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May 05, 2009

The Wise One spoke.

Being a crochet novice, I often feel torn when I'm trying to troubleshoot a particular problem. I collect advice from many different sources, but can't decide which suggestions will be fruitful! I don't have time to try them all, unfortunately.

So, it was incredibly fortuitous that, at the very moment I was on the verge of making some decisions regarding my potholders and the swap, I learned I'd be seeing Maryse.

Now, when one knows that she is about to have audience with Maryse, one does not whine about having to drag all her crochet paraphernalia. Instead, one packs up all her swatches, yarns, hooks, books, and patterns, and presents them to the Wise One.

The process was very quick. Certainly going up a hook size might work for smoothing out the problematic Tricolor Square, but Maryse saw a larger issue - all my potholder swatches were much too loose! Floppy, holey, fluid, drapey... She waved one around and said, "This is good for a sweater, not a potholder!" Sigh. Agreed.

She ruffled through my hook set, pulled out the C (2.5 mm) and told me that's the size she uses when making potholder fabric with DK-weight yarn. I had been using the F (4.0 mm).

I got to work, choosing to try out the smaller hook on yet another motif from 200 Crochet Blocks: Circle in a Square.

 

I love the way this square came out! It's firm, but not overly stiff. The stitches are neat and tidy. I know that beginner knitters (and crocheters, I guess!) often get sucked into making their stitches overly tight. I think it's because it's easier to control tension so the stitches look neater. There's a lower limit - the very tightest the yarn will allow - but no upper - you can always make the fabric looser.

The result is true for me, but not the reasoning. My tight stitches are neater than my loose ones, true, but I'm crocheting this way on purpose - I'm making potholders! I'm hoping that the firm, solid backing I'm planning to add (plus a simple border and a loop for hanging) will make the whole thing functional.

Only one minus: now that I've gone down several hook sizes, the square is puny! Once 6" across, now it's 4.75", max!

With that in mind I ruffled through my crochet books one more time. I was looking at the patterns differently now, searching for ones which could be upsized easily or which gave me good ideas for adding rounds to other squares. Also, once I saw how much stability the outer rounds of Circle in a Square contributed, I decided including a solid border would be an excellent idea. Here are the squares which caught my attention:

  

From left to right: Meadow, Centered Square, and Into the Blue. A bit different than the frilly squares I once considered, don't you think?

I know this is getting a bit long-winded and you're probably ready to see my final choice.

The Willow pattern, which I've shown you earlier, really stuck with me. Perhaps it was the colors I chose for my swatch. Or maybe it's the fact that the square comes out flat when I crochet it, from the very beginning (no need to pray for blocking to straighten things out). It came out wonderfully when crocheted with the smaller hook, and it has that solid border for keeping the dainty center in place. I thought I came up with a pretty solution for adding more rounds - the square is currently exactly 6" across, and I'll stretch it a bit when blocking. I can crochet it with sets of three colors, which was my plan when I selected yarns in trios. I think that's enough reasons :).

I know my love for this square is true because finally I've taken the time to work in the ends (as I crochet, when possible) and I've even cut the yarns. Plus I've already started the second square!


Posted by Kathy on May 5, 2009 09:41 PM

Comments

I only use crochet as a trim for knitting since a hand injury, but you are luring me back to the hook. I cook, therefore I need potholders.

I have been bitten by the granny square bug too. They are so addictive. I can never stop at one...I always one, or two, or three...more.

You have reminded me that I have too long been ignoring my first love of crochet. Specifically with that willow square and a blanket that uses it, which has been in hibernation too long. I think I'm going to go pull that sucker out and find my hook!

You're so lucky to have a Maryse at your disposal! The Willow block is one of my favorites, I cant wait to see the rest of yours! Also, I should probably get cracking on the rest of my blocks! Eep!

Great choice! I think you're inspiring quite a few people to start up with the granny squares, including me.

Love the colors you chose for both the circle in a square & the willow! (And hello, by the way, I've just recently started reading.)

You are inspiring me to try crocheting again! Thanks for the insight about gauge and potholders!

I love the colours of your square!

you crack me up. i'm going to make you kiss my ring next time i see you ;)

i like the square you choose by the way.

I learned after my 10th 0f 149 Babette squared to carry the tails along the fabric and crochet them in, including the first one. That way, the only end that has to be woven in is the very last one, all the others just get snip snip snipped!

I got this book at my library because Crafter's Choice has been sold out of it (no thanks to you I'm sure!) Once my Babette is seamed and my afghan is seamed I will be making potholders. I have no qualms about following the herd :) so to speak. Thanks for a lovely post!

I am so loving to watch you crochet!

That's a fantastic square! Maryse really does give the best crochet lessons.

I love that square so much - both the pattern and the colors you chose.

Great choice. I can't wait to see how yours turn out.

I used to crochet a lot, but now I mostly knit. Maybe its time to break out the old hooks again!

ooh, your new squares look so great! you're really getting the hang of it! i want maryse to teach me :)

Pretty! I have been finding myself drawn towards the crochet lately. I jsut picked up a hairpin lace loom and started playing with it yesterday. Love!

You inspire me to spend my summer learning to crochet.

If you want a good pot holder that won't let you get burned, try crocheting a magic square. Wonderful!

definate perfection!

Please go back to knitting! Crochet is a craft which I find boring, but you fascinate me as a knitter, and I've learned so much from you. I look forward to learning more when you get off this crochet jag.

Hey Judy, Kathy writes this blog for herself, not you or me or anyone else. It's incredibly rude to both insult something that she's into right now and demand that she cater to your personal interests. If you don't like what she's writing about, feel free not to read.

I'm getting nervous about the potholder swap. I've got yarn, but I'm still trying to do too many things at once so I haven't decided on a pattern yet!

Ooh, love the square you've chosen. Fantastic!

Yes, Maryse is a wise...enheimer! She cracks me up and I love your nascent crocheting abilities. Mine are limited to a shrimp stitch, which no one seems to have heard of!

Looks like you've come to a decision and I have to say thatt the results are magnificant.

It's also nice to be at the receiving end of taking directions,as I have mentioned in my blog. You get a fresh point-of-view. I enjoy looking at your lovely work.

Excellent choice. I liked the cream/orange/green square too, except for the frilly center. But either way you get a nice opportunity: to line the squares with a colored backing fabric that shows off the pretty holes in your pattern!

This would also make a great quilt/bedspread if you got ambitious.

I love the one you chose - it's the right mix of pretty and functional and I love the colors.

They're absolutely beautiful! Thanks for motivating me to pick up this book.

Everything you touch turns out beautiful I bet can out frog ya:) How is my home town when I was little I Lived on Tarleton road (I thank) that may have been in West Roxbury

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