HOOKED ON SOMETHING: CROCHET!

When I first started this learning project for ECMP355 I wasn’t really sure how my project would turn out. I had no experience with crocheting EVER! I honestly couldn’t tell you the difference between crocheting and knitting! I mean I didn’t even know crocheting used hooks instead of needles until a colleague and friend of mine brought a hook and yarn into work for me to get started on this learning project before my first post. Oh, but what, didn’t I tell you that I had once tried knitting! Well, that is most certainly true and I attempted to make the most beautiful scarf. But the resulting product fell way short of a scarf and it was the most hideous creation ever made!

Back to my crocheting project! Taking into consideration my past success with knitting (cough..cough.. ) I mean failure, I thought I would set an ambitious goal in my first post. I set out to create a newborn hat and a set of newborn booties.

Now just to make sure everyone understands the scrutiny I faced from my friends, family, and colleagues for crocheting, I thought I would show you a few pictures of me in what they see as my natural habitat.

Now I can’t blame them for having a little fun at my expense, but if you couldn’t tell I am kind of a hands-on learner so crocheting is really not all that different from my hobby. But let’s get back to crocheting!

This learning project was not only challenging but also taught me how much of a visual, and auditory learner I am when it comes to hands-on activities such as crocheting. For this project, I really sought out youtube videos to help me with difficult stitches and of course to crochet my hat, and booties. For the hat and booties, I used the Sewrella.com website. This site was by far the most useful site that I used during my learning project aside from youtube to refresh my memory on certain stitches. I also enjoyed the videos created by simplydaisy on youtube and her crocheting tutorials for beginners. These videos really taught me the basics of crochet, and without these basics, I obviously wouldn’t have been successful with my project. Lastly, the site thewhoot has a lot of great resources to learn crochet but I found the mobile site to be difficult to use. This project also taught me the power of technology in an educational context. There are a lot of resources available as a result of the internet and technology in general. It is wild to think that I can learn anything from something as small as a cell phone or computer, anywhere in the World.

I also follow simply crochet, major crafts, The Crochet Crowd, and inside crochet on Twitter which is nice to give me inspiration and energy to crochet and will help remind me to continue to crochet once this course is complete. I also followed a fellow classmate and crocheter Lila Gaertner as she has been creating some fantastic pieces of crochet.

To wrap things up for this learning project I wanted to show my collection of crocheted items that I have done throughout this learning project to highlight where I started (the blue small patch, to the blue hat and boots!) I still need to make the matching blue boot for size, and also crochet a set of boots and hat in pink but now that I have the skills I should have no problem accomplishing that.

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BABY BOOT TO BE PROUD OF

In my last learning project post, I reflected on my previous experience trying to crochet newborn sized boots and how with my next boot I was going was going to slow down, take my time, and try to overcome the issue I had with my first boot that I created. Although my first boot certainly looked okay, the size of the final product was nowhere near a newborn size.

For this post, I am thrilled and truly proud to show off my latest accomplishment with my baby bootie project.

Although this boot is small and the author Ashleigh where I found this pattern and resource says that this is a simple pattern, but for me, this was no simple task.

My last learning project post I was trying to understand what I was doing wrong when I created my first baby boot. Although I can not specifically pinpoint exactly where I went wrong I did have some learning moments as I completed this boot.

  1. Keeping track of the number of stitches is critical when following a pattern. (This might seem like an obvious revelation but it is certainly easy to forget or lose track of how many stitches you have done)
  2. You need to try to be as consistent as possible with how tight your stitches are.
  3. You can change the size of the boot by using a different size crochet hook. I did use the same crochet hook (4.50mm) for both my boots, however, I tried to make my stitches on the second boot more tight and consistent.
  4. I still am having troubles with knowing where exactly to slip stitch at the end of the round. While watching the video I have a better feeling for where and how I am supposed to accomplish this.
  5. I still need to reference my cheat sheet occasionally. Especially if it has been a couple days since I last crocheted and definitely for the more complicated stitches like back post crocheting.
  6. IMPORTANT: When doing decreases the goal is to reduce the number of stitches (hence the name) but it is important to keep them tight and the loops close together to achieve a tight and easy flowing reduction.
  7. I still need to reference the newborn hat video to remember how to add another color (green) for accents.

Below was my progress throughout this “bootie build”

* Not sure why the boot looks like a different color in some pictures, I assume this is because of lighting*

 

 

Slow and Steady Wins the Race!

Since my last crochet project post I have been focusing on taking my time to create my second “blue” baby bootie. If you recall, my last baby “blue” bootie didn’t go as well as I had planned and although it doesn’t look that terrible, it is by no means a new born sized boot. My experience with my first boot did confirm my thoughts on my own learning preferences and learning styles. I have always thought that I am a kinesthetic and visual learner and this project has really cemented that notion that I do in fact have learning preferences. As an educator understanding that I myself have preferences in learning is an important reflection as it is important to understand that our students that we teach all have differing learning preferences. Now of course I also realize that this is my preference and doesn’t necessarily mean that this is the only way I can learn. For myself I think my learning preferences vary slightly with what is being taught/learnt.

Back to my progress!

In my last post I mentioned that when I first attempted the baby bootie there was only a pattern posted and no video. Since then a video has been posted and is shown below. The pattern, video, and details can be found here.

Needless to say I have been taking a lot longer to work through this boot as I really want to learn how to read patterns correctly and obviously execute the pattern correctly. So I have been taking my time making sure I am counting each row carefully so I don’t make the same mistakes. Also I am watching the video while reading the pattern to make sure I am ending each row correctly as I suspect that my last boot wasn’t done correctly with respect to my slip stitches. Furthermore, I think the number of stitches in some rows wasn’t correct in my last boot leading to a larger boot.

My progress so far:

I should also mention that when it comes to hands on projects and building things I am somewhat of a perfectionist. So although this boot is taking much longer I am hopeful it will turn out much better than the last boot.

Learning from my Mistakes: Bootie, Take 1

After my last learning project post where I crocheted a newborn baby’s hat I decided to take on the newborn booties project that was found on the same site (Sewrella) as the newborn baby’s hat. 

When I first set out to tackle this project I clicked the link and there was a picture of what the booties were supposed to look like, there was a pattern, but there was no video like the newborn hat. At first, I thought this was going to be a good test for me to see if I could crochet something from a fairly simple pattern. While reading and watching the last video on the newborn hat, the author said the hat and booties were a simple design for beginner crocheters, but as I soon found out, I made a few mistakes along the way. Although it is difficult to tell from the pictures I posted, I know I made a few mistakes. The boot itself is WAY larger than a newborn. I actually think it is much too big for my 18-month-old.

For this project, I printed this pattern out after I finished the newborn hat. As I was struggling throughout this boot and had to try things a few times, I did not take multiple pictures of my progress throughout.

Although many of the stitches involved were basic stitches that I learned in the past like chaining, single crochet, half double crochet, and double crochet, I also had to learn some new terminology and reading patterns along the way.

As mentioned, the pattern can be found here, and these are a few things I needed to search in order to complete the boot.

Hdc in back loops

  • For this like always I went to Google and found this video to help me
  • And this picture was also a big help to me

Sc Decrease

  • This is like a single crochet: Insert hook into stitch, yarn over and pull back out (2 loops on hook), insert into next stitch, yarn over and pull back out (3 loops on hook), yarn over and pull through all three.
  • Here is the video I watched to help me.

Bpdc (back post double crochet)

  • I did something similar with the hat but I still needed a refresher tutorial to finish this round.
  • Here is the video I used.

I added the green accent stitch around to match the hat. This wasn’t on the pattern and I know I am in no position with experience to be able to tell people when this can be done but I thought this was a good idea and wasn’t a big deal.

Since printing the pattern off and working many hours on this boot, I returned to the same site where I found the pattern and noticed she posted a video tutorial on June 5th, 2017. For my next boot, I am going to attempt to follow along with both the video and the pattern that I printed off to try and determine where I went wrong on my first boot.

Hopefully, I can figure this out and make an actual newborn boot and not a toddler size boot.

Crocheting a Newborn Hat

Todays post features my newest creation with my learning project so far, a baby’s newborn hat. In case you were wondering my wife and I are not expecting a baby boy or any baby for that matter. I just wanted to make a boy’s and a girl’s set of baby hats and booties for when we do have our next child. When I started my learning project I came across a really cute hat and booties on Pinterest and after learning some basic skills such as creating chains, single crochet, half-double crochet, double crochet, and triple crochet, I thought why not see if I can make this hat? How hard could it be?

Although it feels like I just started my crochet project I do feel like I am starting to master some basic skills. I must admit I am in no position to start bragging about my growing repertoire of crochet skills but it is a little bit of a confidence booster to be able to actually make something either from a video or from a crochet pattern.

For this part of my project, I just followed the link from Pinterest that led me to this great website, Sewrella.com that had a free pattern for the hat and booties. Now luckily for me, there was a video that I could follow that really helped me as I am definitely an audio/visual learner. This video is also on Youtube if you wanted to learn as I did from it.

EXPLORE FIRST EXPLAIN LATER

Now I must admit something:

I have been procrastinating about learning the language and how to read crochet patterns without the aid of a video because it is really overwhelming with all of the possible stitches and what appears to me as a foreign language.

But what I now realized is I was actually learning how to read crochet patterns by following the video and then looking at the pattern later. One of my professors at the faculty of education at Queen’s University, Dr. Cathy Christie, is a firm believer of the teaching technique known as “explore first explain later”. This technique essentially involves students diving right into a lab or learning activity and trying to develop key learnings throughout the activity. Without getting into huge detail over this technique I realize now that I was in a way employing that teaching technique on myself as I learn to crochet.

BACK TO MY HAT…

The pattern:

Begin with a magic ring, Ch 2, 11 Dc in magic ring, sl st to join, Ch 2 (11)

Round 2: 2 Dc in each st around, sl st to join, Ch 2 (22)

Round 3: *2 Dc in first st, Dc in next st*, repeat from * around, sl st to join, Ch 2 (33)

Round 4: *2 Dc in first st, Dc in next 2 sts*, repeat from * around, sl st to join, Ch 2 (44)

Rounds 5-8: Dc in each st around, sl st to join, Ch 2 (44)

Round 9: *Fpdc in first st, Dc in next st, repeat from * around, sl st to join, Ch 2 (44)

Round 10: *Fpdc in first st (directly over Fpdc from Round 9), Dc in next st, repeat from * around, sl st to join, finish off, weave ends (44)
New Learnings: 
1) Magic ring
2) Slip stitch (sl st)
3) Front Post Double Crochet (Fpdc)
4) How to add another colour!
Reflections
Magic Rings
WOW! Did I ever struggle with this! Like anything that I didn’t understand I went to Youtube and google to figure out how to do it when it was different from the video that I was using. After many attempts I finally did it and I am confident I could do it again.
Slip Stitch
Easy. Why am I just learning this now?
Front Post Double Crochet (Fpdc)  
My first thought was, Is that actually a thing or is it just a double crochet. Turns out not that difficult but I would definitely have to search Google to explain the difference between front post and back post double crochet.
Adding another colour
What a great way to add an accent colour and make the piece unique and stand out.
Check out my progress throughout this hat!

Road Trip Crochet and Creating a Cheat Sheet and Video

Before I move on to learning the language of crochet and diving into creating something from a pattern, I thought I would take some advice from other crocheter’s and learn a few more stitches. I decided to learn the half-double crochet, the all important double crochet, and the somewhat frustrating triple crochet. I tried learning the stitches from reading the whoot, but I was struggling quickly and losing confidence. I also realizes I had forgotten some of the basics that I learned previously so I went back to my first attempt blog post and refreshed my memory on what I had learned. And then it dawned on me that I should write down and record a cheat sheet that I could quickly turn to, to help me easily understand. So when I do start doing a project from a pattern and it calls for a triple crochet stitch I can easily read my cheat sheet or watch my video.

I was on a road trip to my friends house two and a half hours away with my family and I thought what better time than now to learn my new stitches and create a cheat sheet. As I mentioned I was getting frustrated with the whoot on my mobile device so I turned to a video produced by the same person that I was able to learn from the first time. This video was titled how to crochet for absolute beginners part 2. Using this video I was able to complete the half double crochet, the double crochet, and the triple crochet. I understand this cheat might not make sense for everyone but ultimately this is for me to reflect on and look at in the future if I forget how to do something.

Chain:

  • slip knot – yarn over (hook under, turn, then pull through) – continue with chain

Single: 

  • Insert hook into the second chain – yarn over – pull back out – yarn over – pull through both loops

Half Double Crochet

  • at end of chain yarn over – put hook into the third hole – yarn over – pull back out – yarn over – and then pull through each of the three loops

Double Crochet

  • At end of chain, chain three – yarn over – insert into first before the three – yarn over – pull back out (should have three loops) – yarn over – pull through two loops – yarn over – pull through last two loops.

Triple Crochet 

  • Chain four, yarn over TWICE – so it looks like there is three loops – insert into stitch – yarn over – pull out (should have four loops on hook) – yarn over and pull through the first two loops – yarn over – pull through next two – yarn over and pull through last two.

Here is my progress on the trip:

… and here is a video after my trip showing how to do each of the stitches I have learnt so far.

 

First attempt at Crochet!

To start my learning project I received a helpful gift from a friend of mine who leant me a crochet needle and a small ball of yarn. Being able to start learning a new skill with vary few materials is one of the reasons I chose this task. I am intrigued by the creations that can be made with so few tools and materials.

Like any new task I though the best way to learn something new would be to fire up the search engine google and find some good websites and videos to teach myself. I soon found a lot of websites and videos on the internet that explain all the terminology, various types of stitches, how to select the right yarn, selecting the right needle, etc. The information went on, and on. However, for me, I needed to jump right in and try my hand at something basic. I used this great blog on How to Crochet for Beginners, and this simple How to Crochet for Absolute Beginners video I found on youtube.

My hope was that I could pickup some of the basics of crocheting while not getting overwhelmed by all of the information and trying to be a master of crochet without actually trying it first. Secondly, I wanted to have some success at first so that I would be motivated to learn more as I began to learn the basics.

Although it took me longer than I expected, and many failed attempts I was able to have some success and crochet a small square patch. I learned how to hold the yarn and needle, create a slip knot, and crochet a single crochet to create a 10 x 10 patch. Below is a video of my progress:

I should also add that this was also my first experience creating/editing a video using iMovie and my first video upload to Youtube! (It’s like doing multiple learning projects in one)

I might not be a master crochet artist at this point in my learning process, but I am definitely calling this attempt a success. Stay tuned to see what I can do next!

Doesn’t EVERYONE know how to crochet?


Photo Credit: Angela D Beck Flickr via Compfight cc

Not me!

This may seem odd, but I have always wanted to learn how to make clothing items, or household items with yarn through knitting, or crocheting or any method that would work effectively. People that know me well, know that I would rather build or fix things myself instead of buying or paying someone else to do it for me. Some of my friends think I am just frugal but in reality I just like the satisfaction of saying to someone, “Ya I built that” or “Yep I did that all by myself”. This is evident when I set out to build a custom truck from the ground up with no custom manufacturing skills that I now use as a drag racing vehicle. Therefore, I am definitely a kinaesthetic learner with a deterministic attitude. This brings me back to the reason I am choosing crocheting.

A few years ago I tried to learn basic knitting and needless to say I wasn’t good at all and my so called scarf was a disaster. Therefore, my skills entering this adventure are definitely on the low end of the crocheting spectrum. I will be posting a video shortly to showcase my current skills and my progress on my first task.

My first task will be buying the material and needles needed to begin my project, followed by researching the basics of crocheting and determining my first design to create. My goal is to start off with something simple like a facecloth, but my ultimate goal is to crochet a pair of baby shoes and toque for mine and my wife’s future second child.

Something like this…