Thursday, February 25, 2010

All things crochet...

I've been really into my crocheting lately. It provides me a wonderfully soothing respite after Hank goes to bed in the late evenings. I recently learned to knit, and I enjoy that very much as well, but crochet remains my first craft love.

As a little girl, I remember my mom crocheting. She taught me how, and my sisters too. I don't remember exactly when, but I know that she did, and I remember making a few afghans as a teenager. The comical thing is that my mom only makes one specific kind of afghan - there is no variation permitted :) She likes to make ripple afghans, in Christmas colors, using only single crochet stitches. Yes, it takes her a *long* time to finish one of these babies :) She taught me how to make one of those, and I branched off from there. Recently, for her job as a family support worker for her local public school district, she taught a crochet class. She called me in a panic:

"How do I make a double crochet?!"

At any rate, I'm extremely grateful that she passed crochet on to me, which initiated a lifelong appreciation of crafts and needlework. My own craft projects lay dormant for many years while I was in my 20's, and then when I became pregnant with Henry, I decided that I wanted to crochet a baby blanket. I worked on it throughout my pregnancy, but didn't finish, and quickly forgot about the project in my busyness with a newborn. Last year, I was cleaning out our storage when I happened upon my crate of UFO's (Unfinished Objects - a vexing problem for all crafters). I decided to finish up what was in there, and my interest underwent a dramatic reawakening.

Since then, I've made blankets, scarves, hats, shawls and slipper socks. I've also learned to knit. I do really enjoy the process of knitting; there's something about moving those 2 sticks around that I find infinitely soothing. And knitted fabric is more stretchy and forgiving than crochet, making it ideal for things like socks, sweaters and hats. That being said, I prefer crochet. For those that don't know, crochet uses a single hook, rather than multiple needles like knitting. I just *love* the way it looks.

For instance, this is a knitted swatch:

And this is crochet:

It creates a very feminine, lacy look. As well, crochet is great for making three dimensional objects, such as stuffed animals or flowers to sew onto a hat.

I simply *have* to share a wonderful portal for free patterns, Lion Brand Yarn online. I did a search for "Easter" and this is what I found. *squeals* The bunny?! The LAMBIE?! Couldn't you just die? I'm a little uncertain about sewing faces onto bodies, but I'm willing to give it a whirl. To access the free patterns, you do have to register, but there is no cost. I've used their patterns in the past, and find them quite good. Make sure to read any reviews to discover possible corrections or modifications that make the pattern better. I tried one of their patterns for a cascade scarf at Christmas time and the end result earned rave reviews. I had requests for cascade scarves coming out my ears. I'd like to crochet an Easter tablerunner, and I'm in the market for a pattern, so was doing some searching this morning.

Another good spot is Crochet Pattern Central. I'm currently executing Easter searches there too :) I just have a thing for seasonal crafts, I can't help myself.

Right now, I'm working on a baby blanket for some friends of ours. I'll need to make another blanket for another expectant couple, and some hats and booties. I also have a few shawls in my queue, and 2 afghans for our house, a spring and an autumn one. I'm all excited.

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