After much shilly-shallying, I managed to get another IDC project handed in. The criteria ticked off for this piece were: household item; tunisian crochet; and fashion yarn.
I’m not sure what I feel about woolly cushion covers – can’t decide whether I like them or not. But I chose to make one for the household project, as I didn’t want to make a garment with the fashion yarn I’d picked, as it was quite expensive and didn’t go very far. I used a different yarn for the back because it would’ve been too expensive to use Rowan’s Thick’n’Thin for the whole cushion. The front was done using tunisian simple stitch…
..and for the back I used the “up’n’down stitch”, which alternates treble crochet with double crochet in the same row. This was to avoid the curling of the button band which happens if you use a hook which is too small – tunisian crochet should be done on a larger hook than you would use for regular crochet to avoid this problem, and I didn’t have a hook large enough. I just wanted to get the project finished by this point, so couldn’t wait for anything as slow as the postman, and all the shops I’d looked in didn’t sell tunisian hooks larger than 5.5mm
I opted for silvery buttons to echo the lightness of the front of the cushion
The project got a “Very Good” which translates as 95 – 99%. A “Pass” in the IDC is 80%, so you can be sure that your work is of a high standard if you receive pass marks. I lost marks for this project as “the texture of the slubbed light bluey grey yarn … will ‘bobble’ or ‘pill’ in use”. Well, I’ll take that and party on! Now I’ve just got to decide if I’ll actually use the project or give it away. A friend said she liked it… but I’m not sure she liked it enough to actually want it.
There’s nothing like problems with a pc to deter me from logging on and blogging! I’m a bit of a Luddite when it comes to computers anyway, and have approached social media with timidity and hesitance. Setbacks become a real obstacle to blog-flow. I’ve finally got it all sorted thanks to the helpful people at Red Desk (a local virtual assistance company)
Meanwhile I’ve also had problems with my crochet! One of the projects I’m required to do for the IDC Part 1 is something worked in a fine yarn. Of all the yarns we’re expected to use, this laceweight stuff is my least favourite. I can appreciate the outcome of someone else’s efforts with it, but working this yarn is far too fiddly for my liking, and I feel a bit cross-eyed after a while – good strong light is a must! Give me an aran yarn any day, or at the very least a 4-ply!
The project in question is the Patricia shawl by Heidi McCarthy in issue 48 of Inside Crochet. The instructions say to work the foundation chain with a 4mm hook then switch to a 3.5mm for the rest of the shawl. I found this unsatisfactory as the chain seemed too baggy for my tension – I really should get into the habit of swatching, as I could have noticed this quicker with a swatch and saved time and frustration! I tried working the foundation chain with the same sized hook as the rest of the project and this has produced better results… but I found it difficult maintaining an even tension on such a long foundation chain (369 stitches) in such a fine yarn. Needless to say I had to unravel a couple of times. Then! when I’d reached about a quarter of the way into the piece, I realised I’d made a mistake early on in the pattern and had to rip right back. I was so peeved that the yarn broke in the process. It was at this point that I decided to put the project, and actually all crochet, to one side for a week or two.
Now that I’ve got back to it, I’ve managed to reach the half-way point (more or less!) The picture below shows how far I’ve got..
Fingers crossed that I can make it to the end of the project without any more angst!
In the latest IDC newsletter, an extract is given from Aunt Kate’s Crochet Work (priced one penny). It details how, in a hospital where military and naval officers were being cared for, the nurses attempted to teach their patients crochet. When initial scoffing and derision gave way to boredom, the men learned “the German Stitch”, and started making waistcoats. They subsequently re-named this stitch “The Idiot Stitch”, and the hooksters involved became known amongst themselves as “The Idiot Band”. Now, I don’t know what this German Stitch refers to, but I would hazard a guess at it being double crochet (UK terminology), as it is the first stitch we all learn after the foundation chain.
This reminded me of the variance of names on horticulture and the confusion it can cause. I remember a German gardener I once worked with told me that what we, in England, call the English Oak, is known in Germany as the German Oak! The scientific (Latin) names help avoid such confusion as even within a single country, names can vary. For instance, Wild Garlic is one of the accepted names for Allium ursinum, though it is also known as Ramsons. But I’ve heard Wild Garlic be used about another plant entirely, one which is referred to in the plant i.d. books as Three Cornered Leek (Allium triquetrum). Both reek of garlic so are equally deserving of the name, but botanically they are different: one flowers in a flat-topped umbel held on an upright stalk, and has broad, dark green leaves; the other is paler green, not so glossy, and with flowers formed into a single-sided umbel, on a stalk which tends to droop like an English Bluebell’s. Both have also been known as Stinking Onion, and Ramsons has the additional vernacular names Stink Bombs, Stinking Nanny, and Londoner’s Lilies.
Unlike in horticulture, crochet doesn’t use scientific names to serve as a unique tag.. so the identity of “The Idiot Stitch” remains a mystery to me.
Founder of the International Diploma in Crochet, Pauline Turner, has commented in a newsletter how some of her students are reluctant to experiment with the hairpin method. It is one of the niche techniques which students of IDC Part One are required to learn, along with broomstick lace and Tunisian crochet.
Beyond the basic swatches we have to hand in, we must include two of the above techniques in projects for assessment. Unfortunately, a couple of patterns I liked based on hairpin were above my current abilities. So I went back to my approved samples and, with a bit of imagination, developed a simple garment. It’s a shrug based on a rectangle, with no shaping needed. Ribbed sleeves were added using a technique I learned from the hat (which I still have to re-work) mentioned in A Christmas Carol.. of Sorts. i.e. adding dc ribbing to the garment sideways, attaching consecutive pairs of rows to the main body of work with slip stitch. I was also thinking about adding a trim along the upper edge to make a collar but… “less is more”, as a friend says. We’ll see if my tutor agrees!
Another hairpin item I have come up with is a long pair of mitts; keen-eyed readers may have spotted these in the post Mitts for Monday. These again combine hairpin with ribbing, but the rib is worked along an edge of the hairpin as normal crochet so that it runs vertically when worn, not horizontally.
Overall, I would say that hairpin is a bit of a fiddly technique, but easy to get the hang of, and I think the results are definitely worth it!