Saturday, 28 April 2012

Improving your skillset - 3KCBWDAY6

Although I have knitted and crocheted on and off since the age of 10, it is only in recent years that I have seriously tried to get to grips with it, making an effort to understand the various stitches and patterns to find out how it all works and see just what can be achieved when you know how. My Mum liked to handknit when she got the chance but had a knitting machine too on which she produced all sort of jumpers, socks and tea cosies. I didn't really do much knitting with her but we used to sew, paint, draw and write poetry together. My paternal grandmother, who was a member of the Townswomen's Guild for many years, was an excellent seamstress who made most of my dresses when I was younger as well as lots of soft toys. She was also the person who first taught me to crochet.

A couple of years ago we started a Stitch & Bitch in group in work during Tuesday lunchtimes (7 of us) and the information that is shared is worth more than it's weight in gold (or yarn!). Our skills and experience range from zero to those who have been involved with knitting/crochet for more than 30 years and everyone is willing to contribute what they know. As well as everyone's individual projects we have produced enough knitted/crocheted squares between us to make a decent sized blanket and I will be blogging about this at a later date to show how it has come together (I have the honour of crocheting together the stitched-together strips).

A lot of the squares were inspired by a desk calendar owned by one of the group. It contains a different stitch/pattern for each day of the year, made up as a square, and was therefore ideal for something like this....and someone like me!

Another member of our group (who is more of a knitter) gave me a fabulous book from the 80s called 'The Harmony Guide to Crochet Stitches' which I have read cover to cover but haven't had the opportunity to use yet. It has an excellent section in the back on  Tunisian Crochet which is something I would really like to try.

It uses a different type of hook which is either double-ended or looks more like a knitting needle with a hooked end! The stitches stay on the hook itself and the outcome is something that looks like a cross between knitting and crochet.

The rest of the book contains lots of other interesting 'ordinary' crochet stitches with diagrams as well as written instructions so that you have the best of both worlds really. I have plans for all of the following.

As for making a list of some skills I would like to try? Well, this would include, in no particular order........
  • Knitted 'realistic' animals  Dogs Cats
  • Gloves (fingerless to start with)
  • Socks (which I always fear will come out different sizes!!)
  • Knitting or crocheting a whole garment for myself
  • Learning to spin (I recently bought a drop spindle and some wool batts)
  • A wall hanging with lots of additional texture, beads and sparkly bits
  • Knitting using circular needles
  • Crocheted spirals and baubles

  • Really chunky crochet with a big yarn and a big hook

Fortunately, the spirals, bauble and chunky crochet are patterns in this book.... they have more of a chance of being of being achieved in the near(ish) future.

Making a deadline for any or all of these? Hopefully by the end of the year, but we will have to see!


  1. I really like this post Bev - you have a real gift for pointing up inviting alleys to wander down and be inspired by. Have thought that a number of times this week in particular. On the Tunisian crochet front - see my post for today! Only managed the Tunisian simple stitch though so next up must be these more complex ones. Love your blanket in the making - and that desk calendar - any clues as to how to obtain one? Now that I can't quite say "I don't knit" I am looking for another project to expand the tentative beginnings that have been made. Now off to see if I can rootle out on Amazon a copy of that book in your pic! E x

  2. PS Please ignore my query re source of calendar - have now clicked on the desk calendar link in your post so heading off to Amazon for perhaps a back copy of that too! E x

    1. E,
      I have discovered that this calendar does come out each year. It is a bit on the expensive side but for 365 different stitch patterns it is more than worth the money!
      B x

  3. Such a great post! So much detail here. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Good luck! I LOVE those chunky scarves!

  5. The Harmony Guides are really great - you can't go wrong with them in your library. And Tunisian crochet is most excellent!

  6. So much to comment on, where to start?

    Love the blanket, it's beautiful .... PMSL! Has anyone else sewn their strip yet or is mine the only complete one still?

    Really pleased your using that book. It satin an drawer for 20 years so I'm so pleased its now full filling it's rais endetra (completely spelt wrong!). Stop press .. I think I might hav a tunisian crochet hook ... You can have a look at I when I see you. I'm also wanting to try socks and hav nve made any. I think Wendy is keen too (with our Lidl bargain wool!) maybe we could o a KAL for that to?

    I will wait and see how all these crochet stitches turn out, the look beautiful, maybe we need to do a crochet blanket next time :-)

    Lastly I might be able to help with some of your wishes ..

    I have a knitted animal pattern book, will bring to nex stitch and bitch, has a really good meerkat pattern but no sure if dogs/cats will be realistic enough for you.

    Lastly, what are you wanting to do on circulars? Sounds a stupid question I know! But some people just knit what would be traditionally done on straight needles on circulars, they don't necessarily knit in the round. If its knitting in the round you could make the garment for yourself on them. There are quite a few patterns in ravely knit in the round, less sewing and you would be killing two birds with one stone.

    Bought knits for nerds last week has a lovely pattern for fingerless gloves, in fact I'm thinking of making them, we could do a KAL and help each other ou if we got stuck.

    1. Blanket? Yours is still the only finished strip, Mandy has finished sewing hers bar one square, Mary has given her squares to Mandy, Wendy and Claire still have theirs to do. I was looking forward to crocheting this together but I have been waiting for absolutely ages now!!

      Book? I am hoping to use some of these stitches to make a blanket with the lovely merino wool that I won. I would like to see the Tunisian crochet hook but don't worry about it as I would like to get a few anyway.

      Realistic animals? Love to see your book. The only one I have had a proper look at is the one that Mandy brought in? The dogs looked so funny!

      Circular needles? I inherited some of these but have never used them. Seen you and Kim working with them but the work is always too advanced for me and I was hoping I could use them for something simpler but different to what I normally create?

      What is Knitting for Nerds? A KAL would be great, esp if you are going to do gloves!!

      B x


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