Posts Tagged ‘crochet’

Book review: 100 Snowflakes to crochet

Sunday, January 13th, 2013

Ever since I started making hand-making my Christmas cards, I’ve had this idea that one year I would make cards with beautiful, lacy, crocheted snowflakes on them. I tried a couple of times but, as a fairly inexperienced crocheter, I really struggled to follow the patterns that I found and it was clear that I just didn’t have the skills yet to do justice to the vision in my head so I abandoned the idea and did something different instead.

Then, in September, I saw Lisa of Polka Dot Cottage‘s review of 100 Snowflakes to crochet and her snowflakes were exactly what I’d always pictured. A quick visit to Amazon later and a copy was winging its way to me.

100 Snowflakes to crochet

As book titles go, this isn’t the most original but it does deliver exactly what it promises: 100 patterns for crocheted snowflakes. The patterns are graded from beginner to advanced and there’s a showcase at the start to make it easy to pick the snowflake that you want to make. The book includes information on materials and tools, and a crochet refresher course that covers all the stitches and techniques that you’ll need to make any of the snowflakes in the book. There is also a section on the structure of snowflakes to help you create your own patterns if the 100 in the book aren’t enough!

100 Snowflakes to crochet

One of my regular complaints about this type of book is that inappropriate (fuzzy) yarns are used or the pictures aren’t clear enough for you to see all the details but not here. All the photographs are beautifully clear allowing you to see the individual details of each pattern.

The patterns themselves are also easy to follow. The snowflake in the picture above was completed on only my second or third attempt and it’s one of the advanced patterns (No. 80, Sea Smoke). Every pattern is also charted. I haven’t managed to get my head around crochet charts yet despite my love of knitting charts but I do like that they’ve been included.

The snowflake above was made with 4 ply yarn and (I think) a 3.75mm hook but was far too big for putting on a card. Instead, I tried with some actual crochet thread but it was just too fine and fiddly for my inexperienced fingers.

Crochet snowflakes

Then I tried again with some laceweight yarn and a 1.75mm hook. These snowflakes were made using Fyberspates Truly Scrumptious lace and were the perfect size for attaching to the front of a card. The snowflake on the left is unblocked and the one on the right had been sprayed with water and then lightly ironed through a towel. Although I had crocheted the snowflakes well in advance of when I needed to post my cards, I got sick and, by the time I was better, didn’t have time to soak and block them with pins. This is also why I don’t have any pictures of the completed cards!

To sum up, if you have any interest whatsoever in crocheting snowflakes then this is the book for you. As a craft book, it does have a very specific focus but it does exactly what it sets out to do and does it well.

Conquering crochet

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

There hasn’t been much posting here recently, which is at least partly due to there not have been a lot of knitting going on around here.

One of the reasons for the scarcity of knitting was pain in my upper arms due to an excess of writing while studying that knitting appeared to aggravate. Since I really need something to help me relax between study sessions, I decided, hesitantly, that I would give crochet another try.

Crochet and I have had a strange history. My first attempt at crochet happened when I decided that I wanted a new cardigan to wear over the dress that I had bought for a friend’s wedding. Since there was only a week before the wedding, I decided that it would have to be crocheted rather than knitted, despite having never crocheted before. So, I picked a pattern, bought some yarn, a hook and an introductory book on crochet and proceeded to start crocheting. One week later, I finished sewing up the cardigan on the train journey to the wedding and wore it to the wedding.

It’s been two years (almost to the day) and I haven’t finished a single crocheted item since.

My problem with crochet (and it is my problem and not crochet’s) is that I’m just not as good at it as I am at knitting. I’m continually having to check what pattern abbreviations mean and then having to check how to actually form those stitches. Until recently, I hadn’t found a comfortable way to hold my hook, resulting in some very awkward arm movements.

But, since I couldn’t knit and desperately needed some form of relaxation whilst studying, I decided that was I just going to have to learn to crochet properly. So, I picked a simple project and, using some bamboo yarn that I had in my stash, started a baby blanket. (The original pattern was for a cushion cover but I really don’t need pastel cushion covers!)

P1010277

Shortly after I started the project, I came across this passage in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice:

“My fingers,” said Elizabeth, “do not move over this instrument in the masterly manner which I see so many women’s do. They have not the same force or rapidity, and do not produce the same expression. But then I have always supposed it to be my own fault—because I will not take the trouble of practising. It is not that I do not believe my fingers as capable as any other woman’s of superior execution.”

Of course, Lizzie is talking about playing the pianoforte and not crochet, but I’m taking the lesson to heart and keeping practising!