Wednesday, November 30, 2011

#2 - Learning to Crochet and Crochet-Along Project

For months I've looked at the pictures of all kinds of adorable projects a few friends of mine have crocheted.  I learned how to do the basic chain stitch about a year ago when my step-mom taught me so I could make fun fur flip-flops for my daughter and her friends.  I decided that it's time to quit saying I'm going to learn and just do it.

Since I don't have any friends nearby who crochet, I took to the internet and of course, Pinterest was my first stop.  Through my Pinterest friends, I found this tutorial through Maybe Matilda.  Rachel did a "Crochet Along" a few months back that I am now prepared to work my way through.  For the first step, she taught the chain stitch, which I refreshed myself on, the single crochet, and how to turn your work.

I have some leftover yarn from a past project and my crochet hook from doing the flip-flops so I pulled those out to practice.  I did these basic steps over and over again, just pulling out my work and starting over from time to time.  With just the basic single crochet stitch, I got bored quickly.  The next step was to learn the half double crochet and double crochet, as well as increasing and decreasing.  The double crochet is the only one of these I've really played with.  Here's one of the squares I've practiced making:

I haven't made anything to keep yet... I asked Santa for some new yarn in my stocking so I can really get down to work and start learning more seriously.  And today I plan to take on the half double crochet so I can move one step farther with the learning process.  YAY!

UPDATED (12/01/11)
I decided to go through and do some more practice for each of the basic stitches.  I realized that I had been making things much harder on myself than necessary.  I hadn't paid attention to the portion where she explains that when working the various stitches, you go through both the front and back loop of the chain below once you get past the foundation.

I did a big chunk of stitches, working my way through Single Crochet, Half Double Crochet, and Double Crochet.  This is definitely getting easier!  Here's how my practice turned out:

Now that I've gotten more comfortable with the basics, I decided it was time to try the Crochet-Along project - a cowl.  The pattern was provided by Lion Yarn and can be found here.  I picked up my yarn at Joann's, as well as a bigger needle.  The pattern calls for Wool-Ease Thick & Quick Yarn and a size N-13 hook.  I picked up the Chunky Wool-Ease Thick & Quick in Charcoal.  Unfortunately, Joann's didn't seem to have the Lion Brand hooks so I bought a different brand and got size N-15.  It is slightly larger, but has worked well with the Chunky yarn.  

I came home, got everything out, and sat down to go to work.  

I followed along with Rachel's instructions for the first two rows and after 4 hours, was very proud of myself for having about 6 inches done.  I leaned back and looked at my work, realizing something wasn't right.  I pulled my work back out and tried again, only to end up with the same result.  UGH!  I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong.  I decided to call it a night since it was getting late.  

I woke up yesterday morning determined to solve my problem.  I pulled Rachel's tutorial back up and immediately spotted my problem.  I hadn't realized  that "in each ch-2 sp across" meant the spaces I created by making the V-stitch in the chain below.  I had just been re-creating the V-stitch in every 2 chains.  WOW! That was a lot of wasted time.  

Now, less than 24 hours later, I have completed 36" and am ready to stitch the ends together.  (The pattern recommends 52", but I think that with the thickness of the yarn, 36" is plenty for me!)  Since I forgot to buy a needle with a wide eye, I decided to double crochet the ends together.

I absolutely love how the finished project turned out!  I can't wait to wear it out.  I may have to find some sparkly yarn and make one to wear to Christmas parties.  :)

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