16 December, 2012

Is this now a crochet blog?

No, no it's not but it does seem to be all I blog about at the moment! I'm sure that will change at some point but at the moment it's all I have to blog about :)

So what am I crocheting at the moment? Coasters and table mats, or place mats or pot thingies or trivets or whatever they are called, I'm not sure. I got the pattern from one of the three great crochet books I have out from the library - Simple Crocheting (or Simple Crochet or Crochet Workshop as it's also known by - why three different titles?!) by Erika Knight. The other two are Creative Makers: Simple Crochet and Knot's Itoami Plants, which I'll hopefully get around to saying something about soon. Anyways, I'm really enjoying Simple Crocheting and will definitely be getting it for myself, it has a great assortment of actually useful projects and was quite popular at knitting/crochet group last week when I took it along. 

Crocheted table mats

 They're done in cotton yarn and there are three motifs to do all up. This is the first time I've used cotton and it's just some cheapy stuff I picked up from Spotlight so I suspect possibly not the easiest stuff to work with. Much less forgiving than wool, but I love how defined the pattern looks with it. I have to say I had some problems with the patterns, I ended up having to improvise several times and change things around to get them to work. I don't know if that's me as a beginner or the patterns themselves or what. For example I had to remove one chain between clusters on the last round of the grey one because it wasn't laying flat. I didn't do one round on the pink because it just didn't sit nicely - but they both look fine in the book's examples. Maybe it's the yarn? I also really struggled with the way the patterns started new rounds, it just seemed to be really awkward and I was left with ugly thick bits and wonky-looking areas. It also does a lot of stitches into the top of dc (or tc in British terms) which I found almost impossible to get to look nice. In the end I tried to work into chain spaces where I could and slip stitched into spaces to start and it just went more smoothly. Is that a style thing maybe? I suspect my lack of experience. Anyways, the result is worth any minor quibbles! And thank god for You Tube when it came time for the dc5tog on the green ice crystal, there's nothing in the book about how to do it, but just google your problem and some nice and talented person has made a video for you that solves everything.

Funnily, I had done a couple before I realised I was supposed to be doing them with the yarn doubled, so I ended up with big and small versions! The big grey one is about 18cm across and the little one is 11cm.

Double vs. single yarn motifs

It's a totally different effect with doubled yarn. The little coasters are delicate and sweet, the thicker ones lose the pattern a bit, but have a nice solidity to them, the pink begonia wheel especially (that's my favourite pattern by far). I tried repeatedly to make puff stitches in the first round of the big grey wagon wheel as per the pattern, but just couldn't make anything that looked halfway decent. There weren't actually any directions for puff stitches in the pattern, so I went from a puff stitch in another project, which was fine in the single yarn, and when that didn't work for the double I tried less loops until I just gave up and did dc clusters instead. Again, yarn maybe? I'm going to get some good cotton and make some more over the holidays.

I'm looking forward to trying a few more projects from the book because they really are lovely, although I'm not 100% confident that I won't run in to pattern issues like I did with this one. Still, if it comes out in the end you can't complain too much can you?

Gardenia motif


  1. My internet is being all horribly annoying, so I can't see any of your pretty pictures at all. But I love that you are so into crochet - isn't it simply wonderful. I can't remember the name of a fantastic book I have (packed in my boxes in my shipping container - STILL), but it's a crochet stitch book, massive fat reference with all the stitches, each stitch to a whole page as a sampler. I think there's a similar knitting one. If I find it's name I'll let you know as it's really easy to follow and has great guide for all the stitches.

    I love Knot's Itoami Plants - have used a few patterns from it, but mainly inspiration and eye-candy. I do find the Japanese crochet patterns very easy to follow, great diagrams.

    I'll have to come back and check out all your pretty pictures. Bl**dy country internet!!


  2. my goodness, they're lovely! I have that book on my Christmas wish-list, hoping it might be the incentive I need to finally learn to crochet, but after reading your review of this pattern I'm not sure I could cope! still, it really is a beautiful book and the projects are all things I'd like to make.

  3. I really should have a couple of reference books, so if you do remember which one you have I'd love to hear about it!
    I got some of the very fine thread to try out the Itoami patterns but got the wrong weight in the end (too fine) so haven't had a chance to try it. Somewhat intimidating but it's all so gorgeous I'm determined to try! When I googled for images from the book I came across the blog posts you'd written where the book is mentioned, so I knew you had it :) It's not available at the Book Depository at the moment, but when it comes back in I'll definitely get a copy.

  4. Don't be intimidated! The pattens themselves are quite easy really and the good thing about crochet is that it's easy to rip out and do it again and you can see very quickly if something's not working when you're doing it in the round, because it won't sit flat. I'm not that experienced or anything and I was able to get them to work fine in the end (plus I think most of the problem was with me anyways, not the patterns!) So it's not like you get to the end and then realise it hasn't worked! There are other patterns in the book that would be great for absolute beginners, I think I'd class these as advanced beginner/intermediate but it doesn't take long to get to that point with crochet so you'll be doing them before you know it!

  5. I have been enjoying crochet more and more lately. Your crochet looks lovely - thanks for sharing the info on the books. I might go and see if my library has them.



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