Crochet Diploma: Module 6

This module is about Care & Finishing and covers blocking, seaming, weaving in ends and laundering your work safely.

They delved into much deeper detail about blocking in this section and covered a few methods such as soaking a piece or steaming more delicate pieces. I have never had much luck blocking acrylic yarn which is apparently a universal experience as animal fibres take to blocking much better than man made ones do.

I usually sew a whip seam when joining granny squares because I am impatient like that but the break down of an invisible seam (I have seen this referred to as a ladder stitch in sewing) was very useful as was advice on how to make the crocheted seam ridge part of your design aesthetic.

Weaving in ends. OMG. Nightmare. There’s no way around the grunt work (unless you weave as you go but let’s be serious) and this lesson advised to weave in three directions to secure your end.

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Preach! Source: Jimmy Beans Wool on Twitter

The True or False questions in this assessment were a lot clearer. We are getting through this course! Next up, Advanced Techniques.

Happy Hooking!

Liz x

EDIT: I passed this module with a mark of 100%

 

 

 

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Crochet Diploma: Module 5

Here we go! Module 5 – Working with Patterns. So the gist of this module is tension = important. Swatch your yarn. The block your yarn. Then measure your yarn.

I have only blocked a few things I’ve made and almost all were granny squares. This module recommended using cold water for blocking animal fibres. It only touched lightly on blocking though so I feel that it will come up again.

Granny squares
A Traditional granny square and a circular square pattern I worked from symbol pattern images

I have written and published crochet patterns before and had read enough to know the basic elements I had to include such as materials, abbreviations and the instructions by row. This module however listed out the entire anatomy of a crochet pattern and every detail to include for a professional level pattern. I picked up some useful tips such as including schematics – something I honestly just noticed on a baby vest pattern I started making a few days ago.

I also appreciated the break down of symbols in the directions like asterisks and brackets.

The highlight of this module however was the thorough and useful explanation of a crochet symbols chart. I have only just started writing patterns in symbol form and seeking symbol patterns out on Pinterest about a year ago. I do like these now that I can read them as US and UK use the same symbols e.g. X = a US single/ UK Double.

I really enjoyed this module’s assessment as I was asked to matched UK terms with their US counterparts *cracks knuckles* I got this.

Happy Hooking!

Liz

EDIT: I passed this module with a mark of 100%

Crochet Diploma: Module 4

Module 4 – Beyond the Basics. This was a really useful module that covers various methods of joining yarns, some common gathering stitches and advice on fixing mistakes.

It begins with an exercise, advising you to crochet a few rows of 10 treble crochets to practice the later stitches on.

I used my practice swatch to test out each yarn joining method. Personally I do a hybrid of the “Add at the end of the stitch” method where you complete half a stitch, yarn over with your new colour and complete the stitch with that. I like to tie a small knot to secure this then weave in my ends.

The method I see most often and have never really tried is the Crochet over new yarn method. About ten centimetres from where you need your new colour, start crocheting over the new colour and covering it with your stitches. Once you get far enough, drop the working yarn and pick up the new colour then crochet over the old yarn before cutting. I’ve seen it done. Decided it was witchcraft. Never used it. Now that I’ve tried it, I’ll give it a go on my next project which should be a little vest for my baby.

crochet hook
Exhibit A – Magic Wand

Now we learn gathering stitches. I love the bobble stitch and used this in my contribution to the Little Hearts for Grace project. They covered clusters, puffs, bobbles and popcorn. Terminology comes into play here as well as what they call a popcorn, I learned as a bobble and vice versa.

Module 4 excecise
Module 4 exercise swatch

Lastly, there was some advice for fixing mistakes and keeping track of your count in a project by using a stitch marker so you have somewhere to frog back to if you make a mistake.

FUN FACT! We crocheters know that to frog something is to pull out your stitches and undo your work. We get this term ‘frog’ because when pulling out your stitches you “rip it rip it rip it out!” Source

These assessment questions were much clearer and well written. I think I did well.

Happy Hooking!

Liz x

EDIT: I passed this module with a mark of 100%

 

Crochet Diploma: Module 3

Module 3 is called Basics II and covers turning chains, crocheting a flat piece, crocheting in the round, the Magic Loop, increasing and decreasing, and the shell stitch.

The UK terminology is still doing my head in. Luckily this module is mostly treble crochets (US = double crochet) and gathering stitches.

The first lesson covered how many turning chains to do for each stitch (e.g. 3 chains for a treble crochet) then moved on to the first practical exercises in the course.

Module 3 excercises
Exercise pieces – one flat piece worked in rows, one circle worked in the round.

The first exercise piece was to practice finding and crocheting into your chain. The next was to practice the Magic Loop and to crochet a basic 6-12-24 expansion in doubles.

Now they used the term ‘crocheting in the round’ to describe this method of joining your round with a slip stitch and chaining 1 to count as the first stitch of the next round. In my experience with amigurumi (small crocheted animals, dolls etc) ‘crocheting in the round’ means to continue on without joining and marking your starting point of each round with a stitch marker. Not a big difference, just something I noticed.

I like that they teach the Magic Loop method. A lot of new crocheters struggle with this but once you get it, you never go back to the 4 chain circle. When using a magic loop, remember to weave in the end in the most secure way you can. I prefer to thread it through the centre circle again, then sew back the way I came weaving in and out of the stitches. I didn’t do this on a baby blanket once and every granny square came loose. I was devastated.

The next lesson touched on increasing and decreasing and introduced the DC2tog stitch. There was also a lesson on how to crochet the shell stitch as this makes a pretty and easy border.

The assessment was the same 10 question format. I again encountered two True or False questions where the wording could mean either answer was correct. In particular I think I may get one wrong where the wording was very unclear about what “finishing a stitch” meant in the context of the question. I’ll update when I have the results back.

Happy Hooking!

Liz x

EDIT: I passed this module with a mark of 90%

Crochet Diploma: Module 2

The next module is called Basics I and covers how to hold hooks and yarn as well as the basic stitches. Now here was where I knew I would run into trouble. This UK course was entirely in UK Crochet terminology (duh) – I have always crocheted in US terminology and translate UK patterns to US terms before starting. I can figure out what a UK stitch is but I am by no means fluent with them.

why u no
Why you called double crochet when you only have one stitch?

The first part discussed how to hold the hook and yarn and suggested some ways to get your tension right while feeling comfortable. They also discussed left hand vs right hand and that you can crochet with either hand.

The presenter is a lovely woman about my age (late 20s) who very clearly explains and demonstrates each stitch. What I like about these videos is that they remind me of the youtube videos I used when first learning new stitches in that she repeats what she is doing all the way down the row instead of explaining it twice then speeding ahead.

There is also a step by step photo series for each stitch.

The assessment was the same 10 question format with true or false, and short answer questions. I struggled with one question that spoke about stitch width. I know what I think about it and that the stitches are mostly the same width sitting side by side, but the course specifically referred to stitches as “shorter or taller”. …So which width is which? Horizontal or vertical?

My brain decided to take a break on the last question about number of yarn overs when making a Double Treble and I answered as though it was US terms. *facepalm* I should still get a pass mark but that won’t be perfect by any measure.

I will update when the marks come back from the actual human marker in a few weeks.

Happy hooking,

Liz x

EDIT: I received a mark of 91.67% for this module

Crochet Diploma: Module 1

So we have started off the Centre of Excellence’s Crochet Diploma, with Module 1: Materials. This module goes over hooks, yarns and the basics to keep in your crochet kit. I actually learned a few new things such as using WPI (Winds Per Inch) around a pencil to determine the yarn weight of a yarn with an unknown weight. In Australia, while the UK names do appear on some yarn labels, most yarns are labelled in “ply” e.g. DK yarn is 8 ply, Fingering weight is 4 ply.

There is a handy table that compares UK hook names, US hook names and the hook’s metric measurements. I prefer metric measurements when I am explaining or writing a pattern and always had to look it up when a youtuber or blog listed a letter or number hook size such as G size hook or a 7.

The explanation of many common yarns was excellent. I did not know that acrylic yarn was flammable, while wool is flame retardant.

The presenter has a lovely rolled yarn case with many different hooks each with a thick handle. When I first discovered crochet hooks with thick rubber handles, it was a revelation. At my day job I work a lot with a computer and mouse, then come home and crochet for hours. The little silver hooks I started my collection with hurt my hands and I knew I couldn’t use them forever. Every crocheter will have their own ergonomic preferences – knife grip vs. pencil grip, bamboo or rubber grip handles – and it takes time to figure out what works best.

Liz's Crochet Kit
Rubber handle crochet hooks, a darning needle and snips. There are stitch markers, a tiny tape measure and more needles in the outer pocket.

The assessment at the end of the module consisted of ten questions. They were a mix of true/false and short answer. These are marked by a human and you do need to pay attention to the material to be able to answer them well. As I am juggling a 3 month old baby and the school run, I used a trick I picked up at uni – play the video in x1.75 or x2 speed. You still get the information but you get it much faster. Seriously, try it on a TED Talk video.

My assessment is awaiting marking now. I will be sure to update when I have the result.

Happy hooking!

Liz x

EDIT: I passed the assessment with a score of 100%

Beginning the Crochet Diploma

So I was scrolling through Facebook one day, as you do, when I came across someone mention a “Crochet Diploma” on one of the groups I follow.

wtf? A crochet diploma?

Off I went googling my heart out and I landed on two such courses.

The course the poster was talking about seems to be the International Diploma of Crochet run by the legendary Pauline Turner. You can find all the information on her course here on the Crochet Design website.

The other was a “Diploma” on the Centre of Excellence UK website that hosts quick, fun, online courses in lots of different areas.

Diploma header

I came back to wordpress looking for any other crocheters who have done this course and blogged about what they learned or gained from it. I found a few posts on Coastal Crochet‘s blog but not much more, so I thought I would give it a go and blog the journey.

As I was looking for just a bit of fun I opted for the Centre of Excellence’s course. It is listed at £127 however there are two very useful discount codes if this is out of your price range.

Leading up to Mothering Sunday in the UK, use MUMGIFT to get any Centre of Excellence course for £29.

Or, use LEARNUK for a 60% discount.

Obviously, these things aren’t accredited however, the Centre of Excellence can provide a statement of learning outcomes from an accredited educational body if you would like.

I am now all enrolled and ready to get hooking. I have been crocheting for most of my life and crocheting seriously for 7 years but there is always more to learn and I am particularly looking forward to the tunisian crochet and writing your own patterns for publication sections.

There are 17 modules in the course and I hope to complete it by the time I return to my full time job in June 2019.

Come along for the journey and hit the follow button on the right -> to be updated when I publish a new blog post.

Happy hooking,

Liz

 

 

 

Hearts for Christchurch

Not just allies, not just friends, New Zealand is family to Australia. Our brothers and sisters whos’ lives were ripped apart by unspeakable evil during a weekly time of such peace and belonging were friends, classmates, family and neighbours. My grandmother attended church almost every Sunday for her entire life and did nothing but good in this world. She helped everyone and anyone. Babysitting, ironing, delivering a hot meal, mending clothes, sourcing support and resources from her position as an Anglican lay sister for anyone in need regardless of their faith or creed.

It was people like her who would have been in that building and that broke me.

In the helplessness and grief, I wasn’t sure how to help. Then this Hearts for Christchurch drive popped up on Facebook on the Love Knitting page.

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In Sydney, we have yarn bombing everywhere. Sunflowers, empowering messages, hearts, and trees covered in cosy, colourful sweaters. It is a sweet comfort to see these things around the neighbourhood. Someone made every stitch with love and they made it for strangers.

I have made five hearts to send across the Tasman. One for each of the pillars of Islam. Hate is loud, love is quiet and constant. I hope these hearts – quilted, knitted, crocheted hearts made with love – are a small comfort to anyone who sees them.

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If you would like to send a heart, for this particular collection, you have until the 5th May 2019.

Word on the textile artist street is that this was started by a quilter’s guild in Christchurch who opened it up when knitters, crocheters and sewists contacted them wanting to help, but I cannot find any further information or reference. I will keep looking.

To donate money to assist with immediate and ongoing costs to the families of those taken too soon, there are several official channels you can use. Our communities are very good at rallying together to cover the costs when something terrible happens so many of these campaigns are fully funded and will close soon, but every little bit helps.

Our People, Our City Fund – The Christchuch Foundation

https://christchurchfoundation.org.nz/giving/our-people-our-city-fund/donate

The New Zealand Islamic Information Centre (NZIIC) [Closes 29 March]

https://www.launchgood.com/project/support_for_the_families__victims_of_the_new_zealand_mosque_shootings?fbclid=IwAR1hZNulpJtqe85oAnwJ4KwJxQJCSQ6j7os-6PkrCh8eNp7DjbWKi2ru2_0#!/

The New Zealand Red Cross (link for those outside NZ)

https://givealittle.co.nz/org/redcross

New Zealand Council of Victim Support Groups [No closing date yet]

https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/christchurch-shooting-victims-fund

Kia kaha Aotearoa. We are one, but we are many.

Liz x

 

Remembrance Day Poppies

A red poppy worn on the lapel has long been a symbol of respect and remembrance for the brave sacrifice of soldiers lost in World War I. Red poppies have also been included in ANZAC Day ceremonies since 1940.

A group called 5000 Poppies set out to create an installation of 62 000 crocheted/knitted poppies for the Centenary of Armistice at the Australian War Memorial, among other equally massive projects. They succeeded and photos of the Poppies installation can be found here: https://www.awm.gov.au/about/our-work/projects/centenary-projects/armistice/62000-Poppies-Display

Among those 62 000 are some of mine.

Remembrance Poppies
Red for the lost soldiers, purple for animals, white for all losses on any side of a conflict.

I have continued making poppies for various charity projects and I am happy to sell them at cost to those who are not able to make their own for any reason.

My current poppy projects include making poppy wreathes for my daughter’s school ANZAC Day ceremony, and making poppies for the Sydney Royal Easter Show installation.

Current Project: ANZAC Day at school

ANZAC Day is observed on the 25th April each year across Australia and New Zealand, as well as a dawn service at Gallipoli, Turkey. This year the children will be on term break and will have to have their ceremony early. We are hoping to make 3 or 4 of these for her school to keep for years to come. The poppies seen here were the ones used at the AWM and Victoria RSL installations which are gradually being re-homed with RSLs, schools, councils, public institutions and any organisation who would like to  store and display them with the appropriate respect.

Poppy Wreath by Liz and Lottie
Our poppy wreath for school ANZAC Day ceremonies

 

Current project: Sydney Royal Easter Show

My next project is to make red, white and purple poppies to donate to the Sydney Royal Easter Show for their ANZAC installation. In this installation, white poppies will be dedicated to nurses who served.

Easter Show Poppies

Want to get involved with the Easter Show project? Click here for all the info.

Poppy makers who are interstate or overseas or can’t make it to the show are welcome to mail in poppies. Deadline for mailed poppies is Monday 8th April 2019. I am happy to provide the mailing address on request, or email Janine and she will give you the details.

Lynn Berry OAM of the 5000 Poppies Project has provided excellent crochet and knitted poppy patterns suitable for beginners. You can find the most concise patterns on the Easter Show website here. The patterns will open in a one page PDF document when you click through on the link on that page.

I have cobbled together my own version which I find quick and easy with only one colour change. I will add a pattern here when I find a suitable program to create a visual pattern. My pattern is similar to Lynn’s Three Row Easy Crochet Poppy but worked in doubles instead of trebles with a different stitch count.

Please tell me about your own poppies in the comments! I’d love to hear from other poppy makers. Lest We Forget.

Liz xx

 

Home Made crochet Steiner/Waldorf Gnomes and Nins

Since overhauling our toy disaster collection a year ago, I’ve opted for quality, open ended toys that stimulate imaginative play. Our play room is full of wooden food, musical instruments, baby dolls and clothes and a gorgeous doll house full of little wire dolls and hand me down furniture from at least three generations. The little girl who plays in there is much calmer and occupied for much longer in her imaginary worlds.

The next addition I have been hunting for were some sweet felt or wooden Steiner/Waldorf gnomes and small world toys. Unfortunately, we are nowhere near a brick and mortar store that stocks anything Montessori, Steiner, felted, etc. I have a whole list of bookmarked online toy retailers but being in Australia, the shipping would cost more than my cart! The closest store with a beautiful range of fairy houses, felted faires and food, and wooden nins (I love these little nins by Grapat) and gnomes is the beautiful Goldfish Toys in Berry, NSW …a three hour drive away. I didn’t want to wait until our next countryside escape to pick up some $8 gnomes I had my eye on so I took to Pinterest and Youtube in a quest to make my own.

These little guys are the results and I couldn’t be happier. It took about 30 – 45 minutes to make each one and I already had the yarn and 3mm crochet hook. They are super cute, are very similar to Grapat Nins and definitely cost less to make than petrol for 6 hours driving then $8 each if I was to buy them in Berry.

I followed HappyBerry Crochet’s “Wizard Gnome” tutorial only I used a 3mm hook, 8ply arcrylic yarn and I chose to stuff my little gnomes with poly fill while Laura keeps hers open like a finger puppet.

To seal the bottom, finish the final round as the video instructs and instead of tying off, CH 1 and in back loops only, SC in next stitch, SC2TOG in the next. Repeat SC, SC2TOG until end. Your stitch count will reduce to 12. Stuff your gnome at this point then SC2TOG x 6. Tie off and sew the hole closed. I poke the needle back through the hole and pull to flatten out the bottom before hiding the tail end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope this idea helps another mama looking to make her own set of little gnome friends. I have this vision of an entire toy box of toys I’ve made my children. What are some other handmade toy ideas? Amish puzzle balls, stacking bowls, rattles and loveys spring to mind. Now to actually make them!

Happy Sunday,

Liz xx