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Archive for the ‘Crochet’ Category

Flower Chain

Welcome Back

Today I’d like to share a picture of a flower chain that I started to make.

Flower Chains

Crochet Flower Chains

Being new to crochet I was struggling to understand written patterns, so off to You Tube and after watching the Flower tutorial I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, decided to make more flowers but keep them joined together, daisy chain style. I am still hoping to get some yellow, white and green yarn to make the right colours for a Daisy Chain but these are ok for a start.

My tension as you can see is terrible so they look a bit raggedy. I’m trying to work on it and in the mean time live with it as, they are a learning project not really a put them on the wall project.

Links

Here is the blog post where I linked to the How to Crochet a flower video by The Making Spot

I’m looking forward to making slightly different ones for a daisy chain, I remember spending many a play time at primary school, in the summer when we were allowed on the field, making daisy chains. It will make a nice little project that I can take slowly and add to over time. Nice that that daisy chain will be an everlasting one too :)

Anyone else remember making daisy chains? They seem always to remind me of long hot summers with friends, just chillin :)

 

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

I’m definitely thinking this crochet lark is like doodling with yarn ;)

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Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing; Learn to Crochet with Wendy Poole; The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Crochet.

Learn To Crochet with Wendy Poole DVD

Learn To Crochet with Wendy Poole DVD

Product Details

  • Manufacturer/Brand; Wendy Poole
  • RRP at time of writing: £15 directly from Wendy Poole including P&P
  • Run Time: 1 hr 47 minutes
  • Picture 16:9
  • Format: DVD – 5
  • Standard PAL
  • Region: All

Reason For Buying

This year I set myself the crafty new Years resolution to learn to crochet. I bought a book, and I couldn’t follow it. Being dyslexic I am a visual learner and although there are lots of tutorials on You Tube everyone has different styles and you get confused. Heard about Wendy’s DVD on Create and Craft back in January but didn’t buy it at the time as I had just got a DVD with Knit and Stitch magazine and didn’t think I needed it. After months of still not progressing I bought the DVD and here’s how I got on.

Contains

Quote from the back of the DVD

‘Learn to Crochet with Wendy Poole’ will take you step by step through everything you need to know from the very beginning.

We start with basic introduction to the art of Crochet. You then follow the 3 basic lessons based on Wendy’s own classes.

Thee is also a BAsic Stitch directory, with UK stitch terms and USA equivilents.

The Tips and Techniques section teaches you everything you need to make your projects, including increasing and decreasing, crocheting pieces together and joining colours.

Finally there are 5 different project ideas to follow that can be made without using a pattern.

Pros/Cons

  • Well described techniques
  • Learn by making things
  • Stitch directory in UK and USA terms
  • Lots of techniques for finishing and joining up crochet pieces
  • Selection of nice projects

Cons

Just one

  • Choosing a hook. I was hoping for more info in this section. This was little more than; here are the types of hook available, rather than which was better for which type of yarn etc. Also at this point the camera was looking more at Wendy than the hooks, so you didn’t get the best view of the hooks either.

It was the only downside, the rest of the DVD more than made up for this.

Build Quality

Excellent. A few places editing cut off words, a little over bright in places but well focused and good sound levels. Although there is some music in the background which I usually hate, it was VERY low and not obtrusive.

Excellent menu system to quickly get to the section you are after.

Value for Money

Excellent.

Would I buy it Again?

Totally and recommend it to anyone who wants to crochet but is a visual learner.

Summing up

This is a fantastic DVD. I have been skeptical of books and DVD’s claiming to be ‘The Ultimate.’ anything, as they often disappoint. NOT the case with this DVD, it truly does what it sets out to do. Takes you by the hand and shows you with demos how to create flowers, granny squares, stitches and so on.

When Wendy was on Create and Craft she said of this DVD that after watching it she wanted to leave people not just able to create the one project but have the skills to make whatever they wanted to in crochet. After watching it, I have a lot of practice to do to perfect my new skills but now I can go and find projects I want to make and refer back to this for key elements of the design.

I love the way that rather than starting out with stitch after stitch as other books and so on do (which is a good plan but boring), with this you start by making a little flower, so straight away you have created something lovely. This is a real confidence builder and after watching it through a few times you can crochet along with Wendy and create along with her. This is a great way to bed in new skills as you link them to an actual project, which really helps.

This is an excellent DVD, if you have always wanted to crochet, I highly recommend it. If you have been looking at all the lovely crochet projects in magazines and around the internet thinking ‘I want to do that’, then this is the DVD for you. Now I’ve seen this, I’ve gone back to the ‘how too’ book I bought and can better understand what it means.

Especially delighted as since I was little, I’ve always wanted to make a granny square. I was given a dolly blanket by someone in the family and always wanted to make one for myself. Didn’t have the patience then, not sure I’ve got the dexterity now, but if I only do a little at a time and with plenty of rest in between, perhaps I’ll be able to make a little mat for my laptop to sit on, or a cover for my Kindle.

I am looking at making  little flowers and snowflakes, just hope my RSI will settle and let me do this at least occasionally, in good weather.

Thank you Wendy for an excellent DVD. Here is my Granny square.

Granny Square created after watching Wendy Poole's DVD

Granny Square created after watching Wendy Poole’s DVD

Links

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing; Simply Crochet; Magazine Issue 5

Simply Crochet Hooked on Handmade. Magazine

Simply Crochet Hooked on Handmade. Magazine

  • Title: Simply Crochet; Hooked on Handmade. Magazine Issue 5
  • Publisher: Future Publishing.
  • Issue 5

My Reason for Buying

I bought issue 4 as there was a free shawl pin on the cover (which I needed and liked) and liked the look of the projects. Enjoyed it so much I bought this issue without seeing much about it.

My challenge for this year was to try crochet, I bought a couple of issues of Knit n Stitch early on, but they were weekly and expensive, I bought a book but wasn’t over inspired. I like to see projects that inspire me to learn how to make them to encourage me to learn the techniques needed. I also fancied having a magazine to flick through with a cup of tea ;)  I tell you this as often a review is based on how well the book lived up to the expectations of its reader, for their purpose ;)

Contents

Patterns: Granny Square Ideas, Flower broach, Beret, Floral cushion, Cardigan, Lacy Mug hug, Amigurmi doll, Little mermaid, Mandala, Motif, Hexagons, tea pot cover, Tie, Earrings, Scarf, Dog scarf,

Good Reads: Hooked = ideas, websites. Notebook Jane Crowfoot tips and ideas. Broomstick lace. Profile. Crochet Then and Now. Yarn reviews. Coming Next Month. Vintage Treasure. How too. The Workshop, The Guide Diagrams and charts

Pros/Cons

Pros

  • Wide range of projects for all ages, stuff for beginners, as well as more adventurous crochet artists
  • Little projects as well as garments. LOVE the motif section, LOVE the mandala section
  • The Workshop and The Guide, get you started with basic stitches and techniques
  • Love the quality feel of the magazine
  • A great way to find artists and books to inspire you
  • A great way to find retailers if you are needing supplies

Cons

Bearing in mind I am a total newbie to crochet.

  • It would be handy if they had some information about how to read patterns, in their guides at the back. Its the one thing I haven’t found in there and have got a bit lost.

Value for Money

Excellent

Would I buy it Again?

Yes, haven’t subscribed as funds are tight BUT will keep a close eye on the magazines blog and as soon as new issues come out if there are projects in there I like I would buy again without hesitation.

Summing up

This is the first magazine (on any topic) that I have really enjoyed for ages. It feels loved, it has thought about what people like and has even had questionnaire’s in the first few issues so people could feed back on what they did and didn’t like about it.

This magazine reminds me of Stampington publications. There is inspiration, a classy, classic feel rather than cheap and nasty look of some magazines which are very actually expensive. I like that the editions are un-sealed so you can see what you are getting for your fiver. Too many other publications are a blind date, you can’t see if there are things in there you would like to make as they are covered by free gifts or sealed so you have no idea what you are getting.

The projects are like the magazine classy, classic and if you are a ‘new age vintage chic’ kinda person you are going to love this. I’d highly recommend getting a how too book to get you started but if like me you are in the early stages of the hobby, there are lots here to get you inspired and want to create. I particularly enjoy the fact that the little projects, like the smaller motifs and mandals and so on are things you would like to make, to have in your home. Other magazines ‘smaller’ projects can seem cheesy or just for the kiddies or the other extreme very large and complex projects.

This looks like a keeper, some things I’ll be able to do now, and come back to the more involved things when my skills improve. Great job Future Publishing and thanks too for the blog which gives a heads up on the projects for the current and upcoming issue.

Links

The Blog also has a preview of the magazine to see if its your kind of thing ;)

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

Early this year I promised myself I’d give crochet a try. Recently I have been buying Simply crochet magazine, it has some lovely projects for all levels and I adore the mandala’s and granny squares, this month they had flowers.

Sadly though, my poor little brain couldn’t work out the meaning of the patterns, even the ones they said were simple, but I am VERY new to it all. So I headed off to You Tube as I’m a visual learner so I tried there instead. YEY

Here are the flowers I made

Crochet flowers

Crochet flowers

Now you see the one in the middle, it wasn’t meant to be like that it was meant to be the start of a circle but I kept getting those big chains over the top. They were trebles into the center of the ring, {sob} its driving me nuts but I can’t stop the big loops. I think its my tension that is off, but can’t sort it yet. I did so well with double crochet so can’t see why I’m having such problems with these.

I was trying for the pattern by Wink on page 58 of issue 5 of Simply Crochet Hooked on Handmade.

If anyone can shed any light on what I’m doing wrong shout up, I’d love to sort this out.

Links

Here is the video tutorial that I followed to make this flower, thanks to The Making Spot for such a clear easy to understand tutorial :)

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

 

***Update***

 

After watching this flower tutorial and another one and having a practice, I realised what I was doing wrong, the chain 3 was only meant to be at the start of the round, not for every repeat. DOH!!! Simple once you know eh!!! I’m now much further into the pattern and have definitely had a light bulb moment with the crochet. Hunting out more flower,motif tutorials on You Tube. Gimme a shout if you know of any :)

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Welcome Back

Today I’d like to share some pictures of a shawl that I recently finished.

Spring Summer Shawl

Spring Summer Shawl

I fell in love with this yarn, which is Wendy Luxury Cotton, when I first saw it. It looked a bit too slippery/shiny for slippers and at the time that was the only project I’d got in mind. Then I found this fab shawl pattern on Ravelry, its called Splendid Triangle shawl and is available free from Lion Brand in America. You need to join their mailing list to have access to the instructions but they have so many beautiful patterns on there, its well worth while doing so.

This is the largest knitting project I’ve tackled and wasn’t sure how I’d get on with it. Other than knit and purl, the only other techniques you need are yarn over (which I hadn’t tried before this project) and also knit two together. By the end of the project I’d got the hang of yarn overs and they now don’t scare me half as much as they did. There are great tutorials on You Tube to hand hold you through yarn overs if you’ve never done them before either.

Spring Summer Shawl

Spring Summer Shawl

The yarn is beautiful, the slight sheen really catches the light and makes the blue look like it has some white running through it. The cotton felt lovely but was harder work than acrylic as it didn’t slip quite so easily across my needles. It was worth all the effort though and I’m thrilled with the results. So far I haven’t blocked it, just spread it out a bit on the bed, which has opened the pattern out a bit.I have bought Tesco play mats to eventually block the shawl, when I’ve saved enough for blocking wires and pins, which will make a neater result still.

The hardest part of this project was the crochet edging, Id had a look round Ravelry and seen others had gone with different options for finishing the shawl. I bought a Surina Silky crochet hook, which is a beautiful wood and by getting the 10″/25cm long hook, it didn’t dig into my palm like other crochet hooks do. It still took me three days to cast off, but that’s only because of my poor dexterity and that I could only do a few loops a day. Since then I’ve seen the project finished with a ruffle edging, this looked really nice too, so if you can’t/don’t want to crochet its another option.

Spring/ Summer Shawl, crochet edging

Spring/ Summer Shawl, crochet edging

Having managed this shawl and thanks to a knitting friend tipping me off where to get the yarn, I’ve since got a few balls of Sirdar Connemara yarn in Wayfarer, a lovely heather like colour and have started another one of these shawls. This time I’m hoping to go for the ruffle edging as this yarn has a tweed like effect and I think that edging will suit it better. The crochet edging on the blue shawl works for spring and summer and on the nice cotton yarn.

Do check out Ravelry if you love knitting, its a fantastic place to find patterns, learn new techniques and ask for help. Their search functions make finding alternative yarns for patterns so much easier, you can also search for patterns by yarn type or needle size, so if you have small amount of yarn kicking round, you can find the perfect project. LOVE Ravelry, its good for eating days if you let it, but there’s so much to see and do on there its wonderful.

Hopefully now the days are getting longer and fingers crossed the warmer weather will join it, then I can knit more and also have enough light see to paint again. Have missed my paints this winter! More mixed media play coming as soon as I can get back to my stash.

Links

  • Ravelry Here is a walk round the main features of Ravelry So if you aren’t yet a member, here’s what its all about.
  • Lion Brand
  • Wendy Yarn
  • Splendid Triangle shawl To have access to the pattern istructions you need to join Lion Brand mailing list. Its worth it, they have some fantastic patterns.
  • Deramores, if you can’t find the Wendy Luxury cotton yarn on the high street, check out Deramores. They are a great knitting store with very fast delivery and excellent range of yarn and colours.

Best wishes and thanks for reading ,see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing; Tulip Etimo Crochet hook

Tulip; Etimo Crochet Hook

Tulip; Etimo Crochet Hook

Product Details

  • Manufacturer/Brand; Tulip; Etimo
  • Item number:
  • RRP at time of writing: Price varies depending where you get them I paid £7.95 on Ebay

Reason For Buying

I have dexterity problems caused by RSI, wanted to try crochet and needed something with a thicker handle as my grip isn’t very good.

Pros/Cons

Tulip; Etimo Crochet Hook in my hand

Tulip; Etimo Crochet Hook

Pros

  • Soft Handle
  • Thicker handle which is great for smaller diameter hooks
  • Warm in the hand
  • The rubberised surface gives you better control of the hook
  • Metal hook means it glides effortlessly through yarns
  • Handle dimensions seem to be the same across the size ranges, although the very fine lace hooks have blue handles and look a little different in size.

Cons

  • The handles are a little on the short side for me, as I use the knife style grip. Shouldn’t be a problem if you use the pencil grip.
Tulip; Etimo Crochet Hook showing the flatter section on the handle

Tulip; Etimo Crochet Hook, showing the flatter section of the handle

Build Quality

Excellent, the material used on the hook are and handle are fantastic. Both are comfortable to use and work well with a variety of yarns.

Value for Money

My hook came from a seller on Ebay, at just under £8 it was expensive but the build quality makes them very good. I also saw these on Amazon at just under £13, even if they had been perfect for me, unless I only wanted one or two hooks that would have been more than I’d have wanted to spend. That said the quality is fantastic and if this is your main hobby its worth the investment in top quality.

Would I buy it Again?

At this stage no. But that is only because it didn’t solve the dexterity issue I had. If this had been the right shape for me then I would have gone for these in a heartbeat.

Side view of Tulip; Etimo Crochet Hook. Close up

Side view of Tulip; Etimo Crochet Hook. Close up

Summing up

These hooks are fantastic and well worth all the positive hype they get. If my hands had worked or managed crochet then these would have been the hooks for me. The are available singly or in sets, the sets I have seen even include storage bags for the hooks and if you have a loved one who is into crochet they would make a wonderful gift.

If you are a fan of very fine crochet but find the hooks hard to hold there are also some blue handled hooks in the range that go down to much smaller sizes.

The reason I’m not buying more of these is because my RSI kicked off and complained loudly when I tried crochet, so I think it will be something I may not be able to do. Also the length of this hook, when I was holding it with the knife style grip I use hit just between the knuckles on the inside of my palm between my little and next finger. This caused me a problem as last year I managed to almost dislocate these bones so they are quite tender to pressure. I have Hyper-flexion, which means my tendons flex further than they should, this leaves me prone to RSI type injuries like this, so for me this hook was a bit short.

If gripping itself doesn’t cause you pain and your issue is more about having enough handle to get hold of then give these a try. The grippy material on the handle makes a big difference to this and makes them easy to hold. The material is also warm in the hand, so if you find metal makes your hands lock up because it’s so cold, but bamboo or plastic hooks create too much drag on yarn, then again give these a try. These are the best of both worlds with the warm handles but metal hook for better glide through a variety of yarns.

Links

Here is a link to the maker’s website, so you can find out more about these hooks, their size ranges and other options in the range.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Adventures in Crochet

Welcome Back

One of the things I promised myself I’d like to try this year, has been crochet. I kept seeing such nice projects made with it, that I wanted to try it. I’d seen Wendy Poole on C&C recently, with a DVD on how to crochet, then just after Christmas there was a series of collectable magazines; Knit & stitch, which included knitting & crochet, so I gave the first couple of issues a try.

The DVD that came with issue one of Knit & Stitch magazine was excellent and covered (albeit a little too quickly) the key stitches and about increases and decreases. Issue 2 came with a crochet hook so I gave bought that too and decided to give crochet a go.

My First attempt at crochet

My First attempt at crochet

As you can see, I managed the first square but due to RSI issues, I had a lot of trouble with using the metal hook. Now on the knitting front, the right needle made all the difference, so the search began for hooks suitable for people with dexterity issues. My short list of hooks to try was as follows;

  • Clover Soft Touch
  • Tulip Etimo
  • Cushion grips to use with normal hooks

In the past, I learned with knitting that plastic needles gave too much drag on yarn, so other than the one Tunisian hook that was in my late mother’s collection, I didn’t try any more plastic ones. Metal needles and hooks made my hands lock up because they are so cold. Because of the poor dexterity, I really needed something with a thicker handle, which led me to the options above. On to Ravelry, the font of knowledge on all such things and I had a good read of what others were saying about their experiences of those brands of hooks. A quick trawl through You Tube, for possible demos and the flat nature of the Clover soft touch, finally put me off. After trying a totally unsuitable pencil gripper (NOT suitable as it’s designed to put your fingers in a writing position, which was wrong angle for crochet). I ordered a Tulip Etimo hook from a seller on Ebay, who beat even Amazon prices!

The Tulip Etimo hook has a metal area where the hook is, but the handle is made of a special cushion grip, which is smooth and rubbery so not cold and not slippery. I’m posting a full review of it on a later date.

Tulip; Etimo Crochet Hook

Tulip; Etimo Crochet Hook

Results

To try to limit the amount of twisting I needed to do, I used the knife style of grip on my hook. Also to reduce the twisting and bending on the wrist, I tried rotating the hook just in my fingers, instead of using my whole hand. This worked on not having to twist my hand around but sadly it seems crochet is not for me. I feared it would come under the heading of self harm with the dexterity issues I have, and at least in the winter this turns out to be the case, it was always going to be a long-shot. Even with the soft and lovely handle of the Tulip Etimo, the way I was spinning the hook, made not just my hand lock up, there was a lot of pain across the back of my hand and up my forearm to my elbow, I learned the hard way in the past NOT to ignore this kind of pain and it took over a week to settle back down, so sadly it looks like crochet isn’t for me.

Learning Curve

I’m quite sad that I couldn’t crack this, as I’d love to have made some snowflakes and some granny squares but its not worth the pain it caused and after over ten years of recovery after two operations on my wrists, to get even some of my dexterity back, I’m certainly not going to risk further tendon damage, again.

What all this has taught me, is to be wary of people who say; ‘This is suitable for people with dexterity problems’. I am guilty of making that remark myself too. Everyone’s dexterity problems are unique to them, it could be that your hands don’t function well but that fact doesn’t cause you pain, so you just need a tool that you can get hold of easily. In my case my dexterity issues not only make gripping and fine motor skills difficult, but also very painful so different tools can help but not every time.

At the end of the day, I am glad I tried crochet. It might not have worked but I am still very lucky that, at least for short periods, with long breaks between sessions and with the right materials, at least I can still knit occasionally. In future, I will try to make sure I use comments like; ‘If you have dexterity issues, these are worth looking into’. Rather than, ‘Are great for people with dexterity issues’. I’ve still got a bundle of Knitting magazines that gave details for making a blanket. So maybe over a lot of time, we still will get our hand-made blanket. Ten years DH & I have been married and only recently when we were talking about crochet, did he say he’d always liked the idea of a blanket like that :) Who knew? :)

Links

For those who would like to find out more about the hooks from my shortlist, here are links to the manufacturers.

For those wanting more information on getting started with Crochet, check out these sites.

Amazon is a good place to look for feedback others have left about these brands and joining Ravelry is not only a great way to meet fellow yarn-a-hollics but also find out more about knitting & crochet, share patterns and discuss your questions too.

For others who find this article for research, have you found any hooks that work great for you? If so do leave a comment so others can find them too.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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