Crochet, anyone?

Crochet Motif

I learned to crochet as a child, and spent my teens making lots and lots of doilies. I loved making lace, and my mother, grandmothers, and various favorite teachers were happy to receive it. Now crochet seems to be undergoing something of a renaissance and I have enjoyed seeing all the lovely new designs coming out. Following along the lines of an idea from Doris Chan’s “Amazing Crochet Lace” I am playing with thread crochet motifs and edgings using bigger yarn. The process is quite intriguing. Knitting, even fairly complex lace knitting, usually proceeds in orderly rows or rounds, but crochet, particularly crocheted lace leaps and pirouettes in loops and spirals. This motif is from Dover’s “150 Favorite Crochet Designs”, which contains a lot of interesting edgings and motifs which have been beckoning to me to translate them into something besides tablecloths or placemats in cotton thread.

I don’t have time just now to dig really deep into crochet design, but it’s fun to play. Here are some links to patterns from various places around the internet:

A pretty scarf based on an old edging pattern. This picture from Katy really sold me on it.

A lovely lace stole pattern, complete with charts, from Elizabeth.

Lixie’s pattern for a crocheted yarn cake holder which looks extremely useful.

A tiny crocheted elephant also available here for any non-Ravelry types.

This tree frog from Brigitte (who designed the Pocket Elephant) is also really cute.

A pretty lacy sweater pattern.

A serendipitous page of links to free sweater patterns by Doris Chan.  Also check out her new blog, I’m really enjoying reading it.

Progress on wavy rib socks and some free sock pattern links

Progress on Wavy Rib Socks

It’s been an age since I posted about my wavy rib socks. They had a little adventure on their own when I left them behind the couch at Bear’s parents’ place on a visit a couple of months ago. Recently my MIL found them and sweetly mailed them back to me. A weekend trip allowed me some rare uninterrupted knitting time and I’m back in the groove of working on them.

For those who’d enjoy some free pattern links, here are some I’ve found recently:

Magic Mirror Socks by Jeannie Cartmel
This is a really intriguing toe-up sock pattern with a great stitch pattern.

Slippin’ Stripin’ Socks by Tina Lorin
Here’s a pattern that features really appealing color-blended stripes using slip-stitch patterns and two colors of laceweight.  Available for download on Ravelry.

Fluke by Laurie Lee
This is a really lovely sock pattern using an unusual lace motif I haven’t seen before.

Franklin of The Panopticon had something really good to say in this post.  I encourage you to read his latest essay if you haven’t already.

Great knitting books that don’t cost a fortune

Some favorite knitting books

There are some great out-of-print knitting books out there, especially in the area of colorwork. Many of them are still available from your local library, or you can pay shocking prices on Amazon or Ebay. But I wanted to highlight some great books that are still in print and don’t cost a fortune.

Sheila McGregor’s Traditional Fair Isle Knitting and Traditional Scandinavian Knitting are both excellent books. They are full of colorwork charts and information about how the traditional sweaters (as well as hats, mittens, and gloves) were constructed. They do not feature lots of glamorous photographs, and they do not contain any line-by-line patterns.  They are not coffee table books showing professionally modeled high-fashion knitwear in spectacular settings.   Rather, they are fairly highly technical and mostly in black and white, the photographs appear rather dated, and the writing is rather dry.  What I love about them is that they give me tools I can use to create my own works of knitting art.  They include enough charts to keep me busy for a lifetime, alongside a wealth of information about traditional construction techniques.  They leave me free to sort out details of yarn choice and color, to design something that uniquely expresses my own aesthetic, while making use of time-tested techniques and taking inspiration from the wealth of creativity and experience in the Fair Isle and Scandinavian knitting traditions.  If you are looking to explore knitting stranded colorwork, these are both books I would recommend.

Cheetah Couture

Cheetah Couture

A cheetah sweater. Isn’t it cute? What? You don’t knit sweaters for your children’s toys? Whyever not? Makes the kid happy, and if you’re inventive, replaces a gauge swatch for something else. Quick, easy, and if the fit is not terribly precise, who’s to care? Also, the cheetah will never outgrow this sweater, will not decide that it’s too itchy to wear, and will not develop a sudden aversion to the color. I think I might do some more of these as gauge swatches or to test out pattern stitches in a super small project. I’m pleased that, unlike socks or mittens, I only have to knit one.