Wednesday, March 03, 2010

New Crochet from Old Thread

Rather than posting yet another "tinkering with computers and software" saga, I'll show you some more of my crochet projects. Like the wobbly potholder, the goal here is to improve skills, while making a potentially useful object.

After completing the potholder, my next thought was to crochet some slippers from my cheap acrylic yarn collection. Acrylic yarn has gone steadily downhill in quality in the years I've been knitting, but this yarn was given to me during someone's spring cleaning, and had been purchased new in 1970--in other words, a blast from the past. I actually crocheted three different slipper patterns, found them unsatisfactory, and unraveled them. At this point, I decided that the best slippers are the garter-stitch rectangles that you sew up and adorn with pompoms, so I put aside my crochet hook and knitted the black acrylic yarn, sewed them into slippers decorated with two-tone pink crocheted "roses." They're washable house slippers, and the "roses" don't look so oversized when the slippers are stretched over my feet.

Having practiced a bit with stretchy yarns, I believed I was ready to move on to crochet thread, which is reputedly more difficult to work with. I pulled out my Quick Crochet thread, purchased at American Thread's "Yarn Barn" in Willimantic, CT around 1980. (For me, fiber crafts are always a walk down memory lane.) I'm really pleased to finally use this stuff, after hauling it up and down the Eastern Seaboard over all these years.

First, I made a simple pinwheel motif out of white thread. This stuff is a little coarser than the thread sold as "Bedspread Cotton," it's polyester, and it came from the factory seconds bin at American Thread. I was pleased to have it turn out relatively pinwheel-shaped, although there are a number of mistakes. Washed and starched, it doesn't look too bad, and it is currently sitting on the kitchen table under the sugar bowl.

I've been intrigued by two-color crochet, so my next move was to mix the red and the white thread in a project. I just followed the instructions I found on Carol Ventura's web pages (see links below), and made up the pattern as I went along. It's crocheted very tightly, and because the unworked thread is carried along in the pattern, it's quite thick, and works as a potholder.

Some of Carol Ventura's Tapestry Crochet links:

  • Tapestry Crochet, a website by Carol Ventura, features her own approach to colorwork and beading in crochet. She has text instruction, free video tutorials, links to her books for sale, and examples of her own work. The work in her Gallery is just amazing.
  • Tapestry Crochet...the rest of the story is Carol Ventura's blog where she profiles tapestry crochet artists. More examples of beautiful colorwork crochet.

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