Posts tagged [crochet blanket]
Like many of us, I completely overdid it in December – I went from famine to feast because I could. I had the time, I was relaxed, and I was in the zone to completely over doing it.
But it wasn’t a food and drink feast!
No! It was a crocheting feast.
In the space of five days, I crocheted 3 octopuses, 12 squares for my blanket and taught myself to do the star stitch. I was an addict. I could truly say “Hi my name is Briony and I am a crochet addict”. Crocheting had gone from being a meditative and soothing experience to being a somewhat frantic affair.
My addiction was hurting me – my hands were aching, my fingers went tingly and numb, my left wrist stiffened up, my elbow hurt and we won’t even talk about my shoulders and neck that were pretty much locked. At some point holding my crochet work became impossible. But worse than that, I was struggling to hold a knife, pick up anything heavier than a mug, or make a fist.
Yup, you guessed it… repetitive strain injury (and a flare-up of arthritis). (I hate that word – I am too young to be using that word!!).
So January has been a dry month for me. I packed away my crochet projects and for a month my hands have rested. Sadly they spent most of January picking up food because they weren’t busy all the time… so February is now the reverse of January. My crochet work is back in hand, and I am having a carb-free February!
When I chatted with Helène and did a little research on repetitive strain injuries, it became clear to me that most crocheters go through this at some point.
So here is some wise advice from Helène and other crocheters on the internet:
- Concentrate on your grip. Whether it’s a knife grip or a pencil grip make sure that you place little to no pressure on your thumb.
- Invest in a soft grip hook (I already have one). Helène recommends investing in an ergonomic hook like the Ilaja Hook handmade by LJ Craft Creations.
- Change your grip. Helène says that a few years ago she forced herself from a pencil grip to a knife grip because of sore hands. Find a way that suits you.
- Rest, stretch and focus on posture. Regular intervals of hand, arm, and shoulder stretching are very important (definitely something that I neglect, but have started being a lot more conscientious about). The Crochet Project goes as far as recommending stretching every 20 minutes and even doing light weight-bearing exercises to strengthen your “crochet” muscles!
- Try massaging Hilda Steyn’s specially formulated sore hand's remedy on to your hands, arms, and sometimes you can buy directly from Yarn at ZelLé. (Check out Hilda's patterns as well – I think her Wacky Weave Squares CAL might just be a project in my future!!)
- The opposite of repetition is variety. Try having a number of different projects on the go to introduce variety in hook sizes, yarn types, tension, and figure out for yourself what types of projects are least straining for you.
- Stop! If all else fails just stop crocheting for a while. If crocheting is causing fear rather than fun, then it’s time to stop. Read Sally Strawberry's blog for another account on RSI.
After a month of no crocheting, my hands are all better and I am back to doing a bit of crocheting here and there when I have a half hour or so. My blanket may take longer to complete than I had hoped but rather than, than hands that don’t function.
Have you ever had a repetitive strain injury?
Briony Parsons (Liber) is the owner and founder at Briony Liber Coaching (www.brionyliber.com). She provides coaching to young professionals that want to explore and develop their behavioral competencies and broader personal and interpersonal business skills, to complement and support their technical capabilities.
I have always wanted to learn to crochet. My gran taught me to knit and that was easy enough, but what my gran did with a crochet hook was just a complete mystery to me. That hooked moved like lightening, and the concept of making anything with one hook as opposed to two needles just made no sense to me.
Earlier this year I was cleaning out the remnants of my late moms kist and found about 30 crochet hooks in all sizes and at least 40 pairs of knitting needles. I have a million unfinished projects and the look on my husband’s face was a gentle reminder to me that taking on another project might be ludicrous in a year when I was building my business. And so the majority of those hooks and needles made their way to charities and I am pretty sure are being used lovingly to create all manner of woolly goodies.
Despite having given away all those hooks, I got sucked into the world of Amigurumi and crochet projects on Pinterest and have spent the year wanting to make tiny stuffed yarn creatures.
So a couple weeks ago when Brilliantmommy held a beginner’s crochet workshop, I went along secretly hoping to master the granny square and hop straight on to making an amigurumi mouse within a week or two (I wonder if Crafter Granny would appreciate a mouse in her house?).
Well I am a looooong way from making anything Amigurumi (so no need to worry Crafter Granny).
In the workshop I learned to make something resembling a basic granny square. I also learned to unravel everything and remake it a few times before I finally got the hang of it. That morning was like learning a new language – ch3, sl st, sc, 2dc, hdc, tr, …… what??
Nothing made sense to me. I must have unraveled my work at least three or four times that morning. But Helène patiently guided me through the stitches and under her wonderful guidance I got the hang of it.
Everyone else walked away from the morning with what looked to me like perfectly tensioned granny squares – mine looked more like a wonky lacy doily.
I might have given up there and then, but I have such fond memories of the granny blankets that my gran made for my brother and me. I wanted to make my own blanket.
So every morning for three days after the workshop I sat for an hour or so practicing my crocheting, watching Youtube videos of beginner crocheting (I particularly am enjoying Melanie Ham’s https://youtu.be/w_B3YJHMgzM crochet channel) and slowly but surely getting to a point where I had what I considered to be the perfect granny square.
While I was perfecting my granny square, I was bombarding Helène with photos of my progress which included the little heart I learned to make while following Crochet Lover’s Youtube video https://youtu.be/cHqOBv5Wpos
After three days I ran out of wool. I also found myself bored with the colour I was using. But what was worse, were the appeals from my husband not to cover our house in crocheted doilies. (I am a bit tempted now to crochet one for the back of his chair just to freak him out LOL).
But I agreed that if I was going to crochet then I better find some modern crochet patterns for my granny blanket. And the one I found is this one from Purl Soho - how gorgeous is this!!! https://www.purlsoho.com/create/2012/11/15/whits-knits-bears-rainbow-blanket/
I have decided to use a mix of colours from the Nurturing Fibres Eco-cotton range https://nurturingfibres.com/yarn/eco-cotton/. I am aiming to make a king size blanket…. (hopefully by winter next year). I suspect I have no idea what I am taking on but watch my journey with this and other projects over the next year and find out.
I am now three squares in, despite having crocheted 7 squares (and that tale of unravelry (or frogging) will be the subject of my next blog).
* Briony Parsons (Liber) is the owner and founder at Briony Liber Coaching (www.brionyliber.com). She provides coaching to young professionals that want to explore and develop their behavioral competencies and broader personal and interpersonal business skills, to complement and support their technical capabilities.
For me, the Crochet Guide to Greatness workshop was the moment when I finally decided to wean myself from acrylic yarn to natural fibres. I'm still learning a lot though! Hilda shared her process from using acrylic yarn to only natural fibres in the previous post.
Now! The reason why I wanted to interview Hilda: The Wacky Weave Interlocking Crochet-a-long. My blanket is finished and washed and blocked and very, very pretty!
Helène: You are running the Wacky Weave Interlocking crochet-a-long (CAL) at the moment. We have been given a peak of the follow up Babette Interlocking CAL. Before you announced the initial CAL I was completely unaware of the technique and yet last year you were already running workshops teaching on it. How did you first become aware of the interlocking technique and why has it kept your attention?
Hilda: I saw interlocking by accident on Pinterest in 2014. Since then, it has kept my interest. There is just so much that can be done. It is different than other colour work in that you don’t end up with that many tails. I am still discovering the intricacies of this technique. I will be interlocking for a long time still. I have three CALs in my head, planned for 2019, all interlocking. Whether they will all see the light is another question. The moment I feel bored with something, I look for the next challenge. I am not yet there with Interlocking. She has some secrets I haven’t yet told the rest of the world, and some more, I haven’t yet figured out. I love math, and the math part of interlocking got me hooked.
Helène: Anyone who have been crocheting a while can reasonably easy alter a pattern to suit their needs. For example the Granny Square stitch pattern can easily be manipulated into a rectangle or a circle by any confident crocheter. The Interlocking technique is not difficult. But I can imagine the design of an interlocking block is tricky. Is it?
Hilda: Designing an interlocking square is a bit of a challenge. It is tricky for sure. I have grown to the point where I know what the front will look like after it has been crocheted, but I have no idea of the back; it is a surprise every time. I draw what I want to see on the front, then I crochet a row, type a row, crochet a row, and type a row. I actually realised that although I am not dyslexic, I do have a tendency. My poor testers. There has been a few occurrences where I wrote the entire pattern back to front. We couldn’t understand why their squares were different from mine. Alet Scott finally figured it out. Now I try to be a lot more careful, and all my patterns go to Alet first for a quick check, before the other testers get it. I sure had a lot of fun laughing at myself with the two Wacky Weave CALs.
Helène: Everybody wants to leave a legacy when they are no longer on this earth. What is the one thing you would like to leave as a legacy – specifically to the crafting community?
Hilda: I wonder how many times I have blogged on this topic. My legacy. It’s difficult isn’t it?
I want to do things in my everyday life, that has eternity value. I want to inspire people, encourage people, and pick up the one who doesn’t have strength to stand anymore. I want to spread the light of unconditional love, regardless of race, culture, or religion. I have many friends who are not Christian; I don’t mind that. If I don’t show them unconditional love and acceptance, who will? Yarn in a Barn was just a way to connect with people. It was a way for me to befriend those who God felt, needed something from me. As an Aspie, I don’t pick up social cues. If you don’t tell me how you feel, I won’t know. That was a revelation for me with my diagnosis too. If I suddenly become aware of a person on that level, I know God is speaking to me. In myself, I don’t have the tools to pick it up. What a blessing. God can use me because I have Aspergers. Isn’t that amazing? When I am gone, I hope people will remember me for the positives I brought into their lives.
Helène: How does your ultimate project bag look like?
Hilda: My favourite project bag was a gift from Monika Snyman. It is a Brilliantmommy tote bag with little colourful sheep on it. I absolutely love it. It hangs from my warping frame, above the fire place in the lounge. Whenever I am heading out the door, my project bag takes whatever I feel like working on.
While you are pondering over whether Hilda just performed a paid promotion for us or not make sure to subscribe to our newsletter (click here http://eepurl.com/cWsYwn) so that we can drop you a mail now and then.
Until next time.
But wait! There's more!
We have a wonderful giveaway for the yarn obsessed!
The giveaway includes:
*12 50g balls of 4ply 100% Merino Wool Superwash dk (4 Lemon, 4 Peach, 4 Dusky Pink),
*1 LJ Craft Creations wooden hand crafted shawl pin,
*1 Brilliantmommy tote bag, and
*Free delivery to an ordinary address in South Africa
Total value of this giveaway is R1 260!
This giveaway are open for entries from the publication of this post and will close for entries on the 30th of June 2018.
How to enter: To be eligible for this giveaway you need to be subscribed to Brilliantmommy's newsletter. If you are not already subscribed please click here: http://eepurl.com/cWsYwn.
Terms and conditions:
* Only valid email addresses will be eligible to win.
* An email address will be randomly chosen from the entire Brilliantmommy email list that exists at the time that the giveaway closes.
* A confirmation email will be sent to the randomly drawn email address to ascertain the validity.
* If an email address is already on the Brilliantmommy email list that email address is already eligible to win.
* An email address may only win once every 12 months.
* Only 1 winner will be drawn, at random by the close of the giveaway.
* Prize is not transferable.
* This competition is in no way endorsed or run by Facebook or Instagram.
* Judges decision is final.
* Valid for delivery in SA only.
* Valid for over 18's only.
And while the word 'frog' can easily be substituted by another f-word that I may or may not have said when I discovered my mistake - this question remains unanswered: to frog or not to frog (funnily enough (and not like funny ha-ha) I was faced with the same question two months ago and you can read about it here). Will I undo a whole hour's worth of crochet? Will I convince myself that it's not that bad? I agonised over this question for a whole night and I've decided to...
One hour earlier
While still staring in agony at my project with it's mistake I'm wondering why I'm always so indecisive when faced with this scenario. I came up with a few reasons:
- I'm hoping the mistake will go away.
- I'm hoping the mistake is not that bad.
- I'm hoping that by stepping one step back and looking at the mistake it will morph into the project and not be visible.
- I'm hoping that by squinting at my mistake it will be less obvious.
- I'm hoping that by fixing a pompom there will make the mistake less obvious.
- I'm hoping my daughter has a matching colour pencil so I can colour in (colour out) my mistake and make it less visible.
Then, by prolonging my agony with a fancy delaying tactic, I decided to construct a rule for when I need to frog and when not to. After all, I'm a rule-type person. I need rules frog-it! Rules make for an orderly society. Rules make me feel safe. Rules have exceptions...
- When a mistake is spotted in my crochet project I will frog it back and do it over. Except when:
- The mistake will go away.
- The mistake is not that bad.
- By stepping one step back the mistake morph into the project and is not visible any longer.
- When squinting at the mistake it is less obvious.
- By fixing a pompom over it the mistake is less obvious.
- My daughter has a matching colour pencil and I can colour in (colour out) the mistake.
The mistake didn't go away. It was that bad - for me. It was all I could see. I will forever look at the completed blanket and search for the block with the mistake. I will not ever be free to take pics of my project without rearranging it so that the mistake doesn't show. I will feel like a phony brilliant mommy at show-and-tell crochet gatherings. So, I just did it.
Now hand me my chocolate and slowly back away...
Until next time.
Make sure to buy from me in the online store and your project can look like this too!
"Hier is my 314ste kombers vir liefdadigheid."
What was your first thought when you read that?
1. That sounds familiar. Where did I see that?
2. What the...! 314 blankets? For charity?
3. Where's the translate button?
Initially, when I started seeing these posts pop up in my Facebook feed I was definitely thinking the second thought. I know how cumbersome a crochet blanket can be. Then I started noticing this kind of post popping up in my feed round about every second week with the number of blankets increasing.
This lady intrigued me immensely. I wondered what her 'why' is. And you'll be surprised.
Christa van Wyk is a pensioner, like many. But unlike many, she devotes her free time and own funds to crocheting blankets for 'Cause We Can' in the Western Cape. Although she is not part of the charity she donates all her blankets to them. She does it from the heart and, in a way, as a stress relieving activity.
She was born in Namibia and went to school in Gogabis. During 1976 she moved to Windhoek and stayed there for 20 years. Thereafter she spent ten years in Walvis Bay and returned to Windhoek for the final nine years in Namibia. During 2015 she moved to the Western Cape to be near her two daughters. Her only granddaughter is now three years old.
Christa says she has always been a very patient person. This truly is evident from her responses to all the questions on these Facebook posts of her. She patiently answers every question - sometimes the same question gets asked twice! That, to me, already says a lot about this very generous lady.
Here are some of the frequently asked questions (starting with the most frequent!) with answers:
2. Which yarn do you use? Mostly Charity dk Pullskein or Chick dk from Checkers.
3. How big is a blanket? All of them are 120 x 130cm.
4. How much yarn is needed per blanket? About 9 100g skeins.
5. Who gets the blankets? It is donated to 'Cause We Can'. Christa also sells the blankets and price is available on request.
6. Do you get yarn donations? Sometimes, but mostly she pays for it herself.
While typing this I suddenly wondered why number six is not number one? Why are we more interested in the yarn type than whether this lady has enough yarn to carry on her charitable work? We should rather ask 'Do you need more yarn? in stead of 'Which stitch pattern is that?'
As it turns out Christa can indeed do with yarn donations and will gladly accept any support. If you would like to support Christa please get in touch with me so that I can give you her email address.
Of course, my last question to Christa was how her ideal craft bag will look like. Her answer can be expected: it should hold up to 10 skeins of yarn with space for her hooks!
Until next time.