What does the last of the housewives do?

Tag: crochet

Crochet – Adding to the Nanna Arts

I blame the craft shows. Such beautiful yarn! That’s what we knitters and crocheters call all the various combinations of plastic and fibre that can be spun into thread. Once you buy the yarn, then what? I’ve got my knitting skills up to such a point that I can knit a whole scarf with only a few wonky bits in it. But what then? Knitting actual garments is quite a giant step up and requires commitment and determination and a ton of yarn. I had a look at patterns for knitted beanies, but most of them involve circular needles and it turns out that if you want to make a beanie, you should crochet it.

Why didn’t I get my Nanna to teach me to crochet when she was compos mentis and also alive? I wasn’t even crafting at all then, I was busy getting married and travelling and having kids. It’s a lot easier to have someone teach you to crochet than teaching yourself over the Internet, but it will take your mind off your homicidal thoughts of the bathroom supply shop owner. I guess I could have travelled up to my Grandma’s retirement village to get one of her buddies to teach me (she didn’t knit, crochet, sew or cook, she spent all her time coping with an extremely difficult, but delightful, husband), but I thought I could manage.

Ha. I don’t know if you’ve tried, but to save you the effort here’s how it goes. There’s reams of instructions on starting to crochet. Descriptions of hooks, yarn weights. The most painstaking instructions and diagrams of how to form a crocheted chain. Then, with no warning,
Ch3 (counts as dc), 2dc in same st, skip 2 dc, *FPtr in next dc, ch1, BPtr in next dc, ch1, FPtr in next dc, skip 2 dc **, 3dc in next 2dc, skip 2dc; repeat from * around, ending last repeat at **.
Well, I ask you. The hell?!?

What you do next is to teach yourself some simple stitches. Look up double crochet on a site called Crocheting for Dummies, and make a circle of that.


I don’t do video, I hate waiting for it to download, and I don’t know, it just irks me. I want a diagram. I had a breakthrough realisation that you can crochet a stitch into the stitch underneath more than once, and sometimes you skip stitches. Then I found a pattern for a beanie I wanted to make with some terrific rainbow coloured wool I found at Spotlight, which was unusual, they tend to specialise in cheap plastic imitations of wool, and looked up each individual stitch on the Crocheting for Dummies site. This hat was mainly FPdc and BPdc, so I eventually worked out those. Note, they’re hard to start off, but once you have a round of them it gets much easier.

Getting that far was tricky, it involved a great deal of mental strength to ignore helpful comments from my offspring such as “that doesn’t look like a hat”, “is that the same as Chinese crochet? I saw a Chinese lady once with a ball of wool and a stick, is this the same?”, “why do some Chinese ladies have bobbed hair?”, “why isn’t six times eight the same as seven times seven?”. Actually that last one’s quite a good question, I’ll have to sit down with some xs and ys some time and work it out. Not now though, I have some schnitzelling to do, and I can’t stop crocheting.

Because now I have this!

It does look like a hat, you just keep going 3BPdc, 3FPdc until you have it big enough. Now the littler two both want one, and I loved the wool so much I went back to Spotlight and bought the remaining couple of balls of it, so don’t think you can go up to Birkenhead Point and get some of your own, it’s all gone. The fabulous thing is you can do it without too much concentration, so you can do it while listening to tales of woe and joy from school and work, while watching Harry Potter AGAIN, while watching the Muffet climb what looks like a curtain and hang upside down from it,

And while watching chess, which is what I’ll be doing this afternoon. Being a mum involves quite a lot of hanging around, which will now result in bonus beanies.

When I’ve done two of these, I’m going to do a black and white one to a different pattern for the husband, and who knows what after that. It’s very relaxing, and hard to stop, just one more round! Oh, I’ll still be beading and baking, baking rather more so, don’t worry. But while doing so, I shall have a warm head.


Craft and Quilt Show

You’d think with the number of unfinished projects I have going that the last thing I should do is go to a craft show. I’ve got two unfinished handbags, one started immediately after the last Craft and Quilt Show, a knitted strap for one of the handbags, two necklaces on the go and a vintage velvet dress that needs altering. I was very firm with myself yesterday and made myself finish one thing before loading up with more craft. I bought a vintage brocade jacket and last week’s farmers market and I spent twenty minutes yesterday taking it in so it didn’t look so much like a curtain with sleeves. I thought it would take much longer, I’m extremely pleased with it and wore it today. One can never have enough craft.

Also the planets were aligned. The bathroom chaps have decided to have yet another day off before being able to psych themselves up sufficiently to screw the vanity to the wall. I had a doctors’s appointment in the morning very close to the light rail station. I’ve been given instructions on how to make an easy beanie using a gauge of wool and needles that I just don’t have. I need a little more embellishment for my unfinished handbags. It was meant to be. The only thing that slowed me down a little was the doctor surprised my whipping out a horse sized needle and giving me another cortisone injection to the ankle. Of all the enormous variety of needles I’ve had stuck in me, the ones on the bone are my very least favourite. I decided to ignore my whimpering joint and press on.

The Craft and Quilt show has become the biggest of the craft events during the year. I hear that the Bead and Gem show isn’t even going ahead in Sydney this year, it seems that beading is in decline. There was a small selection of beading shops at the show, but I’m pretty happy with my US suppliers and am well stocked up at the moment, so only gave them a cursory glance. Fibres, scrap booking and quilting is what this show’s about, and look at the queue!

That wasn’t even opening time. Apparently when females retire, they join a choir and take up a craft, then come to these shows. I’m a bit ahead of myself.

Did you know there are craft guilds! They had stalls here today.

Smockers, machine knitters, calligraphers, spinners (with an actual spinning wheel!), take your pick. I can’t, I’m somewhat promiscuous in my crafting. I have decided that I’d rather like to learn to crochet, so I picked up some books on that. Wow, there are a lot of crafting books. I almost bought a fabulous looking book on how to make handbags, but when the introductory list of what equipment you need went over two pages I put it down, feeling rather inadequate. I think I’ll continue to wing it in that department and cover up imperfections with embellishments. There were books on cake decorating and knitting flowers, and sewing outfits for your dog, most of them very specific. Ideal for the crowd here.

I particularly like the range of fibres on offer at this show. Fat quarters do nothing for me, and my sewing isn’t yet at a stage where I’ll need anything I can’t get at Spotlight. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there are a lot less haberdashers around the place than there used to be and it’s very difficult to find a shop where you can buy quality wool. At the show there was possum wool, alpaca, merino, silk and cotton, multicoloured, fluffy, that funny one you knit into spirals, metallic crochet thread (next year), imported, homespun and every colour. I got the knitting needles I need for the beanie, a crochet needle from Prudence Mapstone herself, and three kinds of twelve ply wool.

Now where do I start? Should I be disciplined and at least finish the black and white necklace? Surely crocheting one Afghan square wont hurt. Or doing a test beanie with wool I already have, rather than this fancy new wool. I’ll put off the decision til tomorrow and meanwhile roll one of the skeins into a ball.

I’ll have plenty of time tomorrow, my ankle tells me we’re not going anywhere for a couple of days.