Among my many goals and resolutions for 2012, I vowed to learn two specific crafting skills. The first: machine sewing. I haven't done much, but what I have done there has been enjoyable and successful...but more on that some other time. The second: crocheting.
For my Christmastime birthday, my wonderful aunt got me two books on crocheting, one of which came with a hooks and various other crocheting tools (I still haven't figured out what some of them are for!) Along with some yarn, I sat down and attempted to crochet a dishtowel.
And I failed. Over and over again. Each time I got to the first row (after the base chain, of course), my work started to look pinched and be way to tight. I rarely made it to the second row. I kept presenting my husband with my failed attempts and calling them my caterpillars, promising they would turn into butterflies eventually (metaphorical, of course, as I was trying to make dishcloths, not butterflies).
Finally, last Friday, after having abandoned my efforts for about a month, I sat down with my books, yarn, hooks and Youtube and finally (FINALLY!) had success. I managed to do a couple small sample patches of both single stitch and double stitch. And then I began a new dishcloth (using a new pattern since I still didn't understand the one from my book). Incidentally, I'm way too proud of my dishcloth to actually use it and risk staining it.
After finishing that, I leaped into crocheting a cowl. I don't know if I simply misread the directions, used the wrong sized hook, or both, but my poor cowl turned out waaaay to small for my neck! But, I did not give up hope as I have a sister-in-law and niece both of whom have smaller necks than me! Though to aide in putting it on, I added a few buttons. I think it turned out quite nicely (though I wouldn't blame them if they never wore it in public!)
My first attempt at the cowl having been slightly less than a success, I tried again with a different skein of yarn...this time instead of making 35 stitches, I made 80...and that did the trick! Folks, I'm really hoping I made mistakes in reading the pattern, because I'd hate to think my neck is 45 stitches rounder than the necks for which the pattern was written!
In between my cowl efforts, I did pause and made four cute little hearts! They were surprisingly difficult and required me to learn how to do a magic circle...as well as a slip stitch. For those of you who know what this, you'll be delighted to learn I'm an expert at slip stitches as that's what I'd used to make those ill fated caterpillars!
Wow, that was quite long, wasn't it? Well, here are some pictures to reward you for your reading all of that (and if you didn't, I won't hold it against you...I'm very long winded as you are beginning to learn!)
I would be remiss if I didn't give proper credit where it is due, so here it goes:
The cowl pattern came from this site: Crochet Spot
The dishcloth pattern (for which I omitted the trim) came from here: Homespun Living
The hearts pattern is from here (mine don't look quite right, but I'll get there!): Flower Girl Cottage
And here I am wearing my new cowl! It's not a bad picture if I do say so myself...and I'm not usually fond of pictures of me!
I'm sure there will be many more crochet posts in the future, but I think more immediately, you can look forward to a designed-by-me cross stitch that I am making for my husband and wine bottle lanterns (hopefully I get around to doing those soon!)
All the best!