Weekend womanscraft: yarncraft

Line drawing of ball of yarn with a pair of knitting nedles stuck through it

I find it very difficult to sit around doing nothing with my hands. My solution to this problem is crotchet. I will crotchet anywhere, any time. I have been approached at festivals with comments such as “hey, you’re that lady I saw crotcheting at the [insert gig]”. It’s a great conversation starter, although people usually ask me what I am knitting. A friend once took a picture of me crotcheting away and then was amazed at the blur my hands made in the photo (although I the photo was taken in indoor lighting and I still think any movement would have produced a blur.)

I mostly favour fairly simple patterns that I can take my eyes off so that I can pay attention to something else at the same time. This is part of the reason I prefer crotchet to knitting. (Also, crotchet is much easier to transport – if your hook comes out of your work, it is a matter of moments to pick it back up again, even if there has been some unravelling.)

The I-can-do-it-with-my-eyes-closed thing is also part of why I have a few standard favourite patterns. But sometimes I will work out a new pattern – rarely entirely from scratch; I use general pattern books and other patterns and take bits and pieces from them to make what I want. Ravelry is also a good source of new patterns when I’m feeling bored or at a loss.

At the moment, I am making a rug, using a pattern I have designed based on two other patterns and a bit of figuring-it-out.

But the pattern set out below is an old standard favourite cushion/rug pattern, the pattern I tend to use to teach people how to crotchet. I’ve made half a dozen rugs to this pattern over time.

If you do not know how to crotchet already: it’s pretty easy, and there are lots of resources (including YouTube videos) online, so I won’t set out a lesson here.

Be warned: if you are using North American resources, they use a different notation. What we call a double stitch, they call single; what we call treble, they call double; what we call double treble, they call treble.

How about you? What stitchery or yarncraft are you up to/are you interested in?

Foundation: 4 ch, slip stitch to close.
Row 1: 3 ch, 2 tr in ring. *1 ch, 3 tr in ring* rep * to * twice. 1 ch, slip stitch in third ch at start of row.
Row 2: 4 ch. *3 tr, 1 ch, 3 tr, 1 ch in next ch gap* rep * to * twice. 3 tr, 1 ch, 2 tr in last ch gap, slip stitch in third ch at start of row.
Row 3: 3 ch, 2 tr in first ch gap. 1 ch. In next ch gap (corner): 3 tr, 1 ch, 3 tr. 1 ch. In next ch gap (centre): 3 tr. 1 ch. Continue this pattern (ie 3 tr in each centre ch gap; 3 tr, 1 ch, 3 tr in each corner ch gap, with 1 ch between each set of stitches) around row. End with 1 ch, slip stitch in third ch at start of row.
Row 4: 4 ch. 3 tr in next ch gap. 1 ch. Continue as for Row 3 (ie 3 tr in each side ch gap; 3 tr, 1 ch, 3 tr in each corner ch gap, with 1 ch between each set of stitches). End with 2 tr in the ch stitch next to the first 4 chains, slip stitch into third ch at start of row.

Continue in this way with odd rows following pattern for Row 3 and even rows following pattern for Row 4.

Some tips:

First, if you are changing colours, it is best to have each colour in an even number of rows, because:
– single rows of a colour look a bit weird with this pattern
– the changeover is neater at the end of an even row (for a similar reason, I recommend finishing on an even row).

Second, worsted weight is basically the perfect yarn for this pattern, with a hook from anywhere between 4.5 mm and 6 mm, depending on your natural tension and how loose you want the pattern to be.

Categories: fun & hobbies, Life

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5 replies

  1. I crochet too. I know one pattern – I can make granny squares. So I do – 6 round granny squares, out of whichever yarn I have to hand. I keep the squares, and join them together (using double crochet on the right side) into strips, then the strips are joined together to make blankets or rugs. I’ve made 6 rugs this way so far (the most recent was a knee rug in “Fremantle Dockers” colours and design for my father-in-law for Christmas), and I’m currently sort of working on a seventh.
    I tend to do the actual squares when I’m on public transport (I’m up to about one square in thirty minutes, which means I can get one done on the bus trip into Fremantle for appointments) or when I’m waiting around for things, or when I’m in a space where I’m likely to be nervous or anxious. Of course, this has led to me accumulating a 52 litre plastic box full of granny squares waiting to be made up into rugs (the actual rug-making bit is a tad boring in my opinion). Then again, my current yard stash occupies two 52 litre plastic boxes. Gotta do something about that.
    We do get some use out of the blankets – we use them on our beds in winter, and they’re lovely and cosy warm.

  2. I keep meaning to learn to crochet. I should hold a crafternoon to incite friends to teach me, shouldn’t I?
    Meanwhile, I’ll plug a shiny new podcast, Champagne and Socks, by Alisa Krasnostein of Galactic Suburbia and Twelfth Planet Press. I imagine an iTunes subscription is on the way, but meanwhile it’s here: champagneandsocks.podbean.com

  3. I am nearing the end of my current project – the Rippling Waters scarf from Fiddlesticks Knitting. I am knitting with a rather luxurious superfine merino/silk/cashmere handspun yarn, and knitting the second edging which gobbles up the scarf stitches as it progresses. It feels a bit like magic, and no hard cast off edges either.

  4. Heh. I am the starter of many projects and the finisher of few. At the moment the things I am most likely to pick up are a crocheted snowflake something (I got a hank of lovely hand-dyed lace weight wool for Xmas so I am basically making snowflakes and joining them until I run out of yarn -it may be a shawl or a scarf depending on the number of snowflakes I end up with) and a hand sewn 1480’s ish gown in a fine deep gold coloured wool. It will eventually have brown velvet collar and cuffs.

  5. So nice to find so many – relatively speaking – fellow crotcheters! Usually I feel a bit left out, even amongst knitters.
    @Megpie: Oh yeah, go granny squares. I deliberately avoid projects that require making up 🙂 this does mean that rugs get to a certain size and then can only be done at home, but then I do some smaller pieces in parallel.
    A friend of mine said she didn’t mind making up and offered to devour my yarn stash if I made a bundle of patches (hexagons and half hexagons) for a rug. I did a bunch, haven’t done any for a while but I don’t think she has ever put any together. I should look into that…
    @Lauredhel: yes, yes you should 🙂 thanks for the heads up on the podcast.
    @Variegated: yum, sounds lovely
    @angharad: I don’t even want to know how many half-done projects I have in my cupboard. I made a rule for myself last year: no new projects unless they deplete the stash. I did make a concerted effort to finish a couple of things as part of that, but…
    Both of your current (major?) projects sound lovely. I made a lacy shawl a couple of years ago with bamboo, one of my DIY patterns, and was really happy with how it turned out. (One of those pieces that I get a lot of “you made that???” comments on, but it was actually pretty easy once I had the pattern figured out!)

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