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Lessons 1 and 2 – Crochet Certification

Hmm. I started my first lessons of the Craft Yarn Council Teacher Certification Program. I thought it was going to be easy. After all, how hard can be to make a 5 inch square of each basic stitch? Not hard, right? I can make a stinking square. I make squares all the time. But it has to be a perfect 5 inch square with even tension throughout. And the double and treble crochet has a color change exactly halfway through. Again, I can DO color changes. I have to  block too (pouting and whining).

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Lesson 1 on top (sc, hdc, dc, tr) and lesson 2 on the bottom (sc, hdc, dc, inc and dec). 

Lesson 1: Basic Stitch Swatches

The assignment: 5″ squares in the basic stitches, not too loose and not too tight, in a light color yarn, medium weight. Block as needed.

So I’m limited to medium weight yarn which means there are only so many hook sizes I can choose from when I have to adjust for gauge. The single crochet square was pretty easy to figure out. I think I have that one covered.

Then I got busy with the half double crochet…and that’s when I ran into problems. Getting the right stitch count was fine, until I grew the rows, then it seemed to get wider. I undid and redid quite a few times to get the right number of stitches. I also needed to work on keeping my tension the same. I’m an experienced crocheter here! What was going on? I knew I hated gauge! The number of rows were fine and I finally got the square right.

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single crochet swatch and half double crochet swatch

Moving on to the double crochet square had me extremely frustrated but it was the treble crochet swatch I kept having to redo. I couldn’t get the right hook to get the perfect height on the stitches to have half the square in one color. I tried moving up in hook sizes to make the stitches taller, but I couldn’t make them tall enough to get the right number of rows to reach the mid point without going over or under. I tried going down in hook size so I could get more rows in but that wasn’t working either. In the end, I went with an F hook with a tighter tension. I was worrying about this because the instructions stated not to crochet too tightly. Oh well, I had too! It looked good and not too tight so I’m going with it.

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double crochet and treble crochet swatches

Lesson 2: Increases and Decreases

The increase and decrease swatches seemed easier. I only had to reach 5″ with the width. Not too bad.

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single crochet increase and decrease swatch

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half double crochet increase and decrease swatch

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double crochet increase and decrease swatch

Now I have to write up all the information on paper and put them in plastic sleeves (after they dry from their blocking of course).

Learning

Did I learn anything? Yes. I didn’t necessarily learn anything new but it’s more about showing that you can follow directions and showing that you know what you’re doing. I did learn more about my shortcomings. Namely that I need to work on my tension to get more even stitches throughout my work. And it’s forcing me to face gauge and blocking. I’m mean, really, I shouldn’t shy away from these things. I’m glad I’m being forced to do them even if I don’t usually need to use them with the things I make. You can never have too much knowledge and knowledge is power and all that. 🙂

Crochet Fail – Bavarian Sweater/Coat

I normally have no qualms about ripping back work when it isn’t right, but this time, this time, I have a lot of qualms about it. I had set aside my Bavarian square sweater in lieu of other projects. Why? Because it got hot! Who needs a thick and cozy sweater when it’s bloody hot outside! Plus, I couldn’t figure out what to do with the sleeves, so it was easily abandoned.

All my other projects are complete and there aren’t any crochet fires I need to put out, sooo… I picked up the sweater and continued work on the sleeves. One of the problems of working off-the-seat-of-your-pants, on-the-fly, make-up-as-you-go type of creation, is that you don’t always get what you envision in your mind (or is it only me?). I’ve been working the sleeves separately from the main coat in Tunisian Crochet. I ran out of black awhile back and was too busy (lazy) to go buy more. PLUS, I had so much of the grey yarn I’d already used on the sweater (and spent good money on already), I thought it would be good enough. The panels themselves I like. Once I finished them (after trying out different solutions), I sewed one of the sleeves onto the sweater last night and tried it on to see my handy work. Yuck! I didn’t like it.

Tunisian crochet sleeve

Doesn’t look so bad here, but trust me, it’s no good! 

First of all, the sleeve didn’t drape right. I  was still going to make a few rounds of half double crochet with deeper decreases for the cuffs, but after trying it on and not liking the drape, I didn’t proceed with that. No matter how much I tugged and pulled on it, it still looked bad. The problem was that I needed more decreases further up on the sleeves. The sleeves were too big. Second of all, the color just didn’t work. I kept squinting and looking at it from different angles, but I couldn’t make myself like it. Fail!

The only good thing was that I only attached one sleeve. Now I needed to take the sleeve off and rip back both sleeves. That’s when the qualms hit me. I didn’t want to rip back all that work! I don’t usually struggle so much with frogging my work. I’ve ripped back entire queen-size blankets. But I just couldn’t do it. In the grand scheme of things, they are tiny panels that no one would miss (except me apparently).

Tunisian Crochet panel

I suppose it could be a skirt or top instead.

And yet…

Instead, I played with the unattached sleeve (I hadn’t removed the other one yet). I held it up to my chest to see if I could turn it into a top of some sort. I held it like a skirt. Hmmm… nope. Maybe.

I’m trying real hard to turn those panels into something else so I don’t feel like I wasted my time. I’ll probably just set the panels aside and think about them later. That way I’ll have some distance from all the work and I won’t be so torn about undoing them. In the meantime, I’ll start some new sleeves. This time, I’ll might start them straight on the arm holes, in black. I have black now. I probably should just make more granny squares for the sleeves. I was resistant to do that because the coat is already so dense. I thought it would be granny square overload. Maybe I’m over-thinking this. I’m most definitely over-thinking this.

I have until next winter to decide…😀

 

Finished Star Stitch Sweater

I’m all done with my star stitch sweater. I finished it before my granny square sweater. I’m not sure how I feel about that. On the one hand, I’m very proud of it. Everyone loved it. I sort of loved it. I kept seeing my mistakes in it. One of my sisters loved it so much I let her have it. My other sister is still waiting on the granny square one but I’m thinking I’ll just start a new one for her. She might have more of a fighting chance of actually getting something within this lifetime. Besides, after spending so much time trying to plug up the holes on the granny sweater, I might not be able to let it go once I’m done (if it ever gets done, heh).

So back to the star stitch sweater.

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Scary Life Size Doll Head

I mentioned in a previous post that I was crocheting a life size doll of myself at work. Alas, I had to place it on the back burner in lieu of other, more pressing projects. Well, it’s day has come! I will not pick up any other projects until that doll is done. So I in that spirit…

I resumed work on the head. My little minions (Kindergarteners) couldn’t help themselves from helping me work on the doll. I had completed the head and had embroidered the face, using their suggestions of course. It was ready for stuffing.

Before I stuffed, I had to get up for something and left my work on the table. I can see all of you shaking your heads thinking to yourselves that I was asking for it. I see no pity in your eyes. I did indeed ask for it. I came back to a student running around with his hand in the opening of the doll head, using it like a puppet. A long string of yarn was tailing him around the room as it unwound from the ball of yarn. I quickly had him bring it back. Luckily, I had my stitch marker in so it didn’t unravel.

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Can someone help me run around the room? I’m bored.

Now that she was rescued, it was time for stuffing. They love helping me stuff so I let them Continue reading

Rediscovered Crochet Pieces

One of the benefits of cleaning up and decluttering your space is that you find things you forgot you had. I was helping my son declutter his room and encouraging him to toss or donate the things he no longer needed or no longer had any meaning to him. In the process, we came across some crochet pieces I had made for him years ago. He had them on display in a bookshelf that he hardly ever looked at anymore. There were some things there that went into a donation box. I asked him if we should donate the crochet pieces too.

When he was younger, he was very into a game called Crash Bandicoot. He loved it so much, he asked me to make him a couple of items from the game. There was this box that the main character used to jump on and break. There were Gems as well. He laughed when he saw the crocheted gems and said they didn’t look quite like the gems he remembered from the video game.

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This was the type of reference I had for the gems.

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Purplicious Doll WIP

My modus operandi strikes again!

I’m working on a doll using only shades of purple yarn. I had a light colored ball of yarn that I thought would be perfect for her (why is it always a her?) head and body.

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What do you mean there’s not enough  yarn for my legs?!!!

She was coming along nicely but in my typical fashion, my ball of yarn was very small when it came time to make the legs. Never daunted by running out of un-replaceable yarn, I opted to mix colors for the legs.

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Looking a little raggedy there but she’ll look fine when she’s completed.

In this case, I’m glad I ran out of yarn. I like the legs much better than if they had just been one plain color. 🙂

Running out of yarn keeps my mind sharp! (Yes, I’m sticking to that story. :-))

 

Student Highlight

I can’t express how proud I am of my students who have taken their crochet skills to the next level. So much so, I thought I would showcase and highlight some of their projects. Some of them have started following my blog and I want to show them how much I love their work by displaying it here.

Three of my 3rd grade girls have been really challenging themselves lately. They have been working on self guided projects that I have been very impressed with and that they are very proud of.

This student (below) was working on a headband when she realized that it wasn’t working out. One of the things I’m always stressing is that crochet is flexible and if something doesn’t work out, there is almost always a way to fix it, perhaps by turning it into something else. She was working rows of single crochet, changing colors to create stripes. When she saw that she hadn’t made the rows long enough for a headband, she turned it into a cute Barbie purse.

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A+ for creativity and flexibility 🙂

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