Friend or Foe?

… when an F.O. becomes an enemy!

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It’s taken me a while to get around to this pattern. It’s Dora Ohrenstein’s Perfect Fit Raglafrom issue 27 of Inside Crochet (way back in March 2012). I’ve finally hooked it up. and the result is a massive disappointment! It doesn’t fit, though I thought I’d swatched and taken correct measurements. Plus the seaming isn’t up to scratch – it ain’t easy sewing together lacy pieces, and I’m beginning to realise why people work seamlessly! I never really minded seaming before.. So this Finished Object became a Failed Object, thus a Fo(e)!

Phooey to it!

Okay, so ya win some ya lose some, right? Failure is an opportunity to learn and develop. However, I’ve also encountered obstacles in part 2 of the International Diploma in Crochet – namely, communication difficulties with my tutor. She just doesn’t ‘get’ what I’m saying or asking. I know communication is a two-way thing, but I don’t know how to make myself any clearer! It’s very dispiriting. So after raising the subject with said tutor, I’ve decided to have a ‘hook hiatus’. I’m returning to (ssh!) knitting for a while. Prior to the IDC, I knitted and crocheted in fairly equal measure, but have rarely picked up the needles since registering. I have a long-neglected queue of knit projects to be getting on with. This isn’t to say that I’ve outgrown crochet or that I think knitting is the better craft. I just require an interlude. My crochet will undoubtedly be better off for it.

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Phone Sock

What to do with a forsaken crocheted sock experiment? Turn it into a cover for my new phone, that’s what!

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I decided to get with the times and obtain a smartphone, seeing as the knackered old Nokia that I’d had for yonks had given up the ghost. In an attempt to be socially responsible, I went for the FairPhone 2 developed by the Phone Co-operative. Looking to the future, I thought a smartphone might be good when (if!) I eventually set up shop, and I now have the option of Instagram.

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My new purchase just so happens to fit snuggly into a top-down sock design I was working on a few months ago. I stopped at the heel, and this sock leg conveniently formed a woolly envelope to protect the phone from grime etc – I’m a gardener for a living, and have noticed that bits of nature find their way into the guts of gadgets surprisingly easily!

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It’s pleasing to re-purpose a UFO, utilizing something that has been hanging around for a while. Now to think of some good use for all those swatches I have sitting around being a nuisance…

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Roses in a concrete jungle

As my “work an octagon from the centre using some detail of interest” submission for IDC Part 2, I chose to do the rosebud motif I found on Dearest Debi’s website

http://dearestdebi.com/crochet-flower-bud-granny-octagon

I decided to use grey as the background rather than white, partly as I wanted to do a spot of stash busting, but also because I thought of a theme: greening up the cityscape. My suggested project is to turn this into a “Roses in a Concrete Jungle” bedspread, interspersing the rosebud motif with plain grey octagons..

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Well, of course I’m going to think of something like that – I’m a gardener for a living and found my vocation through an interest in environmental conservation and wildlife. As a city girl, I realised we can do a lot for biodiversity in an urban context through gardening. Clink.. is that the sound of a penny dropping..?

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Hidden Possibilities

There are hidden possibilities that lurk within limitation, like woodlice under a pot. Consider the humble, nay boring, double crochet stitch. I’m not a fan generally , but one of the compulsory submissions for IDC Part 2 requires that we produce a textured crochet fabric using only dc related stitches. This means no chains other than turning chains, no sneaky double trebles against a background of dc to create bobbles etc. Just dc, extended dc, dc in the back loop only, and such like.

This limitation is interesting because it forces us not to rely on the taller stitches to supply texture, but to explore the boundaries of the dc stitch itself. Here is what I came up with:

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Surprising, isn’t it? In addition to the basic dc, I used exdc, dc front loop only, and dc worked into the back loop of the previous row, as well as a kind of puff (with exdc substituting for the more usual treble).

Now I have to think what use I might put this fabric to…

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Challenges of P2

One of the challenges of Part 2 of the International Diploma in Crochet is the information we are required to include with each compulsory sample. (For those who don’t want to do pattern-writing, there is the option to do just the practical work.) It is requested we propose how the crochet submitted might be used in a project. This is beneficial as it encourages us to think creatively, even for stitches or techniques we may not enjoy or even downright loathe!

I’m finding it very easy to suggest ‘blanket’ for most submissions. But I’m sure Pauline (Turner, my tutor, and IDC founder) would not be impressed if I made the same suggestion for each submission! But as we should also include alternative ideas, this helps to ‘think outside the box’. I think it is a very useful process, so that we don’t churn out concepts or designs that are conventional and run-of-the-mill.

It’s not just the stitch that we must consider in our suggestions, but also the yarn which completed the stitch, and how together these might be utilised. Take this circle (okay, so it has hexagonal tendencies!) which was to be worked in double crochet using any dk yarn:

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I chose SWTC’s Bamboo yarn. I’ve never used bamboo fibre before, but I have read that it has good drape. This lead me to ponder.. hm.. maybe this sample could be made into a tablecloth, with some kind of motifs worked in as edging or something. I wonder if dk thickness is too chunky for this purpose, but I’ll wait and see what Pauline thinks… 

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Ouch ti pouch ti

Here’s one of the reasons to use wool and other natural fibres in your crafting…

 

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First, let me apologise. ‘Ouch ti pouch ti’ is family slang – but essentially it just means ‘ow’. And ‘ow’ is something I’ve been saying quite a bit lately (along with a few other things), because I developed contact dermatitis. No, I’ve not been near poison ivy because we don’t have it this side of the pond; I’ve not suddenly developed a sensitivity to the cat; I’ve not sprayed myself with cleaning fluid.

I cuddled a fleece cushion.

I pulled a muscle in my right shoulder, and almost the only way I could be comfortable when lying down was if my arm was supported – hence the cushion. Small, convenient, not filled with feathers so it held its shape: perfect. Except for the consequences, that is.

I didn’t realise anything was amiss until I woke with the cushion almost sticking to me and the beginnings of an angry rash (no, there won’t be…

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And then there were none…

For the first time in several years (and quite possibly since I started my yarn adventures), I didn’t knit or crochet any gifts for Xmas. I’ve been beavering away on an all-consuming design.

I was, however, the grateful recipient of a couple of presents that were either knitted or relating to the craft: one was a bright orange blanket, being put to good use already; the other, a set of blocking mats, which will be very useful when I finish the lacy project I’m working on.

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Did anyone (in the UK) watch the adaptation of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None? Death by knitting needle is a novel, but plausible, way of killing someone off. Move over, Xena: Warrior Princess! I don’t think crochet hooks would be quite so effective!

All that’s left to say is: Happy New Year! If 2015 hasn’t gone well for you, I hope 2016 is better. And if you’ve had a fab time this year, may it continue next year!

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