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[sticky post] Why crochet?

A couple of months ago I went through a very difficult phase in my life. I was very nervous and anxious and needed to find something to keep my mind off my personal problems. I discovered my passion for crochet.
Crocheting is therapeutic. It's calming, you can let your mind wander off while your hands are busy. You can make all kinds of cute things.
I started with the classic potholders and baby blankets, then I made little hats and scarfs. After receiving some really nice compliments about my work (bless my mom *lol*) I became more adventurous - the next step was baby and childrens' clothing. I give most of it to charity, I found a nice group of women who knit and crochet things for orphanages, hospitals, shelters and so on.

I want to use this journal now for my crochet-related ramblings :) Of course I still fangirl, you can find me on tumblr!

Major setback

I haven't been feeling too well, lately. Always tired and sad, always exhausted, always on the edge of tearing up, with a dash of "leave me alone" and "go fuck yourself"
I had a long chat with my doctor today. Turns out I suffer from neurasthenia, acute depression and burnout syndrome.
I have to look for a therapist or check myself into a mental hospital.
The worst thing? I feel so ashamed and embarrassed. . I know I shouldn't, I'm sick, I need help and shouldn't feel ashamed to ask for it. But I do.


The next step

Making baby blankets and scarves is fun, really. But after making about a gazillion blankies I needed a new challenge.
Hats! Lots and lots of hats! For kids, since I don't like wearing hats ;-)

I started with a very simple pattern and decorated the hats with crochet flowers and occhi butterflies.

After mastering the art of simple hat-making ;) I eventually became bolder and tried my luck with "real" clothing, aka little sweaters, like these.

I used sockyarn for them - my mother had a few balls in her stash. (my mother knits socks, and only socks....an endless stream of socks)
Both look a bit baggy and uneven, Basically I crocheted 4 rectangles for each and sew them together, and I wasn't very satiesfied with how they turned out. I still wasn't very experienced with making shaped garments and realized I had to do something about it if I wanted to do it right, so I bought a couple of books. And studied ;)

I found these books very very helpful:

  • "Creating crochet fabric" by Dora Ohrenstein

  • "Custom crocheted sweaters" by Dora Ohrenstein

  • "Everyday crochet" by Doris Chan

  • and "Little crochet" by Linda Permann.

All of these ladies are well-known crochet designers and obviously know what they are writing about. They all say it's important to "know your crochet", aka know your stitches, pick the right hook, don't ignore the gauge, pick the right yarn for your project and so on. I followed their advice  and - voilà - the first shaped little cardigan! Wheee :)

...the hell?

What happened to Livejournal? I was just getting familiar again with it, and it changes? Noooo! Change is bad! Sometimes....

I had a couple of  stressful weeks - work sucked (again), my family went crazy (again), my best friend moved and I helped her... not much time left for needlework!
Whenever I don't have much time for complicated patterns but need the stress relief of crochet *lol*, I dive into my stash and make a baby blanket. This time I picked a quick and easy ripple pattern I found on ravelry, made with "Drops delight raspberry cake"
I'll post a picture when it's done :)

Ufos are real

I kid you not :)

While browsing ravelry.com, I found out that there is a difference between a wip (work in progress) and a ufo (unfinished object)

A wip is a piece you will come back to once in a while - I currently have just one, a lacy scarf with a tricky pattern. The pattern is beautiful but I hate it so much, because you have to concentrate and count stitches and you can't even cheat when you miss a stitch, it will show.
Nothing you can do while lounging on the sofa and watching tv. Once in a while, when I feel like crocheting something difficult, I go back to that scarf and crochet another 2 centimeters.

I've had a couple of ufos, though. The most memorable (and most expensive) one was a cardigan I wanted to crochet for myself, actually it was the very first piece of clothing I tried. I picked this pattern here . I had absolutely no experience whatsoever, I've only made granny squares before I tried this ambitious pattern. I bought 20 balls of yarn, the wrong one, as it turned out. I picked a bulky one - mistake number one. I didn't measure myself and just started a size I thought could fit me. I didn't consider that a bulky yarn automatically increases the size of the finished piece. The result was a hybrid between a potato-sack and a tent. I was devastated *lol* In the end I frogged the whole thing and started smaller, literally - with children's clothes ;)

Right now, I have one ufo - and that's because I don't know what to do with the yarn. It's handdyed, different shades of  dusky pink, but the texture of the thread is so odd. Thin in some places, bulky in other, and there are fluffy strands inbetween. The colour itself would be perfect for a little girl's (or boy's)  cardigan or sweater, but I just don't like the way it looks when crocheted.



I did it again and ordered yarn online ;)



Granny squares are charming in an old-fashioned way. They make for cute blankets and pillows, and I've seen crochet books with clothing entirely made of granny squares. They are cute little projects you can put in your purse and crochet on the bus, for example. Or you can make them with scraps of yarn. Yes, but there's always the downside: there are so many threads to weave in! And you have to stitch them together. I'm not a huge fan of weaving in or sewing/crochetin things together. I bought a book called "Seamless crochet" which deals with that issue and teaches you how to crochet motifs together while working them. Haven't mastered that one yet, there's a pattern that looks like I could build a time machine with it  ;-)

A couple of months ago I made two granny square baby blankets. I like how both of them turned out, but the one with the multicolored squares was a bitch to finish ;-)

This one was made with two threads Drops Alpaca in four different colours. Here is the pattern

This is my favorite. It's made with Drops Nepal, a great bulky yarn. I love the colours, especially the gray/purple and the gray/green.
Here's the pattern

To be honest, one of my ufo's (unfinished objects) is this blankie in different colours. I finished the squares, but I'm not in the mood to assemble them..... urgh.

Introducing my first projects

When I was six or seven years old, my mother taught me how to crochet. I made chains until I ran out of yarn and lost interest. I haven't touched a hook in more than thirty years (yes, I'm that old^^)

When I started again, I did it with a classic pattern - the potholder.

But the number of potholders you use or give away are limited, obviously :)

Next step: Baby blankets! Using another classic crochet pattern, I made these:

I used "Schachenmayr Micro Fibre"yarn for the blankets. Very smooth to the touch, but the plies tend to seperate which is a pain in the a***. Wouldn't buy it again, but I still have a couple of balls (heh) in my stash....

Here are the patterns for the potholder
and the baby blanket