Thursday, October 15, 2015

Getting Back to the Basics

  Do we have to stretch our talents to the limits at all times? No! If you're looking to sell or donate your work, then it doesn't always have to be the fanciest thing out there. A beautiful lacy washcloth that takes you two days to make might sell as a gift item, but it's likely to go unused in a drawer because nobody wants to mess it up. I'd rather sell a four-pack of simple dishcloths that only take me ten minutes to make - and people will use them. Give them character with a multicolored yarn and a neat border instead of taking forever to make a masterpiece.

crochet, beginners, double crochet

  Lately I've been using modified stitches like crazy! I just got bored with everything "in the book", and started playing with variations of stitches. I modified the butterfly stitch for the Dancing Dragonflies Scarf, the bobble stitch in the Drops on the Window Scarf, the long single crochet in the Mayflower Lace Scarf, and the front/back diagonal stitches in the Tracks 'n' Treads Scarf (as well as the Textured Face Scrubby). They all made amazing texture, and I've had fun, but it's time to get back to the basics again.

crochet, advanced stitches, scarf, free pattern

  It's too much work. A few special stitches once in a while are fine, but all these "modified" patterns are taking up way too much time - and sometimes yarn. First, I spend time making the stitch work, then I record the directions. I make a pattern. I create a tutorial. Maybe I make a video. In the case of the Mayflower Lace Scarf, I made both step by step and graph tutorials... And I'm not complaining. I encourage "thinking outside the box", and I love to share my new designs with others. I just don't have the time for extra-special stuff right now.

  So, it's been fun, Modified Stitches, but I have to let you go for now. We'll meet again, when my life is less hectic. Who knows? Maybe we'll see each other in a book. You have your own tutorials, and you're required in my free patterns, so you'll be kept in use while I'm away. Some attention needs to be given to your ancestors as you flourish and find your way in the world. 

  I've been so busy teaching my skills and the new stitches I've developed that I'm neglecting the things I've yet to learn. I'm practicing Tunisian crochet, but for some reason I'm still having trouble getting the tension right. My rows come out crooked. I picked up Clones Irish Lace, but I've yet to finish a single project. And let's not forget my original roots in needlework: What happened to knitting? It's a craft that I never perfected, and abandoned after I learned to crochet. I decided to commit to knitting something again because there's this really awesome Knit Along I wanted to join in on, only to discover that I didn't even remember how to cast on correctly. Embarrassing.

crochet, double crochet, beginners

  I'm sure I'll get bored with getting back to the basics, but I'm also neglecting the main reason I started making tutorials: Beginners! I still remember, and will never forget that feeling of being a self-taught beginner, with only a few old books that were difficult to understand. Oh, how my skills soared once I gained access to the internet! Yet, there were things missing that still left me confused. Like: Sure, you can show me a tutorial for how to make the Love Knot stitch using your already-started pattern. But how in the world do you work the starting chain? I strive to teach the information that others leave out.

  Still to this day, there's a pattern in one of my (ancient) books that I can't work out. It covers all four rows of the pattern stitch, but not the beginning chain. The multiple doesn't work out for me when I make my starting chain. I assume that I'm missing something in the first row, but I've wondered if the multiple was incorrect and I just don't have it's ancient correction. Included are four grainy black-and-white photos - only showing the triple crochet three together (tr3tog). It's written in UK terms and uses abbreviations like "wrh" that I had to translate first. (That's "wool round hook", by the way - "yarn over" for American me.) The pattern uses single, double, and triple crochet in the same rows, so it got a bit confusing until I wrote it all out in US terms. Even then, I still can't figure it all out.

crochet, advanced stitches, flowers

  My goal is to stick to simplicity until I can work out that pattern. It has bugged me to no end for years now. I feel like I have no business teaching any more advanced stitches until I can figure out the stitch that has me stumped. And when I do figure it out, I'll share it here. I'll include a tutorial. Maybe a video. And you can bet I'll teach you how to start the beginning chain.

Happy Crocheting!

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