Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Cherry Blossom Stroller Blanket

I've got a new pattern to share!  It's the Cherry Blossom Stroller Blanket, and it's just in time for spring. I will be teaching a class on this blanket at Yarndogs in Los Gatos, at the end of March.  You can buy the pattern off of Ravelry:  HERE

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Full Disclosure

An image from my latest photoshoot at Yarndogs.
I've just been commissioned to make a sweater for an LYS as a store sample.  It's not crocheted.  It's knitted.  Yes, I can knit and I enjoy knitting.  I realize that my "Modern Crochet Goddess" blog title may imply that I'm all-crochet, all-the-time, but that is not the case.  I learned to knit about 3 years ago, and until then, I just couldn't get it.  Knitting was so hard!  and so SCARY!  All those loose loops just waiting to spring free from the needles.  Ugh.  But I love the look of knitted fabric for many things, and trying to make crochet look like knitting is like ....trying to make knitting look like crochet.  So I tried again.  I took an actual class.  Thank goodness my teacher (thank you Candice!) had the suggestion of knitting continental or I would still be struggling along.  I'm still afraid of all those loops.  Still can't fix every mistake, but I really enjoy knitting and learning another craft has expanded my crochet knowledge.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Modifying Crochet Hooks

vintage steel hook, size 4
Sparked by a thread on Ravelry, in the Crochet Liberation Front group, I had an idea which prompted a  little shopping trip to the hardware store.  The group was talking about shapes of hooks, how you hold your hook, how much shaft there should be before the handle tapers, whether or not you want a larger handle, etc.  So many variables!  The original question was raised by Jimbo who is a super-crochet-hook-designer.  I mentioned that I like a particular vintage steel hook that has a flat head and is a little pointy.  I thought I would try to sand down one of my Boye aluminum hooks and see if I could get a more "Kim-friendly" hook.  I really like the Boyes, but I've also been using them practically my whole life so who knows if I'm just more adapted to them or if they really do fit my hand the best.

So, I was off to the hardware store!  I bought 0000 steel wool, a multi-pack of metal sanding paper and an 8 inch metal file with double and single cut sides to it.

I worked outside, and kept Jimbo's tips in mind.  (see Rav thread: post 28)  Using the file, I started sanding off the sides of a J hook, to get the flatter, more pointy shape of that vintage hook.  I also filed the back and the front of the head.  Not the top very much though.  After I got the shape I wanted, I used the fine grit paper to smooth everything.  I used the medium on a couple of spots where the file made some deep ridges, then went back to the fine.  Once I couldn't see any more file-ridges, I polished with the 0000 steel wool.  I tried out my "new" hook on some yarn and I honestly think I was faster!

Back, side, and front view of original J Boye hook (on left) and modified J Boye hook (on right)

I'm a knife holder, and I roll my hook as I work, using the pad of my middle finger on the thumb rest, but also using my pinky (which I did not realize until today).  I made a pinky-rest on the lower part of the handle of the hook below the thumb rest.  You can see the silver part where I filed the handle, on the right side of the picture below.  This little pinky-rest seemed to make a difference too.

Full view of modified hook

This was such a fun experiment and now I think I'll have to file down all my hooks!  I really want to try it on the steel hooks I use for Irish Crochet because that flat pointy head is awesome for working the thread!