Crochet Gnome – I finished something!ย 

For what feels like first time in yonks I have something to share for FO Friday, woot! He is only little but here is my friendly gnome.

I am new to amigurumi, and after a whole day working him, truth be told he didn’t even look like a gnome to me by the end! However, the next day I liked him much better – some time apart did us good haha.

The pattern is from a cute book called Crochet Your Christmas Baubles, which just arrived last week. Mr Gnome is worked in the (recommended) Stylecaft Special DK. Some of the other patterns recommend DMC Natura Just Cotton, so I’ve ordered (from Love Crochet – 15% off voucher here if you’d like one!) plenty of Christmassy colours for the Santa, elf and reindeer included in the 25 patterns. I’m working on an owl from the same book at the moment. There’s also a cute fairy and a couple of Elsa-type projects (hello fellow mums of Frozen fans!) so the book goes beyond just Christmas, which is added value I reckon. I am managing the patterns fine as a newbie to amigurumi and there are some helpful little notes at the back, too. The patterns are sorted into themes: Santa’s Grotto, Frozen Winter Wonderland, Fairy Tale, Scandinavian Style and White Christmas – definitely something to suit all tastes!

In other news, while looking for black acrylic dk for owl eyes in my stash, I found some variegated cotton worsted. I immediately forgot all about the eyes and accidentally started making a bag – oops! Yes, my motto is, You Can Never Have Too Many Wips (or bags) ๐Ÿ˜‚

Unfortunately now I’ve started working up the sides, I’m just not feeling the way the variegated is working up. So I’ve added some solid stripes but I’m still a bit meh about it…can’t decide what to do! It’s just not to my taste – but it would still probably make  nice library / treasure bag for one of my daughters. Hmmm…

If you’re not loving a project, do you quit or do you see it through?

And are you crocheting for Christmas yet?? ๐Ÿ˜€

Freeform Crochet – the Adventure Continues!

wp-image--1172129344I wasn’t going to write another post until I had something finished to share with you, but I have since realised that this might mean no blog until Christmas or some such, so here I am with some work in progress ๐Ÿ˜€

Last month I started experimenting with freeform crochet, or scrumbling. I completed a piece for a local yarnbombing and my interest didn’t wane so I ordered another book on the topic (any excuse to buy another crochet book!). Freeform Crochet with Confidence by Carol Meldrum is just lovely!! Areas covered include patchwork and spirals, organic patterns, openwork and lace, trims, edgings and fillers. I’ve dived straight into some spirals, offset circles and spikes, and basic organic motifs. The instructions are very clear and the reader is encouraged to use all the information as a guide from which one’s own creations can be adapted. I’ve found the section on filling in the gaps to be the most useful and interesting at the moment, and I’m having a great deal of fun patching holes in my new freeform project, using combinations of stitches worked together.

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So my current active WIP is a small and entirely experimental piece – a freeform crochet pouch, to be worked onto an inner pocket from an old shoulder bag. Freeform and upcycling fun! To me, it is a bit like painting, especially as I fill the gaps with colour – it’s like making brushstrokes. Not that I paint! But you get the idea I hope ๐Ÿ™‚

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Are you a fan of freeform crochet, either in your own work or pieces you’ve seen by other people? There are some wildly incredible freeform crochet artworks out there, it is quite hard not to be intimidated and just give up entirely lol. I love it all ๐Ÿ™‚

The Crocheter’s Skill-Building Workshop Chapters 1-3

I purchased The Crocheter’s Skill-Building Workshop by Dora Ohrenstein last year and while I have enjoyed simply browsing through it very much – nothing like a good crochet book and a cuppa, with or without a hook! – it’s time to up my game and read it properly and with intent.

There are over seventy-five swatch patterns included in this guide to honing one’s crochet skills, and I already love this hands-on approach to learning. The book has had rave reviews and Ohrenstein is clearly very highly regarded within the industry. She’s also easy to read and her tone is warm and encouraging to boot.

Chapter One is all about yarn for crocheting – its history, the varied sources, manufacturing processes, spinning, twisting, weights, specialty and hand-dyed yarns, fabric and drape. A wealth of information! There is clear discussion about how best to select yarn for a project based on its properties and the desired outcome in terms of drape. I have learned so much, and I thoroughly enjoyed hooking the Medium and Very Open Lace swatches that the author uses to illustrate this point.

Swatch patterns throughout the book are presented in both written and chart form. I am less familiar with charts but nevertheless found myself using the chart only by the end of the second swatch. There’s no doubt that the ability to read charts is extremely useful – not least if the project you long to attempt is written in Japanese only and that’s not one of your languages, for example! – and being able to learn to read charts while making these many small swatches is to my mind a fabulous added bonus.

Chapter Two is all about the tools of our addiction ๐Ÿ™‚ The author explores the anatomy of the hook and the many choices we have in terms of the materials they are made from and the variations in shape of the component parts. I myself prefer ergonomic handles, and most specifically Clover Amours, or as a reasonably close second, Knitpicks ergonomics. I’m awaiting delivery of an Addi Swing ordered recently on a whim and am excited to try it. Ohrenstein encourages us to try different hooks before becoming too set in our ways, so I’m already heeding that advice! I’d love the fancy blocking board described in this chapter, but for now I’m managing ok with my DIY effort – a kids kickboard and bamboo cooking skewers ๐Ÿ™‚ I have never heard of the T-pins detailed here – certainly they are more pleasing to the eye than my skewers! Something else for my ever-growing crochet wish list…

Chapter Three is all about tension. I was most encouraged to read that one’s tension can be adjusted, it is not a style set in stone! I struggle with too tight tension in more intricate stitch patterns and I am already managing to loosen it by adjusting how deep onto the hook I pull the yarn. Focusing on the minute maneuvers that make all the difference – for example swiveling the hook so it points down – has neatened my starting chains too.

Hand health is also covered here, such an important topic for the addicts amongst us. Having been forced to go crochet cold turkey for a few months recently due to RSI, it’s a topic I will cover in more depth in another post. However, right now I’m returning to Chapter Four, Fundamental Techniques. There are a fair few very interesting looking swatch patterns in this section, which I hope to be able to share with you very soon ๐Ÿ™‚

You can purchase The Crocheter’s Skill-Building Workshop from all good online bookstores. I always buy from Book Depository, so that’s where I link to. I am not affiliated with the author or publisher in any way. I do receive a small commission from Book Depository for any sales resulting from this post. I put it towards more lovely crochet books ๐Ÿ™‚