One of the things I wish I knew right at the start of my crochet journey is that there are different crochet terms used in different countries. Sometimes, as is the case in South Africa, both sets of terms are used. For those new to crochet this can be very confusing, added to which that when YouTube is consulted the person offering the tutorial often doesn’t mention which they are using. Further, the US uses different hook size terms to countries that mostly use metric. It can be very confusing all round.
This prompted me to put together a Cheat Sheet that contains some pretty useful information that will help you with these issues and contains other information too. You have a hook conversion chart, a chart of basic UK vs US terms, commonly used terms, instructions, and commonly used symbols. I hope that this will make a big difference in demystifying the different information that comes up when you start crocheting.
There are two files available. The file indicated as “Letter” is 8.5 x 11 in and is more suited for US readers. The file indicated as “A4” is better suited to those from countries using metric. This will make for easier printing. Both files contain exactly the same information.
I am very happy to share with you my new project, the Juno Crochet Blanket. Juno is a corner to corner, join as you go project. Juno is available in Jaarn Magazine Issue Six, which you can find in the Jaarn Shop.
Juno is made from African Expressions Joy, which is a wonderfully luxurious yarn.
I really enjoyed making this project, and, while it may initially seem a little complex, it is really quite easy, and works up wonderfully quickly.
I have recorded a tutorial, which is available on YouTube for you. It should be watched in conjunction with the pattern in the magazine, where you will find all the details, and instructions.
I was so hoping to have this pattern out in March, but alas, life happened. Nevertheless, I am delighted to bring to you my Aiko Alpaca pattern. She is a free amigurumi pattern available for download on Ravelry. You can access the pattern by clicking here.
Aiko is mostly crocheted, with the exception of the kerchief, which is knitted. If you don’t knit, simply use a piece of fabric. Details are listed in the pattern.
Aiko is an intermediate pattern.
The yarn for the development of this pattern was kindly sponsored by African Expressions yarns.
Aiko was tech edited by Mariana Müller (find her on Insta as @sweetcrochetdreams), and tested by Marlene Jordaan. These ladies added so much value to this project. A designer’s dream to work with.
I hope this project is a joy to make. Happy hooking.
Well, hello. It’s been a while. Happy new year. I cannot believe I’m only wishing you this now. It’s already February. If I’m honest, 2022 started off as an extremely stressful year. As if the last two years weren’t enough with a pandemic going on, someone very dear, and close to me, had her breast cancer come back with a bang, Matt needed urgent hand surgery, which was made riskier by leftover issues from 2018, and there was a lot of other stuff going on too. When it’s like this I find stress saps a lot, if not all, of my creative energy. There were several things I had been wanting to blog about, so I am aiming for a few posts in the coming weeks.
First off, I have a new amigurumi pattern coming soon, as announced on Instagram last week. I can’t wait to share the pattern with you. The pattern will be available on Ravelry and will be free.
The pattern is currently in the testing phase, and I am now working with an amazing tech editor to take my patterns to another level. She is fantastic. More on her in the near future.
There are a few crochet pots on the boil, and I look forward to sharing projects with you.
When I crochet I spend a fair bit of time listening to audiobooks. Most of my books are non-fiction, no matter how hard I try to listen to some fiction. One of the real gems I recently listened to was “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning” by Margareta Magnusson. I know it is a much talked about book, so I had to find out for myself. I found it to be a delightful book, and not macabre, as one might expect from the title. I loved the practical advice on dealing with the emotional aspect of clutter, and the very down-to-earth approach to aging, decluttering, and ultimately death itself. One gets the feeling of making the most of a life well-lived.
For us as crocheters, letting go of our precious stash of yarn can be a horrifying concept. I have talked about my tendency toward minimalism before, but this was a totally different look at one of the reasons for taking the step of sorting through your things, and not keeping things that have no purpose. This includes things that may be fraught with emotion.
I have, over time, destashed my yarn collection drastically. I do still have a number of tubs of carefully sorted and stored yarn that I use for my designs. I’ve also started a new habit, one I never imagined possible. These days I tend to buy yarn that I specifically need for a project or design. If I like a yarn in the past I would buy it in every possible iteration of colour, or whatever metric I determined made multiple items desirable. That has been useful in my cotton stash for my ami projects, but generally has resulted in beautiful yarns going unused, with absolutely zero idea of why I might have bought them in the first place.
This isn’t to say that I don’t still buy yarn. I do. The difference now is that I am intentional about what I buy, and tend to usually use it for the purpose it was intended rather than it lying around, carefully stored in a tub, for years. It’s a whole new way of looking at how I consume things. I am a minimalist in many aspects of life, but yarn has always tripped me up. I won’t even talk about other crochet / knitting supplies. There certainly is a huge difference between collecting and hoarding, but let’s not kid ourselves that we don’t have a tiny bit of a problem.
I find that when there is less to go through I am less overwhelmed when choosing from the existing stash for a project. I remember reading that too many choices often overload people, and they end up choosing nothing at all. An example was a supermarket carrying different types of jam. When there were a limited number of choices people found it easy to choose a jam. When they were bombarded with a multitude of choices they often ended up choosing none of the available options. Too much choice makes us unhappy. Another interesting concept to think about.
I am the first to admit that my craft room, slash study, often looks like a bomb went off in here. The creative process really does seem to be a messy one for me. Having ADHD, and I won’t even mention the OCD, I find it very difficult to work in a disordered environment, so it’s a constant push and pull between creation and getting everything perfectly tidy. What I do know is you can’t organise clutter. There is stuff in here that needs to go. Once I get going with decluttering I’m really, really good at it. I don’t tend to hold onto things once the decision is made, and I don’t fret over it. It’s getting to the point of actually doing the decluttering. Getting momentum going. A body in motion stays in motion. This is generally true for me too. I intend to tackle this monster a little in the coming weeks, as my schedule will allow. I might share some of that with you.
If you are thinking of the enormous task of trimming down your craft supplies, such as yarn, I say go for it. Start with crafts you no longer do. That will certainly be easier, if not actually easy. Then work your way up to the hard stuff. The peace that comes with getting rid of what you don’t need is a marvellous feeling. Choosing to bless others with the unwanted items is a doubly extra delight. Nursing homes, schools, and I’m sure there are many places would kill for the craft supplies you tell yourself you are going to use again one day, but really aren’t.