Crochet: What Next?
Hello and welcome back to the blog! Last week, we looked at how to make crochet tension squares as well as a few of the things that you can use tension squares for. Whilst these can be fun, they can also be a little tedious at times and also, chances are, if you are making a tension square, you probably planning on making something else once you know your tension, so today I'll be looking at just a few of the projects you may want to try next.
1. Granny Square Blankets
I know what you're thinking - after talking about moving away from squares, why have I suggested making squares as a more advanced project? Well, classic granny squares are very different; you start with a circle then do clusters of treble stitches with chains in between in a specific pattern to make sides and corners, meaning it is a little more challenging but still very therapeutic. Also, because it starts in the middle, you can make it whatever size you like and use just one square rather than multiple to make your blanket. Last week, I finished one that I had started using Stylecraft Dreamcatcher in Tree of Life. Unfortunately we are out of stock in this colour but we stock many of their other shades and a variety of other colourful yarn cakes, which are super fun for making granny squares out of. Here is a photo.
2: Cases and Bags
Many beginner crocheters next move onto making phone cases and tote bags, make out of rectangles which are folded in half then crocheted together at the sides. Again, these are very simple but are a great way to learn new stitches and are also very practical. Then, you can also start to learn shaping from making bags with rounded bases. As crochet is often a little more bulky, I would definitely recommend crochet bags over knitted bags as when done in the right yarn, they are very good at holding their shape.
3: Shawls and Cowls
Because of the structure of crochet, crocheted fabrics can be very warm, making them perfect for things such as scarves and cowls. Alternatively, if you want to do something a little more challenging or are looking for something summery, you could try lace crochet techniques and make a light shawl. Once you get into the world of crochet blankets and shawls, you then may want to start a crochet-a-long, which is a pattern released (often on social media) in stages for you to do at the same time as many other fellow crocheters. People will often share their versions of the garment along the way and it can be a great way to learn new skills, get inspiration and connect with the community of crafters.
Personally, one of the first things that I think of when I think of crochet is toys, particularly with the rising popularity of amigurumi, the Japanese art of knitting and crocheting small toys such as animals or sometimes cartoon characters. These not only look adorable but are also pretty quick to make, and you can find many patterns and online guides for a range of skill levels. We stock many amigurumi pattern books from Rico along with the recommended wool, so if toy-making is your thing, I would definitely recommend checking these out. Below is a photo of some of our amigurumi books.
You may think that it is much better to knit jumpers and cardigans than to crochet them but that's not necessarily the case. Whilst I don't have much experience with crochet jumpers, I do know that there are many patterns for them available online as well as for lace tops, dresses and even bikinis. These use a wide range of techniques and you can find so many different styles of pattern and garment, so there is something for everyone.
One thing that is really important to remember when learning a craft is that you are doing it for you. Even if you are crafting for someone else, it is meant to be for your enjoyment; so, if you see something you like, give it a try! Chances are, you are more likely to get it right if it is something you want to do, so if you really want to make a jumper or a toy, as long as you find instructions that make sense for you there is no need to make a ton of shawls and bags that you won't enjoy beforehand. Making mistakes is inevitable in your project but you will probably be able to push through them a lot better if you are making something you want to make. For example, I recently had to undo something that I had nearly finished and start over again because I didn't have enough yarn and had made it way too big. At first, I was very frustrated because of how close I had been to finishing but now that I have started again, I'm actually enjoying making it because I picked a pattern that I was really drawn to.
Next time, we will be looking at a Scandinavian concept linked to mindfulness that I really love called hygge and how crochet can be linked to this. But until then, happy crafting!
My name is Sharon the Sheep, the owner of Avicraft Wool Shop in Bromley Kent..