First Foray into Hyperbolic Crochet

First Foray into Hyperbolic Crochet

I’m in the midst of another painting frenzy.
My Whimsical collection is scheduled to move to a second church gallery in a few short weeks.
But after I saw the actual venue,
I decided most of the pieces from Whimsical wouldn’t work in that space.

So sure, there is a tight time constraint.
Not to mention spring break and a family trip coming up..
I started painting a new series anyway.
Then three canvases into the latest painting spree,
I got into a conversation about hyperbolic crochet,
You know that my compulsive need to try every craft idea kicked in.
Now I’m obsessively painting AND crocheting.

Hyperbolic crochet.
It has quite a ring to it, doesn’t?
It’s actually really easy and fun to crochet this way.
Simply start with a chain or round.
Then choose how frequently you want to increase your stitches.
For example,
Chain 20.
Then single crochet through the chain increasing every 3rd stitch.
Or increase every 7th stitch.
Or every “n-th” stitch.
It’s your choice.
Continue each row (or round) increasing regularly.
The resulting figures have a really beautiful, curvy, organic structure.

I think the coolest part about hyperbolic crochet is that it is an intersection between arts and math.
And, no, I’m not going to wax on about it.
If you want to learn more,
head over to The Institute For Figuring website.

Suffice to say,
My interest is now thoroughly piqued.
Here are three hyperbolic crochet pieces I created over the weekend:

By no means am I done with hyperbolic crochet.
I have at least two big projects in mind.
But it will be slow going
I have to first attend to the pile of empty canvases waiting for me.
So back to work I go!

Crocheted Valentines

Crocheted Valentines

I am hosting a Valentine’s exchange with my craft group tomorrow.
All mediums are fair game.

Initially, I intended to give out lavender heart sachets.
I sewed a dozen+ little hearts.
Stuffed them full of lavender.
Hand stitched them all closed…
Then decided they were not the right thing for our craft exchange.
I passed the sachets out to another group of friends.
And started afresh for the Valentine’s exchange.

I decided to crochet stuffed hearts instead.
I followed this pattern I came across on Pinterest.
The pattern is straight forward, so I won’t add to the instructions.
Since I wanted the fabric of my hearts to feel stiff,
I used a 4 mm crochet hook with a double strand of wool yarn.
(I.e., relatively small hook with relatively thick yarn)

My yarn was a gift from a friend.
It’s a gorgeous multi-shaded pink and red pure new wool made by Wool Pak Yarns NZ.
It was only after I finished all the hearts that I learned this yarn is no longer available for sale.

The crocheted hearts are lovely enough to stand alone.
But I wanted to add a little extra “bling.”
This ended up being an “arrow” shot through each heart.

Each arrow is made from an orphan metal knitting needle, three wood beads, a strip of leather tied to the needle to keep the beads from sliding, and a washi tape arrowhead.

I’m ready to play Valentine’s craft exchange.
I hope my friends enjoy these hearts.
…And I can’t wait to see what lands in my Valentine’s box tomorrow!!
Happy Valentine’s.

February Works in Progress

February Works in Progress

 It’s one of those ADHD kind of making weeks.
I’ve been flitting about from one project to the next.
Working a little here and a little there.
All systems firing.
But no finished products to share today.
Still working on this prayer shawl.
Thirty inches done.
Thirty inches to go.
My goal is to finish this by end of the month.
Sure would like the intended recipient to receive it before spring hits.
 When I get tired of knitting,
I jump over to the crocheted prayer shawl counterpart.
This one will be donated through the Caring Threads ministry to
someone “needing encouragement in the face of life’s challenges.”
I’ve also pulled out a bunch of fabric from my fabric stash.
Need to make ten zippered project bags ASAP.
More on these next time.
Once the zippered project bags are finished, filled and given away,
I’ll be decorating this little wooden bird house.
To go with last week’s birds sitting pretty in the powder room.
It’s a happy making week.
Hook versus Needles

Hook versus Needles

 Crochet or Knitting?
What is the difference?
Which one is better?
Which would I recommend a novice to try?
Before I weigh in with my two cents,
Let me first say:
I am neither a knitting nor a crochet expert.
But I enjoy both.
Mostly as a vehicle for meditation.
I don’t make clothes.
I have no patience for checking gauge or blocking.
I really just love the act of letting my hands make something 
while I mull over ideas, watch movies or pray a little.
Here’s the awesome thing,
I don’t need to be an expert to share what I know and love with others.
Sometimes I knit along with more experienced friends.
Other times, I get to pass on tips to someone just getting started.
And every now and again,
A complete newbie will ask me whether she should start with knitting or crochet?
This is the one where you use one hook.
Don’t be embarrassed if you didn’t know that.
You are in the company of many others.
The great thing about crochet is that you have only one stitch on the hook at a time.
If you mess up, 
It’s a very simple matter to unravel a few rows and to get going again.
Depending on the stitch you choose,
Crochet can move really fast.
I especially love crochet because I can “sculpt” with it.
Baskets, flowers and amigurumi are my personal crochet favorites.
Never tried to crochet but want to get started?
But know that you may have a frustrating lesson or two before you get the hang of things.
In crochet, each hand has a job.
One hand controls the hook.
One hand controls the yarn and the tension.
It may feel unnatural and awfully awkward at first.
Be patient with yourself. 
You will get the hang of it.
Left handed?
Me too.
My advice to lefties is to just crochet the right handed way.
Both hands have to work, after all.
Do you really want to spend all that time flipping instructions and diagrams in your mind?
I have one big gripe about crocheting.
When I’m working on larger pieces,
I have a tendency miss stitches.
As I mentioned before,
I like to crochet while watching movies.
‘Course, if my attention is on the screen,
I’m not looking at the growing fabric in my hands.
Sometimes my hook passes over the next stitch and I might not notice til the credits are rolling.
At least picking up again after unraveling is a no-brainer with crochet…
This is the one that calls for two needles.
And all your stitches are on one (or both needles) at all times.
Once you cast on your stitches,
The actual knit stitch is very doable.
The scarier part is what happens when a mistake needs to be un-knit.
Or a dropped stitch needs to picked up.
 I think the actual fine motor skills of knitting are are easier to pick up than crochet.
But dealing with knitting mishaps are worse.
What knitter doesn’t develop a strong and lasting headache when pulling the stitches off the hook and unraveling?
My knitting nightmares include getting all those stitches back on the needle in the correct orientation.
But I do really like the look of a knitted fabric.
Garter stitch nice but oh so slow to grow.
Stockinette pretty, even if it rolls at the edges.
Ribbing is functional and knits up fast.
Love the look of cable (hate the counting).
Think linen stitch is gorgeous.
And the list goes on.
Biggest gripe for knitting?
Aside from fixing mistakes?
I am a very S_L_O_W knitter.
It takes me forever to finish projects.
Speaking of which,
I’m 15 inches into a 60 inch prayer shawl.
Knitting with a variation of a garter stitch.
What can I say,
There’s going to be a lot of prayer sprinkled throughout this thing by the time I’m done…
So which is it?
Crochet or knitting?
I think both are worth learning.
Each has its quirky tricky parts.
But once you get over that initial hump,
Both can be learned.
And used to create wonderful things.
Perhaps the better question is,
What do you want to make?
Did you see something that inspired you?
Why not make that first?
And maybe pick up the other skill a little later?
I suppose my question is,
Why does it have to be hook versus needles?
Why not both?
Cozy Cable Headband

Cozy Cable Headband

Finished this cozy fleece lined cable knit headband just in time,
 ‘Cuz winter finally hit.
Temperatures have dropped.
Icy rain and sleet keeping us inside.
Got a draft blowing through every single window in our house.
I don’t like blasting the heat.
Instead, I’m sporting three layers of clothes,
Including a hoodie with the hood up,
Fuzzy socks,
Furry slippers,
and my new headband.
(I’m quite the sight to behold).
 This has been sitting abandoned for almost a year.
Proved to myself I could indeed cable if I really wanted to.
Then decided I didn’t want to.
Not four inches into the swatch, 
I lost interest in counting and tossed what little I’d knit into the yarn stash.
Shortly after, we experienced a pivotal family moment.
Packed ourselves up.
Moved from NY to NC.
Set up a whole new life.
And pretty much forgot about knitting til last week.
The sudden cold weather triggered the urge to knit.
What better project to start with than this little headband?
The pattern is “Big Cable Scarf” by Jami Brynildson.
However, I used #8 instead of the suggested #17 knitting needles.
And worsted weight instead of bulky weight yarn.
After knitting 103 rows, my swatch measured 20 inches long by 3 inches wide.
Not even close to a “big cable scarf.”
But just perfect to form a headband.
 To make the headband extra comfortable,
I added a fleece lining.
To do this,
I cut a 21 inch by 4 inch fleece rectangle.
Making sure the fleece stretched along the longer length of the rectangle
(Fleece does not stretch in all directions).
Folded the edges over a half inch along the two long edges for the fleece rectangle.
Wrong side to wrong side.
Finished the edges with a decorative stretch stitch.
 Next, I folded the fleece rectangle in half.
This time, right side to right side.
Used a half inch seam allowance and stretch stitch to sew the inner headband together.
Finger pressed the seam open.
Caution – NEVER iron fleece
(unless you want to melt your fleece and make a mess of your iron).
Used the yarn ends to stitch the knit outer headband together.
Wove the remaining yarn ends into the cable knit fabric.
I tucked the outer portion of the headband into the inner portion.
Wrong side to wrong side.
Then hand stitched fleece headband lining to outer knit headband.
It’s a super comfy headband.
I’m glad to have it on this wet dreary winter day.
Last Spider Web Craft… Promise!

Last Spider Web Craft… Promise!

This is really the last crocheted spider-web-anything this season.
I thought I was finished with webs once I set that big web in the window… 
But no.
I decided I “needed” a scarf to go with that nutty spider web hat.
Took my US I (5.5mm) hook out again.
Made a run to the store to get one more skein of glittery silver yarn.
Then churned out 7 more webs (7 rounds each).
Once again, here’s the tutorial I first followed to learn how to make these.
I used chain stitch to connect the 7 small webs end to end.
Then chained and double crocheted one more time around the entire perimeter.
My spider web scarf measures just under 6 feet long.
 I paraded around the house with my hat and scarf last night.
Got teased for making 70’s throwback attire.
But I’m really liking this set.
Black dress.
Black combat boots.
Spider web cap and scarf.
With spiders attached of course.
Ok, ok…
Enough of these spider webs already!
Onto the next craft project.