Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Day two - skills

It seems almost incredible to reflect that I've been knitting for over four years now; it seems both like forever and an astonishingly short time. Looking through my projects on ravelry I can see how my skills have improved year on year and this ongoing learning process, refining and increasing my skills and knowledge that makes knitting and other crafts so satisfying.

Crochet has been the biggest skill breakthrough of the last year, thanks in part to my good friend Fran who kindly spent most of a knitting group session teaching me to make a granny square, which gave my flailing crochet skills enough of a boost to get going properly. I have not taken to crochet in quite the same way as I took to knitting, it was not quite as easy to get my head around and has not come as naturally. It took me a long time to be able to rows of double or treble crochet without it becoming narrower and narrower; and my first attempt at a crocheted dishcloth resulted in a most odd, tight fabric, unintentionally made of slip stitches throughout! Likewise my first attempt at Lucy from Attic24's hexagon pattern resulted in a shape with six and a half sides (due to my own incompetence, no reflection on the quality of the pattern).

While knitting will always be my first love there are some things for which crochet cannot be beaten, first among these the classic granny square. They are versatile, quick, fun, practical and can be wonderful vehicles for playing with colour, as well as being a fashion trend for the coming year, according to the knitting magazines (which of course means it must be true). Last month I honed my granny square skills making a square a day for Sarah London's Knit a Rainbow project, which was a good challenge and has improved both my crochet stamina (I can find it hurts my hands quite quickly so need to do small amounts often) and speed.

My crocheting beyond the granny square has resulted in various motifs, flowers, snowflakes and a star. The second "thank you" owed for help with getting into crochet must go to Lucy of Attic24 for her clear photo tutorials, which enabled me to make various small projects before I had got the hang of following a normal crochet pattern.

Now I have moved on to my first major crochet project, a scarf made along essentially granny square principles in the most stunning Natural Dye Studio yarn. After one false start which resulted in one stitch too few attempt two is going along slowly but well and will hopefully be perfect for all this gorgeous spring weather we've been enjoying.

Looking into the future I am hoping to get better at increasing and decreasing in crochet and to make myself a full sized crochet blanket. Here is to the next year's skills.

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