The Crochet Wars

by Alison Stapleton

The war between knitters and crocheters continues unabated.

If you are not a knitter or a crocheter you may not be aware of the subtle war that rages on in parlours and coffee shops across the land.

I was chatting with my friend Nicole at Canadian Frost Apparel the other day about this very issue.

Like most wars, there is a pointless tension between the knitters and the crocheters. No one knows when the animosity began, but it crept in and is seemingly here to stay.

Let’s get straight to the point.

Knitters

Knitters use two needles with points. They may use a circular needle with points at both ends and a wire joining them, or, just to get tricky, they could use four double pointed needles for socks and tube-like things.

They have many stitches on their needles at once and sometimes hundreds for a large piece.

If they drop a stitch and it runs, it takes serious effort to retrieve it. Yes, knitted stitches will run away from their mistresses.

Knitters often feel superior to crocheters as though to knit is to be better in some way. Crocheters never look down on knitters but they see them as their crafty cousins. Both use the same yarns and buy their supplies at the same store.

You can have a “knitting bag” but who has heard of a “crocheting bag” I mean really.

Crocheters

Crocheters use one hook and yarn. The hook can have a thicker handle to aid tired hands and make the act of crocheting easier for extended periods of crafting. This feature on hooks makes crocheters calmer and relaxed.

Crocheters have one stitch on the go at once.

Crocheters can easily make a circle, square or any three-dimensional shape. In fact, crocheting has been used to demonstrate the Möbius strip-like in the March Möbius cowl, hyperbolic crochet and other spatial concepts.

If you can knit and crochet be careful in which camp you pitch you tent.

Myths surrounding Crocheters and Knitters

  • Knitters are better looking than crocheters. False
  • Crocheters only use one hand. False
  • All knitters can crochet but not all crocheters can knit. False
  • All crocheter are old ladies and that’s why they have “granny” squares. False
  • All knitters are young and hip. False

Craft Groups

I once joined a knitting and crochet meetup group. When I arrived the eight women there were all knitting. As I took out my crocheting there were gasps of horror from the assembly.

Who was this woman? What was she doing here, and with a hook?

One pleasant looking woman turned and said to me, “Oh, can’t you knit?”

I replied, “Yes I can knit, but not tonight. I’m enjoying my crocheting time.” Gulp.

I can knit and crochet. But, these days I prefer crocheting. It is easy and quick. I can do small squares everywhere I go and take them home to create a beautiful blanket or lapghan.

Out and About

I can crochet in the car or trapped in an aeroplane seat at 35000 feet. Here I have to use bamboo hooks as they get twitchy these days. But you can’t knit in a plane even with bamboo needles. It’s the point of the needle that annoys the authorities.

In the end you have to do what you like. Don’t be knitting because your mother did. If you prefer crocheting then forsake knitting for a while.

If you prefer the rhythm of knitting and can do it without looking then let that be your therapy.

Do what you love and love what you do.  It will permeate into your items and the love will shine through your completed items whether you used a hook or needles. 💛


Christmas Stockings Crochet and Knitted

Christmas Stockings

Traditionally Christmas stockings are hung on the mantelpiece around a fireplace so Santa can come down the chimney and put gifts in the stockings for everyone. They are also know as Christmas socks.

In days gone by every sock has an orange and a piece of coal in the toe. This symbolized food and warmth for the year. These days we are just as likely to give a Terry’s chocolate orange and we always give chocolate coins or money in envelopes.

Traditionally the Christmas colours are red and green as these are the colours of holly. Holly is the main shrub with red berries and glossy green leaves that grows through the winter months and is available to take into your house for decoration at Christmastime.

Each stocking is embroidered with the person’s name so Santa has no problem working out whose is whose so he gets the gifts right. Well that’s the theory.

There many ways to make Christmas socks and here are the ones I’ve made for my family over the years.

Crochet stockings

Red crochet sock for Mom and striped crochet sock for Dad

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IMG_2433

Knitted stockings

Knitted socks for the kids.

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The inspiration for the socks were from two were bought by my mother years ago in Johannesburg from a craft market. They are the inspiration for the other two kids stocking which I knitted when they were born, and that is over twenty years ago now.

I tried to make the second two socks similar to the first two socks because the younger children liked to have the same as the older children.

I am not really a knitter and these are about as fancy I I get with a pair of needles.


How to trim a Christmas tree

We put up  our family Christmas tree on the first Saturday of December every year. We have a “Trim the Tree” party where we order in food (which is actually a treat as we usually cook every meal in our home and don’t get takeout often).

We start at 5pm when the family arrives and it takes the whole evening to get the tree beautiful.

Every year you need to have a new ornament relating the what you did that year. This special ornament often has the year on it.

  • Open all the branches and straighten.
  • Add lights and check them by switching them on. Then switch them off.
  • Add tinsel by draping from one branch to the next like smiles.
  • Ad baubles.
  • Add chocolate ornaments
  • Switch on lights and say, “ohhh… and ahhh…”

Add the Christmas angel to the top. We have a Christmas book and write down each year which child added the angel and whose turn it is this year. The kids love to be the one to add the angel. Take family photos around the tree and it is done.

All that is left is to eat the food and have a drink. Cheers!


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All About Crochet Ponchos

by Alison Stapleton

Ponchos

Ponchos are always on trend and make a good fashion staple.

Ponchos were originally made from a blanket with a hole cut in for your head. This simple method will still work, but it creates too much fabric around your body.

Your poncho should not lie out flat like a blanket, if it does it is way too big for you.

You can make a poncho from a triangle as well, by folding the points together and cutting a hole for you head. It is a simple piece of clothing.

Ponchos are typically pointed capes that have no sleeves and are closed at the front.

Modern poncho designs, with fronts and backs, are more flattering, streamlined and look good.

Poncho design (2 piece)

An easy poncho design is made by crafting two identical oblongs. In this design the the length is twice the width.

For example if the short side is 40cm then the long side should be 80cm. This would fit most women. For infants kids you can start with a 20cm to 30cm short side.

Then you sew them together offset and fold on the dotted line to join at the back as shown in the diagram below.

If you add a crochet border at the neck it will provide a better fit. You can also create a polo neck to this ponch for cooler weather. If you don’t want so much fabric at the shoulder area you can add a drawstring that will make the whole garment adjustable.

poncho diagram 1-page-001

The two piece poncho design works well with stripes going lengthways. This draws the eye down towards the point thus elongating the look of elegance. If the stripes go on the short side it makes the garment seem bulkier to the eye.

Any crochet pattern or striped stitches can be used to make the two simple rectangles and the possibilities are endless. You can use granny squares as well.

How to wear a poncho

Ponchos are great for kids and women. You can easily ride a bike in a poncho. Wearing a poncho at an evening bar-b-que is a good option to a pashmina which you always seem to need to hold.

A poncho is easy to wear as it does not have to ‘fit’ the body well. Your poncho should be snug but have some room. Ponchos are good for travelling on the bus or plane as they are light and comfortable to wear.

A poncho is a casual garment at best. This item is not part of your business, work wardrobe but will form part of your weekend easy-going clothes.

I like to have a new poncho every autumn and I will usually crochet one in the fall colours that season. I sometimes make my daughters one each as well although they don’t always want one, that doesn’t stop me. 🙂

If you keep a poncho too long it can look ratty and tatty. When it gets old give it to the dog as a blanket.

Poncho size and trim

Be careful of ponchos that hang too low in front. You don’t want it flapping around you knees so you look like Clint Eastwood in a western movie.

The front point should lie at the same level (horizontally) as your finger tips when your hands are by your side.

Many ponchos have fringes which can be either all around the edge, are only tassels at the points, or only on two sides (left or right when facing front and back) of the point.

Poncho colours

Watch out for garish colours and too many colour combinations in one poncho. They look best with one, two or three colours only. When you use colour in crochet you need to understand what works best.

If the darker colour is at the bottom and the lighter colours are at the top the garment is visually pleasing because the darker colours ‘ground’, or add visual gravitas, to the poncho at the widest part (the edge).


Crochet Poncho Patterns

I like making ponchos almost as much as I love crafting shawls and wraps. You can see my easy Poulton Poncho pattern and Preston Poncho pattern (details coming soon).





Granny Squares – Basic Pattern

by Alison Stapleton
Crochet Stitch Diagram – Basic Granny Square

This is a basic Granny square

A Granny square is the building block of crochet work. Every crocheter can learn to make a Granny square and it is lots of fun.

Each row is made with a different color yarn and there are four rows in total. You can add as many rows as you like.

Pattern tips for Granny squares

Turn your work

I make my Granny squares but I turn the work from the front to the back each row change.

This means that row 2 (and all even rows) are done with the wrong side facing (WSF) me as I start the row, and row 3 (and all odd rows) are done with the right side facing (RSF) me as I start the row.

I do this because if you continue on the right side all the time the square can easily become slightly out of shape as you are always going one way.

But, if you turn the work each row it creates a balance for the square as the stitches are worked first one way and then the other way.

It is like knitting on two needles where you knit one way and then the other way, but when you do circular knitting (all the same way) the work starts to creep in one direction.

Over time I have found that Granny squares made right-side-facing then wrong-side-facing keep their shape even after being washed for years.

How to Make Corners

Every corner is a 3 chain (3ch or ch3) corner. If you have 3 chains in the corner you have one on each side when you are sewing up. This helps to keep the squares well, square as you sew.

Sometimes I add add a 1 ch between the groups of 3dc on the sides.

Joining Granny Squares

I recommend sewing your squares together. I am not keen on crocheting them together as that can make a bulky seam and it is not always regular in tension.

When you sew your squares together the seam lies flat which is nice. In this particular Granny square pattern I will use the same black yarn that I used for row 4.

If every Granny has the same color on the last row it is easier to sew them together so it looks neat.



Crochet Terminology

Please note: This pattern used US/Canadian crochet stitch notation not UK or RSA. You can learn more about the difference between USA and UK crochet terminology and follow along.

Materials

  • 5mm crochet hook
  • I used Vanna’s Choice yarns in three colours. It is like a double knitting weight yarn and smooth when running over the hook. Weight [4]. See more on yarn weights.
  • Tapestry sewing needle to sew in the ends.

Basic Granny Square Pattern

First row

The first row is in a yellow.

Foundation chain: With yellow, ch 5, join with slip stitch (sl st).

Row1: Ch 2 (as 1st stitch), 2 dc, ch 3 (corner), 3 dc, ch 3, 3 dc, ch 3, 3 dc, ch 3, join with ss. Sew in ends as you go.

First row in yellow.

Second Row

The second row is white.

Row 2: With white, wrong side facing, in a corner gap 3dc ch3 3dc, in next corner gap 3dc ch3 3dc, in next corner gap 3dc ch3 3dc, in next corner gap 3dc ch3 3dc, join with a sl st. Sew in ends.

Second row in white.

Third Row

The third row is pink. Row 3: With pink and right side facing, start in a middle gap, 3dc, in first corner gap 3dc ch3 3dc, 3dc, in second corner gap 3dc ch3 3dc, 3dc, in third corner gap 3dc ch3 3dc, 3dc, in last corner gap 3dc ch3 3dc, join with sl st. Sew in ends.

Third row in pink.

Finished Granny Square

This particular Granny square is an example.

You can make this Granny square in any combination of color and the color choices depend on what you will be using the squares for.

See more about choosing colors for your crochet projects and make sure to select the best combinations for the projects you make.




https://mailchi.mp/247ca867b970/basicgrannysquare

“Somerset” Boho Summer Crocheted Top

FullSizeRender (1)Bohemian crocheted top for summer

Somerset is this garment’s design name.

This summer boho top is suitable for festival wear and on vacation and is great at the beach over a bikini top.

Made in cool cotton.

Always choose your colours carefully. This garment works well in white, cream and summer pastels.

Skill level

The skill level to make this top is intermediate

How to make the Somerset summer boho top

Make two cups increasing at the corners to reduce the view of the new stitches on each row. The cups are made first then joined at the under bust. The bodice is crocheted from the top down.

The border goes all the way around.

Two straps are made and sewn onto the top of the cups.

This top works best when the straps are criss crossed across the back then looped through the bodice edges and can be woven through to fit.IMG_1985 (1)

Materials

  • 2 balls cotton
  • 5mm crochet hook
  • Tapestry wool sewing needle

Pattern

I’ll get this in here as soon as I can.

Diagram

I’ll get this in here as soon as I can.





In the Beginning…

by Alison Stapleton

There is so much to say, where to start? It’s the 1st of March 2015 and day one for this website.

Welcome to Old English Creations where you will find creative crochet designs.

My philosophy is that you don’t have to know everything to enjoy crochet and that even knowing a few simple stitches is satisfying.

I have ideas for many projects and they change as the year develops.

There will be my thoughts on:

  • Squares, motifs and grannies – call them what you will.
  • Afghans
  • Baby blankies – a favourite
  • Prayer shawls
  • Big projects
  • Little projects
  • Yarns about, well, yarns
  • Teach you child to crochet – The lost art
  • Crochet as therapy
  • One stitch wonders – how crochet beats knitting any day!

The possibilities are endless.

Join me.

Alison