Making a new start

Despite finishing my final duck, despite having earmarked several patterns as potential next projects and, despite loving crochet, I stepped into this week having started nothing new.

The main reason, I figured, was that at the end of a long day it’s much easier to pick up something I don’t have to pay much attention to – i.e. knitting – than something I do. Since I rarely sneak knitting I’m far too busy to knit or crochet in the day , I knew I needed to carve out some quality time to get my head around my next crochet project.

Eva's Shawl pattern
Apologies now for the quality of all the photos, it’s raining heavily this morning and so dark, the camera on my phone is struggling. This is Eva’s Shawl – I’ve put the link at the bottom of the page.

I also knew, that I was feeling a little apprehensive about getting the start right, that my technique needs improvement, and I had several questions – like Does the first chain on a chain count as the first chain?

It didn’t take me long to figure it was time for a visit to Super-Donna at Rocking Beads.

Rockin Beads Okehampton

So yesterday afternoon I went for a second crochet lesson. Not only did this, unsurprisingly, confirm I needed more guidance,  the yarn I’ve chosen is the slightly fuzzy King Cole Riot DK. Reworking the start, to get it right, makes it even more fuzzy, so, after a short while, Donna suggested I work a few rows first in a smoother yarn.

Eva's Shawl practice
Hurrah! Much easier – a couple of mistakes, but I left those in as it was only a practice.

I then returned to the King Cole Riot and off I went…

Evas Shawl Start King Cole Riot DK - Fab
There’s a couple of rows here I did yesterday evening too.

It might not be perfect, but HURRAH! I’m off the starting blocks and I’ve vowed to do at least an hour each evening, unless we’re out or have visitors. Once more Donna’s 1-2-1 lesson was really helpful, great fun and, at £15 for two hours was excellent value for money, – even better value since I strayed slightly over two hours – oops!

One question I’ve got for you crocheters out there is… The sides are sloping upward – they do on the pattern but not as steep. l think this is because my tension is rather too tight – after all the mantra Donna sent me home with was, ‘Looser tension!’ Am I right? Or is there another explanation?

Also can I get away with the steepness – or do something (in the boarder?) to improve it after? The aforementioned fuzziness makes it a mare to pull back, so I don’t want to do that.

Have a fab weekend everyone!

bex signature

PS The pattern is Eva’s Shawl.

41 thoughts on “Making a new start

  1. No, the first chain doesn’t count. You probably have that right in your head by now 🙂 Looking at your work and the pattern photo they seem to have the same outer shape so my best guess is you are following the pattern correctly. I learnt quite early on in my yarn working career to never use ‘fuzzy’ yarn unless I was pretty confident with the pattern. And more recently I learned that practise is not wasted time if I end up understanding how the pattern works – and that just took me several decades to get!! I love the colour of your yarn and your work is looking very neat too. Obviously a natural! 🙂 Looser tension, looser tension, looser tension. If you are having real trouble loosening up you could try a size bigger hook – that often works a charm. 🙂

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    1. Hello! Thank you for all that lovely advice and for saying such nice things about my work. Fortunately, regarding fuzziness the pattern is quite straightforward – phew! I also think designing my own knitting patterns means my brain’s trained to spot how patterns are coming together, so that’s an advantage. LOL! I think learning that practice reaps rewards is part of growing older and more patient – not only do I now believe that, but also believe in things I avoided in my youth, such as tension squares and blocking! Part of my tension problem – I think – is because I’ve been pulling things tight doing amigarumi, but I’ll try a bigger hook if I can’t crack it. Thanks again! 🙂

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      1. You’re welcome! You know I wouldn’t want to mess with that tightness required for the tiny creatures – that is a real skill! I’d just go with the bigger hook option if it’s not too late. I wish I had the ability to see sooner the way some patterns are working – sometimes I’m so slow on the uptake a snail could overtake me!

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      2. Thanks, I’ll decide tonight if I’ve cracked the tension. Guess it would be ideal to train myself to switch depending on project. I’m sure you’re not that slow – we all have our sub-snail days 🙂

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  2. Blocking should help masses and even out any tension discrepancies don’t you think? I always do the starting chain and foundation row in a hook an entire size larger as I tend to crochet tight too:)

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  3. I’m impressed! I read once that yarns either twist to the left or right – either in a z or a s shape as you look at the yarn. I’ve forgotten which way round it is which is best for crochet but you’ll find that yarns which go the wrong way go fuzzy as you crochet! Does that make sense??? It sort of unravels. I’ve found that if I handle it gently as I’m wrapping I’m working it it goes less fuzzy.

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    1. Thank you. Just spent a happy half hour reading up on that, wondering why I’d never heard of Z and S twists – until I got to the bit that said right handed knitters don’t have any trouble. Really interesting, the geek in me loved it and it will definitely help all my future crocheting 🙂

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    1. I don’t think I’d have looked for lessons, I just happened to pass the sign outside the shop one day and thought them such a reasonable price and that it would be a far more enjoyable learning process than squinting at books and YouTube.

      Sorry to hear you haven’t got a yarn shop – so good to squish the balls and see the colour in real life before you buy.

      Good luck with the lessons.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sorry, I only meant that I hadn’t joined a shop yet. I’ve been buying mostly acrylic yarn (until I learned to knit properly was the idea) from a big box store rather than scouting one of the local places. Now that I know I’ll be knitting things like socks and starting off on sweaters, I need to find a shop to call home. People here are weirdly loyal to shops – it’s almost like joining a guild, so I’ve been a bit nervous about it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sorry I misunderstood. Was thinking you must be somewhere very very isolated not to be able to yet to a yarn shop. Good idea not to buy expensive yarn until what you’re making merits it. Odd about the loyalty, not surprised you’ve felt nervous, I imagine that could get uncomfortable.

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      3. Expensive yarn, or even a step up from the cheap stuff, is SO much less forgiving! I’m glad I held out 🙂 I’m not usually shy, but this yarn shop thing makes me feel like a year 7 trying to sit with the cool kids.

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