Friday, July 9, 2010

First Time Crocheter

For someone who is interested in learning to crochet, the advice out there can be overwhelming. There are some who suggest starting with small hooks and fingering or worsted weight yarn. Then there are those who say, no, start with BIG hooks (size K through M) with one of the chunky yarns.

My motto is: “Go for the middle ground!”

I find it easier to work with a hook size of “H” (metric 5mm / UK # 6) and a worsted weight yarn. When I've helped friends rediscover crocheting, this hook/yarn combination seemed to reduce the frustration that can occur when learning something new or “relearning” a skill. I also stress starting with something small (not that I've ever taken that advice! I'm one of those “jump in to the most advanced pattern” kind of people. I know, “Do as I say and not as I do”!)

When I first reacquainted myself with crochet, I had been chosen to decorate for our office holiday party. Since we were trying to stay away from the traditional red & green Christmas theme that year, we decided to focus on Winter. We had people in our warehouse making paper snowflakes, frosting bowls with artificial snow (and placing winter scented candles inside), using mirror tiles with artificial snow on the tables (kind of ice pond affect) and finally, I organized a group of people to help me crochet iceskates! This ultra simple project was just the thing to introduce some people to crochet and reaquaint many others to this craft. As you can see, you start with a paper clip (easily found in an office). We crocheted white skates with blue for the girls and black skates with blue for the boys (yes, we had to get a count of how many men and women would attend the party that year -- over 100 people!) The skates were finished with long tails on each skate that we tied to a pom pom and then attached to safety pin.

The skates were handed out to each person entering the party and were very well received. Many are still hanging around the office after 5 years.

To obtain a PDF of this project please click here. (This project copyrighted by Celeste Dunn, 2005. But you can use it with my blessing. CDunn).

Since ice skates are a little superfluous at this time of year (July), another great project is to single crochet 4" squares out of cotton yarn for coasters. They absorb condensation wonderfully and can get thrown in the wash with no problems (just don't bleach if you use colors).

In fact, for a first time crocheter, I would probably suggest the coasters.

If you've mastered the basic crochet stitches, chains, sc, hdc and dc, you could try something unique in making a coaster.

Chain 13.
Row 1: *SC in second chain from hook. HDC in next stitch, DC in next stitch. Repeat from * to end. 12 stitches. Turn.
Row 2: CH 1 (counts as SC). Skip first DC, HDC in next stitch (HDC),  DC in next stitch (SC). *SC in next stitch (DC), HDC in next stitch, DC in next stitch. Repeat to end.
Continue Row 1 and 2 until your coaster measures 4" by 4". Tie off and weave the cotton end in to the coaster.

Can you see what the pattern is doing? You are graduating from a short stitch (sc) to a tall stitch (dc) and then reversing the pattern by stitching the tall stitch (dc) in the previous row's sc, keeping the hdc in the hdc of the previous row and ending with the short stitch (sc) in the previous row's dc stitches.

This creates a coaster with some nice texture to it.

Until next time -- Happy Stitchin'!

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