Monday, April 16, 2012

The third time's a charm

As you know, I love to knit. I learned how while studying abroad in Norway when I was an undergrad. I didn't do a whole lot with it until I learned that Ginny was expecting her first baby when I was in my first year of graduate school. The first "big" project that I knit was a baby blanket for Miss I, who recently turned 5. Since then, I've had ebbs and flows, but I've been hooked.

Before I'd ever begun knitting, though, I learned how to crochet. It was all the rage among my friends at St. Olaf during our first and second years. But, when I took up knitting, I didn't keep up with crochet and I lost the skill.

This last Christmas, I asked for, and Santa brought, this book:
I've noodled around a little bit with a hook and yarn since Christmas and have been surprised by how easily it has come back - especially since I gave up on using the hold recommended in the book. Don't get me wrong, if you were learning to crochet for the first time, it makes sense to follow her instructions because you'll get better stitches with less effort. But, given that I have some muscle memory, it was easier to let my instincts take over. Now, I've got my eye on a pattern that's going to have a shape in one color sit on a background of another color. With knitting, the technique you would use to achieve this effect, intarsia, is extraordinarily difficult. The crochet instructions seemed simpler, so I decided to give it a try.

Here's my first attempt, a heart:

You'll notice that the heart looks a little by stylized, with asymmetrical sides. I guess it looks cool, but believe me, this was not the desired effect! I was trying hard to make a heart that was as plain as could be. But, I dropped a bunch of stitches which is why the fabric is wider at the bottom than the top. Although this was frustrating, it wasn't a surprise at all. I've been dropping crochet stitches since 2002!

So, I decided to make another attempt. The shape I'm wanting to make doesn't have any curves to it - it's all straight lines - so I decided to simplify. Part of the challenge with the heart was the changing number of stitches in each color in each row to create the effect. I figured square on square would be super simple.
Nope. This one still contains a mistake! It's impossible to make a perfectly straight line in crochet. In this example, the right side of the blue box is as close to perfect as you can get. That technique is correct. The mistake is at the upper left corner with that extra v out there. Grrr!

So, I figured the third time had to be the charm. And thankfully, it was!
This one's perfect! Hooray! I'm off to the races to make a multicolored crochet project. More on that coming soon!

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