other crochet hooks--I didn't like that Boye hook because it was different somehow. Later I found out the Susan Bates is an in-line hook and the Boye is a tapered hook, and while I'm still not sure how this affects your project or the look of the stitches, I immediately knew I preferred my Susan Bates hooks. But I couldn't find any of this brand of hooks at my local Michaels other than in the set pictured, which is the exact set I purchased. It's hard to find in-line hooks apparently?

As I began working with chunkier yarns, I picked up some plastic hooks from Boye, and I don't mind working with those. I also purchased some ergonomic hooks from Boye, which I also wasn't a huge fan of, the soft plastic grip began to slip and move around and I didn't notice it was more comfortable to work with (likely because I have a crochet style all my own, my yarn hand doesn't hold yarn or the work but works to yarn over while my hook hand hooks in a way I've never seen another crocheter work) so I've always preferred the Susan Bates hooks for all of my projects.

Picture is not my own work.

But, sadly, I've become such an avid crocheter that I have now encountered PAIN from crocheting! At least, I'm pretty sure that's why my shoulder hurts so much. So I did some research on crochet hooks and decided to purchase one Clover hook, in a 5.00mm. I've long had my eye on this hook, but not being a fan of the tapered hook and thinking ten bucks for a hook was a bit much, I had never bothered to purchase one. It seems well liked among crocheters however, so I hope it helps my shoulder. Since this handle is very different, I will also try and hold my hook in a knife grip and use my yarn hand to hold and guide the yarn more like other crafters. I know there is no one right way to crochet, each of us has our own style of holding the yarn, or hook (knife grip? Pencil grip?) but I want to see if I attempt to work more traditionally if that will assist with my shoulder pain. We'll see.

This brings me to the questions--which hook do you use? How do you hold you hook? Comments are always welcome so please share! I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Happy Hooking,

Friday, March 10, 2017

Oversized Crunchy Scarf

Not too long, while surfing around crochet patterns, I found this pattern from Hopeful Honey I had to hook up, and so I have. It's gorgeous, but then, all her stuff is! Anyway, being that it's still winter in my neck of the woods, this was quickly hooked up and gosh, but I love it!

I did make some modifications to the pattern. I did not use the yarn from the pattern, I found it pricey and decided to try another yarn. I have no objection to splurging on yarn, but at the rate I'm making projects, I might need a second job just to pay for yarn, and then I'd have no time to crochet! I found this lovely yarn from Stylecraft and I have to say, while it wasn't what I was expecting, it is beautiful and feels lush and soft and is warm. I was very happy with this yarn choice and would purchase it again.

The pattern is easy to follow, and for me, it was a simple easy stitch. Great for a beginner but fun for anyone. The texture created from this stitch is lovely and the chunky yarn works up quick and easy and is a nice easy keep your hands busy crochet project with a lovely piece for you at the end.

The other modification I made was adding in some extra sttiches to the beginning chain, in a multiple of three, since I deiced to use a smaller hook. I have the hook recommended in the pattern, but the yarn didn't seem to suit it, so I went with a 10.00mm hook instead. Trust me, this is still an oversized scarf. It worked out beautifully.

I'm always torn about colour choice. I love colour but I often feel conflicted--do I want something bright and colourful? Or do I want something more netural? If I do want bright and colourful, what will I pair it with? And, what colour do I want? And if I think I want netural, well how many netural pieces do I need/want? See my problem? I have to say, this cream colour I picked is lovely and goes with everything and I'm very happy I gave careful thought to colour choice for this oversized scarf.

Want to try this pattern out? Click on the link at the top and you will find this free pattern.

Till next time,

Happy Hooking,