Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Crochet Corkscrews

So now that I am officially obsessed with crochet, I have been scouring the web and ordering books to learn more stitches. When I was a kid there was a fad for a brief period where it seemed everyone was wearing these crocheted hair "ribbons" that had corkscrew spirals on either end. My aunt and cousins figured out how to make them and I can remember I had a green one for the longest time that I think may still be stuck in a box somewhere. I hadn't thought about it in years until I saw something inside my latest crochet book.

Recently I saw a neat photo in the Interweave Crochet newsletter for an infinity scarf in progress that was being made from a Kristin Ohmdal pattern. It was done in shades of purple and looked like the beginnings of a really neat rug. I decided to get the book, Wrapped In Crochet, to be able to learn the technique (stitch combination) to create the flat sprial shape for the scarf so I could adapt it to make the rug.

I got the book from Amazon and as I started flipping throuh it one of the first patterns I came across was for a neat scarf made up of corkscrews! The book has a number of awesome designs like the incredible circular wrap with sleeves and the hairpin scarf. (I am now looking for a hairpin to try that one out!)

One of my students at Green Charter was asking about hairpin lace after her third grade class read a book that mentioned it. When she asked me about making lace my response was one of those incredulous "Ha!" sounds that isn't a laugh so much as a substitute for speech when someone says or asks something that leaves you on the verge of stuttering. We have done fingerknitting in our enrichment classes but, making lace is something else entirely. Of course, when she asked about it, my mind conjured an image of tatting not the hairpin. Now that I've seen images of how to work on a hairpin I am anxious to try it out.

After Christmas break that same student came back to class with a crochet book she had purchased from Scholastic. I showed her how to chain and add on rows, but the hook that came with the book was a size H and plastic and it soon broke. After attempting to teach a 30 year old and succesfully working with two fifth graders I have learned that it is best to start a beginner off with a large hook such as a P or a Q. It's easier for them to make consistent chains that they can hook into to build rows. They can also start to create items right away and we all know that instant gratification directly leads to a beginner continuing on with something.

Back to the book; the infinity motif wrap in the book is pretty and lacy with delicate edging, nothing like the photo I initially saw in that newsletter. Of course, now I that I've just stopped typing for a bit and gone back through my emails to find the photo I realize it wasn't the newsletter where I saw the image but a link in the newsletter to the Crochet Me blog: http://www.crochetme.com/blogs/crochet_me/archive/2009/04/30/imagination-and-math.aspx. It will be a while yet before I delve into that pattern; I need some practice with the math and of course the right yarn.

I found some great variegated yarn recently in harvest colors that I fell in love with on sight. I tried knitting with it but I wasn't getting what I wanted so I put two strands together and tried crocheting a hat. That wasn't working out either so I tried searching for the yarn company online to see what patterns were offered. The yarn name, La Mer, didn't yield anything and there was almost no otehr information on the label. You practically need a magnifying glass to read the web address of the yarn distributor and while that led to a yarn site and patterns by Deborah Norville, it didn't give me what I was looking for.

The entire search proved fruitless and then I remembered the Corkscrew Scarf in Wrapped in Crochet. It was perfect for the mixed fiber (hand wash from Turkey) yarn. The pattern recommended using a size I hook but all I had on hand were H and J. I decide to go with the H and left the chains a little loose so the work wouldn't be too tight, but I needn;t have worried about that. Stepping down one hook size didn't make that much of a difference because gauge isn't really an issue in this project.

It seemed to take forever to chain the 390 stitches for the foundation, but four balls and three days later I finally finished the first corkscrew "rope" (you have to make three to complete the scarf). Of course it is twice as long as what I really need it to be for a scarf, especially for one that seems to be more decorative than functional. I am quite tempted to simply double this one (fold it in half) and join it without making the other two strands.
As it is I will have to take another trip to the store as I only had six balls of that yarn and I will need another six to be able to finish the entire thing. One could easily go broke with this textile obsession!