Crochet Diploma: Module 11

My favourite crochet subject – toys and amigurumi!

I learned most of my amigurumi skills from Youtube by following tutorials on making play food and small toys for my daughter. I used these techniques to write my very first original pattern for crochet macarons.

This module covered the basic principles of making toys such as safety, creating faces and choosing the correct stitch type to allow for stuffing and embroidery.

It also touched on a very important subject in the textile artist world – plagiarism. Every toy maker has to use the same basic stitches and shapes to create their design however there is a very clear line that must be respected when it comes to including inspiration or techniques from other people’s designs. I spent a month reading every other crochet macron pattern out there before hitting publish on my own pattern. I created the pattern because I had already read most of them and none actually had the right cookie look I was after but I just wanted to make sure. It’s been several years now and my pattern has been referenced, shared and used by many people including one really clever designer who used it to make little animals. I loved that. Some little pattern on a tiny blog in a niche hobby won’t attract much attention but when you level up to submitting designs to magazines or being published on the big websites, sadly things get very wild west.

Charlotte's doll
Crocheted doll for my eldest daughter. Pattern by Happy Berry Crochet.

I have sung the praises of Laura Eccleston of Happy Berry Crochet multiple times on this blog. Her videos taught me advanced crochet and made me the crocheter I am today. Every so often her maple leaf pattern is published under a thief’s name in a reputable magazine or she finds yet another place selling copies of her free pattern under another name. This is an ongoing issue that she has had to battle and I know she isn’t the only crocheter out there this happens to.

one piece bears
One piece bears. Pattern by Raphaela Blumenbunt https://www.blumenbunt.de/de

Getting back to the lesson, this module highlighted the importance of safety when creating toys for children and pets. Selecting materials is very important here and you need to consider how the item will be washed and how roughly it will be loved. I have always opted for embroidered faces as I have never been able to find safety eyes I actually trust. This part struck a chord with me as I crocheted a premmie Octopal for my own little miracle baby who’s happy, healthy and four months old now. Her original octopal from the special care nursery did not make it home with us but I made her a new one to the exact specifications of Octopus for a Preemie (we call our bubs premmies in Australia). You can find more information here. Please make sure your octopals are donated through a proper group so they can undergo QA before being put in tiny little hands. I will be writing more about this soon.

My baby's octopal
My baby’s octopal. See Octopus for a Preemie for regional specifications.

This module included a cute pattern for a little postbox which I have saved in my stash for Christmas when it will be added to my eldest girl’s fairy village she sets up every December so her little critters can write to Santa.

The assessment was easy and I really enjoyed this module.

Happy Hooking!

Liz x

EDIT – I received a score of 100% for this module.

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Crochet Diploma: Module 10

This module moved on to Afghans. I have never had much patience for large projects and have only completed a few. My favourite of which is the 5 point star blanket from The Crochet Crowd.

20190417_090610
A 5 point star afghan for my daughter. Pattern by The Crochet Crowd.

After a rather (I feel) unnecessary paragraph explaining that an afghan and the tunisian crochet stitch, also referred to as an afghan stitch, are different things this lesson went over considering how an afghan will be stored, used or displayed before you pick your yarn. Pretty good advice.

The terminology lesson comparing afghans, graphgans, lapghans, and scrapghans was entertaining. Considering how much an afghan could cost in just materials alone was an eye opener. As an afghan can use over 3 kilometres of yarn, that adds up whether it is bought in the form of 50g merinos from overseas or your 200g value ball at the local $2 shop.

I really liked the suggested pattern in this module. It was called Sounds of Summer and it was very pretty. I will try and make it after my current WIPs are finished and off to their new homes.

As for the assessment, the weird wording has returned to the true or false questions but overall it was not too bad. Take note that there is a completely subjective question in here that has 3 marks. As I learned in school, say three relevant things that connect and you should be good to go.

Happy Hooking!

Liz x

EDIT: I received a mark of 93.75% for this module.

 

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