Crochet

I’ve known how to knit for quite a while but have always been fascinated with the amazing things you can make with Crochet. There are the classic and well known Granny Squares turned into amazing blankets and afghans, intricate lace, the wonderful world of Amigurumi and everything else in-between.

Ergonomic Handles are more comfortable to hold
Ergonomic Handles are more comfortable to hold

You can’t start to learn something without the right tools. Recently, I ordered some crochet hooks and a pouch to store them in. There are many different types of crochet hook you can buy, but after some research I decided to buy the Clover Ergonomic Hooks as they looked sturdy with lots of reviews about how great they are compared to their thinner counterparts.

This set features a soft easy grip that is warm to the touch and gives the user the most comfortable finger placement as well as tireless functionality.

The polished Aluminum hook is the perfect shape for smooth crocheting.

Each of the 10 sizes features a different bright and fun colored handle. The sizes are B-2.25mm, C-2.75mm, D-3.25mm, E-3.50mm, F-3.75mm, G-4.00mm, 7-4.50mm, H-5.00mm, I-5.50mm, and J-6.00mm.

Holds 8 crochet hooks safely and securely
Holds 8 crochet hooks safely and securely

Interestingly, the case matched the one I have to store my Knitting Needles (you can find out more about them here), so I was really pleased about that. Obviously a much smaller version to accommodate the size of the hooks and perfect to throw in your bag for crochet-on-the-go.

It’s called the Clover Getaway Case for Soft Touch Crochet Hooks

Lots of room and well made
Lots of room and well made

There is only space for 8 hooks but I have managed to pop the other two on top and fold down the inside flap. Once the pouch is rolled up it holds them all securely, so I haven’t found this to be a problem.

Considering you’ll most likely have a couple of projects on the go anyway, will help solve the storage problem.

The timing of my order was perfect as my Mother-in-Law was visiting and set me up and running on the basics – starting chain and practicing the single crochet stitch (sc) back and forth. I even managed to change color.

However, she couldn’t stay forever so I had to practice on my own and also find some more help. Thank goodness for the wonderful world wide web. You can pretty much find anything you want especially videos to help you learn many things – crochet, luckily for me, being one of them.

I’m part of a knitting/crochet community on Ravelry and someone suggested the best beginner crochet tutorials she had found with really clear instructions were with help from the Crochet Geek. She really explains the stitches well, has slow motion segments in her videos, so you can really following along, and before you know it I’d made my first crochet hat. Considering I’d only been doing crochet three weeks up to that point, I astounded myself. Give it a try…if I can do it you can too!

look at my hat and continue reading

The Anatomy of Sock Knitting

In my, Knitting: Making Socks article, I talked about how my journey into sock making began, the dread of having to deal with four to five needles and how to knit the seemingly complicated sock shape.

Now it’s time to understand The Anatomy of Sock Knitting which hopefully will help you understand how the sock is constructed, so when it’s time to knit you won’t be phased by the pattern instructions and you will have a piece of work that resembles a sock. I’ll also be referencing helpful video tutorials so you can see the magic loop method in action.

If you haven’t checked out my article Knitting: Making Socks check that out first as I explain a much easier method to help you get up and running on your sock knitting journey using the magic loop method.

The Anatomy of Sock Knitting

Socks are broken down into different areas and each section is knit differently.
(Fig ii) Socks are broken down into different areas and each section is knit differently.

The sock is an amazingly well put together collection of different areas. The foot is a complicated shape so it goes hand-in-hand that the sock has a lot going on too. As you can see from my sock diagram (Fig ii) the sock is broken down into seven distinct areas:-

Knitting: Making Socks

I’ve been knitting for quite a while but have never adventured anywhere near the art of making socks. Recently I really started to get the bug to try and knit some socks. Even one sock, I’d even be happy with just the top of the sock because mastering the art of all those needles just looked like a disaster waiting to happen.

If you look at how socks are put together the construction looks very complicated so you can be forgiven in thinking the task of knitting a sock would be impossible. However, hundreds of knitters say they get hooked on making socks once they have mastered the art but how do you receive those special super-powers that I just don’t seem to possess?

Knitting with two needles is easy once, like anything, you have learned the basics and I guess you can feel quite daunted by those at first but everyone always say if you can knit, purl, increase and decrease you can knit a sock. Well, yes I can do all of those things but if you’ve ever seen pictures of what knitting a sock looks like you can be holding anything up to five needles which is why sock knitters look like they have some special power to command all of these needles, as well as not poke out an eye and end up with a fully functional sock after all that hard work. It just seems to happen for them.

Double pointed needles for sock making but you can use circular needles.
My first attempt at making socks using four double pointed needles but you can also use circular needles and the magic loop method.

I did venture forth unfazed by all that seemed to be before me. I bought some double pointed needles and sock yarn thinking this was the right direction to go into. This method of knitting socks has been tried and tested by many experienced knitters…so what could go wrong.

The first hurdle to master are the amount of needles involved. I was using four but you can use five. Getting going was tricky. You take one needle and cast on the amount of stitches required for your sock pattern. Then the fun begins. You need to distribute your stitches across the three needles. For example, if you have cast on 54 stitches across three double pointed needles, then you need to put 18 stitches on each needle so you begin to work in the round. You also need to join your stitches in the round too.

Here are a few handy videos to help you master casting on for knitting in the round as well as joining in the round.

I soon had a revelation at this point that I didn’t have to be an Octopus. Each needle is actually independent from one another and you only ever knit with two needles at any one time. Eureka!

Hold on – What’s working in the Round?

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Knitting Needles

Finding the perfect knitting needles is almost as hard as trying to find your favorite yarn. Yarn is available in many colors and weights and you can encounter the same problem when deciding which needle to use. You would think finding two sticks would be simple…but let me tell you it’s not.

Double pointed needles for sock making but you can use circular needles.
Double pointed needles for sock making but you can use circular needles.

I have been knitting on and off for over 30 years or so. I haven’t made anything substantial like a sweater but I have made a few soft toys, a shrug, some fingerless gloves as well as the obligatory scarf or cowl and a lot of washcloths.

Knitting Needles come in a variety of styles and are made out of many different materials such as Wood, Bamboo, Metal and Plastic and you also have to decide whether you are looking for straight, circular, interchangeable and all the other varieties in-between.

I always used to like using metal knitting needles. The yarn would slip off the needle really easily making it fast to knit but if you’re trying metal needles for the first time you may find that they are too slippery and you are dropping and losing stitches from them falling off too easily. Using metal needles gives you the classic clickety-clack noise that is often associated with knitting.

Clover Takumi Complete Knitting Needle Set
Clover Takumi Complete Knitting Needle Set

I also had an odd collection of needles that I would pick up free from magazines that had fancy designs, were see through or came in garish colors as well as my old ones from learning to knit that were too short for anything substantial.

I then made a decision that I wanted a complete set of knitting needles so I could have any size I needed at any time. I also wanted some way to store the needles – they are not the easiest things to put away and you don’t want them warping or getting ruined. After much research I decided I really would like to move away from cold metal knitting needles and have some bamboo needles instead.

find the right needle for your project

The Knitting Detective Guide

Miss Jane Marple comes to iOS so you can keep track of your favorite knitting detective on your iOS device. Easily track all your favorite Books, Movies and TV shows.


 

Miss Marple, the nosy but friendly busy-body, now on iOS

Miss Marple's Famous Hat
Miss Marple’s Famous Hat and Knitting Needles. Image: Travelling Banana

If you love all things Agatha Christie, but especially everyone’s favorite spinster amateur detective Miss Jane Marple, then you are in for a treat with our new app – Miss Marple for iOS.

The thing about Miss Marple, is that you can’t really ignore her, even though you may not see her at first. She moves around like some frail old lady often muttering something of great importance under her breath and the only sound you may hear is the faint clicking away of needles in the distance, expertly putting a new knitting project together.

Come to think of it, has anyone ever seen any of her finished results? A jumper for her nephew perhaps or a scarf for one of her many ladies that lunch or take tea and cake in her wonderful garden. I’m not sure I have, but then it’s all part of the devious mask behind the clever brain that’s working on so many things at once.

Settle in and I’ll explain how the app that we have made will help you keep track of all your favorite movies, books and tv shows.

Now where did I put my knitting needles.

Continue reading The Knitting Detective Guide