Sunday, March 20, 2016

Knit, Purl, Single Crochet

My mother taught me to crochet when I was a child. I don't remember much of my early crochet experiences beyond an argument I had with a friend over which was better: crochet or knitting. Come to think of it, although I lost touch with that friend decades ago, I hear other people argue the same point even today.  Neither is better, folks. Both can give beautiful results, so just go with whichever of them gives you the most pleasure and/or the best results. That's the wisdom of age speaking.

Now, where was I? Oh yes, crochet. No examples survive of my early work; however, I am pretty sure that what I made back then were doll clothes. I had no patterns. It was all trial and error, working and adjusting and re-adjusting until I had something that sort of fit. Mom wasn't much help in that department. Her specialty was granny square afghans. Oddly enough I never felt the urge to crochet one of those, perhaps because there were already too many of them spread around the house.
My recent knitting books

Fast forward a few decades. Somehow I left crochet behind with my childhood. I was living and working in a university town. Some of my colleagues got me interested in knitting and together we took a course at a local yarn shop. My first project was a sweater vest for my Dad. It was to be a surprise gift for Christmas, so there was no question of trying it on him for size even if we hadn't been hundreds of miles apart at the time. (That's my excuse for why it came out so big.) Nevertheless, I was off and running. The sweaters accumulated. I changed jobs and moved a couple of times. The sweaters went into storage with everything else.
Practice, practice, practice!
Fast forward again. I am happy to find myself once more in a town with a yarn shop that offers classes. Last November I took a two-hour class in beginning knitting. Although I may not be a beginner I definitely needed a refresher on the basics. The skills quickly returned. It's nice to know the muscle memory hasn't deserted me. Not that I have made much with my resurrected skills beyond an eyelash yarn wrap for Raccoon Doll Mika and a small cap that currently fits no-one. I'd say it's a size 4-5. Too big for RealPuki, too small for anyone else.
Mika and her wrap
Yesterday I took a refresher in crochet. Hello crochet my old friend! Maybe it's my age, but I'm finding a single crochet hook much easier to manipulate than two knitting needles. The yarn doesn't slip off the hook so I don't drop stitches. That means I can remove individual stitches without watching a whole row unravel. I got the hang of it pretty quickly.

A few years ago I tried to relearn crochet from a book, but for some reason I couldn't get it. There are some differences between the book and the method I learned in class. Is one of them wrong? Or is it another way to arrive at the same result? I'll have to make a small square using the book's method to see if both look the same when they're done. The book has some crochet patterns for human size garments that I would love to make for dolls.
RealPuki Kaka attended class with me  Now he wants his own crochet hook.
I spent some time online looking for crochet pattern books for dolls. I found a few; however most reviewers complained that the directions made no sense. Experienced crocheters might be able to circumvent the instructions and still turn out a wearable garment. The rest of us should take warning. Hmm, I think I'll take my chances with re-sizing human garments instead. I did buy a knitting pattern book last year but haven't progressed to actual garments yet. The patterns are for 18 inch play dolls (most of the books are) so even if the patterns work, they still need re-sizing. Maybe I'll just play it by ear.


  1. I tend to knit more than crotchet, but I had so much 8ply wool accumulated, all of which is much too thick to use for BJD clothes, I decided to make one of those Granny square rugs. LOL!

    Good luck with your crochet projects, but I hope you don't give up on the knitting yet, it really is fun. :)

  2. Thanks Xanadu! I haven't totally given up on knitting. It's nice to switch back and forth for variety. Plus I have lots of yarn left over from the old days. If the moths didn't get it while it was in storage, I have all the yarn for a cable knit afghan. Like you said, too thick for BJD clothes. LOL

  3. I know both of them, although I'm not good at any of them, but I think both allow for different types of results, so the better one is the one that fits the project better xD

    My mom crochets amazingly, though.

    I love the wrap you did for Mika, I think it suits her vary nicely. Sad about the cape, maybe you can sell it on DoA or something?

    Resizing human patterns sounds nice, many do it even for sewing!

    1. Thanks Musume! I like the way you put it: the better one is the one that fits the project better. :)

      Unfortunately the cap is not worth selling anywhere. It was mainly an experiment to see what would happen if I tried to reduce a human hat pattern. The reduction sort of worked, except not to the size or shape I wanted, and the stitches were anything but perfect. xD

  4. I admire your patience, I could never bring myself to work with crochet patterns. Maybe I am just too stupid to understand them :D. Knitting is no problem, though.

    1. I wouldn't call it patience--more like dogged determination. LOL. With both knitting and crochet, following patterns is mostly about remembering what the abbreviations stand for and knowing how to execute the stitches involved. I always keep an instruction book on hand for when I get stuck.