Saturday, May 29, 2010

I think I have a problem.

And you know, they say that the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. You see, I love afghans. Adore them, really. There's just nothing else quite as comforting as curling up on the couch with a big crocheted (or knitted) blanket. My favorites are the heavy soft ones you can just snuggle under all day!

Just yesterday, the dear husband and I were out and about and decided to stop in at Unique Books. (I love having two independent bookstores just around the corner from our apartment!) This marvelous bookshop happens to have a small shelf at the back of the store with craft books. Sewing, knitting, crochet, papercrafts, they even have a couple of books on cabinetry! I saw several vintage craft and sewing books (and it pained me to leave those 1960's sewing books on the shelf, but we ARE on a budget), and happened across a copy of 7-Day Afghans, from 1985. I flipped through it and found several patterns that I just love. Incidentally, half the patterns are crochet and half are knit. While I don't knit, I have been thinking about trying it again, and some of the pretty patterns I found seem like they'll be just the inspiration I'll need to pick up a set of needles and give it a shot!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Crochet: ur doin it rong.

(yes, that's a little LolCats-inspired humor for you)

So, I recently saw a tutorial from a British crocheter on how to do a US double crochet (known as a treble crochet in the UK). At first I skipped over it to get to the part of the pattern I was interested in, but when I came back to it, I noticed something odd. The instructions for this stitch differed from the way I learned to do it. At first I thought, "Oh, she must have gotten something mixed up!," mostly because it sounded like an extended double crochet to me. At this point, I decided to do a little research on the interwebs.

Guess what I found out? 

Apparently, I have been working the double crochet incorrectly for as long as I've been crocheting! It's pretty odd too, because it's neither a double nor a half double, but seemingly a hybrid of the two. So, here's the difference:

The instructions I found for it indicate that you should:

yarn over (yo for the uninitiated)
insert hook into stitch
yo, draw through first loop (the stitch that's on the hook, so that there are now 3 loops on the hook)
yo, draw through two loops (so that now there are two loops)
yo, draw through the last two loops.

In contrast, the way I was taught is as follows:

yo, insert hook into stitch
yo, draw through first TWO loops on hook (that's the stitch that's on the hook plus the first loop) so that there are 2 loops left on the hook
yo, draw through last two loops on the hook

Furthermore, the instructions I found for a half double crochet were:

yo, insert hook into stitch
yo, draw through first loop (leaving three loops on the hook)
yo, draw through remaining three loops

Is this just a different tradition in crochet stitches? I could swear I have seen this double crochet in some of my mother's old crochet books. I don't plan on changing the way I crochet over this, but I did find it to be somewhat odd. Does my method sound familiar to anyone else out there?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I want to crochet a garden!

Or, at least, an afghan that looks like one! I think I'll have to earmark this hexagon pattern (from Lucy over at attic24) for my next big project. Now for some eye candy: pretty photos of hexagon afghans from across the interwebs. Just tell me these don't look like lovely flower gardens!

Image from attic24.

From ZenKnit
Found on Flickr.

Also found on Flickr.

I'm not sure which I prefer, the hexagons with edges in the same color, or the mishmash edges. I think the same-color edges are pretty, but the mishmash looks more like real flowers next to one another. What do you think?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Afghan Hooks and the Tunisian Stitch

Since I worked up a small afghan years ago using an afghan hook and Tunisian stitch, I've been dying to work with them again. The Tunisian stitch is simple, quick, and has a lovely texture; the afghan hook looks like the misbegotten lovechild of a crochet hook and a knitting needle, but is nonetheless amazing.

Photo from
Combine the two, and you have a quick, easy piece of fabric.

I'd love to have several sizes of afghan hooks, so I can work up some super-quick afghans. I also wish I had time for a tunisian entrelac project. Entrelac is a technique that yields a beautiful basketweave texture, and is more common in knitting than crochet. I actually discovered it when I did a Google search for afghan hooks.  Luckily, you can do most tunisian entrelac projects with a regular crochet hook, since the squares tend to be fairly small.

Photo from For The Love of Crochet Along blog.