On we march to Module 9: Shawls & Scarves. A lot of the remaining modules follow the same format – introduce item, yarns, yarn amounts and tension, then a pattern for that item.
In this module I learned the difference between a summer scarf and a winter scarf and took note of some more useful estimates of how many metres of yarn needed to make a scarf or shawl. This module also introduces a 5 step “How to design “thing”” formula which doesn’t really change lesson to lesson but is a useful scaffold for creating your very first independent designs.
After the headache that was Module 8, this was a nice simple module that included two patterns for pretty and simple scarfs. One made of basic trebles and tassels and another made from motifs.
The assessment went well enough. At least I understood it all!
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.
The True or False questions in this assessment were a lot clearer. We are getting through this course! Next up, Advanced Techniques.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
EDIT: I passed the assessment with a score of 100%
Everyone said that flood was a blessing in disguise – and they were right.
As we settle into our second new home of 2016, the feel of everything falling into place, the warmth of our books and pictures everywhere, Lottie’s toys scattered lovingly around her room and finding all the little things – throw rugs, balls of yarn, tea cups – that have been hiding in boxes just make us happier and happier.
My husband and I catch ourselves wandering from room to room smiling at each other and utterly content with where we are.
I wanted to share some images of my favourite project, our library.
Lottie’s reading is coming along wonderfully. She recognises most of the letters of the alphabet, and runs to find the letter your name starts with when you come over to visit. She knows her friend Audrey starts with A and Beau starts with B. She ever spelled out ‘Pig the Pug’ after the story book they’re reading at preschool this month.
Reading brought me more joy than anything growing up and it still does as an adult. It’s wonderful to see my little one discovering that same excitement in opening up a story book.