I had a wonderful time at Olympia, I gave 2 workshops at the Knitting and Stitching show, Broomstick Crochet and Corner to Corner or C2C crochet.
The Broomstick Crochet is an old favourite – you use a large knitting needle, along with some 4ply yarn. I think I have done it 5 times now, but there are always different questions, and of course different people doing it. Sometimes I feel apprehensive just before we get started, but as I get into my stride I realise why I do it. I just love watching other people learn something!
New one for me was the Corner to Corner Motif. While it is not a difficult thing to do, there are a few tricksy bits. Understanding that you work diagonally, how to mark off the pattern, using different colours in a graph – all make for interesting learning.
All the ladies did well, bearing in mind that you have to learn in 1 hour! some just learned the technique for C2C, using one colour and others managed the whole square including a border!
The previous night, I made a video to show how to crochet the whole motif. The complete video is just over half an hour, but does show increases, decreases, colour changes and following a chart. I would love to hear whether this video helps, I have talked through the video, where my other ones are silent with subtitles. Unfortunately I have had to divide into two videos, with limits on Youtube!
Since I had to design some business cards this week, I had to make a decision… Crochet Designer, Blogger and Teacher, kinda sums it all up,
I love the excitement of designing, I love receiving a brief and then some yarn, and turning it into something gorgeous, or starting from an idea/lovely yarn, to produce something that inspires me! I don’t mind the writing of the pattern, once I get started (procrastination is something I always work hard to defeat!) but quite like some of the technical work!
Sometimes I wonder about the designer bit, but I have been published in lots of magazines, and two yarn companies, so I can’t be that bad! Or is this the typical British way of self depreciating what we do? This year I have designed – A rug in chunky cotton, A blanket in aran weight merino, A rainbow granny square blanket, A motif cushion cover, a top and cardigan in 4ply cotton, A pair of rag dolls, a motif square bag. A cotton baby blanket, a tunisian crochet jacket and I am also planning an easter rabbit (I know sooooo early) a set of quirky amigurumi soft toys, a cardigan, a crochet along blanket, and some small amigurumi toys. Phew!!
I love teaching crochet, it is always exciting to start a course, not knowing how it will proceed, whether people will pick up thing easily, or whether they will need a bit more help, I have also been told that I have a lot of patience and positivity when I’m teaching.
And the blogging part – I procrastinate faaaarrrr tooooo much, when I get down to it l love writing about what I do! I love to share knowledge, give readers hints and tips, and share my passion.
so maybe my linked in profile sums it up better – Crochet Ambassador!
So I have had a bit of a blogging break, but I have been very busy this year so far planning courses and workshops, designing for a range of magazines, and yarn companies! I have also been doing some supply teaching at a lovely school in Enfield.
I hope to be around quite a bit during the summer, and completing some designs that I have had on the hook for a very long time!
I am also teaching again at Missenden Abbey. I am currently re-writing my course so that it is even more appropriate for mixed ability! It will be based on the basics (?!), but I have designed my own squares for the ripple pattern, and 3D flower centre, with extra little hints and tips along the way.If you have never picked up a crochet hook before, if you have some experience, maybe with lots of questions, or want to know some tips to make your crochet look more professional, This is the course for you!
It is running from Wednesday 17th, 9am – 5pm, Thursday 9am – 5pm and Friday 19th August 9am – 3pm, with wonderful lunches, and breaks with homemade biscuits and cake! (The crochet is great too!)
If you would like to know what goes on at Missenden abbey, have a look at this post from last years Learn to Crochet course. This is the link for more details about the course. I look forward to seeing you!
Tuesday was a new experience; I was an Artist in Residence at Missenden Abbey. It was lovely to go back with a different thing to do, I set up a little stand with some of my work, and had a few bits and pieces to sell, and two courses to promote. Then I sat alongside and started to crochet – I chatted with people as they came up to me and trying to catch people eyes as they came along to coffee (I know MORE coffee!) or lunch.
I was able to work on a new beginners course, I have to shorten my existing course, which was 11 sessions this summer, to 7 sessions for the weekend, I also realised that I was using other peoples patterns, when I could use my own! So for these last 2 days, I have designed a simpler flower block, and a small ripple block that I can use to teach (the granny square is one of those patterns that if it was a poem would be by anon, most people that crochet know how to make one, so can’t claim it as my own!) I am also in the process of joining and making a border so that there is a project to be completed by the end of the course.
I am also creating a design your own Amigurumi course where we will be learning how to make some basic shapes and then using these shapes to make our own animals, dolls, monsters or aliens!
I had some lovely chats to people, gave out leaflets, crocheted while people were doing their courses, had some lovely mushroom soup for lunch, and had plenty of coffee!
So today I was completing the beginners crochet project, and as I want to write this up, I thought you might like a sneak peek – do you like the colours? There were one of two that I wasn’t sure about, but now I see them altogether, especially in the ripple, I am loving it!
So how do we achieve professional looking results from our crochet or knitting? You really do have to follow all the guidelines! There are no shortcuts… I know you didn’t want to hear that did you!
To start with if you are making a garment you really should make a gauge/tension swatch. and especially if you are changing the yarn, even two double knits can crochet/knit in a very different way, then if you change the content of the yarn – eg from acrylic to wool or merino, they stretch in different ways.
You should learn how to sew up your items properly, mattress stitch is your friend! whenever I have taught it, people think its almost magical the way that you cannot see the seam from the right side. Although my USP (Unique Selling Point) as far as designing goes is to reduce the amount of time you spend finishing off the pattern – If once you have fastened off and sewn in the last end the garment-toy-item is finished it is waaaay more satisfying than having to then sew or crochet together many little pieces.
And finally you really should learn to block your items. This is not step by step instructions, but just a gentle introduction! I am showing you lots of examples here mainly of thread work like doilies, or lace which is equally fine, but it really is remarkable the difference when you do block.
So what should you block? – anything that is flat! You cannot block toys/3D objects (as you stuff them the stitches are formed into their final shape, but garments, blankets, scarves/shawls, all have their differing methods.
Blocking just means that you use water in some form (washing, moistening or steaming) to re-align the stitches, making them as even as possible, and form the item into a good shape and correct size.
You might wash the item (I do this most of the time as I find it the most reliable) You can steam the item, and then you can shape it – this might be a light blocking in the case of a garment which you shape to the correct size with your hands and leave it to dry flat. It might be a stronger blocking like a lace scarf, which after you have crocheted might be quite a scrumpled up mess, but once wetted and stretched out with pins and/or wires, shows what a beauty it can become. Or in the case of something like a blanket, you may wash it in the machine (on a slow wool wash) then fold and ease it into a good shape.
This is just an outline of how to block, there are many great websites that go into far more detail – one of them that I found recently is the Shibaguyz they have some brilliant technique postings – this link is to their blocking page. So go for it, and have a professional looking piece
So you have completed Round 1 and Round 2, now you can learn how to crochet round 3 and the further rounds of your granny squares. (if you missed them click on the links above)
We start a new colour in the same way that we did for round 2. Make a slip knot, remove from hook, insert hook from front of square, on a corner space, place slip knot back on the hook, pull it through to the front of the square (adjust how you are holding the yarn) and chain 3. This is your beginning chain – often called the turning chain, although in this case we are not turning!
Make two more treble stitches which is your first cluster, chain 2, then make three more trebles IN THE SAME SPACE… this is your beginning corner.
Then chain 1, and make three trebles in the NEXT chain space (in the previous row) chain 1, and make the next corner – that is 3 trebles, 2 chain and 3 trebles all in the same space.
repeat this step (in bold) until you have made all 4 corners and all 4 sides, and slip stitch to the top of the chain you made at the start of the round. see the video below. the way this would be written is
(3ch, 2tr, 2ch, 3tr) in corner space, *(1ch, 3tr, 1ch) in next ch sp, (3tr, 2ch, 3tr) in next 2ch sp, repeat from * two more times, (1ch, 3tr, 1ch ) in next ch sp, slst to top of starting chain.
For the fourth and further rounds, you repeat the established pattern, making one more treble cluster on each side.
So for round 4:
Start a new colour in the same way that you did before – Make a slip knot, remove from hook, insert hook from front of square, on a corner space, place slip knot back on the hook, pull it through to the front of the square and chain 3. This is your beginning chain
Make two more treble stitches which is your first cluster, chain 2, then make three more trebles IN THE SAME SPACE… this is your corner.
Then chain 1, and make three trebles in the NEXT chain space, chain 1, make three trebles in the next space, and then make the next corner – that is 3 trebles, 2 chain and 3 trebles all in the same space.
repeat this step until you have made all 4 corners and all 4 sides, and slip stitch to the top of the chain you made at the start of the round. see the video below. the way this would be written is
(3ch, 2tr, 2ch, 3tr) in corner space, *(1ch, 3tr, 1ch) in next ch sp, (1ch, 3tr, 1ch) in next ch sp, (3tr, 2ch, 3tr) in next 2ch sp, repeat from * two more times, (1ch, 3tr, 1ch ) in next ch sp, (1ch, 3tr, 1ch) in next ch sp, slst to top of starting chain.
See video below…
Follow the link here to a pdf of the pattern –My Granny Square. I would love to see your grannies so post in comments or let me know on Facebook! This is how to make grannies with lots of different colours, which makes it easier when you are learning to find the right spaces, later I will show you how to make a single colour granny square.
Highlights of my first Learn to Crochet course running at Missenden Abbey.
First impressions were very good,
absolutely stunning setting,
friendly and really helpful staff.
Who worked really hard
with some wonderful results
Thanks to everyone who attended the course, all the red shirts, and Will, Alison, Alison and Trish for the warm welcome and wonderful opportunity. I look forward to the weekend courses later in the year, another Learn to Crochet, and Design and make Amigurumi