Friday, September 21, 2007

Of kindness and crochet

Somewhat random title for today's post, but two topics which are kind of linked...

On Kindness
This week, out of the blue, a package arrived in my in-tray at work. Hmm, I don't remember ordering anything (although, to be perfectly honest, it wouldn't surprise me if I ordered yarn in my sleep...).

Opened the package to find this:
GORGEOUS red yarn - Reynolds Sea Wool, that I've read about on various blogs - all to rave reviews. And the giver - lovely Amy - to say thank you for organising the Southern Summer of Socks - how lovely - so unnecessary, but so lovely (and enclosed in a ziplock bag)! And all this kindness when it should be Amy getting the presents - because today is her birthday! Weeeeeeeeeeeee! HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMY! (and speaking of kind, check out Amy's mitten tutorial - so detailed!)

And since I mentioned Southern Summer of Socks, I should add we're having a little design a button and banner comp - open until next Wednesday for SSS participants - the more the merrier! See the SSS blog for details!

On Crochet
I promised Michele to flash some crochet swatches - lucky I didn't promised fab photography! Hope these are clear! I've used 8ply/DK yarn and a 4mm crochet hook.

This is a simple double crochet (US single crochet) swatch - makes a thick, firm fabric. I always do a turning chain when I'm starting a new row, and also crochet into the first stitch - otherwise the turning chain doesn't really fill the "hole" at the beginning of the row. I do the turning chain at the end of the row, and then turn my work - it just looks neater, and for the longer crochet stitches, like trebles, it makes it easier to work into the top chain.This one is a treble (US double crochet) swatch. On this one, I do 3 turning chains at the beginning of the row, and then miss the first treble of the row below - you can see on every alternate row there's a bit of a "hole" - the 3 chains act as the first treble of the row. When you get to the end of the row, do the last treble into the top chain stitch of the row below, so that you retain the same number of stitches across the row. Often new crocheters miss this step, and so end up with a triangular shaped swatch!

You can also see how the trebles don't exactly fall on top of each other from row to row - there's a slight zigzag look, and the turning chain on the top row is a bit "floppy" - it will straighten up when it is crocheted into on the next row.

Hope this has helped! Let me know if there's any other crochet questions (not that I'm an expert, just that I've been doing it for a long time!


Bells said...

yeah! Amy is the best. I will post mine on the weekend when I can get the colours right in a photo. That made my week and yours is just beautiful. Go red sock yarn!

Nice tutorial. I think you should talk crochet more. :-)

Michele said...

this really helps. i've not know whether to do the "turning chain" before turning or after and so i've mixed it up a bit. now i'll be consistent. thanks - you're so helpful.

and yeah amy, what a nice gift.

Shazmina Bendi said...

Great tension in the crochet RR, the stitches look neat and purty! (from another non expert)
And lucky you with the gift receiving! Amy is tops! (that is oz speak for fabulous!!)

TinkingBell said...

Lovely yarn - and I'm in awe of your ability to c*****et! How nice is Amy!

amy said...

You're welcome! Random kindness is the best sort. I've been the recipient of so much of it lately (I have photos to flash over the weekend, too).

I know how to crochet, but I never really learned the names of the stitches, and now I find out that they have different names depending upon where in the world you live. Argh. But I do remember that turning chain trick. Without it, scarfs tend to grow in strange ways. :-)

Queen of the froggers said...

Thank you for your little tutorial. Can I ask how to keep my tension even in crochet, in fact any tension tips! I have trouble stopping the top of stitches looking loopy!

MadMad said...

Oh! Beautiful yarn - I always hear people using it saying they love it! And cool tutorial, too! One quick clarification, though: what size plastic bags do you recommend for storing your crochet stuff? ;)

Snoozen said...

Random acts of kindness how lovely of Amy.

Thanks for the continued crochet tutorial!

Rhiannon said...

Hey RR,
Perfect red yarn for you!! Thanks so much for the crochet tips, I'm still trying to figure it all out, and your info has shown me where I was going wrong, and why my work kept decreasing every row, so thanks heaps!! :)

Em said...

I learned a lot of crotchet stitches from reading a basic stitch book, and I have always thought that it was weird that what I call a single is what you call a double. I think this is one of those things that should be standardized, before we all go crazy.

Amy is a sweetheart for sending you and Bells yarn. And what a lovely color! Nicely done,Amy. Way to be awesome. (that's jersey speak for congrats on being cool ;))

Michelle said...

Pretty, pretty yarn! I'm jealous.

My crochet skills are sadly lacking. For everyone's sake, it's better that I stick to chain stitch and single crochet. Anything else I manage to crochet fits fairly and squarely into the realm of 'fug'.

River Glorious said...

The Hole at the End of the Row can be solved by this: instead of doing a Chain-3 and then turning at the end of your row, do a Chain-2.

You'll find that the unsightly hole is practically gone. If you're going a granny square triangle, then go ahead and do the Chain 3 or your work will pull and the triangle will curve (if you're making a shawl).

Hope this helps.

Ambar in Puerto Rico