Friday, April 23, 2010

Crochet Friday

Lately we've been taking inventory of what we offer in the way of house patterns. We're trying to diversify things and not offer only scarves or only hats. With that said, more crochet items will be introduced. With more of the staff picking up the hook more often (with no lost love for the two sticks), we're more mindful of the number of available crochet designs that we can offer as a standalone pattern. Not to say that there aren't great books (Crochet Me, Crochet In Color, Crocheted Gifts, etc.), but sometimes you're more in the market for a single pattern, especially if you're trying something new.

With the surge in crochet's popularity, not only do we have your average length crochet hooks but we also made sure to introduce/reintroduce you to Tunisian crochet. What is Tunisian crochet? Tunisian (or afghan) crochet uses an afghan hook, which is simply an elongated crochet hook. You start by working the same type of chain you use as the base for any other crocheted work. Now here's where it gets interesting. You don't work one stitch at a time and move on as you do in normal crochet. Instead you are pulling one stitch up and leaving it on the hook. This is why you need an elongated hook, or a hook with a plastic cord similar to the ones seen on circular needles, to accommodate the extra stitches. The next step is to not turn the work but to wrap the yarn around the hook and pull through the first loop, then proceed to yarnover and pull through two loops until you reach the end of the row.  What you get after working a few sets of rows is.....

The fabric is best when worked on a hook size that is larger than normally called for depending upon your yarn choice. Here is the Manos del Uruguay Serena, usually knit on a US 4/3.5mm-US 5/3.75mm, and I got a nice, drapey fabric at about 4-4.5 stitches per inch on an H/5mm afghan hook. You might be a tight or loose crocheter; it all comes down to washing and blocking your swatch (which I did). As soon as the yarn touched the water, the alpaca content in the yarn made it drape but the pima cotton kept the stitch definition while still keeping it soft. Summer yarn option anyone?
Well, we've got a few patterns in the works even as I'm typing this, and maybe in the future we'll have a Introduction to Crochet class structured much in the way of the Beginner Knitting/Project classes. Stay tuned for more info and for new patterns!


Anne said...

Speaking of variety... I'm looking for a pattern that was posted on Ravelry called the Hara Dress. It's a simple toddler's dress and is apparently available for free on your site... somewhere... Maybe someone got it from one of your books?

Anonymous said...

It's soom to come. It'll be in the May issue of our newsletter due out any day now. We apologize for the wait and will get it out to you ASAP!