T-Man has what we suspect is the H1N1 flu. Luckily not so bad: he only spent 3 days in bed coughing and lazing about and today is working from home. He’s been banned from work for at least a week and I am (unfortunately) sharing his quarantine with him. My friends and family don’t want to catch the bug. So far I’m fine. I’d cross my fingers but it’s kind of difficult to type, knit or crochet like that. I’m just hoping I’ve been diligent enough to avoid it.
So meanwhile I’ve been working on the Secret Project for my Ravelry group’s Festivus Swap and another one for my Guild’s Christmas Swap. The necessity for secrecy makes blogging about these things rather problematic. I never know who is reading this! So pardon the lack of progress reports. The FO reports won’t be coming until the recipients get their gifts.
I was going to write about the new book “Twinkle Sews” but I decided that because I haven’t checked out the accompanying disc full of patterns yet that I would hold off for a bit. So the subject of my discourse today is going to be crochet. Just because it’s been interesting me lately. I have at least 4 crochet projects on the go right now. Somehow it’s hard to actually finish anything – though knitting projects are faring just as badly as crochet ones in that department.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been crocheting nearly as long as I’ve been knitting. Most of my life in fact. However I tend to crochet less often than I knit. For starters I usually like the fabric that I achieve with knitting better. For garments especially it drapes, snugs, stretches and fits under outerwear. I can’t imagine wearing crochet socks on a hike, for instance. I need to watch more carefully what I’m doing when I crochet so it takes considerably more concentration to work. And better light. It’s also harder on my hands and wrists than knitting so I can’t do it as long at one time without a break. All those factors tend to limit the number of projects I can complete.
In its favour however, crochet is faster by the square inch (or centimetre, if you prefer) than knitting. It’s more forgiving and easily variable so you can have fun without an actual pattern to follow. That’s all to the good because many crochet patterns are not so easy to follow anyway. It’s much harder to get gauge. And so many available patterns are (dare I say it?) kind of ugly. Or at least not to my personal taste. And I like granny squares! OK, some versions of them.
It’s not all bad. There have been some of what I would consider good crochet books and patterns published recently. One of these I’ve only seen in the store: Kathy Merrick’s “Crochet in Color”. I don’t have it in my hot little hands yet but that little yellow cardi on the cover is divine! Interweave Crochet is pretty wonderful most of the time but none of the other crochet magazines appeal to me. So I collect stitch dictionaries and the like instead. I prefer the ones with charts plus line-by-line instructions. You can’t have things explained too many ways. I have at least 3 different books by German crochet designer Linda Schapper and the edging and motif ones by Nicki Epstein. Other favourites just to look at are Sasha Kagan’s “Crochet Inspiration” and Edie Eckman’s “Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs”. It helps to be able to envision the stitches in other yarns and in complete projects. Swatching is of course mandatory. Lily Chin’s “Couture Crochet Workshop” is helpful to turn swatches into clothing that fits and (hopefully) flatters.
I also have fun with the books on freeform. They usually cover both crochet and knitting and feature motifs and stitches that you can join together to make organic shapes, like a jigsaw puzzle. Besides the ones by Prudence Mapstone and Jenny Dowde, there’s “Freeform Style” that Prudence wrote with Jonelle Raffino that has a different look, particularly if you aren’t fond of the “undersea garden” style of freeform. It’s not totally to my taste either but there are distinct possibilities there if you know where to look. And know how to play with yarn and hook.
OK enough babbling. I’m going to go crochet. No secret project photos until sometime in December and the rest of my projects look just like they did weeks ago. Unless you want to see a clean-shaven T-Man on the first day of Movember? He’s growing a moustache for prostate cancer research. He grows a fast mo! It’s a lot pricklier now. Good thing he’s been too sick for smooching, huh? Feel free to contact me if you want to sponsor him.