Friday, November 21, 2014

Tunisian Crochet Dishcloth Sampler

I went to Fiber Fest New England on November 1 and had a wonderful experience. One of the best things about the trip was taking a beginners Tunisian Crochet class with Heather McQueen. I knew going in I was likely never going to finish the assigned project. My goal was to work through the hurdles that had blocked me from learning the basic stitches. Heather was great and stayed and helped those of us who were struggling until we could figure out where the hook was supposed to go so our stitches looked like the sampler she had made of the pattern she'd given us to practice.

I avoided the pattern and decided to just stick with the stitches so I'd gain the maximum value of her time. It would do me no good to finish the first section of the pattern and still not know how to complete most of the major stitches. Even after the class I recognized one of my major faults was I stitched too tight. It likely comes from years of working ami projects where tight is a goal not a problem.

When I came home I started searching for a dishcloth pattern that would help me practice my Tunisian stitches and I came across not just a pattern, but an amazing free tutorial from Maxine Pike that took me even farther than my class did. You can find the pattern here.

This time the stitches are both tight and sometimes too loose. I'm working on finding a balance between really tight and too loose as I learn the basics of the stitches. There was a battle going on, but I didn't give up and I did manage to learn the mechanics of the stitches. That is a huge break through for me because I just couldn't figure some of them out before taking the class.

This first dishcloth isn't a work of art, but I proudly display it here because after over a year of trying to learn the basic Tunisian stitches, I have gotten through a sampler in which I made quite a few of the basic stitches. I had tried videos and DVD's but I needed a human who could explain not what they wanted to tell me, but what I couldn't understand. I hope this encourages others to keep trying. You can eventually find someone who can help you find the way.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Rainbow Block Afghan

One of the dogs' groomers was expecting a baby boy and I wanted a fun and quick blanket to work up. I started one, but it just didn't work for me. Then I came across an e-pattern at Leisure Arts for the Rainbow Block Crochet Afghan. I liked the pattern and it worked up quickly. It appears to have been a hit with the gift recipient when DH dropped it off when the dogs got groomed in October. Yes, I admit this time of year I get incredibly behind in posting projects. This year has been particularly crazy.

However, at least I am still finishing projects, even if I'm slow to get them posted.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Crochet Pilgrim Bears

Back in November of 2010, I made a set of these Pilgrim Bears using an adapted out of print Annie's Attic pattern, 8B040. It was hard to send them off to their new homes, but I did, always believing I'd get back to making myself another pair. Well this year I got to thinking about how fast Thanksgiving disappears with the long Halloween season and the rush to Christmas. So, I decided I'd try to make something special that I would have to remember not just this holiday, but hopefully many more Thanksgivings to come.

Most of the adaptations I made to the pattern are in the face. The Annie's pattern has a cute almost cartoon face, but I like the simpler face I chose for my bears. After having made the ears for the first set that stick out, I opted against that for this pair. I just didn't like the look as much as I do the way they look in my revised set. I also stuck with one color for the face this time and that seemed to be a better choice too, looking back at the older pictures.

The pumpkins are from a Mary Maxim kit I made in 2012. I put them out when the Halloween stuff comes out and keep them out through Thanksgiving. I love the colors.

I'm working on a Pilgrim Boy at the moment. I just need to make his arms and sew them on. As time is running out, I'm not sure if I will attempt his sister this year. However, when the season started I had no hope of starting the bears so I feel pretty good about the additions I've made to our Thanksgiving decorations.

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