Carrying on a family tradition

I recently became a 3rd-generation hooker.

At least, I think I’m 3rd-generation. When I think of my mother’s mother and her creativity, I usually remember her cakes–she could decorate cakes better than anything I’ve ever seen in a store–and her ceramics. But I do remember yarn often being around the house; I’m just not sure whether she knit or crocheted. I do seem to remember once owning a crocheted blanket from her.

At any rate, my mom is definitely a hooker…or a crocheter, for those more lady-like than I. (And yes–I know I’ll be straining the capabilities of my spam blocker with this post!) Mom prefers larger hooks and multiple strands of yarn to work up her blankets quickly. I also have an aunt who crochets–both my kids have blankets from Aunt Anne-with-an-e. Aunt Anne was my first inspiration to learn crochet, because in addition to blankets for all the family babies, she does beautiful thread crochet. Every Christmas her snowflake ornaments adorn many of the family trees, and together with my seamstress aunt, she made Jeffrey a gorgeous heirloom christening outfit and matching blanket.

Jeffrey christening

So, after failing to teach myself to crochet a year ago and finally taking a class, I found I was hooked (no pun intended). I opted to work up a washcloth for my final project, and though it took me a while, that was mostly because I had a design sample that was under a deadline.  I think the finished product was a success:

First Crochet Project (2)

At least, the recipient was a fan! Of course, if it’s pink, Lexie’s going to love it, so that might not have been much of a test of my skills, although I was happy with how it looked. The only thing I felt really needed work was my tension–like when I first started knitting, I crochet pretty tightly.

The logical next step was probably to try another similar project…but logic has never had much to do with my crafting. And besides, the same issue of Petite Purls that featured my No Capes! pattern also had the cutest little girl’s hat: Little Sister. With or without the flower, I thought it was absolutely adorable. It was also exactly what my sis-in-law was looking for several months ago for my niece, but I wasn’t able to crochet at the time.

For Jeffrey's Little Sister (2)

I happened to have a skein of the yarn called for in the pattern…and in the perfect blue for my girl’s eyes (her cousin’s eyes too, if I have enough yarn left over…but if not, I know where to get more!). I couldn’t wait to start hooking it–I even took the yarn, hook, and pattern with me when Steve and I headed to Richmond for the NASCAR races. I even took it on pit road with me when we headed over there, and took a seat on the wall in front of my favorite driver’s pit to work on my gauge square.

Spring 2011 NSCS Richmond (14)

I finished up the gauge square at my knitting night on Tuesday, and was surprised to discover that my gauge was actually a little too large–I’d gone up 2 hook sizes in anticipation of my tight crocheting being too small. My last row especially was looser than the others, because one of the other woman had recommended I try holding the hook so that it was always pointing down and moving my left hand around to hook the yarn, rather than rotating my right wrist. I immediately realized a) it was just as easy to hook the yarn, and it was less like to slip off, b) it was much easier on my right wrist, and c) my stitches were loose yet neat.

So I went down a hook and decided to dive right into the hat.

For Jeffrey's Little Sister (1)

I whipped right through the first 3 rounds…and then decided I’d tightened up too much again–I’d been having trouble getting my hook into the stitches on the 2nd round. So I ripped it, started over, was quickly back to the same spot. Then I hit round 4 and stumbled to a stop over “Sl st in ch-1 sp of first V-st.” Sl st I knew was a slip stitch, a V-st is defined in the pattern…but what was ch-1 sp? A quick Google search told me it was a chain-1 space…but what did that mean? I decided it was telling me it was time to join the Crochet on Ravelry group, which I did and asked my question…and then I thought to check the pattern page (something I often recommend to people in the Help group!), and found the answer:

When the pattern directs you to work in a V-st, insert your hook in the space beneath the ch-1 of the V-st.

Grrrrr. At least it motivated me to finally get around to join the crochet group! I’m now well into round 4, and I’m having trouble putting the hat down–I want to get to the shells! Heck, I want to get it done and on Lexie’s head. Back to hooking I go…

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2 Responses to Carrying on a family tradition

  1. Jean says:

    My aunt (who was more like my grandmother) could crochet beautifully and I still have the snowflakes she did — she never used a pattern and could make up anything on the spot. She instilled in me a love of the fiber arts. It was her lasting gift to me, and I love, love, love her for it.

  2. […] talked before about how hand crafting is part of my family tradition; those family members who made beautiful things with their hands are a large part of what inspired […]