Creating myself

I think there’s a misconception with many people that crochet is old fashioned; all Granny squares, circular doilys and flowers. I too was guilty of this perception, always preferring the ‘look’ of knitting.

Texture

Following on from my last blog post (new opportunities), I’ve been working on texture for my first design project. I want to show how versatile crochet can be and what great fabrics it can create. I’m really pleased (and relieved) at how this is turning out.

Bowl

The tableware accessory ideas came thick and fast and I rather naively thought that I would have these made and patterns written in a couple of weeks. The reality of this is much different. The ‘first drafts’ were good but not quite right. Mats weren’t rectangular enough, bowls weren’t round enough, ridge effect was too high, colours better in a different order, position of stripes top or bottom ... I remade the bowl at least 5 times before I was happy.

Writing up

The next step was turning my paper scrawlings into an easy to follow, understandable pattern. This amazingly, was the easiest part of the process and was typed up (reasonably) quickly.

Tableware

There’s been a lot of frogging, tweaking and frustration, but I’m enjoying this process so much I just wish the world around me would slow down so that I could do more. Not sure I’ve found ‘my style’ yet but am totally hooked and just want to make more and more and more .....

Next project

Now, onto my next piece :)

New opportunities

Last year, a friend asked if I’d be interested in testing a new crochet pattern. The company she designs for were looking for someone with crochet experience to join their legion of testers.

Homes for Gnomes

Of course I jumped at the chance and since then have had fun making various items for pattern photo shoots: Toys, playsets, cardigans, dresses, bags ...

This has given me a great insight into the pattern making process, and I’ve decided to have a go at writing my own. Nothing big, just small and steady to start with :)

Pixile

The yarn I’ve been given to work with is brand new and has been released this summer - a Wendy yarn called Pixile. When I first received this, it felt very much like a cotton mix but it’s actually 100% acrylic. I’ve been asked to look at creating home type accessories, for which I have plenty of ideas gurgling around my head. That’s no problem. The biggest head scratchy moment is deciding on colour combinations.

Pompom

So, as part of my creative process, I made pom-poms. Lovely soft, squishy pom poms in all the shades. And why not! This was great, holding them together to see what works. Erm, no. All the colours work so well together I am still no closer to choosing anything.

Swatch

Swatching, swatching and more swatching was my next port of call, which did actually help. The pom-poms were a great starting point and I will definitely do the same process next time, but testing the stitch patterns with various colours was the game changer. Shades that you thought were great don’t always look their best with every stitch pattern.

Final colours

So I’ve settled on my colours, stitch pattern and have sketched by designs. Now I just need to translate these into patterns. :)

Knotty Sunday

I’ve always loved crafts. I’m sure my parents would agree that as a child, this was reflected in the creative trail I would leave throughout the house. Well, nothing has changed and I’m currently expanding my crafting repertoire with Macrame.

Book and twine

I realise now, that this was actually something I used to practice extensively in my youth, making the friendship bracelets that adorned many a child’s arm. The macrame mat, hemp twine and book were birthday presents from earlier this year. Don’t be put off by the cover. This (and the images inside) do look a little old fashioned, but this is by far the best book I’ve found that shows the variety of knot combinations. There are a few projects, but if you are a total beginner would find these difficult to follow as they are not step by step. I’ve found that many of the knots are ones that I used to perform but now I have proper names for!

Page

My watch strap has certainly seen better days. The leather has split and now flaps around rather awkwardly dipping in many a meal or paint pot! So, you can guess where I’m going with this blog post - yes, page 138, macrame watch strap.

Hooking on

This only uses 8x 1m lengths of hemp (4 on each side) so is really inexpensive to make. To start, the hemp was looped in half, threaded through the watch bar then the ends were passed back through the loop and pulled securely.

Clove Hitch

The next step is tying the knots. The knots used for the pattern are called diagonal clove hitches. They create little loops on diagonal threads which can be manipulated left and right to create wonderful patterns.

Knotting

I think perhaps I should have experimented on some spare cotton first as this did take a little practice to get neat and symmetrical.

Pattern

The second part of the strap is noticeably neater and stiffer than the first but I’m still extremely pleased with how this turned out. I fastened with a button at the back so this isn’t adjustable, but I’m sure you could attach a proper watch buckle or bracelet clasp instead.

Watch strap

Not bad for a couple of hours on a rainy Sunday afternoon :)

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