Lessons in Crochet

Confession: I am in a state of yarn lunacy. I was crazy for yarn even before I started working at Interweave, but now that I’m constantly surrounded by all these amazing designs and fibers I’ve got the fever! As a result, many little crochet projects are in their formative stages. There’s the perfect little baby hat for my new nephew, the sweet little floral bag I’m making up as a wedding gift for my future sister-in-law, and my very first crocheted sweater. Then, Toni asked what I was going to write about for my next blog post. The bag and hat are just in the swatch stage, and the crocheted sweater, while providing many valuable lessons, is far too embarrassing to show to the public. Quite honestly, it will probably end up in the frog pile. But then what to show to all of you? Enter the crochet granny square free eBook, which prodded me to pick up the very doable project that I had set aside in the aforementioned lunacy, the Willow Hat built off of squares. It was so much easier to do thanks to said embarrassing sweater, and I was reminded of how I have always learned more from my stitching failures, both on this sweater and other projects, than from the successes.

Among these lessons are:

1.      Substitute yarn thoughtfully: What kind of fiber did the designer use and what are its properties? Does the yarn you’re looking to use behave the same way? For this hat, I substituted a DK weight yarn while the pattern calls for a fingering weight superwash merino. However, a smaller hook size and the soft pima cotton in the yarn lent themselves very well to the structure of this hat.

2.      Read patterns all the way through before you begin: Fully understanding how each row builds on the last really helps to not only speed the project along, but it also serves to make the project look better in the end. Are you going to have to squeeze in ten double crochets in a tiny little five-stitch chain in the row below? Well, maybe you just chain a little looser and leave yourself some extra wiggle room!

3.      ALWAYS swatch thoroughly: Sorry folks, but it’s true. Making too small of a swatch won’t give you the true nature and size of the stitches, plain and simple. Spending hours of valuable crafty time working up a garment only for it to end up gargantuan or sized for a midget is not worth it! The best part about this project is that once you get your proper gauge, the swatch becomes part of the hat. How fortuitous!

 With all that considered, it took me about an hour to whip out a couple more granny squares for the hat band.  And now that I’ve got my crochet confidence on, I have vowed to keep working this WIP until it is d-o-n-e.

What about you? As you learn to crochet, what lessons are you collecting?



My Granny Square Motifs


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