Tomorrow is the first session of my Crochet in the Round workshop for children. I have eleven students registered, which is a lot to teach. Fortunately I recruited two of last year’s students to be teacher aides. Yesterday I met with my team so we could practice our stitches. I feel pretty ready.
I’ve been having lots of fun crocheting assorted objects in the round that might be appealing to children. Mr. Ghost is awfully cute, and seasonally correct! It is begun like all circular crochet projects, with a group of stitches worked into one chain stitch or magic ring. Subsequent rounds are increased, and then decreased as the shaping requires. While I found this pattern not difficult, I am uncertain whether an eight-year old can manage it. The arms were the trickiest part, because they were so small to hold. The eyes are made of white felt, marked with a sharpie and sewn on with black embroidery floss. The mouth is also black floss.
If you want to try a ghost, the pattern is available free at Lion Brand yarn.
The first fiber arts workshop I will teach this year takes place in October. I selected crochet in the round because minimal skills are needed to make basic shapes. There are no long chains to work into, no need to turn the work and it is easy to keep track of the number of stitches in each round by using one marker. I am so excited about the patterns I have found in researching for this workshop!
May I present Princess Pigtail and Knight Greyling of Corkshire?
This adorable characters can be crocheted in less than an hour and require only a small amount of yarn. For the princess, I used a wine cork as the filler. The knight is filled with a tall thread spool.
Like many women in my demographic, I get my exercise by practicing yoga. I don’t remember when I got the idea to make a purple yogi, but I know where. It was during a yoga session. While searching for a drishti (otherwise know as a focal point) in the middle of forming tree pose, my eyes glanced at a ceramic yogi in seated position. Breaking my concentration, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be fun to make a posable figure from yarn and wire?”
Thus was conceived the Purple Yogi. He is constructed of yarn, florist’s wire, a little fiber fill and some white glue. The gestation period was about three months, and the birth itself took two half days of work. I started with a sketch, and proceeded in single crochet to make his torso and head.
Next I crocheted down from the waist to make a pair of manly hips. The arms were knit in I-cord. One wire was inserted through the body at shoulder height and slipped inside both the arms.
The legs came next. I inserted a wire through the hips, with loops where the ball sockets would be. A wire was inserted into each loops and stretched down for the legs. The I-cord legs had two increase rows, to make them a more tapered shape. Then the knitted legs were slipped over the wires, sewn to the body, and a little glue added to shape his feet. Here is the completed doll.
I discovered very quickly that he could not sustain a pose without a sticky mat. I cut one out of a rug grip pad. Okay, Yogi, let’s strike a pose or two!
This project really made me smile. It’s good to play, even if one is a bit old for dolls.
Easter and garden events in the past two days have kept me away from my Daily Fiber blog, but my fiber stash has not been idle. I have checked out a few tutorials on some techniques that I have been wanting to try. The first is Tunisian crochet. If you haven’t heard of Tunisian, it is a sort of cross between knitting and crocheting. The hook looks like a crochet hook but with a straight smooth handle, on which the loops are collected up during the forward pass. On the return pass, you crochet them back off the hook. Since each stitch is worked twice, it makes a nice, thick fabric.
To be honest, this technique did not capture my imagination. The swatch is just, well, meh. Perhaps it could be used to make a warm pair of slippers. Moving on – the tutorial I watched yesterday is about various colorwork knitting techniques, including fancy stripes, duplicate stitch, inlay stitch (called Roositud in Estonia) and two-color cables. This last technique is the one I am swatching right now.
I’m using the two-color cable technique as a join between two different colors of yarn. In other words, I made a swatch that was two colors, side by side, joined in intarsia technique. I started by casting on fifteen stitches of grey and the same of yellow. Here is the wrong side of the swatch, just as I begin the first cable.
Here is my progress for the first two cables:
At this point, I was totally getting the technique and decided to make it a little more interesting. I decided to “travel” the cable from its central position. I did this by knitting two grey stitches together and making one yellow stitch. I repeated this two more times. Here is a view of the swatch back, showing how the two yarns are locked together. To do this, you bring the working yarn of the second color up from underneath the first color working yarn.
And here is my two-color cable swatch after wet blocking.
This was an easy knit. I can think of fun applications for two-color cables, such as children’s sweaters and team color scarves. Can you spot the slight lean in my cable? It’s going to the right, so I guess that makes this a conservative stitch.
It is my stated goal to explore the possibilities of everything fiber, or even fiber-ish. Plastic bags seem to accumulate at an alarming rate in my home. This photo shows the orange plastic bag that my daily paper comes in, if the weather is even the least bit damp. Recycling these wrappers is not an option in my community. Of course the re-use option is the most likely destination for this item. I don’t have a dog, so that re-use is not going to happen. I re-use them occasionally to cover my paint rollers temporarily, if I am unable to finish the paint job in one day. But considering that the wrappers are long and narrow, I wondered if they could be woven, crocheted or knit?
The answer is yes to all three. I started out by knitting and, indeed, came up with a respectable looking little orange swatch. But I couldn’t think of any use for it. I moved on to crochet, using my no. 15 hook.
I connected the wrappers with clear tape. I tried sewing them end to end, but the plastic clung to my needle every time I pushed it through wrapper.
Here is my chain, slip-stitched together.
Here is the finished object, viewed from the bottom. My husband says it looks like a bunch of Cheetos.
The object ended up as a sort of Koozie, or in this case, a cover for a plant pot. I inserted a glass jar, added a cotton bow and filled with herbs. One could just as easily insert a cold beer which would likely stay cold until consumed.
My conclusion is that one can crochet a bunch of plastic together, but it isn’t fun and it isn’t pretty. The result is a bit of a “sow’s ear” trying to be a “silk purse.”
I have been fiddling around crocheting three dimensional flowers for about five days now. The instructions came in a book by Suzann Thompson, Crochet Bouquet. This particular style is called Aster-oids. They are very simple to make, in terms of stitches, using only chain, single crochet and slip stitch.
I found the idea of making the flowers to be a lot more fun than the actual making turned out to be. Working them was a rather fiddly undertaking. The one great virtue of flowers made out of yarn is that they won’t ever wilt.
Okay, it’s time for me to admit the obvious. I really can’t complete a fiber object each and every day. That isn’t to say I don’t work with fiber every day. That part is true. The issue is finishing, photographing, writing and posting daily. So far, not possible. So here is a little taste of the crocheted posies I have been working on, and a brief anecdote from my fiber arts students today.
As you, my dear readers may recall, today the fiber kids were beginning to make string-pieced quilt tops. It is a stretch goal, but the students got busy, working away. Sometimes one of them sewed a seam backward or cut the fabric too short. I wanted to reassure them that mistakes were okay, just part of the learning process. I said, “Remember, we are experimenting. You know about scientists, and how they often perform experiments. What do you think they do when an experiment doesn’t work out right?” One of the boys said, ” Things get blown up?” A girl student said, “You are such a boy!” Fortunately for us, none of the quilt tops detonated.
Be back tomorrow with the latest in fiber. – Laura Kate