a very sorry swatch

I’ve been persevering with my crochet hook and, despite the following photo, am feeling rather pleased with myself.  Ready to cringe, all you crocheters lol?

sorry swatch

Yes, I know it’s a very sorry looking piece of work . . . .  Like many beginners (from what I’ve seen) I found it very difficult to work out what stitch I’m supposed to hook each time I begin a new row (as is evident from the sides) but . . . I was pleased because I have (more or less) understood the basic repeat stitch.  I used a thicker yarn for this practice piece so that it would grow faster and make it easier for me to see what I was doing. However the mottled effect of the yarn didn’t help.  T therefore nipped out afterwards and bought myself a cheap ball of a solid colour for future practice. 

However that then raised another problem.  The solid colour is a 50% acrylic 50% wool and requires a 7mm hook.  That largest I have is 6mm.

IMGP2498

Things started off very wonky on the sides again, until I thought to use a marker.  Can you see it? and can you see the difference?  Once I began using that, just to mark the first stitch on each row, my edges started to look more even.

Feeling very pleased with myself, I then went looking at a few more videos on youtube and found Bella Coco . . . who has several tutorials for left-handers. 

I jumped in both feet first to tackle a granny square

IMGP2500

Starting with my thicker cheap yarn . . . but giving up and moving to a 100% acrylic (part of a huge pack I bought to knit myself a cardie, that never got knitted).  I’m beginning to get the hang of things, although I’m still adding or subtracting stitches along the way unintentionally. 

Undeterred, I will be trying this granny square a few more times, using my stitch markers, in the hopes I’ll have something that looks more like a square.  And once I’ve mastered that, I’ll be tackling “magic circles”.   Born a natural optimist, I believe things can only get better.   I even treated myself to a new book Rire.

Zoomi 01

zoomi 02

Yep, can’t crochet properly yet, but I bought a new book.  That’s typical me.  Full of lovely amigurumi patterns, for different experience levels.  This is the first in the Zoomigurumi series.  Number 6 has just been published.  I plan on buying them all.

Oh, and a last photo . . . I also treated myself to a new lamp!  My old lamp didn’t really survive the last house move and being knocked over several times by cats.  It was holding together with extra strong sticky tape but I couldn’t move the flexible lamp bit properly to direct it in the right direction.  Now I have a brand new, bright shiney lamp

lamp

In purple (of course!) and it makes cross stitch sessions much easier on the eyes.

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26 thoughts on “a very sorry swatch

  1. I know the feeling about keeping those sides straight but, even more ambitious than you, I’ve embarked upon a blanket which, with a foundation chain of 162, nearly defeated me before I’d even got going. Good tip for the stitch markers – I’ll dig mine out.
    Bella Coco is great isn’t she? – I’ve been avidly following her tutorials too.

    • gosh you really do like to make life difficult for yourself lol.
      I’m thinking I won’t really need to worry about wonky sides for amigurumi since most bits are stitched in the round. However, if I’m going to learn to crochet, I would like to learn all the basic first, which includes not having wonky edges when stitching in rows lol, and managing at least one decent granny square.
      My main problem at the moment is yarn. I am using my odd balls for practice and am really tempted to start splashing out on a whole selection of pretty colours in DK (because I’ve gathered that’s what most ladies use). Have to wait until the end of the month to do more on-line spending though, or Mr Visa will throw a fit.

  2. You’re doing so well!! I’ve been teaching a couple of left handers recently, so I completely agree that it gets rather difficult. I’ve been teaching people face to face, so find that mirroring is the best plan of attack. I have heard those videos are very good. And good plan with the swatch! Always my advice. Start with the smaller stitch and keep going until you’ve got it, then move to the next stitch. Just remember you’ll be going clockwise instead of anticlockwise when you start the amigurumi. You’re on the right path! Keep going!

  3. Claire, good lighting, instructions for lefties, you’re onto something! 🙂
    BTW, Good lighting always makes things easier. However, I don’t think even good lighting would help my crocheting. I think my cat would get better results with a skein of yarn and a stick!

    • speaking of cats . . . Le Bleu doesn’t bother me when I cross stitch, since I’ve been doing that since he was a kitten and he knows not to touch. However that ball of yarn is very tempting and he doesn’t understand that I can’t cope with affectionate head butts while I’m trying to YO lol.

  4. Your crocheting is looking good. It does take a lot of practice. I have been crocheting most of my life & still get wonky edges occasionally if I don’t pay attention. Keep practicing.

  5. Well done, Claire, you’re no slouch when it comes to learning a new craft! It can be tricky knowing in which stitch to begin the new row and I find that if I count my stitches I can keep my edges neat; I like the patterns that state at the end of each row how many stitches there should be. The magic circle defeats me sometimes – it looks so easy but I’m not always successful – I learned, and have been doing for years, the old fashioned way of joining a chain and stiching into the centre of it … can always sew the wee opening closed afterwards if it’s a problem. lol
    I expect this time next week you’ll be sharing your first amigurmi.

    • I don’t know about next week lol.
      At the moment I’m making do with cheap balls of rather boring coloured yarn, different thickness, and trying out different hooks as I go. Already got my eyes on some pretty DK yarn though, as I think that’s what amigurumi ladies use . . . I figure I need to plod on and learn the basics first before I splash out.
      Oh and I’ve been trying magic circles this afternoon – still got a huge hole in the middle, so don’t know what I did wrong there. I’ll persevere.

      • There are a few different techniques to get the closed circle result that you get with the magic circle. I usually wrap the yarn round my finger twice with a long trailing end. I crochet the stitches into the circle and when I’m all the way around and have slip stitched into the first stitch, I pull the trailing end and it tightens up the circle.

      • yes, I’ve seen the circle method, and that’s the one to use apparently, so that there’s no hole for stuffing to pop out of.

    • thanks for the encouragement ^^ Yes, I thought the granny square was a good place to start and am finding it very therapeutic. Just have to be careful with the number of stitches as it grows.

  6. Everyone needs a goal to aspire to, and I strongly believe that one day soon we’ll see you make that monkey! I can see that your edges are getting better and better. I also find counting the stitches helps, and also controlling the tension of the yarn with your other hand as you stitch it in gives you more even stitches and firmer edges. Says she, who can barely crochet, but that denim rug was a beast and I learned a lot doing it!

  7. Everyone has wonky edges to start with and you’re doing great. Stitch markers are an absolute godsend. I use them all the time.
    A couple of things to think about.
    1. Make sure you know if your pattern is in US or UK terminology. They’re different and a lot of people don’t realise that and get into a bit of a muddle LOL
    2. Check if the turning chains (the chains you do at the start of each row) are to count as the first stitch or not. If they do, you need to crochet into them at the end of each row or you’ll lose stitches. If they don’t, then you need to make sure to crochet into that first stitch after doing the turning chains. Unless otherwise stated, I assume that they do count as the first stitch.

    The amiguri looks lovely. I did a pair of bunnies a while back and they’re not difficult, just a bit fiddly in places. Can’t wait to see what you make 🙂

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