Crochet, Beyond the Basics

Threads of Life

I’ve been so busy lately that I’ve not been able to keep up with writing about the things I’ve been doing. A couple of weekends ago, I went to Threads of Life in Castle Donington to teach a crochet workshop.

Threads of Life, Castle Donington

I first met Sue, the owner, a few years ago at a workshop taught by Debbie Abrahams. We were asked to introduce ourselves and Sue said that she was opening a yarn shop the next day! I think most of us would have spent the day before such an important event dashing around, but Sue was very calm, and this, I am learning, is very characteristic. I’m sure Sue would not mind me saying, but her shop is really packed to the rafters with yarn and threads. Indeed, workshops take place behind that small window upstairs, which is also the storeroom! The shop is a tardis; it is bigger than it looks from the outside. Here you can see the workshop participants working away surrounded by yarn.

Participants at the Beyond the Crochet workshop

The workshop was called ‘Crochet, Beyond the Basics’. Sue wanted a workshop that went beyond the basic stitches and a granny square.

Simple samples

We started with making some samples, firstly some filet crochet. Actually, that is a table cloth started by my great grandmother and finished by me.

Daffodil table cloth

It looks complicated, but once my students had made the blue sample they could understand how it was made and realised that it was actually quite easy!

Two filet crochet samples

The purple sample illustrates the effect of working double crochet stitches (single crochet in American) under both loops at the top of the stitch, under the front loop only and under the back loop only. This last one was popular since it makes a fabric with a lovely texture that can be used as a mock rib. And it is really easy to do.

The pink sample shows treble crochet stitches (double crochet in American) worked around the front post, then back post and finally alternating. Another technique that is easy to do, but as one participant said “I saw this in a pattern once and hadn’t a clue what it meant”.

Sample of crochet raised stitches

A theme was emerging, “some stitches which look complicated, are in fact, easy”.

The project

Drawstring crochet bag

Having gained confidence we moved on to circles and a tube, but instead of samples, the students worked on a bag.  Here is one I prepared earlier.

The hardest part is making the correct number of stitches on each round of the circular base. This is important otherwise the pattern on the sides doesn’t fit. Once the base was done, the students had fun with clusters and a shell trim. And as they worked on this project they were also learning to follow a crochet pattern using abbreviations and charts.

All good things come to an end; the crocheters left, having become more confident by learning new skills. And this time I didn’t have to make the biscuits and cakes!

Upcoming knitting and crochet workshops

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  1. Patricia

    I have just seen a TV show where children were crocheting old video tapes. They made very fancy hats with them – but you do need a large crochet hook!

    1. Being Knitterly

      That sounds like fun! I’ve knitted with string, wire and fabric and came to the conclusion that there is a good reason we usually knit with wool!