Or How I Learned to Read a Crochet Pattern and Mind my Tension
The first crochet project that Lynne set up for the Blogville Ladies Crochet Society to try was a dish cloth. It was a great project for a novice like myself.
I had fun making the first two and wanted to stretch my wings on some more. I realized that my first two cloths weren’t done using the intended stitch properly when I saw the tutorial for the pot holder that Lynne presented for the next BLCS project. Without knowing it I had used only back loops to do my single crochet, creating a corrugated or ribbed effect so I made another cloth using the proper single crochet technique. I also stretched my wings a bit by changing the color every two rows!
By this time I figured I had mastered the single crochet and wanted to try some new stitches. I like the idea of doing dish cloths since they are small projects, but a person only needs so many dish/wash cloths. While surfing around some knitting and crochet web sites I discovered Warmth for Warriors. Their main focus is to provide hats to soldiers in Afghanistan, but during the summer months they are also looking for wash cloths so now I had an outlet for all my wash cloths.
One of the challenges with learning to crochet is to be able to read the patterns. You basically have to learn a foreign language. For all you non-crocheters here is an example of a crochet pattern to give you a feel for what I’m talking about:
Row 1: 3 dc into 4th ch from hook, *skip 3 ch sts, (1 sc, ch 3, 3 dc) into next ch, rep from * to the last 4 ch, skip ch 3, sc into last ch, ch 3, turn.
See what I mean? Everything is written in a shortcut language. At first I was really intimidated by this, but I am starting to get the hang of it and keep trying new patterns. I also found the Ultimate Crochet Bible at Joann’s and picked it up with one of their great coupons. I wanted a good reference book for stitches and this seemed to fit the bill.
One of the patterns I stumbled upon was for this Tulip Stitch wash cloth. It uses a double crochet stitch so I had to teach myself that first. Next I attempted the same pattern with different yarn and a hook the next size up (what the yarn wrapper called for). I also tried to not pull my stitches real tight as I did in the above one since I am learning that isn’t necessarily the proper technique either.
I love how using different color yarn can produce something that looks quite different. What you also can’t tell from the separate pictures is how different in size they are.
The colorful one is maybe a bit too loose so my next try will aim for somewhere in between. I also found my next wash cloth pattern online. I liked this one because it used a series of different stitches for groups of rows.
You can see the different stitch patterns in this picture. Since I am making these for the Warmth for Warriors project I tried to find yarn that wasn’t too “girly”, but that isn’t always easy when looking for cotton yarn.
The next version I did I used some coordinating solid color yarn. I like the way this version shows off the different stitch areas and I think it makes it look a bit more masculine. I have more yarn and will be making more versions of this pattern with the three colors of yarn. This is an easy one to have for a small carry along project.
Like I said earlier, I am trying to loosen up my tension and you can see how the one on the right is slightly larger by loosening up the tension just a bit.
The Warmth for Warriors project will be accepting wash cloths until September 30th so I plan on plugging along to see how many I can send to them. I would like to challenge my fellow American crocheters and knitters to make a wash cloth and send it to the Warmth for Warriors project too. I don’t know if there is a similar program in other countries, but I don’t suppose that you have to live in this country to participate if you would like. Let’s see how many we can make and let me know if you do.