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09 December 2017

Learning to crochet; Men's Hat and Scarf 

plus two other projects: 2017

Let me begin by saying I'm obviously new to crochet! Why crochet over knitting? Well, it's the only yarn or fiber craft that I remember learning as a child (about 6 yrs old?), sort of. And I just happened to have an ancient set of crochet hooks so all I needed was yarn.

Let me just say right now why I like crocheting: 
1) It uses different muscles in my hands then what I use while drawing and/or painting, this helps to strengthen both hands and it helps to sooth the aching drawing muscles, if that makes any sense.
2) I can do it anywhere, just throw the ball of yarn and hook in my bag and I'm good to go! I don't need my prescription glasses, excellent lighting, or a flat surface, and I can even do it while riding my recumbent bicycle! The latter is a major benefit because I tend to be lazy ;P
3) Crocheting is great for stress relief, or when you just want to sort of mindlessly do something repetitive while thinking about other stuff. For example; I always take a crochet project when I go to the dentist (or any waiting situation), which stresses me out and I hate doing!

I'm a very creative and artistic person though I don't do well with projects that take a very long time. And, I do not do well with projects that require fallowing patterns, designs, recipes, etc. For me, they just don't leave enough room for my creative juices to flow, they don't allow enough spontaneity, and I prefer creating my own patterns, designs, recipes, etc., thank you very much! Once I did a rather large (3'l x 2'w) counted cross stitch pattern (Poinsettias, very beautiful), that took the better part of a year. I had it professionally cleaned, then framed, and gifted it to my first mother-in-law (which she loved). But, I hated it! I never thought it would end, and it took all my will power to keep plugin away at it night after night, omfg, never again! I told myself this over and over, almost every night! Sure enough, I've never done another counted cross stitch, and I never will! You may be wondering what this has to do with crochet? The lesson is to never bite off more then you can chew as my grandmother use to say! That is, for a beginner crochet artist, choose a project you can start and end within a few hours, days, or a week tops! This is an excellent example: The Eight Point Star Bauble: (Time: 1 1/2 hrs - 3 hrs). Keep it simple with enough variation so that you won't get bored with it.

I've had my ups and downs with crochet. I take it up and work on it for a bit, then put it down and ignore it for a while, mostly because I DID bite off more then I can chew for my first project, my second project was more of the same without variation= boring.
I've been going back and forth like this for the better part of 2017.
Recently, however; I've learned how to hold the yarn in a more comfortable way that still allows for the right amount of tension, this, in and of itself, has made crocheting a lot easier, funner and more desirable to do! If you happen to be new to crochet, keep this in mind! I've also been using new-to-me stitches, and I love the variation!
This project; The Men's Hat and Scarf,  are my first two finished projects- they are also gifts for my beautiful talented son :) I have two other projects that I started and have not finished yet- The Two Hearts King Size Bed Spread, and The Cuisinart Appliance Cover.

The other two projects:
1) The Two Hearts King Size Bed Spread: 
The first project in the works is a way too ambitious king size bed spread that I designed in a bead program: Dimensions: 72"w x 88"l with a total of 99- 8" squares. I've made all but 31 (black- the hardest color to see the stitches, in my opinion), of the squares to date. And just for shits and giggles, I added a few light violet heart motifs within the darker violet granny squares. Not only was the heart motifs more challenging, but also way less boring! Yes, doing 99 granny squares is monotonous, but also strangely relaxing.

Quilt Black hearts

This is the basic design, each four(4) beads you see is equivalent to a single granny square.
To make this bed spread even more challenging, in my newbie head space, I chose:
-4 mm hook size (way too small for a first time project), I find that I prefer wood or bamboo hooks to metals, just a FYI.
-Stylecraft Special Knitting Yarn: DK 1002 (DK= Double Knit or Light Worsted weight yarn). This yarn is nice and light, so very soft, and good choice for a bed spread! A heavier weight yarn though would have been a better choice for a first time crochet project.

2) The Cuisinart Appliance Cover: 
This cover is actually almost finished now, it looks really pretty! I love my Cuisinart, one of the best dang tools in my kitchen, buttttt.... it's so ugly! To make up for that I am making this cover, the colors are actually a harvest red (Indian red), burnt orange (brunt sienna), and dark brown taupe (sepia). Each square is an approx. 4" granny square, that are sewn together with a yarn needle in an invisible (no seam) join.

side panels- L 12 x H 12- 3 color Side panels x2.
front top back- 3 panels- W 9 x H 12 - 3 color Top, front, and back panels.

And finely: Tada!

3) The Men's Hat and Scarf set: 

Here's the completed set! I'm so proud of it :D Finely, a finished crochet project(s) that took just about a week to complete for both. The Men's Crochet Beanie Hat was designed by Paula Daniel and the Island Lace Scarf  was designed by Jennifer Dickerson.Thank you ladies.

The stitches used are:
-Double Crochet (dc)
-Front and Back Post Double Crochet (FPdc and BPdc)
-Chain stitches (ch)

The hat with its awesome front and back dc, was done in the lighter cream tint, hopefully this will make it easier to see him while riding his bicycle; (note: I may paint the yarn with inflorescent, glow in the dark, water-based, non-toxic, acrylic paint which will make the yarn glow- when charged- a bright green/yellow at night, but won't color the yarn itself). The scarf has a double crochet, chain, then more dc making it more open and airy yet when warped around quite warm and cozy!

Beginner Tip #1: Learn to hold your yarn in the most comfortable, effortless way possible. There is no right or wrong way! What may work for some people will not work for you so find what works and stick to it!
Beginner Tip #2: Never bite off more then you can chew! Choose a project you can start and end within a few hours, days or a week tops! Keep it simple with enough variation (esp., different stitches, colors, etc.), so that you won't get bored with it.
Beginner Tip #3: Use crochet patterns, designs, etc., as a starting point and/or a point of inspiration. Try not to deviate too much, but make it your own by adjusting it to suit your own style and needs.

© 2017 Ora Moon