♥ When I taught myself to crochet I found the easiest way for me to learn was by watching 'How to' clips on Youtube.
Since picking up the basics this way I have then just sort of stumbled through and whenever I have needed to learn a new stitch I've just Googled it as I have gone along.
However one thing that has really helped has been looking through various different Crochet books and manuals at written instructions, as this has really helped to re-enforce each step.
When I first looked at any stitch diagrams I just went into panic mode and convinced myself I would never be able to do it, but when looking back at these same diagrams having learnt the stitch from a video clip it really does make a whole lot more sense. It was also by doing this that I learnt to read a pattern - again something I thought I would never be able to do.
♥ My reason for writing this post is because in this months Simply Crochet magazine there is a Crochet Essentials guide at the back, and it is, I think , one of the clearest descriptions I have come across yet.
♥ It literally starts right from holding the hook and yarn and works you right through all the basic stitches. It also covers things such as how many turning chains you need at the beginning of new rows, how to change colour and one of the most useful things for me has been the Crochet Abbreviation conversions, as I have started a pattern many times only to discover it is written in US terms and it has then been a bit of a nightmare trying to second guess which stitch is which.
♥ So, there you have it, Kate's Tuesday Top Tip - rush out and buy your copy now!
♥ The first and most important thing to do was to rip off the tasselly bits. Extremely satisfying ! Using a spare piece of fabric I then made a pattern by tracing the outline of one half of the shade. Using the template I then cut two halves from the new fabric. V important to remember to add a border of about 3 cm all around the edge of the template to allow for hems.
♥ I then stitched the two pieces, right sides together, down the side seams. I used the sewing machine for this as the stitching needs to be very strong as it will be pulled quite a bit as the fabric is tensioned to fit. Oooh - nearly forgot the most important thing - the pattern pieces need to be cut on the bios to allow for stretch, because you'll be needing that later! ♥ The new fabric will now fit loosely over the shade, and there should be about 3cm overlap top and bottom. I probably should say at this point that I have only ever done this once before, about 20 years ago - so what I'm describing may not necessarily be the correct way - but it worked for me!
♥ The next step is to pin the fabric on to the shade. I left the original fabric on as this acted as a lining for the new cover and gave me something to stitch it to. (Quick heads up here - this bit HURTS! Cannot tell you how many times I pricked myself - quite fortuitously though I had chosen a fabric that had red spots on it anyway so all evidence of crime scenes is very cleverly camouflaged and should anyone ever need any of my DNA the lampshade will the place to look for it!) I placed a row of pins down each of the side seams and then just worked my way around the shade pinning along the top and bottom edge, pulling the fabric taut as I went along.
♥ Once pinned I then stitched around the top and bottom by hand, turning the fabric under as I went along to make a neat hem.
♥ And that's pretty much it - just a few final little additions still to come, but at this point I was called away urgently to a barbecue. So, to be continued..... ♥
♥ Having finished my fairly mammoth first crochet adventure someone suggested that I had a look at a blog called Attic 24 Well, wow ! It was like sweety shop heaven for crochet addicts. Since then I have followed Lucy's blog on a pretty much daily basis. I have loved following her tutorials as I find Lucy really explains things well. The first one I tried was her Birdie Decoration.
♥ Lucy has a very different style to me as all of her creations are so colourful and bright, whereas I have found myself always being drawn to the creamy, taupes and sandy shades, but this has been one of the things that I have really enjoyed when ever I have started a new project, as I love seeing how different things can look just by changing the colour combinations. So, my birds were very reserved in colour compared to Lucy's, but when I had completed a few they made the perfect addition to a garland I already had hanging in our TV room.
♥ When the windows are open and there's a bit of a breeze their little feet jingle!
♥ It has to be said I don't think it photo's very well - I promise it looks a lot better than this in real life!
I am still loving this gorgeous sunshine every day but...
♥ I only started to crochet a couple of years ago when after picking up a copy of a magazine that was featuring Nicki Trench's book Cute and easy Crochet I just desperately wanted to be able to do it. I bought the book and drooled a little over all the gorgeous patterns and then googled 'How to Crochet'. Fantastic! All sorts of video clips showing you what to do, and the best bit of all was that you can pause and re start, pause and re start again and again and again until you have it. This was quite possibly a little annoying for anyone else that happened to be in the room but it had to be done.. From that point on there was no looking back, I was totally and utterly hooked!
♥ So for my first project I picked one of the Level 1 Beginner patterns and set to...
♥ I chose to work the pattern a little differently by alternating the patterned squares with plain double crocheted squares, and just worked with two colours, white for the flowers and a mushroomy colour for the rest of the blanket. Oh, actually it was three as I've just looked at the picture and realised the border had a darker taupe added in to it.
♥ Looking back I think it was a good starter project as each little square was quite quick to do and somehow that spurred me on. I'd like to think that I also got better with each square, as looking at this photo practise definitely needed to make perfect!
♥ Bit by bit it grew, albeit very slowly, and soon I was able to start joining sections together. Before too long it was blanket sized and then just needed finishing off with a border. Having since made lots of other blankets I have discovered that this is my favourite bit - I absolutely love deciding how to finish my blankets off, and I just sort of make it up as I go along.
♥ The shell border just seemed to look right on this blanket, and it was so satisfying to do as it gave such an instant result.
♥ Having finished the border it was at this point that I realised that the back really does need to be as neat as the front -oops ! Thank goodness for cotton jersey...
...it hides a multitude of sins - and it almost looks like I planned it!
♥ and here it is all finished, a bit wibbly wobbly in places but a start never the less.