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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Crochet etc.

The fact is a week or so ago I had what they call a sort of medical crisis. I got through it fine, and the details are typical, but what matters here is that I have lost more than a little good sewing time in various doctor's offices. BTW specialists are great but a shout out to wonderful family doctors like mine who say things like we know what to do for your body, but tell me what you are doing to heal your spirit. Seems to me that seeing the whole person is a speciality of another kind.

One of the conclusions, since I had a serious clot that moved up too far, was that I definitely will be wearing those heavy duty support units (I refuse to write hose) the rest of my life.

This will be a fashion challenge and to make me feel better my means-well husband said "well I guess your vanity days are behind you."

I am pretty sure that the look on my face, or the pot flying across the room in the direction of his head, made it clear this was not the right thing to say.

I mean - ha. Like that's going to happen.

We are actually going to be retaliating by ramping up the style, in fact.

Watch this space.

Which does not bring me in any way to what I want to write about next, which is crochet.

A while ago I started to crochet. I really like to knit but in these hands it is too damn slow. All I can do is about a sweater a year, and I mean, really.

So far since I have been crocheting I have made a couple of sweaters, two for me and one for a grandchild, two sort of afghan things, a market bag for my new daughter-in-law and started on a new sweater - all over about the four months.

I rest my case, speedways.

I also find crochet pretty easy and more relaxing than knitting, and definitely easier to rip out which I have done a lot of.

However there are some real differences between the knitting and crochet cultures. For instance garment patterns are no where near as easy to find in crochet as they are in knitting (any leads on good women's sweater/cardigans would be much appreciated).

Also, somewhat weirdly, whereas knitting really is into the yarn, the crochet world seems to be pre-occupied by synthetic yarn. Red Heart super saver for example seems a real favourite. These yarns of course coupled with the stronger structure of crochet can make for some stiff old fabrics and maybe this has resulted in the poor reputation crochet clothes have in some places.

So the less elite standards of crochet, and the fact crochet is so much faster, seems to have produced a culture that does a lot of nutty stuff, at least if you look at Ravelry. 

I mean who has the time, or mind, to think up stuff like I see in crochet patterns and do it? Knitters would never in a million years go down these roads.

Which maybe might be one of the most interesting things about this craft.

Illustrations of my point:

Crocheted poop. Who sits down and says, I think I will crochet some poop with some of my precious time on this earth. I want to meet this person.

A Marg Simpson hair hat. Of course.

When this child grows up they will kill you.

A decorative crochet cactus, assuming a crochet cactus would be decorative. Not something you would give as a gift. Not even a teacher present.

This might be a good time to share any of your own crochet related thoughts and insights. And of course good patterns.


Linda said...

Sorry, no revelations of super cool crochet patterns, just had to comment that I love the pictures you found!!! And that is amazing how much faster it is than knitting? I had no idea :-)

Terry Carter said...

I am having a worrisome day as my husband is going into surgery tomorrow but I was so pleased to see your post and just laugh out loud. (crocheted poop? who knew?)
Sorry to hear about your health issues.
Take care of you,

Nancy said...

And I thought the cactus was a pickle!

badmomgoodmom said...

I read about a crochet toilet paper art show. The art was excellent and I wish I could have seen it in person.

Sheila said...

Try here http://www.ravelry.com/


Hanne said...

thank you for not giving that cactus as a teacher present

Marianne said...

After a 30+ year break I recently picked up crochet again, only to discover how the rest of the world now relates crochet to ehhh, yeah, things like crocheted poo and cacti. In the seventies I wore crocheted cardigans, tops and poncho's and made hippie dresses with crocheted yokes. Alll very fashionable back then, much too 'granny' to wear now. So far I'm into infinity scarves. I did find some modern cardigans though, like the pleated cardigan by slugsontherefrigerator. Made of silk and alpaca, like the sound of that. Did you check Ravelry? Sorry to hear about your health issues (and the silly husband remark). Can't wait to see how you fight back in style!

Barbara said...

Good luck Terry.

Jessica C. said...

You might like Doris Chan, Robin Chachula or Dora Ohrenstein? There are a couple of crochet garment CAL groups on Ravelry, too, where plenty of more fashion forward pattern recommendations turn up that use nicer yarns.

(Doris works for DesigningVashti, and together they designed a domestic cotton cotton yarn specifically spun for fashion crochet: http://www.shop.designingvashti.com/YARNS-New_c39.htm)

Also, I might need that Marge hat. Sorry to hear things have been rough this week.

Betty Bennett said...

I laughed till the tears ran down my face, and my husband came in to see what was going on. I'm sure you will overcome the challenge of the support units on your support units and look as fashionable as ever.

Celtica said...

One idea for finding crocheted patterns is to go to Google Images and use "crochet sweater patterns" or "crochet top patterns" as your search. Once you find the pattern that interests you, click on the photo and then click on Visit Page. I think you'll find something to suit you. You know, I gave up crocheting thirty years ago, but reading your blog post has me looking for my own hooks now. Thanks.

Julie Culshaw said...

I used to crochet a lot, but you are right, hard to find garments that have shape. I think the nature of the stitches make for a structure that doesn't really drape, unless the yarn is fine and the pattern lacy.
But there is a blogger who sews, knits and crochets. She used to crochet exclusively and then discovered knitting. I found her crocheted sweaters to be quite attractive. You might want to take a look at her projects.


and her blog is http://fluffyfibers.com

sewingkm said...

I'm not into crochet for the very reason and funny pictures you've shown. You just might be on to something stating the utilitarian yarn most often used. Like fabric quality materials can definitely elevate the finished product. So sorry to hear about your medical woes but you will rise up and remain stylish! Karen

Angela said...

I am so very sorry about the necessity of compression stockings, but you have the right attitude IMO. There are other people online in the same boat who are like you searching some stylish options, and I look forward to your insights. As for the crochet, I too busted out laughing, mainly at your commentary on the crocheted poop: "who sits down and says, I think I will crochet some poop with some of my precious time on this earth" LOL Who does that?!! Here is a link to a garnstudios, who have some pretty crocheted clothes for women: http://www.garnstudio.com/lang/us/search.php

Amanda said...

Presume you've checked out ravelry.com for patterns... its where all mine come from. Not sure how many crocheted cactus there are, but others of moee use there!

BeccaA said...

So sorry about the medical emergency. I hope it never repeats itself and you're back to feeling normal. The crochet examples had me laughing out loud. Why indeed would someone spend their time making these things? Thank you for a good laugh.

Ernestine Ranson said...

The Lion Brand website has a group of patterns based on the Outlander TV show.
They are mostly scarves and shawls but there is a knitted and a crochet version for each one.

jane said...

It has already been said: join Ravelry. Many crochet folk. I am a knitter but love the crochet ideas.
Take care of yourself, we're all waiting with bated breath for the suppression hose style statement.

Kathleen said...

Hi Barb, You are too right - so many crochet patterns are not really wearable (too "sweet" too "pretty"). Few of those I've saved on Rav are for wearing, but these might be of some interest to you - (sorry about funky spacing)

-ravelry.com/patterns/library/c3-crochet-crop-cardigan -ravelry.com/patterns/library/austen-lace-muffler (love this)

Hilary said...


I saw this hoodie in a newsletter from Patternfish and thought it was a great example of a crocheted garment.

jennywren said...

I saw this pattern on Pinterest - it links to a Ravelry page - you have to then sign in to view it. It's a proper top down sweater and looks fun the way it is illustrated with a striped yoke and black body. Hope this link works!

Mary said...

Let's just say...hubby earned that pot. When will they ever learn... :)

Kate said...

You may like this site: http://cache.lionbrand.com/cgi-bin/pg.fcgi?page=freePatterns.html

Nikki said...

Sooooo funny!!! I think the first is supposed to resemble the poop emoji. Not that that makes it better, haha, but emoji stuff seems "in" right now, so maybe that explains the creator's thought process just a little? And the "cactus" is a character from VeggileTales! So the commenter who thought is was a pickle, was actually right. This one was probably made as a child's toy ;) What I've never understood is the crochet toilet costumes. Like a Santa cover for your toilet. These are patterns that are for sale. People PAY to crochet a toilet costume that will get peed on. LOL!

Anonymous said...

I've only crocheted a few things and I'd like to make a cardi but it's too drafty with all those holes. It's easy and fast, very organic too. I would think one could take a sewing pattern and just crochet each pattern price then stick them together no?

Here's my first hilarious effort at crochet: https://suitsmejournal.wordpress.com/2014/03/21/dawn-the-sheep-hat-im-hooked/

How about crocheted compression socks?

Anonymous said...

Kat Goldin